The Appreciation & Authentication of Civil War Timepieces

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My latest horological book was published by the NAWCC in June, 2019. This book is intended to stand as the definitive work on the subject of how and why to collect Civil War watches. About half horology and half Civil War history, the book will equip readers with the tools to make informed judgments concerning the authenticity of Civil War timepieces and the provenances sometimes associated with them. The book also endeavors to impart a basic understanding of the importance in American history of the events to which these artifacts relate, and to make the stories of the men whose names appear on some of these watches live for a new group of admirers.

The book is 238 pages at 8″ x 10″, with 162 figures, 12 tables, 155 references, and a 67-book bibliography.

Print copies in both hard and soft cover are available from the NAWCC Gift Shop and www.NAWCC.org, from popular online stores, and from local bookstores (request it by title). The e-book edition will be available on popular online stores by the end of June.

The list price of the book is $34.99 for the soft cover edition, $44.99 for the hard cover edition, and $29.99 for the e-book. NAWCC members purchasing from the Gift Shop are entitled to a member discount, and also to an extra discount if purchasing before July 31, 2019. Members can order print copies by calling 1-717-684-8261, extension 211, or by following the link below (Note: NAWCC members must sign in to access the discounted pricing):

https://net.nawcc.org/NAWCC/Store/

William Jackson Palmer (New NAWCC Bulletin Article)

A new horological article of mine, “Watch Presented to Brigadier General William Jackson Palmer by the Officers of the 25th Pennsylvania Cavalry” appeared in the May, 2019 issue of the NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin.

This 6,600-word article tells the story of a young Quaker from Philadelphia who made a moral choice between pacifism and abolitionism and enlisted in the Union army as a captain to preserve the Union and fight slavery, rising to the rank of brigadier general at age 28, and earning a Medal of Honor.  The article goes on to explore the extraordinary character of the man and the broad footprint he left on the history of the American West.

NAWCC members can access the article by logging into NAWCC.org and following these links: PUBLICATIONS / Watch & Clock Bulletin / Past Issues.

December, 2018 Update: Gennebar Rising Book III is now Available!

Friends, I am very pleased to announce that the conclusion of my epic science fiction fantasy trilogy, Gennebar Rising, Part III: The Kozem King, is available on Amazon.com, or directly through my website. The official release date was November 22nd and all formats, downloads, and soft and hard cover print, are all available.

This is the culmination of a nearly seven-year project for me. Some delays were experienced in locating and signing a new cover artist for Book III, who turned out to be none other than my cartographer Jason Ruggiero. Judge for yourself, but I think he did a great job of capturing one of the dramatic scenes I described in Book III. Thanks also to my book designer Nick Caruso, my promotions agent Saul Bottcher, my copy editor Adrienne Izaguirre, and my portrait photographer Laura Magone. If this indie book looks like a regular publishing house product, they are why.

Now that Book III is launched, I have renewed my promotional campaign. Purchased downloads and especially, reviews from confirmed purchasers on Amazon.com will help me to bring my work to the attention of the largest possible audience. If you have read my work and would like to discuss it, please contact me through this website.

To order an autographed copy of any (or all three) of the books directly from my site, please go here.   Here is the front cover and the cover synopsis for you.  Cheers, and happy reading!

Gennebar Rising, Part III: The Kozem King, Book Flap Synopsis:

 In the conclusion of the Gennebar Rising trilogy, the rebels face a powerfully reinforced occupying army and are driven deep into the desert wastelands of their country. A telepathic covert agent of the corrupt Gennebri Sacred Temple sows division from within, while complicit Gennebri heretics sap their people’s will to resist from without. The courageous rebel leader, Senasha, has been taken prisoner by the Temple’s sinister High Priestess, and confronts physical and mental ordeals in the priestess’s dungeon.

In these desperate circumstances, young Arol, still learning to command his special cosmic abilities, proves his mettle and rises through the fractured, strife-torn ranks of the rebellion.  He leads a daring mission to rescue Senasha, helped by his mentor, the elder wizard-like “kozem” Bernarro. Arol then leads an outnumbered, ragtag army in a climactic battle against his homeland’s brutal occupiers. His bag of wizard’s tricks, advanced scientific understanding, and an imprecise foreknowledge of an imminent geologic event are all he has to compensate for his adversary’s overwhelming superiority in numbers and organization… It will have to be enough.

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Why I Wrote Gennebar Rising

Like probably many others reading this post, I’ve been reading and enjoying sci-fi/fantasy literature since I was a kid.  Also, possibly like some folks reading this post, non-fiction writing has been both a big part of my job and a passionate hobby throughout my adult life.  I knew I was pretty good at non-fiction writing, having received awards for my work in two different fields, physics and horology.   So whenever I read a sci-fi/fantasy novel I often had one of two reactions: either, “Gee, I wonder if I could ever write something that good,” or sometimes, “Wow, I’m sure I could do better than that!”  These thoughts had been teasing me for many years, when finally, the perfect story to see just how good a novel I could write struck me.  I knew I had to act on it.  Each reader will have to decide for his or herself how well I did.

So what made the Gennebar Rising story so “perfect” for me?  Well, I have always loved history, but in particular, I have always had a special historical interest in First Century Palestine.  Why, well for one thing, because of my Jewish heritage, the mythology that surrounds that period and place has had a profound, and largely negative impact on my ancestors.  The antisemitic edge of that mythology has been ground down in many places, now, although it is still visible in plain sight in Christian scripture if one has but clear eyes to see it.  But for well over a millennium, the predominant lore which has come down to us from that time and place was used as the pretext to persecute and not infrequently, to murder people like my forebears, who refused to accept the Christian radical reinterpretation of their faith.  That same body of Christological myth permeates every aspect of our western, and in particular, American culture, often with negative consequences for everyone, not just religious minorities.  So I thought that writing a hopefully engaging fiction story about a time and place very similar to First Century Palestine might be an opportunity for me to tip some sacred cows that needed tipping and to poke some holes in that body of myth, keeping readers engaged while I was doing it.

That brings me to my second, and equally important motivation for writing this story.  I am both a career scientist and a Jewish atheist.  (No, that’s not an oxymoron.  Jewish identity is complicated.  It is an ethnicity (actually, several!) as well as a set of religious beliefs.  One can have one without the other.)  When I declare I am an atheist, I don’t mean I would claim categorically that no god exists.  I just don’t care.  I can’t possibly know whether a “god” exists, or what such a supreme being, if it exists (it certainly doesn’t have a human gender), could possibly want from me.  But I am absolutely convinced that the organized, scripture-bound religions are childish anthropomorphic conceits developed to help humans cope with their own mortality.  (That’s a great trick if you can suspend disbelief and make yourself fall for it.  The problem is, I am cursed with a rational mind.)  I would say further that if a supreme intelligence does exist (lurk?) behind existence, then it “speaks,” if at all, through the laws of physics alone.

Fortunately, I speak physics.  So I inserted a rational person with a modern, scientific sensibility many centuries ahead of his time into my story to act as my spokesperson in the novel.  I refer, of course, to the “kozem,” Bernarro. ( Kozem is the Hebrew word for “wizard,” in case you were wondering, and Bernarro is derived from Bernard, the paternal uncle, after whom I, Clint Bruce Geller, am named.  My uncle “Buddy” was a career US military officer who was KIA around the time of the Korean War.  He left behind a wife and three terrific gold star daughters – my cousins, so it was a pleasure to weave him into my story in some way.)

My interest in advocating science over faith-based “knowledge” systems is why I went out of my way to ground the special powers that some of my fictional characters possess in science, rather than magic.  As I have Bernarro himself say at one point, science is the very antithesis of “magic.”  Science is an unrelenting war on ambiguity and ignorance.  It proceeds from the assumption that the universe is knowable based on rational principles and the powers of observation possessed by all human beings, whereas magic posits that reality is inherently mysterious, fundamentally incomprehensible.  Science and magic (which is a form of “faith”) are mortal, irreconcilable enemies!  (This is not to say, of course, that fantasy stories full of magic can’t be a lot of fun to read.  I love them!  But religious fantasies full of magic and make-believe are something else entirely.)

I made some deliberate choices in the novel to make it very clear to the reader early on that I was making no claims to historical accuracy.   Apart from the individuals in the story with special abilities that are plausible, but of course, entirely fictitious extensions of some ideas in modern physics, I also made the priesthood of the High Temple female.  I had two other reasons for doing this as well.  First, as long as I was going to place the High Priest “in bed” with the Roman authorities, which is historically accurate (Caiaphas, who was despised by most of his countrymen, was a Quisling appointee of Pilot), I decided to actually place her in bed with the Procurator (i.e., the “Viceroy”) literally as well as figuratively.  Second, I wanted some strong female characters in my story, and the real First Century Palestine was uniformly and depressingly patriarchal.   For similar reasons, I assigned anachronistic modern ranks to the officers in both the Drenarian (read Roman) and Zemaki (read Zealot) armies.  No decani, centurions, or tesserarii, (though a legatus does make an appearance), but sergeants, lieutenants, colonels, commanders (a naval rank) and generals. My use of these modern ranks was a flag that once again, I was making no pretenses to historical authenticity, but rather, it is up to each individual reader to decide for his or herself whether my deliberately and manifestly imperfect historical “analogy” makes valid points.

One other thing: I set out to write the kind of fiction story that I myself would most like to read.  I believe I have succeeded in that.  I very much hope you like my story too.

The third and final part of my story is now available on amazon.com in ebook, soft cover and hard cover formats.  I sincerely thank all who have stuck with me this far and wish you a very enjoyable read of Books II and III.  I’d love to hear from you, and you can message me here!  Just follow the links.  Cheers.

 

Into the Maelstrom has been published!

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Order a copy in e-book, paperback, or hardcover format.

Gennebar Rising Part II: Into the Maelstrom is now available for download and print edition purchases.  Please click this link for ordering information, including autographed hard cover copies.

Picking up where Part I, Awakenings, left off, young Arol is swept up into the cauldron of national revolution, personal strife, and passionate desire while his new, untested abilities are still wet from the mold:

Strange cosmic powers have awakened in young Arol, a junior assistant at the Sacred Temple in the capital city of his war-torn homeland of Gennebar. Seeking to understand and to control these powers, he goes to study with the elder cosmically gifted sage, Bernarro. Too soon he is thrust into the maelstrom of conflict and war when his mother is sold into slavery by a corrupt tax collector.

Enraged, Arol decides to join the forlorn rebellion, the Zemaki, against his country’s oppressors, the rapacious Drenarian Empire. But first he accompanies Bernarro on a quest to find and free his mother. In the market of Gennebar’s port, he chances into Lissande, a courtesan in the Drenarian Viceroy’s court. There Lissande is discovered by angry pursuers from the Viceroy’s household. Moved by her plight, and drawn to her beauty, Arol comes to her rescue. But dire choices confront Lissande when she returns to the Viceroy’s house, and she decides on a bloody leavetaking with Arol.

In Lissande’s company, Arol reunites with his best friend Zorn who has already joined the rebellion, and his lover, the rebel leader Senasha. Arol and his new comrades must depend on his untested abilities as they risk all to strike a brilliant blow against the Drenarian occupation.

The cover design for the concluding Part III: The Kozem King is in progress, with book release planned for the Spring or Summer of 2018.  Meanwhile Part I continues to garner good reviews on the Amazon and Goodreads sites.

 

December, 2017 Publishing Update

Final preparations for a January, 2018 release of “Gennebar Rising, Part II: Into the Maelstrom” are underway, with cover design and book formatting proceeding apace.  Below is the synopsis that will appear on the cover of Book II:

Strange cosmic powers have awakened in young Arol, a junior assistant at the Sacred Temple in the capital city of his war-torn homeland of Gennebar. Seeking to understand and to control these powers, he goes to study with the elder cosmically gifted sage, Bernarro. Too soon he is thrust into the maelstrom of conflict and war when his mother is sold into slavery by a corrupt tax collector. Enraged, Arol decides to join the forlorn rebellion, the Zemaki, against his country’s oppressors, the rapacious Drenarian Empire. But first he accompanies Bernarro on a quest to find and free his mother. In the market of Gennebar’s port, he chances into Lissande, a courtesan in the Drenarian Viceroy’s court. There Lissande is discovered by angry pursuers from the Viceroy’s household. Moved by her plight, and drawn to her beauty, Arol comes to her rescue. Dire choices confront Lissande when she returns to the Viceroy’s house, and she decides on a bloody leavetaking with Arol. In Lissande’s company, Arol reunites with his best friend Zorn who has already joined the rebellion, and his lover, the rebel leader Senasha. Arol and his new comrades must depend on his untested abilities as they risk all to strike a brilliant blow against the Drenarian occupation.

November 12, 2017 Publishing Update

I am very pleased to report that as of this day, there are approximately 2,375 books, counting both printed and electronic copies, of Gennebar Rising, Part I interacting with the world.  While most of my readers are in the US, I have readers in Canada, the UK, France, Denmark and Australia as well.  If you are one of them, I’d love to hear from you at clint@clintgeller.com.  Have a great day!