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Cherubim Rosewood #BookReview

The Cherubim Rosewood by Larry D. Shackelford is a fascinating look at the forces of good and evil and the nature of man. The main character, Dewey, is mostly raised by missionary parents in Africa, and he is used to the unique culture and customs of the non-Western world. His family is American however, and their influence on the African tribe with whom they live is apparent. A new assignment to a savage tribe in the Amazon changes everything.

I was drawn to this book because I love to read about the various religions and cultures of the world. Though not a long read, The Cherubim Rosewood is a bit of a journey, and the reader must be patient because the payoff is at the end. The final third really picks up, and I can tell the author put his heart into it. The action scenes are intense, and there is an important message here.

This is not an author who writes just for the heck of it. No, Shackelford writes with a purpose, and this book is not one you’re likely to forget.

Check out The Cherubim Rosewood on Amazon.


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

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Trump Recognizes #Jerusalem

You might hate President Trump. He’s brash, has no filter and tweets things he shouldn’t. But today, the Jewish community is rejoicing because whatever they may think of Trump and his unconventional approach to the presidency, he has done what no American president has had the guts to do. Today, he has announced to the world that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (See the speech on Youtube here.)

The anti-Semitic world is having a hissy fit, but they will always fight anything that supports the Jewish State. The delay in this recognition has not helped in any previous negotiations for peace, and the president has decided to try a different approach. Old ideas have not worked, nor will they ever. If past leaders have responded to Palestinian threats in fear, our current president has instead, done what he says is the right thing to do. And of course it is the right thing to do.

Jerusalem is and always has been the holiest site in Judaism. It is Israel’s capital, no matter what the rest of the world has to say about it. Don’t tell the United States that Washington, DC, is not its capital. Don’t tell the Catholic Church the Vatican is not Christian. Don’t tell the Muslim world Mecca is not Islamic. And don’t tell Israel, Jerusalem is not Jewish. Yet that is exactly what many world leaders are doing.

Not only is Jerusalem Jewish, but it is the eternal undivided capital of Israel. And now, finally, the United States government officially supports what we already knew to be true.

Trump may be this and he may be that, but it took a bold leader like him to take a stand.

Thank you, Mr. President.


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

My Grandmother’s Shtetl

Blood. It’s a powerful thing. We may not get along with all of our relatives, but there is a bonding agent there, something which ties us together, like it or not. And going back through our bloodline into the pasts of our ancestors, we are able to get more of a sense of our family history. Our family story is our story. It’s part of what led to where and who we are now.

Would I be the same person, for example, had my Jewish grandparents not immigrated to the United States? For one thing, there is a reasonable likelihood they would have died in the Holocaust. Most of the people from my grandmother’s shtetl were either shot, or starved or froze to death. Once a vibrant Jewish village, the Jewish population has now dwindled to around 50. Many of the houses are dilapidated, heaps of garbage in the yards, and no money to do any better.

Though I don’t have the means to visit my grandmother’s hometown like they do in the television show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, I can do the next best thing and view a video of it.

Here is a little article on Bershad, Ukraine, along with a video narrated by the article’s author, Cnaan Liphshiz, who acts as a tour guide for viewers. There is also a drone video that provides an aerial view. When I found this, I felt like I struck gold! If anyone reading has ancestors from Bershad or a similar shtetl, I hope you feel the family bond as much as I do.


Preparing for Passover in Ukraine’s last shtetl

JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency)

A closer look at its unique history and architecture reveals something incredible: Bershad is one of Europe’s last remaining shtetls. This town near the Moldavan border, with a Jewish population of 50, is a living testament to the Jewish community’s incredible survival story — one that has endured despite decades of communist repression, the Holocaust and the exodus of Russian-speaking Jews.

Nowhere is the uniqueness of this Jewish community more evident than the Bershad synagogue, which was built from clay 200 years ago.

Incredibly, Soviet authorities returned the white, two-story, tin-roofed building to the town’s Jewish community in 1946, shortly after the Red Army liberated present-day Ukraine from the grip of Nazi Germany and its allies. It was a highly unusual move in a secularist empire that under Joseph Stalin systematically nationalized property of faith communities and routinely persecuted Jews who insisted on practicing their religion.

Coming on the heels of the Nazi genocide, this Soviet policy was a death blow to Jewish life throughout Ukraine’s countryside… Click here to keep reading and watch the videos.


I write about my grandmother’s shtetl in my book, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. Click on the title link to learn more about the book.


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

When a Famous Author Breaks the Rules

You know it’s funny. Everybody has writing advice these days. Most of us learned the basics in school while some of us took it a step further in creative writing, poetry and journalism courses. I fully immersed myself in all of those classes back in the day. But today it’s blogs. In order to get their names out there, many authors will post about writing rules because it’s the thing to do, and what the heck else are they going to blog about?

The trouble is, the more rules you read, the more they conflict with one another, leaving you in a state of panic and wondering what’s right, what’s wrong, and what does it matter. My foundation is strong enough to combat those nerves. Everybody has an opinion, but I know what I’m doing, thank you very much. That’s not to say I’m done learning because even bestselling authors and supposed experts never stop improving and evolving. It’s just that I won’t be shaken by others whose sole purpose in life is to develop new rules which have little to no bearing on the entertainment value of a book.

Some people are sticklers. A friend of mine, for example, told me she hates popular fiction because it breaks the rules. Sentence fragments mainly. (You see what I did there?)

My friend prefers classic literature because the broken rules drive her nuts. I happen to enjoy the broken rules if it’s done in a way that makes sense. An intelligent reader knows when the writer inadvertently or purposely breaks those rules everyone babbles on about.

If it flows, it works. Period. But you have to understand language in order to know how to do it. Yes, you can start a sentence with a conjunction. You can end a sentence with a preposition, but if there’s a way to avoid it, do so. You can use adverbs, exclamation points and those dreaded words “very” and “feel”, and if the editors don’t like it, they can have their coronaries but that’s their problem.

Hemingway, the man himself, didn’t put commas everywhere they were supposed to go, and as a matter of fact, I’ve seen many following suit. Hey, if it’s good enough for Hemingway, right?

But the oddest rule I’ve ever seen broken was in a book by Kent Haruf. In case you don’t know, Haruf was a bestselling, award-winning American novelist, whose final work was published posthumously in 2015. It was called Our Souls at Night and was somewhat slow and reminiscent of Richard Yates in the way he depicted real life and eased the reader into the story, gradually inviting you to trust and understand the characters, empathize with them and their plight. By the end, you have chills but aren’t really sure how that happened. It sneaks up on you. (This book was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in September 2017. I haven’t yet seen it, but it may be worth checking out.)

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Needless to say, Haruf knew what he was doing and did it well, so I guess he gave himself permission to be daring and do something that would make all the bloggers and editors and writing teachers of today drop dead from the horror of it.

So what was this rule he broke?

He didn’t use quotation marks. No quotation marks in dialog. It’s all just slapped together along with the narrative, and the reader has to figure it out, which isn’t difficult since the writing is so simplistic.

Why did the man eliminate quotation marks? Apparently, he wanted to declutter the page. Personally, I find it a bit odd, but that was his style and he could get away with it. If an unknown author were to attempt something as “wild” as this, look out! You can be sure many one-star reviews would be posted on Amazon.

But it’s okay. Something told Haruf to do this. If you believe in what you’re doing and are confident in your choices, don’t let the critics shut you down.

Just one thing: If you’re going to break the rules, make sure you do it well.


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday, a great time to support independent authors! If you fail to see the connection, think about this: Just like small business owners, indie authors put their hearts and souls into their work, often struggling even more so to make a buck. Many remain in the red after expenses, and except for the lucky few, those who do turn a profit would live below the poverty line if their writing income were their only means of survival. We have no investors backing us up, and self-marketing is practically impossible.

With that said, if you’re interested in signed copies of my books and live in the continental United States, please send me a message to: dmmiller.author@gmail.com. You’ll need a Paypal account, and I will give you the details when you write.

If you do not live in the US, you can still support me by purchasing my books on Amazon here.

At this time I have six books:

DM Miller Books2smaller

You can find out all about them here.

Thank you so much for your support, and happy holidays!


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

#Interfaith Fiction

You may have read Half-Jew, but have you read my interfaith fiction? In my latest video, I explain my Heart series and what it’s all about.

When 12-year-old Abdul sees Catherine for the first time at his parents’ estate, she takes his breath away. Never before had a girl caught his eye like this one. Little does he know she is Jewish and little does he care. At that tender age, religion and politics mean nothing. Yet as the years go by, both his family and hers make it clear: A Muslim and a Jew should not be together.

Follow the journey of this interfaith couple struggling to get through all the hurdles of a life filled with love, hate, jealousy, secrets and lies.

Heart Series on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Heart-1-ebook/dp/B015RYHZ8S/

Relevant articles on interfaith relations:

Rabbi Marries Interfaith Couples: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/rabbi-marries-interfaith-couples/

Interfaith Marriages: How to Raise the Children: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/interfaith-marriages-how-to-raise-the-children/

Interfaith Relationships: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/interfaith-relationships/

Jewish/Asian Marriages: Raising the Children: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/interfaith-relationships/

Interfaith Relationships: Can They Work?: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/interfaith-relationships-can-they-work/

Author D.M. Miller on:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Miller/e/B012RDNV76/
Wordpress: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmmillerauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dmmiller_author

Thanks for watching and reading!


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

Dandelion Fuzz Has a New Cover

Dandelion Fuzz is my collection of poetry. Though my signature theme these days is interfaith relationships, poetry is where I got my start. The book has been out since 2016, but I decided to give the cover a little makeover. What do you think?

Here’s the old cover:

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And here’s the new one:

New_Dandelion_Fuzz_400X600

The back cover:

Dandelion Fuzz back_400X600

 

Let me know in the comments!

If you’re interested, you can purchase the book on Amazon here. Be on the lookout for my new book of poetry to be published next April.


D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.


Some samples of my poetry:

Plastic Existence

Migraine

Turn

Dusk on a Bench in College

Two Choices