Thursday, November 30, 2017

A well-crafted and captivating story

I love this review from Piaras of my family saga, Apart from Love:
on November 27, 2017
Whatever flaws we might identify or frustrations we might feel are trivial in comparison to a reader’s pure joy in losing himself/herself in a narrative. When all the elements come together: an intriguing plot, thoughtful, profound themes, complex, troubling, characters, and language that will amaze for its clarity, directness and confidence; we gratefully set all analysis aside and give ourselves up to the sheer magic of a great book. And for me, Apart From Love, is such a book.

Author Uvi Poznansky weaves a mesmerizing tale of family dysfunction with fascinating twists and turns that will effortlessly captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a spellbinding story about an innately dysfunctional family; Ben, Lenny (Ben’s father) and Lenny's new wife Anita. The characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a well written novel that will keep you immersed from the first page to the last. Five stars all the way.

Santa arrived with presents for each and every one of them

Soon the kids were gathering around the huge Christmas tree, because Santa had arrived with presents for each and every one of them.  
Kyle had a huge smile of excitement on his face, and Zach watched him closely. He got along well with the other kids—which was a good thing. Many of the other mentally impaired kids from the school sometimes remained isolated, and had difficulties interacting with others. But Kyle seemed to be unusually outgoing.
Unless he tried to pull a stunt like he had the other day, when he’d jumped on top of Zach. Zach smiled wryly, as Kyle began opening his gift. That would be something Zach would have to keep an eye out for—Kyle was big, and kind of muscular, while a lot of these other kids were much smaller, and more vulnerable. Some of these kids could easily be hurt.
“Oh, wow!” Beth bent over to take a look at the digitalized keyboard, Zach was helping Kyle unwrap in its box. “Isn’t that nice? Someone must’ve known about Kyle’s interest in music!”
Zach smiled, sheepishly.
“You?” Beth gave him a huge smile, and Zach’s heart began hammering hard against his chest.
Again. It’d been beating at an irregular pace the entire afternoon.
“Most of us who work at the school donate the gifts for the exchange. The keyboard’s got a built-in radio too.” He gave her a wry grin. “I figured I might as well give him a gift that was useful, in case he never learned how to play it.”
Her laughter sounded like music in his ears. 
The party was beginning to wind down, when Luke and Kelly finally approached them to say their goodbyes. 
“You guys need to come over for dinner sometime, and see our place—it’s pretty cool,” Kelly said. “We live right on Dragonfly Pointe.”
“We’d love to.” Beth grimaced. “But are you sure you can handle us?”
Beth was watching him and Kyle, and a beautiful smile lit up her face. Zach was trying, with difficulty, to concentrate of what he was doing. Zach had managed to find a plug in for the adapter of the keyboard nearby, and Kyle was busy running his fingers over the keys. Zach sucked in a deep breath, and began playing a simple tune for Kyle.
Kelly answered Beth with reassurance. “Of course we can!”
“We’re family,” Luke said to Beth. “If you can’t turn to people like us for help with Kyle—who can you turn to?”

Excerpt from Two Hearts Unspoken by Tamara Ferguson
Included in Love in Times of War

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In War There Must Be Secrets

Just found this beautiful review for the audiobook edition of my WWW Spy Thriller, Marriage before Death:

"In War There Must Be Secrets" 
Using her signature lyrical/poetic style, Ms. Poznansky has once again created a world filled with sights and sounds, inner thoughts, and in this book, riveting action. It begins with an extremely touching portrayal of Lenny and his wife Natasha, a couple facing unspoken––and thus secret––difficult times that promise to grow much worse. The book then guides us back into the couple’s earlier history with an up-close look at the French resistance during WWII. A time when “moaning minies,” mortar bombs, guns blasting, sniper’s firing, and enemy tanks filled everyone with fear, as they traveled through the lush countryside. When “beauty co-existed with horrendous ugliness,” the “rattling of our bones and the tightness of our heads,” and “soldiers falling like pins in a bowling alley” was the norm.

But what resonated with me the most was the nature of Lenny and Natasha’s love, and the ‘secret’ cat and mouse game they played with the enemy to preserve their lives and simultaneously, protect their loyalties. Even with mortar shells flying everywhere, Lenny can’t stop appreciating the little things––In the trenches where “the earth felt good, cradling me” as the soldiers snored, and forever thinking of his cherished Natasha––“Her letter in my breast pocket which made her feel closer to me,” and “flashes of what were if they were at peace.”

And all of this beautifully written novel brought to life by the thoughtful and melodious voice of narrator, Don Warrick, whose sensitivity, timing, and nuance for each scene pulled me in even closer to the author’s words. Truly excellent!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I remember scolding him for it, but now I cherish the touch

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.”
“And,” say I, “they’re more particular about cost, too! So tell me, how much would you charge?”
He walks around the walls, measuring them by counting his paces, the better to calculate his price, which seems to annoy the worker, who is kneeling down there, a damp sponge in hand to buff the mosaic floor.
“Go away,” says the worker. “Don’t you dare step here, on my work!” 
“It’s a floor,” says the master craftsman. “Isn’t it?”
He comes back, hopping over the buffed areas and landing with little bows in my direction. “My lord, this court I’ll do for free,” he assures me, “because of your great fame, and because I’m determined to give you my very best, so I may be worthy of your generosity, which is not only known but also highly praised in our parts.” 
And in a lower voice he says, in an offhand manner, “Later, we’ll negotiate the exact price.” 
“Show me your work,” I demand. “You do have some sketches from your previous projects, I presume?”
Opening his portfolio, he pleads, “Here, my lord, take a look!”
Meanwhile, a merchant comes, elbowing his way towards me through a crowd of suppliers. “What these walls need is something else entirely,” he says. “My finest imported rugs, which soften and even absorb the echoes in this place.”
“Stop nudging me away,” says the master craftsman, in a grumble.
Which the merchant seems not to hear. “Here, your majesty,” he says, in a Babylonian accent, “let me spread these rugs before you—”
“Step back, both of you,” the worker warns them. “The floor, it’s still wet! Don’t you have eyes? Can’t you use them?”
Rising from my throne, “Come now,” I tell the Egyptian and the Babylonian. “Let me take you to the dining hall, the reception hall, and the library. Give me your best bid. I want every space in my palace to be splashed with splendor!”
Spring it is, an awakening of all the senses, and I am indulging myself in the luxury of it all. The only place that is left as it was is my own chamber, where I keep things modest and devoid of pretense. 
I like my bulky old desk, perhaps because of its grainy surface, which has been marred with a myriad of scars. Years ago, this is where my firstborn child, Amnon, carved a little face—perhaps of his half-sister, Tamar—into the wood. I remember scolding him for it, but now I cherish the touch. It brings back a memory, an old memory of how close they used to be as children.  

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

"Her ability to capture character and emotion is nothing short of literary excellence, and the modern flair really only adds to that, allowing for a more engaging voice and style."
-Book Crazy, Top 1000 Reviewer

Stylishly written, skillfully drawn, lyrical and very much thought-provoking

Just found this lovely review by Piaras for my poetry book, Home.

on November 27, 2017
Author Uvi Poznansky, writes with a subtle and artistic touch. This collection of poetry and short stories is essentially a collection of deep thoughts concerning life and home. All the more touching as this is a collection of her own, and her father's writing. The stories are stylishly written, skillfully drawn, lyrical and very much thought-provoking.

I found myself absorbing the messages conveyed rather than just reading for the sake of reading. This book will take you on a fascinating journey that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. A book which has been beautifully written and is ultimately a book you simply can’t put down. I feel all the richer for having read it. There’s no doubt that this author is uniquely talented, and I’ll be looking forward to reading more from her in the future. This would come highly recommended from me. A richly deserved five stars.

Monday, November 27, 2017

She misses her faraway village, from where she was taken to the palace

Seeing how exhausted I am Abishag takes the feather, ever so gently, from my fingers, careful not to touch the tip, and withdraws from me. Washing the ink off at the other end of the chamber, she bends over the windowsill, glancing at the lush trees swaying down there, in the royal gardens. Without words, she hums a little tune under her breath, and her voice is so sad, so melodious, that it tells me how desperately she misses her faraway village, from where she was taken to the palace. 
She must have been eager, at first, to meet the notoriously dashing young hero, the slayer of Goliath, the idol drawn so perfectly out of legends that belong to a dying generation. Only now does she realize that I belong nowhere else but in her aging mother’s dreams. 
I tell her, “Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention. Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty. Honor him, for he is your lord.”
And at once I wonder, why do I take this fatherly tone with her, all of a sudden? And why do I speak of myself as if I were not here?
Abishag cannot help but yawn, which I happen to understand, because the lecture I have aimed at her bores me, too. 
“So many young men, out there,” she whispers.
“So much noise,” I complain, over her excitement.
“If it’s disturbing to you, your majesty, I can go down,” she offers. “I can ask them to keep things more quiet, for you.”
“No,” say I. “Stay with me.”
“Are you cold? Shall I close the curtains?” 
“No. Keep them open.”
Then, with slight hesitation, “Your son,” she says. “What does he want? Why did he come?”
“He loves me so,” I say, hoping she would not catch the irony in my voice. “Once in a long while he comes up here, to check if I’m still breathing.”
Abishag says nothing in reply. After a long pause she asks, “Did he invite you to the festivities? I would love to escort you—”
“Festivities?” say I. “No one tells me anything these days, which is why I am becoming so pitifully suspicious.”
“I see him down there,” she says. “His guests are arriving now, gathering around to greet him. They’re laughing. He’s not.”
At that I wave my hand. “Adoniah must be tired. He’s utterly weary of life here, in my palace. Luxury can be such a boring thing when you’re born into it.”
She glances back at me, her eyes wide with disbelief. “Is it, really?”
“It must be,” say I. “Unlike me, he’s never fought for what he has. To entertain him, his mother throws one party after another in his honor.”
“He’s young,” says Abishag. “And so tense. She just wants to make him happy.”

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

"Her ability to capture character and emotion is nothing short of literary excellence, and the modern flair really only adds to that, allowing for a more engaging voice and style."
-Book Crazy, Top 1000 Reviewer

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thrill Me! Want a chance to win? Here's what to do

Can't wait for the event to begin and for the Grand Finale... 
Can you?

Friday, December 8th at 10:00am PST - Saturday, December 10th at 3:00pm PST 
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Want to increase your chances to win them? 
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Saturday, December 10th at 4:00 PST
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Friday, November 24, 2017

I had the most exciting life I could have ever imagined

I tried to think of her name and couldn’t, but remembered she was someone who’d been in one of the creative writing classes I took. 
“Oh, hello,” I said. “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” she answered. “Same old stuff. Are you here visiting?” 
I nodded my head, smiling. 
“It must seem so boring here after the way you live,” she said.
I didn’t get it.
“What way do I live?” I asked, laughing.
“Why, in New York! I dream of living there, without my family, I’d be in heaven. All of the fancy restaurants, the nightlife, well I can’t even imagine. 
“Are you still at the same magazine?” she asked, then sensed my confusion. “Mademoiselle! We all knew that you were going to work at Mademoiselle someday. We’d heard you were hired as soon as you graduated from college. We were all jealous.”
I started to laugh again, adjusting my packages. 
“Right! Mademoiselle. No, I was only there a year. I live on a farm now, about an hour from here,” I said. 
“Wow! What an awful shock that must have been, going to a farm after the excitement of living in New York City!” 
She grimaced at the thought.
“I guess the job wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be?”
“No, it really wasn’t,” I said, smiling.
“Well listen, it was great seeing you again, Philipa. See you next year at our fifteen year reunion!” 
“Fifteen? How’s that possible? It was nice seeing you, too.”
She waved as she walked away. 
Looking for my mother and mother-in-law, I’d had enough shopping. Suddenly, I missed my husband and our children. I missed the farm, its rolling topography and the small, quaint outbuildings Wax build around the property. Our house was old and rambling, drafty in the winter and hotter than ever in the summer. The furniture was beat from the abuse of the bodies of four little boys. My hair was still a mess. My days revolved around Wax and our boys. But I had the most exciting life I could have ever imagined. 

Excerpt from Mademoiselle by Suzanne Jenkins
Included in Love in Times of War

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

She licks the drop off her fingertip with childish delight

In this WWII story, Lenny brings back to mind his memories about Natasha and how she rescued him from a death sentence by the German soldiers after D-Day. But the beginning and closing frame the novel at both ends in the present, when she is losing her mind. This makes the memories all the more precious:
“I’m hungry,” says Natasha.
“Me too,” I say. “But we’re out of bread.” 
“Then, we must have cake.”
“How about Tart Tatin? It’s a French recipe. I learned it from you, years ago.”
“Yes,” she says. “Tart Tatin.”
I see you like the sound of it.”
“I do.”
In recent years I have served not only as the father to our son, Ben, but also as the mother, because my wife has become increasingly absent-minded. Of all the new tasks I have learned, the one I like most is baking.
So I get up to my feet, give her a hand, and together we go to the kitchen. I squeeze some juice from a lemon and have her add a few heaping spoons of sugar into it. Then I bring the mixture to a boil till the syrup turns thick and dark, like amber. I tell her to unwrap a stick of butter, which I add to the mixture. Then I pour it into the bottom of a ceramic pie dish.
Natasha leans forward, taking in the aroma. She finds a spot where the syrup has dripped onto the table. “Sticky!” she says, and licks the drop off her fingertip with childish delight.
I peel a couple of apples, cut them, and have her arrange the slices in a circular pattern around the dish, right over the syrup. 
“Fit them closer together,” I tell her. “Yes, just so.”
When she is done, her arrangement looks quite messy. I cannot help thinking how flawlessly she used to do it, years ago. No matter. Perfection is overrated. 

★ Love suspense? Treat yourself to a thrill ★

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

As if a gun had gone off at a horse race

The first brick flew by him so fast it felt as if a sudden gust of wind had spun by. Stunned, he looked around. Coming toward him was a row of men armed with sticks and clubs. Probably the Dead Rabbits, a local gang. Wonder what they are up to?
“You’ll not be coming into the Bowery Boys’ territory,” a man behind him called out.
Sean whipped around. A different group of men were quickly approaching, bearing clubs, rifles, and what appeared to be hatchets.
“Sean, get out of the way!” Brigit screamed from a nearby storefront.
Frozen, he stared at her for a second. Then, as if a gun had gone off at a horse race, he sprinted over to her, making good time––until his right boot snagged on a cobblestone sticking up on the street and sent him flying.
Dazed, on his stomach, he thought he heard Brigit’s voice, but with the overwhelming cotton sensation in his ears and both gangs beginning to clash all around him, he couldn’t be certain.
Hatchets hurled, clubs battered, and men groaned as knives were plunged into their chests. No longer could he hear Brigit’s voice. The din and smell of battle had overtaken everything.
When he finally managed to sit up, he imagined he saw Brigit, so far away, waving her arms, and he waited to feel his usual love. But all he felt was the stab of a knife entering his chest, his neck, and his stomach. And then he felt nothing.
Given no time for grieving, Brigit was paid a visit by Garrity the very next day.
“Girlie, if you wanna stay here, you gotta pay.” On his way out, he made sure to tap his cigar ash down on the floor next to James who hovered in the corner.
Brigit folded her arms over her bodice and chemise protectively.
“I guess you’ll have to do what I do,” the young widow-turned-prostitute said, a glint of satisfaction in her eyes as she coughed deeply.
Brigit turned to James. “We’re getting out of here, no matter what.”

Excerpt from Genteel Secrets by S.R. Mallery
Included in Love in Times of War

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To be above ground isn’t such a bright idea

This was the last place I expected to hear a mention of her name, not only because I knew none of the soldiers fighting by my side and not only because there was no time to speak—but also because she belonged elsewhere. In my mind, Natasha existed in another realm: a realm of peace, where I could immerse myself in thoughts, recalling our last moments together, recalling love.
Such a realm was far out of reach, because a fierce battle was raging all around me. With the shrill, howling noise of incoming rockets, which we nicknamed Moaning Minnies, this was not the time to think, let alone immerse myself in any kind of mental activity. 
I had landed with one of our infantry regiments, but in the chaos that ensued got separated, somehow, from it, and had no choice but to join another team of soldiers. They wore British uniforms—except one who, to my surprise, wore a kilt. He was armed with nothing more than his bagpipes and played a Scottish marching song, even as his comrades fell around him. 
For some reason, the German snipers seemed to spare him. They must have thought he had gone mad, and so did I.
Behind us, the coast was crowded with destroyers, landing craft, and battleships, their guns blasting the shoreline. At the same time, there was an ear-splitting crackle of firing, coming from enemy tanks here and snipers there. The sound was heavily punctuated with the boom of shells raining down upon us, all of which made me utterly confused. Scared, too.
There was no reason why one man lost his life and not another. It seemed to be nothing but a game of chance. 
Was it my time to go? I tried to act indifferent, even as I drew a startled breath. If it was about to become my last one, then... Then, oh well, so be it. 
After a while my mind became numb. It seemed as if it had always been that way, as if moving forward—for as long as I would be lucky enough to survive—that was how my mind would remain.
Looking across the river Orne I saw the Germans retreating. Even so, there was no time to get a sense of relief, because every now and again they turned around and came back to counter-attack.
The bagpipe music had long faded away. At the sound of an explosion, eight of the British soldiers just ahead of me went down as fast as pins in a bowling alley. Another soldier came forward from behind, and both of us went on our hands and knees, crawling through the tall grass to help the wounded. 
“The only thing we can do for them,” he said, in his British accent, “is this: stick their rifles in the ground and hang their tin hats on top.”
“To mark their position for the medics.”
Once that was done, I advanced over a mound of earth, heading in a roundabout way towards the river bank. He caught my arm, held me back, and said, “Dig in!”
And I said, “What?”
“You don’t want to die, do you?” he asked, over the firing sounds of mortar bombs. “Can’t you see, plain as can be, that to be above ground isn’t such a bright idea?” 

★ Love suspense? Treat yourself to a thrill ★

"Ms. Poznansky has done it again, but this time—and I don’t say this lightly—she has written my favorite book to date in her stable of literary gems... The tension was riveting." 
Aaron Paul Lazar, Author

A Delightful WWII romantic thriller!

Here is a lovely new review, written by Aaron Paul Lazar. Aaron is a mystery writer author, and many of his books have audiobook editions. I am thrilled by what he says about the audiobook narration of Marriage before Death:

on November 21, 2017
Ms. Poznansky has done it again, but this time—and I don’t say this lightly—she has written my favorite book to date in her stable of literary gems.

Marriage Before Death continues in the Still Life With Memories series, which paints stories of the lives of Lenny and Natasha Kaminsky. (Book 1: My Own Voice, Book 2: The White Piano, Book 3: The Music of Us, Book 4: Dancing with Air)

In this story, Ms. Poznansky eloquently shifts from her previous genre of literary stories full of romance, to a wartime suspense story, still, however, continuing with the love story of our beloved couple.

I have always adored Ms. Poznansky's evocative writing, but this time she whisked me into the era of WWII French Resistance Fighters in 1944. And what an adventure it was! I trembled in my virtual boots beside Lenny when he was captured by Nazi soldiers, “this close” to being executed. He stood in a line of captured soldiers and resistance fighters, waiting to be sent to one group or the other. One group would be immediately hung in the gallows that loomed nearby, the other would be used in some fashion to help the Nazi cause. The tension was riveting.

I listened to the audiobook version of this fascinating story, told by the talented Mr. Don Warrick. His male character voices are outstanding, and his accents—whether it be British, French, German, Jewish, or American, the rendering is brilliant and on target. The female voices aren’t quite as effective, in my humble opinion, but honestly, one can’t fault a deep, stentorian narrator for not being able to completely sound like a woman. ;o)

Thank you, Ms. Poznansky, for allowing us to continue to believe that America still produces great writers who judiciously craft each sentence, and who can tell a great story at the same time.

- Highly recommended by Aaron Lazar, multi award-winning author.