Appointed guardian of the mead of poetry (and chunky jam)

Dear Internet,

TheHusband and I were pretty busy this weekend with lots of Martha Stewarting it up around Throbbing Manor, which precluded me getting any more writing done other then some tweaking of a few things. I am fairly pleased with myself having completed almost two weeks straight of writing in my private journal, something which I haven’t done this long of a stretch in ages. I’m also getting in the habit of taking a daily picture so if I can’t get write, I can at least embed an image to kind of illustrate how my day is going. Because sometimes you want to showcase just how awesome the internet really is.

The biggest relief was when my brother popped over on Friday and Sunday and fixed the electrical in our boiler and stove. Over Labor Day weekend, with a house full of guests, the neighborhood transformer blew not once, but twice in the same day. The first blowout happened in the morning and power restored within a few hours after. The second blowout happened that same evening and was a number of short burst where the entire neighborhood flickered on one minute/off one minute for about ten minutes. Once that arc finished, we discovered the stove and the boiler, which were both on the same circuit, were fried.

We could write a novel about Throbbing Manor’s electrical problems, with the first chapter on how not to use three various types of electrical (knob and tube, modern, a hybrid) running through the house. Upon my brother’s recommendation1, this summer before my surgery, we buried the house electrical from the pole to the house so it is no longer aerial, upped our panel from 100 amps to 200amps, and repositioned the house surge protector2 from the sub-panel in the basement to the main panel in the garage. Every time Jeff comes over to do work on one small project, he uncovers a plethora of other issues that are bigger then the original project.

Throbbing Manor is almost 90 years old, and we live in a historic district where we’re one of the “newer” houses built, so coupled with the houses all trying to modernize their interiors, it’s not terribly surprising to get the occasional blown transformer. Except, this happens nearly every month and so much so, we signed up for the appliance plan via our electrical company that if ANYTHING should ever happen and an appliance breaks, they will fix it for free3. Since it was Labor Day weekend, I called on Tuesday and find out that our boiler is not under the repair for the plan.

me: “But it says ‘furnace and other heating elements,’ ” I insist to the customer service rep.
Consumers: “Except for boilers.”
me: “But when I called to set up the plan, and asked about boilers, the assured me it was part of the plan.”
Consumers: “I’m sorry you were told incorrect information, but that is not true. For an additional $7/month, we can add the boiler addendum.”4
me: “…”
me: “Just so I’m clear: Even though our boiler and stove are fried due to transformer blowing out not once but twice on the same day, and this is Consumer’s fault, I have to pay for the repairs on my uncovered equipment.”
Consumers:”Yes.”

Consumer’s was quick to get the stove repair to us within a day but he had to “order a part,” which was nearly two weeks ago. Boilers, due to their complexity, are expensive. Since we were going to have to pay for the boiler ourselves, we waited until my brother was free to look at electrical before calling the boiler people because they would have had to call an electrician to fix the fried bits anyway since Jeff discovered the arcing over the years coupled with shoddy repair jobs on the house electrical, mixed in with sketchy installation of circuits was causing various bits to melt in the shut off switch attached to the boiler, which he also repaired.

By fixing the circuit the stove and the boiler were on, viola! The stove now works! Which means, we no longer have to use a lighter to get the range going (gas stove/electrical ignition) and we could use the oven.

Edit 1/03/2013: This has been languishing in my drafts box since September. I think I was planning on finishing this post after I made a batch of pear cherry chutney but never did the update, hence for the abrupt ending.

TTFN,
Lisa


1. My brother is a licensed electrician. Don’t try this at home.
2. Brother checked and verified the house surge protector is working so why it didn’t catch the arc the second time reamins a mystery.
3. Consumer’s offers the ASP which is insurance for your appliances. Most energy providers have this kind of service and it’s way better then the typical renter/house insurance since there is typically no deductible. ( I would still keep house/rental insurance for other things, but for appliances, this is the way to go!) You pay $X dollars a month, attached to your bill, and you call if there is an issue. They send out a repair person, and you don’t get charged for the visit or the repairs (however, the last bit can be variable but it’s typically free / low cost then if you did not have the plan).
4. I signed up for the boiler addendum. Dammit.

Brevis in longo

Dear Internet,

Apparently, I’m pretty prolific. In addition to upping my writing here, I’ve also been writing every day in DayOne, which I mentioned here, and also actually working on my fiction. There is one thing to be said for a humanities scholar: We know how to crank out verbiage like no one’s business. Between the three, and this is including the re-writes of public blog entires and the fiction, I’m cranking out about 5,000 words a day. And that is being conservative. Now how much of that is “good” writing? Hard to say, really. My writing in the public sphere tends to be tighter since I obsess over the editing, the writing on the private journal has better readability (because I an writing more freely and more about the minutia of my life), while the fiction writing is still uneven in a deckled edged way. Some of what I produce for the fiction side is dreck and other times, it’s pure gold.

(Also, I decided to style myself as a modern day Samuel Pepys, at least in my head.)

I think one of the reasons why this is becoming a lot easier is that I have finally figured out a system that works for me to keep all of this organized which was so problematic for me for years. I know, it’s crazy considering that I organize shit for a living, but I couldn’t organize my writing to really work for me until now. Finding the Day One app was probably the tipping point, and also being a heavy user of Evernote and Scrivener also helped.

Here’s the status of my current projects, and which will find it’s way to Readers. The main landing page for my writing will also have all posts about this topic on the page, and if a project has their own landing page, those too will have posts updated on their landing page. Thus, if you’re hot into Edwardian good times but not Viking gore, you can skip directly to the landing page for the Edwardian projet instead of slogging through all the posts about Vikings and everything else.

Books

Project Name: Cabinet Particulier
Status: Research
Details of the project on its own page, so I won’t repost them here. I started collecting the research in July and currently haven’t moved forward yet other than doing the readings. Ideally, I see this as a pretty big project (read book series) so I want to get it off to a good start and I have a vague idea of how the first book will go, I want to dig deeper into her world before I begin writing.

Project name: Unnamed Medieval project
Status: Idea formation and preliminary research
Details: At this point I know it’s going to concern a woman, possibly in Scotland, sometime before 1066. Possibly containing Vikings.

Short Fiction

Title: PETITIONS OF THE GODS
Status: 80% finished
Summary: From my notes: Anonymous protagonist gives background on the invitation, a brief history of the Althing, and beginning of the world creation.Our protagonist is losing power and she knows this. The struggle with her, and with others like her, is how to remain relevant in a world when less number of people are believing in them. What would you do to stay relevant?

The beginning and ending are strong, but I’m floundering in the middle. It’s already at 2500 words with some heavy revision in the last week, so much so that the outtakes have their own folder in Scrivener. TheHusband read one of the first drafts and liked a lot of the clever uses for explanation of things but I can’t unstick the sticky at the moment. While I think this is at 80%, I would not be surprised if I end up ripping it entirely apart and restructuring all of it.

Title: AD LIBITUM
Status: 80% finished
Summary: What happens inside the Sistine chapel when no one is looking? Answer: Sex, drugs, and disco.

Idea sparked a “what if” when reading an article tonight about Russia’s Golden Ring and the author wrote eloquently about the medieval cathedrals and churches they were visiting. The line, “Jesus jumped off the cross, stretched, and went to light a cigarette.”, which sparked the idea of what in the hell happens in a cathedral at night when no one is around? Within minutes, I found this gorgeous virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel and the story started writing itself.

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So far, I have nearly a dozen people signed up for Readers, which is awesome. I haven’t decided if I should close the request at this point or keep it open. I had planned on start pushing some of my older stuff through the list to get those cleaned up and publishable, but after reading through many of them decided not to. They are that wretched or I am not into the genre as much anymore or the story just doesn’t appeal to me. So they will stay buried in the digital trunk.

I’m so motivated to be creating again but I keep thinking what do I want to do with the stuff that I create? I definitely want it to be read by the world, but how to go about that is tap dancing in the back of my brain. Having been a bookseller for many years, I work now as a librarian, and then throw in all the writers, literary agents, artists, booksellers, and other people in the publishing world I either know personally or stalk online, I feel pretty grounded on the back end o the industry. I just want to make sure that I do the right thing by my work.

I was pretty thrilled to discover Duotrope yesterday in my quest to sort out submission organization for at least the short pieces because my librarian-fu was actually failing me looking for a comprehensive source for magazines, literary zines, and other such publications to submit my work to. At the very least, I know this is the path I want to take with my shorter fiction. I’m also thinking of some kind of crowdsourcing shenanigans might also be in place too. This is going to be amazing.

TTFN,
Lisa

Looking for alpha/beta readers

I need eyes other than my own (and TheHusband’s) to read, comment, make suggestions, and the like on stories that are mostly finished, on some that are rough sketches, and everything else in between.

Here’s how it will work:
I’ll subscribe you to an announcement list. Every time a story gets posted, you’ll get an email that will include a link to the password protected story on my blog as well as the password. You can either comment on the blog piece directly or email me with thoughts/suggestions.

Only major revisions will be posted. You’re not obligated to comment every time. The announcement list will only come from me.

Please add readers @ exitpursuedbyabear . net (minus the spaces) to your allow list. Gmail is sending confirmation emails directly to the junk folder.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

(It goes without saying: Please do not post commentary in public spaces (Facebook/Twitter/etc) or repost my content anywhere without my explicit permission. Thanks!)

And a huge thank you to everyone whose already signed up!