Happy Mole Day!

A rerun, yes. But still…

The author before caffeine.

The author before caffeine.

Oops! Wrong mole!

This mole.

This mole.

Double pun for the win!

Double pun for the win!

Happy Mole Day!


Too-Many-Tomatoes Sauce

It’s that time of year, when the tomato plants that spent all summer growing but not bearing fruit have decided to go all out, hell-bent for election, bushels-or-bust. Redquarters has three tomato plants, and we are up to our ears in cherry tomatoes and a few Romas. The snails and blue jays also like Romas, much to MomRed’s disgust and frustration. So what do you do when you have a quart a day of cherry tomatoes? Pasta sauce.

Continue reading

French Enlightenment and Scottish Enlightenment

Adam Smith and Rousseau are both considered writers of the Enlightenment. Except the Enlightenment was purely French, wasn’t it? Rousseau, Diderot, Condorcet, Voltaire were the primary writers of the Enlightenment, brushing away the cobwebs of superstition and medieval thinking to cast a new light on how people thought about education, society, politics, and the law. At least, that’s what the textbooks and popular wisdom insist. Except…

There were actually two groups of thinkers working at almost the same time, and they went in rather different directions. I’m omitting the Germans (Die Aufklärung) and Italians for the sake of brevity and because English-speakers are far more familiar and more influenced in many ways by the French and English/Scottish Enlightenments. A lot of what was refined by the Germans—for good and for ill—was seeded by the French and either disproven or elaborated upon. The Anglo-Enlightenment went a different way, much as England and Scotland were charging away from Continental political thinking at the same time. Continue reading

Saturday Story: Reaping the Harvest, Part 1

This would have been the last Colplatschki book. I do not anticipate releasing it in the foreseeable future, so I will run it here. The next Colplatschki book out will be #8, Fountains of Mercy, about the Great Fires.

Chapter One: The Long Grey Sea


The little girl cleared her throat. “Most honored Mama—”

“Oh, go away, girl.”

Kiara Sonja Basilia drooped, holding her stuffed lagom by the one remaining front leg. She wanted to protest, to ask her mother to help her, but she knew better. Instead she tip-toed out of the room, looked left and right for M’dame Lorana, and hurried down the hallway. If she could get to the place where the hired maid was mending things, maybe Francie could show her how to mend her lagom’s leg. Kiara hadn’t meant to tear it, she just wanted to pull the lagom out of the big chest where M’dame Lorana had stuffed it, but the lid of the chest was heavy and had fallen down just as Kiara pulled Sweetie free.

The cold air seeping into the hall from the high windows encouraged Kiara to hurry and she did her best to stay close to the wall so no pit-a-pat of her slippers on stone would give her away. M’dame Lorana slept, Mama did not want to be bothered, but if Kiara hurried . . . She trotted down the back stairs, the servant stairs, dodged two soldiers carrying messages for her father, and raced to the mending room. She had a stitch in her side and she panted, quietly, then snuck into the warm, well-lit room.

Francie must have heard her despite Kiara’s attempts to be quiet. “Yes?” She looked over the top of her nose lenses.

“M’dame Francie,” Kiara bobbed a curtsey. You didn’t have to curtsy to servants, but Francis wasn’t a servant, not to Kiara. “Might you have a moment to show me how to render a slight repair?”

The old woman sighed. “Plain speech for a plain woman, Miss Castello, please.” Continue reading

Re-write Done!


I removed three chapters from In Sheltering Talons and added two more, with the needed modifications to other chapters for better fit and flow. I had not planned on the battle scene, or at least had not planned on it transpiring in this book, but it’s in there.

The Traders poked Rada once too often. They really should not have done that.

Changing History or Changing How We Understand History?

I accidentally spooked a colleague this week. We were in the work room. I was reading a new history of the Russian Revolution and shaking my head because of how much recent archival research has changed understandings about the events (for those willing to read the resulting books and papers). I grumbled, “I wish people would stop doing research and changing history.” The other teacher stared and said something along the lines of “When I hear people talking about changing history, I think of 1984.” I agreed with her, and assured her that I would be updating the material in the book with the new evidence, not changing the overall story.

Except, at least in European history, sometimes the evidence found later does shift the understood story around. Then what do you do? Continue reading