STANDING IN THE STORM, The Many Worlds of William Alan Webb

We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Category: Bill’s Non-Fiction (Page 1 of 2)

Check off #10

If anybody is following my writer’s checklist that I posted last week, I can now check off item #10, the book proposal for my World War Two book.

I finished it today when a friend on facebook gave me the winning formula to put the page numbers where I wanted them using Word 2007. All of the procedures on google were wrong, including those by Microsoft themselves.

Sheesh.

So the book proposal is off to Helion Books, a publisher who has supported my research over the years with encouragement. I don’t honestly think it’s the sort of book they would like, but I owed it to start with them.

So now that #10 is finished, it’s on to the next one! As Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

 

World War 2 book

I thought some of you might like to read something I just wrote five minutes before making this blog entry. What you might find interesting is that the two paragraphs below took maybe three minutes to actually write, but represent about 45 or 50 minutes worth of research. Not only that, but I had to buy the book I used for the research, since it’s not something you can find on Kindle or in the library.

The cheapest copy currently on Amazon is $195. I bought it from the publisher years ago for, I think, about $75. My personal library for producing this book exceeds 300 volumes of all kinds.

Near the southern end of the Vienna Woods at Heiligenkreuz, the storied 1st Panzer Division re-grouped and counted its losses. The town had long been an island of solace close to Vienna, with a backdrop of firs and pines to ease the pressures of the capital. The ancient Cistercian Abbey in the town had been continuously occupied since the Twelfth Century and was not abandoned even as war approached its gates.

Typical of the time, 1st Panzer was assigned to whatever corps headquarters made sense at the moment. At the beginning of April that was IV SS Panzer Corps. A strength return on the 1st indicated how devastating the material losses had been during the retreat across Hungary. Total manpower (ration strength) remained high at 11,473 men. But the equipment ready for combat tells the true story. 3 Mark IV panzers were on hand, but none were operational. A whopping 39 Mark V Panthers remained on the rolls but just a single tank could fight. The SPW numbers were about sixty percent of authorized numbers. The division’s heavy flak regiment was reorganizing at Bratislava, where the flood of war washed it away.[i]

[i] Nevenkin, pp 85

 

3 at once

Not that.

Books.

Today I’ve written parts of three different books. I didn’t plan it this way, it’s just how my mind works. Or doesn’t work.

Inspired by suggestions from my street team and in brain-storming with the world’s best publisher, Gunnar Grey, the plot points for Book 3 of The Last Brigade are really coming together. As the series goes on the stories become bigger, because the 7th Cavalry’s influence spreads and they encounter new friends, and new enemies. I keep getting ahead of myself writing it because I’m so excited by where it’s going. October 1 is the target date for release.

Meanwhile, the fantasy stories are coming along nicely. The publisher has a semi-edited version of Two Moons Waning, the first of the four novellas I’m working on. Today I worked more on The Queen of Death and Darkness, the second one. It’s 95% written, I’m just doing some back fill and minor editing. A Night at the Quay is about 98% finished, with one minor scene change to write. The last one, The Demon in the Jewel, is about 20% done.

And the third book is my WW2 history of the Battle for Austria in 1945. Still without a final title, I’ve cranked it back up in a big way and made a lot of progress. Now I’ve got to write a synopsis, which I dread.

So that’s a fast update for now. As always, if you have any questions just ask me!

Bill

 

ZERO TO HERO: 8 Months from First Draft to Top Seller

I’m thrilled to have published the first part of my story about writing Standing The Final Watch. I hope readers find it interesting and writers maybe find something helpful to their careers.

Purchase it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Zero-Hero-Months-First-Seller-ebook/dp/B071DWNFV9/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=28W0W0JAQ82WDM99S6HN

 

Zero to Hero: My 8 Months From First Draft To Top Seller

I’ve just completed the first draft of a short new book, Zero to Hero: My 8 Months from First Draft to Top Seller.

When my first book launched last August 17, Standing The Final Watch, a number of long-term friends wanted to know how I came to write a book so fast.

Fast?

To me, writing both Standing The Final Watch and Standing In The Storm back-to-back seemed to have taken years, whereas it really only took thirteen months. Now, for some writers that is agonizingly slow. But I hadn’t written any fiction in thirty years, much less two novels, and compared to my usual output it was a whirlwind.

Anyway, I tried to explain what all I did but it just never seemed clear, even to me. What exactly had I done? Then I focused on the final eight months leading up to publication and it was all a blur.

So for those interested I created a timeline, did my research and wrote an account of what I did and when, all leading up to publication day. I also want non-writers to get some taste of what it’s like to be a fiction writer in today’s saturated, hyper-fast market.

Challenging would be an understatement.

I’m hoping to finalize it and get it published within the next two weeks.

 

Was British imperialism in the nineteenth century more the product of political and strategic interests or of economic considerations?

Second in the series of essays on Britain in the 19th and 20th Centuries

British imperialism of the nineteenth century was fueled by economic considerations, with political and strategic interests adapting themselves to the requirements of this primary motive.

 

From the earliest days of empire in North America, commerce had been the underlying motivation for England’s colonization efforts. In time, the engine of England’s economy drove almost every aspect of her national life, and also became her chief vulnerability. Throughout the later history of England, when her enemies attacked her it was chiefly through her economy. Destroy her trade and you would destroy England; such was the conclusion of conquerors from Napoleon to Hitler. Is it any wonder, then, that during her imperial phase England sought to reinforce this greatest of assets?

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Observations on the social and political consequences of World Wars I and II on the British people

Author’s note: this is the first of a series of brief essays discussing various aspects of British history, all referencing Walter Arnstein’s Britain Yesterday and Today: 1830-Present

The two world wars changed the British from a prosperous and energetic people, driven by economic innovation and a sense of national destiny into acquiring and ruling the greatest empire the world has ever known, into an exhausted and demoralized people seeking to hide from the world and to entrust the government with their personal security. The pre-World War One society that remained class-influenced, both socially and politically, acquired egalitarian traits that veered left through socialism and flirted with communism, while still paying homage to a national government headed by a monarch. This uniquely British hybrid of a socialist kingdom mirrored England’s unique experience in the two world wars.

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The legacy of Athens

There is a reason Western Europe and America built their armies on the martial spirit of Sparta, but their democracies on the political spirit of Athens. Sparta relied completely on slaves to perform the mundane tasks necessary to feeding, clothing and housing a society, making it possible for its army to concentrate strictly on war. The Spartan juggernaut offers numerous templates upon which to build an armed force.

Athens, however, was something entirely different.

Emerging from the Greek Dark Ages, the Athenian political system developed as many other ancient societies did, beginning with an oligarchical system based on rule of the aristocracy. In Athens, the form this oligarchy took was in an assembly of free aristocrats called the Aeropagus, from whom a leader named an ‘archon’ would be elected for one year, a system that bears at least superficial resemblance to the later Roman Senate and its leaders, named consuls, except that the Romans elected two men to lead them for a one year term. In Athens this was a closed system designed to keep power concentrated in the hands of a select few, as only aristocrats could belong to the Aeropagus or serve as Archon. As Brand puts it, “this system reinforced class loyalties and oligarchic rule which despised one man rule, autocracy, and popular rule, democracy” (Brand, ‘Our Town: The Importance of the Greek Polis, Ancient History Online Lecture, p. 9). But like most oligarchies, pressure for participation in the political process by commoners and the lower classes began to stress the system. Wealth could only buy power to a certain point, since the upper classes were far outnumbered by the lower classes, with the ratios only growing more favorable for the lower classes as time went on. And while Athens initially gave the wealthy almost unlimited power, having a great mass of landless poor and even debt slaves, such a situation could not last forever, the numbers were simply not in favor of the wealthy. Without resorting to a draconian system such as that of Sparta, an all-out effort to keep the masses in check through force, something had to be done to prevent a complete overthrow of the Athenian system. Even the better-off among the lower classes, those who were allowed to serve in the hoplite infantry, began to demand representation.

I’m running out of superlatives here…  – Anonymous reviewer

In what seems like a pre-emptive measure to forestall any sort of civic trouble, the aristocrats recognized their peril and decided that somehow the poorer Athenians had to be brought into the political process, lest they revolt and overthrow the system altogether. In 594 they appointed a fellow aristocrat named Solon to look into the problem and gave him plenipotentiary powers to solve it however he saw fit, with the objective being a reform that benefitted all Athenians. It is interesting to note, in passing, how similar this looks to the Roman maneuver of naming a dictator with full powers to solve a given problem without fear of retribution. At any rate, Solon did, indeed, enact sweeping reforms. “Solon eliminated debt slavery and made it illegal for anyone to obtain loans with landed property or their own freedom as collateral. He also cancelled all existing debts owed by the lower classes. All debt slaves were freed and Solon even bought the freedom of many Athenians who had been sold into slavery elsewhere” (Brand, ‘Our Town, the Importance of the Greek Polis’, Ancient History Online Lecture, p. 10).  On the surface these reforms seemed radical, since much of the leverage of the wealthy was taken away, but even more important was the reform that eliminated basing political power on land, the basis for the aristocracy, and relying on wealth as the gateway to involvement in the political process. Wealth could be earned in any number of ways. Previously only men who owned land could participate, but with wealth being the basis such classes as merchants became eligible for high office.

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Thoughts on Caesar and Cicero

Julius Caesar possessed the unique combination of skills necessary to take advantage of the death spiral of the Roman Republic that began at Cannae and culminated with the consolidation of power into the hands of one man, first his, and ultimately his adopted son and heir, Octavian.

In short, Webb may actually have as good a handle on the nature of Caesar and what made him tick as any other modern writer 😉   As Caesar himself might say, Euge!   –  Kevin Johnson

This had been tried before, this imposition of dictatorial power over the Republic, mostly notably by Sulla, but not until Julius Caesar was it successful. Julius Caesar was an ambitious gambler with a strong sense of self-worth and an even stronger sense of destiny. Plutarch’s biography gives numerous examples of this. The application of his personal qualities, as well as his flaws, led to his seizure of power despite the opposition of powerful Roman senators such as Cicero, who were desperate to maintain Republican oligarchical rule. By following the path previously blazed by Sulla he laid the foundation for his own murder, but in his will he achieved his ultimate goal of creating an empire under the rule of a single man.

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The Twitter Tornado

Fellow Memphis writer H.C. Playa requested a guest entry for her blog, and this is the result.

On January 1, 2016, I did not have a twitter account. I didn’t know what a hashtag was and I didn’t care. Now, four and a half months later, I have 1500+ followers, more than 1400 tweets, am following more than 2000 people…oh yeah, and I sold my first novel, because of twitter. Within six weeks.

Say what?

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