introductions, introductions

The cottage from The Holiday.
The cottage from The Holiday.

Dear Internet,

Happy early Svein Forkbeard day. I’m in the wilds of Connecticut prepping for the series of holiday events that will be happening over the course of the next few days. Tonight most of the Connecticut family is heading to the midnight service and I’m thinking of joining them. There is something about theological rituals during the holidays that I still yearn for even though I do not prescribe to any particular religion.

Like previous years, I’m in the throes of making holiday cookies. This year the list is small: macaroons, white chocolate cranberry oatmeal, no bakes, sugar, and finally, gingerbread cookies. I’m shipping cookies to my brother and TSTBEH and of course, leaving some for the Connecticut family. Since the next couple of days is going to be jammed with family activities, I’m stealing time when I can – like waking up at 5:30AM to start the prep work for the cookies and the cornbread stuffing for the big meals that are happening today, tomorrow, and Boxing day.

Nick Frost plays Santa!
Nick Frost plays Santa!

It’s also time for holiday episodes of my favorite British TV and radio shows. So far Stella, the first part of the Zurich episode of Cabin Pressure, and first episodes of Good Omens have played. Then of course come the regulars and new shows that are upcoming like: Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and Miranda. This is yet another reason why I love the British: the unabashed love for holiday episodes of their favorite shows which Americans give no fucks about.

But I have to reaffirm the bigger news than holiday cookies and TV shows; though in my world, those are very good things.

Skaldic Press Presents
Reminder about the 4x a month newsletter from Skaldic Press (my publishing arm) that includes updates from Exit, Pursued by a Bear, so glad is my heart, and other adventures in addition to Skaldic Press. Includes themed GIFs. You can check out the archives for a better taste of what to expect and then subscribe below.

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The Lisa Chronicles, Vol 1: 1998
Also another reminder that my book is now available for pre-order. Publishing date is January 31, 2015.

From the blurb:

In 1998, having an online diary was a brave new world. Mailing lists, communities, chat rooms, and more all sprung up over people’s favorite diarists. Now we would call them bloggers. But then, THEN was a whole ‘nother beast. Then writing online was intimate. Then it was more personalized and personal. Then writers had less shtick. Not much was expected of these online exhibitionist scribes other than the ability to tell a good tale and regularly update.

I miss those days.

I never expected to get rich or famous, but what I wanted was to be able to connect to others who were like me. The scared, the frightened, the brave, and the bold. (No relation to the terrible soap opera of the same name.) I wanted to eat the world and in 1998, what better way to do that was through the Internet?

What can you expect from the first volume? Love, conflict, obsessions with people, places, and things. Rotating cast of characters and adventures. Sprinkle of song lyrics here and there. Pop culture references galore. Sex. More sex. Profane words and a bipolar girl desperate to connect with a world she did not understand.

While this work has been edited for grammar, clarity, and the obvious typo, it remains largely unchanged from when it first appeared online nearly two decades ago.

And lastly, every word here is true.

So if you’re intrigued by the book description or want to help support me thanks to the saga of #teamharpy, I would be most grateful if you would pre-order the book.

[amazon template=image&asin=B00R2808QE]

<<<<>>>>

Not much else is going on in my world right this very second other than prepping for the holidays and editing my book. Typically I feel some sort of sadness and isolation since my family and I are not very close, but while I feel some semblance of that feeling this year, being around people who care kind of lessens the pain. I still feel awkward and out of place, but when do I usually not feel a disconnect to others’ lives?

The drugs may stabilize my moods, meditation may help me deal better with impulse feelings, but some things about me will just never change.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011, 2002

notes for cabinet particulier, part iv: draft of first chapter completed

Dear Internet,

It’s about 8:30PM and I’m sitting on the front deck, still in my jim jams from the night before. This is the second time today I have stepped foot out of the cabin, the first being this morning when after I woke and received a phone call from the Cedar postmaster telling me the post carrier had flagged where we can put our new mailbox and I had walked out to check to verify the location. After that, my butt was parked either at the island in the kitchen or in the chaise  (so very chic) writing and researching.

My book takes place in 1907 London that revolves around an aging actress who is  not terribly good but she is what matters most and that is she’s one of the most beautiful women of her age. I’m styling her looks after the famed American silent film actress from the same era, Maude Fealy.

maudefealy

As my character is an Edwardian London stage actress, I spent some time today gathering moar research on the theaters of the era and discovered a gem of a site that also had a handy Google map of theaters from the era, including play programs, photos, and loads more.

I also dipped into cosmetics and etiquette of the era, finding a boon of a book entitled Every Woman’s Encyclopedia, from 1910, which ran into a hefty 8 volumes and 6000 page. The book is intense. Here is a gem on how Edwardian lady should keep her eyes more becoming:

thinkingcap

Yes, let us not weary our poor optic nerves, shall we ladies?

I had the idea of how I wanted the book to open and numerous first lines had already appeared, so instead of working out a vague outline of where I wanted the book to go, I just sat down and wrote instead. Several hours later, I had 2100 words in a pretty good first chapter under my belt with ideas of where I was going.

Tomorrow I was to go kayaking with Emili, but I just texted her to beg off since I’m in the zone and needed to continue plowing through with my work. Kristin is coming up tomorrow evening for the weekend and we’ll be busy and I’m heading back to Grand Rapids on Sunday (can’t miss my Sunday evening telly). Next week is going to be busy as John is coming into town on Tuesday evening to stay at Throbbing Manor and we are heading to the Code4Lib Midwest conference on Wednesday/Thursday. Since many of my favorite people are going to be at the conference as well, there will be lots of socializing. Friday I head to Mt. P to hang with Kristin for the weekend and we’re meeting up with some of our cmmrb pals and then it’s back to the grind on Monday when I head back to the cabin for MOAR writing for a week and then the cmmrb weekend will be here and then it will be August.

Jesus fucking Christ. In the four days I’ve been up here, between blog posts, writing the chapter, and research I’ve cranked out 10,000 words. I am a mutherfucking machine!

On that note, I’m getting off the laptop and calling it an early night. I’m going to brush the fuzz off my teeth, wash my filthy body, and make a bowl of popcorn. Yes, yes I did indeed bring my beloved hot air popper to the cabin with me. I’m then going to curl up around my ipad and watch Downton Abbey, for you know, research.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2008, 2003, 1999, 1998

notes for cabinet particulier, part iii: sorting the research

View from the back deck
View from the back deck

Dear Internet,

As planned, I got up early and headed into Traverse City to get Jeeves’ tires attended to. I called the local BMW dealership and was told, despite confirmation from MINI Grand Rapids and the TC BMW receptionist, they do NOT service MINIs. His suggestion? Take my car to MINI Grand Rapids. When I pointed out a 160 mile trek on possibly bad tires was not a wise move, he suggested I head to Discount Tire (as I had originally was leaning towards) and also gave me the name of a local TC shop that specialized in MINIs and other foreign cars.

Once you get off of M-72 and start heading into Cedar and then further on to Throbbing Cabin is some of the best driving roads around, barring M-22 of course. I love this part of the drive when we come up here as this is the kind of roads where Jeeves thrives and begs to be driven on. There is a stretch of about five miles after you leave Cedar that is hairpin straight and goes up some minor hills; when you hit the apex of each hill, you can see Lake Michigan beckoning in the distance.

Uncertain to the status of the my tires, I drove ever so slowly down to TC and who am I kidding here? I was probably white knuckling it the entire way, waiting for the supposedly bad tire to just fall off and planning in my head how I was going to handle each and every bad scenario that landed in my brain.

Discount Tire was busy for 10AM on a Wednesday morning — me and all the OAPs hanging out getting our tires issues sorted. The tires are fine and the TPMS is all normalized (again). Rationally, I knew this was going to be true, but anxiety eats away at all rationality. I spent time on the deck last night staring at Jeeves as if he was a monster because I could not stop thinking of worse case scenarios of having massive car issue 160 miles from home. THIS! Despite having insurance, an incredible maintenance and warranty plan, tow truck numbers programmed in my phone, and local numbers (now) for car repair, I could not let it go until the nice man at Discount Tire told me everything was going to be fine.

I got back to the cabin several hours later than intended as I ran a few errands since I was out and about. After having lunch, I started getting settled into doing research for the book around 4PM and here it is four hours later and fuck man, I am overwhelmed.

researchoverload

On Monday night I started culling all the random tidbits I had been collecting for the last 18 months and began to import them into Scrivener. I broke each thing down to its own category for easier sorting and updated the research page for the project in the process.

Today’s work was much of the same as I found more locales where I had stored bits and bobs. I think in my head I always fancied myself to keep things neat and simple, but apparently I keep trying to find the best product for everything, test it out, and ultimately forget it and all the content I stored there. Today the culprit was Pinboard, which while it seems to prove useful for many, I need visualization to organize.

(Still sitting on Pinboard  is a good chunk of research I found for my viking and medieval lady boners which still needs to be imported over to their respective Scrivener projects. Marginalia for the win!)

Granted Scrivener has a learning curve, but once you get in the groove it starts to really make sense. Best thing I’ve ever done? Put all my notes, ideas, and everything into a single Scrivener project.

storyideas

I’ve also been reading contemporary stories while I’m up here based in the Edwardian era – of which there is surprisingly not many.  I suspected with the rise of Downton Abbey that there would have been a huge influx of lit based in the Edwardian era, but no, there really isn’t. I know of less than half a dozen mystery series based in that era and handful of fiction books written in the last five years but that’s shockingly about it. Since I’m having a hard time finding contemporary books of that era, I’m going to create a bibliography over on my author site for read alikes. Because librarian, yolo.

I’m also collecting titles of works written in the era to read to get a better sense of the period. so watch it Lawrence, Forster, Galsworthy, and the whole lot of you. I am on to you. And lucky me, most of their work is available in the open domain.

(I finally finished Maugham’s Cakes & Ale, though written in 1930 much of the book takes place in the Edwardian era. Holy fuck, do I hate this book. It was just so awful for a large list of reasons I will be discussing later.)

Additionally, there is only a handful of sites dedicated to the Edwardian era and some of them are dubious in nature while others tuck that period in as very-late Victorian without giving the period its proper due. I was distressed to find that one of the sites that I had considered, due to the breadth of research and writing, to be a fabulous resource was passing on debunked knowledge as fact.

Case in point: I am supremely disappointed to discover Edwardian women did NOT pierce their nipples to make them more pert. This is repeated over and over again in many legitimate sites but apparently there is no reference other than to a correspondence page in the back of a publication from 1899 that was more of fetishism than actual fact.

I have a draft started for a blog post quaintly entitled, Who the fuck are the Edwardians and why should we care?, which I hope to write tomorrow. Because we should care, dammit.

whiterussian
Legit writer tools.

The mosquitos are eating me alive out here and it grows late. My treat for getting work done will be a vegan white russian, dinner, and a not so terrible book.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2010, 1998