Archive for June, 2020

I’ve gotten a very little bit of writing done. I know exactly how this next scene goes, so there’s not much excuse. Except that, with a bit of help, I finally accomplished something I’d been trying to do for some time.

See, one of the things about living in an old house is, sometimes, old appliances. The washer and dryer are/were not less than 25 years old and probably closer to 30. The washer still works, with a couple of tweaks, but the dryer had given up the ghost more than a year ago. It’s okay. Clotheslines still work, in some ways better. (Well, except when it’s raining.) The mud room/utility room/pantry/laundry room is about 5 1/2 feet wide by roughly 11 feet long. And the dryer was smack in the middle of one long wall taking up 30 inches of the 5 1/2 foot width of the room. Bad enough when it was useful.

I wanted it out. But I couldn’t get the gas valve (which hadn’t been turned off probably since the dryer was installed) to budge. Finally had to ask for help. But it’s done now. The dryer is out. The washer stays, for now. But eventually I’ll replace it with a combination unit that is both washer and dryer. Still a bit of cleaning and reorganizing to do. (The only thing the dryer had been used for recently was a flat surface to put things on.) But that tiny room feels enormous with that beast out. And coming in the back door doesn’t feel nearly so crowded.

So, now, maybe I can stop fussing with trying to get that out and settle down to write. Hopefully.

Before and After pictures:

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Another Step

celtic dragon_46947764

Progress so far has been slow on MERLIN’S GAMBIT. But this week for the first time I have made notes in the document of what happens in this chapter and the next. This might not seem like much.

I’m a discovery writer. I don’t outline. Except that I usually have these notes for three to five chapters ahead in my work in process. So, this one is beginning to come to life as more than just a concept and a starting point.

After a long drought, it feels good.

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Sideways Progress

While I continue to stew over various stymied home projects, I have made some progress on MERLIN’S GAMBIT–in a way.

In expanding my research, I came across something that was just too perfect to pass up. But using it meant starting the story a little later. It’s okay, the opening scene actually can be pretty flexible that way. So, I just rewrote a portion of dialog to make it fit the new time period.

Merlin’s Gambit is an alternate history (well, sort of) with dragons. And, well, I’ll just post the historical note that precedes the first chapter:

In the year 383, Britannia had been part of the Roman Empire for nearly four hundred years. Among other things, this meant the Britons enjoyed the protection of the Roman legions against raids by groups the Romans considered barbarians—the Irish from the west, the Picts from the north, and the Saxons from the east. In that year, the commander of the legions in Britannia, a man named Magnus Maximus, was proclaimed emperor by his troops. He took most of the legions with him to the continent to conquer Rome—or at least a significant portion of it. And he succeeded, for a while, ruling Britannia, Gaul, Hispania, and North Africa. Until he tried to add Italy to his domain and in 388 Emperor Theodosius I captured and executed Maximus and his son, though his daughters, Maxima and Sevira, were spared.

Britannia continued as part of the Roman Empire, though with reduced legions, until the year 410. An exceptionally cold winter a few years earlier had caused the Rhine River to freeze over and the barbarians who had been pushing at the northeastern borders of the Roman Empire poured across into Gaul. In 410, under the leadership of Alaric, the Visigoths sacked Rome itself. And the last remaining legions in Britannia were withdrawn, leaving the Britons on their own to defend against renewed raids. Britannia fractured into small kingdoms, echoing the Celtic tribal domains that had existed before the Romans came. But, with the experience of being part of the Roman Empire, they recognized that they needed someone to lead a common defense against the barbarians.

Little real history comes down to us from fifth-century Britannia, but there are legends. So many, many legends. Among them is one that claims that Magnus Maximus had married Elen, a Welsh princess. And that, when he left to make himself emperor, he left the sovereignty of Britannia to her father. Legend also says that Sevira, married a man named or called Vortigern, which, interestingly, means “high king”. Vortigern, though, made a serious mistake and it fell to an even greater legendary figure, Arthur, to preserve Romano-Celtic Britannia for his time.

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Okay, so it took three days, but my computer is up and running–and recognizing me–again. Most of that time was making a backup of all my files before trying anything else. Carbonite backs up up everything, but I’ve not yet tried to download any of those files and a redundant backup on One Drive won’t hurt anything.

After that, the first recommended fix scared me to death, but it worked. Scared me because I know just enough to know that editing the registry is generally a very, very bad idea. But, like I said, it worked.

Now, I’m engaged in trying to find a user manual online for a (apparently) sixteen year old string trimmer. Yeah, no luck so far. I think I need to replace the string but without the user manual . . . .

Next I need to find out what I need to do to fix the really big string trimmer–the one that looks like a lawn mower but isn’t. It was smoking the last time I used it. And, even if it wasn’t really hard to find repair shops, etc., open right now, I don’t stand a snowball’s chance you know where of getting that monster into my trunk or, really, anywhere even a couple of inches off the ground.

Meanwhile, the only grass cutting tool I have is a pair of grass shears.

So far, I have not gotten any more real writing done, but at least I have been thinking about the story.

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