Happy First Birthday Master’s Muse/30Nights! (and a chapter at the end of the ramble)

Warning: cheesiness and tears ahead!!


One year ago today, after 14 years of fighting America’s immigration system, America finally opened its doors to me and I became a citizen!  As my husband snapped pictures and filmed, along with other proud families, I had a rare moment of utter clarity:  all my life, I had pursued only one dream.  A single one!  To be safe, to choose my own destiny, my own husband, my own life.  It’s small, it’s cliche, it’s something you hear everyday – but none of that makes it less self-defining.  In a strange movie reel, America flashed before my eyes the same way our dreams of “The One” do:

I started learning English with a flashlight or a candle that often burned the tip of my nose dark the next morning.  

My first memory of hearing the English language was Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana song.

My first memory of hearing the word “rock and roll” was at a traditional wedding where I was the equivalent of a flower girl but it meant I carried the bride’s dowery around.  As I folded her new bed linens, I heard a strange music.   It was Ray Charles “I’ve Got a Woman.”  I followed it to the flat rooftop of the small house where I saw the young guests dancing in the dark.  A boy whose face,  name, or relationship to the wedding I don’t remember said to me “Dance little rocker!”

And so on and so on.  I will spare you the journey, but when I was swearing my allegiance, I looked around me and I saw what they called “Faces of America.”  Every race, every color, every creed…. all for one dream.  I wondered what each of their fights had looked like…  And just like that, as I vowed  that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God,  30 Nights was born in my head!   Within 30 minutes (true!) of my oath, my husband and I were driving like lunatics to make the polls to vote in the presidential election.  I dropped my ballot with about 10 minutes to spare from closing!  That evening, after a burger, a beer, and doughnuts, I started outlining 30 Nights.  Here are my first notes 🙂  (ignore my chicken scratch, there is a reason Elisa writes in calligraphy!)


A bit later, I put pen to paper and my babies, Elisa, Aiden, and Javier were born.  So today, in a way is their birthday too – at least their conception!  🙂 Here are my first doughnuts in America, courtesy of my friend Arilee and coworkers who saw this journey with me.


A year later, almost to the date, Thirty Nights is heading to the publishers!  I looked up some statistics, hoping to find that the death rate for people on their birthday is very low.  But unfortunately, I found the opposite.  It’s apparently 14% chance.  Well, I am told that traditional publishing chances these days are even lower, less than 1%!!  So my birthday wish, ironically, remains the same today as it was when I first started having the American Dream:  not to be a statistic!

The rest of Thirty Nights/TMM will be posted very quickly in the next few days and will come down officially next week to maintain its creative integrity.  It will give you time to finish it (especially the new readers!) and – if it’s not too much to ask – please bless it with your love and care the way you have done all this time.  Maybe if we combine our wishes and happy thoughts, it will help this story on its little journey!  I admit to some superstition and belief in karma and since you have helped this story form, it felt wrong sending it off without your little “Godspeed!”  There will be other things that will be posted on the blog, Aiden POV, outtakes, sequel, a new story (yep, you read that right!!), and of course all the rejection letters as they roll in.  If Nabakov got 367 rejection letters, I cannot imagine what my number will be.  Hideous, as Elisa would say.  But none of that today.    Let’s have another TMM/30N chapter!  THANK YOU everyone, thank you my country of origin and thank you America!!!!


Song:  Amado Mio, Pink Martini  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MV2A-XwoSw


10 thoughts on “Happy First Birthday Master’s Muse/30Nights! (and a chapter at the end of the ramble)

  1. Sharon Starr says:

    That is such a great story on its own merit! The perfect storm and inspiration – this was so meant to be. Happy First Birthday and Anniversary. And your readers ended up getting the present!! Thank you! Can’t wait to see the battles the publishers will be fighting over you!! You will be receiving 367 letters BEGGING for your consideration!

  2. Lulu Price says:

    Happy birthday, 30 Nights of Snow!!! And happy Anniversary to you, Ani, for finally gaining your American dream. I think it’s your personal fight that made 30 Nights so hopeful and real. I don’t think a person who hasn’t fought for freedom and a better life would be able to write a beautiful struggle like 30 Nights. It is much more than a love story. It’s a story about the human struggle for a better life; a chance to not be a statistic of your circumstances; a chance to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everyday, a little boy or girl wish for all those things, whether they are living in America, or in a far off country. What I want people to take from 30 Nights, is that no one takes the American dream as right. Everyone knows it’s something you work hard for. People risk their lives, their freedom, their families for what many of us take for granted. Freedom is something you will risk anything for. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Because all human beings strive fr freedom and the pursuit happiness. Congratulations on writing a marvelous story.

    Your story about your swearing in ceremony made me think of mine. I really didn’t think much of it because when I came to America I was young enough to assimilate. To me, I was already an American. I lost all traces of who I was before the age of 7. The ceremony was much more about my mother than me. Perhaps it’s because I came to America at such a young age, but I never really thought much of my immigrant experience until 30 Nights. Thank you for that. I can’t imagine a story like 30 Nights finding a home. It will, Ani. I have no doubt. Godspeed 30 Nights, we’ll be praying for you.

    P.S. Michael Jackson is also a part of one of my earliest memories back in my mother country. We were in our livingroom. I was sitting on the floor while my mother braided my hair as Thriller was being played. I was enthralled by it and kept moving my head to see the screen. My mother kept yelling for me to keep my head still. But I didn’t care. It was Michael Jackson. 🙂

  3. Wattle says:

    Well, Happy Anniversary and thank you for 30 Nights, your story must be published and hopefully there will be many acceptance letters not rejections.

  4. icicledn says:

    happy birthday 30 nights and happy anniversary anisurnois. May god bless u and all your hard work bring great results. Your own personal connections with 30 nights makes it even more special 🙂 . I am waiting for the day when i can buy multiple copies of your book and gift it to all my friends so that they understand exactly why i have been obssessed with this story for past many months. I pray that your novel be the next great phenomena that will shake the literary world. If there is anyone out there that deserves recognition and appreciation, it is you and your work.
    Xoxo crazy fangirl (already excited for your new story!)
    Loads of love and take care of your health

  5. contrite shadow says:

    I think maybe I’ll call you Ani-dorable from now on;-) I loved the tale about how the story got started. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement. I’d love to say that, with your talent, you’ll have no problem getting published, but I’m not sure that’s how it works. I will, however, be keeping my fingers crossed for you, because one published book means you’ll have more time to write:-)

    You can’t go wrong with Ray Charles.

  6. Lillimarlene says:

    Thank you for sharing this origins story. Nobody reading Thirty Nights would ever guess that English is not your first language. As it heads closer to publication, I look forward to the day when a copy takes pride of place in my book case.

  7. Jenn says:

    Oh Ani, you have such a way with words! Congratulations for your citizenship and a big happy birthday to 30Nights/TMM!
    I’m honored to be a reader of this story, it’s absolutely magical (and I know that I say that a lot but it’s the truth). I have no doubts that it will get published… And it’s going to become a best-seller.
    Congratulations again, and my best wishes to you, you deserve all the best (:

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