Glad to be on board

by Jessica James on July 15, 2008 · 5 comments

Hello all.  My name is Jessica James and Brett has kindly invited me to join TOCWOC as a fiction reviewer. I love to read good, solidly written historical fiction that entertains while being informative and educational. I know many historians turn their noses up at fiction, but I think it’s a great way to draw people into history that otherwise would not be interested. (“The Killer Angels” did it for me).

My background is in PR/Journalism (uggh, I know) but I left an 18-year career as a newspaper editor to finish and publish my novel “Shades of Gray.” I’m an “old-school” type journalist that remembers the days when reporting was objective, so had no second thoughts about leaving the newsroom of today behind.

Though I spent most of my life in the Gettysburg area, a five-year stint in northern Virginia is where I really got the Civil War bug. I will have to blame the hours and hours I spent on the back roads of Loudoun and Fauquier counties on Col. Mosby, whose exploits I just could not get enough of. Every home or landmark written in any book about him, I just had to see for myself.

I am really lucky now to live in a pre-Civil War house on 10+ acres in Gettysburg that I bought almost 15 years ago. Everyone called me crazy when I bought it, (OK, so it didn’t have any indoor plumbing back then) but it is my writing retreat now. The outhouse still stands as a reminder of my pioneer days.

That’s my background in a nutshell. I am extremely pleased to be here, and though my time is limited, am looking forward to reading and reviewing some great books!



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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Will July 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Welcome aboard, Jessica. Anyone whose career path was influenced by “The Killer Angels” is all right by me. Speaking of Shaara, what do you think of his son’s writing? I had someone recommend the book “Rising Tide” to me recently, but I’ve also read some very negative things about his writing. My suspicion is that he’s riding his dad’s coat-tails, but I haven’t read any of his stuff.

Looking forward to your input on what good historical fiction that is out there.



Will July 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Hmmm…I filled out a comment, but it didn’t appear. Anyway, if this one does, welcome aboard, Jessica.


elektratig July 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm


Although the web is generally assumed to be a talk-a-thon, I find that commenters are quite reticent unless they have a specific point to make. I’m sure that many others join me in bidding you welcome and look forward to your posts.

Off topic, but I do I detect a certain, let us say, uneasiness with the direction in which the MSM has gone? If so, join the club.


admin July 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm


Welcome aboard from me as well, of course!


Your comments were held in moderation. I approved both. Now that you’ve been approved your comments will appear without the need for moderation.



Jessica James July 17, 2008 at 7:18 am

Thanks Will and all.
I must admit that I was very skeptical of Jeff Shaara’s writing as well, but have enjoyed everything I’ve read.
He does have a unique voice and style which some people don’t like, but his attention to historical detail is wonderful.
I actually loved his Revolutionary book the best (Rise to Rebellion, I think it was?)


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