Friday, January 19, 2018

Why didn’t she confide in me?

In a flash, Natasha steps away from me and slides the glass door, which screeches as she draws it to a close behind her. Over the startled reflection of my face I see her piano, standing inside like an icy beast, waiting to be awakened. 
She heads towards it, stepping over sheets of musical notes, which are strewn all about. All the while, the wine glass dangles carelessly from her fingers, dripping across the rug, staining it red. 
She runs her fingers across the ivories, trying to improvise. The first sounds are soft, uncertain. Then, wave after wave, here come the reverberations, pounding strong, straight at my heart. They make me imagine our past. In the manner of an old fairytale, they conjure the beginning of our love, the way it should have happened. 
A magical wedding, there in the city of lights. No secrets between us leading up to that moment, and nothing held back from each other, from then on. 
Happiness. Openness. Trust.
But both of us know, that’s fiction. It is not how our life actually happened. Because of my covert mission during the first months of 1944, I had to keep my actions under wraps, only to be rewarded with an equal measure of concealment.
During that last meeting we had in London, two months before D-Day, Natasha told me she was on her way to board a ship, which was about to sail across the Atlantic, back home. Only later did I learn the truth, and to this day I am still piecing more of it together. 
Her journey, I now figure, was no less dangerous than mine. It took her not to New York, as I was led to believe, but in the opposite direction: she landed on French soil at least a month before I did—perhaps even earlier—and stayed there, behind enemy lines, putting her life at risk. 
What made her do such a crazy thing? And why didn’t she tell me, during that meeting, that she was about to join the French Resistance?  Why didn’t she confide in me?



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J.A. Schneider, author of suspense and psychological thrillers

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Interesting and engaging alternate history

A lovely review of my historical fiction book, A Peek at Bathsheba:

on January 17, 2018

This is the second book in the David Chronicles (A Peek at Bathsheba) by Uvi Poznansky. The author weaves a fascinating tale where David is besotted by Bathsheba, the wife of one of his faithful soldiers, Uriah. Consumed by lust, he gets her pregnant, and in order to cover up the scandal, sends Uriah to his death. The story is crafted in such a way that it is told in David’s own words, so to speak. Poznansky gets inside David’s mind and offers the reader a unique perspective in his torment over his transgressions, and his desire for redemption. However, what we discover is his lack of will to redeem himself.

This captivating and commendable 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 mesmerizing journey!

It’s one of those books that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader.




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A proud woman, cursed with love

My historical fiction trilogy, The David Chronicles, which opens with the novel Rise to Power, presents a surprising contrast before you: the story harkens back to biblical timesyet by design, it is expressed in modern language. Why? Because such is my way to suggest to you that this is no fairytale. It is happening here and now. I invite you to step into the skin of my character, become David, and look yourself in the mirror.

Readers often ask me, "Were you quoting the bible or paraphrasing? I’m used to read the King James version, and I'm certain you aren’t." To which I say, “All the English versionsKing James includedare translations. Therefore, they are interpretations of the original Hebrew, in which I am versed to the point of knowing it by heart.” 

In this trilogy, the choice of modern language is intentional. The entire book is greatly informed by art through the ages, including modern art, which adds multiple viewpoints to every moment in the story. This artistic versatility is reflected in my writing. Here is but one example, that was inspired inspired by a painting of David and Bathsheba by Chagall:

I try to take control of my desire by playing my lyre and writing poetry, but notes and words fail me. Everything I compose these days seems to be but a pale shadow of a shadow of what Bathsheba means to me. 
And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.

I feel great responsibility for all my characters. My utmost wish is to convey their voices and their experiences in a faithful manner. However I take none of them as a sacred, perfect figure, which to my surprise may offend some readers. Please keep in mind, I do not claim my story as gospel. 

To me, perfect characters are boring and unreal. I am interested in mining the internal conflicts in their souls. In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a divine directive, David’s search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous. Notorious for his contradictions, he is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul’s army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind. 

How does he see himself, during the first phase of his life? With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?

Not only is David a conflicted character, striving to find his better selfbut so are other characters, each bearing her anguish. Take Michal, daughter of king Saul, as an example. My story springs out of very few lines given to her in the bible. You may remember that when David dances in front of the arc, she despises him in her heart. Such is the bitterness of love that has turned to hate.

In the first volume of the trilogy, titled Rise to Power, Michal is a tragically conflicted figure. Because of her royal upbringing, her pride makes her look down upon David. To her he is an outsider and a commoner. And yet, in spite of herself, her heart is consumed by love for him.  She is doomed, in the end, not to have children. This is something I explore from the beginning of their relationship. Here is a glimpse of how he sees her on their wedding night:

I glance at her as she climbs up over me into her bed and tucks herself under the blankets, and I remember what Joav told me about girls, just a few days ago. It’s all just flesh, he said, no matter how fancy their garments. In bed, they’re all the same. 
I must tell him he made a mistake. This girl is different.
With her narrow hips and her flat belly, which is matched by an equally flat chest, Michal looks like a boy. And trapped in that skinny body, pounding there with palpable longing, is the heart of a woman, a proud woman, cursed with love.

What I want most of all is for the characters that have sprung from my mind onto the paper to continue their journey, and spring from the paper into your mind. That, for me, would be the best reward.

Michal fools the king's soldiers so that David can escape through the window
Maciejowski Bible

Michal and David, separated by her jealousy 
Painting by Ivan Schwebel
In between them you can see a happy couple walking together on the other side of the steet

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"Her ability to capture character and emotion is nothing short of literary excellence, and the modern flair really only adds to that, allowing for a more engaging voice and style." 
- Book Crazy, Top 1000 Reviewer

Loved the twists

Just found a short and sweet review for the audiobook edition of my Dark Fantasy book, Twisted:

Overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Performance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Profile Image for Dee
  • Dee
  • LA
  • 01-16-18


.

 

Loved the twists 

This trilogy of short stories were a mesh of Twilight Zonish crazy that just made my day. The reveals were fun and unexpected. The narrator gave it that extra build-up to the 'aha.'  

This listen is not for the unimaginative but if sci-fi fantasy is your thing, you will definitely enjoy it.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Take me away with you, let us hurry

Just this morning I woke up to a surprise: Bathsheba slipped into my bed, wearing a soft, silky robe that glided, ever so smoothly, off her shoulders. I knew she was in a playful mood—if you know what I mean—because of her sudden cravings. 
“Strengthen me with raisins,” she murmured in my ear. “Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.”
I rushed to bring her a tray of ripe fruit. Then I put my arm around her and could not wait until she was done eating. Between one little nibble and another she told me, in her most delicious voice, to slow down. 
“Do not arouse or awaken love,” she said, “until it so desires.”
In place of an answer I reclined back on the bed, and pointed at the blanket. I do not want to brag about it, but the fabric was stretching to a peak over me, tenting my arousal.
Just then I thought I heard someone tiptoeing just outside the chamber, in the corridor. I leapt off the bed and was surprised to find little Solomon there, his ear to the door and his hand tucked behind him, hiding something from me. 
“Show me what you’ve got there,” I said.
The kid shook his head till his freckles nearly flew of his nose. “No,” he said, with a stubborn tone.
So I warned him, “I know what you’ve done.” 
His eyes widened. “You do?”
“Oh yes,” said I. “You’ve listened to every word we said, and worse: you’ve written it.”
“So?” He shrugs. “Is that a crime?”
“Only if you publish it.” 
“Not going to.”
“Promise?”
“Promise.”
“All the same,” I insisted, “show me your hand.”
Solomon raised his hand to my eyes. And just as I had expected, the palm of it was covered with minute, inky characters, spelling out the sentence, “Do not arouse or awaken love, until it so desires.”
I peered into his innocent eyes. “You have any idea what that means?”
“Nope,” said the kid. “But I’m going to figure it out. It must become clear, if I look at it long enough. Then I’ll recite it out loud, before everyone—”
I cried, “You what?”
The kid smiled, and pulled his hand back. “I’ll tell them things like, Strengthen me with raisins. Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.’ People find me adorable when they hear me say such words.”
“They what?”
“They say it’s pure poetry. They say I take after you, daddy! So it doesn’t really matter, does it, if I don’t get what exactly it all means—they will!”
“But, but,” I stammer, “these aren’t your words! They belong to your mom and me!”
“Don’t worry,” said Solomon. “I won’t tell them that.”
Straddling between anger and an undeniable sense of amusement I wagged my finger at him. 
“Go wash your hand at once,” I said. “What we talk about, your mom and I, isn’t meant for your ears. It’s private.” 
“Nope,” he said. “Once I write it down, it’s mine.” 
“Isn’t,” said I.
Having closed the door I climbed back into bed.
Holding an apple in her hand Bathsheba offered me a bite and said, “Who was that?”
“Oh, no one,” said I. “Now, where were we?”
“Don’t you know?” she said, and in her soft, melodious voice, she started humming to me, between one kiss and another. “Kiss me, David, with the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.”
I was about to tell her we must keep it down. Instead I loosened her robe and while caressing her I hummed back, “I will go to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of incense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.
Bathsheba smiled, and over my murmur she went on singing, “No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you, let us hurry!
“Oh yes,” said I. “Let us hurry.”

David in The Edge of Revolt


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Volume II: A Peek at Bathsheba
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The complete trilogy:
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"In David's own words, the story of palace intrigue and family betrayal is chillingly told. This one stands on its own." 
Charles A. Ray, Author

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A WW II sy thriller like no other

Just found this lovely review for the audiobook edition of my WWII spy thriller Marriage before Death:

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  • Overall
    Performance
    Story

A WW II sy thriller like no other 

Any additional comments?
Marriage before Death by Uvi Poznansky is a treasure, read alone or in its place in her series. We follow characters from her other books into a WWII milieu, with all the unparalleled darkness of those days. Poznansky's talent and resonance with the story means that you can read Marriage before Death on its own or as Book 5 in a series, following (Book 1: My Own Voice, Book 2: The White Piano, Book 3: The Music of Us, Book 4: Dancing with Air). Poznansky's protagonist Lenny, narrowly escapes execution, but not capture. Through his eyes and those of Natasha, who faces a more personal terror,a hideous fate, we are thrust into a world that not only breathes, but does so in a lyrical way that, somehow, brings the story closer, not farther away. If you haven't read Poznansky, Marriage before Death is a fine place to begin. Then, of course, you'll want to grab the others that came before. Brilliant.

Vases of purple and rose delphiniums

Feathered back from her delicately-featured face, Julie’s ash-brown hair had been cut to her shoulders. While emphasizing the beauty of her doe-brown eyes, and their long lush lashes, long wispy bangs completed her look. Wearing an off the shoulder gown of lavender, which clung to her full figure like a second skin, she was even more daringly dressed than usual.
“Oh, Julie. That dress is absolutely gorgeous on you, too!” Kate complimented.
 Julie stared sheepishly down at her gown. “Danielle Reardon finally got a hold of me, too. She was hanging out with your mom when I was getting my hair cut.”
Dylan’s voice was hoarse, when he finally cleared his throat and spoke. “Julie, you really do look great.”
Julie glanced away, suddenly looking embarrassed as her cheeks reddened. Kate took a closer look at Dylan before returning her gaze to Julie. They’d make a wonderful couple – wouldn’t they? Why hadn’t she ever noticed that before? The three of them had hung out a few times together in the past, when Julie had come home to visit. And looking at the two of them now, there definitely appeared to be some awareness between them. 
 Hmm. 
Before Kate could consider the idea any further, it was time for the ceremony to begin. Julie, Kate and Dylan moved to be seated in the chairs that’d been set up in the solarium of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. Kate’s sister, Lucy, who was now a wedding planner, had prepared all the flower arrangements – and they were absolutely lovely. Vases of purple and rose delphiniums, mixed in with cymbidium orchids, were set up amidst the potted greenery lining the solarium’s glass walls. 
Kate had visited with her mom earlier this morning, before the ceremony. She’d looked absolutely beautiful in the gown of ivory she’d chosen to wear for the renewal of vows with her father. 
Kate smiled to herself as she waited for the service to begin – she’d never realized her father could be so romantic.

Excerpt from That Unforgettable Kiss by Tamara Ferguson
Included in A Touch of Passion


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