Thursday, March 29, 2018

The First Page: A Tangled Web by Mike Martin


Life is good for Sgt. Wind­flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

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The First Page

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.
He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.
Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.”


Interview:

Welcome Mike Martin. Can you tell us what your book is about?

A Tangled Web is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series which is set in Newfoundland, on the easternmost tip of Canada. It is the latest adventure for Sgt. Windflower and while there are crimes and even murders, there is also great friends, food and adventure. The series is short on police procedures and long on finding the joy in everyday life.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

This is the 6th book in the series so I wanted to welcome old readers back and give new ones a sense of who the main character is and what his world is like. I also wanted to introduce the importance that Windflower places on dreams and being a dream weaver because that will become an important part of the story. Hopefully, people will want to know more about him and the rest of the story.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

That page has been touched up many times, but it’s core has remained the same. I always know where the story begins. But like the reader, I have to write the rest to find out what happens next.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

I almost never read any part of the book after it’s published. Maybe I’m afraid to find a mistake and I know that I can always rewrite it. But I have learned to let it go and go on with writing the next book. I feel for people who have to go back. It would paralyse me and my writing.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

The three most important parts of a book are the beginning, the middle and the end. Don’t get hung up on the perfect beginning or first line or first page. Do your best and then show it to someone you trust. Find some beta readers who will tell you honestly if they think it’s good enough. Then write the best book you can. Good luck.



About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

The First Page: Welcome Reluctant Stranger by Evy Journey @eholychair




Title: WELCOME RELUCTANT STRANGER
Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Pages: 314
Genre: Multicultural Women’s Fiction

BOOK BLURB:
What happens when a brokenhearted computer nerd and culinary whiz gets rescued by a relationship phobic psychologist with a past that haunts her? For Leilani and Justin, it’s an attraction they can’t deny but which each is reluctant to pursue. More so for Leilani whose family had to flee their troubled country when she was only nine.
Leilani is focused on leaving the past behind, moving forward. But when she learns the truth behind her family’s flight—the shocking, shameful secret about her father’s role in a deadly political web—she is devastated.
Is her father a hero or a villain?  Can she deal with the truth?
But the past is impossible to run away from. Together with Justin, she must get her father out of her former home. Can she forgive her father, accept him for what he is? And can she reconnect with her roots and be at peace with who she is?

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The First Page
Prologue: Roots
If you could see heat, you would see it that day rising from the concrete paving in the schoolyard, colliding with rays plummeting from the sun. The light was blinding, the heat oppressive.
The schoolyard was unlike most others on this tiny island on the Pacific. A concrete wall, eight-feet high and topped with countless pieces of broken glass embedded into the concrete, surrounded both the school and the perimeter of the 30,000 square foot yard. A young woman fully covered—except for her face and hands—in the white habit of a Catholic novice, circled the yard, watching pupils play.
About a hundred girls, ages six to eleven, clad in dark blue skirts and white shirts with peter pan collars loosely tied with wide, dark blue bows, formed groups around three or four games. Despite the buzz of activity, no one shouted, shrieked, or raised a ruckus.
The girls ignored the heat as they played in the few minutes they had for recess. All, except one girl. She sat in the shade, smiling, content with observing everyone else, and enjoying the light breeze that blew now and then.
Younger girls hovered around rectangular hopscotch courses drawn with chalk on the cemented yard. Some older pupils ran games of tag but the majority, along with a few younger ones, waited in a long line to take their turn at jumping rope.
From a slatted wooden bench, Leilani watched the game with cool interest until her best friend, Myrna, ran into the arc of the spinning rope to join another girl from her class. Leilani leaned forward.
Two girls, each holding one end of the rope, swung vigorously down, sideways, up, and around over and over. The rope whirled so fast that all Leilani saw was an elliptical form pinched at its ends, like a sausage bulging in the middle. Inside, the girls jumped, as fast and as high as they could to evade the whirling rope. If they got their feet caught, they lost and had to get out. The player who lasted longest won.
Myrna was good at it, maybe the best. She skipped like a fawn and could outlast everyone else Leilani had seen. Before long, the other girl gave up and yielded her place to another. Leilani clapped hard for her friend, a wide smile wiping away the pout on her lips.
“Why aren’t you with the other girls, Leilani?”


About the Author
Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse. Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s lived in Paris few times as a transient.
She's a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales.
In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded  the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.
Her latest book is Welcome Reluctant Stranger.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The First Page: Abuse of Discretion by Pamela Samuels Young @authorPSY



Title: ABUSE OF DISCRETION
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB:
A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of "Anybody’s Daughter" is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.

Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?

Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.

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The First Page

Graylin
“What’s the matter, Mrs. Singletary? Why do I have to go to the principal’s office?”
I’m walking side-by-side down the hallway with my second-period teacher. Students are huddled together staring and pointing at us like we’re zoo animals. When a teacher at Marcus Preparatory Academy escorts you to the principal’s office, it’s a big deal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’m a good student. I never get in trouble.
Mrs. Singletary won’t answer my questions or even look at me. I hope she knows she’s only making me more nervous.
“Mrs. Singletary, please tell me what’s wrong?”
“Just follow me. You’ll find out in a minute.”
I’m about to ask her another question when it hits me. Something happened to my mama!
My mama has been on and off drugs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen her in months and I don’t even know where she lives. No one does. I act like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve prayed to God a million times to get her off drugs. Even though my granny says God answers prayers, He hasn’t answered mine, so I stopped asking.
I jump in front of my teacher, forcing her to stop. “Was there a death in my family, Mrs. Singletary? Did something happen to my mama?”
“No, there wasn’t a death.”
She swerves around me and keeps going. I have to take giant steps to keep up with her.
Once we’re inside the main office, Mrs. Singletary points at a wooden chair outside Principal Keller’s office. “Have a seat and don’t move.”
She goes into the principal’s office and closes the door. My head begins to throb like somebody’s banging on it from the inside. I close my eyes and try to calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s probably just—Oh snap! The picture!

About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to
see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.
An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.
Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

The First Page: The Song of Solomon Revealed by Owen Sypher



Title: THE SONG OF SOLOMON REVEALED
Author: Owen Sypher
Publisher: Litfire Publishing, LLC
Pages: 308
Genre: Religion/Bible Studies

BOOK BLURB: 

The book of Song of Solomon is a spiritual book full of allegories or pictures where God used the natural to show the spiritual. By using the keys of understanding found in the Bible the author has unlock the hidden meaning of the book of Song of Solomon.
                                  
The book of Song of Solomon is about the love that Jesus has for his bride. When looked at from this angle a lot of the verses makes more sense.

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The First Page:

The narrator is speaking.
Song 1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
The first verse starts out describing who wrote this book of Song of Solomon.  We know that King Solomon wrote many songs, but this was considered his best ever because it is a song between a bridegroom (Jesus in type) and his bride.
We will use the following verse to show that Solomon wrote many songs.
1 Kings 4:32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

The bride talks in verses 2–7.
Song 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
What this verse is referring to is that as he kiss us with an understanding of his word and we respond back to him that there is a coming together of us and the Lord. We start to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord. What I mean by this is that we start to walk closer to him by doing his will in our lives. We come together by the renewing of our minds and can become one with the Lord. First we need to see what the definition of a Bible kiss is. As we look at what the word kiss means, we see two interesting meanings: one is to be put together, and the other is to be equipped with.
The Hebrew word for kiss is:
OT:5401 nashaq
1. to put together, to kiss
   a. (Qal) to kiss
   b. (Piel) to kiss
   c. (Hiphil) to touch gently
2. to handle, to be equipped with; (Qal) to be equipped
              (Source: From Biblesoft 5 computer program.)

So when we kiss the Lord we see that there is a joining or putting together causing us to0 come together with the Lord. What is happening is that the Lord will develop his nature in us.
In John 17 when the Lord was praying to his father concerning his disciples it was that we could be one with him and his father and each other. This was Jesus prayer concerning us, that we could come together
John 17:22-23 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. KJV
We can tie the second definition of kiss where it talks about being equipped with Ephesians 4:12 where the word for perfecting can be interpreted as the equipping of the saints. Don’t let the word perfection or perfecting intimidate you; all it means is a maturing or growing up in Christ. So we are kissing the Lord when we allow him to equip us or to take us through the perfecting process in order to put us into his bride. What he is equipping us with is his nature so that we will have the right nature to rule and reign with him as his bride. He equips us through the spirit of God and the word of God, and a fivefold ministry and the things we suffer has an effect also. Ephesians 4:12 shows us that he uses a fivefold ministry to help us in this equipping or perfecting of our lives. At the same time, he gives us his people to help us through.

About the Author:

Owen L. Sypher is a devoted servant of the Lord. At eleven years old, he started a spiritual journey to discover and understand God and his word.
In 1979, he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since then, he has had fellowships with the same group. Song of Solomon is his first book.
You can visit his website at http://www.sypherbooks.com.  


Monday, December 11, 2017

The First Page: Stairway to Paradise by Nadia Natali





Title: STAIRWAY TO PARADISE: GROWING UP GERSHWIN
Author: Nadia Natali
Publisher: RareBird Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir

BOOK BLURB: 

Growing up as Frankie Gershwin's daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn't have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn't what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn't have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.

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The First Page:
On December 8, 1980, my husband, Enrico, our three-year-old daughter,
Francesca, and I finished our cross-country journey to Ojai, California,
where we planned to make a home on land we had seen only once but had long
been dreaming about, away from city life and, especially, away from my difficult
and powerful family.

We’d caravanned in separate vehicles, hauling all that we could carry in and on
top of our cars, in addition to a foldout trailer hitched to Enrico’s Toyota jeep. At
the end of a long, winding two-lane road that followed Matilija Creek, a brown
metal gate barred our way. Beyond the gate lay the Los Padres National Forest,
wilderness, and a mile farther up a dirt road through the canyon, our property. We
had to wait for a key to open the lock, a key that a forest ranger was going to hand
over—the key to our new life. I gazed toward the jagged and intimidating mountains
that leaned over the canyon. Inhaling the sweet smell of the dry chaparral, I
couldn’t help but compare it to the lush, green landscape of my childhood home
in Connecticut. This is going to be a very different life, I thought. My privileged
upbringing seemed the polar opposite of this place, and maybe that was what attracted
me to it. Observing the struggles of my family and seeing that money and
fame had failed to bring happiness, I’d learned I needed to find my own path. I had
not fully formulated my goal, but it was something unique and original, and I had
to find it on my own.

A moment later a forest service truck pulled up by the gate. “You sure found
yourselves a beautiful piece of property out here,” the ranger said, as he offered
his hand to shake. “I’m Dave Brown. I suppose you know there are some pretty
dangerous natural conditions you’ll need to look out for.”
Enrico shook Dave’s hand as he asked, “And what does that mean?” Dave
took a big breath. “Well, you should know about this if you guys are planning
to live here. There’s the flood. That’s real serious this time of year. There’re
two creeks you have to drive through that rise fast and wild when there’s a lot
of rain. The water turns black and fierce. You could get trapped in here for
weeks.”

Enrico and I exchanged worried looks. We had not known about this. “Also,”
he continued, “as you probably know, there are rattlesnakes, coyotes, bobcats, and
black bears. The bears won’t bother you much if you keep your food well covered.
But the mountain lions . . .” Dave trailed off, as he looked at our young daughter.
“If you suspect there are any about, better keep your little girl close by.”

About the Author


Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
           
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

The First Page: Summer on Earth by Peter Thompson




Title: SUMMER ON EARTH
Author: Peter Thompson
Publisher: Persnickety Press
Pages: 293
Genre: Sci-fi / Middle Grade

BOOK BLURB:
The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.

Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.

The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.

Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family. On a trip to town, he realizes that money is what matters to humans, and is the cause of the family’s trouble. That night, he uses his technology to combine a twenty-dollar bill with an oak twig. Over the next week this grows to a towering tree, every leaf a twenty-dollar bill. This, Ralwil is sure, will solve all the family’s problems.

But the family’s wealth raises suspicion in this small town, and this soon leads to more trouble. With the family’s fate, and Ralwil’s life, on the line, Grady has to find the courage to help his family and save his friend.

Summer on Earth blends humor, adventure and poignancy to create an unforgettable story about finding home.

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The First Page:
 
Before
      It was hotter than usual that night, and Grady couldn’t get comfortable, even with the fan on high. The June bugs thumped against the window screen, and the crickets chirped so loudly it sounded like they were right there in the room. He could hear the TV on downstairs, so he knew Ma was still awake. Ever since Dad died she’d stayed up late most every night.
Grady just stared out the window and looked at the night sky. Where they lived, out in the country, there wasn’t much light at night and the stars stood out more than they did in the city. Grady tried to find the constellations his Dad had taught him, just letting his mind wander. At some point he started to get sleepy. But before he fell asleep, he saw a shooting star. And when he saw it, he made a wish.
      This is the story of how that wish came true.  

About the Author


Peter Thompson grew up in Illinois, and lives near Chicago. He remembers how excited he was when the first astronaut stepped on to the moon. He has had an appreciation of space, and all its possibilities ever since. His love of children’s books developed while reading to his three sons. His first novel, Living Proof, was a thriller published by Berkeley Books. Summer on Earth is his first book for younger readers. It will be released in August of this year.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The First Page: Night in Jerusalem by Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy






Title: NIGHT IN JERUSALEM
Author: Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy
Publisher: PKZ Inc.
Pages: 246
Genre: Historical Romance

A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.

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The First Page




Hail pounded the windshield of the sherut as it made its way through the night to Jerusalem. The driver pulled to the side of the road, startled. He peered at the windshield. It was fractured, but to his astonishment, still intact.
“In twenty years I never see such storm,” he said in his best English.
He lit a cigarette and offered the pack to his passengers. David refused; the three Israelis accepted. Sitting up front, an elderly woman took out oranges, which she peeled, divided, and shared, using her dress to wipe the juice off her hands. The taxi filled with the pungent smell of oranges mixed with cigarette smoke. David cracked open a window.
The storm reminded him of the monsoon in India. Like many of his generation, he had gone there searching for revelation. He had hoped it would let him shake off the feeling of isolation that plagued him wherever he went. His upbringing had given him every comfort that money could buy, except the comfort of belonging in his own skin. At times the loneliness hid long enough to fool him into thinking it was gone, but then, like a familiar ghost, it would find its way back and fill him with despair. After a year of traveling, he had returned to England, only to discover that nothing had changed.
Now, stuck in a taxi on a desolate hilltop outside Jerusalem, enveloped by smoke while waiting out the storm, he regretted leaving Hampshire’s gentle slopes, which were always so green and welcoming, where sometimes after a rain, like a gift from heaven, the sun would come out followed by a sudden rainbow.
He was trying to ignore his reservations about coming to Israel. He wished he had not allowed his cousin to persuade him to come “just for a visit.” Although Jonathan, at twenty-eight, was only a year older, David viewed him as a more mature, elder brother, as well as his best friend. They had grown up together in the south of England in an aristocratic family, enjoying the privileges of great wealth, but subject to the remoteness from society that it can sometimes bring. When Jonathan had left for Israel, David’s loneliness had become unbearable.
After an hour, the storm stopped. The driver told everyone they would need another car to take them to Jerusalem, as he could not see out of his cracked windshield, and that their only option, given the hour, was to hitchhike. The passengers stood at the side of the road for what seemed like an eternity. David was certain he would be there until morning, when an army truck loomed out of the night and juddered to a stop. The driver, a young soldier, helped them aboard, before continuing cautiously down the steep, winding road to Jerusalem.
David was the last passenger to be dropped off. He thanked the soldier for stopping and delivering them safely, surprised by the informality of it all. Just after midnight, standing before a two-story stone building in Abu Tor, with only the moon shimmering through the clouds for illumination, he could just about make out the number of the house. The flat Jonathan had arranged for him was upstairs. He could not find the light and, after blindly climbing the staircase, he felt his way to the top-floor door and fumbled under the mat for the key.
Inside the flat, a lamp had been left on for him, with a note attached to a bottle of wine on a small, wooden table.
Welcome to Jerusalem. See you in the morning, eight o’clock at Cafe Cassis. It’s down the hill to Hebron Road, then right to Rehov (Street) King David, and right again on Rehov Ben-Yehudah. The cafe will be on your right, just a bit further up at the corner. It’s less than a fifteen-minute walk, Jonathan.
P.S. If you want a bath, turn on the red switch outside the loo an hour before. Hope you remembered to bring toilet paper.
The shutters on the windows and doors were closed. The room had a vaulted ceiling and contained a dark, birch armoire that matched the headboard on the double bed. A tufted, deep green armchair was the only other piece of furniture. The room felt as ancient as the city.
Chilled from the storm, David lit the gas heater, then clicked on the red switch for hot water. The bathroom had a commode with a chain flush and a small sink with an even smaller mirror above it. He felt the rough, brown toilet paper sitting on top of the commode and understood why Jonathan had told him to bring a suitcase full. He was grateful there was a deep bathtub with a hand shower.
Restless while waiting for the water to heat, he changed into warmer clothes and decided to take a first look at the city he would live in for the next month.



Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.

She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”

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