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Merry Christmas to any Orthodox Christian readers! In recognition of the holiday, for this week’s Six Sentence Sunday, I’m sharing the opening lines of my current WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest: Lyuba and Ivan in the Age of Anxiety, my third Russian historical novel. It’s set from January 1933-September 1948, and set in Minnesota, Manhattan, Moskvá, Minsk, Kyiv, San Francisco, Toronto, Poland, France, Germany, Siberia, Sweden, Shanghai, and possibly a few other places.
The book opens on Russian Orthodox Christmas Eve, as Lyuba and Ivan are feeding their farm animals some special treats. They love their animals so much that they’ve spoilt them with a heated barn. I’m open to suggestions for a name for their loyal Kabardin horse, whom they took with them when they came to America in 1921. I feel kind of bad I never named their special equine buddy, since I love horses and I created him 19 years ago. He was actually the last new character I created on my family’s first computer, our dear ’84 Mac, before it finally short-circuited in September ’93.
Even animals deserve a nice Christmas. They might not understand a tree or the concept of presents, but they do understand love and extra treats.
“You’re such a good boy,” Lyuba croons as she strokes her Kabardin horse’s muzzle. “All you ask is that we love you and take care of you, and you’re so loyal, hard-working, and loving in return.” She reaches into a feed sack and guides an apple to his mouth. “If only more people were as gentle and accepting as animals, the world wouldn’t be such a dark forest.”