"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"

video

July Is for Jugglers

This month has proven itself to be unexpectedly complicated, thanks to the number of projects I have been working on. Around Katzenhaus, summer is NOT vacation time.  Here's the run-down:

1. We're dealing with a 19-year-old-cat who has been feeling "puny." Turns out he has had an upper respiratory infection that has involved his teeth and made it hard for him to eat. A month of antibiotics has him perky again, but he's rail-thin and needs nourishment. So he's getting special soft foods, not the kibble that all the other cats eat.  His mealtimes involve feeding him in a closed room, so the 20-pound bully of the family can't take his dinner away, And it also involves  several varieties of special food.  Yesterday, for example, his meals were based on Alaskan king crab.  I should have it so good.!

2. We're about to get very busy with the major fundraiser for the non-profit [Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service] on whose board both of us serve.  We have a dinner/dance/auction coming up early in August, so the pressure is building.

3. We're also in the midst of scheduling and planning two major trips: first, to Phoenix in late September -early October; and then to South Carolina in mid-December.

4. Our latest book, Damned Yankee, has been out for about 6 weeks now and is selling quite well, but it needs pretty constant monitoring and various marketing efforts.

5. Week before last, our first audio book was released, and I'm still working on ways to promote it. This is the recorded version of Beyond All Price, which was a Kindle best-seller back in 2011. I've been seeking reviewers and encouraging listeners, but the whole audio book thing is still quite new to me.  This morning I stumbled across an old video, which was produced by a Pittsburgh TV station back in 2011.  I was attending a "Military Writers Society of America" conference, and Beyond all Price had been nominated for one of their book awards. (It won a bronze medal for biography at that meeting.) The interview is a bit awkward, because the interviewer had not read the book, and she had pulled me out of another session to film this spot without any preparation.  But here it is. Perhaps it will encourage some fans of audio books to give it a try.

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Positively Pittsburgh Interview with Carolyn Schriber
This interview took place during the 2011 Military Writers Society of America Conference.


Old Sheldon Church--Haunted by Memories of What Once Was

Today we drove from Charleston to Beaufort, so that I could deliver book samples of "The Road to Frogmore" to potential outlets in the town where Laura Towne spent the last 40 years of her life working with the newly freed slaves.  Stops included The Penn Center, where preparations were underway for their annual Heritage Days--then a wonderful sundries store that has set up shop in the very building where Mr. Hunn and daughter Lizzie opened their store in 1863 -- and then to the Boulder County Library.  Successful ventures all, but the highlight of the day had more to do with a stop we made along the way.

I'm starting to work on a new historical novel -- this one based on the lives of the family who owned the house where the Roundheads made their headquarters during the Civil War.  Mr. Leverett was an Episcopal minister, assigned to a church about 15 miles inland from Beaufort.  The church already had a history of surviving wars.  It was built in 1745 but burned by the British in 1779.  It was rebuilt in 1826 and then burned again by the Yankees in 1865.

Its ruins still stand there in the well-kept churchyard -- silent sentinel to the destructive nature of men's  disputes with one another.  It's loss in 1865 may, in fact, hastened Rev. Leverett's death.  Here's a circular look at the grounds and charred remains.

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Old Sheldon Church
Built 1745; burned 1779; rebuilt 1826; re-burned 1865. Episcopal Parish Church, Prince William's Parish, Beaufort Co., SC


Gullah Wednesday: Do You Have a Theme Song?

I learned early on that a story needs some unifying characteristics that help emphasize the meaning of the story.  My teacher was Carl Sandburg.  I suspect most people think of Sandburg as a poet, but he also wrote one giant novel, over 1000 pages in fact, called Remembrance Rock. It is an epic journey through American history, one that begins with the first settlers and continues into the 20th century.  Its theme -- the whole sense of what this story means -- is the unity, or perhaps the resilience,  of the American experience.

But Sandburg does not hit us over the head with that message.  Instead, it permeates the story in subtle ways.  The setting of each chapter contains a specific rock on the New England coastline -- Remembrance Rock, of course. Every generation has its own war to fight. One child in each chapter is born with flaming red hair.  And every chapter has its own yellow cat, usually named Mesopotamia, or Tamia for short. The reader comes to look for those markers as as a way to connect one episode with the next, and as reassurance of the continuation of the spirit that holds the country together. The device is simple.  It exists without disrupting the flow of the story. And it is the vital element that holds the book together.


In Beyond All Price, I borrowed shamefully from Sandburg by turning Nellie Chase into a cat lover and introducing a cat into each crisis point in the story. For Nellie, the cats represented her need to have something or someone to love.  And readers did catch on.  One was even inspired to take Nellie's photograph and photoshop several cats into it.



In my current novel, The Road to Frogmore, the continuing theme is the persistence of Gullah culture among the newly-freed slaves of St. Helena Island. Its spokesperson is the narrator, the slave woman Rina. In order for my heroine, Laura Towne, to be successful in her own personal quest, she must come to understand and appreciate that culture.  

The readers will have to undergo the same learning process.  So to help matters along, I'm introducing a new feature in this blog -- Gullah Wednesdays.  I'll be bringing you all sorts of snippets of Gullah culture as we progress, but for today, let's start with this  video Introduction to "The Roots of Gullah Culture on St. Helena Island:

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Roots of Gullah Culture Part 1 - St. Helena Island
In 1995 Judith Jamison, Artistic Director of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,.choreographs Riverside, set to music composed by Kimati Dinizulu.The following footage is an excerpt of some of...


The Chapel Of Ease, St. Helena Island

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
In This Sacred Place: St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease Ruins
The St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease ruins are located on St. Helena Island, SC To purchase a copy of this program, please visit the ETV store @ http://etvstore.org/products/detail.asp?pid=2084626841




Just a mile or so down the road from the Brick Church, we found the ruins of another place of worship associated with the Gideonites and slaves of St. Helena Island. This Episcopal Church was built in 1748 to serve the white plantation owners of the island.  Unike the Brick Church, it made no provision for the slaves to worship there, giving it the name of "The White Church." That policy also meant that when the church was abandoned in 1861, the black population made no attempt to re-open it.

The White Church had one feature, however, that drew the attention of some of the Gideonites. Its organ still worked, and the some of the missionaries began using the building as a social gathering place on Sunday afternoons, where they could listen to music or have a sing-along. Those gatherings lasted until a group of Union soldiers from the 24th Massachusetts regiment discovered the organ and carried it off to their camp.

By 1863, during a cantankerous debate among the missionaries over the meaning of communion, the church took on a more unfortunate function. While some of the Unitarian teachers, like Laura Towne, believed in "open communion" for black and white parishioners alike, others advocated a "closed communion."  When communion was offered to the freedmen at the Brick Church, the closed communion group left the building and went to The White Church to hold their own sacrament. How ironic it might have seemed, had the advocates of abolition who came to the island to help the freed slaves realized that they were actually  creating a tradition of segregation.  (And I'll step off my soapbox, now!)

There are other features of interest on the grounds of The Chapel of Ease.  When the church burned during a forest fire in the late 19th century, its bricks and woodwork disappeared, but the tabby skeleton of the church stands strong, giving us a glimpse of the permanence of that construction material.  Tabby is a mixture of convenience, combining lime and water with the ever-present supply of sand and oyster shells on the island.  The result is a type of concrete that sparkles in the sun and remains impervious to wind and rain.


The remains of a mausoleum are also located in the cemetery of The Chapel of Ease. The structure, erected in 1853, at one time contained the remains of three members of the Fripp family.  Today, the door stands open and the tombs are empty.  Local lore says that Union soldiers were also responsible for this destruction because they needed the slabs on top of the tombs to serve as operating tables for their wounded. I've not been able to verify that explanation, but I admit it sounds a bit better than simple vandalism.

We had a fantastic trip to Beaufort, and now that I've shared a few of the high-lights with you, it's time to get back to writing.  The sights and sounds, the stink of pluff mud and the sting of "no-see-ums," the narrow streets and massive plantation houses, the gossip and the superstitions, the dangling Spanish moss, the looming oak trees, and the ever-changing tides will all find their way into my next book, as will the places we've just visited.

The Brick Church of St. Helena Island

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
In This Sacred Place: Brick Baptist Church
Brick Baptist Church is located on St. Helena Island, SC. To purchase a copy of this program, please visit the ETV store @ http://etvstore.org/products/detail.asp?pid=2084626841








In 1855, the slaves who belonged to Baptist plantation owners on St. Helena Island built an elegant brick and mortar two-story church to serve as the island's center of worship.   Here's a picture of it taken around 1865.
Inside, a roomy sanctuary provided seating for the island's wealthy white population.  Their slaves were allowed to occupy the second-story balcony, where they could attend the services without actually rubbing elbows with their owners. Outside were burial grounds for those planter families, including plots occupied by the family members of Daniel Pope, who owned the massive Oaks Plantation just across the river from Beaufort. The three tall obelisks in this recent photo are Pope memorials:

When Union forces captured Port Royal Sound and the surrounding islands, the white planters fled, leaving their slaves to inherit this church.   Gideonite teachers and missionaries who occupied the abandoned Oaks Plantation joined them for services in the Brick Church, which would become the center of their social lives.

In 1862 Laura Towne and Ellen Murray began teaching a few slave children in the living room of the Oaks. But when the number of eager pupils swelled from 9 children to over 80 blacks of all ages, they moved the classes to the Brick Church.  Laura describes the scene in the sanctuary, where some 200 freed men, women and children took part in lessons, a group in each corner of the room, all shouting their ABC's to make themselves heard over the other classes.

Today the church looks much as it did 150 years ago. It still has an active congregation with services held every Sunday. The building has been refurbished but not fundamentally altered.  Outside, along the sidewalks, bricks carved with the names of the descendants of the first slaves to worship here reveal the continuity that marks this community. 

The church stands just across Land's End Road (now  renamed Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive) from The Penn Center, where a museum and conference center commemorate the work that Laura and Ellen did here. Over the years, the mission of the Penn Center expanded from teaching illiterate slaves to providing vocational training for their descendants. Now, no longer an active school, it concentrates on preserving and expanding our knowledge of the Gullah culture that developed among the African-American population on these islands.