What I’m Reading
A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story, edited by Andrei Maylunas and Sergei Mironenko. As a teenager, I only saw the romance and nostalgia of Russia’s last Imperial couple, but as an adult, it’s so painfully obvious these two were disastrous, weak rulers. They would’ve been far better-off as civilians than the two people responsible for steering such a vast empire. It also shows what can happen when you marry based only on a childish infatuation/obsession.
Also, that family was awash in emotional incest and mother-daughter enmeshment. Olga and Tatyana definitely should’ve been married off before the Revolution, if Alix hadn’t emotionally stunted her daughters so much and secluded them from the chance to have a normal life with peers outside the palace walls. The main reason I decided to keep Nicky and Alix murdered in my new WIP was so their children could have a chance to finally become independent and have healthy marriages, without an overbearing, interfering MIL.
What I’m Writing
I’m really glad I finally cracked and decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. If I’d known you only have to write 50,000 words to win, I would’ve signed up a long time ago. I thought those 50,000 words had to be an entire book, not just the start of one. I’m also writing out of order, and know I’ll have to go back and add in some more worldbuilding and character and plot development.
This is the placeholder cover I threw together in Gimp on my old computer. (I honestly couldn’t figure out how to use the new version of Gimp I downloaded for my new computer, so I just deleted it.) Not quite sure I chose the right colours for the title and byline, but whatever. It’s just a placeholder.
A couple of times, I’ve felt emotionally gutted, thinking about what really happened to that beautiful boy. But at least he’s now a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church (specifically designated a passion-bearer), and I’m creating a beautiful fantasy of what might’ve been. There’s almost nothing left of the embarrassing original material from 1996 and 2001, just the same general concept. I even changed the name of Alyosha’s unlikely Tsaritsa from Varvara/Varya to Arkadiya, and made her a left-handed, morganatic princess with a limp and several scars, seven years his senior.
What Works for Me
It’s important to keep a bibliography/works consulted file if your book is very research-heavy. For my primary WIP, my third Russian/North American historical, I’ve got a massive file with both hyperlinks and citations of books. That way, if I need to refer back to something later, it’s right there. Unfortunately, I forgot to record a few sources, like one about 1930s Halloween costumes, and now I can’t find my way back to it.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I had a huge scare on Saturday when I thought my car had been stolen or towed after lunch. I felt really foolish and Stooge-like when it turned out I’d been on the wrong street. I really did want to stop driving on Shabbos, but I decided I’d rather drive a little bit past walking distance if it means the difference between being part of a community and feeling like crap having lunch all by myself.