Monday, June 15, 2009

Militaria Week at Collectors' Quest

Some weeks back I uploaded soldier cartes de visite to Collectors' Quest, the social network for collectors. Today they launched Militaria Week, which features collections from several individuals, including me. Check it out! I like the idea that they've brought together people of diverse interests on a wide range of subjects.

According to CQ's About Us page:
Collectors' Quest is a digital media brand for the passionate collectors' community. We combine a mix of high-quality broadband video, social networking and ecommerce.

Collectors' Quest gets deep in the trenches to focus on entertaining, informing and harnessing the passion of collectors.

We enable collectors to meet others who share their interests, organize and catalog their collections, as well as buy, sell or trade with others. Collectors can also watch collecting related videos and read about the latest and greatest trends in the collecting arena.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 01, 2009

First USCT Image

Yesterday, Paul Rusinoff generously shared his collection of wonderful images, and we spent several enjoyable hours swapping soldier stories, discussing great finds, and talking about the joy of detective work and life on the research trail.

The uniqueness of Paul's collection is based upon his desire to reunite personal objects that belonged to soldiers. A number of his identified images are accompanied by an array of artifacts that belonged to the subject, including journals, letters, military accouterments and other items. I admire Paul's passion to bring together these relics.

My main purpose for visiting Paul was to secure the first image for my book about African American soldiers. I left with a high-resolution scan of Corp. Garry Saunders of the 124th USCI.

I am delighted to have it, and am forever grateful to Paul for his help.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Biography of the "Iron Man" by Jim Power

I met Jim Power during the search for the diary of Maj. Thomas B. Webber of the Second Kentucky Cavalry. Webber's story from Mississippi postmaster to one of Gen. John Hunt Morgan's trusted subordinates is one of the more dramatic transformations in my book, Faces of the Confederacy. Jim's generosity and helpfulness was invaluable, particularly his sharing of the Webber diary he painstakingly transcribed.

Jim dedicates an entire volume to Webber, a worthy biographical subject largely unknown today. The "Iron Man" and the "Mississippi Company" of Morgan's Raiders is available now from AuthorHouse.

From the book description: The "Iron Man" and the "Mississippi Company" of Morgan's Raiders tells of a company that joined John Hunt Morgan's Kentucky cavalry and participated in the "Great Raid" into Indiana and Ohio where most of the company was captured. Their leader, who due to health problems appeared to be a wimp from his 1861 diary, had to be helped to mount his horse, but his leadership gained him the title of "Iron Man" from his troops. After prison some of the troops were in Jefferson Davis' guard as he attempted to escape. The closing chapter tells more about the men and the hard life to which they returned. The book contains unpublished material and portrays southern life in the 1860s.

I can't wait to receive my copy.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Advertisement in "Civil War Times"

Pleasantly surprised this morning to discover an advertisement for Faces of the Confederacy while thumbing through the latest issue of Civil War Times magazine (December 2008, Gen. Benjamin Prentiss on the cover). Included is the endorsement of author Bob Zeller of the Center for Civil War Photography, who noted, "Coddington has brought new life to Civil War photographic portraits of obscure and long-forgotten Confederates whose wartime experiences might otherwise have been lost to history."

The ad also refers to two other books, Gustavus Vasa Fox of the Union Navy by Ari Hoogenboom and Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, D.C., by Kathryn Allamong Jacob.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Joy of Indexing

Writing the index is perhaps the single most thankless task involved in writing a book, but is all-important. A well-organized index is a helpful guide and handy reference to persons, places and things. A poorly-organized index, or no index at all (gasp!), has caused me on more than one occasion to groan audibly — unless Google Books has digitized it.

Having been exposed to countless indexes during the course of my research, I determined to arrange the index for Confederate Faces in a simple, direct manner. In short, it breaks down into five categories: Names of people, Geographic locations, military operations (skirmishes, raids, battles, and campaigns), military facilities (forts, prisons), and troops (by state).

I wrote the bulk of the index in one very long day. (Once I got into a rhythm, my impulse was to keep going with it.) This was Monday. Then, I spent about two hours yesterday tweaking the organization and double-checking my work, and dedicated a little time this morning to a final review.

The index is the last hands on writing I'll do for this book.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Proofreading Deadline Met

It is with more than a little relief that I sit here looking at the securely packaged box that contains the edited proof of Confederate Faces. Proofreading is one of the most tedious parts of the publishing process for me, as it requires my full focus and undivided attention.

My proofreading method involves a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair, a strong light source, and a glass of water. Then, I read aloud (hence the water), word for word, syllable by syllable, pronouncing each phonetically, mindful of spelling and punctuation and content and accuracy.

When I find an error, I leave the chair and go to a table set up in another room. On this table are the rest of my materials, including a duplicate copy of the proofs and a blue pencil. I grab the blue pencil and make my marks using typesetter symbols — ital to indicate italics, l.c. to denote lower case, etc.

Then, back to the chair and on to the next revision. I consumed many hours by this process: 281 pages plus the foreword, preface and introduction at about four minutes per page (yes, I timed it!). I managed two full rounds of editing, finishing late last night.

Anne managed to read through a sizeable portion, and it helped to know that someone I trust was reading behind me (and it didn’t hurt that she really enjoyed the stories, including one that brought her to tears).

I initially titled this post “Proofreading Completed.” But, considering that I’m not sure proofreading is ever completed, as one can read through over and over again, I decided on the “Proofreading Deadline Met” as it accurately reflects that I read as much as I could until the time came to send it in.

BTW, I didn't bother to proof this post.

Next: Writing the Index.

Labels: , , , , ,