Tag Archives: Eric James

The Villains Holding Up Jesse James Soul Liberty

Jesse James Soul Liberty was scheduled to be published on September 5, 2012. Publication now has been delayed. What’s holding up transforming the book’s manuscript into a printed book? It’s the little black box you see here.

The box is an external hard drive. Inside the box resides the manuscript & research files for Jesse James Soul Liberty. Also inside the box are the manuscript & research files for succeeding volumes of the book, plus many of the files of the James Preservation Trust. So why is this box now a villain holding up the publication of the book?

In mid August, author Eric James had just completed an internet broadcast on HuffPostLIVE. While the lighting was being dismantled, a metal object fell upon the hard drive, lying on the floor next to the author’s computer. When Eric sat down to his computer to upload the final revisions and corrections to the printer for the book and its jacket, the hard drive was found to have been damaged & inoperative. Nothing could be done with the files locked inside.

A search was immediately launched to retrieve the files. For several days, data retrieval services were contacted. The bad news is, none of the files might be able to be retrieved. The good news is, all of the files might be retrievable. The further bad news is,the worst cost estimate to do so is $1400. Data retrieval requires a sterile, antiseptic laboratory environment, exceuted by highly trained technicians.

The printing company was contacted next, to retrieve the proof files for the book and its jacket. — Enter Villain #2.

The printer’s electronic files should have taken only a day or two to be delivered, so final corrections could proceed. Following ownership verification, a cd of the files was mailed. However, the private delivery company delivered the cd to a wrong address. A week lapsed, in which the cd was not found or retrieved and another was issued. Finally, the cd arrived at Cashel Cadence House. The corrections were filed, and everything now is back on track.

Pre-orders for Jesse James Soul Liberty will continue. It will be early October before the book is available from vendors & stores. Pre-orders will be the first books shipped, prior to availability in the stores or with vendors.

Meanwhile, the search continues for a more affordable, but reliable, data retrieval laboratory to recapture the manuscripts for Soul Liberty’s succeeding volumes and everything else the offending villainous hard drive possesses.

Ron Hansen Revealed

Ron Hansen’s novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was published in 1983. In 2009, actor Brad Pitt turned the novel into a stunning film that sadly flopped at the box office.

Both Hansen’s book and Pitt’s movie are fictional depictions. Yet both survive as the most representative of their genres regarding the accuracy of their subject icon and his factual history.

When writing Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, author Eric James twice attempted to contact Ron Hansen, seeking an interview. Soul Liberty is a history of the James family. Knowing the connections of the James family to the Catholic order of the Jesuits and that Hansen taught at a Jesuit school, the author wanted to compare notes with Hansen about the spiritual life of the James family. No response came from Hansen.

The following video is about the closest Ron Hansen comes to revealing the spirituality that guides his life and connects him to his subject matter.

Watch Catholic Writer Ron Hansen on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

In-Laws of Our James Know More Than Us Sometimes

Was it not for Ruby Tidwell-Johnson, few of our James family would know about the descendants of John James of Alvarado, his story, & the story of his line. Ruby is the wife of Dennis Lee Johnson, a James family descendant.

Ruby Tidwell Johnson & Husband Dennis Lee Johnson

For years, Ruby meticulously compiled a history of her husband’s family. Ruby not only collected the required genealogy of names, dates, & places of individuals, spouses, children, and their births, marriages, deaths, & burials, Ruby also collected the family lore & stories attached to John James of Alvarado & his descendants, that cause their history to live and be relevant today. Over the years, Ruby generously has shared what she learned among her James relatives.

Prior to the start of Stray Leaves’ publication in 1997, Ruby also shared the history & genealogy she collected with Stray Leaves author Eric James. In turn, her information has been shared countless times among other members of the James family who found their way to the James family’s web site, & among a public drawn to the James family’s story.

Ruby is not the only in-law to reveal the history of the James. In the twelve years of research conducted by Eric James, many times Eric encountered in-laws of the James who knew more about the James than the James knew about themselves. Except for those in-laws found among the line of Frank & Jesse James, who felt stigmatized by their marriage relationship and did not want it made known they were related to the notorious outlaws through marriage or any other way, James in-laws outside that line were more than willing to share what they knew. In some cases, they revealed family secrets unknown to the James themselves.

Some of what Ruby Tidwell-Johnson collected soon will find its way into Eric James’ epic, new history of the James family Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence. In the book’s “Acknowledgements” chapter, Ruby is appreciatively cited as a valued keeper of the James family’s history, for whom many are grateful.


Dennis Lee Johnson & Ruby Tidwell

. Lecil Johnson & Fredda Louise James

.. Jackson Waite James & Maggie Dozier Fitzgerald

… John James, of Alvarado & Mary Elizabeth Rosaline “Ross” Bradley

…. Cyrentius Waite James & Amanda Jane “Manda” Hall

….. Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May

…… John M. James & Clarissa “Clara/Clary” Nalle

Author of JESSE JAMES SOUL LIBERTY book enters Hell

Researching my book was twelve years of fun that seemed never ending. Four more years of writing the book was like working in a heaven of my own making. Every day a multitude of historic people came to life, just for me. All of them long gone, I never had known them personally before. Working together, they gave me their all.  My spirit was blissful. We were the tightest.

Research Files of Author Eric James for the Book Jesse James' Soul Liberty

But now, all the people from history who emerged from my research boxes have turned against me. Today they are making my life a misery. I’m in editorial Hell. And they are pissed.

First, they begged me to tell their stories. And I did. Story followed story. One book became two. Now, two books will become three, then four, and maybe even five books. If I live long enough to write all five books, I still will never be able to tell all of their stories contained in my boxes of research.

They and I both realize my editorial dilemma. Every day, they whine. They plead. They stomp their feet. They insist I tell every detail of their lives. I respond, telling them I can’t. A book has its limits. Even five books have a limit. Still they’re pissed.

Raw Un-edited Manuscript

In these photos, you can see how I’ve incurred their wrath. My problem right now is to reduce everything I’ve written into the size of a book that is no more than 150,000 words. That alone is one big book, but still readable with plenty of substance to enjoy.

You see my numerous boxes of research. Next you see the total raw manuscript for my book that must be edited to size. Next you see the edited manuscript as it’s reduced to the desired size of the printed book. Finally, you see the mock-up of the book cover and interior layout.

Edited Manuscript Rising to Expected Book Size


I think my book is looking pretty good. But never underestimate the power of the Jesse James family to confound expectation. Those dead people are pissed. For 125 years the family of Frank and Jesse James did everything they could to keep their story from public view. Now, with the book almost ready for publication come spring, they’re pissed because the book isn’t a tell-all, but is rather a tell y’all.

Go figure. It’s beyond me. I’ve surrendered. I’ll leave their story up to your judgment. When you’ve read Jesse James Soul Liberty for yourself, I’ll bet you’ll be dying to get inside all my boxes of research, just to see all the history that’s been missing for so many years.