Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Passionate proposal

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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, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a gift bag after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

Achilles and Bogdana went to another room to speak alone about an idea regarding the unorthodox request Bogdana made yesterday. She’s stunned when Achilles suggests he can teach her how to pleasure herself if he becomes her lover. Bogdana has long been attracted to him, but won’t let herself believe she’s worthy of a relationship with a nice guy.

“I’m saying I’ll help you if you become my girlfriend.” He makes even deeper eye contact. “I’d do it in stages, until you’re ready for a complete union, heart to heart, soul to soul, mind to mind, body to body, skin to skin. God in heaven, you deserve a man who knows how to make love to a woman. I want you completely, but only if you want me in return.”

Bogdana stares at him, numb with shock. “Did you just say what I think you did?”

“You need a man who knows how to treat a woman properly instead of subjecting her to an act of grotesque violence. I wish I still had my Sabina, but now that I’ve lost her, I shouldn’t live the rest of my life alone. I’m so lonely, and you stole my heart.”

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Stunning suggestion

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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, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a gift bag after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

Achilles asked Fyodora if he could speak with Bogdana alone, and she approved. He has an idea for fulfilling Bogdana’s very unorthodox request of yesterday, an idea which stuns her.

Bogdana leads Achilles to the library, the box with the necklace in her hand. She can’t accept this, but doesn’t want to hurt his feelings by point-blank telling him so. She’ll give it to a friend after he leaves. Whatever his ideas for granting that unorthodox request might be, she can’t accept them either. She disgraced herself enough yesterday, and doesn’t want his pity assistance.

“I want to teach you how to pleasure yourself,” Achilles begins, looking her straight in the eyes. “But only as your lover.”

Bogdana’s blood runs cold. “What did you just say, Doctor? After the lecture you gave me?”

Posted in Editing, Rewriting

IWSG—February odds and sods

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It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

No entire stories I can recall, though photos of things like houses and vintage couples have inspired aspects of my stories.

After spending the end of December and all January working on second edition edits for Journey Through a Dark Forest, I’m now ready to begin spot-checking the proof of The Twelfth Time before approving it for the hardcover run. Simultaneously, I’ll finish up the two sections of Dark Forest I left to get back to. They’re the most frustrating, since they’re premised on Barnard and Columbia, respectively, starting a bit earlier than they really did in autumn 1942 and spring 1946.

I initially moved up the dates in the first instance, and the dates in the next chapter, but later realised that conflicts with Darya referencing her first time at church in four years coincides with the fourth anniversary of her and Oliivia’s deportation from Drancy. I could remove that reference, but it feels more powerful to retain it.

Monday’s post will be a walkthrough of all the changes I made and why.

I also have to find a cover for the book formerly known as The Very First and do a final light edit of it. Initially I formatted it at 5×8, but it just felt too small, even if it created a larger spine. I changed it to 5.5×8.5, which brings it to just shy of 300 pages. Despite the doorstopper length of most of my adult books, my Atlantic City books are meant to be short and sweet.

Also on my to-do list is buying a block of ISBNs. I really wish the Canada-based IndieBookLauncher still sold blocks of five (for one book each) for $25. The Australian branch of Bowker sells ten for $88, plus a $55 new publisher registration fee for people who haven’t previously bought from them, but I don’t know if non-Australians can use their service.

I also am still super-loath to give any money to Bowker when they’re such a greedy monopoly. Not officially being listed as the publisher of my books doesn’t bother me nearly as much as financially rewarding that company. Indie authors typically don’t have cash to burn on ID numbers!

Yes, it’s really “not bad” to drop over a grand on 1,000 ISBNs you’ll probably never use when that money would be better-spent on things like marketing, cover art, editing, and author swag. How much did Bowker pay this dude to write such a ridiculous, out of touch comment?

I’m thinking of buying four each for Dark Forest, Dream Deferred (also to be published in four volumes), and my Atlantic City prequel series. I bought my ISBNs for three other books through a legit third-party site that charges far lower than greedy Bowker.

Simultaneous to all this, I’m continuing to work towards the finish line of Dream Deferred. Hopefully the timing will work out so I’ll finish proofing Dark Forest around the same time, and can begin my first round of edits of Dream Deferred with everything fresh in my memory. I can’t wait to start tackling that project!

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Privacy requested

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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, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a gift bag after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

Bogdana is stunned Achilles got her a necklace after the lecture he gave her about proper doctor-patient relationships yesterday. Fyodora is just as stunned when Bogdana references a request that was purely medical, not sexual.

This has been tweaked to fit ten lines.

“Whatever I asked for didn’t happen, since Mr. Medved refused it like a goody-two-shoes.”

Achilles puts his hand on Bogdana’s shoulder. “About that request. I thought of a way I can fulfill it, but only with certain conditions. I can tell you more about my ideas in private.” He looks meaningfully at Fyodora. “Mrs. Lebedeva-Godimova, may we go to the guesthouse or another room? There are certain things I don’t want an audience privy to.”

“Of course, so long as you stay in the house. As much as I trust you, I don’t want you and Bogusya alone in the guesthouse.”

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—A surprising gift

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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, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a gift bag after their last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

Achilles insists he sees Bogdana as a beautiful soul who’s just barely begun to breathe, but Bogdana can’t bring herself to share those sentiments. Her aunt just stepped in to invite Achilles to go skating with them at Prospect Park.

This has been tweaked to fit ten lines.

“Sure, that’ll be fun, and perhaps Bogusya would like a skating partner.” Achilles smiles at her again. “Please, Bogusya, open the bag; I want you to see what I got you.”

Bogdana reaches into the bag and pulls out a blue velvet box. When she opens that, she finds a flat, heart-shaped rose quartz on a silver chain.

“You’re getting a patient jewelry? That really violates the doctor-patient relationship! At least I made the request I did in a purely medical context, and didn’t see it as sexual at all!”

Fyodora raises her eyebrows. “What in the world did you ask for yesterday, or don’t I want to know?”