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November 2006

November 11 * Book Vendor- 25th Annual Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY
Kentucky Book Fair
The calm before the storm. The 25th Annual Kentucky Book Fair before the doors open

          This is a long entry because I have a lot to say about this world class event. First, I would like to sincerely compliment Connie Crow and the Kentucky Book Fair Committee for putting on the premier book event in Kentucky, and probably the premier book event in the Midwest. Let me start with the fabulous reception given for the authors the evening before the event. The reception was at the Buffalo Trace Distillery and was designed to let the authors mingle and meet each other. It was a terrific experience. I don't mind telling you that I was a bit intimidated to be in the company of such esteemed authors. I envy professional historians. They have spent so much of their lives dedicated to a subject I love- history. One author who was a professor at Ohio State University had spent 14 years producing her latest book- amazing!

Sharon THompson
Author Sharon Thompson and Flavors of Kentucky

          I met tons of interesting people at the author reception and at the fair the next day. Among them was the Lexington Herald-Leader food writer, Sharon Thompson. She was perhaps the most charming young lady in Kentucky. She was there promoting her new book Flavors of Kentucky. We talked for awhile and she told me how important food was to her and to Kentuckians. She's having great success with her book and Sharon is the reason why the book is doing so well. She's passionate about cooking. Another person I met was my friend from the 8th Annual Military History Education Symposium in Arthur, Illinois, Dr. John Cimprich. John hunted me down at the reception and we talked for awhile about slavery and the Civil War. I'm going to wedge John's book Fort Pillow, A Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory, into my book review schedule for 2007. I'm not sure when I'm going to review it, but it will be in 2007. John has agreed to be interviewed for the book review. The time flew and before I knew it, the reception was over. I went back to the hotel and slept awhile.

Cimprich and Bush
Dr. John Cimprich,
author of
Fort Pillow: A Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory
(in the forground at right)
and Bryan S. Bush,
author of
Lloyd Tilghman: Confederate General in the Western Theatre
(in the dark sweater at upper left)

          Next morning I got myself together and went over to the Frankfort Convention Center which was just a few steps from the Capital Plaza Hotel. A storm had swept through the night before the fair and it had gotten bitter and rainy that morning. I went in not knowing what to expect. It was a very, very large, well organized book fair. I found my location and started to set up my stuff. I shared a table with author Janice Law. She was a lawyer! Destiny, I guess. Anyway, we had a good time talking together and scheming how we were going to attack the day. Now comes the part that separates this fair from other events in the Midwest. By 10 AM the place was jammed with customers browsing the author stalls. I attended the Indianapolis Holiday Author Fair last year, and it was a supremely organized event- but it is relatively young, so there wasn't all that much traffic. I worked hard all day and sold half the books that I sold in two hours at the Kentucky Book Fair. This was the 25th Anniversary for the Kentucky Book Fair and it has garnered a reputation as being a happening place for book buyers looking for gifts and good reads. I sold 35 books in two hours. I could have sold 35 more. After I polished off my stack, I took the opportunity to browse the fair. I bought a book from Dr. Cimprich and I purchased Kenneth Hafendorfer's new book Battle of Richmond Kentucky. I had Mr. Hafendorfer sign my personal copy of Perryville, Battle for Kentucky and asked him if he would do an interview if I took his new book on as a review selection for 2007. He agreed. I'm going to review Ken's book for the 4th quarter of 2007.

Kenneth A. Hafendorfer, author of Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, with yours truly

          After browsing the fair I ate the lunch that the organizers provided (delicious chicken salad sandwich and treats) and packed my things. I checked out my book purchases and was on my way home by 12:30 PM. What a whirlwind. Again, the Kentucky Book Fair is a must-attend event as a buyer and a delight to savor as an author and book seller. It is absolutely simple to get to from Indiana using Interstate 64. To Connie Crow, thank you so much for giving me this wonderful experience.

November 29 * Guest Speaker- Green River Kiwanis Club, Evansville, IN
Yours truly receiving a memento from the Green River Kiwanis

       When Bryan Trible first invited me to speak at the Kiwanis Club in Evansville I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it happen in 2006, but I squeezed the date in and I'm glad I did. I arrived at the front parking lot at the Crescent Room of the old Cullen Avenue Church and I'm waiting for folks to show up. I'm supposed to go on at 7:30 AM and by 7:15 AM I'm pretty much sitting alone in the parking lot. I notice a note on the door that says to go to the rear parking lot for the Kiwanis meeting. I'm glad I saw that note or I would still be sitting there in the parking lot waiting for everyone. I pull around back and the parking lot is nearly full. The Green River Kiwanis is a large club. I walk in the door to the meeting room and almost the first person I meet is Thornton Patberg, the man who in 1991 sold my wife and I the homestead that we still live on today. It was great to see him again.
       Bryan helped introduce me around but it wasn't long until I was announced and started talking. Speaking without a script and without any particular program can be like balancing on a high wire. Luckily for me an inspiration came in the last few seconds before I went up to the microphone. I decided to focus on my personal journey with
Thunder from a Clear Sky: Stovepipe Johnson's Confederate Raid on Newburgh, Indiana and how giving something toward a cause I love has changed my life. Honestly, I don't think I talked about the events of the raid at all. I really didn't have time. It seemed like I was just getting into the meat of the story when the moment was up. The response was wonderful. Folks lined up to get a copy of the book and it was a joy for me to talk to the members. All the profits from books sold on that day will be donated to the Patch Work Central literacy program. I also handed out some post cards and anyone bringing one of those cards to my December 16 appearance at Barnes & Noble will also get credit for a donation. My thanks go out to Bryan Trible for inviting me to a memorable event.