Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Exploring Virtual Voice possibilities as a way to pay tribute tribute to my father's poetry

 I'm testing the capabilities of virtual voice studio, offered by Amazon to authors to create audiobook editions of their work. I'm quite impressed by it. They offer a choice of voices. I would love to use a male voice to read my father's poetry in Home, but am a little let down by the male voices, all three of them are somewhat flat and monotonous. On the other hand, one of the female voices have an amazing emotional range. What do you think of a female voice reading a male narrative?

 Inspired by poetry? Treat yourself a gift 

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"A fine book for those of us who do enjoy more elegant things in life. The cover art alone is probably worth the price of admission." 

Oleg Medvedkov, Top 500 Reviewer

Monday, May 20, 2024

Love, love this series

 Here's a review for my WWII saga Apart from War that touched my heart.

Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2024

I just finished reading this series for the second time. It is a series that sticks with you for days! I have recommended to my friends. The emotions experienced are raw and real. My only critique would be if their son learned of their contribution to the war effort or we learned more about him. This is one series I will read again in a few years

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

It was time to accept and be accepted in return

Coming off the plane I noticed a group of three silent figures and by their deathly pale faces I recognized them: his mother, father, and pregnant wife. They stood together, strangely separated from the hustle bustle of the airport, waiting for me.

They watched in solemn silence as I wheeled the casket toward them. It was a tense moment. No questions were asked, no tears shed. The mother, still reeling from the shock of losing her son, did not cry. Instead she bit her lips, hard. The father wrapped his arm around her for support, but he was the one that seemed closest to the verge of collapse. 

Then he steadied himself, somehow, and with a gentle motion, stroked the flag that wrapped the coffin. 

“So sorry for your loss,” I said, feeling awkward for using a phrase that was too weak and all too common to convey what I was feeling.

He nodded his head to signal that he heard me, but neither he nor the mother could utter a single word. In their place, the soldier’s young wife came to me, holding something in her hand. 

Softly she said, "When Charlie came home on his last leave, he gave me the Marine Corps emblem off his hat. At first I refused it, knowing that without the emblem, he risked not being readmitted to the base.”

I said, “Perhaps he had a premonition of what would come his way and wanted you to keep it.”

“Yes,” she whispered, clutching it to her heart. “I still have it. It's a cherished memento.”

Meanwhile, from out of nowhere, a lone bagpiper came by. In the midst of a busy airport he looked like an apparition from a different place and time, marching slowly towards us. As he strolled past the flag-draped casket I caught the music he was playing: it was an old song, written by an Englishman who in the early part of his life had been an outspoken atheist, libertine, and slave trader, only to find his faith after riding out a storm at sea.

Amazing Grace.

The sound of it was magical. It quelled the noise of people fussing, people walking all about, rushing to and fro with suitcases and stuff. At the same time it calmed the silence, the angry silence in my heart, opening it anew to sadness and to joy.

It was then that the soldier’s wife took a step forward to the casket and placed the emblem on it, which for her meant the beginning of farewell, and for the fallen, the end of a long journey, the journey home. 

Her voice trembled as she started singing for him,


Amazing grace... How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind, but now I see.


Her voice was so soft, so heartbreakingly delicate, and yet it made the hair rise on my head and the flesh quiver on my bones. I felt—oh, I can’t explain what I felt! It was not only grief for this man, who was a brother of mine even though I had never come to know him, but also pity for his family and for all us, civilians and soldiers, the fallen, the wounded, the loved ones back home, all the lives forever changed by this horrific war.

In my childhood, my mother used to sing Amazing Grace to me in place of a lullaby, because it had always calmed me down before she tucked me in, before she said good night. 


Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come

’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.


The music made me think of Natasha. In a complete reversal of emotion I found myself overcoming my rage, my sense of betrayal. Suddenly I realized that whatever had caused the break between us should be set aside. It was time to accept and be accepted in return. 

I, too, was coming home. 

And I could not wait to see my father.



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This trilogy includes three novels, where one begins where the previous one ends, so you keep yourself immersed in the times and in the saga that begins when Lenny and Natasha first meet. Follow them from the US to England to France during WWII.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

A romance novel to remind readers that anything is possible when it comes to love!

Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2024

The prologue of Dancing with Air will feel familiar for those who have watched a loved one progress through the stages of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s. My heart broke for Lenny, Natasha’s husband and caregiver, as he reminisced about their past together while worrying about what their future held as she slipped further and further away from him.

I couldn’t help but think about true love and what that meant to Lenny and Natasha. There were so many moments in their relationship when things could have ended, yet somehow, they pushed through the obstacles and continued to love each other. There is something comforting about that thought. When the universe conspires to unite two people, not even a world war can keep them apart.

Poznansky offers readers a beautiful combination of historical accuracy alongside a love story. While the world she references actually existed, she does a lovely job of taking the reader back to this time period with her thoughtful portrayal of what life was like while living through the war. One aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed was how she incorporated song lyrics into the story.

Dancing with Air captures a beautiful and enduring love story between two average people facing extraordinary and dangerous circumstances during World War II. Poznansky sprinkles the book with historical details without overwhelming the story of Lenny and Natasha, thus always focusing on these young lovers. However, by allowing the reader to see the future story of Lenny and Natasha as they deal with the devastating impact of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Poznansky highlights that not every story has a fairytale ending. Yet the reader knows that the love shared between Lenny and Natasha will survive until their last breaths, and there is comfort in that.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

You have betrayed him. Accept his hate.


I knew it the very next morning, and I still know it now: My brother hates me. He has removed me from his mind, stricken away any thought, any memory about me. I am dead to him. The scary part is, that being dead will not stand in the way of him killing me, if ever he lays eyes on me again.

It is an odd feeling. Have you ever faced it? Being dead to someone you envy, someone you miss, too. Someone who knows you intimately and, even worse, has the chutzpa to occupy your thoughts day in, day out. It grinds down on your nerves, doesn’t it? 

Trust me, being dead to your brother is not all that it is cracked up to be, but it does set you free—oh, don’t act so surprised! It frees you from any lingering sense of obligation. Brother, you say to yourself. What does it mean, Brother? Nothing more than a pang, a dull pang in your heart. 

You have betrayed him. Accept his hate.

You need not talk to him ever again. For the rest of your life, you are free! A stranger—that is what you are. A stranger, visited from time to time by dreams: Dreams about the mother you will never see again, and the father you left behind, on his deathbed. Dreams of waiting, waiting so eagerly for the next day, to meet your brother at the end of an endless exile. Dreams of grappling with him all night long, until the crack of dawn. Until your ankles give way. Until you lose your footing on the ground. 

Then, rising up to take you is the darkness of the earth, which is where you wake up at sunrise to find yourself alone.



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In this plot of mistaken identity, Becky instructs her son to cheat his elderly father Isaac, who is lying on his deathbed. Will Jacob pretend to be that which he is not? Is he ready for the last moment he is going to have with his father?

This is a modern twist on a very old story of greed, love, and regrets. It is so much more than a morality tale. Do you find sibling rivalry in adults intriguing? Are you troubled by the notion that the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children? If so, you will find this story utterly captivating

★★★★★ "A lively psychological study of family and of greed and longing for paternal love and more. It works spectacularly well."

Friday, April 26, 2024

I was a nobody, and she—a star. Unreachable. Glamorous.

 The only way I could block away the noise was by listening to my favorite radio program, The Chesterfield Hour, which was sponsored by the Chesterfield tobacco company. For the most part, it featured big bands. But that afternoon, the announcer opened with, “Today, for a change, we have something quite unusual: a classical piece, one that has the reputation of being one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the classical repertoire: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.”

At the sound of his words I leapt off my bed and turned the volume up, which made the cook grumble, “Turn the damn thing off, right now!” 

He followed that with a few choice words, which had little effect on me. Outside the kitchen, outside his domain, I didn’t care to play the slave, so I pretended not to hear a word of what he had to say. 

Ever since that night when the redhead kid had entered my life—I mean, ever since she had decided, on a whim, to replace what she had intended to play with something else, something more suitable for GIs here, at Cape Upton—I had been growing curious to hear what I—what all of us—had missed.

 The announcer went on to say, “Many experienced pianists dare not play this concerto. Some of them lament that they didn’t learn it in their younger days, when they were still too fresh to know fear. Well, fear will not stop this performer.” 

By instinct I uttered her name even before he did. “Natasha Horowitz.” 

For many days I had been agonizing over the memory of how I met her, what a lousy impression I must have left in her mind by leaping off the stage. I kept asking myself, “How did you dare do it, what devil made you think you can share the spotlight with this girl, even for a single minute? Oh what a spectacle, what a sorry spectacle you made of yourself! What came over you?”

If, by some lucky, unforeseen twist of events, I were to find myself in her presence ever again, which I doubted, I would probably freeze, not knowing what to say. I was a nobody, and she—a star. Unreachable. Glamorous. There could be no connection between us, except through her music. It would illuminate my life and at the same time, deepen its shadows, giving full meaning to what I felt, in joy and in pain. Such is the power of a muse.



The Music of Us

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

My animation: Eyes Fallen Shut

 


My new animation: Eyes Fallen Shut
Based on my paper art and poem
Narrated by the incredible voice artist Paul J. McSorley