Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Second Chat with Rob at Cowboy Wisdom NLP Radio

I am very honored that the host of Cowboy Wisdom NLP Radio, Rob Wilson, invited me for a second interview! Rob is a certified professional coach and motivational speaker, generating, facilitating, and illuminating life's possibilities in all people. He is a regular on the Stu Taylor Radio Show, 'Equity Strategies and Business Talk' and a published author of several books: The Wisdom of a Cowboy: Crossing the River and Climbing the Mountain, Wired for Change by a Journeyman and American Worker: Prison Wagesin the Private Sector. 

We talked about my art, about my novel, Apart From Love, offered free for three days (Aug. 31-Sep. 2, 2012) and about my upcoming poetry book, Home. You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let Me Play

Bring me along, when you celebrate Labor Day   
Apart From Love, I'm your prize   
It's a chance to imagine, to let me play   
A story of passion before your eyes   
   
Take a deep breath and take me outdoors   
Watch the leaves falling, never mind autumn blues   
If you touch me, I'll be all yours   
My pages will rustle, and awaken your muse.   

Detail from the cover of Apart from Love

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


 "A feast for the armchair psychologist. 
Reveals insights that can touch and frighten each of us"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

T'was a Hot Summer Evening

T'was a hot summer evening, Anita laid eyes on Ben   
But summer's gone now, and so is their kiss   
The only witnesses left are my paper and pen   
Let me tell you what happened, from conflicts to bliss   
   
T'was a hot summer. And now, touch my hand   
Let me give you my book. Here, turn a page   
Being Apart From Love is hard to withstand   
Here are Ben and Anita... Let them take stage   


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

 "A feast for the armchair psychologist. 
Reveals insights that can touch and frighten each of us"

The Breath of Autumn is Here

Summer's come to a close, the breath of autumn is here   
Time for reflection, time for a break   
The winds start gusting at this time of year   
Listen to my whispers, so you make no mistake--   

As golden leaves drift, rustling in the air   
Come cuddle with me, open my cover   
Apart From Love, there's not a moment to spare   
Leaf through my story, it's for you to discover   

Detail from the cover

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

 "A feast for the armchair psychologist. 
Reveals insights that can touch and frighten each of us"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Katrina and Isaac

Today, faced with news that Isaac Sparks Hurricane Katrina Memories, I pray for the people of New Orleans. Thinking about the wild, ferocious forces of nature, I am reminded of two small details in two of my canvases: Katrina and Earthquake, both of which took months of work, during which I was in awe learning about the survivors. 

I painted both of them on large canvases (36"x60") which force you to step back to view them, as befits the awe these subjects inspire in me. In both, I composed groupings of figures, captured at the moment of meeting their fate, meeting disaster. Most of them are completely oblivious to you, the observer, as they focus on trying to escape death, and helping others. 

But in each one of these paintings, one figure--a child--turns a penetrating look directly at you, as if to cry out--Help! Can't you do something? Pull me out of here! 

Detail from Katrina

Detail from Earthquake

It gives me pause today, knowing that the boy in second painting is inspired by my thoughts going back to the biblical story of the binding of Isaac. There he is, carrying a bundle of wood, which is meant to build the altar for his own sacrifice.

Let us pray for New Orleans, and for people everywhere, because we are all being tested by fate.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Beautifully Crafted Triangle of Love

A new ★★★★★ book review has been posted today on Amazon for Apart From Love:


5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Crafted Triangle of LoveAugust 26, 2012
By 
A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)


This review is from: Apart From Love (Paperback)
The story is told from the viewpoints of Ben and Anita. Ben is the adult son of Lenny who has been estranged from his parents for the past ten years, with Ben blaming his father for the break up of the family when Lenny and Natasha divorced. Anita is Lenny's new wife who is pregnant, the same age as Ben and also has an uncanny resemblance to Natasha, so much so they could have been taken as sisters - but in appearance only. Natasha was a beautiful and talented concert pianist with elegance and grace to match. Whereas Anita is rough, ill educated, dresses brashly and her speech is no better than `street talk'. What Ben didn't know was that even when he was a child at home living with both his parents, his mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease and that this progressed to the stage where Lenny divorced her and had her cared for in a home. The marriage wasn't always happy with Lenny having many affairs and flings but Anita, one of his flings, had been around for ten years or so before he married her following an unplanned pregnancy.

Without giving more of the story away, there are many facets to each persons story and all have their hopes, fears and revelations. The love between Ben and Anita which both of them hide as much from themselves as each other, is a slow burn, almost dangerous dance that is more in their heads than physical. Lenny is a little bit like a spy listening to tape recordings of both Ben and Anita's thoughts, playing and rewinding the tapes over and over, torturing himself in preparing their words for the novel he is writing.

Uvi Poznasky is a very talented lady, not only is she a very accomplished writer, she is a poet, sculptor, artist, teacher and much more. The beautiful cover of the book is of one of her works of art and after visiting her website I see that she is indeed gifted and worth taking a look at uviart.com . This is a beautiful and sophisticated novel of love, loss and torture and well worth reading.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seriously Sensual

Just listen to me, as I bare my soul      
Talking to Gabrielle and Nicki-Nicole     
No need to put me up on some high pedestal     
'Cause here we are, girls: seriously sensual     

To hear about some of the intimate details hidden in the pages of Apart From Love, Listen to my interview with at Seriously Sensual, here:


Listen to internet radio with Seriously Sensual on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, August 24, 2012

Seeing my Home Through a Fish-Eye

When my father passed away, I went back home for the traditional Shiva-a, the seven days period of mourning. Perhaps the grief did something to change the way I viewed things, or else it was sitting in that space--my childhood home--in a spot I rarely sat before, discovering it from a new angle, observing how light penetrated the far reaches of this place, how the furniture signified relationships in the family. I drew what I saw on a napkin; wiped my tears with it, and later discarded it.


Coming back to the states, I recreated that sketch from memory. In my new drawing I used a fish-eye perspective. What does that mean? Like regular perspective, the horizontal lines converge into a vantage point in the distance. But here is the difference: the vertical lines are not straight, nor are they parallel. As you look up, vertical lines converge to a point up there, beyond the edge of the paper. You can call it Heaven. And as you look down, the vertical lines converge to a point below, call it Hell. Which makes the entire perspective embrace you, as if you are in the middle of a fish bowl, seeing the world curve around you.

And looking though such a perspective, what did I see? An earthquake, really, in the aftermath of my father's death. Books falling off the shelves; the lamp swinging like a pendulum; the little side table (in the front) overturned, so my father will never lay his pen upon it; and instead of the persian rugs that used to adorn this space once upon a time, I floated blank pages on the floor; pages he will never again use for writing.


In my next sketch I let the lamp swing even higher into the air. The place has completely tilted, and my father's armchair is ascending above the rest of the furniture. This is the sketch I used for an oil painting called My Father's Armchair, which later became the cover of my new book, coming out now: Home.


★ Love poetry? Get this book 
Home
Ebook: Kindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords 
Audiobook: Amazon  Audible 

Paperback: Amazon  Barnes&Noble

"HOME is an homage... poetry that's never been placed before the public until now"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hanging Out with a Teddy Bear, Saving a Tilting Fish

From listening to previous author interviews at the Writers' Lounge, I knew that there was a teddy bear hanging in the studio... So in my mind, I could see it dangling there, listening while I was talking to the host of the show, Tom Riddell, whose review for Apart from Love was posted on his site about a week ago, and his co-host Robin Eduardo.

As the interview opened, Tom asked me to read a short excerpt. So here is a flashback to the time Ben was twelve years old child, facing the fish tilting sideways in his aquarium:

"The fish, it seems to be gulping for air. Maybe it forgot how to breathe. I know I can fix it. First I rub the mouth, delicately, with my finger. Then I try to massage the entire body. I am doing my best, my very best to be gentle—but in the end, some scales tear off the body, and a tiny fin flakes away.
At this point, I must do something, and fast. Just like dad: he did what he could for grandma, and blew his breath into her; and his breath was magical, because it lasted in her, somehow, for the next two weeks. I can do better than that for this little body, even with a few scales or a fin missing. So, I take a deep breath, put my lips to the fish—but then the smell, the touch... It makes me pause for a minute.
Still, I cannot give up: I must be brave, just like dad—or else, the spell may be broken. So again I gasp, and with frantic hope, I give a full-blown puff. The red eyes seem to be looking at me, and the tail is hanging over my finger, and it looks limp, and a bit crumpled.
I cannot allow myself to weep. No, not now. So I wipe the corner of my eye. Now if you watch closely, right here, you can see that the tail is still crinkling. I gasp, and blow again. I blow and blow, and with a last-gasp effort I go on blowing until all is lost, until I don’t care anymore, I mean it, I don’t care but the tears, the tears come, they are starting to flow, and there is nothing, nothing more I can do—
Then I feel mom, the smell of her skin. Here she is, wrapping her arms around mine. Softly, gently, she releases the fish, and takes me to their bed, and dad says nothing but makes room for me, and I curl myself in the dent between them, and it feels so warm here and so sweet that at last, I can lose myself, and I cry myself to sleep."


To listen to the entire interview, come hang out with us at The Writers' Lounge.

Monday, August 20, 2012

'Better that 50 Shades of Gray'

Apart From Love is currently voted #1 in Indie Book Better than 50 Shades of Gray! Are you a Goodreads member? If so, please show support and add your vote. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Home, from the Back

When I posted the front cover of my upcoming book, Home, a reader wrote to me saying she was so ready to read it! So I worked as hard as I can, designing the back cover. While the image on the front is based on my oil painting, the one on the back is conjured out of thin air... Here three snapshots I took of the design process: 


Using gimp (a program with capabilities similar to Photoshop) I cut and pasted segments from the image for the front cover, creating a 'collage' on screen. 


Using virtual 'brushes' of various sizes and bristle signatures,  I painted the over the collage, so it became as textured and its lines as curvy as the front cover. I softened the sharp lines, so they do not 'steal' your attention away from the text to be displayed on top. Thus, I made it a 'smoky' atmosphere, that complements the home image on the front cover.


Then I took time off to compose the blurb. Once I was happy with it, I created the text shadows, which are not black but rather the darkest purple in the image. I blurred these shadows, to soften their hard edges. Then I created the text that appears over the shadows. (When text appears over an image that is highly textured, it is important to present any text over a layer of shadow, which helps separate the letters from the image.)


Inspired by poetry? Get this book 
Home
Ebook: Kindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords 
Audiobook: Amazon  Audible 
Paperback: Amazon  Barnes&Noble

"HOME is an homage... poetry that's never been placed before the public until now"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home

Home is a vessel holding poems and prose in tribute of my father. I spent an entire day working on the design of the front cover:



The image may look familiar to you, I have showcased it in My Father's Armchair, and offered closeup details, in association with my poems Muse and This is the Place. However, I needed a higher resolution image for the front cover, which presented a real challenge. It is extremely difficult to photograph this piece, because the layer of gold, which is exposed in places, reflects light in unpredictable ways. So I snapped the picture in one room, then another, with diffused daylight coming from the side, the front, the top, with and without flash, then took it outside and snapped it in sunlight, in the shadow, here, there and everywhere... You get the picture.

At last I found one version that looked fine to me. First I had to fit the image to a prescribed size (according the book size I have in mind.) Then I created the shadows of the lettering. You may notice that the shadow's color is not black, but rather it is the darkest purple of the painting (which can be seen in the lower left corner.) Also, I blurred these shadows, so they do not have hard edges, but fuzzy ones. Then I selected a soft yellow, with which I typed the title, Home; and a less bright version of this yellow, with which I typed my name and my father's. Being brighter, the title 'comes forward' in relationship to the author names. 

Normally I would make sure that all text fields are of the same width, or that they are arranged in a way that the one on top has the shortest width, and the one at the bottom has the longest width, which creates a sense of stability. Not so here, because I view my childhood home through the shaky lens of memory...

★ Love poetry? Get this book 
Home
FREE Ebook: Kindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords 
Audiobook: Amazon  Audible 
Paperback: Amazon  Barnes&Noble

"Not only does the author take the reader into a wonderful world where words are like music, ebbing and flowing with a rhythm that is captivating and beautiful, but she also gives life to her father's writings"