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, November 7, 2016

The Persecutor and A Rose for Sergei | Companion Books

I love it when I hear from readers.  I’ve found from reader responses that A Rose for Sergei appeals to people of all ages—teens included.  Part of my book’s attraction is because the story “reads like fiction,” and doesn’t fall into one category.  A Rose for Sergei is a mix of several genres: Memoir, Romance, Mystery, and Cold War Thriller.

Several readers were excited when they discovered that the “Sergei” in my book is the very same person they know and loved from another book.  That real person is Sergei Kourdakov, a Soviet KGB defector, who told his fascinating story in his autobiography, The Persecutor.  My story picks up on the latter part of his life when it touched mine.

I wholeheartedly agree with my followers.  Our true stories, The Persecutor and A Rose for Sergei, make great companion books.

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Thank you SD for your wonderful “Five Star” review on Amazon!
I am honored by your kind words.


“I stumbled upon this ebook and before I finished the introduction, realized I had read its companion, The Persecutor, over 30 years ago.  I was so happy to discover more information on the fascinating life of Sergei.  A Rose for Sergei proved an engaging book and I applaud the author for sharing her tale.  This, along with The Persecutor, is a must read for students of the cold war or any with an interest in that era or 20th century Russia.  In addition, it's a touching love story.  Thank you, K. Kidd.  I highly recommend this memoir.  Like Sergei's autobiography, it may stay with the reader for 30 plus years!”

Both books available online from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Never in My Wildest Dreams | Sergei Kourdakov

A search for independence and a career with the federal government led me on a journey that far surpassed any expectations.  I was twenty-one when I met Soviet KGB defector Sergei Kourdakov at my office in Washington D.C.  The moment we met, the immediate heated attraction surprised us both. ''Even you could be spy,'' he whispered.  How quickly I learned that love makes its own choices.  A Rose for Sergei chronicles my real-life relationship with Sergei Kourdakov—a man who gave up everything for freedom.

Sergei defected from the USSR in 1971, a year before we met.  One of his jobs with the Soviet Police was to break up meetings of Christian “believers.”  When he came to realize how wrong that was he planned his escape.  He barely survived the leap from the Soviet trawler Elagin and his treacherous swim toward freedom in Canada.  It was nothing short of a miracle.  (See September 28, 2015 post – The Nurse’s Diary)

There were times when Sergei and I were together that I felt like we were in a movie.  It didn’t seem real…Sergei was always looking over his shoulder, watching for “them.”  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would meet, let alone date, a KGB defector.

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A Rose for Sergei can be purchased online from:

eBook and Paperback



Monday, August 22, 2016

A Rose for Sergei | True-Life Cold War Romance

I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to read my book and write a response/review for A Rose for Sergei.  I’ve mentioned this before—reviews don’t have to be lengthy, they can be just a few words.  Reviews can make a difference, and lead others to discover the last part of Sergei Kourdakov’s story.

* * *

A Rose for Sergei

Thank You Readers for the
Amazon US & Amazon UK Reviews 

True-Life Cold War Romance (4 Stars)
This is not at all the sort of book I would normally read, but as a Russianist I was fascinated by the premise.  It's the true-life account of the author's relationship with Soviet defector and ex-KGB agent Sergei Kourdakov, one of the more unusual figures in the Cold War.  The book is billed as reading like a romance novel, and it certainly does, capturing the giddiness of young love as the two main figures fall head-over-heels for each other at first sight.  I also found it very interesting to read about the author's experiences as a young woman making a career for herself in government service in the early 1970s.  This is a bit of a hybrid book, combining as it does the genres of memoir, romance, and cold war thriller, so purists of any of the genres may not know what to make of it, but I found it a quick easy read and an interesting take on one of the hotter periods of the Cold War.
— Laela Ae

Four Stars (4 Stars)
Liked the book very much.
— Dorene Casey

Truth Really is Stranger than Fiction - and Better (5 Stars)
This will be a book I read more than once and I can't say that about most books.  I lived through the author's story moment by moment, until, like hers, my heart was breaking.  Thanks to the author for sharing her extraordinary, true story.
— Hullaballoo

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sergei Kourdakov | Young, Free and in Love…

Recently I exchanged blog interviews with fellow Indie Author, Kevin R. Hill.  Interviews offer a different platform in which writers can connect with readers.  In turn, readers learn about the author’s character and individual style of writing.  One of the surprising upsides of our interview exchange turned out to be the camaraderie between two authors who have never met.

The interviewee obviously knows the Question & Answer portion of the interview in advance.  Anything else the interviewer writes about you is usually unknown until the blog post is made public.  So when I saw the headline Mr. Hill posted on his blog for his interview with me, I couldn’t hold back my laughter.  From experience I knew what to expect when you mention a certain three-letter-word publicly.  Uhhh oh, I thought, he doesn’t know.  I wondered if I should alert him, but then decided to let it go.

A few days later Kevin emailed me wondering about Russia’s sudden interest in his blog.  “It’s the word ‘spy’,” I informed him.  “It causes the blogosphere to go crazy.”  He lightheartedly emailed me back, “…that was just a wee little bit of info that may have been useful prior to publication!”

Excerpt from the Blog of Kevin R. Hill:

“Young, Free, and in love with a Spy--A real life Romance!”

In 1972, author Kolleen Kidd found herself involved with a Soviet defector, Sergei Nikolayevich Kourdakov, a former KGB agent and naval officer.  I met Kolleen on, and wanted to bring her on the blog for my readers to experience the intrigue she lived.
A Rose for Sergei - Available from Amazon 

1. Kolleen, please take us to that world of excitement.  You were young and flirting with a defector, a former enemy.  Was it exciting?

Yes, it was very exciting.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love mystery and intrigue.  I was sixteen when I found summer clerical employment with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington DC.  I couldn’t tell anyone what I did or even the location of the building where I worked.  It was one of many secrets I would have to keep.

The Soviet Union was our enemy.  I still remember the practice air raid drills—hiding under my desk in elementary school in preparation for the unimaginable.  When Sergei and I met, at my Federal Government office, we were both twenty-one.  He shook my hand and would not release it.  The heated attraction between us was immediate, in spite of the fact that our countries were adversaries.  We were young, single, and on our own in a beautiful and powerful city.  It was both exciting and frightening…we were watched and followed.  Each thought the other was a spy.

2. Why did you write A Rose for Sergei?

Read the complete July 14, 2016 interview on Kevin R. Hill’s Blog

* * *

I love the newest cover for The Mayan Case!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Author Interview | Touching Spirits with Kevin R. Hill - Part 2

Continuing from last week…Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with author Kevin R. Hill.  I mentioned in Part 1 that I had a feeling Mr. Hill was full of surprises.  Little did I know that the title and cover of his book we were discussing would change between my blog posts!  I’d like to think it’s because I had such wonderful questions for him and he was inspired.  All joking aside, one of the best parts of being an Indie Author is having the flexibility to make all the changes you want.  Therefore, I’m honored to announce the title for “Touching Spirits, The Mayan Case” has been officially changed to “The Mayan Case.”  The last part of this interview ran a little long, but I assure you Mr. Hill is a very entertaining writer.

Let me explain why I changed the title and cover.  It was a difficult decision to make, but several readers contacted me and in their email they mentioned they nearly didn’t bother with my book because with the ‘Touching Spirits’ title, they originally thought it a new age book.  That simply wouldn’t do.  I wondered how many had been put off by the title.  So, I had my designer create a cover that left no doubt as to the type of book. With the new badge and gun, it is clearly an action/suspense novel.

Kevin, I enjoyed reading your book, The Mayan Case.  The way you describe main hero Cody’s reactions to the ghosts were insightful and real.  Did you ever have any personal encounters with the supernatural?

So, you’re asking if I want to go on record as having a screw loose.  I laugh.  ‘I think not.’  However,
Kevin R. Hill, Author
I don’t laugh at those who believe in the existence of ghosts, but rather listen with a writer’s ear for good fiction.

Let me relate an example of good listening.  I lived in a Mayan village on the Caribbean in the mid-eighties.  There was one tin roof market in town.  Most of the houses were built of jungle poles and topped with palm fronds.  It was a slow, magical life.  I wore sandals, shorts and a tank top, all day long.  The bank opened at 9am, or closer to 10am if the clerk who opened the doors stayed in bed longer than usual to get a quickie.

If you were at a party and the host ran out of beer at one in the morning, no problem.  He just jumped in his car and drove down the one road to Ramone’s house, and got him out of bed to open the liquor store.

A friend’s mother-in-law ran a small hotel at one end of town.  One of four cabanas that sat on the beach was haunted by the Alux, or so said the mother-in-law.  The Alux are a mythological creature said to reside in the area, and described as fun-loving, black leprechauns.  Although she tried a hundred times to rent the haunted cabana, customers would always come to the front desk the next morning, or during the night, if they dared walk up the dark path along the beach, and ask to change rooms.

She said they never specified why they wanted to change rooms.  Most would mumble something like: ‘It’s just a feeling I get.’  Vacationers could feel something in that room.

So, is there a creature known in Yucatan as Alux, or is it nonsense?  While I was there I was commissioned to write an article for a tourist magazine.  The title was to be, ‘Who were the Ancient Maya.’  So I borrowed a bunch of history books and began reading about the ancient Maya.  At some point, days into the research, I read mention of a text that describes a black dwarf with magical powers that helped build the Mayan city of Uxmal.  That stopped me cold.

I put two and two together.  I had locals telling stories about black leprechauns, and now mention of a black dwarf with magical powers.  Was that dwarf an Alux?  It didn’t matter whether I believed in their existence or not.  What mattered was it was great stuff for a book.

Those stories of the Alux found their way into ‘Touching Spirits, The Mayan Case,’ my most recent book.  I use the Alux to create suspense and intrigue.  So, to answer your question: Where fiction is concerned I’m willing to say, What if….

What part of Cody reflects you?

Cody is dear to my heart.  I lived in the house I describe in the book, with the frog named Ralph in the toilet tank, a feral cat who hunted lizards in the house while I typed, and spiders larger in diameter than a golf ball!  But with the sound of the surf drifting through my window, those things didn’t matter.  Often I awoke in my hammock singing, carrying from a dream the melody.  It was Writer’s Paradise!  I was paying $40 a month for a house on the Caribbean, spear fishing daily and eating free lobster.  I hope the love I have for my special village, for my abandoned house, comes alive in my book.  Part of me does live in Cody.

Do you hear from your readers much?  What kinds of things do they have to say?

I found getting email from readers to be a scary experience.  Although my magazine articles are highly commercial, my fiction has always been a rather private endeavor.  But suddenly, after I published ‘Touching Spirits, The Mayan Case,’ readers were contacting me and I didn’t know what to do.  I had fans!  Who were these people?  It took time for me to adjust to being read and liked for my fiction.  Some readers loved the cooking I described, and wanted recipes from Yucatan.  Others loved Cody’s pet cats.  Most, however, went on about the village, the quaint little village I lived in and loved.

Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite?  Why?

I guess my favorite was my first, about a group of people I call travelers, who gather on a farm in Switzerland to harvest apples.  It is dear to me because for many years I was a traveler and roamed Europe, Africa, and the Middle-East.  I harvested apples in Switzerland, hay in Denmark, and taught English to German businessmen while living in a tent beside the Rhine.

Travel is education.  It frees the mind of social constraints imposed by society.  We all know what is expected of us to be good Americans, how to act, what to do.  But take any American and plop them down in Cairo, Egypt, and suddenly their sense of self is shaken.  How should they act?  They are liberated to try new things, thrilled by new ideas.  Haven’t you felt that thrill of being in a new place when you go on vacation?  It affects a person deeply.  Now imagine traveling with only a back pack, hitch hiking from country to country for years!  I experienced that exuberance.  That is why the first book, which I am now rewriting and preparing to publish, is dear to me.  I lived it.  “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”—St Augustine

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

‘Stop being so serious!’  Life is great, even when it’s shitty.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Writing is craft.  Study it.  Practice makes perfect; practice and about forty rewrites.  I’d also like to add something a bit controversial: Writers, study plot and the formula for genre fiction.  Then, decide what you want to be as a writer.  Do you want to add to the world’s collection of a million mysteries, or another genre novel, or, heaven forbid, do you want to write art?  Do you want to write fiction that people stay up all night reading, frantically turning pages, racing through action or suspense or romantic scenes, and forget your name by the end of the week?  Or, do you want to try to write that rare book that readers lovingly brush with fingertips as they pass it on the shelf, or don’t want to finish because they feel as though reading it is like being with a good friend?  You decide.

If you choose the latter, remember that above all else, writers are entertainers.  If you don’t entertain, no one will read you!  So, I repeat, know plot, know the genre formula, the three act structure, because even if you want to be the modern Faulkner, you have to capture the reader, and that is done with time-proven plot structure, and masterful literary devices.  Take for example Arthur Conan Doyle, and his Sherlock Holmes series.  Watson, when you think about him, is there as a literary device.  Because Holmes has to tell Watson how he reaches his conclusions, the reader is informed.  Know the tricks.  Know the game.  Entertain.

Then, take the reader to that deep dark secret you don’t want anyone to know about.  That is not something to hide.  It is the writer’s gift.  Illuminate it with fiction, unless it will get you arrested!  Good luck.—Kevin R. Hill

* * *

* * *

The questions Mr. Hill asked me can be found on his July 14, 2016 blog post titled:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Author Interview | Touching Spirits with Kevin R. Hill - Part 1

Kevin R. Hill, Author
I caught up with Indie Author Kevin R. Hill on Goodreads recently, and we discussed doing interview/blog exchanges.  Knowing that readers’ interests and book choices vary, we both readily agreed.  Thus said, our books couldn’t be more opposite.  A Rose for Sergei is Non-Fiction—it chronicles my real-life relationship with Soviet KGB defector Sergei Kourdakov.  Mr. Hill’s book, Touching Spirits, is Fiction—mystery, thriller, suspense.  Not only am I a fan of his books and blog…I’m looking forward to asking the questions that readers really want to know.  For some reason, I have a feeling that he will be shockingly honest and full of surprises in his responses.

First, a little background information—Kevin R. Hill began his writing career by selling travel articles during a decade he spent roaming Europe, Africa, and Mexico.  While completing his first novel he wrote a column for a national magazine.  All his work, from Action/Adventure novels to children's books and automotive how-to books, can be found on Amazon Kindle, and CreateSpace for hard cover editions.

What is the one thing you want readers to know about you?

I think the blog exchange is a great idea.  The one thing I want readers to know about me? Ah, um, well, that for many years I traveled Europe, Africa, and Mexico, and lived in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Yucatan, and Israel, until they asked me to leave. Travel, I believe, is a great teacher. It is from those experiences, from picking apples in Switzerland, to living in an abandoned house on the Caribbean, and spear fishing for meat, that I draw on for my fiction.

Kevin, you can’t leave us hanging with “I traveled…Israel…until they asked me to leave.”  Sooo…exactly why were you asked to leave? 

You would ask me that question. Please edit the following how you like.  I’m off to work and will have to get to you tomorrow.  (Note to Readers from K. Kidd – I did correct typos in his hastily written email, but this was so funny I couldn’t leave anything out!)

Well, there was a time when I was very wild.  I was working on a kibbutz (a community farm).  There I turned a potter’s shack into a bar that rocked The Police [English rock band) loud enough to be heard in Lebanon, four kilometers away!  Then I met a Danish woman with hair of spun silver and green eyes that touched my soul.  I mean she looked at me across the hopping dance floor and it felt like somebody dumped a wheel barrel of rocks on my chest.  I was so in love I could hardly stand up!

But when Christmas rolled around I wanted to throw a party for the volunteers.  We needed a tree, so I cut one down.  The Danes danced around it.  Someone pinched beer tops onto wire and strung it around the branches.  An Italian woman covered the base with a sheet, and we had quite a party before the gardener burst in like a madman, his face beet red with anger, and knocked the stereo to the ground.

Every dancer stood still as he dragged the tree outside.  I was told that the tree had been a diplomatic gift to Israel, and that it would be a good idea for me to leave the kibbutz.  So that blond and I left.  About a year later we were married.

* * *

Part 2 of Interview with Kevin R. Hill next week!  After reading this book I want to know if he's had encounters with spirits or ghosts.
To be continued . . .

Touching Spirits Synopsis:  Police Sergeant Cody Brannon has killers chasing him and a ghost that grabs him at night. What is going on?  Cody’s quest for answers drives him—one step ahead of the killers—to a crazy Grandmother in California, and to a Cancun village.  In the sandy village the Maya follow him everywhere.  A friend is murdered, and as Cody investigates he discovers the Maya are hiding a secret that will shake the world.  Now he just has to get out alive.

 * * *

The questions Mr. Hill asked me can be found on his July 14, 2016 blog post titled:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Virginia Authors Book Sampler | A Rose for Sergei

My copy of the Virginia Authors Book Sampler finally arrived!  I’m beyond happy to be one of fourteen State of Virginia authors featured in the Summer 2016 issue.  You would think I might be used to seeing my name in print.  It’s on my book…front, side and back cover.  But it’s still new to me, and I do a double-take when I see my name on something so public.

The first chapters of each featured book and author bios are spread over a few pages in this magazine.  These writing samples give readers a glimpse of some very interesting and entertaining stories.  Information concerning where to purchase featured books is also included.

The book sampler, a Rook Communications Publication, was created by Victor Rook.  Mr. Rook is an Author, Filmmaker, Photographer, Web Designer and an Editor/Publisher.  He also happens to be the kind of person who gives 100% back to the writing community.

So yes, that’s my name on the cover.  Column one.  Fourth name down.  I thank you, Mr. Rook, for this opportunity to showcase my book, A Rose for Sergei.

* * *

Thank you “Nurmi” for the heartfelt review on Amazon and for contacting me!!

“Five Star” Review for A Rose for Sergei:

“This was such a beautiful love story!  When others wrote there was laughter and tears, I had to find out.  All the nuances from the 70s rang a bell with me as well.  I'm very glad Miss Kidd decided to write this book.  No plans to look behind my shower curtain though.”
—Nurmi Hendrikson

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Support Indie Authors Free & Bargain Books #SIAFBB

For a limited time only, 45 different Indie Authors have joined together for a special eBook event fondly known as “Hash’s Bash.”  My own eBook, A Rose for Sergei, will be 99 cents during this event.

This is a great opportunity to stock up on your summer reading—all the books are either FREE or BARGAIN from July 1st - 4th.  With over 75 titles and multiple genres to choose from I’m sure you’ll find several books to download to your Kindle or reading device.

The fun starts on July 1st at: Support Indie Authors

Author bios are available for view now!

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I’ll be Tweeting on and off during the event @kkiddauthor
I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Superhighway | Kremlin & Internet | Sergei Kourdakov

The title for my blog post is a mix of topics that oddly connects via Twitter.  It’s hard to believe this post transpired from only 140 characters, which is the current limit for tweets.  I’m surprised I even saw Alex Fayman’s tweet about his Science Fiction book, Superhighway, considering tweets fly by in seconds.  His story caught my attention—the present day hero travels everywhere via the internet.  The very thought of never having to stand in a long airport TSA line was intriguing.  I grabbed a free copy of Superhighway on Amazon, just minutes before the promo ended, and then skipped over to his blog.  Now I know why my blog about Soviet KGB defector Sergei Kourdakov is no longer read in Russia.  Even more important than that is the fact that we have freedom of information in the U.S.  It is something we should never take for granted.

With Dr. Fayman’s permission, I have printed his post below:

Over the past few years, U.S. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been lobbying Congress for leverage over the speed of data flow. Meanwhile, Russia blocked its people from many Western websites altogether.  The forbidden content is called propaganda to discredit the news outlets and to justify the action.  The goal is to keep those outside of the Kremlin walls separated from the truth.  U.S. ISP issues and the Russian data blockade are obviously on the opposite sides of the censorship scale.  Allowing ISPs to favor certain clients for profit is a long way from a government controlling the substance of the information.

I had the benefit of studying World History in the 5th grade, when my family was still in the former Soviet Union.  Luckily, I got another look at the topic in the 8th grade, after we immigrated to the United States.  Hearing World War 2 taught in a Los Angeles classroom left me dumbfounded.  The Soviet version framed U.S. as a country on the sidelines.  The evil Americans waited to see which side tipped the military scales before joining Russia when it finally demonstrated supremacy over the Nazis.  Of course, in the Soviet classroom, I never heard of Pearl Harbor.  There was no discussion about American isolationism.  Who wants to send their kids to fight a war on another continent?  I remember my surprise learning that Japan, Germany’s ally, pulled U.S. into the war with a foolishly brazen attack in Hawaii.

A small twist of the tongue in a country’s history books, and generations are sentenced to ignorance.  The freedom of information needs to be protected.  The entire apparatus that manufactures and disseminates news is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy.  Clearly, defending a foreign leader accused of killing a journalist is a step in the opposite direction.—Alex Fayman

* * * 

Author BioAlex Fayman was born in the former Soviet Union.  His family immigrated to the United States in 1989 when he was twelve years old.  He grew up in Los Angeles and completed undergraduate and graduate studies in Illinois.  Alex holds a PhD in finance and enjoys teaching and publishing research at a university.  He is happily married and has three sons.

Superhighway is about Alex Fine, a gifted eighteen-year-old with an extraordinary ability to transport himself through the optical passageways of the Internet.  While inside the digital web, Alex is capable of downloading databases, manipulating archived data, and traveling to any destination in the world.  In a short period of time, Alex Fine becomes one of the richest people in the world, with virtually limitless power.  It is the story of a young man who wants to use his powers for good, but makes mistakes en route to discovering the truth behind his supernatural abilities. 

* * *

Superhighway is a great Sci-Fi Fantasy read which I highly recommend.
I give it 5 Stars!—K. Kidd 

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sergei Kourdakov – An Improbable Romance

Summer Special!  A Rose for Sergei (ebook) is currently on sale for $0.99 on and discounted in other participating Amazon markets.  This story chronicles my real life relationship with Sergei Kourdakov—a Soviet KGB defector who left a life he could no longer face, and gave up everything for freedom.  Take advantage of this special offer before the price goes back up.

Editorial Review from Owen R. O’Neill, Author of the Loralynn Kennakris Series

“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 recommended.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sergei Kourdakov - I Write Because . . .

Why tell a story that you kept to yourself for more than forty years?  This is the question I’m still asked after people find out about my book, A Rose for Sergei.  Why now?  My first response is easy.  After Sergei Kourdakov’s death my boss suggested we not discuss Sergei in public.  I agreed it was the best thing to do.  And so I stopped talking about Sergei, even though I had unanswered questions about what happened to him.  It was 1973 and the Cold War was alive and well.

My memories of Sergei were held close.  He was an important part of my life when we were both twenty-one, and he had a profound effect on my life.  I learned life lessons at a very young age.  I grew up faster than anyone that young ever needed to.  Knowing Sergei changed me, I have no doubt about that.  And still I didn’t talk about him.

My second response to the question, “Why write now?” is more heartfelt.  Disparaging remarks about Sergei Kourdakov on social media, and in the documentary film Forgive Me, Sergei immediately changed my way of thinking.  Some of these commentaries regarding Sergei’s life aren’t right, I kept telling myself.  I heard Sergei’s story first hand, I knew him.  I also knew his background had been thoroughly “checked out” by a federal government agency.  I had to say something.  I sat at my computer, took a deep breath…I have to do this, and started writing my story.

* * *
Day 1 of writing . . .

Fall 1972

"Excuse me; I would like to go to the men’s…how do you say in America…restroom?” Sergei asked in his broken English.  “Is that the right way to say that?”

“Yes, that is the right way; you could also say men’s room.  And it’s okay to excuse yourself,” I said.  “It isn’t rude.  I’ll be fine sitting alone a few minutes at the table until you return,” I assured him as I smiled and tried to refrain from laughing.  He was so incredibly polite.  The way he spoke, his broken English combined with his Russian accent, could be very amusing at times.

We were having dinner at the JW Steakhouse at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.  My date was Sergei Kourdakov.  He was twenty-one years old, and he had defected from the Soviet Union over a year ago.  He had been a member of the KGB, the Commissariat for State Security or secret police, and a Soviet naval intelligence officer—intimidating credentials for sure.  He was also very good looking, which I found even more intimidating.
—K. Kidd, from Chapter 1, A Rose for Sergei

* * * 
I write because . . . 
I don’t want Sergei’s story to be forgotten.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Ax Murderers' Luncheon

You can keep reading this post.  It’s not what you think.  When I published A Rose for Sergei a few years ago I wasn’t as involved in social media as I needed to be.  I quickly learned that when you self-publish a book everything changes…social media is a necessity.  I began blogging about my book so readers could find me—as an individual and an author.  Other forms of social media soon followed.

Setting up an author page on Goodreads turned out to be a great way to connect with readers and other authors.  I quickly joined a group on that site which provided support for Indie Authors.  My friend and fellow author described what transpired from that chance introduction.

* * *

From Brynne Asher’s Facebook page:

“I've told the story how I was a big fat chicken after writing my first book and it took me forever to get up the nerve to push publish, right?  Well, then it took me even longer to get up the nerve to be social on Goodreads.  I'm not a shy person, but I tend to be a bit social media shy.  Weird, I know.

I joined an Indie author group, thinking it would be the cure of my shyness.  I introduced myself on the thread and the next author to introduce herself was also from Northern Virginia.  We messaged a couple times back and forth.

At this point, I'm giving myself a pat on the back for not being shy and meeting new people, lalala.

Yay me.

Then her next message came through, "We should meet for lunch."

What??  But she could be an ax murderer.  Or a creepy guy who drove a white van with no windows.  Or a freaky-freaky-fan-stalker posing as an author who really wanted to cut off my thumb to keep forever because she loved my book so much and she wanted the digit off my hand that created every space between my eloquently thought out words (not really, it's not like I wrote Harry Potter).

But still, you get me.

So I went to the hubs.  He carries a badge and wields a gun to feed us and support my bargain shopping habit.  I exclaimed, "There's an ax murderer after me!"

The hubs, who's as un-dramatic as I am dramatic, said, "You should meet her for lunch.  It's a public place, what can happen?"

I asked if he would do surveillance, to make sure I was okay.

He said unless I was having lunch across from the Pentagon, then no.  But even if I was, the answer was still no.

So, I loaded my purse up with pepper spray (not really, but that would be funny now if I had) and went to lunch.  I'm so glad I did.  She was not an ax murderer and that day I made a friend for life.  Her name is K. Kidd, she's an extraordinary person who experienced a heartbreaking and incredible love story at a very young age.  Still, after many long lunches sitting across from her laughing, talking about books and everything else under the sun, I cannot believe she experienced what she did.

Her [book] is…worth the read because it's REAL.  It involves falling in love with a defected KGB agent in the early 1970's, Russia and the Cold War.  Her book even had to be approved by the Department of Defense before she could publish.  It reads like fiction and I loved it.”—Brynne Asher, Author of The Carpino Series

* * *

My family also expressed concerns about me meeting a stranger for lunch.  I didn’t even know what Brynne looked like because she uses a photo of her book for her profile picture.  “She” could have turned out to be a “He” who might be a stalker and/or ax murderer.  She was neither of those, and is in fact a very talented and popular writer of Women’s Contemporary Fiction/Romance.

Our last ax murderers’ luncheon took place last week as Brynne Asher and her family prepare for a cross-country move.  Through our shared experiences we are truly friends for life.  That will not change with distance.  As I’ve said before…people come into your life for a reason.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Writing Book Reviews | A Rose for Sergei

Book reviews!  We love to read them before we purchase a book, but we don’t always like to write them.  I admit I was guilty of the same thing, I didn’t write reviews…that is until I wrote my first book.  Now I post a review online even if it’s only a few sentences.  I guarantee you the author will find and read it.  I also know that, for some readers, those reviews can be the deciding factor on whether or not to buy a certain book.

A book blogger recently interviewed me about A Rose for Sergei, and several of the questions pertained to book reviews.  Up until then I hadn’t given reviews a lot of thought.  I was just happy that people were finding and reading my book.  Below are my thoughts from that part of the interview:

I came to the realization that there are a lot of readers who think a book review has to be a perfectly written, play-by-play account of the story.  I’d like readers to know that posting a review online doesn’t have to be a lengthy process.  A positive book review can be just two words:  Liked It, Loved It, or Recommend It.  Of course I also enjoy reading the longer commentaries by those who love writing in-depth reviews.  I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to write any review.

We all love to see good reviews, and if a reviewer leaves a not-so-good review along with a valid suggestion, it can be helpful to the author.  I actually added an addendum to my book after a reader emailed me. 

* * *
A Rose for Sergei
Thank You Readers for the Amazon Reviews!

Mystery and Love (5 Stars)
I enjoy reading about the Cold War, spies and KGB.  These two lives were entwined in mystery and intrigue.  This book was a real page turner, keeping me on the edge of my seat.  Finding such love at the age of twenty-one was heartwarming….  I truly enjoyed this memoir and would recommend to readers of all ages.

I enjoyed it, but don’t tell my buds (4 Stars)
I read this kicking and screaming b/c [because] the wife made me read it--and...I enjoyed it, but don't tell my buds.  I'm a fan!

When the real life is wilder than fiction.....Beautiful and touching story (5 Stars)
The story has a very good premise - an American girl and a Russian bear, no - man the size and strength of the bear, with different, even opposite, mentality, background and experience, fall in love.  The Cold War period and the fact that the girl worked for the US intelligence, while the lad is ex-KGB make it even spicier and add the flavor of a spy thriller.  Yet it's a unique true love story: pure, touching and beautiful.  Craftily written with all first-hand emotions shared by one of the participants.  And then there is a twist....Something unexpected and drastic.  I don't want to spoil it, so you, guys, would have to read it yourself.  And it's worth it, believe me.
—Nik Krasno, Author of Mortal Showdown

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Red Notice | Forgive Me, Sergei

I just finished reading Red Notice by Bill Browder.  His true story about high financial dealings in Russia is a real page turner.  His explanation about the fall of communism to capitalism to the rise of oligarchs is a rich history lesson.  At the end of the book, Mr. Browder writes about Russia today:  “A place where lies reign supreme.  A place where two and two is still five, white is still black, and up is still down.  A place where convictions are certain, and guilt a given….  This is Russia today.”

The end of his book made me immediately think about the documentary film Forgive Me, Sergei and the scenes that were filmed in Russia—the parts where every Russian interviewed claimed that Sergei Kourdakov was a fraud.  I was unconvinced.  Especially when Sergei’s “brother” talked about him.

Sergei Kourdakov told everyone publicly that his brother was dead.  In a quieter moment with me, he reflected that he hadn’t seen his older brother or heard from him since he was a little boy and that he was sure his brother had been killed.  Yet, in the documentary the person claiming to be Sergei’s brother never mentioned that fact.

There are some excellent parts in the documentary film.  And there are parts that should be considered carefully.  I wouldn’t write-off Sergei Kourdakov’s book “The Persecutor” based solely on the movie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Rose for Sergei | Book Promotion

A Rose for Sergei

by K. Kidd 

Sergei Kourdakov is a real person.  Alone at a young age, he was raised in Soviet orphanages.  In that oppressive environment, he learned that only the strong survive—leading him to become the strongest and the best at whatever he did.  Sergei’s job in the Russian police was to inflict terror on Christians.  He defected when he could no longer face the life he was leading.  He was incredibly strong and jumped ship when his Russian trawler was off the coast of Tasu Sound, Canada.  He barely survived his treacherous swim in the stormy ocean.  Sergei and I met a year later, at my Federal Government office in Washington DC, and that’s where my story begins.

* * *

Excerpts from Reviews:

“I could feel the fear.  I could feel the love.  I could feel the heartbreak.”
—Lynn via Amazon

“I absolutely loved this story.  It is a true story.  From the very first chapter the story just grabs you and keeps your interest.  In Russia sending a red rose to someone means their heart is bleeding for you….  It is such an emotional story.  You will become attached to the characters.”
—Erin via justagirlkindling

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sergei Kourdakov - They Are Looking For Me!

I was seventeen when I started working for the Federal Government in Washington DC.  My book, A Rose for Sergei, is the true story of a young woman…me, searching for independence and a career.  At age twenty-one that journey ended up surpassing my desire for mystery and intrigue when I met Sergei Kourdakov, a handsome Soviet KGB defector.

Excerpt from A Rose for Sergei:

Fall 1972

Sergei was so different from anyone I had ever met, let alone dated.  He was a Russian defector whose past history with the KGB was nothing to take lightly.  It was serious business, and the element of danger was not lost on me.

* * *

We grabbed our coats and headed out the door.  Before I could close and lock the door, Sergei told me to wait a minute.  As we both stood on the landing, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a book of matches.

“What do you need matches for?”  I was puzzled.

“I always carry them,” Sergei informed me.  “Look, I will show you.”

He carefully pulled off a good match and then reached up and placed it at the top of the door as he slowly closed the door.  He was tall enough to easily place it there so it was barely visible.  I could not see it at all.

“This way, we will know if anyone came in while we were gone.”  He spoke under his breath, “I do this all the time.”

I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was serious, and a sense of fear slowly crept over me.

“Who is going to come in, Sergei?”  I whispered gravely.  “Who?”

“People from my country.  They are looking for me,” he said firmly.

Then he smiled down at me, threw an arm over my shoulder, and held me close as we walked down the stairs to my car.  The pit in my stomach gradually softened, but the idea of Russians breaking into my apartment did not sit well with me at all.