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Gang Roundup – December 2018

Yes, I survived NaNoWriMo… if barely!
It was a busy month, guys! In addition to NaNoWriMo, I prepared the presentation of the Fall of Gondolin in my town (I was told it went well. I can never tell, when it’s me speaking) and I had to work overtime a few times, which didn’t help my time managemnt. I also travelled at the beginning of the month, so I started NaNoWriMo late and was on the catch up for most of the month.


But hey, half of The Frozen Maze is revised. I hope to finish this revision by the end of the year… and what does it matter if I just realise I need to add one day at the beginning of the story and restructure the entire opening section? What a teeny-tiny detail.

Did you hear that, after years of announcing it, Google+ is – apparently – closing down next year?
So I decided to go through my entire flow and save what best I find. There is a lot of material I like on that flow. I suppose I’ll have to move to Facebook now. I mean, I’m already on Facebook, but it feels kind of a game to me. I can’t see it as a writer’s tool. I’m having fun over there, in a few places, but… you know…

If you are an author and you use Facebook, I’d love to know how you manage it.

Anyway, I suppose you’ll see quite a bit of my Google+ material in future Gang Rounups. Here I go already!

1915 Ford Model T with Mary Anderson’s Windshield Wipers

In 2015, when I took part in the AtoZ Challenge for the first time, author Sharon Himsl wrote her challenge about inventions by women (which is a fascinating subject. You’d never imagine what women invented that we take so much for granted today!). Quite a few of these inventions were from the 1920s. Here are a couple:

W is for Windshield Wiper: Inventions by Women A-Z
X is for X-rays on Wheels: Inventions by Women A-Z

Armistice Day 100

11th November was of course the centenary of the ending of WWI. I’ll be honest, I’m happy I had the opportunity to really live this day. I’ve never been interested in wars and their histories until  I started researching a new writing project set in 1920s Germany a couple of years ago. I actually decided I still didn’t need to go too much into WWI, since my story was set in the 1920s. Besides, I wrote an entire trilogy of novels set in 1920s America and never felt I should get into WWI.

I soon discovered studying the 1920s in Europe was a completely different experience. There was absolutely no way that I could make a good job of it without researching WWI, since the Great War coloured everything – from everyday life, to emotions, to expectations, to behaviour toward the future and ideas about the past – concerning European life, especially in the 1920s.

I didn’t really studied WWI when I was at school. We looked at it cursorily, because it was in the compulsory program, but really I remember next to nothing. Besides, WWII seems to take the scene any day, both on fiction and non-fiction.
What I discovered shocked me. WWI turned out to be a pivotal time in the history of the world (well, certainly it was for the history of my continent), many things happened that made us Europeans the people we are today. So many ideas took form in those years that we now readily accept. So many practices that we now take for granted were born during those years, many right on the battlefields. Truly, the Great War changed the world for us. It changed our minds and our hearts and I could not believe how little attention it gets – little attention even in the four years of the centenary.

I became very interested in the war and so I really felt the 100th Armistice Day, and I was happy to see a last flare of interest.

Bethune cemetery France WW1

The Dying Minutes of World War One

This is not the first time that David Lawlor writes about WWI on his blog, and he always takes a different, very particular angle on the subject. This time, he chooses to talk about those soldiers who lost their live during those last few minutes before the Armistice became affective and the armies ceased fire.
It is particularly sad to read about these men who could have survived if fate had been just a little bit more lenient with them.
It’s a great blog.

Armistice Day*

Margot Kinberg makes a great roundup of mystery novels set during WWI or just afterward, which tackle Armistice Day or what the Armistice brings into the lives of the people in the novel.
It isn’t always so obvious. She looks into the hard time following the war perspires into the novel, sometimes in subtle ways, such as in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which Agatha Christie really wrote in that time and so what she wrote about what actually what she was experiencing.
But this is really a great list of fantastic novels and series of novels.

The Telegram #WW1 #Free #Short Story

Author Pam Lecky celebrates Armistice Day with an original short story that really pulls at the strigs of everyone’s heart.
I really enjoyed it.   

When Bill finally plucked up the courage to broach the subject of signing-up, he met with strong resistance. But he persevered. We must defeat the Hun, he said to them, his voice resonating with conviction. As David and I listened from behind the door, my heart sang. How brave he was!


Because I’m always busy with NaNoWriMo in November, I can’t say I’ve ever really took part in Noirvember, which is a month long celebration of film noir. This means I’ve never actually written a post for the celebration, btu I’ve celebrated by reading other people’s posts, and that is a joy in itself.

On The Origins of Noirvember

From Noirvember creator’s FaceBook page:

It’s not a blogathon, just a celebration. Watch noir/talk about noir/write about noir/take noir-inspired photographs/read noir fiction, etc. Do whatever, as long as it’s inspired by noir (but try to watch a few films from the original noir era if you can!), then post about what you’re doing on any social media platform – just remember to use the hashtag #Noirvember!

Day Seventeen of Noirvember: Favorite Femme Fatales – Part 1

Phyllis Dietrichson is the epitome of the true femme fatale of film noir. She’s ruthless, focused, sensual, and still hides a softness in herself.
She’s a scheming woman with a very clear goal and a plan to get there, but also she’s a human being in search of a place for herself.
Femme fatale are some women!

Day Twelve of Noirvember: List o’ the Week — Top 10 Taglines

Let’s face it, no tagline sounds quite like film noir taglines!

#NOIRVEMBER: The Big Sleep, Sex and The Suit

This is a great article about what film noir did best: suggesting what it wouldn’t tell. In this case, Casci Ritchie looks at how Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) from The Big Sleep dresses and what her different dresses means throughout the film.

Turns out that Vivian’s dressing style is some sort of secret language that the viewer may decode and read still more meaning in the story that the plot doesn’t really spell out… at least not on the screen.

Blood Simple: Convention and Creativity in Noir

This is a great article that in analysing a specific film (Blood Simple, the Coen Brothers’ debut of 1984) takes a look at how film noir works in general, what it can still tell to us and how classic noir tropes can adapt to any time.
It’s a great read.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell

This is the first in a series of book set in 1930s Chicago, where fairies and magic exists.

The other title of the series os far are:

Hollow Point
Dead to Rites
In Truth and Claw

I’ve only read a short story featuring Mick Oberon, the fairy investigator who’s the led of the series, and I was completely smashed.
Marmell depicts a vivid city, with a very strong historcal feeling, and creats characters that are both viscerally real and strongly fantastical.

1932, and it’s business as usual in the Windy City. Yeah, the economy’s so low it’s looking up at Hell; Capone’s gone up the river; and anyone who knows anything says Prohibition ain’t long for this world. And still the Mob’s big and bad as ever, still got their fingers in every last one of Chicago’s nooks and crannies. You wanna get by in this city? You keep your head down and your trap shut, and you don’t make waves.

Especially when you got the kinda secrets I do.

I’ve heard that not all Harry Potter fans are happy with this new addition to the saga (thought everyone I know are), but to a dieselpunk like me this looks pretty good!

GANG ROUNDUP (December 2018) - The roundup of December offers a glimpse on Armistice Day 100 and Noirvember, the month-long yearly celebration of film noir. Books and history as usual


    Posted December 5, 2018 at 13:21

    Both the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ trailers look…fantastic! I’ve yet to see the second, but I enjoyed the first, not least NYC landmarks like City Hall Station and the Woolworth Building. Dieselpunk indeed! !920s and 1930s NYC was as close the Dieselpunk as reality gets.

    I did read a rather fearsome critique (condemnation?) of the sequel on the Tor website. But that will not put me off seeing it. It’s already grossed over half a billion dollars, making it profitable despite its huge budget.

    • Post Author
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 15:34

      I haven’t seen either of the films yet, but really I mean to. One of my friends (who’s a Potter fan) promised to lend me the first. She loved it.
      I admit I bought one of the illustraed books because they judt look so gorgeously dieselpunk. I just couldn’t resist.

  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 15:31

    Thank you so much for the kind link and mention, Sarah! I’m so glad you got through NaNo; I give so much credit to those who participate. One of these days I may. Thanks, also, for sharing all of these articles and videos. What a rich supply of interesting things!

    • Post Author
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 15:32

      I’d love to have you as a buddy during one NaNo, Margot! This year I wasn’t very active on the community because of everything what was going on in my life, but normally, taking part in the community activity is half the fun 😉

  • Roland R Clarke
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 22:44

    You are amazing, Sarah – you win NaNoWriMo and still do other great posts/reads/visits/talks. What’s the secret? Magic?

    • Post Author
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 15:30

      Roland, you make it sound like I’m a superhero! LOL!

      • Roland R Clarke
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 18:40

        In the Writers World, you’ve earned a cape and a silver pen for slaying doubt.

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