Book Project Timeline
I will continue to add to this timeline, but I consider this my "war diary" of events that have taken place in the writing of this book.
I can't really tell you when I found the old box of research in my garage, but it happened somewhere about this time. This was when the thought hit me: "Maybe there's more out there than what I found years ago..." And so it begins...
My first letters go out to families.
These letters were the first ones I sent to "test the waters" to see if anyone would even work with me. Amazingly, I found a generous and wonderful reception (at least most of the time!)
My first medal!
This is a momentous occasion because I got to hold the first (of many) Soviet medals awarded to US naval personnel during a trip to New York City (note, I already had owned one, but this was the first one still owned by the family.) I am extremely indebted to the family of Norman Hyams for this opportunity.
Now it gets serious.
Schiffer Publishing offers me a contract with a completion deadline of March 2014. I eagerly accept it. But could I really get it done? I didn't even want to contemplate failure...it had to be done; done right, and done on time.
My first family visits.
I made my first visits to Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska over Memorial Day weekend. This kicked off my expedition of over 26,000 miles driven in rental cars, visiting forty states!
The Mid-Atlantic and National Archives
I spent nearly two weeks visiting families in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as spending a full week at the National Archives, taking over 6,000 photos of archive records about the Armed Guard on the Murmansk Run.
Additionally, I was able to enlist the 67th Secretary of the Navy, William Ball, to write the foreword for the book!
The Upper Midwest
Over Labor Day, I visited Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio.
Despite the record flooding, I visited families in the Denver area.
This trip took me from Georgia to South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Why yes, I did take full advantage of Southern BBQ while I was there (I know you were thinking it!) My recommendations: The Pompous Pig in Anderson, South Carolina, Mutt's BBQ in Easly, South Carolina, and Shuler's BBQ in Latta, South Carolina.
The Pacific Northwest
This weekend trip was a true whirlwind! Visited Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Not only was I trying to dive 1200 miles in three days (plus visits) but I was also trying to outrun a snowstorm. I was successful in the former, not so much the latter.
The East Coast
I had to get it done and so I did. Driving from Maryland to Florida the first night, I got as far south as the southern edge of Florida, then over to Alabama, Mississippi, followed by Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine! In total, I made thirty-two visits in just over ten days. My final day was supposed to be a "catch up" day at the National Archives, but sadly I was snowed out. Just my luck for the last day of my East Coast swing!
Arizona and The Southwest
Learning my lesson from my snowy experience, I visited families in Arizona in early January. Home for a week, I headed back out and made visits in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
Although I had been visiting other families in Northern California on a one-and-two basis for the previous year, this was my "big" trip south, visiting families in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. The publisher's deadline was approaching!
My book was due on March 31. I had it to the publisher on March 27. That was after many, many long days and nights of editing text and photos. Now comes the waiting game...
Research presented in Russia!
I had the great honor to present my research to a group of Russian, British, and French historians and veterans at the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, in conjunction with the dedication of the memorial to the Arctic Convoy veterans. Please see my "Memorial Dedication" page for photos!
Cover artwork done!
And it looks absolutely beautiful! I so wish I could share it, but we must have patience (and the publisher won't let me!) I will post it up here just as soon as the publisher makes it available to the public.
New page added to the website!
Just added a new page that lists all of the US Navy Armed Guard participants on convoys PQ-8 through PQ-18. This includes all particpants, not just those who received Soviet awards. It's a work in progress, so please check back frequently!
The book is posted on Schiffer's website!
The book is now up and advertised on the Schiffer Publishing website. It will be available in August 2015. Check it out:
The galley proof is done!
Got the chance to edit the text in the galley proof! There were a few corrections, but not bad. The next step is to see what the graphics look like when they get done! Stay tuned!
The book is up for pre-order on Amazon.com!
Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Seas-Red-Stars-Recipients/dp/0764348299
Proof is complete!
The proof - the book with all of the images, fonts, etc. - has been reviewed and sent back to the publisher. It looks AWESOME!
Final proof completed!
The final proof...with all of the adjustments to the images and page layouts, is done and returned to the publisher. I am very happy with how the book looks, and I think everyone else will be too! Now it's just a matter of the printer making the book into hard-copy reality! Stay tuned!
Now just waiting on delivery...
The proof is off at the printers! However, there were a couple of unexpected delays in the printing process and it looks like the book will be out now in October or November vice late August. I appreciate your patience! As always, when I find out anything, I'll make an update here!
October 28, 2015
The first hard copy of the book has been delivered! Expect regular shipments within the next four to five weeks! The book finally is a finished product!
December 23, 2015
Buy the book here!