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April 2006

April 1 * Book Vendor- 1st Annual Southwest Indiana Book Expo at the Scales Lake Pavilion in Boonville, IN
Southwest Indiana Book Expo
Book Expo Chairwoman and author Cora Alyce Seaman with yours truly

I admire Cora Seaman and her husband, Don- they are trying to build something for the betterment of historic preservation in Warrick County, Indiana. Cora, Virginia Allen, and others are trying to improve the Warrick County Museum. Cora, Don, and the museum staff decided to organize a book fair in which regional authors would be invited to meet the public and sell their books in exchange for a small cut on each book. If you've never organized a community book fair from scratch then you don't know what difficulties Cora went through to get the event off the ground. Cora and the volunteer staff must be tired, but smiling this morning as it turned out to be a successful event with a bright future for the community and the Warrick Museum. I'm sure Cora was questioned about holding the event at the Scales Lake Pavilion; a relatively "out-of-the-way" location in relatively "out-of-the-way" Boonville. However, her vision has been rewarded. The Pavilion is a beautiful facility with nothing lacking for authors to enjoy the day. High, wood-beamed ceilings, plenty of room to spread out, ample parking, a literal "park-like" setting, and eager volunteers ready to help everyone in any way they could. A success story is brewing for the Warrick Museum.
       The event was also a good day for me. By my count, thirty-nine books went through the register. This was more than I sold at the Sturgis Book Fair last October. I'm still in awe of how people are taking to the book. I was constantly busy. A nice newspaper article advertising the book fair was published on March 30 in the Evansville Courier. The article featured Thunder From a Clear Sky. Many people came to the event looking for my book, and I'm grateful. Profits from my sales at the event will be donated to the Warrick County Museum.
       For those who don't know much about Warrick County, Indiana, it is the county where Newburgh is located. On the day of the raid Dr. Tilman slipped away from events at Newburgh and rode a horse to Boonville to get help in thwarting Adam Johnson's raid (although Tilman thought Johnson was Rebel raider John Hunt Morgan at the time). Hundreds of people from Boonville and the surrounding countryside mobilized that afternoon and poured into Newburgh- willing, but too late.

April 3 * Guest Speaker- Turning Pointe Book Club,
Evansville, IN

I had the great pleasure of being a guest at today's meeting of the Turning Pointe Book Club. The club had selected my book as one of their reading projects this year and they invited me to be part of the book discussion- I loved it. Everyone was absolutely wonderful to me. Pat Bryan, a friend of mine for 15 years, called a few months ago and invited me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'm a bit of a wind up toy- if you want to talk about the Civil War in Indiana and Kentucky all you have to do is ask and I'm off and running. I answered some questions and then discussed a few things I had learned as a result of the book. There was no set speech. I just shared whatever came to mind. Its getting hard for me to find new words to express how grateful I am that people are taking to the book. The Turning Pointe Book Club is a great organization- generous, funny, interested (and interesting) people. Honestly, I wasn't prepared for how welcoming they were. My thanks to them for having me.

April 11 * Guest Speaker- Tri-State Genealogical Society Annual Dinner Meeting, Evansville, INCrowdTSGSapr06-1

Last October I had the pleasure of starting my journey with the Tri-State Genealogical Society. I met Barb Manzi of the TSGS at her place of work. We started talking about things and before I knew it she invited me to attend the Annual TSGS Seminar as a book vendor in October 2005. I knew nothing about the TSGS or genealogy. Although you can read the October 1 write-up in my 2005 diary on another page in this website, I was so glad I went. Not only did I meet dozens of welcoming, outgoing, dedicated people from the TSGS, but I sold a lot more books than I thought I would. I met Lawrence Skelton at the October seminar and he sent me new information on Paul Marrs who piloted the invasion of West Franklin, Indiana, by Johnson's men in November 1862. Lynn Martin and I talked about the 2006 Annual Dinner at the October meeting.
       Anyway, back to the meeting. I arrive at Sirloin Stockade in Evansville and I'm a little apprehensive. It seems like an open restaurant and there weren't many people there when I arrived at 5:30PM. I worry too much. I was welcomed immediately, sat down at a table, and just started talking to folks. I was a little nervous so I didn't eat. I make myself less nervous and find out what the crowd wants to hear by going around to several tables before I go on (I remember talking to Claudette Pfingston). Its a great group of people at the TSGS. Everyone I talked to treated me like I had been a member forever. I lost track of time and suddenly, a few announcements, and then I'm on. As I said, I don't know much about genealogy, but I think people enjoy genealogy because they love the search, they love learning about people, and maybe they find a little of themselves in the process. So, I decided to talk about two people in the Newburgh raid- Elliott Mefford and Adam Johnson. I can't remember what I said. I just let my passion show. I think I talked too long. I always look at my watch too late in the game. Everyone seemed to like it. There were about 40 people present and I sold 22 books. All the profits will be returned to the TSGS as my thanks for inviting me. My special thanks to John West who quickly provided me with the pictures and the permission to use them.
       I can tell you this- if you want to get involved in genealogy, or even history in the tri-state region, the Tri-State Genealogical Society at Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, is the gold standard. They will help you, teach you, and make you grateful you got to know them. I am.

April 19 * Guest Speaker- Indiana Historical Society,
Indianapolis, IN

April 19 was a strange day. The first thing I discover, almost too late in the game, is that Indianapolis is one hour ahead of Evansville. Usually this is not the case in summer, but this year, it is. In Indiana, you can never tell for sure what time it is. On the way up to Indi (a three hour drive) I discover that I have a screw imbedded in my tire, but it doesn't seem to be deflating it. I manage to get to Indi in time, but instead of giving a lunchtime speech on the ground floor of the historical society building near the cafeteria (where all the people are and where these speeches are usually given) the speech is to be given on the fourth floor in the boardroom. There is a life-size statute of Lincoln in the room watching over my shoulder the whole time.
          Because no one knows me in Indi, there was a relatively small group present for my talk- maybe 20 at most. Nevertheless, it is an enthusiastic crowd and everyone seems to enjoy it. I signed a few books afterward and then spent the afternoon doing some research. I found out a few additional tid-bits about the raid, including what the Newburgh Home Guard uniforms looked like. In all, it was a good (but long) day. The Indiana Historical Society is an absolute first rate organization.

April 29 * Book Vendor- 1st Annual Barnes and Noble Author Fest 2006, Evansville, IN
Mike Whicker 1
Author Mike Whicker with yours truly

I was invited to the 1st Annual Barnes & Noble Author Fest in Evansville by Marianna Mudd last October. As I've said before, there isn't a harder working bookstore manager around. Marianna is always thinking of ways to get people to come into the store and read. There were 55 authors at the event and I was fortunate enough to meet many of them. The author next to me at my table was Rick Reed who was co-author of a book entitled Blood Trail. We had a great time talking to each other and Rick is a wonderful guy. My good friend Don Johnson came by and took a few pictures (of which the one above was culled for this page). I also met Bryan Bush who was one of the authors of the collection entitled Kentucky's Civil War 1861-1865. Most importantly, I got to meet Mike Whicker, author of Invitation to Valhalla. Mike has been my unofficial mentor for months. We've emailed and talked on the phone, but we'd never met until this event. It was an honor for me. I know Mike has done a lot for Evansville and I was glad to add my thanks to everyone else for what he has done.
          I know there was good publicity for the event and the authors were well taken care of. It was an OK crowd. I tried to talk to nearly everyone who passed by and sold about 20 books. Events like this need to build, so I look for a growing success in the years ahead.