Rose de Guzman

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Category: weekly wednesday

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 13


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.

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 12


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…

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 10


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…

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 9


Squee! #fangirl #adiscoveryofwitches

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Reading: Finally finishing The Book of Life.  It’s definitely a book I don’t want to see end, but I also want to find out what happens.  I should be done in the next day or so.

Watching: Dancing with the Stars sure was a shocker this week.  Glad to see Nancy still in the competition, though.  Hulu premiered The Handmaid’s Tale today.  I don’t want to say much about it, for fear of spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but they did an excellent job of capturing the feel of the book.  Dystopian isn’t my favorite genre — not by a long shot — but the character is compelling.

Listening:  Yesterday, it was the music of Ella Fitzgerald to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday.  Today, it’s random.  🙂

Doing:  I’m including the video of our Easter egg decorating that I forgot to post last week.  I love doing the Russian wraps — quick, easy, and mess free. Simply dip into boiling water and instant beautiful eggs!  As for this week… we ended up ditching Dapper Day at Disneyland in favor of the LA Times Festival of Books at USC.  I got to meet Deborah Harkness and my husband got to meet one of his favorite authors (Daniel Suarez).  It was a lot of fun.

Planning: Blog posts, mainly.  Especially when it comes to Fort Ross Friday next month!

Writing: Pre-writing the blog posts, doing the last few edits for the short story, and prepping to send more queries.

Obsessing Over: This adorable — and literary — shirt I found at Box Lunch.  When in doubt, go to the library!

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 8


Reading:  The Book of Life.  I still haven’t had much time to read, and I find myself not wanting to finish this series because I love it so much.

Watching: Dancing with the Stars, and The Santa Clarita Diet.  SCD isn’t for everyone — it’s graphic and  bloody — but its one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time.  I have to warn you, though, that I have a sick sense of humor.

Listening:  The Science Vs podcast.  Very informative and funny.

Doing: Just got back from visiting family in Northern California for Easter.  While there, we went on a research trip to Fort Ross to help with my short story.  I will be doing a post (maybe more) about this trip soon.  🙂  Perhaps in May, Figure Skating Friday will be Fort Ross Friday, since skating is about to enter the “off season.”  No matter how I structure it, there will be info on this blog soon about Russia’s southernmost North American settlement.

Planning: My outfits for Dapper Day at Disneyland this weekend.

Writing: Making changes to the Alternate History short story based on what I learned at Fort Ross.  Revising my query letter and prepping to send it to another batch of agents.

Obsessing Over: Russian America, the gold rush, and this bizarre Russian film…I want to see the whole movie, badly. :p

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 6


Reading: Shadow of Night while continuing to read Queen Marie’s autobiography and some research material for my short story.  Not much time to read this week, unfortunately.

Watching: Dancing with the Stars started up again this week.  I’m rooting for Nancy Kerrigan — it’s good to see her in the spotlight again.  I hope she gets her wish of becoming known primarily for her two Olympic medals rather than for being the victim of an attack — but it doesn’t seem likely (especially since the attack was basically the first thing they mentioned in her intro).

Listening: Still on an Irish music kick following St. Patrick’s Day.  Celtic Woman and The Dubliners for the win.

Doing: Getting the cable company situation all switched over before the World Championships start — after the storm during Nationals, we’re ditching the dish.  Also, expect skating related posts during Worlds!

Planning:  Finally done planning my #PitMad pitches.  Wish me luck!

Writing: Finishing up my short story for the anthology to bring it to my critique group tomorrow night.

Obsessing Over: The All Souls series (A Discovery of Witches, etc), even though I’m not completely finished.  I even signed up for the livestream of the convention in September.  I can’t make it to New Orleans, but I still get to hear all the presentations.  🙂

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 4


Reading: Queen Marie of Romania’s autobiography along side A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I like to pair non-fiction with fiction to be able to switch it up a little.  A Discovery of Witches is very different from other fantasy novels I have read — although the professor heroine reminds me a bit of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, this book feels much more modern for the most part (but it does reference history a lot).  So far the start is a tad slow, but I can see why it gets rave reviews.  The voice feels somewhere in between The Historian and Outlander.

Watching:  Other than this week’s The Walking Dead, not much watching going on around here — it’s been much more video game focused at home this week.  Watching my husband play Zelda without armor or the shirt to keep you warm is hysterical, however.

Listening:  Jazz, swing, the Great American Songbook.  No new discoveries this week — but starting to get in the mood to write some more 1930’s Alternate History pretty soon.  🙂

Doing: Playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch.  It’s an addicting game that will keep me busy for a long time.  The open world design is amazing, and it feels like a Zelda game and more.  There are definitely things that remind me of the older games, but it is also very up-to-date in terms of gameplay and graphics and world building. Amiibo seems to provide a way to have Link’s classic clothes.  I’m tempted.

Planning:  A full re-write of The Lion and the Eagle.  Not sure when, but soon.  Time to make maps in the near future, also.

Writing: Still working on the same short story, and getting notes from beta readers about On Thin Ice.  I’ve fixed a lot of little issues, and I’m waiting on a few more opinions before I make big changes.

Obsessing Over: The really pretty glasses Roasting Water has right now!  Paper cranes and gold, oh my!

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 3


Reading: I just finished The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward.  I got it as a Christmas gift, but I haven’t had time to read it until now.  It is definitely a lighthearted book, and a lot of fun.  I expected it to be set somewhere a bit more medieval, but this fictional land has both social media and potions!  Next up for me is Queen Marie of Romania’s autobiography.  A friend of mine is reading it in Romanian, and I’m joining her with the English edition.

Watching: All the Lucy Worsley documentaries I can find on YouTube.  Highly recommended for any history buff.  With subjects ranging from the Tsars of Russia to the history of romance in Britain (mainly focusing on fiction) to the history of every room in a British house, there is truly something for everyone in her body of work.  I love Empire of the Tsars, but I also love A Very British Romance.  Such a perfect touch to wear a bright pink dress to visit Barbara Cartland’s house.  🙂

Listening: An interview with Stephanie Garber, the author of Caraval, one of my favorite recent reads.  I just love books set in circuses or circus-like settings (since Caraval is a bit more than just a circus — seriously, read it, you’ll see what I mean).  I rarely pre-order a book from an author I’ve never read before, but I made an exception for this one because it sounded SO good — and I was not disappointed.  I read it as a reward for getting my manuscript beta-reader ready, and it was a great treat.  I definitely got a book hangover from this one.

Doing: Playing our new NES Classic Edition.  They are really hard to find, but my husband was able to purchase one, and it is so much fun.  It is loaded with 30 classic Nintendo games.

Planning:  Still compiling a list of agents to submit to — and the critiques are trickling in from the beta readers.  Things are getting real around here!

Writing: A short story to submit to an anthology in April.  More details later.

Obsessing Over: Finally getting the entire Pave furniture set in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.  It took a stupidly long time, and I have so many duplicate items (at least they sell for a lot of bells).  Happy Mardi Gras to me!

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 2


Reading: I’m finishing up Unrivaled by Alison Noel.  I usually associate her with paranormal fiction, but this is a contemporary YA about intrigue, fame, and danger set in Hollywood.  The multiple points-of-view are well balanced and make for non-stop interest.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out!

Watching: The Walking Dead, even though the last few episodes haven’t been as exciting as usual.  Oh well, when TWD gets exciting, that means that beloved characters die, so I think I can live with a little bit of a lull.  The Four Continents Championships were also on over the weekend, and it was great to see Nathan Chen do so well.  Here’s hoping he quad Lutzes his way to the top of the Olympic podium next year.

Listening: I’m really enjoying the exclusive versions of various songs on XM radio lately.  It’s nice to get to hear a different take on a song.  The acoustic stuff on The Coffee House channel is really nice stuff to write to.  One of my favorites is the Elle King version of  “The Weight.”  She really has a cool voice for acoustic stuff and I would love to hear her do more of it.  I love her country songs, too, though — really, I’m just obsessing over her voice lately.  She kind of reminds me of Eva Cassidy in terms of being hard to categorize.

Doing: Signing up for social media as an author.  I’m still adding things to my Facebook page and figuring out how to use Twitter.

Planning:  Speaking of Twitter, I am learning all about pitch parties.  It’s an unconventional way to find an agent, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Writing: A query letter, for when the manuscript is totally ready.  Also making some changes here and there based on the feedback I’ve gotten so far from the beta process — but I’m still waiting for some people’s feedback.

Obsessing Over: The awesome dinner the hubby and I are going to have at The Hobbit in Orange.  It’s our belated Valentine’s dinner.  And no, it has nothing to do with The Lord of the Rings — it’s a French place.

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 1


Reading: The Girl in Between by Laekan Zea Kemp.  The story of a young girl with Sleeping Beauty Syndrome who goes to a place in her mind where a mysterious boy waits during her sleeping episodes.  It is a very creative take on a disorder that isn’t well known, and I’m really enjoying how the story is shaping up — or, should I say, stories, since there are things going on in the real world and in Bryn’s mind…and I can’t decide which one is more interesting!

Watching: The Curse of Oak Island on The History Channel.  Yes, we get played every week, when the revelations are anything but the treasure we all want to see — but those cliffhangers keep me coming back for more.  Tuesday will be the season finale — maybe this time, we’ll get what we’ve all been waiting for over the course of four seasons.  I have a little more confidence this time around, especially after they dated some of the wood they dug up to 17th or 18th century.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Oak Island mystery, the Wikipedia page provides a good summary of the history of the case.  Warning: once you go down the rabbit hole, you will be obsessed!

Doing: Spring cleaning, a little early.  Now that my beta readers have On Thin Ice, and I am in book limbo, I’m catching up on some cleaning and organizing.  Time to tackle the dreaded master bedroom closet.

Planning: A short story for an anthology submission.  More soon.  😉  Also planning out the graphics and photos that will be decorating this website shortly.

Writing: I’m using this lull in the revision process of On Thin Ice to write some blog posts and doing some research for The Lion and the Eagle. While I’m not “in the thick of it” with any of my writing projects right now, I am gearing up to do a big rewrite of my alternate history.  It’s nice to take a partial break and do a bunch of history reading.

Obsessing Over: The tiny little black swan necklace from Swarovski that my husband got me for Valentine’s Day.  It’s adorable!