WeWriWa—Death of Valentino

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. In honor of my favorite actor’s 89th Jahrzeit (death anniversary), I’m sharing something from The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, Chapter 23, “Death of Valentino.” You don’t have to tell me I have extremely dinosaur tastes.

Even though Anastasiya Voroshilova (an Estonian in spite of the Russian name) is the secondary antagonist, she’s not really a cruel person, and she’s always been so fun to write. When she’s on the page, the scene practically writes itself, since she’s so predictable. In this scene, she’s returned to New York in the middle of a heat wave, leaving her not-so-secret bastard son Dmitriy with her friends on Long Island.


On Monday, shortly after noon, an official comes out of the hospital where Anastasiya has been standing vigil with a group of other fans since Saturday.  She wonders if Lyuba would still make fun of her for doing this if she knew her own stepsisters Vera and Natalya are among the women and teenage girls gathered to pray for their favorite actor and watch for any glimpse of him through the open window on the eighth floor.

Anastasiya sees his lips moving and hears words coming out, but can’t process anything after she hears the word “died.”  Like a chain reaction, many of the people in the crowd start screaming and fainting.  She grows numb as she utters a loud scream and falls to the ground in the August heat.  Everything starts spinning around her, and she hears a ringing in her ears and sees a bright light in her eyes.  She’s barely cognizant of the weeping and screaming surrounding her.

“Would you like me to help you get home?” she hears someone asking her after she comes back to herself, by which time some of the crowd has dispersed. “Surely our presence here isn’t needed anymore.  God must’ve wanted Rudy more than we wanted him here on Earth.”


Rudolph Valentino, né Rodolfo Pietro Filiberto Raffaele Guglielmi, 6 May 1895–23 August 1926

The sound quality here isn’t as good or accurate as it would’ve been had he stepped back into the studio in 1925 or 1926, but these are the only two known recordings of his voice

P.S.: Happy heavenly 69th birthday to Keith John Moon, the greatest drummer ever!


Horny Hump Day—Lyuba and Ivan

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’s snippet comes right after last week’s, the beginning of a sexual reunion for unhappy couple Lyuba and Ivan. Their marriage has almost completely unraveled over the last four years, and they haven’t been intimate in over a year.

Now, on the eve of the temporary separation meant to save their marriage, Ivan succeeds in reawakening Lyuba’s desire for him. He’s just asked her to take her clothes off, and she’s somewhat surprised by the request.


“You heard me, woman.  Stand up and take your clothes off for me.”

“Why don’t you do it for me like you always do, my handsome stallion?”

Horny Hump Day—Lyuba and Ivan

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. I’m now moving to The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, my second Russian/North American historical. My first Russian historical is slated to release 7 November, and the second book will follow about a year later.

Over the last four years, Lyuba and Ivan’s marriage has almost completely deteriorated, and now they’re about to begin a temporary separation to try to save their relationship. Ivan has asked for at least a hug or kiss goodbye before they have to part in the morning, and Lyuba has obliged him. They haven’t had even the slightest romantic or sexual physical contact in over a year, and Lyuba had reacted with obvious arousal. Ivan has just told her he knew she would have that reaction.


He releases her and gives her an amorous come-hither look, his eyes burning a hole through her blouse. “Take your clothes off.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Horny Hump Day—Lyuba and Ivan

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. I’m now moving to The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, my second Russian/North American historical. If my first Russian historical comes out as planned sometime this fall, the second book will follow about a year later.

Lyuba and Ivan’s marriage has almost completely fallen apart over the last four years, and now they haven’t even been intimate in over a year. In a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage, Ivan has agreed to join their friends who’ve moved to a heavily Russian farming community in Minnesota, with Lyuba and the children to gradually join him. While their children are uptown at a party for the Russian Christmas, Ivan begs Lyuba for at least a hug or kiss goodbye before he has to leave in the morning.

This has been edited from two to three sentences to appropriately fit.


The next thing she knows, his arms are locked around her and she’s drinking in his warm, soft, sweet mouth for the first time in over a year. In the heat of the moment, she forgets about her anger and resentment and lets him slide his hands under her blouse. Her whole body shivers in excitement and her heart beats faster.

Union with a Snake (Underwood Champion)

(Quick note: This post is coded with a font I downloaded, not a default that came with my Mac. It might not show up for everyone. But if you love typewriters and typewriter-esque fonts, I recommend you check it out yourself!)

Font: Underwood Champion

Chapter: “Union with a Snake”

Book: The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks

Written: 27-29 October 2011

Computer created on: 2008 15-inch MacBook Pro

File format: Word 2004

Chapter 41 of my Russian novel sequel is one of the things I’m proudest of having written. I wrote all 17,000 words of it over the course of just three days. After having kept so much of this book memorized in my head for over half my life, it finally was able to be committed to paper, and so much of it just came gushing out. This book wrote me more than I wrote it.

The day the Stock Market crashes, there’s a blackout in the tenement and Lyuba goes into labor with her fifth child. Just as she suspected, it’s a boy, named Igor, after Ivan’s murdered uncle. (This name actually sounds softer in Russian, though it was almost ruined for me by my ex-“fianc锑s Harpy mother constantly screeching at her husband: “EEEEEEE-gaaaarrrrrr! Eeeeee-GAAAARRRRR! Eeeeee-GAAAARRRRR! Eeeeee-GAAAARRRRR!”) Lyuba is supported in labor by several of her stepsisters, including Svetlana, an infant nurse, along with her longtime midwife Mrs. Kuzmitch and Katrin. When I first created Katrin (né Catherine) in 1993, I never dreamt she and Lyuba would ever become such dear friends that she’d one day hold Lyuba’s hand during a birth!

Lyuba once again has a very difficult birth and recovery. She’s so feverish and weak that Mrs. Kuzmitch has to use forceps. She’s so out of it, in fact, that when Boris comes by after hearing about her state, she mistakes him for her husband. Over the next few weeks, he regularly comes by at night to dope her up with morphine, mescaline, alcohol, and aphrodisiac teas. Boris even writes Ivan two letters bragging about this “affair,” one of which he signs Lyuba’s name to. Things do not end very well when Lyuba finally realizes, in a sober state, what’s been going on.

Some highlights, so to speak:

On the evening of Tuesday, October 29, while Lyuba is reeling from the shock of the Stock Market’s dramatic plummet over the last two days, all the lights go out in the building.  Then, to make matters worse, she feels her water breaking.  She’s felt mild contractions all day, but chose to ignore them.

Through her swimming vision, she can make out a male figure.  She has no idea how her husband could’ve come here or even found out about the birth so soon.  In her delirium, she doesn’t register that her male visitor is plump, on the short side for a man, and has black hair and eyes, instead of being over six feet tall and having dark brown hair and eyes.

“Ask and you shall receive.” Borís pulls out another syringe and quickly injects her, glad her eyes are shut and he can use his right hand this time.

“It’s a sad state when a new mother can’t even wake up to her baby’s cries,” the mohel agrees. “At least this was caught in time to be taken care of properly.  The baby will recover.” (Igor developed a severe case of balanitis on his 9th day of life and had to be circumcised, something totally foreign to Russian Christians.)

“I’m so glad you came back, my handsome stallion.” Lyuba wraps her arms around him, her vision still cloudy from all the morphine and delirium. “I can’t get over how plump you’ve gotten in Minnesota.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think you were Borís.”

“Look at my pretty buttons.” Lyuba opens the tea crate. “We soak these in our tea every night, and they make me feel so happy and aware of the world.  It’s like walking through a dream when I’m awake.  Like right now, I feel like I’m looking at a moving stained glass window.”

“Can you get that brat to shut up?  I can’t concentrate on screwing you if he’s going to be interrupting us.  It’s time to pay attention to me, not him.  He has your attention all day.  Now it’s my turn.”

Lyuba screams even more hysterically.  In the midst of the commotion, her mother and stepfather, the Karmovs, the Kharzins, and Valériya come into the apartment.  Borís suddenly doesn’t feel as confident anymore.

“Borís doesn’t even know the meaning of shame anymore,” Mrs. Kharzina says. “He sinned once and kept running with it.  Once he got a taste for sin, it was too sweet to resist.  Now he’s completely degenerate.”

Lyuba sits on the davenport at her mother’s house, still in complete shell-shock over what she’s discovered.  This seems like a twisted, deranged nightmare that happened to someone else, not her.  In her mind, she keeps replaying everything that happened over the last month, unable to comprehend how she could’ve been so blind to the obvious.