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

15611192_BG1

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