Ari Ben Aviv is the first character you meet in Seeing Double, as he enters Elisabeth Reinhardt’s office. He’s strikingly handsome, tentative and in mortal danger. From the first encounter, Ari is not what he seems to be and the uncertainty about his reality follows the character deep into the book, until his situation changes and the truth about him becomes clearer. Brilliant, and rather bookish, this character evolves in critical, unexpected ways as he ultimately holds the course of world history in his capable, though ambivalent, hands.
We are inundated these days with the word ‘Terrorist.’ Every day, there are dozens of news reports about terrorists striking out for whatever vague, personal, political, racial, cultural or psychotic motive they constructed. When I was a child, back many years ago, we never heard about terrorists. The random lone shooter who entered a church or movie theater or hid on a rooftop with a long range rifle was unheard of. Yes, of course, there was the occasional murdered wife or the occasional bar fight and, of course, gang violence and organized crime existed, but that mostly happened in big cities and was based on money and power, that are, somehow, more easily understood motivations, though no less abhorrent, than the senseless, seemingly random acts of violence that haunt us today.
In my next book, Seeing Double, you will meet Hadara Eliat, a strong, intelligent, courageous, intriguing character who will play a major role in her ongoing series ‘The Olive Branch.’ This series, based in the Middle East, stretches across the world, highlighting a myriad of international covert entanglements. Living as she does in a part of the world where political and cultural tensions broil incessantly, she remains calmly focused. Managing her mysterious personal life, however, poses a few challenges.
Hadara is a woman who, like Elisabeth Reinhardt, is guided by a vibrant set of principles and beliefs. She is a loving wife and mother, as well as a high powered, aggressive Mossad agent, dual roles that may conflict, dovetail and ultimately converge. Reading Seeing Double you will see how the power of this character radiates outward impacting and influencing the course of unfolding events in a most explosive part of the world.
Don’t any advertising folks understand the concept of Too Much Information??
Not only have we, the TV watching public, had to suffer through ad after ad about ‘painful intercourse’ or ‘impotence’ as we watch middle- aged women parading around in flowing blue dresses ready to grab the first unsuspecting male who crosses her path, but we also have to hear about creams and lotions designed to enhance mutual pleasure, perhaps the solution to those other two problems. Then there are the non-sexual body part ads that bombard us with issues surrounding elimination. As if ‘over-active bladder’ ads (aka wet panties) weren’t enough, we have to endure graphic, though thankfully not explicit, representations of bowel movements, colorfully depicted as pink and blue blocks gliding happily through a winding tunnel. And since these ads enhance Big Pharma’s overflowing revenue boxes, ad companies just keep churning them out as the general public races to buy special adult diaper pants, little blue pills, creams and gels, yogurts and drink additives that assure us our internal body parts will operate perfectly.
My short story “The Present” written about my first Siamese Rajah, has been published in The Gunpowder Review 2015 a literary magazine featuring women writers in Maryland. Authors will be reading their work at the Barnes & Noble in Bel Air on June 14th at 2:00PM. The Barnes & Noble is located at Marketplace Drive in the Tollgate Plaza Shopping Center in Bel Air, MD.
So if you’re looking for an afternoon adventure of fun and frolic, if you’re looking for a chance to listen to stories, see some neat photos and artwork and browse through a bookstore, this may be the perfect way to spend your day.
Join us at the Barnes and Noble on June 14th. I’d love to see you!
A whole new cast of characters join the familiar collection of Chicago characters you met in Relentless and these characters are complex, compelling and completely unique in tone, mission and personality. I cannot wait to hear your reaction to this newest group and to hear which of them you love the most! Our newest novel, set in the Middle East will introduce you to characters from several different countries and cultural backgrounds and will walk you through a number of intriguing covert adventures that will leave you guessing until the very end. You will meet the leader of a new extreme Islamic faction and listen as their goals and views emerge. You will see into the personal lives of leaders and spies and peek behind the scenes into some powerful political and governmental offices and in the end you may still not know exactly who is doing what.
Seeing Double is a work of fiction, but it captures many of the concepts and conflicts that are real and apparent in the world today, it walks the reader through an inside view of those conflicts as they are experienced by the characters who are breathing life into them. This is a fast paced action packed novel filled with personable, engaging characters that will embrace you from the first page through the last. Be sure to get your copy of Seeing Double. It will be available in hardcover, Kindle and audiobook and please be sure to let me know what you think by rating the book on Amazon.com and by visiting me at NancyJAlexander.com.
I had been watching Baltimore’s mayor on TV. She reported that in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody, massive riots had erupted in Charm City. The National Guard was deployed to help restore peace; a strict curfew was instituted; neighboring police departments sent reinforcements and the city was in the midst of riots the likes of which had not been seen since Martin Luther King’s assassination. Large numbers of city residents had been peacefully demonstrating, but those protests, peaceful though they were, set off pockets of opportunistic violence across the city in an ever escalating series of destructive acts. Police officers were attacked, many injured, stores were damaged and robbed, fires were set, property was destroyed and the city erupted into stampedes of rioting, thieving teenagers.
A simple-minded woman, totally dominated by her husband, Hattie Raines emerges in Relentless as a central, albeit flawed character. She is pivotal to the plot. Were she not exactly who she is the story could not have proceeded as it did. Although she appears to be a rather dull, unimportant character she is exactly the opposite. Because of her conflict-avoidant nature she fails to protect her child which is central to our heroine’s decisions; and because of her naiveté, Hattie is manipulated into the dangerous role of killer’s secret-keeper. Hattie is first and foremost Earl’s wife and he rules his family with an iron fist. Accommodating to him is her life-long pattern and to maintain that pattern she is determinedly narrow in her focus. Uneducated and removed from the world around her, Hattie persists in maintaining fixed, rigid ideas about herself and the people in her life only questioning her perceptions at the very end.
In some ways, Hattie Raines represents ‘every-woman.’ She embodies the plight facing many women in the world today, those who are bound by culture, religion, economics or tradition, who are dominated and controlled by their husbands or fathers, who are rigidly role-bound and unable to see beyond the constraints of everyday life. As I wrote about her, I saw a woman caught up in moral dilemmas she didn’t even notice. And I think had she but seen one of these issues, had she but recognized one place where she could change, she could have turned the whole situation around. Earl knew that, most dominators/abusers do. They keep their women hidden away from other people, away from institutions of learning, away from books, newspapers, TV. Anything other than ‘their way’ is regarded as a threat to the status quo and the status quo is what preserves their power so it must be maintained at all cost.
If we look at Relentless from this angle, Hattie and Earl Raines represent flaws inherent in the human condition but they also highlight the importance continuing growth, learning and expanding beyond the boundaries of yesterday.
If the press and TV media are called the 4th estate, would Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Steven Colbert be the 5th estate? Late night political commentator/comedians spin the serious stories of today with sprinklings or globs of outrageous humor that help their audience view the world and its leaders from different angles. Where would we be without humorists, cartoonists and satirists? These smart and talented people enable us to see the humor in serious issues; encourage us to become critical, analytical thinkers while maintaining some emotional distance through humor, sarcasm and sharp wit. Taking on some of the most sobering, complex issues in the world today they guide and shape our thinking, encourage us to ask questions, to look behind the staged photos and film clips, to perceive the flaws in news stories and see the contradictions, hypocrisies and deceptions in leaders across the world. They give us a glimpse of ‘behind-the-scene action so the bright lights and stagecraft fail to blind us to the reality of world-wide political events have become.
Jon Stewart has been called ‘the funniest smart man’ or ‘the smartest funny man’ and both attributions are true. He is the leader if not creator of the 5th estate; he is unique in the world of humorous political commentators. He has made an enormous contribution to the field of news/commentary, he is greatly appreciated and will be greatly missed when he retires from The Daily Show to move on and express his keen insights in other arenas.
When Viola Davis’s character (Annalise Keating) called and asked her Mama (Cicely Tyson) to come help her, none of us were prepared for the powerfully explosive exchanges that produced major revelations in this edgy courtroom drama. How to Get Away with Murder has hammered out some hard hitting scenes since it was launched in September 2014. In this episode, “Mama’s Here Now,” ‘Mama’ is a small, seemingly fragile, black woman from a poor rural southern background who packs a surprising punch that has her tyrant-in-the-courtroom daughter reeling and punching back. In an intimate mother-daughter moment ‘Mama’ reveals how, years before, she dealt with her child’s tormentor saying, “….sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if all you have is a long match and some very flammable hooch.” With that line, ‘Mama’ shows Annalise/Anna Mae that she was a protective mother and just how alike they are. With emotions spilling out, Mama reveals how she exacted her own brand of justice for her violated child and, unbeknownst to Annalise, became the unconsciously embedded role model for how to get away with murder.
In one fell swoop, the pair demonstrates the impact of addiction, child-abuse, poverty and family ties, creating dynamic shifts in perception and relationships. There is just no going back. From the shattered vodka glass in the kitchen, to the traditional hair combing in the bedroom, we are stunned by the stark reality of their experiences. Life, now different in retrospect, can be embraced as it never had been and the future sees Annalise summoning up the courage to leave her self-imposed prison and begin to de-construct the entanglements she created.
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