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Review: Please Say Kaddish For Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Please Say Kaddish For Me – by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

About the Book

Jewish persecution under Russian Czar!

1899 Russia under the cruel Czarist rule is not a good place to be a Jew!

Russia under the diabolical Czarist rule is a very bad place and a very bad time to be a Jew. Fair game to marauding peasants and government militia alike, the random slaughter of entire Jewish families is commonplace rather than a rare occurrence. It is, however, a time for brave men. And brave women.

Barefoot, wearing only a flimsy nightgown, sixteen-year-old Havah Cohen alone escapes the brutal massacre by the Czarist tyranny that destroys her home and slaughters her family on a frigid November night in 1899.

Love ignited, lost and found, insurmountable struggles and challenges, Kishinev’s Jewish pogroms and all odds against them, Havah and her soul mate, Arel, withstand the storms of life in this unforgettable story of a time and place rarely spoken of, and romance and courage so profound as to be rarely experienced.

My thoughts:


A powerful, raw, emotional book. In a nut shell this book is a must read.

Family is love and love makes family. This is a book that centers on family. Havah, the main character, suffers so much in her life, but amongst the tragedy and pain she somehow manages to find moments of happiness.

The world is a nightmare, the religion strict, the life hard. And yet there are glimmers of hope in hair not cut, in learning to read, in playing a piano. In Havah’s bravery against impossible odds.

Tragic events occur in the blink of an eye and are devastating in their consequences. Author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is able to describe these brutal events simply but in a way that have profound impact on both the characters and the reader.

As a reader I think, how could this have happened? It could not happen now and yet… That is why books like these are so important. Reading a book like this is important. Family is important. Love is important.

I found this an emotional read and a brilliant book. I’ve already bought book two.


Serum 66 – AntipodeanSF

My new short story is out

Serum 66

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Where do you go? (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


Plucking of guitar strings, one after another.

Music is memory. It restores and rejuvenates. The rising scale played on piano keys returns me to my singing lessons, laughter at the absurd sounds I’m asked to make. A song on the radio returns me to grade 6, dancing with my friends in our special spot in the school yard. A movie soundtrack places me on the sofa with my dad.

If you listen carefully… you can time travel too.

Take my hand…


“Turn on the radio and go back in time with me.”

What do you hear? Where do you go?



This is a Friday Fictioneer’s prompt

Word count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Holiday Lost (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria


City of love. Of dreams and romance and imagination.

There is a strange peace on the cobbled streets. Hiking my backpack higher, I shuffle it sideways trying to redistribute the load. My camera strap digs into my neck which is hot to touch – probably sunburn. Shouts and calls in Italian go unacknowledged. Alone, I wander over another bridge and sigh. I’m invisible in a city of movement.

Walking into the shadows around a café I wave. No response.

“Hello? Speak English?

She didn’t even look my way. I glanced at my hand. Gone. Only grey cobblestones through transparent skin.




This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Word Count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, Laurie, for inviting us to join you today. We are so grateful to be featured on your blog to share a bit about our new book. We feel right at home with rambles, writing and amusing musings. Thank you!

The Contract


Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.


Here is an excerpt.

The headline read: Russian Spies Infiltrate Suburban America, and just below the headline was a photo of Nika. Sarah froze and dropped her glass. She got up, and without picking up the glass, went inside to call her former neighbor.

“H-hi, Donna, it’s Sarah.”

“I’m so glad you called; I’ve been worried about you. Is everything okay?”

“I’m not so sure. I arrived today and have just begun to settle into my new home. I was at the grocery store a little while ago and picked up the local paper. I couldn’t believe what I read. Abram and Nika were identified as Russian spies.”

“It’s horrifying, Sarah. Everyone is shocked. Nika’s photo was on the front page of our newspaper.”

“Here as well. I’m speechless. I can’t believe that members of the Russian intelligence service lived in my house and had God knows what discussions with my ex-husband.”

“And, you have to wonder why, don’t you?”

Authors Bio.

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.


Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.


Gwen’s books.

Available on Amazon at

Review: Fun, fresh, fast-paced YA fantasy debut from Laurie Bell

Thanks Sue

The Butterfly Stone

Get it now!

Hide (Friday Fictioneers)


I huddled in the dark kitchen, the search lights outside bright enough to make it seem like day rather than the dead of night. My hand was mashed against my lips to stifle any sound. Blood pounded in my ears as I strained to hear approaching footfalls, not the soft whisper of shoes but the heavy tread of a soldier’s boots.

The floor flickered as a shadow crossed the window. My head snapped up, the gasp caught in my throat as my heart stopped beating. Avian, not human.

I sighed, my shoulders dropped.

The door sprang open.

They found me.


This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

My Writer Journey – part eight

Replotting or going insane


I am in the middle of writing my new WIP and I hit a snag.

Snag? What am I saying… It’s a hole… a massive sinkhole of timey wimey proportions see, this is my problem! I don’t know where I am going. I know the start and the end but… how am I getting there?



See, I had a plot… I started with clean paper and an idea. That idea became more ideas, and those ideas became chapters. Those chapters then became segments and those in turn became paragraphs… and then at chapter 14…


Zip, Nada, big fat zero.

So why am I stuck?

I have my MC…. She has a great story. There’s emotional highs and lows, lots of action, magic even. Things happen and its all very exciting. So what is going wrong? In the middle of a chapter 14 I hit a blank.

Not writer’s block but story block. I’d hit a wall and I couldn’t figure out how to get through it. Usually at this point I would jump ahead and start writing another section knowing it will come to me down the line, or I could cliffhanger this part and move on. ACTION! Yes, no… wait.


Why am I stuck?

So I went back to basics.

I had to ask my main character…



So true. It’s not that simple.

What does the MC want, how does she get it and who is stopping her from getting it? I wrote a simple, single page breakdown…

That’s when I realised… things are happening to her and she is reacting to those things (all action and excitement and rah rah fight scenes) BUT…

I realised it wasn’t the character I was stuck on or the story, it was something deeper I was searching for.

I needed my main character to remember she was the point of the story.

It’s her story which mean SHE is in the driver’s seat.

*light bulb flashing above head*



I forgot to focus on her.

What is driving her, what does she want, what is she going to do about it. I forgot her AGENCY.


I went back to my plot notes… eeeep! What was I thinking? Lots of things are happening and will happen, there is a lot of emotion and action… but where was the driver?

The car was driverless…






I scrapped it, everything that was left of my plot. What does my MC want? Aha! Now I know where my story is going and more importantly how it is going to get there. Everything fell into place. First I wrote a bunch of things to insert into my already written first draft (there’s a reason it’s called a first draft peeps) and then I got back to work on chapter 14.


It’s all coming together.


And do you know what, the plot that I scrapped? Wasn’t awful… could make a good story another day. Point is it wasn’t working for me now so I killed it. Easy. It wasn’t working. Cut it. no regret, no remorse. Move on (I didn’t fail the story… the story failed me)


Writerly stuff part one

Writerly stuff part two

Writerly stuff part three

Writerly stuff part four

Writerly Stuff part five

Writerly stuff part six

Writerly Stuff part seven

The Heist (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

They’d been casing the joint for days. “We’re gonna have to move soon, it’ll be suspicious.”

“I know. We gotta wait until we get the signal.”

“Which is what?”

A shoulder shrug was all the answer he got. He turned back to the balcony. Visitors meandered between rooms slurping giant sugary drinks or crunching through bags of crisps, commenting loudly on the delicate works of art. Made his skin crawl thinking of the sticky or greasy fingers touching what they shouldn’t. Horrendous. The lighting was too bright too.

Tonight, it had to be tonight. They’d rescue everything they could carry.



This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Word count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.



Review: Fun, fresh, fast-paced YA fantasy debut from Laurie Bell – Book lovers’ booklist

Review: Fun, fresh, fast-paced YA fantasy debut from Laurie Bell – Book lovers’ booklist
— Read on

Another fabulous review… thanks so much Sue!!

Read it! And then get The Butterfly Stone… it’s out now!

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