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Reading: Still doing the real-time read of A Discovery of Witches — and finishing up A Queen from the North, an amazing alternate history set in an England where the War of the Roses never ended and a girl from the North is about to marry the Prince of Wales (no, not Charles — the family bloodline also took a different turn). And, amid all this, The Midnight Dance was released, and it’s amazing. Take a look because of the stunning cover, stay for the amazing and unique world-building and the ballet themes.
Watching: Dancing with the Stars, obviously. And wanting to find the time to watch The Walking Dead. I watch it with my husband, usually, and we haven’t been available and able to devote our full attention to it.
Playing: I finished up Bioshock, playing a lot of Stardew Valley.
Doing: Did a major purge of random stuff in the pantry last night, does that count? :p
Planning: NaNoWriMo, Halloween stuff, the usual stuff this time of year.
Writing: Polishing up a bit of The Lion and the Eagle to read at my critique group tomorrow, just like I was the last Weekly Wednesday. At least I’m getting stuff done? Also prepping for an event on Tuesday for the anthology I’m in. 🙂
Reading: Still doing the real-time read of A Discovery of Witches — today is a day off. I’m also reading Metro 2033. I bought the book on Kindle a while ago, but the formatting has major problems (poor paragraph formatting, chapter titles replaced with black bars like on a censored government document, and more) so I ended up returning the Kindle edition and getting the paperback, which is MUCH better. Note: the trailer above is based more on the video game series than the books. In the books, the main character (Artyom) is in the metro with his mother when their station is overcome by rats and is handed over to his foster dad then. Apparently, in the games, his mother never makes it down into the metro in the first place.
Watching: Dancing with the Stars still, of course.
Playing: Yes, I got rid of “listening.” But, since you can “play” music, I can mention it here if needed, or down in “obsessing” so, nothing lost. This is now a video game section, essentially, with a bit of board game stuff every now and then. So, what have I been playing? My husband got the remastered Bioshock collection over the weekend, and I’ve been playing it on “easy mode,” which I don’t usually do. I’m not a huge 1st person shooter player, though, and I’m more interested in the story and world building, so I decided to play on “easy” in order to focus on the story.
Doing: Going to writing events, writing, all the stuff in the other sections.
Planning: Events and fun for NaNoWriMo this year, as well as a bit of stuff related to what I’m writing. I’ll be tackling a bit of the sequel to The Lion and the Eagle, entitled The Bear and the Rising Sun. It covers the war years, which are, of course, very different in this alternate history.
Writing: Polishing up a bit of The Lion and the Eagle to read at my critique group tomorrow.
Reading: Ross Poldark, still — it’s very good. Finished up Victorian Secrets by Sarah Chrisman, the story of a modern woman who learns to love corsets. Essential reading for anyone writing Victorian or Edwardian historical fiction, because it clears up a lot of misconceptions about corsets. Also reading The Radium Girls, the story of the young ladies who painted glow in the dark watch and instrument dials 100 years ago — many of them died from ingesting the radioactive paint when they would shape and moisten the brushes with their lips.
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Doing: Had a very fun weekend — an evening at Musso and Frank Grill in Hollywood, where the stars of old Hollywood used to hang out. We had Frank Sinatra’s old table, and it was fantastic. So many fantastic stories, all while dining on the original Alfredo recipe that Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks brought back from their honeymoon. Then we went to the Hollywood Bowl to see the 1812 Overture with fireworks, which was fantastic.
(sorry this is going up a day late — there was some sort of glitch)
Reading: Dominion by C. J. Sansom is really good, if long. I haven’t had a lot of time this week, but I’m still loving it. I finished The Rules of Civility, and it was FANTASTIC. I’m moving on to Ross Poldark, the first Poldark book, and it is very good, as well, with a plot that moves quickly.
Watching: Had a little bit of time to watch a little bit of YouTube, but not much more than that.
Listening: My On Thin Ice playlist on Spotify, and some Beatles stuff.
Doing: Saw some more relatives over the weekend. Made a new Instagram account for fashion, etc.
Planning: Not to do anything for a while. Just kidding. Seriously, though, I want a little break, because I’ve worked really hard this summer.
Writing: Submitted On Thin Ice to Pitch Wars after making some changes to the full manuscript, continuing to edit The Lion and the Eagle.
Obsessing Over: The Last Tycoon on Amazon Prime video, even though I’ve only had time to watch the first episode. LOVED the book, and always wanted more.
After taking the month of July off to focus on Camp NaNoWriMo and preparing for Pitch Wars, I’m back to blogging. 🙂
Reading: Dominion by C. J. Sansom. I’m not very far in, but it’s very good so far. It’s an Alternate History novel where Germany won World War II and England, while not occupied by Germany, is under their thumb. Very well written. I’m also reading The Rules of Civility, by the same author as A Gentleman in Moscow. He brings as much talent, skill, and witty turn of phrase to 1930’s New York as he did to the Hotel Metropol. Where’s my time machine? 🙂 I also recently finished Rich People Problems and The Beguiled, both of which were great.
Watching: Actually went to see a film in the theater for the first time in a while — Dunkirk was great, and I recommend it to any history buff.
Listening: Blueprint for Armageddon — I know I’m late to the party. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a podcast about the First World War and is very detailed and engaging.
Doing: Just visited family and enjoyed the cultural festival at Fort Ross. More on that in another post. 🙂 Also been playing Pokemon Go again and catching all the legendary birds.
Planning: Which Pitch Wars mentors to submit to. It’s a hard choice, because everyone looks fantastic, but I’m going to go with the mentors who seem to be looking for something like On Thin Ice.
Writing: I edited about 75,000 words of The Lion and the Eagle during Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m also finishing up my submission for Pitch Wars.
Obsessing Over: Vintage fashion and accessories, and the YouTube channels that feature them. Doing research for The Lion and the Eagle always makes me want to break out my vintage hats and jewelry and maybe even some of my vintage clothes or reproduction styles. I wish I had the guts to go all vintage, all the time, or at least mostly vintage/reproduction, most of the time!
Reading: Finishing up White Shanghai before I read Rich People Problems, the final book in the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan. White Shanghai is very good — it’s the story of Russian emigres in Shanghai in the 1920’s. The style is very Russian, which is great, but there are a few small translation errors (like using Ms. when they should, historically speaking, use Miss — it’s almost like the translator thinks Ms. is an abbreviation for Miss). I find this whole period in history very interesting and I would love to read more about it.
Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale and The Wall and Victorian Slum House. I also found Mommy Dead and Dearest very interesting and I want to start watching The Keepers on Netflix. I really like having documentaries (usually historical or true crime) on in the background while I write.
Listening: Enjoying the Beatles station. It’s awesome.
Doing: Attending all kinds of family events…graduations, anniversary celebrations…so, so busy. (That’s why this post is short.)
Planning: An exciting announcement here on the blog!
Writing: The Lion and the Eagle is my main project at the moment. It started out as a NaNoWriMo manuscript but is now getting an entirely new voice and style.
Obsessing Over: The tracking updates for my new Kindle Manga Edition, shipped from Japan.
Reading: Cold Summer, by Gwen Cole. It’s one of the most interesting takes on time travel that I’ve ever seen — a little like The Time Traveler’s Wife in terms of it not being something he can control. He travels back to a battlefield in WWII, however, and the story is told in alternating points of view (something I’ve always been a sucker for) with his friend Harper telling the story alongside him. I love the formatting of the book — each chapter has a picture of a tree at the beginning; Harper’s is lush and full, like summer, while Kale’s is a barren winter tree with no leaves, to symbolize his travel to the cold battlefield.
Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale and The Wall still. Also Victorian Slum House. I really liked 1900 House back in the day, and this is its darker, edgier cousin.
Listening: Getting excited for the new Beatles station on XM radio, launching tomorrow!
Doing: Getting the date of our anniversary dinner wrong (lol!) — it’s actually this Saturday. Accompanied my husband to his high school reunion on Saturday (we had reversed the dates in our heads) and still excited for our anniversary dinner this weekend. 🙂
Planning: Planning out the family activities for the summer — and really, I just want to take a break from a lot of things to be able to write more. Time to scale back, have a laid back summer, and get things done.
Writing: The Lion and the Eagle — brought the first chapter in to my critique group last Thursday, hoping to polish up more to bring in this week.
Obsessing Over: Finding all the best little historical details…
Reading: Fatherland by Robert Harris to spark my Alternate History writing. It’s a thriller set in an alternate 1960s Berlin where the Nazis won and America is considering detente with Germany. I’m not very far into it, but it’s very interesting and the author shows his research well without getting bogged down in the details. I’m also reading Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce, which is about a teenage author who is hiding her real identity because she is insecure about her looks. It’s very interesting and feels lighthearted even though there are very dark themes present.
Watching: Dancing with the Stars was sad this week for any skating fan, really. I’m not sure if I want to keep watching, as I was mainly rooting for Nancy. The new episode of The Handmaid’s Tale was very good, as always. Don’t let the bastards grind you down, readers! That was always a fun little bonus to me, as a former Latin student. “Semper ubi sub ubi,” as well.
Listening: To the news as I write this, wondering what the news is going to be from the British royal family.
Doing: Just got back from Disneyland — that’s why this post is much later than a normal “Weekly Wednesday.”
Planning: Blog posts still — so boring to say, but that’s what needs to get done around here.
Writing: Just submitted my short story to the anthology. I hope it is accepted! I’m also looking at doing Pit Mad again in June, but sending out more queries for On Thin Ice in the meantime. BUT The Lion and the Eagle is calling my name again…
Obsessing Over: Honestly — not much, just hoping it isn’t bad news out of England…