What have I been up to this week? It certainly hasn't been blogging, and I apologize to all of you who keep checking back, only to find the same old stuff. Better days are coming, I promise.
This week my only postings had to do with the publication of my boxed set of the early South Carolina books. That's mostly taken care of now, and I can report that pre-orders are available wherever you prefer to shop --Kindle, B&N Nook, Kobo, or iBooks. Just look for "The Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country."
I was also busy this past week with two Lions events--both were important. First, we attended a Southern College of Optometry meeting for "Dining in the Dark." The SCO Lions are finishing a drive for new members -- 81 recruits from the First-Year class so far. This experience of what it is like to be blind may inspire others to join.
Then yesterday we spent the morning at "VisionWalk," a Memphis-wide fundraiser for retinal diseases. I spent the week recruiting among the Germantown Lions and had signed up some of its members and friends as part of our mission to help fight the causes of preventable blindness in the world. We joined a dedicated band of supporters -- all races, all ages, sighted and visually impaired, children and parents accompanied by strollers, babies in arms, and dogs in Halloween costumes. (Note a little girl using her white cane in the picture below in the lower left corner.) We had 16 participants and raised approximately $620. Here are a couple of pictures.
Beyond that? Well, I've now completed the initial draft of the first seven chapters of "Yankee Reconstructed," the sequel to "Damned Yankee." That's almost 15,000 words, and I'm starting to see the story taking shape. The historical period in which it takes place, however, is not one I'm really up to speed on yet, so here's a lot of research involved.
For example, today, I needed an undertaker, and I wanted him to be as authentic as possible. So I spent yesterday afternoon reading SC newspapers from 1867, looking for ads for undertakers and reading obituaries to get a feel for funeral practices (Yes, someone dies early in the new book!) I found one, too! That's what makes writing historical fiction so much fun. You can't make these details up.
Thomas E. Dalwick had a shop located on King Street, just across from where The Ordinary stands today. He advertised his carpentry skills and his upholstery business, and then in small print mentioned that he was an undertaker (using his skills to produce caskets). He also offered 24-hour-a-day service in body removal and disinterment, in case someone needed to move or dig up a body. Look for him when the new book comes out!