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It seems like it’s only been a very short while since I started this blog. It was November of 2005 and I was looking ahead to the beginning of 2006 which promised to be the beginning of a great new career in historical writing. By summer of 2006 my book, Robinson and Crawford County was published and sold about 500 copies upon its inception to a county of about 6,000 people ! Even though it was limited in its scope of marketing to the immediate area, according to the publishers records, about 1,500 copies have sold to date. The demographics on that are phenomenal and make me feel as though I really served the county well. Prior to the publication of my book by Arcadia Publishing, a good part of the county’s history was relegated to research at the library and the historical museums, one of which is charming and very humble with such items as James Jones typewriter, Civil War memorabilia and endless relevant artifacts. Many of the photographs for the book were part of the personal collections of the private citizens of the county. Their sharing of photos and the accompanying stories helped make the book a fantastic study in how great historical figures are also common folk like you and me, as quite a few famous people hailed from the county. Writing that book helped me put a lot of big questions into a fresh perspective. If you’d like a take a closer look at the book you can check it out at www.arcadiapublishing.com
With Live Spaces™ coming to a close in the near future I wanted to say a few things about the work I’ve been doing on this blog and the vision I have for the future with my official web site and what‘s next for my blogging future. Even though I know quite a few people have migrated their blogs to WordPress already I hesitate on this threshold of change because I wanted to effect a change myself without being prodded into starting yet another blog. I already have three others ( http://matite.over-blog.com , http://ilovecastles.blogspot.com and http://evelynsrockpages.blogspot.com) and even though I know I don’t have to start over I am contemplating, more seriously, how I am going to fund, expand and generate more enthusiasm for a project I have been prodigiously working on for a decade. I’m facing the continuation of my project with almost no money to keep it going and mostly silence from my audience.
I’ll be quite honest. I expected a following of enough people to fill a stadium by now, with a solid contract for the England and Wales book signed, delivered and paid for with US funds. (Enough to get me to England and traveling by rail to every destination on my lists to do site inspections and secure my own photographs.) At this point I envisioned having all of England up on my web site and Wales to conquer. I’ve even had visions of building my own castle in my hometown and naming it Wallace Castle ! Publicity alone would probably spark a cable television series on the Travel Channel and along with the book, web site expansion and the possibility of a monthly magazine devoted to castles- would usher in my dream of bringing more castle enthusiasts into the fold on a new level of entertainment for travelers of all kinds. That’s how much I believe in this project and what I feel it would take to make this dream become a reality.
My plan is to cover every European castle in my books and on my web site and I know I have taken on a mammoth task. In order for this project to really take off my financial situation (concerning the project and personally) has to change dramatically and in a very short time. Ten years of work, dedication and desire should equate to something of a tangible nature and I am in full expectation that a real change in this area is about to occur. I believe that more people would be interested in what I am doing if they were aware of this project. That is up to the readers I now have to open their mouths and start talking about what is going on here. If you have the power to make a project such as this gain the momentum it deserves, you might want to consider joining my group in a very active way by becoming a research assistant, taking on the duties of web master (very sorely needed right now !) or just taking photos of castles that are near you. It’s as simple as that but will require volunteerism and dedication. It is not my wish to exploit anyone. For me, this is a project of love- hence, the name of my web site- and I would only want someone aboard who feels exactly the same way I do.
I cannot emphasize the financial need enough. If you are wondering how you might be able to help, even though your funds are limited, there is a way. I have a poetry book, Seasons of the Heart on sale of which you can buy a copy. The book will make a great Christmas gift for those on your special list. If I sell the remainder of my first editions by Christmas I could get a debt paid off which would free my time from scrounging for money to getting back to the work at hand. With that accomplished I believe we’ll see the whole idea take flight which is often all the impetus it takes to get the attention of the Big Guys (i.e. network executives, publishing editors).
You may not see this blog continue beyond the 2011 deadline date but I guarantee you that www.ilovecastles.com is going to be one of the best and biggest internet sites on the web for castles. If you would like to be a part of it, even in some small way, let me know. This whole thing is bigger than all of us anyway. When I love what I’m doing I don’t stop for anything in the world.