Category Archives: Non-Fiction


Recently, someone asked if I would ever write a historical novel using one of my ancestors.  I answered, yes, if I had any that were colorful.

If any of you do genealogy, then you know how frustrating it can be to do research on your ancestors.  If you are lucky enough to have had someone do the research for you, thank your lucky stars!

One of my great-grandfathers seems to have been born under that cabbage leaf you hear so much about.  Where I grew up when children asked where did babies come from they were told that babies were found under a cabbage leaf.

Yep, Jacob was born under a cabbage leaf.

There is no other explanation for it! has no birth record for Jacob.  None of the Census records show his parents’ name.  Nowhere have I found where he was born.

Here is what I know about my ancestor, Jacob.

  • He fought in the American Revolutionary War.
  • He deserted while a soldier in the American Revolutionary War for a Pennsylvania Regiment.  This was not uncommon, as many soldiers did.
  • When he deserted he was headed for Hagerstown, Maryland.
  • Her married, Jane, however, I cannot find a marriage record and have only been able to guess her last name, which is not a “fact.”
  • Jacob and Jane moved to Tennessee.
  • I have found their children’s names.
  • I found Jacob’s and Jane’s death dates.

As with any family, there are stories – which most I have found not to be true.

So, to go back to the beginning – would I write a novel about one of my ancestor…I guess if I ever did, I could always write a historical novel involving Jacob’s parents since I know absolutely nothing about them.  That way, I could really write a historical fiction novel and know for a solid fact that is was pure fiction.


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Brief Timeline of Printing 1970-2011

This is a continuation of the Brief Timeline that began on January 26, 2018, that continued on February 2, 2018, and this is the last blog on the timeline of printing.

1970: Water-based ink introduced.

1972: Thermal printing developed.

1977: The Compugraphic EditWriter 7500 phototypesetter introduced.

1981: Microsoft Disk Operating System introduced.

1982: Adobe Systems Inc. founded.

1983: Desktop publishing appears.

1984: Apple Macintosh personal computer introduced.

1984: 3D printing developed.

1985: Microsoft Windows introduced.

1985: PostScript typesetting language introduced.

1985: Apple LaserWriter desktop printer introduced.

1985: PageMaker desktop publishing introduced.

1987: Soy-based ink appears.

1987: QuarkXPress desktop publishing program introduced.

1988: Adobe Photoshop raster graphics editor introduced.

1990: Xerox DocuTech. Production-publishing system that allowed paper documents to be scanned, electronically edited, and then printed on demand.

1991: TrueType scalable computer introduced.

1991: Heidelberg and Presstek introduced GTO-DI, the first plate making on the press.

1993: Indigo digital color printer introduced.

1993: Portable Document Format (PDF) introduced.

1996: OpenType scalable computer fonts introduced.

1999: InDesign desktop publishing program introduced.

2011: The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illustrated Bible since the invention of the printing press.

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An unexpected surprise

Has someone ever said to you, “I have bad news and I have good news?”

When this happens to me, I always say “give me the bad news first so I can end on the good news.”

This happened to me on Tuesday, November 7.

I was standing in the kitchen cooking supper when my husband came in and said, “I have some bad news and I have some good news.”

As usual, I said, “Give me the bad news first.”

“The bad news is we have puppies,” he said.

I promptly dropped the dish I was holding.

“What’s the good news,” I asked.

He answered, “We have puppies.”

How did that happen?

We adopted our dog six years ago and were told she was spayed.

This poor dog had been through enough.  She had been rescued from a puppy mill and she wasn’t even a pure breed dog.

Chloe had three (3) puppies.  Hubby had found one dead in the kennel, one puppy doing great, and a third puppy was struggling.

Now, Chloe likes being outside instead of being inside.  We tried over the years to keep her inside, but she wouldn’t have it.

We live on a farm and she is only loose when we are home.  And then, she is with us most of the time.  Otherwise, she has her own extremely large dog run and kennel area with plenty of shade, etc.

Because it is cold this time of year, we moved the truck out of the garage and moved Chloe and the two puppies inside.

At about 9:30 p.m., Chloe kicked the struggling pup out of the kennel.  Guess she knew something we humans didn’t know.

I took the puppy inside.  It was much smaller than the other pup. It really looked more the size of a newborn kitten than a newborn puppy.

All I had to feed the little thing was kitten formula.  Did I say, I was a cat person.

I sat with the puppy throughout the night, feeding it with an eyedropper.

About 5 a.m. on November 8, hubby came into the room where I had the puppy and told me to go get some rest and he would take over.

He got on the internet and found an article that said to keep the puppy with the momma.  Chloe wasn’t having it.  She continued to kick the little thing out of the kennel.

Needless to say, the puppy died about 10:30 a.m.

The puppy that was doing great is still going great.  It is now four (4) weeks old.  Its eyes are open and it scares itself when a loud bark comes out its mouth.

Here is our unexpected surprise. Two days old.


Age 3 weeks old.



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Holiday Book Magazine

Hop on over to my Page “Holiday Magazine” and see the information I need if you wish to have your book(s) listed in the 2017 Holiday Gift Magazine I will be sending to all my newsletter subscribers.

If you participate by having your book(s) in the magazine, I will give you a pdf file of the magazine to share with your newsletter subscribers.

This is a great way to promote your book(s) FREE of charge…well, you will need to spend a little bit of time getting me the information for the magazine then sending it out to your readers.

The more that participate the more circulation your books will have!

And, I will feature a book a day on this blog throughout the Holiday Season!





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St. John’s Bible

I work in Special Collections at Kansas State University.  A few years ago, someone donated a set of St. John’s Bible for the department to share with the community.

Docents take these large Bibles out to the community to allow folks to look and touch them.

You can watch a short video with Donald Jackson, Calligrapher, about the St. John’s Bible here.

There are several videos on YouTube about the St. John’s Bible project.

“In the Beginning – Creating the Saint John’s Bible”

And if you have time to watch a longer video with Father Eric Hollas.

Eric Hollas, O. S. B.: Text and Pen: The Legacy of Biblical Art and The Saint John’s Bible

“Donald Jackson  and his team of scribes and artists have combined ancient calligraphic techniques with computer technology to create on calf-skin vellum the first hand-written and hand-illuminated bible commissioned in over 500 years.”

Learn more at Saint John’s Bible.





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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

A month of spooks, goblins and ghost stories.

I am participating in BookHounds “Spooktacular Giveaway Hop” starting today, October 15 and going through to midnight on Halloween night.

To enter my giveaway, sign-up for my newsletter at the link below.  If you are already signed up for my newsletter, leave a comment or click “Like.”

(Note- I value my privacy and I will value yours.  I will never trade, sell, or give away your email address.)

Sign-up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Notebook: 


The Adventures of Holly Holstein: Holly Greets the World

By: Jim Shroyer

About the Book:

It is Grandma Helen’s birthday and the family has come for a visit. Mika wants to see a newborn calf. When a calf is born, Farmer Tom shows Mika how to feed the calf. Once the calf is nice and warm, Mika asks to name the calf. Most farmers don’t name their cows, but Farmer Tom agrees to name the calf Holly.


The Kansas City Establishment: Leadership through Two Centuries in a Midwestern Metropolis

By: Richard P. Coleman

About the Book:

Through the one-hundred years of its existence, Kansas City’s Establishment has maintained its leadership standing by absorbing into its ranks those newly rising men and women judged most valuable for their potential contribution. This differs markedly from the policies of closed aristocracy attributed by social scientists and novelists to the tiptop strata in the older cities of the East and South, Boston and Philadelphia for example.  Comparatively, Kansas City’s Establishment world has been dynamic and democratic.


To celebrate Halloween, I am giving away a cozy mystery.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

By: Lilian Jackson Braun

About the Book:

The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran, it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment to the art beat for The Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder. A stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, a fatal fall from a scaffolding–this is not at all what Qwilleran expects when he turns his reportorial talents to art. But Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese, are back in their element–sniffing out clues and confounding criminals intent on mayhem and murder.


Don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter.

If you have already signed up for my newsletter, leave a comment below or click “Like” to be entered in the giveaway.


This Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is Hosted by Bookhounds

Click here to see a list of other participating in the Giveaway Hop.



Filed under Authors, Books, Children's Books, Genre, Halloween, Non-Fiction

Review of The Good Spy by Kai Bird

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
By: Kai Bird
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015


Brief Review:

I was military, stationed in Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I do not remember how many times my company was on high alert.  There were threats coming from the Middle East, especially on November 4, 1979, when a group of Iranian students stormed the U. S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages.  The rescue attempt on April 24, 1980, known as Operation Eagle Claw, failed, resulting in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters.  The hostages were held captive for 444 days.  They were released on January 20, 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States.  This was only one incident that took place during “Peacetime” or during the “Cold War.”  Personally, I didn’t see “Peacetime” so peaceful.  We could have gone to war at any given time.  I had all of this on my mind as I read The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird.

Robert Ames was a CIA Operative who died in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983. He was one of 63 people killed that day of which 17 were Americans.

What does Bird’s title, The Good Spy mean?  Ames worked hard and he was a devoted family man.  He appeared to be a kind and decent man who had a thirst for Middle East knowledge: he learned Arabic and learned about the history and culture of each area he was stationed at.  He made friends, not just contacts.  Ames was somewhat of a rogue who operated independently and didn’t always see eye to eye with his fellow operatives. Yet, he was “good” at his job.

The Good Spy, in my opinion, is best read in small chunks so that the reader can get to know Ames and all the many players, movers and shakers of the Middle East.   Bird does an excellent job with an overview history of the Middle East and the role that Ames played in that history.

This book left me with this question: If Robert Ames had lived beyond 1983, would the course of history, especially in the Middle East, been changed?


Listen to an interview between Kai Bird and Charlie Rose at:


About the Author: (from Amazon)

Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. His new book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. A biography of a CIA officer, The Good Spy was released on May 20, 2014, by Crown/Random House. Kai’s last book was a memoir about the Middle East entitled Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 (Scribner, April 27, 2010). It was a 2011 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. He is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005), which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the Duff Cooper Prize for History in London. He wrote The Chairman: John J. McCloy, the Making of the American Establishment (1992) and The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy & William Bundy, Brothers in Arms (1998). He is also co-editor with Lawrence Lifschultz of Hiroshima’s Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (1998). He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s writing fellowship, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study Center, Bellagio, Italy and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and a contributing editor of The Nation. He lives in Miami Beach.



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“Hometown Appetites: She Served Up Americana (With a Side Dish of Quirk)”

Today is Clementine Paddleford’s birthday.  If she were alive today she would be 119 years old!


“Hometown Appetites: She Served Up Americana (With a Side Dish of Quirk)”
By: Benjamin Schmerler

Clementine Paddleford wrote, “We all have home-town appetites.  Every other person is a bundle of longing for the simplicities of good taste once enjoyed on the farm or in the home they left behind.”

Benjamin Schmerler of the New York Post wrote, “If the food writer Clementine Paddleford were alive today, she would have at least two Food Network shows (one devoted to cooking, a second to travel), a weekly newspaper column, a cookbook series and, of course, a blog.  Or so it is easy to imagine by reading Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris’s smartly drawn, surprising uplifting biography ‘Hometown Appetites'”.

Schmerler continues, “Thankfully, the authors share Paddleford’s eye for a good story, deftly documenting their subject’s well-deserved contributions to food journalism, but balancing them with biographical color.”



Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and be entered into a giveaway drawing. Giveaway ends, September 30.

Giving away a signed hardback copy of Hometown Appetites; a $20 Amazon Gift Card; and a paperback copy of A Flower for My Mother.




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Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Books, Genre, Non-Fiction

Authors do research to

My favorite places to do research are in archives, historical societies, and libraries.

Whether you are a writer of non-fiction or fiction, research is probably a part of your writing.  And it is always good to have extra funds when researching.

There are many fellowships available to individuals and here are the ones from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for 2018.

If you apply for one of these fellowships and get it, let me know and you can do a guest blog post here on Cindy’s Notebook.


2018 UCLA Library Special Collections Short-term Research Fellowships

The UCLA Library Special Collections Research Fellowships Program supports the use of special collections materials by visiting scholars and UCLA graduate students. Collections that are administered by UCLA Library Special Collections and available for fellowship-supported research include rare books, journals, manuscripts, archives, printed ephemera, photographs and other audiovisual materials, oral history interviews, and other items in the humanities and social sciences; medical, life and physical sciences; visual and performing arts; and UCLA history.

The Fellowships

James and Sylvia Thayer Short-term Research Fellowships

Thayer fellowships provide support for research in any collections administered by UCLA Library Special Collections. Stipends range from $500 to $2,500 and vary yearly; grants in 2016 averaged $1,770 and in 2017 averaged $1,500. Awards are funded by an endowment established by longtime UCLA benefactors James and Sylvia Thayer.

Barbara Rootenberg Short-term Research Fellowship in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences

The Rootenberg fellowship promotes the use of materials in History & Special Collections for the Sciences in UCLA Library Special Collections. One annual fellowship is awarded in the amount of $1,000. The award is named for Barbara Rootenberg, an alumna of the UCLA School of Library Service and an internationally-renowned antiquarian bookseller.

Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Research Fellowship in UCLA Library Special Collections

The Karmiole fellowship supports the use of UCLA Library Special Collections materials by visiting scholars and graduate students. One annual fellowship will be awarded in the amount of $5,000 to allow scholars to pursue research lasting from one to three months. The award is funded by an endowment established by Kenneth Karmiole, an internationally-renowned antiquarian bookseller who earned his master’s degree in library science from UCLA in 1971. Information and application details are available at .

R.B. Kitaj Fellowship

The Kitaj fellowship will allow scholars to pursue research lasting up to two months in UCLA Library Special Collections. One fellowship will be awarded in the amount of $2,500. The R.B. Kitaj Research Fellowship award is funded by the R.B. Kitaj Studio Project, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the legacy of American painter R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007). The fellowship was initiated to encourage research into and creative work inspired by Kitaj, an internationally renowned painter and intellectual. Born in Ohio, Kitaj spent much of his career in London, where he was a key participant in what is known as the “School of London.” He spent the last decade of his life in Los Angeles. In addition to a rich body of artwork, Kitaj left behind a large collection of papers and musings, now housed at UCLA Library Special Collections in the Charles E. Young Research Library. Kitaj Research Fellow awardees are expected to be in residence at UCLA Library Special Collections and to make use of the R.B. Kitaj Papers (Collection 1741). Information and application details are available at

Ahmanson Research Fellowships for the Study of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Books

Ahmanson Fellowships support the use of medieval and Renaissance monographic and manuscript holdings in UCLA Library Special Collections: the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection of the Aldine Press; the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection of Early Italian Printing; the Elmer Belt Library of Vinciana; the Orsini Family Papers; the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection; the Richard and Mary Rouse Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Early Printed Books; and the Medieval and Renaissance Arabic and Persian Medical Manuscripts. The fellowships provide $2,500 per month for up to three months. Administered by the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, this program requires an application separate from that for Thayer, Rootenberg, Karmiole, and Kitaj fellowships, and delivered to a different address; information is available on the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center’s website at .


Thayer and Rootenberg Fellowships:  United States citizens and permanent residents with the legal right to work in the U.S. who are engaged in graduate-level, post-doctoral, academic, or independent research are invited to apply. Research residencies may last up to three months between January 3 and December 15, 2018.

Karmiole Fellowships:  United States citizens and permanent residents with the legal right to work in the U.S. who are engaged in graduate-level, post-doctoral, academic, or independent research are invited to apply. Research residencies may last from one to three months between January 3 and December 15, 2018.  Information and application details are available at:

 Kitaj Fellowships:  United States citizens and permanent residents with the legal right to work in the U.S. who are engaged in graduate-level, post-doctoral, academic, or independent research are invited to apply. Research residencies may last from one to three months between January 3 and August 31, 2018.  Information and application details are available at:

 Ahmanson Fellowships:  United States and international graduate students or scholars holding a PhD (or the foreign equivalent) who are engaged in graduate-level, postdoctoral, or independent research are invited to apply. Applications are due March 1, 2018; research residencies may last up to three months between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. Information and application details are available at: .

Application Contents and Instructions for Thayer and Rootenberg Fellowships

Researchers can submit a single application for “Short-term Research Fellowships” in order to be considered for either the Thayer or Rootenberg fellowships. Applications must be received on or before November 1, 2017.

Applications must include:

·         Cover letter

·         Curriculum vitae

·         Outline of research topic and special collections to be used (two pages maximum)

·         Brief budget for travel, living, and research expenses

·         Dates to be spent in residence

·         Two letters of recommendation from faculty or other scholars familiar with the research project. Please note that the committee cannot consider letters of recommendation from librarians or staff of the UCLA Library.

Application materials for the Thayer and Rootenberg Fellowships, including letters of recommendation, may be submitted in PDF format by email to .  Letters of recommendation in PDF format can also be sent by email, either by the person writing them or by the applicant.

 Review Process and Notification

A committee will evaluate the research proposals, and applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by email on or before December 1, 2017.  Fellows may be asked to speak briefly about their recent or ongoing research at an informal brownbag session with local scholars during their visit.

Contact Information

Submit applications or direct questions about fellowships to:

Short-term Research Fellowships Program

UCLA Library Special Collections

A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library

Box 951575

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575

Phone:     310.825.6940




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September is Preparedness Month

With Hurricane Havey causing havoc in Texas and Louisiana, it is once again time to think of your own Preparedness.


Where do you start?

By breaking the plan down into parts each week, it becomes manageable and not overwhelming.

Week 1: Prepare a household inventory.

Week 2: Review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see what is covered.  If you do not understand your policy, make an appointment to visit with your insurance agent.

Week 3: Build a “Grab-and-Go” kit.

Week 4: Create a communication plan.


To help get you started you can download a pdf of the “Survival Journal” that my husband and I use.

Print off the pages, fill them out and put them into plastic sheets and put into a 3 ring binder and put in your Survival Container or Grab-and-Go Kit.

Survival Journal


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Filed under Books, family relationship, Non-Fiction, Writing