Friday, September 29, 2017

About the Katzenhaus Blog

A note of explanation is probably due here to explain where I have been all week. Starting last week, just as I was gearing up to do a major blitz campaign about my new book, Henrietta's Journal,  the blog site attached to my company website went into a major revolt. The website still works. It is possible to go back and read old blog posts. I can tweak the website as a whole. (I just made some changes today.) But I cannot post anything new on the "Roundheads and Ramblings" blog site.

Why? No one seems to know! I am developing a lengthy history of e-mail correspondence with Vistaprint's technical support team. We're all now on a first-name basis. They've been comforting and "supportive." At first they said, "We'll fix it immediately." Then they said, "Have found the problem. Give us 24 hours." Then it was  "48 hours." And today their message read:

Hi Carolyn,

The issue is still being worked on and currently it looks like it may be resolved in the next couple of weeks. I will write back as soon as I have any additional updates or info.


My response to that message was an intolerant "You've got to be kidding!"

Somehow, I am no longer reassured by their attentiveness, particularly since so much should be going on right now. I intended to have several posts up about the new book to encourage my readers to get their copy. And now, looking ahead, I am ready to announce the first cover reveal for the next Katzenhaus publication--a revised edition of the always popular The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese. Instead, I've been writing complaint messages and trying to explain what's going on at this end.

The upshot is that I am shifting all blog activities to this Blogger site, hoping that faithful readers will continue to follow me over here for the foreseeable future. I'll spend some time over the weekend making amends to Henrietta and her Journal for neglecting her, so look for some extra postings. And then on Monday, we'll hold the cover reveal for The Second Mouses Goes Digital: Self-Publishing Comes of Age.

I hope you'll bookmark this site:

Then please share the link to help me reach across these broken lines of communication.  Thanks!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Power versus Justice

Book Cover for Henrietta's JournalI saw a quote on Facebook yesterday that has resonated in my head ever since. It went something like this:

“The law depends on power; ethics rely on justice. We need to teach our children to value justice over power.”

It occurred to me in the middle of the night that the statement could well be used to describe the theme of my new book, Henrietta’s Journal. Henrietta Ainesworth grew up in the rarified academic enclaves of Oxford in the early 1830s, where historians and philosophers studied, quoted, and tried to emulate the ethical and intellectual inheritance of the ancient world. Her new husband, Julien Beauchene, came from Charleston, South Carolina, where buildings, institutions, and social strata took their models from the empire-building policies of the Greeks and Romans.

Beneath the glamorous and romantic “Gone with the Wind” images of the antebellum South lay some uncomfortable truths. The impressive classical architecture of Charleston’s public buildings was meant to illustrate the power of the state. Southern society revolved around a small enclave of “Old Aristocracy,” who were, in fact, upstart immigrants disguised in fancy dress. They prided themselves on the enduring nature of their laws, newly designed to justify otherwise indefensible beliefs. They defended the “peculiar institution” of slavery by calling it the natural order of things—not recognizing the inherent contradictions in that statement. And they seemed to believe sincerely that a slave was only three-fifths of a person because the law said so and that they could stop the spread of knowledge by making it illegal to teach a slave to read.

Henrietta came into this strange alien world with her innocence intact, but the realities of Southern society soon opened her eyes. She was surrounded by slaves, whether she approved of slavery or not. Her every act was scrutinized by disapproving family members and neighbors whose suspicions were based on the fact that she wasn’t “from here”. She was shocked to discover that South Carolina law denied women the basic rights of personhood she had always taken for granted—things like the right to hold property, to express her opinions, and to make independent decisions. For the first time, she was learning the real meaning of a commonplace rule: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” She had always respected the law because she assumed it valued justice; now she was living in a land where laws had the power to overrule justice—and did so without remorse.

Could this young couple ever find a common ground on which to build a marriage? To what lengths would Henrietta go to “Do as the Romans do?” And where would she draw the line? To read her story, click here.