New Edition of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out and more

As usual, my absence on this blog means I’ve been busy someplace else. While I’ve been getting feedback on the novel I finished a couple months back, and digesting it, I’ve been completing revisions for Menucha Publishing on the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo. (I’ve also been brainstorming new titles — the working title was unpopular, to say the least.) G-d-willing, that book will be out later this year. And I also revised and created a new cover for my book, Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. I decided the old one wasn’t engaging enough, so I put a girl on the cover who could pass for Mazal looking right at the viewer. I think it makes a big difference. What do you think? Mazal's new cover

And, of course, there was Purim…and Pesach.

Basically, it’s been busy.

Anyway, I’ve got some goals for the next few months. Continue reading

Advertisements

Exciting news! One book ready for orders, the other nearly ready!

When my husband checked the mail after Rosh Hashanah had ended, he found a couple packages for me in our mailbox from Createspace. In one, we found the proof of the anthology that I’ve been working on, Sliding Doors and other stories, and the other package contained the proof of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. 

I’ve been spending the last couple days proofreading those books. In Sliding Doors, the font size suggested by the template was so small, I was afraid no one would be able to read it. I went back and increase it. I also had do a lot of clean-up on the italics. The stories in the collection were from different magazines, with different policies about how to handle foreign words. With so many Hebrew and Yiddish terms throughout the text, punctuating these terms consistently was a big job, and I didn’t catch them all before uploading files to Createspace.

Mazal had some similar issues, but I also discovered that I didn’t like the cover I’d designed. I spent a lot of time tinkering with it to get it right.

Sliding Doors is still not quite ready for release, but duh-duh-dah:

Here’s the link to Mazal’s Luck Runs Out!

It’s available already in paperback via Createspace and Amazon. If you order it now, you should receive it by Sukkos! And if you buy it…please post a review on Amazon! And tell other prospective readers if you like it!

The target audience is Jewish kids 8-11, the kids who like the stories in Mishpacha Junior, Binah Bunch, and so on. The main character of this novella is Mazal, a Persian girl living in Los Angeles. The average Orthodox girl will identify with her misadventures, but it was especially important to me to represent a strong Persian Jewish character, something rarely seen in kids’ fiction.

I hope to have news about the other book soon.

becca with proof 2

Here’s me, with the proof of Sliding Doors and other stories. It’s not quite ready yet for ordering.

Books that model good middos: Measure of a Man by Martin Greenfield

One day early in my marriage, I found my husband reading the autobiography of John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach.

Martin Greenfield’s new book about the Shoah and after inspires readers to rise to greatness.

“Why are you reading that?” I asked. My husband did not follow sports, and he rarely read a book that wasn’t overtly “Jewish.”

“My rabbi once told me that if you want to learn good middos (character traits), you should read about the lives of people who have achieved genuine greatness.”

In that vein, I’m going to recommend that my husband read Measure of a Man, Martin Greenfield’s new memoir of survival and character. If you want to learn why, check out my review of Measure of a Man in last week’s Jewish Home L.A.

Have you seen my review of Miriam Kosman’s new book about Jewish feminism in this week’s Jewish Home L.A.?

This week’s Jewish Home L.A. contains my review of Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaismrecently published by Mekor Press and distributed by Menucha Publishers. 

Jewish book on feminism

Miriam Kosman’s outstanding new book about gender within Judaism

Miriam Kosman‘s new book appears at a pivotal point in Jewish history. The role of women in Judaism has dominated the headlines of Jewish media outlets in recent years. Usually, Hareidim are made out to be the bad guys: according to most writers, Hareidi men bully women, look down on us, and short change us in any way humanly possible.

For someone like me — a feminist who willingly joined the ranks of those observant Jews who lean to the right — this kind of “news” makes us want to bang our heads into the wall in frustration. Not only do we perceive the Jewish world differently, many of us chose Orthodoxy in some part because mainstream feminism had failed us. Frankly, we felt more supported and appreciated as human beings, as Jews, and as women within our new community than we did in in our former, non-Orthodox world. We feel respected by the vast majority of Hareidi men, including by our husbands, sons, and rabbis. And while we do see plenty of areas in which our community can and should improve, many of the issues targeted by reporters and crusaders hold completely different meanings for us than for secular people.

Many of the recent books about Judaism written by Modern Orthodox authors have compounded the problem. They report on our world as outsiders (sometimes trumpeting all along how because they are, loosely-speaking, “Orthodox” they therefore have an insider view), and often articulate outrage while playing fast and loose with facts. Yet, until now, few books for the English speaking world have expressed the genuine insider perspective as to why Orthodox women don’t participate in many time-bound positive commandments, are excluded from certain communal rules, and so on. 

Miriam Kosman‘s new book remedies that. Continue reading

4 Questions for author Tamar Ansh about her new Passover cookbook

I recently conversed via email with the enormously popular author, Tamar Ansh, about her new cookbook. Let My Children Cook! is her first cookbook for kids, and it tackles a particularly pertinent area of Kosher cuisine for this time of year: Passover.

ansh book cover

Tamar Ansh’s latest cookbook, out in time for Passover!

4 Questions:

Rebecca:

What made you want to write a cookbook for children this time? And why specifically one for Passover?

Tamar:

For this book, Let My Children Cook!, Hashem sent me the inspiration from a totally unexpected angle. Continue reading

Reading is for everyone, even those with no bookshelf

In The L.A. Times, I just read a touching article by YA author Amy Goldman Koss about her efforts to offer reading material to the homeless. Her program is in a Glendale, California homeless shelter, but I was reminded of the role libraries play in the lives of the homeless, as well.

In local libraries, I’ve encountered the homeless on nearly every visit. Continue reading