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Gang Roundup – August 2020

I am so excited to show you the new look of the blog!

I’ve been meaning to do a makeover for a while. I wanted something more modern and dynamic. But I’ve been meaning to do a makeover of the site too, even more drastic. So I waited. 

Until a couple of weeks ago, the new update for the theme I was using here took the homepage away from the free features. 

At that point, I thought: shouldn’t I just buy a good theme and use it on both the blog and the site?

So that’s what I did. And I’m so happy!

This is quite a complex theme in comparison with all the previous ones I’ve used, but it’s also far more powerful. It comes with many premium plugins that have blown my mind away. 

I still need to learn a lot, especially for the site. Because you see, I want to turn the site into a little store of my books.

I have three books available at the moment, and I mean to publish a few more before the end of the year, mostly non-fiction. So, I thought it was time for a big change. 

How do you find the homepage?

Miss Chicago in her kitchen, 1927
Miss Chicago in her kitchen, 1927

I Tried a 1920s Cleaning Routine for a Week—And it Was Nearly Impossible

It is well-known that in the 1920s home appliances were widely advertised as the housewives’ rescuers. According to adds, these house appliances would do most of the housework, freeing women from many hard, tedious chores and giving them a lot of free time.
But the truth is that because of the additional free time women were supposed to have, cleaning expectations rose quite a bit.
The author of this article followed a 1920s weekly cleaning schedule for a week. She quickly discovered that, although the house was in fat a lot cleaner and some chores became easier because they were expected to be done every day, the schedule was so busy that no working woman would keep up.
So much for the New Woman’s freedom.

1920 Style Cheongsam Dresses - During the 1920’s, the Cheongsam became popular among Chinese celebrities and upper class. The popularity of the Cheongsam was attributed to the changing times, which included the liberation of Chinese women from their traditional past.

A Brief History Of The Cheongsam

The cheongsam, also known as a qipao, is a close-fitting dress that originated in 1920s Shanghai and is a garment that we often link to traditional Chinese female beauty. 

It is, in fact, a lot more. In the 1920s, when it first became popular, it manifested the desire of modernity of the younger population. The cheongsam was most popular in the city, where women shed the traditional, voluminous garments, and with their cheongsam when to school and university.

No surprise that when the Communist Republic arose, they prohibited women from wearing it. 

The Orchid Garden: Diabolical and Supernatural Imagery from History's Very First Fantasy Magazine

The Orchid Garden: Diabolical and Supernatural Imagery from History’s Very First Fantasy Magazine

Der Orchideengarten is considered the first fantasy magazine ever published, having sturting publications in Germany four years before Weird Tales. Its Expressionistic visuals are truly astounding and very little mainstream, even in Expressionist Germany. 
Consult PDF here

MURDER AT THE RACES (Carmen Radtke) Jack Sullivan Mysteries #1

Murder at the Races
by Carmen Radtke

No rest for Jack and Frances ….
1931. Frances Palmer is overjoyed when her brother Rob
returns to Adelaide as a racecourse veterinarian. But all is not
well on the turf, and when a man is murdered, there is only one
suspect – Rob.
Frances and her boyfriend, charming night club owner Jack Sullivan, along with ex-vaudevillian Uncle
Sal and their friends have only one chance to unmask
the real murderer, by infiltrating the racecourse. The odds are against them, but luckily putting on a
dazzling show where everything depends on sleight of hand is what they do best.
And with time running out for Rob, the race

THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS (Chloe Gong) Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

These Violent Delights
by Chloe Gong

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

GANG ROUNDUP (August 2020) The 1920s were a time of change and innovation in so many areas of life: women's life, inventions, society #history #amresearching Share on X
Chicago (1927) Original silent film
Chicago (1927) The original silent film was based on a very successful play

The Roaring Twnties – Prohibition, Cocktails, Crimes and… Mystery Plays?

Author Susanna Calkins writes a charming article about mystery plays in the 1920s, which seems to have been a major form of entertainment before the movie industry appropriated it.
Many of these productions were based on literary works, such as novels, more often short stories. Which in turn were very often based on true crimes, and certainly this was a winning promotional factor.
As in so many other fields, the 1920s set the basics for this kind of entertainment, creating topes that already during the decade had become very recognisable.

The Decades That Invented the Future, Part 3: 1921-1930

leica camera 1925

The 1920s were a time of incredible inventions, and a very large number of them impacted everyday life in a way unthinkable for us today because many of those inventions we now take for granted. Three colour automatic traffic-light? Computers? Fast aeroplanes? 35mm film standard?
The 1920s invented them all.

The Ocoee Massacre of African-American Voters — 1920

The terrible account of what happened in Ocoee, Florida, in the night between 2 and 3 November 1920.
On election day, the strong and numerous white supremacist population attacked the Northern Quarters of the city, part of the African American community, and brought violence and death to most of that population.
African Americans left town the day after and never return to it until the early 1980s. For more than half a century, Ocoee was a white-only town.

I stumbled upon this video on Facebook. I have to admit it is weirdly effective. It is the Doors, and it is also recognizable as a 1920s song.
So strange.

Youtube description.

New Order’s Blue Monday was released on 7 March 1983, and its cutting-edge electronic groove changed pop music forever. But what would it have sounded like if it had been made 50 years earlier? In a special film, using only instruments available in the 1930s – from the theremin and musical saw to the harmonium and prepared piano – the mysterious Orkestra Obsolete present this classic track as you’ve never heard it before.

This is both incredibly weird and incredibly awesome.

GANG ROUNDUP (August 2020) The 1920s were a time of change and innovation in so many areas of life: women's life, inventions, society.

Sarah plugs her stuff

What am I doing at the moment?

A big mess, I often feel. 

I’m still working from home, and honestly, I’m not sure how things will work once I get back. Everything’s changing so fast in the filed where I work that it’s impossible to see what the work will be like next month. 
It is a bit scary. But in a way, it’s also exciting.
If things remain as they are, I should be back to work in the bookshop (which probably won’t be a bookshop anymore) by September. So I still have this month to work on my own writing. 

I’m writing a lot for Medium, especially articles about creative writing, and about Tolkien.
I’m planning to publish many of the creative writing articles as ebooks, though that’s taking a lot more revising than I had anticipated. 
You can see the first I’m working on in the sidebar. 
I’m also planning to publish all my AtoZ Series as ebooks. 
It’s something I had on my mind for years. I think the time has come to make that plan come true. 

I’ve also enrolled in a course about Instagram. I want to make my account a quality place to spend some time in. I’ve always loved Instagram, but I’m still struggling to find a way to make it work for me. 

I started the lessons yesterday, and I’m truly excited about it.
In the meantime, I’m having fun with a few writing challenges. 
I’m once again blogging about The Frozen Maze, trying to boost my eagerness to finish revising it. 

One of the prompts asked for the antagonist to present the protagonist. 

I really enjoyed writing that post, so I’m sharing it here too. 

Ingeborg seen with Lotte’s eyes

She’s so stubborn one would think she’s Grete’s own daughter rather than her step-daughter. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

But no. She’s subtly different. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I don’t know how precisely. She confuses me, this girl. But I know I can get my way around Grete. It takes time and labour, but I know I can get my way in the end. Ingeborg, on the other hand…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

There’s something about her, some kind of warm core, of inner strength, very similar to her aunt, but stronger, if still dormant. She could be a very dangerous woman when that strength awakens. But then, maybe it won’t. It’s very deep-set. And it would require a strong connection with her land, which I’m not sure this modern woman is still capable of. People are losing this kind of understanding, especially when they become accustomed to city life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

But what does she want with Florian? She’s trying to take him away from me, but not because she lusts for him. Why would she want him if not out of lust? I don’t understand her.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

But this I know: she doesn’t want Grete to destroy the maze. This is good. I need the maze to live a bit longer. I don’t need to understand Ingeborg, after all, I just need to take her on my side for a little while and I’ll get what I want. Then I won’t need her anymore. I won’t need anyone but Florian.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

She must not have him. ⠀⠀

Ingeborg through Lotte's eyes - A character's study from The Frozen Maze (A Snow White retelling set in 1920s Germany)

Photo by Caique Silva on Unsplash edited by me


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted August 7, 2020 at 14:22

    I really like the new look of your blog, Sarah! It’s nice and clean and professional. Thanks, as always, for the great round up.

    • Post Author
      Posted August 8, 2020 at 07:52

      I’m happy to hear it, Margot. It was a huge work, but I’m happy of the result :-)

  • Alessandro Sousa
    Posted August 29, 2020 at 16:00

    Sarah, the new layout was very good!

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