Wednesday, April 30, 2014

She was air, she was music!

"The piano towered over everything. It seemed so massive, so out of place that you had to squeeze around it, or else crawl underneath the belly of the thing. 
But when mom played it, all that did not matter. The walls vanished and so did the clutter, because it was so riveting to watch her. You could see her long, delicate fingers as they went flying over the keys, to the point of turning, magically, into a blur. Her hands became transparent, and her ring, I remember, turned into a glow. She was air, she was music! Even when she stopped playing, those strings inside were still reverberating..."

And here is a quick charcoal sketch I made of her hands dancing in the air. I attempted to impart this same feeling of nobility and inspiration that my text evokes.

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"An inspiring novel by an amazing woman: a writer, poet, sculptor. 
It spurred me to write again"

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It is the touch he remembers, the touch of my mother’s hand

“Something here smells so good,” says Eliab. “Brings to mind the old, gnarled olive tree in the garden, just outside our window... Doesn’t it?”
I untie my satchel from the saddle, lift the flap, remove my lyre from the top so he can take a good look inside. 
“Here,” I say, “take a sniff.”
Eliab seems to swoon at the sight of food, and at once his eyes tear up. It must be more than a simple hunger. 
Perhaps it is the memory of the warmth of our kitchen back home, when steam puffs up the dough, just before it cools down to create the air pocket in the center of the bread. Or else, it is the touch he remembers, the touch of my mother’s hand as she sprinkles some sesame seeds all over the top.
I let the flap fall back and at once, the smell of our olive tree is cut off. Eliab grabs the satchel from my hand. I snatch it right back.
“Hand it over,” growls my brother. “Right now, I said, or else.”
“Is it true,” I ask, teasingly, “that the most important qualification of a soldier is endurance?”
“What the hell is that,” his nostrils flare wide. “What d’you mean, endurance?”
“I mean, holding out as best you can, under fatigue and privation.”
“Don’t you play with me now. Hand the thing over!”
“I’ve heard,” I go on, “that the most important wish of a soldier is to die with honor. Is it true? I mean, we’re all destined to die, right? Can a few days of life equal the glory, I mean, the glory of dying for your country?”
“Enough!” he bellows. “I’ve had it with this nonsense! Hell, I’ll die of hunger way before glory comes.”
“Oh, I see! If not for craving a morsel of food, you’re a regular hero,” say I. “Wouldn’t a medal be grand? Or a bit of colored ribbon, perhaps?”
“Enough already,” his voice bursts to an exasperated rasp. “You be careful, or I’ll tell mom about you! If somehow you manage to come out of here alive, I’ll make damn sure she kills you.”

David by Barry Moser

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“What a treat to have the story of David presented in such a stimulating manner”

Monday, April 28, 2014

♡ MOM: Come shake hands with my author friends

My author friends have joined forces with me!
We bring you amazing stories, narrated by great voice actors, 
just in time for Mother's Day. 
Click the profile image or the name of each one of us to learn about our work
Then go to ♡ Mom and join to win!

"If you like romances that are sexy, sassy & too much fun - you have found the right author!"

"I paint with my pen, and write with my paintbrush"

"Romance in every mystery and mystery in every romance --with a dash of humor every where!"

"One true love, one honest hope, one more chance..."

"Saving the world one billionaire at a time"

"Romance that warms the heart"

"Be careful what you lust for..."

"Author of compulsively readable thrillers"

"Mystery, Romance, and YA featuring Characters at a Crossroads"

"There is no second chance at first love."

"Addictive, award-winning fiction. You'll fall in love with the characters and love to hate the villains.”

"What would you do if you could see other people's dreams?"

"I write with a vivid imagination that has no limits."

She wraps her arms around his frail shoulders, draws closely and kisses him

"I hear the slight rustle of her skirt, and her soft voice saying, “Wait, Isaac—” just before it becomes muffled. So sharply, so unexpectedly does it happen, that it makes me giddy with curiosity; and so, I do what I have to do: I lift the flap of the tent, allowing light in, to peek in on them; and what I see leaves me dumbfounded. 
There she is, kneeling down before him amidst ripples of silk. She wraps her arms around his frail shoulders, draws closely and kisses him, long and full, on his mouth. And then, when she rises up, you can see that his face is confused, and his hand is trembling a little."

In this excerpt Yankle describes his mother Becky, modeled after the biblical figure of Rebecca. Her husband Isaac is lying on his deathbed. He is blind, and waiting for his firstborn son Esav to come back from the hunt, so he can give him the blessing.  Becky plots to deceive the old man. In my story, A Favorite Sonshe goes into his tent to say her last farewell, and just before sending Jacob in to execute her criminal plan, she kisses her husband. Watching this from a distance, Yankle says:

"I have to wonder: What was that kiss? Her way to say farewell? Was it inspired by some old memory, some image of their younger days—or else, was it designed to make him vulnerable, make him ready for me, just in time for my entrance? I agonize, I puzzle over that kiss. Was it act of love—or of deceit?"

My small clay sculpture, The skirt

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

A chronicle of desire

Paul Douglas Lovell is an up and coming author, having published a unique autobiography, Paulyanna International Rent-boy. I am deeply moved by his review, which comes from the heart and guts, of my novel Apart From Love:

5.0 out of 5 stars LEISURELYApril 26, 2014
This review is from: Apart From Love (Kindle Edition)
Although ‘Apart from Love’ is a tale about love it is no romance-novel. More a chronicle of desire. An introspective read that covers, from the view-point of multiple characters some of life’s issues.

Now I won’t go into plot details - They are in the book-blurb. I’m also not going to attempt to bosh out a review in a wordy intellectual way either. I don’t consider myself ‘well-read’ enough. Besides I prefer to speak from an emotional viewpoint. So here goes.

I first read samples of Uvi Poznansky’s work in way of her self-promoted advertisements posted on social media. Initially I was attracted by the richness of her book-cover artwork and then drawn in by the caress of her verse. I found her words possessed a special kind of tenderness. Something I felt my own writing lacked.

I decided I could use a lesson in regard to her rhythmic delivery of contemplative prose. The way she captures subtle nuances in glimpses and reflections. Or teases out emotions with a pause in her dialogue. She fashions both fleshly desire and clean naughtiness so adeptly.

It wasn’t long before I was reading and liking every post.

I particularly like this line from the book...

The waves roll in, threatening to swallow us whole. With a roar in their widening mouth, they are leaping ahead, then lapping the sand angrily, foam on their lip.

‘Apart from Love’ is a leisurely read that allows you to enjoy the moment of actually reading. This is what I get from Uvi Poznansky, what I admire mostly in her work.

When women are romantically depicted, enjoying a piece of chocolate whilst engrossed in a novel. This is exactly the type of stuff they are reading.

Paul Douglas Lovell.

Characters at a Crossroads

Stacy Juba loves to write about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. I am thrilled that she invited me to talk about one of my characters, David, whom we find at a crossroads:

“I lay the armor down at the king’s feet. It is leaning down there against my broken lyre. And a thought crosses my mind: here are the relics I am about to leave behind. Combat gear on one side—my string instrument on the other. Which way will I be remembered? Am I a fighter—or a poet?”

To read more of my post on her blog, please click Characters at a Crossroads.

Friday, April 25, 2014

♡ MOM: celebrate #MothersDay with my author friends and me!

Come out, come out, wherever you are
Sing out a tune, or play your guitar
Spring flowers are blooming, the grass smells so sweet, 
Come sit among us, come find a seat

A light breeze is blowing... Look, the kite lifts!
The picnic basket will open, we'll give you our gifts
We'll tell our stories to you and no other
A toast for our friendship, and a big hug for mother

We invite you for an early Mother’s Day picnic
Right here where you are
Come meet all of us:

James DiBenedettoAuthor Ruth CardelloUvi PoznanskyJohn A. Miller 
Elaine Raco ChaseStephanie GiancolaMary CampisiDonna Fasano,
Stacy Drumtra JubaAaron Paul Lazar
Charity ParkersonLibby Fischer HellmannBarbara Silkstone 

Click this link and join:

A thought-provoking spin on the Biblical King David

Joan P. Lane is a Jamaican born author of mystery and suspense. Her book, The Tangled Web, is a story of international web of intrigue, nuder, and romance. I am thrilled to find her review of my novel, Rise to Power:

A thought-provoking spin on the Biblical King DavidApril 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rise to Power (The David Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)
Uvi Poznansky gets another five stars from me, this time for her marvelous portrayal of the Biblical King David. Her David, although fictional, is not the perfect figure sculpted by Michelangelo. Nor is he strictly the David of the Bible. With his human failings, the David she has created is a bit of a departure from the legend.

This book is written as David’s memoir. In it, he tells us that all it took to make him the legend he became was twisting the historical facts to his advantage. David confesses that, in his youth, he was ambitious. He lusted after the crown of Judah, but soon realized a certain amount of clever public relations was required to get it, and hold on to it. He was also concerned with how he would go down in history. So in this fictional memoir, we see not just the musician, poet and youth who killed Goliath, but wily David, the master manipulator. Though David’s actions are motivated not only by ambition, but by the need to survive. For no good reason, the mad King Saul is out to kill him, forcing David to make some tough decisions.

Uvi Poznansky uses modern language (with slang) to tell this story. David says things like hurry up already. At first, such modern terms being dropped into a mid-9th Century BC setting were, to me, a bit lacking in authenticity. The descriptions of some of the women’s clothes also didn’t seem true to the time. But somehow these unexpected elements work together to set the stage for a compelling character who keeps the reader spellbound.

Ruthless soldier and commander, brilliant strategist, gifted musician and inspiring orator, David is also a stud. Every woman wants David who wants them in turn, yet he can hardly keep up with the domestic demands of his wives. No doubt about it, he’s a man who loves wine, women and song, a rogue I couldn’t help falling in love with.

As far as David’s alleged philandering goes, Uvi Poznansky may not have strayed that far from what the Biblical records tell us. David did indeed have eight wives and ten concubines. He had 20 legitimate children and is said to have had even more children with his concubines. That would suggest he was the busy man Ms. Poznansky makes him out to be. Whatever impression the scriptures may have given you of David, you’ll find this book entertaining, thought-provoking, and, in some parts, very amusing. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I should kiss her, and hug her, and bid her farewell

"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." 

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 clay sculptures of Jacob "What if my father touches me" 
and of his mother, Becky "On me your sin, my son"

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"I can't praise the writing enough; the author has an incredible voice"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I must guard myself from her, because she knows me, knows my weakness

Here, on my ear, I can feel the tickle of her curl, which must have slinked out of the towel wrapping her head. And I can smell the scent of shampoo as she leans closer to whisper, “Get in.”
In confusion I whisper back, “Get in—what?”
“The tub,” she breathes in my ear. “What else?”
Which leaves me speechless. 
She goes on to say, “I filled it to the rim for you. And the water is still warm—why let it go to waste?”
And with that, she lets go of me and runs barefoot across the surface of the roof, hanging the large Egyptian towel over her shoulders so it flares behind her as she goes. A minute later she disappears down the shadow of the staircase.
I have no idea if she has been playing with me. Perhaps she is simply frugal. Water should not go to waste in a desert country like ours. But this I know for sure: the last thing I need is a hot bath. A cold shower is more like it.
On my way to leave this place I pass by the tub. My nostrils flare in an anguished attempt to take in a last whiff of her scent. Finding myself in an unfamiliar mood I come to a stop, and lean over the rolled porcelain edge. Soapsuds swim sluggishly to and fro. I wish they would cover the entire surface. I don’t want to spot my face down there. 
I am afraid that the water may mirror to me that which I don’t wish to find. Youth is nothing but a burden. What is my life if not a bubble, shimmering for an instant and then—pop! It is gone... 
Lord, I whisper, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath…
Underneath me is a darkening sky, cast back from the surface. Clouds are rippling around the crowned outline of my head. Upside down, am I still a king? Perhaps I am: a king afraid of reflection. Afraid of the magic it holds. Afraid of its distortions—and even more, of its truth. Here is my fate, written on water, encrypted in reverse.
And it is then, when I meet my eyes, that suddenly I catch a glimpse of who I am. I am a mortal, and my future will be quick to dissolve. My face is already wrinkling, rippling across the surface. 
This moment never happened, because luckily there is no one here to record it, so no one to splatter it over a scroll of papyrus, and make a sensational, scandalous story out of it. 
No one will ever know about my little indiscretion but the two of us. From now on I must guard myself from her, because she knows me, knows my weakness.

★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift 
Historical Fiction with a Modern Twist...
The complete series:

Volume I: 

Rise to Power

Audiobok US UK FR DE  iTunes

Paperback  Hardcover  Barnes&Noble

“I am still in awe just how much there is to the story of King David”

You may have heard those rumors about me

You may have heard those rumors about me: how I escaped by moonlight, how I hid inside each one of the seven wells of Beersheba, with nothing in my possession but the shirt on my back, how I eluded my enemy, my brother, and then, how frightened I was, how alone. I’m afraid you have been, at best, misinformed—or, more probably, mislead by some romantic foolery, some fiction and lies, the kind of which can easily be found, and in abundance I might add, in the holy scriptures.  
I insist: it was not moonlight but rather, high noon. I was wearing no shirt whatsoever—nothing, really, but a goatskin sleeve. There was only one well in which I could hide, not seven. And most importantly, I was hardly alone, for the entire camp—all the maidservants, the shepherds, the guards—stood aghast all around me. So now, you must see that I could not, despite my best intentions, escape stealthily out of there, nor could I elude anyone.
Instead I was flung out, kicking and screaming, with tugs and pulls loosening the remaining shreds of my clothes, and whacks and smacks coming at my bare back from all directions. My left eye swelled up to such a degree that out of necessity, I resorted to use the right one—only to discover, once I raised my head from the dirt, that my brother was standing right over me. His foot could be seen coming straight at me, at an easygoing, unhurried pace, until it turned into a full blown kick.
I managed to roll away, mainly by flailing my arms wildly over my head. With a great sense of urgency I crawled on all four through the crowd, and hid inside the closest well. Luckily it was bone dry, thanks to a yearlong drought. And so for a second, I could hang there by my fingernails and pant, and catch my breath. Then I tiptoed behind the corner, right into the shade of my mother’s tent. 
From there I took a plunge and hurled myself downhill—where, to my utter disappointment, I found out that my brother had already caught up to where I was headed, and was waiting there for me with open arms. He made a point of letting me know that his hate for me would, by no means, stand in the way of our closeness. 
“Come, Yankle,” said Esav. “I promise not to hurt you.”
“Really,” I said. “Can I trust you?”
“Aha,” said he. “I will just kill you.”

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"Author Poznansky masterfully characterizes Jacob as an intelligent and self-reflective man who deeply regrets tricking his older twin, Esau, into exchanging his inheritance for a savory stew." 
Linnea Tanner, Author