Friday, September 22, 2017

Thankfully, the cloud of smoke was thinning out

From the back of the truck, our captors barked at us to come, to follow them through that opening, the edges of which was already smoldering. 
Schnell,” they shouted, as if we were some circus animals that had to be threatened into leaping. 
Not wishing to place myself back into their hands, I decided to take my chances and try escaping the fire my own way. Up to this moment I had felt weak, helpless, dejected—but now I discovered a way, a rogue way to get out. 
In the front corner of the cargo area, there was a slash in the canvas, which I had noticed yesterday, at the outset of the journey. Summoning strength I did not know I possessed, I ripped it completely apart. Immediately, the prisoners lined up to slip through the tear and get off.
Once outside, we crawled away from the eight-wheeler and from our captors, who started to circle around it in search of us. One of them spotted the boy and charged in his direction. 
By some stroke of luck, the SS guard tripped over a dead body, which allowed me just enough time to scramble to my feet and grab the boy by his arm. We dove into the bushes.
All around us, the air reeked of ash. We choked the urge to cough. Fearful that the foliage might catch fire, we rolled down the slope, away from the burning vehicles. All the while we hoped that the clinking of our chains, which might disclose our position, would be swallowed by the roar of the flames. 
Thankfully, with each motion forward on our knees and hands, the cloud of smoke was thinning out, till at last we could stop guessing our way. 
In an instant, the truck that had carried us became engulfed in flames, as did other vehicles. We took cover behind some rocks, just as sheet of fire spread across the road. The blaze was a magnificent sight. I could not begin to describe the sensation in my heart, the unexpected relief. 
I was in chains—but at least for the moment, I was free.

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"Uvi Poznansky, a master story-teller, captures the sights, sounds and smells of World War II France, bringing them to life with an imaginative plot, excellent writing, a mastery of fine detail and the creation of imagery in her scenes. She draws you into the story as though you were there, experiencing what Lenny and Natasha experience." 

Bill Cronin, Author

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I am so grateful for the inspiration

Back in my chamber I cast a quick look around me. With all the expensive things in my treasure box, all the crowns and jewels and stuff, there is nothing here I wish to take on the road with me. For a chance to stay alive I must be light on my feet, and these objects, which I have accumulated over the years, are nothing but a burden. They will slow me down into a defeat. 
The only things I am sorry to leave behind are my inkwell, and my quill. Perhaps I should leave a few last words, meant for Absalom, so he may find them when he breaks into my chamber to make it his own. 
I find this idea incredibly tempting. And yet, staring at the blank papyrus I find the challenge of writing more daunting than ever. How can I admit to him, and to any other stranger who may lay a hand upon this note, what it feels to be undermined, to be betrayed by the one dearest to me? 
I cannot do it. Instead I scribble something that obscures and reveals what I feel, in equal measure. “Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
What my son has leveled against me is a deeply personal offense. By now it has become a public spectacle, committed in front of the entire nation, so everyone can watch my humiliation, and my fall. 
Words quiver on my lips. They scramble over the papyrus, bleeding ink. Choked with tears I try to sing them. “If an enemy were insulting me I could endure it. If a foe were rising against me I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.
I blot the corner of my eye and remind myself, There is little time left. Even so I choose to spend a few more moments here, simply to take care of my writing instrument. I wash the ink off it with water from the jug. I wipe it carefully, feeling the lovely tingle of the feather upon my skin. And in parting I pass it between my lips, kissing its sharp tip. 
And I murmur, Thank you. I am so grateful for the inspiration you have given me. I am blessed. If I am captured tomorrow I will die a happy man. So few are as lucky with their weapon as I have been.

David in The Edge of Revolt

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I gave thanks to my lucky stars

“I bet you can’t remember anything of importance about any one of them, such as the first date. It must all be a blur.”
“You’re quite mistaken,” he said. “Want to know about Liz?”
“Not really,” said I. “Forget I asked.”
“I met her about two years ago,” he said, and his eyes caught an odd expression, which I had never seen on him before. “I ended up in her room that night and gave thanks to my lucky starsuntil I heard the noise.”
“What noise?”
“I’ll never forget it. The German planes came in waves, just after dark. You could hear their motors grinding overhead, rattling the city with an angry pulsation like a bee buzzing, buzzing, buzzing, as if in blind fury. Somehow we could sense from the firing of guns and wailing of sirens that there was to be no monkey business this night.”
From my own experience I knew just exactly what he must have gone through. At present, the threat of an invasion of Britain had already passed, as Hitler's attention had turned to attacking the Soviet Union in the East. But just a few months ago, a bomb had dropped close to the River Thames moments after I had crossed it. My knees should have been strong enough to support me, and my stomach had felt in some danger of letting me down. 
Now I tried to cut into his description with a bit of mine, to no avail. Ryan would not listen. He was too occupied with talking. 
“So, about Liz,” he went on. “Oh how she clung to me! In her room, with those black curtains drawn across the windows, we felt the rattle from the explosions. You could hear the boom, the heavy, stabbing boom of bombs at their work, crumpling buildings into rubble not too far away from us.”
“Did you take cover?”
“At first I did, but then I became curious. So I stepped out onto the balcony to look at the view, and a sense of vast excitement came over me.”
“Fear I would understand,” said I. “But excitement? Really?”
“Yes,” said Ryan. “How can I make it clear for you? Perhaps you’ve seen big fires before, but I doubt you’ve seen the whole horizon of a city ringed with great fires, scores of them. The closest ones were close enough for us to hear them, not only through our ears but through the bones as well: flames, crackling! Firemen, shouting! A huge blaze died down under their dousing, only to flare out again.”
“And Liz? What about her?”
“She stood behind me, pressing her hands over her eyes and shaking her head in great shock. But I, I kept gazing at the sight. There was something awe-inspiring just in the savagery of it all.”
Both of us fell silent for a while.
“So,” he said at last. “Don’t you tell me I can’t remember a thing about Liz, or any of the other girls. Boy, the stories I could tell!”

Lenny in Dancing with Air

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The smell of apple pie baking

The smell of apple pie baking filled the house that early morning. Thanksgiving was the following day. “Don’t forget that we’re leaving for the shore tonight as soon as Daddy gets home from work,” Harley reminded the girls as they filed out of the house. Tina couldn’t wait to have Thanksgiving at the shore. Granny Fran would set up a long table, stretching from the dining room into the living room of the cottage. Harley’s mother, Maryanne and sisters would be there with husbands and Aunt Melissa’s two children.

Excerpt by Suzanne Jenkins from her book in A Touch of Passion

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

The ghosts peer in across the glass

This night is cold, no use to fill
The mind with thoughts of joy and cheer
Frost paints stars on the window  sill
Wind shrieks the name of someone dear

The ghosts peer in across the glass
Their eyes are veiled, their faces--ashen
Let them watch you till they pass 
Then find warmth in A Touch of Passion

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This, here, was no man’s land

This, here, was no man’s land. 
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.

Lenny in Marriage before Death
Narrated by Don Warrick

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

There is a twist to Natasha's past

I find this review particularly enlightening for me, as I can hear the expectations of this reader for the next volume in the series... This is what Critical Reader writes about my WWII spy thriller, Marriage before Death

on September 11, 2017
This book moved much faster for me than the two before it. There was quite a bit of action, and there is a twist to Natasha's past I never saw coming. It was quite shocking actually, but I suppose I can see how something like that might have happened. Lots of crazy things happen in times of war, although during this particular war, I would expect something to be mentioned of these American Jews' brethren being slaughtered factory-style. Did Lenny and Natasha think about their Jewish brothers and sisters? Or was it too soon for them to know at this point what was going on? Is this a subject the author will broach in subsequent books? And what about Natasha's family, those who may have stayed behind in Russia? I have to wonder if any of these things will be brought up later on. Surely Natasha would care more about her people than the French. These are just my thoughts.

As for the book, this one is the best out of the WWII stories in this series. Natasha becomes a different person, and we get to know Lenny better and better. I do look forward to what comes next and hope to see more of a Jewish connection.