"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Welcome to Katzenhaus Books, where we tell - the stories behind the history.
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

My December
One More Before the Excitement Fades
Trumpets! Confetti! Funny Hats! Screaming Crowds!
Getting On with the Writing
Turning an Idea into a Business

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
business
Business plan
Busy-ness
butterflies
Career choices
cats
celebrations
cemetery research
Census
challenges
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas
Christmas Past
Civil War
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
Dead Mules
Deal of the Day
decisions
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elevator speech
elmore leonard
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
Excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
Fish
flood waters
flowers
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
free chapter
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
grammar cops
gratitude
gray horses
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
handicaps
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horse races
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
illustrations
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
omens
opening lines
outrage
Oxford
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
portraits
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
story arc
Substitutes
Success
summer
Synopsis
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process

Archives

December 2017
November 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

November 2016

Here It Is! The Trailer for "Yankee Daughters"


You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Book trailer for Yankee Daughters written by Carolyn Schriber
Book trailer for Yankee Daughters by Carolyn P. SchriberPublished by Katzenhaus Bookshttp://www.katzenhausbooks.com/http://www.amazon.com/Carolyn-P.-Schriber/e/B003ZM9GVEHow do you raise old-fash...
Write your post here.

Those Six Degrees of Separation that Connect Us All


About this time last year, I was writing about the beginning of the twentieth century in my first rough draft of the third volume of the Grenville Trilogy. One notable event of the period was the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. Naturally I had to stop and do some historical research. 
 
McKinley was in his second term of office. On September 6th,  he attended a public reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. A young anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, shot him at close range. Czolgosz was an American citizen, a steel worker, and the son of Polish immigrants. The shot was not immediately fatal, but the president died of gangrene eight days later, and was succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt.   

 This year, as I read through the final page proofs of Yankee Daughters, I‘ve again been thinking about various current events, and also wondering what my characters, who had also lived through the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, would have thought about another act of violence. But first, I needed to deal with creature comforts. It’s a cold, cloudy, damp morning, and although I know it's November, I'm not ready to turn on the furnace and admit that winter is here. So I decided to switch on the gas fireplace for an hour or two to take the chill off. 

I walked into the living room, as I've done thousands of times in the past twelve years. I glanced at the mirror above the fireplace out of long habit. (Who doesn't sneak a look when they pass a mirror once in a while—not my mother’s daughter, certainly!) Then it hit me. The mirror I was looking at once also reflected the image of William McKinley. How did that happen? The story, once again, goes back to those eight McCaskey sisters. 

The McKinley family was from Canton, Ohio, which you may only know as the location of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But for the McCaskey girls, Canton was a tempting destination. It sits not far across the state border from North Sewickley. It was a booming metropolis founded by a bunch of wealthy steel magnates, while North Sewickley had remained a backwoods settlement. It was where one went in search of fame and fortune, apparently.  One by one, most of the McCaskey girls found a way to move there. 

 Now we fast-forward to the nineteen forties. My mother had managed to marry the boss, and for the first time in her entire life, she had money to spend. She had left many of her friends behind, but there were always family members near by. She was particularly close to her sister Florence's second daughter, Helen, and the two of them enjoyed shopping sprees together.  

Helen had married a man who was related by another marriage to the McKinley family. (Helen’s daughter Sharyn, my own cousin once removed, provided me with the hand-written family documents that detailed the relationship.) Helen’s husband was a second-cousin-twice-removed of ida McKinley, wife of President William McKinley.  Since the McKinleys had only two daughters, neither of whom survived past childhood, Ida's cousins were her only living relatives. And that’s how Helen and my mother managed to wrangle tickets to the auction where the McKinley mansion and its contents were being sold off.

Now my mother was one of the original "material girls." Because she had grown up in great poverty, she valued THINGS. And at that auction, she fell in love with an antique mirror. It's about four feet square and surrounded by a frame of gilded (naturally! this was the Gilded Age) plaster of Paris roses. So she bought it. I have no idea how much she paid for it, or even how she managed to get the thing home. (Knowing my mother, I’d bet she just batted her eyelashes at the nearest fellow with a truck.)

The mirror hung in the living room during my entire childhood. When my mother died, I inherited it,  and I entrusted it to a whole succession of Air Force movers who shuffled us and our belongings back and forth across the country. The plaster of Paris framework is cracked at all its weakest points, but the cracks are clean and almost invisible unless you happen to grasp the mirror at the wrong point -- in which case a rose will come off in your fingers until you tuck it back in. The silvering on the back has held up remarkably well. And here it still hangs, over a century old, providing a link between me and a historical event I knew almost nothing about until last year.

My mother's niece's husband's second cousin (twice removed)’s husband. . .  Six degrees of separation, indeed.
 
 
 
 
 

A Bittersweet Day

On this Veteran's Day, I am headed off to a weekend meeting of a Lions organization, where my Vietnam veteran husband will be inducted into a Hall of Honor for those who have served the blind and sight-impaired in this four state area. For the past 75 years, the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service has been providing free vision and hearing treatments for those who cannot afford the help they need. Only nineteen other individuals have been so honored.

Mid-South was Floyd's second home. He served as a Vice President for Tennessee for four years and then as president of the organization. When his term was over, he went back to being a faithful and busy committee member and chairperson.  He attended every meeting, worked on every fund-raiser, and donated as much as he could from his own pocket.  When he was working out his own end-of-life arrangements, he asked that no one send flowers. He wanted such money to go to pay for surgeries to restore someone's sight.

So, yes, today is bittersweet. I wish he could have been here to receive this honor, although I suspect he might have asked that it go to someone else. That it happens on Veteran's Day Weekend is something of a coincidence, but maybe there are no such coincidences. The same need to serve others that took him into the Air Force also took him to Vietnam and then to a series of leadership roles among Tennessee Lions.

But let the occasion speak to you. Don't wait. Find that veteran who risked all and sacrificed more than you can know, and salute him for his service. Say thank you while you still can.

A Crucial Turning Point

Today, November 7th, is an important date in the history of the Civil War, although many history books overlook its significance. On this date, the Great South Carolina Expeditionary Force achieved a quick victory at Port Royal Sound and made it possible for the Union Navy to enforce a blockade  over the entire Atlantic coast of the Confederacy. The following excerpt from my "A Scratch with the Rebels" explains why the Battle of Port Royal was so vital.

Shortly after Fort Sumter fell, Lincoln had officially declared a blockade of all states that had seceded and dispatched the Niagara to hold Charleston Harbor. Her arrival, to be sure, had caused some initial consternation; on 9 May 1861, Miss Emma Holmes, a Charleston resident, worried: "Old Abe has at last fulfilled his threats of blockading us by sending the Niagara here. ...The Niagara is a splendid steam propeller, so contrived that she can withdraw the wheel from the water & thus use either steam or her sails at pleasure, and is probably the fastest ship in the U. S. navy. It carries 12 guns, is manned by 600 men, and fully supplied with provisions, implements & munitions of war. She has already warned off two or three vessels . . ."
Concern soon gave way to nonchalance, however; within days the Niagara was gone. The same resident wrote in her diary for 18 May, "Since last Tuesday, the Niagara has not been seen anywheres [sic] along our coast . . . So, the much talked of blockade is at an end, not having done us any harm, but plenty to Old Abe . . ."

Blockading the South Carolina coast was no easy task. If the North planned to maintain an effective blockade against the Confederate States, their overriding need was for a safe southern harbor from which to operate. The international understanding was that other countries would respect a blockade only so long as it operated effectively. The English, in particular, had questioned the validity of the Northern blockade, and understandably so, since they were in large part dependent on southern cotton to keep their textile mills in operation. English lawyers probed the clauses of the Union's Blockade Act, pointing out that an absolute blockade had to be effective before it could be legal. If some ships could penetrate the blockade, no foreign government was bound to observe it. The withdrawal of blockading vessels for repairs or supplies would be interpreted as abandonment of the effort; it was therefore essential that Union ships have quick and easy access to a supply depot.

In late October, Harper's Weekly speculated that there were only three southern harbors deep enough to let large ships enter. Beaufort, South Carolina; Brunswick, Georgia; and Pensacola, Florida were all possible destinations for the Expedition. Naval intelligence had already focused on Port Royal, South Carolina, as one of the more important southern harbors. From Port Royal, blockading vessels would be less than a day's sail from such important Confederate ports as Charleston and Savannah. It was further hoped that from a naval base at Port Royal, it would be possible to take and hold these vital harbors. As Lieutenant Daniel Ammen, commander of the Seneca, explained in his memoirs, a blockade from within a harbor could be effective with only one ship. If the blockade had to be maintained outside the range of coastal guns, it could take up to thirty ships to achieve the same degree of effectiveness.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this anniversary. Several times I contrived to be in Hilton Head of this date so that I could look out over the water and imagine the Union fleet. But this year, the event takes on a special significance for me because my next book will involve the blockade and the attempts of Confederate blockade runners to break the Union control of the coast. Stay tuned!

The Enduring Value of Baseball

Everybody’s talking about the World Series today, and i’m no exception. Despite the fact that I usually don’t watch sports on TV, I was glued to the screen last night from the eighth inning on. And when I finally went to bed, the thought in my mind was: “All is right in the world, at least for this moment.”
 
This morning, as Facebook is overrun with congratulatory  messages and reminders that the Cubs had not won a World Series for 108 years, several people have commented that last night’s win was a “return to the good old days.” My historian’s mindset, however, has been reminding me to think about what the world was really like 108 years ago.
 
Now, as it happens, the book proof I sent off to the publisher this morning deals with exactly that question. My upcoming “Yankee Daughters,” due out in early December, covers the years from 1886 to 1920. And, with an apologetic shrug to the nine real women who inspired the story, it does not paint a pretty picture. Here’s the blurb that appears on the back cover:


 
How do you raise old-fashioned 19-century girls who must face the  challenges of an unstable world:
-- natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes
-- institutional failures that cause economic panic and bank closures
-- the unthinkable disasters of assassination and the sinking of an unsinkable ship
-- worldwide conflict and the horrors of trench warfare
 
And how do you prepare them for the changes they will face in the 20 century:
--from dirt roads and horse-drawn wagons to highways, airplanes, and automobiles
--from political bosses to women’s suffrage and prohibition
--from one-room school houses to state-controlled public education
--from family farms to assembly lines and labor unions
--from geographic isolation to worldwide communications
 
As for the year 1908 itself, here’s what my story has to say about it:
 
"The financial crisis Jamey had been worrying about reared its head early in 1907, and by October and November, there was a massive run on regional banks, as several brokerage firms, including the Knickerbocker Trust, went broke. Jamey now refused to discuss the crisis, but he was distracted, pale, and frightened. In 1908, the local bank foreclosed on the Grenville farm. A sheriff’s deputy nailed the notification to the door early one morning."
 
Of course, the Grenville sisters would not have been following the 1908 World Series. If they had known about it at all, they would probably have been rooting for Detroit. Still, looking back, I can imagine that many baseball fans—then as now—really needed something to make them feel good about themselves for a little while.
 

So, thank you, Chicago Cubs, for once again providing the smiles on our faces.