Mobile, Alabama: Barnes & Noble Educator Reception

Good News: I’ve been asked to be the special guest author at the Barnes and Noble in Mobile Alabama, Tuesday, October 16, 4:00-7:00 p.m. Educators that attend receive a 25% discount on classroom and personal purchases, 10% on CDs and DVDs. They can enter to win a $500.00 Barnes & Noble gift card, win door prizes, and enjoy light refreshments. It should be quite an evening. I am so looking forward to it! I’ll be presenting the Jim Limber Story in Confederate uniform and performing some Civil War and Scots-Irish tunes with my guitar.  Hopefully, I’ll book some schools to make my presentation in the future.

Today has been spent working, trying to catch up from being out of town for a week.  I’ve tons of work to do yet, so I better get back to it.

In Mount Plesant, Texas: Hastings Bookstore

I left my parents’ house at 7:30 this morning and just arrived at the Hastings Bookstore in Mount Pleasant. This is the first Hastings I’ve had a signing for. Nice staff. I just sat down and set up my table with a cup of their Hardback Café Coffee. They have wireless! I’m looking forward to my day here. After I finish up (i.e., sell all my books they ordered) I’ll be heading back to Louisiana.

I finished my signing at the Books-A-Million in Sherman about 9:30 pm last night. It was another sell-out–every book of mine in the store signed and sold.  I also set up a signing at the Grapevine BAM and another one at the Sherman BAM. I also set up one at a new bookstore in Thibodeaux, Cherry Books. One event coming up that looks like it will be a really big one will be at the Barnes and Noble in Mobile, Alabama, for their teacher appreciation night. I can’t wait! I’m dizzy with so much to do, but this is the work of a writer.

For My Virgo Friend

I’m working on a collection of poems based on the horoscope. Here is the poem for Virgo. Happy belated birthday, Virgo!


The 6th House

She is Virgo, maiden,
She lies on the horizon,
Palm branch and wheat sheaves
In her hands,
Her Face to the east,
Never far from the sun,
Bordered by Berenice’s hair
And Libra’s scales.
Her eyes are binary stars,
Her heart, a supernova,
Exploding in April’s spring skies.

Virgo is . . .
A Constellation known by its particulars,
Centered on a single bright star
Only seen near dawn.
Mysteries lie within her complexity–
Bayer stars, of variable magnitude,
Stars of white, red, and delicate yellow,
Lining dark dust lanes of memory and time.
Within her bosom are
Cluster galaxies, meteor showers,
And stories and secrets
I still don’t know.

My heart on earth,
Like an obsessed Kabalist,
I search the heavens for you.
Men say you are Demeter,
Wronged goddess of Justice,
Weaving a restless
Journey in the sun’s path.
The earth shivers as you
Weep in the winter
Searching for your lost child.

They say, you are Isis,
Mother-goddess, protector of
The living and the dead
Others, call you Ishtar,
The ambitious, aggressive,
Demanding goddess of love.
To the Hebrews, Bethulah,
To the Hindus, Kauni,
It doesn’t matter.
I am your priest,
I am your slave,
And I will be forever.

Lady, you are my goddess, my Virgo.
Empowered by your own beauty and wisdom,
You drifted into my life
And released the energy of your being.
Maiden, my Virgo,
Rational and precise,
Meticulous and efficient,
Witty and charming,
Perceptive and insightful,
Bold, sensual and seductive,
You have dazzled me,
Your smile is a light that
Strikes the hard flint of my heart.
The sparks surprise me,
And the beauty of your
Body numbs me.
You kiss my cheek and whisper,
“Tell me, tell me all.”

One morning,
You were gone.
The earth, with its cruelty and hate,
Its war and loss,
Was too much to bear, and
You joined the gods in the sky.
Now, you lie in the sky,
Your face to the east.

I want to lie with you there,
As your friend,
As your lover,
Whatever you want me to be.
Each dawn, I think of you—only you.
And some mornings, I see your star.

Gone to Texas

Wow, what a week! Probably the most intense and busiest I’ve had since I decided to be a full-time writer. (Well, almost full-time. I still teach some university classes). I guess my last post was Tuesday night. After teaching my university classes Wednesday, I drove to Jefferson, Texas where I was the featured author/speaker of the evening for the Friends of the Library there. This is a super group–large in number, excited and supportive of literacy and the library there. Wonderful folks. We met at the historic Excelsior House Hotel. You can read more about this really cool place here:

I left the Excelsior House about 8:45 p.m. and drove to my parents’ house in Kemp, Oklahoma. I snatched a few hours’ sleep and was at the Honey Grove schools by 8:15 a.m. I made 6 presentations Thursday, three at the elementary school (3,4, &5th grades) and three at the middle school (6,7, & 8th grades). Long day, but I had so much fun. The music portion of my program seems to be especially popular with both students and teachers. Some of the teachers told me that they heard the kids singing some of the songs we did throughout the day: “Come Back, Katie,” “Cindy,” and “Goober Peas.”

This morning, I’m at Panera’s Bakery and Deli in Sherman, Texas. They have great wireless and coffee. In a few minutes, I’ll begin my signing at the Books-A-Million here. As usual, I’ll try to stay until the books are all sold. I still can’t believe that all my Books-A-Million signings have been sell-outs (or close to sell-outs). I’m trying hard to build up a good circuit for my book signings. I think by next year, the way things are going I’ll have a circuit of 200-300 stores. Enough to keep any writer busy.

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the Hastings Bookstore in Mount Pleasant, Texas. From there I’ll drive back to Louisiana and recoup and regroup for the next week’s round of activity. My next post will likely not be till late Saturday night.
It’s been a brutal schedule, but if you know me, you know that I love my work.

Return from Assumption Parish

Today, starting at 7:30 am, I was at the Assumption Parish Media Center where I presented my Jim Limber/Civil War Program to the gifted middle-school students. Then, I went across the street to the high school and presented the same program to the gifted and talented students there. The quality of the gifted students and the hard pwork of the gifted teachers truly amazed me.  Tonight, I was the featured guitar/vocal entertainment for the Assumption Parish Friends of the Library, and I also made a Jim Limber presentation to them, as well as previewing my soon to be published with Pelican, Stories of the Confederate South.  Overall, it was a great day for  sales and and because of the many talented and interesting teachers, students, and friends of the library I met. I returned home at 12:45 am, tired, but too wired to go to sleep. I must retire soon however, as I have college classes to teach tomorrow and then must be on my way to the Friends of the Library in Jefferson, Texas. I will take my laptop (which I realized has my whole life in it now, and the lives of some others!) but I don’t know when or if I’ll be able to post between now and Saturday night.

I must say that no one can cook like people in south Louisiana.  I ate way too much. But how can one turn down that good food? And also, folks there are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.  My book work is going well: I just received confirmation of the three signings in the Mobile area with Books-A-Million. I’ll post more on my signing schedule later.

Driving in the Rain

To say I’m feeling overwhelmed is understatement; litotes is the term we use in the study of Anglo-Saxon literature. A day’s worth of work to do in the morning hours, an afternoon of teaching at the universities, a long drive to Assumption Parish after I finish my night class.  And according to the weather channel, I’ll likely be doing that drive in the rain. I like rain–if I’m not driving or walking in it.  Anyway, the thought of rain (it always drives me inward) reminded me of a poem I wrote some time ago. I thought I’d include it with this post.


It’s raining today, as
Forecast by the experts,
Drizzle and showers
That will turn to snow by Christmas.
We know what rain is,
And we know there’s all kinds–
The kind that dampens the
Spirit till its brittle and mildewed,
Soaking, relentless rain,
Chilling the skin till the heart is cold,
Pounding the pavement of our lives
Till it’s slick with tears and we slide
Into ruts and ditches others have dug,
I never liked the rain . . .
Till I saw you walking in it today,
Head held high, eyes sparkling
Like little green-tinted rainbows.
An umbrella shielding you
From the sky, but not from my eyes.

The First Day of Fall: A Preview of My Coming Week

Today is my birthday, the first day of fall. Unfortunately, I won’t get to goof off like I had planned. I have a long list of tasks that must be accomplished today because I have such a busy week ahead of me. Monday: After I teach my ULM classes, I must drive to Assumption Parish. Tuesday: I have a presentation at two schools, then one for the Friends of the Library there. After I finish that, I’ll drive back to Monroe if the weather is not too bad. Otherwise, I’ll get up early Wednesday and drive back. Wednesday: After I teach my ULM classes, I must go to Jefferson, Texas for the Friends of the Library there.   Thursday: I have 3 or 4 presentations with the Honey Grove, Texas ISD.  Friday: Another signing at the Sherman, Texas Books-A-Million. Saturday: A signing at the Hastings bookstore in Mount Pleasant, Texas. From that signing, I’ll drive back to Monroe.

Yesterday, I had a signing at the Books-A-Million in Bossier City, Louisiana. It went very well. Another sell-out. Every book of mine in the store signed and sold. From these successes, I’m building a large circuit of stores I can return to with future books (and of course, they’ll order some earlier books too.) This can’t do anything but drive up my royalties. Promoting my book is hard work, but I’m having the time of my life. I am unsure about access to wireless on my trip, so blog posts may be scattered. One thing is certain: I’ll have some stories to tell.

Louisiana Tech at Ruston, Louisiana

Today I took a profitable road trip to Louisiana Tech at Ruston, Louisiana. The university library is now going to carry my books, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House and Stories of the Confederate South.  In addition, the university bookstore manager said he would order about a dozen.  I also met with some of the staff in the English department, working on future readings here. I’ve known a couple of the English instructors here for many years.  I then dropped into the Lincoln Parish Library hoping to catch the Vivian McKain, the director, but she is out attending a library meeting somewhere. Vivian has always been a fan of my writing, and very generous and helpful in many aspects of my writing career.

Tomorrow, I am at the Books-A-Million in Bossier City, Louisiana. That signing will start about 10:00 a.m. and as usual, I plan on it lasting till all the store’s books are sold. Sunday, September 23, the first day of fall, is my birthday. Sigh. Last year’s birthday is still firmly planted in my mind, and the gifts I received and the memories of those who gave them are still with me.  I think last year’s birthday was one of my better ones. I  looked at a poem I wrote the day after. I won’t post the whole poem for fear of it causing me to slip into bathos. Here are two of the lines:

Today was my birthday,
And the first in a decade I haven’t hated.

I hope this year’s birthday will be as good as that one.


Today was a grunt work day. I scrambled to get ready for work at the university, scrambled to prepare for the classes, muddled my way through them, and came home to more work than I can possibly do. Rat race of the mind.

Things are going well with my writing work. I now have events scheduled every weekend (and many week days) between now and Christmas. I had one weekend left and I set up signings in Mobile, AL. Two Barnes and Nobles stores. One store has booked me twice. Once on Oct. 16, a Tuesday, for an Educator Appreciation Night, and then again in November on the 16th and 17th. As soon as I get the details, I have a massive publicity campaign to begin.  I’ll also post them here on my blog. I really want the signing in Mobile to be noteworthy. Long story here. If you know me well, you already know it. Well, on to the editing work! In the words of Lawrence’s story, “The Rocking Horse Winner,” which I taught to my 102 students today, “There must be more money!”

Monday Starbucks

I just finished teaching my ENG 206 and 102 classes and find myself with a Pellegrino at the university Starbucks, my writing/watering hole. I’ve got another class at 5:30, which I’ve got to prepare for.  I love this place—so many memories here. When I really want to grind out several hours of work, this seems to my best work station. This week is not really crowded, as I’ve only got one signing–at the BAM in Bossier on Saturday. Next week will be a different story with signings from Wednesday through Saturday. Those are all in Texas. So, I need to use that time to prepare university tests, grade papers, handle some chores, etc. I’ve got so much work I need and want to do on my house. A lot of junk I need to get rid of too. I’d try to plan a yard sale, but all my Saturdays are full through Christmas. I decided to post the lyrics of a song I’d like to incorporate into my Civil War show/program. It’s called, “Paddy’s Lamentation.”

Paddy’s Lamentation

Well it’s by the hush, me boys, and sure that’s to hold your noise
And listen to poor Paddy’s sad narration
I was by hunger pressed, and in poverty distressed
So I took a thought I’d leave the Irish nation

Here’s to you boys, now take my advice
To America I’ll have ye’s not be going
There is nothing here but war, where the murderin’ cannons roar
And I wish I was at home in dear old Dublin

Well I sold me ass and cow, my little pigs and sow
My little plot of land I soon did part with
And me sweetheart Bid McGee, I’m afraid I’ll never see
For I left her there that morning broken-hearted

Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o’er
Our fortunes to be made [sic] we were thinkin’
When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands
Saying “Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln”

General Meagher to us he said, if you get shot or lose your head
Every murdered soul of youse will get a pension
Well meself I lost me leg, they gave me a wooden peg,
And by God this is the truth to you I mention

Well I think meself in luck, if I get fed on Indian buck
And old Ireland is the country I delight in
With the devil, I do say, it’s curse Americay
For I think I’ve had enough of your hard fightin’