Jan. 13th, 2019

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Starting with State of the Catherine: I'm stressed out and rather anxious, but other than that, mostly okay. In between my day job, and Jana's teaching load and my Queen of Swords Press work and writing, we squeezed in a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art's Egypt's Sunken Cities show on Friday night. This was quite impressive and has some lovely pieces in it, as well as a lot interesting information about the Egyptian pantheon, crossovers with the Greek pantheon and related info. Saturday was a whirlwind of errands and sundry Queen of Swords Press tasks, followed by going to Theatre Unbound's annual 24 hour play festival, the X-Treme Smackdown. TU is our local women's theater and the smackdown features plays written, rehearsed and staged in 24 hours; it's generally a lot of fun and this was no exception. It was also rather poignant in that I brought a good friend who has been diagnosed with ALS and who generally goes to a lot of theater with me. It's not clear how much longer we'll be able to do that, but I'm hoping the day that ends is a long way off. Also, ALS sucks sharp rocks.

Also last night, my friend, playwright Anne Bertram, Theatre Unbound's Artistic Director, has decided to retire from that role after 19 seasons. I'm hoping that gives her more time to write some more amazing plays like "The Good Fight," "Murderess" and "Frankenstein Incarnate." But I will miss her smiling face at the box office.

Friday's other big event was a visit from a representative from the company we will be hiring to replace our furnace later on this year. In our 100 year old house, this will involve ripping out the ancient octopus furnace, including asbestos abatement and building the new furnace inside our basement. We will also need new piping run up through the bathroom (losing our bathroom storage cabinet in the process) in order to heat the attic. The attic will then require some swift contracting work on the insulation and the windows before winter. In return for the mayhem this will cause (we were Marie Kondoing our possessions before everyone else got on the bandwagon, the basement is Jana's studio, the cats and I may have to go hotel it for a few days, etc.), we get a much more energy-efficient furnace that will also replace our window unit air conditioner. And we'll have better control over the humidity in the house. And we can stop living in fear that our ancient furnace will conk out in the middle of Minnesota winter. The price ticket? Adding in the additional attic insulation work, which we don't have a firm estimate on yet, this will run around $25k. Which is so many zeros. And which we would need by April or so. Hence what follows. We've got a start on saving toward this rather vast amount of money, but I want to make sure that we're not in desperate Go Fund Me territory or huge amounts of debt at the end of this so expect more marketing-related posts and blasts for my writing, Queen of Swords Press, Jana's work, our classes and so forth. I'll try not to be super obnoxious about it.

Queen of Swords Press - if I could get the press to the point where I was selling an average of 40 books a week, it would be much less of a drain on the exchequer and would be pretty close to self-sustaining. I've got to come close to this goal this year or changes will have to be made, just saying. Boosts are appreciated too! Our books are available:
  • Direct from the Press website
  • Smashwords/B&N/Amazon, etc. here and here and here
  • Bella Books
  • Indiebound - your local independent bookstore can order our books in!
  • Libraries - ebooks available via Overdrive, print directly from Queen of Swords or via Ingram Spark. Most public libraries will order our books in if you request them, just saying.
  • Various international outlets too!
I'll be teaching classes online in March and April through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.
Miscellaneous other stuff: I have a Ko_fi account and a Curious Fictions account. You can pledge or do one-time donations.

Jana: Your support and enthusiasm for our various projects, all of which are done alongside our regular jobs, is much appreciated!

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