Raff Ellis - Kisses from a Distance

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Raff Ellis is a former computer industry executive turned writer of short stories, essays, and political commentary. His first book, Kisses from a Distance, was published in 2007 by Cune Press, Seattle, Washington. <embed>

<a href="http://amazon.com/dp/1885942451?tag=fe01-20" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="51K7eFgNr9L._SL160_AA115_.jpg" /> Kisses from a Distance <img src="buy-from-tan.gif" vspace="3" border="0" /></a>

</embed> Mr. Ellis has visited the Middle East many times, having traveled to Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Lebanon. He has always been interested in, if not fascinated by, the history of his Lebanese ancestors and the environment from whence they came.

Kisses from a Distance was born of the discovery, after her death in 1994, of correspondence his mother had saved over the years from family and friends in Lebanon. After reading the letters several times, the notion that they would form the basis for a narrative took wing. An additional eight years of research and writing finally culminated in the historical memoir. A graduate of LeMoyne College with a degree in Pure Science, Mr. Ellis also has his MBA from the University of Central Florida. He spent his entire business career in the computer industry, rising from the ranks of computer programmer to CEO of an information technology research and development firm. Raff and his wife Loretta reside in Florida.

Kisses from a Distance

Book Description

Kisses from a Distance is a memoir that was conceived after the death of the author's mother and the discovery of a cache of over 200 letters in her personal effects. The correspondence spanned some sixty-five years and was mainly from family and friends in her native Lebanon. The discovery of the letters stimulated Mr. Ellis' memories and he began a journey to verify the truth of the stories he had heard as a youth. After several trips to the land of his ancestors, visiting with relatives on both sides of his genealogy, trips to libraries, scouring archives, and reading and collecting obscure books, he unearthed many historical facts that are unknown to the general public. The author was often surprised at what he learned and each time he thought the storyline was set it would take a different twist or turn.

<embed>

<a href="http://amazon.com/dp/1885942451?tag=fe01-20" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="51K7eFgNr9L._SL160_AA115_.jpg" /> Kisses from a Distance <img src="buy-from-tan.gif" vspace="3" border="0" /></a>

</embed>The tale begins with the virtual kidnapping--and ultimate marriage--of the author's grandmother from a remote Lebanese convent in 1895. It chronicles that unhappy marriage through the birth of children, including the author's mother, family financial difficulties, and the emigration of the author's grandfather to the New World. The left behind family suffers through the First World War, the accommodations that had to be made due to the oppressive rule of their Ottoman masters, starvation, rampant disease, natural disasters, and death.

Mr. Ellis intersperses his travels in the narrative with the history of the period as it affected the Lebanese people in general and his relatives in particular. The journey spanned nearly eight years before the manuscript was finally completed.

Comprehensive written and oral records contributed to making this work into an engaging story of general interest. It ushers the reader into a world of intimate thoughts and actions, oftentimes in the characters' own words.

From the Publisher

Cune Press and its editors literally "fell in love with Kisses from a Distance, and that is why we took it on". We value the book highly and feel it is among the very best we have published. The writing is at the very top in quality and Cune has no hesitation in boasting about this book to all its friends around the world. This book is not the normal nostalgic reminiscences of a memoir writer but an important historical document told in an engaging non-historical style. There are no dry recitations of dates and events but instead an interestingly woven tale of events as lived by the principal characters in the story. The reader is taken on a rewarding journey that has taken advantage of rare documents to relate the story in the characters' own words. Cune Press is proud to add Kisses from a Distance to its Bridge Between Cultures series, which include:

The Road from Damascus: A Journey Through Syria

Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000

A Pen of Damascus Steel: Political Cartoons of an Arab Master

From the Author

If you asked ten different authors why or how the idea for their work took root, you'd no doubt get ten different answers. When people ask Ellis what impelled him to write Kisses from a Distance he responds that the death of his mother was a major factor. When the family went through her personal effects -- mostly kept in a locked trunk that the children were never privy to -- they were surprised to find over 200 letters from family and friends in Lebanon, dating back to 1925. A few historians have told Ellis that this was an important discovery.

Eight years after beginning, we finally have a book that Ellis thinks will be enjoyed by the general public.

From the Inside Flap

Kisses from a Distance' chronicles a Lebanese immigrant experience -- based on a cache of more than 200 letters discovered after the death of the author's mother. This fascinating correspondence spans fifty-five years of her "kisses from a distance" from family and friends in her native Lebanon. The tale begins with the kidnapping of the author's grandmother from a remote convent in 1895. It chronicles her subsequent unhappy marriage, whose emotional and financial difficulties culminate in her husband's tragic attempt to find success in America. In the meantime, the oppressive rule of the Ottoman Empire, the ravages of the First World War, natural disasters, starvation and disease take their toll on the vulnerable people of Lebanon. Kisses also reports the travails of the author's father, who left Lebanon in 1914 to join his sister in a wintry backwater in northern New York State. When he returns to Lebanon ten years later to find a bride and bring her to America, his arranged marriage with the author's mother eerily echoes that of the previous generation, with high expectations and inevitable disappointments. Employing traditional Lebanese proverbs and folk tales, Kisses from a Distance also weaves the author's extensive research and visits to Lebanon into the narrative. This journey, so worthwhile for him, will reward the reader as well.

From the Back Cover

When they were about halfway to New York, another commotion arose that swept over the ship like a tidal wave. The news concerned Archduke Ferdinand and his wife being assassinated in Serbia, which caused some to speculate that this act was a precursor to war. Toufic had never heard of these people, and it didn't occur to him that such an event would have any repercussions in his homeland.

People were talking about the Austrians, Germans, and Turks being allied against the French, British, and Russians. Rumors crossed from language to language and spread throughout the steerage compartment. This made time pass more quickly, if uneasily, as people tried to make sense of what they were hearing. Rumors begat rumors, and by the time they were mistranslated into the various tongues, they would bear no resemblance to the original story. Toufic also eavesdropped on passengers as they were reading bulletins aloud as soon as they were posted on the deck's message board. Once he heard someone say there was work in a place called Detroit and that a man named Henry Ford was paying wages of five dollars a day.

He wondered who Henry Ford was and how much five dollars was in piasters. When he was told its worth, he calculated that it would take a month to earn that at the stone quarry, which then caused him to wonder where Detroit was.

The trip from Queenstown to New York took only five days, and soon the ship dropped anchor in the Narrows of New York Harbor. An announcement was made that the boat had been placed in quarantine for a medical inspection, and they would have to wait until cleared by examiners before they could dock in New York Harbor. - Kisses from a Distance


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<a href="http://amazon.com/dp/1885942451?tag=fe01-20" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="51K7eFgNr9L._SL160_AA115_.jpg" /> Kisses from a Distance <img src="buy-from-tan.gif" vspace="3" border="0" /></a>

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Name: Raff Ellis

State: FL
Country: US
Web: http://www.raffellis.com/


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