Happy 115th birthday (and summer blogging schedule)

Ivan Ivanovich Konev, my favoritest male character to write after only Max Seward, Jr., was born 5 July 1898 (23 June Old Style). He’d be 115 today if he were real. I’ve known him for 20 years, since he was 18 years old, and that same year also wrote some earlier prequel stories with him. He was 9 in the first story, about how he and Boris met and became friends with Lyuba (then called Amy), and at various teenage ages in the other stories.

I’m taking the Fifth on who I based the original version of my Vanya, but suffice it to say, over the years, he grew into an entirely new character, with his own distinct personality, complex and often conflicting characteristics, and haunting backstory. I make no bones about the fact that Vanya didn’t come across very positively in my first year or so of writing him. His old characterisation flies in the face of how he ultimately developed.

He still has a very volatile temper, but only in response to real threats and when defending his loved ones. He might have grown up to be over six feet tall and strong enough to bend a horseshoe with his bare hands, but he’s never a bully. Only in the old days, on the schoolyard, was he in a lot of fights, and then only as part of the façade he created to mask his pain and anger at being abused by his alcoholic father.

Vanya loves his family, including close friends he’s known long enough to be unofficial family (many of whom eventually become extended family by marriage). He’s loyal, tender, sweet, loving, religious, enlightened and egalitarian in many respects, but not completely modern, protective, a good lover, a hard worker, a loving father and husband, someone with the patience of a saint (and indeed at times a bit of a martyr and doormat), an excellent provider even when there’s not a lot of money, passionate, and a proud levshá.

The person I originally based him on is also a lefty, but I don’t even remember if that were on purpose or not. I want to say it was. Though certainly, my Vanya is much more of an outspoken spokesperson and ambassador of left-handedness than his inspiration has ever been, at least to my knowledge. For me, a book isn’t complete without at least a few lefties or ambidextrians, and Vanya is Exhibit A of the lefties in my Russian novels.


Over the summer, I’m mostly going to be moving posts out of my drafts folder. I’ve got some posts coming on onomastic issues in writing, and am planning a future non-writing blog only for discussing names. It would mostly discuss lesser-used or favorite classic names, names from other languages/cultures, nicknames, naming trends, etc.

I’m also going to be moving out a bunch of posts with negative reviews of books I’ve read. Some of them, like my less than glowing reviews of The Great Gatsby (freaking overrated!) and Tender Is the Night, came from my old Angelfire site. These reviews also include scathing critiques of the Beatrice Sparks books I’ve read over the years. I also need to catch up on some blog awards I’ve gotten.

I’ll be featuring various books in my weekly Saturday and Sunday posts, though I think over the summer I’ll mostly be featuring my current WIP. For my summer Wednesday Horny Hump Day posts (which are running in addition to my other Wednesday posts for Ready. Set. Write!), I’ll be featuring one of my favorite young couples of my WIP, Rodya Duranichev and Valentina Kuchma. They’re just so cute and sweet together. I’m totally not looking forward to putting sweet Rodya in harm’s way as a Marine when WWII comes to America!


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