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!

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.

Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Recently, I joined a book club run by one of my best friends which focuses on promoting critical thinking, especially in terms of the political and social issues of today. The book club is called Books for the Resistance.

Our second book was Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I knew Trevor Noah from The Daily Show, and from a couple of his comedy specials that I had watched on Netflix. Before reading his book, I was aware that he was South African, and that he lived his younger years under apartheid. I was aware of some of the more humorous anecdotes he used in his stand-up.

Born a Crime explores his life with much more depth. This book takes you through the full range of human emotions. One minute you’re laughing at the ridiculousness of his situation, the next minute you’re furious at the unfairness and the cruelty, the next minute you’re crying for a multitude of reasons.

Trevor Noah grew up in a society that was divided for the sake of division, because people are easier to control when you pit them against each other. He was literally born a crime: the child of a black mother and white father. Under apartheid, neither parent could claim him in public without facing arrest.

The book is organized as a series of essays, detailing different journeys throughout his life. He recounts his confusing and contradictory life under apartheid, then his confusing and contradictory life once apartheid ended and South Africa attempted to mend such a troubled history. He talks about trying to blend into the different cultures that exist within South Africa, to varying levels of success. He details his struggles with abuse and crime, and how these things are normalized in South African society.

The book is an excellent read, and to see Trevor Noah now as the host of a wildly successful comedy show in America is extremely inspirational.

General Status Update 4/7/17

I couldn’t think of a particularly specific topic to blog about this week, so this post will just be a general status update: what I’m working on, current goals, future projects, etc.

I’m trying to wrap up the first draft of Serafima’s Stone in the next month or two. I’m very close to finishing the primary story line, and then have to fill in some secondary plot points. I’m moving into a new house at the end of April, so my free time is a bit limited until then. However, I’ll be setting up a designated writing space (as opposed to my current writing space, aka sitting on the couch with the TV oh-so-temptingly sitting on the other side of the room…) in the new house, and am hoping this distraction-free space will help me focus and increase my productivity. The new house will also have a patio space, so maybe once the weather gets nice I’ll write outside.

In addition to working on Serafima’s Stone, several plot bunnies have been jumping around in my brain. While Serafima’s Stone is of course the highest priority, I have spent some time exploring these other plot bunnies. Follow the muse! Writing something is better than writing nothing, right? Even if it’s not what you meant to work on…

Oh, hai!I'z yer personal plot bunneh fur today!.png

Anyway, these other plot bunnies will form the foundation of novels I’ll work on more specifically once the Gaslight Frontier Series is completed. You can look forward to an urban fantasy novel, a post-apocalyptic/humorous novel, and an epic fantasy novel down the line.

Because I’m moving this month, I’m not officially taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo. If you are, though, I’d love to hear about your progress (or struggles!) in the comments!