There are always new discoveries to make about the past

King Solomon of ancient Israel, writer of several books in the Bible, wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” (New Living Translation).

History repeats itself is one of the expressions in my best-selling book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions. Within the next day or two I will have an announcement about that book. But now I want to talk about something different.

A few weeks ago I was on a local radio show on which I am a frequent guest. I was introducing my new book, Exploring Our Exciting World, Book One, which highlights a lot of historical sites in the Southeastern US, including Civil War battlegrounds and monuments, cemeteries, etc.Not ;long after that broadcast I received a call from the local Genealogical Society asking me to speak at an upcoming meeting and be a co-guest on their radio spot before the meeting. I gratefully accepted and started looking for new material to present for them.

A few years back I made a trip to rural West Virginia to find the grave of my third-great-grandfather St. Clair who fought in the Civil War. It was wonderful finding out even more than I had already been told by a cousin about this man and his wife and their ancestry. One thing about which I was curious was why he and his family went to West Virginia from the family home in Virginia where the St. Clair had lived since the late 1600s.

I kept digging until I found that his brother had gone there earlier, and that his nephew, Gen. James William St. Clair, was a very prominent attorney in the area which was a State Senator and served as the National Commissioner for West Virginia at the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair. I even found a picture of him on the cover of the World Colombian Exposition for November 1891, Therein he was greatly praised as one of the most prominent lawyers in the South.

After doing family research for a number of years I had found a lot of connections to well-known individuals, but this one was closer than most. My great-great  grandfather’s first cousin. I am still ‘digging up bones’ from my family’s past. This one was a pleasant surprise. There may not be ‘anything new under the sun,’ but there is always a lot to discover about what already has been.

We have a lot of great books at St. Clair Publications with historic significance. Check us out at stclairpublications.com .

Liger cubs born in China, and Antietam re-visited

How many caught this news story today? A female Manchurian tiger and an African lion are the proud parents. No this is not a gag based on the movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” According to Chinese zoo officials these beauties are only born in captivity and there are only about 20 in existance. Three liger cubs were born on May 13, and two survived.

When I was in Bejing, I was priviliged to visit the Panda Zoo where the majority of the pandas in captivity live. What cute creatures they are. But there are lots more than 20. The Chinese seem to have a knack for getting a monopoly on things. Now America is dependent upon them for a lot of the money our government spends. I, for one, believe this should change. America is still the land of oportunity. We need to grasp the vision and sprint forward to see that we remain just that.

And we still have lots of zoos in America which are special. Omaha, Nebraska has a very unique one with some wonderful bird spices. And Grant Park in Atlanta has not only a huge variety of animals from all over the globe, but the Cyclorama, portraying the story of the Civil War. It has been a century and a half today since the bloody battle in Antietam Maryland, September 17, 1862, which changed the country forever. 4.000 of our brave men died in one day, and over 19,000 more were wounded.  That battle was re-enacted to insure that those in the area look back to our hurt and see how far we have come.

May God bless America, and keep us strong.

Bringing back the past – even the Big Wheel!

 

Big Wheel

The Big Wheel® was first developed by Louis Marx Toys and presented to the public at the 1969 New York Toy Fair. It immediately became a national success in the US. Now Alpha International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is bringing it back.

Across America nostalgia is raging. 50s style restaurants with the appearance of Arnold’s on Happy Days are reaching a feverish peak. That’s partly because people like the ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ that comes from the that bygone era. In fact, facebook has been overrun by images of the past recently.

Classic autos are also very popular, and millions go out to see them at car shows each year, and prices of totally refurbished classics are prime.

The older I get, the more I like reminiscing and reading about the past. Not just my own lifetime, but topics of historic significance. I don’t want to live in the past. Heavens, no! We have to look to our future. But the past is certainly something we can learn from.

We have published a number books of historic significance. Books like SIlas Marner, A Man for the Ages, Men of Iron and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If that story doesn’t take you back to a simpler time and make you feel warm and fuzzy, what can? There is also Beyond the Thistle Patch which draws from the 1950s and ’60s. Hope you get a copy of one today!

http://stcclairpublications.com

Prince Henry Children’s Book now available

Hazel BrownThe long-awaited Prince Henry St.Clair, Earl of Orkney children’s book is up of the St. Clair Publications website one day ahead of schedule!  

This exceptional work, crafted by noted artist, Hazel Brown (See picture) in the UK, tells the story of a young boy, Haakon, whose grandfather sailed to the New World with Prince Henry almost 100 years before Columbus. It is aimed at children between the ages of 10 and 15, but will also be interesting and delightful to older teens and adults. Order your copies today at the above link, or from Amazon in the US, UK or any Continental Europe site. It is sure to keep the attention of everyone in the family.

 

Prince Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney

On or about 1 September a fresh and delightful new children’s book will be released by St. Clair Publications.

Noted British faerie artist, Hazel Brown, vividly paints this intriguing story, based on the life and voyages of Jarl Henry St. Clair aka Prince Henry Sinclair, and his voyages to the New World 100 years before Columbus, with all of the skill and rapture of a well-seasoned best-selling author.The brilliant full-color illustrations, many of which cover the entire page, are also most remarkable. 

Haakon, a twelve-year-old lad of Orkney, has waited what seemed an eternity, for the return of his wise and beloved grandfather, a blacksmith who has traveled with Sir Henry, his navigator, Antonio Zeno, and their crew to discover lands far away. He, along with his two young cousins, Jon and Eugenie, anxiously probe for answers to  numerous questions about their mysterious voyage. They are far from disappointed, and not only are told tales beyond their wildest dreams, but experience for themselves exciting adventures which would be the envy of any youngster of their day..

This book will excite children with its fast-paced, carefully-worded tales of blended truth and legends of kIngs and queens, princes and princesses, knights, selkies and fairie folk, all glued together with unforgettable art work. However, it will be equally memorable for adults, who will yearn to read it again and again to their curious offspring.

2012 Summer Olympics are history

The Olympic summer games have once again come and gone, to become a part of our collective world history. I am proud to be an American. Our superior athletes walked away victors, winning more metals than anoly other country with the following: 46 Gold, 29 Silver, 29 Bronze and 104 total. China took 88 in all for second. But now we are left with some fond memories, and our great athletes have experienced the time of their lives. Rather than mention a few by name, I will just express my thanks to each, whether or not they came home with metals. They are all heros to me. God bless them, and God bless America!

 

Classic novels

One of the tasks that we are undertaking at St. Clair Publications is to publish in both high-quality paperback and ebook format a good number of classic novels which shaped our literary history. Already Men of Iron by Howard Pyle with a forward by Kent Hesselbein and Silas Marner by George Eliot with the forward by me are out in paperback, and I have prepared The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  by Mark Twain for future publication.

Now I am formatting and preparing the classic Abraham Lincoln novel, A Man for the Ages by Irving Bacheller (1919). Not much is known by many younger people about Irving Bacheller, but he was a great person in his day. After graduating from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, where he was later granted two honorary Masters and two Doctorial Degrees, he founded the Bacheller Syndicate which popularized of such works as Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, and those of Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle. 

Bachelor was also the author of another popular novel titled Eben Holden. A Man for the Ages  is divided into three books; the first as a niave young man, the second dealing with his self-education, entry into the public arena, and the third with his rise to the presidency and his death. A lot of it deals with the division of the nation concerning the slavery issue. In my youth, my mother read this book to our family, and it had a powerful impact on my sense of values. Well worth the read when we get it out.

Anniversary of our Independence: July 4…or 2?

For our neighbors to the north, Canada, their birth as a nation is celebrated on July 1st, and it is called ‘Canada Day.’ To our immediate south, our Mexican neighbors call their special date ‘Cinco de Mayo,’ which means May fifth. Here in the good old US of A we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day because on this date in 1776, our forebears composed the ‘Declaration of Independence,’ the document by which we proclaimed ourselves to be a sovereign nation, free from the rulership of our mother country, Great Britain. But it wasn’t actally signed until August 7th.

And there is still a controversary among some as to when our independence should really be celebrated. That’s because July 2nd, two days before the drafting of the documeent of freedom, is the true day that the Continental Congress voted for our independence, in essence declaring it.

If you recall, John Hancock signed at the very top in his larger-than-life script. Most people fail to realize that this was because he was the President of the Continental Congress at the time.

But the most important factor about this or any other celebration is not the when, but the why. And that we all know. So happy anniversary, America. And long may you live, and long may we be free.

The more things change the more they stay the same

One of the tasks with which I am involved on a daily basis is the preparation of books for publication, either in printed form or as e-books. When working with classic litterature–those endearing yarns of the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries–I certainly realize the evolving of our language and the difference in common terms which have been lost in the marching onward of the years. That’s why it is intriquing to me to work with cliches, proverbs and idioms in determning their origins and how their meanings have altered with the turning of the pages of time.

But a saying that is certainly an axium is ‘The more things change the more they stay the same.’ The first time this proverbial phrase was brought to my attention was as the title of an article by a dear friend of mine several years back. I am currently formatting the charming Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain for release by our new eVolve e-book division. Though some of the phrases and expressions have gone the way of the dodo bird, the quaint charm and insights into human nature are timeless.

 

Freedom in America

America was founded by immigrants from Europe who came here seeking freedom–both religious and economic. I know that at least two of my immigrant ancestors, one on my mother’s side, and on on my father’s, were French Hugeunots. I will call them Peter and John, sounding for the world like two of the desciples of Jesus. But I’m fairly certain that they were not that pious. And their birth names, though anglicized to these forms, were actually Piere and Jean.

Dr. Piere Chastine was a physician who first escaped with his family to Switzerland in 1696, later to the VIrginia Colony, where he helped found a town. All Chastains, Chastines, Shastines, and related spellings in the US are thought to have descended from him.

Jean Bricquet, also born in the mid-seventeenth century, and his family, journeyed from Artois Provence, now Pas de Calais, France, first to South Carolina, then Maryland, also ending up in the Virginia Colony. All Brickeys in America are said to descend from him. 

Today our freedoms are quickly eroding. It is up to us to fight to keep them strong.