Thursday, December 14, 2017

He's not for you, and I told you so

It was then that I heard something, the whoosh of roller skates coming down the road in my direction. And as I turned, the incredible happened. Gliding with grace, there she was, coming at me with her hair glowing red, blowing backwards in the wind. Before either one of us knew what was happening Natasha ended up tripping on a loose stone, flying straight into my arms.
That moment I sensed the same rhythm, the same beat pounding in her chest and mine, which convinced me of one thing: despite messing up a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible, or maybe because of it, I was—without a doubt—the luckiest man alive!
But unfortunately, as moments often go, this one did not last. By instinct I drew closer and touched my lips to her forehead, taking in the fragrance of her hair, which must have been a mistake, I mean, not the fragrance but the thought of a kiss. Natasha pulled herself back from me, perhaps embarrassed because of the sudden, unintended touch. 
With delicate, almost transparent fingers she straightened her skirt and smoothed an unruly curl that slinked down the left side of her face. She tucked it carefully behind her ear, slowly composing herself. 
Then, catching her breath, “Now you’ve really done it,” she said.
And I asked, “Done what?” 
She answered by asking, “Didn’t you read what I wrote to you?”
“I said, you must make a good impression on Mama, must behave yourself this time, because she remembers you, and she does so not exactly in a good way, if you know what I mean, and to make matters worse she’s suspicious of all men in uniform, because according to her they’re here one day and gone the next.”
I shrugged, and Natasha went on. “She says that nothing of value can come out of spending my time with any of them, because I’m too naive, and should avoid those good-for-nothing bums, because all they want is to take advantage of me.”
“Sorry,” said I. “I never got that letter.”
“Would it have made any difference if you did?”
“Probably not.”
“From now on, because of you, Mama’s going to give me an earful, much more than she already does, each and every time I happen to bring up your name.”
“Really? Like what?”
“She’s going to repeat, over and over, ‘He’s not for you and I told you so,’ until she’s blue in the face.”
“In that case you’re going to have no choice but to fall in love with me,” I said.
To which she said, “What?”
And I said, “With this much force, she’s practically pushing you into my arms, isn’t she?”
“I don’t wish to rebel against her,” said Natasha, under her breath. “But yes, she makes me so angry inside, she does.” 
“I should really thank her for it.” 
“If not for her I would be slow to sense this heat in you.”

Lenny in The Music of Us (narrated by Don Warrick)

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"The Music of Us is a wonderful love story from the first sentence until the very last. It touched my heart." 
Cary Allen Stone, Author

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What inspired me to write Still Life with Memories?

What inspired me to write the series, Still Life with Memories?

Natasha, the renowned pianist suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's in my book Apart from Love (volume I and II of the series, woven together) kept coming back to haunt me. Her character was not an easy one to develop. The primary challenge is that she has no voice. She is utterly silent, which makes her son Ben hopeat firstthat she can be reached, that he can 'save' her. 

“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. 
She is, I suppose, confined.”

My novel, The Music of Us (volume III in the series) gives voice to her. 

“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.”

This novel starts out at 1970, when she starts to succumb to her illness, and goes a generation back, to 1941, the time that she and Lenny first fell in love. This is the story of their love.

And the next in the series, my WWII Romantic Suspense novel Dancing with Air, shows her at her peak, back in the months leading to D-Day:

Then—just over the plaintive bleating of the sheep and the chaotic blasts rocking the mine—came a different sound. I listened to it in disbelief. It was the most wonderful sound in the entire world: a hum, the low, familiar hum of my Harley.
There it was, a silhouette of the beast, with Natasha astride on top of it, hair unfurling in the wind. 
I wanted to tell her how I admired her courage, the risk she took, riding it here all by herself, without my guidance, to get here. I wanted to tell her she should have stayed away. But by now I knew that for me, she would dare take any chance, come what may.
“Oh Lenny,” she said. “You look... I have no words for it.”
Overcome with sudden joy I staggered towards her.
“Come on,” she said. “Let’s go.”
In confusion I asked, “Where to?”
And Natasha said, “Anywhere, my love. Anywhere but here.”

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"The writing of this intense story of love and heartbreak is what makes it a classic. You'll go through the wringer with this one, but you'll never forget it."
 ~J.A. Schneider, author

I was puzzled at the craziness in this place

I spotted haystacks at the edge of a distant field and pictured myself lying there in the hay with my sweetheart, weaving flowers in her wavy, red hair. I watched the sky darkening and imagined her in my arms. If this were a time of peace, we would gaze together at the stars, rising ever so slowly over both of us. 
Above me, birds were chirping as they flew over mud, blood and the stench of dead bodies. I was puzzled at the craziness in this place, where beauty coexisted, strangely enough, with horrific ugliness.
 For a moment, I recalled the stories my dad had told me about trench warfare, dating back to his service in the First World War. Unprotected from rain, snow, and cold, many of the trenches had been continually flooded, exposing the troops to frostbites. With swollen feet, he had waded through water, surrounded by a multitude of frogs and faced with the nightmarish sight of red slugs and beetles with weird horns, all wriggling along the ledges. And then, the rats... Large and utterly fearless, they had invaded the foxholes. Feeding upon the dead had made them contemptuous of the living. 
I stretched out as best I could at the bottom of my trench and relaxed into feeling lucky. Of course, Natasha would be horrified to learn that my temple had been grazed, earlier that day, by a bullet—but unlike what my father had gone through, my discomfort was not amplified by the ravages of winter.
The mound just ahead of me was in bloom. It was springtime. For that, and for the rustle of her letter in my breast pocket, which brought her closer to me, I felt grateful.

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Ms. Poznansky has done it again, but this time—and I don’t say this lightly—she has written my favorite book to date in her stable of literary gems." 
~Aaron Paul Lazar, Author

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

You wouldn’t understand it

I considered asking Natasha to play something for me, but didn’t. Instead I bent over the top of the piano, where the bust of Beethoven was perching, and touched my cheek to the cold reflection.
This time Natasha lifted her face to me. I plopped next to her on the bench and reached for her hand. Expecting no answer I said, “This place seems so empty, all of a sudden.”
To my surprise she looked around and said, “So it does.”
“He’s gone.”
“Oh,” she said.
“I put him on the bus and waved goodbye to him.”
At that, she fell silent. A moment later she whispered, “Don’t I know how it feels.”
“You do? Really?” I asked. “What is it, exactly, that you feel?”
She shrugged.
“Tell me, Natasha.”
“You wouldn’t understand it.”
“Try me.”
The phone started ringing just as she was about to tell me something. When I got up to answer, she waved her hand, which I understood, somehow, even without words. 
Oh, never mind. 
And as I lifted the receiver from its cradle I heard her mumbling something behind me, back in the living room. I held my breath, trying to catch the sound of her voice. 
“Can’t you tell?” she said, to no one in particular. “I feel loss.”
For a moment I thought she was talking about our son, leaving us, or else about me, having an affair. Perhaps it made her stop calling me Lenny, which irked me. That, I thought, was why she treated me as a stranger. 
“Is he blind?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Can’t this man read my face? I feel as if I put my brain on a bus and waved goodbye to it.”

Lenny in The Music of Us

"A powerful and poignant novel that will grip at your heart strings ... a love story that invites the reader into a romance..." 
- Chief, USN Ret...VT, Top 500 Reviewer

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Music and war, love and memory, and more

I am thrilled to find a five-star review for my WWII spy thriller, Marriage before DeathThe review written by top Amazon reviewer and author Sheila Deeth. In addition to her novel, Divide by Zero, she has written The Five Minute Bible Story Series, and other books. With a Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England, she is a a top reviewer for Amazon, Goodreads, Gather and other reading sites. This is what she says:

VINE VOICEon December 10, 2017
Fifth in the Still Life with Memories series, Marriage before Death takes readers to the dangerous small towns of France just after D-Day. The German occupation is failing, and those in the resistance find their lives increasingly in peril. But what of resisters who aren’t even French, who might be labeled spies and be betrayed for the price of a life or a hat? And what of those who meet in surprise, neither knowing the other would be there?

Knowing the future adds an interesting poignancy to stories from the past. Readers know from the start that Natasha’s memories are fading. But Lenny’s memories are clouded only by love and uncertainty. As the characters play their different roles, the question of who is real, what memories are true, and what constitutes personality lie in the background, enriching every step of the path.

The writing is musical, as befits a tale with a musical protagonist. The story is intriguing with some sweetly touching scenes. While the reader will guess before the characters what’s going to happen, there’s always that interesting question of memory and reality. A cool addition to the series, and an enjoyable glimpse of different times and lives, I enjoyed Marriage before Death and I’m eager for more.

Disclosure: I already love the series and I got this one on a deal.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A fascinating and well-crafted family saga

It's wonderful to find a new review by Piaras for The White Piano:

on December 6, 2017
Uvi Poznansky is an accomplished author, poet and artist, and any ink that flows from her pen is highly recommended reading. This work, The White Piano (Still Life with Memories Book 2), is no exception.

Captivating and commendable, this work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling. There are plenty of attention-grabbing moments in this page turner that will take the reader on a truly mesmerizing journey!

It’s one of those books that come along occasionally that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader. A well-deserved 5 stars and a highly recommended read.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wrapping my arms real soft, around me around him

“What matters is only what’s here. I touch my skin right under my breasts, which is where the little one’s curled, and where he kicks, ‘cause he has to. Like, he don’t feel so cosy no more. Here, can you feel it? I reckon he wants me to talk to him. He can hear me inside, for sure. He can hear every note of this silvery music. 
It ripples all around him, wave after wave. I can tell that it’s starting to sooth him. It’s so full of joy, of delight, even if to him, it’s coming across somewhat muffled. Like a dream in a dream, it’s floating inside, into his soft, tender ear. 
I close my eyes and hold myself, wrapping my arms real soft—around me around him—and I rock ever so gently, back and forth, back and forth, with every note of this silvery marvel. You can barely hear me—but here I am, singing along. I’m whispering words into myself, into him.”

Anita in My Own Voice

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What she is envisioning is motherhood, which is the subject of my scuplture by the same name. It is hard to imagine this is actually bronze, because the patina is made to look like marble. I polished the piece until it became completely smooth to the touch, as if nature--by gusts of wind and the flow of water--has buffed this rock over time, the way pebbles come to be. 

But in the back, I 'carved' into the piece, so as to make it look as if it has broken. This makes for an interesting balance, as if you try to make a rock stand on edge. But more importantly, it is symbolic, for self-sacrifice is the nature of motherhood.

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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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“Liberally salted with buttery smooth prose & fascinating insights”

The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do

"The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do: so I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, which was dusting off the glass shield over the ice cream buckets, and stacking up waffle cones here and sugar cones there. From the counter I grabbed a bunch of paper tissues, and bent all the way down, like, to pick something from the floor. Then with a swift, discrete shove, I stuffed the tissues into one side of my bra, then the other, ‘cause I truly believe in having them two scoops—if you know what I mean—roundly and firmly in place. 
Having a small chest is no good: men seem to like girls with boobs that bulge out. It seems to make an awful lot of difference, especially at first sight, which you can always tell by them customers, drooling. 
I straightened up real fast, and it didn’t take no time for him to come in. I was still serving another customer, some obnoxious woman with, like, three chins. She couldn’t make up her mind if she wanted hot fudge on top or just candy sprinkles, and what kind, what flavor would you say goes well with pistachio nut, and how about them slivered almonds, because they do seem to be such a healthy choice, now really, don’t they. 
He came in and stood in line, real patient, right behind her. So now I noted his eyes, which was brown, and his high forehead and the crease, the faint crease right there, in the middle of it, which reminded me all of a sudden of my pa, who left us for good when I was only five, and I never saw him again—but still, from time to time, I think about him and I miss him so.
I could feel Lenny—whose name I didn’t know yet—like, staring at me. It made me hot all over. For a minute there, I could swear he was gonna to ask me how old I was—but he didn’t." 

Anita in My Own Voice
Take a listen to her voice--just the last two sentences:

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My narrator for the voice of Anita is, in a word, wonderful. Heather Jane Hogan brings the words to life, and she does it in a natural way, without overstating them. You can read more about her in my introduction of her, The Woman Behind Anita's Voice.

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"A literary symphony complete with a cast of likeable, bruised characters"