Loiacono Literary Agency

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What’s a Little Jet Lag?

Published November 21, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Last Wednesday I set forth from Belton, Missouri to Burbank, California with more than one mission. The primary one was to do a live interview on The Writer’s Block Radio Show. Although I could’ve stayed home and phoned the interview in, when I found out how close my son lives to the studio I made travel arrangements. To read my other two blogs leading up to this Click Here and Here

Yes, I do have a purple suitcase. Why do you ask?

Yes, I do have a purple suitcase. Why do you ask?

Thursday night came and with it butterflies in my stomach doing loop-de-loops. My son, Travis drove me to the studio and sat in on the interview. 

latalk-entrance

I felt a little nervous as I sank down in front of the microphone, reminding myself not to say, “Um” or “Er”. However, as soon as we went live, host Jim Christina and his co-host, Russ Avison put me at ease. It seemed more like sitting in someone’s living room having a great conversation than a question and answer interview. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

latalk-warmup

Jim Christina

Jim Christina who took the time to research the pogroms in Eastern Europe.

la-talk-interview-and-shoes

Wearing my magic shoes.

russ-avison

Russ Avison, who read Please Say Kaddish for Me and asked some brilliant questions.

With the interview behind me, I spent the rest of the week getting to know my five-year-old granddaughter, Olive. It happened that her other grandmother Dru was also in town to spend Thanksgiving. I enjoyed visiting with her as well. art-time-with-oliveolive-and-bubster

We stopped in at the Bookstar Barnes & Noble in Studio City so I could sign two copies of PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME and two copies of FROM SILT AND ASHES. 

bn-bookstar2

Even though we weren't able to arrange a book signing, the manager was nice enough to order in my books and invited me to come in and sign them. (I suppose we could call this a book signing. Right?)

Even though we weren’t able to arrange a book signing, the manager was nice enough to order in my books and invited me to come in and autograph them. (I suppose we could call this a book signing. Right? Of course, right!)

L-R Grandma Dru, Jaimi, Travis with Olive and Bubbie Rochelle

L-R Grandma Dru, Jaimi, Travis with Olive and Bubbie Rochelle

Last but not least, a little artwork from the budding artist. Remember when Grandmothers carried brag books? Today’s Bubbie blogs. 

Poppie the Troll by Miss Olive Fields

Poppie the Troll by Miss Olive Fields

The highest point of the week might have been the moment Olive said, “I love you, Bubster.” 

 

Character Study – Svechka, Moldavia

Published August 18, 2016 by rochellewisoff

“More pogroms. And so close.” Rabbi Yussel Gitterman’s sightless eyes filled with tears.

Eighteen-year-old Arel Gitterman pulled his coat around his ears and shivered, partly from cold and partly with rage. What had they done to make the Christians hate them so much? “We should retaliate. We should gather all of the young men—”

“Shah! Such nonsense!”

“Ouch! Papa, is it unreasonable for men to protect their homes?”

“Remember, my son. A soft answer turns away wrath.”

“How can you say that, Papa? Last night innocent people were murdered in their beds all over the countryside. Did they have time to make an answer—of any kind?”

Hershel Levine’s green eyes flashed. “The lad makes sense, Yussel. There is much cruelty in the world. Sometimes one has to wonder what the Almighty is thinking.”

“So, Hershel, my old friend, do you think the three of us, an old cantor, a blind rabbi and a boy who’s barely able to squeeze out a whisker are going to seek revenge on those animals with their guns and Czar Nicolas, may his name be blotted out?”

Arel gritted his teeth. “Reb Pinkas said he heard the Christians burned down a synagogue. A rabbi died trying to protect the sacred scrolls. Papa, it could just as easily have been you.”     

“Reb Pinkas is up early bearing his tales. Yes, it could have been any Jew in this land, my Son.” Yussel patted his shoulder. “It’s dangerous to be a Jew in this Pale of Settlement. But now let’s tend to matters at hand. It’s Shabbes, the Sabbath, and we have a synagogue to prepare for morning services.”

“Yes, Papa.” Arel knew from experience arguing with his father would not accomplish anything. Still his anger boiled because they were Jews who lived in poverty under the tyranny of the Russians. Prisoners in their own country, unable own land and denied education beyond their Hebrew schools.

For the next few moments Yussel’s cane tapping along the frozen ground was the only sound. Each man lost in his own thoughts, they approached the synagogue, the largest building in the Jewish quarter of Svechka.

To call a backward village “The Candle” was a contradiction. Arel supposed at some point in time the Russians considered it a place of enlightenment.

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

YUSSEL GITTERMAN -Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

YUSSEL GITTERMAN -Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

***

To the best of my knowledge, the shtetl or village known in Please Say Kaddish for Me as Svechka only exists in the author’s imagination. Like Anatevka in Fiddler on the Roof it represents the many villages scattered throughout Eastern Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

HERSHEL LEVINE - Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

HERSHEL LEVINE – Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Shtetl is Yiddish for “little town.” These villages ranged in size from several hundred residents to several thousand. The Jews usually lived within the town while the Gentiles tended to live on the outskirts. Central to the Jewish community was the Synagogue and Kahal, the community council. Most of the shtetl Jews were artisans and shop owners while the scholars were the revered minority. Both Arel and Havah, the children of rabbis, have grown up in their respective shtetls, Natalya and Svechka, as members of the elite part of their societies.

Framed Arel in Svechka

AREL GITTERMAN -Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

 

Framed Havah at 16

HAVAH COHEN – Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Enjoy a little taste of what their world was like. 

 Note: If you’ve read and enjoyed either or both of my books, please leave a review on Amazon.com and any of the other sites. I ask for Amazon primarily because of the scope of influence. Thank you.

Shalom,

Rochelle

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COMING SOON!

COMING SOON!

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 – Judge William H. Wallace

Published August 12, 2016 by rochellewisoff
Judge William H. Wallace Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Judge William H. Wallace
Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

  With his elbow on the counter, he [Arel] rested his chin on his hand which he used to cover his left cheek. He waved his other hand over an official looking sheet of paper in front of him.

            “What’s that?” Havah asked.

            “It’s an indictment from His Honor Judge Wallace. I could go to prison.”

            “What crime did you commit?”

            “I’ve opened my shop on Sunday instead of Saturday.”

            “And this is a crime?”

            “According to him and his Sunday labor law, we’re required to observe the Christian Sabbath or pay a penalty. We may open our shops but if we sell anything we are in violation.”

            “I don’t understand this man. Ulrich and Dr. Florin call themselves Christians and even go to church on Sunday. They are kind and gentle—nothing like that judge.”

            A lump formed in the pit of Havah’s stomach. “Arel, you don’t suppose…” She envisioned the police smashing the window. They beat Arel with their clubs while he pled for mercy. Next they came after Rachel. 

            Havah shook off her grisly daydream and remembered her chance meeting with President Roosevelt at Ellis Island. Imagine—the ruler of the United States taking the time so speak with a Jewish peasant girl from Moldavia. Such a man would never allow another Kishinev or Odessa to happen in his great country.

            She took the indictment in her hand and crumpled it in her fist. “Every ass likes to hear himself bray.”

Taken from As One Must, One Can (2016)

COMING SOON!

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

***

            In this last book of the trilogy, Havah finds a formidable nemesis in Judge William H. Wallace who was described by the Kansas City newspapers as a crusader for the Sunday Blue Law. During his tenure as criminal court judge, he handed out over a reported 7,000 indictments. At odd times his deputies arrested cigar dealers, druggists and even music conductors in the midst of performances if they fell on Sunday. No one was exempt. 

            One article quotes him as referring to the Jews as evil for their observance of Sunday on Saturday. It was only natural for Havah to fear a pogrom in her new country. She had experienced Antisemitism at its worst and recognized the signs.      

***  

    This article, as written below, appeared in The Kansas City Journal, October 3, 1908

NOW HE TARGETS THE JEWS.

Judge Wallace Says Jews Must Keep

Their Stores Closed on Sunday.

Not only is Judge Wallace going after the theater managers, pool hall proprietors, barber and tobacco dealers, but from now on his righteous wrath is to be visited upon the wicked citizens of Jewish extraction who keep their second hand clothing stores open on Sunday.
According to his special prosecutor it makes no difference to Judge Wallace that the religious belief of these dealers does cause them to observe Saturday as the Sabbath and that their places of business are tightly closed that day — they will be prosecuted just as vigorously if they open on Sunday.
When the Wallace Sunday closing crusade was started a statement was authorized by the court to the effect that provided the Jews of the city observed Saturday as Sunday they would be exempt from prosecution, but it is now stated that there has been a misconception as to this statement. Why the misconception has not been corrected before does not yet appear.
“Under the law,” said the court’s spokesman, “if the Jews observe Saturday as Sunday they are exempt from prosecution so far as labor is concerned, that is, they may work on Sunday; but this exemption does not allow them to sell goods and they are to be prosecuted if they do. Already two indictments for this offense have been found by the grand jury and the offenders will appear in court the first of next week.”
Therefore, if the Jew merchants of the city are so disposed, they may keep their stores open on Sunday, but if they sell anything the heavy hand of the law will be laid upon them.
The explanation of the law as interpreted by Judge Wallace in this matter does not include a clear view of the fine distinction between what is called “work” and selling second-hand clothes.
That this new interpretation of the law will work a distinct hardship on the Jew dealer whose religious scruples will not allow him to do business on Saturday goes without saying for it effectually shuts him off from selling his goods on two days out of seven.
“I think the Sunday law will be pretty generally observed tomorrow,” said the special prosecutor. “In fact, I think 98 per cent of the places which have heretofore been in the habit of doing business on Sunday will be found closed. The grand jury will proceed with its work Monday morning, at which time the rest of the theater managers whom we did not have time to arraign this week will be brought into court.

***

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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

Note: If you’ve read and enjoyed either or both of my books, please leave a review on Amazon.com and any of the other sites. I ask for Amazon primarily because of the scope of influence. Thank you.

Shalom,

Rochelle

27 May 2016

Published May 25, 2016 by rochellewisoff

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 Email me at runtshell@gmail.com

The following photo is the PROMPT. Keep in mind that all photos are the property of the contributor, therefore copyrighted and require express permission to use for purposes other than Friday Fictioneers. Giving credit to whom credit is due is proper etiquette. This week the photo is one of mine. 

Waves

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction/Teaser

Not exactly an excerpt from FROM SILT AND ASHES

Word Count: 99

BOTHER IN LAW

               Quinnon’s drunken accusations reprised like a canon in Ulrich’s head. How could Quinnon accuse his own sister of murder? No one could deny she had a fiery temper—but murder? Surely not!

              Ulrich stood on the ship’s deck beside her. The moon’s reflections flickered on the waves like radiant sea creatures. A salt laden breeze ruffled his hair and chilled him through his thin shirt. Despite his raging mind, he relished the cool ocean spray on his face.

              Catherine leaned her head on his shoulder. “What’s the matter, Ulrich?”

              “I have to know. Did you kill your son?”

              “Yes.”

ULRICH DIETRICH Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

ULRICH DIETRICH
Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

CATHERINE DIETRICH Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

CATHERINE DIETRICH
Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

QUINNON FLANNERY Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

QUINNON FLANNERY
Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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COMING SOON!

COMING SOON!

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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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 – Mendel and David Cohen

Published February 8, 2016 by rochellewisoff
Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Although Havah’s older brothers, Mendel and David Cohen, perished at the beginning of Please Say Kaddish for Me, they are ever alive in her heart. Two very different personalities, Havah adored them both. Her memories of them are a constant thread throughout Please Say Kaddish for Me, From Silt and Ashes, and the imminent third novel in the trilogy, As One Must One Can.

            Her eldest brother, Mendel, eight years her senior, wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a rabbi.

***

            By the tender age of twelve, Havah had developed the attributes of a young woman. Despite her disappointed protests, her father agreed with her teacher that her Heder education should come to an end. The boys would never learn Holy writ with such a comely distraction.

            Her brother Mendel became her lamed, her teacher. While she missed her classmates’ challenges, she enjoyed mornings with Mendel and flourished under his tutelage. A strict teacher, he never allowed her any leeway because of her gender or kinship.

~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes

***

            David, who was two years younger than Mendel, was a gifted artist. In Please Say Kaddish for Me, Havah tells Shayndel that he could paint a flower so real that you would swear you could smell its fragrance.

            David was the mischievous brother who mercilessly teased his little sister. She regrets that shortly before his murder, they had quarreled. 

***

            With a suppressed sigh she covered the braided loaves with clean towels and set them on the back of the stove to rise. “The last time I baked Hollah, I couldn’t put raisins in it because my brother David ate all of them. I wish I hadn’t gotten so mad. I said horrid things.”

“Were they the last words you spoke to him?” Fruma Ya’el unfolded a linen tablecloth, snapping it so it billowed and dropped to cover the table.

“No.” Gathering the bowls and utensils, Havah hobbled to the sink. “I can still see him with Mama’s clean dish towel over his head, walking bent over. He sang all raspy like an old lady, too. ‘Little Bubbe Fuss Bucket. All astir over a raisin. A raisin. A shriveled little raisin. Oy, yoy, yoy.’” 

She took a kettle of hot water from the stove and poured it over the dishes. “I could never stay mad at him. If only I’d known—”

Gittel grabbed a dish towel. “Would you have done anything differently?”

A soap bubble floated up from the water. Havah popped it with her finger. “No.”

~~Taken from Please Say Kaddish for Me

***

            Each night of Hanukkah, Havah and her brothers took turns lighting the candles. Papa led the recitation of the blessings. To this day, when she heard distant thunder Havah swore it was Papa’s resonant voice chanting prayers in heaven.

            One year, her brother David, then twelve, ate so many macaroons he spent half the night in the outhouse.  The next morning, fourteen-year-old Mendel, always the teacher, seized the opportunity to expound on the evils of gluttony. David’s green-tinged cheeks flushed while six-year-old Havah giggled into her napkin. 

~~Taken from As One Must One Can (2016)

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

***

 

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The Sequel to

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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.

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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.

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