Saturday, September 24, 2011

Prairie Days

Obviously I didn’t have time to post pix of me in my reenactor duds before leaving. Couldn’t have anyway since Jay was out of town and I don’t have anyone else to man the camera. But here are some photos I took today at Shawnee Prairie . . . after the rain departed. For the most part, anyway. Hopefully tomorrow will be dryer, though I didn’t mind the cool temperatures at all. When one is clad in voluminous 18th century dress, it’s easy to overheat.

The photo above is of the opening ceremonies this morning in front of the park’s authentic log cabin. As I told my friend Laura and her mom, Chris, “I want one of those!” The next photo is of part of the encampment. This event isn’t really large yet, but they’re working hard to develop it, and they’re getting really good attendance.

The last photo is of me and Laura. It was delightful to finally meet her in person, and her parents too! But I gotta learn not to smile so my cheeks bunch up and make me look like a chipmunk! With the camera already making me look 20 lb. heavier, it isn’t exactly flattering, and having only minimal makeup on doesn't help either. I know, I know—vanity, thy name is woman! Guilty as charged. LOL!

I’m hoping to do more running around tomorrow and take more pix of other parts of the event to share. The rain put the damper on that today. And I want to get someone to take a good full-length shot of me so you can see how nicely my outfit turned out. I’m going to look kinda wrinkled, though, after getting pretty damp this morning!

It was a great day, all things considered. It started this morning at breakfast when several of the other ladies staying at this B&B asked about my books. They all ended up buying copies. My table out at the park is in a high-traffic location, so this afternoon after the rain moved off and I could safely put the books out for display, I sold a bunch there and enjoyed some lovely discussions with the folks who came by. Hopefully I’ll sell more tomorrow so I won’t have to lug many back home. I want to get most of these editions cleared out, and then focus on the revised edition with those beautiful covers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Final Preparations

I’m getting there slowly but surely!

Last evening I finally finished hemming my petticoat for the Prairie Days encampment this weekend, and all I have left to do is to iron my shift. I washed it a couple of times to soften it up, and cotton always ends up in a mass of wrinkles, as I’m sure you know. Later this afternoon I’m going to head to Staples to get my posters printed, and then I’ll be ready to go!

Yesterday my buddy Laura, who invited me to participate, emailed me this lovely press release, which was sent out to announce the event. She and her family are reenactors, and her father works at Shawnee Prairie. I’m so looking forward to finally meeting them in person! I hope if you’re in the area this weekend, you’ll stop by.

Popular Christian fiction author J. M. Hochstetler will be attending the upcoming Friends of the Darke County Parks Prairie Days on September 24-25. A writer for over 20 years, Ms. Hochstetler will be promoting her American Patriot Series, which tells the story of the birth of our nation.

The American Patriot Series masterfully weaves the tale of two lives, American Spy Elizabeth Howard and British Captain Jonathan Carleton, who has his own secrets to hide. The story expands not just on the usual battle fields of the east coast, but spreads into the Ohio River Valley and the Native Americans’ perspective.

At Prairie Days Ms. Hochstetler will be signing her series of books as well as selling copies to the public. She will also be walking amongst the visitors at the festival in period dress as a wandering author. Come and stop by the festival to visit with Ms. Hochstetler and see what else is at the festival this year. For more information visit the park website or Ms. Hochstetler’s blog and website at ,

I’m going to try to squeeze in time to post pix of me in costume tomorrow, and then after I get back I’ll post pix of the event. That is, if I remember my camera. I have a terrible tendency to forget to bring it, so maybe I better put it with my things right now!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Announcing ... New Series Cover Art!

Sometimes the stars are in the right alignment . . .

Can you tell I’m so excited I can hardly stand it? I’ve found the perfect art for the covers for this series—at least most of them—and they were right under my nose! It just never occurred to me until recently that these gorgeous and historically accurate paintings might be available for licensing.

If you’ve ever done much research into American history from the French and Indian War through the Civil War, you’ve undoubtedly run into Don Troiani’s paintings. Several years ago I purchased his beautifully detailed Soldiers in America: 1754–1865, with text by Earl J. Coates and James L. Kochan. I refer to it whenever any questions about the uniforms and weaponry of the Revolution arise. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Troiani’s work, here’s his bio from the dust jacket.

Mr. Troiani’s paintings have appeared in numerous national collections, including the National Park Service, West Point Military Academy, and the Smithsonian Institute. Known for his incredibly accurate renditions of the American Revolution and the Civil War, he is also a respected authority on uniforms and equipage of the American military. His collection of military antiques ranks among the most important in the country.

Once it occurred to me that I might be able to get the rights to use some of Mr. Troiani’s images, I did an internet search, which immediately led me to the Military and Historical Image Bank. I was pretty sure the fee to use them was going to be more than I could afford, but happily good folks at MHIB were willing accommodate my budget. It always pays to ask!

There are also a whole lot more of Mr. Troiani’s paintings than are shown in the book. I was able to match several to the volumes in the series, along with several smaller images for some of the back covers, such as one of an officer of the British 17th Light Dragoons, to go on the back cover of Daughter of Liberty to represent Jonathan Carleton. There are only a couple of volumes that I’ll need to find other artwork for. Below is a list, with the volume and the corresponding image. Since I only have permission for the first image so far, the others are shown with the watermark.

1. Daughter of Liberty: Stand Your Ground, the Battle of Lexington Green
Back cover: British 17th Light Dragoons (an almost perfect stand-in for Carleton!)

2. Native Son: The Battle of Oriskany, 1777 (Okay, it’s the wrong battle and date for the story and the Indians are Oneida instead of Shawnee, but this is as close as we’re gonna get!)

3. Wind of the Spirit back cover image: Shawnee Indian Warrior 1750-80

4. Crucible of War: General George Washington at the Battle of Princeton (tentative, above). To the right is the image I’d love to have.
Back cover (left): Battle of Eutaw Springs, Sept. 8, 1781. (Yeah, I know, but it’s a great stand-in for Carleton in this volume when he comes within a hair's breadth of being captured by the British. Ummm. . . forget I mentioned that!)

6. Refiner’s Fire: The Cavalry Battle at Cowpens 1781 (tentative)

7. Forge of Freedom: A Prayer of Thanksgiving, April 19, 1783

For the front covers of Wind of the Spirit and Valley of the Shadow, and also potentially for Crucible of War, I’ll need to find other artwork. I’m hoping to find appropriate historical paintings that can be licensed. Valley of the Shadow and/or Refiner’s Fire will need a naval image. There’s one of the battle between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis (right) that would be perfect for Refiner’s Fire, if I can only find out where it’s located and whether it can be licensed. Also one of Washington at the Battle of Princeton that would be absolutely fabulous for Crucible of War, but I haven’t yet been able to determine who the artist is or where the painting resides. But I’m working on it.

These images will take up only part of the front cover, either the top or bottom. The rest of the space will have an image representing Elizabeth Howard or something else relevant to the volume, and a bar with the title and my name. I’m saving up my pennies to purchase the rights for each as we get to work on the cover, so it’s going to take a while to get them all done. But at least I finally have a plan and a basic design, and that feels great. And Crucible of War is flowing right along, which feels pretty exhilarating too!