Sunday, April 30, 2017

Once in Royal David’s City

In the last few weeks I have been collaborating with my gifted narrator, Bob Sterry, on the upcoming audiobook edition of my historical fiction novel, The Edge of Revolt. By collaborating I mean, he's breathing life into it, while I'm doing the easy part: listening. By now Bob is on a roll, so the work is drawing to its end faster than I expected. Before the curtain falls, before I'm left alone in the darkened theatre, I asked him to  share his thoughts about this project and about his craft, so I can share them with you.  

Like David in my story, who is a complex, rich character, Bob has a highly analytic mind, which I can hear in the ways he interprets my writing, yet he writes poetry. As a poet, he understands the value of something that some readers may take for granted: pauses at the end of paragraphs and even at the end of sentences. They provide the space in which the words resonate, which allows them to linger in your ear, your mind. 

Listening to him, I visualize the text in a geometrical way: as vectors connecting nodes (words) that float in different places in space, each node overloaded with meanings. Some of us flatten this space when we read aloud, so each sentence become linear. Not so Bob. With his voice, the story lives on, traveling through a bright, vibrant space.

I invite you now to read his article:

Once in Royal David’s City
Or: The One-Man Theater
Bob Sterry

“Once in Royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed” are the opening lines of a well known Anglican Christmas carol. One which I knew by heart by the time was eight or nine. I had little idea who this David was. My youngest brother, David, had just been born, and I knew the song was not about him. This other David, apart from having a royal city was chiefly famous for having killed (slain, actually) a very large man with an exceedingly lucky hit from a slingshot. Amongst my urban savage friends there was a lively discussion of how he could have pulled this off. We doubted it could be done. We thought slingshots a very inaccurate and slow loading weapon. We all had our own hand made catapults, and argued that if this David had had any sense he would have had one and used it. Later on in our English Anglican education we learned that Jesus was distantly related to this giant killer, and this was supposed to be a good thing. We could not figure out why this was so and our teachers were superbly vague on the subject. Knowing what ultimately happened to Jesus we young cynics became ever more doubtful that being related to improperly armed minor royalty of any age could possibly be a good thing.

Fast forward many decades to a less cynical but very analytical man sitting in a recording booth narrating a book about King David into a microphone. The Edge of Revolt by Uvi Poznanksy. One of a series of historical novels by her about this leader of Israel. Late in life I am learning a lot about King David and the history of an ancient land. I am also getting a geography lesson. The history and geography lessons are one of the pleasant parts of recording a book for Audible or any other audiobook service. The less easy challenges in this task are several if not multiple.

Imagine that you are reading the same book I am recording. As you read you will automatically construct an ambiance, an atmosphere of the locations in the book. You will create voices for each of the characters. Readers have no difficulty in returning to a book at any time and recreating these characters and feelings. For an audiobook narrator, he too must create that ambiance, those characters, in his mind, and then deliver them to you using only his voice. He has also to be utterly consistent in his delivery. He has to create a distinctive voice for each of the characters. He has to try and understand the authors intention as well or even better than they did when writing the book so as to be able to communicate every nuance of feeling, every subtle hint, every change of emotion the text contains, and then perhaps add some not foreseen or anticipated by the author. He is in fact a one-man theater. Playing all the characters, changing the scenery, the lighting, the mood, the pace, to an invisible and utterly silent audience. He is the theater. A virtual theater.

But narrator beware! Strongly emoting, acting, is not always appreciated by listeners. Many remain interested in populating the drama, the story, the scene, with their own interior voices and emotions. They are not always interested in your interpretation of the text, only needing the reading of the text as a prompt for their own imaginations. They don’t want much theatricality. It is a fine balance and the narrator needs to listen to the author and use his own experience before turning the microphone on.

What this means is that the selection of a narrator by an author has to be a carefully considered process. Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley, as talented as they are, are not suited for every book. Not to mention their cost! I myself have to think very carefully about what books I can genuinely and honestly produce and achieve that balance. However, this does not prevent me from accepting challenges that stretch my own perception of my strengths and skills. Authors may hear something in a narrators voice and style they themselves did not know or even suspect they possessed, and want it for their book.

In recording Uvi Poznansky’s book The Edge of Revolt about the midlife and final moments of King David, I avoided none of these challenges, and faced a few additions. Uvi found my voice on the Amazon managed site, Audible Creative Exchange. Narrators can create a profile, including samples of their voice, and authors can post a summary of their book and the narrator they are looking for. It’s a literary dating site!

Male narrators are often called to produce recordings with both male and female voices. In ‘The Edge of Revolt’ there are more than a few female voices and they are of differing ages and temperament. For some of these voices I dip into my family history and find the voices of my aunts, with their London accents. And for others the comic genius of Monty Pythons Flying Circus is a rich source. The same was useful for the variety of male characters; my relatives, theatre and broadcast personalities. And in doing so I find a special challenge. If a narrator uses an immediately recognizable character voice he may run the risk of distracting the listener from the flow of the story. It has to be done with care. Using the voice of Richard Nixon for King David, whilst amusing, is just not going to work.

I had to find at least three voices for King David. The first is that of a proud and confident man. A man enjoying his power and status. The next is of the same man but humbled and frustrated by the unfolding of events he himself has caused. A man at the mercy of the complications of reconciling paternal love, succession, and national unity. And another is of the man breathily composing or reciting poetry and psalms he regards as his legacy. Finally, I have to make him into an older, tired man, waiting on death.

And of course, the names of all the characters in the book are pronounced not as I grew up thinking they should be! And there are Hebrew names I have never seen or heard before. This is when I am grateful for the patience and attention to detail that Uvi Poznansky shows. I can rely on her to send me guidance and corrections very quickly. This is important. It makes editing so much simpler when the context is still fresh in the mind, echoing. Editing sound tracks with edits sent much later one can easily lose the continuity of expression and pace needed for a good recording. For every hour of recording there is usually at least thirty minutes of editing to be done, and keeping it from encroaching on recording time is always on my mind.

And as I wrote earlier the balance to be found between over and under emoting was always present in recording this work. Again, I found Uvi Poznansky to be the kind of author a narrator needs, providing enough guidance to correct mistakes but not so much as to prevent creativity on my part.

And now I must go and practice my seductive Bathsheba voice. All in a day’s work for a narrator of audiobooks...

April 30, 2017

Check out Bob's links:

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fun and Fast interview and giveaway with Uvi Poznansky

I am honored to be interviewed on Tabitha Barret's website, where I also offer a giveaway prize. She was curious to know Why should readers buy my book? To which I said:

Regardless of genre, books can do one of two things: they can let you escape from reality, or they can set a mirror before you where you can see it, even in its darkest corners, with brilliance and precision you have not faced before. My books do both. Set in a different era, for example WWII London, they sweep you away into remembering every detail of that time, from how women styled their hair to how a telephone call from a booth was connected overseas. But arching over all these details is the way you will engage with my characters, and follow them in the hard choices they must make. Their joys and sorrows may reflect what you have gone through in your past. If you want to see what’s in your heart, read my stories.

Want to read more, and learn about the giveaway? Click here:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Further insights into the life of King David through artists’ eyes

Author of War Songs, Grady Harp is an artist representative, gallery owner, writer of essays and articles on figurative and all Representational art for museum catalogues and for travelling exhibitions, and an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer. He describes himself as being ever on the alert for the new and promising geniuses of tomorrow. So I am deeply honored that he has posted this five-star review for my art book, Inspired by Art: The Last Concubine:

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Uvi Poznansky dons another Technicolor coat in this latest series of books, always raising the bar for her high standard previous achievements. Originally from Israel where she studied Architecture and Town Planning then moving to the US where she studied Computer Science and became an expert in Software Engineering, Poznansky managed to combine the design elements of two studies into unique formats. And she has accomplished the same with the other side of her brain - making visual her ideas (she is an accomplished painter, drawer, and sculptor who has enjoyed exhibitions both in Israel and in California, her present base) and making words in poetry and in short stories and children's books.

Uvi’s 9th volume in her inspired by art The David Chronicles is titled THE LAST CONCUBINE. For those less familiar with the story of David this book about Abishag some recapping of her part with David may help: Abishag was a young woman of Shunem, distinguished for her beauty. She was chosen to be a helper and servant to David in his old age. Among Abishag's duties was to lie next to David and keep him warm; however, David did not have sexual relations with her. The Hebrews...believed that the fertility of the soil and the general prosperity of the people were bound up with the fertility of the king. David by this time was old and decrepit and his sexual vigor is called into question. Attempts are made to remedy the situation. The first cure is to heap clothes upon his bed in order to secure such physical heat as might render him capable. When this fails a search is made for the most beautiful woman in the land. Great emphasis is placed upon her Abishag's charms. The fact that the king did not have intercourse with her is decisive in the story. If David was impotent he could no longer be king. After David's death Adonijah (David's fourth and eldest surviving son), persuaded Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, to entreat the king to permit him to marry Abishag. Solomon suspected in this request an aspiration to the throne, and therefore caused Adonijah to be put to death Some scholars point to the possibility that Abishag is the female protagonist in the Song of Songs.

Uvi has published an absorbing book series – The David Chronicles – and now is curating art collections to enhance the pleasure of her books’ stories. This volume is one of the most complete collections of art from ancient through renaissance to contemporary in drawings, paintings, sculptures, etchings – works by Gustave Doré, Schwebel, Pedro Américo, Frederick Goodall, Govert Flinck, Chagall, Nicolaes Antoni Flinck, Ferdinand Bol, Jan Lyken, Michiel vander Borch, Luca Giordano, Valentine de Boulogne, Henri Lindegaar, Michelangelo, Gustave Moreau, James Tissot, Aert de Gelder, Ernst Fuchs, William Blake, Michael Jessing, Salvador Dali, Moshe Tzi Berger, Leonhard, Roberta Weir, Hans Sebald Beham, Edward Hull, William de Morgan, Mandy Sand, engravings, church windows, illustrations unnamed, coins, stamps and more - some well known, others – discoveries.

The art is arranged not by artist but instead by events regarding the life of David. It is a majestic, learned, beautifully designed book that carries a lot of instruction, entertainment, as well as visual pleasure. But then that is what Uvi is all about! Grady Harp, April 17

Perhaps there is a touch, a light touch between us

After a brisk walk I turn into 10th street, and the moment I spot the apartment building, the sprinklers in the garden come alive: first with an intermittent stutter, and then with a full-throated singsong; which makes me take a step back, and notice a rainbow hovering, trembling there, in the spray of water. 
It brings back a moment, an unforgettable moment of that morning, ten years ago, when my mother walked out slowly—with her head held high—as if she was blind to the splash. 
Now I wonder if mom knew where she was going. What was her goal, her direction? Where, in God’s name, was her there
I remember how her wet dress clung to her body, and how she receded into the distance with her packed suitcase, which seemed to become soggy after a few steps, never once stopping to wipe it, or to turn her head back. 
Her tears are still here, in the rainbow. I wait for the nozzle to go through its circular motion, and then slip past it, sensing the last of the mist, right here on my skin. At that moment I imagine myself crossing right through her ghost. Perhaps there is a touch, a light touch between us. 
I feel a breath of air as she fades away and I come in. 

★ Love reading? Treat yourself to a family drama ★

Few authors would be able to pull off the manner in which the apparent polar opposites of Ben and Anita begin to bond... but Poznansky has the visual and verbal and architectural skills to create this maze and guide us through it. 
~Grady Harp, HALL OF FAME reviewer

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Renaissance Lady

My dear friend and gifted author, Sarah Mallery, has just posted a feature on her blog, I am still giggling about her calling me a 'Renaissance Lady'! Check it out: 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Because of this I wasn’t able to fall asleep all night

“I’m sure that waking us up makes no difference to you,” she said.
To which I said, “Why would you think that, Mrs. Horowitz?”
“Because,” she said, “you must think that we here in the Big Apple are up and about around the clock, and besides, we can’t wait to get a call from an important persona such as yourself at any time whatsoever, day or night!”
Utterly dumfounded I could not bring myself to say another word, which made it all the more difficult to put together a whole sentence, to beg her to wake up her daughter.
So I was just about to say goodbye and so sorry, my mistake, this will never happen again, I promise, when all of a sudden Mrs. Horowitz said, “Natasha isn’t here.”
“What?” I cried. 
“You deaf? I said, she isn’t here!”
“Where, then, is she?”
“Why should I tell you?”
“You’re her Mama! Aren’t you supposed to know?”
“It’s all your fault,” she said.
To which I said, “Naturally.”
She had always been known for being overbearing, but even for her, this relentless attack on me seemed a bit much, which made me realize, suddenly, that this was her way of dealing with something else, something that made her feel powerless.
And indeed, a heartbeat later she started crying. “I’m very, very worried about Natasha,” she sniveled. “And because of this I wasn’t able to fall asleep all night!”
I hesitated to point out that according to her own words, Mrs. Horowitz had just been rudely arisen from a snooze. 
Instead I asked, “Did Natasha say where she was going?”
“She did,” said her Mama, in a teary voice.
“And you’re not going to believe it. I heard it with my own ears and I still can’t believe it.”
“Please,” I pleaded. “Tell me!”
“Natasha,” she said, “is a delicate girl.”
“She’s a princess.” 
“Exactly! And until you showed up in her life, she was in a slumber, so to speak. She lived in a world of dreams, smiling at a rainbow, crying for a lost star, and giving herself to nothing else but her music, all of which made it easy for me to manage her career. Well, perhaps ‘easy’ is not the right word, ‘possible’ is. But no, not anymore! Now, unfortunately, my daughter knows what she wants and has an opinion of her own about every little thing, which of course has to be the exact opposite of mine, and the worst thing is, she takes bold action about it, which is quite clearly a mistake, and she does it with half-witted haste, which means that as forceful as I thought I was, I can do little to stand in her way. Oh my, she is out of control!”

★ Love romantic suspense? Treat yourself to a thrill ★

"This is a beguiling story of a beautiful love, war intrigues, and Alzheimer’s pain that’s both deep and humorous. You learn new things about fascinating places, long ago time, and challenges that some people must face in life from Uvi’s detailed and well researched work. At the same time, her excellent storytelling skills and well developed characters never fail to entertain."
Ia Uaro, Author

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Only forever... Be my joy and my pride

When Natasha came back, she sat at the edge of the bed and turned on the radio. And to the faint sound of music, she started unbraiding her hair. 
I turned on my side, drew closer to her, and ran my hand along the arch of her back and the fullness of her hips. Never before had I experienced such a complete sense of peace. In spite of the suffering of my flesh, I had no worry, no tension whatsoever in my soul. Until now, my life had been in turmoil, like dust and debris swirling around in the wind. And just like that, a revelation: here, I thought, was something that felt like the eye of the storm. Here was the core. This was us, united not only in love but also in trust. It was a new feeling for me, a special moment.
Then, peeking over her shoulder, I detected a sudden glint. 
“What’s that?” I asked.
And Natasha said, “It’s the little gold locket you gave me, remember?”
“Yes,” I said. “I do.”
Touching the gold link that held it, she raised the necklace from her cleavage and rolled over to face me. “Every night,” she whispered, “just before falling asleep, I hold it in my hand, imagining us—I mean, our little pictures—ensconced inside of it, smiling at each other, giving joy, giving warmth.”
I gathered her to my breast. One day, I thought, we would remember this time, when—just like the two little images in her gold locket—we were held together by something we could not even name, a rapture that could not be captured in words. And even as we would grow old, those memories of what both of us went through would keep us here, in this embrace, forever young, forever ensconced in love.
And the last thing I remembered, before losing myself in her kiss, was the deep, vibrant voice that played on the radio. It sounded so much like mine, so much like a prayer.

Do I want you to stay
And be here by my side?
Only forever
Be my joy and my pride

Would I let you leave me
If you say that you must?
Take my heart with you
‘Cause its you that I trust

Would I be counting the days
Till you’re back in my arms?
Only always
Enchanted by your charms

Excerpt from Dancing with Air by Uvi Poznansky
Included in Love in Times of War

Love Romance? Get this amazing collection
Love in Times of War
No longer available

"This anthology consists of twelve wonderful stories with the inherent theme of love and war contained in them. Out of the twelve authors, Uvi Poznansky is the only one that I was familiar with previously. So, in addition to becoming acquainted with new authors in this set, my 'to be read' pile has grown considerably. That is not a bad thing with the wind chill of a minus 10 as I write this review!!" 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Beauty of Art, the Power of History

I am thrilled to find this review, written by an author who loves and lives to write, Dellani Oakes. She is also a former A.P. English teacher and a photo journalist. This is what she says about my art book, Inspired by Art: Fall of a Giant:

on April 20, 2017
Verified PurchaseVerified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Inspired by Art: Fall of a Giant (The David Chronicles Book 5) (Kindle Edition)
Inspired by Art: Fall of a Giant by Uvi Poznansky, is a collection of amazing works of classical art inspired by David's defeat of Goliath. Ms. Poznansky has gathered these beautiful pieces into one volume to share with the public. Her artist's eye has lit upon a variety of styles, eras and masters, conveying the power and energy of this time in history. I enjoyed revisiting old favorites and finding new works to love.
Be sure to check out the historical literature by Uvi Poznansky. I highly recommend her books in The David Chronicles, which prompted her to create this eclectic collection of artworks. Rise to Power is the first book in The David Chronicles – Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this is an incredible read. I highly recommend Inspired by Art: Fall of a Giant, as well as the fascinating novels by Uvi Poznansky.
Five Golden Acorns
© 2017 Dellani Oakes

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You can’t leave me. Let me come with you

His ravaging kiss stole away anything else she’d planned to say. They were both breathing heavily before he came up for air.
“I need you to stay hidden here. I’ll be back in thirty minutes or less.”
“No!” She grabbed his arm. “Don’t leave me. You can’t leave me. Let me come with you.”
He wrapped his arms around her again. “I’ll be quick. I need to go back and cover our tracks so no one can follow us. I promise I won’t be long and we won’t be separated again, but I have to do this.”
Emma sighed. “I’m holding you to your promises, John Weldon. If you break them and get yourself captured or killed, I’ll hunt you down and haunt you even if I have to go all the way to Hanoi Hilton.” Stories of where POW’s were kept at the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail and the conditions they lived under were horrible.
“I never break my promises, Em. And that’s a promise.” He slid off his pack and pulled a MCI can from it then unstrapped a canteen of water. “Eat while I’m gone. And just keep in mind that Char-uh-C-ration tastes better than anything I could cook.” 
She reluctantly grinned and he disappeared from her sight, carrying only his rifle and machete. 

Excerpt from A Weldon Family Christmas by Jennifer St. Giles
Included in Love in Times of War

Love Romance? Get this amazing collection
Love in Times of War
No longer available

"This anthology consists of twelve wonderful stories with the inherent theme of love and war contained in them. Out of the twelve authors, Uvi Poznansky is the only one that I was familiar with previously. So, in addition to becoming acquainted with new authors in this set, my 'to be read' pile has grown considerably. That is not a bad thing with the wind chill of a minus 10 as I write this review!!" 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

You know what to do when we get to our room, right?

As we pulled into the parking lot at the hotel I’d booked for our wedding night, Ellie and I burst out laughing. The blinking light heralding the establishment read, “Poughkeepsie’s Finest Destination.”
The building was pretty old and looked tawdry at best. “Guess this isn’t much of a honeymoon,” I said. “I’m sorry.”
Ellie skipped alongside of me, as we went inside to register. Her uninhibited behavior reminded me of the girl who’d invited me to play spin the bottle, not so long ago. This time, however, she wore a wedding dress and was my wife.
“Hey, Ellie, control yourself,” I told her, taking her hand in mine. “You’re a married woman now.”
“Oh, knock it off, husband. Think about what’s in store for us. This is our special night.” She sent me a sneaky grin. “You’re mom gave us champagne, we have ourselves a car, and my parents gave us some money. What else is there?”
“Not a darn thing.”
As we walked to our bridal suite, bucket of ice in tow for our champagne, Ellie whispered, “You know what to do when we get to our room, right?” 

Excerpt from Lovin' Those Navy Games by Susan Jean Ricci
Included in Love in Times of War

Love Romance? Get this amazing collection
Love in Times of War
No longer available

"This anthology consists of twelve wonderful stories with the inherent theme of love and war contained in them. Out of the twelve authors, Uvi Poznansky is the only one that I was familiar with previously. So, in addition to becoming acquainted with new authors in this set, my 'to be read' pile has grown considerably. That is not a bad thing with the wind chill of a minus 10 as I write this review!!" 

Monday, April 17, 2017

An Inspired Collection

I am thrilled to find this new review, written by Catherine Cavendish, the author of Touched by Darkness, Cold Sparks, and other books. This is what she wrote about my art book, Inspired by Art: A Peek at Bathsheba:

This review is from: Inspired by Art: A Peek at Bathsheba (The David Chronicles Book 7) (Kindle Edition)
An inspired collection of some of the world's greatest paintings, each of which have inspired the author in writing the book 'A Peek at Bathsheba' - in her series The David Chronicles. A fascinating idea as this book serves to illustrate her novel in a classic and beautiful fashion.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

She could feel the tempo of her heart skip, and then race

The sound of a car door opening and closing changed her mind.  Swinging a leg over the side of the bed, she knew she couldn’t see the driveway from her bedroom, so she sleepily navigated the stairs at a pace guaranteed to not trip her up.  The knock at the door put any further doubt aside that who was on the opposite side was lost.  Glancing at the downstairs grandfather clock, she once again verified the time for her confused mind. 
Opening the interior door, she felt her stomach plummet, and every sense come fully awake.  
“Ryker, what are you doing here?  At 1 a.m. in the morning.”
“Sorry,” he glanced absently at his watch.  “I just…I just drove.”
She opened the screen porch, attempting to settle her shaking hands.  “Come inside,” she said as the cold further unnerved her overstimulated body. 
He stepped inside, and she was made aware, not for the first time, of the significant difference in height.  It didn’t help that she was in stocking feet, and he in cowboy boots with a heel.
“I hate to sound ungrateful to see you, but I thought we settled everything the other day.”
“We didn’t really settle anything,” he said.  “I just didn’t think I should follow you, so I let you walk away.”
“Okay?  And now?”  She was trying to be patient, but the urge to slap him and then kiss him was messing with her equilibrium.  She needed answers, and she needed them now. 
He exhaled and looked up at her, “I think I’m in love with you…scratch that, I’m in love with you.  And it scares the shit out of me.  You are Bryce’s fiancé, and…”
“Bryce is dead.”
“I know…but…”
“I love you too, but I still don’t understand why you are in my doorway obviously discombobulated at one in the morning,” she said, patiently holding his eyes. 
He slowly extended his hand, and she noticed he held an envelope.  She could feel the tempo of her heart skip, and then race.

Excerpt from Moving to Forever by Angelica Kate

"This anthology consists of twelve wonderful stories with the inherent theme of love and war contained in them. Out of the twelve authors, Uvi Poznansky is the only one that I was familiar with previously. So, in addition to becoming acquainted with new authors in this set, my 'to be read' pile has grown considerably. That is not a bad thing with the wind chill of a minus 10 as I write this review!!"