Sergei Kourdakov, a former KGB agent and Soviet naval intelligence officer, defected from the USSR at the age of twenty. A year later we met at my Federal Government office in Washington DC. We were watched and followed. “Even you could be spy,” Sergei whispered. My book, A Rose for Sergei, is the true story of our time together.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Rose for Sergei - A Story That Will "Stay With You"


Ereader News Today is one of the leading eBook promotion sites – they help authors reach millions of new readers.  I was thrilled when I found out that A Rose for Sergei was selected to be featured on ENT on December 18.  Over the weekend many new readers discovered my heartfelt story about Sergei Kourdakov.  On Saturday, A Rose for Sergei climbed to the Amazon US #4 ranking in: Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > Europe > Russia.  Of course those numbers change hourly, and in the blink of eye they’re gone…replaced by the next book making its way into readers’ homes.  For this self-published author, seeing that ranking on Amazon was truly an unexpected and wonderful holiday surprise.  I thank all of you who purchased my book, and I hope you enjoy reading A Rose for Sergei.  Sharing my story with someone, and/or writing a review is the best compliment I can receive.

* * *

Thank you, Cookie, for this wonderful “Five-Star” review you posted on Amazon:

“I LOVED this book and read it in two days.  It is a remarkable story about two young people who were in love and how miracles and fate played a part in each of their lives.  Have some kleenex ready at the end.  This story will definitely "stay with you" after you read it.  It's a wonderful story and well-worth reading - I highly recommend it.  I'll be reading Sergei's book, "The Persecutor" next.  Thank you for writing this story, K. Kidd!”
—Cookie


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Rose for Sergei - Holiday eBook Special


A Rose for Sergei
K. Kidd

Sergei Kourdakov, a Russian KGB defector, and a young American woman - a captivating true story that imagination could not invent.


Holiday eBook Special
Only $1.00 on December 18 - 20, 2015

Paperback:  $9.99




* * *

Excerpt from A Rose for Sergei:

I was up late since I couldn’t fall asleep, and I was still awake when the telephone rang.

“K, sorry it is late, this is Sergei.  Did you get the roses?”

“Hi Sergei, I know it’s you.  I can tell by your accent,” I teased him back.  “Yes, I did get the roses and they are beautiful.  I love them. Thank you for giving them to me.”

“I miss you already.  That is why I wanted to give you roses,” Sergei explained.
  
“I miss you, too.”  My heart was beating fast.  I was surprised to hear what he was telling me, but I knew from the weekend that he said exactly what he thought at all times.

 * * *

Take advantage of this holiday eBook special!  Don’t forget – you can “Gift” an eBook to someone if you know their email address!  Just click on the “Give as a Gift” icon when you checkout on Amazon.

Happy Holidays!




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Great Holiday Gifts!


Looking for a great holiday gift?  Books are still one of the top gifts to give and receive.  Some of the best book deals and finds are written by independently published authors, aka Indie Authors.  In fact, for the first time ever, a self-published book appeared on one of The Washington Post’s best-of-the-year lists.  “It was bound to happen sooner or later,” wrote Ron Charles, Editor of The Washington Post’s Book World, in the November 26, 2015 article.

My book wasn’t on that list…but one can only dream.  Nevertheless, I was thrilled that A Rose for Sergei was featured in the December 2015 Support Indie Authors newsletter.  A Rose for Sergei is a beautiful love story—that just happens to be true.  Even though my book is in the Non-Fiction category, everyone suggests it should also be listed under “Romance.”

Following is an excerpt from the Indie newsletter.




Support Indie Authors - December Style

“TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION - Err, scratch that.  I'm told it's not PC.  But the truth of the matter is that Indie Authors are quickly becoming the majority in the industry.  If we stand together and maintain our beliefs, values, and KIND HEARTEDNESS towards writers of all types, we can begin to change the world's viewpoint on us.”
— Ann Livi Andrews

Miss Andrews is the author of the entertaining Rehab for Superheroes series.  (Genre:  Comics & Graphic Novels, Super Heroes)
Check out Indie Book Reviews for your next great read!

 * * *

Do I still support and read traditionally published authors?  Absolutely!  I wholeheartedly recommend Spies & Heroes.  This selection of short stories has something for everyone.  You will not be disappointed.  


Excerpt from Amazon:
 “Spies and heroes spring from the most unlikely sources, as shown by these original stories from around the globe.  Spies, as well as heroes, range from serious professionals to nosey neighbors or accidentally recruited civilians.”



Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Rose for Sergei – A First Reading


I’ve always liked the idea of having a first reading to celebrate the publication of a book.  Whether it be a traditionally published book, or self-published book, the emotions are the same.  There is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and completion.

I never actually had the opportunity to read A Rose for Sergei in front of a group of people.  A celebration was planned a year ago, lists were made, and books were ordered.  No one counted on Mother Nature’s wintery blast striking our area earlier than usual that month.  Think freezing rain, power outages, icy sidewalks and broken limbs…on trees and pedestrians.  My dear friend and hostess of my scheduled “first reading” party slipped and broke her arm.  Event cancelled.  I was just glad her up-close-and-personal meeting with the ice wasn’t worse.

Fast forward a year.  A few weeks ago I received a phone call informing me that my former boss, Mr. Logie, was nearing the end of his life.  He was ninety-five years old.  If I wanted to visit him, I needed to do it very soon.  Yes, I informed his son, I would like to say goodbye.

If you’ve read my book or followed my blog you’ll know that Mr. Logie was the former boss who introduced me to Sergei Kourdakov when I was twenty-one.  He was the one that pushed past dignitaries at the grave site in Washington DC as he guided Mrs. Logie and me to stand beside Sergei’s lifeless body in the casket.

When I arrived at the care facility I was directed to Mr. Logie’s room, where I found him alone and resting.  He sensed I was there beside him, opened his eyes, and called me by name.  He thanked me for coming, and asked how I was doing.  “I have a paperback copy of A Rose for Sergei for you,” I said as I held the book up for him.  “Oh, it’s nice, it’s really nice.  I like the cover.”  He then leaned back to rest.

In the quiet of that room I began reading.  I chose a few chapters in the book that included him.  In a clear, strong voice I read my book out loud for the first time ever.  My audience of one nodded and smiled as the memories of all those years came to life once again.  It was the most wonderful first reading any writer could have ever wished for.  It was the last time I would ever see Mr. Logie.

* * *

Mr. Kirk H. Logie, Sr.
Rest in Peace


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where One Story Stops . . .


I had a different topic for my blog this week but ended up not posting it.  When I logged onto my site, my eyes were immediately drawn to a new comment waiting for review in my inbox.  I was surprised, even though I expected she would contact me one day.  In this case, “she” refers to Caroline Walker, the producer of the documentary film, Forgive Me Sergei.  Her movie motivated me to write my book, A Rose for Sergei.  Caroline’s and my opinions, however, differ immensely.  We are strangers, but our lives have overlapped by very unusual circumstances.  We have a lot to say about Sergei Kourdakov and his book, The Persecutor.  I believe his story.  She does not.

Excerpt from my May 4, 2015 post – The Persecutor vs. Forgive Me, Sergei:
“This film motivated me to write A Rose for Sergei.  I wanted to offer a different point of view and try to show you that maybe…just maybe, the movie got some of Sergei’s story wrong.  How easy it is to talk negatively about someone who is no longer here.  How easy it is to think that no one would care if you did.”
—K. Kidd

Comment regarding above post received November 9, 2015:
“As the producer of the documentary film, Forgive Me Sergei, who put my name, face and reputation on the line by moving forward with production after discovering discrepancy after discrepancy inside and outside of Russia -- and after raising most of the film's seed money from Evangelicals and Episcopalians in my hometown via enthusiastic talks about my exciting research and passion for the story, I can assure you that I cared VERY much what people would think about the outcome of the research shown in the film.  In the year 2000, no one controlled me, the director, or the Russians we interviewed.  And, sharing your Cold War mentality that the story was absolutely true and that the Russian government was omnipresent, I was suspicious nearly the entire time I was in Russia until a particular discrepancy proved to me that Sergei lied.  The poor Russian lady in Vladivostok who wanted to sell me Nutrisystem . . . . I was so rude to her :-(  No one could have been more conspiracy-minded than I was.”
—Caroline Walker

My response on November 12, 2015:
“Caroline, I know years of research went into the making of your movie.  I respect all the time and effort you put forth.  I bought your movie and watched it several times.  Your interviews with those in Canada, and the detective who investigated Sergei’s death in California, were very informative.  Nevertheless, the parts filmed in Russia left me skeptical.  I believe a documentary film should cover all sides of the story; therefore I wish you had continued your research and journey to Washington D.C.  If you had talked with anyone in the intelligence field, the outcome of your movie might have been different.  All personnel who came in contact with Sergei Kourdakov knew he had been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. Government.  If he had been lying about his past, it would have been uncovered years ago.”
—K. Kidd



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov - Controversy Is A Powerful Motivator


Recently I participated in an online interview about writing A Rose for Sergei.  Thank you, Ms. Andrews for featuring my book on your blog, your flattering review, and the “Five Star” rating. Review and interview questions follow:

* * *

“I rarely pick up nonfiction books to read.  When I do read them, I almost always enjoy them, it's just that I prefer to live in my little fantasy land. :)

A Rose for Sergei is not your typical nonfiction - at least, it wasn't for me.  It's as if I was watching a real life thriller/romance unfold right in front of me.  While there seems to be some mystery surrounding Sergei's life, this story shares a side of him that many people who know of him probably don't consider.

It's all very well written, and the ending tugged at my heart.  I have to agree with the author that it is a story that needs to be told and shared.  After reading this, I'm very interested to learn more.”

Q&A:

1. What made you decide to put your story into book form?
This was a true story I never planned to tell, let alone publish.  After I saw a documentary movie discrediting Sergei Kourdakov’s book, The Persecutor, I knew I needed to write A Rose for Sergei.  Controversy is a powerful motivator.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
Sergei Kourdakov was a Soviet defector and former KGB agent.  It would be forty years before I put the memories of our time together into book form.  Once I made that decision, the words tumbled effortlessly onto the paper.  I already knew the events; the story is a part of my life and was always there.

3. How long did it take you to put this work together?
It took over a year for my book to be ready for publication.  Because I met Sergei at my Federal Government office, I was required to submit my manuscript to the Department of Defense Pre-Publications Office.  It was a nail-biting two months before I received word that my book was cleared for publication.

4. What was your least favorite part of the writing process?
In order to write about Sergei, I had to relive the events leading up to and after his tragic death.  When you write, you just don’t tell, you show what’s happening.  Those chapters were the most difficult for me to write.

5. How would you describe your writing style?
Being a memoir, I used more of a conversational style of writing.

6. What would you like your readers to take away from your work?
I would like readers to take a second look at Sergei Kourdakov’s life.  A Rose for Sergei is a continuation of Sergei’s story.  It reinforces his book and reveals what his life was really like in the United States.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
That’s an easy question for me.  My writing goal is for people to know that Sergei’s story is real.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Going Back In Time – Would You Like Yourself?


The following question was posted in an on-line writers group that I follow:  “Think back to when you were 21 years old.  What was the best with you back then?  What was the worst?  Would you have liked yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself?”  The author was writing about a 21-yr-old male in the early 70’s and was looking for inspiration.

That’s an easy question.  The age and time frame were perfect for me—Sergei Kourdakov and I were both 21 in 1972.  I began composing a short comment, “First, I’ll say I was happy with the decisions I made all those years ago.  They made me who I am today.”  Then I stopped writing my response and deleted it.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is no easy answer for me.  If I actually went back in time it would be difficult to conceal the things I knew were about to happen.  I signed out of the discussion group for the evening.

I was intrigued.  The idea of going back in time to meet myself stayed with me.  So, if I could go back in time, what would I say to my 21-year-old self?

* * *

My time travel machine doors open to reveal I’ve arrived at my destination.  It is the fall of 1972.  I’ve just stepped into the living room of my apartment in Arlington, Virginia.  I see the shocked look on the face of a young woman with long, sandy blonde hair.  It is me, only forty years younger.

Older Self:  “Hi.  It’s me.  Or should I say, it’s you in the future.  You look shocked, but don’t be.”

Younger Self:  “How?  What?  Yes, I’m shocked.”

Older Self:  “I can’t stay long, and I can’t say anything to change the future while I’m here.  I just wanted to say hello and see how you’re doing.”  I see a smile finally creep across her face.

Younger Self:  “I love being 21.  I’m having the best time.  I really like my job with the Federal Government, and I just got my own apartment.  I’m about to go on my first date with this handsome Soviet defector I met at work yesterday.  He’s 21 also.  But you already know this…you know about Sergei Kourdakov, don’t you?”

Older Self:  “Mmmm…very much so.  Yes.”

Younger Self:  “I’m sooo happy, but I’m concerned.”

Older Self:  “What are you concerned about?”

Younger Self:  “Sergei told me he’s being followed.”

Older Self:  “All I can tell you is to keep making good choices in life.  And you’re stronger than you realize.”  The time machine starts to flash a warning.  “It’s time for me to go.”

Younger Self:  “But wait, please wait.  Before you leave I have to know one thing.  Can you at least tell me if I’ll be just as happy in the future as I am now?  That shouldn’t change the future if I know that.”

Older Self:  “You will be incredibly happy.  That’s all I can tell you.  Oh, guess what?  You’ll write a book some day.  I think I can tell you that, too.”

Younger Self:  “I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.  I’m not a writer.  Oh, that’s Sergei at the door now.  Wait, don’t you want to see him before you have to leave?”

Older Self:  “I can’t, you know that.  I can’t do anything to interfere with the future.  He must not see me.”

I step into the time machine and wave to my younger self who I know has a whole wonderful life ahead of her.  In the blink of an eye I’m back in the present.  There was no way I could warn my younger self that Sergei will die from a horrible accident in a few months.  She/me will have the strength to overcome that tragedy.  I couldn’t risk Sergei seeing me either.  He would surely have noticed that split-second-flicker of concern in my eyes.  He would know that something was terribly wrong.  I could not change the course of events to come.


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Nurse's Diary - Sergei Kourdakov


Recently I received an e-mail that made me catch my breath.  Sheila U., the daughter of the nurse that helped save Sergei Kourdakov’s life, had just located her mother’s diary.  And attached to the e-mail were photocopies.  Yes.  That nurse.  Her diary.

It isn’t possible, it just isn’t possible, I kept telling myself as my eyes flew across the scrawled handwritten pages.  The date at the top of the diary entry was September 4, 1971.  That meant the pages she sent me were written forty-four years ago this very month.  And the woman who wrote the entry was the nurse who helped save Sergei Kourdakov’s life hours after he jumped into the sea off the coast of Canada on September 3, 1971.  Sergei had just defected from the USSR.  Later it would be a startling revelation, and a story that she shared with her daughter over the years. Below is an excerpt from the diary, some personal information has been removed.

From The Diary of Ruth Stafford:

Sept. 4, 1971

Sergie Khourdakov, the Russian sailor, jumped from a Russian fishing boat in Tasu Sound [British Colombia, Canada] about midnight and nearly 8 hours later crawled up on the beach behind Sander’s.... And there he was, blue and vacant-eyed with bleeding hands, feet & legs on the cold cement with only a pair of wet, cut-off pants….  It was obvious he was suffering from exhaustion & exposure (it had been a cold, windy, rainy, stormy night) and was near collapse.

It was several hours before he began to warm up with blankets, hot water bottle & sips of tea, during which he’d awaken confused & frightened.  When he became more rational he suddenly pulled out a plastic bag from his shorts.  It contained photos, and other personal papers which were all wet.  We laid them out to dry.  This was his first indication that he realized we were friends and he was soon trying to converse; learned “yes,” “no,” “okay,” “Thank-you-very much.”  Bob said that for a time he was worried about him as he had an irregular heartbeat.  However, color & vital signs improved rapidly and by 1 p.m. he was jolly & had eaten a light meal.  The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] arrived & we received some information from him via…a Russian electrician.

The mine [Tasu was a mining community] bought him a set of clothes & he gave Bob his switch-blade as a token.  He turned up his collar jauntily & sauntered off happily with the RCMP.

We are convinced that his physical fitness & determination & youth played a major part in his survival in such cold waters for such a length of time.  He was tall with powerful chest, shoulders arms & legs – and rather attractive, I must add.

After several days in jail in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, & an unknown length of time in Quebec City he was granted political asylum….

Even though Sergei had told me about the day he defected from the Soviet Union, he left out the dramatic, anguished details about his fight for survival in the treacherous sea.  I know he didn’t want to alarm me, and he certainly didn’t want my sympathy.  I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions as I read the pages from the nurse’s diary.  For me, seeing the actual written words brought Sergei back to life for a few short minutes.  I was reminded of his strength and humor.  It was hard to read that Sergei barely survived, that his body was bruised and blue.  In spite of everything, Sergei’s fun-loving personality was quite evident when he turned up the collar on his shirt and excitedly walked towards his new life and freedom.  In every way, Sergei was larger than life itself.

 Actual diary page superimposed over Sergei Kourdakov's picture.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov - "I've Made It"

On my August 31, 2015 blog post I mentioned how surprised I was to receive an email from Sheila U., the daughter of the nurse who helped save Sergei Kourdakov’s life in Canada all those years ago.  In her email she included photos, along with her notes, of the area on Queen Charlotte Islands where Sergei was found.  I was spellbound by the pictures and thought about the day Sergei made his death defying swim to Canada—he was only twenty years old, how desperate Sergei must have been to defect from the Soviet Union, and how freedom was worth everything to him.

From The Persecutor (Chapter 2, Battle for Survival, pg. 20)
“I swam strongly toward the sound.  As the fog and driving rain cleared for a moment, I peered through; there it was—a huge, tall rock rising out of the water!  A real rock!  The noise I had heard was the roar of the breakers crashing against it.  It was rock—good, solid rock!  I had reached land!  I’ve made it!  I’ve made it!  My heart leaped for joy.” - Sergei Kourdakov


"This is what the town-site of Tasu (British Colombia, Canada) looked like when I lived there.  It had a population of approximately 1000.  To the bottom left are 2 tugs.  Tugs pulling barges brought in all of our food and supplies.  The gravel strip that meets the ocean, slightly to the right of the tugs is where the sea-planes parked after landing.  This was the only way in or out of this remote community (no road access!).  The hospital is not visible but is in the bottom right hand corner.  Sergei washed up on a beach on the opposite site of the island (the top 1/3 of the photograph, in the centre, where the houses meet the ocean)."
- Sheila U.




"This is what Tasu looks like now.  It was abandoned in the mid-80’s due to a bad mining economy.  It was bulldozed and the community is completely over-grown now.  This view is looking at the Island from the opposite direction (towards the mine-site on Morseby Island).  It is the direction Sergei would have swum from and the beach he landed on is likely the bald patch in the center, slightly to the left (in the trees)."
- Sheila U.

* * *
My heartfelt thanks to Sheila U. for sending me these photos and for taking the time to include notes with the pictures.



Monday, August 31, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov – I Stumbled on Your Blog


Checking my email, I found two interesting topics in the subject line.  The first email subject stated that a couple was awarding me $1.5 million.  Oh, nice.  I delete that one immediately.  But the second email?  That was truly a one-in-a-million surprise.  It was from the daughter of the nurse in Canada who helped save Sergei Kourdakov’s life after his near-death swim to freedom when he defected from the USSR.  Reading her email gave me goose bumps.  I wrote back immediately saying that I was thrilled she contacted me after finding my blog.  Through a twist of fate and circumstances our lives are now connected on a more personal level.

Part of her email:

“I stumbled on your blog . . . and then I saw your email address.  I grew up hearing about Sergei Kourdakov.  My mom was a nurse on the Queen Charlotte Islands.  (We lived in Tasu when I was little).  She had many stories of her adventures there.  One of the stories I grew up hearing about was the time a young man washed up on the beach.  A Russian sailor who had jumped ship.  In her diary she writes about running behind the ambulance to go help revive him.  She laid all his photographs out to dry and was the first person he saw when he opened his eyes . . . . It wasn't until I grew up and read his book [The Persecutor] that I understood the full significance of his story.  Until then, I didn't know what his past was, what he was escaping, or who he had become . . . .”
—Sincerely, Sheila U.

Part of my response:

“. . . without your mother’s assistance, Sergei’s story might very well have ended on that beach on the Queen Charlotte Islands . . . .  Your mother held Sergei’s life in her hands, and yet she also knew to save his photographs.  In my book, when I wrote about holding those very photographs, I said that it felt like I was holding Sergei’s entire former life in my hands.  Your mother knew those photos were important to him.”
—Sincerely, K. Kidd

I still marvel at how the Internet provides connections that were never possible before.  I truly enjoy hearing from people, and I love finding out how Sergei Kourdakov touched so many lives.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov - An Unexpected Encounter


It was an unexpected encounter.  I had no idea who the muscular young man was standing in front of my desk at work.  My boss introduced him as Sergei Kourdakov.  The minute Sergei smiled at me and spoke in his heavily accented English; I realized he was the Soviet KGB defector my boss had told me about earlier in the day.  My first thoughts were, he’s young, he’s very handsome, and he’s still holding on to my hand after the introductions.  That’s where my story began in the fall months of 1972.

More than forty years later, that unexpected encounter turned into my book, A Rose for Sergei.  A story I planned to keep to myself turned into a story I ended up sharing with the world.  The decision to write this book did not come easily.  It only came about when I learned that no one was speaking up on Sergei Kourdakov’s behalf after the movie documentary Forgive Me Sergei disclaimed his former life in the Soviet Union.  I discovered that controversy makes a great motivator and began writing.

Through blogging and writing this book, anyone doing an internet search about Sergei Kourdakov or his book, The Persecutor, should come across A Rose for Sergei.  Just recently my book became available in a few public libraries.  I was shocked when I found out how it was listed in WorldCat, the world’s largest network of library content and services.  What I considered a romance/ love story is filed in their system under:  Kourdakov, Sergei + Persecution + Soviet Union + Biography. 

It was an unexpected outcome.

* * *

On the Library Shelf!
Ask your local library about stocking this book.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov - Embassy Row


(Sunday Evening – August 2, 2015)

For as long as I can remember, Sunday evenings always brought on a slight case of the blues for me.  I think it’s because I never wanted the weekend fun to end.  And when Sunday evening hit, it meant the weekend was over…time to get back to school work when I was younger, or time to get ready for work on Monday when I was an adult.

Ding.  Ding.  Two emails on my cell phone.  My friend was sending me some notes for a project we had been discussing.  The first email contained the notes I expected.  The subject line in the second email read:  Sunday Night Blues?  This will perk you up!   Upon opening the second message, I discovered it was an advertisement for a weekend getaway at a hotel on Embassy Row in Washington DC.  I figured my friend sent me the ad because one of the chapters in my book, A Rose for Sergei, is titled “Embassy Row.”  It wasn’t from her!  This random ad struck me as rather strange.  It was as if someone knew I had the Sunday blues and sent me a message, picking up on my thoughts.

With that in mind, below is a short excerpt from my book.  Please note my coworkers called me “Sam!” 

* * *

A Rose for Sergei

Chapter 13
Embassy Row

Fall 1972

When Sergei returned, I offered to pick him up from the Christian Fellowship House in Washington DC.  The expensive cab fare back and forth to my apartment in Arlington was adding up quickly, and I wanted to try and help out a little.  The problem was I never drove in DC unless it was a dire emergency, which translated to I didn’t know my way around at all.  I had only ventured a trip there alone once, maybe twice, before.  I dreaded driving there because I was sure I would get lost.  And when I get lost I panic.  And when I panic all common sense flies out the window.  Yes, I dreaded driving there…but the reward would be well worth it.  Seeing Sergei was a dire emergency in my mind because I missed him tremendously.

My friends and coworkers knew I never drove in DC, and we often joked about it.  They always offered to drive, and I was grateful to them.  Mr. Logie [my boss] knew I would be picking Sergei up after work on Friday and he went over the directions with me several times, assuring me that I would not get lost.

“Sam, it’s easy to get there from Rosslyn,” Mr. Logie explained.  “You just take the Roosevelt Bridge into DC.  I know you know where that is!  You will swing around the Kennedy Center and it’s not much further past that.  Sergei is staying in a nice part of town right by Embassy Row.  You won’t get lost.”

I was a clock watcher all day on Friday, and 5:00 couldn’t come fast enough.  I was really anxious to see Sergei, and my stomach was jumbled in knots.  With Mr. Logie’s words of encouragement and my resolution to face my fears, I jumped into my Mustang and headed into DC.  I was glad there was still a little bit of daylight left as I veered onto the Roosevelt Bridge, over the Potomac River and into the District.  Friday traffic was horrible, almost complete gridlock.  I was oddly thankful for that though since I didn’t know where I was going and it gave me time to read my notes from Mr. Logie and time to find my bearings.  I passed the Kennedy Center and then the Watergate buildings.  Not too much further, I thought.  I reminded myself what an amazing, wonderful historic city it really was in an effort to steady my “I am sure I am getting lost” nerves.

Without a single wrong turn or mix up I finally arrived on the right street and was relieved when I was able to find a fairly close parking spot near the Christian Fellowship House.  Before I got out of the car I took a minute to check my surroundings.  As I sat there, looking up and down the street, I suddenly realized that the sun had set and that it was now totally dark.  I had been so concerned about finding my way through the crazy traffic that I totally forgot that it would be nightfall when I arrived.  What I thought just a short while ago was an “amazing city” had somehow morphed into a very scary “dark part of the city.”  For some reason, I have always been afraid of the dark…a carryover from my childhood.  I glanced at the secluded sidewalks and streets from my car and didn’t see anyone anywhere.  There were hardly any cars driving by either.  This is so ridiculous.  With a burst of newfound confidence, I hopped out of the car.

Early winter was definitely in the air, and you could feel the cold blustery winds rolling in from the north.  A sudden strong gust of wind whipped my long hair across my face temporarily blinding me.  I pulled up my hood to keep my hair out of my eyes as I hugged my wool midi-coat close to me to fend off the evening chill.  I quickly looked around again then ran down the street in my high heels, leaping up the steps to the Fellowship House.  I didn’t care how safe Mr. Logie told me this part of the city was.  Walking, or in my case running, down a dark secluded street alone at night in a big city was literally my worst nightmare.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Feel the Fear, Feel the Love, Feel the Heartbreak . . .


A Rose for Sergei
This TRUE STORY gives readers a rare glimpse into the last few months
 of Sergei Kourdakov's life before his tragic death.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Sergei Kourdakov – An Extraordinary Person!


Remember the last time you read or heard something that touched your heart.  You know when it happens…you pause, you smile, and your breath catches slightly.  That’s when you know someone has touched your heart.

I thank Sarah Brocious for sending me the beautiful rose photograph, and her wonderful review of A Rose for Sergei.  Her review, did indeed, touch my heart.  The first line of her review is from my book—it is a direct quote from Sergei Kourdakov when he was telling me about roses.

"In Russia a red rose is the symbol of a bleeding heart."

And after reading this story, my heart bled too...and, I am not ashamed to admit, I shed some tears too.

A Rose for Sergei was a touching story of faith and love...and the ability of a heart to heal.  I felt like I was transported back to those moments K and Sergei shared.  It was a wonderful experience.  Sergei was absolutely endearing!  I couldn't get over my feelings of wanting to protect him and be protected by him.  He certainly was an extraordinary person!  Wonderful read!

—Sarah Brocious, Romance Author




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

“You Hauled Me Off to Jail….”


The title for this post seems a little out of character for my blog.  After you finish reading everything you’ll understand why I chose it.  Other than the fact that this title makes a very powerful statement, it is also very revealing.

I recently met author Greg Scott on a Goodreads website while following a discussion thread about book advertising.  After volleying ideas on this open forum, Mr. Scott posted a very interesting story he had heard while on a mission trip to Stovpiagy, Ukraine, in August 2005.  His account mirrored what happened to Sergei Kourdakov.  I was momentarily stunned.

Following is an excerpt from this posted discussion:

“It was our last day and we were getting ready to head back to Kiev and the airport and home.  Tima was one of our interpreters and we all bonded during this trip.  Tima’s father was a Christian pastor during Soviet times, when Christianity was illegal.

A former KGB agent visited Tima’s father’s church.  The former agent met Tima’s dad and asked about a young pastor he’d met in the same church 15 years earlier – so that would have been around 1990.  He wanted to meet that pastor and apologize for hauling him off to jail and beating him.

Tima’s dad said he’d been the pastor at that church for the past 20 years.  The former agent said, “This is not possible – I hauled off a young pastor.”  Tima’s dad said, “I was a young pastor 15 years ago.  You hauled me off to jail and beat me.”

The former KGB agent apologized and asked for forgiveness.”
— Greg Scott

* * *

Greg Scott is the Author
of

Bullseye Breach

Anatomy of an Electronic Break-In

A story ripped from the headlines about yet another major data breach.
Except this time, the good guys fight back.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Captivating Story That Imagination Could Not Invent . . .


I’ll admit to being a diehard fan of romance books.  When it comes to selecting a book to read, “Romance” is always my first choice.  However, there are times I’ll switch over to Mystery/Thriller, Memoir, and Autobiographies.  But Sci Fi?  Never!

It’s true what they say about “never say never.”  Something you never, ever thought you would do...you end up doing.  Following is my accidental journey into Science Fiction.  I joined an Indie Authors Group on GoodReads, a website for authors and people who love to read.  After reading some helpful marketing suggestions from Owen, a successful writer and experienced author, I decided to contact him directly.

Owen R. O’Neill is a Science Fiction writer.  He’s also a physicist and amateur historian who spent most of his career in the intelligence community.  I was looking for some marketing ideas for A Rose for Sergei, and I had a hunch that my true story about a Soviet KGB defector might capture his interest.  As busy as he was, Mr. O’Neill responded to my inquiries with patience and good advice, for which I’m grateful.  He even took the time to read my book.

Thank you, Mr. O’Neill, for the wonderful review for A Rose for Sergei:

“Moving and trenchant, this memoir about a most unexpected encounter that led to an improbable romance at the height of the Cold War is both heartrending and heartwarming.  Told in a straightforward and unflinching style, Ms. Kidd chronicles her relationship with Soviet defector Sergei Kourdakov in prose that is immediate, unaffected, and poignant.  It is a captivating story that imagination could not invent, but two hearts did.”
Highly recommend. – Owen R. O’Neill, Author

I absolutely love his last sentence...a captivating story that imagination could not invent, but two hearts did.  I don’t know about you Mr. O’Neill, but I have a feeling there’s a “Romance Writer” in you yet!

* * *

Unbeknownst to Mr. O’Neill, I took a look at his first book in the Loralynn Kennakris series, The Alecto Initiative, co-authored by Jordan Leah Hunter.  I read the description on Amazon and was intrigued.  I ventured further, baby steps mind you, to read the first chapter on the Amazon site.  From there I was hooked.  And then I bought my first ever Science Fiction book!  To my surprise, I will be finishing the series.  It’s that good!  To find out more about this series and other books, I recommend you check out Pleiades Web Press.  Included in the “recommended” section on this website is another write-up by Mr. O’Neill for A Rose for Sergei.


Monday, June 15, 2015

A Simple Tale of Love and Loss


A few weeks ago I received a message on GoodReads from a book blogger in India offering to review my book.  It’s always wonderful to hear from readers . . . surprisingly so when the reader is a recognized blogger.  Book bloggers are inundated with review requests; it’s understandable and typical to never hear back from them.  Needless to say, Jan’s request to review my book definitely made my day!

A voracious reader and talented writer herself, Jan’s review for A Rose for Sergei brought out some very interesting points. As you read part of her review below, please note that “Sam” was the nickname given to me by co-workers.

Review from Book and Ink:

“Throughout the book I had to keep reminding myself that this story is not a work of fiction but a real life account, for such was the writing.  The writer, Ms. Kidd, transported me to her world back in the 70s through her compelling writing.  Needless to say, the characterization was perfect.  She never ventured into telling about the person that Sergei was before defecting.  That is the best part of the whole book.  She simply didn’t give room for the readers to judge Sergei for the person that he was before defecting.  Sergei and Sam are poles apart, yet they find love.  The fact that Sergei was a . . .”

“A humorous, profound and simple tale of love and loss.”

Rating:  8/10

To find out Jan’s shocking discovery, skip over to her personal blog Book and Ink (Post date:  June 8, 2015).  You will not want to miss her interesting and humorous take on A Rose for Sergei.

Thank you Jan (Shree Janani) for your wonderful review!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Optimistic . . .




I love wearing nail polish.  It’s a great professional look for the workplace, and it completes any outfit you’re wearing.  I recently purchased a hot pink nail polish that caught my attention.  I like the color as much as I like the name on the bottle, “Optimistic.”  A great name.  Optimistic . . . positive, bright, cheerful, and confident!

Thinking about being optimistic reminded me of a comment a co-worker made a few years ago.  He said, “I like that you look at the world through rose-colored glasses some times.  You don’t see that very often anymore.”  Little did my friend know how accurate he was with that statement.  I would later write about that very subject in my book about Sergei Kourdakov.

I do tend to look on the brighter side of things, I’m usually optimistic.  It is a choice.  In my book, A Rose for Sergei, you can tell this has always been a part of who I am.  Even though Sergei said people were following us, I overlooked his concerns and kept the focus on our time together.

Excerpt from A Rose for Sergei:

Fall 1972
“Somewhere in the depths of my mind I realized that Sergei was preparing me for something I didn’t have the courage to face.  Instead I chose to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, a view that things were better than they really were.”




Thursday, May 14, 2015

Courage, Love & Destiny




A Rose for Sergei
A True Story of Courage, Love & Destiny

Amazon eBook Special
Only .99 cents May 14-17, 2015

  

Take advantage of this eBook special from AmazonA Rose for Sergei is available for only .99 cents for the next few days.  On May 18th the price will return to $3.99.

For those of you that don’t have a Kindle, my friends tell me that the larger Smartphones are the perfect size for reading eBooks.  To quote one friend, “I barely use the iPad anymore because my iPhone 6plus is a good size to read books.  And lighter and much more portable.”

Reviews!  I am always glad when someone leaves a review on Amazon and/or GoodReads.  Thank you, Suzanna for your five-star review.  Below is a shortened version of her review for A Rose for Sergei:

I Couldn’t Put This Book Down!

A Rose for Sergei is written through the eyes of a young woman who met a strong, dashing Russian man while working in DC.  There was an instant attraction, but little did she realize….  Was he a dangerous spy?  Was he truly a changed man?

This TRUE STORY gives readers a rare glimpse into the last few months of Sergei Kourdakov’s life before his mysterious and tragic death.  It’s a gripping story, filled with sweet moments, laughter, and ultimately heartache.

– Review by Suzanna


Monday, May 11, 2015

VE Day 70th Anniversary


On the 70th anniversary of VE day, the majority of the visitors watched the WWII planes fly by from the crowded streets of Washington DC.  I watched from Arlington cemetery, standing beside my mother’s and father’s grave marker.  I stood in a sea of never ending white marble headstones amongst the deceased who gave their lives for our freedom.  I whispered a quiet prayer of thanks to those military heroes.  They are not forgotten.  My father, Colonel Edward W. Kenny, was one of those heroes.

My father was a career Air Force Officer and Fighter Pilot who served in WWII, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam.  In WWII he crash landed his bullet-riddled P-47 Thunderbolt and walked out of the wreckage with a broken back.  In 1954 he won the Bendix Air Trophy Race, flying the F-84 Thunderstreak and setting a world speed record of 616.2 miles per hour.  In 2013, after a long and happy retirement, my father suffered heart failure at age 89.

During the 70th Anniversary flyover in DC there was one plane that didn’t fly in formation; it kept circling around the cemetery.  Each time it passed I waved both hands joyously over my head.  During one loop the plane banked hard to the right, and I could see into the cockpit.  It was still quite far away but I was pretty sure at that angle that the pilot spotted me.  At least that’s what I would like to think.  Because the next thing I knew the pilot of that WWII plane turned and flew directly over me.

It was something my father would have done.



Shielding my eyes from the sun
 as a WWII plane comes into view.


Monday, May 4, 2015

The Persecutor vs. Forgive Me, Sergei


The movie Forgive Me, Sergei raised a lot of questions for me when I watched it.  For those who are familiar with Sergei Kourdakov’s life, you may have heard or read there were parts of the movie that criticized Sergei’s book, The Persecutor.  The movie ended up convincing the director, and many viewers, that Sergei’s story was a lie.  From what I understand, this wasn’t the original intention of the movie, but it was the outcome.  And the damage is done.

This film motivated me to write A Rose for Sergei.  I wanted to offer a different point of view and try to show you that maybe…just maybe, the movie got some of Sergei’s story wrong.  How easy it is to talk negatively about someone who is no longer here.  How easy it is to think that no one would care if you did.

I recently talked with an American woman who had lived in the Soviet Union in the 1980’s.  When I was introduced, my host mentioned I wrote a book about a Soviet defector.  The conversation became very interesting at that point.  I asked the woman what was the one thing that stood out the most in her mind about having lived in Russia.  “The Russians controlled the outcome of everything,” was her candid response, “Americans saw only what they wanted us to see.”  I wasn’t intending to monopolize the conversation, but her comment made me want to learn more.  “I have a question,” I asked.  “So, if a film maker made a movie in Russia, would the outcome of that movie be controlled?”  Her answer was yes.

In the movie Forgive Me, Sergei there are scenes in Russia where people were directly asked about Sergei Kourdakov.  In each case, the answer was the same, “No, I don’t believe that happened.  That never happened.”

Why am I not surprised by their answers?