Tag Archives: Calamity Jan

Calamity Jan and the Russian ……

3 Feb


Today we welcome Jan Pierson to the GSP Romance Promo and highlight her book Calamity Jan and the Russian – a darkly handsome one! 😉

Jan says of herself:

I’m the author of nine books for young readers and occasionally freelance for magazines including “Trip of a Lifetime,” published January 2010 in Arizona Highways magazine and “Art Soars on Nature’s Wings,” published in the Winter 2011 edition of American Style Magazine. I hold a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the Evergreen State College with post graduate studies in Psychology. Since the publication of my latest ghost town book series, I often speak to educators, community organizations and students about mining our own personal gold from the wealth of our inner resources. In classrooms and school assemblies I encourage young readers to go for that gold that lies buried in their wild and wonderful imaginations. I was an instructor with The Institute of Children’s Literature and later taught independent writing seminars for aspiring writers throughout the state.

When a 61-year-old woman marries a darkly handsome Russian physicist nine years her junior, East and West collide. This multicultural love affair brings it all together with some earthy explosions of humor when this ex-communist lands in her empty nest and makes menopause feel like the measles and “starting over,” close to facing Siberia with candle in one hand and Preparation H in the other. This true story of one woman’s journey into primitive Russia with a charismatic Russian lays the Orthodox groundwork for their return to America where he begins to set up his fiefdom in her house and her life. The May-December, intercultural challenges launch two lovers on a spirited dance (not Swan Lake), a dance familiar to men and women of every age and culture who struggle against obstacles and iron curtains because they still believe in Destiny, and dare to risk everything in order to find it.





19 January, 1999

Glass partitions separated those of us in the outer waiting area from the immigration lines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I scanned the lines moving slowly through security, watching for the face I’d seen only from photographs.

Suddenly I saw him moving closer to the final gate. I braced myself against a person or a wall (I can’t remember), hoping I had the strength to keep from fainting. It’s him. Oh God, it’s him . . . I can’t remember anything else, except that he was slender and dark like his pictures and his eyes were blue. Baltic blue. He smiled and walked toward me, his chestnut-brown hair illumined by the glare of glass and lights from the security platform above. God, I’m going to faint . . .

But I didn’t. He set his hand-held luggage down and we embraced, then drew back and faced each other. His blue eyes didn’t hold mine as I’d dreamed they would at our first meeting. There was no spiritual connection.



I reeled, listening to his charming accent, listening to his words fall like broken glass on the hard tile beneath our feet. I tried to speak, but my words jammed against the back of my throat.

What was wrong? Was he nervous? Afraid? Disappointed? He was good-looking, charming, energetic, but it was as though I was in the presence of a stranger from Siberia. Suddenly I wanted to run. Did he feel the same? His eyes are empty. Cold. Where was the man I’d been corresponding with for over a year—the man I’d begun to love through his tender, poetic letters?

Valentin, where are you? I cried out in anguished silence, feeling a wall that was colder and more ominous than the Iron Curtain. We walked toward the baggage claim; his wide smile, charming Russian accent and animated demeanor helped in a way, but once we gathered his luggage and entered the parking garage, the truth hit like a slab of gray cement. This Russian man—this stranger—is coming home with me and I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

Had we both made a terrible mistake?

Oh God, what have I done?

The Volga in Springtime

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung (1875—1961)

We met by accident, believing it wasn’t an accident at all.

Fate. God. Destiny?

He was slender, ruggedly good-looking and well educated, a Russian man nine years my junior. Valentin Gudkov. I even loved his name. I loved everything about him, including his Russian-ness. Our phone conversations enchanted me, his accent and charm threw my sensibilities into a spiral downward. Or up. I didn’t know and frankly, it didn’t matter.

The Miracle is with us, Kiska, Valentin had said in one of his letters a few months before. I love you.

My eyes filled as I held his letters against my soul. The intoxicating new dance had begun, much to the dismay—even warnings—of a few friends and family members. He’s younger and he’s a Russian. Do you have any idea what it’s like living with someone from another culture? It’s vodka and cabbage, Jan. Are you sure you’re ready for this?

I’m ready. Don’t you know I’ve been waiting for this all of my life?