Jeanie Loiacono

All posts tagged Jeanie Loiacono

Writing the Rails

Published June 16, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Wednesday, May 11 with Arlo Guthrie singing “City of New Orleans” in my head, I boarded the Am Trak headed to Chicago. There I planned to connect with friend and author of BANK NOTES, Caroline Giammanco, for the BEA 2016, Book Expo. Our publisher, W&B Publishers had included our books with six other titles on the indie book display.Chicago write

Selfie on AmTrak

Selfie on AmTrak

One of the bright points of my journey was a stopover to change trains in St. Louis. This gave me the pleasure of catching up with long time friend, Kent Martin. Thirty minutes sped by and it didn’t seem like over thirty years since we’d last seen each other.

With Kent Martin in St. Louis

With Kent Martin in St. Louis

All together the trip took over ten hours with all of the stops. I enjoyed sightseeing and unfettered writing time on my netbook. Not only that, I didn’t have to use up battery power since the trains are equipped with outlets and free wifi.

My son Christian and his sweetheart, Sarah, opened their home in Evanston to Caroline and me which saved us a lot of room and board. Since I don’t see my kids as often as I’d like, this was a joyful bonus for me.

Enjoying some family time with my youngest son.

Enjoying some family time with my youngest son.

We bought three-day passes for the CTA and Sarah gave us instructions. We would take the purple line, transfer to the red line on the way and visa versa on the way back. We pretty much had the hang of it by the end of the first day.

Beginnings in Chicago

With author and friend Caroline Giammanco

From Evanston to downtown Chicago is an hour commute. However, with two chatty women, it never seemed that long. Friday brought us a surprise when we found ourselves on the purple line express which stopped sooner than the day before.Not being familiar with streets and stops we were unsure of what to do. A young man came to the rescue and told us we could indeed take the red line from that stop to our destination.

Chicago CTA and me

When I thanked him he said, “Shabbat shalom.” I wondered how he knew I was Jewish until I remembered my ubiquitous Star of David around my neck. I returned the greeting and he showed me his Star of David, a locket with a picture of his parents and another of his son. He asked where we were from and I took a copy of PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME from my bag to show and told him about the expo. His face lit up. He told me he was looking for gifts for his family and my books would be perfect. After we boarded the train, I gave him my card. He generously shared some of his life story in which his Jewish faith played a huge part. I hope one day to hear from him again. At any rate, I won’t soon forget him.

The expo was a great place to make connections and develop a feel for the industry. There are so many facets to it and I have so much to learn.

Chicago with Greg

With author Gregory Solsrud

In addition to my own book, my artwork is on the cover of Douglas Cameron's book.

In addition to my own book, my artwork is on the cover of Douglas Cameron’s book, Wings of a Butterfly.

Seeing PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME on display gave me a surge of pride.When I started writing the story, I had an idea and what I considered a lofty dream. Would anyone really be interested in my Havah and her trials? Nonetheless, I kept at it—writing, rewriting and pitching to various agents, until Jeanie Loiacono found the story worthy of publication.

Other trips, conferences and book signings loom large on the horizon as Havah’s journey continues in FROM SILT AND ASHES and the third book in progress. The title of it has become my motto, AS ONE MUST ONE CAN.

Charging up for next time!

Charging up for next time!

 

 

 

Character Study – Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor

Published March 6, 2016 by rochellewisoff

         

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Felds

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Felds

   “Now, where was I? Your education…Frederic Chopin.” Ulrich cleared his throat and poised his hands over the keys. “He was one of the world’s greatest composers. His life was short but his influence great. Nocturne in C-sharp Minor was my Valerica’s favorite. Her life was also short. She said this piece took her to far off places. Close your eyes and see where it takes you.”

             From the first resounding chords a flood of emotion flowed through Havah like a river current. In a moment she was both callow child, alive with anticipation, and wizened matron, bone weary and full of years. Her mother’s voice lulled and comforted her with a song about raisins and almonds. She saw her father’s face, half illuminated by candle flame as he poured over volume after volume of Talmud. Arel approached from the shadows, tall and thin. His gray eyes devoured her. His tender lips kissed her.

~~From Please Say Kaddish for Me

Valerica Dietrich - Framed

Valerica Dietrich © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp Minor soothed Havah’s jangled nerves. The ivory keys were smooth and comforting under her fingertips. Although she would never be a pianist of Ulrich’s caliber she played well enough to entertain an audience of one. Closing her eyes, she relished a soft breeze carrying the scents of daffodil and hyacinth through the open window.

Havah in a Frame

Havah Cohen Gitterman

~~From From Silt and Ashes 

     

 

 

Original Artwork - © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Arel Gitterman – Original Artwork – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting the strains of Chopin’s Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor waft over her, Shayndel sat in the rocking chair beside the piano with Tikvah asleep on her lap. While Shayndel did not know many musical pieces by name like her sister-in-law she could always recognize this one. When Havah was sad or in pain this would be the piece she chose to play.

~~From As One Must, One Can (2016)

Shayndel Abromovich-Original artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Shayndel Abromovich-Original artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

  While not a person or an animal, a piece of classical music becomes something of a friend and companion to Havah. Chopin’s Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor comforts her when reality becomes too much to handle.

            I fell in love with this piece and Chopin’s music when I saw the movie The Pianist. It’s haunting, ethereal beauty transports this author to other places so it seemed only natural it would do the same for Havah.

            Unlike the author, Havah has latent musical talent that Ulrich is only too happy to nurture. While he tries to steer her to something simpler for a beginner, she is determined to learn how to play the nocturne.

            I hope you’ll take the time to not only read my excerpts but also to enjoy the music.  

 

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Amazon  Angus & Robertson  B&N  BAM  BookWorld  FishPond  Shelfari  The Book Depository  Waterstones  GoodReads  iDreamBooks  HPB Hudson Book Sellers   IndieBound  Powell’s Books

Amazon AU  Amazon UK  Amazon Germany  Amazon Italy  Amazon France  Amazon Spain

Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

Character Study – Rabbi Shimon and Miriam Cohen

Published January 24, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Out of the corner of her eye she [Havah] saw her mother creep through the doorway and inch toward the bed with a wooden rolling pin high over her head. She slammed it down on the back of the man’s head. With a sudden jerk and a grunt he released Havah. He rolled off her and fell to the floor unconscious.

She sat up, clutching a pillow and stared down at him. Blood pooled under his head and seeped into the cracks between the floor boards. This had to be a dream. In the morning Papa would wink at her over breakfast and assure her it had all been a horrendous nightmare.

 Her mother yanked her hand, dragged her from the bed and held her for a moment, her tears hot on Havah’s neck.

“Hurry, Havah. May the God of Israel go with you.” Taking Havah’s face between her hands her mother kissed her forehead.

“But Mama—”

Tugging Havah’s arm, her mother dragged her to the back door of the house and shoved her out. “No arguing. Go!”

Heart thumping, she ran. Thick smoke stung her eyes and burned her throat. She stopped and turned to look one last time. The blazing synagogue crumbled to the ground.

“No, Havah, don’t look back!”

                      ~~Taken from Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Miriam Cohen 2

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Heder teacher’s face turned crimson. He narrowed his eyes and glared at five-year-old Havah as if she were a piglet about to be dumped on his doorstep. Then he clenched his tobacco-stained teeth and spat a brown glob on the doorstep.

Up until this moment she had been excited to learn to read the Torah, the words that came from Adoshem’s own mouth. Huddled against Papa’s shoulder she hid her eyes in his coat folds.

“You can’t be serious, Rabbi Shimon. She’s a girl.”

“So she is.” Papa’s arm tightened around her. “My daughter’s mind is every whit as keen as her brother Mendel’s.”

“To be certain she’s a bright one, and one day she’ll be a most excellent wife and mother. Perhaps she’ll even marry a rabbi herself but, Rebbe, to come to Heder with boys? It’s not right.”

“Where does the Torah say it’s wrong for a girl to learn?”

“Rabbi Ben Hyrcanus clearly stated in the Talmud that to teach a daughter Torah is tiflut, obscenity. And did he not also say that the words of the Torah should be burned rather than be entrusted to a woman? Rabbi, you of all people should know this.”

“As far as I’m concerned it’s opinion and rubbish! Didn’t the prophet Yo’el write ‘your sons and daughters shall prophecy’? Miriam and Deborah—were they not judges in Israel?”

“You win, Rebbe.”

“I always do.”

                 ~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Until the pogrom that took them from her, Havah’s parents, Rabbi Shimon and Miriam Cohen were the two most important people her life.

            Not one to be bound by law and traditions, Rabbi Cohen relied more on Torah than Midrash, the rabbinic commentaries.  When questioned, he was quick to argue that the former was the irrefutable word of God while the latter was merely opinion and conjecture.  He encouraged his daughter and his wife, if they so desired, to study the Holy Word.

            Miriam was a gentle and loving wife who kept a clean, Kosher home. She considered her greatest treasures to be her husband, her two sons and her daughter.

            Havah adored her parents and her memories of them are a constant thread throughout the series. Even though she was only sixteen when they died, their words of wisdom are always there to guide her.

FSAA Cover

Amazon Amazon Spain  Amazon Italy  Amazon Germany  Amazon UK  Amazon France

Amazon AU  Shelfari

The Sequel to

PSK Cover

 

Amazon  Angus & Robertson  B&N  BAM  BookWorld  FishPond  Shelfari  The Book Depository  Waterstones  GoodReads  iDreamBooks  HPB Hudson Book Sellers   IndieBound  Powell’s Books

Amazon AU  Amazon UK  Amazon Germany  Amazon Italy  Amazon France  Amazon Spain

Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

Character Study – Valerica Dietrich

Published January 15, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Although she [Havah] had dusted it many times, a faded photograph in a silver frame caught her attention. A woman with pale curls around her face smiled at her from under a lace bridal veil. She lifted the picture from the table beside the piano.

            “What was she like?”

            “My Valerica.”  He took the picture from her. Then, holding it to his chest, he propped an elbow on the piano and rested his head on his hand. “Kolyah introduced us.”

            “Dr. Nikolai?”

            “She was his wife’s best friend. Do you believe in love at first sight, Havah?”

            Not waiting for an answer, he continued. His spirit seemed to travel to a distant time and place. Tears shimmered in his eyes. “Valerica Dietrich. She was always the picture of fashion. But, if you ask me, she could’ve worn flour sacks and still have turned heads.

                               ~~From Please Say Kaddish for Me

“Have you heard from your professor?”

“I got a letter this morning.” Havah took an envelope from her pocket. “How is he?”

“He’s so lonesome. Oh, he doesn’t say so, but I can tell by the way he talks about his wife and how much he misses her. She’s been gone thirteen years. It’s a pity he never remarried.”

              ~~From From Silt and Ashes

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Valerica Dietrich - Framed

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was for his Romanian wife, Valerica that Ulrich moved to Kishinev, Moldova. Her death in childbirth dealt him a terrible blow from which he has never recovered. In Please Say Kaddish for Me, to keep her memory alive, Ulrich still has all of her belongings and refuses to sell the house they shared.

However, after experiencing anti-Semitic oppression and the carnage of the pogrom, he can no longer bear to remain in Kishinev.

As From Silt and Ashes opens he has sold the house and moved to London where he teaches at the Royal Academy of Music. Valerica’s wedding photo is ever by his piano for, as he’s told Havah, “She had music in her eyes.”

FSAA Cover

The Sequel to

PSK Cover

Both Available at

ANGUS & ROBERTSON      AMAZON    B&N    BAM    BOOKWORLD    FISHPOND     SHELFARI     BOOK DEPOSITORY   WATERSTONES    GOODREADS   IDREAMBOOKS

Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

 

Character Study – Sarah Tulschinsky

Published December 21, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Sarah Tulschinsky, Arel’s older sister, fascinated Havah. Her crooked-toothed smile eclipsed her hollow cheeks. Skinny, with a thatch of kinky black hair and round eyes, she lacked Shayndel’s physical attributes.

Arel said he could not recall ever hearing Sarah raise her voice, until seven years ago. Always the dutiful daughter, she did whatever she was told until her father arranged for her to marry a man twice her age. With shrieks of rage that shocked everyone, she stuffed her few belongings into a carpetbag and left home. The few kopeks she had scrimped together from mending clothes paid her passage to America.

Amid stench and disease in the ship’s steerage, she met her beloved Wolf. Married soon after their arrival in New York, they followed their dreams to Kansas City where they lived in a flea-infested shack among the impoverished unwashed in a settlement known as McClure Flats. Side-by-side, she and Wolf established his tailor shop. Within two years, they saved enough money to move from the slums into a two-story home.

~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Sarah Tulschinsky-Framed

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff – Fields

Sarah Tulschinsky is a gentle presence in both Please Say Kaddish for Me and From Silt and Ashes. In the first book the family in Svechka looks forward to her letters telling of her life in America. Although Yussel, who feels that he drove her away, wrestles with his guilt and worries that she hasn’t forgiven him.

Sarah is the first to welcome Havah to Kansas City. However, when she sees how Yussel dotes on Havah, she feels twinges of jealousy. In the end a close bond forms between the two women.

McClure Flats

McClure Flats in Kansas City, MO. circa 1911

Published 15 December 2015 

FSAA Cover

The Sequel to

PSK Cover

Both Available at

ANGUS & ROBERTSON      AMAZON    B&N    BAM    BOOKWORLD    FISHPOND     SHELFARI     BOOK DEPOSITORY   WATERSTONES    GOODREADS   IDREAMBOOKS

Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

18 December 2015

Published December 16, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Thoreau Dogs

FF copyright banner final

FRIDAY FICTION CONCRIT SUBGROUP

If you want to be part of this group click the link above and follow the rules set forth by Jennifer Pendergast, the leader of this subgroup. No one is under obligation to participate nor is it necessary to dig something up to criticize for the sake of critique. Please keep it polite and friendly. 

The next photo is the prompt and is from Yours Truly. 

Kitchen Window

PHOTO PROMPT- © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Teaser

Word Count: 97

LUCID NIGHTMARE

                       “Police! Open the door!”

                       Her body shook, more from horror than cold. She drew up her knees, cowered in a corner of the room and stared at the bloodstains on the floral wallpaper. The back of her head ached where he had yanked her hair and dragged her to the floor. A bitter wind blew through the broken window. She shivered. Her knuckles smarted from a large gash across them. She wrapped her nightgown hem around her hand.

                      Tears burned her eyes and she shut them tight, leaning her head against the wall. “Will it ever end?”

****

A bit of self-promotion today as my second novel From Silt and Ashes debuted this week. The “story” above is the opening of book. I hope it drew you in and made you want to know more. 😉

FSAA Front Cover

Now available on Amazon.com

Character Study – Havah in America

Published November 27, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Picking up a letter from his desk, Ulrich held it to his nose and breathed in the aroma of rose water. He pictured Havah sitting at the kitchen table, pen in hand, munching raisins, black waves cascading over her shoulders.

Nikolai walked to the desk, picked up the envelope and squinted. “‘Kansas City, Missouri. U.S.A.’”

“The postman delivered it yesterday afternoon.”

 “What does she have to say?”

“Here, I’ll read it to you.

Friday, 29 January, 1904       

Dearest Ulrich, my angel and friend,

I am hoping happiness for you. You, above all people, deserve it. 

I miss hearing you play. Perhaps one day you will come here for a concert. Can you understand it, my writing?

For a moment he stopped to study her even letters. The memory of her battle with her knife-slashed hand still pained him. No longer able to perform simple tasks such as writing or even holding a spoon, she forced her left hand, with unyielding diligence, into submission. After all of that, she still had impeccable penmanship.

~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published (December 2015) by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Havah in a Frame

Havah Cohen Gitterman – Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Following tearful goodbyes to Ulrich and Nikolai, Arel, Havah and Arel’s family immigrated to Kansas City. Ulrich, who had already secured a teaching position at the Royal Academy of Music in London, talked Nikolai into joining him.

            At the beginning of From Silt and Ashes Havah maintains her friendship with Ulrich through letters. Thanks to Arel’s income as a tailor, Arel and Havah have purchased a new house and are adapting to American life as they anticipate the birth of their first child.

            Although she’s comfortable in her new home, Havah suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress and worsening physical disability. No longer an adolescent, she’s a young married woman who faces challenge after challenge with tenacity and courage.

 

Sequel!

 

Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

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Available Internationally on Kindle and in Print

If you’ve read and enjoyed, please leave a review on one of these sites. It helps sell books. 😉

Shalom, 

Rochelle

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