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Check It Out

Courier Article by Pam Locker
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Local Authors Take Publishing into Their Own Hands

If it is indeed true that everyone has a good book inside him waiting to get out, why don't more of us write and publish books?

Cost is a major factor. In the not so distant past, unless one could snag an established publisher, the only alternative was to pay a "vanity press" big bucks for hundreds of copies of a tome that might just end up mildewing in one's dark basement.

In the electronic age, however, self-publishing is not only easy but cheap.

Proper Suda by Mike Whicker (iUniverse, 2003).

The author of the popular spy novel Invitation to Valhalla has come out with an exciting second novel, which jogs back and forth between a Ku Klux Klan-dominated Evansville of the 1920's and the contemporary high school scene on the city's west side. He co-wrote it with members of his Reitz High School creative writing class, the F. J. Scribes.

A trip to the iUniverse website (www.iUniverse.com) shows that the base price is now $199. The author gets a non-exclusive contract, a custom cover, an ISBN number, one free paperback book, and a place on the iUniverse website from which additional copies can be ordered through print-on-demand (POD) technology. Wider distribution, copyediting, eBook format, and other options are all extra.

Since Whicker's books are so popular, they are readily available at local bookstores and libraries but can also be ordered online.

Cherry Street by B J Conner (iUniverse, 2002).

Beverly J Conner, another west sider, has also just published a second book with iUniverse. She set her first gothic romance, Roses Are Deceiving, in London, and is working on a third set in historic southern Illinois.

In Cherry Street, a serial killer is on the prowl in downtown Evansville in the late nineteenth century, and a young nurse newly arrived in the city may be the only one who can stop him. Historical personages and places such as the Reitz family, Celeste Carpenter, riverboats, and riverfront mansions fill its brimming pages.

If you like Victoria Holt, you will like Conner.

Roman: Unparalleled Outrage by John McMullen (1st Books, 2003).

McMullen, a theology teacher at Mater Dei High School, chose a five-year-old Bloomington, Indiana, based electronic publisher, 1st Books (www.1stbooks.com) for this first novel based on a true story.

Roman Weinzapfel, a Catholic Alsatian missionary priest, was falsely accused of raping a parishioner while hearing her confession in Evansville in 1842. McMullen meticulously researched trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and other original sources to produce a fictional reenactment of this event that captured the entire nation's interest.

Oddly enough, there were few Catholics in southern Indiana in the 1840s and the populace wanted to keep it that way. Martin Scorsese's recent movie Gangs of New York portrays hostility against Irish Catholic immigrants in New York City in the same era.

According to McMullen, current Mayoral candidate Jonathon Weinzapfel is a great, great nephew of Roman, whose brother, Michael, came to America in 1847. He adds, "All American Weinzapfels trace their lineage to Roman's brother."

The Wabash and Erie Canal: the Lower Divisions by Andrew L. Clark (Windmill Publications, 1999).

Indiana State Trooper and pilot Andy Clark is a history buff who has flown over every inch of the nineteenth century Indiana canal.

An Evansville printer, Windmill Publications, published this volume. Formerly known as Unigraphic Press, Windmill has produced works of biography and history for over a thousand organizations and individuals. Owner Laddie B. Warren, says that authors rely on pre-publication sales to cover costs.

Clark breathes new life into the ill-fated Indiana canal that took so long to plan and build that it was rapidly made obsolete by the railroads. Of particular interest are photographs showing existing canal remnants such as the ditch stretching east at the intersection of Morgan Avenue and Green River Road. To obtain a copy of the book, e-mail Clark at abclark@gibsoncounty.net.

Pam Locker is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.