Alison MillerKaty UppermanJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk are once again hosting the summerlong Ready. Set. Write! initiative. Each week there will be a few headings, with short responses to allow for more writing time.

  • How I did on last week’s goal(s)

Baruch Hashem, I finished Chapter 79, “Terror at Tarawa,” and moved on to Chapter 80, “Day of All Days.” I also did a lot of research, mostly reading firsthand accounts from soldiers who were in D-Day.

  • My goal(s) for this week

Finish Chapter 80 and move onto 81, “A Friend Is a Friend,” about the Battle of Saipan. I also want to finish doing some preliminary sketches/drawings in preparation for starting my next book cover. I see Lyuba as a bit of a Russian-looking Theda Bara in her natural, non-Vampy state, so I chose two pictures to base her on:


  • A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

From the ditch on top of the bluff, amid continued fire raining down from the cliffs, Fédya can see Omaha Beach laid out like a horrific panorama. The beach and water are littered with dead soldiers, abandoned, destroyed tanks and weapons, Higgins boats and Navy boats, many also blown apart, and fresh waves of soldiers continually coming ashore, only to be met with the same unabated, intense German gunfire. If he makes it to a safe place and there’s enough of a break in hostilities, he’d like to draw this scene and others from memory with the set of seventy-two colored pencils he got from the Derwent company while he was stationed in England. If he has to take several years off from university to fight, he might as well keep his artistic talent nurtured when he can.

  • The biggest challenge I faced this week

Finding a balance between writing and research, and having to write while researching instead of only or mostly from my own imagination and relationship with these people.

  • Something I love about my WIP

I love all the unexpected couples (some yet to get together romantically) I came up with—Inga and Yuriy, Inessa and Vitya (second marriage for both, after their first spouses were murdered by Stalin), Inna and Prince Arkasha Orlov, Osyenka and Oliivia, Patya and Vladlena, Rodya and Valentina, Dusya and Vasya.

I also love my secondary character Dagnija Liepienė (née Liepaitē), the Latvian-born second in command and alternate designer at Anastasiya’s salon. She’s so had this woman cowering before her ever since she found out about her secret bastard son in the second book, and knows just the right things to say to keep Anastasiya on her good side. (Latvian women’s surnames have different endings depending upon whether one is single or married, though male names typically don’t change.)

12 thoughts on “Ready. Set. Write! Week Five

  1. Striking a balance between writing and research is so tough sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I can spend hours researching something, and sometimes ending up down some rabbit hole that really isn’t all that relevant to my story. I guess the key is reining it in, right? Good job meeting your goals this week, and good luck with next week’s! 🙂


  2. Yay for including Latvia! I went there in highschool and my husband went every summer for about 5 years. It’s a beautiful little country! Enjoy your research and have fun sneaking little facts in your work!


    1. Nope, regular historical. Theda Bara played Vamps, not Vampyres. In silent film, a Vamp was a sexually alluring, man-eating character who didn’t play by the rules of the era.


  3. I love those secondary characters too, the ones that step of the shadows and really show their character in big ways. Here’s blowing through the next chapter and reaching your goal! (And hey, take some virtual cheese to pave the way.)


  4. Balance between writing and research – I hear you! And I love those pictures! Good luck with your goals this week – I hope it’s a wonderful one!


  5. I can see where you’d find it hard to keep writing and research balanced, especially when you do so much intense research for your stories. It’s tough because I know I hit those walls in a WIP where I just have to know more details before continuing. I hope you can find a balance between the two!


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