Fantastic Weekend at Fort Massac

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Kim and I were honored to take part in our fourth Grand Encampment at Fort Massac in Metropolis, Illinois, this weekend.  We had so many return readers, all looking for my newest books!  I cannot describe the satisfaction and reward that comes from people loving and appreciating the works of my imagination.  “Return readers” are the best!

it seems that people love the new look of our Cocked Hat Book Shoppe.  Over and over we heard it describes as “warm,” cozy,” and “the best shop in the encampment.”  We kind of like it, too.  I think we have finally landed on our permanent layout and display of our goods.

And … to top it all off … we enjoyed our highest-grossing sales weekend EVER!  What an amazing boost to our little business!  We humbly thank each and every person who visited with us this weekend.  We hope to see you again next year.

Huzzah!

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Best of Both Worlds …

I had the pleasure of spending last evening with my brothers in the John Manire Chapter SAR in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  I served as the state President of the Kentucky Sons of the American Revolution in 2018-19, and still serve as the state’s Chaplain.  So, on occasion, I am invited to other chapters for special events.

Last night was one such event.  I swore in their new slate of 2019-20 officers, including my good buddy John G. West (pictured below) as chapter President.

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I have to confess that I am jealous of John’s gavel!  Surely, he will get lots of things accomplished by carrying such a “big stick.”

I was also blessed to finish off the evening with a presentation of “Betsy Johnson: Girl Patriot of Bryan Station, Kentucky.”  I even sold a few books!

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It was a great night, indeed.

New Program Unveiled!

Tonight was my first opportunity to present my newly crafted program, Betsy Johnson – Girl Patriot of Bryan Station.  It tells the story of a brave little 10-year-old on the Kentucky frontier in 1782.  I had the pleasure of “beta testing” the talk with my own Sons of the American Revolution chapter at our monthly meeting in Cadiz, Kentucky.  The men of the Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter, their wives, and their guests seemed to enjoy it very much!

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Of course, little Betsy Johnson is the “hero” of my short novel, A Bucket Full of Courage. I took the elements of her childhood stories and memorialized them in book form.  I hope that we will never forget her important role in Kentucky history.

This program is available for Kentucky audiences through the Kentucky Humanities Council.  Consider booking me for one of your future events, and I will tell you all about her!  Click on the image below to visit the Kentucky Humanities site.

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An be sure to pick up a copy of A Bucket Full of Courage!

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Radio Time!

I enjoyed a fantastic day with my brothers in the Col. Stepnen Trigg Chapter Sons of the American Revolution today at the Trigg County Ham Festival.  We always host a booth and raffle a Henry Golden Boy .22 rifle for our annual chapter fundraiser.  Also, to add to our Revolutionary War theme, I host a sales table for my books.  It’s a great way to connect with local readers.

Around mid-afternoon, our regional radio station … WKDZ … approached for a live, on-air interview.  All of our guys pointed at me and declared, “He’s our spokesperson!”  It’s not an official office that I hold.  Everyone simply assumes that I am a “ham” and always ready to be on the radio.

So … I was interviewed for almost three minutes on a live remote broadcast.  One of my SAR friends snapped this picture during our interaction.

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I fully anticipated the interview to be focused on the SAR.  But, the interviewer kept coming back to my books and my writing business.  I managed to make sure that the Col. Stephen Trigg SAR got equal playing time.  But, it was nice to be able to talk about my novels on a large, far-reaching, and major radio station!  Here’s hoping that it elicits a spike in my Amazon sales!

Unexpected Connections

You never know where a moment of intersection is going to occur … a contact … a connection.

Yesterday, I posted about my developing children’s book project featuring Bill Smith, the Rat Catcher.  The post got a lot of hits, shares, likes.  But it also resulted in something else.  A contact!  And we authors do love our contacts.  We are always attempting to do some networking within the reading community.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a very kind email from the superintendent at the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes.  It seems that he is looking for books for the park visitor center, and wants some titles for review … especially in the children’s market!

Vincennes is very near and dear to my heart. The Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous was my very first interaction with living history.  It is also the resting place of my wife’s 5th GGF – Pierre Grimard, a soldier under George Rogers Clark!  He is the hero of my third novel, Frenchmen and Long Knives.  Kim, my sweet wife, photographed me beside his headstone a few years ago. (Please pardon the “scowl.”  It was actually a squint … the sun was right in my eyes.)

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So, I will be sending him a box full of goodies today.  If I could get a few books into his shop, which is serviced by Eastern National, it could throw open the doorway into other historic parks and sites that have their bookstores / gift stores.  Fingers crossed!

Bibb-Lewis Grave Markings

This past Saturday, I was greatly honored by the Col. Benjamin Logan Chapter SAR in Russellville.  They invited me to serve as the Master of Ceremonies for their Patriot Grave Marking Service honoring Major Richard Bibb and Captain John Lewis.  Both men were Virginians, served in the American Revolution, and lived out their final days in Kentucky.

Here is a photo of the site from photographer Jim Basham.

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He deployed a drone throughout the event and took some spectacular photos and video of the commemoration.

The Col. Benjamin Logan Chapter performed an amazing feat in preparing this site for the grave marking.  Just one week prior, the entire cemetery and hilltop were consumed beneath grasses and weeds towering over eight feet in height.  The men gathered a crew and proceeded to cut and clear the site in a single day.  The result was quite impressive.

And the history!  Wow!  Capt. John Lewis (his grave is left of center in the photo.  His headstone is flanked by an American and a Virginia flag) was the step-nephew of His Excellency General George Washington!  His mother died when he was an infant, and a short time later, his father, Fielding Lewis, wed Elizabeth “Betty” Washington.  Indeed, George Washington “gave the bride away” at their 1750 wedding!  John Lewis and General Washington were close throughout their lifetimes.  Indeed, there was one incident when John Lewis contracted a severe fever.  He spent eight weeks at Mount Vernon during his recovery.

And now, this nephew of George Washington lies at rest in a cornfield in Logan County, Kentucky.

History is all around us, folks!  We just need to seek it out, honor it, and learn from it.

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The Sar Color Guard from the Patriot Grave Marking.  Capt. John Lewis, nephew of George Washington, lies in the grave to the right.  His image is in front of his headstone.