Caesura – The No-Tryout Solo

All my readers who have sung the “Alleluia” Chorus from the Messiah raise a hand, forefoot, or paw. All those who have heard (because you never did it, I’m sure) an impromptu solo in the next-to-last measure keep your appendage up. Thank you. You can lower them.

The caesura, or sometimes called a “grand pause” is a technique composers use to build or maintain tension in a piece of music. It is also one of the best opportunities for an instrumentalist or vocalist to have a solo without the need of practicing or trying out. This is generally not a good thing. Continue reading


December Wrap-Up

Whunf! The copy-edits and tweaks to both Woman’s Work (Shikhari 4) and Merchant and Empire (Merchant and Magic 4) are done and awaiting covers and formatting. I’ll format them when I get the covers.

I’ve started the fifth Shikhari book, and need to do some research in my rapidly shrinking free time. It’s been a while since I read Hopkirk.

I don’t know if there will be more Familiars in the near future.

The last Colplatschki book will come out later this spring.

Artifacts, Culture, and Adoption

Last week I came in on the last half of a PBS program about “The Secrets of Stonehenge.” I’d read most of the different bits and pieces, but it was nice to have them all pulled together with attractive shots of Stonehenge and its environs. However, the last ten minutes or so raised my eyebrows and started me wondering… Continue reading

Christmas and the Puritans

Everyone knows that the Calvinist-inspired group within the Church of England hated Christmas and anything fun. Why else wear plain black clothes and execute the king? (OK, maybe not entirely the last bit. Charles I wasn’t the sharpest at reading the political winds or listening to warnings about “this might not be a good time to do that.”)

Most famously, Oliver Cromwell and his associates in the colonies banned Christmas. No one could eat holiday foods, or sing Christmas carols, or have anything decorations like holly or ivy. People most certainly dared not enjoy themselves in any way. Why? Because the Puritans hated fun, and the Church of England, and anything they deemed to be immoral. So no plum pudding, Yule log, or eggnog.

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The Longest Night, the Shortest Day

Welcome, Instapunderati, and thanks for stopping by!

The winter solstice has arrived, and the sun has touched its lowest point on the southern horizon for those of us north of the equator.

It took an ice storm for me to understand in my bones why my ancestors back in the Old World so feared and reveled in the end of the longest night. When the sun appeared after two days of night, heavy cloud, breaking trees and cold that crept in as the fires failed, well, I too sang hymns of praise to the sun above. Only sunlight would thin and dissolve the ice, and allow the repairs to begin so that heat and light could return to houses and other buildings. Unlike other, smaller towns, we never lost water, thanks be. Continue reading