Glad to be on board

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!







5 responses to “Glad to be on board”

  1. Will Avatar

    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.


  2. Will Avatar

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

  3. elektratig Avatar


    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.

  4. admin Avatar


    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.


  5. Jessica James Avatar

    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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