Monday, June 23, 2014

ELI'S HEART, a novel


Yes, my blogs are going to be about the new book for a while. This one will be brief. The book is now in production and should be announced for sale very soon, hopefully within two weeks. It will be available on Amazon as a paperback and an e-book. I decided to go with CreateSpace, and thus far it has been a very good experience. I have to say I am glad that I’ve had experience using my computer in a much different way than most people do; digital notesetting and using a DTP program, Quark Xpress, I’m sure have been a great help in formatting the book interior myself.

Here are the basic information on the book that will appear on the back cover, and the picture of the front cover. Two very savvy and talented young men, Taylor and Tristan Flanagan, came up with the cover concept and then realized it. Taylor had the idea, Tristan took the photograph and added the title and author name. Anybody want to guess to whom those gifted hands belong?

I am very happy with the book. I hope some people will buy it; even more I hope some people will read it. Watch for giveaways and sales! One of the reasons I decided to print it with CreateSpace this time. Those of us who self-publish are also known as “indie authors.” I like that. I like that I own the copyright and have complete control of this book. Of course, there are millions of book in the vast “Amazon” book jungle; more every day. But for me it is a delight to actually see my work in print. I’m thankful I’m not trying to pay my bills this way, however.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful boy
 who was born with two things:
a damaged heart and a heart full of music.”
Krissy Levin
          In the nineteen fifties, ELI LEVIN, a brilliant teenage pianist born with a serious heart defect and not expected to live past the age of thirty, meets KRISSY PORTER on a visit to a small town in the Southeast.         
        They play piano duets, talk about baseball, eat banana splits. A budding romance is ended by interference from Eli’s family, but they find their way back to each other three years later.
        They marry on Krissy’s twentieth birthday while they are both college students. The music they share is a vital part of their life together. Once he begins his career, Eli’s rise in the music world is meteoric.
             Although they are devoted—and intensely passionate—from the beginning, the couple must struggle with never knowing when the various repairs to Eli’s heart might give out.

Friday, June 6, 2014



So this book I began writing in September is almost ready to be released. It’s taken longer than I had thought it might. I rewrote early chapters several times, at one point discarding my initial opening chapters and completely starting over. I woke up with thoughts and went immediately to the computer. More than once I woke in the wee hours of the morning and went immediately to the computer. I would be driving and a thought would come to me that I’d hold onto until I could get to the computer. It’s amazing I didn’t wreck my car a time or two! The book has always in my mind, over these past nine months plus.

Actually, other than polishing and incorporating a few recent thoughts, the book is complete. It’s been a remarkable journey. I’ve learned a great deal about a difficult and frightening congenital heart disease. I’ve listened to some wonderful music, often in a different way than I had listened to it previously. I’ve listened to some magnificent music I wasn’t aware of. I’ve made nostalgic trips back into the past. I’ve created these two people, Eli and Krissy, and grown to love them nearly as much as they love each other. They experience good times and bad times over the years. How they handle these is the essence of the story.

Yes, ELI’S HEART is a love story, but it is not a “romance” novel. In no way does it fit that genre. I can’t really find a genre for it, other than “literary fiction” … it’s about the characters and the life they share. It’s about the vital importance of music in their lives. It’s about how they deal, separately and together, with Eli’s damaged heart – a heart filled with music. I think the reader will laugh, and cry, and come to care about these people and what happens to them.

And since you are reading this blog, here’s a taste of the book. This is the “Prelude.”  I hope it makes you want to read the entire story.


It was the final night of the Moscow International Music Competition. In the aptly named Hall of Columns, with its massive Corinthian pillars, three-tiered crystal chandeliers and plush red seats, the large audience of world-class musicians and music lovers generously applauded the Award announcements.  
The twenty-two year old American violinist Warren Anderson had just been awarded the gold medal. His accompanist, twenty-nine year old American pianist Eli Levin, then received a special award in recognition of his brilliance. It was the first time such an award had ever been presented at this event.
Eli’s wife Kristina was overwhelmed when Eli’s award was announced. The audience stood and applauded, those near Eli voicing their approval: “Well done!” “Très bien!” “Bravo!” “Pozdravlaiu!” Everyone who had heard him recognized his genius, and the judges had as well.
Eli bent to embrace his petite wife and, flushed with excitement, hurried to the stage to accept the award. Krissy watched through tears as her slender, dark-haired husband accepted a medal from the judges.When he returned to Krissy, he pressed the medal into her hands and bent down to speak to her softly: “This is for you, my sweet girl.” He held her close as she rested her face against his chest and wept for joy.
Warren, Eli, and Krissy had traveled to Moscow together. The trip was a surprise for Krissy. Warren’s sponsors had provided her ticket and Eli had arranged with Maestro Aaron Rubin, General Director of the City Opera Company for whom Krissy was Personal Assistant, to give her the more than three weeks she needed to accompany them. Eli knew his wife had always wanted to visit Russia. It meant a great deal to him to make it possible, and Krissy was thrilled.
The evening after the competition ended they were at the airport preparing for the long trip home, flying first to Paris and then to New York. They left as the sun was setting. As the Boeing 707 lifted into the air, the spires and onion domes of the city soon disappeared into the concentric circles of light surrounding the Kremlin. The sky on the horizon faded from a pale blue to a soft rose to a deep purple.
Krissy wanted to give Eli a sleeping pill but he shook his head; he was tired enough to sleep without it. They were in the first class cabin, and Warren was across the aisle from them, the Amati violin he had played positioned securely beside him. That violin, valued at over one million dollars and borrowed from a collector, had not left his side the entire trip.
Eli stretched his legs out as best he could. Krissy asked the stewardess for a blanket, and tenderly tucked it around her husband and herself. He smiled at her, rested his head on her shoulder, and soon after takeoff, he was sleeping soundly in the darkened cabin. She carefully removed his glasses and put them in her handbag.
Eli was born with a defective heart. He had received a second surgery for the condition only months earlier, and even though he had seemed tireless and energetic throughout the competition, Warren noticed on the drive to the airport that he looked exhausted. No doubt that was why Krissy wanted to be sure her husband received some needed rest on the flight.
Warren had also stretched out, and he could see Krissy’s warm brown eyes as she watched Eli sleep. She looked at him as if he were the most priceless thing on earth, a treasure almost unimaginable. He envied Eli this kind of love, a love he seldom saw even between the most devoted couples. He leaned across the aisle and said to her softly, “What are you thinking, Krissy, when you look at Eli like that?”
She said, not taking her eyes off Eli, “That I can’t believe I’m with this incredible man. That I’ve been given a gift I can’t even describe.” She gently touched his head, stroking the dark, curly hair as she so often did. She smiled at Warren.
“He’s very fortunate to have you,” Warren said. “I know he adores you. He’s told me that many times.”
Krissy looked again at her sleeping husband and kissed his temple softly. “I’m the fortunate one, Warren. I lost him, years ago, not long after I met him. Eli brought us back together. I treasure every minute I have with him.”
“Sounds to me like there’s a story behind that,” Warren said, settling back in his seat.
She smiled but didn’t reply. Indeed there is, she thought. With a noble prince who rescues a damsel in distress, a wicked queen, and a sleeping dragon. A story with an unknown ending.