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Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Book Blast & Give-Away Beginning Anew by Paula Rose Michelson

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Beginning Anew Cover
Welcome to

The Book Blast

and Give-Away

for

Beginning Anew

Book I  ~ The Naomi Chronicles

by

Paula Rose Michelson 



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ABOUT THE BOOK

Naomi and Chaz know that miracles really do happen for at a friend’s wedding they reaffirmed their love and are Beginning Anew!

Yet there are consequences that the couple must face. Will Chaz love and protect his wife? Will Naomi learn to trust Chaz?

Find out in the first novel of Paula Rose Michelson’s four-book saga The Naomi Chronicles.

Available at:

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Book Excerpt:

“Where are we going?” Naomi asked as feelings of apprehension colored her words. “Out for dinner.” Noticing that his wife had started to pull away, he said, “Do not worry, I can afford this.” “I am not worried about whether you have the money to pay for our meal!” Naomi exclaimed, her voice strident, as she stood frozen and unyielding on the sidewalk. “Then why are you acting this way?” “I am afraid.” “Afraid of what? You have walked through the barrio for many years. While we courted, we walked down these streets together. After we married, we walked this neighborhood, and those who greeted us were happy for you and pleased with our marriage. Nothing has changed except that we are now really one because of our shared heritage and faith in Messiah.” Naomi stared ahead, unable to articulate her concerns as Chaz softly inquired, “What are you afraid of?” She shrugged. Since he told me of our shared heritage and faith, I find myself drawn to him as never before. When the Catholic community reacts to him as they have always reacted to our people, I fear Chaz will discover that his life will never be as it was before! I pray it will not be so, but I fear that… “You were never afraid before. Why now?” “Because of people like them.” Naomi nodded towards the two old women wearing ‘widows’ weeds’ who were walking towards them. Chaz watched in surprise as the once friendly sisters walked around them without a greeting. It was evident they were trying to avoid meeting their gaze, for they lowered their eyes. The sisters hurried by as quickly as their stocky old legs could carry them while one whispered to the other, “Jews! Do not talk or look at them!” He remembered their excitement a few weeks ago when they stood outside the barista’s coffee shop and watched as Naomi received the gift of a memory quilt made by all she had helped over the years. Now he stared at their backs, aware that they had intentionally shunned them. “They are old, old ways die hard.” “Chaz, these situations have always occurred. Wherever the church is, it seems there is oppression for our people.” “Surely these things do not happen often. Americans have always fought for the freedom of others. We are in Vietnam fighting a war to free people far away from us. I was taught that liberty and equality for all are part of the American dream.” “For many, prejudice is not the same as liberty and equality.” Needing to feel safe, Naomi placed her arm through his, and turned them in the direction of her market. “Diego makes the best seafood paella. That along with some sopa de ajo and tortillas will make a good meal.” “What if I do not want Spanish soup tonight?” “Trust me, you will like this.” Forcing a smile, he placed his large hand protectively over hers. “All right, so where is his place located?” She smiled at him, and laughed, hoping to bring back the feeling of security that fled. “Did I mention that Diego and his wife, Francis, rent the front of the market?” “Did I misunderstand? I thought this restaurant was at a stand alone location like other places of fine dining.” “You did not misunderstand. I just did not say.” She quickened their pace. “I never experienced fine dining as we did today, but you will not be disappointed in the food or the service. Their food might taste better to you once you realize that the market makes seven percent of its revenue from the various rentals such as this one.” “I will never understand why I thought you simply owned a market, or for that matter, that you simply saved girls from deportation.” As they entered the quaint eatery, the bell above the door rang, and Frances saw them. Putting the large serving tray she was carrying down, she hugged the couple. “Diego,” she called, “I told you they would come tonight!” “Sí!” The old man came out to great them. He noticed Naomi’s smile, and nodded to Chaz. “She is happy…that is good!” Naomi squeezed Chaz’s hand. “Very happy.” Diego chuckled. “Que es como debe ser…that is as it should be! He clapped his hands together and asked, “What can I make for you, mis amigos?” “Diego,” his wife scowled affectionately, “let them at least sit down!” “Of course.” He led them to a secluded table in the back. Hurrying ahead of them, Francis put her hand-embroidered tablecloth with matching napkins on the table. Then, she turned to them and smiled. “This is away from prying eyes, so sit here.” “Now, what can I fix for you?” Diego asked after Chaz had made sure his wife was comfortable. “I would like to look at a menu before I decide,” Chaz responded. Diego and Francis looked at each other and tried not to laugh. “Did I say something funny?” “No,” Francis said. “It’s just that we enjoy watching those who dine here for the first time when we say there is no menu.” “No menu! Naomi told me about two of your dishes that she likes, so they must be on your menu.” “Oh, the dishes Naomi orders are strictly for take out! They’re not good enough for newlyweds. Diego will make something special for you. Tell him what you like and he will improvise.” “Diego, if you are able to make something special for us and prefer not having a menu, what are you doing here?” “Señor, we stay because our hearts are here.” “Just a few miles uptown are the swank restaurants of New York City. Surely, you could make more money there. Only a few restaurants have a chef who is able to do as your wife said…but then again…” “Chaz, I see that you understand, so I say, Naomi, you have married well! Your husband is not only an astute business man, and a connoisseur, he is, most important of all, a man with a good heart! I leave you to enjoy each other’s company. Francis will put on some romantic music for you while I prepare something savory and sweet for your meal.” Later that evening, as they walked home hand in hand, Chaz remembered the many samplings Francis insisted they try, along with a selection of her new dessert offerings and exclaimed, “That was an event…not just a meal!” “Their food is always wonderful. More important still is the way they enjoy celebrating everyone’s special events.” “Like rushing to put out a special tablecloth and matching napkins?” “Tradition is that every newlywed couple who dines there after they wed, eats their meal on the same tablecloth Diego and Francis did on their wedding day.” Noticing Chaz’s smile, she added, “It is one of the ways they have of making everyone who visits feel like part of their family. They are very loved and appreciated within this community.” “I understand.” “So, you understand that home is not always where you were brought up…but it is always the place where your heart is happy.” Chaz nodded as a couple walked by them saying, “Felicidades por llegar!” “Gracias.” Chaz waved to them as he and Naomi turned the corner and headed back to their casa. “See, I told you people are happy for us. What happened earlier was just a fluke.” Walking alongside her man in the stillness of the night, Naomi admitted, “I am not certain what that word means.” She breathed in the scent of summer heat mingled with the fragrance of roses. “But, if you are trying to convince yourself that what happened today seldom occurs, I can assure you that it happens more than it should.” “No, that situation was fuera de lo común…you know, out of the ordinary!” “I hope you are right.” As they passed a hedge of pink tea roses, Chaz realized that somewhere a melody was playing, a melody made for dancing. It drifted to them carried on the same breeze that caused the leaves on the trees to stir. Drawing Naomi in front of him, he held her close while he danced her towards their casa. “Madre, look,” a child called from the front porch of the corner house as they glided by. “It is not nice to point out what others do unless they need help,” the woman told her child. “This couple…they are simply in love.” “Yes.” Naomi heard a man chuckle. “With any luck they will remember when it when things get bad.” “Why do you say such things to the boy?” the woman hollered at her husband. “Because Iberia, it is the way with those like us, a little joy, a lot of difficulties.” “Naomi, who are those people, and why do they think they can speak about us as if we cannot hear them?” “As with most here, even after Madre Vida died, I never met or spoke with them because I feared that my true identity would make it impossible for me to do as I had pledged.” “It seems they know about you. Do they know about you through Teresa?” “I do not think so. Teresa never gave me any indication that she knew about me until the day of my unmasking before the community.” “Then how do they know you? You were hidden and even after you took over Vida’s work, you kept yourself cloistered in the casa only to emerge to take care of the market or go to immigration.” “I do not know. It was such a long time ago. I have put it out of my mind.” “Try to remember. It is important.” “Chaz, it is not important, and even if it were, I really do not remember!” Frustrated, Chaz wished he could resign himself to the fact that his wife did not want to understand these things. Yet he needed to learn about them as a means of preparing himself for what might happen next. Aware that Naomi was more important than anything he needed, he pulled her closer and listened for the music to begin again. Hearing nothing but his pounding heart, he commented, “Francis and Diego remind me of my parents, although my madre would box my ears if she knew I compared them to these old people. Still, they do seem a lot alike.” “I am glad you like my friends.” Naomi turned towards home, and placed her hand in his. “I do remember something, but maybe it is nothing.” “What do you remember?” “The first time I went to the outdoor market everyone said I talked funny.” “Eso es verdad!” “That is true! How can you tell me you love me, then tell me my Spanish is—” “Unique! The way you speak our language is unique!” They walked up the path to their casa. “I do not understand.” “You speak Spanish differently than we do down home or even here. I thought it might be a regional dialect.” “I was never in one place long enough to sound like those who lived there did.” As they entered the casa, Chaz asked, “Did Madre Vida comment about the way you pronounce some Spanish words?” “No…I think she had enough trouble making herself understood.” “What do you mean?” While turning on the lights, Naomi said, “I found her Spanish, at times, hard to…if Uncle Luis is right, Madre Vida learned Spanish while living here.” “Since we are not trying to solve your American madre’s language issues, I suggest we focus on yours!” Flipping on the hall light, Chaz took Naomi’s hand, and hurried to the suite. Rushing in, he returned with the old liturgy his uncle had given him. Thumbing through the text, he found what he was looking for, handed it to her, and said, “Read this out loud for me.” Glancing at the section her husband had pointed to, she closed the book and canted, “Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.Barukh sheim k’vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed,” happy to be able to say the words as her rabbi had taught her so long ago. “Now in Spanish.” “Escucha, Israel, el Señor es nuestro Dios, el Señor es uno. Bendito sea el nombre de Su glorioso reino por los siglos de los siglos.” “Please, say the Shema in English.” Aware that doing this might solve one of her unspoken questions, Naomi said, “Hear, O’Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.” “You have an accent. I cannot hear it when you sing the Shema in Hebrew.” “Of course, I have an accent!” “Not a regular accent!” “What do you mean?” Naomi asked as she handed the book back to him and turned towards the kitchen. “The words you speak have a unique inflection, which I have seldom heard.” He followed her and watched as she put the kettle on to boil. “That must be why your neighbors knew about you. Having heard them, I think they have the same accent.” “Really, Chaz…how can you tell after hearing me cant a few words in Hebrew, say them in Spanish and English, and compare them to words you heard that couple speak and announce that they speak as I do?” “My uncle told me those Jews who lived in Spain developed a language called Ladino. Though they spoke Ladino as their everyday language before the Inquisition, when the Sephardic Jews went into hiding, they use it as a means of finding others like themselves. Even in hiding, observant Jewish canted Hebrew while worshiping Adonai. Uncle said that in Hebrew, one could still hear the pure pronunciation of our mother tongue as I did just now while you sang the Shema.” “You mean to tell me…that having discovered your Jewish heritage several weeks ago, you now know how the Shema should sound in Hebrew?” “Sí! That is exactly what I am telling you. When I came upon the driedle at my uncle’s dig, my childhood memories came back to me as if I had always lived the life of a Jew and were at that moment awakening from a bad dream! I believe it was the loss of my Jewish identity that caused me to look for myself in a bottle!” he insisted. “Still, what is important for you to know is that since my family spoke Hebrew while on the rancho, by the time I was four, I spoke Hebrew fluently. The Hebrew I spoke was the same as the words you canted, pure and holy. However, the Ladino you speak combines Castilian and Hebraic intonations. This language caused the Spaniards to think that those who spoke like this were ‘country bumpkins.’” Naomi smiled wistfully. “Imagine having a way to find each other,” her words more a prayer to God than a sentence. Sitting down, she looked at her husband, who she had never viewed as a learned man. Now that opinion had changed. However, before he could bask in her newfound admiration, she flared, “You want me to believe that Iberia and her awful husband are not only from my country, they are also my kinsmen?” Chaz chuckled. “Sí, that is exactly what I am telling you.” “I am not certain about that.” “I need to find someone you will believe, so that you will know that what I am saying is true.” “Do you know someone you can speak with about these things?” “I believe I do,” Chaz said while making a mental note to visit Teresa on Friday. He turned toward his wife. “I like your accent.” She smiled. “Good…especially since this is part of what makes me, me.” “Yes, and all of these things add up to making you the prefect wife for me.” He smiled at Naomi. “Talking about secret languages, hidden meanings as well as the war in Vietnam has, I fear, caused me to lose sight of what matters most,” Chaz said as he took the cup of tea Naomi offered him. When Naomi picked up hers, he motioned for her to follow him out to the patio. “I remember the first time we sat out here together late at night and spoke of many things.” “I remember that,” Naomi said dreamily as she joined him. They sat in the same chairs they sat in before. Each remembered the words of the other, neither comfortable enough with their unique situation to break the silence that settled between them like an unwanted friend. Naomi cleared her throat as if to say something but quickly changed her mind as she cautioned herself, he is the man, so he should take the lead. “Do you have something to share?” “Nothing…usted…is there something you wish to tell me?” “No, I have nothing to say.” He got up and pulled his chair next to hers, sat down, placed his arm around her, and drew her close. Snuggling into him, she thought of her papá, how safe he had always made her feel. Realizing that Chaz made her feel much the same way, she smiled. “Chaz, I am at home in you. I feel as if for the first time since I left my family, I have a real home. Not a home made of stone, brick, or plaster, but a home of the heart.” Chaz kissed her. “Now you understand what I mean when I tell you that you are my casa, Naomi, for I am at home in you.” They sat that way for a very long time while the air cooled and their bodies throbbed with a refrain that built until each feared they would be undone by its demands. Chaz stood. “Well, the sooner we call it a night, the sooner Sunday will come.” “I am glad to hear that though this is the first day of our self-imposed hardship, you are also wishing for it to end.” She glanced at his face and saw his clenched jaw. She thought of the many times her father had done that, so as not to speak about something he would later regret. She stood and turned towards him, hoping for a goodnight kiss. When it seemed that Chaz did not notice, she assumed it was because as he had told her, he intended to fulfill his word before they came together. As Naomi turned toward her room, she thought, I have married an honorable man. However, that knowledge did nothing to assuage her longing as her body throbbed while she entered her bedroom and closed the door. Walking to her maiden’s bed, Naomi sat down and thought about her desire for him. Unschooled as she was in such things, she did not fully understand her feelings, all she knew was that she longed to become one with this man who set honor before them as a matter of first importance. She believed as he did, that waiting until the time was right was necessary, so she dressed for bed, lay down alone, and silently pondered the new and fulfilling life that awaited them both. Chaz was alone in the master suite. Unlike his bride, who looked forward to their life, he found his mind would not be still as the hours of the night wore on and he paced the floor. Agitated, unable to think of sleep, he continued his weary vigil, hoping that the morning light would illuminate the dark concerns he harbored. Life was easier before, he told himself as he thought about the sisters who had intentionally shunned them, and the vile way they had spoken of them to let them know that there was no place for them in their world of conformity and exclusitivity. He closed his eyes and prayed that sleep would come. “You either believe as they do, or you are an abomination in their sight!” He remembered his madre stridently arguing with his father and grandfather as he tried to sleep in his trundle bed. “But Lily, what can we do?” his father had asked. “We cannot allow the boy to become one of them.” “Of course not,” he remembered his mother saying. “All we have to do is help him to see himself as someone who belongs.” His grandfather Gravile had demanded, “How do you plan to do this, this awful thing!” “Is it so awful to want our son to grow up feeling accepted by the people around him?” Lily had asked. “First one needs to know that he is accepted by God!” the men had exclaimed. “He is!” his mother had argued. “After all, as Jews we know that we are written into God’s book! Nothing can ever change that!” “What she says is true,” his abuelo Gravile had agreed. “Well, Padre, if there is to be peace in this house and between all of us, we must agree on a course of action and never reveal to Chaim what we have done,” Chaz remembered hearing his father say sadly to his grandfather. “If we do not agree to keep this secret there will be a day when all will be revealed. Then heaven help him, and us!” Aware that his memories grated upon his emotions, Chaz stripped off his clothes, sodden from the perspiration his inner turmoil had created. He ran a cold shower, and sought relief within the soothing pulse of the water beating a welcome refrain on his head. Finally, somewhat soothed, he turned off the water and watched as the liquid ran down his limbs, and pooled at the drain. That is how I feel, he lamented as he watched the water moving counter-clockwise into oblivion. Oh, for the blessed relief of nothingness, he thought as he wondered if there was any champagne left from the night he toasted Naomi. Was it just last night that I did that? It feels as if it were a year ago! Maybe some is left…Stop running away! Remember, nothing good comes from being drunk! Getting out of the shower, Chaz dried himself off with relentless force. His actions caused his blood to rush to the surface. He looked in the mirror and laughed sardonically at his reflection, verbally accosting himself, “Look at you, a Jew who thought he was a Catholic trying to help a woman whose fears are founded in reality! What have you to offer her except more of the same from life: the same rejection, the same fear, and the same need to hide due to the Jewish curse of stigmatization?” Leaning into the mirror, Chaz examined himself. His eyes revealed his inner turmoil, for he could see the telltale evidence of the reality he had experienced. Caught up short, he realized, I can give her many things, but I cannot give her the security she needs! Never tested in this way, I have nothing to give her. How do I act and react? What can I do to make her feel safe and secure when I no longer feel that way? “Chaz, are you all right?” He heard Naomi’s sleepy voice through the bedroom door. “I heard the water running for a long time, and it is not yet dawn. I was worried, so I came to see if you are ill. I have been calling to you, but you have not answered! What is wrong?” “Nothing.” Hopeful that saying the words would make them so, he insisted,” “Everything is all right! Go back to bed!” “From the sound of your voice, I believe your nothing is something.” “No,” Chaz said as he tried to make his voice sound more normal. “I am dealing with a few things…Nothing for you to worry about.” “Chaz,” Naomi said as she pushed the door open ever so slightly, “tell me what has disturbed you so much that you are up all hours of the night.” Her eyes searched the dark recesses of the room for him and noticed his bed was not rumpled. She saw him gazing off into space, a look of turmoil on his face as he turned away. When she was about to close the door, she though she heard him mutter, “Facing demons!” “Que? What did you say?” “Nothing.” He walked to the door, intent on speaking soft reassuring words to her. However, he thought better of it as he confronted his duplicity and admitted to himself, I am a fraud, a failure where she is concerned! Naomi noticed her husband’s stooped shoulders and slow gait, and realized he needed space to deal with whatever was bothering him. As he looked in her direction, she nodded and silently shut the door. Then, concern etched upon her face, she turned and walked back to her room to spend the rest of the night praying for him.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Paula Rose Michelson is not only an author but also a mother of two married daughters, and the grandmother of seven. She authored the Casa de Naomi Series.

Today, February 1, 2014 The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Beginning Anew will release on Amazon.

In 1988, she founded LAMB Ministries which teaches women recovering from trauma and abuse. While awaiting the copyright for the first LAMB recovery book titled, "Why Did We Become Angry?"

She wrote a series of politically incorrect articles that will be published under the title, "The Purple Pitch Seduction of America." These will release in 2014.

Paula can be found online on:


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For this release blast Paula has decided to do a giveaway.

The prizes are:

Prize pack Anew Blast

1st Prize:
3 sets of the previous Casa de Naomi Books (digital format)

2nd Prize:
3 x Casa de Naomi: Book One (digital format)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I'm back bright and breezy on Monday with a fabulous Book Blitz, hope you can join me.

Until then, keep calm and have an awesome weekend

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for pointing this book out Bella! I've read the first two books about Naomi and loved them. No doubt this one will be a pleasure to read too.

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