Top Ten Tuesday—Most-Owned Authors

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature of The Broke and the Bookish. A full list of instructions and future themes can be found here. This week’s theme is Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From. I’m going to do my list as a photo montage, since I love photography.


As much as I love the late Mr. Uris’s historicals. I have to be honest and admit he wasn’t the world’s greatest writer. He was an awesome storyteller and did amazing historical research, but subtlety wasn’t exactly his strong suit. I see him as an average to slightly above average writer who had a very good editor. Even in spite of his editor, though, he still needed to step away from the exclamation point key and make his heroes more realistic instead of so good-looking, very tall, and larger than life.


Hermann Hesse is my next-fave writer. I’ve read all his novels and some other prose, though I don’t own all of his books yet. Missing from my shelf are Knulp and The Journey to the East, and his collections of stories and essays.


Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, of blessèd memory, has been my favouritest writer since I was barely sixteen. I positively devour his books, and am still waiting for widely-available English translations of his final novels, March 1917 and April 1917, the last two volumes in his massive Red Wheel saga. (Shameless self-promotion: I won the new, unexpurgated translation of The First Circle for writing the winning short story for a contest by the blog YA Stands.)


I found these in the free bin at one of my local libraries, and thought they’d be great potential resources for researching the Marine chapters of my WIP.




There are a couple of authors represented several times on this section of the shelf, and if you’re wondering, yes, I have a lot more Shoah memoirs and novels on other shelves. With all due respect to Ruth Minsky Sender, however, I just didn’t find her memoirs as compelling or interesting as most of the other Shoah memoirs I’ve read.


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov is my third-fave writer, and Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev is my fourth-fave writer. The old green book is a 1944 printing of Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber, with the text printed on two columns on thin pages. I assume it was because of wartime paper shortages.


I love Bertolt Brecht. I even did my big literature paper in my twelfth grade English AP class on him. This shelf also contains one of the biggest steals I ever got, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s awesome Confessions, which I got for only fifty cents at a library book sale. Someone there joked I should have to pay more since it’s such an intellectual book.



I’m currently reading The Winds of War, after having my reading of it interrupted very prematurely in the wake of my car accident eleven years ago. I got it for a buck at Mystery Train Records in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is the kind of historical I’m used to reading, and which I base my own writing on—ensemble casts, third-person omniscient, more about the journey through dramatic historical events instead of fast-paced and plot-centric, hundreds upon hundreds of pages. May the 99-year-old Mr. Wouk live and be well!

I’ve also got some repeat authors in storage by my parents’ house, like Ann M. Martin and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Ready. Set. Write! Week Seven


Alison MillerKaty UppermanJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk are once again hosting the summerlong Ready. Set. Write! initiative. Each week there will be a few headings, with short responses to allow for more writing time.

  • How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I finished Chapter 82 of my WIP, and true to my guess going in, it turned out as the longest chapter of Part III. So far, it’s also the longest chapter period, coming in just a bit above the length of Chapter 51, “The World of Tomorrow,” which closes Part II. It’s still about two thousand words shorter than my longest-ever chapter, “Union with a Snake,” Chapter 41 of my second Russian historical.

  • My goal(s) for this week

Complete Chapter 83, “Brutal Winter,” which begins with Darya and her friends being evacuated from the Polish farm to a rocket and munitions factory in Germany to avoid the approaching Soviets. The factory is based on the brutal Mittelbau complex, though my fictional factory is run by much more humane overseers who treat their prisoners like human beings. At the factory, they discover Halina and Maja’s brother Teodor and adoptive aunt Zofia, who have some very bad news for Matviyko (Halina, Maja, and Teodor’s father). Then the chapter moves to my five Army characters (four American soldiers, one Canadian Army medic) during the Battle of the Bulge.

  • A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Vladlena rubs the uninked edges of his arm as she takes in the new decoration. On top is the Marines’ symbol of a crested eagle on top of a globe, showing the Western Hemisphere and speared by an anchor. Below is inked, “USMC, Saipan, 16 June 1944.” In the remaining space above the elbow is a heart with Vladlena’s name inside, and in the two inches left below the elbow, in simple block print:


  • The biggest challenge I faced this week

The death rattle which has continued coming from my left fan. I can’t use the computer without a fan right behind it, to keep it cool and lessen the noise. It’s long past time to get a new computer.

  • Something I love about my WIP

I love the grand, epic scale, with so many characters, storylines, and settings, but all ultimately linked together. It reminds me a bit of my first Russian historical, and how amazed I was to reread it for the first time in almost a decade and see how perfectly I wove all these seemingly disparate characters and threads together at such a young age. I also love seeing my characters growing up and becoming adults, when I’ve known the younger generation since they were born or were very young in the first and second books.

WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s



Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. For two more weeks, I’m sharing from the opening chapter of my recent release Little Ragdoll, a Bildungsroman (growing-up story) spanning 1959-74.

Adicia, four of her sisters, and their surrogate mother are at an uptown Woolworth’s, where they ran into some of the mean girls from the nice part of the Lower East Side. Though the Troys live just inside the boundaries of what was to become the East Village in less than ten years, they’re decidedly not as gentrified or well-off as these girls. One of them has just asked what 5-year-old Adicia’s name is.


“Her name is Adicia,” Emeline says. “It’s an ancient Greek name, the Latinate form of Adikia, who was a goddess.” Though Emeline typically bubbles over with her wealth of knowledge, she leaves out the fact that Adicia was named for the goddess of injustice because their parents thought it was an injustice to be saddled with a seventh unplanned child and yet another girl in a row.

“Ew, Greek mythology is so boring. I’d rather read fashion magazines and love stories, not stupid stories about made-up gods and goddesses thousands of years ago,” Linda Hopkins scoffs. “And I love having the same name as a lot of other girls. It means I’m popular and boys will pay attention to me.”

“Oh, people will pay attention to these losers too,” Karen Becker says haughtily.


The names booklet I found the Troy siblings’ names in claimed Adicia means “mal-treated.” When I looked up the name when starting over with this story so many years later, I found out it doesn’t exactly mean mal-treated, but the real meaning fit the intended symbolism just as well.

Adikia being beaten with a hammer by Dike, the goddess of justice.

A primer on Polish names

I pretty much only have one major Polish family among my characters, the Roblenskies, plus a few of their friends, but I’ve liked Polish names since I started getting into them at fifteen. I was rather annoyed when someone on the old Yahoogroup for historical fiction tried to tell me that the Roblenskies “wouldn’t have had” names like Maria. Um, no, I’m not going to rename my Maria Miriam. She’s a Maria, not a Miriam. I’ve read enough about Polish Jewry to know not all of them had religious names, and that even the religious families weren’t all gut-loaded with hideous shtetl names like Fejge, Shternie, Faivish, Motl, and Gitl.

My biggest source of information on Polish names and nicknames for years was the awesome Polish-language site Skarbczyk, which sadly is now only accessible through You don’t need to understand much Polish to click on names and see the nickname forms and foreign forms, even if you can’t understand what’s written in the “Characteristics” section.

I’ve heard it argued that Polish could really benefit from switching to Cyrillic, since it would really simplify pronunciation and the alphabet. For example, Polish uses four letters (szcz) to represent a sound which takes only one letter in Cyrillic. There’s also the torturous RZ sound, which also appears in Czech. SZ and Ś are pronounced SH, CZ and Ć are CH, W is V (a letter which doesn’t occur in the Polish alphabet), Ź and Ż are ZH, C (no accent mark) is TS, Ń is NY (as in canyon, the Italian GN, or the Spanish Ñ), and Ł is W. Then there are Ą (nasal O) and Ę (nasal E).

If you’re using Polish characters, I’d advise using names which are relatively simple to pronounce, or at least using nicknames that take away the difficulty of tongue-twisting names.

Most common Polish male nicknames are formed by adding -ek or -uś to the end of the root, while many female nicknames are formed by adding -ia (-nia, -cia, -sia, -dzia) or -ka.

A sampling of Polish names and their nicknames. Basically, any male name which ends in -sław, -mił, or -mir automatically has a feminine version with an A tacked onto the end.

Ada, Adelajda, Adela
Agata (Aga, Agunia, Agusia)
Agnieszka (Aga, Jagna, Jagusia, Jagienka)
Aleksandra (Ola, Olcia, Oleńka, Olka, Ala)
Alicja (Ala, Alusia)
Alina (Ala, Alinka, Alka, Alunia, Alusia)
Anastazja (Nastia, Nastka, Nastusia)
Anna (Ania, Anka, Anula, Anusia, Andzia, Nusia, Nita, Aneczka)
Antonia, Antonina (Tosia, Antosia)
Augusta, Augustyna
Aurelia (Rela, Relka, Aurela)
Beatrycze (the only female Polish name ending in E)
Bogdana, Bogna (Bodzia, Bogusia)
Božena (Božka, Bożenka)
Cecylia (Cesia, Cyla, Cecylka)
Dagmara (Daga, Dagusia)
Daniela (Dana)
Donata (Dona, Donka)
Dorota (Dosia, Dorocia, Dorotka)
Elżbieta (Ela, Elza, Elka, Elżbietka, Elżunia)
Estera (Estusia, Esterka)
Ewa (Ewka, Ewcia, Ewunia) (Eva)
Felicyta, Felicja
Filipa, Filipina
Franciszka (Frania)
Gabriela (Gabrysia, Gaba, Gabusia, Gabcia, Gabi)
Genowefa (Genia, Genka) (Genevieve)
Hanna (Hania, Hanka, Hanusia, Haniusia, Haneczka)
Helena, Halina (Hela, Helcia, Helenka, Hala, Halinka)
Irena (Irenka, Irka)
Jadwiga (Jadzia, Wisia, Iga, Wiga, Jadwisia)
Janina (Janka, Janeczka)
Jolanta (Jola, Jolka)
Judyta (Judytka, Judysia)
Julia (Julka, Jula, Julcia)
Justyna (Justa, Justynka, Justysia)
Karolina, Karina (Kaja, Karin, Karinka, Karolka, Karolinka, Karolcia, Lola)
Katarzyna (Kasia, Kaśka, Katarzynka, Kasieńka, Kasiunia)
Krystyna (Krysia, Kryśka, Krystynka)
Liliana (Lilka, Lila, Lilanka)
Lucja, Lucyna (Lucia, Lucynka)
Ludmiła (Ludka, Miłka)
Magdalena, Magda (Madzia, Magdalenka, Magdusia)
Maja, Maia (Majka, Majeczka)
Małgorzata (Marzena, Gosia, Gośka, Małgosia, Małgośka) (Margaret)
Malwina (Malwa, Malwinka)
Maria (Mania, Marusia, Marika, Maryla, Marzena, Maja, Maryś, Marynia)
Paulina (Paula, Paulinka)
Pelagia (Pegi, Pela)
Renata (Rena, Renia)
Rozalia, Róza (Rózia, Rozalka)
Sabina (Sabcia, Sabinka)
Stefania (Stefa, Stefcia)
Sylwia (Sylwka, Sylwcia, Sylwunia)
Teodora, Teodozja, Teofila (Dorcia)
Teresa (Tereska)
Urszula (Ula, Ulka, Usia)
Weronika (Wera, Werka, Nika)
Wiktoria (Wika, Wiki)
Wioleta, Wioletta, Wiola (Wiolka, Wioletka)
Zofia (Zosia, Zośka, Zosieńka)
Zuzanna (Zuza, Zula, Zuzia, Zuzanka)

Adam (Adaś, Adasiek, Adi)
Adrian (Adek, Adi)
Aleksander (Olek, Alek, Oleś)
Alojzy (Aloysius)
Anastazy (Nastek, Nastuś, Staś)
Anatol, Antoni (Tolek)
Andrzej (Andrzejek, Jędrek, Jędruś, Jędrzej)
Artur (Artek, Artuś)
August, Augustyn (Gustek)
Bartołomiej, Bartosz (Bartek, Bartuś, Batosz)
Benedykt (Benek, Benio, Benuś)
Błażej (Błażek, Blażko) (Blaise)
Bogdan (Bodek, Bogdanek, Boguś)
Bogumił (Boguś, Miłek)
Bogusław (Boguś, Bogusz, Sławek)
Bolesław (Bolek, Boluś)
Bratumił (Bratek)
Bronimir, Bronisław (Bronek, Broniek)
Czcibor, Cibor
Czesław (Czesiek, Czesio, Cześ)
Damian (Damianek, Damianuś)
Daniel (Danielek)
Dariusz (Darek, Daruś, Dareczek)
Dawid (Dawidek)
Dobrogost, Dobromił, Dobrosław
Dominik (Domek, Domeczek, Dominiczek)
Donat (Donek, Doniu)
Edmund, Edward (Edek, Edzio, Edi, Mundek, Mundzio)
Eliasz (Elijah)
Emil (Emi, Emilek)
Fabian (Fabianek)
Feliks (Felek)
Ferdynand (Ferdzik, Ferdek)
Filip (Filipek, Filek, Fil, Fifi)
Florian (Florek)
Franciszek (Franek, Franio, Fraszko)
Fryderyk (Fredyk, Fredzio, Frycek, Frydek)
Gabriel (Gabryś)
Grzegorz (Grzesiek, Grześ) (Gregory)
Gustaw (Gustek, Gucio)
Henryk (Henio, Heniek)
Ignacy (Ignacek, Ignaś)
Iwan, Janusz (Iwanek, Iwek, Janek, Janeczek, Januszek) (John)
Izydor (Dorek, Izydorek)
Jacenty, Jacek (Jacuś)
Jakub (Kuba, Kubuś, Jakubek)
Jarogniew, Jaromir, Jaropełk, Jarosław (Jarek, Jaruś, Jareczek)
Jerzy (Jurek, Jerzyk) (George)
Józef (Józek, Józefek, Józio, Ziutek)
Julian, Juliusz (Julek)
Kacper, Kasper (Kasparek, Kacperek, Kaspruś)
Kazimierz (Kazek, Kazik, Kazio)
Konstanty, Konstantyn (Kostek)
Krystian, Krystyn, Krzysztof (Krzyś, Krzychu, Krzycho, Krzych, Krzysiek, Krystek, Kostek, Kryzyś)
Ksawery (Kserek, Ksawerek) (Xavier)
Lech, Lechosław (Leszek, Lesław, Lesiu, Lescio)
Leon, Leonard, Leopold (Leszek, Leonek, Poldek, Poldzio)
Lubomierz, Lubomir (Lubek, Mirek)
Łucjan, Lucjan, Lucjusz (Lucek)
Ludwik (Ludek)
Łukasz (Łukaszek)
Maciej, Mateusz (Maciek, Maciuś) (Matthew)
Maksym, Maksymilian (Maks, Maksymek)
Manfred (Fredek)
Marian, Mariusz (Marianek, Mariuś, Maniek, Manio, Maruś, Maryś)
Marcin (Marcinek, Cinek) (Martin)
Marek (Mareczek, Maruś) (Mark)
Maurycy (Maurice)
Michał (Michałek, Michaś, Misiek)
Mieczysław (Mieszko, Mieczyk, Miecio, Mietek)
Mikołaj (Mikołajek, Mikołojek) (Nicholas)
Miłogost, Miłosław, Miłosz
Mirosław (Mirek, Mireczek, Mirosz, Miroszek)
Mścisław (Mstislav)
Norbert (Bert, Bercik, Norbi, Norbercik)
Oliwier (Oliver)
Oskar (Oskarek)
Paweł (Pawełek, Pawlik) (Paul)
Piotr (Piotrek, Piotruś) (Peter)
Przemysław (Przemo, Przemko, Przemek, Przemuś, Sławek)
Radomił, Radosław (Radek, Racław, Radzio)
Radzimierz (Radzim)
Rafał (Rafałek, Rafcio) (Raphael)
Rajmund (Rajmundek, Mundek, Mundzik)
Roman (Romek, Romcio, Romuś)
Rudolf (Rudek, Rudzio)
Ryszard (Ryś, Rysiek, Rysio) (Richard)
Seweryn (Sewek, Sewer)
Sławomir (Sław, Sławek, Sławuś, Sławcio)
Stanisław (Staszek, Stach, Staś, Stasio)
Stefan (Stefanek, Stefek, Stefcio)
Świętomierz, Świętopełk, Świętosław (Świętek, Sławek)
Sylwester (Sylwek, Sylwuś)
Szczęsny, Szczepan (Szczepanek, Szczepek)
Szymon (Szymek, Szymuś)
Tadeusz (Tadeuszek, Tadek, Tadzio, Tadzik)
Teodor, Teofil (Dorek, Todek, Ted, Tolek, Teofilek, Teofilik, Fil, Filek, Teoś)
Tomasz (Tomek, Tomko, Tomuś, Tomcio)
Tymoteusz (Tymek, Tymcio)
Uriasz (Uriah)
Wacław (Wacek, Wacławek, Wacuś)
Walerian, Walery (Walerek)
Wawrzyniec (Wawrek, Wawrzek)
Więcesław, Wielisław, Wiesław (Wisław, Wiezio, Wiesulek, Wiesiek)
Wiktor (Wicio, Witek, Wituś, Wiktorek)
Wincenty (Wicek, Witek)
Witold, Witołd (Witek, Wituś, Wicio)
Władysław, Włodzisław (Włodek, Wład, Władeczek, Władek, Władzio, Włodeczek)
Włodzimierz (Włodek, Włodeczek, Włodzio) (Vladimir)
Wojciech (Wojtek, Wojtul, Wojtuś, Wojteczek, Wowa)
Zbigniew (Zbyszek, Zbyszko, Zbysiek, Zbysio)
Zdzisław (Zdzisiek, Zdziś, Zdich, Zdiech, Zdisio, Zdziesz, Zdzieszko, Zdisek)
Zygfryd, Zygmunt (Zyga, Frydek, Zygmuntek, Zygmuś, Zyguś)

Horny Hump Day—Valentina and Rodya

My What’s Up Wednesday post is here.

Warning:  Not safe for work or appropriate for those under 18!

Welcome back to Horny Hump Day, a weekly hop where writers share three erotic sentences of a book or WIP. This week I’m featuring one of the newest scenes from my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. Both of my Marine characters, Rodya and Patya, were wounded during the Battle of Saipan in June 1944, but Rodya wanted to prove himself in combat without his best friend’s protection so badly he snuck off to the Battle of Tinian and was subsequently wounded in the same place.

In October, he comes home to his wife with his right arm in a sling, the upper arm in a hybrid cast/splint, and a pair of dress blues he had to buy himself (as wartime restrictions suspended the issuance of dress blues to new recruits). While their little boy, who’s very sick with measles, is sleeping soundly in another room, Valentina says she bets she knows what he wants most after being away from her for two and a half years.


Valentína raises her arms over her head so he can slip her blouse and camisole off with his one good hand.  As soon as she’s been divested of the top half of her clothes, she lies over him, avoiding his right arm, and ravenously kisses him.  Ródya meets her intensity, pulling her in as close as possible and pushing his tongue deep into her mouth, frantically moving it about in response to her tongue’s movements.