Posted in 1920s, Arkadiya Gagarina, Couples, Writing

WeWriWa—Engagement photos


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. So I don’t give away everything, I’m skipping a number of pages past the last snippet from my alternative history. Arkadiya has considered the matter and accepted Aleksey’s proposal, though she still refuses to call him by a nickname or use ty, the familiar form of “you.” He’s told her the truth about his hemophilia, though she doesn’t yet understand what it really means.

Arkadiya has been presented with a short-sleeved yellow taffeta gown and told His Majesty insists she wear this dress for their engagement photographs, in her best color and a modern style. Very reluctantly, she’s shed her usual long sleeves, but she’s not revealing the secret about her arms just yet.


The Semicircular Hall, Copyright Vitold Muratov

Arkadiya strode into the Semicircular Hall, her hands clasped behind her back.  Her betrothed, several servants, and a photographer stood near the central doors of the apse, which overlooked a terrace and the beautiful Aleksandr Gardens.  The garden wasn’t cultivated this far into October, but it was still a beautiful view.  A turquoise divan had been set up near the doors, and was flanked by large white urns of multi-colored orchids.

“Perhaps His Majesty should sit and Her Highness should stand beside him,” the photographer dictated. “His Majesty is so tall, and if he’s the one standing, or he’s standing next to Her Highness, the height difference will look exaggerated.  Your Highness, would you like to put your arm around His Majesty and stand very close to him?  I still can’t believe you’re seven years his senior instead of a few years younger.”

“You really don’t need to call me by an honorific,” Arkadiya tried to protest. “I’m not used to being addressed like an actual princess.”


One of the official engagement photos of Aleksey’s paternal grandmother, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, and her first betrothed, Tsesarevich Nikolay Aleksandrovich. Russian history would’ve been so much different if the reform-minded Nixa hadn’t died of meningitis at 21, since both the reactionary Aleksandr III and the disastrous Nicholas II would’ve been kept off the throne.

How did those of you who did NaNo make out? I got my win on Day 23 again, and had 71,040 words by the end (including the table of contents and the character list as far as characters introduced so far). My conservative guesstimate for the fourth volume with my Russian characters is 350K, so that’s just a drop in the bucket! I rewarded myself for my win with a navel piercing, something I’ve been wanting for a really long time.

Don’t believe the myth that only teenage girls with size six bodies get this piercing! My piercer (our area’s only APP-certified piercer) helped me to select a gorgeous curved barbell with purple opals, based on my signature colors and what looks good with my features. I now have ten piercings—three sets of earlobes, my left nostril, my left rook, my right conch, and my navel. My next piercing will be my left tragus, since 11 is my lucky number and I want #11 to be something special I don’t already have.


I started reading at three (my first book was Grimm's Fairy Tales, the uncensored adult version), started writing at four, started writing book-length things at eleven, and have been a writer ever since. I predominantly write historical fiction family sagas/series. I primarily write about young people, since I was a young person myself when I became a serious writer and didn't know how to write about adults as main characters. I only write in a contemporary setting if the books naturally go into the modern era over the course of the decades-long stories being told over many books. I've always been drawn to books, films, music, fashions, et al, from bygone eras, and have never really been too much into modern things. If something or someone has appeal for all time, it'll still be there to be discovered after the initial to-do has died down. For example, my second-favorite writer enjoyed a huge burst of popularity in the Sixties and Seventies, but he wrote his books from 1904-43, and his books still resonate today, even after he's no longer such a fad. Quality lasts for all time.

13 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Engagement photos

  1. I have a feeling it’s going to take Arkadiya a long time to warm up to her new circumstances.

    Congrats on the epic NaNoWriMo win! I squeaked by with 51K. I’d hoped for double that, but November turned out to be an unexpectedly tough month.


  2. I enjoyed the snippet of course – the poor girl’s life is changing in so many ways but I like that she stays as true to herself as she can. The photo was bittersweet – how often does history turn on whether one person lives or dies, you know?


  3. I am very curious about her arms.

    Love the old photos.

    Congrats on the NaNo win. I pulled mine out on the last day at something like 4:30 in the morning. (And had to go to work that day.)


  4. I remember this romance very well and am glad they are now together. I did miss what’s going on with her arms, but I suspect Alexis won’t care at all. He’s such a sweetheart. I want to see them happy.


  5. I get the feeling it’ll be a while before she gets used to honorifics.

    It sounds like you and I did about the same on NaNao. Like you, I “finished” on day 23 and wrote close to the same number of words, 69.8K. One difference — that’s the entire novel. 350K? Yikes!


  6. Congrats on your NaNo win! Your writing is as beautiful and elegant as your wonderful photographs. I love watching characters slowly warm up to each other, so I’m really looking forward to future snippets! 🙂


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