Blackbird is on the Way

Blackbird: Book 7 of the Colplatschki Chronicles is being processed and should be available tomorrow or Sunday. It is a saga of high bravery, low treachery, young men being foolish, and one man saving the world (and buying lots and lots of books).

When a Book Hits the Wall

I set a new record a little while ago. I walled a book after I got to the fifth page of the introduction. This may be the earliest I’ve sent a non-fiction book sailing (or would have if I’d paid for it rather than checking it out of the library.) I can take books with a hard bias. I can take books that turn out to be other than advertised. I can take books that don’t cover what I’m interested in/need. The trifecta was too much and the offending tome went back to the library post-haste. Continue reading

It just went Bloom!

And the scent is as striking as the bloom. Meet Ebb Tide. http://www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com/images/ebbtide.jpg

And the scent is as striking as the bloom. Meet Ebb Tide. http://www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com/images/ebbtide.jpg

You’d think someone had spiked the ground with Miracle-Gro(TM) around here. After the snap freeze in November that did in all the crepe myrtles and a bunch of other plants, most of us garden owners assumed we’d be replanting everything. Nah, the rain has helped, the mild spring helped more, and only about 75% of all the yard plants died, at least in the areas I see frequently. Grafted roses were toast, though.  Continue reading

Memorial Day

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God of our fathers, known of old

Lord of our far-flung battle-line

Beneath Whose awful Hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine

Lord God of Hosts be with us yet—

Lest we forget—Lest we forget.

The tumult and the shouting dies;

The captains and the kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts be with us yet—

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Excerpt from “The Recessional” by Rudyard Kipling (1897)

Two Roads Diverged: Labor in East and West

Historians of Central Europe often debate the so-called Sonderweg, the “other path” taken by German-speaking nation in the 1800s-1945 that led away from individual freedoms and toward autocracy.  But I want to look farther east, to what happened in Russia and Central Europe in the 1500s-1600, and even back in the 1300s. because while the Black Death and the wars of the Renaissance brought slowly increasing freedoms of movement, conscience, and individual rights to Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia shifted back, re-imposing serfdom and forms of slavery. That difference still resonates today, as journalist/historian Martin Sixsmith found out. “Russia is too big to be ruled by a democracy. Russia needs one man,” ordinary Russians told him over and over. Continue reading

Book Progress Report

The draft of Clawing for the Crowns is done. If all goes well it will be released next year, probably in late spring. It continues the story of House Szárkány-Kárpátok through the end of WWI and the first events following the Treaty of Versailles.

 

István’s war as an army Colonel was just the beginning. Now he must keep the House together through the hunger years and the chaos of the Empire’s slow collapse. Treachery outside the Habsburg Empire’s borders and dissention within may doom House Szárkány along with the Empire. István Eszterházy will need all his strength, the help of the Powers, and a large dollop of luck as the world crashes down around him

Oh dear, it’s miller (moth) time

“Mrrrow!” Magazines slide off the end table, followed by the globe. “Mowww!” Gigancat bounds across the back of the sofa, leaps and misses the moth but does manage to knock a Navajo rug askew. He stops, relocates his target, and manages a standing jump of almost five feet. And misses. The moth, oblivious to the furious battle cries and chaos unfolding below, circles on of the living room pot lights, casting flickering shadows that further infuriate the enormous red tabby. It’s miller time at Redquarters.

Gigancat's Nemesis - a dusty miller (moth). http://www.bugsandweeds.co.uk/Moths/miller.jpg

Gigancat’s Nemesis – a dusty miller (moth). http://www.bugsandweeds.co.uk/Moths/miller.jpg

Continue reading

Book Updates 5/14/15

Good afternoon ladies, gentlemen, gentlebeings, and y’all over there peering in through the window.

The first chapter of Carpathian Campaign, an alt-history novel of WWI, will run this Saturday.

Clawing for Crowns, the sequel to Carpathian Campaign, has rounded the corner and feels to be in the home stretch. I know where the end is, I have a good idea how I’m getting there, and the most emotionally draining writing is done.

The cover of Blackbird is also done and looks very good. Editing is 2/3 done, and the formatting framework is being put into place. I’m probably going to do a Kindle Countdown on Circuits and Crises when Blackbird releases, so please tell your friends who might be interested. Blackbird stands alone, but does build on the events of the earlier book (Colplatschki: The Next Generation).

Marking Time

Look at your watch. Now look at the screen. Look at your smart-phone clock and calendar. Now look at the screen. Look at your wall calendar. Now look at the screen. This screen doesn’t look like your clock or calendar, does it?

A Book of Hours from the British Library: Royal 2A XVIII (1404-1411)

A Book of Hours from the British Library: Royal 2A XVIII (1404-1411)

OK, I’ll stop channeling the Old Spice pitchman. We take time and date-keeping for granted, unless it is one of those occasions when we forget our clock-thing, or are embroiled in an argument over dating, as has been known to happen at According to Hoyt and a few other Odd places (and in academic circles). Do we date from the founding of Rome, or the building of Jerusalem, or the first year of the Arab conquest/hijra, or AD/BC or BCE/CE (and in that case, what do the C and E stand for?) Which cycle of Brahma is it, and which of the Navajo worlds are we currently in? Do we mark the year from the winter solstice or a lunar month with or without catch-up days built in? Does the day start at sunset, sunrise, or some point half-way between? Continue reading