150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address


Today, November 19th, marks the 150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address. This anniversary is being honored by a Dedication Day Ceremony in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA.

You can watch a live stream of the ceremony here. The wreath laying begins at 10 a.m. and opening remarks at 10:15 a.m.

Gettysburg National Military Park will be hosting numerous events throughout the weekend in honor of the Dedication Day anniversary. A full list of these events can be found here.

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger, authors of So You Think You Know Gettysburg?   will also be on hand for the festivities, with a book talk and signing Saturday, November 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the American Civil War Museum and Gift Center.

ACC Men’s Basketball Is About to Begin

Practice for the 2013-2014 ACC men’s basketball season is officially allowed to begin tomorrow, Friday, September 27. Though many schools are no longer holding traditional “Midnight Madness” celebrations to welcome the season, the race for the championship is officially on.

Will the players this season compare to those featured in Dan Collins’ The ACC Basketball Book of Fame? Visit Collins’ website and let the discussions begin!

Vote below and let’s see which school gains the most support.

Find a full list of first practices, exhibition games, and “Midnight Madness” celebrations at ACC schools here.

The ACC Basketball Book of Fame is available at blairpub.com and wherever books are sold.

Are you a Blue Devils or Tar Heels fan? Check out the Duke and UNC ebook versions that we made just for you!

Blair Staffers Rock SIBA Trade Show

This weekend Blair staffers went to New Orleans for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association trade show and the good times did roll!

siba booth

Trisina mans the Blair booth

We got to catch up with some of our favorite indie booksellers from around the South and share our excitement for forthcoming titles. JKS Communications was handing out king cake, and our resulting prize took watch over the table.

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Blair’s booth gets a new spokesman

After the conference we were free at night to explore the sights, sounds, and especially tastes, of the city. Our streetcar ride through the impressive houses of the garden district introduced us to beaded trees.

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New Orleans – a city so decadent that jewels drip from the trees

One delicious dinner at Arnaud’s included a mushroom and crab cake shaped like a crab.

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I could get used to puff pastry being a staple of every meal.

We stopped at Pat O’Brien’s for their famous, and deadly, hurricane while wandering down Bourbon street. Trisina’s souvenir glass somehow made it all the way back to North Carolina without a scratch. Looks like there will be more hurricane consumption to come!

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Can you tell from the picture how giant this glass is? It’s giant.

Caught up in the festive spirit some of our group were swept into a store to buy masks.


Blending in on Bourbon Street

Luckily for Angela, Blair’s former vice president of sales and marketing, her frozen margarita provided her with a red tongue that perfectly matched her new red mask.

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We miss you, Angela!

Thanks for a great time in the big easy fellow book lovers of the south.glitterSee you next year in Norfolk!

Blair Staffers Heading to the Big Easy

This weekend Blair staffers will be heading to New Orleans, LA, for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association annual trade show.

Blair will be offering great promotions for booksellers, as well as handing out prizes to those who follow our live tweets and pick up on our hinted passwords. Follow @BlairPublisher and #SIBA13 for the latest updates. We hope to see some of you there.

Bring on the beignets and muffulettas!

Time for the “ACC Basketball Book of Fame” Launch Party

It’s party time! And everyone is excited.

Join us to celebrate the launch of Dan Collins’ The ACC Basketball Book of Fame tomorrow, September 11, at The Community Arts Cafe, 411 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Come and grab some bball cake pops. (image via http://cakepopsbyrandi.blogspot.com/2011/07/basketball-cake-pops.html)

Who can resist sports-themed cake pops?
(image via http://bit.ly/1fUOo6x)

Get your book signed then stick around to enjoy refreshments and original music performed by “Country” Dan Collins. Not only will Collins be debuting some new songs inspired by his favorite ACC players, he will also be leading a sing-along of Sail with the Pilot for long-time North Carolina ACC viewers.

What self-respecting ACC fan would insulate their drink with anything besides a basketball koozie?

Win one of these! What self-respecting ACC fan would insulate their drink with anything besides a basketball koozie?

Do you know which ACC player got a special call from author Stephen King? Or which players were almost recruited by Bobby and Teddy Kennedy for Harvard and by Frank Sinatra for the University of Nevada in Las Vegas? How about which player’s free throw style earned him the nickname “the Cobra”?

Show off your ACC knowledge by answering these questions and more in our trivia challenge.

Be like Mike and dominate in the trivia challenge.

Are you a Carolina super fan? For Tar Heels and Blue Devils supporters we’ve also put together The ACC Book of Fame: Duke Edition and The ACC Book of Fame: UNC Edition. 

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Get this fan an ebook!

Can’t make it to the party? The ACC Basketball Book of Fame is available wherever books are sold and at blairpub.com. Also available as an ebook. ACCBasketballBookFameHope to see you there!

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg


Battle of Gettysburg, by Currier and Ives {PD-1923}

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most important battles of the American Civil War. On July 1-3, 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia met Union Major General George Gordon Meade and his Army of the Potomac in the Pennsylvania fields of Gettysburg for a three-day conflict. Though Lee’s invasion into the North had some bursts of initial success, the Confederates were eventually driven out of Pennsylvania and back to Virginia. This defeat dampened any Southern hopes for independence by helping to hasten the Union’s ultimate victory and the end of the war.

so_you_think_you_know_gettysburgGettysburg National Military Park is honoring this anniversary with a week full of special ceremonies and events. This includes ranger guided tours, living history reenactments, and many child  friendly activities. Go here to see a full schedule of anniversary events.

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger, authors of So You Think You Know Gettysburg?will be at the Gettysburg Museum and Gift Center at 3 p.m. on both July 5 and 6 to answer questions about the park’s many monuments. You can also listen to the Gindlespergers speak about the anniversary on Johnstown radio station WNTJ-AM on Monday, July 8 at 7 a.m.

LetUsDieBraveMenInterested in reading more about the Civil War and American history? John F. Blair, Publisher, has an impressive back list of titles focusing on the Civil War, including the particular manner and effects of the war in North Carolina, biographies of significant leaders, and battlefield guides. Browse through our Civil War and Historical pages to learn more.

Body of Nancy Morgan Found Forty-Three Years Ago Today

Nancy_Morgan_in_pearls003Forty-three years ago today, the body of Nancy Morgan was found in the back of a car in the mountains of North Carolina. The twenty-four-year-old’s life was tragically cut short just as she was ready to start a new adventure in New York. Being only two years younger than Nancy was at the time, I can relate to Nancy’s youthful optimism for her future. She was a romantic who subscribed to an idealistic perception of the world. A friend once noted, “Nancy wanted to make the world a better place, but quietly.” A young adult just gaining access to her freedom, Nancy, like me, still wore the rose-tinted glasses of childhood.

MetHerOntheMountainNancy’s school years came during a time of political unrest and the country’s own turbulent identity crisis. She committed to VISTA in September 1969. As a federal antipoverty worker, Nancy was assigned to work in the mountains of Madison County, North Carolina. Among her personal belongings was the novel Christy, a story of a young woman who goes to teach school in the mountains of Tennessee. Perhaps Nancy had some hope of bringing Christy’s tale to life in her own philanthropic quest. Little did she know that her mysterious death would inspire journalist and author Mark I. Pinsky to pursue a forty-year investigation of her case. Now, Pinsky presents the results of this investigation in his true-crime book, Met Her on the Mountain, as he tells the story of a lost life and one man’s quest to redeem it.

For more on Pinsky’s quest for justice, read “My Phantom Valentine: Across the Years With Another Woman” from the Huffington Post. Met Her on the Mountain will be published by John F. Blair, Publisher in October 2013.

Catherine_WrightThis post was written by Blair’s summer intern, Catherine Wright. Catherine graduated from Wake Forest University this past spring with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Chinese language and culture. Raised in eastern North Carolina, she is naturally drawn to Southern traditions, but also finds excitement in traveling and learning about different cultures. From a young age, both of Catherine’s parents instilled a love of literature into her life. This passion for books led her to explore the world of publishing at John F Blair, Publisher.

Famous Fathers Trivia from Blair

This weekend is Father’s Day and we polled the Blair office for some Famous Fathers Trivia.With some attention paid to literary, tv, and historic fathers, we hope we’ll be able to stump you just a bit.

9780895875938-cov2.inddStill need a present for Father’s Day? Long Gone Daddies explores the father-and-son dynamic through three generations of musical men in the Gaunt family. All three play their songs on the same guitar, and two have left their families behind to follow the music, but will Luther Gaunt become the third member of his family to be “long gone”?

See how well you know these famous fathers and, from everyone at Blair, have a great Father’s Day!

Blair Author Organizes Mayoral Conference to Aid in Disaster Relief


Kathleen Koch, an award-winning broadcast journalist and former CNN correspondent who authored the Blair title Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered (2010), has used her experience with disaster relief to organize a mayors helping mayors project. This project brings together former Gulf Coast mayors with current New Jersey mayors to share lessons learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the aim of facilitating recovery from the impact of Superstorm Sandy. This meeting will occur at the Bayshore Conference of Mayors on Friday, May 17, in Keansburg, New Jersey.

Koch, who has spoken to survivor groups from both Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, came up with this idea of a mayoral conference late last year and has been working to bring the Mississippi and New Jersey delegates together ever since.

Read more about Koch’s mayors helping mayors project and who will be attending at MoreMonmouthMusings.

rising_from_katrinaRising from Katrina is a story of the kindness of strangers, of minor miracles—and, above all, of how despite bureaucratic snarls and insurance battles a region rolled up its sleeves and rebuilt. It is also the story of a veteran reporter who, struggling to maintain her objectivity amid loss, traveled her own personal path from devastation to recovery.

Blair Books in Action (or How I was Reminded of my Love for Music) by Artie Sparrow

Carl Perkins transcendent musical moment on stage in Winston-Salem.

Carl Perkins’ transcendent musical moment on stage in Winston-Salem.

Good fiction takes you to places a million miles from the hassles and annoyances of everyday life.  Blair’s new title Long Gone Daddies is good fiction. It’s a tale of a struggling band with a conflicted leader. It talks about Carl Perkins, and that took me to a place from my past.

The Winston-Salem where I grew up was a different place from the Winston-Salem where I currently live. Back then, the streets were paved with golden tobacco leaves. Well, not quite, but there was a lot of money around. One of the things the money was spent on was a big street festival put on every September by the Arts Council, the Carolina Street Scene. Artists and craftsmen from all over would come to sell their wares. (My parents still drink out of wine goblets purchased there 35 years ago.) The festival also brought in internationally renowned musicians. Some I’ll always regret missing (Mose Allison, Muddy Waters). Others I’ll always cherish getting a chance to see (Dizzy Gillespie, Bo Diddley).

Carolina Street Scene Poster courtesy of the MIlton Rhodes Center for the Arts

Carolina Street Scene Poster courtesy of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts

I vividly remember seeing Carl Perkins in 1983. I don’t remember how much I knew about Perkins at the time. I probably knew his biggest hit, “Blue Suede Shoes,” and that he was the least famous member of the Million Dollar Quartet. I definitely didn’t know the back story, how he was supposed to be bigger than Elvis but things didn’t quite work out. It didn’t matter. What I saw that September day was a transcendent musical moment. I define transcendent as when someone is doing what he does better than anyone on the planet and having a great time doing it, feeding off the energy of the crowd. Long Gone Daddies says this about Carl Perkins: “Carl’s guitar, it could power a train. Carl’s guitar could bring the freight.” For one glorious afternoon, I was lucky enough to be standing next to the tracks as the train went by, feeling its power and gazing in awe at it.

Perkins' blue suede shoes

Perkins’ blue suede shoes

Perkins was a rock-and-roll messiah. Someone who could make you believe in the power of music, no matter how jaded you were. I’ve seen hundreds of live music shows. I’ve forgotten more acts than I remember. But Perkins really stuck with me—what a great guitar player he was, how much stage presence he had, what a great performer he was.

Over the years, music has become less important to me, getting shunted behind other distractions. Long Gone Daddies reminded me of a part of my life I used to really enjoy. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a transcendent musical moment. I should check the calendar of The Garage (www.the-garage.ws), the local bar where the Drive-By Truckers played all the time before they got famous. Maybe the next big thing is playing there this month.