Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shoeless Joe on film -- as a spectator?


As a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, I am on a couple of researcher lists. A post today especially caught my interest, because of my research of Red Faber and other members of the Chicago White Sox before, during and after the Black Sox scandal.

Some folks are waging a campaign to get John Wesley Donaldson, an early 20th century pitcher barred from the big leagues because of the color of his skin, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A web site promoting Donaldson has some extremely rare film footage of the star in action, most likely in one of the hundreds of barnstorming contests in which he appeared.

The camera pans to show spectators. Wait! Look closely at the group appearing at 25 seconds on the timer. Who is that man whose straw hat is partially obscured by a foot in the foreground? Could it be Joe Jackson, the virtually shoo-in for the Hall of Fame who wound up banned from organized baseball because of the Black Sox scandal? Some researchers think it is a possibility.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Researching Red's teammate and friend

A few weeks and a few hundred newspaper articles later, I am confident that Ray Schalk will be a viable subject for a full biography. Schalk and Red Faber were long-time teammates and, subsequently, lifelong friends.

Though much of my free time the past four years has involved Faber, I can say with some confidence that Schalk was a better catcher than Faber was a pitcher. Both outstanding. Both Hall of Famers. But I found no newspaper articles from the first quarter of the 20th century, quoting baseball experts, that described Faber as the best player anywhere in his position. Many did say just that about Schalk.

My opinion about Schalk was reinforced by the acquisitions editor at McFarland & Co., which published my Faber biography. He thinks Schalk would be a "terrific" subject for a biography.

I hope that we're both right.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second printing

My biography of the late baseball star Red Faber isn't hitting the Best Seller list, but it is going into a second printing.

I learned today from my publisher, McFarland & Co., that the book is temporarily "out of stock."
The folks at the publishing house in Jefferson, N.C., hope to have more copies printed yet this month.

While I am encouraged that book sales apparently exceeded the publisher's (low?) expectations, I hope folks who want books as Christmas gifts will be able to get them.

The Dubuque retail outlet for the biography, River Lights Book Store, ordered more books late last week. Hopefully, its order was shipped before the "out of stock" sign went up. The Tri-County Historical Society and I have served as "interim supplier" until River Lights' next shipment arrives.

Tonight, I dropped off another half-dozen books to River Lights. As I entered the store, a customer asked the clerk about the whereabouts of the Faber book. She was a little startled to have the author step forward, pull a copy from his grocery bag and offer to autograph it. Before I left, another customer asked me to sign two copies.

So far, we have been able to arrange supply to meet demand. But we're all crossing our fingers for UPS or FedEx to deliver River Lights' order on Thursday.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Great turnout at Carnegie-Stout

More than 50 people attended my presentation Thursday night on the late Dubuque County Baseball star Red Faber. The program was presented at Carnegie-Stout Public Library.

Thanks to all who turned out and added to the evening with some interesting and challenging questions!

I have no further public appearances in the tri-state area confirmed, but I have had some communication with possible hosts.

Meanwhile, I get calls about where the book may be purchased. In Dubuque County, your best bets are River Lights Bookstore, Wacker Plaza in Dubuque (immediately east of Kennedy Mall, and south of Shopko); and the Cascade Pioneer office (on behalf of the Tri-County Historical Society).

Thursday night, I was asked whether I had heard from Red's son about the book. Then, the answer was no (except for the phone call that the book had arrived). Urban II phoned on Friday and said he is in the chapter detailing his father's 1915 season. (His reading was delayed by some health problems.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Red and the Iron Horse

I have appearances at Carnegie-Stout Public Library the next two Thursdays.

At 7 p.m. Dec. 7, I will give a 30- to 40-minute slide presentation on Red Faber's life. Afterwards, for folks who are interested, there will be a sale (thanks, River Lights) and autograph session for my new Red Faber biography.

At 6 p.m. Dec. 14, I am the "host' for the Dubuque Film Society showing of the classic baseball movie, "Pride of the Yankees," the Lou Gehrig story. My duties are to introduce the award-winning movie and, after the showing, moderate a brief discussion among audience members. Popcorn and refreshments are free, courtesy of the library foundation. In preparation, I watched the movie over the weekend. Because the careers of Gehrig (1923-39) and Faber (1914-33) overlapped, I checked into how many home runs the Iron Horse hit against Red. The answer: Four. When? July 13, 1925; May 6, 1928; May 4, 1929 (one of three homers Gehrig hit that day); and July 14, 1930.

It's an interesting movie. Hope to see you the next two Thursdays.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Favorable review

When I saw the envelope, with the return address of Richard Lindberg, I knew what it was about. Lindberg is the unofficial historian of the Chicago White Sox and author of several books, including the authoratative "Chicago White Sox Encyclopedia."

Lindberg was good enough to give me a "dust jacket blurb" for the book. However, his comments were prepared in advance, after reading a handful of chapters, before the manuscript was final. What would he think now?

With your indulgence, I will share his critique:

"I received the book in the mail this weekend, and wanted to commend you for the engaging and thought-provoking narrative. It is a fine book, well-written and thoroughly researched. It appears that you have solved the Mostil-Faber riddle nicely, although new questions are are raised about Barrett and Mostil!

"McFarland did a nice job of design and layout, and the picures enhance the strength of the text. A biography of the old Redhead was long overdue, and you have succeeded in filling an important gap in the historiography of the White Sox, as well as Iowa baseball.

"My congratulations to you, and all the best!"

Whew! After working on such an extensive project, and becoming immersed in it, it's hard to know whether others will be interested or whether it will be accepted. It's exciting (for me at least) to receive this affirmation from an author and a leading expert on White Sox history.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Writer's cramp

Good night at River Lights

I was gratified by the healthy turnout at River Lights on Friday night, when co-workers, friends and baseball fans stopped by for my booksigning. I don't know how many books I autographed, but there was only a lull of five minutes during the two hours I was "on duty."

Thanks to all of you who stopped by, and others who couldn't make it but left books for me to sign.

Some folks asked when else I would be available to sign. Here are a couple of opportunities, one here in Dubuque and the other in Chicago.

Thursday, Dec. 7 -- Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 11th and Locust, Dubuque. 7 p.m. I will give a presentation about Faber and the biography project in the Auditorium, on the third floor.

Saturday, Jan. 6 -- Emile Roth chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (Chicago). Chicago Public Library Roden Branch, 6083 Northwest Highway, Chicago, Ill. 60631. 1 p.m.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Book 'opens' in Cascade

The first book-signing for Red Faber: A Biography of the Hall of Fame Spitball Pitcher took place Monday evening in Cascade, Iowa, Faber's hometown.

The occasion was the annual meeting of the Tri-County Historical Society, the organization that first stepped up to support and encourage my pursuit of the biography project. The group made its archives available to me, and generously granted permission for publication of several historic Faber photos from its files.

Monday night, I presented a slide show on Faber's life, answered questions, signed a few books -- and experienced a sense of closure. My three-year project started in Cascade, and I was pleased to bring it home to that community.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Arrival!

The book is here!

The UPS truck today delivered the first copies of the Red Faber biography to the house today. I'm not sure what that means for deliveries of online orders or the shipment to River Lights Bookstore, but they can't be far behind.

My first book-signing event will be in Faber's native Cascade, at the annual meeting of the Tri-County Historical Society. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hotel Faber


Red Faber's parents, Nicholas and Margaret Faber, owned and operated the Hotel Faber in downtown Cascade.

With the exception of a few years around World War I, when they leased the facility, the Faber family operated the hotel from its construction in 1893 until Mrs. Faber, then a widow, sold it in 1944.

(Photo courtesy of Judy Donovan.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Book release events scheduled (11/2 update)

Release of the Red Faber biography is just a couple of weeks away, and some associated events are hitting my calendar.

Monday, Nov. 13 -- Tri-County Historical Society annual meeting. Knights of Columbus Hall, Cascade, Iowa. 7:30 p.m. I will give a presentation on Faber, followed by a book-signing. This will be my first signing event, and I'm pleased that it will be with the organization that was so cooperative and supportive during my project.

Friday, Nov. 17 -- River Lights Book Store, Wacker Plaza, Dubuque. Book signing. (5-7 p.m.)

Thursday, Dec. 7 -- Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 11th and Locust, Dubuque. 7 p.m. I will give a presentation about Faber and the biography project in the Auditorium, on the third floor.

Saturday, Jan. 6 -- Emile Roth chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (Chicago). Chicago Public Library Roden Branch, 6083 Northwest Highway, Chicago, Ill. 60631. 1 p.m.

There are other events pending. When those are confirmed, I'll post an update.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

To the printer!

Lisa Camp, the managing editor of McFarland Publishers, informed me this morning that my Red Faber biography is going to print today.

Allowing some time for packaging, shipping and delivery, books should reach the tri-state area in 2-3 weeks, or, as Lisa said (to play it on the safe side?), "before Thanksgiving."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Return to sender

While the Chicago Bears were somehow staging an improbable, offense-less rally to win on Monday Night Football, I was wrapping up hours of work on the index for the Red Faber biography.

The index -- with 720 entries containing thousands of page citations -- was e-mailed to my publisher a few minutes after the Cardinals place-kicker missed what probably would have been the game-winning field goal.

I hope that, during that distraction, I didn't inadvertently add a Brian Urlacher entry.

Six days ago, I shipped back the page proofs to McFarland, publisher of the biography. Now, the waiting game resumes.

I still have reason to believe that the book will be released in November.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Anniversary overlooked

It's been an extremely busy time for me -- so much so that I failed to note an important anniversary a couple of weeks ago. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Thirty years ago -- on September 25, 1976 -- Red Faber died. He was 88.

He is buried in Acacia Park Cemetery in Chicago. I visited his gravesite a few months ago. His marker does not mention his 20-year, Hall of Fame career with the Chicago White Sox. Instead, it mentions his Navy service, which lasted less than a year.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The rush is on

On Sept. 27, just 10 days after a representative of my book publisher said the page proofs of the Red Faber biography will arrive at the "end of October," the proofs were on my doorstep.

Apparently, she typed "end of October" when she meant "end of September."

In any case, I now must proofread the 250+ pages and create an index for the book. The publisher now says it wants to put the book on the press Oct. 25.

After months of waiting, the rush is on! I've already changed weekend plans to carve out more time to get to work on this.

Now, off to proofread!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Red Faber's nephew dies

An obituary in Thursday's Telegraph Herald caught my attention. Alfred J. Faber, a nephew of Urban "Red" Faber, had died a few weeks earlier in Surprise, Ariz. He was 86.

Dr. Faber, whose father Alfred was Red Faber's brother, was one of my sources for my Faber biography. In our telephone conversation, in 2003, Dr. Faber remembered visiting Comiskey Park for Red Faber Day in August 1929 and watched his uncle pitch. He recalled the sound of the White Sox star's fastball "as a thousand bees."

Here is the obituary as it appeared in the TH.

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Dr. Alfred J. Faber, 86, of Surprise, died Monday,
Aug. 28, 2006, in Surprise.

Memorial services were held Sept. 1 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sun
City West. Burial was in All Saint Cemetery, Des Plaines, Ill. The
Sunland Memorial Chapel, Sun City, was in charge of arrangements.

Dr. Faber served as a family physician in Des Plaines for more than 33 years, where he opened Clinical Associates, adding additional physicians. He was instrumental in the building of Holy Family Hospital and served as its chief of staff. After retiring in Illinois, he practiced another 10 years in the Sun Cities area in Arizona.

He was born on June 13, 1920, in Cascade, Iowa, son of Alfred and Lulu
Mae Faber.

After receiving his bachelor of science degree from Loras College, Dubuque, and his medical degree from Loyola College of Medicine, Chicago, he served in the Navy at Great Lakes Naval Station and Samoa in the South Pacific.

He served as chairman of the Chicago Medical Society, president of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, as well as many committees and boards of medicine in Chicago, the state and national levels, including that as vice chairman of Legislation for the American Medical Association. He also was on the Cardinals Advisory Committee of Chicago.

Surviving are two daughters, Carol (Terry) Langan, of Des Plaines, and Ellen (Scott) Bryson, of Helena, Mont.; four grandchildren, John (Kelly) Langan, of Chicago, Ashlie Langan, of Des Plaines, Katie (Jeremiah) Petersen, of Missoula, Mont., and Laura (Gerrick) Grover, of Stevensville, Mont.; a great-grandchild, Mikayla Hall; and Marie Kehr, his close friend and companion.

He was preceded in death by Ruth, his wife of 57 years, and a son, Michael.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to your favorite charity.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Latest from McFarland

Dear Mr. Cooper:


Your manuscript has entered the preliminary design phase. At this point
it seems likely that you'll receive proofs by the end of October.
November is still a good target date for publication, depending on how
things go within the next six weeks.


Sincerely,


Virginia Tobiassen


Editorial Development Chief


McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers

Friday, September 08, 2006

One wait to soon come to an end?


I have been waiting many months -- since Christmas, actually -- for acceptance, editing and release of my Faber biography. Actually, I have been waiting even longer for the Society of American Baseball Research's compilation of mini-biographies, Deadball Stars of the American League. I have written the chapter on Faber.

In June, authors were told release was imminent. And then it wasn't.

The wait for the Deadball book might be coming to an end. The editors said that page proofs will be available for authors' review starting next week. Apparently the proofs will be released by section, according to each player's team. I can't decide whether I want them to release the Chicago White Sox at the beginning or the end. Either way, there will be more waiting involved.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Waiting game continues

I'm checking the mailbox every day, expecting to see page proofs any time now, based on the general timeline I received regarding my Faber biography.

I checked in with the publisher of the Faber book, via e-mail, and today received a minor disappointment: I'm now told expect to receive the proofs "in the fall."

How the book will be proofed, indexed, corrected, printed and distributed by the "estimated" release month of November, I'm not exactly sure.

I've been warned by other authors that these projects take longer than one expects, and just hang in there. I guess I don't have much choice about that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another catalog

McFarland, the publisher of my upcoming biography of Red Faber, today notified me that my book is listed in its Fall 2006 catalog. (It was also previously listed in its baseball catalog.) The listing is on page 29.

Unfortunately, the publisher repeated the outdated reference to Faber's heroics in the 1917 World Series as "the last time the Chicago White Sox won it all." That was accurate when I wrote it in my proposal -- but the 2005 White Sox made that statement inaccurate. I pointed that out to McFarland when the baseball catalog was released, but obviously no change was made. Oh, well. Not a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. The real baseball students know all that.

Anyway, this is some indication that my project is still on McFarland's radar. I still await page proofs. And wait. And wait. If the book is to be released in November, as per the previous catalog, those proofs have to be arriving soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Historic day in Cascade


Saturday was a special day for Cascade, Iowa. That evening, the son of the late Red Faber, a National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Cascade native, came to town to present some of his father's memorabilia to the Tri-County Historical Society.

In a ceremony after the Telegraph Herald Semi-Pro All-Star Game, Urban C. Faber II presented four items to the society, which operates a museum in Cascade. As Red Faber's biographer, I had gotten to know Urban II, and was pleased to help facilitate the donation.

The items are:
  • A baseball autographed by Red Faber in 1960 at a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of his minor-league perfect game. (The baseball is also signed by Dennis Ribant, a minor leaguer who threw a perfect game in 1960.)
  • A wristwatch presented to Faber by Loras College in 1964. Faber once attended the college's prep academy and later pitched for the college varsity in 1909, shortly before turning pro.
  • A paperweight-plaque from Campion Academy, the Prairie du Chien, Wis., prep school that Faber attended for two years. At the time, it was known as Sacred Heart.
  • A gold pocketwatch that was a gift to Faber from the fans of Cascade in 1916. It is engraved to mark the occasion.
Of the four items, the treasure is the pocketwatch. Here is the background:

Early in his career, for three straight seasons, Red Faber and the Chicago White Sox traveled to Dubuque for exhibition games.

On May 3, 1916, the White Sox played against the institution today known as Loras College. In the third inning, when Faber came to bat, the game paused for a special ceremony. A delegation of Cascade residents, headed by Mayor F. J. Keefe, walked to home plate and presented Red Faber an engraved pocket watch as a gift from the people of Cascade.

That gold watch has remained in the Faber family the past 90 years. On Saturday, Urban Faber II returned that watch to Cascade by donating it to the Tri-County Historical Society.

The watch will be proudly displayed in the museum once updating and relocating the Faber exhibit is completed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Red's son to visit Cascade

Urban C. Faber II, the only descendant of the Hall of Fame pitcher, plans to visit his father's hometown -- Cascade, Iowa -- on Saturday, July 8.

The occasion will be the Telegraph Herald Semi-Pro All-Star Game, where ceremonies will include a tribute to Red Faber and a special presentation of memorabilia to the Tri-County Historical Museum by Red's only son. (The photo of Urban was taken in the Chicago area several weeks ago, when Urban signed over the items to the museum.)

I'm pleased to have played a small part in these arrangements -- and thrilled that the museum's Faber exhibit will be bolstered by Urban's donation.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bookwork progressing

More recent evidence that there will actually be a published book about Red Faber:

The publisher contacted me Wednesday with four questions about the manuscript. Only four?! That surprised me.

And, the book is now posted as available for ordering on the McFarland web site.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Faber's son donates to museum


On Saturday, I paid a call on Red's son, Urban II, at his home in the Chicago suburbs. My wife came along, and did a great job navigating, counting out change for the toll plazas and keeping me awake.

The occasion was to accept, on behalf of the Tri-County Historical Society, memorabilia to be displayed in the Red Faber wing of the historical society's museum in Red's native Cascade, Iowa.

We are still hoping that Urban will come to Cascade next month for a presentation at the annual semi-pro all-star game. However, due to his upcoming change of residences and health issues, that is uncertain.

I will leave it to museum officials to decide the time and method of revealing what the items are, but I will say that they were worth the trip.

Historical society officials are thrilled with the donation. The museum is short of actual Faber memorabilia, so this will be a huge help.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Getting closer

Today's mail included a package from McFarland Publishers of Jefferson, N.C.: Promotional materials for my Faber biography.

I learned a few things about my book. The list price is $29.95. It will be 256 pages, in paperback. And its ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is 0-7864-2721-3. (No, I do not plan to memorize that.)

All in all, it is further evidence that there really, truly will be a book published later this year.

Soon, I'm told, I will receive page galleys to proofread and to use for compiling the index.

McFarland also sent me order forms for the book. I guess I'll soon see who my friends are!

"Brief" Faber bio posted; Hoerner profile coming

The Society of American Baseball Research has posted my condensed Faber biography as part of its online-only "BioProject."

This article is less than 3,000 words -- compared to the more than 100,000 words I submitted for the full biography McFarland will publish this fall.

The BioProject is an ambitious endeavor by SABR to produce at least a brief biography of every man to have ever appeared in a major league game. To date, 343 biographies have been posted. There is a long way to go.

To that end, I am writing a BioProject article on another Dubuque County native who achieved major league success: Joe Hoerner. A left-handed relief specialist, Hoerner's best years were 1966 until 1970, when he made the National League All-Star team. Overall, his major league career covered the years 1963-64, when he saw limited action with Houston, and 1966-77.

AL Deadball Stars book due soon


Release of the Society of American Baseball Research book, "Deadball Stars of the American League," is imminent. I haven't heard a definite publication date, but the book is available for advance order.

Red Faber is among the stars profiled in this book, and I was honored to be asked to write his chapter.

The "Deadball Era," 1901-19, got its name from the composition of the baseball, which had a softer core than the ball put into play starting in 1920 (hence the start of the "Lively Ball Era"). Over-the-wall home runs were a rarity, and teams followed a "small ball" strategy -- singles, stolen bases, hit-and-run, etc.

Faber is among the stars who enjoyed success in both the Deadball and Lively Ball eras. His best three-season stretch, based on won-lost figures, coincided with the start of the Lively Ball Era (1920-22). However, it was during the Deadball period that he won three World Series games (1917), posted a 24-win season (1915) and won 82 games (1914-19).

This American League book is a companion to the National League volume that SABR released three years ago. When it is (finally) released, I'll update the blog.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Story time

The Dubuque Area Writers Guild honored me with an invitation to read excerpts from my Red Faber manuscript.

I haven't finalized my selections, but I am leaning toward passages describing Faber's family and the final inning of his record-setting 1917 World Series performance.

The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Isabella's, 1375 Locust St. (downstairs in the Ryan House). The public is welcome.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Coverage

I have not heard much from the publisher of my Red Faber biography, and I'm told that is to be expected. Other authors cautioned me that there is lots of silence after the manuscript is submitted.

McFarland Publishers told me a couple of months ago that my manuscript, which was submitted just before Christmas, will be a fall release.

After sending an inquiry this week -- I asked, "May I assume that no news is good news?" -- McFarland surprised me with a preview of the book's cover. I was happy to see that McFarland's art department showed the good judgment to use the design developed (as a suggestion) by Brian Davis, an artist at the Telegraph Herald.

McFarland confirmed that the book will be part of its fall catalog. So, I guess this book really is going to happen!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Exhibitionism

The Tri-County Historical Society, which was extremely helpful to me in researching and writing the Red Faber biography, hopes to improve the Faber section of its museum in Cascade.

On Wednesday evening, I met with Lee Simon, a board member and baseball afficianado, to kick around ideas for a fresher exhibit. There are challenges.

Challenge 1: The historical society and I have a great deal of information and many photographs -- no problem there -- but the museum lacks much in the way of memorabilia and bona fide Faber items.

Challenge 2: Lee is not a museum curator. Nor am I. We need professional help. We need someone who could suggest how the historical society might improve its exhibit. Our search has begun.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Faber to be commemorated

I don't want to steal anyone's thunder, but when this year's semi-pro all-star baseball game moves to Cascade, event organizers plan to honor their native son, Hall of Famer Red Faber.

The game is scheduled for Saturday, July 8.

Organizers are trying to make contact with Red's son, Urban Faber II, to invite him to the festivities.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Red Faber (1888-1976)


Red Faber
(1888-1976)
Photo courtesy of Tri-County Historical Society, Cascade, Iowa


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Why no Faber in the "Black Sox" Series?

In a listserv discussion the other day, some baseball researchers were comparing notes on why Red Faber did not play in the 1919 World Series which, as we all know, was "thrown" by eight of his teammates. Since I have just spent three years researching Faber's life and career, a SABR member asked me if I had any insight into the question. My reply:

Faber had a bout with influenza – apparently, part of the Spanish Flu pandemic – about the time he was leaving the Navy in 1918-19. He lost about 30 pounds, and in his weakened condition he tired easily and lost velocity and movement on his pitches. As early as spring training, newspaper accounts reported that Faber did not look well. In his season preview, I.E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Faber, who combines both youth and experience in ideal quantities, was expected to have his best year this season, but for some reason which neither he nor any one else can understand he cannot deliver the goods.” Faber did not pitch well throughout the season. His ERA ballooned to 3.83. His winning record (11-9) could be attributed to the fact that he had the American League champs playing behind him. Sometime in late summer he reportedly suffered an ankle injury. After a five-week layoff, in a test of his preparedness for possible World Series duty, Faber earned the victory – but was shellacked by the Athletics in a slugfest. The White Sox kept him on the World Series roster, but he rode the bench throughout.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Receipt acknowledged

The existence of backup copies, etc., somewhat eased my trepidation about handing over three years of my work (evenings and weekends) to the U.S. Postal Service. However, the USPS came through nicely, and McFarland Publishers has acknowledged receipt of my shipment. Now, I'll wait to see what McFarland thinks of what is inside that box.