Continuing my tradition of themes related to my writing, this year I’m featuring things, places, and people from my Russian historicals. So far, I’ve completed the first three volumes (spanning the years 1917–48), am working on the fourth (1948–52), and have detailed plans for the fifth and sixth (1953–64), and two prequels (1889–1917).
Settings have long since moved far and wide, beyond Russia and New York City. Other locales include Toronto, Tartu, Guelph (Canada), Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minsk, Kyiv, Paris, Shanghai, Isfahan (Iran), Kutaisi (Georgia), Yerevan (Armenia), and Kraków.
You’ll see me calling Russia’s capital by its native name, Moskva, instead of the common exonym Moscow. I likewise refer to the city’s historic fortress as the Kreml, not the Kremlin, and to Ukraine’s capital as Kyiv, not “Kiev” (which is an Anglicization of a Russification, NOT a true Ukrainian spelling). The first two are me being a linguistic purist; the lattermost is showing respect for the Ukrainian people and the spelling they’ve repeatedly asked us to use.
All posts are about 500–750 words. Six posts are double topics, but they too stay within that wordcount range.
Topics you’ll learn about include:
Irkutsk, a large city dubbed “The Paris of Siberia.”
The Battle of Tarawa, a brutal fight between the Marines and the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Saint Vladimir, an early Ryurikovich (pre-Romanov) ruler who was quite the horrible person for much of his life, but finally turned around after a politically-motivated conversion.
Xanten, Germany, a historic city I wrote about for a previous A to Z, but which I created almost an entirely new post for this year.
The Empress Hotel, a historic hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, which has had many famous guests.
Archangel Michael, a very important, beloved figure in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Patriarch’s Pond, a famous pond/skating rink in Mosvka.
Kurapaty, a woods on the outskirts of Minsk, where over 225,000 people were murdered during the Great Terror.
The Crown Colony of Aden, a British colony comprised of Yemen’s capital and the surrounding lands.
The Zayande River, one of Iran’s largest rivers, and very symbolic of the Iranian people’s continuing struggle for freedom.
As always, I’ve illustrated each post with lots of photos, both historic and modern. My posts on the WWII battles have lists of links, so interested parties can do further reading. I don’t intend to return to the days when my average post was 1,500 words!
I had so many great topics I was unable to use due to the interest of space, so you’ll definitely be seeing this theme again at least twice.
I recently added synopses for my planned sixth Russian historical and the two prequels to the About My Russian Novels page, so people can read about all the books I’ve written or planned so far. Each synopsis is rather condensed, since even a Russian novel’s synopsis shouldn’t be as long as the novel itself!
My names blog will feature Medieval names. I didn’t have the time or passion needed for the theme I had in mind, so I decided on a theme that’s much less research-intensive and time-consuming than usual. It’ll also enable me to feature more than just one name per each sex per day.