Thursday, May 23, 2019

The hand is invisible


Norma Miles

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 The hand is invisible 

Overall  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
5 out of 5 stars
Performance  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
5 out of 5 stars
Story  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed: 03-03-19

There was a murder. Michael found the body of a lovely young girl, hanging over a rock in the sea, her throat slashed. He told no one. He'd seen her before, the girl in a white dress, in fact he'd been following her. His company was a creator of virtual reality and he decides t h o try to solve the crime by creating all of the instances he'd observed in the area before he found her. His girlfriend and erstwhile business partner was still recovering from a vicious rape of one year ago and she feels personally the attack on the woman.
There is a feeling of unreality which suffices the entire book. Beautifully written, the action swirls past as it in a dream. Sounds and images sparkle as Michael inches forward to the solution whilst trying to protect his dearest friend with whom he is in love, ever mindful that he had failed to protect her before. A stunningly visual and near magical book, perfectly performed by Don Warwick. His delivery is soft, little more than a loud whisper, which captures the strangeness of the atmospheric text. It is also bordering on slow, again matching the textual content, and each protagonist is given clearly differentiated and appropriate voicings: that of girlfriend Ash is especially good. An excellent performance.

I was very fortunate in having been freely gifted by the rights holder, at my reqjest, with a complimentary copy, via F.A.F.Y. Thank you so much. I have not previously read any books by this author but she has now been added to my 'look out for' list. A murder mystery with a difference and one it was a sheer pleasure to read. Recommended.

Coma Confidential: The audiobook is out!

Doing the happy dance! The audiobook edition of Coma Confidential is out! Beautifully narrated by Heather Jane Hogan. 
Check it out:

(Volume I of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UKiTunes
Paperback: Amazon

Ash finds herself in the ER diagnosed with coma. She has no memory of what has happened to her, but what she can do--despite what everyone around her might think--is listen to the conversations of her visitors. Will she survive the power outage in the hospital and then, being kidnapped out of it? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Do not come into my presence unless you bring my wife

As a poet I play with flowery expressions. As a politician I arm myself with them to achieve my goals. The more difficult it is to overcome my opponent in the war of words—the more I enjoy sharpening my weapons. 
All morning I have been recounting the reasons why Abner, the general of the other side in this uncivil war, should defect to our side. I have been turning words around, deleting and adding phrases, to suggest an idea that at first—without the power of expression—may seem absurd: his treason towards his puppet king, Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, would be cast by my court historians into a winning combination of wit and courage. 
But before I can seal the note and send it to Abner, his messenger arrives at my door, with an urgent plea. Which tells me one thing: the general is far more desperate than I have suspected. 
My victory is at hand. This time it is coming with barely any effort. Alas, it is all too easy. What a letdown!
The Benjamite messenger bows before me, while removing his hat with a fancy, flamboyant move. I note that it is not too dusty, and neither are his shoes, which means that he has come here, to my compound in Hebron, from a nearby place. Perhaps his master, Abner, is waiting there for him, eager to get word of how I would react to what he has to offer.
“Well?” I say, in my most commanding voice. “Speak quickly, will you? I don’t have all day.” 
And the messenger—a young fellow chosen, perhaps, because of his flair for acting—strikes a pose, the overly confident pose of a general with his hands tucked behind his back so as to thrust his breast forward, and his chin held so high as to risk falling backwards. 
“I speak for a great commander, famous for his unparalleled military mind, a fighter who is a worthy opponent, and an even worthier ally,” he says, in a splendid, grandiose tone. 
To which I say, tersely, “Cut it short.”
“He—not his king, Ish-Bosheth son of Saul—is the one who holds real sway over the eleven tribes of Israel, who are fighting against you.” The messenger claps a hand, ever so theatrically, to his heart. “I speak for my esteemed master, Abner son of Ner. He sent me here to ask you this: whose land is it?”
“That,” I say, in a firm voice, “is a question that needs not be asked at all. This is, without a doubt, my land! It belongs to me and to my rule alone, and to no one else’s. Your master knows it.” 
Which confuses the messenger. Shifting uneasily from one foot to another he gulps air once or twice and waves his hands about, flailing to find the words, just the right words for his prepared speech. They escape him for the moment. To baffle him even more I turn my back on him and start walking away. 
“Here’s my advice to your master,” I say, casting my voice at him over my shoulder. “You mustn’t fight too often with me, or you’ll teach me your art of war, which is why your side is suffering heavy losses.”
“Wait!” cries the messenger. 
But I keep my pace, and increase my distance.
So he runs after me, throws himself at my feet, and catches his breath long enough to say, “I beg you, wait! My master says, ‘Make an agreement with me, and I will help bring all of the tribes of Israel over to you.’” 
“Ah!” I exclaim. “Now you’re talking!”
Then I control myself. Why should I betray any sign of excitement? No one should suspect how badly I need Abner. 
I must have him on my side, so I can divide military power between him and my own first in command, Joav, whose ambition is starting to manifest itself. I must cross one sword with another, so not one of them will threaten me. Only then will my throne be stable.
So I say, with coolness in my voice, “With or without his support, I shall prevail against your master. Abner knows it, and so does anyone watching this war. The tribes of Israel will join my own tribe, the tribe of Judah, with or without him. It’s just a matter of time.”
For lack of a comeback, the messenger stutters, “But, but... Are you prepared to wait?”
“Is he?” I counter. 
His face is contorted with bewilderment. By now the messenger must have realized that his script is faulty, because it is lacking enough prepared arguments for a chance to win this discussion. 
I tell him, “Time is dear—and so is blood.”
Then, to help him out of his misery I add, “All the same, coming to an agreement with your master is an interesting idea—but it has its price.”
He holds his breath, so I press on. “Tell your master: I demand one thing of you. Do not come into my presence unless you bring my wife, Michal daughter of Saul, when you come to see me.”

Excerpt from A Peek at Bathsheba

Historical Fiction with a Modern Twist...
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Do No Harm: Two Hearts Unspoken Targets by @Tammysdragonfly

Their squadron was finally going home. 
Air Force Lieutenant Josh Logan watched his fellow crewmen begin assembling, climbing into their one-man cockpits as he stepped into his own. After the bombs had been dropped on Kobani, each flight team had returned to the isolated air field serving as temporary headquarters for their hand-picked elite unit. They were in a protected zone, and the Iraqi government had sanctioned the U.S. occupation of the former air base.
“Begin to assemble flight team one,” blasted out through the intercom set up near the run-down control tower. Slightly smaller than usual, the twelve-bomber squadron had been divided into three flight teams for this special mission. Each bomber would be departing from the field in fifteen-minute intervals. Now that their primary mission had been completed, pilots from another squadron would be arriving later in the day to take their place.
“Flight team two be ready,” Captain Jason Matthews called out to his other men.
Manned by Hawk Benton, Team One’s first F-22 Raptor made it down the runway safely and was easing along the short-ragged strip in preparation for take-off before disaster struck. Gunfire echoed suddenly through the air, and the insurgents seemed to be attacking the base from all directions.
Listening through headphones, Zach sat waiting in his cockpit, watching several members of base security rushing across the field as, one by one, they contained each of the five offenders before they could reach the runway. It all happened so fast. In less than five minutes three men were killed and two were taken into custody, although not without a fight.
And then chaos ensued. Fire erupted from Hawk Benton’s bomber that had been ready to depart, and moments later, after hearing another explosion, Zach realized he’d apparently been hit by gunfire as well.
“Hold back! That’s an order,” Captain Matthews roared, as Zach noticed other team members moving away from their planes, everyone ready to jump into action. 
Captain Matthews must have decided it was too dangerous of a situation, Zach figured. The last thing they needed right now were more casualties after losing Hawk Benton, the pilot of the raptor that had just blown up. 
Airman Luke Bryant, who’d been next in line after Zach to depart, obviously had been unable to hear Captain Matthews’ orders, because after climbing out of his raptor’s cockpit, he was working frantically to open Josh’s cockpit door. 
The fire seemed to spread in a heartbeat. As Josh’s bomber became caught up in flames, Captain Matthews came rushing across the airfield while Josh kept attempting to escape from the cockpit.
But the temperature inside the plane was becoming scalding hot, and when the instrument panel failed to work, probably due to the heat, Josh pounded at the door, trying to get the jammed controls to respond.
 “It’s the heat,” Luke shouted, continuing to pry at the door with a crowbar one of the mechanics had brought over in his hand. 
As Captain Matthews arrived at the scene, Zach heard Luke screaming, “It’s screwing up the instrument panel, and Zach’s stuck inside.”
Excerpt from Two Hearts Unspoken Targets by Tamara Ferguson
Included in Do No Harm

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The real shame—now I know—is to consent to silence

The doors of my chamber open before me. Supported by my son I labor one step after another, till I make my way out. This is like no sunrise I have ever seen before. A sphere of fire, in which I spot innumerable flames of orange, red, and purple, rolls over the dark hills, setting their outline ablaze. 
Below, somewhere in the women’s quarters, children are starting to awaken. I hear their voices: some cry, others call for their mothers. One of them, a young girl, runs out to the courtyard, then stops and turns her head back. 
I squint against the light, which allows me to recognize her: she is my grandchild, Absalom’s child.
Now she waves at me. Her laughter is so pure, so melodic. It is full of silvery notes, which reminds me of my own daughter, Tamar, and the way she used to laugh, before silence overtook her. 
I want to go down to the child and put my arms around her to keep her safe, now and in the future—but I know that it is not in my power. Even so I murmur to her, across the distance, “Let you never surrender to silence, because if you do, it would leave you with the rusty, poisonous taste of shame.” 
The child has opened the gate. Like me, she is watching the sunrise. I wonder what it means for her. Perhaps, hope.
One day my daughter, Tamar, will stop listening to the dictates of those who wished to hush her. She will no longer obey the words, ‘Shut up,’ which she must still be hearing in her mind, in the voice of Amnon, who raped her. Nor will she obey the words, “Be silent for now,” in the voice of Absalom, who sought to protect her. 
The real shame—now I know—is to consent to silence. A day will come when she will transform her suffering into meaning, into words. 

Excerpt from The Edge of Revolt

Historical Fiction with a Modern Twist...
The complete series:

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Volume II: 
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Volume III: 
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Paperback: Amazon ★ Barnes&Noble

"Ms. Poznansky gives voice to her characters, with rich emotions while etching their actions into our minds. Each scene is painted into existence by her words with a clarity that causes reality to fade." 
Dii, Top 500 Reviewer

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I touch my belly and feel the beginning, the very beginning of change

Staring at that corner I know one thing, and I know it real clear, at once: this lovely dress, made of heavy satin and trimmed with lace and beading and what not, which I’ve dyed, the morning after the wedding, orange at the top and purple at the bottom, so it can still be used in the future—like, at dances and parties and stuff—this dress isn’t gonna to fit me no more. 
Up to now I’ve pictured it in my head, shining awful brilliant, just like a rainbow, and swirling all around me; and with every step, billowing between my legs, and like, making me adorable, so adorable in Lenny’s eyes—but now that I touch my belly and feel the beginning, the very beginning of change, right here around my waist, what’s the point of all that.
On the floor, under the hem of the dress, I can see two pairs of shoes: one is my new, white satin shoes, which Lenny’s bought for me, like, two weeks ago, just for the wedding. 
When he wants to, he can be real kind. He knows so well how to spoil a woman. He gave me a ring with a pink sapphire. I bet you it’s real! Also, a gold chain with a locket, which at the last minute—like, just before saying, I do—I decided not to wear. I wanted to look classy, and worried that it’s gonna be a bit much.
And the other pair? Now, that’s my very first pair of high heel shoes. They’re worn out, but still kinda bright, and chipped only a little. To this day I’m totally crazy about the color: hot pink! 
Ten years ago I spotted them up there, in a store window, and for a whole month I stared at them every day, on my way home from school, and my heart sank, knowing I didn’t have no money to buy them. I liked how the side of the strap was like, spruced up with a plastic rose, which has since fallen off. Awful cute, it was! 
Then I found a job at this ice cream place, down there at the Santa Monica pier. I got my first week’s pay, and was so happy, so thrilled to rush in and buy them, because they wasn’t only pink—but glossy too, and because now I was just like an adult. Ma took one look at them and slapped me, which made me figure that now, I was gonna have no choice but to apply plenty of makeup, so that this side of my face, which was flaming red, won’t stand out all that much. 

Excerpt from My Own Voice

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"After having read and reviewed several fictional novels by Author Uvi Poznansky, I continue to be a huge fan of her writing style. She has the mesmerizing and enchanting effect of drawing her readers into the heart and soul of her characters." 
Dolores Ayotte, Author

Friday, May 17, 2019

Do No Harm: Unlawful Harvest by @pdworkmanauthor

MacKenzie reached for the ringing phone, trying to drag herself from sleep, but her hand encountered only the empty base of the phone, the wireless handset missing. 
She pried her eyes open while feeling for it on the bedside table, knocking off keys and a glass and an empty bottle and other detritus. She swore and blinked and tried to focus. Where had she left the handset and who was calling her so early in the morning? The phone rang five times and went to her voicemail. Too late to answer it. She sank back down onto her pillow and closed her eyes. Whoever it was would have to wait. 
But no sooner had it gone to voicemail than it started ringing again. MacKenzie groaned. “Are you serious? Come on!”
She turned her head and squinted at the glowing red display of the clock next to her. It was hard to see the red LED display in the bright sunlight. It was almost eleven o’clock. Certainly not too early for a caller, even one who knew that she would sleep in after a party the night before. She rubbed her temples and scanned the room for the wireless handset. 
There was a man in the bed next to her, but she ignored him for the time being. He wasn’t moving at the sound of the phone, so he’d probably had more to drink than she had. She slid her legs out of the bed and grabbed a silk kimono housecoat to wrap around herself. The caller was sent to voicemail a second time. MacKenzie took another look around the bedroom without spotting the phone, then went out to her living room, also bright with sunlight streaming in the big windows. Outside, the pretty Vermont scenery was covered with a fresh layer of snow, which reflected back the sunlight even more brilliantly. MacKenzie groaned and looked around. The newspaper was on the floor in a messy, well-read heap. The remains of some late-night snack were spread over the coffee table. Some of their clothing had been left there, scattered across the floor, but no phone. 
It started ringing again. Now that she was out of the bedroom and away from the base, she could hear the ringing of the handset, and she kicked at the newspaper to uncover it. She bent down and scooped up the handset. She glanced at the caller ID before pressing the answer button and pressing it to her ear, but she knew very well who it was going to be. 
No one else would be so annoying and call over and over again first thing in the morning. She couldn’t just leave a message and wait for MacKenzie to get back to her, she had to keep calling, forcing MacKenzie to get up and answer it. Her mother didn’t care how late MacKenzie might have been up the night before or how she might be feeling upon rising. It was a natural consequence of MacKenzie’s own choices. MacKenzie dropped into the white couch. 
“MacKenzie. Thank goodness I got you. Where have you been?”
Her mother had been calling for all of two minutes. Where had MacKenzie been? She could have been in the bathroom, having a shower, talking to someone else on the phone, or at some event. Granted, she didn’t go to a lot of events at eleven o’clock in the morning, but it could happen. Mrs. Lisa Cole Kirsch had a pretty good idea where MacKenzie had been. In bed, like most any other morning. 
“What is it, Mother?”
“It’s Amanda. She’s sick.”
MacKenzie nodded to herself and scratched the back of her head. One of the things that would definitely set Lisa into a tizzy was Amanda being sick. She worried over every little cough or twinge that Amanda suffered. She had good reason, but it still made MacKenzie roll her eyes. 
“What’s wrong with Amanda?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the flu, but I’m really worried, MacKenzie. The doctors said to just wait and see, but they don’t understand how frail Amanda is. They think that I’m just overreacting and being a hypochondriac. You know that I’m not just a hypochondriac.”
“I know. So how is she?”
MacKenzie had to admit that even though her mother worried about Amanda, her worry was well-justified. Amanda’s health could get worse very quickly, and with the anti-rejection drugs suppressing her immune system, she was prone to picking up anything that went around. 
“She’s not good. She was up all night, throwing up, high fever, she’s just not herself. I called an ambulance at eight o’clock. She just can’t keep anything down and I don’t like the way she’s acting. So… weak and listless.”
MacKenzie felt the first twinge of worry herself. Amanda had spent much of her life sick, but she was a fighter. She usually did her best to look like nothing was wrong, not letting on unless she was feeling really badly. She would laugh and brush it off as just a bug and smile and encourage MacKenzie to tell her about what was going on in her far-more-interesting life. 

Excerpt from Unlawful Harvest by P.D. Workman
Included in Do No Harm

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