Monday, February 29, 2016

A beautiful story grown out of difficult times

Cary Allen Stone is a brilliant writer of psychological thrillers and murder mysteries. He writes with a keen eye for detail-the graphic violence is chillingly realistic. I am thrilled to find his review of my novel, The Music of Us:

on February 18, 2016
“The Music of Us” is a wonderful love story from the first sentence until the very last. It touched my heart. It’s bitter sweet as Natasha, a celebrated pianist, is unfortunately lapsing into dementia. She has always had a premonition that her days would end in this fashion since her beloved Papa suffered the disease. The story returns to the early days when she was 16 and playing a concert for the troops during the beginning of WWII. It tells how she and Lenny meet, him running out onto the stage before her pretending to play the trumpet and then jumping off the stage. It continues through their rocky courtship, through the war, Lenny's deployment and finally their long life together as remembered by Lenny. It is a story of how relationships change, and grow, and are nurtured by two people in love. Sentimental, heartfelt and tearful are only a few of the powerful words that define “The Music of Us.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

In the spirit of spring: The warmth of the June afternoon enveloped her

The warmth of the June afternoon enveloped her as she stepped out of the building. It was humid out, and the damp air clung to her bare arms and gave her a chill. It reminded her of having menstrual cramps when she was a girl, and the hot, humid weather would make her feel like she was hot and cold at the same time. Comparing what she had just gone through with cramps brought a smile to her face. She took some deep breaths and started walking toward Broadway. For the second time in their life together, Pam could hear Sandra calling her name. Pam stopped walking and turned around to see Sandra running up the street, tears flying. When she reached Pam, she began begging her for forgiveness.

“Please, Pam, please give me another chance.” She stood with her head bowed and her hands folded in front of her, in a praying stance. Please, God, let this woman forgive me my sins. Pam was already calming down. But she was sincerely tired of the whole Jack- Sandra drama. She wanted to grieve the loss of her husband. She was tired of grieving the charade of her marriage.

“I will give you another chance if you give me some time. I hope I don’t sound like a mother here, Sandra, but you are very young, and although I think you are wise, you don’t know what I am going through. I need some time to sort out what I am going to tell my children who worship their father, or worshiped him when he was alive, and now will find that not only did he cheat on their mother, but will have a child that will be their brother or sister.” She felt strange discussing this on the street, Sandra standing there sobbing. She was not going back to Sandra’s apartment and wanted to give her some resolution before she left the city, because she was getting out. There was no way she could stay in Jack’s apartment tonight. “Go back home, dear, I want to get back and get on the road before traffic gets too bad.” She patted her arm and turned to walk up the street. 

Excerpt from a novel by Suzanne Jenkins included in At Odds with Destiny


Four amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

At Odds with Destiny
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 

"An attention grabbing collection of books. Each compelling in their own right."

Superb and unique

Thrilled to find this review of The Edge of Revolt and of the entire series:


on February 26, 2016
This is the third book in a series about the life of (King) David. Read the others first. I LOVED all three. The reader gets to see inside Davids's head about everything that is going on in his life. It is enlightening and entertaining. I had a hard time putting the books down (well my phone). This book is not at all about the details in doing anything David talks about. By that I mean you never get to hear how his breakfast is gotten together and cooked and served. Or how he gets his armies together and how he feeds them But you get to see inside him - his fears, his loves, his hates, his dreams. I wish there were more like ethis.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Visiting Olga

Such a pleasure to visit fellow author Olga NM​! She has just featured my work on her lovely site, check it out: 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cover reveal for At Odds with Destiny

Tadah! Here is a new cover for At Odds with Destiny, a boxed set of four novels by three wonderful writers and me. Had a blast designing this cover, because of this regal red, that appears in folds of the dress and in the headboard, and because of this 'in your face' direct look in the eyes of this striking girl. She makes me think, is she destiny and you are at odds with her, or is she facing destiny and rebels against her own fate?


I created the title so the last letter brushes against the hair of the girl. I arranged the authors names against the red headboard, making sure not to obscure her hand, which is a detail I loved painting. Then I colored the text, both the title and the authors' names, so that it seems metallic and shines diagonally, as if responding to a ray of light.


I created a reflected image, for use when constructing the box and its reflection. 


I created the spines of the four books, adding a 'medallion' which depicts a detail from the original cover of each one.


Finally, it all came together:



Let in the dog and let out the cat, for this box holds dangers of the most rarefied kind!

Get it now
At Odds with Destiny
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Beautifully Written

I am thrilled to find this short and sweet review for my book, Twisted:


on February 21, 2016
I love finding new authors whose writing draws me in, and "Twisted" certainly is a treasure. This collection of short stories (with some poetry mixed in) was hard to put down. Written in lyrical prose, each story is poignant, and, at times, a bit disturbing. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Breaking the rules

You know how you’re taught to write sentences that are not too long, so the reader doesn’t get lost in them? Well, that’s not always the way we talk! Some people just string one sentence into another, creating free associations without putting a period in between, barely taking time to breathe. This is what I am exploring in my novel, The Music of Us. Natasha is a vibrant teenager who has more to say than time to say it:

I asked Natasha if she got my photograph, the one I had sent earlier that month. It showed me among others in a group of Marines, all of us dressed in uniforms, looking exactly alike.

She said yes, and was I the Marine second from the left, squatting, and in return I should expect a photograph of hers, which I’d better treat with extreme care, not the way I had treated her first envelope, which meant placing it in a dry, safe place, preferably close to my heart, because this is the earliest picture she had with her papa, so it was dear to her, and she’s giving it to me as a special gift, and on an entirely different note, what would I say if she told me that this summer she plans to take some time off from performances, which would give us an opportunity to meet, and even if her Mama would object to this idea, because she protects her only daughter from dates with men, and with soldiers in particular, because in her opinion they’re good-for-nothing low-lives who sleep who-knows-where with God-knows-who, she, Natasha, would love to see me if—and that’s a big if—I could arrange a visit.

Here is another example, with old Uncle Shmeel who is an old bachelor so eager for a conversation that he can’t stop talking:

I raised my hand for a farewell handshake, as I had to catch the last train out of town, but according to Uncle Shmeel, the conversation had only begun, so why rush it?

And without losing a beat he started telling me, between one momentous blow and another, that thirty years after it was written, this rhythm was used for the letter V in Morse code, and therefore it would surely come to represent the notion of victory, thanks in part to the BBC, because since the beginning of this war it had started to preface its broadcasts with those four notes, played on drums, but if you would ask him—which for some reason, no one cared to do—he could give it more punch, not only because the clarinet had the largest ranges of pitch of all musical instruments but also because no other Kleismer could hope to come close to the way he played it, which might sound like bragging but really, it wasn’t.
You can hear it for yourself, can’t you? Dit-dit-dit-dah!

At this point Uncle Shmeel smoothed his hair over his bald spot and took a long, deep breath, which allowed him to go on explaining that at any rate, this new interpretation of the symphony would have surprised the composer himself, as did the other, more common interpretation, which was based on the rumor that he, Beethoven, had pointed to the beginning of the first movement and said, “Thus fate knocks at the door.”

Fascinating as that might have sounded it was completely wrong, nothing more than a fancy myth, but no one but Beethoven could have refuted it, which he had neglected to do, perhaps on account of being deaf, or mad, or both. And the truth was entirely different, you see, and much plainer. It was not the idea of fate that had inspired him, nor was it Morse code, rather it was the song of a yellow-hammer bird, which he had heard—penetrating, somehow, the heavy silence in his ears—while walking in Prater park in Vienna, which had been free to the public thanks to a declaration, a regal decree dating back to 1766 by Emperor Joseph II. And to make a short story long, the conclusion—dit-dit-dit-dah!—the conclusion is this: when two ideas compete for popular attention, fate would always get the upper hand, especially when its rival is merely a songbird.


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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A fine read and narration

Love this review for the audiobook edition of The Music of Us! Check it out:


Overall
Performance
Story
.
"A FINE READ AND NARRATION"
Overall
Performance
Story
Would you consider the audio edition of The Music of Us to be better than the print version? 
Although I thought the audio was great, I particularly loved the book in print because I'm a visual person. Absolutely no reflection on the narrator!

Who was your favorite character and why?
I was very touched by the main female protagonist. To be so talented at such a young age with a domineering mother would be a very difficult situation and Uvi Poznansky portrayed her feelings and surroundings very well.

What about Don Warrick’s performance did you like?
I thought for a man, he used a subtle touch, which went well with the author's delicate, lyrical prose.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When the two main protagonists, having been separated for long, finally got together. Very moving...

Any additional comments?
Here is my reviewHaving read Uvi Poznansky’s, THE MUSIC OF US (Vol 3), I knew going in just how lovely this book was. In fact, it’s my favorite of all her books. Still, to be honest, I wasn’t sure a man’s voice could give justice to her delicate, touching prose. But I was happy to be proven wrong! Don Warrick did a great job, adding just the right interpretative coloring to this author’s fine writing, and at the same time, pulling the reader in that much more. Highly recommended!


Music will come back, flowing through my flesh

During the year of writing my novel, Apart From Love, I discovered several ways of advancing the story. It originated from a short story about a twelve years old boy coming face to face, for the first time in his life, with the sad spectacle of death in the family. 

I set it aside, thinking I was done with it. But this character, Ben, came back to me and started chatting, chatting, chatting incessantly in my head. So I asked myself, what if I ‘aged’ him by fifteen years? Where would he be then? Would he still admire his father as a heroor will he be disillusioned at that point? What secrets would come to light in the life of this family? How would it feel for Ben to come back to his childhood home, and have his memories play tricks on him? What if I introduce a girl, Anita, a redhead who looks as beautiful as his mother used to bebut is extremely different from her in all other respects? And what if this girl were married to his father? What if the father were an author, attempting to capture the thoughts, the voices of Ben and Anita, in order to write his book? 

Just asking these questions had an immediate affect on Ben: as if a page has turned, he grew up into his new age—but then, somehow, he forgot to mature... So the process of writing became, for me, simply listening to him, and to Anita, and trying, as fast as I could, to capture their thoughts. They chatted with such intensity! I wish I could record everything they said. After a full day of writing nonstop, just before my eyes closed, I would hear Ben whisper something in my ear, and promise myself I would put it on paper next morningonly to find the phrase gone by the time I woke up.

So, to slow down the chatter I would throw some obstacle in my characters’ way, and let them ponder how to find their way around it. This, I found, was such a fun method of developing the story, and it allowed the plot to twist and turn in unexpected ways. One of these obstacles was the unravelling of a family secret. 

Upon coming back to his childhood home he discovers that his mother, Natasha, the renowned pianist, is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's. He undergoes a complete transition from denial to utter shock as her condition deteriorates. 

There is no way to tell if she has heard me. Her gaze is fixed, as steadily as before, on the same small pane of glass, through which the sun is blazing; which makes it hard to figure out what she sees out there. 
I push forward, aiming to view it, somehow, from her angle, which at first, is too hard to imagine: 
In my mind I try, I see a map, the entire map of her travels around the world. A whole history. It has been folded over and again, collapsed like a thin tissue, into a square; which is suspended there—right in front of her—a tiny, obscure dot on that window. 
And inside that dot, the path of her journey crisscrosses itself in intricate patterns, stacked in so many papery layers. And the names of the places, in which she performed back then, in the past—London, Paris, Jerusalem, San Petersburg, New York, Tokyo—have become scrambled, illegible even, because by now, she can no longer look past that thing, that dot. She cannot see out of herself. 

Her character was not an easy one to develop. The primary problem is that she has no voice. She is utterly silent, which makes her son hopeat firstthat she can be reached, that he can 'save' her. 

And now, just as the novel has sprung out of a short story, a series is about to spring out of the novel. In my mind, a series comes to life only what the characters linger, when they have a voice that demands listening. I find it amazing to be in the skin of the character from youth to old age.

So now, intrigued by family secrets that must be explored before the path to healing can be found, and by the mystery of the mind at the point of losing control over it, I will go on interposing these ideas, this time giving voice to the mother, Natasha. Known for passing memorization techniques to her students, how does a former pianist cope with the devastation of Alzheimer’s?

Once I find my way back, my confusion will dissipate, somehow. I  will sit down in front of my instrument, raise my hand, and let it hover, touching-not-touching the black and white keys. In turn they will start their dance, rising and sinking under my fingers. Music will come back, as it always does, flowing through my flesh, making my skin tingle. It will reverberate not only through my body but also through the air, glancing off every surface, making walls vanish, allowing my mind to soar.
Then I will stop asking myself, “Where am I,” because the answer will present itself at once. This is home. This, my bench. The dent in its leather cushion has my shape. Here I am, at times turbulent, at times serene. I am ready to play. I am music.
But until then I am frightened, frightened to the point of panic. Even in my daze I sense the eyes of strangers. Their glances follow me down the street. Stumbling aimlessly from one place to another in the darkening city, turning around this street corner and that, I am amazed to realize that every building looks like an exact replica of the previous one. It baffles me, but I tell myself, with an increasingly shaky tone, that I am not lost. I cannot allow myself to think that I am. I will find my way, right after taking a deep breath to regain my calm. Then I will try to separate familiar lines out of this urban chaos.

Natasha in The Music of Us


 Love reading? Get this series 

Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Volume IV: Dancing with Air
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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What is real love?

Lovely review by Margaret R Blake for my novel, The Music of Us:

on February 8, 2016
This book is part of a collection; that's how I got the opportunity to read it. And I'm extremely grateful, otherwise I would have missed out on a very well-written story. Not only does it encompass the real meaning of romance by fiercely touching one's emotions, but it is a driving read as well. I found it strangely sad; riddled with melancholy, but the energy that carries this tale of nostalgia and remembrance is powerful. It is a piece of authorship that I will not easily forget. I recommend it to those who enjoy a tale that feels real and is not a product of the Hollywood perception of romance. Here lies the true meaning of love.