Thank You Chanticleer Reviews!

My many thanks to Chanticleer Reviews for honoring my novels among their Somerset Prize winners, especially because, though many times a finalist, I’ve never won the grand prize.  Let me also give thanks for the help and encouragement they’ve given me and so many aspiring others. If you are a writer and haven’t discovered their website, do take a look at the many services they offer, from reviews to critiques, to forums, to contests, to their annual convention. The last is an invaluable opportunity the talk to and receive advice about marketing your work. It has been worth every penny I’ve spent to be a part of this rapidly growing community.

While I’m at it, let me invite you to take a further look at the books of mine they are honoring, all of which have been through Chanticleer’s  reviewing process and contests. You’ll find more information and reviews of them elsewhere on the website and at Amazon.

The latest : The Camera’s Eye, New Libri Press, 2017

A tale of the power of hatred. Two women’s search for their harasser leads to their own pasts.

“Best in Category” for Chanticleer’s Somerset Award, 2017, “Honored Book” from Shelf Unbound “Best Indies” contest, 2017, and finalist for the William Faulkner Wisdom Award, 2015.

 

Hawkins Lane by Judith KirschtHawkins Lane, New Libri Press, 2015

The deep loved shared by Ned Hawkins and Erica Romano is threatened by the burdens of their pasts.

Short-listed for Chanticleer’s Somerset Award, 2015

 

 

Home Fires, New Libri Press, 2013

An idyllic marriage, threatened by infidelity is torn apart by family secrets long concealed.

“Best in Category” for Chanticleer Reviews’ Somerset Award, 2014

Finalist for Readers Favorite Reviews General Fiction Award, 2014

Finalist, Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s  Nancy Pearl Award, 2014

The Inheritors, New Libri Press, 2013

A mixed-race Chicago woman searches for identity in the midst of the culture wars.

 

Nowhere Else To Go by Judith KirschtNowhere Else To Go, Florida Academic Press, 2012

Set in a Midwest college town, a school principal’s marriage, school, and neighborhood are caught in the upheavals of the Sixties.

 

The Inheritors a novel by Judith Kirscht

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOTE! What for?

 

If you’re wondering why vote, you don’t understand what’s going on in this country. If you’re sick of politicians and consider them a bunch of crooks, your negative judgment is contributing to a problem that is consuming the democracy you take for granted. Democracies die of apathy and cynicism.

Wake up and look at the election news, the ads, the Tweets, the commentators. Look at the WORDS and IMAGES flying at you. Read the two statements below.

  1. Democracy cannot afford ignorance, cynicism, and sloth. For two hundred and twenty odd years people have struggled to make it government that listens, serves up justice, helps them to prosper. Because they have, you now enjoy the right to vote, a free press, police that are trained in fairness, legislatures revised continuously according to the will of the people. But democracy is fragile; it requires a people who understand how it works, who have tolerance and fair-mindedness ingrained from birth, who understand that the government is their voice, and it is their duty to exercise their right to guide it.
  2. America is run rich elites supported by angry mobs who lie to the rest of us and corrupted by crooks everywhere who are bent on destroying our way of life. They’ve opened our borders to drug dealers and terrorists, turned the government over to perverts, destroyed the factories of the working people, turned our courts into playgrounds of evil people bent on turning the country over to those who never worked a day in their lives, drug addicts, perverts violent gangs, and killers.

Just words. Really? Did your guts respond differently to those words? That is the power of rhetoric, of words and images One demands attention to the democracy you’ve inherited, to your better and needed half, the other appeals to all of your fears. We all have fears; we all have hates. And half of our people have already fallen victim of leaders whose rhetoric deliberately appeal to those qualities–the most dangerous of the human passions

So you don’t believe you have the advantages mentioned in the first paragraph? Then democracy hasn’t finished its work. The prior generations have left it for you to continue the struggle. Have you, in the past few years, been losing those your trust in those invaluable but taken for granted gifts? The achievements of those who have gone before you?

Then you’d best wake up and take a look at that rhetoric, because rhetoric is fire; it can warm or destroy. Join those who are begging you to defend your democracy before the fire spreads further.

 

!VOTE!

STOP! THINK! REMEMBER!

 

I’m fed up with my country, and I’ve never been fed up before. Angry, but not fed up. So, my fellow Americans, I’m going to yell. Be warned.

To the RIGHT: You are barreling down the path of hatred and destruction because you believe the liberals are destroying your way of life. To the LEFT: You are consumed with outrage and anger because you believe the conservatives are destroying a way of life you’ve spent a half a century developing. Both of you bemoan the increasing heat of the polarization you yourselves have created, but what do you do? More of the same.

Yes, you have created the divisions, the degeneration in to tribes. Both of you are interminably self-righteous. All of the right is on your side. It isn’t, and between the two of you, you’ve changed the politics of debate and compromise into the politics of war. As I grew up, my parents had election night parties where Democrat and Republican friends listened to the returns on the radio, argued and laughed, becoming louder and more vehement as the night progressed. You’ve destroyed that culture, and that makes me heartsick.

When did it happen? I know only what’s happened in my lifetime. I came of age in the Cold War. Joe McCarthy decided liberals were a danger to the country—not opponents, enemies. In my civics classroom, while discussing President Truman’s health care proposal, I was called a “commie” because my father, a doctor, wasn’t in private practice. The college I attended was investigated by McCarthy’s “patriots” because we read the Communist Manifesto in our political science class. Students were not to be exposed to opinions different from their own; dissent was un-American. Conservatives began to fly the American flag as though they owned it. I learned the effect of mob-thinking.

Then the LEFT arose. I was raising children in a college town when the Sixties exploded. Everyone over thirty was an establishment patsy or racist, a convicted enemy of the New Age. The new age of racial and social justice was only possible if not contaminated by those beyond that age. The new missionaries arrived at my children’s school, an integrated school in an integrated neighborhood, and black children, encouraged by their new teacher, gathered around my seven year old and pelted her with erasers. The missionary zeal of my own group had had turned on my child.

When I began my professional life as a lecturer at a California university, younger faculty stigmatized all who argued with them. Debate was silenced. Any who disagreed were establishment patsies or racists. I grew up in an academic family. There was no principle more sacred than respect for dissent. Dissent was the most sacred principle of democracy, and debate the  core value of the university. I was silenced by a group whose values I had thought were my own.

Is this an unfair picture? Of course it is. I’m angry. The Right is protecting a set of values the country has lived by for centuries, many of which I share. The Left is insisting all people are entitled to the rights born of those values.  I believe those rights are goals, and we are all entitled to what the struggles of our people have achieved. Not to perfection. If both hadn’t shut themselves off into isolated communities, defining themselves by demonizing THOSE OTHERS, I might be debating our differences instead of watching perpetual protests and rallies. When President Obama was elected in 2008, I suggested to my fellow Democrats (yes, I am one of those) that we hold meetings with the local Republican organization. “I don’t know how to talk to a Republican!” one member decried. And that was that.

So here we are. With the democracy we deserve. I’m appalled when I realize there are generations who have no memory of a time when things were different. There was one golden moment during the Kavenaugh debate when acrimony ceased. Senators Flake (R) and Coon (D) came up with a solution to the logjam. The media engaged in long discussions of who the hero of that moment was, and no one even noted that the magic was COMPROMISE. Two friends from opposites sides of the aisle who respected and listened to each other. No one remarked it.

Are we all so caught up in mobocracy we can’t change course? Is hatred really so much fun?

The Camera's Eye by Judith Kirscht

Updating The Camera’s Eye

Despite my best intentions, summer activities and traveling have left this blog inert since May. I apologize, and now that we’re into fall, I will try to stay more active and reliable. I’ll start by sharing with you the latest review of The Camera’s Eye, this one from Aimee Ann at The Redheaded Booklover.

First, a reminder about the book:

Professional photographer, Veronica Lorimer, wakens to the sound of a rock crashing through the front window of the Puget Sound island retreat she shares with retired prosecuting attorney, Charlotte McAllister. As the attacks continue and worsen, the local police blame a local vagrant boy, but Veronica and Charlotte suspect the source may involve their own pasts and Veronica’s estranged family. As they get closer to the truth, a sudden discovery pitches their search toward tragedy.

 

 

 

 

Exerpted Redheaded Booklovers Review

The Camera’s Eye, Judith Kirscht

September 6, 2018 by Aimee Ann

Detective & Private Investigator, Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, Thriller & Psychological Thriller, Women’s Fiction

The Camera’s Eye has to be one of the best mystery & suspense novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading. … [It] is a thrilling novel that is the perfect novel for those looking to be taken on a dark, twisty-turny but an emotive journey. The story the reader will encounter in The Camera’s Eye is shocking but also sensational, and unlike anything, I have read before. … the story is shrouded in a tremendous amount of mystery, secrecy and suspense and the reader will not be able to guess where the plot is going at all and that is thanks to the talented author Judith Kirscht and how thrilling her literature is and how incredible her ability to keep her reader guessing from beginning to end is.

… I found myself invested very quickly and wanted to know more. As well as this, I was invested in Veronica’s character and wanted to know how she would cope with the mounting violence and unraveling of secrets and all of this is thanks to the phenomenal characterization courtesy of the author Judith Kirscht.

The plot … is incredible and full of many layers that are all intricately well-developed, as well as intriguing. … As I read The Camera’s Eye I loved the feeling of being challenged. I loved having to invest myself fully in the story as I tried to think about the violence and predict the upcoming events.

The Camera’s Eye is … a unique mystery … that stands out amongst the crowd. This is because the story is wonderfully written and the plot perfectly executed. This is how crime/mystery and suspense books should be! I adore these kinds of books that push the boundaries. It is daring and bold and frankly brilliant.  I always measure my enjoyment of a book on whether I find myself looking at the page numbers. If I start doing this, I know that the novel is taking its toll. In other words, it is dragging, and I want it to end. The Camera’s Eye was very different than this. Never once did I find myself referring to the page number and that is a sure sign that this book is a compelling piece of work that draws the reader in, and captivates them to read it quickly and to reach the end of the book to find the outcome.

Judith Kirscht has managed to write an incredible novel that is full of suspense and mystery. This will keep readers of The Camera’s Eye turning the pages into the early hours of the morning. Kirscht can only be described as a new literary talent as she knows how to captivate her readers from the start. Kirscht is a writer who does not hold back. She thrusts her reader into the thick of the drama very early on, and she keeps them turning the pages thanks to her excellent descriptive powers. The author perfectly describes the scenes in her book, as well as her characters, and this correctly places the reader in the thick of the story as the reader is able to imagine every place and event perfectly.

To summarize my thoughts on the thrilling novel that is The Camera’s Eye, I would say if you are a reader who is tired of seeing the same old mystery books that are lackluster and forgettable, then take a chance on this excellent read, because I promise that you will not be disappointed. It is a novel that has everything the reader would want in a story and so much more. It has spine-tingling good content, dynamic, memorable characters; all coming from a charismatic author that writes flawlessly and wonderfully. It is an all-around, interesting and memorable book that you will not be disappointed in if you choose to turn the pages. My rating for this astonishing book, of course, has to be five stars!

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Thank you so much Aimee Ann. Also to refresh your memory, The Camera’s Eye was a finalist for the William Faulkner Wisdom Award, was shortlisted and first in category for Chanticleer’s Somerset Award and was among Shelf Unbound 100 Honored indie books. Do give it a try, and, of course, post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

The Second Mrs. Price: A Beautiful Read

“In the Midwest, in the spring, there are a few days so warm and soft, so gently in motion, so tenderly inviting, that we forget the ravages of the winter just behind us, the heavy breathless summer days just ahead; we accept that we are home, that we are where we belong.”

Thus Toni Fuhrman opens her second novel, The Second Mrs. Price, a compelling tale woven from the eternal conflict between our need to belong, to be rooted, and our desire to escape those bonds and follow our passions.

Selene Price, a mid-career editor, has broken up a family to get her man, Alex, but cannot let go of the house where she grew up, the home of parents who died too soon. On the steps of that house, on the blissful afternoon described above, trouble appears in the shape of Alex’s half-brother, Griff, a rootless soul without commitment or goal. Selene shifts back and forth between her love for the safe and successful Alex and her passion for his brother. Though she felt guilt at breaking up Alex’s family, she feels no guilt in pursuing Griff, as though she believes she can have both.

But Selene is not the only one entangled in the web of want and need. As her passion drives her closer to fruition, the story shifts to other characters’ struggle with the same conflict. The story shifts from one to another, creating a tangled skein of hidden turmoil. The peaceful eye of this storm of buried emotion is the brothers’ grandfather, Bernard, and their love for him draws the characters together. But the impending crises inevitably come to a head, and the question becomes how (and whether) Selene or the others will find their way home.

Woven into the time-honored conflict between freedom and belonging are the generational changes wrought by social revolution of the last century. Selene and the brothers are children of that revolution. The brothers’ mother, child of traditional values, sees her illicit affair as “a dark patch in her past,” while Selene, she notices, “dances in the middle of her wildness.”  Despite the new freedom, the conflicts remain as anguishing as ever and the consequences unchanged.

The beauty of the prose, evidenced by the opening quote, and the variations on the theme over time and character, give depth to an absorbing read and a thoughtful, unvarnished view of our times.

The Second Mrs. Price is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IBook and (in print) at your local bookstore.