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Katzenhaus Books

Where We Tell the Stories behind the History


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Keep Calm and Move South

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 2:29 PM Comments comments (198)
Today is full of last-minute chores -- arranging matters for the cat-sitter -- and packing -- and re-packing. But I've found a new slogan to keep me focused on the job at hand.  It reminds me that I'm headed for a few blissful days in some of my favorite towns -- where people are gracious, the weather is soft and warm, the houses are gorgeous, and the food is innovative and delicious. 

Here's a "heads up" for my South Carolina followers -- those lucky folks who live where I only get to visit.  After a couple of nights pretending we are guests of the Vanderbilts in Asheville, we head to Charleston, where we'll have two days to wander the Market, eat at FIG (Food Is Good), and maybe visit a wonderful plantation or two, like Middleton Place.

On Wednesday, we head to Bluffton, just outside of Hilton Head, where a local women's club has invited me to a tour and luncheon in an 1850s mansion -- along with the chance to talk to their Book Club members who read The Road to Frogmore and introduce them to Damned Yankee.

The next day we move to Beaufort, which many of you will recognize from reading Beyond All Price and the other books in that South Carolina series.  On Thursday afternoon I'll be talking about the new book, Damned Yankee, at the Beaufort County Library.  We'll also be talking about the difference between history and historical fiction and how the two tend to collide and stir themselves together. 

 I have a few designs on the local National Cemetery, the burial grounds for both Union and Confederate soldiers.  And on Friday, I'm scheduled to visit book outlets on St. Helena Island -- the wonderful store called "What's In Store" and the Museum Bookstore at the Penn Center. But after that, our plans are vague. Beaufort is one of those places seems to invites visitors to poke around.  No matter where you happen to look, there is bound to be something fascinating.

This trip is part "Book Tour" and part "Research Trip," although at this stage, I'm not sure what I might end up researching.  I'm just ready to let South Carolina wash over me again and set my mind to wandering. If you happen to be at any of the same places, wave and say "Hi." South Carolina makes friends out of strangers.

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Too Much Happening! No Time to Sort Thoughts.

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM Comments comments (205)
This is a crazy time of year --always has been.  For all those years I spent in a classroom, I knew that May would be consumed with finals and grading and farewells, and graduations.  And now that I' supposedly safely "retired," I thought my schedule would slow down.  Apparently not! I'm in such a habit of forging ahead that once the weather turns to lovely spring, I simply stretch my days to match the lengthening sunlight.  The result? Blogging -- that contemplative bit of self-indulgence in my life -- suffers.

So what's been happening? Well, on April 27th, we sent the last of our conventioneers home, cleaned out the hotel rooms we had been using, and headed home ourselves -- to a whole list of things we had to catch up upon. About all I can do here is whip them into some sort of RBOC list.

  • Top of the list: I launched Damned Yankee on May 1st and have been having fun ever since watching sales numbers and promoting the book to everyone I talk to.  (So far, it seems to be working.)
  • May 2nd -- an end-of-the-year party for my old history department and a celebration of a dear friend's retirement.
  • May 3rd--"Sight Night"--a celebration and awards banquet sponsored by the World Cataract Association.
  • May 5th -- my birthday, capped by a gift of the new small Laptop Air computer (which I just can't stop playing with because it's so cute!) and an indulgent dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.
  • May 6th -- An "After Hours" cocktail party at our local bank sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce for chamber members.
  • Today, May 7th-the official formal retirement party at the college for same dear friend.
And from here? Well, we leave on Friday for a ten-day vacation combined with a couple of great book events in South Carolina.  More
on those later.  For now, I need to finish whipping the house into shape for the cat-sitter, and start making packing lists.

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National Nurses' Week, May 6 - 12

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM Comments comments (829)
This is National Nurses' Week, and the historian in me needs to mention that it was during the Civil War that American women first tried their hand at nursing as a career. Of course women had always done the nursing in their own families, but it was not until the mid-19th century that they ventured beyond the home to work with patients who were not intimate family members.

Florence Nightingale is given credit for originating the idea that women could be useful adjuncts to an army in time of war. It was in Britain during the Crimean War (1854) that the precedents were set. But in America, there remained a moral prohibition against a woman viewing the body of a man who was not her husband or her son.  It took the Civil War to convince doctors and other male medical workers that Women had a place in battlefield hospitals.

This picture shows the primitive conditions of medical care at Gettysburg.  And note that in the medical staff assembled to care for the wounded men in the tent, there is only one woman.

  The first nurses had no medical training, and they were often expected to do little more than hold a suffering hand or write a letter for a soldier who could not do so for himself, as this picture shows.

But as the war dragged on, the services of the women who took up nursing duties for the army became more and more important. A sketch artist for the Harper's Weekly published this montage of women going about their varied duties among the wounded soldiers. They appear in the simple role of housewives mending socks -- as comfort-givers, and as brave women venturing onto the battlefield to perform simple triage among the wounded and dying.

Please make an effort to thank a nurse this week, in recognition for all they do. But if you're interested in history, you might enjoy reading one of the many books written about Civil War nurses. You might even try Beyond All Price, the story of Nellie Chase, who began as an inexperienced regimental nurse for a Pennsylvania unit and finished her career running a 600-bed military hospital in Nashville at the end of the war.

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The Indie Author's Manifesto

Posted on May 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM Comments comments (61)
This needs to circulate as widely as possible.  Please share.

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May Day is also Book Launch Day

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 11:38 AM Comments comments (171)
Any launch of a new venture has its messy side-- those moments when you question your own sanity in getting involved with a new project -- when you would prefer to drink the whole bottle of champagne and not waste it on sending a new book out into the world. But eventually that new book makes its appearance, and all the fuss and effort suddenly seems worthwhile.  So here it is -- my newest launch!

There are electronic versions on several sites including the Kindle version at

I hope you enjoy reading it.

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Time To Reveal What's Coming!

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (63)
What have we been waiting for?

Here's  a hint!

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Want To Sneak a Peek?

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM Comments comments (63)
We're busy here at Katzenhaus, redesigning the website and making sure that eager readers will be able to find the new book easily.  Are you getting curious?  Want to take a look at the paperback edition? Ready to order your copy?  Then all you have to do is PRESS THE PAW.

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Nobody's Perfect!

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM Comments comments (69)
With just three days to go, I've been busy all day punching buttons.  I've given the "PRINT IT" word to CreateSpace, and they in turn have created my "Damned Yankee" book page for their own site, so if you want to order a print copy, the book is technically available, although you wouldn't receive it until May 1 or thereafter.  CreateSpace has also forwarded the book to Amazon, and the word on that is that the paperback book will become available in 3 to 5 days.  It may appear in their listings earlier, but again, it will take a couple of days to fulfill any orders.

My next project was to prepare the Kindle edition.  That one took most of the morning because of all the details that needed to be filled in.  Then I started the upload process, which involves letting the upload take place, followed by formatting checks, spell checks, etc.  The file was rejected once because of three spelling errors.  To correct them, I had to resubmit the entire file.  Then, with the second round of checks, I realized that there was an error in the ISBN, which required a third upload.  Everything is set to go now, but because Kindle publication takes only 4 to 6 hours, I won't give the final "OK, publish it" command until Wednesday evening.  It should be there when you wake up Thursday morning.

I'm pretty well satisfied by now that the Kindle version will be as good as it can possibly be.  But of course, in the process, I had to realize that those same three typos will appear in the print edition, and I'm obsessing over them.  It's too late to stop the print editions, of course, so I just have to hope that most readers will not notice 3 types in a book of 105,000 words. As a percentage, that works out to 0.0000285% of the words are incorrectly spelled. Maybe I should offer a prize for the person who spots them all!

What's next? Well, among other things, the Katzenhaus website needs to be re-worked to take into account this latest publication.  But that's a project for another day.  For tonight, I'm off to a dinner meeting -- if the tornado warnings don't get us first!
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Countdown to Launch

Posted on April 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM Comments comments (56)
It's 1:00 PM on a very rainy Sunday, and we just returned home from hosting the 2014 Tennessee Lions State Convention.  Despite a number of annoying glitches that were beyond our control, everything went well, and everyone except for a couple of perennial grinches seemed to enjoy their weekend. As for Floyd and me . . .  we are footsore and weary, but relieved to have finally put the whole thing behind us.  Our car on the way home was so overloaded with signage, left-over canned drinks, luggage, and other paraphernalia hat we kept expecting to be pulled over on the interstate as tail-dragging drug-transporters. 

But now, for a few days we can relax  --  or maybe not! First of all, we returned to dire warnings about massive tornado outbreaks headed our way and flood warnings from the expected 5 inches of rain.  I'm dying for a nap, but the thunder outside says "NO!"

Beyond that, a glance at the calendar tells me there is no time for being lazy! In the next four days, I need to give Damned Yankee that final once-over check, format the manuscript for Kindle,  and then punch the button that says PRINT IT.

Once again Glogirly and Katzenhaus are on the same count-down.  I still don't know what she has in store for you all, but I'll be launching the fifth book in my series on the Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country. Stay tuned.  A book trailer may appear in the next couple of days.
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Putting the Rest of My Life on Hold

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM Comments comments (72)
With apologies to all of you book people, I am signing off here until I can put the weekend behind me.  I'll be in town, but spending every waking hour helping my husband run a Lions Convention for 150 people from all over the state of Tennessee.  We're providing all the printed materials (from name tags to individual meal programs), the entertainers, the menus, the schedules, the registration packets, and the hospitality suite, plus hosting a guest speaker from Belgium and a past president of Lions International.

Please don't call or message me unless the house is burning down -- and even then, try the garden hose first!

I'll be back on Monday with news of the book launch and a book tour to South Carolina.  Until then, I hope you find something fun to read!
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