Wednesday, July 29, 2015

If not for brotherhood, the rivalry between them may become deadly

The following three excerpts depict three moments in Davids story: the first, when he starting ruling over the entire country and was enthralled to build his city, the City of David, and his palace. The second, when the construction of the palace has been completed, and his sons begin a rivalry that will end up in one of them executing the other and mounting a revolt to topple his father, David, off the throne. And the third, after the revolt has been quelled, when he comes back to a palace in ruins:

My court is abuzz with suppliers, artisans, architects, interior designers, engineers, carpenters, brick layers, and contractors, all of them eager to win a commission from me, which makes it challenging to do my work: consult with my spiritual advisors, discuss policy matters with foreign diplomats, and exchange niceties with the elders of our tribes. I thrive on the excitement of it all. 
Workers are rubbing off excess cement, which they have poured earlier across the ground, so the geometrical mosaic design starts to appear from the dirt, in all its brilliance. Inlaid with colored glass from Tyre, trimmed on all four sides with glazed tiles from Shushan, and dotted on all four corners with shells from the delta of the Nile and pebbles from the river Tigris, this floor will create a new, vibrant ambience in my court.
A master craftsman bows deeply before me, to the point that his sketches are nearly dropping out of his portfolio. 
“My lord,” he says, in a heavy Egyptian accent. “Let me decorate the walls of your palace, all of them, the same way I did in the burial chambers of the pyramids.”
“But,” say I, “this is not a tomb.”

“Too bad,” he mutters, under his breath. “Unfortunately, the living are more particular about art than the dead.”

I look around me at the decor of my palace, in which I have invested so much time and thought, not to mention gold and silver. At last, the renovation is complete. The workers have packed away their tools, stored away the ladders, removed the scaffolding, and left. In their absence you can now see the entire space, and take in its magnificence.
New, exotic draperies are hanging from the gilded trim above the arched windows. Their fringes are delicately embroidered in silver, and threaded with fine gems. The entire floor has an abstract geometrical design done in mosaic, with colored stones and marble. The walls are covered by cedar wood panels with fancy inlays in them, contrasting various stains and directions of wood grain. Flames are flickering in glass oil cups in the large metal chandeliers, which makes the vast space sparkle with light. 
This is so different from my humble home, back in Bethlehem. I have created something about which I have been dreaming since the days of my youth: a grand shell for justice, learning, and power. 
And like a shell, it is fragile. 
I pray that my boys would create their own memories of this place, because if not for brotherhood, the rivalry between them may become deadly.

The first sign that the palace was looted is the way the gate to the courtyard is sighing in the wind, swaying lopsided back and forth, forth and back on a single hinge. The doors of the palace carry muddy boot marks, and the latch is broken. I enter, and find myself appalled at the sight of destruction.
The geometrical design of the mosaic floor, which has been laid out in my court with such care and artistry, is missing most of its details. Here and there, its stones—including the colored glass from Tyre, the shells from the delta of the Nile, and the pebbles from the river Tigris—are missing. 
As for the curtains, they are crumpled in a heap, torn and utterly soiled. In the women’s quarters, the frames of the embroidered panels are smashed. Pearly beads are strewn across the floor, the only remnant of the jewelry that was stolen. The rooftop outside my chamber has been torched, and charred slats that used to be part of the wooden lattice around it are now dangling over the edge.
But the most heart-wrenching sight is not the damage to my property—but to the women, the ten concubines whom I left behind, on the night of my escape. They are wandering listlessly about the place, looking more dead than alive. If anyone comes near them, they start screaming in fright. 

David Watching Bathsheba Bathing

Nathan Rebukes David

The Legacy of David

In writing these segments I was inspired by artist James Tissot, who depicted three moments in David's life, all of which he set up on the balcony of his palace. In these paintings you can see time passing not only by looking at David, maturing from a young lad to an old psalmist, and not only by the garments he wears, which are increasingly richer and more regal, but also by the updates in the decor of the balcony.

In the first painting, David Watching Bathsheba Bathing, David is sitting on a simple blanket that separates him from the hardness of the stone seat. There is a tiled design along the sitting level of the balcony and along the stair that raises him from the floor level. 
In the second painting, Nathan Rebukes David, a new tile design has been added behind him, as well as gridded panels that allow blocking the hot summer air or opening in the evening to cool down the area. Also David is sitting on a mat of Sheepskin. 

In the last painting, The Legacy of David, the columns have been replaced by richly decorated columns with fancy three-tiered bases, the tiles have been removed so as not to compete for attention with the bas-relief backsplash under the columns, and David is sitting upon an upholstered, specially designed cushion. Light bounces from the page to the sweet, young face of the scribe sitting at his feet, writing the history and the psalms of the king.

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and make them brilliantly fresh"
-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame reviewer

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why did I put so much effort to grasp for it?

I go out to the royal gardens, where a cold wind whips the slender palm tree, bending its solitary shoot till its crown of leaves shakes, rattling violently as if it were about to slip down. There I hunker down, listen to the wild beat of my heart, and wait. I wait for the night to end, hoping that by sunrise I may find some relief, some deliverance. 
The storm sings, yet I am silent. But after a while, listening to its rhythm, I match it with words, I intone, “My heart is in anguish within me. The terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me, horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.’”
In the moonlight, silvery dust swirls around me. Blow by blow it rises before my eyes. Through its veil, the view of the mountains around Jerusalem is truly magical. It makes me ache to find my way back to the caves and crevices where I used to dwell. Perhaps because of my folly the folly of a man who has known success and tired of itI yearn for way things were, long before I became king. 
These were times of danger, as Saul put his dogs on my scent. Life was thrilling. I thrived on risk. 
Not so now. 
I am beside myself with fear, which I cannot even explain to myself. Forget the palace. Forget the crown. It’s no good, being me, being where I am. 
As if listening to a stranger I hear my voice, chanting, “I would flee far away, and stay in the desert. I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

Many times I quote the beautiful lines from Psalms in The David Chronicles, because it suggests, in such a beautifully poetic way, not only the way David questions himself but the anguish and doubts of each one of us when we reach a crossroad. 

This winter I have fallen into the habit of wandering out to the roof, even if Bathsheba is not with me. Reclining on the cold tile floor I lean against the wooden lattice, right there at the edge, and lose myself in thought. Sometimes I take the crown off my tired head, and roll it across the dusty surface, glad that no one is watching me. I wonder then, why did I put so much effort, back in my youth, to grasp for it? 
Perhaps I take it for granted these days. Like a bad coin, the thing always rolls back into my hand.

David by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton

Artists throughout the ages have depicted David in his old age. I love the painting by Frederic Leighton, which inspired the passage above. You see the crown discarded at the edge of the painting, having been tossed away by David, as if he thought of it as a curse. And he gazes into the storm clouds in the distance, and the dramatic light breaking through from behind them, contemplating the meaning of his life.

The second painting is by James Tissot, depicting David as a fatherly figure, caring for the young woman, Abishag, who has been brought to the palace to keep him warm.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Alpha and the Omega

I'm so elated to discover a first review, written by a Top 500 Amazon Reviewer, for my children's book, Now I Am Paper:

~~The Alpha and the Omega~~, July 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Now I Am Paper (Kindle Edition)
Everything about this short book is exquisitely done! It covers a wide range of emotions and feelings so much reminds me of the circle of life. The author has interwoven love, loss, fear, hope, death and rebirth together and used an old tree as the 'alpha' and the 'omega'.

This lovely book also rhymes and the watercolor paintings were created by the author and are beautifully done.

Most highly recommended. The author suggests this book is written for ages 2 - 10 and K - 5. I would suggest that everyone (no matter their age) will appreciate 'Now I Am Paper'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Passionate Love Story not to be left Unheard!

New review for the audiobook edition of A Peek at Bathsheba:

  • Sapphire ReaderMountain Top, PA, United States07-20-15

"A Passionate Love Story not to be left Unheard!"
A Peek at Bathsheba, The David Chronicles, Book 2 by Uvi Poznansky. Performed by Justin Harmer. This nearly 7 hours audio book really took me by surprise.

Uvi's way of weaving a flow of words that brings to life the greatest love story that most may have missed in our lives. How we heard about David killing the Giant. Or how Bathsheba the most beautiful women of her time. This tale is of how even the best of us can fall into the sin of that forbidden love. With someone already married and by the law of God untouchable. I love the way the words unfurl themselves as they are spoken by David. His way of expressing himself thru his poetry and telling of his tales of the past.

Knowing that he is only a man. Yet an anointed King of Israel, he must keep up all appearances. David speaks about his love for his wives. How they bring out the best and sometimes the worst of him. Telling of how each one of them became his bride and the challenges he met to win them over and sometimes not even then. For each one of the wives holding their place in his heart and succession of heirs they bear. Then, one day looking from his balcony he sees her, Bathsheba. The most beautiful woman he has ever seen. However, this adoration that must be seen from afar has now consumed him. He must have her. Yet, this was the wife of one of his soldiers. The passionate affair with her now has David now sending her husband in the way of harms way in battle. His way of covering this scandal.

Uvi choice of words has David speaking in such a way that you can feel the passion in her words. The words as they are spoken by James Harmer. Soft spoken yet with enough forcefulness to hold you captive for that moment in time. I enjoyed the way the story unfurled itself piece by piece. A huge puzzle gently put together and over time, you feel the pain that Bathsheba has at the loss of their son. How David deals with that death. How he feels that this is God's way of punishing them for their indiscretion. How James over the course of the book the change in his voice as it grows older and weary over time.

This story has been beautifully written. It has been narrated/performed to perfection giving that passive tone needed for such a tale.

This book was provided to me by the author for an honest review. However, at the time I did not have the first part of the David Chronicles. So I purchased that book so I can give a review of part one of this extraordinary story. All views above are solely mine and no way effected by others or their comments. Please take the time to let me know if this review was helpful or not. Always cherish comments as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The awakening of your senses as well as your appetite

Lately, despite being an intensely private person, I have found myself increasingly engaged with readers and listeners. Why? because of my characters. Having sprung from my mind onto the page, they might die there, pressed between the front and back covers–unless I make it possible for them to spring from the page to your mind.
I thrive on reaching out to my audience. Every day I discover new ways to create this connection and strengthen it. By far the best way is forging alliances with other authors, whose work is of outstanding quality and whose audience appreciates creativity. To this end I review fellow authors on my blog, which is my way of recognizing their talent. I organize author events on Facebook to showcase our work. I read a lot of novels, note their reviews, and actively seek out book recommendations, all of which allows me to choose the best and the brightest for the most ambitious team project I created to date: a boxed set titled At Odds with Destiny.
My vision for this project is to bring together ten authors and offer you a selection of great novels that cross boundaries in terms of genre. I am so glad that put together, our stories invite you to explore. And so–whether you are a young adult or young at heart, whether you enjoy the thrill of adventure or the immersion into the character’s stream of conscience, and whether you want to be swept away to distant times and places or to see contemporary settings with sharper clarity–you will find a story here to your liking, and then some! This project is meant to celebrate excellence in writing.
At Odds with Destiny is like an assortment of chocolates. Relish the work of the author you enjoy, and then taste new, unfamiliar flavors. The more you take in, the more you’ll feel the awakening of your senses as well as your appetite.

 Ready for beach reading?
Ten amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

At Odds with Destiny
No Longer available

Brings history to life

A wonderful review for A Peek at Bathsheba:

5Brings history to lifeJuly 18, 2015
This review is from: A Peek at Bathsheba (The David Chronicles Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Having read 'Rise to Power' earlier, I couldn't wait to start the second book in this fascinating series. What amazes me the most about the author's writing is her ability to pluck those long forgotten names and events in history and bring them to life in such powerful way one feels as though they are people next door, glaringly different and yet so wonderfully easy to understand despite their absolutely authentic-to-their-times attitudes. From each page they are coming across, offering wonderfully rare peeks into their lives, their desires, their thoughts, their struggles, just normal people and not dusted statues or dry description of this or that deed.

The moment I picked this book, I couldn't put it down.
"...I am a King. Truly, I am! At first I find it hard to believe, and wipe my eyes in wonder, and try to convince myself of this puzzling fact, because when you dream about ascending tot he throne for so long as I have, you learn to suspect what you see , because it may still be the lingering effect of your fantasy, even if to you it seems real..."
The wonderfully poetic prose of this novel interweaves with lively dialog that makes it so easy for us, the readers, to relate and understand, to embrace these people as though they were our contemporaries, their feelings and thoughts. David is such controversial character, but in this novel he comes across as so human, strong and weak and struggling. Yes arrogant and sure of himself and his destiny, and yet a man that is so easy to relate and to understand.
As for Bathsheba, what wonderfully intricate characters this woman turned out to be!
"... Embarrassed, she looks away. "No, how could I?" she asks. "At the time I held myself back from complaining. I made it my mission to find favor in your eyes."..."
Their relationship so uneasy, so intricate, so twisted. He owes other women, but he knows that he doesn't owes her - '...They are mine. She is not..." He craves her like no other, but he can't change for her. And she... oh what a woman!

A fan of historical fiction, I hold this series - The David Chronicles - as the best of their genre!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

But now, Bathsheba… She is different.

But now, Bathsheba… She is different. My God, she is a woman! Which is why she seems untouchable to me, and not only because she is married. 
All of a sudden she stirs. Has the water cooled down?
“Go away,” she says, with her back to me. 
It seems that shame is not in her nature. She moves the big sponge around her neck, into one armpit, then another, knowing full well I cannot take my eyes off her. I cannot help but notice the bubbles of soap sliding slowly down, all the way down, then around her slippery curves. She may be the one in the tub—but contrary to my expectations, I am the one trapped.
“Go back to your place, sir, to that skyscraper thing of yours.” She points carelessly in the direction of the window at the top of my tower. 
What she should be saying is your majesty or my lord rather than sir, but at this turn of events I hardly wish to correct her.
So she goes on to say, “And sir—”
“Yes?” I say, eagerly.
“No need to hide behind that curtain, up there,” says Bathsheba. “What, you think I haven’t noticed? You think I care?”
“I know you don’t,” I say, gloomily.
Feeling uninvited should not come as a surprise to me—but somehow it does. Oh, what was I thinking? That she will accept me with open arms, like every other girl I know? 
I kneel down by her side, which forces me to adjust the crown, because it is now tilting on my head. 
In profile, her lashes hang over her cheek, and the shadow flutters. Bathsheba brings her hand to her lips and ever so gently, blows off a bubble. It comes off the palm of her hand, then swirls around in the evening breeze, becoming more iridescent until its glassy membrane thins out, and then—pop! Nothing is left but thin air. 
“Leave me be,” she says, stretching her arms lazily, as if to prepare for a yawn. “You may watch me from up there all day long, if that’s the kind of thing you like.”
“You sure put on a good show. I never imagined a woman could pose so many different ways in a small tub.”
“Well, if you must know, it’s quite a ritual. Takes a lot to purify the mind.”
“And the body, too.” 
“Yes,” says Bathsheba. “A lot of hard work.”
“Apparently so,” say I. “A lot of time, too.”
“Oh, go away already!” She waves a hand at me, still without as much as a glance in my direction. To make matters worse, she turns away. “I can feel your eyes in my back. Just, stop it. Stop watching me.”
“I am grateful to you,” I say, “for every moment of it.”
To which she utters a sigh, barely containing her boredom. 
Then, on a whim, she plunges underwater nearly all the way, so all that remains above the foamy surface is the little embroidered towel wrapped around her head. 
After several evenings of watching her from afar I still have no idea if her hair is curled or straight, red or brown. I have painted her in my mind several different ways already, each time more beautiful than the other. By now it matters little to me. She is so sexy, she might as well be bald. 
When she comes back up, “What,” she says. “You still here?”
“What’s the point of going up there,” I say, hearing a slight tone of complaint in my voice. I hope she does not think me childish. That would be devastating. 
With a hint of a smile, she asks, “What does that mean, What’s the point?”
So I say, “You would seem too small from above.”
“Really,” says Bathsheba. “I thought I spotted you standing by your window, with your sword aimed at me.”
To which I explain, “I could not see a thing through the glass. It became cloudy, or something. At this time of day, even though it is only the beginning of summer, it’s much too steamy in the office.”
She rolls her eyes. “I’ve had it with men.”
I can find nothing to say, and perhaps there is no need to. She can tell, can’t she, how desperately I ache for her.
“My life is scandal-free at the moment,” she says. “It feels nice for a change.”
Lucas Cranach the Elder. 'David and Bathsheba.' 1526

Pablo Picasso, after Lucas Cranach the Edler. 'David and Bathsheba,' 1947

This passage, selected with tender loving care by my narrator David George, is what you will hear when you play the voice sample for the audiobook edition. If the use of modern language surprises you, if you have expected a language that dates to biblical times--or, failing that, at least good old Shakespeare English, and if you find yourself shocked by Bathsheba mentioning a skyscraper--please consider this:

The view of the story has undergone amazing transformation over the ages. Take a look, for example, at the Painting 'David and Bathsheba' painted by Lucas Cranach the elder in 1526. He treated his subjects with awe and reverence, and the only naked skin visible is Bathsheba's little foot, bathed by an adoring maid. David is presented as a psalmist, rather than a leering, dirty old man peeping on an unsuspecting, naked woman. There is no sin here! 

Now compare the way Picasso transformed this very painting. The composition is exactly the same (only mirrored left to right) but the brush stroke is modern, it is spontaneous and fresh, bringing a sizzle to the entire scene. He enlarged the proportions of all the figures, especially David, so it is easier to spot the king here, because he is the only one fleshed out among the men at the top. His musical instrument is barely sketched, because the important activity is not playing heavenly music but rather gazing at the women, gazing at all the women, with keen, sexual interest. The water dripping from Bathsheba's foot is clearly emphasized, with its juicy suggestion of a symbol of lust.

There is no right and wrong way to interpret the story. As an artist and writer, I believe that my mission is to let the characters speak to you through my pen. The king is flesh and blood in my mind, and so is Bathsheba. This story is happening here and now. 

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"A tale of madmen and kings, youth and old age, prison cells and freedom's ring..."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What to expect in our beach party

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

Friday, July 17 at 2:00pm PST - Sunday, July 19 at 3:00 PST 
You'll read excerpts, listen to voice clips and watch trailers from our books
Want to increase your chances to win them? 
Then like, comment, or share our posts on the event page

Grand Finale Sunday, July 19 at 4:00 PST
Want to know who won our books?
Come to our beach party!
And bring your swimsuit, sunglasses, sunscreen, flip-flops, and towel

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

To convert time to your time zone, click here: Time Zone Calculator

Saturday, July 11, 2015

How about dancing, and music, and wine?

Boy, are we ready for a change! Change would be a good slogan for us, and for the entire country. 
We clear the locals out of several buildings in the center of town, which we turn into our compound. I make a point of going around town brimming with confidence.
Oh, I own it!
Impressed by this, and knowing I am one of them, the elders of Judah come to greet me in Hebron. I wait for them in the compound, up in the tower, which is now mine. No wonder they are out of breath by the time they manage to clamber up the stairs. No one says a word. With heavy panting they anoint me king over the tribe of Judah. 
It is a minor honor, to be sure, akin to becoming a mini-royal. I make an effort not to think about the fact that the big prize—ruling over the entire nation—is still as illusive as ever.
Still, this is a long awaited victory. To celebrate it I have prepared a rough draft for a speech, and recited it in advance, “He said to me, You are my son… Today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Yes, I try my best to cherish the moment—but find myself disappointed by it. Problem is, a moment is too short. It goes by far too fast. I mean, what is a coronation ceremony with no drumroll, no trumpets, no fanfare? How about dancing, and music, and wine? And where are the crowds, the cheering, the joy? Alas, this place is provincial. It is too small on me. Really, this victory is nothing to write home about. 
I raise the crown to my head, and at the critical second—just as it starts weighing down on me—someone gives me a note: a messenger has arrived.

He scrambles up the stairs, and bows before the elders. They cry out, “Long live the king!” 
He turns to me. “Your majesty—“
Afraid that what he has to say may overshadow my moment of happiness—such as it it—I raise my hand with a well rehearsed, perfectly regal gesture, attempting to silence him.
“But, but—”
“No! Not now!” I shake my head, and at once I find myself having to adjust my posture, to keep the crown balanced. “Whatever the news, can’t it wait?”
“This,” he wheezes, “is important. I mean, really.

David Anointed King in Hebron 
Treasures of the Bible (United Kingdom)

King David by Antelami, Benedetto

ca. 1145, Limestone

Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, south portal of west façade (Saint Anne portal)
On January 17, 1793, during the vote on the fate of Louis XVI, a citizen approached Parisian Commune officials to report that there were kings represented on the portals of the cathedral. Over an extended period Paris and other cities and towns hired contractors to behead statues not only of kings and queens but also of religious figures. During the French Revolution, just as the king was subjected to the guillotine, the sculptures on the façade of Notre-Dame—seen as symbols of authority—were destroyed by government edict in a parallel act of vengeance.

My trilogy, The David Chronicles, is inspired by art of all ages--but at this moment of the story I chose to depart from the highly formal, dramatic manner in which his coronation is depicted in many art pieces. My David is a modern leader, who lives by his wits and understands the flow of history and what he must do to take his coronation over his own tribe, and propel himself forward to rule the entire country.

★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift 
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Captivating story, masterfully written

Born in Potsdam, Germany, Gisela Sedimayer has a love for the written word. Having moved to New Zealand and then to Austria, and having fought her cancer with the best weapon--creativity--she is the author of the Talon series, bringing the story and the characters to life over the course of several years. I am thrilled to find her review of my novel, Apart From Love:
Captivating story, masterfully written
Uvi Poznansky, the author of that brilliant book brings in so much understanding into Ben, as he finally comes back from years of absence from his home and family, only to find out that his father Lenny just married Anita and has a secret and the failing health of his mother, Natasha - early Alzheimer's.
A real Saga, masterfully and captivating written, about Lenny, Anita, his second wife and his first wife Natasha and Ben.

Ben, not really believing what is happening, is always looking back to his childhood, clinging at it, looking for his mother. He always thought that she went to an convention, since she was a brilliant pianist, only to find out, she went into a home. His father never had told him. Finally believing it he visits her in the home. What tenderness to make her aware of himself. But she is only looking out the window. And devastated he ran away again only just to come back at the failing health of his father.

It would take pages and pages to tell you all, all the struggles Anita and Ben has, together have, and her loneliness, and the longing of Anita to her mother.

Lenny tries to put all what is happening into a book and his last words where: "There must be some significance to all this. And it must be put in words or else, my son would open the door and I would not be ready for him."

I really enjoyed the book. Well done Uvi Poznansky