Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Three Rosenblatt Sisters

"Having fled from Poland during World War II, the three Rosenblatt sisters arrived in Paris, where they discovered glamor, or at least the chance for it.

They bleached their hair super blond, so as to put the shtetl, and the horrors they must have suffered, right out of their mind, along with the old way of life.

Around the same time, they changed their names to Brigitte, Monique, and Veronique. Along with their names, they threw out a few other things which had failed to serve them: their long, dark skirts, and their modesty.

Wearing frilly underwear and black stockings, they auditioned for a show at a nightclub, a highly acclaimed nightclub called the Folies Bergère—only to be rejected, because sadly, their dance routine was too nice and conservative; which made them furious, and even more driven to make it.

So with clenched teeth, they learned how to lift their skirts, and flap them about in a highly erotic, flirtatious manner. After several months of hard, painstaking work, the three sisters finally became an overnight sensation.

They ended up joining a cheaply produced show in the nightclub district of Montmartre. Their fame spread. They became known for their fancy cancan costumes, which left them practically naked."


This is an excerpt from Apart From Love


This is watercolor painting on Yupo paper, which is non-absorbant. Thus, it lends itself to creating wonderful puddles of color, just as if someone with muddy boots has just paced across the floor and went off through the edge, disappearing into the frame of the painting... 

To read more about the process of composing the figures in this painting click here.


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Still Life with Memories

Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Audiobook: Amazon  Audible  iTunes

"A feast for the armchair psychologist"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Can we Solve the Availability Problem of Books on Amazon

About a week ago I sounded the alarm, pointing out some of the signs of the Availability Problem of Books on Amazon. Some dismiss it as non-existent, some think it's a kink easily fixed, and others--me included--see it as a serious problem: a problem here to stay, one we authors must contend with.

Since then I found an interesting article. It describes the problem with a focus on the relationship between Amazon and Lightning Source, the leading provider of POD books, and offers an interesting solution. You can easily replace 'Lightning Source' with your own provider, and you can see that the outline of the problem remains the same--except of course CreateSpace, Amazon's own provider.

The solution proposed in this article is interesting, but requires some work on your part. The basic idea is to take advantage of the way Amazon supports books published by its own CreateSpace, while 'guiding' it, by means of price competition, to match the price of your book to its offering by your POD provider, so the profitability remains the same.

Check it out: In Pursuit of Plan B by Aaron Shepard.

Review by Cyrus Webb of Conversations LIVE Radio

Cyrus Webb is the President of Conversations Book Club and the host of Conversations LIVE! Radio. He is also a Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer and a participant of the Vine Voice program on Amazon. So I feel very honored by his five-star review of Apart From Love on Amazon. I am especially amazed at the way Cyrus found to weave the title into his last sentence; by doing so he gave it a new meaning... few weeks ago, he interviewed me on Conversation LIVE Radio, and came up with wonderful questions about my writing and art. To hear the radio interview with Cyrus Webb click here

5.0 out of 5 stars Uvi Poznansky Shows That Nothing Really Matters APART FROM LOVEMay 28, 2012
This review is from: Apart From Love (Paperback)
We always hear that there are two sides to every story, however in Uvi Poznansky's new literary offering APART FROM LOVE we find that sometimes there are as many of three sides of truth.

We meet Ben and Anita, two individuals that are drawn to each other on a level many would not fully understand, but are conflicted by the circumstances that have brought them together. You see, Anita is married to Ben's father Lenny, but there is something missing in her relationship that Ben seems able to fill.

It is through the voices of Ben and Anita that we learn of the conflicts they feel towards each other, as well as how Lenny fits into the equation. The author allows their individual voices to be heard, giving the reader the chance to understand how they are coming to make the choices that will define their future.

In the end we are able to see that there is still more than just Ben and Anita to be considered, and Lenny's own voice adds a piece to the puzzle that is sure to change what many of us might think about him and the lives of our two main characters.

What I took away from the book is that love is something that is more than words and feelings. It is action that is able to change everything that we know and how we see ourselves and others. We might not be able to fully understand the direction it leads us in, but Uvi Poznansky shows in this novel that nothing really matters apart from love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Child on a Wagon

Here is an except from my poetry book, Home. I wrote this story the way I imagined my father seeing his journey, and his family escaping into the depth of Russia as a small child:

"There he sits, pressed in between bundles and things that keep rattling around him, on top of a horse-driven wagon. Looking up at his parents he can sense something big, something fearful and unspoken casting a shadow over them; and they bend their heads together over him and his sister. He can see an endless line in front, an endless line in back – horses and wagons, wagons and horses as far as the eye can see – all advancing towards the same gray, unclear horizon, all escaping towards the same destination: Unknown.

The sun rises in front of the wagons, and sets behind them. Towns appear and disappear. Rivers pass by, then forests, brick houses, motels. In Minsk they stop. He finds the three-story hotel quite fascinating at first, especially the curved rail of the staircase, which is meant, no doubt, for sliding down and yelling at the top of your voice. Of course, landing down on your butt, he finds out, is an entirely different matter – and so is the harsh, unforgiving look cast down at him by the hotelkeeper.

They settle down for the night. In the rented room, his mommy blesses the Sabbath candles. Her hands are tightly clasped, her eyes closed. And early the next morning they mount the wagon again, and the journey goes on in the dim light, guided by nothing but an instinct to survive, farther and farther away from home.

Squinting at the rising sun, Zeev finds it more and more difficult to keep his eyes open. His mind is going numb listening to the wheels as they spin and turn, beating incessantly against the mud. Cold rain starts coming down at him, sheet after sheet, and streaming in the same direction is the wet mane of the horse. Its head keeps bobbing up and down, up and down in front. When will it end? Where can they go?

Many days pass by – he cannot count them any more – until, one evening, as they travel along the river, a big town comes into view, closer and closer against the smoky blue backdrop of the Ural Mountains.

This, his daddy tells him, is Saratov."



My father was born 1912, and the story above is how I imagine the story of the family, escaping their home on the eve of World War I, which started on August 1, 1914 with the German declaration of war on Russia. Always an army town, the fortress of Brisk was now flooded with Russian military personnel, and many private houses were requisitioned to accommodate them. Late in July 1915, with the installation of new hospitals in town, it became clear that the front was fast approaching Brisk De-Lita.

Rumors of evacuation were heard and the Russian army was to fortify the east bank of the Bug River; but when the German army captured Warsaw on August 4, the Fort Commandant gave the civilian population in Brisk three days to evacuate. Imagine the panic amongst the Jews, who owned most of the businesses, when they had to abandon their belongings and flee for their lives.

When the German army marched into Brisk on August 25, it was a town without people, but with a great abundance of merchandise in the stores. And on the eve of Yom Kippur, the 18th of September, they entered Slonim, a neighboring city, and pressed on into Russia.

By that time, the family was already far away from the frontline. A long, dragged out journey had begun.




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Home
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"Home. A simple word; a loaded one. You can say it in a whisper; you can say it in a cry"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two Holidays: Spring and Memorial

Today I feel conflicted. I am torn between the awakening to spring, as celebrated in the Jewish tradition of Shavuot, and the remembrance of the fallen, as marked in the American tradition of Memorial day. This year the two holidays occur back-to-back, which makes the conflict even more palpable.

So in my own way I am trying to join these feelings together. In this small canvas I am putting the finishing touches, trying to bring the expression of one fallen young man back to life. 

This painting was intended to become a part of a public memorial project. But the way I approached the painting is intensely personal, with the widow and the family in mind. The size of the canvas (5x5 inches) also lends itself to an intimate connection at close range. I had David's face lean toward the observer, almost nodding to her. Perhaps one day his widow will receive this painting and  looking at his warm smile, she will recall his voice and will feel him spring back to life. 

To me this is one possible connection between Spring and Memorial.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Joy of Inspiration

"The longer I live, the more I realize that each one is only unto himself... Sometimes I shudder to see how lonely a person is in the universe. Only the noise, the tumult and the constant competition make me overlook this realization. The condition of the artist is immeasurably superior. The joy of inspiration puts your feeling of loneliness at a remote distance, and you imagine that life shall never end. But to create is possible only when you can trust that you create for someone or for some thing, that you are not surrounded by lies, and not building upon a deceptive foundation."


Here is my first painting in oil from several years back. It shows the surfaces from above: the wooden table upon which I work, and the grey floor barely visible underneath, with the puddle of black paint spreading on it; which in my mind is like a 'thought bubble' for cartoon characters. Here, the cartoon characters are my tools: the jar where the turpentine swishes around and the paintbrushes that seem to travel in some direction across the surface. 

To hear my very first radio interview click here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blade

I have no will. I have no curiosity.
Of its own, a finger is passing with barely a touch along the blade until suddenly, catching on a spot, it halts. Rust, perhaps. I raise my hand over to the light, careful not to tighten my hold over the thing. A cold shine can be seen in intervals, shooting up and down between my fingers along the metallic handle. I can sense the edge. 
I can see my wrist, a vein twisting through it with a hard pulse. I can see the delicate lines guessing their way across the skin. How frail is life. Better close your eyes. Close your eyes, I say. Do it.
I close my eyes and with a light, effortless relief, my thoughts are lifted from the moment. They are lifted, turning over the edge, cutting up and away. I have no will. I have no curiosity. I have no blood. I am no longer here.




The segment above, which I wrote at a time in my life that was extremely difficult, was something I thought too personal to share. So was the large oil painting I painted around the same time.

However, a few years later I reread it. This time I could sense the pain--but this time, to my surprise, it was separate from me: as if I had put it in a glass jar, closed the lid and examined it from outside. Quite a strange sensation... So when my protagonist Ben fell on hard times at a certain point in my novel Apart From Love, I let him borrow these words. He whispered them as he stood there, watching his father's cut-throat blade in the small bathroom of the place where he had grown up.

Love reading? Get this series 
Still Life with Memories

Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume I: My Own Voice
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PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume II: The White Piano
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PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume III: The Music of Us
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PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
 Audiobook: Amazon  Audible  iTunes

“The attention to detail showcases the smooth pen of the author”

Mother and Child

My little one would gurgle and coo right here, in my arms. I would be brushing my lips over his scalp—ever so gentle—careful not to touch nowhere close to the tender spot, right there at the top. I could almost feel the fine fuzz of his hair, real soft, tickling my cheek. 
In my head I could kiss, I could almost swallow his tiny fingers. They would wrap around my finger, their nails so pink, so incredibly clear. And the little hands, they would stroke my hair or like, search for my breast. 
Then I would touch the nipple to my baby’s lips, and watch him latch on and like, suck, suck, swallow, breathe; suck, suck, swallow, breathe. 
All the while his eyes would be fixed on me, curious to see, to separate my face out of that blurry chaos, that first, misty sight of lights and of shadows. And so I promised myself: I would give him that which I never got. I would become such a good mama, like no mama ever was! I would keep him safe right here, close to my heart. 

Anita in Apart From Love

This is written in the voice of Anita, an uneducated yet witty redhead in my novel. This is her soft side: she is imagining the bond between her and the baby she carries inside:
In the same vein, here is my bronze piece, Mother and Child:




Love reading? Get this series 
Still Life with Memories

Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume I: My Own Voice
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume II: The White Piano
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Volume III: The Music of Us
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
Audiobook: Amazon  Audible  iTunes

"I was drawn into a masterfully created piece of artwork. This is no ordinary novel..."

The Availability Problem of Books on Amazon


Have you noticed that a book you’re interested in (either because you wrote it, or because you would like to read it) appears with the note ‘ships in 1-3 weeks’? This reduced availability is not only annoying--but particularly puzzling: on the Barnes & Noble website, the same book appears as ‘in stock’ and somehow, it is available for immediate shipping! 
Lately it seems that Amazon let its stock of books supplied by publishers and printing houses other their own CreateSpace dwindle down. I could see this happen to my own novel, Apart From Love, even though my contract with my printing house ensures a quick shipping schedule, as fast as a day or two from the time an order is placed. The immediate availability of the book on Barnes & Noble proves that the printing house keeps its word. The problem, then, is a change in Amazon order strategy.
In the past, books out-of-stock at Amazon were listed with an availability status of 1–2 days, based on Amazon’s practice of having them drop shipped on their behalf from the printing house directly to the customer. But apparently, Amazon no longer considers its drop shipping arrangement economically worthwhile.
If you are a writer, you may be wishing this is merely a glitch. I would love to join you in entertaining this hope. Two months ago, I sent an inquiry about this to my printing house and received the following reply, explaining the two methods of making books available to Amazon:
The first method is our 24-hour service level approach which shows “in stock” at Amazon. In this method, Lightning Source prints the book and ships on behalf of Amazon. This method allows Amazon to meet “in stock / ships immediately” service levels without actually storing the books in their distribution centers. Our second method is where Amazon buys books from Lightning Source and stocks these books in their facilities. If and when Amazon makes changes between the first method and the second method in order to meet their business requirements, occasionally these changes can result in a delivery promise change on Amazon.com.

Recently, Amazon has made more changes than we typically see in their shopping logic and stocking strategies between method one, where Lightning Source drop-ships, and method two, where Amazon stocks the title in their distribution centers. This change in sourcing methods has resulted in a very small number of Lightning Source titles moving to a longer availability status, sometimes as long as two to three weeks. As we learn about these changes, we are working with Amazon to quickly adjust the availability back to 24 hours, but this takes time. We are working to improve availability of your titles on Amazon and truly appreciate you letting us know of the issue. The more information we have from our publishers, the more effective we can be as we communicate with Amazon.
Meanwhile, my inquiry to Amazon resulted in no response. 
I will dedicate another post to a fuller explanation of this problem. In it I will brainstorm with you a number of ways to deal with it. For now, I am just curious if you have experienced this problem. Have you done anything about it? What were the results?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Great News for Apart From Love on Goodreads

This morning I discovered three new events on Goodreads (a social network for readers): Apart From Love rose to position #22 out of 326 books in the New Authors to Read listopia. It also rose to #36 out of 1,098 books in the Best Independent Books listopia. If you haven't voted yet for my book, please do it! It will give the book the exposure it so badly needs, and allow it find its audience! I truly need all the help I can get in this monumental task. And the best news of all: Dolores Ayotte posted the following review on Goodreads as well as on Amazon:

Uvi Paznansky is an artist! There is no doubt about it. As I read "Apart from Love", I was drawn into a masterfully created piece of artwork. This is no ordinary novel. It richly depicts the product of a dysfuntional family and how they are drawn together, yet so repulsed by each other.

There is a quality so deep and raw in "Apart from Love" that it's almost impossible to put this book down. In my opinion, Uvi Paznansky writes like a painter. She starts with a clean canvas and dabs a little paint here and a little paint there as she develops her characters and creates her masterpiece. Her strokes then become broader, more passionate, more vivid and vibrant as she continues to let her characters' stories unfold. She draws you in to a deeper level than you might actually want to go as she ignites the fire to your own love, passions, and fears.

Ben, the 27 year old son grudgingly returns home many years after the divorce of his parents, Lenny and Natasha. He finds that there is a mutual attraction between his father's young wife Anita, and himself. Their stories, along with Lenny's are related in a narrative as each person has the opportunity to share his side of the events that take place. "Apart from Love" reminds me of a movie I enjoyed many years ago...Cat on a Hot Tin Roof because it is a well-written drama that could take place on a stage similar to this movie. In "Apart from Love" Ben states..."In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive but so seldom do you give to others." There is defintely a great need for forgiveness both on the giving end as well as the receiving end in this novel.

Similar to any other work of art, the artist leaves so much of themselves in their work. Uvi Paznansky has done just that! Kudos to her on a job well done!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When Words Are Not Enough: Katrina

Some subjects leave such an impression in my mind that words are not enough. Such was the case with the human disaster that came about at the heels of hurricane Katrina, which formed on August 23 during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, and caused devastation along much of the north-central Gulf Coast.

This is a big canvas, 36x60. When it is hung on the wall, you are face to face with the figures at the bottom half of the canvas, those who with their last shred of resistance are struggling to survive this incredible deluge. They are caught up in a swirl of emotions: grief, disbelief, helplessness. With her hands wrinkled by the prolonged wading through the water, the woman in the center gathers the other survivors, leading them to a safer ground, to you.


Over your head, one figure can be seen, ascending into the arms of Katrina and is being whisked away. Is this salvation--or else, a moment of all hope extinguished?