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Friday, June 28, 2013

Authors I admire - Susan Dormady Eisenberg

This is the second post in my "Authors I admire" series. And this time, I am happy and honored to introduce Susan Dormady Eisenberg and her wonderful debut novel THE VOICE I JUST HEARD. If you like stories about music and love, you will enjoy her work. She is an experienced writer and has a background in singing and her novel about the struggle of a young singer to fulfill her dream touched me deeply.

Here is a brief bio of the author:
Susan Dormady Eisenberg is a journalist and author of a novel, The Voice I Just Heard. Eisenberg has written an upcoming article about the late Broadway-opera baritone, Bruce Yarnell, which will appear in Classical Singer Magazine this fall, and frequently writes about the arts, TV & travel for Huffington Post and Open Salon. She’s drafted a second novel about the drive to be a mother, Lucky For You, which she is now editing, and she’s researching a third novel about American sharpshooter, Annie Oakley. Her web site is 


Blurb: The Voice I Just Heard depicts a summer in the life of a young soprano who yearns to perform on Broadway, never imagining she has the talent to sing opera. It also features a backstage romance that may or may not evolve into love.

Nora Costello battles self-doubt and parental disapproval, problems that seem insurmountable when her brother Liam dies in Vietnam. Though she meets an unlikely mentor who supports her vocal ambitions, Nora wonders if she’ll survive the loss of Liam, much less find the strength to compete in a business known for heartbreak.

This haunting debut novel poses a universal question: How far will you go to chase a dream? As Nora searches for the answer, she finds she must heed the most important voice of all, the whisper of her own heart.

My thoughts on THE VOICE I JUST HEARD:

My mother was a singer, not a professional one, but she sang all the time--at home while cleaning, in church, and community choirs. Our home was filled with her lovely voice, so when I read the blurb about THE VOICE I JUST HEARD by Susan Dormady Eisenbeg, I knew it was a book for me. And I was not disappointed.

This is the story of a young girl whose passion is to become a professional singer. Full of yearning and self-doubt, with the shadows of a dead brother, a family breaking apart, and parents opposed to her vocation looming over her, Nora nevertheless pursues her dream. Bart, somewhat older but equally confused, struggles to get his career in singing back on its feet and clean up his family life. They fall in love but the obstacles in their lives and their own hang-ups sabotage their early relationship. Only as more mature people, secure in themselves, would they have a chance to make it work.

This beautifully told and carefully researched and crafted novel is full of vivid and sensual details. The characters--flawed, self-absorbed, yet loving and generous--are convincing and their development as artists and human beings feels real. A lovely book I can highly recommend.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Want to see some great photos?

Today, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome my sister-in-law, Dorothy Lyner, to my blog. I just discovered, a few months ago, that she is a wonderful photographer. Where were you hiding, Dorothy? The few photos here are just a sample of some of the work she did. At the end of the interview, you’ll find links to the website with her pictures. So, without further ado.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in southern California.  I have spent the last many years living in the Atlanta area.  I work as a legal assistant and spend all free time either taking pictures or studying photography. 

What got you interested in photography? What inspires you to take pictures?

Over Lake Allatoon, GA
You know, initially, when I knew virtually nothing about photography, I would be driving down the road, see an old isolated barn in a field and say to myself, “What a fantastic photograph that would make.”  I would not be able to get the thought out of my head.  I was not taking pictures at this point. This happened to me a number of times in different circumstances and it finally dawned on me that I needed to pick up a camera; that indeed I wanted to capture those images that I was seeing – regardless of what it was going to take.

Civil War Reenactment

Do you take any classes? What kind of training/background do you have?

Summertime Leaf
I took a couple of classes  at a well known photography store/school here in Atlanta, Showcase Camera, This was where I was taught the basics. I knew virtually nothing about photography when I took their classes and they were a perfect launching point for me. I belong to two successful photography clubs in the Atlanta area, Decatur Digital Photography ( and Southeastern Photography Society (SPS) ( I gain more from belonging to these clubs than can be imagined. There are constant lecutures by such notables as Larry Winslett and Michael West, workshops, competitions and shoots with plenty of opportunity to learn about the many aspects of photography. There are pro photographers available to speak with as well as every amateur level photographer in existence. I have also taken an online course in the editing software, Photoshop Elements. I have found there is an unending volume of material online: blogs, free tutorials, and classes for a fee.

Waterfall at Callaway Gardens

What objects/subjects are you most interested in? People? Nature? Small objects? Wide vistas?

Chateau Elan  Braselton, GA

I had to think about this one for awhile.  There are so many aspects of photography you could spend years studying one faze alone and honestly I love just about all of them.  Initially I thought I was interested primarily in macro photography.  I was fascinated with close-up images and for many months simply could not take enough photos of this type.   Capturing the minute details of subjects such as flowers and insects can produce amazing pictures.  More recently I have been learning about off-camera flash.  I love the dramatic 3-D images this type of photography can yield.  It is a very different approach and I have been learning a tremendous amount about light and how you can manipulate it to produce incredible pictures.  I am also interested in landscapes, animals, and candid portraiture.

Do you develop your own pictures? 

View from Inside Westin Hotel Downtown Atlanta, GA

No, I have never worked in a darkroom.  I find it to be quite a challenge to master the editing software that is out there.  I have Photoshop Elements and Lightroom 3.  I have only recently delved seriously into Lightroom.  I can’t think of a single photographer that I know that does not use Lightroom so I am a little behind the times as far as this program goes.  I also recently acquired the Nik Software suite which I am currently learning how to use.  For all the wonderful Ansel Adams darkroom stories I’ve heard my understanding is that with the proper understanding of these programs you can duplicate what one would do in a dark room.

Do you prefer black-and-white or color? Why? 

I have primarily been shooting in color.  More recently, I have been drawn to black and white.  I am particularly intrigued by the dimensions to be explored in the area of shadow.  Every degree of light can be found in a shadow – from a very soft rendering to one that is crisp and sharply defined.   There is a lot to learn in this area and many creative options to be found for a photographer. 

Any photographers/artists that you feel have influenced you and/or inspired you? 

Where do I begin? Here are just a few:  David Hobby (, Vincent Versace (, David du Chemin, David Ziser (,
Sarah Gardner (, Mike Moats

What kind of equipment do you use? Camera, filters.

I currently have a Nikon D60. This is one of Nikon's most basic DSLRs that is no longer made. Although the least expensive, I am an "amateur" and this camera has allowed me to apply myself and learn the basics. I am in consistent awe of the cameras that are available out there and what they are capable of doing. I am looking to upgrade at the end of this year. In the meantime though, believe it or not, there is still ample subject matter for me to study and practice on. I have two lenses currently: the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF/S ED VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DX-Format Digital SLR Camera and the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR lens.

My wish-list: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras , Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras, and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens.

I would love to be able to capture those expansive scenes with a wide angle such as reception halls or architecture.  Recently, I also acquired a basic flash (Yongnuo YN460-II) and umbrella (Westcott 43”).

Anything else you want to talk about? 

I have a great deal to look forward to and am excited about the future. 

Where can you be reached if people want to get in touch with you? Website? Blog?

I can be reached at

I also have a website:

Thank you, Dorothy, this was interesting and enlightening. The  photos are absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately, I can only show a few here on this post, but I hope the visitors to my blog will hop over to your website and Flickr  (see link above) and feast their eyes on these great pictures!

And you are all welcome to leave a comment. You can leave a comment as "anonymous" if you don't want to sign it. If you do that, then please write your name in the comment.

Happy Viewing!