Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lost Homestead, Kingdom of Callaway

Lost Cemetery, Kingdom of Callaway, Missouri

Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, Illinois

Lincoln's Tomb, Springfield, Illinois

Sharing History

December 10, 2005

Sharing History!

Sorry I haven’t had an opportunity to post in several weeks as I have been on the road doing research on a couple projects.

During this time I had the chance to visit the new Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois… It is wonderful. I do suggest that anyone that might have the opportunity to visit – do so… I have always been interested in Abraham Lincoln and thought I knew quite a bit about the man but I learned even more when I visited Springfield.

I also had a chance to stop, again, to visit Cahokia Mounds near the Mississippi River in Collinsville, Illinois. This is another important site that is well worth the visit. Cahokia Mounds is where the pyramids of North America are located. (I will try to download pictures on the blog to share.)

From there I made my way to St. Louis to do some work at the library and on to central Missouri where I did extensive research in the Kingdom of Callaway, which is the setting for my new book. I was there for several days searching for records in the courthouse, library and historical archives. Very fascinating work and I found lots of wonderful information that will help me in the outline and writing of the new book.

After I completed the documentary work I had a wonderful expedition trip to search for the location of the original homestead and family cemetery. It was 9 miles south of town on what is now Missouri State Land. With a compass in hand and dodging cow pies in the field, I finally found the original location where I was able to map out the foundation lines of the original home (built in 1832 and now no longer standing) and search out the foundations of the slave cabin, outhouse, well, stables and barn… It was a wonderful expedition. From there, there was another walk, about ¾ of a mile into the woods to search out the old family cemetery. The last burial there was 1895… Very cool!

After searching for about 30 minutes, I found an old barbed wire enclosure and inside there were approximately 9 old gravestones that belonged to the family I was searching for… It was a wonderful research trip with lots of great information and many rewards.

This is just some of the fun I get to experience and share in my profession.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fall is finally here!

October 11, 2005

Well, fall is finally here and isn’t it wonderful? I am so enjoying putting on sweaters, sipping tea, and munching fresh apples right from the tree.

This last week I have focused on playing catch up with office work concerning writing.
I have made several trips to Staples and print shops to get material for up-coming school programs and conferences pulled together. I also met with the people from MSI concerning the new bookstore they are joining to my website. This is very exciting because I have never had anyone want to do this before.

The bookstore idea came about because I am constantly unhappy with the “mega” on-line bookstores that run out of my books and post “OUT OF PRINT” beside my book covers. None of my books are out of print, it is just the major on-line bookstores want you to invest big money with their companies to keep your books available and on the Internet. You have to pay large fees to get your books listed, sample pages ran, and book positioning with availability. This to me doesn’t seem fair, as those companies should be providing a service to the buyer and not trying to “bully” the publishers and authors to pay large fees to list books they sell and make a large profit on.

So, when MSI, a small multi-source media company, approached me and asked if I had a problem with them selling my books on-line and connect to my web-site address, I was delighted.

Since I am not selling these books myself, I will not be able to autograph them personally unless a request is sent to MSI company and they will mail the books to me and I will be happy to autograph any special requests. I am also going to work with the publishing houses that I write for and arrange a visit before books are shipped to MSI where I will do a “general” autograph in the books.

Also, I was just contacted by the film company I am working with to learn that they are sending film packages out to several large companies and networks including “The History Channel.” This is very exiting. The film project they are working on is focused on a historical subject that I have written a book about. I was able to help with the research and create a film treatment for it in hopes the storyline will become a film.

I am also currently finishing up all my notes on the research I have been working on concerning slavery and pre-Civil War south. This has taken several long days of recording the books, creating my research bibliography (which will be posted on my web site), and recording “factual” information that I will be using for my next book project.

Well, that rather sums up what I have been doing this last week… I hope you too have had a busy and creative week. JLP

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Busy week!

September 28, 2005

This has been an incredibly busy week for me with my work. I have fallen behind in nearly everything that needs to be worked on. I have nearly 300 emails that are unanswered. I have messages in my inbox I haven’t even picked up. I have voice mail messages waiting for me that pulse my phone each time I pick it up and I have numerous projects that I just can’t seem to get to.

On the other hand, I have been getting up around 5 a.m., so I can finish reading two research books that I am working on concerning the subject of slavery. I also finished the film treatment that I have been working on for weeks. I emailed that in late last night and received an OK from Echo Films who will be sending it out to a producer. This is a great project that I hope will successfully come to fruition.

I also finished a re-write on the end of my new book that is “suppose” to be published in November. This book is about the Orphan Train that ran in 1854. My publisher had several readers review the book and they loved the piece but were uncomfortable with the unhappy ending, so I had to work around the factual ending and come up with something that would appeal more to my audience. This was a big job because the book is under deadline with a release month named and was essential to get finished up as a priority. This little re-write of two pages took me nearly five days working 5-6 hours a day just on this. You can’t take out just one piece of a puzzle and have it all fit… All pieces have to fit together perfectly, have an accurate pacing and flow, with no errors.

I also have a historical interpretive manual that is on hold, as I just don’t have the time to work on it now and several other “smaller” projects to work on.

This week in my work I have felt like I was and still am, running behind.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Sept 22, 2005

Good Morning! And welcome to Janie’s Journal or should I say "Blog". Several students and teachers in the last two years have requested I start a blog that will give an overview of what my day is like as a writer…So here we go.

I will just start out with an average day. I am generally up around 4:30 or 5:00 am and because I feel health is an important issue for writers (because we sit for so long), I generally start with about 30-45 minutes of exercise. After that I will do research reading. Since I do not read fiction I have to spend many long hours reading books that teach me about the history I am going to write about. I generally read for about two hours.

After this, I get cleaned up and dressed for the day and get into my office around 9 am… Sometimes it is earlier/sometimes it is a bit later.

In the office I first read all my email and try to answer as many as I can. I generally receive about 150 pieces of email, which includes teachers and students asking questions, business letters from my publishers, questions from students I mentor, and questions from Ask the Expert program from Yahoo. This generally takes a couple hours. There are days that I can only get a few letters answered and I have a backlog for the next week to catch-up on.

If I have calls to return, I generally do that after the email.

If I am working on a book project… this schedule is completely turned around, as I don’t do anything but write and everything has to be put on hold.

If I am not working on a book project, I generally have 3-4 other projects in writing that I am working on… Right now I am tweaking a film treatment and working on an interpretive manual for a historical organization… Generally I will write for 3-4 hours before I take a break.

If I don’t forget lunch, I just grab something small and get back to work.

I will “generally” be in my office until 5:00-6:00… If I am on a roll and working on a project… I am sometimes working until after 11:00. Writing can be work if you work at it.

One of my favorite quotes: “Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them!” - Author unknown.

Your Pal in Writing,

Janie Lynn Panagopoulos

Friday, September 16, 2005

Welcome to Adventures in Writing!