Thursday, April 30, 2015

Profound, deeply moving, brilliant!

J.A. Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine and forensic science. which is evident in her best-selling series, Embryo. I am thrilled that she posted this review for my novel, Apart From Love:

5Profound, deeply moving, brilliant!April 28, 2015
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This review is from: Apart From Love (Kindle Edition)
Adult children of divorce, estrangement, and guilt. This story of a dysfunctional family will resound in every heart.

Ben, aged 28, returns home after many years, still bitter about the divorce of his parents, Lenny and Natasha. He meets Lenny's new young bride, Anita, and is troubled to find himself attracted to her. His dismay deepens when he learns that his mother Natasha, once a brilliant pianist who he'd thought was on a world concert tour, is instead in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimers.

The story is told alternately through two points of view, Ben's and Anita's. Though uneducated, Anita is a diamond in the rough character who's had a tough life. She's likeable, and feels alone because Lenny, a writer, is self-centered and distant. Lenny has encouraged Ben and Anita to record their thoughts on a tape recorder, which is how we hear their two points of view. Too late, the pair discover that Lenny is listening to their tapes and putting them into his own writing - likely fabricating his own novel from the thoughts of his unhappy son and equally unhappy new wife. How to deal with this heartbreaking, tangled web?

This eloquently written tale provides a look into the long-term emotional scars a broken home leaves on everyone involved. The author's skill shows in her depiction of the three alternating voices of Lenny, Ben and Anita. They are all very different voices, yet each conveys the complex love that both binds them and tears them apart. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What to expect in our garden party for Mom

Hi everyone! Can't wait for the event to begin and for the Grand Finale... 
Can you?
Here is what to expect:

Friday, May 1 at 4:00pm PDT - Sunday, May 3 at 3:00 PDT 
We will let you listen to excerpts from our audiobooks
Each one of us authors has a Mother's Day Card
Have you joined the event? 
If so, your name is already punched on it
Want to increase your chances to win? 
Then like, comment, or share our posts on the event page

Grand Finale Sunday, May 3 at 4:00 PDT
Come to our garden party in honor of Mom
We will open our Mother's Day cards 
And announce who won our audiobooks

Haven't joined us yet? What are you waiting for? 

Sounds exciting, no matter what my mother says

“Go, why don’t you go back home,” he mutters, dismissing me with a casual wave of the hand.
“Please,” I say. “Let me serve you. You’ll find my music soothing, I trust.”
“Trust?” he says, locking eyes with me.
“Just so, your majesty. Trust!”
“There is no such thing, where I’m sitting.”
“But my music
“It awakens something in me,” he groans, pressing a hand against his temple. “Something I wish to ignore. An unspeakable sort of pain. There’s a demon in me, and I knowI just know he’ll break loose, he’ll take over, the moment I’ll let myself soften.” 
“Perhaps not,” I suggest. “If you soften, the pain may wash over you, heal your soul. You may find yourself rising anew, if only you would listen to me. Let me, your majesty. Let me play.”
 The king shakes his head, No. No.
“It’s not the music,” he mutters. “It’s you. I can’t bare looking at you.”
This leaves me dumbfounded, and I stand at his feet, waiting for what may come out of his lips next. 
After a while he moans, “Boy—”
Have you ever been wounded? Ever been on a battlefield?”
“No,” I say. “My mother won’t let
“Of course,” he bares his teeth, belittling me with laughter. “It’s always the mother. Yours must be a smart woman to keep you safe, away from any danger.” 
“I give you my word, I’ll follow you anywhere,” I say. “Even to the battlefield. Sounds exciting, no matter what my mother says.”
He raises one of his eyebrows as if to say, I know how you feel. She hides the world from you, doesn’t she.
“Yes,” I have to agree. “I hate it, hate being protected. Makes me wonder what’s on the other side of obedience.”
He pays no attention to what I say. “Listen, boy. Let me tell you one thing: often, when I leave the bloodied scene and ride back here, a long way over the range of the mountains, I don’t even realize I’ve been wounded. My mind wanders, it roams elsewhere... But then…Then I look at myself. And what do I see? A slash, deep across my flesh... And this, this is the timenot a moment earlierwhen the pain comes. In a snap, it takes a bite.”
Saul takes a long pause. Then he looks straight down at me. “That’s how I feel, right this minute,” he says. “That’s what your music does to me.”

★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift 
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"The miracle of Uvi Poznansky's writing is her uncanny ability to return to old stories 
and make them brilliantly fresh"
-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame reviewer

Ernst Josephson, David och Saul

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In the spirit of spring: Brian’s there, flowers in hand

Mom and Dad are waiting for me, and they’re both speechless.  Mom looks like she’s about to cry.  I see that they’ve got the camera out; I should have expected that.  Bob comes down the stairs, and he looks at me.  He seems confused.  “Who’s she?” he asks Mom and Dad.  Then he looks back at me again, really stares.  “Holy crap.”
“Thank you, Bob,” I answer.  I take it as a compliment, even if it really wasn’t.  After that, nobody says anything for a couple of minutes, until the sound of a car rumbling up the driveway breaks the silence.  Headlights shine in the window.  Then the car goes quiet and the lights go out, and a moment later the doorbell rings.  Dad opens the door, and Brian’s there, flowers in hand.  
Roses, of course.  Red, of course.
He sets eyes on me and his jaw drops.  He keeps opening his mouth to try and say something, but nothing comes out.  It’s all I can do to keep from running over to him.  This moment is what I’ve been thinking about all week long. 
I’m not sure how long we all stand there with nobody speaking or moving.  Finally, Mom breaks the spell.  “Brian, come over here, I want to get a picture of you two looking so nice.”
Brian comes over to me, and I put my arm around him as Mom fiddles with the camera.  I realize this is the first time I’ve seen him properly dressed up.  He’s very handsome in his dark blue suit and his yellow tie.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the only tie he owns.

Excerpt from James DiBenedetto's novel included in At Odds with Destiny

Four amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

At Odds with Destiny
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 

"An attention grabbing collection of books. Each compelling in their own right."

Saturday, April 25, 2015

She is busy—but perhaps, not enough?

Mom has a soft heart, but she is tough 
She is busybut perhaps, not enough?
Give her our novels, the best to be found!
In this boxed set, they're neatly bound

Reading may keep her up at night
Our heroes love and fight, when it's dark or bright,
They'll whisper secrets in her ear
She'll tell you, "Come, this you must  hear!"

Four amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

At Odds with Destiny
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 

The variety here is phenomenal, from intrigue and mystery, to gut wrenching, to fantasy, one thing is consistent, the quality
-Dennis Waller, Top 500 Reviewer

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I watch the two of them, mother and child

“That,” says Bathsheba, “was a private moment. It belongs to me, and to no one else.”
“And to me, too,” say I. “I mean, how could I possibly resist you?”
She mutters, once more,“Men!” 
“Women,” say I. “Why don’t you understand your own power?”
“Power?” she repeats. “What power?”
“I mean, the way your beauty affects us. It’s too much, even for someone like me. So don’t blame me if I’m forced to take a peek.”
“Look all you want,” she says. “Just know this: there’s more to me than meets the eye.”
“I know it.”
“In the future,” she says, “a million eyes will continue to explore me, through the eyes of those artists. Not that I mind, really.”
“But I do!”
“Here is what irks me,” she says. “There’s more, much more to who I am than beauty alone.”
At this point I utter a sigh, and in spite of myself the sigh deepens, because all of a sudden, regret is catching up to me.
“I so wish,” say I, “that my scribe, Nathan, would leave both of us alone.”
“Why,” she hesitates to ask, “is there something you want to tell me?”
I shake my head. “No, no. Not really. And you?”
“No,” she says, lowering her eyes. “Nothing at all.”

I sit down beside her, and brush a strand of hair from her damp forehead. Only now—by her pale face and the dark circles under her eyes—do I realize how exhausted she must be.
“Perhaps,” I say, thinking aloud, “I should be going.”
Pointing at the crib by her side, “Help me now,” says Bathsheba. “Give me the child.”
And so, leaning over the crib, I take a look at him. His face is perfect, angelic. A single ray of sun cuts across his ashen cheek, leaving his eyes in the shadows. Along its diagonal way, it touches the tips of his delicate, nearly transparent fingers. I lift the baby into a kiss. 
Then, very gently, I place him into her embrace. Standing back I watch the two of them, mother and child. 
She bares her breast and brings him in, tilting herself into his little mouth, but the baby is too sleepy, it seems, to suck her milk. 
I get up, and walk away to the sound of her voice singing a melodious lullaby, at the end of which it trails off, ever so tenderly, into sadness.  

★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift 
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dear, are you cheating on us?

Before I can go back to my writing, my other wife, Ahinoam of Jezreel, leans over my desk with her newborn baby. With motherly pride she bounces him this way and that in her arms. 
“You know me,” she says. “Unlike that other wife of yours I’m modest, much too modest to ask anything for myself.”
“Thank goodness,” say I, with a sigh of relief.
“But then again, what about your son, Amnon?”
“What about him?”
“He’s your first born, dear, the fruit of your loins,” she says, with a sudden blush.
“I suppose he is,” say I. “So?”
Ahinoam puts Amnon in my arms, wanting me to coo at him. “I don’t want to put any ideas in your head,” she says, “but—”
“Then, don’t!”
“But, but won’t he look adorable, and ever so princely, in a cute little purplish suit?”
“I’m too busy for chitchat, don’t you see?” I tell her, trying to subdue the tone of complaint in my voice. 
“And,” I go on to say, “adorable as he may be, I’m not going to squander my hard earned booty, and on top of it let tens of thousands of sea snails be crushed into extinction, just for a trifle, for a baby suit, which he’ll soon outgrow.”
“That would be such a waste,” says Abigail, nudging Ahinoam, ever so gently, away from me. “On the other hand, if you’d find it in your heart to buy your servant a new gown, I promise: I’m never going to outgrow it!”
“Oh darling,” says Ahinoam, under her breath. “It would be quite a challenge to get any bigger than you already are.” 
Which Abigail pretends not to hear. Batting her eyelashes, she blows a little kiss in my direction and says, “The expense is well worth it, my lord. Really, it’s just like saving money.”
Meanwhile, my new bride, Maacha, elbows her way between both of them. “Splurging is something I truly appreciate,” she says, “but why would you do it for simple women, women who don’t have a drop of royal blood flowing in their veins? They’re commoners. I’m not!”
To which I say, “I have nothing against commoners. I’m one of them.”
Abigail smiles. “Thank you, my lord.”
At that, Maacha stamps her foot. “Did you hear that? She admits being a maid. I’m a princess!”
And Ahinoam jeers at her, “Who cares? You’re not even one of us, are you?”
“Enough already,” say I. “Take leave of me, all of you.”
Instead, Maacha makes her way into my arms and from here, she hisses at the other two, long and hard, in a manner that is questionably regal.
To placate her I try murmuring sweet nothings in her ear. “Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride, milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.”
“Forget milk and honey,” she bristles at me. “And forgive me for saying so, I don’t care much for poetry, either.”
“Really? You don’t? That,” I say, “is a problem. Any wife of mine must appreciate the finer things in life—”
“What I really need right now is one thing,” says Maacha. “A purple veil for the upcoming wedding. I want to look mysterious.”
I hesitate to refuse her, so she presses on. “Need I say the obvious? By marrying me, you’re about to gain an important political ally. My father, the honorable king Talmai of Geshur, will be ready to attack your enemies from their back when you face them in battle.”
“My enemies,” say I, “are my brethren.”
“Even so. Ours is a union of mutually calculated benefits. You give, I take.”
“Is that how it works?”
“It is,” she replies. “So why not treat me in the manner to which I’m accustomed? Spoil me, David, with your gifts, your little tokens of luxury.”
I shake my head in dismay. “Why, no! I’m not going to ask for your father’s help to spill the blood of my brethren, just so you can dye your veil purple.” 
“Soldiers are expendable,” says Maacha, in a perfectly calm voice. “Not so us women.”
“My lord,” says Abigail, “if you don’t treat us with proper care, we may start suspecting that the rumors are true.”
Noting that the three of them are exchanging glances I take a step back. “Rumors?” 
“Dear,” says Ahinoam, “are you cheating on us?”
“Who, me?”
“Tell us the truth,” she demands. “Are you having an affair? Tongues are wagging all over town, about those two new girls next door, Abital and Eglah.”
So what choice do I have but to swear, “In heaven’s name, what are you suggesting?”
“I’m not suggesting,” says she. “I’m just saying.”
“I would never betray my wives!” 
“Wouldn't you, dear?”
I clap my hand over my heart, most earnestly, and in an offended tone I say, “Of course not! Which is why I’ve already proposed to both of them.”
“I see,” says Maacha. 
Abigail giggles. “I can just imagine, my lord, what words you used.”
“Yeah,” says Ahinoam, and with a hint of mockery in her tone she quotes the line I once whispered in her ear, and in the ear of any other girl I knew, “Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats, descending from the hills of Gilead.”
Taking a cue from her, Abigail goes on to quote my next line, “Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon. Your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.”
And Maacha says, “I don’t really care for all that agricultural talk. A purple veil is what I want. Give it to me and then, who cares? You can describe me as any kind of fruit you wish.” 

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Friday, April 17, 2015

She’ll kill you anyway!

Wading on foot through puddles and mud, the king starts leading his stallion, and me on its back, towards the path going down into the valley. With every step I can spot how his crown—so close at hand, at this moment—is dancing on his head.
On our way we pass by a group of our soldiers. They are breaking bread. By its shape I recognize it: this is my mother’s signature loaf, which I have carried here earlier, and handed over to my brothers. 
Startled, they snap to attention at the sight of the king. Perhaps they are wondering about his companion. Who, they ask each other, is this mysterious stranger, riding so magnificently upon his stallion, with a shining armor and a hidden face? 
In a blink I spot my brother among them. He seems a bit confused. 
“Eliab,” I cry out. 
Yet, no one can guess that it has been a cry, because my voice comes out muffled.
With a big show of servitude, he bows deeply before me, before the king, before me again, scraping the ground each and every time.
By the expression on his face, he seems not recognize who I am, perhaps because of my ridiculous mask. But the sight of my clothes, peeking out under the bottom of the armor, must be familiar to him, and for some reason, it gives him the shivers. His jaw drops, bread crumbs and all, and he claps a hand over it. His eyes are bulging with dread. 
I sit stiff, caged in copper. I cannot signal to him, cannot even keep my eye slits on him, as the horse carries me forward. But this I know: Eliab is in shock—and burning here, in this metallic furnace, so am I. Somehow I know what he must be thinking at this moment. 
As a matter of habit, everyone here carries a bag full of loot, some of which has been lifted from the corpses of the enemy, and some—from the corpses of our own. Everyone here finds it justified, or at least necessary, to enjoy the plunder, and to accept the gifts of luck. Why? Because life is short, tough, and uncertain. So after every battle, they mend ill-fitting shirts, coats, and shoes that used to belong to others. They stuff their pockets full with coins inherited from the dead, which they, the dead, had inherited from others. 
Eliab has survived numerous skirmishes, and he brags, from time to time, about his collection of the spoils of war. Naturally, the clothes I am wearing on my back make him jump to the wrong conclusion. 
I hear his tearful voice from behind. 
“I’ll be damned,” he wails in astonishment. “The little rascal’s gone! Oh David, David... Why, why did you have to be such a smart ass, why did you dare come here, to the front... You should’ve stayed with mom...”
And before I can think of a way to let him know I am still here, in the realm of the living, he goes on to moan, “Now it’s all my fault! What the hell shall I do, what shall I tell her?”
I wish I could shout back, What’s the difference? No matter what you say, she’ll kill you anyway!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Strengthen me with raisins for I am faint with love

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.”
“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.

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

#1 Amazon #BestSeller badge for AT ODDS WITH DESTINY

In the last 2 months At Odds with Destiny has consistently ranked amazingly well on Amazon. It has been at the top of its genre, which has earned the boxed set its #1 Amazon Bestseller rank. 

Want to see for yourself what all the buzz is about? Get your copy of it!

Ten amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

At Odds with Destiny
No longer available 

"An attention grabbing collection of books. Each compelling in their own right."