Categories
Books The Power of Belief

Style and the Solitary is One Today

Yes, 𝓢𝓽𝔂𝓵𝓮 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓢𝓸𝓵𝓲𝓽𝓪𝓻𝔂, my first venture into crime, is 𝓸𝓷𝓮 year old.

To celebrate, I’m delighted to have the assistance of Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources, who produced this beautiful banner:

Birthday Blitz for Style and the Solitary, 26 April 2022

and arranged for some special posts during the day.

I plan to update this post to include the links. Watch this space…

Here’s the Amazon link: Style and the Solitary.

Categories
Books

The Mandarin Seeds

I’m delighted to welcome back friend and fellow author, Olga Swan, to tell us about an exciting new book.

Thank you, Miriam, for welcoming me onto your author blog.  It’s fitting really, because there’s a scene in my new novel where my character’s father is transported to Jerusalem, where you live.

Several months ago, I was watching a TV documentary, which spoke of an unsung hero from WWII. I did some research and discovered that he’d saved 20,000 Jewish citizens of Vienna between 1938 and 1940. His name was Ho Feng Shan, and he never told a soul – not even his family – what he’d done. He died in 1997, and was awarded the posthumous  ‘Righteous Amongst the Nations’ honour by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. But I was determined to make this Chinese ‘Schindler’ more widely known, so began writing. 

I’m now excited to tell your readers about my new novel, which has just been published. It’s called The Mandarin Seeds. Here’s what it’s about:

In 1935 Vienna, the demi-monde enjoy the delights of the Grunberger patisserie. Eva and boyfriend Michael love dancing in the illicit American jazz clubs, but Nazi terror is rising. For Michael, there is an added anxiety over his previous liaison with mercurial showgirl, Marta. Soon, the desperate situation for the Jewish civilians of Vienna forces them to try to leave, but where can they go?

Step forward an unlikely Chinese hero who miraculously helps them obtain visas for Shanghai.

As showgirl Marta seduces local businessman Sassoon, what will happen to shy Eva in Shanghai?

And what has happened to brave Michael, left behind in Nazi controlled Vienna?

Cross continents to an electrifying and surprising ending in post-war San Francisco.

Buy link (paperback and ebook)

Blog / Twitter / Facebook

For Olga’s previous books (fiction and non-fiction), go to her blog and click on each book image.

Categories
Books Israel The writing process

November Report

Remember that novel I was going to write in November? Well, I wrote it. I didn’t reach the magic total of 50,000 words, by I did pass 40,000, and now I have the first draft of a sequel to Style and the Solitary that will need a lot more work before I can submit it for publication.

As well as spending time writing every day in November, I wandered around Jerusalem and further afield, gathering information for the novel. Here are a few of the pictures I took:

As every year, there was plenty of support from our local group of writers, and in particular Melina Kantor and Shoshana Raun. I wouldn’t have managed without them.

Now, I’m trying to catch up on all the tasks I postponed in November.

I’m also looking forward to the publication of Dark Paris, an anthology of dark stories set in Paris, all proceeds of which go to two charities: Restaurants du Cœur and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. My contribution to the anthology is called Train Trouble.

More about Dark Paris soon…

Categories
Books Reviews

Free At Last!

There’s good news in this post.

Release. What an amazing feeling. To be free to walk, on his own, out of the police station. Free to go in any direction, do whatever he liked. No one pushed him or shoved him or shouted commands at him. He took deep breaths and released them into the cold, welcoming air.

Miriam Drori, Style and the Solitary

Finally, it’s the end of his incerceration, or so Asaf believes. In the Liberty Bell Park, his elation is boosted:

The path was almost deserted on this dull, wet day, but the bell welcomed him with its message of liberty.

Sadly, these feelings are short-lived. And so it is with the novel itself.

Yes, Style and the Solitary, published by Darkstroke Books, is free to download for a short period only, so get it while you can, no strings attached.

I do, however, have a little request. If you enjoy reading it, I would very much appreciate a review. It doesn’t have to be long and detailed. “Loved it” is fine – really.

Review

Here’s the latest review on Amazon.com: “I loved this innocent young woman who stood by her social phobic coworker when he was accused of murder. Her compassion and tenacity for finding the actual killer puts her in danger but demonstrates how much Nathalie cares for Asaf. The help she gets from her roommates is funny and caring as they bumble their way toward freeing Asaf. Will they survive this investigation, or will the murderer lead them off the deep end. Great story. Nice setting.”

Thank you, Sandy.

About the Novel

An unexpected murder. A suspect with a reason. The power of unwavering belief.

A murder has been committed in an office in Jerusalem. That’s for sure. The rest is not as clear-cut as it might seem.

Asaf languishes in his cell, unable to tell his story even to himself. How can he tell it to someone who elicits such fear within him?

His colleague, Nathalie, has studied Beauty and the Beast. She understands its moral. Maybe that’s why she’s the only one who believes in Asaf, the suspect. But she’s new in the company – and in the country. Would anyone take her opinion seriously?

She coerces her flatmates, Yarden and Tehila, into helping her investigate. As they uncover new trails, will they be able to reverse popular opinion?

In the end, will Beauty’s belief be strong enough to waken the Beast? Or, in this case, can Style waken the Solitary?

Categories
Books Israel

The Journey of a Stone

This post is about a new novel. It’s one that covers four thousand years and follows a stone on its travels close to home and then further afield. I was lucky enough to read a draft, about which I made suggestions that have been incorporated by its author, Olga Swan (pen-name). I look forward to reading the final version, which has just been published as The Meleke Stone.

Here’s the author herself to tell you about it.

Thank you so much, Miriam, for allowing me on your blog. I’ve been working towards The Meleke Stone all my life. Included are all the times, and perpetrators, from 1900 BCE to the present when the Jewish people were ousted from their land. It’s a novel with a strong underlying message. Here’s the blurb:

“A meleke stone from the ancient plains of the Dead Sea is passed down by generations of females through four thousand years.  

In 2019 Sami, the son of Egyptian immigrants in Toulouse, is traumatised by the family’s hardships in France and plots revenge.  

Menes, Sami’s father from Cairo, had emigrated to France in search of peace. An unlikely friendship forms with Holocaust-survivor Moshe, each recognising their past struggles.

Suddenly, a terrorist bomb explodes in a Toulouse synagogue. Moshe asks his son, Simon, to produce a film showing the true history of his people from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.  

What will happen to Moshe’s and Menes’ special relationship when an intrepid French detective’s efforts to find the terrorist reveal the horrifying truth? 

In a soul-searching conclusion in Jerusalem, having no female descendant to whom to give the meleke stone, there’s only one thing that Simon can do to maintain the survival of his people for all eternity. 

…..are you ready for the four thousand year journey of the meleke stone?”

Follow the story as it moves between Toulouse, Warsaw, Cairo and through to Jerusalem. Read the historical truths about Sodom and Gomorrah, the Maccabees and what happened during the Six-Day War in the Sinai.  But above all, recognise the lifelong friendship between a Jewish man and an Egyptian Muslim. Enjoy!

About the Author

Olga Swan has a B.A. Hons. (Open) in English language and literature.  For many years she worked at The University of Birmingham, following which she spent twelve years living in S.W. France before returning to Birmingham in 2017.  She has had 7 books (3 non-fiction) published by indie publisher Crooked Cat Books, which has now closed. Three of Olga’s works are narrative non-fiction, one of which (Pensioners in Paradis) is approaching one million pages read and is already a four-times international best-seller.  A second edition of this and of An Englishwoman in America have now been reprinted. Three novels form a series set in wartime Germany, France and Poland. Dunoon Assassin  moves between NY, Dunoon and Amritsar.

Olga has been writing her blog every Sunday for 13 years with hundreds of regular readers each week from around the world.

She can also be found on her Amazon author page, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linktree.

Categories
Books Social anxiety The Power of Belief The writing process

Ask and You Will Be Answered

Yesterday evening was Ladies Who Launch – a joint online launch event with the fabulous authors, Jo Fenton and Alison Knight. And me. We were celebrating the launch of our new novels:

I was looking forward to reading an extract from my novel, but not so much to tackling questions. In fact I was sure I’d mess that part up. I was ready to say, “I haven’t done your question justice, but I’d be happy to answer it properly on social media.”

In the event, there were no such problems and I managed to answer fairly well. But there was a different problem. There were several questions that I didn’t get to answer, many of which I didn’t even have a chance to see.

So, I’m opening this post up for the questions that weren’t answered, and for questions that weren’t asked before. Ask, in the comments below, about Style and the Solitary. Ask about me as an author, or as a person. With time to consider my responses, I’m likely provide a more satisfactory answer, anyway. I’ll reply to the comments or write one or more separate posts in response if the question warrants it.

What you should know about Style and the Solitary

  • It’s a murder mystery
  • It’s set in Jerusalem
  • It includes a romance
  • One character has social anxiety
  • One character is a new immigrant from France
  • It involves the power of belief

Ask away!

And many thanks to all those who attended the event and those who tried but failed.

Categories
Books

SATS Launch Day Update

Since my last post about Style and the Solitary, there have been several developments. I’m going to copy from the post and add to it.

Thanks again to Melina Kantor and Shoshana Raun, whose prompts and other writing suggestions helped to craft the plot much more than I’d expected. Joan Livingston, who read and commented on my draft, and also wrote the cover line and the brilliant foreword. And Stephanie and Laurence Patterson of darkstroke books whose editing and cover design were magnificent.

Also to all those who have opened up (or will open up) their blogs for me:

Name and LinkTopicDate
Natalie WoodWhy crime?3rd March
Jennifer WorrellSettings24th March
Carynn BohleyInterview5th April
Heidi SlowinskiInterview20th April
Sue BarnardImportance of Setting21st April
Tim TaylorExtract25th April
Paula ReadmanInterview26th April
Angela Wren25th May

What can you do?

  • You can come to today’s Facebook Launch.
    Click now and press Going. There will be information about the book in text, photos and music, and plenty of interaction, including a competition.
  • You can come to the joint online launch event called Ladies Who Launch, where three darkstroke authors will introduce our new books with readings and answer questions.
    It’s on 6th May. Click now to secure your free ticket.
  • And you can buy Style and the Solitary – paperback or ebook – on Amazon.

Thank you, everyone!

Categories
Books

GREEN

GREEN. If that were the solution to a cryptic crossword clue, what might the clue be? Answer: a new genre.

As it happens, a new genre (for me) is exactly what my latest novel is written in. It’s a murder mystery, called Style and the Solitary. Set in my adopted city of Jerusalem, it begins with a murder and a suspect – a suspect who is unable to defend himself. Fortunately, there’s someone who believes in his innocence.

Style and the Solitary will be published by Darkstroke on 26th April, 2021.

GREEN is also the dominant colour in the gorgeous new cover.

Is there anything you want to say about the colour green, or anything else for that matter? You’re welcome to comment below.

No doubt, I’ll be writing more about this novel in the coming weeks. Topics will include Jerusalem, NaNoWriMo, friendship and maybe even social anxiety.

In the meantime, Cultivating a Fuji, my uplit novel set in Bournemouth (UK) and Japan has been rereleased and is available on Amazon.

For a short while, the paperback on Amazon UK is only at this link.

Categories
Israel SIM Talks with Miriam Social anxiety

SIM Talk 2: Jo Fenton

#SIMTalksWithMiriam

For the second SIM Talk, I welcome back Jo Fenton to the blog. She brought Tina to Letters From Elsewhere, and also wrote a lovely post for my other blog. I wonder which of the three topics – Social anxiety, Israel, Misunderstandings – she’s going to talk about…

Jo FentonWhen I was 19 I went on a six-week trip to Israel. It was my first visit there and I was very excited. The main purpose of the trip was to work as a youth leader in a summer camp in Ashkelon, under supervision of a Hebrew speaking youth worker.

I went as part of a group, and there was to be time afterwards for touring the country. I had foolishly planned to do the touring with a young man who was the friend of an ex-boyfriend! More to follow on that subject…

I was a shy, nervous nineteen year old. Although I’d had a fantastic time during my first year at Uni, being away with a group of strangers brought all my social anxiety to the fore.

There were some lovely people in the group, particularly amongst the girls, and I did make some friends. I’m not sure if it helped that my closest friend in the group was a recovering anorexic, and the other girls and I spent a lot of our time making sure she ate, and trying to convince her that her view of her body image was distorted. At the time, I didn’t realise how similar I was to her in many ways, having an inaccurate view of myself due to the unkind comments of just a few.

There was a young man amongst the group – an attractive-looking guy with a charming smile and a Scottish accent. I don’t know if he understood how hurtful he was when he commented almost daily on my nervous laugh. Perhaps he was stupid enough to think he was helping me. Not surprisingly the more he commented, the more nervous my laugh became!

ashkelonsunset
Ashkelon (photo by David Drori)

Ashkelon was beautiful. I loved working with the kids, many of whom came from deprived homes; but who were lively, cheeky and resilient. It felt great to be able to do something worthwhile with them. The highlight of each week was the Israeli dancing on the beach, where we would dress up, enjoy ourselves, and socialise. I kept away as much as I could from the young Scotsman. My anxiety always returned ten-fold whenever he was near. I spent several weekends with the girls in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and fell in love with the country.

Eventually the time arrived for us to say goodbye to the children, and go off on our more extended travels. My ex’s friend, whom I shall name P to save anyone embarrassment, agreed to do a brief tour taking in Lake Tiberias and Netanya before meeting the girls back in Tel Aviv for the flight home.

P refused to accompany me to Masada and the Dead Sea as he had already been. Without knowing it, he did me a favour, as I’m sure I got much more out of the trip to those fantastic places when I visited with my husband, sons and my mum last year!

From the minute we set off on the bus towards Tiberias, he started moaning: I was cramping his style. The fact we appeared to be travelling together meant that all his potential girlfriends would be put off from approaching him. This complaint continued throughout the three days we spent in each other’s company. He thought nothing of my own feelings, but by then, I was so downtrodden, the idea of me getting a boyfriend seemed a million miles away. One thing I was certain though – he was not on the list!

Overall, the trip did little for my confidence. All the anxiety that had been squashed during my first year as a student, returned in full force thanks to these somewhat insensitive young men. It was not until I met my husband-to-be a few months later, that some confidence returned.

Looking back, I see that I shouldn’t have allowed these individuals to get to me, any more than my anorexic friend should have been affected by the idiots who joked that she was fat. (She was the opposite!) I’m happy to say that I haven’t been criticised for my laugh or my existence since then, and as stated above, I returned to Israel for a most enjoyable and fulfilling trip with my family last year.

Ah, the tribulations of the young! I’m so glad you had a much better experience on your second visit. Thank you, Jo, for that entertaining account, which includes all three topics of the series!

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Her first novel, The Brotherhood, is available from Amazon.

The sequel, The Refuge, will be released this summer by Crooked Cat Books.

Jo can be found on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Categories
Everyday life Israel

The Monster

The Monster (Hebrew: Mifletzet) sculpted in 1971 by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, is a well-known landmark in Jerusalem and one that is enjoyed by children, who love to slide down its three-pronged tongue.

The Monster
The Monster

Usually.

When I walked past it, yesterday evening, it looked different – a bit sad and funny.

MonsterClosedReducedI posted the picture on Instagram with the caption: What have they done to the monster? And to the English language?