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Join us at one or both of the readings and presentations by Akiva J. Savett and his brilliant work, Preservation

Join us at one or both of the readings and presentations by Akiva J. Savett and his brilliant work, Preservation

Thursday, February 6th at 7:00 PM
Winston Churchill High School
11300 Gainsborough Rd, Potomac, MD 20854
Hosted by the WCHS Educational Foundation

Sunday February 9th at 9:00 AM
Beth Sholom
11825
Seven Locks Road, Potomac, MD 20854

Brilliant Poet and Advanced Placement English Literature Teacher. he has been publishing poetry for over 10 years and his work has appeared in a variety of prestigious literary journals. Savett is also a chronic sufferer of Crohn’s Disease and a committed father and husband. Much of his work is interested in opening the sacred; in each poem, Savett discovers and frees the luminous trapped within the chaos of his life. In the midst of his struggles with surgery, mortality, and the contingencies of parenthood, his voice shines brightly from the firmament of young and dynamic American poets. Below are some Amazon reviews for your review.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Think You Don’t Like Poetry? Read This Book!
By Ali G on August 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
I’m so thankful to have read this collection of poems. Mostly, I read novels and short stories, with the occasional book of poetry thrown in only if it comes highly recommended. One of my friends at college told me to read this because Savett is her former English teacher. I can’t believe how much I loved it.

In poem after poem, Savett plays with language in surprising and ingenious ways, but he always gives the reader some accessible entry into meaning. Whether having a catch with his son, playing hide and seek with his daughter, visiting an old friend near the Gettysburg battlefield, or even flirting, tongue in cheek, with religious conversion so he can learn the names of trees and birds, Savett’s poems are about everyday experiences and moments so many of us have stopped paying attention to. Some of the most powerful poems in the collection are about his experiences with pain and chronic health issues. Though never named in the book (his amazon author page mentions Crohn’s Disease), references about and responses to illness provide a thread which ties this collection together—language and the book itself serve as preservation for Savett. In paying attention and displaying such a mastery of language, Savett is also preserving the fleeting precious moment and people he meets and loves. This book is short (it’s a poetry chapbook) but incredibly sweet, and I look forward to reading more from him in the future. He is one of the few poets (Stephen Dunn, W.S. Merwin, Billy Collins, Kay Ryan) I will try and keep up with. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Billy Collins Would Be Proud 
By Haroot H. on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
In an interview with the PBS News Hour, two-time Poet Laureate Billy Collins was asked about the idea of making poems “accessible.” He responded by saying, “I think accessible just means that the reader can walk into the poem without difficulty. The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is what happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem? That’s the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.”
Savett’s collection successfully invites the readers into his poems. It is at this point of “entry” that his imagery guides the reader on a multi-sensory journey of daily life. However, instead of settling for mundane commentary, Savett challenges us to see and feel what we normally take for granted. If, as Collins so eloquently states; poetry is a “form of travel writing,” then Savett’s Preservation takes us on the simplest and most rewarding trip of all: a refreshing look at the people, moments and places that compose our existence.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The mundane made luxurious
By Naomi R Kieval on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
The author’s love of the English language is evident from the first pages. Each poem presents an almost “stream-of-consciousness” account of daily life. These snippets of life as displayed in word-play and metaphor reveal much of the beauty of a life made up of family and naturalist spirituality; the author’s health, family concerns, financial constraints, and more are on full display. The verse feels at home amid the early modern poets, beatniks, and absurists. Echoes of Ginsburg and cummings are clearly heard as well. Savett’s Preservation is an impressive collection, and a great entree into modern free-verse.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Seriously beautiful
By Steph Herold on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
The poems in this collection are complex enough to sink your teeth into, yet also beautiful enough to read once and appreciate. Sprinkled with literary and medical references, the way Savett conveys a sense of awe in each poem surprised and delighted me. Some lines are so perfect they will slay you: “we are more like pencils / where each day scratches / us away / than pens, intact, / but leaking words” and others will have you cracking open your computer to google (who’s Tiamat again?). I felt like I was playing hide and seek with these poems, sometimes getting a glimpse at their meaning, sometimes searching and searching. Even if I couldn’t uncover exactly what I thought the poems meant, they evoked that ineffable feeling you get when you’re reading something good and you allow yourself to get inside the feelings of the poem instead of trying to pinpoint what every word signifies. A really refreshing read–looking forward to many more!

Corey Feldman

240-392-4444 (general office line)
12299 Greenleaf Ave
Potomac, MD 20854

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Writing update

I know, I am still working on the final edits of Kristallnacht. I have a couple areas that are bugging me. Nothing huge, time consuming or structural. Just nit-picky stuff now that the story (or this part of it) is out of my brain and on virtual paper. I keep rereading it while fixing the silly typos my copy editor caught. And btw thank G-d for copy editors! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one for my blog and my (in my own head) pithy and humorous status updates. Anyway, I have noticed a few patches I don’t love. e.g. In the Prologue set circa 1989, which is the only part of Kristallnacht not set on November 10, 1938. There is a lot of dialog with Alex Kagan. But even for an extremely precocious 4 (almost 5) year old, intentionally written wise beyond her years, she just didn’t sound enough like a four year old. As I happen to have an extremely precocious 4 year old (5 next month), also wise beyond his years, I started really listening to him. Let me rephrase that as I always listen to him.  I spent some time studying his sentences and was blown away by how far I missed the mark. She sounded too much like an adult. This is more than a little embarrassing to realize as someone with a background in child development, teaching, a writer with a children’s series with a 5 year old protagonist, and a father of a child the same age. So that obviously needs some tweaking.

I tried but couldn’t get in the mind space to tackle it today. I did, however, make some progress on my new children’s series which is my collaborative project with my kids. I really love where this is going, but I have to admit the collaborative part while often fun, rewarding, and completely amazing, is just as often frustrating as hell. I am a fairly quick writer. I loved working on Egret. I’m not by any means finished, but with only 2 published and another 6 to 8 more books still waiting in the wings, its not a priority. But I knocked out the first 8-10 books (depending how I split them) in a very short period of time, often writing for hours on end. It is the same way for my, heavy on the Kabbalah, Urban Fantasy series. The bulk of the Sexton and the Reaper and Kristallnacht were done in a couple major writing sessions. But with this new series, most likely titled Bobby and Samara, Wizard Apprentices, to keep it collaborative I can’t write like that.

At less than a month short of 5 and (OMG) 4 days short of 7, Elijah and Joshua just don’t have that kind of attention span. It is totally understandable but frustrating since I have already mapped out several books in my head and I see this series having solid commercial potential in the 5-11 age range. But I can’t lose sight of the fact I started this as a learning opportunity, based on Elijah’s request. So I need to get better at 1. Slowing down and letting them be part of the ride. 2. Remembering that at *almost* 5 and 7, I can’t push them beyond what they can handle or it will lose its value as a learning tool and could likely turn them off to the entire process. 3. It is okay to take this one slower, after all I still have the Kagan series to fill my hyper focused writing sessions.

So on a bit of a tangent, I am not sure which will come out first. This new series, or the book in the Egret series where we meet her best friend, also named Samara. Samara is the name planned for both Joshua and Elijah until we counted to eleven on their sonograms. I am curious (if any has bothered reading this far), since the series are so different with one Samara being an elephant and the other a 7 1/2 year old girl… Egret targeted at pre-school/early elementary and the other solidly elementary with only advanced readers, on the younger end, likely to be able to read it on their own… Does anyone see an issue with my using the name Samara in both series? I mean other than the obvious psychological one that child number 3 (this time a daughter) is not in my cards.

Posted from Potomac, Maryland, United States.

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Free eBook of my novelette, The Sexton and The Reaper

Free eBook of my novelette, The Sexton and The Reaper

I meant to send this out to a wider audience, so I am extending the coupon through Friday. You can download it here https://www.coreyjfpublishing.com/product/the-sexton-and-the-reaper-an-alex-kagan-novelette-edition-2/ To get it for free, please apply/copy/paste the following coupon code: s&rfreehappynewyear

The Sexton and the Reaper is a novelette in my upcoming Alex Kagan series. It is Urban Fantasy with a Jewish Mystical spin. It’s really a story about the Human Condition, Friendships, and a good old fashion love story; and of course, Ghosts, Soul Collectors, Angels, Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah), and of course fantasy.

If you are interested in the background of the series, a couple of year ago I started writing a novel about a strong female character that grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home in Georgetown. Her name is Alex (Alexandra) Kagan. She was a double Hoya, Georgetown undergrad and law, but instead of joining her father’s law practice she joins the police department. Additional she end up significantly less observant than her family. Needless to say, she has a challenging relationship with most of her family, with the exception of her grandfather. I originally had her Grandfather dying in the first chapter with everyone (including her coworkers) believing it was nothing more than an age/accident related death.  As she begins her own private, off the books investigation, she discovers his death was due to the fact he was a practical/theurgical (magical) Kabbalist. The more she investigates the deeper she enters this new world view and discovers that she is naturally adept at Practical Kabbalah. I could never get very far into the novel. Every time I tried moving forward with the story, I kept being brought backwards to the grandfather. As a relatively rookie writer, at least in that genre, I forgot the basic principle of letting the story (my unconscious, or whatever) guide me. Once I stopped trying to force a story that wasn’t ready to be told, or might not even end up being told in the same way, I knew before I could really begin my Alex Kagan series, a series I feel passionate about due to the general lack of Jewish Fantasy, her Grandfather’s story had to be told first.

I kicked it around for awhile, but I had my children’s series and hadn’t given up the day job yet, so there wasn’t any time. One Sunday I had this very random thought pop into my head. I don’t recall the trigger but lots of cultures have, or really had, traditions/superstitions/beliefs that cemeteries are designed to trap evil spirits inside. I always thought it an odd sort of belief, since I could never figure out why an evil spirit would enter a cemetery. I know that the idea was that the spirt was an evil creature/sorcerer/person who would get buried and the soul would be trapped. I also know that many times these beliefs were connected to some sort of vampire lore (many cultures have variations on the Vampire mythos, including Judaism and Lilith, but it was never really limited to that and often expand it to ghosts and other things that go bump in the night. I always found this troublesome in suspending my disbelief when I’d find it in a fantasy novel. I mean why would some evil spirt stay in the body all the way to burial. But like any storyteller, I decided to let my imagination run. I took some of the myths and started a thought experiment. What if, somehow, some-when (middle ages or earlier) someone actually figured out a mystical formula that on sanctified/holly grounds, a cemetery could trap a ghost/spirit/soul/Neshama inside. So I thought if it acted as a barrier to keep those things in, it could just as likely keep things out, especially given the limitations of a finite human mind tapping into the power of the infinite. So for my thought experiment – My first rule/supposition was cemeteries (or at least certain cemeteries) could act as a barrier for both entrance and exit to a Neshama. My second rule/supposition was that some sort of minor angel (typically depicted as lacking free will) would essentially be birthed out of the Ein Sof or preferably a collective of Hashem’s divinity for the sole purpose of guiding a Neshama through the Sephirot to the heavily court, then playing on an eastern idea and one I have come across is some Kabbalistic teachings, was upon completion of it’s purpose the minor angel would rejoin the collective as a drop of water returning to the sea. My third rule/supposition was that Angels and Neshamot were essentially made of the same essence and bound by the same restrictions. So with those rules/suppositions in place I started my experiment. What would happen if a person were to die inside a cemetery before one of these minor angels, could collect his Neshama. Admittedly I chose the term Reaper for the title to appeal to a larger audience. So the novelette takes place, mostly between this Angel and Neshama trapped on opposite sides of a cemetery gate. Backing up, with this thought experiment in my head I decided to turn it into a short story. I was feeling the need to write and I hadn’t written a short in a very long time. It was a rare Sunday that I had time on my hands so I started writing out my experiment. Of course and old fashion love story popped in between the man and his still living wife who would come to visit. And obviously a lot of what might happen with a Neshama and an Angel supposedly lacking free will, yet essentially made of the same stuff as any soul, over time…

As general standard a short story comes in under 7500 words. For Science Fiction/Fantasy, less than 7500 words is the standard set by the SFWA – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And anything near the ball park of 7500 words would be considered a Long Short Story. Some genres do not really distinguish between a novelette and a novella. But again as general rule, a Novelette is from 7500 words to under 17, 500 words with Novellas starting at 17500 up until about 40K. 40K words and beyond and you are at the generally excepted novel length. Anyway, I flew right on past at 7500 mark before I knew it. I wrote most of the story in a day and another day or so for editing. I could have easily kept going, but the more I wrote, the more connections started developing to Alex Kagan project that I kept coming back to and had bouncing around in my head. I didn’t want to turn this into a full length novel and I knew if I kept going I would bring in more of the AK projected than I was ready for. So around 8300 words or so I knew I told the story, at least this part of the story, that I wanted to tell. Even though the novelette was written so quickly and seemingly randomly, I loved it. I thought I would through it out there and see if it stuck. To my surprise, it did. It has consistantly been my best seller. Now most people buy the ebook, either through my site or Amazon. The paperback and audiobook sales have been nothing to write home about, but when it comes to total sales, it has been my best seller. Now at .99 cents, amazon’s cut, or the credit card processor cut, it is coffee money. I have been told multiple times I should be charging more, but on some level, I knew I wanted this to be a companion piece, affordable and assessable.

About a year later and even less time on my hands, I knew it was time to write this prequel to the Alex Kagan series before I started connecting it to my Egret the Elephant children’s series  or something silly like that. It was time, but I wasn’t sure how to tackle it. A full length novel was overwhelming. It was not so much the time commitment. I have carved out essentially the better part of one day each week for my writing, but it still felt overwhelming in regards to putting whole novel together with everything else on my plate. I decided considering the success of S&R, both in sales and reviews, why not serialize the story of how Solomon Kagan, becomes Nicolai —— Practical Kabbalist, Zayde and uniquely bonded to one Alex Kagan. So I started with Kristallnacht and a 5 year old Solomon Kagan, on that second terrible night in Nazi Germany and how he survived.  This is not a spoiler since we know he lives to have a Granddaughter. While we may very well may find The Alex Kagan series run a different course than I originally started, regardless of the direction this all goes, we know he survives at least until at least 1989ish. Now I wouldn’t call this a spoiler into his story as much as a teaser for the first serial, Kristallnacht which takes place on November 10th, 1938, but it start with a prologue in Georgetown circa 1989 and begins to explain the connection between the now “Nicolai” Solomon Kagan and his not yet 5 year old granddaughter Alex. I think the plan is working. I was very please with Kristallnacht. And wrote most of it in a day. When I sent it to one of my copy editors, it was at about 6300 words. After edits it is right up at, or over that 7500 mark. I would have had it out a while ago but an illness essentially sidelined me for the month of December. So since Kristallnacht will be released (only in ebook form until the serial is completed) very soon, as pleased as I am with S&R’s success I want to put as many eyeballs on it as I can before Kristallnacht’s release. So again. Link https://www.coreyjfpublishing.com/product/the-sexton-and-the-reaper-an-alex-kagan-novelette-edition-2/  and the coupon code making it free until Friday s&rfreehappynewyear

Enjoy the read. I would love it if you leave a review on my publishing site or on Amazon if your like it, if not, well you know the old saying, if you can’t say anything nice, say it in Yiddish, no wait that’s a fun book by Lita Epstein that I found some colorful language in for Kristallnacht.

Cross posted in a hopefully, not too annoying way….

Corey Feldman, President
CoreyJF Publishing, LLC
Print, eBook, Audiobook, and Video Publisher
http://www.coreyjfpublishing.com
corey@coreyjfpublishing.com
301-458-0818
12299 Greenleaf Ave
Potomac, MD 20854

Posted from Potomac, Maryland, United States.