[Guest Post]: Paths in the Storm by Ilana Maor

paths in the storm



Jewish historical novel based on a true story

Genre: Historical novel

Date Published: September 10, 2018

Publisher: Alonim

The turbulent events in Europe of the first half of the 20th century find Marek fighting successive obstacles fate places in his way. A descendant of a family of physicians, Marek demonstrates extraordinary resourcefulness and imagination, persistently creating his own path towards completing his studies and building his life.

Max is a well-known filmmaker whose life story parallels that of the development of the cinema worldwide, starting from its earliest stages. The heroines are ambitious, each one in her way, their love stories undergoing huge upheavals both due to personal reasons as well as a result of the stormy times. The characters, based in part on real persons, find unconventional paths leading them, against all odds, to lives of fulfilment.

Paths in the Storm is a fascinating historical novel, depicting the personal stories and great loves of four generations of two families which are entwined with the major historical developments of the century, often regarded from less known perspectives. The rapid sequence of events unfolds across Europe from Switzerland through Poland, France, and the Soviet Union. Connections from different worlds bring together people of science and medicine, finance, diplomacy as well as art and bohemia and, on the other side, descendants of a well-known rabbinic dynasty.






Guest Post by Ilana Maor 


Most of my life I have been living in Haifa, Israel. I am married and have two children and five grandchildren. I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and have been working in science ever since. Through the years, I have worked at the Technion, Haifa, the European Union and the Israeli Innovation Authority.
From childhood I have been active in music – playing the piano and singing. I play chamber music with musicians of the Haifa University and sing in a small ensemble. I have been a very fast reader from childhood and usually read more than a book per week, mainly at night. Over the years I took courses in creative writing but never thought I would write a book. While in mourning after my parents, friends asked me about their lives and when I told some of the family history they said: “What a drama, you must write a book”. I did not pay attention at that time. It took a few years to start thinking about the idea, especially after publishing my first book of poems.

Then it took some more time of historical/geographical research to start the actual writing. Some of the real characters in the book I found in Wikipedia. This was a great surprise for me, and it also helped build their story. My husband and I travelled to Basel, Warsaw, Pisa, and Bordeaux to follow the paths of the main characters during the first half of the 20th century. This was an adventure I would never forget. In 2013, we
met in Bordeaux with the professors of the Polyethnic, where my father finished his engineering studies with honours, just before Word War II. The week with them was unforgettable, and the pictures we took are still circulating constantly on the digital picture frame in our living room.

These meetings gave me a real push to continue writing and reach the ending.
Some of my inspiration came from Ken Follett’s 20th Century Trilogy. He has the special talent of telling a family saga, while also describing so beautifully historical events, happening simultaneously in many places.
Sometimes when I think of the hardships that the characters had to overcome, I am really unable to comprehend how they still had strong willpower and energy to build such family lives and also achieve so much professionally.
Returning to the past and even learning more about it while researching and writing the book, brings me even closer to my own family, husband, children, and grandchildren. This terrible story makes us appreciate life, love, family, and friends. It also makes me to appreciate more life in a democratic country, where one can feel free, have the right to their own opinion, the right to choose their profession, and their path in general.
I really hope you love my book which had been written in five years, between my work and family duties, and cost me many tears as the narrative developed, both of sadness and joy.


About the author: 


Dr. Ilana Maor’s Paths in the Storm, now available in English, received enthusiastic reviews for its original Hebrew edition. The book has been recommended by Haaretz (premier Israeli newspaper), Haifa News and many other local papers in Israel. Some of the additional readers’ praises: “One of the best books I have read about this period…”. “Captivating. Wholeheartedly recommend it.” “Amazing story, full of events…touches every one of us…”. “The writer’s epic ability makes the story delightful and fascinating… Very recommended”. (Nuritha – Israel’s largest website for literary critics).

Maor was born in Germany and has lived most of her life in Israel. The novel was inspired by extraordinary lives of some real people on the background of the historical events that deeply affected them. She holds a master’s degree from the Weizmann Institute of Science and a PhD from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Chemistry. She managed the Departments of Scientific Relations and Intellectual Property at the Technion and in recent years is the proprietor of a private consultancy firm for international scientific ventures as well as evaluating new projects for the European Union and for the Israel Innovation Authority.

Since she was a child, Maor has been attracted to literature, music and the arts and has studied poetry and fiction. In 2012, Maor published a book of poems Trifles of Love, which earned outstanding reviews. Paths in the Storm is her second book.


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[Release Blitz]: The Org by Scott Brody

TheOrg_BookCover (1)

Genre: Political Thriller
Date Published: April 14, 2020
Publisher: Waterton Publishing Company
The Org, is set in the near future, when the effects of the global climate crisis are leading to food shortages, extreme deteriorating weather conditions, and increasing panic. After the mysterious murder of one of his followers, the leader of the EcoParty, Lee Beloit, uses his charisma, skill, and guile to transform his organization from a tiny cult-like party into a national movement, with fighting climate change as his platform. His polling numbers are way up, and his movement is growing exponentially, but he and his followers are in the fight of their lives, as President Leo Pine sends people to battle Org members in the streets. Beloit fights back, pushing his people to the breaking point. He decides the time is right to declare for the Democratic Party nomination for President.
 But journalist Walt Jones is preparing to expose the fact that Beloit is protecting a killer. The NYPD is pulling search warrants to find out what Beloit’s campaign knows about the murder. After years of obscurity, Beloit is finally becoming a real factor in American politics, but he knows his campaign could collapse if this came out. He is determined not to let that happen. His top lieutenant, Juan Garcia, decides it’s time for him to act and initiates a plan to silence any threats to the campaign.
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About the author: 

Head Shot Scott Brody (1)

I grew up in a political home in New York, where some of my first memories were of the older generations arguing about politics, meeting and supporting candidates, going off on freedom rides, and supporting Adlai Stevenson and the young nation of Israel. In my teens, in the 1960’s I learned from, and joined in, the political and cultural ferment of the time.
I marched against the war in Vietnam, listened to Jean Shepherd on WOR and to WBAI until all hours, read Ray Bradbury and Ramparts, and ended the decade going to Woodstock in 1969, the summer I graduated from High School. After college, I spent a few years in a political group similar to the one fictionally depicted in The Org. After that, I got into broadcasting, married my wife Judy, and we had a daughter and two sons. We now have a grandson and live in Southern California.
Contact Links
Twitter: @scottbrody1000
Purchase Links: Amazon


[Book Review]: The Old Man’s Request by Joab Stieglitz




Genre: Horror, thriller, noir

Published: November 3rd, 2018

Publisher: Rantings of a Wandering Mind


Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, Doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley gather the knowledge and resources needed to defeat the entity?The Old Man’s Request is a pulp adventure set in the 1920s, and the first part of the Utgarda Trilogy.


About the author:  

Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company.  He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

He is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

You can follow Joab on Twitter @JoabStieglitz and his blog joabstieglitz.com



My review: 

This is the first book of Joab Stieglitz I’ve read. The author has made a lot of research and described well the dark and unsettling atmosphere of the place. All characters are believable, but Anna, a Russian anthropologist, is probably, my favourite one. She’s a strong woman who went through a lot in her life, but didn’t lose her charm and drive.
It’s not quite clear though what exactly has happened to her in Dr. Lamb’s house, and it stays a mystery. I hope to learn more about it in the next book.
I’d also prefer to learn more about detective, his first encounter with a ritual, and people who conducted it. In the book, it’s described only once as his flashback. It’s not quite clear on what stage he became possessed by a demon.
The book has a bit of horror and graphic violence in it, but just enough to keep it within the noir/paranormal genre, without going too gory. The plot is well-balanced and fast-paced which I like in thrillers.
A bit too much details of the characters’ appearance and description of the places, but I suppose, it’s a part of the author’s style.
I’d recommend this book to all fans of Lovecraftian horror and fast-paced thrillers. It’s a great, easy, quick read.


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[Book Blitz]: Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn


Gardenia Duty


Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press
In 1957 jobs are scarce in rural Ashland, Alabama. Bobby Higgins is facing life decisions; his family’s farm struggles and threat of the draft hangs over 18-year-old males as the Cold War rumbles in the distance. Bobby heads off to boot camp, vowing to provide for his family from his pay. Between shore and sea duty, Bobby leaves broken hearts in every port. When his own heart is stolen by Rose, he’s shocked to learn that she comes with four daughters, a package deal he’s unsure he wants. But when Rose disappears, Bobby finds her and persuades her to marry him. Somehow they navigate their way through the trials of marriage and parenting as he fulfills his patriotic career and his promise to raise four willful daughters. In the spring of 2004, his daughters are brought together by grief. They forge new bonds, sharing their joys, losses, regrets, and ultimately family secrets that will seal all their fates…if they can summon the courage to report for duty.
About the author: 
Gardenia Duty Author - Kathleen Varn
Kathleen Varn’s love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read.
As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility. Eventually, Kathleen dove into journaling, which helped her find solace in the grief of a toxic relationship. Kathleen is now very happily married to her soulmate.
She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked for an adoption attorney for twenty-three years.
Her first novel, Ameera Unveiled, released in 2013. Gardenia Duty is her second novel.
           Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense but the past perfect! —Owens Lee PomeroyNostalgia. This is an emotional word that con-jures body language from a slow sweet smile, eye rolls or a furled brow that delights the der-matologist reaching for a Botox needle. I believe it is an underrated emotion but also one that requires balance. Mental health professionals also validate the value of cop-ing in the present by looking at the past to find hope for a future outcome. It can remind us and regroup our sense of purpose. So, when I began to pursue the story of what became Gardenia Duty, I chose to marry the relation-ships of the adults of the Silent Generation with the Baby Boomer descendants. This would create the social setting of the prospering America during a relatively peaceful time.
          Each generation would look through the eyes of a child and the eyes of an adult. Fortunately, it is at the root of my own childhood that I knew where to draw my research. To weave the sto-ry’s perspective from the young adult sisters reliving the past through the eyes of a child allowed me to use stories of many people. To educate my own perspective about the angst of the adults that were influential in my childhood, I dove into the dominant male military world of 1950s and forward. As I progressed, it softened the edges of my own painful and happy nostalgic memories. As in the book, I started out dissecting my late step-father’s military records and mementos, which allowed me to ask relatively informed questions to the many Vets, including my own Tin-Can sailor father. Their uniforms were retired, but often a baseball cap with a military logo alerted me to their presence. The Goose Creek Tin-Can Sailor Chapter graciously endured my prodding. I would meet shipmates of my dad’s and even developed deep friendships with a few. I explored the decks of the USS Laffey at Patriots Point. The familiar smell of diesel mixed with grey paint sent my nostalgia into overdrive. I spent time in Jacksonville Beach, Florida to launch myself into the mind of a grade school girl navigating her way as a military dependent in the 1960s.
            I treasure the many glory day chats that revived the boyish spirits over a beer at ship reunions or an American Legion hall. The vulnerable confessions of the trials and tribulations of raising families under the strain of the Cold War helped me flesh out the tender undercarriages of these masculine souls. At the announcement of “free wine for all the blondes at the bar” at a local Olive Garden, I met and became part of the Thursday lunch gang of Jack Connerty. He became so dear to the heart of my story, I promoted him to Chief in my book. His best friend, Richard Santa Stanley, amused me and welcomed me with that first free glass of wine. (Lynn Stanley, you’re a saint!) Thank you also to Jerry and Marla Wickerham, Dwight Cargile of American Legion Post 147; John Long, who shared the photos of the recovery of Gemini VIII from the deck of the USS Leonard F. Mason (see next page); and especially to my father, Ret. LCDR Eugene Hall; and late step-father, Command Master Chief Robert Hardegree. But, as pointed out in the story, behind all these men were wives and children. The ones who waited and kept the family together during a husband’s absence. There has to be a thank you to my mother, Jeanette Hardegree and my three sisters because without the experience of being a real ‘package deal,’ my story would lack a realistic flare. My mentor and writing coach, Shari Stauch, con-ceived the basic idea of this story and kept me motivated to never abandon ship. Her confidence in Gatekeeper Press has finally laid the keel of my cover and launched the pages of the journey of the Higgins family. Of course, my husband, Steve Varn, gave me much needed R&R and escape with my camera underwater when the words would freeze. I hope this book inspires readers to look into the amazing stories of their families and ancestors. I have a new appreciation of the messiness of life, but how some-thing as simple as birth order can be a key to untangling it. For me, the result has been profound, and I’ve dis-covered, as I hope you will, that the definition of family isn’t limited to blood but to those whose hearts are so big, they prepare us to become the watchstanders at the helms of our own lives. Thank you to generations of those who reported for duty, and to the families that served with them. I salute you…

[Book Tour]: Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti


Between the Cracks papperbackcover


One woman’s journey from Sicily to America

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: HenschelHAUS Publishing


Join Angela Lanza as she  the experiences the tumultuous world of early 20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and powerful eruption of Mt. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows , then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S.



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About the author: 



Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a writer for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. She is a writer, painter, and yoga instructor in Boston. After she finished her graduate work in English at Boston College, she began to write creatively. As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt’s story. Between the Cracks and The Ascent have gone through several incarnations and will become a trilogy.



Contact Links

Website: www.ccattuticreative.com/carmela-cattuti-books

Facebook: www.facebook.com/carmelacattuticreative

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccattuti

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18388553-between-the-cracks?from_search=true&qid=pUEZkURrJd&rank=1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carmelacattuticreative 


Purchase Links


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A cross from Italy’s mainland sat the city of Messina like an indomitable fortress. Proud of its solid presence, Messina was the travelers’ first encounter with the island of Sicily. The earthy colors of the buildings and landscape signaled to the visitor or returning Sicilian that Messina and its people belonged to the island, not to any outside political force or cultural tradition. The clang of the donkey-drawn carts and the voices calling out to customers to buy wares in the market added to the music of the city’s sounds. Visitors marveled out loud at the cathedrals and ancient art work throughout the city, but the locals walked and spoke softly, especially near the narrow slits between the buildings.

Visitors delighted in the snake-like movement of the streets. The streets seemed to lead directly to a famous church or street market but then would slowly veer off in a different direction. They seemed to be designed to intentionally confuse. The city offered no help in arriving at a specific destination. Ancient buildings were so close together that air barely squeezed through. Residents believed that between the buildings old mysteries sat, holding the true essence of Messina. Whenever one of the townspeople
walked close to the openings, there seemed to be a whisper, not a sound you could hear with your physical ears but heard in your mind. The whisper seemed to convey a yearning that had been imprisoned for hundreds of years. When this happened, people scurried past, heads down, attempting to get away from the whispers in their heads.

Angela ran down the hot cobblestone street and fell, scrambled to her feet and ran, then fell again. She threw herself on the street and screamed a long scream that echoed off the ruins of the ancient churches. A timeless scream that would always and forever be heard. Her city, Messina, was a massive graveyard. She searched for her family—her mother, sister and brother. She yelled their names into the air, into demolished houses. She screamed at bodies crushed or run through by fallen beams. Other bodies were caught between the open earth and the street. They were the souls in hell that she had seen in paintings, forever in agony, never at peace.

[Book blitz]: Alien Redemption by Gloria Oliver


Alien Redemption


Genre: Science Fiction
Date Published: February 2020
Publisher: Zumaya Otherworlds
All Claudia wanted to do was escape the mistakes of the past and start over. But when she answers an ad for a medical officer on a merchant ship in the Fringes, the captain recognizes her and blackmails her into taking the job.
The Holiday’s Captain Bennet is amoral and has a short fuse. Claudia steers clear of him as much as possible, while trying to care for the crew he lashes out on. Then the rumors start that their latest mission is to a location Bennet won’t even share with the pilot.
The secret coordinates take the ship and crew to an uncharted system in the Fringes. To a planet that holds intelligent life, and despite the odds, also a humanoid one.
Bennet plans to use these aliens to climb up the power ladder at the borders of the Dominion. Even if it means placing the Avians into brutal servitude for the rest of their lives.
Can Claudia stop the impending exploitation of this newly discovered sentient species all on her own? Or is there a worse fate than blackmail waiting for her if she tries?
Alien Redemption print ipad and iphone
“Another accident, I presume?”
A flash of something crossed Stevens’ eyes. Whether it was good or bad, Claudia couldn’t tell. Instead of answering the question, the first mate placed the unconscious woman she was carrying onto the scanner bed. Her patient had a large lump on the side of the head, and her nose looked broken.
Claudia had just activated the bed and was checking the unconscious woman’s vitals when Stevens broke the silence.
“The captain doesn’t tolerate failure or disobedience well.”
Cold fury flared inside Claudia, her suspicions of abuse by the one who commanded them confirmed. She was amazed her hands didn’t shake as she programmed the scanner. Now that there was a medic on-board, was Bennet showing less restraint than usual? It would make her being here a boon and a bane to everyone on board. If the captain took things too far one too many times, might the crew decide the downside was worse than the benefits and turn on her?
Claudia shook her head. “You still work for him.” It wasn’t quite an accusation.
Stevens came up close. Claudia held her ground and didn’t step away.
“We all have our reasons for being here. Whether we like it or not.”
About the author: 

Alien Redemption Author Gloria Oliver

Gloria Oliver lives in Texas, staying away from rolling tumbleweeds while bowing to the never-ending wishes of her feline and canine masters. She works full time shoveling numbers around for an oil & gas company and squeezes in some writing time when she can.
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