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What Does an Author Do Between Contracts? My Top 20 List

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 11, 2015 in | 14 Comments

When I turned in Spy of Richmond to my publisher last July, I was without a contract for the first time in seven years. At first, I felt both free and untethered, which I realize sounds the same, but whereas freedom is desirable, being untethered felt uncomfortable. I felt both of these things in equal parts, in alternating stages. It sounds weird, because it was weird. Life was suddenly, drastically, different. And sometimes, different is good. :) It has been a wonderful sabbatical...

Phantom Limb Pain and the Civil War

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 09, 2015 in Civil War History | 0 Comments


Though the phenomenon of phantom limb pain had been recorded long before the Civil War, it was Silas Weir Mitchell (pictured at left), a Philadelphia physician specializing in nerve injuries during the Civil War, who coined the term. Phantom limb pain, or PLP, occurs when a patient feels pain in an arm or leg that has been amputated. Mitchell studied PLP (or sensory hallucinations, as he also called them) in depth at the Turner’s Lane hospital in Philadelphia, dubbed the Stump Hospital because it focused on caring for amputees....

The Civil War and Prosthetic Limbs

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 07, 2015 in Behind the Books, Civil War History | 0 Comments

“It is not two years since the sight of a person who had lost one of his lower limbs was an infrequent occurrence. Now, alas! There are few of us who have not a cripple among our friends, if not in our own families. A mechanical art which provided for an occasional and exceptional want has become a great and active branch of industry. War unmakes legs, and human skill must supply their places as it best may.”

~Oliver Wendell Holmes, M.D., “The Human Wheel, Its Spokes and Felloes” 

If necessity is the mother of invention, it should come as no surprise that the Civil War, which...

How to Pray for Military Service Members

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 06, 2015 in | 0 Comments


1 Disgraced Civil War General + 1 Ardent Atheist = Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 04, 2015 in Civil War History, Journal | 1 Comment
Chariot race, Ben Hur


  During our first year of marriage, my husband Rob and I rented the classic film Ben Hur with Charlton Heston to watch the night before Easter. The chariot race came up awfully fast. "I feel like we're supposed to care about who wins," I told Rob. "Shouldn't we get to know the characters a bit?" The movie was over in less than an hour. "Huh. I thought this was supposed to be a long movie." We shrugged and shook our heads. Only after taking the disc out and examining it more...

What's So Good About Good Friday?

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 03, 2015 in | 0 Comments

For years, I felt uncomfortable calling the day Christ was crucified "Good" Friday. It didn't feel right to me, and I bet at least some of you can relate. Why call the day God died a good day? The following video explains it so beautifully. I have watched it every Easter season since I saw it in my church's Good Friday service a few years ago. It never fails to encourage me, and I hope it will encourage you today, too.

Why We Call it Good...

Spy of Richmond-Themed Give-away!

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Apr 02, 2015 in | 51 Comments

One hundred fifty years ago today, (April 2, 1865) the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, but not before ordering buildings and structures of military importance burned to prevent the Yankees benefiting from them. Unfortunately, the Richmond City Council's order to also destroy all the city's liquor by dumping it in the gutters only served to spread the fire. By the time the Federal troops contained the blazes after arriving on April 3, twenty city blocks had been destroyed. Very few in the Confederacy held out any hope that the South could survive the loss of its capital. Six days...

How to Be Inspired

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Mar 31, 2015 in Writing | 0 Comments

Recently a writer friend emailed me with this: “I noticed on your Facebook post this morning that you said you had ideas ‘again.’ Does that mean that for a while you didn’t?” She was feeling such pressure to be inspired and write another book, and it just wasn’t coming together for her. Do you ever feel this way? Yes? Welcome to the club of Almost All Writers Almost Everywhere!

Inspiration is a slippery thing. Sometimes I have way too much of it to be practical, and other times, I am bone dry. Here’s what I...

5 Pioneering Women Doctors and Nurses of the Civil War

Posted by Jocelyn Green on Mar 29, 2015 in Behind the Books, Civil War History | 5 Comments

The truth is, all women who were doctors and nurses during the Civil War were pioneers in their field. Prior to 1861, nurses--and all but two doctors in the United States--were men. But when social reformer Dorothea Dix pointed out to President Lincoln that he had a scant 28 surgeons in the army's medical department to care for the 75,000 volunteers he'd just called for, he reluctantly conceded that women be allowed to serve as nurses. I want to introduce you to five remarkable women who blazed the trail for women in medicine.