Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enjoy the darker twist, but without the gore

What a great gift I got tonight, a second review of Twisted (in audiobook edition, on the Audible website) titled: “Enjoy the darker twist, but without the gore."

Would you listen to Twisted again? Why?
Yes. It was thought provoking and at times achingly beautiful.

What other book might you compare Twisted to and why?
Perhaps to some of HP Lovecraft's light works, or Washington Irving's folk tales. Poznansky's works feature some little twist that turns the tale just slightly sideways, giving the reader a new way of looking at it. Lovecraft and Irving also do the same in many of their works.

Have you listened to any of Heather Jane Hogan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This was my first time enjoying Heather Hogan's narration.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Uvi Poznansky takes the reader through the odd, the dark, the twisted with intelligence and artful form.

Any additional comments?
I am hard put to say which was my favorite. I Am What I Am drew me in right away with the mystery of who this dead woman was. Not being familiar with Christian tales, I nevertheless enjoyed the rock and hard place Job’s wife found herself between. She did a lot of sighing, but if I were her, I would probably do so too….or cuss. I, Woman was sensual and full of creativity, just as I imagine sculpting with clay would be. Even though this was short, the main character grew over the space of the tale, at first thinking little of her clay companion, then coming to appreciate any communication with him, and finally, afraid of what lay before her, missing his constant presence. Perhaps this was my favorite.

The Hollow went by a little too quickly for me, leaving a rather ghostly impression on me. Perhaps it was meant to do so as the woman was in free fall. The book ended with an unlooked for surprise in the last story, The One Who Never Leaves. It is all told from a cat’s perspective, tamed, trapped in domesticity. Being the servant to several cats, I completely connected with this story, recognizing that predatory glint in my cat’s eyes, as captured by the disgruntled feline of this story.

In short, this is an excellent collection of short tales. Each was unique, standing on it’s own merits. I also loved that each was told through female eyes, allowing one more layer of connection.

The Narration: Heather Jane Hogan provided clear, distinct voices, and even went extra lengths to give Satan in the first tale an unearthly tone. My only minor criticism was that the pacing was slow; however this may have been by request of the author.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Dab of Darkness...

What a great gift I got tonight, from an audiobook reviewer running a wonderful blog, A Dab of Darkness, to celebrate the dark side... Here is her wonderful review of Twisted! It starts with, "Through a collection of 4 short stories, Uvi Poznansky takes the reader through the odd, the dark, the twisted with intelligence andartful form..." Check it out:

Twisted by Uvi Poznansky

Thankgiving and Chanukkah: my home recipes!

This is such a great occasion: Thanksgiving and Chanukkah at the same time! Next time this happens? 78,000 years! So here is my recipe to celebrate this: my homemade pple sauce (to be loaded upon the latkes) with cranberries! As for my apple pie, you can see that in my home we always start from dessert...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taste the passion of this mother's experience

New review of A Favorite Son, the title says it all:

5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor and taste the passion of this mother's experience in this biblical tale.,November 2, 2013
Larry Winebrenner (Miami Gardens, FL, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Favorite Son (Kindle Edition)
No one with a knowledge of the biblical Jacob/Esau story can miss the basic source of this story. The treatment from a mother's point of view is revealing in a way that cannot be shown in a simple retelling of the story. Some may claim the story misses the details and thrust of the original tale, but those critics miss the maternal aspect of the story. Experiencing the real presence within the lives of the participants provides a sense of reality and anguish.

Really touched my heart. The author really captured the heartbreak this family.

Woo-hoo! New 5-star review of Apart From Love on Goodreads:

Ben comes home after his father is in a accident. His father Lenny is remarried to a woman around Ben's age and is pregnant with Lennys child. Ben finds out that his mother isn't the world traveling musician that he thought she was but is suffering from alzheimer's. All the while Ben and Anita try to fight their growing attraction to each other. The story of broken family torn apart from her disease broke my heart. It seems Lenny loved his ex-wife so much that he was desperate in trying to recreate that with Anita. Loved the back and forth between getting inside of Anita and Bens heads. The story of a woman who was once a vibrant woman is now living in a place where she is essentially the youngest person there really touched my heart. The author really captured the heartbreak this family.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Here is what I'm thankful for

Drooling over the thought of big bird and all the trimmings? Stop it! Here is what I'm thankful for: a one-of-a kind review by Dolores Ayotte, the author of several self help books:

Book Reviews ~ Apart from Love

Got this for my 88 yr old mother

A new review, the title says it all:

5.0 out of 5 stars Got this for my 88 yr old home bound mothers Kindel.November 24, 2013 Got this for my 88 yr old home bound mothers Kindel.November 24, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Favorite Son (Kindle Edition)
Bought this book for my 88 year old mother who is home bound. Downloaded it to her Kindle. She loves reading and loves history, mystery, Sy-Fy, love stories (Amish type, not porn type!). She loves these books

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I am grateful to go back

Now they turn on a big kiln, pick up their tools and, one by one, come over to surround us. They snip at the coils and break Adam free. I can see only a glimpse of him between their shoulders. He strains, in his own quiet manner, to give me one last look. They lift him away, after which I lose sight of him forever. 
I can remember very little after that. The light in this place is so white, so intense, it fills me with such radiance that I am forced to close my eyes. The air is hot, and getting hotter, and yet I can feel a shiver running through me. Something is changing here, inside and out. The Creator is coming. She is near me, around me. I have no doubt. 
A big flame of fire flares up, engulfing me. I feel it in my veins, swelling in me like a flow of molten bronze. I hear it in the crackling of embers from below. That hazy glow of my earlier existence is finally here, burning brighter than ever. 
I am grateful to go back. No longer am I stuck here, in a place of doubt. 
No longer am I inflicted with sensing shadows. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. All my sorrows are about to melt away. In this inferno, nothing will be left behind me but an empty shell. I fly into the brilliance. I am ablaze. I am in bliss. For where I am going I shall be reborn. 

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You know well enough how grateful I am

“Isaac my dear, you know well enough how grateful I am—”
“Becky my dear,” he says, with a note of disdain. “What I know is this: Anyone else in my position would have at his disposal at least two or three legally registered wives, not to mention a respectably large harem, full of concubines—”
Being a practical woman, she decides to ignore that. “Fine, then,” she says. “So now, dear: How about giving me some means of transportation? The rich women, I hear, those in the cities along the coast, in Ashdod and also in Ashkelon, they have started to buy new automobiles. And I, I live here in the desert but still, Isaac, I come from nobility, you know, from one of the richest families in the land.”
“What kind of transportation?”
“A camel, for instance,” she says. “Two humps, or more, as well as a driver or two, or more; and four leather saddles, the soft kind, of course. It would be but a small token, a token of prestige—”
“For goodness sake,” he groans. “It’s a camel you’re talking about—not a Rolls Royce!”
“I see,” she says. “You don’t love me anymore.”
For the first time in the conversation, his voice softens. “Don’t cry, Becky,” he pleads. “I love you. I will always love you—”
I imagine she must be smiling through the tears. “In that case,” she says, “I will always take such good care of you.”

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to forgive betrayal

Now—only now, at nightfall—do I realize my mistake. Suddenly, as if discovering a new twist in an old piece of music, I can detect a certain note of stress, right there, from the beginning, the moment she opened with the phrase, “Bring me that thing from there.” 
So I slow down the replay, and listen carefully to each one of these words—only to wonder about the other words, the unspoken ones, those that were missing, strangely, from the conversation. What thing? Where was there? Why would doing it be easier than having to explain? And how could I be so dumb as to miss the early, telltale signs, back then when she started forgetting things? 
Simple things, such as the names of her students, and how to teach music, or play Beethoven's fifth. And later, how to put words on paper, and mail me a letter, and why not call me, why not tell me the truth; and how to talk to him, to my father; and most of all, how to forgive betrayal. 

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blessed for the pleasure, blessed for the agony

Poem by my father

Translated by me

 I'm blessed for the pleasure, blessed for the agony
Blessed for the fear, the pain of it all
In which I was steeped, in this reality
And granted the chance to endure or to fall 

I'm blessed for the hardship, and blessed for the hurt
Blessed for the crevices, obstacles and all
In the heart of the storm, my journey I chart
To leap over the inferno, and turn back to recall

I'm blessed to have lived, in honor and courage
Blessed I could take a deep plunge, then soar
Blessed for the vinegar, and blessed for the honey
Blessed to be counted with the few at the fore
That somehow did reach their big destiny.

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"Poetry that's never been placed before the public until now" 

She flings the knife between us

He says, “My God, you are in heat. Now how does that happen, in your condition? Cool off already, in front of the boy! What do you expect of me? You wanted to get married, so now we’re married. Mazel Tov! What more do you want?”
“I want you to look at me,” she says, thrusting her chest out in front of her. “You haven’t been here for two weeks, since the wedding. And now that you’re here, you ain’t really here. Am I even wanted here? I’m a woman. I need to feel desired, and I need to be held by a man.”
At this point I feel obliged to peep in, for the third time, “I am not a boy.” 
And she wipes her brow. “My God,” says Anita, as she turns away from my father. “I’m so hot. Don’t you wait too long.” And with a harsh motion, she flings the knife on the cutting board, right there between us. 
It gives a sharp sound, which startles my father. His mouth is mirrored in the surface of the blade, and suddenly it becomes clear to me that the oven is not the only one fuming—so is he.
He raises his eye to her, and jealousy escapes. He glares at me, and a warning shoots out. What does he want from me? There is nothing I can do. He hates me for staring at her and he hates me for trying not to stare.

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Reveals insights that can touch and frighten each of us"

Detail from my oil painting

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Going home for the holidays? Bring me with you!

♫ °˚˚ **) ♥ ◦°˚˚ Going home for the holidays? Bring me with you!

An autographed book is a collector’s item. The ink of  my pen on the title page is a touch, a symbolic handshake between you and me. And the highly praised cover is the way to hold my art in your hands.

To get my books, autographed, click here:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where does inspiration come from?

I have long been fascinated with the story of Jacob and Esav. To me, it captures several layers of emotions which we all go through in our families: a rivalry between brothers, the way a mother’s love, unevenly divided, can spur them to action, to crime, even; and how in time, even in the absence of regret, a punishment eventually ripens.

The story had been brewing in me for several years before I put pen to paper. Being an artist, I had expressed it through sculpture long before I wrote the words. So here you can see Yankle and his mother Becky, plotting to cheat the father. Out of a sense of shame, they are unable to look each other in the eye.

Having been cheated, I found that the character I wish to explore is not the victim of the crime, but rather the perpetrator. What are his motives? Has regret set in? Does he love his father even as he is cheating him? Does he long for the early years when he still had a bond with his twin brother?

I wrote the first chapter, Lentil Stew, and thought I got the story out of my system. But no, Yankle kept chatting it my head, demanding that I record his thoughts. I wrote the second chapter, and the same thing continued to happen. It was not until I wrote the last chapter, The Curse of the Striped Shirt, where I find a ‘poetic justice’ to conclude the story, that Yankle finally fell silent...

So when reading my story, do not seek clear distinction between heroes and villains: no one is wholly sacred, because--like Yankle, the main character here--we are all made of lights and shadows, and most of all, doubt.

My sculptures of Rebecca and her son Jacob

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Wonderful questions from authors-to-be

This is like no other interview I have done before, because the questions come from students, led by the marvelous Russian-inspired author Julia Gousseva. 

Having discussed my work in class, they came up with great observations, and posed these questions to me. You can see for yourself that their questions are truly thought-provoking. Their interest in the creative process tells you a lot about them!

Check out the interview:
A Chat with Uvi Poznansky 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Julia and her students

Julia Gousseva is the author of Moscow Dreams and other books, inspired by Russian culture and history. She is also a great teacher, always on the search of finding new ways to engage the minds of her students. I am so blessed that she chose excerpts from my books, and put them before her students. She gave them the following assignment:

Read the remaining materials posted under "Ideas and Story Plots" in Web Links. Then, follow the link below to read three short openings to three different stories by Uvi Poznansky. After you have done all your readings, return here and do the following three things:
  • From each of the three excerpts by Uvi Poznansky. quote *brief* phrases or specific sentences that show the desire/yearning/longing of the main character. Explain *how* those sentences/phrases set plot into motion.
  • Respond to at least one other student.
  • Come up with 2-3 questions to ask Uvi Poznansky about her writing, her books, the way she comes with plots, etc. After I grade your discussions, I'll choose the most popular and/or the most interesting questions and ask Uvi to answer them on my website.
Student responses:
  • "There is a vibrant longing..." When one gets a physical feeling it usually produces movement or shut down, but Poznansky used the word vibrant, and I imagine a shift in the character.
  • " Finally decided to walk through the door..." This character is ready to face the unknown, her fears by walking through the door.
  • "Something has been taken from me." That feeling or situation would evoke action in most people - to get it back,retribution, etc.
  • “He has lived, or rather, has confined himself within these walls for decades, for a reason unknown.” This sentence sets the plot into motion because it really opens up the readers mind to picture what the character has developed his life to, or actually decreased is life to. In just one sentence it says that he has “confined himself” and that in itself means that there are barriers that have been put up for whatever reason and that maybe the character is going to be facing some serious challenges.
  • “Her longing for him.” When I read this short line it immediately made me think of a desperate girl waiting for what she thinks is her night and shining armor. This plot could be set up as a girl is waiting for a guy that maybe doesn’t even know that she exists to just give her a chance and see that she is just right for him.
  • “My name? Identity? Who am I, then?” I think that this is a common couple of questions that not just characters, but people run into as well. This plot could be that the character is being tested on something and the outcome makes him question who he is and what he stands for.
  • From Home by Uvi Poznansky:  " There is a vibrant longing in him for the adventures of his early days."  I believe this is the most important part of the paragraph because it not only gives you some insight on his current situation of his life but also the focal point of his story. The things he did while he was young is what what drove hime to be reclusive yet he wants to relive those days.
  • From Twisted by Uvi Poznansky:  "Her longing for him." Although the shortest sentence in the paragraph I think it is the most important because early in the text it describes all of her journal entries falling out and fluttering everywhere and every single one of them deals with some unknown male. The importance lying in the fact that every thing mentioned so far by this protaganist is directly connected with him.
  • From Twisted Uvi Poznansky:  "Lying still in a corner of the cave, I try my best not to rattle, not to betray my fear. I figure, as long as they think me unconscious, I am safe." I think this is important because it gives you some detail about the current predicament the protaginist is in. It lets you know that she is afraid to even move or speak, something at least to me seems like important information.
  • From Home by Uvi Poznansky "He has lived, or rather, has confined himself within these walls for decades, for a reason unknown." I believe that this sentence sets the plot because it makes the reader question who the character is. I would want to know what his personality is and how his social life is. Based on this sentence I would think that he is a very independent, quiet person. Although, I would have to keep reading to find out.
  • From Twisted by Uvi Poznansky "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door." I believe that this sentence sets the plot because it allows the reader to believe that the character may be on her way to a new adventure. Based on this sentence, I would believe that the character is a spontaneous girl and wants to live her life.
  • From Twisted by Uvi Poznansky "At this moment I find myself overwhelmed, turned inside out by a sense of suspicion." I believe that this sentence sets the plot as well because some readers may relate to the position that the character is in right now. Everyone has had that feeling of being overwhelmed depending on the situation depends on how overwhelmed you are.
  • “In this stagnant place all sounds are muffled, all images erased—but for one thing: his youth. There is a vibrant longing in him for the adventures of his early days.” These two sentences show that the main character, an older man, is yearning for the “adventures of his early days.” Poznansky sets the plot into motion by introducing what the main character wants right away. Her main character has confined himself in a room for decades, with only his thoughts of his youth to keep him company. Deep down, he wishes he could relive, or live adventures similar to the ones he had when he was a younger man. To me, this says that the plot may be flashbacks or one long flashback about this old man’s adventurous past.
  • ”…releasing letter after letter into the air, filling its darkness with white feathery pages, rustling, whispering what she had written such a long time ago, what had been clamped—until now—between the front and back covers, as if it were a flower meant for drying. Her longing for him.” Poznansky’s main character in these sentences has loved a man in the past. We know this (if my assumptions are correct) because of the description of her diary (the gold-lettered word, love, on the spine) and because of the sentence, “Her longing for him.” In the sentences above, the main character is imagining what would happen if she dropped her diary down an empty elevator shaft. It would open, and what she had written so long ago would be released. Not just the physical pages and words, but her feelings as well. She had closed them off when she shut her diary, but she had not completely gotten rid of her feelings. She had preserved them, as a flower is preserved when it is dried. Maybe she knows that if she opens the diary, her longing for this man will return.
  • “I figure, as long as they think me unconscious, I am safe. I have jolted awake because of the voices, only to discover they are incoherent and muffled. In between the gusts of wind, I can hear them hissing. Each phrase plays out in some verbose foreign music, which I cannot decipher for the life of me…Something has been taken away from me…Who am I, then?” This main character has many desires: to be safe, to know who “the voices” are and what they are saying, to know what has been taken away from him/her, and to know who he/she is. This sets up the plot by providing questions to be answered, and putting the reader in the middle of the action/story.
Questions from the students:

What inspires you to write? Where do you get your creative ideas from? 
What do you like to read?
When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
How do you come up with your opening lines?
What comes first to you, the character or the setting?
What point of view do you prefer to write your stories in and why?
How and when do you decide when your writings are complete?
How do you market your stories?

See my answers here

Friday, November 15, 2013

Want to know if you won? Come to the Grand Finale!

Starting tomorrow, Elaine Raco Chase, Stephanie Queen, James DiBenedetto, David Kudler, Mary Campisi, Author Ruth Cardello, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Becky L Barker, Charity Parkerson, Barbara Silkstone and Sherri Christian  will tell you about each one of the audiobooks we are offering for you to win. 

Have you joined us? If so, your raffle ticket is already in the big black hat… Interested in a particular audiobook? Tell us! Like it or leave a comment, so we’ll add an additional raffle ticket for you! 

Come to the Grand Finale, Sunday 11/17 at 3:00 PST! We will pull the winning tickets out of the hat, and announce them! 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let your curse be on me

"After a while, she stirs. Her hand hangs, for a moment, in midair, a motion designed to reach out to me, and hug me, perhaps, in her own manner. Yet I can see that it is only herself, in the end, that she embraces. “On me your sin,” she smiles sweetly, placing a hand on her breast, where the heart can be found. “Let your curse be on me.” 
The sleeve, meanwhile, continues to climb, as if of its own accord, over my shoulder. By now it is covering the entire length of my arm. To my amazement, a part of me seems to have disappeared. Esav’s arm is beginning to take shape in place of mine.
She leans over me and with a sharp eye, threads her needle. But for some reason, we cannot bear to look at each other eye to eye. “Give me one minute, let me mend it,” she says, removed from me, smiling to herself. “We don’t have much time, I’m afraid. Your brother is on the hunt, and so are we.”
I sit there at her feet watching her work. My mother is so skillful in manipulating that sleeve. Inside of it, my limb feels hot, suffocated. I let her control me, control my hand. It is no longer my hand. 
By and by, a perfect calm comes upon me. I have no thought in my head, no clue that this is to be the last sunrise, the last morning that I spend with my mother; no premonition that our time together is running out, and that I should kiss her, and hug her, and bid her farewell. 
Yet for some reason, glancing around me, I commit to memory every aspect of this scene, every detail: The vivid pattern of the rug, spread across the dirt floor. The embroidered silk pillows, leaning against the woven headrest. The little blemish, barely visible in the corner of the blanket. The silver thread coming apart, at one point, at the bottom of the canvas. The jug of water, half hidden behind the curved leg of the bed.
I can hear little noises: The occasional cry of a newborn baby, searching blindly for his mother’s breast. The light snores of the maidservants, some of whom are just starting to wake up, only to fall asleep again. The yawns of the shepherd boys, stretching their limbs lazily under the sheepskins in the neighboring tents. The unrest of the sheep, the lambs, the kids, the goats, all eager to go out there, to graze in the sun-flooded fields.  
Meanwhile the needle flies back and forth, forth and back, over my shoulder, catching the light in its path. I am transfixed. I wish I could stay here forever. This place is so full of charms. 
This hour is so intimate; so sweet, and it is fast coming to its bitter conclusion." 

My clay sculpture: Yawn

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