New and Improved

Friends, this is the newer updated blog, different from the old one. The previous blog can be found here:
but I will no longer be posting to it.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

After Jackie FINALLY in bookstores!

 March 31, 2022

Hi, Everyone!

     Well, it took a long, LONG time, but After Jackie is FINALLY in bookstores - yippee!  The last year has been challenging for everyone on multiple fronts, and the world of publishing has also had its own "ups-and-downs," to say the least. Publishers have had to deal with everything from printing problems to distribution problems - and everything in between. Electronic sales have been very strong, but for many readers, part of the true joy of reading is just holding a book in the hands.  Yes, electronic devices sure make storage of books a snap, but there is just something special about having a copy of the book right in front of you while diving into the pages. At long last, After Jackie is on the shelves for those who love this experience. I'll attach a couple pictures of the shelves at Barnes & Noble. The good folks at B & N have been very good to me and other writers during this very difficult time for everyone. Hopefully, more and more of the independent bookstores will be able to carry the books as well.  We NEED the independent bookstores, now more than ever. 

      Originally, a 12-city book tour was scheduled for the release of After Jackie, but most groups are still not getting together because of pandemic concerns.  That is probably a wise decision in many cases, but it is still frustrating for me because I love going out and visiting with readers. The exchanges during the in-person events are so wonderful and special. Still, the health of everyone must take center-stage, so I get why in-person events/readings are probably still off in the distance quite a ways. I've been doing some Zoom sessions and a few radio programs to talk about the book, but I"m ready to be out on the road -- as I'm sure most people are as well.

    For those of you who have read the book, please jot me a message if you have the time and let me know what you thought about the stories. If I can't go on the road to meet with you, I'd love to hear what you have to say, even if it is via e-mail exchange.

   I'll sign off for now.  Everyone -- please take care -- and stay well!

     Happy reading!


Saturday, July 3, 2021

After Jackie now available!

 July 3, 2021

Hi, Everyone!

     This will be just a quick post to pass along some fun news: After Jackie: 15 Pioneers Who Helped Change the Face of Baseball is now available in electronic version through all major booksellers.  The e-book version actually came out July 1. The paperback will be available in late fall in time for the holiday book buying season. This year, because of the pandemic and the fact that so many people are not going to bookstores yet, publishers are really pushing e-books at this time because, well, the past year has found more and more readers purchasing books to read on their electronic devices.  This makes sense -- and is probably a trend that will continue in future years.  E-books take up virtually no space, are easy to download and store, and the screens on electronic devices are getting much better and easier to read.  Right now, some books appear in e-book format only.  In future years, that number will really climb.  Publishers also really like this trend because there are no warehouse/storage feels associated with new releases, no shipping fees, and they now don't have to twist arms to get books placed on the shelves in bookstores. In other words, in most cases it is a "win-win" situation for publishers - and dramatically increases their profit margin. E-books also allow them to take chances with books they normally might now have published.  Yes, there are still many costs related to getting an e-book ready to be sold, but this cost is WAY lower than getting a print book on the shelf. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't particularly wild about the idea of After Jackie appearing as an e-book so far in advance of the hard copy showing up in bookstores.  However, this is the heart of the baseball season, so it does make good sense to have the book ready to go right now, even if it is only in e-book format.  

     Here's the link to the listing on Amazon Books:

     I also wanted to share a few of the comments folks have already said about the book.  I'll list these below --

“In both baseball history, and American history, Jackie Robinson holds an enduring place of honor and respect.  While nothing will ever diminish his standing, it is also true that those who followed him in integrating their respective teams, faced their own versions of the obstacles and racism Robinson encountered.  And, like Jackie, they were distinct individuals with personal lives and stories beyond their on-field performances and symbolic significance. With that in mind, After Jackie contains vivid and moving stories.  It is also a contribution to the historical record.”

Bob Costas

Ford C. Frick Award recipient and member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame




“Every baseball fan knows Jackie Robinson and all he accomplished.  Lesser known are the other players who broke their team’s color barriers.  Jeff Copeland takes a look at these men and their place in baseball history, as well as their unique stories.  A fun and interesting read for any baseball fan.”

Cassidy Lent

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum




    “Jackie Robinson was first in the Majors, but fifteen other players were the first to play as persons of color with baseball’s other big league teams in the mid-century era.  In After Jackie, Jeffrey S. Copeland recounts their achievements, not only on the field, but in their lives.  And not just regarding sports, but about the full context of race and society during the America of those years.  Here are all the good stories, some legendary and others never heard before -- and more than a few surprises.  A superb book – for everyone who loves sports, history, and stories of courage and determination.  Play ball!”

    Jerome Klinkowitz, author of Short Season, Basepaths, and Owning a Piece of the Minors.




     “Jeff Copeland's book is an important addition to the history of baseball. While every fan knows the story of Jackie Robinson, Jeff goes into incredible detail telling the stories of the men who followed Jackie in helping break baseball's color barrier. What these men endured and what it meant to the future of baseball can never be forgotten.” -- Rob Rains, editor of and author of Baseball Samurais: Ichiro Suzuki And The Asian Invasion; Intentional Walk; James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Baseball; and Ozzie Smith: The Road to Cooperstown. 

      I hope all of you enjoy the book.  I sure had a great time doing the background research!  Take care -- and stay safe!

      Happy Reading!


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Up next: After Jackie!

 April 17, 2021

Hi, Everyone,

     I hope this note finds all of you well and riding out these very odd and unsettling times we are in.  As most of you know, my "day job" is being a university professor. Here at our school we've had all sorts of ups and downs caused by the pandemic.  We're also still trying to adjust to the "new normal," which involves classes and people being together in all sorts of combinations: in-person, through Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, FaceTime - and even old-fashioned phone calls.  The technology side of this has been a real challenge for many.  For my 8:00 a.m. class, which was being hosted through Zoom one morning during the jaws of the pandemic, my students were Zooming in from their dorm rooms or apartments close to campus. Imagine my surprise when two of them, a young man and a young woman, weren't fully clothed.  I said something immediately, and both were horrified -- because they thought they could see me but we couldn't see them!  Ah, the innocence of youth....

     I feel lucky that members of my extended family who have had Covid did not have severe cases.  I can't say the same about my students, some of whom became seriously ill -- and are still dealing with the effects of the virus today. I wish them all the best as they continue their medical challenges. Like so many others, I'm longing for some return to normalcy, but who knows when that will be?  In the meantime, I just hope people will be kind, caring, and understanding to all.

     While "cooped up" this past year, I was able to finish the book I had started right before the pandemic hit. I'll attach the "mock-up" of the cover to this message so you can see a general idea of what it will look like. This mock-up shows Jackie Robinson in the middle, and the "other fifteen" men in small circles around Jackie's image.  Also, the "book blurbs" (testimonials) from other writers and sports personalities that will go on the cover aren't on this mock-up. Finally, the full title of the book is: After Jackie: Fifteen Pioneers Who Changed the Face of Baseball.  The idea for the book actually came about one night, pre-pandemic, when I was eating supper in a restaurant that had a baseball game on the television in the corner of the room.  Between bites, I saw the right fielder make an error, and the announcer said, "That looked like the second coming of Carlos Paula." Nobody else in the room got the obscure reference, but I did.  The announcer's words caused me to laugh and almost choke to death on my food.   The player the announcer referred to, Carlos Paula, played for the Washington Senators in the mid-1950's.  Carlos was a tremendous hitter who could have had a long and glorious career -- except for one thing: He never could quite get the hang of catching the dang ball.  As a result, he made quite a few errors, much to the dismay of his manager, his teammates, and even the fans.  After hearing the announcer bring up Mr. Paula's name, something also dawned on me: Carlos was the first person of color to play for the Washington Senators of the American League.  That got me to thinking about something.  Nearly everyone, and not just baseball fans, has at least some knowledge of Jackie Robinson and his legacy.  However, Jackie was a pioneer on one of just 16 teams in Major League Baseball when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  So, I immediately started wondering who the "other fifteen" were who helped break down the color barrier for the other teams.  In a nutshell, that's how the idea for this book came to me.  In doing the research, a great deal of which was done at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, I discovered the "other fifteen" went through much of what Jackie went through, but each also had a special story to tell about his journey into baseball.  In the book, a chapter is devoted to each of the "other fifteen" men, and their stories are incredible, which made the book a labor of love to write.  After Jackie will be released soon in electronic form, and a paperback version will then follow.  I'll let everyone know when it is available.  I can't wait - I loved writing this book!

     I'll write more again soon.  In the meantime, please take care -- and stay well!


Friday, October 30, 2020

Be safe! Stay well!

 October 30, 2020

    Hi, Everyone!

     I hope this note finds you well and navigating these very odd and unsettling times.  I think the toughest part of all this for me is not seeing friends and loved ones.  I've been isolating pretty much of the time because I have the underlying kidney situation, so, like so many of you, I've tried to limit my time with others.  Instead -- again like so many of you -- I've resorted to Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, BlueJeans, and old-fashioned phone calls to keep in touch with everyone.  Still, that just isn't the same. There is a real "lonely factor" here that I think sometimes gets forgotten during this age of Covid.

    In terms of my writing, I *am* continuing to research and write my next book, but there is a great irony (weirdness?) that I think about all the time: the book I'm working on now will probably be out before I can do any book events for my last book!  My latest book, Lt. Elsie Ott's Top Secret Mission, came out March 15, one day before most bookstores and similar venues started shutting down because of the virus.  So, my 12-city book tour for the book was immediately called off.  At the same time, I was scheduled to go to the United Kingdom this past summer to do more book events (for reasons I'm not completely sure of, my books are very popular over there), and all that was shut down as well.  I was able to do a couple of NPR programs about the book, and I appeared on the Armed Services Radio Network twice, but other than those, I really haven't had a chance to do any book readings/events because of the current situation here and around the world.  I'm NOT complaining.  Problems with a book are absolutely nothing compared to the suffering that has fallen on so many because of Covid and related issues.  Still, for an author, this is a living example of "If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it -- does it make a sound?"  Well, the book came out, but because of the situation, it didn't make a sound at all.  My publisher tells me we will try to do a book tour once the circumstances change, but who knows when that will be.  Plus, as most authors will confirm, if events are not done when a book is released, LATER events just won't create the same publicity and readership.  Again, I'm not complaining.  This is just an observation that this may be a book that never finds a readership because of the current circumstances.  If that happens, it happens.  All I care out, honestly, right now is that everyone stays safe.  Like my Grandma Dunavant always used to say, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything."  The older I get, the more I see just how much she was right.

     So, I'll sign off by again saying, please stay well.

     Take care!


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Lt. Elsie Ott's Top Secret Mission

April 16, 2020
Hi, All!
     Today I also wanted to post the link to the radio program I did about my newest book, Lt. Elsie Ott's Top Secret Mission.  I also did this program for Veterans Radio (and the Armed Services Radio Network) for veterans and those who are currently serving.  I'm hoping that this book will provide a good distraction for everyone while so many of us are in isolation because of Covid-19.  I know so many of our people in the service right now are being told to stay where they are, and the opportunities for entertainment are small.  Hopefully, this radio program will lift spirits.  This book is the story of a true American hero, a person who literally changed the way we live.  This year is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote and other rights as well.  Lt. Elsie Ott is considered one of the most important women of the 20th Century, and when you read the book you will see why.  She was an amazing person, and her legacy will live on forever.
   Here is the link to the interview.  I hope you enjoy it!
   Take care -- and stay well!

Covid-19/Plague Interview

April 16, 2020
Hi, All!
    First of all, I hope this finds you well and doing your best to stay safe at this terrible time. I know better days are coming, but right now these are tough times for us all.  However, we will get through this.  We WILL!
  Several of you have asked me to post the link to the program I did for Veterans Radio (and the Armed Services Radio Network) that was broadcast worldwide to our veterans and those who are still serving now.  I'll provide the link below.  The interview basically get into how the Black Plague outbreak in 1924 in Los Angeles and what we are going through today are so similar.  Actually, what we learned about dealing with a pandemic in 1924 has served as a model for what we are doing to stem the increase of Covid-19 now.  In 1924, the officials, both medical and with the government, went to strict isolation, self-distancing (forced), and a "tracking" of the spread so that it could be stopped.  If you haven't read the book Plague in Paradise yet, you might find some answers to what is going on today in those pages.
     Here is the link:

Please -- PLEASE, everyone take care -- and stay well!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

March 22, 2020
Hi, All!
   I'm sorry I haven't posted recently, but the world around us has sure been unsettling. I also teach at the University of Northern Iowa, and we have been busy night and day getting everything ready for our students to complete their coursework online for the rest of this semester, this summer, and if necessary, next fall as well. Just telling instructors and students to "go online" is one thing, but the reality of the situation is still another.  Through this crisis many of us have learned that our students don't have their own computers and other electronic devices -- that they rely on the technology here on campus to do their work.  In plain-English, this means not all students can continue their work online because they do not currently have the means to do so.  Our students have all been instructed to go back to their homes for at least the remainder of this term, but many do not have Internet at home or electronic devices there. In addition, many faculty members have never delivered instruction by way of the Internet before, so there is a steep learning curve on this end as well.  Most will likely end up using Zoom, Skype, Panopto, or other visual means of interacting with students and others, but this will be a challenge if many do not have access to the Internet or appropriate devices.  In short, this is going to take all of us working together for this to work.  I also urge everyone, wherever you are, to be kind, understanding, patient as everything in our daily lives changes.
    Right now, we must all concentrate on keeping our health.  The virus is continuing to spread at alarming rates, so many cities, and even states, have instituted "stay at home" policies to try to stop the exposure.  My mom, who is in her 80's, lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and where she lives there has a "stay at home" order that goes into place today and will last a minimum of thirty days.  Other places are following suit.  That is a long time to be isolated, but it is what is needed right now.  We haven't gone to those measures yet here in northern Iowa, but I could see that happening soon here as well.
   I know many sites on the Internet have suggested that people read while isolated to help keep busy.  For many, reading will help fill a small part of the void in daily lives caused by the "stay at home" mandates.  I hope reading does turn out to be a nice way of relaxing for everyone.  My new book, Lt. Elsie Ott's Top Secret Mission, was "officially" released two weeks ago, but because of what is going on, all of my book readings and events have been postponed indefinitely.  That's the way it should be because the last thing we need is groups getting together right now.  However, it is available in e-book format for those who would like to get it from your favorite book e-tailer.  I wrote the book to have a "cliffhanger" at the end of every chapter, so I hope it provides good entertainment for everyone during this very difficult time. I also did a podcast about the book on Veterans Radio.  If you go to the Veterans Radio website, you can click on a link there to hear the discussion.  I think you will enjoy listening to this.
   At the same time, my last book, Plague in Paradise: The Black Death in Los Angeles, 1924, is currently being read my many because the events surrounding the Plague outbreak in 1924 is so, so similar to what is taking place with the Corona Virus right now. If you would like to see how health and government officials dealt with a deadly outbreak in the past, you might want to read this book as well. It is a literary nonfiction account, so the story will take you behind-the-scenes to see exactly what happened to everyone -- those who were ill, those who governed the area, and the medical professionals who put themselves at great risk to help stop the spread of the disease.  We learned a great deal from the 1924 outbreak, and much of that knowledge is being used right now to fight the spread of the virus.  I'll attach a picture of the book cover for you to see.

     I wish all of you good health.  Take care -- and please stay well!  I'll try to be better about posting once we get organized here.