Aug 2014

I’m not here. That is… I’m somewhere, but I’m not around as I should be to announce my guest post on Jane Bwye’s blog. Jane, who has lived for most of her life in Kenya, is the author of Breath of Africa, a novel dedicated to the youth of Kenya.

So I scheduled this post in advance.

My guest post is about Toastmasters, which I joined recently. You can find it here. If it’s not there yet, it soon will be. And it’s partly to celebrate my birthday, which was yesterday.

Back soon….

Since Neither Here nor There is my first published book, this is the first time I’ve taken an interest in reviews as a writer. As a reader, I’ve skimmed through reviews to get an idea of whether I might be interested in a book. As a writer, reviews of my book become a lot more significant. They can vastly influence sales, and I want my book to sell because I want to become known as an author, I want people to enjoy reading it and to think about the issues raised in it and I want to make some money (although my expectations are realistic).

So what do I want from a review? Well, it’s always nice to be praised, as long as the praise seems honest. But no book can be liked unequivocally by all readers. There will always be some who find something negative, be it the genre, the writing style, the plot, the characters, the level of editing.


Even as I was writing Neither Here nor There, it was clear to me that readers who hold certain religious beliefs would have specifc problems with it. Esty, my heroine, is in the process of leaving one community for another. Clearly those who belong or are close to the community she is leaving will have problems with the story, despite the fact that I did my best to be fair to both.

I’m sure there will be readers who have different problems with the novel, and I think all those problems should be reflected in the reviews. That’s why I’m pleased to have received my first non-five-star review, and why I hope there will be more.

Although five-star reviews are welcome, too. More than welcome!


Here are the reviews so far:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well-written and kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. Esty, the main character, is very well-drawn and I was with her all the way as she struggles to establish her identity in a world which is new and puzzling to her. This novel achieves the often difficult balance of raising thought-provoking questions while, at the same time, providing an entertaining and satisfying read. The result is a poignant love story and more than that. I would definitely recommend it.


I read this lovely book almost in one sitting (well, reclining, actually, since I was in bed). I was drawn in from the first sentence. Esty has spent all her 19 years in the strictly orthodox haredi community in Jerusalem but decides to leave it and her parents and many siblings. The decision is difficult and Esty is unprepared for what she will find on the secular side of the fence. The character of Esty is well-drawn and the author conveys very convincingly the anguish of being an outsider. This is a fluently-written, heart-warming story.


started reading miriam drori’s book NEITHER HERE NOR THERE and can’t put it down…love the characters…the writing and the story…her first-hand knowledge of the settings make them very real…a good book!


A sweet, enjoyable romance that does a good job of portraying the angst of first love, especially when one is somewhat socially awkward and unsure of oneself. Many of us have been there and can identify with the hero and heroine. I have to admit that as an Orthodox Jew I had a problem with one of the dominant themes of the novel—Estee’s leaving her closed Orthodox community for secular “freedom”. I credit the author with trying to be even-handed, rather than taking sides, but must caution that some literary license was used in portraying Estee’s family’s community.


This is a beautifully-written book, with believable characters and a very real sense of place (both in Jerusalem and London). Esty’s dilemma (torn between her loyalty to her family and her strong desire to follow her own path in life) is perfectly portrayed in a very readable and accessible way. Highly recommended.

I don’t pretend to know enough about the politics and society of Scotland, and the rest of the world, to be able to forecast a possible direction that Scotland will take if and when it becomes independent. But here’s one man with an interesting idea, and he’s written a novel about it: David Brauner.

In ANOTHER GOD: a novel of Independent Scotland, D.r. Brauner unfolds a speculative tale of imagination that opens in Edinburgh and reverberates across the Mediterranean. Through the prism of fiction emerges a kaleidoscopic picture of Scotland’s near-future sovereign reality. This is the book that could sway the outcome of the Scottish referendum.

This book has been praised by some knowledgeable people.

Reva Sharon, author of Pool of the Morning Wind:

A very brave book.

Leslie Cohen, Jerusalem Post:

Set a few years into the future … the novel gives one the feeling of being there.

A.S.I. Acker, Amazon:

Strange, fascinating, and serious… This book is one of a kind, a great feat of imagination, firmly rooted in reality. A novel to be read more than once, each time with deeper appreciation.

another god_kindle cover - media



What if…? The speculative fiction depicted in ANOTHER GOD has not come to life, not yet. But it could – after Scotland achieves independence. A rabbi’s dream could change the trajectory of one nation and save another nation from destruction. A prime minister’s Machiavellian patriotism could launch a new nation-state on an aimless course into oblivion. One woman’s miracle can produce a love-child. And another woman’s strength and daring might rescue a thousand lives. Scotland’s future history is yet to be written – or is it?




David and DaisyD.r. Brauner is a writer, editor and photographer. He was born in England, raised in America and holds an MLitt in English Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. He wrote and photographed for The Jerusalem Post for fifteen years. During the last twenty-five years, he has edited academic papers and books and was the language editor of Yad Vashem Studies Holocaust journal from 2007 to 2014. From the early 1990s to this day, he has mentored a Creative Writing Circle in Jerusalem that has produced hundreds of memoirs, essays, short stories and novels, not a few of which have been published. Wherever David is, he is living in another world of images and books, kites and bikes, hopes and dreams. In this world life is all the better for having met his wife Ruth and finding their sweet dog Daisy.


I can’t tell you how likely it is that David’s forecast will come true. But I can tell you he’s an excellent writer. I read and thoroughly enjoyed an earlier version of this novel. As the mentor of the writing group of which I’m a member, David always comes up with ideas for improving our writing that none of the other members thinks of. We are all indebted to him.

ANOTHER GOD: a novel of Independent Scotland is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US, and will be on FeedARead very soon.

You can find David on Facebook and Twitter.

Some of you may have seen the quotes I posted recently on Facebook and Twitter, all from my novel, Neither Here Nor There. In case you didn’t, or you want to see them again, here are all seventeen:

  • …she wasn’t there yet. Now, she was in limbo, neither here nor there.
  • …staring at an image that was no longer there – as if the film had stuck just before she’d turned and left his line of vision.
  • “Oh you British.” Claude had wrung his hands in mock despair. “You are so… so… réservé.”
  • …what a street name… Snake Street. Did the name signify something? Was she being lured into a trap to receive a fatal bite?
  • …she was alone in a strange land at the end of a single, short bus ride.
  • Who was she indeed? A creature in metamorphosis, something between a caterpillar and a butterfly.
  • What if she’d made a terrible mistake – one she’d regret all her life?
  • “Do all the mothers on Mars have lots of babies?”NeitherHereNorThereCover
  • …familiar but different, as if she were looking at a wall for the first time from the other side.
  • Esty must have sensed his growing unease. “Wait. Please. There’s more.”
  • “Maybe you could compromise your principles a little by agreeing to their terms.”
  • “…as far as they’re concerned, I’m dead. Do you know what that feels like?”
  • Now, finally, her punishment had come. She deserved whatever they were going to do to her.
  • “You are where you need to be now. That’s all you need to remember.”
  • “Sooner or later things will settle down and so will you – here where you belong.”
  • “I’m beginning to think you were right all along. Extremism of any sort is dangerous.”
  • Esty nodded. “Life is such a gamble. One wrong move and you can ruin it forever.”
    Noa looked straight into Esty’s eyes. “Look at it the other way. One right move and you will always be thankful.”

Neither Here Nor There by Miriam Drori is available from Amazon, Smashwords, Crooked Cat Books and The Book Depository.

The last stop in my blog hop is at the blog of Tim Taylor, who lives near Huddersfield. I had to look up Huddersfield and found it between Manchester and Leeds, in other words, for this ex-Londoner, “Oop north.” Tim is the author of Zeus of Ithome, a novel set in ancient Greece.

I talk about setting a novel where you live, and about setting a novel in a place you’ve never been to. Here.

So here is the complete hop:

18 June Catriona King My Route to Publication
20 June Cathie Dunn The Background to my Novel
22 June Sarah Louise Smith Arranged Marriage
22 June Jeff Gardiner Life-changing Decisions
6 July Nancy Jardine Closed Communities
11 July K B Walker On Emigration from Britain
22 July Sue Barnard Who Writes about Place?
8 August T.E.Taylor Writing about the place you live in and places you haven’t been to

I’ve been interviewed for the first time (as an author) by Nancy Jardine, author of Topaz Eyes, The Beltane Choice and After Whorl. Read about them here.

You can read the interview here.

Thank you to all three people who went in for my competition. You all had some great ideas, which I really enjoyed reading.

The Answers:

  1. Tsartsar — Cricket (the insect)
  2. Bakbook — Bottle (from the sound of pouring)
  3. Zimzoom — Buzzing
  4. Rishroosh — Rustling
  5. Tiftoof —Dripping
  6. Girgoor —  Gurgling
  7. Gimgoom — Stuttering/stammering
  8. Pkak — Cork
  9. Pitzpootz — Crackling

The Winner

Technically, the winner is Sue who translated three of the words correctly. In second place is Jo, who was almost correct in two of her answers. But all the answers made me smile and I think all three deserve a prize. Congratulations! Let’s get in touch….

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