Archive for October, 2016

What’s It Like To Lose Your Identity?

Friday, October 28th, 2016

       I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose your identity!  What would it feel like to be given another name, a new birth date, and a set of papers that turn you overnight into another person?  So put yourself into Karina’s place as she is given her new name, Aleksandra Popova. her new looks ( her long hair cut off and the short hairdo remaining,  dyed a brassy red) and, of course, all new background information!

     How would you feel if …well… you were no longer you?  Read about Karina’s initial reaction to her new identity and reflect upon how you would do in a similar situation!

       These excerpts are taken from Chapter Eight of “Escape From the Maelstrom.”

“As the three of us disembarked from the train at the station in Odessa, I realized that I had lost my identity.  In my pocket, I could feel the papers that Uri had given me, and, yes, I understood who I was supposed to be, but I felt like a non-entity.    In fact, with my hair cut below shoulder length and a brassy reddish color replacing what had been my deep brown healthy locks, I was a stranger, even to myself.

“Sasha sensed my dark mood.  ‘Karina,”‘she whispered, ‘whatever your new name is and whoever you must pretend to be, inside you are still our Karina.  And one day soon the world will know it, but for now, until you are safely in America, you must do what you are told.  Iro has connections here in the underground.  If you remain strong and have faith,  it will all work out for you.  I promise you that, my friend.’

“I squeezed Sasha’s hand.  I cannot thank you enough for what you and Uri are doing for me.  Without you, I would not be alive now.  I know that in my heart.

“‘We help one another, Karina.  We did nothing more for you than you would have done for us if our situations had been reversed.’

“In a few moments we stopped walking.  Uri caught up with us and whispered.  ‘In another quarter of a mile, we will reach a rooming house of sorts.  My friend, Alek, lives there with his family, who own and operate the establishment.  It is a respectable place, of course.  They rent out rooms mostly to transients, but there are a few permanent residents.  For a while, you will be one of those, Karina. ‘

“I looked a little nervous, but Uri firmly cautioned me.  ‘You must be strong, Karina.  From now on, you have to assume your new identity.  You are Aleksandra Popova.  For now, there is no more Larina  Kikorov Globenko. ‘

“I must have looked as though I were going to cry, for Uri held onto my wrist rather tightly.  ‘There can be no show of emotion.  Weakness could cost you your life and that of those who help you.  You understand that, don’t you?’ he asked.

“‘Yes,’ I answered softly.

“‘Good.  When we are a block away, I will stop you again and tell you more.  Until then, walk with Sasha as you normally would.  There is no reason to be afraid now.  I have everything covered for you,  You will be safe here.    Alek’s family are quiet, humble Jewish peasants.  They will be happy to have a new tenant, especially one who will be there long-term.  They desperately need the money.  Alek will help you to get a teaching job here at the local school.  When the time is right, he will find you a way out of here into America.  Until then, you must take one day at a time, and as I said, you must be strong.’

“‘Yes,’ I said.  ‘Somehow, I will be strong.’  How, though, I really was not at all sure.”





Karina’s Background…

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


      Sasha and her husband take good care of Karina.  They change her appearance and arrange for her to stay  with a peasant family in the countryside of Odessa, a seaside resort for the rich and a home for hardworking peasants who are fishermen or farmers.  

     Karina’s name is to be changed as well as her background.  She is to stay with the Daletsky family in Odessa, where Alek, the grandson of the patriarch of the family, is the secret agent who will watch out for her.  She will be given a new identity and new papers, and she will be known as Aleksandra from now on.  No one in the Daletsky family except Alek will know her true identity.  I will refer to her only by her new name from this point on.

As  Aleksandra and her rescuers travel by train to Odessa, she sits with her friend, Sasha, while Uri keeps an eye on both of them from behind.  Her story is a long one, but I’ll include some of the highlights.

Aleksandra’s story began in a countrified area on the outskirts of Moscow.  Her parents had died, and her grandparents could not care for her.  She therefore had to live with the only family member who would take care of her…Her great-aunt, Anya.

Aunt Anya showed Aleksandra no affection or compassion, but instead groomed her to be her maid and cook.  When  Aleksandra had had enough, she ran away before her eighteenth birthday.

She survived by doing housekeeping at the rooming house where she took residence.  Being ambitious and perseverent,  she found a way to get an education.  At first, she took classes at night, but eventually she earned enough money by teaching some courses at the secondary school to afford some university courses.  One of them happened to be Mr. Globenko or Dimitri, the man whom Karina or (as we know her now, Aleksandra) was to marry.

They first started to date after Aleksandra had visited his office to discuss one of her papers about government rule in Russia.   At first it was a serious  discussion between teacher and student, but then it turned into something humorous and even a little sensual.  They laughed and had fun hanging out, and then Dimitri asked her out for coffee.  They dated and eventually, they got married.

“‘We started to date regularly after that.  At first we were discreet because neither of us was sure that there wasn’t some rule prohibiting a teacher-student relationship.  But after our feelings grew, and we knew we were in love, we were less cautious.  We didn’t care about anything but being with each other.  I guess that is how Dimitri’s relatives discovered, not only his whereabouts, but also our relationship.  So I became part of the picture, and that was not good for either of us.

“‘When we were married a year or so after we first met, it was a simple civil ceremony, but we knew that the Romanovs knew.  We could feel that we were targeted.’

“”Why did you remain in Moscow?’ Sasha asked.

“‘We didn’t know where to go, Sasha.  We could never be free of Dimitri’s family unless we left the country, and it would have been impossible for us to do that since I knew we were closely watched.  So we lived our lives the best we could, and we tried hard to be happy.

“‘I loved him so much, Sasha, and I know that he returned that love.  Dimitri was giving and kind, dashing with his tall, muscular  physique, warm brown eyes and his chiseled nose, but even if his appearance had been ordinary, I would have loved him just the same, for it was the person inside that I adored, not only the man on the outside.’

“Sasha laughed.  ‘But it no doubt helped that he was so handsome.’

“‘it certainly didn’t hurt,’ I said, feeling a blush upon my cheeks.

“Sasha smiled again as she informed me that the train was pulling into the station.  ‘We’re arriving in Odessa, ‘ she said softly.  ‘A new stage of your life is beginning, my dear,  Let us not be late to meet it.'”



So What Happens Next!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

     Yes, Karina made it to Sasha’s apartment building and discovered the number of the floor and her apartment.   Would Sasha  let her in and risk her own safety to assist Karina??

     “I rapped lightly on the door.  After just a number of seconds, my friend opened it and gazed at me in apparent shock.  I didn’t give her a moment to even ask what I was doing there.

     “‘They’re after me, Sasha.  I seemed to implode rather than speak the words.   Please let me in.’

     “‘Shhhhhhh,’ she said softly, her right hand on my shoulder as she led me into the apartment.   ‘We’ll talk inside.’

     “‘When the door closed behind us, she hugged me and asked, ‘How is Dimitri?’

     “‘I looked away, trying to conceal a tear that had run down my cheek.  ‘He’s dead, Sasha, and I think they killed him.’

     “‘Who?’ she asked, not sure of what I meant in the state I was in.

      “‘Czar Nicholas’s forces.  He had no other enemies,’ I said.  ‘He died just a short while ago,and I don’t even know how or where they plan to bury him.  Now there’s a bodyguard after me.  The Romanov  family has been trailing me for weeks, Sasha.  I don’t know what they want to do with me now.  I don’t think they just want to get me out of the country, Sasha.  I think they want to kill me, too.’

  “Sasha tried not to look shocked for my sake.  She actually remained calm as she spoke. ‘Well, you’re safe here, Karina.  You can stay as long as you like.’

     “‘But I won’t be safe for long.  They might check every house.  You’ve got to get me papers and find me a place to go,’ I pleaded.  ‘I won’t be safe here for long.’

     “Sasha hugged me then as a mother would cuddle a child to calm and soothe her.  “‘Uri will find a place for you to go,’ she said finally.'”


Monday, October 24th, 2016


ESCAPE at all cost!

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Karina, the main character in my novel, “Escape From the Maelstrom, is a captive in Czarist Russia. Her husband has just been murdered and she may be next!

In the last post, I showed how her only hope was to make a break while her captor, Andrei, ( the guard leading her out of the hospital to destination unknown) , was , excuse the pun, off-guard.  If she could just get away from him, she could find the way  to her friend, Sasha’s apartment, where her friend and her husband, could help her to escape eventually to America.

Let’s see what happens as we listen into her thoughts as she plans her escape.

“‘But if I could find a way to disappear somehow into the Ukrsnian countryside and become one with the Jewish peasant population there,  they might eventually forget about me and allow me to live a peaceful life with just my memories to keep me company.  Most likely, they would not look for the widow of Dimitri  Globenko Romanov in a seaside resort like Odessa.  But why, I kept asking myself, did they need to track me at all?  Dimitri was dead now, and I did not know the cause of his death.  No one had told me; of that, you can be sure.  If the Czar’s forces had actually been the ones who had killed him, as I had conjectured, I could not prove it.

“And if he had been murdered by them, why had it been necessary to silence him that way in the first place? He had been only a DISTANT relative of Czar Nicholas, who had never been a threat to the royal family or involved with any subversive group that had wanted to undermine the Romanovs.  He had been a man of peace, whose heart was so pure that he could never have endangered anyone or anything.

“Dimitri and I had tried to live a simple life, away from politics and ambitious people who craved domination and power.  We were God- fearing people who had wanted nothing more than a tranquil home, where we could one day raise many happy, healthy children in freedom.  So far, after our ten years of marriage, we still had not found the right time to start raising our family.  I was deeply saddened to realize that I would now never have a chance to bear s child of Dimitri’s.  But I could not think of that now!

“Dimitri in no way resembled his cruel, power-hungry distant relatives on his father’s side.  He was a gentleman to the core!  As for me, I was just a poor woman of Jewish descent with no close family connections, who had chosen to marry the man I loved.

“Even in my chaotic mental state, I knew I would have to escape as soon as I got out of the hospital.  Since the one guard leading me outside would never expect me to make a break for it, I might actually get a chance to run away and reach my friend Sasha’s apartment without being seen by anyone but him and obvious strangers in the Mosciw streets.  If I had any options now that I lost Dimitri, it would be the element of surprise and the few  friends whom I had left.

“My friend would lend me enough money to to take the train out into the country.  Sasha had many connections among the Jewish intellectuals.  If anyone could, her contacts would be the ones to find a way for me to reach Odessa, where I myself would devise a plan to disappear permanently , both from my enemies and Dimitri’s, and from the dark and somber setting that threatened to destroy the beautiful memories that my husband and I had shared. ”




Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Good afternoon, friends!

I’m going to change direction, folks, as I leave my novel, “Just A Kiss,” for now.  I promise that, from time to time, I will return to this romance with a focus, not only on romantic love,  but also on family relationships and understanding, not only of ourselves, but of those we love.  There will be more entertaining excerpts covering the highlights of the novel as well.

But for now I will be moving on to giving tips on how to write an attention-getting introduction.  As an example, I will provide an excerpt from my mystery thriller, “Escape From the Maelstrom.”  I will show  how the first few paragraphs draw the reader right into the action of the plot.  Next time I will include more excerpts with explanation.

Let’s start with the first four paragraphs.

“In our last moments together as he lay dying, I remember mostly the darkness surrounding Dimitri and me in that sordid hospital outside of Moscow.  I felt an insatiable need to hold onto him one more time, regardless of what the repercussions would be.  It was almost as though the Czar’s henchmen would have to pry my Dimitri away from me because I just would not leave him. In near-shock, I could not accept the fact that he was dying, and I would never see him again.  I  would lose the candle that had shed light  on my darkness during the last decade of my life.

“When he drew his last breath, he was in my arms, and I was sure I could feel the life leave his body.  If there had been some way I could have substituted my own life for his, I would have done so in a heartbeat.   Yes, looking back, I am sure that I loved Dimitri more than my own life.  Without him, my life would have ended years before.

“My own tears pouring down my cheeks woke me out of my seemingly self-imposed trance, and  I remember being harshly led out of the hospital room.  I knew even then that the funeral, if there were to be one, would be a small, secretive affair that even I, Dimitri’s wife, would not be allowed to attend.

“God knows where they would bury him!  I would not even be allowed to know the whereabouts  of my own husband’s body, for  they would whisk me away until  they could get me out of Moscow  and then out of the country for good.  Perhaps, they would not be content with getting me out of Russia.  Was I significant enough to them to silence me permanently?  Did I know too much?”

I worked hard to build up suspense in the reader and create a sense of panic emanating from the distraught wife, who witnessed her beloved husband’s death and now was being held prisoner herself…not knowing whether she would be imprisoned or executed, just like Dimitri.

Now the widow is thinking about her options if she can break loose from her one captor, a guard by the name of Andrei.  She could escape to the home of her good friend, Sasha, who, along with her husband, Uri, were members of a democratic underground group that opposed both the Czarist population and the Bolsheviks.  They could find a place to hide her and eventually get her out of Russia.   But she would have to break away from Andrei first!

Next post:    some  background information on Karina, the widow, and her late husband, Dimitri.  Also, an answer to the million dollar question:  DOES SHE ESCAPE FROM THE GUARD???  More information about providing a compelling  introduction!








Two Opposing Views…

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

      Friends don’t always agree, do they?  Even if they have been friends for years!  So it isn’t surprising that Carolyn and Gina have diametrically opposed views of Bruce Donovan.  Let’s hear more of these views as we listen in to their conversation, taken from my novel, “Just A Kiss.”

     “So you think you have feelings for this man, Carrie?’ Gina asked  incredulously.   ‘You don’t even know him.’

     “‘I didn’t think you would understand, Gina.  I guess nobody could, but there was something about him that appealed to me.  Even when he kissed me like that – out of nowhere – I knew that he wasn’t going to hurt me.  I got angry and was ready to leave, but something inside of me empathized with him.  I think he kissed me, not because he found me irresistibly attractive, but because he wanted to do something impulsive that would cause his father to have to fire him.  I think it was a desperate attempt to leave something old and tainted in his life and find something fresh and new.’

     “‘Carrie,’ GIna said patronizingly.  ‘You’re romanticizing,  sweetie.  The way I see it is that this man was just trying to take advantage of you, a young and innocent girl.  I don’t think there’s anything deep about any of this.  You should have sued him for sexual harassment. What a stir that would  have made!  Everyone in New York has heard of Kent Donovan. If this incident had gotten into the papers, he might have been ruined.  Carrie, you and your father made it so easy for those Donovans.  They didn’t deserve it, and in my opinion,’ she continued, getting more and more animated, neither the father not the son is worth even  thinking about, Carrie. Your mom is sick, and you’re starting your senior year of college.  Isn’t that enough to be concerned with, my friend?’

      “Carolyn stared off into space at first and then turned to her friend.  I could never have taken all the stress of a trial, Gina, if it would have come to that.   You, of all people, should know that.  With my psychological issues, the Donovans’ lawyers would have had a field day.  And I must say that Mr. Donovan, Sr. was most generous.  He is paying for my senior year of college and all of graduate school.  And in addition, I have a job st Donovan Advertising just waiting for me in whatever capacity I might want. If I do desire, I can be trained to fit into an executive position, and if I just want a simple transitional position, that would be available as well.’ Carolyn paused for a few moments as she put her thoughts together.

      Gina took the pause as an opportunity to intervene.  ‘I’d rethink your position, Carrie. I don’t know how to put this tactfully, but it sounds  as though Donovan Advertiding threw out some attractive bait and pulled you and your dad right in.’

     “Carolyn looked away, trying not to appear offended by her friend’s harsh words.  ‘No,’ it wasn’t that way at all, Gina. I thought the whole thing through a dozen times, and I know I did the right thing.  As far as Bruce Donovan, I know what I feel in that arena, too.  He’s mot the heel  that you portray him to be.  I can judge people right away, Gina.  I have a gift for that.  Bruce is a man with many issues, yes, but onlnowbin my heart that he is s good man.  He may be a man who is troubled by demons, so to speak,  just as we all are, but I feel certain that, whatever battles he is fighting, he will win one day.  And I know one more thing!  I’m going to keep praying that he will!'”

A Friend In Need

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016


Why Rain On Her Parade?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Carolyn was so excited and happy after her totally unexpected date with Bruce that it seemed as though absolutely NOTHING could bring her down from the star upon which she was swinging! But it wasn’t as though Gina didn’t give it a try..but for her own good!


When the First Date Ends…

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The first date is over! Bruce and Carolyn have had a fantastic time watching the vintage movie, “Love Story,” and dining at Bruce’s favorite diner.

Now what? Let’s listen in to some of the conversation, prior to their saying goodbye.

“They shared a rich chocolate mousse for dessert, which they consumed very quickly with their cappuccinos. And then they left the diner, arm in arm.

“After they drove back to the campus, Bruce parked the car, and they walked towards the student union. They found a bench nearby and sat down, their warm costs enough to rescue them from the cool autumn night.

“If I’m mot getting too personal, Bruce, are you and your dad on good terms now …or at least SPEAKING terms?” Carolyn asked nervously.

‘I don’t feel comfortable talking about my father, Carolyn. It isn’t your fault, though. You have a right to ask me anything, but there are certain things I have trouble discussing, and one of these topics is the relationship between my father and me. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m really his son, but even though we’re as different as night and day, I know in my heart there’s no question about my genealogy. I’m not adopted, although often, I have wished that that I were.’

Carolyn nodded in encouragement as she waited for him to continue.

“‘I know I must have taken after my mother.’

“‘You don’t talk about her much,’ Carolyn said. ‘Why is that?’

“‘Bruce looked away. ‘I never got to know her, Carolyn. She died in childbirth. I think my father has always blamed me for losing her. I know he loved her very much.’

“‘I don’t think he could possibly feel that way, Bruce. I’m aure he loves you. He just has his own way of showing it.’

“Bruce laughed. ‘And if he does, it sure is a strange way.’ He continued after a few seconds.’He’s never approved of anything I’ve ever done, Carolyn. At this point I think he’s just waiting for me to fail again so that he can confirm that I’m some worthless thing that caused him to lose the person he loved most in the world.’

“Carolyn knew that there was nothing she could say at this point to convince him otherwise, so she moved closer to him and put her arms around him. As he turned towards her and gazed into her tear-filled eyes, she leaned in towards him and he kissed her tenderly. When he moved away, she held him in her arms as s mother would a baby, cradling him and loving him with her eyes, her tears and then her lips, as she pressed hers lovingly against his. He held her in his arms for a moment that never seemed to end.

Afterward, they exchanged contact information. Then Bruce revealed something very special to Carolyn, and she responded lovingly.

“‘I’ll call you, honey,’ he said. “You know, I said to myself it was just a kiss, but I knew that it wasn’t. I knew there was something special between us, and I want to get to know you and see where that leads us.’ He paused a moment and said, ‘I know I sound corny or I’m handing you some kind of flowery line, but I mean it, Carolyn.’

“‘I know you do, Bruce,’ she said. ‘We’ll take kings slowly. That way we’ll get to know each other really well because we’ll be starting off by being good friends. We’re only an hour or so away from each other,’ she said, staring meaningfully into his deep brown eyes. ‘There will be plenty of time for us to do things together, as we did today. You know, this was honestly the best day of my life, Bruce, and I can thank only God and you for that.’

“‘In the right order,’ Bruce said, attempting a smile.

“‘Good night,’ Carolyn said softly.

“‘I’ll call you tomorrow night, sweetie. Please don’t hold it against me for breaking my word again, but I have to kiss you good night.’

“‘You’ll get no argument from me,’ Carolyn said as she leaned in for the loveliest kiss she had ever experienced. But in her heart she knew it was not really a goodbye kiss. Every aspect of it said hello.