Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Writer's Guide to Horses

Today, I'm bringing you information about horses from the website,  An Equestrian Writer’s Guide, by Susan F. Craft. This is a wonderful site for authors to learn all about horses. 

Mare – female horse
Gelding – castrated male horse
Stallion – male horse; also called an “entire”; in the US he may be called a “stud horse”; but never called a stud by the English, which is what they call a farm or stable that keeps horses. Stallions have more natural aggression especially around other  horses; usually ridden by experts.
Foal – baby horse from birth to January 1 of the next year (horses mature between ages five and seven)
Filly – girl baby horse
Colt – boy baby horse
Yearling – in the year after the birth year (too young to ride; most saddle horses aren't  worked hard until at least four years old; breaking and training may start earlier)
Pony – small, usually less than 14.2 hands high. Smart and sturdy, they are often   used by ladies in pony carts or carriages, or for packing goods.
Horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers (the ridge between the shoulder bones) in hands. One hand is four inches.
The average horse is 15 to 16 hands. Very tall horses may be 17 hands, and only unusual horses reach 18 hands.
Ponies are usually less than 14 hands, two inches

Two areas of the body—the main body and the points, which are the ear tips, mane, tail, and the fetlock or the lower part of the legs—are considered when determining the color of a horse. (This gets a little complicated because color designations differ between UK and the US.)
Appaloosa – white hair and dark patches that may be leopard, flecked, snowflake or  in a blanket. These originated in northwestern US and were formerly much  used by Native Americans.
Bay – red-brown body, black points—may be dark bay, mahogany bay, red bay  (cherry bay), blood bay, light bay, sandy bay—but every bay horse always has  black points
Black – black body, black points—may be smoky black, jet black, coal black, raven  black (true black is rare)
Brown – brown body, brown points; may be a seal bay (dark brown with black legs, tail, and mane) or a standard brown
Chestnut/Sorrel – reddish body, self-colored (non-black) points. When in UK refer to Thoroughbreds or Arabians as chestnuts—a liver chestnut, dark red  chestnut, dark chestnut, etc.  In the West, “sorrel” designates light reds;  medium or dark reds may be called “chestnut.” Some Western  horsemen use  “sorrel” for all red horses no matter the shade. Light sorrel draft horses with  white manes and tails are known as “blond.”
Dun – yellowish body, black points; may have primitive marks, which include a  black dorsal stripe and/or zebra stripes on the legs; a red dun is a name often  used for a reddish yellow horse with red points and primitive marks; a grullo  is slate-blue with black points;  and a claybank is a pale dun color without  black points. Duns are called buckskins in the US, and even piebald or  skewbald.
Gray – may be born black or bay, but each year shows more white—iron grey, steel grey, dappled grey, etc. A “rose grey” is born chestnut or bay.
Paint/Pinto – white patches patterned as either Overo (white patches have ragged edges and  rarely extend over the top-line) or Tobiano (white patches have sharp edges  and cross the top-line and usually with white legs)
Palomino golden coat, white mane and tail; palomino with a cream-colored coat rather than gold, is called an Isabella—a term often used in Europe for all palominos
Piebald – dark-skinned, born dark and turning whiter each year; large irregular solid  patches of black and white
Roan – can be blue or strawberry; mixed colored and white hairs, staying the same  every year after one year old. A blue roan has black and white hairs; red roans  and strawberry roans have red and white hairs. A thoroughbred born chestnut  may be called a “red roan” even when truly gray—getting progressively  whiter each year
Skewbald – large irregular solid patches of any other color and white
White – pure white with pink skin; in western US white and off-white horses with blue  eyes are called cremello or if it has slightly red or blue points, it’s called a perlino (true white is rare)

Stay tuned for more next time.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


At last I have a new story that will be available Sept 1. The Good, The Bad, and the Ghostly is a western historical romance anthology and is up for pre-order now. For a free sample book with excerpts from the eight various stories, plus other ghost tales and recipes from each author, leave your email address in a comment below.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Shell Grotto, Kent, UK

Buried deep underground in the small English town of  Margate, Kent; is a grotto shrouded in complete mystery. Adorned with 4.6 million shells and 70ft of winding underground passages leading to a rectangular chamber, this shell grotto is undoubtedly a remarkable site to behold.
The story has it that in 1835, a laborer was going about his usual field work, but when he struck the soil with his spade, it sank into the earth. The farmer realized that he was standing on something hollow, but was unable to see anything from the surface. Word spread around town, and a local school teacher volunteered his young son, Joshua, to be lowered into the hole with a candle. Upon emerging from the mysterious cavern, Joshua described rooms filled with hundreds of thousands of carefully arranged shells. 

The Shell Grotto is adorned with symbols mosaiced in millions of shells, symbols that celebrate life as well as reminders of death. It hosts a passage, a rotunda, and an altar chamber.

The shells include scallops, whelks, mussels, cockles, limpets and oysters, all of which can be found locally. However, the flat wrinkle shells must have been brought in from elsewhere. With so much intricate detail, on a rather larger scale, one question still remains, who built this underground cavern? Shrouded in mystery, some believe that the grotto once had religious significance -primarily due to the vaulted ceilings and altar spaces. Nobody knows how old the grotto is, but some theories about its origin date its constructions as far back as 3000 years ago.
Another theory holds that the grotto was created as an aristocrat's folly sometime in the 1700s. This proposed explanation is validated by the fact that shell grottoes were actually quite popular in  Europe in the 1700s, especially among the wealthy. The only catch to this theory, though, is that the grotto's location was on farmland - a land that had never been part of a large estate where follies would have been satisfied.
Others believe that it may have been used as an astrological calendar in the past.
There are those also, who say that the grotto must somehow be connected with the Freemasons or the Knights Templar.
Others believe that the grotto may date as far back as 12,000 years ago, maintaining that it is connected to a mysterious Mexican culture.

Its mystery has left people completely stumped, so much so that in the 1930s, some had held séances, in the hopes of contacting the spirits of whoever built the grotto.
Right now, it seems, we will not discover the truth behind this mysterious shell grotto. The age of the shells could be determined through carbon dating according to the Shell's Grotto website, but it's a pricey process, and other conservation issues are currently being prioritized. 

One thing is clear, though, the arrangement of the shells must have taken countless hours of painstaking work.
Unfortunately, many of the shells in the grotto have faded over time, losing their luster through water damage. In its early days, it would have been full of dazzling color. This recreation shows what they might have looked like at the time, and with over 4.6 million shells, it surely must have looked astonishing! 

Since its discovery, the Margate Shell Grott has been opened to the public, first by Joshua's father, the school teacher. In 1835 he quickly bought up the land and began renovating the grotto to make it suitable for visitors. Two years later, in 1837, the grotto had been opened to the public for the first time and still enjoys visitors today.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

The American Doorknob, a History

 By by Franklin Pierce Hall

A Brief History of the American Doorknob

“Ode to a Doorknob” – singing praise to such a simple everyday object, sounds bizarre and ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, that is exactly what many old home magazines have been doing in the recent years. Unfortunately, they have been narrowly focused on the decorative “Victorian Era” hardware. For sure, with the possibly of as many as 5,000 decorative doorknob designs created during this period of American Builders’ Hardware (from late 1860s to early 20th century) is indeed rich, interesting, and enjoyable to study. The Victorian period was the height of hardware’s use as decorative art. Antique hardware has become not only an interest to the old home restorer, but a major field in collectibles. The historic and aesthetic value of antique hardware was recognized by a group of people in the 1870s, which organized as the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America in 1981, a nonprofit whose purpose is the study and preservation of ornamental hardware. They are constantly working to enlarge their research archive of hardware catalogs and advertising material, and updating their reference book, "Victorian Decorative Art," which documents decorative doorknob designs of the period previously mentioned. So, what about the earlier hardware, which a good number of us in the Northeast living in homes dating before 1860 might have or had in them?

I myself have chosen to live in and restore an early 19th century house and must decide with what I am going to replace the cheap hollow doors with their non-descript brass plated doorknobs installed in the 1960s.

With an acute interest in the early years of our nation, its transition from a colonial economy to an industrial economy and its search for national identity, I have been studying our industrial revolution and early architectural styles. Since 1998, I have attempted to put the pieces together to reconstruct the history of the American Builders’ Hardware Industry and its place in our industrial and material culture history, in this article I will now recount briefly to you what I have found and concluded to date.

First of all, the house is simply “a machine for living,” a structure that gives you shelter, security, and emotional well-being, a.k.a., “Your Home.” Builders’ hardware such as hinges, latches, locks, doorknobs are the components of that machine, which make it functional and allow you to obtain the fore mentioned requirements of life. Secondly, to the old homeowner, Builders’ hardware is a very important part of the house’s heritage, because it is one of the most significant elements of its creation. Hardware, as stained glass and decorative woodwork, often referred to, as pieces of “House Jewelry,” were functional ornamentation used by the original builder/owner to beautify their home and to impress their houseguests.

As to an actual restoration project, I would like to quote the late renowned blacksmith historian, Donald Streeter, “To accomplish a successful restoration, the restorer seeks to use hardware, which is historically correct and functional, never self-consciously quaint or artificial.” Thus, in a true restoration project, there should be a close relationship between the hardware and the building’s architectural period detail; the hardware should be as authentic as the architectural reconstruction. Conscious research in the area of hardware can make the difference between a “renovation” and a true “restoration.”

Since the formulation of the idea of grasping a round object to open a door, doorknobs have been the subject of technical development and artistic expression, taking on many shapes and ornamentation and made in various materials; glass, metal, clay, porcelain, wood, plastic and other contrived compositions.

With all of this in mind, we need to first look into the history of American Builders’ Hardware from Colonial times to 1860.

Early American Builders’ Hardware Industry

Dating of hardware is often quite difficult, particularly with the early wrought iron pieces. Historically most hardware before the mid-19th centuries came from England. In fact, it has been claimed that as late as 1838, ninety-five percent of hardware used in America was imported from Europe. This means that contrary to the long time myth, the assumption that the majority of our early builders’ hardware and nails were made by local blacksmiths is false. Actually, our early blacksmiths produced very little during and immediately after our Colonial period. Their few existing account books do confirm that they mostly repaired iron items and occasionally made nails and some latches and hinges.

Reason being, that as a "British colony," America was discouraged from manufacturing finished goods, which could compete with the motherland's manufacturers and merchants.The colonies were expected to supply the raw materials (i.e., wood, iron, and cotton)o England, and later to purchase the finished products made from them. To prevent the development of manufacturing in her colonies, the British government instituted and attempted to maintain restrictive measures on our domestic production, except for simple “made in the home” goods.

The British Government also passed laws to prohibit the exportation of machines or their models and established the policy prohibiting skilled English craftsmen from leaving the country. England intended to be the most advanced industrial nation in the world from which others would have to buy manufactured goods.

Secondly, contemporary newspaper advertisements, ships’ cargo lists showing imported goods, and the surviving late-eighteenth-century hardware catalogs from Sheffield, England hardware

manufacturers provide convincing evidence that Colonial builders’ hardware was almost exclusively exported from England. Lastly, this presumption is confirmed by the fact that period hardware, such as hinges, latches, and locks appear in identical physical form throughout the entire original thirteen colony-states.
It was not until 1815, after the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) and co-existence War of 1812, did America finally “shed the yoke of colonialism.” Thirty years after declaring its independence, America finally starts to sever its historical, cultural, and economic ties to its former motherland and pay more attention to the internal development of the “United States of America,” by facing its deficiencies to become truly self-sufficient. Whereas, as its shipping trade had been interrupted by the wars and the consequential trade restrictions, as the Embargo Act of 1807, manufactured goods had been difficult to get and were expensive. America set out to build its own manufacturing industries to provide the needed products. The new nation entered whole-heartily with the spirit of innovation and capitalism into the Industrial Revolution. Americans soon demonstrated a great talent for mechanization, transforming their

agricultural and trade-rooted economy into a more balance economy with an industrial partner.
The U.S. Government aided the enfant industries by placing high tariffs on imports as a protective measure and as an attempt to make domestic made goods more price-attractive.
Lastly, the fact that the early patent records from 1790 to 1836 held at U. S. Patent Office were destroyed by fire in December 1836, makes early hardware research a challenge.
Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century
Between 1820 and 1860, the American Industrial Revolution gained great momentum, shifting production from “made in the home” to the factory. The basic principle of the Industrial Revolution can be defined as “man’s desire to extend human physical capacities and economic resources by making less labor do more work.” The invention of machines designed to accomplish a specific task” - reduced human physical work and time required to complete a task. This permitted increase production with the reduction of production human labor costs, making the products more standardized and profitable than the “hand-made.”

The tremendous growth of our industrialization was made possible by the improved means of transportation, increased population, and inventions. Transportation systems; canals, steamboats, and railroads, brought the raw

materials to the factory and carried off the manufacture goods to various parts of the country. The increasing population (between 1812 and 1852, the population increased from 7.25 million to more than 23 million) supplied the necessary labor force; many were the newly arrived immigrants, but the larger labor supply was the native-born women and children who took up employment in the factories. There was a great influx of people from the farms into the cities and factory towns, who sought a better economic life. The census of 1860 shows that one million three hundred thousand people were working in factories and shops, producing nearly two billion dollars in manufactured goods. Also, at this time, the infamous “Yankee Ingenuity” came into play, inventive Americans were arriving at many new ideas to create and improve machinery by making it work faster or smoothly or more safely. Between 1850 and 1860, thirty-six times as many patents for inventions were issued every twelve months as had been issued each year before the War of 1812.
Within four decades after the American Revolution, the young nation of the United States found itself in a period of unprecedented growth and transition. Domestic industries would have to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population that was expanding westward, extending the country’s boundaries far beyond the original thirteen colonies hugging the Atlantic coastline, as far as Michigan and Wisconsin (between 1812 and 1852, the country

expanded from 4 million square miles to 7.8 million). The subsequent housing boom required a large amount of architectural hardware. By the 1830s, America had an emerging builders’ hardware industry in the Northeast, composed of small entrepreneurships located in the major cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and in the new factory towns as New Britain & New Haven, Connecticut, which had to supply the hardware to make the new buildings operational. As the other infant American industries, it encountered much difficulty during its early years. The lack of machinery and tools prohibited completion with imports; early products were costly and were regarded by the handmade market as inferior to factory-made imports. The companies had to either buy or to design and fabricate their own patterns, machinery, and tools to make the products that the growing housing market demanded.
As descriptions of new machines and processes appeared in print, Americans eagerly read about them and created their own versions of the inventions being invented in Britain. Although the British Government attempted to prevent skilled mechanics from leaving Britain and advanced machines from being exported, these efforts mostly

proved ineffective. Americans worked diligently to encourage such transfers, even offering bounties to entice people with knowledge of the latest methods and machinery to come to the United States.

Utilizing the mechanical power generated by water wheels and the newly developed steam engine, and the newly invented machines, America moved out of the “Age of Wood” into the “Age of Iron”. Subsequently, the builders’ hardware industry progressed greatly between 1830 and 1860, using the new power sources, new production methods, machines, and tools.
Similar to today, there were periods of economic woe. The most serious were the “Panics of 1837” and “1857,” times of over-optimism, both people and businesses living beyond their means were suddenly confronted with an economic crash. Businesses were forced to stop buying and manufacturing things, because they could not sell them. Many companies failed or had to make great sacrifices. This drastic slowdown cost thousands of workmen to lose their jobs. Businesses went in default on the investment loans, causing the banks to shut their doors. As a result, for a number of years after, the nation was shrouded with dark anguish - the economy “on the rocks,” factories, stores, banks suffering and massive unemployment.

Success in establishing large-scale hardware manufacturing in the U.S. did not come about until the later half of the nineteenth century. Only after inventing new methods of manufacturing and improving iron/steel production were they able to create a stable and efficient position to meet the domestic demand and start to export to other countries.

The 1820s and 1830s were the early years of experimenting with mortised door fastenings (i.e. latches & locks).
Pre-1840 Builders’ Hardware
Most of the hardware used through the Colonial period and well into the second half of the nineteenth century was of English origin. An early simple Greek Revival building might still have had 18th century-style, hand forged "H" and "H&L" hinges, surface-mounted box lock, aka, "rim" lock, and spring latches. The door knobs of this period were the small, elegant English style lathe-turned hand-finished brass that operated spring latches and box Locks.

Whereas more ambitious buildings might have had the advanced hardware, such as, cast iron butt hinges (an English patent in 1775), more sophisticated box or rim locks (i.e. Carpenter or Young). Cut nails and pointless wood screws replaced the earlier wrought iron nails as builders’ fasteners.
Mortise locks had been made in England since around 1790, but were not largely used in America until 1840s. This was due to the narrow thickness of the doors in the majority of Colonial period houses. Being 1¼” or less, the doors could not be cut out or mortised to accept such locks. These thin doors were usually equipped either with surface mounted thumb latches, spring latches, or rim locks. Then during the1820s/30s, common interior doors started to become thicker (1½”, 1¾”, 2"), which allowed them to accommodate a mortise lock or latch. The latches pictured are ingenious apparatus invented by the Blake Brothers, nephew of Eli Whitney, of New Britain, Connecticut, which were mortise cylinder latches patented in 1833, using a concept that would not be universally accepted until the 1940s.

The first American metallic doorknobs which appeared in the 1830s, were heavy foundry cast brass knobs. They
were mushroom-shaped, spread-foot knobs and not as refined as the earlier English lathe-turned hand-finished brass knobs. They were very likely first made by the North & Stanley Co. in New Britain, Connecticut.
With the invention of a glass-pressing machine, patented in 1826, permitted the manufacturing of inexpensive and mass-produced glass articles.

Furniture and door knobs were the first items made by the pressing process. Thus, the pressed glass doorknob was the very first doorknob made in America and the first truly original decorative doorknob. These early pressed glass doorknobs, were simply a large furniture knob, mounted by insertion of a hand-wrought spindle through a pierced hole in the glass. The knob was then secured with a brass nut to the spindle. These knobs were fitted with brass ferrules, to prevent damage to the base of the glass knob. The ferrule fitted into a brass rose, which acted as a bearing plate, preventing wear on the door’s surface by the turning of the doorknob.
Next, in 1837, was the first patent awarded for “applying a glass knob to a metal socket.” The knob was held in the metal socket that allowed the knob to be attached to the spindle by a small pin. The knob was once again mushroom-shaped with an attractive brass step-tapered shank. This design of the socket/shank became the long time standard for glass doorknobs manufactured until 1915. The two patents, the pressed glass process and the brass socket were inventions patented by Enoch Robinson of Boston, who would continue to make a great impression in the hardware industry.
Post-1840 Builders’ Hardware
Between 1830 and 1860, the American builders’ hardware industry greatly improved its position to compete with imports. Their products became better suited for the American market, more competitive in pricing, and successful in overcoming the image of being inferior to imports.

The major development in the industry was the increased patenting of mortise latches and locks; these mechanisms operated by doorknobs soon gained favor over the longtime use of thumb latches for interior doors. Thumb latches would still remain in use for many years to come, delegated to service areas (i.e., the kitchen, the attic and storage areas), out of view from the public areas of a building.

The doorknob would find its place with surface-mounted latches, replacing the thumb press (above). Knobs for 1840-50s mortise latches and locks, included pressed glass and as the Nashua Lock Co. hardware pictured , were of polished cast brass and lacquered hardwood, in this case – rosewood.

Cast iron hinges became the norm, until about 1850, when the stamped plate hinges started to be produced. Wire nails and pointed wood screws became the builders’ fasteners of choice, particularly when used in the new balloon framing construction.
Then, during the 1840s and 1850s with new methods of shaping and molding doorknobs, less expensive but very attractive materials, (pressed glass, hardwood, clay or Argillo Stone, and porcelain) were used and became very popular. The knobs pictured here are pottery and milk glass knobs with the Robinson 1837 taped brass socket/shank.

By the 1860s, brown clay (misnomer “Bennington”), the swirl mineral, and porcelain doorknobs with simple cast iron shanks, first patented in 1841, became the norm of the time, particularly in rural houses and in the service areas of wealthy homes. They were the baseline items of hardware companies and catalog companies as Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward well into the early twentieth century.

Finally, there was the creation of the most attractive doorknob of the pre-1860 era on January 16, 1855, the “Boston silvered knob” or a.k.a. “mercury “ knob with its mirror finish. Its inventor, William Leighton of New England Glass in Cambridge, Massachusetts, proclaimed that his invention was a glass knob “which shall possess the color and luster, of polished silver, and at a cost little above that of the ordinary glass or porcelain knob.”

The development of the American doorknob had worked its way from a relatively crude, heavy weight brass pastiche of its forebear to a well-constructed light-reflecting piece of art.

The American builders’ hardware industry had created products that were both technically refined and attractive.
With advent of the mortise latches and locks, doorknobs became not only a functional part of securing a door; their appearance took on a decorative importance. After the America Civil War, the concern for decoration would soar. During the Victorian age, a period of industrialization and mercantilism a perusing of ornamentation was carried to the ultimate. Doorknobs as any other domestic furnishing would reflect the tastes and styles in decorative art of the Victorian period in America.

Franklin Pierce Hall, the author of this article, lives in a restored 19th century home.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Chad Strong, a western romance author, and I am going to share our chat with you today. Be sure to see the notice about the giveaway.

1. Chad, tell us about your book.

High Stakes is a Western Historical Romance set in Victoria, British Columbia in 1877, in Canada’s Pacific Northwest.

The main character, young gambler Curt Prescott, plays better poker than men twice his age. His skill raised him from a life of degradation on the streets to a comfortable living with his girl, saloon songstress, Del, in Victoria, BC.

In the spring of 1877, a new preacher, his wife, and daughter, Mary, arrive. The preacher hopes to save the souls of Victoria’s “misguided”. His wife forms a committee to eradicate them. Curt must fight back with everything he has – including a plan to seduce Mary and shame the family.

As a notorious criminal and Del’s jealous rages threaten them all, Curt’s battle for his lifestyle becomes one of right and wrong, life and death, and love lost and found.

Chock-full of western grit, romantic allure, and courage of the heart, High Stakes is an adventure for men and women alike.

And your readers might be interested to know that you created the great cover for High Stakes!

2.  Is it your first?

Yes, High Stakes is my first novel. It was originally published as an e-book by Musa Publishing in 2012. It had done reasonably well, making the finals for two distinct book awards. However, Musa went out of business last spring, so I’ve taken the opportunity to tweak it a bit and self-publish to get it back out into the world.

3.  How did you come to write it? 

This is a story that has been with me since my teens. Victoria, BC is my home, and I’ve always been fascinated with the history of the area, the flora and the fauna – everything. While learning about Victoria’s history, I recognized a lot of elements that would suit a western type of story, and since I love reading westerns, it seemed natural to write them.

4.  How did you come up with the characters? Are they fashioned after someone you know?

The characters came to me pretty much as they are. I had to get to know them, to learn their stories before I could write about them. And that took some years and some life experience  and a lot of good old-fashioned research – but the characters and their stories never let me forget about them. They aren’t fashioned after anyone I know – it’s like they are unique individuals.

5. Do you have another book in the works? What are your plans for the future?

I do have another book in the works. It’s a young adult fantasy, so it veers away from my usual westerns. But I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasies as well as westerns, so it’s not too much of a shocker to folks who know me. I’ve had short stories published in both genres, and others, over the years.

Actually, I’ve recently released a couple of western short stories in ebook format that folks can find from the same retailers as High Stakes. And, lucky me – you designed the covers for those as well!

My plans for the future include finishing the new book – I’m just through the second chapter – as well as continuing with some short stories that are hassling me to write them. One of those is a western/fantasy cross.

Be sure to leave a comment, folks. Chad will be giving away a free e-book to a randomly chosen commenter.

A Canadian writer, Chad Strong has had the privilege of living in different parts of this big, beautiful country: from Victoria, BC on the west coast, to the Manitoba prairie, to southern Ontario. His need to write is as strong as his need to be around horses, and if he didn’t have a book or a pen in his hands it would be a pair of reins or a manure fork instead. His short stories have appeared in publications including Bards & Sages Quarterly, Mysterical-E, Rawhide’n Roses - a Western Anthology, and Frontier Tales.

Chad enjoys hearing from his readers. If you’d like to say hello, you can find him at:

Website: www.chadstrongswriting.weebly.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/chadstrong

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Chad.Strong.Writing

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/chadstrong5

High Stakes is Available in Kindle and Paperback from

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WJDzLi

From Kobo:  http://bit.ly/1sl2n2A

From B&N: http://bit.ly/1Ox8gia

And many other ebook retailers.