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A Sucker Born Every Minute

March 1635 Naumburg   Lamplight flickered over the table as Jan partitioned out what profits they had made the past few days. After subtracting costs of buying more food, care for the horses, repairs to the wagons, and the requisite contribution to their threadbare emergency fund, not much was left to share around. Kurt took [...]

Letters from Inchon

  July, 1636, Grantville   Arnulf Langenberg found the dusty, crumpled shoebox beneath a pile of rags smelling of mildew and up-time 2-cycle oil. Tucked between dirt-encrusted aluminum badminton stakes and an olive drab duffel bag, the box called to him, as if saying, “Save me, Arnie, from all this junk.” For junk was pretty [...]

Grantville Is Crazy

November, 23, 1634   My dear father, You said to write home with my impressions of Grantville, and so I am penning the lines to you before my ideas are all scrambled together by the sheer horror of it all. First, let me say that I arrived safely. For once rumor has not exaggerated. The [...]

Bagging the Bag Girl

Spring 1637, Kymi   Aappo and Wenzel Borschnitz were having a second beer. Aappo was buying. “Wenzel, you need to get married.” Wenzel looked sour. “I’m not old enough.” “How old is old enough?” “Thirty, thirty-five?” Aappo set the bait. “And why is this?” “A man needs to be established. He must be able to [...]

The Saale Levies

Tuesday, November 15, 1633 Between Kösen and Naumburg   Hans Heinrich von Hessler had hurried to Kassel, resigned from the Hessian army (with appropriate regrets), and planned to arrive home less than two weeks after he left. He needed as much time as possible to organize an emergency levy of men to defend the area. [...]

An Uneasy Kind of Peace, Episode Five

PART VI July 1635   Section 1: “. . . und in gottes nahmen mitt aller gewalt auf sie gangen, und alle regiment in die flucht und über hals und kopf auch hierüber gebracht . . .”   Lorraine   Puylaurens talked. He kissed his lady mistress on the ear, which rarely failed to work. [...]

Ein feste Burg, Episode 17

Chapter 26: One Storm Follows Another Freiberg July 1635   "What are they doing up there?" Mayor Jonas Schönlebe stopped dead and lifted his hand to shield his eyes against the sun. There was a man casually walking along the roof ridge of St. Petri church. He carried a rope over his shoulder and a [...]

From Weavers to Princes: A Brief Primer on the Fugger Family of the Germanies

Think of a wealthy, politically influential person or family. Today one might think of billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, the Koch brothers and George Soros, or perhaps business successes like Warren Buffet, Sam Walton, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. In fourteenth and fifteenth century Europe one would have thought of the De Medici family. That family rose [...]
So Fan-Girl

I Can’t Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing

Yes, those of you of a certain age, you know the commercial I’m referring to. And honestly, I do kinda feel like Ralph in that Alka-Seltzer commercial from the 1970s. I’m both baffled at myself and pleased with myself—and I didn’t have to take an Alka-Seltzer to smile again. What I did is this: In [...]

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Capturing the Light

My father, a U.S. Navy pilot, flew F-4’s at the tail end of Vietnam and then retired. He didn’t talk about it much. It was a thing he did, and did well, and when the time came to stop he moved on to other things, like picture-taking and cabinet-making. He built hideously expensive bookcases for [...]