Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all of you! Happy new 2017! Let’s hope this one takes away less from us, especially less of those creative people who bring joy to our world! And may it give us what we’re hoping for!

Happy holidays from my original characters as well! 😀

Starting tomorrow, January 1st, 2017, I’ll be returning to my normal update schedule; news regarding writing and drawing will be announced; “Hammer Up!” will soon go up on Amazon; and Patreon will get… videos! I’m all fired up, and ready for a productive inspired year!

All the best wishes to all of you, my darlings! Thank you for being with me all through this complicated, challenging, sometimes tragic, sometimes still hopeful 2016 – and see you soon!

Gilmore Girls Revival and the Question of Motherhood

So, I started writing the Gilmore Girls fanfiction. About a minute after I finished watching the Revival. Right after my six year old son, who was sitting next to me said, “No, she isn’t pregnant.” (Don’t ask me what he meant 🙂 I’m not sure how extensive his knowledge on human reproduction is.) But while G. went back to his Octonauts, I sat down and started writing.

After I posted the first chapter, I’ve received a few wonderfully kind reviews. They were generous – and no less thought provocative. I have to say, that while I am a fast writer, I’m a slow opinion former. I like to give it time, to look at different sides, to ponder, and to sleep on it, preferable for longer than my average three hours a night.

There are a few things that have always bothered me in this show, and one of them is the prevailing idea of motherhood being an obstacle in the life of a woman. While not a false notion, and sadly rather well-spread, the portrayal of pregnancy as a disaster that ruins a woman’s life has seemed like a one-sided, disturbing idea for me. The character of Lane would be the best example of what I mean. I was glad to see her have a satisfying, fulfilled life in the Revival; but the initial representation of her character in the last seasons of the original series made me uncomfortable. She’s shown to break out of the constrictions of her home life, from under her mother’s control, finally doing what she always wanted – and she’s immediately placed into a new ‘cage.’ She describes the short time between these two events as a ‘small window.’ And then it’s taken away from her. Or at least it’s portrayed this way.

Lorelei’s pregnancy with Rory is also always discussed as a disaster, a calamity. The scene of the young her trying to get into a white dress for yet another function of her parents – perhaps, symbolising virginity/purity, and alluding to a wedding dress – reads as a loss of innocence, a disaster that has already befallen the character but is yet unknown to her.

And now we see Rory in the same position, and of course, the first reaction is ‘why?’ Why would the writers put her through the same?

Her circumstances are, of course, different. She isn’t as young and alone as Lorelei was. And she does have a supportive family, like Lane did, while not having a partner. (Don’t get me started on what Logan has become. He was my second favourite of men on the show, after Luke. And second favourite among Rory’s BFs, after Jess.)

And although I approve of symmetry of plot twists, and I in no way oppose or feel unsatisfied by what we are shown, I have one main point to make here.

The show lacks one large aspect in the discussion of motherhood – and it is the woman’s choice.

Being pregnant isn’t a mistake that Rory made. Getting pregnant, perhaps. We don’t see the discussion of what contraception methods she used. (Which I think would be very much useful in the first show. I watched it as a young adult, just starting my journey into the world of relationship. I learnt, or thought that I learnt, a lot from GG. There were things they could have informed me of, to be honest 🙂 )

Lorelei had made her choice then. To keep Rory, to bring her up, to bring her up alone. And yet, there is certain hush-hush tone to this discussion on the show. Their relationship worked out. It’s what the show is about. But did we see that big moment in Lorelei’s life when she took control over her life? No, we didn’t. I wish we had.

Rory is facing the same choice at the moment.

I feel it should be explicitly shown in media these days that a woman has the right to choose.

I like the idea of two men in Rory’s life, just as Lorelei had. Jess as a reflection of Luke. And Logan as a reflection of Christopher. And perhaps, Logan’s sudden sliminess is supposed to show that he is indeed as weak as Rory’s father.

But it isn’t about choosing between the men, as it seemingly always was written for Lorelei. (Thank goodness, at least there was the opening of her own inn that was there to counterbalance all that talk about having or not having a man in her life.)

It is now about Rory choosing to keep the baby, or not. It’s about her deciding whether in this strange limbo in which she found herself, she can and/or is willing. It’s not about her learning on her mother’s experience. It is her life. It is her body. It is her choice.

It doesn’t matter whose baby it is, and whether there was indeed that sincere longing in Jess’s eyes when he looked at her through the window. It is about Rory deciding. To finish, or not to finish her book. Where to work. Where to live. To have, or not to have another Rory. (It can be a boy’s name 🙂 )

Motherhood has to be a choice, available to make, and not judged whether it is made, or not. I just wish it were shown this way in media more. Many of us grew up with Rory. And now as adults, we should be able to see her fight for that right.

Two Completed Projects and a Dozen Running :)

Hello!

Update, update, it’s time for an update on what Katya’s doing 🙂 (Clearly some writers/artists here have had a wee bit too much chocolate. But seriously, chocolate affects me like booze does normal people, while booze just knocks me out 😀 And there was this box of Lindt elves; and they were glossy and plump; and pretty foil wraps fell off; and one followed another… 😛 )

Uhem, where was I? 🙂

Alright, the two completed projects:

A. “Hammer Up!” (formerly known as “Stop, Hammer Time!”)

It’s been edited; the cover is made; and it’s ready to go, but… I’ve been thinking that it’s holiday time now, and we all have families to visit and eggnog to drink. And judging by how it goes on FF and A03 sites, most people are not very active online around this time. So, how about we do the whole voting + getting a free copy if the story wins (and Katya gets a bit cash, and doesn’t have to get a soul-crushing, boring job for a bit longer) in January?

Let me know what you think!

B. Russian folklore + familiar characters = young adult fantasy novel

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It’s written! I’m serious! 😀 I wrote a novel in exactly a month! I started November 7th, and was done December 8th. I would have finished December 7th (not intentionally at all), but I was writing the final battle scene, and then my alarm went off, and I had to go pick up my son from school! I am almost certain that people on the bus thought I was mad! I was buzzing, and mumbling, and twitching 🙂 But then the next day I finished it!

I like it. That’s all I can say. I do have couple degrees in literary studies, so I have all these critical urges from time to time – but it just flew from under my fingers, and I love it. Those of you who have warm and fuzzy feelings towards Thorin/John (which I assume are all of you 😀 ) will enjoy a certain character in this story for sure.

I even decided to try to go with the traditional publishing, and am currently looking into publishing houses, and agents. Does any of you happen to know anyone in that terrifying, cut throat business? 🙂

In the picture above, you can see a magical compass, fuelled by a person’s blood, which allows one to search for a hidden relative, or object – and the book will actually explain how to build one. Have I gotten your attention? 🙂

3. What’s going on meanwhile:

Fanfiction, of course! On fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own. Now that my mad writing spree is over, I’ll dedicate more time to my FF.

I’ve also been recently reminded that I have a Wattpad page. I’ll clean it up and post some old Thorin stories there, and…

A new idea! (Clearly, those chocolate elves should’ve stayed where they were!) How about a romance story on Wattpad, where a lovely chick whose job is to be a muse (she’s a personal coach for creative peeps) is torn between two blokes? One is tall, dark, and blue-eyed (we all know the type, don’t we? 😉 ), and another one is sort of “Bilbo meets John Watson?” (They do kind of look alike, don’t they? 😀 ) The plot is already formed in my head, and ooooohhhh, the delicious angst! 😀

Also, I’m finishing the next chapter for the Agatha Christie style story for my Patreon supporters. They will also get some exclusive scoop into the freshly finished novel; character designs; and Christmas watercolour cards by yours truly.

There is also a story for Etsy that is slowly taking shape. I’m still working on choosing a character design style, and the overall plot, but as promised a whodunit with Gwen (yet another version of Wren); and both John/Thorin and Einar is on the way! Once I’ve set my mind on the overall style, it’ll be a go – and I hope you enjoy it!

Writing aside, I’m also working on my art, including a family portrait commission, which is equally daunting and exciting 🙂 There is also polymer clay; dry pastels; the birds of Manitoba that I want to draw… and who needs sleep anyway? 🙂

Oh, and of course, there is suspicious new character in my Dr T Series 🙂 Did you like Eva? 😉

Thank you for your interest, my duckies! There is no writer without readers!

I’ll keep you posted what’s happening!

Cheers,

K.

 

 

 

Oh Leonard

I thought I had no tears left to shed, but I was wrong. I thought I couldn’t be sadder, lonelier, more scared for this world, but I was wrong. That was yesterday.

My Dad had an audiocassette in his car. And Future was on it. And I knew no English then, just what my two years of weekly visits to a small dusty flat of an old Jewish lady tutoring me English gave me. I would catch pronouns, and I knew the word. I knew nothing of the world, but I felt it was just a bit more beautiful from your velvet voice.

Will I be more bitter now, Leonard? There is a shard of ice in my chest. And my heart bleeds like on the cover of your album. Will I feel even more broken now, Leonard?

You were the half of what I knew of Canada when I accepted the offer to come to my – now – home country eight years ago. The hot Mountie with a wolf for a dog from Due South being the other.

Will I cry less now, Leonard? I cry every time you release a new album. It’s my catharsis and my prayer, Leonard. You Want It Darker was beautiful, Leonard. Thank you for the pure, scorching tears I shed, and felt cleansed, and alive.

Please, Leonard, not today. Why today?

Your portrait hangs in the bookstore in my city. I threw a look at it when I walked to my book launch, and I gave you a grateful nod. I will never write like you, I smiled. Thank you, Leonard. For the beauty I felt, without envy. For the clarity, and the soul.

I had played your songs to my students in Russia. They looked at me in confusion – those 18 year old Russian girls, for whom none of it made sense, and probably still doesn’t – but hell with it, Leonard, I swear to you, you made them just a bit better. Feeling better. Better people.

Your songs are in my every playlist, Leonard. I write a bit, you know? Nothing serious. Nothing I would ever show to you. But there is a song by you somewhere there, for every kiss I wrote, for every tear a character shed, for every Thorin, for every Wren. For every death, for every resurrection, for a dance, and a fight. You’ve been there, with each sentence. Well, perhaps, with each chapter. Wren loves you, and every John does. 

Goodbye, Leonard.

You do know, Leonard, how much you are loved? 

When my parents came to Canada – a big event, I know; sarcasm, you taught me sarcasm as well – my wonderful husband said, “Leonard Cohen is coming. You should take your Dad to the concert. He is his favourite singer, isn’t he?”

I’ve never seen my Father’s face like that. I could write a book of what you gave me that night, Leonard; and feeling my Father’s daughter and the closeness to the reserved elegant man sitting near me that night would be among all those blessings. 

Do you hear me, Leonard?

I loved my husband at that moment so much, when he was ordering tickets. 

I had listened to Letters hundreds of times when my first boyfriend broke my heart.

I danced to your Dance Me to the End of Love in my underwear in the tiny rented flat in St. Petersburg. 

I will listen to your Amen tonight.

Goodbye, Leonard? But how can I say goodbye?

American Elections 2016

I don’t talk politics. I always feel that I don’t know enough; aren’t educated enough; that the processes of the world politics are too complicated for me to grasp after watching couple YouTube videos; that I don’t know enough history behind current situation – to place any sort of judgement.

I also don’t invite any political discussion. 

My INFJ brain operates on the level of emotions; feelings; basic human rights; decency. And even in those questions I never want to make a categorical statement; I’m always worried to miss a point, and an angle, to fail to hear another side, another voice.

But I’ll tell you this:

There is a reason why I always feel horribly uncomfortable when people make a comment about my accent; when they ask me where I’m from; when the question of heritage and childhood arises. It’s because I’m ashamed to be Russian. 

I’m not ashamed to have read those fairy tales as a kid; or of my childhood with my Granny; or of the wonderful Russian literature I read, or films I watched.

I’m ashamed to say that I’m associated with the country that in its history has Stalin, and the Holodomor; and Gulags; and years of the Repressions; and the Pogroms. 

When a person asks me, where I’m from, I say, “I was born in Russia, but…” and then I give some details of my later life. I studied French, I went to Nice, I’ve been to Egypt; I live in Canada.

When a person says ‘I’m Serbian,’ ‘My parents are Hungarian,’ ‘I’m Ukrainian Canadian,’ I always feel this sharp pain in the ribs on my left side. My brain starts screaming, ‘I am Russian, and I was born in a country that did horrible things to yours.” (And continues to do, by the way.)

I am not naive. I don’t think I’m personally responsible for the atrocities the Russian soldiers committed during the WWII, or the concetration camps. I also don’t care which country a person I speak to was born in, what their nationality, race, sexuality, or gender is. 

But I’m ashamed to be Russian. And I feel it acutely every day.

And today I think I’d be ashamed to be American.

Not because the country elected a rapist and a sexual predator as a President. That’s my INFJ personality screaming in terror, and all my personal triggers making me vomit and curl in a ball, pain slashing across my stomach, when he pops up on my screen. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way.

(And again, I’m not naive. I know what people are like. And I know the scope and the horrors of sexual abuse and violence that humanity partakes. But I still can’t understand how. You have mothers, you have daughters! How?!)

(And after Obama, of all things! What is wrong with you?!)

I’d be ashamed to be American because yesterday that’s what you had: an illiterate, uneducated, grotesque, bigoted racist on one side, and only Hillary Clinton to oppose him. Hillary with all her flaws and her history that they happily dragged out to show in media. She is a product of your society, just as him.

(And then you voted for him! He isn’t even human! That’s my emotions screaming, you have to excuse them.)

I’m sorry. I started all sane and calm, but now I just can’t.

Shame on you, Americans. Shame on you.

Two New Projects

Hello!

I decided it was a good idea to write on my blog more often, just to keep you posted regarding what’s going on, and more so, to get some feedback from you, my duckies!

So, there are two ideas that I’m nursing these days (besides the usual lot of FF, AO3, and JukePop writing; Stop, Hammer Time! editing for Amazon Kindle; the Etsy shop; and (for some inconceivable reason) my sudden interest in the birds of Manitoba.)

Idea #1: Taro Cards

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Some time ago I wandered in our local occult/New Age shop. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but I do have broad interests 😉 I chatted with the owner about my art and such, and that I was considering drawing a deck of Taro cards. It was just a vague thought at the time, but it sprouted when she bestowed me with the deck that had previously belonged to our main Taro reader in the city. The reader had given it up for ‘adoption,’ and the lovely lady in Radiance Gifts shop thought I was the perfect candidate 🙂

So, now, armed with couple books and keen interest, I decided to venture into drawing a deck. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll be posting designs on my Instagram (check it out for birds of Manitoba as well, if it tickles your pickle 😉 ) and I’m considering later selling the deck on my Etsy.

Idea #2: A modern fantasy story based on Russian folklore

This one has been brewing in my brain for quite a while. There are all those fascinating characters from my childhood – Koshey Bessmertny (Deathless), and Baba Yaga, and Vassilisa the Wise – and I always wanted to write them, and the dark and thrilling and mesmerising stories I listened to as a kid; but I also wanted to give them a twist.

It is something that is done a lot these days (see Percy Jackson, and hundreds of other stories of the same sort); and I even heard that there is a fantasy novel about a girl in the States (maybe, Canada) fighting Slavic monsters. I will of course have to do my research. I’d hate to be unoriginal!

Also, I’m not sure about the format of it. Should it be a novel? Should it be a webserial – on JukePop, or this blog? Or should I sell it by a chapter on Etsy as I’m planning to do with the whodunit?

Altogether, the things I do know for now:

1. The main characters are:

Miroslava ‘Mira’ Krapiva, a fourteen year old girl living in Winnipeg with her mom;

Yana Krapiva, Mira’s mom, a Russian immigrant to Canada; a baker in a local organic bakery;

John Bessemer, going by nickname Kosh, a mysterious man from Yana’s past;

Vasya, previously a rag doll, now a fully functional, yet very hormonal teenager.

2. Here’s the first chapter 🙂

Escape From the Woods || Sample Chapter

All of it very is much approximate! Feedback is highly appreciated!

Here are the first drafts of two characters’s appearance:

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Please, let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Katya

 

Comic-Con Is Fun!

That’s about all I can say! I’m super tired, and my feet are buzzing, but it’s a blast! All the cos-players, all the artists around, chicks in Tardis dresses, two Chewbaccas hugging each other in an aisle as if meeting a long lost brother, a radio controlled R2D2, and Baby the Impala – what could be better?! And there was Shatner!

Thus, two pieces of news:

1. No Dr T Series update this Saturday. Hopefully, it’ll give you, my duckies, time to catch up and maybe leave a review? *wink wink* After all, last week chapter was a landmark 🙂

2. After tomorrow the prints and clay figurines left after the Comic-Con will go on my Etsy here, so stay tuned if you want one!

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Stop by if you’re nearby! 🙂

Cheers,

Katya

Cake, or Death? (Help Me to Choose What to Write!)

Hello!

In the immortal words of Eddie Izzard – cake, or death? (Seriously, his routine “Dress to Kill” is one of my most favourite things in the world!) Please, help me choose which story to write first!

I’ve decided to try a new format: I’m planning to write a webserial, and sell it in my Etsy shop $1 per chapter. Each chapter will be an instant download PDF file, meaning you pay, and it gets emailed to you right away. Each file will include a chapter and at least three illustrations. Depending on how this format is received, a new chapter will be posted bi-weekly, or monthly.

Here is the sample of a PDF file you’d be able to purchase:

Pierce and Schrupp. Chapter 1 (Sample)

And now the question! Which of the two stories would you like to see written? Please, let me know here in comments (an anonymous answer with a number would suffice 😀 but I’m always happy to hear more from you!); or on my writer’s Facebook page.

Option 1:

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Red Velvet and Florentines

(romance/humour/erotica)

Edith ‘Eddie’ Lark is a genius dessert chef from Canada, working in a fancy restaurant in New York. Suddenly, her life falls apart: The man she was going to marry leaves for Australia, and her working visa has expired. The owner of the restaurant proposes her a harlequin novel solution – to get married for her to stay in the country. Eddie isn’t sure it’s a good idea: the man is a bag of cats, a workaholic, and knows nothing about her – and seems to want to know even less – including the fact that she has a five year old daughter.

 

Option 2:

(whodunit/romance/humour)

Gwen Pierce and Otilia Schrupp are a successful team of a mystery writer and an illustrator. When the two of them witness a grotesque murder at an art show, they are torn between sticking their noses into the investigation led by a dashing inspector, Einar Sigurgeirson, and minding their own business. Meanwhile, a series of break-ins into Gwen’s home brings her closer to her neighbour, while the investigation is pulling her towards one of the suspects.

So, what do you think, my darlings? 🙂

P.S. All the drawings used for the covers and illustrations will be available for looking at and purchasing on my DeviantArt page.

Updated Schedule + “Stop, Hammer Time!” News

Hello!

Firstly, here’s the new and adjusted update schedule (considering the latest developments):

Monday: Fairy Wars on Archive of Our Own (AO3)

Tuesday: Sunny Side Up (Star Trek/ Hobbit crossover fusion, in collaboration with Wynni) on AO3 (bi-weekly)

Wednesday: Ice Ice Baby! on fanfiction.net and AO3 (simultaneous updates, just choose whichever site works better for you)

Thursday: Fairy Wars on AO3 and Better Than One on JukePop

Friday: Stop, Hammer Time! companion pieces on fanfiction.net + assorted projects, including occasional fanfiction

Saturday: Dr T Series on this blog

Sunday: zoo with the kid/watercolours/breathing 🙂

How’s that? 🙂

Regarding Stop, Hammer Time!

I decided to enter Stop, Hammer Time! (after a major rewrite and editing, of course) into a publishing contest on Amazon. It’s based on public voting through the month of November. If enough people vote for it, it gets published through Amazon, I get paid a bit, and they promote the book. The best part is that every person who voted gets a copy for FREE!

So, my darlings, let’s make it happen in November. Vote for SHT and gently entice your friends and family to do the same! I’ll keep you posted about the title (I’m sure STH is copyrighted) and the overall state of the project here, or on my Facebook page.

Thank you!

Cheers,

Katya

Update Schedule and Patreon News

Hello!

I decided that it would be nice of me to post my update schedule, since I was asked several times, and generally, I feel people are already twitching nervously since I’m jumping from platform to platform, updating in a seemingly frantic fashion 🙂

Firstly, yes, I am. There’s a lot going on, and it is very much frantic 🙂

Secondly, here’s the schedule in case you want to read something else by yours truly (or all of it! But who has that much time? 😉 )

Monday: Fairy Wars on Archive of Our Own (Celtic mythology and The Hobbit fusion)

Tuesday: Read Like a Book (BBC Sherlock fanfiction; previously posted on fanfiction.net) on Archive of Our Own

Wednesday: fanfiction day 🙂 Either Four Corners of Middle Earth or Read Between the Lines on FanFiction. Or both. I can’t help it! I want it all!

Thursday: second chapter a week for Fairy Wars on AO3 + Better Than One (romance/mystery/erotica parody) on JukePop

Friday: catching-up day (there are couple things here and there, such as a new Star Trek fusion crossover Sunny Side Up on AO3, and the exclusive for my supporters on Patreon 1930’s Agatha Christie style mystery story Lady Leary Mysteries; so it’s not like I have nothing to do 😉 )

SaturdayDr T Series on my blog.

Sunday: no updates. I’m probably in the zoo with my kid. Have you read the chapter in Better Than One about goose poop? Yeah, that zoo 😛

And now, regarding my Patreon:

Firstly, my most heartfelt gratitude to my Patrons! Your support is most appreciated! I’m hoping my Patreon to grow soon, and then I don’t have to find a job 😉 and can just continue this updating madness, and finally finish my children’s book Axolotl Returns, and start looking for a publisher for it! (Let’s face it, if you like my Johns, you will love Uncle Darius 😉 )

As for the exclusive Patron posts that are only available for you if you’re donating (as little as) $1 per month:

I’ve sort of lost my interest in my Rodhina Project. I blame the lack of a dark haired, blue-eyed male protagonist 😉 The interest will, of course, be back in September, when I am planning to start working on more art for the upcoming Winnipeg Comic-Con where I’m going to have a table. We are having William Shatner as a guest this year! I’m excited 🙂 (Also, whatever art I create by then will be surely available on my Etsy shop. I’ll keep you posted.)

So, I’m thinking for now my Patrons will receive exclusive chapters of Lady Leary Mysteries as a reward for their support: The general rating ones, containing the investigation plot will be available to all my Patrons (pledges starting at $1 per month); and for those pledging $10 – erotic companion pieces. (I’ve written one already. I’m completely infatuated with this story, and this couple thrills me. So I wrote ahead, which I only do if I can’t contain myself 😀 I hope you like them too. And again, the fashion!)

So, see you in my multiple platforms and (hopefully) my Patreon!

Love you all,

K.

P. S. Did you see my modest doodles on my Instagram? I’m planning to start posting my doodles on a DeviantArt page. I’ll keep you posted 🙂