IWSG—2015 goals


Today is this year’s first meeting of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which convenes the first Wednesday of every month. This month, all members are invited to post a brief introduction.

Like Russia, one of my passions, I’m a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Less abstractly, I write 20th century historical fiction set in Europe, Russia, North America, and some parts of Asia. Almost all my passions are from other eras. I’m a Russophile, Estophile, Armenophile, Magyarphile, Kartvelophile, Slavophile, Persophile, and Nipponophile.  I’m also getting back into my artwork, after a long hiatus, and work with colored pencils, pastels, and watercolor pencils.


My top goal for 2015 is to finally finish Journey Through a Dark Forest, though I’m not even going to attempt going back through it immediately. My guesstimate going in, in November 2012, was 500,000 words, and as more of the story unfolded, I kept upping my projected final length. I’m now creeping up to 800K, and trying my best to conclude before I hit 850K. There are only about 10 chapters plus the Epilogue left, so I really want to believe it’ll happen.

As I’ve said, it’s such a beautiful miracle how it naturally worked out so each of the four Parts reads like its own story, with a focus on different characters and storylines, all pretty much wrapped up by the end. There are of course overarching story threads which weave through the entire book, but the main plotlines for each Part are seen through to their conclusion. I could easily publish this in four volumes, making clear they’re part of the same book, not four different books.


I plan to release three more books this year:

And the Lark Arose from Sullen Earth, my second volume about Jakob and Rachel (May 1946–April 1947). It focuses on their first real year of marriage, their culture clashes with native-born Americans, and Rachel’s search for a midwife during the era of twilight sleep.

The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, my Russian novel sequel (September 1924–December 1930). As if they didn’t already survive enough Sturm und Drang in the first book, there’s a lot more tumultuous drama coming down the pike for them.

The Very First, my chronological first Atlantic City book (August–November 1938).  I know the title is rather undescriptive and unoriginal, but after over 20 years, I’m kind of really emotionally attached to it, and haven’t been able to think of any other title which really fits it. This book needs the most revising of the three, though it’s a damn sight better than it was before the third draft. The radical rewrite and restructuring still left too many remnants of the first two drafts, which I was psychologically blocked from either junking or reworking. I’ve already done some preliminary work on the fourth draft, and actually brought it down to under 60,000 words.


In addition to all that, I also have to finish my secondary WIP, And Aleksey Lived, which I’ve only worked on sporadically since NaNo ended. I have a hoped-for release date of 12 August 2016, what would’ve been his 112th birthday. In spite of not working on it much lately, I’m still doing research on things I didn’t have enough time for during NaNo, so I’m able to go back through and add in or correct details.

It’s alternately creepy and depressing to think about how a lot of these people were murdered in real life, and didn’t have these beautiful happy endings. Eleven people were murdered in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918 (though I still really want to believe Anastasiya escaped), and eight more were murdered in nearby Alapayevsk the next day. Grand Duke Mikhail and his secretary were also murdered in Perm on 13 June 1918.

I need to keep reminding myself this book was inspired by love for that beautiful, innocent boy, to whom I’ve felt this strange, indescribable, suprarational connection for going on 20 years. Just look at those beautiful, soulful eyes.


He deserved a happy ending with a long life, improved health, an intelligent, beautiful, compassionate Tsaritsa, healthy children, and a renowned reputation, not being forever thirteen, ignobly dumped in the woods, and still denied a funeral even seven years after his remains were finally found.


19 thoughts on “IWSG—2015 goals

  1. I so admire how you can keep mutliply projects going at one time – and all of them so close to your heart.

    I keep meaning to tell you that I appreciate your bunny button on your sidebar. It’s a good article for anyone considering a bunny for a pet. They’re so much more feisty and indipendent than I ever expected – and make wonderul housemates for older kids, teens & adults, when they’re allowed to be who they are.. .


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