I entered my newest novel, Children of Lies, in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, under a pen name, S. Waters. There were originally 10,000 entries, now it’s down to 500. You can see the excerpt here. Enjoy!
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating, September 15, 2012
By Kat from The Aussie Zombie (Netherlands)
I love historical fiction, particularly stories set around 1940s Europe. A Suitable Husband is set in 1930s Poland, a period that also had my interested piqued, but not a setting of any other books that I can remember reading.
A Suitable Husband is the story of one young woman, Bianca, her family and friends, and the struggle of Jews in Poland during the 1930′s. Told from different POVs – primarily Bianca, her mother and her brother, A Suitable Husband delves into the politics and discrimination of that era, as well as age-old family dynamics – the mother that holds the family together, the daughter who dreams of an education and the son who is unsure of which path to take in life.
S.B. Lerner takes the story of a family living through difficult times and magics it into a wonderful mixture of political difficulties, coming-of-age and family sagas.
The characters are vivid and endearing, particularly those of Bianca, torn between doing what is right and what her heart wants, and her mother, Danka, who is determined that her children will have the best life she can possibily provide for them, all the while fighting to keep them safe from the changing attitudes of the Polish people towards the Jews.
And in the midst of a family saga there is also a fascinating look into the Jewish plight in 1930s Poland and their fight to belong, to be independent or simply to build a life for themselves in the face of terrible discrimination.
A Suitable Husband grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let me go until the end. There were parts that felt a little rushed towars the end and the ending took me a little by surprise and although it wasn’t what I expected, I did think it suited the book and the characters perfectly.
Next time you are passing through Penn Station in NYC visit a wonderful independent bookstore, Penn Books, where A Suitable Husband is at home between The Help and Sarah’s Key.
The Who-What-Where-Why of Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories
by Karen Casey Fitzjerrell
The Blog Book Tour Cafe is an online group of writers who share experiences and brainstorm the ins and outs of promoting written works through social media.
The group “meets” online and through the collective and imaginative minds of its leaders and members, the e-book, Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories came about. Members were encouraged to submit a short story for the e-book that we hope will help promote our other work. Since BBT is a vastly diverse group, the collection covers just about every reading interest out there.
I had no doubt from the get-go what my submission to the Corner Cafe Collection would be. I’d started my third novel, was about fifty pages into the story, and I realized I needed to tighten those first pages and put my protagonist “out there” in a more clearly defined way. The Corner Cafe call for submissions was just the push I needed to get back on track. I re-wrote the first pages and titled my story, What’s Next.
In What’s Next, Wilson, whose mother never took the time to give her a girl’s name, grew up in her grandmother’s house and relied on her to fill in the gaps of important childhood moments. At twenty three, Wilson is adrift and aimless. But at the same time she believes she is intimately, maybe even spiritually, connected to her surroundings. Namely, the sea and sky. As occurs in each of our lives at one time or another, and more often for some than others, the tiniest happenstance occurs while Wilson sits in a booth sipping soda in her home town Corner Cafe. She grabs at the chance to step away from her routine of try-and-fail, and in doing so discovers direction and what she might do next order to clear a path for a positive future.
I’ve looked for the universality of Wilson’s story. I have some ideas what that might be but I’d like most to hear what readers have to say about her story, as I develop my novel.
I’m extremely grateful to BBT Cafe for pulling The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories together. By participating I feel as if I’ve tightened the best of my novel’s opening and at the same time ended up with a beginning, middle and end for a full circle short story. When I get back to Wilson’s story in the coming months, I’ll be as curious as anyone to find out what Wilson discovers in the following chapters.
In closing I send out a very special thanks to Susan Lerner for hosting me on her blog. She is a gifted word artist, one I plan to follow closely as her career unfolds. Indeed, one of the perks of joining BBT has been the special bond of respect and camaraderie in getting to know other writers across the country who seek to have their works read and appreciated.
Karen’s first novel, The Dividing Season
Visit Karen at:
I guest posted on Helen Ginger’s blog today. Check out her blog, which has many interesting articles, and features Helen’s new novel.
A new collection of short stories is out, which includes my story, “Since You Left”. The collection evolved from my writers blogging group that meets on the web.
The book is only on Kindle for now, and not for profit. It’s $.99 (and free this weekend) and any profit will go to a charity promoting literacy.
More about it in a future guest post. In the meantime, people watch at the Corner Cafe.
I was so happy to see this review. She really got it! A kindred spirit.
I went to the Open House at my son’s high school last night, and I am jealous. They get to debate basic constitutional principles in APUSH (the odd acronym for AP US History) and there is a course called End of the World and Dystopian Literature in English. with a reading list that went from Atwood to HG Wells and films like Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Add to that the beauty of physics and calculus. Every class sounded fascinating (okay, maybe not French grammar) and I wanted to go back to school!
It seems like such a wonderful luxury to read and study, to be challenged to stretch your mind every day. I wonder now, whether I should have become a teacher, but teaching the same class over and over is not the same as being a student. When you get older, you have to specialize. That’s the problem. Maybe that is why I shift from job to job. Even when I was a lawyer, I avoided specializing by acting as Corporate Counsel, where each new problem required gaining enough expertise to monitor and oversee the specialists or handle it myself. Then on to the next challenge
I’ve also avoided specializing by writing, although now that I’m finally acquainting myself with marketing, I see the value of ‘brand’. I’ve gone from short stories, to ‘creative nonfiction’ family history, to novels and each required becoming an expert, and then I moved on. So it’s satisfying, but not with the same variety, or, frankly, the camaraderie of being in an academic environment or even an office environment. For pure intellectual stimulation, there is probably no better moment in life than when you are a student at good high school or university.
Am I being nostalgic for something that never was? Is this all a rosy picture that denies the thorns?
Maybe. But I’m starting on the reading list for that literature class, tomorrow!