THE VOICE OF THE PAST~ SOLOMAN’S BRIDE ~ REBECCA HAZELL…review & giveaway

WELCOME, REBECCA!
THE VOICE OF THE PAST

One of the big challenges of writing historical fiction is finding the right voice. No one wants to read something that sounds like the medieval English of The Canterbury Tales; we couldn’t understand it for starters! But if a story is written in language that’s too modern, it’s jarring. You may have read historical novels that read more like People Magazine than, say, a medieval adventure set in Lithuania (I made up the Lithuania part).

So in writing the trilogy, The Tiger and the Dove, set in the thirteenth century in Rus’ (the parent of both Ukraine and Russia), a major choice was finding language that would neither jar nor be unintelligible. My solution was to make sure that none of the words were newer than from 600 years ago. I figured it might take at least a few decades to migrate from the spoken to the written word and from French or Latin into English, so that calculation added somewhere between 50 and 100 more years to the antiquity of the language.

But it eliminated a lot of words and phrases that we take for granted; they didn’t yet exist. For instance, Sofia couldn’t ‘introduce’ someone to someone else. After struggling with the awkward ‘made known to’, I changed to ‘presented’, which comes later as she begins writing in another language. Of course, Sofia wasn’t writing in English but in Rus’ and then Frankish and Latin, and still in some ways thinking in Rus’—but I don’t want to give too much away.

There was another challenge to the voice I had to find for my heroine, Princess Sofia Vladymyrovna. She’s barely out of childhood when she begins her story. By the time she finishes it, she is in her late thirties, has traveled untold miles, been exposed to a myriad of new cultures, and had to learn at least six languages.

In the first novel, The Grip of God, Sofia thinks, speaks, and behaves like a young teenager. But she has to grow up overnight when she’s captured and enslaved by Mongols. She starts her story in her native language, but in the Mongol camps she learns new languages and dialects that influence how she speaks and thinks. In fact, everything she took for granted is challenged by a strange prophecy about her, the ugly politics in her master’s family, and the many religions she encounters.

In the second novel, Solomon’s Bride, Sofia escapes the frying pan of the Mongols and falls into the fire of the Assassins, the Crusader wars, and lots more. So I had to present her growing into young womanhood while confronting more life challenges, love challenges, and language challenges that affect how she expresses herself. By the time she finishes this second installment of her story, not only is she now an adult, she is no longer writing in the Rus’ tongue, but she doesn’t always use words as a native speaker would.

In the third novel, Consolamentum, Sofia is writing as a woman of the world who must face a whole new set of life challenges that nearly break her spirit. And again she has had to learn more new languages, including Veneziano, Italian, and the forerunner of French, which gives you some hints about where her adventures take her next.

Last, Sofia thinks as a medieval woman does, not as a modern woman would. There’s so much she doesn’t know that we take for granted, and there are assumptions she and others make that might seem strange to us. Talk about a challenge! But what happens in the end is that we see much of Sofia in ourselves: her complexity, her heartache and her triumphs. Because in the end, I believe we transcend the boundaries of language in our shared experience of love, confusion, and longing for what is good.

Thank you so much for spending time with us and our readers!
We wish you much sucess!!
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solomon's bride - cover
Solomon’s Bride – Book Two  Amazon Link

Sofia’s journey continues into a new and different foreign world as she heads to Iran:

Once a princess of Rus’, now a fugitive from the Mongols with a price on her head, Sofia flees to Iran and what she thinks will be safety. Instead, she becomes a virtual prisoner in Alamut, capital of the feared, secretive sect called the hashishiyya – known today as the Assassins. There she must answer to the Grand Master himself.

In this gripping second journal of her adventures, she is confronted with a world that further challenges everything she thought she knew.  And like Solomon’s youngest bride, if she escapes, can she face a lonely death in the desert or might she finally find love?

The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order. The second book, Solomon’s Bride, is out now and the third in the trilogy, Consolamentum, will be released soon.

 

 

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MY THOUGHTS:

SOLOMAN’S BRIDE by Rebecca Hazell is an interesting Historical Fiction. #2 in “The Tiger and the Dove” trilogy. I feel you really need to read book 1, “The Grip of God” in order to better understand “Soloman’s Bride”.

This is the continuance of the story of Princess Sofia. The adventure continues for Sofia, who we see in THE GRIP OF GOD has been captured and made  a concubine to one of the Mongol invaders captains. Now, she in Iran, a fugitive with a price on her head. She flees to Iran and what she believes to be safety to realize she is once again a prisoner, only this time,  to the Grand Master, himself.

Will Sofia, ever find safety, and love? A compelling, and complex tale of courage, slavery, adventure, and a very different world to what Sofia once knew. Not only as a slave of the Mongols but as a young Princess as well. Will she ever find her place, and re-gain her heritage? A gripping tale from beginning to end. I enjoyed “Soloman’s Bride” with it’s vivid descriptions, and its compelling characters. I don’t feel this one is as brutal as THE GRIP OF GOD, but it is intense,emotional, and complex. The third in this THE TIGER AND THE DOVE trilogy will be releasing soon, CONSOLAMENTUM, in which, hopefully, we will see how Sofia’s journey ends. 

If you enjoy historical fiction, Asian culture, and a complex tale, then you will enjoy SOLOMAN’S BRIDE. Received for an honest review.

RATING: 4

HEAT RATING: HOT

REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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The Grip of God – Book One  Amazon Link

The Grip of God is the first novel in an epic historical trilogy, The Tiger and the Dove. Set in the thirteenth century, its heroine, Sofia, is a young princess of Kievan Rus. She begins her story by recounting her capture in battle and life of slavery to a young army captain in the Mongol armies that are flooding Europe. Not only is her life shattered, it is threatened by the bitter rivalries in her new master’s powerful family, and shadowed by the leader of the Mongol invasion, Batu Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson. How will she learn to survive in a world of total war, much less rediscover the love she once took for granted? Always seeking to escape and menaced by outer enemies and inner turmoil, where can she find safe haven even if she can break free? Clear eyed and intelligent, Sofia could be a character from The Game of Thrones, but she refuses to believe that life is solely about the strong dominating the weak or about taking endless revenge. Her story is based on actual historical events, which haunt her destiny. Like an intelligent Forrest Gump, she reflects her times. But as she matures, she learns to reflect on them as well, and to transcend their fetters. In doing so, she recreates a lost era for us, her readers.

Praise for the trilogy

“How deftly and compellingly Hazell takes the reader with her into that mysterious and exotic world, and makes it all seem so very close to hand!” – Peter Conradi, Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Literature and author of Iris Murdoch: A Life, and of A Very English Hero.

 

“I enjoyed watching her morph from a spoiled sheltered princess with slaves of her own, into a tough, savvy survivor, with a new awareness of social injustice. The book is action packed. I couldn’t put it down.” — from a review on Amazon.com.

 

“I got completely caught up in the characters and story and always looked forward to getting back to them. What a fully fleshed and fascinating world you developed and it was wondrous to learn so much about that time and the Mongol culture. Your gifts come out in your lush descriptions of place and objects. All very vivid and colorful.” –author Dede Crane Gaston

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MY THOUGHTS:

THE GRIP OF GOD by Rebecca Hazell is an intriguing historical fiction set during the 13th century. Book 1 in “The Tiger and the Dove” trilogy. What a fascinating tale of the brutal Mongolian invasions, a young teen of privilege taken as a slave by invaders and made into a concubine to Captain Argamon of the Mongol army. A complex, compelling tale of a young Princess who learns to endure, and survive the brutality of war and all of its atrocity, not only to herself but to others across Asia and Europe. There are some very intense scenes, with nightly rapes, constant sexual harassment of Princess Sofia, you learn so much of the brutality of the Mongolian invaders. Not only toward women but toward men as well. There was some confusion at times to me, concerning the sexual implications, but I would consider “The Grip of God” an epic journey.  Be aware, there are several rape scenes as well as constant sexual harassment,while, not explicit, they can be off putting. “The Grip of God” is a cross-cultural tale of the atrocities of war during the 13th century. Received for an honest review.

RATING: 4

HEAT RATING: HOT(due to the nature)

REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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About the author
Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases.

She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook

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~GIVEAWAY ALERT~

(Sponsored by the publicist and/or author)

We are offering 1 lucky commenter a chance to win a digital copy of SOLOMAN’S BRIDE by Rebecca Hazell. Just leave a comment.

Giveaway will run from May 22 until May 30, 2014.

*You MUST re-visit the site to check who won*

GOOD LUCK!

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~MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE~#VIST AND GIVEAWAY WITH SANDRA BORNSTEIN~

MBA&M WELCOMES…..

“MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE”,AUTHOR

SANDRA BORNSTEIN!

MAY THIS BE

Now readers,set back an enjoy our chat with this author and her amazing story of life in INDIA….

Without further ado, welcome SANDRA!!

sandra-bornstein-pressMBA&M: Sandra, please tell our readers a little about yourself?

 

After graduating from Highland Park High School, I attended the University of Colorado. I was lucky to meet my future husband within months of starting school. We married young and I followed him back to Chicago so that he could attend law school. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

While living in suburban Chicago, I had four sons.  While raising my family, I earned two graduate degrees. One was in Education- Instruction and Curriculum from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the other was in Jewish Studies from Spertus College. I am a licensed K-6 Colorado teacher with a K-12 linguistically diverse education endorsement.

I have taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses.

In 2010, my husband’s international job created a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in India. I fulfilled three passions – a desire to travel, a zeal for writing, and a love of teaching. My Indian adventure became the backdrop for my book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir.

 

 

MBA&M: I understand you had some unexpected events which caused you to have to move to India, but why write “May This Be The Best Year Of Your Life”?MAY THIS BE

 

For decades, I wanted to write a book. I couldn’t decide on a genre and I procrastinated. A memoir was never part of my initial list.

My husband and I have always maintained a low profile. We purposely avoid being in the public eye. When President Obama visited India, one of my eldest son’s friends asked if I wanted to be interviewed by an American television station. I declined. I wasn’t ready to go public.

I vacillated between my desire to publish a memoir and to maintain my family’s privacy. I was willing to let go of our anonymous status when I realized that I had an incredible story to share. Now that I had an engaging message, I could not resist writing about my adventure or the lessons that I learned.

 

 

MBA&M: How hard is it to write a memoir? Does it require an inner strength to write?

 

Even after I decided to go public with my story, I had some reservations. How much of my private life was I willing to reveal? What parts of my story would engage others? Would the events that I wanted to write about flow together in an organized fashion?

 

As I mapped out the key strands, I had to face both the pleasant and the unpleasant aspects of my story. I had to come to terms with my shortcomings and be painfully honest with what I wrote. In some respects it was cathartic because I was able to look at the “big picture” by first analyzing different segments of my journey. After I had a vision of the big picture, my writing allowed me to put my frustrations into perspective.

 

 

MBA&M: The culture shock must have been tough, what was the biggest shock to you? Why?

 

As soon as my husband and I left the airport, my senses were overwhelmed. Our assumption that our driver would be fluent in English was incorrect. His weak command of the language forced us to focus intently on his broken English as we struggled with the ill effects of jet lag.

 

Even though it was the middle of the night, horns were blaring nonstop. Every time our vehicle approached an intersection, the driver beeped his horn. Most people were sleeping, despite the pervasive noise.

 

The air had a foul smell that at first was unrecognizable. We eventually saw small fires burning garbage everywhere and cows, sheep, wild dogs and chickens roaming the streets freely. Manure was an obvious byproduct that was rarely cleaned up.

 

The darkness was not able to camouflage the sporadic heaps of debris and garbage that lined the roadway and sidewalks. In some places the litter appeared to blend in with the rundown and dilapidated buildings, but seemed out-of-place adjacent to modern and sleek buildings.

 

The drivers on the road did not appear to follow any rules. Red lights were ignored and most vehicles-large and small-weaved back and forth with little warning. Rear lights were reserved for only a select number of vehicles. Our driver came too close for comfort when he came upon vehicles with no lights.

 

By the time I reached our apartment, my senses were on high alert. Exhaustion took hold of me and the symptoms of culture shock were abated until I awoke later that day.

 

 

MBA&M: How hard is it to get accustomed to a different culture, the people, their customs, economics, their faith, and yours?

 

There is a distinct difference between visiting a country and living in a country. Being a visitor is a temporary situation that requires respect for the culture and a limited amount of indoctrination. However, when you relocate to a new country and become an expat, it is vital to become acclimated to the new environment.

 

It was a challenge for me to adapt to life in India since it was very different from my American background. So many things were foreign and strange. My initial reaction was to be unreceptive to what I observed. Slowly, I learned that I had to have a more flexible attitude. As long as I lived in India, I would have to realize that most things would be totally different from my suburban American life. Embracing my new adventure helped me overcome my trepidations.

 

MBA&M: What was the hardest thing for you to get accustomed to? Why?

 

I lost my freedom to come and go as I pleased. I was dependent on others to get me from point A to point B. I did not have a car and could not drive myself anywhere. Instead, I was limited to foot power and hiring others. Most rickshaw drivers, private drivers, and taxi drivers had a limited command of English. Oftentimes I found myself in vehicles that took circuitous routes to get to a destination or that admittedly got lost along the way. Inflated fares naturally followed. This only added to my bewilderment.

 

 

MBA&M: You taught at a boarding school, correct? How hard is it to teach at a school different their an America? What credentials did you need?

 

To my surprise, none of my American credentials were checked. In the US, teachers undergo several levels of scrutiny before they are hired at a public or private school. In the US, fingerprints, background checks, and employment verification are standard procedures. In India, my word was taken at face value. The school did not even ask for a copy of my college transcripts or my Colorado teaching license.

 

The international school followed a British curriculum that was very different from my American training and experience. Fortunately, my director allowed me to take a hybrid approach. I followed the mandated curriculum, but infused several American theories and methods into my

lesson plans. I was also provided an opportunity to share my literacy expertise during a primary faculty meeting.

 

This was an amazing opportunity that I thoroughly enjoyed. I realized that my efforts would be limited since my time at the school was short termed. Nevertheless, I wanted to model quality instruction. I have recently learned that some of my American methods are still being used in the 5th grade.

 

 

MBA&M: Where you alone in India or did you have family, friends, etc. with you?

 

My decision to travel to India was predicated on my husband’s job with an Indian based company. The initial terms of his employment called for approximately 6 months in India and the remainder of the time traveling in the US and the UK. My husband and I felt that the new position was a wonderful opportunity that would allow us to see more of our eldest son who was already working in India.

 

As a result of this business arrangement and the fact that our eldest son had been living in India for years, I retired from my teaching position at a local community college. In January 2010, I traveled with my husband to India.

 

I interviewed for teaching positions in India and accepted a position at an international school. In the meantime, the terms of my husband’s employment started to change.

 

I did not anticipate living by myself when I accepted the teaching job. Due to a number of unexpected twists and turns, I ended up living on the school’s campus by myself.

 

 

MBA&M: Sandra, please tell our readers where to connect with you and where they may purchase your title?

 

I’d be delighted if your readers would visit my website- www.sandrabornstein.com. The site includes general information, a photo gallery, a video book trailer, and an active blog

 

Readers can also join me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Goodreads.

Thank you Sandra, for spending time with us and our readers today. What an amazing story!

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May This Be The Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir
by Sandra Bornstein

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478198052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478198055

Book Description(From Amazon)

Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Based on a private journal, memories, and a blog that chronicled her adventure to India, Sandra Bornstein wrote May This Be the Best Year of Your Life to serve as a resource and guide to help others overcome the challenges of living outside their comfort zone. When her husband accepted a job that required extensive international travel, the author was living her version of the American dream in Colorado, never imagining she would be faced with several dilemmas that left her feeling uncertain. After a series of events, she found herself in a life altering experience that placed her alone in a three-hundred-square-foot dorm room while teaching at a renowned international boarding school in Bangalore. This compelling, honest, and edifying memoir shares everything she learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family. Had Sandra never resided in India, she would have missed out on an experience that ultimately enhanced her resiliency, confidence, and passion for life.
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Excerpt(from the author’s website)

Sandra Bornstein Book

Ira was going to India. He didn’t have the official offer yet, but somehow I knew that it would soon become a reality. He would leave . . . and what would I do? I tried to envision different scenarios.

I could travel as Ira’s companion.

Yeah, right! This was possible—only if I was independently wealthy.

Or maybe I would just stay in the United States and he’d travel back and forth.

More daunting was the idea of living and working in India. Ira and I could follow in Josh’s footsteps. Josh, in his 20s, dived head first into Indian culture. Ira and I were in our 50s.The whole idea seemed insane. Tossing away an established American life and relocating to a Third World country didn’t seem logical for a middle-aged couple. When Josh had accepted a job in India, I wept for days. I feared that our family would become fragmented and that our moments as a cohesive family would become distant memories. I couldn’t say anything because it was, after all, his life. But now Ira and I were potentially causing an irrevocable schism. Living halfway around the world from most of our immediate family seemed ludicrous.

By far the safest choice for me was staying put and not going anywhere. Ira was free to pursue this job, and I could continue my life as if nothing had changed. But I would have a part-time husband; each of us would need to fend for ourselves when we weren’t together. This alternative position was equally unsound. As a married couple, we derived our happiness and security by living life together. If I wanted to live a separate existence, I would ask for a divorce.

None of the options fell under the category of “the secrets of a successful marriage.” But I felt I would be selfish if I told Ira that he could not pursue this fascinating career path. Just like Josh had chosen his way years ago without any interference from us, I didn’t feel comfortable telling Ira not to take the job.

Too many sleepless nights went by without any resolution, and the lack of rest began to play tricks on me. One minute I felt that an Indian adventure was something to look forward to—a new challenge for the next stage of our lives. And in a blink, I’d change my mind and feel like our cat, Chloe, who likes to hide under the bed. Whenever Chloe doesn’t want to be bothered or is afraid that we’re going to take her for a much-dreaded car ride, she positions herself under our bed, knowing that she’s out of harm’s way. Unlike Chloe, however, I had nowhere to hide.

This wasn’t an easy time for Ira either. Some days the Indian company led Ira to believe that a contract was in the offing, while other days he felt that the deal was sinking like a ship. This went on for weeks as the structure of the job changed and the anticipated time that Ira would need to live in India fluctuated. The company treated Ira as if he were Geppetto’s puppet, controlled by the whim of the puppeteer. Oftentimes he was told that someone would call at a specific time but the phone never rang. He would wait and wait. Without seeming too impatient, he eventually sent e-mails to a contact person in India who then provided an excuse. Some were ridiculous, some seemed genuine. But all of them became old after months of the same act.

Frustration mounted whenever promises were made and broken. Words such as “tomorrow,” “later today,” or “we’ll call soon” turned into triggers that created skepticism. We learned that these words simply meant “an unspecified time in the future” and weren’t an actual promise. Ira and I could only chuckle and make bets about when the next stage would occur.

Ira remained intrigued over the prospect of being the legal head of a legal process outsourcing (LPO) company. Over the years, he had watched as the cost of litigation skyrocketed. By using qualified lawyers and legal assistants employed at a lower hourly rate, clients could decrease their costs. Ira was excited to take over the reins of India Sourced Technology’s (IST) LPO it was still in its infancy. IST was one of India’s largest companies and a global leader in technology with revenues in the billions.

After months of discussion, negotiation, and uncertainty, Ira received a written contract in December 2009. I felt like I was acting in a Disney World commercial when I asked, “How does it feel to be the new delivery head of the IST LPO?” Ira hadn’t won the Super Bowl, but he was beaming when he said, “I can’t wait to mentor hundreds of Indian lawyers and also have an impact on the legal profession.”

Now I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my life:

What was I going to do?

 

May This Be the Best Year of Your Life is available on Amazon.

 

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/m-QMib9UaT0


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Please check out “Our Thoughts” on this title!

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~GIVEAWAY ALERT~

(Sponsored by the author)

A special surprise!!

Our gracious guest is giving away a print copy of “MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE” to 1 lucky commenter. Open to U.S. residents only. No P.O. Boxes,please. Giveaway will run from today April 3 until April 10,2013.

So get to commenting and spread the word.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE AND HAPPY SPRING!!

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Thank you everyone for supporting us and our guests! We and the guests so appreciate your support!

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