Preorder for Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Waldorf Publishing has just announced that Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is available for preorder.  The cost of the biography is $19.95, and the release date is August 2020.


Please see a summary to learn more about this overlooked Texan.

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McFarland Military History Book Offer

This is a great time to purchase that military history book on your wish list. As Memorial Day approaches, McFarland Publishers is offering readers a chance to pick up a good military history book for personal reading, or perhaps as a Father’s Day gift for dad. Beginning on Monday, May 18th, and running through Memorial Day, May 25th, McFarland Publishers will offer 40% off all military history titles with coupon code MILITARY40. 

Please check out my military publications: Teacher of Civil War Generals and Preparing for Disunion.

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Writing During the Current Crisis

Stay-at-home restrictions, whether they be from governments or personal decisions, provide opportunities to write.  The time saved from commuting and leisure-time activities can be used to create new stories using various formats and media. While this suggestion may seem inappropriate, I believe that expressing your feelings and fears may help you and others deal with the sickness, job loss, isolation, and anger during the health and economic crisis.

The topics may include both fiction and non-fiction formats. You might write about the effect of the crisis on charity or charities.  The scope could be local, state, or national. You could write about how a real or fictional director of a charity is managing the crisis.

Here are a few examples of subjects that can be non-fiction or fiction:

COVID 19 or Job Loss and …

  • Health Care Worker
  • Farmer
  • Auto Worker in Kentucky
  • Researcher
  • Reporter
  • Small Business Owner
  • Single Parent
  • Children
  • Minister
  • Teacher
  • College Student

Best wishes and stay safe.



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Review of Ebenezer Allen-Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Ebenezer_Allen_Final_CoverAuthor Allen Mesch captures a quarter-century of Texas history through the life of Ebenezer Allen in his latest book — Ebenezer Allen-Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy.  As the Attorney General and Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas, Allen was at the center of the transition of Texas from an independent nation to statehood to the Confederate States of America.  A visionary, Allen, a New Englander, led an effort that ultimately connected the Gulf of Mexico to the Red River in North Texas via rail.

Just as he did with his previous books, Mr. Mesch diligently gathered original documents, photos, and letters to develop this biography.  Making extensive use of those writings, the author takes the reader back to the mid-nineteenth century using the language of the day.  He does not try to over-interpret the documents. Mr. Mesch allowed the original correspondence and official documents to speak for themselves. In addition, Mr. Mesch also connected with Allen’s great-great-great-granddaughter who provided him insight into the family history.

Today, many Texas politicians like to proclaim their long-term family ties to Texas with words such as “I am a fifth-generation Texan.” What they never mention is the fact that many of their forebears were transplanted Northeasterners like Ebenezer Allen. Ebenezer Allen quickly became part of his community; first in Clarksville and then in Galveston.   He held prominent positions in both the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas.  He was the first elected Texas attorney general.  The Collin County city of Allen bears his name.  Interestingly enough, the current Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, lives in Collin County.  Neither Paxton nor Allen were native Texans.

Alan E. Mesches, author of Major General James A. Ulio: How the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army Enabled Allied Victory (Casemate Publishers, June 2020).

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We Need Another James Ulio

We could use another James A. Ulio in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis. We desperately need someone to fix the current logistical mess in supplying medical supplies to hospitals and health care workers — someone like Major General James A. Ulio. 

Ulio faced the task of building an Army large enough to fight wars in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. Through his efforts, the Army increased in size from around 200,000 soldiers to eight million—in less than five years. He advocated and navigated around lowering the draft age to eighteen. He led and oversaw training efforts that quickly and efficiently prepared soldiers. The general correctly projected that those methods would be a positive outcome of the war. His team identified the appropriate allocation for incoming troops. In order to field sufficient troops to ensure an Allied victory, Ulio had to address and challenge commonly held beliefs on race and gender. It was his order in 1944 that ended segregation on military transportation and in recreational facilities on Army posts.

Thankfully, Alan Mesches has written an excellent biography of General Ulio. Alan’s book reveals Ulio’s unrecognized contributions to the war effort.  This biography should be on every World War II student’s bookcase.

For more information and to order a copy,  please see  Major General James A. Ulio 


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Learning How to Write

For readers who are considering writing a novel, biography, memoir, how-to guide, history, etc., I think the best way to get started is by taking a writing class. That’s how I began my journey.


Collin College  (Collin College Webpage)

I prefer onsite classes rather than with online programs. There are several options at Collin College in Texas.




The formal, for-credit classroom courses at Collin College can be found at:

  • ENGL 1301 – Composition I – Intensive study of and practice in writing processes, from invention and researching to drafting, revising, and editing, both individually and collaboratively.
  • ENGL 1302 – Composition II – Intensive study of and practice in the strategies and techniques for developing research-based expository and persuasive texts.
  • ENGL 2307 – Creative Writing I – Practical experience in the techniques of imaginative writing. May include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, or drama.

These are rigorous college classes with homework and tests. They require admission to the college. You may be able to audit the classes and free yourself of the rigors of assignments and exams.


Collin College – Courtyard Campus (Collin Collge Webpage)

Taking continuing education classes is another option. These classes do not require admission to the college unless they lead to a certificate. This is the route that I selected.

The continuing education classroom courses at Collin College can be found at:



  • Basics of Writing a Novel Subject: CWRI 9216 – Hours: 24 Fee: $149 73478 1/27–3/16 M 6:30–9:30 pm 202072 CY
  • Blueprinting Your Novel Subject: CWRI 9200 – Hours: 15 Fee: $129 Prerequisite: Basics of Writing a Novel 73479 3/23–4/27 M 6:30–9 pm 202072 CY Market and Promote Your Novel Subject: CWRI 9215 Hours: 12 Fee: $119 73480 4/16–5/7 R 6:30–9 pm 202072 CY
  • Market and Promote Your Novel Subject: CWRI 9215 Hours: 12 Fee: $119 73480 4/16–5/7 R 6:30–9 pm 202072 CY
  • Memoir Writing I Subject: CWRI 9226 – Hours: 12 Fee: $89 73483 1/29–3/4 W 10 am-noon 202072 CY
  • Memoir Writing II Subject: CWRI 9227 – Hours: 12 Fee: $89 73484 1/29–3/4 W 12:30–2:30 pm 202072 CY

Check out your local community colleges and universities to find a class that meets your needs.


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Some Thoughts to Improve Writing

Crossword Puzzles

Finish-a-Crossword-Puzzle-Step-6-Version-2I like to do crossword puzzles. As an author I learn new words and their definition and correct spelling.  They are a good way to add to your vocabulary.

Read Aloud Function in Microsoft Word

Editing an English language documentI have been using the Read Aloud Function in Microsoft Word to edit my articles, blogs, and books. It is a great way to catch errors and overused words and phrases. I guarantee it will help your writing.

In a Microsoft Word document, select the review function and examine the many editing opportunities available.  Select Read Aloud and begin listening to your writing. You can concentrate on editing the document. You can pause reading when you make corrections.

Other useful options in this menu are Check Document, Thesaurus, and Word Count.  Check document will check for spelling and grammar. Be aware that it will identify problems in quoted material. The Thesaurus is great to find words which are better fits in your document and suggest alternate words. I also use Word Count to keep within editors limitations (only 200, 1000, or 100,000 words).

What editing tools do you use?

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