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.

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?