Posted in 1920s, Antagonists, Boris, Historical fiction, holidays, Russian novel sequel, Writing

WeWriWa—Antagonistic Christmas

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

Because Russian Orthodox Christmas was 7 January, here’s one final holiday-themed snippet. This comes from The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, which is set from 1924–1930. It’s now Orthodox Christmas 1925, and antagonist Boris is having a terrible holiday with his parents. They have a knack for pushing one another’s buttons, and have a difficult time seeing the other side.

Tanyechka (Tatyana) is Boris’s only blood child, whom he had with Lyuba and was forced to sign over all paternal rights to.

“So you gave dollar bills out like candy to all the kids in your religious school, and gave a ten-dollar bill to your assistant,” Mr. Malenkov says in distaste. “I suppose that’s why you couldn’t afford better presents for your mother and I. What do I want with a raccoon skin coat, and what does your mother need with a dress that looks like a slip? You expect either of us to wear these ridiculous things in public?”

“All the guys wear raccoon coats nowadays, and I want Matushka to look beautiful and fashionable when she goes out. See, the dress comes with a headband with a fake feather and glovelettes.”

“Why do I need a feather in my hair and these strange lace things around my arms unless I’m going to a costume ball or working in a brothel?” Mrs. Malenkova asks. “I’m surprised young women are able to wear such revealing dresses in public and not get arrested.”

“Your mother and I are forty-three years old, and we’d be the laughingstock of the city if we ventured out in public wearing young people’s fashions! Meanwhile we both made sure to get you presents with practical value, not things you’ll stuff in a dust-covered chest in another few years when the fad ends!”

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

“Oh, yes, because every modern young man wants nothing more than long flannel underwear, bath towels, sheepskin boots, and a duffel bag for Christmas. Those are gifts you’d give your dedushka or uncle, not your young son! I dropped off my gift for Tanyechka last week, and made sure to buy her cute stuffed animals and religious storybooks. You know, age-appropriate things she’ll actually want, need, and use.”

“I suppose it’s okay if you’re not trying to see her or speak to her,” Mrs. Malenkova sighs. “The judge did say you’re allowed to deliver presents.”

“Lyuba and Ivan have the most beautiful baby girl,” Mr. Malenkov goes on, rubbing salt into his son’s wounds. “It’s a pity you’ll never father another child. It would be nice to see what a future child of yours would look like, besides the one you abandoned before she was born.”

Posted in 1270s, alternative history, Antagonists, Dante, Middle Ages, Writing

WeWriWa—Trouble on Via Santa Elisabetta

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing from an alternative history with the working title A Dream of Peacocks. It starts on May Day 1274, when Dante met his great love and muse Beatrice Portinari, and will give them an eventual happy ending, with lots of Sturm und Drang.

This week’s excerpt right after last week’s, and begins the chapter’s third section. Dante is on his way to spend the florins his father recently gave him when he runs into some of his friends. Corso Donati was a real-life villain who led the enemy Black Guelphs and, before that, kidnapped his sister Piccarda from her convent to force her into a politically advantageous marriage.

Piccarda Donati fatta rapire dal convento di Santa Chiara dal fratello Corso (Piccarda Donati was kidnapped from the convent of St. Clare by brother Corso), Raffaello Sorbi

Saturday afternoon, I tucked the bag of florins into my tunic pocket, picked up a basket, and set out for Pasquini Apothecary on Via Santa Elisabetta. This was one of my favorite neighborhood stores, since they carried a lot of exotic sweets and spices from places like Persia, Spain, the Holy Land, and Byzantium. They also sold beautiful imported papers that looked like marble, with a rainbow of swirled colors. Someday I hoped to buy one of their blank bound books with a marbled cover.

Along the way, I passed a tempting array of stalls offering spices, carpets, flowers, roasted meat, dyed fabrics, fruit, silver and gold bowls, furs, honeycombs, and parrots. Had I a giant cart full of florins instead of merely a small bag, I would’ve bought something from every merchant.

Several blocks away from the apothecary, I caught sight of my friends the Donatis. Corso was eating a greasy skewer of goat meat as he walked, picking his teeth as always, while Maso and Sinibaldo carried a Persian rug with a bold pattern of black, red, and white. Ravenna, Piccarda, and their cousin Gemma wore glove puppets and were animatedly making up a story about characters with nonsense names. Only Forese wasn’t walking with them, being occupied at a honeycomb stall.

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to complete the scene.

Before I had a chance to call out greetings to them, a herd of pigs came stampeding down the street. This was an unavoidable annoyance of city life, pigs permitted to run freely through town. Complaining about it to the authorities or farmers never accomplished anything.

Faster than anyone could react, Corso stepped forward and laughingly pushed Piccarda right into the path of the pigs, who promptly knocked her down into a filthy puddle. Piccarda began loudly crying as Corso walked off, still laughing. Without a moment’s hesitation, I rushed to help her up. Forese pulled her up on the other side.

Posted in 1930s, Antagonists, Atlantic City books, Cinnimin, Historical fiction, Urma Smart, Writing

WeWriWa—Application received

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing snippets from the book formerly known as The Very Next, now entitled Movements in the Symphony of 1939. It was released in e-book format on March second, with a paperback edition to follow within a few months. The paperback edition will have a different cover.

I’m now in Chapter 12, “Urma’s True Colors.” Cinni was leaning out of her window in her attic bedroom when she caught Urma Smart, one of the new longterm houseguests, on the front veranda with the father of Cinni’s frenemy Adeline. Just as Cinni suspected, Mr. Myers really is in the Klan, and Urma wants to join too.

After much begging, Mr. Myers gave Urma an application for the women’s auxiliary. As promised, she fills it out in record time.

This comes a bit after last week’s snippet.

Urma marched back out with the completed application, and Cinni leaned through the window again.

“There you go. I’ll attend every single meeting, pay all my dues on time, and keep my uniform ironed and starched. Maybe you’ll reconsider your stance on admitting women by the time my daughter’s old enough to join.”

“I’ll look over this application and take it to the proper authorities. But remember, we don’t let just anyone join, even if it’s only the women’s auxiliary. You have to prove you have pure white ancestry, and if we find any inferior races lurking about in your family tree after your initial approval, you’ll be disqualified immediately.”

Cinni made a rude gesture at Mr. Myers as he walked off.

Posted in 1930s, Antagonists, Atlantic City books, Cinnimin, Historical fiction, Urma Smart, Writing

WeWriWa—Application requested

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing snippets from the book formerly known as The Very Next, now entitled Movements in the Symphony of 1939. It was released in e-book format on March second, with a paperback edition to follow within a few months. The paperback edition will have a different cover.

I’m now in Chapter 12, “Urma’s True Colors.” Cinni was leaning out of her window in her attic bedroom when she caught Urma Smart, one of the new longterm houseguests, on the front veranda with the father of Cinni’s frenemy Adeline. Just as Cinni suspected, Mr. Myers really is in the Klan, and Urma is begging for membership.

Urma, who freely discriminates against many kinds of people, was outraged to be told the Klan doesn’t admit women to the main organization, and to hear Mr. Myers making several quite sexist comments about women in general and her in particular.

Urma growled. “Give me the application for the women’s group, and I’ll have it completed immediately. You should be thankful anyone wants to join, since Klan membership has dwindled so much since the glory days.”

Cinni turned to Sparky after Urma trotted inside. “I knew it!” she whispered. “I knew Addie’s dad was in the Klan! Everyone knows it, even if he ain’t done nothing to publicly give it away. You know what, I’m going to give her hell about this at school on Monday. Maybe then she’ll finally crack and admit what everyone has known almost since they moved to town.”

Posted in 1930s, Antagonists, Atlantic City books, Historical fiction, Urma Smart, Writing

WeWriWa—Urma’s true colors

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing snippets from the book formerly known as The Very Next, now entitled Movements in the Symphony of 1939. It was released in e-book format on March second, with a paperback edition to follow within a few months. The paperback edition will have a different cover.

I’m now in Chapter 12, “Urma’s True Colors.” Cinni was leaning out of her window in her attic bedroom when she caught Urma Smart, one of the new longterm houseguests, on the front veranda with the father of Cinni’s frenemy Adeline. Just as Cinni suspected, Mr. Myers really is in the Klan, and Urma is begging for membership.

The word “can’t” shows up in all caps because the blog theme I’m currently using turns all bold italics into caps.

“Listen, lady, I have no doubts your white supremacy is for real. But you can’t join. This group is only for men, and you’re clearly not a man. Now I have important business to conduct, and can’t waste the entire day talking with a biddy. Maybe your husband wants to join?”

Urma grimaced. “My husband is going to burn in Hell at the end of his days if he doesn’t get right with God. Ever since I became a fundamentalist a few years ago, he’s refused to join me and our daughter in the one true interpretation of Christianity. I have to put up with his sass since I love him, and he’s the father of my only child.”

The nine lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

“So you invited me here, full well knowing your husband would never join the Klan, and leading me to believe I could sign up a new recruit? I never would’ve wasted my time had I known only a fool woman wanted to join.”

“This is discrimination! Christ taught women as well as men, and now you’re saying I can’t join a great group simply because I’m not a man?”

“We have a women’s auxiliary, if you’re interested, but at the present time, we don’t admit women to the main organization. This is an old boys’ club, not a knitting circle for a bunch of cackling hens.”