Posted in Female Author, Short Story

Deal Me In, Lunar Extra ~ “The Ensouled Violin”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The Ensouled Violin”Β by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Card picked: A Queen

From: Available online at Gaslight. My first exposure to this story was at Paula Cappa’s blog.

Thoughts: There’s something about the violin. It mimics the sound of a voice, whether human or animal, maybe too well. I can’t think of an instrument that is wrapped in so much superstition. Mme. Blavatsky reminds us of the story of Tartini to whom the Devil came in a dream and played what would become Tartini’s “The Devil’s Trill”. Similar stories also sprung up around Paganini when he came on the scene. His techniques were unorthodox and he coaxed sounds from the violin that were new to the audience. Was his success based on talent and ability? Or had Paganini made other darker deals?

That’s the atmosphere in Paris when Franz Stenio and his teacher, Samuel Klaus, arrive. Franz is a very talented player and has a good share of adoration. He dreams of the muses and nymphs and Orpheus, and Mme. Blavatsky name-checks just about every personage from Greek myth that is applicable. Under Klaus’s tutelage and encouragement, there is no doubt that Franz could impress in Paris. If not for Paganini. In an effort to comfort Franz, Klaus decides that Paganini must have done something unnatural to gain his talent, and you can’t feel bad about not being able to compete with that, can you? Klaus’s theory is that Paganini uses human intestines for his strings…and Franz starts to wonder if he can’t tap into the mysticism he believes in to gain advantage.

I won’t give away the ending, but after some rather long passages of sometimes dry history, the last few paragraphs are a pretty nasty piece of work. (And I mean that in a good way.)

The final showdown between Paganini and Franz Stenio involves Paganini’s “The Witches Dance.” This video is not of that, but I couldn’t resist a clip from a movie about Paganini starring German violinist rockstar David Garrett. Supposedly, Paganini inspired fangirl shrieking and fainting long before The Beatles.

About the Author: From Mrs. Oliphant yesterday to Mme. Blavatsky today. I’m glad woman have been allowed to use their first names. (Don’t get me started on the Mrs. Husband’s-First-Name Last-Name thing. The only thing worse than researching a Mr. John Smith is researching a Mrs. John Smith…) I’m more familiar with Mme. Blavatsky as a spiritualist. I had no idea she wrote fiction.

Extra Diabolic Violin Showdown

One of my favorite bits of country music storytelling.

Posted in History

ROW 80 ~ Sunday Update, 5/3


So, here’s what happened in April (or rather, the period spanning 3/30 to5/2) : 3 weeks of writing, 2 weeks of dithering about rewriting and editing the words written in the first three weeks. The thing is, this hasn’t just happened in April. This has happened month after month recently. After some troubleshooting by Eric, the plan to counteract this is to start setting aside Saturdays as clean up day. Write fresh during the week, use Saturday (a low productivity day anyway) to fix things. At least, that will be the plan after this week.

This week, I’m handing In Need of Luck over to Eric to read, edit, rewrite, etc. I’m not finished with In Need of Luck, but I’m sick of fiddling around with it. I’m going to finish up some notes today and then it’s all Eric’s. I’m shifting goals where appropriate.

Complicating factors this week: Web set up for summer frisbee league. Play starts Tuesday and I don’t have info on teams or the exact schedule yet. I also have league games on possibly Tuesday *and* Thursday nights.



  • For May/June – Scene rewrites for PHYSICa.
  • For May/June – Transcribe free write bits that might be useful to Abbott project.
  • Daily free write. – Did on Thurs & Fri. Didn’t on Saturday. Might start using prompts. Also thinking about flash submissions for The Pedestal Magazine.
  • 1000 words/day average on In Need of Luck in April or until done.

Reading, related to writing

  • Finish reading River City Empire (related to next possible writing project) by the end of April. – Still 100 pages left. Been reading fiction.
  • Added 5/3 – On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown by Theodore Wheeler (also related to the possible Abbott project)
  • For May/June – Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
    by Michael Chabon.
  • For May/June – The Call of Stories by Robert Coles.


  • May 13th – Take a look at Luck for Hire‘s meta data (ahead of May 16th promo).
  • Added 5/3 – Look for new promo options.
  • List of reviewer contacts. – No movement.
  • Added 5/3 – – Better mobile design.
  • Added 5/3 – – Add excerpts. How do I not have excerpts?
  • And other duties. – Author data at Smashwords is sorted!
  • New descriptions/categories/tags for Weordan books. (April 15th)

Personal Growth

  • Added 3/5 – Next Python class starts May 22. Review by doing a project related to book promo info.

ROW80LogocopyROW 80 is a blog hop!

Please, check out how other Round of Words participants are doing with their goals.