WeWriWa—1939 becomes 1940

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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 lines are the ending of the book formerly known as The Very Next, my chronological second Atlantic City book.

It’s the end of 1939, and Cinnimin Filliard’s family goes upstairs and outside to take part in a local New Year’s tradition of setting off an egg full of fireworks. Two years later, this tradition goes horribly wrong when Cinni’s frenemy Violet stuffs the egg with stink bombs instead of fireworks!

This has been slightly edited to fit ten lines.

A minute before midnight, everyone crowded onto the fire escape.  It was neighborhood tradition to stuff a large plaster egg full of fireworks, light a fuse, and send it plummeting to earth so it would explode at exactly the moment the old and new year changed places.  This year, the Filliards had stuffed their egg with purple fireworks.

Cinni proudly held the egg as Babs struck a long match and held it to the fuse, and at a signal from Mr. Filliard, Cinni let go, throwing it with as much force as she could, to ensure it exploded better than anyone else’s egg.  Her family always won the unofficial block competition, and best of all, this year the Vallis had joined them, so there was one less egg to compete against.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.  Happy 1940!”

The purple fireworks showering in all directions gave Cinni hope the new decade would be much happier than the depressing decade which was now the stuff of history books, no matter how ominous future signs were.  It was like the butterfly emerging from Pandora’s Box and giving the chained, tortured Prometheus hope in spite of everything.  Life is nothing without hope.

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WeWriWa—New Year’s Eve 1939

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes from the final chapter of the book formerly known as The Very Next, the chronological second of my Atlantic City books. Though it’s an episodic story with an ensemble cast, the main focus is on Cinnimin Filliard.

At the beginning of March, Cinni’s father gave Urma, Mortez, and Samantha Smart a temporary place to stay, and this situation has been nothing but trouble for everyone. Urma and her daughter Sam are fire and brimstone fanatics who think everything but breathing and reading the Bible their way is a sin.

This has been slightly tweaked to fit ten sentences.

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“Celebrating New Year’s is the work of the Devil,” Urma pontificated. “Don’t ask me to drink any of your demonic libations at the stroke of midnight.”

“I’d never waste my good champagne on you,” Mrs. Filliard said. “My alcohol is only for my family and friends, and you’ll never be my friend.”

“I’ll have some champagne,” Mortez said.

Urma gave him the evil eye as Mrs. Filliard filled an especially large champagne flute.  She covered her eyes when Mr. Filliard mixed a cocktail of strawberry syrup, lemonade, and champagne for all the underage members of the household, using a shaker in the shape of a penguin left over from Prohibition.

“How can you be anti-alcohol when Christ’s first miracle was changing water into wine?” Mr. Valli asked.

“He changed wine into water, that’s all you know.  I’d be glad to lend you one of my copies of Minister Hodges’s true version of the Bible, if I trusted I’d get it back in one piece and undefaced.”

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Mortez has never had any part of his wife and daughter’s extreme religious conversion, though they usually railroad over him and shut down any attempted protests or lectures. He’s always loved Urma much more than she’s ever loved him, though he can’t forgive her for the slanderous story she told her parents after they conceived Samantha as unmarried teenagers.

WeWriWa—A New Year

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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. In the spirit of the New Year, I’m using a snippet from my alternative history, as 1922 is replaced by 1923. This is from Part II, some years prior to the excerpts I’ve been sharing from. Aleksey has been living in Belleville, Paris to attend the Sorbonne, and his sister Mariya and brother-in-law Igor have come to visit for the holidays since they don’t have any sick or very young children like the rest of Aleksey’s sisters and brothers-in-law.

Modern forensic evidence seems to suggest Mariya was almost certainly a hemophilia carrier, as opposed to just strong speculation for the other three, but since she wanted a big family so badly, I was nice and gave her three daughters before two sick boys and another girl. At the time of this scene, she has only two children, 3-year-old Isidora and 21-month-old Nina. From everything I’ve read, she was a really sweet, gentle-hearted person, and didn’t deserve to immediately have incurably sick children.

This has been slightly edited to fit the sentence limit.

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1923 dawned on a cold, snowy night with lots of stars and an almost full Moon.  Though Belleville wasn’t a neighborhood known for an active night life and merry carousers up past midnight, the holiday was a special exception.  There were still lights on in nearby houses, and fireworks could be seen from the windows.  Most of the fireworks came from amateur locals, but some of the fireworks from nearby Montmartre could still be seen up in the dark night sky.  Inside the warm townhouse, Nina and Isidora lay sleeping on the Persian rug in the living room while the adults, the servants included, drank champagne and sparkling white wine.  A large bowl of papilottes sat on the coffeetable, with numerous colorful wrappers scattered about, and ample dried fruits left over from the thirteen desserts feast.

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“Let’s hope you don’t hurt yourself during this new year, Your Majesty,” Dr. Merkulov said. “I expect to see you walking by March, and we don’t want you to immediately end up in that damned wheelchair all over again.”

“I hate being in a wheelchair even more than I hate wearing calipers.  Why would I hurt myself on purpose?”

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