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Gang Roundup – May 2020

I’m writing in the day when the lockdown starts to be eased here in Italy. Am I nervous? Yes, a bit. Not sure what to expect. On a national level, because when so many people get back to work and in the streets, anything can happen. And on a personal level, because I really don’t know what to expect from the coexistence with the virus. What will life look like? 

But this is a step that we might take if we want to go on with our lives. So let’s do it!

I might be going out of my home today, for the first time in 55 days. 

The AtoZ Challenge – Living the Twenties

AtoZ Challenge 2020 Mission Accomplished

Last week, I finished the AtoZ Challenge once more. It is always a great feeling being able to complete such a demanding challenge. And this year, I’m particularly happy with how it turned out. 

Because I was already in lockdown in March, I could dedicate a lot more time to researching and writing the challenge than ever before. In fact, I had so much material that I had to edit most of the posts. There are a lot more that I wrote other than what you’ve seen in my posts. 

So I’m thinking to do what I’ve planned for a couple of years and never done yet: turning my challenge into an ebook. 

It will take me some time because I’ll have to revise the text again, but you’ll be, of course, the first to know when the book gets out. 

I’m actually considering turning all of my AtoZ Challenges into ebooks. Though that might take still longer since the first challenges will take a lot of revision (when I reread those old posts, I can’t believe the long way I’ve gone since then as a blogger). 

But yeah! Stay tuned.

LIVING THE TWENTIES (AtoZ Challenge 2020) THEME REVEAL - A time of wild change and insecurities and yet great hope for the future, the 1920s may each us how to bring our Twenties to a more comfortable place.

So, on with the Gang Roundup!

This actually goes back to March. I collected all of these links back then, before deciding to avoid posting a roundup during the challenge. It always seems clunky and, when I’ve done it, it passed unnoticed. 

You’ll see there are a few links about bathrooms. That was the time when I researched it because of a passage in The Frozen Maze
I’m still not happy with what I wrote in the story, I will have to research more. 

Historical fiction is so unnerving. I was revising the Italian version of Sea Phantom last week. Please notice that I revised it several times in English before publishing it. And what do I see? That my main character wears her hair bobbed. It suddenly struck me that it’s 1921, too early for bob hair. 

Wanted to slap my stupid self!!!

So, I’m now correcting that in the Italian version, and then I’ll go back to the English version. 

At least there’s this: in this digital era, it’s very easy to make corrections.

Old School Bathroom from the 1920s
Old School Bathroom from the 1920s

Bathrooms of the Early 20th Century

Everyday life is often the most difficult to figure out when it comes to history. The way our houses look like, the features we have in them are some of the things we most take for granted.
Still, many of these were everything but commonplace until not long ago.
Take bathrooms. It was only at the beginning of the 1900s that bathrooms started to appear in houses, and it was going to take decades before they became as common as we consider them today.

Historic Bathrooms: An Evolution

This article looks more in depth into the bathrooms fixtures. Today, we have a very clear idea of what a bathtub looks like, or what tiles look like and what’s their dimensions. What tabs look like and how they function. But in the 1920s, this was all new and still experimental.

1920s bathroom tiles

Bathroom History

Another detailed look at the evolution of the bathroom, especially in the XX century. It covers almost everything, from the evolution of the idea of a separate room to the different disposition and furniture found in it. Also the different fixtures, the way they were used, how common they were.
There’s a lot to discover.

Getting Dressed Series

I confess: I’ve followed a lot of lifestyle YouTubers lately. I’m fascinated with the work they do. The way they research clothing through history. And the fantastic videos they do.
I expect that I’ll share much of what I enjoy in the future, but for today, I want to start with this series, that is characterised by showing how people dressed in the morning, and consequently what was considered common clothing in the era.
The series covers a variety of eras, actually, but here I’ve chosen videos more concerned with the time I prefer in history.

Sarah Plugs Her Stuff

Well, I suppose it’s time to move on, after the AtoZ Challenge. Every year is the same: the challenge is such an intense experience that when it’s over, I need some time to revive. 

But there are things I need to do, so let’s get a move!

The Frozen Maze

First of all, The Frozen Maze. I haven’t touched it since March, but I’ve been thinking about it, especially lately. There will be a lot to rewrite, especially in the later chapters and I’m still not sure how I want to organise the end. I mean, I know how it ends, but there are new threads that need closure and some closures that need rethinking. 

Klaus is giving me such a horrible headache. I knew he was going to be a difficult character, and letting you guys read about him didn’t make things any better! But it did make them a lot more interesting. I just hope I’ll be able to do good work with him. Many of you told me they have quite strong feelings about him. I hope you won’t be disappointed. 

But that’s still many weeks ahead. The first part of the story is Schneedorf in good shape already. I’ll probably we able to just revise it and it will be ready to go. I hope to be able to start posting again in the next couple of weeks. 


Tolkien, the Notion Club Papers and the Myth of Atlantis In a long pause during the writing of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote a story that was never meant to be published

I know this is not a blog devoted to Tolkien, but he’s taking up a lot of my writing and my thinking energy lately, so I thought I’d share. Anyway, should you be interested in reading some of my ramblings about him, by all means head over to my Medium publication The Cogs and Gears Storyteller.

I’ve been sinking into Tolkien’s world ever more lately, and I’m happily doing so. I read The Lord of the Rings with my usual Tolkien reading group again, my first time reading it in English, and it was such a fantastic experience. Every time I read this story, it makes me richer. It gives me more insight and more understanding and more compassion. 

And I love sharing what I think, because that enriches me even more.

I started reviewing The Hobbit chapter by chapter back in December when we reread it. I stopped when I started working on the AtoZ Challenge, but now I’ll go back to it. 

I wrote an article about The Notion Club Papers for another Medium publication, Storious. This is one of the strangest things I’ve read by Tolkien, a mix of academic study about storytelling, a reflection on telling stories and discovering and studying languages and also a story in itself. And the base of his Atlantis legend retelling.

And lately, I started doing Instagram live with a bibliotherapist friend centred around Tolkien and his stories. 

I’m really having a lot of fun. 

Ghosts Through the Cracks

And finally, I just want to remind you that my novella Ghosts Through the Cracks is part of the Authors Give Back Sale and you can get it at less than half the price to May 31. Just saying. 

And this is it for this month. 

Keep safe. 


  • Anne Nydam
    Posted May 5, 2020 at 17:47

    Wow, you’re busy! Good luck on all your endeavors – and on easing up from the quarantine.

    • Post Author
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 11:21

      Thanks Anne!
      As my mum used to say, I have so much to do, that I think I’ll go to bed 😉

  • Andrew Wilson
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 12:30

    A few of the bloggers I encountered during the 2020 challenge seem to have multi-strand blog activities but I struggle to get my head round all of yours! I grew up in Oxford so surrounded by literary giants, Carrol, CS Lewis, Tolkien and we devoured them all…

    • Post Author
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 13:32

      Yes, well… Sometimes I think I’m trying to do too many things…

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