WeWriWa—Much different from an ordinary bomb

Happy International Left-Handed Awareness Day!


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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, when 20-year-old Darya Koneva’s trip to an ice-cream parlor with her best friend’s younger sisters and godbrother became anything but routine. The other patrons told them Hiroshima was just bombed.

“This might mean the war will finally end,” a girl nursing a banana split says. “Your leave might be permanent, and you won’t have to go back into combat.”

Dmitriy gives a faint smile and nods, preferring to let her think he’s been in combat and isn’t just in the Navy College Training Program.

“I wish I could’ve dropped the bomb myself,” a boy in a corner booth says. “Serves them right for Pearl Harbor.”

“What’s an atomic bomb?” Darya asks. “Is it much different from an ordinary bomb?”

“You’d better believe it is,” the soda jerk says. “President Truman said it was more powerful than twenty thousand tons of TNT, and more than two thousand times powerful than the biggest bomb ever.”

“So that means it must’ve killed lots of civilians.”

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Darya and her friends’ concerns for the civilian victims don’t exactly go over well with the other people inside the ice-cream parlor. Darya herself survived a bombing raid in Germany towards the end of the war, when she and her friends were being evacuated from a rocket-making factory to which the front had become too close.

WeWriWa—The most powerful bomb ever

In memory of the estimated 135,000 people who lost their lives in Hiroshima 72 years ago

Warning: Contains racially-offensive but historically-accurate sentiments and language. Part of being a historical writer is depicting another time and place accurately, no matter how much I might disagree with certain aspects.


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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week I’m switching to my third Russian historical, Journey Through a Dark Forest, in honor of the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. This scene comes from Part IV, “The Good It Is Their Hap to Find,” Chapter 88, “A Happy Ending…or Not?”

Twenty-year-old Darya Koneva returned to America in June 1945, with her best friend Oliivia and some new friends who are related to a family Darya’s youngest stepaunts are friends with. Darya and Oliivia were exchange students in Paris, but they were trapped by the Nazi occupation towards the end of their year abroad.

Darya doesn’t feel ready to face her parents and tell them what really happened to her after she and Oliivia were arrested for participating in an anti-Nazi demonstration in 1942, so she’s staying with Oliivia’s parents in New York. She’s now out with Oliivia’s younger sisters and their godbrother Dmitriy, who’s in a Naval training program. Oliivia is busy with her new beau, Darya’s young uncle Osyenka.

The clocks are striking eleven as they walk through the streets of the Upper West Side, and a number of people are clustered in groups and pairs, either talking quietly or loudly chattering a mile a minute.  At first Darya wonders if this means the war is over, though she’d expect people would be screaming it from the rooftops if that had happened.  She hopes it doesn’t mean President Truman has died, or that the Allies’ fortune has suddenly reversed.

“Did something important happen?” Dmitriy asks as they enter his favorite ice-cream parlor.

“I should say so,” one of the soda jerks says. “President Truman was just on the radio announcing we dropped an atomic bomb on some Jap city called Hiroshima.  It’s the most powerful bomb ever.  I hope we drop bombs all over their monstrous country and kill them all.  This should’ve happened a lot sooner.”

WeWriWa—Halloween 1945

Happy Hoshanah Rabah and Shemini Atzeret to those who celebrate!

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Vintage Halloween Card

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. In the spirit of the Halloween month, I’m sharing holiday-related excerpts during October.

This comes from Chapter 95 of my third Russian historical, Journey Through a Dark Forest. It’s Halloween 1945, and 21-year-old Darya Koneva is spending the holiday weekend at the University of Minnesota. Darya has no idea the true reason for the invitation is because her lifelong friend and neighbor Andrey Vishinskiy wants to spend more time around her. She thinks this weekend was his twin sister Anzhelika’s idea.

For the party in the campus center, Darya is dressed in a dark blue Victorian gown and Anzhelika is a milkmaid.

The room in the campus center is decorated with die-cut skeletons; devil, black cat, jack-o-lantern, and skull lanterns; candy containers in the shape of scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns; cut-out bats and spiders on the walls; a display of Halloween greeting cards; a die-cut orange moon with owls and leaves in the forefront; and streamers with black cats, pumpkins, and skeletons.  Anzhelika’s friends include a clown, witch, American Indian, pirate, Renaissance princess, Pilgrim, fairy, and Bohemian.  Darya lets Anzhelika introduce her to everyone, grateful Anzhelika isn’t telling them her true story.  Anzhelika only says Darya was in Paris during the war, studied at the Sorbonne briefly, and had her education interrupted by the Nazis.

“What would you like to do first?” Anzhelika asks. “We have bobbing for apples, fortune-telling, cutting a fortune cake, floating a walnut boat, telling ghost stories, and a Ouija board.”

“Cake, please.”

Darya grabs the knife and cuts into a cake with raspberry icing, trying not to cut an overly large piece so she won’t make a bad first impression.  She plunges her fork into the cake until she hits the baked-in charm, a ring.

“Marriage within a year!” Anzhelika proclaims.

fortunecake

The only male guest is Anzhelika’s twin Andrey, who’s dressed in a vintage Army dress blue uniform. He’s extremely reviled by almost everyone on account of having a draft deferment for his university studies. Darya too initially excoriated him upon her homecoming, but soon had a change of heart, and now Andrey is starting to fall for her.

Darya and her best friend Oliivia Kalvik were studying abroad at a Parisian lycée for their sophomore year of high school, and unable to return home in the wake of the Nazi invasion. Darya now has latent tuberculosis, a number tattooed on her arm, amenorrhea, and hair growing back abnormally slowly under a wig. Her hair is so slow to grow back because her body is using all its strength to keep the TB latent, though as she comes to suspect, the TB may be hibernating in another part of her body and waiting to return worse than before.