Archive for the ‘1’ Category

Steam and Stratagem: Roberta stayed at Number 6 St James Square

January 17, 2014

On her first visit to London Roberta stayed in the rooms her father engaged for business visits to the city. For the purposes of the novel I chose to make those the premises in Number 6 St James because I had found photos of the inside of the house as it looked in 1958 when it was demolished, and used the same surroundings for Roberta’s visit in 1814.

I have to admit that this was another true story I had fudged. The house of 1814 had also been rebuilt— in 1818-1820 and the pictures are of the new premises. However this merely makes them more representative of the time—the way I time shifted the railways and things. So the pictures I have to show are photos taken as record before the 1958 demolition—that’s why the cars out front in the first picture are there—they weren’t time travellers.Front Num 6

Roberta and her Aunt Nelly stayed in rooms in the back premises…a kind of rear wing located beyond an open court on the ground floor. The rooms would have been above a large formal room on the ground floor. The hallway they used to reach the rest of the house and the stairs they descended are shown next.

Hallway to rear Num 6image num 6 stairs

The main drawing room where they met Lord Bond has a few pictures (as it survived until 1958).

image inside num 6Lounge entry Num 6image number6 st James

You can ignore the broken brickwork in this last picture—I assure you it wasn’t there when Lord Bond stood in 1814 to greet them.

Before I end this I have two things to report. First, the publisher and I are in agreement about publishing the sequel to Steam and Stratagem entitled “Spies and Subterfuge”. I expect to receive the contract docs later this week. SandS 2 will carry Roberta’s story on to the end of the Napoleonic Wars. I’m sure it is not a big spoiler if I tell you she gets to meet Napoleon twice.

My other active blog, Rustic Realizations, will have a new post about the same time as this is posted and I want to mention that I give a link to a new global initiative to end all war that is just starting and looking for members. It is at In my blog I draw parallels between the end of the Napoleonic Wars (just a bit past 1814), the beginning of WWI in August 1914 and our world in 2014.


Blog Jog Day

November 20, 2010

Thank you for stopping by my Blog! Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to “We Are One In Spirit”
If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to

I don’t have a freebie on offer today, but if you look at the posts immediately below you will see that I will be offering a free novella from my Iskander series novels when my new website comes online. (Not published elsewhere.)  The novella will be an e-download for everyone who wants it. I will post the opening of my new website here (of course), so keep watching. The domain name is to be

I am expecting to be away much of Saturday, but go ahead and post a comment anyway. I will reply to all on Sunday if I cannot get back online on Saturday.

Interview with an Oracle

September 23, 2010

This was written originally as a character interview promoting Rast, my fantasy novel to be released next March. I’m enlarging on it here (well it’s my space, isn’t it?)

CH: Hi, folks. First off, this is me, the author, setting up the interview. To interview the Pythian, one has to descend a long passage beneath the Palace of Rast to the underground chamber where the Oracle resides. Another thing to mention is that the Pythian is given to breaking out into riddles in blank verse. To give the setting, I’ll quote a passage from a chapter in Rast where the Prince goes down to consult him.

<Step after step wound away before him. His feet followed them down and down, around and around, as if the way would hypnotize him. The bronze studs of his boots clacked on the hard stone until there were steps no more, merely a steep sloping tunnel to slip and scuff down into the depths. He descended in a flickering bubble of light that seemed as a globe, drawing him down into a darkened, petrified ocean. And then, all at once, he was at the bottom.

His light became a glimmer in a wide chamber. At the far end two green orbs appeared as from an empty void. “Egon,” came a resonant voice. “What a pleasant meeting.”>

CH: Here we are in the pitch black chamber … don’t become bogged in the thick dust … it’s a bit creepy. Can’t see a thing. Whoops, there are the eyes in the distance, like two green moons.

“Oh, hello. Have I met you before, dear boy?”

CH: Boy? That’s a good one, I’m seventy-one.

“Pshaw. I’m at least a hundred times that. But should I know you from somewhere?”

CH: I did write the book.

“Mere triviality. We are the creatures who inhabit it –.
“Empty pages only blow in wind
“When no spirits reside therein”

CH: I guess you’re right about that. But one thing I didn’t establish in the book was this matter of all magic creatures being connected. How does that work?

“Interests in common
“Common discourse make”

CH: Uhuh … so what form does it take?

“No phone have we;
“No Internet.
“We may reside in diverse abodes
“And fixed as mountains or the sea …”

CH: Yes, I know all that but how do you do it … telepathy?

“I’m coming to that. Don’t interrupt.”

CH: Sorry, but I don’t have your millennia to pursue these answers.

“Fault is yours; creator-man.
“Builder of worlds fantastic.
“Written a better self prognosis should you have.”

CH: I didn’t get the chance.

“Then what merit is yours
“Ink bedraggled scribbler?

CH: You took that from a line in my book.

“So sue me for plagiarism.
“Mighty author, what power hast thou
“If a minor character
“Has wit to baffle your designs?”

CH: Okay, already. Characters have to possess the freedom to be themselves.

“So I may choose my answers?
“Foretell or obfuscate
“As I may delight?”

CH: Will you let us get on with the answers if I concede your point?

“Meaning, dear boy?”

CH: You’re right.

“I generally am. Did you come for some advice, or a foretelling of your future?”

CH: You might let me know how many copies of Rast will sell.

“Your pecuniary question is moot
“Since your task is done
“And other eyes and minds will take their route.”

CH: Thanks, I believe I already knew that.

“Oh, think a lot of ourselves, do we?
“Is that the right you claim
“As writer of the book?”

CH: Hmm. Should we get back to this oracle business? What would be the best avenue of book promotion?

“Does a poor magic creature
“Residing in dark, bereft?
“Offer words of value
“For so little consideration?”

CH: Oh, you mean I didn’t bring you your honey toasted roaches?

“Aha, not so dull after all.
“Visit the palace kitchen
“Catch the morsels (plenty reside therein)
“And tender them to me.
“I may answer your question then … or not.
“You see – the future is easy not to learn.

CH: Drat. Here I am on the way up the passage. Sorry I wasn’t able to find out more about the Pythian and his world. Magic creatures are not easy to handle.

Blog Jog Day

May 8, 2010

Thank you for stopping by my Blog. Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to

On this site I’m blogging about my published novels (see Pages at the right sidebar linking to sample chapters and reviews) as well as various discussions of interest to writers, readers and others. I’m particularly interested in having visitors check out the chapter and review of my latest release “The Wildcat’s Burden”. If you would like to leave a comment on either the review (archived under March), the blurb under “About The Wildcat’s Burden”, or the sample first chapter below, I will conduct a draw for a free e-book copy. (Better leave a link where I can find you and your preferred format in the comment.)

I am currently blogging about a novel I wrote a number of years ago that was based on an attempt to buy a refinery from a major oil company. I was secretary-treasurer of the workers’ company and am giving an account of what happened to the refinery bid and to the novel under the headings Nothing Venture. Neither achieved success, but I think there are many things in the posts that will be of interest to writers as well as activists. Some good cautions as well as pointers by the time I finish. Nothing Venture 1 through 3 are below and 4 will be posted soon (by post 5 or 6 I should be finished with the background and starting what I learned from writing the novel.).

Best wishes to all……………Chris H

The Wildcat’s Burden

February 12, 2010

Released today by Double Dragon e-Books

The Wildcat's Burden

Find it at

Countdown to a New Direction

January 11, 2010

I’m looking to re-vamp this blog site to make it focus on the next Iskander story release instead of the one it was started for. The present material will still be available in archive.

I’ve been interested in the transformation of Christina Katz’s “Writers on the Rise” and other newsletters into “The Prosperous Writer” and intend to pay attention to her advice and ideas when I finally carry out my own transformation.

For those who may not have seen her newsletters I post next a free article from her new site that she offers to other writer bloggers.

Hope to show you my new material soon.

Platform Resolutions for Writers 2010

Before writers establish an author platform, they typically establish a writer platform. Over the past decade, thousands of writers have parlayed established influence into traditional book deals. Landing a traditional book deal is still an effective way to exponentially increase your credibility and visibility.

Your “platform” refers to what you do in the world with your professional expertise that makes you visible and influential in the world. Having friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter is not your platform, unless the majority of those people know who you are, what you do, and are enthusiastic about your work.

I thought I would offer some advice about how to slowly and steadily establish a lasting platform. You may note the lack of fanaticism in this advice and the emphasis on enduring success instead. I’m a mother and a wife, a freelancer, a speaker, a teacher, and a blogger, so aiming for balance is the only way I can afford to work if I plan on sticking around for the long haul.

This advice has worked consistently for my students over the past several years. I think you will find that a grounded, step-by-step approach works just as well for you if you choose to follow it:

  1. Develop a platform topic that you love and can work on tirelessly for the next few years. Your passion of the moment should come in second to the topic you could delve into deeply for a good, long time. Prior professional education and a depth of personal experience are going to be a boon to your platform if you have an eye on a future book deal.
  2. Hang back from establishing a blog on your topic until you have cultivated a wealth of content and experience working with others on specialty-related activities that lend credibility and trust to your name. Others will tell you to start blogging immediately, but don’t, if you want to be efficient with your time and money.
  3. Instead, gain authority by seeking publication in established, highly visible publications both in print and online that serve your target audience. Avoid the kind of publishing that anyone can accomplish, like posting on article sites, and work on your professional communication skills instead. By all means, avoid the content mills offering writers slave wages with the promise of future earnings.
  4. Don’t begin any kind of marketing campaign for any product or service offerings until you have established yourself as a go-to person on your topic, again saving you time and money. Before you look at ways to serve others directly, channel your expertise into the best service methods possible based on your strengths and weaknesses. This is a meaty topic that is covered in-depth in my book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books 2008).
  5. Then, develop a product or service that can become one of several multiple income streams over time that will support your goal of becoming a published author. For example, teaching classes over the years has allowed me to re-invest more of the money I earn from writing books back into book marketing. Make sure any offerings you produce are released conscientiously and are integrated into the professional writing you already do. Otherwise, you will seem like you are all over the place and just trying to score a buck.
  6. Don’t expect your platform to support you financially for at least one or two years, as you micro-invest in it, re-invest in it as it grows, and expand your visibility.
  7. Once you have a professional publication track record in your niche topic, then it’s time to hang your online shingle. I’ve seen this accomplished in as little as six months by exceptionally focused students. Take a portion of the money you’ve earned writing and invest it in a professional quality online presence.
  8. A low-cost way to do this is to purchase your name as a URL and use a hosting site like to host a blog. I use the Thesis Theme, which you can see in action at my blog. In this way, a blog can also serve as your website where you post your published clips, offerings and bio. If you don’t have a ton of money to invest in the look of your site, you can always pay a designer later.
  9. Delay partnering with others on joint ventures until you have a clear idea of your own strengths and weaknesses in and around your topic. And when you do partner with others be extremely discriminating. Make sure the partnership is going to be win-win-win for everyone involved.
  10. Start an e-mail newsletter or e-zine with those who are most interested in your topic. Build your list by invitation and then grow it into a permission-based following over time. Create an expected, ongoing dialogue that is mutually beneficial to everyone involved and your list will grow.
  11. Now you are ready to start blogging. And yes, I mean while you continue to do all the things we’ve already discussed. Be sure to zoom-focus your blog on what you have to add to the conversation that is already going on about your topic. Don’t just share information; make an impact. Make your blog a go-to, up-to-date resource for your audience.
  12. Partner selectively with others who serve the same general audience that you do with integrity and humility. Spend time getting to know folks before you decide to partner with them. You can’t afford to taint the reputation you have worked so hard to establish by partnering with just anyone.
  13. Now that you have an established niche and audience, definitely participate in social networking. I like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because they all offer something unique. The best way to learn is to jump in, spend an hour online each week until you are up and running. Follow the instructions for getting started provided by social media expert Meryl K. Evans.

This start-up plan for a writer platform will eventually blossom into an author platform. From start to finish, implementing a solid platform following this advice should take you about a year. By the end of that year, you will have established yourself as a serious contender in both professional and online circles, without killing yourself for some huckster’s promise of overnight success.

Have a plan. Leave a legacy in words, connections and professional influence. If you are consistent, by the time the year is done, you will have made effective use of your time and money in 2010. I wish you the best of luck in your platform-building efforts!

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids for Writer’s Digest Books. She has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, presents at literary and publishing events around the country, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. Katz publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, and hosts The Northwest Author Series. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. A “gentle taskmaster” to her hundred or so students each year, Katz channels over a decade of professional writing experience into success strategies that help writers get on track and get published. Learn more at

Will be posting fresh material soon

December 23, 2009

My apologies for leaving in the middle of this topic. I hope to get back to it in the new year.

Also in the new year, my next Iskander series novel, The Wildcat’s Burden, should be ready for release. Gisel is still the protagonist and still a fighting wildcat, but she’s pregnant and thus slowed down a little. The action is as hot as ever because her enemies gather in the city of Skrona, where she is military governor.

Dream Realm Awards

June 22, 2009

Hi All:                                                                     dra08_finalist

Just a quick note — my retrofuturist novel “Arrival” has been selected as a finalist in the 2009 Dream Realm awards for 2009.

I will be able to add the logo to this site and be able to continue regular posts here when I leave the city this week.

Double Dragon Authors do it Again

June 8, 2009

BOTYA Winner GraphicI Share in an Award.

The authors with Double Dragon Publishing have produced four – so far – anthologies of their short stories. These collections have all won awards or recognitions of excellence. I was privileged to have short stories in Twisted Tales II (Time on Our Hands) and Twisted Tales III (Pure Fear). This last named was recently given an Honorable Mention as a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

I certainly cannot claim more credit than any of the other contributors, but I feel that I held up my end – particularly as I don’t consider myself a short story writer. The other authors in Pure Fear are Kim McDougall, Marilyn Peake, John Klawitter, Geoff Nelder, J Richard Jacobs (also Ed.), Ann Dulhanty, Ginny Davis, Biff Mitchell, K L Nappier, Brandon Berntson, and A J Chaboya.

Usually, I cannot satisfy my fictional images with less than 90,000 words, so writing something around 2500 requires an extra effort for me. Although both anthologies I had stories in won recognition – Time on our Hands won the Eppie for anthology last year – I decided not to contribute to the latest edition. My stories worked to a degree, but I feel I’d need to go back to the writing school in order to produce something a cut above, and I’m more at home with novels.

Anyway – congratulations to us – especially the other authors represented.

“Follow the Money”; a novel about the new depression; Part Two

May 1, 2009

Since many commentators are suggesting China will recover the most – and the earliest – what about making Hu Jintao, the president, the hero of our Great Crash epic? In some ways it would be appropriate, as it was Chinese savings and Chinese industriousness that propped up much of the American financial bubble for the past ten years. Perhaps longer. However, the Chinese exports to the US, and the huge trade deficit provided a significant contribution toward the crash. Were they on the good side, or the bad? The Americans would not have become financially insolvent if the rest of the world had not indulged them.

Perhaps having the world’s reserve currency since the Second World War has been a deadly trap, that the supposedly smart people in Washington and Wall Street fell into like rubes at a carnival. Because every trading nation in the world had to buy US dollars in order to pay for export and import business the US dollar was made to seem more resistant to setbacks than it really is. That’s still the situation even today when panicked foreigners are buying US Treasury bonds as an attempt to find financial security. Nothing is everlasting, and the more financial operators extend their faith in the fiat dollar the more they invite its failure. (Fiat dollar refers to a currency that has no item of value, like gold, to back it.)

Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, at the recent G-20 promoted the idea of using IMF Special Drawing Rights, or something based on them, as the world’s new reserve currency – to take the pressure off the US dollar. This would enable the US to institute fiscal policies that address its own particular problems – future inflation as well as chronic unemployment – without further upsetting the global economy. Does this qualify him as our future hero who will save the world from economic collapse?

Let’s look at another part of the picture first. Over the last six years, China has increased its holdings of gold by 75%. Does this look like a commitment to help the US over its monetary crisis?

From “The Daily Reckoning” April 29th 2009:

<China has increased their gold holdings 75% in the last six years. They recently announced that the gold holdings have been transferred from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) books to the People’s Bank of China. PBOC. Our intrepid correspondent, Byron King explains what this really means: “China is monetizing its gold!

“This SAFE-to-PBOC transfer marks a profound decision by Chinese government leaders. Obviously, the Chinese government has bought gold over the past six years. But in keeping with a nation where youngsters get their Sun Tzu with their mother’s milk, the Chinese went through an internal debate over whether to add the gold holdings to the official Chinese monetary reserves. That is, if the gold was not “monetary,” then it was just another non-monetary investment commodity like iron ore or copper or petroleum.

“But now, with the announcement by the Chinese Central Bank, it appears that the debate is resolved. The gold has been added to Chinese monetary reserves.

“This action by China is part and parcel of an under-the-radar global effort to rehabilitate gold as a monetary reserve asset. Gold has not been a factor in global trade and currency exchange since the late 1960s. But there’s a powerful movement afoot in the world to reestablish gold as part of an international monetary system. It’s because the U.S. dollar has been so badly mismanaged over the decades. No, you won’t read about it in your local newspaper, or even in the standard, mainstream business media. But that movement is out there. It’s happening.>

Add to that an item in today’s ( April 29th) Der Spiegel:

<Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has decided to address the issue (of changing world order).

In mid-April, BND President Ernst Uhrlau presented German President Horst Köhler with his analysis of the repercussions of the current situation. During the meeting at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, the president’s official residence, the two men discussed a “metamorphosis in geopolitics” and the future political make-up of a world that will never be the same again.

The core message for the German government is that Europe and the United States will come under growing political pressure, and will face growing competition from China. Beijing will be one of the likely beneficiaries of future shifts on the political map.

Uhrlau believes that there are three possible scenarios. The first scenario, the most optimistic of the three, assumes that the current economic stimulus programs will work, leading to a rapid shift in trends in the stock and credit markets, and that confidence will return and the economy will pick up speed soon.

Under this scenario, the United States will remain the dominant superpower, but it will emerge from the crisis economically weakened and with less available capital to fund its military activities. The People’s Republic of China would benefit from this development as the strongest exporting nation.

The Chinese will benefit even more if scenario two, which the BND calls the “China scenario,” becomes reality. It describes what will happen if the billions from the West’s economic stimulus programs end up primarily in Asian countries.

The foreign capital would reinvigorate Asian domestic markets, allowing Beijing to invest even more heavily in advanced technology and take over the prime assets of Western industry, thereby accelerating its modernization process.

This, in turn, would speed up China’s process of catching up with the West. For Beijing, the crisis would serve as the catalyst for a development that has already been underway for several years. “China would develop even more strongly into a superpower in Asia and a reference point for countries like the Arab Gulf states and other raw materials producers,” says Uhrlau. “The United States, on the other hand, could forfeit some of its dominant status.”

India would also grow in the slipstream of the Chinese, though not as dynamically. The BND believes that under this scenario, competitors to central institutions like the IMF would take shape, such as an Asian Monetary Fund.>

( PS. You don’t want to know the third scenario.)

Well…seen enough? If you are Chinese or even a citizen of almost every country in the world – except America – this might qualify Hu Jintao as a worthy hero of our proposed novel about saving the world from the current depression. Since I’m assuming most of my readers are American, I have to carry on to find a protagonist they might find more palatable in my next posting.