Dublin, Texas: Irish Capitol of Texas

Book Signing News: Tonight, I’ll be at this author event:

@Your Library – An Evening with Authors, Writers, Illustrators and Books

March 11, 2008 6-7:30 PM Marshall High School Library

Anticipated authors attending: Annie McCrady, John McCloskey, Gary Pinkerton, Tom Townsend, Jeanne Miller, Cynthia Peterson, Phil Simmons, George A. “Bob” Allen, Stephanie Matthews, Lila Guzman, Rickey Pittman, Clifton Cardin, William Sneed, Scott Arnauld, Becca Anderson, Galand Nuchols, Jerry L. Summers,Linda Moye,Jan Wesley, Larry Griffin, Grace Anne Schaefer ,Tom Geddie

Hosted by Marshall High School Library, 1900 Marverick Drive, Marshall, TX 75670 @ Tx Hwys 43 and 59. For more information contact Marsha Edney, Librarian at 903-927-8800 x 1198 or edneyml@marshallisd.com

Dublin, Texas: The Stephenville Empire-Tribune‘s article, “Irish Capitol of Texas’ preparing for huge St. Patrick’s Day Festival,” mentioned me. It says, “Live entertainment will begin at 11:30 a.m. as Rickey Pittman, guitarist and singer, performs classic Irish songs . . .” This ought to be a really cool festival. I will participate in the parade, perform twice, and intend on seeing some sights, including the historic Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. If you like to drink Dr. Pepper, go to this site to see a history of the drink: http://www.dublindrpepper.com/history.aspx

Another Writer’s Week

Book Signing News:

Saturday, I had my signing at the Barnes & Noble in Dallas, near the Overton Mall. It went well, and as usual met many people and had some good conversations. Generally, folks are surprised and pleased to learn the story of Jim Limber. From there, I drove to my parents’ house in Kemp, Oklahoma and spent the night there. Sunday, I returned home. I listened to some books on tape:  One was “Ice Palace” by Fitzgerald. I had never thought of Fitzgerald as a Southern writer, but after listening to this story, I may have to change my mind about that. The story is full of symbolism and reveals he truly understands the subtle nuances of Southern culture.  There is a great site devoted to “Ice Palace” here: http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/icepalace/index.html

The introduction of this site produced by the University of South Carolina says: “The Ice Palace” appeared in the 22 May 1920 issue of the Saturday Evening Post and was collected in Flappers and Philosophers. It was the first of a group of stories in which Fitzgerald examined the cultural as well as social differences between the North and South. “It is a grotesquely pictorial country as I found out long ago, and as Mr. Faulkner has since abundantly demonstrated,” he commented in 1940. Fitzgerald was particularly aware of the influence of the South on its women — a concern that was reinforced by his marriage to an Alabama belle.”  The site has the complete text of the story as well as some great visuals.

I also listened to “God Sees the Truth, but Waits” by Tolstoy. Another wonderful and touching story.  You can find that story here: http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2061/

I also began listening to The Tin Roof Blowdown A Dave Robicheaux Novel: by James Lee Burke.  I’m only a few chapters into it, but I think it may be the finest fictional piece to be written about Hurricane Katrina. John Holt has a fine review of the novel here: http://calitreview.com/topics/crime-fiction/289/

Today will be spent working on college stuff, catching up on my unfinished and increasing book business, and I’m sitting with my sick grandson for a few hours today. As I miss him so much because I’m traveling every weekend, I’m actually looking forward to the grandfather duty.

This week’s book event schedule: I have a busy but great week ahead of me!

Tuesday: Marshall, Texas. An Evening with Authors. Marshall High School Library.

Thursday: Ranger High School, Ranger, Texas.

Friday: Dublin Intermediate School, Dublin, Texas. Hasting’s Bookstore, Stephenville, TX

Saturday: Performing at the Dublin, TX Saint Patrick’s Day Festival. I’ll also be marching with the Confederate SCV there and having a table to show my books.

Saturday Signing and Good Weather

Book Signing News:

I left Monroe yesterday afternoon in sleet, which quickly changed to a heavy snow, blanketing the ground and trees  with huge heavy flakes. By the time I had reached Shreveport, the snow changed to rain, the temperature rose, and by Tyler there was no sign anywhere of a snowstorm.  I liked this Barnes & Noble, the staff and the customers. This author event was virtually another sell-out. Here is a photo of me with Linda, the lovely CRM there:


Today, I’ll be at a Fort Worth Barnes & Noble, 4801 Overton Ridge Blvd. I’m scheduled to sign at 2:00 p.m. but will get there early and either do some work or begin signing early. From there, I’d like to  go see my parents in Kemp, Oklahoma, but I’ll have to see how the signing goes.

Excerpt from a Confederate Soldier’s letter during the Gettysburg Campaign:

I found a booklet entitled, “Letters Home,” a collection of original Civil War soldiers’ letters. In one letter, a Confederate soldier from the 3rd South Carolina Infantry is writing to his sister and says: “We left Fredericksburg on the 2nd day of June, and marched at the rate of twenty miles a day until we go in to Pennsylvania, and fought one of the Bloodiest Battles of the war. We passed through some of the prettiest country I ever saw in my life, they have the finest land in the world and some of the ugliest women that I ever saw . . . Our Generals would not allow us to touch a thing, and the consequence we had to live on one pound of flour to the man for four days.”

Snowstorm in Texas March 2008

On the afternoon of the third day at LLA, I heard something was up with the weather. I checked the weather forecast on a nearby vendor’s laptop and figured out that my plans were in jeopardy due to the winter storm coming through. Contacts in Ft. Worth by phone confirmed that it would not be wise to travel that direction, so I ended up canceling  my signing at the Hastings Bookstore in Tyler. It’s unclear on whether I’ll have to cancel my Barnes & Noble signing there this evening. It really depends on the roads. The Tyler weather report does not look good.  I called my parents in southern Oklahoma and they said the area had received 6-8 inches of snow.

Overall, the LLA was a great experience for me, and I had another sellout of my books. I made so many new friends and saw so many librarians that I already knew from doing programs at their libraries. The Shreveport Convention Center is a fine facility and easy to reach from I-20.  I’m not sure where the conference will be held next year, but I will be there. Next week will be a busy week for me–almost non-stop travel and presentation of programs.

Web News:  My website has a new look! I still have a little more to do to it, but please take a look and let me know what you think!  http://rickeypittman.com/

Civil War Vocabulary: “Unreconstructed” – An unrepentant, bitter, Confederate who refused to accept defeat.  “I’m a Good Ole Rebel” is a favorite Southern song that exhibits this tone. This song was written by a Confederate Veteran. You may have heard it in the movie, Long Riders. You can find the words to the song at several sites on the Internet.

Famous Civil War Quote:  “Duty is ours, consequences are God’s.” — Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

LLA Day Three

Yesterday’s signing at the Louisiana Librarians Conference in Shreveport went well. Though much smaller than the Texas one I’ll be attending in April, it is still a significant event. I enjoyed seeing the many librarians I knew, enjoyed meeting many new ones and introducing my books and programs to them, and enjoyed meeting the many vendors and some other authors. Here is a photo of me at the Pelican booth with the beautiful Caitlin Smith, the Pelican staff member in charge of promoting books to schools and libraries.


Civil War Trivia: In 1864, Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood were baptized in Georgia by General Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal bishop. I need to research this. I wonder where exactly the baptisms took place and if Episcopal baptism at that time was by immersion or sprinkling.

After today, I have signings in Tyler and Fort Worth and will return to Monroe on Sunday. There is a chance I’ll go to Oklahoma to check on my parents.

LLA Day Two

Today, I return to Shreveport for the Louisiana Librarians Conference, held at the Shreveport Convention Center on Caddo Street. I’ll be signing at the Pelican Booth (#33) from 10:00 a.m – noon today, and from 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Yesterday, I and an entourage of librarians toured the Caddo Parish school libraries at Caddo Middle Magnet, University Elementary, Stoner Hill Elementary, and Captain Shreve High School. I  am so impressed with the creative, hard-working, and talented librarians at the schools and the wonderful  programs they have developed for the students.  I learned so many new things. Hopefully I’ll get some time soon to think about them and implement them.

A Good Quotation:  “What a little vessel of sadness we are, sailing in this muffled silence through the autumn dark.”–from The Sea by John Banville.

Civil War Note: Did you know that Delaware considered seceding from the Union at the time of the Civil War? Many also do know that though Delaware sided and fought with the North/Union, it was a SLAVE STATE! Another fact left out of the history books.

Louisiana Library Association Conference Begins March 4-6

This week, from today until Thursday, I’ll be attending the Louisiana Library Conference in Shreveport. This will be an ideal time for me to see what’s going on in school and public libraries and to meet librarians to introduce them to the various programs I present. You can read a little more about the conference here: http://www.llaonline.org/ne/lla_conference.php

Book Signing News:

This Friday, I’ll be at the Tyler, Texas Hastings Bookstore and the Tyler Barnes & Noble.  Saturday, March 8, I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble 4801 Overton Ridge Blvd. in
Fort Worth at 2:00 p.m.

Civil War Vocabulary: Commutation – A form of exemption from the draft in the North, enacted on March 3,  1863, exempting those who paid the government $300 or who provided the government a substitute. According to one source I found, military records indicate that 86,724 men bought their way out of the military. Obviously, Lincoln’s war was not as popular as we have been led to believe. Did you see the movie, Gangs of New York? The movie had scenes dealing with the draft riots and the enlistment of the Irish into the Yankee Army as soon as the boat landed. The words to Paddy’s Lamentation were in the background. I’ve included the words to this old song here:

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’

San Jacinto

Yesterday, I had a grand time at San Jacinto Battlefield. I had to hurry more than I wanted as the weather was about to turn bad, but I managed to ascend the 570 foot monument and view the area. The Park literature says it is the tallest masonry structure in the world. The huge star at the top has nine points and is designed so that from whatever angle you view it, it looks like the five-point Texas Lone Star.  Later, I strolled through the museum and viewed relics of 400 years of Texas history.  As usual when I tour a museum, I came up with several writing ideas.  Here is a photo of yours truly at the base of the monument and a photo of the hand-recorded words of the beloved Southern song of the War Between the States, “The Bonnie Blue.”



Another interesting note about my trip: The Texas Independence Relay (race) was finished yesterday. According to one runner, Jo Lyn Baker, whose photo is below, there were 129 teams who ran the 203 mile relay from Gonzales to San Jacinto. I was amazed at the toughness of these runners and the camaraderie I saw, all of them proud of Texas, proud of being Texans. You can read more of the race and the dedicated runners here:



Texas Independence Day

Sometimes serendipity comes your way. As I’m wrapping up my Houston book signing and school tour, I learned that today, Sunday, March 2, is Texas Independence Day. Go to this site to learn more of the battle and see the original documents and signatures: http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/tdoi.htm Since San Jacinto was so close, I decided to linger in the area this morning and visit the battleground and see monument that I have never seen (even though I’m a native Texan) other than in pictures. After I see the museum and grounds, I’ll be on my way back to Monroe.

Book Signing and Program News:

I had a wonderful time at Keefer Crossing Middle School in New Caney. Miss Jo Martin, who arranged the program, is a top notch librarian with an excellent facility and staff. I’ll post photos and more information on the school as soon as possible.

Friday night, I was at the Woodlands Barnes & Noble. I had stayed with my friends, the Frantoms, who lived nearby. They said that six years ago they lived in “the country.” Below is a photo of me and and Libby, the Community Relations Manager of that store.


During the same signing, I was delighted to be visited by ladies of the Houston Chapter Pulpwood Queens. This group of talented and beautiful women are actively promoting literacy, books, and authors. I had first met them at Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend weekend in January, and had posted a photo of them (and me) earlier on my blog. Without their wigs, I almost didn’t recognize them! Earlier in the day, they had completed a session of “hot yoga.” (To learn about “hot yoga” or Bikram, go to http://yoga.about.com/od/bikramyogahotyoga/a/bikram.htm)

Here is a photo of this fabulous reading group:


Saturday, I drove the other Barnes & Noble on Highway 6 in Houston for my second signing. Sales were brisk. I sold all the Jim Limber books and most of the Stories of the Confederate South. Here is a photo of Cherri, the CRM, and Kendra a staff member.