Old House Idiosyncrasies #8–Sarah Winchester’s House

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Winchester House, San Jose, California

Living in San Jose, California and being interested in all things Victorian, it would be impossible for me to ignore the largest Victorian house in the United States, the house built by Sarah Winchester. A recent article on the always interesting Atlas Obscura website which details some of the history of the Winchester House got me thinking about this architectural marvel.

The house, which is gaining some newfound notoriety because of the recently released movie, Winchester, starring Helen Mirren, was Sarah Winchester’s home from 1884 until her death in 1922.  She moved west from New Haven, Connecticut a few years after the death of her husband John, one of the owners of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  As her husband’s heir, she received a generous inheritance, as well as a major share of the company.  She moved into a small farmhouse surrounded by orchards, and started adding on, building a home more suitable to her fortune and social standing. Continue reading

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How I plan to lose NaNoWriMo this year

NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month, is a program run out of Berkeley, California that supports writers, especially first time writers, in completing a novel in one month, November.

The numerical goal is to write 50,000 words. Don’t research, don’t edit, just get your story down on paper, and worry about fixing things later.  50,000 words is a shortish novel, but you’re only working on the first draft anyways, so there’s plenty of time for editing later. Continue reading

Our Enduring Preoccupation with Premature Burial  — The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice

Reposted from The Chururgion’s Apprentice blog…

Taphephobia (fear of being buried alive) has to be the ultimate claustrophobia.

Hours before he died, George Washington told his secretary: “Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the Vault in less than three days after I am dead.” This kind of request was not uncommon. In an era when putrefaction was the only sure sign of death, many people […]

via Our Enduring Preoccupation with Premature Burial  — The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice

Victorian Scientists writing poetry — Collecting Reality

Back in 2011, New Scientist magazine produced an excellent article on poetry written by Victorian scientists, including the great James Clark Maxwell. In 1865 he demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves moving at the speed of light. https://www.newscientist.com/article/1966743-rhyme-and-reason-the-victorian-poet-scientists/ The poems the article mentions are collected here: https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/poetry/ They are quite […]

via Victorian Scientists writing poetry — Collecting Reality

Some Time Later–now available!

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For the past three years, the authors participating in Clockwork Alchemy, San Jose, California’s steampunk con, have put together short story anthologies the proceeds from which are donated to various organizations promoting literacy.  The concept is simple–each author writes two short stories separated by a duration of time.  Two years ago, it was Twelve Hours Later.  Last year it was Thirty Days Later.  This year the theme is Some Time Later–giving the authors a bit more chronological leeway.

I am honored to have been able to participate in this event for the last two years, and proud to announce that this year’s anthology launched last weekend at Clockwork Alchemy 2017 and is now available.

My stories feature a band of rather hapless air pirates searching for the lost treasure of Atlantis.  These same pirates also feature prominently in my recently launched steampunk novel The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday.