The Gaslight Frontier Wiki

Lately I’ve decided to get back to work filling up the wiki I created a while back for the Gaslight Frontier. What is a wiki, you ask? A wiki is a website on which users collaboratively add and modify content and structure directly from the web browser. The most well-known example is the website Wikipedia.

Pertaining to my wiki for the Gaslight Frontier, it’s a website where you can find information on the characters, places, objects, etc in the Gaslight Frontier world. If you join the wiki as a member, you can also add and modify content! (If you’ve already read Grigory’s Gadget, please feel free to add details as you see fit!)

I’m still working on adding all of the pages to cover everything that happened in Grigory’s Gadget. Currently, you can find pages for the main characters and some secondary characters, the main places and ships, and a few notable objects. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the book yet!

I would really love any feedback you have for my wiki, in terms of both design and content. I’m still learning the ins-and-outs of the Wikia platform, and would also love suggestions as to what details you want fleshed-out next!

And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Stitch Fix!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Stitch Fix box.

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box. In each box (which can come every 2 weeks, monthly, or every-other-month, your choice) you get 5 articles of clothing or accessories that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, date night, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change.

In addition to answer the style quiz, you can also give your stylist links to your social media pages. Pinterest is the most useful here, as you can make a style board which your stylist can refer to in order to better understand your tastes.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that Fix (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your Fix, you have 3 days to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

I was excited to try Stitch Fix after my mom tried it and liked every item she received. My box arrived June 1st and I was pretty impressed.

As I post this, I’ve realized a glaring criticism I have of Stitch Fix: there is no way for me to see what items I received online. I received a card with the items, brands, and prices in my Stitch Fix box, but no digital version of that card exists. So, unfortunately (since I recycled that card with the box) I don’t have the prices for any of the items except the ones I kept (which I do have a receipt for).

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Item number 1 was a pair of dark skinny jeans, which unfortunately didn’t fit. They did feel like good quality jeans, though. They were also the priciest item in the box (I think $88)(On this note, you can choose price ranges as part of your Style Quiz). For those reasons, I decided not to keep the jeans. (Another note, you do have the option to exchange items if they aren’t the right size. I just chose not to for these jeans)

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Item number 2 was this really cute dark blue blazer. I went back and forth on this, because it is so cute! However, it didn’t make sense for me to buy a (somewhat pricey – $70-something if I remember) blazer when summer is about to kick off. If I received it in, say, September or October, I probably would have kept it. But it didn’t seem worth it to spend that money on something that would sit idly in the closet for months.

The next item is a bit hard to see in these photos. It’s a silver layered necklace. At $34, it was a bit more than I’d usually spend on jewelry. But, I’m pretty cheap when it comes to jewelry! I liked it a lot, so I did decide to keep it.

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Item number 4 was a lovely floral blouse. Now *this* felt appropriate for late spring! It fits nicely and is lined, so I don’t need to worry about wearing a cami underneath it (this is important for people like me, who fall behind on laundry!). I decided to keep this as well. It cost $58, which is about on-par with what I typically spend on nice blouses.

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The final piece was a bit of a disappointment. I love the idea of maxi dresses. They make you look glamorous with about 0 effort. Unfortunately, this was not the maxi dress for me. There was too much excess fabric on the top, which did funky things to my body shape. If it was more fitted on top, I would have loved it! Oh well. I believe this was also around $70ish.

Once you decide what you want to keep or return, you fill out a form on the Stitch Fix site where you indicate what you’re keeping or return, as well as what you liked or disliked about each item. That way, your stylist can more accurately curate your box next time!

Overall, I was satisfied with my Stitch Fix box, and look forward to my next one in July.

If you’re interested in using Stitch Fix, I would really appreciate it if you used my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12357829?sod=w&som=c&str=13803

And Now for Something Completely Different…My Updated Workout Routine

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional trainer or athlete or anything of the sort. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthy. If you read anything in the post that is inaccurate/misleading/etc, PLEASE let me know and I will correct it ASAP!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be discussing my updated workout routine. If you’re interested, you can read about my previous workout routine here.

 

A while back, I joined a gym and developed an effective-yet-time-efficient workout routine. However, as the seasons changed and being outside actually became pleasant, I decided I didn’t want to work out in a dank and smelly gym. I wanted to be outside!

Fortunately, I recently moved into a more quiet suburb, with lots of trees and sidewalks that are in good shape. So, I started to jog outside instead of on the treadmill. I currently walk/jog about a 1 mile loop in the neighborhood. I’m measuring my progress, and once I get comfortable with that loop I’ll start to extend it to a longer one.

After I’m done with my jog, I do a workout at home. I’ve found a useful app called Home Workouts which has a database of exercises that only require your own body weight or hand weights. You can search by muscle groups and build your own routine. With the help of this app, I’m able to work on building muscles at home, too!

Then, as I did in my old workout routine, I stretch. The total workout time is about the same as my gym routine was (about 45 minutes).

Do you see something in my gym routine that could be improved? I’m open to suggestions! I would love to hear your gym (or other workout) routines, and any tips and tricks you have to offer!

Writing Desk Makeover: Part 2

Last week was so busy, I forgot to post my progress on my blog! Whoops! Well, the desk has since been completed! So, without further ado, here is the second part of the Writing Desk Makeover.

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The finished green pieces (that includes the pieces shown above, and also part of the main desk, which is pictured further down)! I decided to leave those at one coat. I like the look of the brush strokes. I sealed the paint with some spray-on polycrylic.

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After the priming was done! Then it was paint-paint-paint! (And reassemble at the end, of course)

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The back piece of the desk was painted green, and I started to paint the white parts! For the white parts, I used a latex enamel, rather than a regular paint, since enamel is much more durable. That way, the main surface that I’m working on won’t get scuffed up as easily. However, enamel is THICK. Like, really annoyingly thick. I took the above photo at a flattering angle that was obscured by some glare, but in person the brush strokes are VERY obvious. They aren’t cute and distressed-looking like on the green parts.

Much to my relief, we had a tiny paint roller lying around. That made the enamel application MUCH easier! I didn’t get the distressed look on the white parts as a result, but that’s a sacrifice I was willing to make in the name of saving myself time and frustration!

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Once I finished the base of the desk, I moved it into its new home in the basement.

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And now…the finished product! With flash:

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Without flash:

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Quite the transformation!

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And here it is, all set-up!

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Now about that “writing” thing…

Writing Desk Makeover: Part 1

For the past year, my desk has been hidden away in a basement, unused. My writing space therefore became the couch in the living room. Needless to say, my productivity went way down with the TV sitting right there in front of me.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, I moved into a new place. The new place has a dry, partially-finished basement. I decided to take this opportunity to create a proper writing space. Step one: refinish my old, beat-up desk.

Here’s what I’m working with:

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Go Sabres!

This desk belonged to multiple members of my family before finally getting handed-down to me when I was in college. As you can see in the photo, it’s pretty beaten-up. The laminate coating of the particle board is worn or peeled away in many places, and there are some spots where the particle board itself has bubbled from water damage.

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The first step in fixing up the desk was to sand down the surfaces and patch the bubbles. I disassembled the hutch so I could tackle those pieces more easily.

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The bubbles were sanded down and filled in using a wood filler, then sanded down again.

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After sanding was done, I wiped the dust off with wet paper towels and started priming.

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I hit a bit of a snag while trying to take off the bottom shelf, so the underside of the desk wasn’t primed at the same time as everything else.

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Then I started painting some of my mint green accent pieces. When the desk is done, it will be off-white, with mint green accents in the shelves.

I’m debating whether or not I like the distressed look of a single coat of paint, or if I’ll clean it up with a second coat. I’m leaning toward the distressed look because 1) distressed furniture is very “in” right now, 2) distressed and old-looking furniture would be on-theme with a writing desk (especially one belonging to a steampunk writer!), and 3) it’s less work!

Stay tuned for a progress update next week!

Grigory’s Gadget Dream Cast

Every author dreams, at least a little bit, that their book will some day get adapted to the big screen. Here is my dream cast for a Grigory’s Gadget movie!

Cara Delevingne

Zoya Orlova played by Cara Delevigne

Just have to dye that hair purple 😉

Aimee carrero

Anya Filipova played by Aimee Carrero

Summer Bishil

Lilia Alkaeva played by Summer Bishil

Ansel Elgort

Demyan Volkov played by Ansel Elgort

Jessie T Usher

Nikolai Polzin played by Jessie T. Usher

Bryan Cranston

Captain Edward Sokoll played by Bryan Cranston

Nicholas Hoult

Alexi Sokoll played by Nicholas Hoult

Lucy Lawless

Captain Snezhana Krupina played by Lucy Lawless

Naveen Andrews

Pavel played by Naveen Andrews

Keke Palmer

Tonya played by Keke Palmer

Oscar Isaac

Yeremiy Robertov played by Oscar Isaac

Neil Patrick Harris

Gotfrid played by Neil Patrick Harris

Daniel Dae Kim

Adam played by Daniel Dae Kim

David OHara

Igor played by David O’Hara

Isaac Hempstead Wright

Pyotr played by Isaac Hempstead Wright

What do you think of this cast? Are there any actors/actresses you think would be better for different characters? Let me know!

#SpeakOut Against Sexual Assault

This week’s blog post comes a couple days earlier than usual to help support the Book Sparks #SpeakOut campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault.

The campaign is raising money for the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC). Today, April 19th, 30% of all proceeds from the sale of It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany will be donated to KCSARC (be sure to email your receipt to alyssa@sparkpointstudio.com to verify the purchase!). It’s a great opportunity to grab a new book and do some good!

About the Book:

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

About the Author:

Amy Hatvany graduated with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on her passion: writing books.

Her background in sociology inspires and informs much of her writing as she tackles timely and controversial issues in her novels including mental illness, domestic abuse, and alcoholism. She is the author of BEST KEPT SECRET, OUTSIDE THE LINES (a Target book club pick in 2012 and a Costco Pennie’s Pick in 2013), THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, HEART LIKE MINE, and SAFE WITH ME.

Amy spends most of her time today with her second and final husband, Stephan. (Seriously, if this one doesn’t work out, she’s done, kaput, no more husbands.) She stays busy with her two children, Scarlett and Miles, and her “bonus child,” Anna. Their blended family also includes two four-legged hairy children, commonly known as Black Lab mutts, Kenda and Dolcé.

When Amy’s not with friends or family, she is most likely reading, cooking, or zoning out on certain reality television shows. Top Chef is a current favorite. She eagerly awaits auditions for the cast of “Top Author.” (“Quick Edit” instead of “Quick Fire” Challenge? C’mon, producers! That’s gripping television!)

About KCSARC:

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) provides sexual assault-related services for people of all ages in King County, WA, while working toward the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual violence and abuse from our communities. We’re on the frontline with victims and their families, ensuring that all people affected by sexual assault get the treatment they need and advocacy they deserve. We’re also at the forefront of change, guiding public policy development and delivering best practice education to create safer environments for everyone.

KCSARC’s overall purpose is to alleviate, as much as possible, the trauma of sexual assault for victims and their families. Our mission is to give voice to victims, their families, and the community; create change in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about violence; and instill courage for people to speak out about sexual assault.