IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

My Horny Hump Day post is here.

Due to the nearness of Rosh Hashanah, which goes right into Shabbos this year, I may only be online sporadically over the next few days. I’ve got two prescheduled posts set for the rest of the week, a scathing review of Albert Goldman’s trashy “biography” The Lives of John Lennon on Friday and a special post for Keith Moon’s 35th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) on Saturday.


It’s time for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers share insecurities, doubts, and concerns. This month marks the group’s two-year anniversary.

I’ve been feeling worried that I won’t have enough time to devote to writing now that school is back in session. I know schoolwork comes first, but I hate having to put my writing time on a reduced schedule! I also agreed to babysit two kids I’ve previously worked with, during my free afternoons, so there’s more time away from writing.

I also need to make some time to start preparing my first Russian historical novel for indie, self, or e-publication. I’m hoping to bring the length down to around 330K on my final sweep-throughs. The first draft was 342K, and went up to over 350K at its height during my most intense series of edits, revisions, rewrites, and polishings in 2011. I did a lot of work to get it down to 335K. If I went down much below 330K, it wouldn’t be the same story anymore. It’s long for a reason.

Beyond that, I’ll need to decide which publishing option is best, along with the ambitious idea of creating my own personal publishing company. Maybe I’d use it only for my own books; perhaps I’d eventually be in a position to take on other historicals under my areas of greatest interest—Russian history, the Shoah/WWII era, 20th century American history, Japanese history. (After my queue is empty, I’m planning to write some Japanese historicals, something I’ve long wanted to do.)

I’d also need to find a good artist to design my cover, perhaps one of my artist or designer friends. For a long time, I’d loved the idea of the cover being the flashback to the day Ivan and Lyuba skipped gymnasium to spend the day at the pond, as Vanya (who’s long struggled with learning English) proudly writes the Roman alphabet with a stick in the dirt. He picks up dirt on his sleeve as he’s writing, since he’s a lefty.

I want the title and author byline typeface to be Edwardian Script, Polonaise, or Chopin Script. Something fancy, formal, ornate, and serious. The text would of course be in my belovèd Palatino. It’s coming up on 20 years I’ve been typing in it. It’s my font soulmate. Seeing a book of mine published in a font I didn’t write it in would not only seem weird, but wrong.

Lastly, I’m wondering if my pseudonym really matches the tone of what I write about. After 20 years, I think of my writer self as Carrie-Anne, and I like the Armenian twist I gave to my pen surname. Taking on an entirely new, fully Armenian name would feel like pretending to be someone I’m not. I’ve been an Armenophile since 1995, but I’m not Armenian! Would I be better-off using my real, very Slovakian name, or adopting a new pen name?


I’d like to keep participating in What’s Up Wednesday, after the Ready. Set. Write! summer initiative has ended. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog.

What I’m Writing

Now up to 478,000 words and Chapter 59 of my current WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. Chapter 58, which concluded with Inessa and Vitya’s Unitarian wedding in Long Island, clocked in at slightly above 10,000 words. I’m hoping that’s my longest Part III chapter, since I’d kind of really like to keep the final book at around 550K!

Chapter 59, “Minnesota Homecoming,” will focus on Tatyana’s graduation from Barnard and move back home with Nikolay to start their own farm. Farming is what will save Nikolay from the draft, as farmers were considered necessary workers who couldn’t just up and leave their occupation to fight. They had to help to feed the homefront.

Inessa’s gown is a custom piece designed by Dagnija, the Latvian-born second-in-command and alternate seamstress at Anastasiya’s salon. Dagnija is so much fun to write, esp. since she has Anastasiya in the palm of her hand ever since finding out the secret of her unwed motherhood. I based the gown on some pictures of red wedding gowns I Googled:

[A] red satin gown with embroidered white swirls, flowers, and leaves along the train, back, middle, and bodice.  Two angled lines of red satin roses, ending but not meeting near the middle of the waistline, complete the embellishments.  It’s the most conservative halterneck possible, looking from the front, for all intents and purposes, like a regular gown with wide, angled straps.

What I’m Reading

A lot of articles and textbook chapters for my three classes.

What Inspires Me

You know how some people have a picture, an inspirational quote, or a rock with an inspiring word on their writing desk or wall? I’ve got my gigantic stuffed frog Simon looking at me as I write. Yes, I’m 33 years old and still have a big collection of stuffed animals. Not only that, but I still name my stuffed animals (some of them, at least). It’s kind of nice to be held accountable by your cute, cuddly frog when you’re having problems with writing productivity.

What Else I’m Up To

My three classes, the terrifying knowledge that I have no choice but to finally take that damn GRE, and looking forward to all the coming holidays in the month of Tishrei. Thankfully, this year none of the fall holidays coincide with my classes, and Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos. Believe it or not, YK is my favouritest Jewish holiday, and I actually know someone else who holds it as his favourite holiday.


12 thoughts on “IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

  1. It’s funny. You’re worried about not having enough time to write now that school is approaching, but I’m looking forward to the fall because I think I’ll have more time than I had during the summer. However, it turns out I’ll be teaching a night course for the next several months, so I might not have the time I think I will.

    Anyway, good luck with your writing. Glad you’re part of the IWSG!


  2. Oh gosh, you have so much on your plate, Carrie-Anne! But I’m excited for your ventures. I’m SO GLAD you’re going to get your work out there–can’t wait! And starting your own publishing company would be cool!!!


  3. So given that your novel’s heading toward the half-million word mark, I suppose you do NaNoWriMo on weekends? 😉

    Seriously, all the best with your time management. I hope you find the hours in the day you need to work on your novel. I’m sure your aware that most agents/publishers would be loathe to take on a book that size from a first-time author. That in no way means it’s not worthy of publication, though. So perhaps self-pubbling may be the way you go with it. Sometimes that’s what it takes to convince the industry there really is a market for books of that scope and depth.


  4. These sound like mostly fun problems to be thinking about. I have an image for my cover, too, for the covers of both books, actually. It would be fun to see that imagery. I haven’t thought about fonts, though.

    I met a gal who created a publishing house to publish the stories she was interested in. Not only did she put out the initial inspiration, but her publishing house is still going.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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