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March 2007

March 12 * Guest Speaker- Indianapolis Civil War Roundtable

Dave Sutherland was my contact for the Indianapolis talk. We've been communicating for some time leading up to my March 12 appearance, and I wanted to do as good as I could for this large roundtable group. Unfortunately, I never know what I'm going to say until I get up in front of the crowd and start talk. Fortunately, I think I did well judging from the reaction.
       Before the talk, Dave took me to the New York deli in downtown Indianapolis, Shapiro's. The deli sandwiches at Shapiro's approximate the girth of New York style sandwiches. As usual, I was too nervous to eat much. Luckily, I saved half the sandwich and ate it later at the hotel room. There was a group of roundtable members eating at the deli before the meeting, which was helpful in loosening the atmosphere.
       The talk was at the Indianapolis Historical Society. Before the talk several people came up to me and we discussed everything from the Mississippi Marine Brigade to southern Indiana graveyards. You never know what might come up. The one thing I wasn't quite ready for was the fact that I was going to have to occupy a vast stage and all the members were occupying stadium seating. I've never been treated to that sort of arrangement before, but it wasn't long before I just launched into things and forgot where I was and where the audience was. It was me and the story. As usual, I can't recall much of what I said. Lately, I've been starting at the same place in the story. I never know when or where I'm going to end up. I sold a good pile of books and the profits will go to the Newburgh Scholarship Fund.
       Dave put me up at a hotel for the night, which I really appreciated. I was dead tired from the drive up to Indi and the talk. I really enjoyed my time in Indianapolis and I am grateful for the opportunity the Indianapolis Roundtable gave me to share Adam Johnson's incredible life story.

March 15 * Guest Speaker- Morning Rotary Club at Casino Aztar, Evansville, IN

Joe Whelan had read my book and as a member of the Morning Rotary Club decided to give me the opportunity to share my thoughts on Thunder From a Clear Sky with his club membership. This appearance was quite a bit different than most. First, it was at Casino Aztar in Evansville. I had been to Casino Aztar perhaps three or four times since the gambling boat complex came to town in 1995 - never to gamble, but for functions and meetings. I had never been over in the area where the meeting was and they had a nice room laid out with round tables and a serving of juice and coffee.
       Second, the entire meeting was about 1 hour, which, after normal club business, time for questions after my speech, and time for buying books, left me with about 15 minutes to do my talking. I usually do about 45 minutes, so this left with the prospect of producing a brand new speech on the spot to fit in the timeframe. I got up and decided to talk about how the book got going, but I didn't talk about the events of the raid - there was really no time.
       Third, the reaction to my talk and to the causes the book supports was unbelievable. There were perhaps 35 people at the meeting (at most) and I wound up selling about that many books. There was a sincere outpouring of interest for the story and the book and I am extremely grateful to the Evansville Morning Rotary Club. It was one of the most unique speaking events I have had in two years of supporting the book. I spoke less and sold more than anywhere else I have been. Maybe this is some sort of signal!?
       My sincere thanks to Joe Whelan for inviting me to the club and giving me this experience. I hope to appear at some of the other Rotary Clubs in the area this year.

March 17 * Book Vendor- Midwest Writers Guild Spring Book Festival at Washington Square Mall, Evansville, IN
Midwest Writers Fair
The Midwest Writers Guild Spring Book Festival

This was the first annual Midwest Writers Guild Spring Book Festival and it was a successful event. Cora Seaman did me the favor of sitting me at the very front table with authors Linda Bruckheimer (New York TImes bestseller for Dreaming Southern) and Margaret McCullogh (Evansville "One Book, One Community" selection for How I Found the Strong). I was in great company. You never know how things are going to work out at these events, but there was enough traffic to satisfy me, and I sold a good stack of books. The event was from 9 AM to 4 PM. I sold my first book at 9:02 AM and sold my last book at 3:58 PM. The action was pretty steady throughout the day with a little less traffic after 1:30 PM.

Linda and Ray
Author Linda Bruckheimer and Yours Truly

       I had a good time talking with Linda Brickheimer. She has written two "road trip" books and they have both received wide acclaim. I basically did what I always do, keep my head into my business and try to talk about my book with as many people as I can. Toward the end of the day I lifted my head from my table long enough to meet some of the authors sitting in the row behind me. We all took pictures of each other and had a good time. The folks I met were Dorinda Nusum, author of Afflicted and three other books; Gail P. Miller, author of True Love has a Passion for You; Madelyn Harvey (Elliott), author of No Pain, No Gain; Valerie Coleman, author of Blended Families; and author Jessica Angelique.

Yours Truly with Dorinda Nusum (on my right), Valerie Coleman, and Gail Miller