THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE FALLING INTO SPRING MARCH APRIL EDITION 04/23/2022

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE FALLING INTO SPRING MARCH APRIL EDITION 04/23/2022

Purple grapes hang from green vines which frame the upper half of the image. A translucent white banner provides the backdrop for a scripted font that reads "Holiday Extravaganza" at the top. Below, stylized white text reads "The Writer's Grapevine" with smaller vines under the lettering.
A tree with wide, crooked boughs is beneath the magazine title. The right side of the tree has a handful of orange, yellow, and red leaves clinging to the branches. The left side of the tree is scattered with smaller, bright green leaves and pink flowers. A breeze carries the dying leaves clockwise around the tree's trunk towards the new growth on the left, before blowing past the petals to complete a circle around the tree.

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE FALLING I NTO SPRING MARCH APRIL EDITION

BY PATTY L. FLETCHER

 

A PUBLICATION OF TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD MARKETING

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GREETINGS…

Hello everyone, happy holidays, and welcome to another incredible edition of the Writer’s Grapevine.

How do I know it’s incredible? Because it’s filled with “incredible” contributors. But the proof is, as they say, “in the pudding.” Or, in this case, on the page. So grab your favorite drink, snuggle down into your most comfortable reading nest, and ready yourself for some great discoveries.

This month we have new releases, great articles, and reports of things to come. So without further ado, here’s the Writer’s Grapevine just for you.

Of course, as always, you’re invited to share. Just make sure to send out the entire magazine. If you choose to share specific items, please copy each one in its completion, thus giving the author or business full credit.

My special thanks to Mara Reitsma of COVERED BY THE ROSE for the original magazine cover. Contractor for Plaisted Publishing House Author Consultant.

And to Colleen and Dawn from Two Pentacles Publishing for assistance with formatting, editing, and photo descriptions, as well as the seasonal design additions to this month’s themed cover.

SPONSORS…

Too busy to take on a full-time promotion package and all the work that entails? How about becoming a sponsor? Little work. Lots of results.

Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist) is now seeking sponsors to keep our prices reasonable, so those who cannot afford the high cost of advertising will have a place to turn for part of their marketing needs.

Here at Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, we marry social media marketing with more traditional approaches. We strive to assist clients with promoting their books, blogs, and small businesses.

What will you, as a sponsor of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, receive?

If you become a sponsor of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, you will receive:

An ad or ads up to 500 words in length on the sponsor page of my blog will remain until you either request them removed or ask to update in some way

A spot in my monthly online magazine, the Writer’s Grapevine, and:

A spot in the annual Writer’s Grapevine Holiday Extravaganza.

Your ads will also be used in Facebook events held on my Facebook page, and in articles and essays found on my blog.

The price for becoming a sponsor is $30.00 every 90 days or is free with a one-year full package.

We take payment via PayPal.

We have many sponsors, and the actual sponsor page, which is found on my blog, is quite long. To put up their ads in full would take an enormous portion of this magazine. Rather than put up pages of ads, I’m going to list their names and how to find them. You can, of course, visit the sponsor page on my blog and see all their ads in full, including photos. Keep in mind the sponsor page is a work in progress and is always being updated, so be sure to check back often.

That having been said, you may occasionally note that there are some new additions here that haven’t yet made it onto the blog. So, in the meantime, here are all this month’s sponsors.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Website

AUTHOR JO E. PINTO
New Release 2022
Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse

 

TIMELY ADVICE WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T SEEM LOVELY
By Jo Elizabeth Pinto
Author Website

MEREDITH LEIGH BURTON: THE CHOCOLATE DOG
Author Website

EZ2SEEPRODUCTS
Learn all about the totally unique, 8.5” x 11” EZ2See®Weekly Planner/Calendar, Specialty Visually Challenged Friendly Sticky Notepads and Markers

 

Website

PLAISTED PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD
Author Consultant Website

AUTHOR AND ARTIST LYNDA MCKINNEY LAMBERT
Lynda McKinney Lambert announces
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems now available on Audible
Author Website

CASEY MATHEWS OF WEBFRIENDLYHELP
Virtual Tech Advisor and Research Assistant
Website

AUTHORS TASHA AND STEPHEN HALPERT
Shop for Stephen and Tasha’s books, Abacadabra Moonshine & Other Stories by Stephen Halpert, Up to My Neck in Lemons, and other books by Tasha Halpert
Author Website

AUTHOR ANNE COPELAND
Pumpkin, Pumpkin
Folklore, History, Planting Care, and Good Eating
by Anne Copeland (C 2019)
Author Website

AUTHOR AND BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER PRAANAV LAL
Author Website

 

JOHN CRAWFORD’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Website

MARLENE MESOT
Author of The Purging Fire and Other Titles
Author Website

AUTHOR BUTTERFLY THOMAS
In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry
Author Website

TWO PENTACLES PUBLISHING SERVICES
Website

ANTHONY CANDELA
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy and
Vision Dreams: A Parable
Author Website

WHAT’S UP…

Hi everyone, and welcome to the What’s Up column!

Before we begin with all the fantastic contributions, I’d just like to say that the feedback I’m getting about this column is quite impressive. It turns out our readers seriously love knowing about what our writers, business owners, and nonprofit workers are up to. Please, contributors, keep those letters about all your goings-on coming.

It’s been some time since we were all together so let’s dive right in to see what everyone’s been up to.

First, we’ve author Trish Hubschman with a note about a recent family celebration she had.

The Anniversary Party

By Trish Hubschman

March 2022

Our 30th anniversary party was Saturday, March 26th, at the State Café here in Easton, PA. It was wonderful. There were 28 people, 17 adults and 11 children, ranging in age from 6 months to 13 years. Family from LI, PA and MD came together. There was dance music, buffet food, coffee and soda, cake, and brownies. Conversation and laughter didn’t stop. Everyone had a ball. It was perfect. And the little ones were so cute. They played so nice together. I couldn’t stop smiling. I’m still smiling. I’m eager to do that again. We have to keep bringing family together like that.

About Trish Hubschman: Trish and Kevin on their wedding day. 
Kevin is wearing a black tuxedo with a black bow tie and a white rose pinned to his lapel. He has short brown hair and stands about ahead taller than Trish, who stands with her hand on his chest.
Trish wears a white dress with long sleeves which puff at her shoulder and taper down to her wrist. She also wears a layered white veil attached to a headband. She has dark brown, shoulder length hair and bangs.

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, and Uneasy Tides. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. She is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, Henry.

Visit her website here.

WOW! How exciting and romantic. I mean, 30 years? How many people can say they’ve remained together as a married couple for 30 years in this day and time?

Thanks Trish, for sharing a bit of your celebration with us.

Next up, we’ve poet Joan Myles with what’s been going on with her.

On One Foot

…brief tidbits about me and those I love

By Joan Myles

March 2022

April is just around the corner, and I wonder: where did March go? Somehow, I have rebelled in Springtime’s more expansive light, delighted in blooming daffodils and sprouting fuchsia starts, calmed my spirit with increasing birdsong…and yet remained oblivious of the calendar.

And all I can say is: Good for me! It seems I am paying closer attention to each passing moment.

I have done a few things though, in addition to sighing over Nature’s wonders.

I launched my latest book of poems, One Goes to the Sea, thanks to Behind Our Eyes writing group. Reading my work aloud and discussing my poetic path and process have been a great boost to my energy and confidence.

I spent time with my six-year-old grandson and learned how Dog Man graphic novels entice youngsters to attempt vocabulary and ideas far beyond their age.

And I furthered my application for another Canine Teammate!

Which only confirms what I have long suspected: paying attention to the moment enables energy for purposeful action!

I hope your Springtime is opening the world to you, dear Readers. And that you are opening yourself to the World of Wonder, of Goodness, of Possibility!

Please feel free to reach out any time at: jmyles63@gmail.com

Wishing you sweetness always,

Joan Myles

About Joan Myles:

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. She considers her poems to be a kind of footpath for readers, an opening into Wonder and Awe as a means to reclaim their own sense of spiritual playfulness.

Joan’s words also reveal the invisible link between one human being and another, between humans and Nature, between the physical realm and the Spiritual. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. The poems in One Glittering Wing represents this kind of journey, specifically through Joan’s yearlong passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life.

And of course, One Goes to the Sea is her way of asking, “What can we learn from imagination as we dream our days and nights away? And can these lessons help awaken us to Love?”

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

Find her work and contact her here.

OOH! Boy! A new canine companion. Everyone be sure to head over to Joan’s blog to follow her for upcoming Pupdates.

Next, we’ve Edward Cohen with some amazing updates on his work and other things as well.

Let’s see what he’s to share.

March 2022EZ2See® News

By Edward Cohen

Hello,

First the Personal Stuff

Another Passing

While we welcomed in the start of Spring, March did not end for me before getting news of the passing of another dear cousin. I have mentioned David Carte in an earlier email. He was a talented musician, a kind and gentle soul and always a positive person to be around. He recently retired after 30 years as the maintenance person at a Canadian retirement home. Many of the heartfelt messages came from those residents. He quietly passed away in his sleep at the age of 56. Sorry to start off with this. It’s just that it causes me to recall all the family that have passed away. They are gone, but not forgotten.

The Reaction to the Snicker’s Story

Of all the various things I’ve shared in these emails over the years, the one about Snickers the cat has generated the most responses. Not only did some of you share your winter cat stories, I also learned that robot cats exist and can be a source of joy.

More on My Braille Journey

I’m catching on to reading and even writing braille with a simple device called a slate and stylus. I hope to start learning some of the shorthand tips that exist. Think shorthand in braille.

Acquiring a Classic Brailler

Thanks to my network, I was alerted to and purchased a 50+ year old Perkins Brailler. A fellow about 90 miles away no longer needed it. So, a wintery car trip substituted for shipping the 10-pound device.

It clearly needed work. I located a certified Perkins repair person living an hour and a half in the opposite direction from where I bought it. Who knew I lived in the middle of Perkin’s land? I’ll get it back in April, so news about my getting familiar with it will have to wait.

For those unfamiliar with this clever, classic device, it is a quick, manual way to write in braille. To visualize it, imagine a somewhat chunky, shiny, steel device that functions like a manual typewriter. But rather than the usual keyboard layout, it has 6 keys that correspond to the 6 dots in a braille cell and a few other keys and levers. One of those levers is to backspace so you can erase a wrong letter.

If you wondered like I did how a backspace lever would erase raised dots, here’s how it’s done. It pushes the dots flat so you can re enter a correct letter. Like I said, it’s a very clever device. The history is fascinating as well. You can learn about it below.

The Other Y

I’ve written that the YMCA within walking distance closed a month ago. It put my wife and me on the trail for a replacement workout location. I learned from a low-vision friend that the hardcore exercise place a tandem-bike ride distance away, has a slightly better lit space in the back with 10 fitness machines. We checked it out and it is doable, but we have yet to sign up.

We used our second free 30-minute session at the 125 Live senior center. This was time with a trainer that previously worked at the Y and remembered me from my many Y exercise visits. He had a slightly better comprehension of what a low-vision person faces while trying to get around in a low-contrast environment and learn how to use multiple exercise machines. While my wife translated into actual useful information his unhelpful directions such as “reach here” or “pull this”, we nailed down what will be my initial set of 8 scattered machines. Then there is what it takes before starting a workout session.

I can get to the set of lockers by the exercise room. Don’t think of old-style lockers where you bring your own padlock. On the door of each is an electronic keypad. Fortunately, the edge of each key can be felt rather than it being a flat screen. I always press four times on the same key right above the OK button to enter my 4 digit number locking code. That makes one less thing to remember. All of this is to say that I’ve entered the next chapter in my fitness life and will make the best of it.

Our Support Group Continues

Facilitating the February and March meeting went fine. I say this because I’ve now facilitated 3 meetings yet people keep coming back. Grin.

Our turnout remains less than 9, perhaps because we have yet to broadly announce our existence. A couple of us offered flyers to pass out. So, as word spreads, we look forward to bringing in more who might want to check us out. Information about our group will soon appear on the website and social media of the Center for Independent Living where we are meeting. We’ve even connected with a phone-only low-vision support group for those for whom a phone is their only communication method.

And now for the business news:

A Business First

For 2-years I’ve routinely been meeting by phone with the ladies of Prevent Products Inc. who license my products. But early this month we 3 finally met face-to-face in a coffee shop that is within walking distance for me. I came away feeling very positive about the decisions made that morning. They have proven practical business experience. I bring the perspective of a low-vision senior with some creative ideas. We make a good team.

The EZ2See® Address Book and More Update

Part of that face-to-face meeting was spent discussing the way forward on this product. That plan has two phases.

Phase 1 will see me working with a local printer. My challenge is to select the heavier paper stock for the covers, the index sheets and the internal pages. We’ll make enough parts of the book to later punch and assemble a limited number of completed Phase 1 books. To punch the holes for the disc-binding system, we’ll buy the largest punch that will do that. But it only does a dozen or so pages or one sheet at a time of the heavy stock used for the covers and index sheets. Keep in mind we’re talking about punching 800 or more sheets. Oh, my aching hands.

Lastly, we will insert the discs we must buy and then assemble all the Phase 1 books. Back when I was working, we’d call this a collating party. It saw multiple people circling a large conference table covered with the parts to be collated or assembled. Everyone cheered when the task was done. I’m sure we’ll do that as well.

At that point, we’ll want feedback. I’ll create a piece to explain what the product is all about along with a set of survey questions. We will send out one book along with the samples to select individuals for their feedback. That will be important as we fine tune the product before Phase 2. That phase is committing to a large overseas print run using the specs finalized during Phase 1.

If you, dear reader, are interested in helping me by being one of those testers, please let me know and I’ll be in touch. Of course, you’d get to keep and be the first to use the product.

The Mystery Product

After a couple of months going back and forth with the potential maker of a new product, it ended this way. While the company person was very nice and provided samples of what they could make, they could not make the sort of quality product I’d put my company name on. With that finally decided, I refocused on the Address Book. While it delayed work on the book, I did learn much from the experience that may come in handy down the road.

That’s enough for now. My best wishes to you and thank you for your interest and support,

Edward

Joy for all is the source for life-like cats. They seem pretty amazing.

Here you can read the fascinating history of the Perkins Brailler

Check out the elderly fall, slip and skin protection products made by my licensee, Prevent Products Inc.

About Edward Cohen:

Edward is a low vision senior living in southeast Minnesota. He is the founding owner of EZ2See® Products LLC. Visit his website if you or someone you care about is looking for innovative products for those living with vision loss or other challenges. To receive this monthly news or to connect, email info@EZ2SeeProducts.com

To find the 2022 EZ2See® weekly planner/calendar and high-contrast sticky note pads go to:

* The EZ2See website

* Canadians will find the weekly planner on Amazon.Ca

For those with questions, who prefer talking to a human or don’t like buying online, call, 800-234-8291.

Well, Edward has certainly been busy but he’s still not about to tell us of this mystery product. Be sure and watch for possible upcoming announcements.

In the meantime, author and artist Lynda McKinney Lambert has also been quite busy. I understand she’s been planting seeds, let’s join her in the garden of life to see what she is growing these days.

Plant Seeds and Watch the Harvest Grow

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

March 28, 2022

I’ve been planting seeds of work and I’m here to share their awesomeness with you.

Today, the Keystone Blind Association will bring the groceries I ordered last week.

I have some housework to do – putting things together that are quite a mess right now – I washed a lot of pillowcases and couch cover so now they need to be put back in place. My daughter Angel did a good sweeping on that couch last week, and now it will be all put back together today.  I have a lot to go through in the house – and it will take time – so I just do a little bit each day. It is still snowing here which I am thankful for, so I don’t have to be outside beginning the yard work. I will make my monthly recording today and send it off to Newsreel. I try to send one for each month – I am going to send an old one that will be published in the new anthology that is being created by Robbie Cheadle and Kaye Lynn Booth. I have 4 poems and they will be placed at the end of the book – I like that very much. I also got word from Magnets & Ladders that I was given an honourable mention for my poem, “Graceful Choreography.” And, I have a piece that will be in the newest Avocet print edition for Spring. It is a brand-new poem, “Xeric Ferns.” I worked on that poem since last year – I abandoned it a few times for I would get stuck. Then, I came back to it with a vengeance and was determined to get it written one day. As soon as I finished it, I sent it to Charles and was pleased they accepted it. Also, in April, I will have 6 poems coming out in the newest Proverse and I received an award for “Body of work,” for those poems. It is always nice when things get accepted or even an award – but I just keep plowing the soil and planting my seeds – no matter what. There is always a harvest if we keep on planting and planting and planting. So do that, and don’t let life’s storms stand in your way.

©2022.Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Contact me at: riverroad@zoominternet.net

Visit me here.

About Lynda McKinney Lambert:

Lynda, a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, Geneva College in Pennsylvania, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda lives with her 2 dogs and 6 cats. Lynda’s love of nature, fine art, and history provide her dominant themes.

Before we move along to our awesome column of Adverts and News Nuggets, Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue and I have a bit of news to share.

What’s up with Me and Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue

By Patty L. Fletcher and Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue

April 12, 2022

Hey everyone, it’s been some time since Blue, and I sat down and let you in on everything going on with us. Gosh! We’ve had so many things happening it’s hard to know where to begin.

I suppose we should begin somewhere around where we were when last we talked.

I know some of you readers also follow my blog, so some of this may be a repeat for you.

Anyhow, when last we published a magazine, we were just coming into the new year, and I must say a lot has happened since then.

The first important thing was my Gallbladder surgery. When I was finally correctly diagnosed, we then had to make all the arrangements for me to have everything in place so I could come home successfully and safely after the surgery was done.

When we saw the first scheduled date was fast approaching and still things weren’t firmly nailed down, I canceled, explained to the doctor why and soon had a date me and those helping with transportation to and from the hospital and aftercare could live with.

Other than a bit of a scare with my blood pressure going far too high during the operation it was an enormous success. In fact, when people ask me how I’ve done since my surgery I always answer, “Wonderful! I didn’t know how sick I was until I wasn’t.”

Though Blue had to remain at the vet’s kennel for 10 days during my recovery it seems to have strengthened our bond rather than causing trouble.

There was one dark cloud over that time of sickness and healing. During the second day of my recovery, I got a phone call from our beloved Dr. Hyatt from Colonial Heights Animal Hospital. I’d asked them to run some tests on Prince Edward while he was in their care along with Blue and when I saw who was calling, though Dr. Hyatt or Dr. Gray always calls me no matter the result, somehow, I knew this time, I was not going to appreciate what they had to report.

The long and short of it is that Prince Edward was diagnosed with Diabetes, was going to need Insulin shots twice-a-day and that along with his pre-existing health conditions and age of 15-years was going to make it quite difficult to maintain the balance he’d need for a life of quality.

After much back-and-forth discussion it was decided Prince Edward would be put to sleep.

When I hung up with Dr. Hyatt and got myself back under control after a long bout of hysterical crying and a bit of screaming, I called the surgeon’s office and after speaking with a nurse about how to safely go to the vet after only a few short hours after having had major surgery a plan was formed, I’d scheduled my transportation and the date was set. Patty and Prince Edward sitting together in a brown arm chair. Prince Edward is a dapper looking black and white cat with amber eyes, who's looking warmly up at Patty as he sits on her lap. Patty has dark curly hair and wears a long-sleeved, taupe shirt.

On Friday March 11, 2022 only 72 hours after having had my Gallbladder removed, I boarded a Kingsport Area Transit van and made the trek across town to the vet’s office and there after spending a little tearful time with my prince, I helped him make his journey from this world and my loving arms to the Rainbow Bridge where King Campbell and many other furry friends awaited his arrival.

I’ve no doubt there was a large welcoming party that evening.

I must say, for me, there was no party. I’d discovered a new yet known circle of hell and was happy to be enveloped in the fog of meds after I returned home.

I spent that weekend of brutal cold and nasty winds which suited my mood wrapped in an empty, black cloud of sadness but when Monday arrived, temperatures began to warm and the sun popped out of the clouds bright and golden in the sky, I dragged myself out into the fresh air, settled myself into the swing in front of my apartment and other than the fact I accidentally sat in a lingering puddle of snow which succeeded in doing nothing but wetting the seat of my pants and making me laugh enjoyed a bit of Mother Father God’s healing and was soon ready to get the business of living underway again. Prince Edward had taught me how to love and live again when he’d come into my life two winters before and I felt to do otherwise would only dishonor him and all he stood for.

Finally, on Thursday March 17TH Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue returned and the second phase of my recovery began.

Now, here I am a month later, almost healed, enjoying spring and all the new things it has to offer.

Back in the winter, I started some clay building classes and when the first session was over and I’d returned after a 2-week break, my teacher Linda asked if I’d like to continue working with her on a one-on-one basis. I was thrilled at the opportunity and leapt at the chance without hesitation or doubt.

The result has been incredible and here below are a few examples of my work in various stages.

Since these photos were taken, I’ve done more work on these pieces and have created new ones as well.

A collection of handmade pottery on a gray table dusted with streaks of dried clay. The clay is a warm tan textured. On the left is a perfectly rounded plate with smoothed edges. Beside it are two slightly more textured pots. The center container is taller and has a wider brim. The pot on the right has a rounder base and a smaller opening. All of the works are on a light colored tray, edged with blue masking tape. Three handmade pottery pieces on a speckled gray table. The clay is a cool gray and lightly textured by tool and finger marks. On the left is a shallow dish or saucer with smoothed edges. Just behind the dish sits a small pot with a narrow base and a wider brim. On the right is a larger pot with thicker walls of a similar shape. Its base is narrower than the brim, which flows gently with a roundish flair.

For me, working with clay is another wonderous way for me to express my thoughts, feelings, and experiences and what’s more it allows me to get out of the house, become slightly sociable while continuing to be COVID cautious.

Blue and I are also becoming more active within the community in which we live and today attended our first community event since moving here.

Freddie, our apartment manager, put on the first cookout of the season. We had hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, pasta salad, cake and for those who wanted them there were chips and candy bars as well.

Though I avoided the salty chips I couldn’t manage to keep from slipping the two chocolate chip candy bars into my pocket for some late-night munching while reading, watching TV, or attending some Zoom call.

Though the winter was a bit rough with sickness, delays on shipments of weather gear I needed and the loss of a sweet friend, it also contained many seeds of blessings.

Mine and Blue’s bond is stronger than ever, we’re beginning to bloom in our new surroundings so overall I’m feeling blessed at this stage of my life.

For now, I bid you great tidings of joy whether you’re embracing the renewal of spring in the northern hemisphere or snuggling in for the restorative restful time of fall in the southern half of the world.

May Harmony find You and Blessid Be.

PS. This is Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue here to let you know, at no time, even whilst in the V*T’S kennel, which I must admit is not too bad as far as such places go, was I not on the case.

I kept up with what was going on with my mother and cat through the Twylight Bark and the Kitty Cat Corner and though there was some time when I couldn’t physically be with my mother, I was always sending her strength, courage, and love.

As soon as I was allowed, I returned home to her and helped her regain her strength and now, we’re working more than ever.

I heard of what is called, Muffin Monday and after a whole weekend of pestering her near to death she relented and we set off early on this past Monday April 11 for our favorite grocery store, which also has something called a deli bakery and Starbucks® which is odorific and makes me wanta drool but the smile on my mother’s face and the scent of her happiness flowing all around was worth all the hard work of keeping my nose out of things it didn’t belong in.

We also got to visit with my Uncle Dave who does something called a radio show there.

My point is, no matter what we’re doing if I can do it with my mother, I’m a happy dog.

I understand, from the talk coming from mom’s telebone my Pa is coming, so I got to go find all my toys.

For now, this is Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue who is always on the case, saying, See ya!

Patty and her guide dog Blue. Patty has her hair tied back in a low ponytail and rests her right hand on Blue's head. She wears a white shirt with a pink and purple butterfly on the front and light blue shorts. Blue is a handsome black lab. He wears a brown leather harness with a handle attached to the back and is smiling at the camera as he sits in front of Patty. In the background is a brick building with white, windowed doors and a flowerpot overflowing with pink and yellow blooms.

About Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue Fletcher:

Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue was born in Chester, New Jersey, October 4, 2018.

After only 8 short weeks, he was taken from his dog mother and given to a puppy raiser family, where he would live and train for the next year.

When the year was over and he’d passed all his tests with flying colors, he went to live at The Seeing Eye® Guide Dog School and there he began to learn the rest of what he must know to become a Seeing Eye® Guide.

After a few months of arduous training, he was matched with his human mother as her second guide.

Now, he lives in the mountainous land of Kingsport Tennessee where whether working in harness guiding his mother safely from place to place or playing with his beloved doughnut ring he is always on the case.

About Patty L. Fletcher:

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

To learn more about Patty and her Big Blue Dog visit her here.

ADVERTS AND NEWS NUGGETS…

AD: Wild with Life A Collection of Mother Earth Poetry
A lush green forest of bamboo trees features a clear pathway that veers off further into the forest. On the path is a man wearing a loose shirt and a hat, walking away into the trees. He is weary but goes on. The title of the book is in red italicized text at the top of this picture. The text at the bottom of the image reads "Poetry by Charles Portolano" in orange letters.

Wild with Life
A collection of Mother Earth poetry

by Charles Portolano
Editor of The Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry

Knowing I am wild with life
but once
on this gift we have been given,
this precious gift that we have
been given guardianship of…

“These poems are written by a seasoned poet who has reached the pinnacle of his art with a recognizable and moving voice. The sections of the book invited me instantly in to share their secrets: WHERE TREES RUN WILD, WILD WAYS OF WATER. THE WILD AMONG US, OUR WILDEST TERRAINS, LOVING THE WILD, and SAVING WHAT’S WILD. The underlying driving force is of course the notion of wildness and all that we have lost by destroying it.

Charles edits the highly-successful nature journal, THE AVOCET, a must for nature loving poets and writers.”- Christine Swanberg, Poet Laureate of Rockford, Il.

“In Wild with Life, Charles Portolano has deepened his engagement with the natural world he began so movingly in his earlier works. It is a noble, ambitious, and moving work.”- Joel Savishinsky – Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus in the Social Sciences, Ithaca College

Just $15.00, which includes postage, for 90 pages of pure love for our Mother Earth.

Please make out your check to The Avocet and send to:

The Avocet
P. O. Box 19186
Fountain Hills, AZ 85269

To contact us: cportolano@hotmail.com

 

AD: Songs for the Pilgrimage

The front cover of this book features a gorgeous photo of Venice, Italy, taken at sunset. Six blue and black gondolas are at rest on the water in the foreground, and a blue and white cathedral and several additional buildings are in the background, on the far shore. The top and bottom cover bands are a deep reddish brown, echoing the color of the buildings to the right of the cathedral. The lettering for the title and the author’s name is very pale gray, almost white. On the back cover are the synopsis, a short poem, and a photo of the author. A larger version of that same photo is in the book.

By Lynda McKinney Lambert
Website

NEW!

I am proud to share my newest book publication!

From the Prologue and Epilogue of Songs for the Pilgrimage:

The word pilgrimage refers to a religious journey. Individuals commit to traveling to reach a predetermined destination, such as a shrine or holy place. The excursion is a trek from one location to another. Pilgrimage has been an abiding theme in my writing for several decades.

My first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press, 2002, now out of print), was inspired by my annual journeys to Salzburg, Austria, where I taught a month-long drawing and writing course. I worked during 2020 and 2021 to revise and expand that previous collection of stories, poems, historical notes, and journal entries for this new book. Songs for the Pilgrimage features writings, drawings, and photographs I created over four decades.

I conclude with an artist’s prayer:

My studio is yours, Lord. Be my welcome guest today. Your goodness and unfailing kindness have been with me all my life. I have tried to make your glory visible in the works of art I have created. Someday I will close the door of my studio for the final time, but I will not be alone. Together, we will go to your home, where we will continue to collaborate on glorious projects throughout eternity. Amen.

May I Serve You?
Here are the stacks of paintings
for you to look at tonight.
I carefully brought them out
of storage closets
arranged them here
in the kitchen—
where my children used to play
games around a square oak table.
Once, food to nourish the body
was prepared here, by my hands.
Tonight, there is an
abundance of food
for your soul.
Come into my kitchen and
taste the world,
prepared by my hands.

© 1997 © 2021 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Visit her website.

AD: New Release: The Chocolate Dog
By Meredith Leigh Burton
Website

The front cover of "The Chocolate Dog" depicts swirled watercolor painting of blues and purples. The silhouette of a girl and a dog wearing a working harness and handle is on the right side. The girl is wearing a skirt with a jagged, asymmetrical hemline, and has curly hair. She looks down at the dog with a hand raised to pet his face, which is looking up at her. 
The title is in playful black text above the author's name.

Patricia loves going to the ice cream shop with her mother. Every Saturday, a chocolate dog is waiting at the shop, and Patricia wants to pet him. However, she is afraid. What if the owner does not like her? Why is a dog allowed inside an ice cream shop, anyway.

When Patricia’s mother is in the hospital, Patricia worries that she will not be able to go for ice cream. Aunt Agatha, though, might have a plan to solve everything.

The Chocolate Dog is a book about unexpected surprises and the meaning of friendship. Those who enjoy stories of family love and new friends will find something to cheer about in this fun picture book from author Meredith Leigh Burton.

About Meredith Leigh Burton:

Meredith Leigh Burton is a teacher, motivational speaker and author. Some of her titles include Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption and Rebekah’s Refuge. She loves writing stories about brave heroines who go on dangerous journeys. The Chocolate Dog is her first picture book for children. Meredith lives in Lynchburg, Tennessee with her family and a menagerie of cats.

AD: Outside the Circle: A Collection of Songs and Poems
By Kevin Hubschman

The front cover of "Outside the Circle: A collection of songs and poems". The title text is centered at the top of the image in large, red letters. Below, a red, stenciled drawing of a snake forms a circle around the subtitle, its pointed tail disappearing into it's open, fanged mouth. In the bottom left corner sits the silhouetted figure of a rodent, with the author's name in the opposite corner.

C 2021 / 107 pages in print.

In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

For cover image, free text sample, direct buying links, and author contact information, please visit the author’s website.

About the Book

Outside the Circle is a collection of songs and poems I’ve written and composed through the decades. It’s mostly dark, but for those willing to look beyond my personal demons, there can hopefully be found both flashes of resilience and rays of hope.

The book is dedicated first and foremost to my wife, Trish, who is a fantastic author in her own “write.” Secondly, it is dedicated to everyone who feels bullied, feels different, feels alone, feels friendless, feels hopeless, and feels “outside the circle.” The words “don’t judge a book by its cover” spring to mind as apropos.

“Outside the Circle”

Outside the circle I can’t see the sun

Outside the circle I don’t know anyone

Outside the circle time is on the run

Outside the circle is not much fun

Inside the circle is a white–noise crowd

Inside the circle is fashionably loud

Inside the circle there are people with guns

Inside the circle is a lot of fun

About Kevin Hubschman:

Kevin Hubschman lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Trish, and their dog, Henry.

He is retired and currently working on a novel loosely based on his life. He would love to connect with people who could help transform some of the pieces found in this publication into polished songs.

Website and contact information.

AD: In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry
By Butterfly Thomas

The cover of "In My Feelings: A book of poetry" pictures a photo of a solitary tree. The tree is surrounded entirely by water and is reflected in the rippled surface. In the distance is a low, sloping line of blue hills. The sky is a pinkish amber near the horizon, fading to a navy blue, and is reflected in the water. The title is written in white text at the top of the image, while the author's name is in white text near the bottom.

C 2020 / 117 pages in print.

In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

Visit the author’s website for full details (cover, buying links, author bio, and more).

About the book:

Love and passion. Conflict and regret. Pride and defiance. Rage at equality denied. Deep compassion for friends and boundless love for one’s children. These are just a few of the subjects touched upon by these 49 brief, powerful poems.

Some will fill you with shared sorrow. Many of them express anger at racial injustice and the exploitation of the disabled. Still others delight the reader with their images of strength and beauty or their clever arrangement of words.

Never pretentious or deliberately opaque, all of them are sure to make you think.

About Butterfly Thomas:

Butterfly Thomas was born in Germany but was raised in Virginia, where she still lives.

She is the author of the novel Head Held High (2018), an urban thriller.

AD: Uneasy Tides
By Trish Hubschman

The photo shows a foreboding seascape, with a cloudy sky, rocky beach, and rushing tide. The colors are gray, blue-gray, black, white, and dark brown. The title letters, at the top, are in red. Below the main title, the subtitle letters are in white. The author’s name is at the bottom of the cover, also in white. To the lower left, superimposed on the seascape, is a red and black electric guitar. It symbolizes Danny Tide and his band, Tidalwave.

C 2021 / Number four in the Tracy Gayle mystery series

$3.99 in e-book / $8.50 in paperback / 149 pages in print

Cover image, synopsis, author bio, direct buying links, and information about Trish’s previous three books can be found here.

Synopsis:

Blair wants Danny to get her an interview with his first wife’s present husband, Robert Taylor. He’s the CEO of a major computer software company. Danny reluctantly says he’ll see what he can do. He and Tracy go to the Taylor residence for a Christmas party. Danny hasn’t seen his first wife, Deb, in over 30 years. She sucks up to him.

At the party, Deb is drunk and disappears with her husband’s business partner. Her son from her second marriage, Darren, isn’t present. Her daughter Lily is flirting with a young man. Becca, Deb’s daughter with her third husband, a musician, is sincerely excited about Danny’s presence.

Danny and Tracy feel out of sorts and by midnight are ready to leave, but they have to find Deb to say good night. It’s then that mayhem breaks out. Becca summons them down to the pool area. Her mother is passed out on the cement, bruises on her face and arms. Two men are pulling Robert Taylor’s body out of the pool.

Deb is the most likely suspect, but she insists she didn’t do it. Danny’s older brother, Derek, a prominent attorney, takes her case. If Deb didn’t kill her husband, who did? There were so many possible suspects at the party.

About Trish Hubschman:

Trish Hubschman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, author of the poetry and song collection Outside the Circle, and their dog, Henry. She holds a B.A. degree in English with a writing emphasis. For a longer bio and details about her previous Tracy Gayle books, please visit the website linked to above.

AD: Finally, a Calendar You Can See!
The company founder, a thin man with white hair, is wearing a white collared shirt with grey pinstripes and is smiling. He is holding a large spiral-bound calendar. The dates on the calendar are printed with large, black, bold text.

Finally, a Weekly Planner You Can See!

Did you know that there is a weekly planner style calendar designed specifically for those dealing with declining eyesight? Well, there is! If that sounds interesting, read on.

Since 2015, thousands of the EZ2See® weekly planners have been sold nationwide. People buy it for themselves or give it as a thoughtful gift. Users are often those experiencing such things as:

• Vision decline

• Memory challenges

• Unsteady hands

• Cognitive impairment

• A need to manage schedules for children or parents, or

• The need to record daily events

Customers say they love it because all the features they need are included. That happened because a legally blind senior created it for himself and then was urged to share his unique design with others.

Those features, most not found in any other such product, include:

• Printed on heavy weight 8.5” x 11″ paper

• Uses only high contrast, black ink

• Numbers and letters are more than ten times larger than newsprint

• Each uncluttered, daily cell is nearly the size of two, 3 x 5 cards

• Page edges have a thick black border to prevent “writing off the paper”

• Runs from December 2021 into January 2023

• Spiral bound so it folds in half and lays flat

• Bold lined pages at the end for your own notes, and

• It’s only as thick as a wooden pencil

Limited quantities of 2022 remain. For complete information or to order, visit: EZ2SeeProducts.com or place phone orders at: 800-234-8291. You will also find it at these retail locations and on Amazon.com and on Amazon.Ca.

Visit Edward on his Facebook page.

AD: Join Freedom to Be Me

A photo of Patty's left profile as she sits comfortably in a chair. She's illuminated by a lamp on the table beside her. Patty has dark hair and is wearing a white t-shirt.

Freedom to Be Me is a group where wonderfully happy and loving people talk about Books, Books, and More.

What’s the More?

  • All things books.
  • Blogs
  • Reviews
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Newsletters and Online Magazines
  • All things Tech
  • Spiritual (No preaching or pushing All Faiths Welcome)
  • And general BS.

In other words, if you keep it polite and decently clean, all are welcome. Freedom to Be Me Is a discussion group, and though it’s not terribly active, participation is wanted.

If you’d like to join us, you may Subscribe at: FreedomToBeMe+subscribe@groups.io

AD: Heidi Lambert McClure Sassafras Hill Studio

Oblong red and black earrings on a white lace tablecloth.

Are you looking for that special birthday or holiday gift? Need a specific kind of greeting card? Love the feel of homemade soap?

If you love handmade jewelry, candles, greeting cards, and more, this ad is for you.

Handmade jewelry by Heidi McClure Available for purchase on Etsy.

AD: John Crawford School of Music
John Crawford , a dark-haired man in a navy blue collared shirt, sitting at a piano.

Offering private music instruction both in-person and via video chat. Video chat is through Facebook Messenger, FaceTime (Inside the United States), and Zoom worldwide.

I offer instruction in the guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, dulcimer, ukulele, banjo, drums, and piano. Due to COVID-19 concerns, voice instruction is not currently being offered.

Prices: $15/30 min.
$30/hour

Contact: please send all inquiries to Blindsensei@gmail.com
Website

AD: A Quest Called Motherhood – War Wounds and Diva Tantrums
T C Creare
Illustrated by Mara Reitsma

A busy drawing with portions of the title appearing painted on a sign in front of a window, open on a computer screen, and propped up on a keyboard beside a cup of coffee.

“We all know that children can go from, Oh, that is so sweet, too, are you freaking kidding me? In five seconds flat…” I don’t know about you guys, but as a parent of three, there are moments that make me proud of the little army that I have created and others that make me want to pull out my hair, shaking my head as I try not to cry. Parenting is tough, and despite what some think, you can’t control everything. S#!? Happens, and chances are you’re not going to be prepared for it. Well, guess what? You’re NOT alone, and the stories inside will prove it. This book is for all those coffee-nuking, dinner-making, cupcake-baking, laundry-folding, yard-guarding, lunch-packing, fight-halting, show-finding, toy-fixing parents out there who really need a cape; and perhaps a glass of wine, or two!

BUY LINK

AD: BOOKS BY PRAANAV R LAL

AUTHOR AND BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER PRANAV LAL (PRAANAV R. LAL)

NONFICTION (SELF-HELP)

Outsmart Blog Hijackers
Keep away those pesky hackers!

A person stands in the shadows, illuminated only by the faint glow of neon lights. "Outsmart Blog Hijackers" is written in glowing letters across a black background.

Dear author, blogger, and website owner, did you know that 4 out of 5 sites today are set up such that they are ripe for theft?

Think about it, your carefully crafted copy is replaced by ads selling everything from sunglasses to Viagra.

Your users could be infected by malware when they visit your site and your hard-earned trust dissolved within hours.

The Care and Feeding of Digital Certificates build customer trust before they reach your homepage.

How to build trust with your customer even before your homepage loads!
How do you ensure your customer stays on your website and not run screaming from the homepage?
How do you establish instant legitimacy?
What happens if you lose the trust of your buyers?

FICTION…

The Telekinesis Trilogy
Two street children with special powers find a home and solve crimes

Telekinesis – book 1
Can two street children work together and find a home while saving a village?

Led Weight- book 2
Bright toys with a dose of Led

The Cult- book 3
George and Jane go up against a cult

Bakasura an audio comic
Has the demon of legend, Bakasura come to life? George and Jane must find out and rescue the villagers from him.

In case of Emergency
A stranger in her apartment leads Preeti to love, though not with him

Julia
A robot of the future goes up against a common Indian soldier.

Venture Capital
A failed entrepreneur moves towards redemption

Scrambled eggs
Ordinary Joe wins back his super cook wife by “trying once” and some fancy food presentation.

About Pranav Lal in his own words:

My name is Pranav Lal, better known in my writing world as Praanav R Lal

I write non-fiction and short stories which are hard to classify but tend towards fantasy and science fiction.
I do not give my characters any breathers and enjoy keeping the action sharp and continuous.
I use a visual prosthesis, thanks to which I am a photographer.
I enjoy technology, particularly cybersecurity which is what pays the bills.
I love interacting, so feel free to comment or say hello.

 

WEBSITE

AD: NEW RELEASE
ETTA’S FISHING GROUND
by Eva Pasco
Website

A beautiful young woman with long, curly, blonde hair rests her head on her hand. In and around her hair are leaves, twigs, and berries, making her seem wild. Above her head the text is in a burnt orange/red color that reads "Eva Pasco." Underneath that is "A Compelling Contemporary" typed in a pale yellow font. Underneath the woman's head the burnt orange/red text reads "Etta's Fishing Ground."

Just as a whirlwind courtship derailed Momma’s beat-poet dream of hightailing it to North Beach in the Fifties, a badass drifter veers Etta away from seeking haven in the artists’ hub of Greenwich Village during the Seventies.

Etta makes the best of circumstances staying put in the rural enclave of Foster, Rhode Island, sketching the likes of its historic landmarks and scenic overlooks on her fishing ground.

However, deviant twists of fate with deaths resulting, arise from wild speculations and unwarranted suspicions when things aren’t what they seem:

*Chance encounters predispose a besotted admirer to figure things all wrong.

*False impressions taunt Etta’s husband, Keith, with uncertainty until his dying day.

*Acting on a hunch, Etta’s best friend shows up at her door to peddle Keith’s infidelity, unbeknownst to either, in sync with his drowning while fishing.

Blaze a trail to the point of no return where love and friendship shift ground to withstand the vagaries of life.

About Eva Pasco:

Multi-award winning author, Eva Pasco, a lifelong native Rhode Islander, integrates local settings in her lit with grit. Weaving historic events, geographic landmarks, and regional culture into the fabric of her storytelling, she blurs the lines of demarcation between fact and fiction.

Tapping into significant issues impacting the lives of women, Eva’s novels emphasize character-driven plots propelled by flawed and feisty females over forty.

All of the author’s published works are available in eBook and paperback at Amazon.

 

AD: NEW RELEASE
One Goes to the Sea
By Joan Myles
Website

One Goes to the Sea's cover is textured charcoal-colored canvas. The title and author's name appear in golden yellow, lowercase letters.

What is it about poetry that so readily connects readers with their Spiritual selves? And is it possible to focus these expanded faculties of perception beyond the page–intentionally, inward?

One Goes to the Sea is a collection of the poet’s waking and sleeping flights of fancy, her dream journal sketched poetically and visually illustrated by her daughter.

You can order your copy on Amazon and Smashwords today!

Independently published with assistance from Two Pentacles Publishing Services, LLC.

About Joan Myles:

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. She considers her poems to be a kind of footpath for readers, an opening into that place of delight, an invitation to awaken childlike wonder for themselves.

Joan’s words also reveal the invisible link between one human being and another, between humans and Nature, between the physical realm and the Spiritual. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. Joan’s second collection, One Glittering Wing, represents this kind of journey, specifically through her year-long passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life.

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

AD: NEW RELEASE
Poems and Prayers
By Tasha Halpert
Website

The Poems and Prayers book cover features a tree's branches, full of leaves. The entire cover is tinted green, including the shapes of the hills in the background. The title and author's name are in white, rounded text.

Poems and Prayers by Tasha Halpert is a poignant tribute to her late son Robin Greenough Lorenz and his brief, yet meaningful, life. Written over the years since his passing, the book is evocative of his spirit and of the love they shared. Readers may feel echoes of their own experiences with the loss of life of a loved one, and may feel comforted by the shared feelings. Tasha Halpert’s poetry has been published in The Unicorn and other publications.

Poems and Prayers is available to purchase on Amazon today.

About Tasha Halpert:

Practical mystic, poet and writer Tasha Halpert lives in a small central Massachusetts town where she writes a weekly column for the local newspaper and a weekly inspirational Internet column. She is staff poet and storyteller for The Unicorn. Mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she and her husband Stephen, a writer and collage artist do what they can to make the world a happier, healthier place.

 

AD: Two Pentacles Publishing Services

The Two Pentacles Publishing logo: two encircled five pointed stars side-by-side, with their top most points angled towards each other playfully; the stars sit above the words "two pentacles" in lowercase type. The logo is white with a dark purple background.

Two Pentacles Publishing Services

At Two Pentacles, our goal is to create an experience that promotes inclusivity and creativity at a competitive rate.

We work with clients at all levels of experience and ability.

We also specialize in adaptive communication, descriptive visual services, and flexible content sharing. We happily accommodate screen readers, large text requirements, and Braille printing.

Contact us to let us know how we can best provide you with a customized experience!

By phone: 971-599-7495

By email: info@twopentacles.com

Visit our website for more information!

Listen to our interview with Patty L. Fletcher of Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing here.

AD: Victoria Zigler

A smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair and bangs wears a white t-shirt with a cartoon, red dragon and green background on it.

A blind Welsh vegan, Victoria Zigler writes poetry and stories for children and the young at heart, many of them containing animal characters based on her own pets, as well as a series of books based on her own adjustments after sight loss, which are specifically designed to give people a glimpse into what life is like for a visually impaired person. She makes her books available in a wide variety of formats, including eBook, paperback, and audio, from several different online retailers worldwide. Grab your copies of her books from your favorite retailer today, and remember to check out her website.

NEWS NUGGETS: Message Crafters a Division of Toast Masters International Now Seeking Members

Not long ago, due to my doing nothing more than liking, following, and sharing a page on Facebook, I was approached by Gina Lovick of the Message Crafters club. She invited me to a meeting, my curiosity was aroused, I attended and found a wonderful place to further my writing and speaking abilities.

Now, I’d like to pass on the good fortune to anyone who would but take a chance and join us for a meeting.

Here’s my friend and mentor Gina to tell you more.

Message Crafters is a niche Toastmasters club for individuals who want to engage in Storytelling Leadership.

Our Vision:

We believe big visions need big stories to match.
Storytelling is at the root of all transformation: personal, cultural, and corporate.
At a time when every facet of life has been redefined, as changemakers, we have the opportunity to define our future path.

Our Mission:

To help you build the future through the power of Storytelling!

Learn to communicate with flexibility, impact, and authenticity to connect with anyone. Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. We will help you craft the stories you want to tell.

Message Crafters Offers:

Online Interactive Training: 11 self-paced programs, available when and where you are ready. Whether you’re starting a career, moving up or leading your family, church, or community, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Self-Paced Program: Develop your storytelling craft at your own pace. Interactive materials are available online 24/7. When you are ready you will present your learning projects at our meetings.

Mentoring Guidance: Each protégé is paired with a seasoned storyteller. Mentors provide guidance throughout the process and work with you to craft your stories.

Practice & Feedback: Practice delivering your stories in our upbeat, supportive format and receive feedback designed to help you perfect the presentation of your message.

What We Do:

We are Toastmasters and a communication specialists team devoted to training changemakers to develop & deliver compelling messages.

Why We Do It:

Message Crafters believes that igniting the joint power of marketers, communicators, fundraisers, journalists, and executives leads to great results and better prospects for the future.

How We Do It:

We pair you with one of our Award-Winning storyteller mentors to guide you while you participate in the Toastmasters’ education program. Training is self-paced. In addition to the core competencies of your chosen curriculum, you will select elective projects to align and expand your storytelling expertise.

Who We Help:

Our protégés are message crafters of all types, especially current and aspiring marketers, communicators, fundraisers, corporate presenters, and job seekers.

Problems We Help You Solve:

Through storytelling your audience’s reluctance to invest in your vision or strategy will melt away as they come to understand the story of who you are, what you do, where you are going and why it matters.

In the face of societal uncertainty, we help you inspire and motivate your audience to take action, sell the future, to demystify and humanize what are often complex, technical business solutions, and increase perceived value.

Our Results:

You will know how to create powerful stories that:

  • Inspire action
  • Spur donations
  • Mobilize supporters
  • Increase sales
  • Unify purpose among team members

You can weave your organization’s consumer-facing narrative which will:

  • Elicit strong emotions
  • Transform your brand’s image
  • Drive consumer action

You will have the opportunity to create a compelling portfolio that:

  • Develops emotional connections with your audiences
  • Creates support for your message and cause
  • Enables you to change the future

Message Crafters is currently offering assistance thanks to the generosity of some of their alumni.

Scholarship Information:

Each Enrollment Application is Submitted for Scholarship Consideration.

Some of our Alumni have decided to pay forward their Message Crafters experience and sponsor new Message Crafters by providing them with fully paid memberships in Message Crafters through September 2022.

Terms and conditions apply. *

*Terms and Conditions:

  1. Sponsorships are limited to fees assessed for membership by Toastmasters International.
  2. Qualifying applicants must meet and agree to the following provisions:
    1. Qualification for membership in Toastmasters International.
    2. Submit a completed application for membership in Message Crafters.
    3. Sponsored applicants are responsible for payment of any Message Crafters dues as recorded with Toastmasters International.
    4. Any Message Crafters dues must accompany the initial membership application and again be paid prior to subsequent sponsored Toastmasters International membership renewal payments made in September 2021 and March 2022.
    5. Failure to meet, agree and execute these terms and conditions by a scholarship recipient will immediately relieve the corresponding sponsoring alumni from their commitment of support.
  3. The decision to sponsor a new Message Crafters member is solely made by the sponsoring alumni.
  4. To protect the privacy and security of sponsors, Message Crafters has agreed to keep alumni identities confidential.

Message Crafters is the only Toastmasters club which meets twice a week. Members aren’t required to attend both meetings. This schedule is provided as a matter of convenience for our members. You can attend one or the other or both meetings in a week. Your choice, your convenience.

Our Tuesday meetings are only 1 hour long, as they are designed to fit within someone’s lunch hour. Our Friday meetings are a bit longer: an hour and 15 minutes, up to an hour and 30 minutes. Infrequently we run an hour and 30 minutes depending on how much club business we might have to attend to after the conclusion of all the speaking.

Overall, more people attend on Fridays, but some are over-achievers and attend twice a week.

Please feel free to attend as it best fits your lifestyle and commitments.

Guests are welcome. If you’d like to attend, please let me know.

There are different links for Tuesdays and Fridays:

Every Tuesday 12-1pm EST (UTC-4)
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 548 613 041
Passcode: 976148

Every Friday 5:30-7pm EST (UTC-4)
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 270 409 149
Passcode: 292848

Author website

NEWS NUGGETS: A String of Stories from the Heart to the Future
By Ann Chiappetta

Hi Audible book subscribers and story lovers — Check out this new release, A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future © by Ann Chiappetta.
Author website

The book cover features a 6-pointed buck in a field of weeds and grass. His ears are alert, as is his gaze. The sun is shining on the right side of his body. The title of the book is centered on the top and the author's name is centered on the bottom.

Also available In e-book and print (182 pages) from Amazon and other online sellers.

About A String of Stories:

A demon deer and a ghost cat. Sibling rivalry and sexual awakening. Self-image and self-confidence. The chance for an off-worlder to breathe free at last on a new planet. Those are just some of the diverse themes of these notable stories. Once you step inside the author’s world, you cannot emerge unmoved.

News Nuggets: Author Marlene Mesot Audio Books Available

by Marlene Mesot

 

Author Website

The book cover features a snowball rolling down a steep hill covered in snow. The sky is a bright blue with a few fluffy white clouds hovering above the horizon. There is a gold, glowing cross in the top righthand corner. The title of the book is slanted, following the path of the snowball.

The Snowball Effect, 4 Elements of Mystery Book 2, now available in audio as well as print and ebook.

This is also expertly performed by Timothy G. Little, but with an added bonus. The Prologue for Book 3 Whirlwind of Fear, which is the sneak peak bonus material included in both print and audio versions, is performed by Deb Wittner appearing as Cassy.

The Purging Fire, 4 Elements of Mystery Book 1, Audiobook.

The Purging Fire, performed by Timothy G. Little is available in audio as well as print and ebook formats. Timothy expertly brings the story to life. He performed the character voices to perfection as voices are crucial to the story line. You can feel his caring in the narration. On a scale of one to five I give him ten stars!

The Purging Fire Brief Summary:

College student Melissa Sanders, who has vision and hearing loss, seems to be unavoidably present wherever danger threatens. She knows Alex has some dark secret he just won’t share.

As romantic interest sparks, college fire marshal Alex Marcus feels compelled to protect Missy from harm, until a violent misunderstanding breaks their marital engagement. Only then it becomes clear that Melissa has been the arsonist’s target.

Book Jacket Review:

“Love, mystery, suspense and romance all contained in one book! The Purging Fire is a true delight for the undercover detective in all of us!Wonderful work Marlene!” – Benita K. Brown author of Elevator 16 YA Christian romance.

The Snowball Effect Brief Summary:

Snowy slopes, chilling behavior and soothsaying encompass this horrorscope in the sequel to The Purging Fire.

Alex and Missy become victims themselves when they try to help their newly found friend sort out the pieces of her confused past. All become engulfed in an avalanche of fear as circumstances turn deadly in The Snowball Effect.

Book Jacket Review:

“An enjoyable story with unique circumstances. I like your dialogue. It flows easily. Can’t wait for the next book.” – Trish Hubschman, Author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series

I also have a separate novel titled The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets. This is also a Christian mystery romance.

The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets Brief Summary:

Catrin Lein is trying to begin a home business as an answering service owner. As time passes, Cat begins to realize that she is being stalked. Slowly, the past creeps into her present, sending a message of a bleak, and possibly short, future.

Book Jacket Review:

“The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets surprised me in more ways than one! The melodious flow underlined with a mysterious edge kept me completely enthralled. This page turner will captivate and enchant all who delve into its pages.” – Rachel Loepker author of Bleeding Ink: Finding Purpose YA fantasy

I also have a poetry chapbook out in print and ebook titled Edgy Poetry. This is a food for thought piece which I have cited as not for bedtime reading.

If you share my passion for mystery, I hope you will visit my website. Thanks so much for reading. I love hearing from readers, please email me at: Marl.Mesot@gmail.com

News Nuggets: New from Abbie Johnson Taylor
Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me
By Abbie Johnson Taylor
Copyright 2021
Independently published with the help of DLD Books

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“I hated walking with my mom and sister down that long, bright hallway in the nursing home where my grandma lived. The white tile floor and the ceiling covered with fluorescent lights reminded me of school. The only difference was that there were handrails on either side that old people could hold onto while they walked, so they wouldn’t fall.

The blare of television sets from just about every room we passed, laughter and chatter from the nurses’ station, and announcements over the PA system made me wonder why Dad called this place a rest home. The sharp aroma of disinfectant reminded me of the monthly trips I’d made to the dentist years before to have my braces adjusted. I nearly gagged as I remembered the goop they put in my mouth so they could take impressions of my teeth before the braces were put on.”

Get your copy here. Please feel free to email me at: abbietaylor945@gmail.com

News Nuggets: Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse

by Jo Elizabeth PintoThe front cover of Dancing with the Seasons by Jo Elizabeth Pinto. The cover features a photo of ash trees, viewed from base of the trunk, looking up at the boughs directly overhead. The leaves are almond shaped and hanging in odd numbered clusters. The leaves are all shades of yellow and obscure most of the clear blue sky.

The title and author name are in white text in the center of the image, with the title being twice as large and above the author name. The font emulates handwriting, and looks to be written in marker. The letters are almost entirely printed, though the writing flows so that each letter is connected to the next.

New! From author Jo Elizabeth Pinto, with publishing assistance by Two Pentacles Publishing Services, LLC.

The fifty-two short poems in “Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse” are easy to understand, yet rich with emotional and sensory details. Celebrate the vivid, ever-changing beauty of nature in rhythm and rhyme.

About Jo Elizabeth Pinto:

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. These days, she freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader.

As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging family cat named Sam-I-Am.

Author website

Tips…

Jo’s Kitchen

Now that we’ve enjoyed learning about all the goings on of our contributors and searching through the assortment of books, products, Services, announcements and events it’s time for some tasty tips.

This month, straight from Jo’s Kitchen comes a recipe you’ll be delighted to try.

Lemon Lark Salad

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

I’m not usually a big Jell-O fan, but this is one of my favorite springtime recipes. Strawberries are in season, bursting with juicy sweetness and fairly inexpensive at the grocery store, and they pair well with the tart lemonade flavor. I’ve also tried raspberries and blackberries with good success.

Served plain or garnished with whipped cream, this salad adds a festive touch to an Easter table or a church potluck. At first, I had a bit of trouble dealing with the gelatin mold. (If you don’t have one, by the way, a Bundt pan works nicely, or the salad may be made in a glass bowl with the berries mixed right in.) I found that making sure the gelatin was completely softened in the cold water, then boiling it for a full minute and stirring the entire time made all the difference.

Lemon Lark Salad

Ingredients:

1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 cup boiling water

1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 quart strawberries, chopped or sliced

Directions:

1. Soften the gelatin in the cold water, then add the boiling water and stir till the powder is completely dissolved. This will take at least a full minute.

2. Blend the cream cheese and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, then gradually add the milk and mix till smooth.

3. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Blend in the undiluted lemonade.

4. Pour the mixture into a 1-quart ring mold and refrigerate till set. This will take at least four hours, but overnight is best.

5. Unmold and fill the center with strawberries. Raspberries, blackberries, or mixed berries are also good. Tip: If you don’t have a ring mold, pour the gelatin mixture into a pretty bowl. Add the berries to the gelatin mixture when it has partially set so the berries won’t sink to the bottom. Chill for several hours or overnight. Enjoy!

About Jo Elizabeth Pinto:

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. She freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader.

As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging family cat named Sam-I-Am.

Author website

Polly’s Pantry

In a previous edition, my daughter Polly contributed a delicious cold slaw recipe. The feedback was so wonderful, I decided to take my granddaughter’s suggestion to heart and just like that, Polly’s Pantry was born.

My hope is that Polly as well as all the other fabulous cooks will contribute mouthwatering recipes for us to try.

In the meantime, I’m pleased and privileged to share the following offering with you.

Hello, sorry it’s been so long since I sent mom a recipe for you. To make up for the lengthy absence I’ve got two for you today. These recipes are fantastic for birthday parties. Trust me, with six kids I’m forever having those.

I hope you like it. If you do, please write Mom to let us know.

For now, here are these easy and delicious recipes guaranteed to liven up any celebration.

Velveeta cheese dip

Ingredients:

One pound ground beef

One half onion

One packet of taco seasoning

One can Rotelle

One sixteen-ounce block of Velveeta cheese

Chicken or Beef broth

OK, let’s get cooking!

Brown one pound of ground beef with a half of onion. Drain it. Add taco seasoning with water, simmer. Add to crock pot. Add a can of rotel, and 16-ounce block of Velveeta. Add a generous splash of beef or chicken broth. Cook on low to melt and then keep warm.

Cookie cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

one 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips.

OK, let’s bake!

Cream shortening and blend in 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, and one 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips. Then, mix until you’ve a smooth cookie dough.

Spray a 16-inch pizza pan, flatten out dough to one inch from the edge of the pan and make a tiny edge on the cookie, bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool, then ice it and enjoy.

About Patty L. Fletcher and Polly Hensley:

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren who live in Mississippi.

Patty lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

Polly Hensley works full-time as a stay-at-home mom.

To learn more visit Patty’s website.

To let us know what you think of these recipes please write: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

Oh, how yummy all those recipes sound. I must try them.

Before we move on to the rest of the magazine, I’d like to welcome author Victoria Zigler – Tori who has a neat recipe to share.

Welsh Cakes

By author Victoria (Tori) Zigler A stack of golden brown Welsh Cakes sits on a round white plate. The cakes are thinner than American biscuits, and appear smooth with a fried exterior. 
Beneath the plate, a textured red surface with punched holes in the shape of stars extends to form a backdrop for the dish. 
A vase of yellow flowers with long green stems is to the left of the plate.

Traditionally Welsh food is pretty simple. The most common traditional savoury dishes are lamb with mint sauce, Welsh rarebit (which is just fancy cheese on toast) and cawl (a kind of watery soup). But the first thing that springs to mind for me when I think of Welsh cuisine is a favourite snack of mine: Welsh cakes, which are pretty much fried sweet scones (biscuits to those of you not in the UK) usually with fruit in them.

These days you can buy Welsh cakes in most supermarkets and some smaller shops here in Wales, as well as some cafes and bakeries. Especially when St David’s Day (March 1st, and the national day in Wales that marks the date of death of the patron saint of Wales) is approaching. But some people do still make their own, either by choice or because of dietary restrictions or preferences. I’m one of those people.

As a general rule this would be done on the day, but some people do make them early, and with March 1st being a Tuesday this year, and Tuesday being one of my most busy days of the week, I decided to make my Welsh cakes the day before St David’s Day. Which is why I found myself standing in my kitchen on the last day of February, listening to the sounds of the rain that’s without a doubt the traditional weather of Wales, cheerfully singing Welsh children’s songs and nursery rhymes (those being the Welsh songs I know best) while making a batch of Welsh cakes.

Of course, being a vegan with dairy allergies, and knowing the only other person who might have any of my Welsh cakes was diabetic, I did make a few changes to the recipe. It called for an egg, which I just left out, I used dairy-free alternatives where dairy products were called for, and I skipped the extra step at the end of dusting the still warm Welsh cakes with some extra sugar (something a lot of people skip regardless). But I followed the recipe apart from those things, and if you’d like to make your own – which, by the way, you needn’t wait until next St. David’s Day to do, since there’s no reason not to enjoy Welsh cakes at other times too – here’s the original recipe, along with some variations, serving suggestions, and my recipe adaptations.

Welsh Cakes

Ingredients:

8 oz self-raising flour, sieved

4 oz salted butter (the recipe states to use Welsh butter, though any works)

1 egg

A handful of sultanas or raisins

Milk, if needed

3 oz caster sugar

Extra butter, for greasing

Extra caster sugar, for dusting

Method:

Rub the butter into the sieved flour to make breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, dried fruit and then the egg.

Mix to combine, and then form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed (only needed if the dough is too dry and crumbly).

Roll out the pastry until it is about 5mm/¼ins thick and cut into rounds with a fluted cutter.

You now need a bakestone or a heavy iron griddle (a frying pan works if it’s the closest you have).

Rub it with butter and wipe the excess away.

Put it on to a direct heat and wait until it heats up.

Place the Welsh cakes on the griddle, turning once.

They need about 2 – 3 minutes each side.

Each side needs to be caramel brown before turning, although some people like them almost burnt.

Remove from the pan and dust with caster sugar while still warm.

Variations: Some people leave out the dried fruit, and split them when cool and sandwich them together with jam. You can also use other dried fruits, such as dried blueberries.

Serving suggestion: serve warm with butter. Though cold and plain is nice too.

Recipe adaptations: simply leave out the egg and substitute the dairy products for dairy-free alternatives if making for a vegan. You can also skip the step of dusting them with the extra sugar if making them for a diabetic, or simply wanting to reduce your sugar intake.

About Victoria Zigler:

Victoria Zigler is a blind Welsh Pagan vegan poet and children’s author, who prefers being called Tori, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books. She has a vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; whether created by her or other authors. When Tori remembers to remain in the real world, it’s to spend time with her husband and petkids, or else to dabble in one of the various interests that randomly capture her attention. Learn more about Tori and her books via her website.

Health World…

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a mighty toll on me.

Once I realized the impact Social Distancing has had on my physical well being, I concluded that if I was having issues due to all the stillness caused by the lockdown happening round the world then most likely so were lots of others.

I knew then that I must try and help those reading The Writer’s Grapevine recover as much as I could, and so I began to look for articles which would be useful to us all.

The Smorgasbord Café Blog Magazine has been a great resource of health columns for me over the past few years. I reached out to its author Sally Cronin to see if she might consider becoming a regular contributor of Health World.

She wrote back to say that while she was flattered that I would consider her for my magazine, she just didn’t have the time to do it.

At first, I was disappointed, then inspiration struck.

I wrote her back and requested permission to use partial columns from her various series with read more links leading to the posts on her blog included and she wrote back with her blessing.

I strongly encourage you to make use of the read more link provided, visit her blog, and read the rest of each one.

My thanks to Sally for allowing her work to be used here.

Smorgasbord Health with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B12 combined with Vitamin E – Beef, Broccoli, Eggs, Bananas and Wholegrains

By Sally Cronin

March 30, 2022

Welcome to the rewind of this series from 2019 where we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet?

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin but unlike other water-soluble vitamins that are normally excreted in urine very quickly, B12 accumulates and gets stored in the liver (around 80%), kidney and body tissues.

B12 is vital for the efficient working of every cell in the body especially those with a rapid turnover as it prevents cell degeneration. It functions as a methyl donor and works with folic acid in the manufacture of DNA and red blood cells and also is necessary to maintain the health of the insulating sheath (myelin sheath) that surrounds all nerve cells. It is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for resetting our biological clock’s rhythm when we change to new time zones, and also helps us sleep.

To learn all you need to know to be as healthy as possible, please head on over to Sally’s website.

Patty back to say, between following some of the tips and recipes found in Sally’s health columns as well as becoming more active, I’ve lost nineteen pounds since August of 2021. Though I’ve a long way to go before I’ll truly be healthy again, I’m sure feeling a lot better already.

Are you finding Sally’s health columns helpful in some way? If so, please write to let us know.

 

Author’s Corner…

Welcome to this edition of the Author’s Corner. We’ve got some great offerings from various talented authors, so settle in with a snack and drink and prepare to be entertained.

First up in this month’s Author’s Corner is author Abbie Johnson Taylor with a deadly tale. Accidental or something more ominous?

Read and decide.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

“I love you so much,” said Anna, as she knelt over her father’s casket one rainy morning.

“Now you’re being dramatic,” said Ginger, glaring at her stepdaughter. “People might think you were having, well, um, a sinful relationship with your father.”

The teen-ager stood and looked around at the deserted tent where the graveside service had taken place and the closed coffin, waiting to be lowered into the ground. “Nobody’s here. Besides, what would you know about relationships? You killed Dad because he didn’t like your stupid cats.”

Ginger gasped. “I don’t believe this. I know you never liked me, but why would you make such an accusation?”

“Dad told you it was either him or the cats. You couldn’t have them both.”

“Now that was a dumb thing for him to say. Who would take care of him? He couldn’t walk after his stroke.”

“I could have taken care of him. He was all I had after Mom died.”

“You couldn’t have given him the care he needed, not with school, your other obligations, and, not to mention, your social life.”

“Dad could have gone to the adult day care program at the senior center while I was in school.”

“You’re not even an adult. What do you know about such things?”

“I looked it up on the Internet last year after Dad had the stroke,” said Anna, her voice breaking. She wiped an eye with her sleeve. “I didn’t think you were going to stick around. I should have known better. You married him for his money, and you were hoping he would take out a life insurance policy. That’s the only reason why you didn’t hit the road when you found out Dad couldn’t use his left arm or leg.”

“How did you know about that?”

“How could I not know what you two were fighting about? You were so loud I could hear you clear upstairs in my room. You thought I was doing my homework. Well, I was until I heard you and Dad start yelling. Then I had to know what was going on. I heard everything from the second floor landing, and you didn’t even know I was there. This was before Dad’s stroke. He should have picked you up and thrown you out the front door, then tossed your cats out after you.”

Ginger grasped Anna’s shoulders and turned the girl to face her. “I’m your guardian now. So, don’t you dare talk ill of me or my kitties.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s another fight I overheard. You wanted Dad to fix his will so you would get custody of me if something happened to him before I became an adult and that money in the trust fund he set up for me would go to you until I’m twenty-one. That’s the only reason you’re my guardian.”

“I swear to God, Anna, if you say one more word, I’ll smack you.”

“With what? That hammer you knocked yourself out with after you shot Dad.” Ginger released her hold on Anna and stepped back. “Don’t think I didn’t know about that, too. Who do you think emptied the litter box the next day?”

“Now you decide to help with housework.”

“The next afternoon when I came home from Lauren’s slumber party, the smell from that litter box in the kitchen was enough to make me gag. When I picked it up and emptied it into the wastebasket, the gun and hammer fell out along with the jewels you told the police the thief stole.”

“I was planning to empty the litter box in the dumpster.”

“I’ve watched enough of those cop shows to know not to touch evidence with my bare hands. I went in the bathroom and found the gloves you used to clean Dad up after he pooped. I put them on and picked up the gun, hammer, and jewels and put them in a plastic bag. When I walked into the living room, I wasn’t surprised not to see Dad in his recliner. I went to your room. Dad’s side of the bed was empty, and there you were, with all ten of those cats you got at the shelter after you married him. You opened your eyes and started crying and told me this sad story about a robber breaking into the house, knocking you out, and shooting Dad. I got you a cold compress for your head and told you I was meeting Lauren downtown.”

“I thought you were a typical teenager. Your father dies, and you go shopping.”

“I went straight to the police station. That detective who came to the house when you called didn’t know I existed. You told him you had a daughter who was going to school at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, and when he called up there to find her, he was told there was no such student there.”

Ginger sighed.

“He told me the whole story once he pieced it together. He was really nice and said he was sorry I lost my dad. He also said he didn’t think you were a flight risk since you were expecting to inherit Dad’s estate. So, he’ll wait to arrest you until after the funeral.”

“We don’t have to wait any longer,” said a voice behind Ginger. She turned to see the two officers who responded to the 911 call. Next to them stood two gentlemen in suits and ties.

One of them extended his hand. “Mrs. Lloyd, I’m Jake Jones with Teggler & Associates. I’m afraid I have more bad news. I’m sorry you weren’t home when I came by to see your husband after his stroke. His life insurance policy only covers accidental death.”

“But a burglar…”

“Now Mrs. Lloyd, we all know that’s not the case,” said one of the officers, placing a hand on Ginger’s shoulder.

The other man in a suit and tie took Ginger’s hand. “I met you a while back, Mrs. Lloyd. I’m Ken Sherman. I was your husband’s lawyer. Before Anna’s mother died, she and my wife were really good friends. We had an appointment this afternoon to go over your husband’s will, but it looks like you won’t be able to make that, so I’ll just tell you this. You weren’t home when everything was finalized after your husband’s stroke. So, here’s the deal. Everything your husband owned will go to Anna when she’s twenty-one. In the meantime, I’ve been named executor of your husband’s estate. The will also stipulates that in the event that anything should happen to him before Anna turns twenty-one, my wife and I will become her legal guardians.”

“No!” screamed Ginger, as she turned and tried to flee. But the two policemen grabbed her. As she was handcuffed and led away, Anna knelt by her father’s casket and let her tears flow while the lawyer who would now be her guardian tried to console her.

About Abbie Johnson Taylor:

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. Please visit her website.

 

Well, talk about a family murder gone awry. Sometimes it seems the villain really is found out.

Who knew Abbie wrote murder mysteries?

Speaking of mysteries with a twist, Trish Hubschman author of the Tracy Gayle Mystery series is up next.

In our What’s Up column, author Trish Hubschman shared a glimpse of her anniversary party. But how did she and Kevin tie that everlasting knot?

I’m delighted to say that Trish is back to share yet another loving memory with us. Let’s all settle down now, and look back at more days gone by.

Our Wedding – Memories of Thirty years past

By Trish Hubschman

February 2022

Kevin and I were married on March 21, 1992. I admit, I didn’t want a fancy wedding, too much stress and chaos involved. I just wanted to elope. But Mom and Kevin wanted us to have a nice wedding and beautiful memories to go with it. I’m glad they did. Thirty years later, we’re still married. I’m reminiscing with a smile on my face, with some sadness in my heart too.

We were supposed to have a rehearsal on March 17th. That was the only day the hall had available. It was St. Patrick’s Day and some people had other things to do, so I said to forget the rehearsal. I figured everyone knew how to walk down an aisle at a wedding. I was a bit wrong. Kevin’s brother, who was the Best Man, refused to walk closely, shouldered-to-shoulder with my Maid of Honor. I wasn’t aware of this until I saw the pictures and asked about it. Nobody else said anything, so I guess it went unnoticed.

It snowed two days before the wedding. I was freaking out. Kevin had family coming in from Florida. What if they couldn’t make it now? The guest list was already under one hundred. I yelled a lot at mom. I don’t know how she kept her cool, but she did. The weather on the day of the wedding was beautiful. The light blanket of snow on the ground was lovely. Looked pretty in the pictures, along with the For Sale sign on the lawn across the street from Mom’s house.

We were getting married at the catering hall. I didn’t see any reason to hire a bridal limo, but once I had that fairy princess gown on, I had no idea how I would get into the backseat of Mom’s car. Luckily, Mom had the ingenuity to hire an airport limo for me and the three bridesmaids to get to the hall.

We were all there. The guests were coming in. The only one missing was the Justice of the Peace that the hall had recommended. He was an hour and a half late. Since he had been provided by the hall, they didn’t dock us any time.

I sat alone in the bridal suite waiting for the Justice to arrive. My bridesmaids and parents had gone off into the hall’s lobby to meet the guests. I was becoming oared, restless, and annoyed that no one was coming in to tell me what was going on. Finally, I rose and wandered out of the suite, into the lobby to see for myself what was going on. Wow, what a big crowd! They were all here to see us get married. Nobody seemed to notice that I was amongst them. It made it easier for me, then someone did see me and said I shouldn’t be out there. Mom took my arm and led me back to the suite and told me to stay put. She left me.

It wasn’t much later that the girls and my folks returned, and we were finally ready to begin. “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters started playing and the girls and groomsmen walked down the aisle. The bridal march began. Mom was on one side of me, Dad on the other. Unexpectedly, my knees buckled. Dad grabbed my arm and said, “not now!” I looked at him. Did he think I was doing this on purpose?

The ceremony went fine. After, the guests went into the cocktail room for what I called the good stuff. The wedding party, my folks and others remained in the lobby for the photographs. We were hustled back into the bridal suite as the guests came back down the hall and the main part of the reception was about to begin.

I was nervous about going under the raised arms of the bridal party. But we did it. I was nervous about slow dancing with Kevin and my father. But I did it. Dad sang “Daddy’s Little Girl” to me, and I cried. He had a beautiful voice. Everyone was up dancing, including me. I was nervous about Kevin taking the garter off my leg. I wear plastic knee-high braces. Everyone knows I wear them, but I was still nervous. Kevin took the garter off so well. My dress never got hiked up. He threw the garter to the song, “It’s Raining Men” by Weather Girls. Then it came my turn to throw the bouquet. I was nervous about that. But somebody stood next to me and helped me. Apparently, I threw the bouquet so high and far, it landed up by the dais table and my Maid of Honor’s fiancé caught it.

Then came the cake. I daintily put a piece in Kevin’s mouth. He in turn smooshed a big slab on my face. I was furious. Everybody laughed.

Before I knew it, the people who worked at the hall were throwing things around in the room trying to prepare for the next wedding, which they were already behind schedule on. I’m sure all brides say this, but our wedding was one of the best and most memorable anyone had been to. It was talked about for months afterwards.

Thirty years have passed. Some of the people who had been at our wedding are gone from us forever: aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandmother, Kevin’s father, my father. Having those wonderful memories of a happy day are even more precious. And we wouldn’t have them if it wasn’t for Kevin and my mom, who wanted us to have the full show wedding. Thanks Mom and Kevin.

I’d love to hear about your memories of that special day. My email address is: plutzhub@gmail.com

Well, now I must say, I loved it when Trish snuck bravely out into the multitudes to have a peep at what was going on. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, since the main character in her books is a detective.

Trish, your memories of such grand and loving times warm my heart. Please do make sure to send us more when you’ve a chance.

In the meantime, though we’re well into the month of April love continues flowing through the breeze.

Does everyone have spring fever? Here’s author and artist Lynda McKinney Lambert with another romantic memory to share.

“Spring Snowstorm”

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

A typical spring day in western Pennsylvania might bring high wind gusts, pelting rain, or snow. However, days of low light are ordinary to people here.

This morning I watched the week-long weather report. A storm front is moving from the south towards the northern states.

In a flash, I remembered what it was like on Friday, April 14, 1961, when Bob and I got married.

Bob was twenty and I was seventeen when we eloped to Indiana.

Our best friends, Bill and Mildred, drove us in their flashy red 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty-Special.  They had eloped to Indiana just two years before, and they knew exactly what we needed to do.

The weather that weekend was nothing like you might imagine for mid-April. We drove on icy roads through blizzards, white-outs, and snow-squalls most of the way from our home in western Pennsylvania, across Ohio, and into Indiana.

First, we drove to Angola, Indiana, where we had to get a blood test. All went perfectly.

After the blood test was completed, we jumped back into the car and flew down the highway. Our next destination was Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the courthouse is located. This is where we would get the marriage license.

We were required to appear before a judge to get the marriage certificate. We had a problem because I was underage. At seventeen, I was not old enough to marry without parental consent. The judge would have to waive that requirement before we could get the certificate.

We realized we were running late as the four of us arrived at the courthouse shortly before closing time. I started to have a melt-down and was sobbing as Bob reached out, grabbed my wrist, and pulled me up those steep steps into the courthouse. I felt like we would not make it on time, and there would be no marriage after the long trip. I had done a lot of planning (lying) to be absent from my home for the 3-day adventure. Now, I felt like it was all falling apart. Besides, I was frightened about what would happen when I returned home and faced my parents.

I guess good fortune was with us, for we did make it in time to be brought into the courtroom and stand before a judge. He asked a few questions. By this time, I was not crying, but my face must have been swollen because the judge asked me if this was something I wanted to do or if this was something someone else was making me do. I assured him that getting married was my choice. He must have believed me, for he signed our paperwork and wished us good luck.

Now, we had just one final place to go, Auburn, Indiana.

It was a good thing we were traveling in that slick Cadillac, for it zoomed over the snow-covered highways like an airplane.

At one point, when Mildred was at the wheel, she gasped and wailed, “Oh, no! Bill, there’s a cop behind me!” She sounded hysterical at the sight of the police car that appeared in her rear-view mirror.

Bill said, “Take your foot off the gas, Mildred. Just tap it a couple of short little pumps.”

“That cop knows I am speeding, Bill. We are going to get a speeding ticket!”

Bill responded, “Mildred, just tap the brake very lightly, just a tap or two but, don’t hit the brakes. He won’t stop us.”

Suddenly, it felt like we were in a nightmare and spiraling down the treacherous highway with a cop in hot pursuit.

It worked! Mildred was a frazzle. We were all breathless, but we made it to Auburn without further incidents.

Because Mildred and Bill got married in the First Presbyterian Church in Auburn, that is where we would go. Bill and Mildred had the address and the contact information.

First, we got two motel rooms.

Next, we made a phone call to the church. Rev. Miles Freeman was away but would be back that evening. He would see us at 11 pm that night in the church chapel.

Before he married us, he asked some questions.

“Are you pregnant?” he asked.

“No,” I quickly responded

“Do you love him?” he asked.

“Yes.” I said.

I was married in a fashionable ivory tweed “walking suit,” which was the trend. My high heel shoes were ivory leather. In addition, I had a lavender feather hat that wrapped around my dark auburn hair.

After the wedding ceremony that night, Rev. Freeman asked us to send him a letter in one year to let him know how we were doing. We agreed. He told us he asks each couple that he marries to send him that letter at the end of the first year. He looked at me and said, “You are cute as a button!”

On our first anniversary, I wrote Rev. Freeman the letter he asked for.

I can only remember the final line of my letter.

“We are as happy as two reasonable people can be.”

Well, I copied that from a book I was reading at the time. After all, I was only eighteen years old when I wrote that letter.

We will observe our sixty-first wedding anniversary on April 14.

I often think of marriage as something that requires motivation. However, after some rocky early years of marriage, I realized that one has to be motivated every day. Marriage is an intentional thing, like a job.

Zig Ziglar expressed this concept just right.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar.

Note: Learn more about this Cadillac Sixty-Special luxury car that set a world standard in 1959 here.

Published: The Evergreen Journal, March 11, 2022.

©2022. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Contact me at: riverroad@zoominternet.net

About Lynda McKinney Lambert:

Lynda, a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, Geneva College in Pennsylvania, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda lives with her 2 dogs and 6 cats. Lynda’s love of nature, fine art, and history provide her dominant themes.

WOW! That’s truly a cool story.

Thanks, Lynda for sharing your thrilling romantic beginning with us.

Before we slip from the Author’s Corner into the reading room, where our contributors’ talents are sure to continue shining beautiful and bright, I’d like to invite you to read this delightful story of beauty and love by Marlene Mesot.

Colorful Journey Covered in Love

By Marlene Mesot

03/18/2022

I had just driven through a horrific torrential rainstorm and was cresting a winding hill when I saw a breathtaking sight. A brilliant rainbow was coloring the roof of the covered bridge at the foot of the hill. Awestruck, I began to back the car into the field by the roadside.

“What are you doing?” My wife’s voice held alarm as the bumping of the car over the uneven ground had awakened her.

I replied calmly. “You have to see this, honey.”

I maneuvered the car so the passenger side was parallel with the road. Then I got out, went around to the passenger side, got her collapsible wheelchair from behind her seat, set it up and began to reach for her to help her out.

Arms around each other, I walked her to the chair which was waiting on the blacktop. Once she was belted in, I returned the few steps to the car through the sopping wet grass to retrieve her writing pad and my camera. These I gave to her so I could maneuver her chair.

She breathed an oh of excitement as I turned her chair and went to the edge of the hilltop.

We could see the rushing river below, the foliage, although beautiful, paled in comparison to the pastel shades of rainbow colors painting the roof of the covered bridge before us. Even the slats of the bridge floor showed faint traces of the amazing color array.

I snapped pictures while she wrote furiously, taking notes. The glistening water droplets blending like jewels with the amazing color scheme seemed to sharpen the unique vividness of the experience.

Abruptly, she put down her pen to wipe her eyes.

I lowered my camera to hang by its strap and placed tremulous hands on her shoulders.

She turned her head and we shared a look. No words were needed to express the intimacy and peace we felt at witnessing such unspeakable beauty. Even the air remained still, even though the musty scent of rain abounded.

She nodded and turned back to her writing pad.

I wiped water droplets from the lens of my camera and raised it to take more pictures of our surroundings. Drops of rain were still falling intermittently from the sky as if it had not quite gotten it all out of its system yet. Puddles of water were evident everywhere as if glittering diamonds had been thrown at random into the area. Once she had closed the cover of her tablet, we prepared to go back to the car to complete the journey home.

We stared in wonder as I drove onto the beginning of the bridge, to still see the rainbow tinting the top of the covered bridge structure as we slowly approached. Remnants of raindrops glistened like jewels to add to the unusual scene. My wife and I were speechless with awe.

“Stop a minute.” Beth urged.

I braked and glanced over. She was writing again.

“How long will it stay?” She asked.

“I don’t know. I am surprised it hasn’t fully faded yet. This is amazing.”

“Tim, it’s like being in a magic world.”

I smiled at her and nodded.

After watching silently for a few seconds, I finally remarked, “God is full of surprises.”

Beth looked up at me with a radiant smile on her face.

“I love you, Tim.”

“And I love you, Beth.”

We both glanced out the windshield where water trickled down as the rainbow disappeared and rain picked up again. Then we kissed.

As we drew apart and I reached for my seatbelt, Beth remarked.

“I hope this means there will be another one.”

About Marlene Mesot:

Marlene Mesot, an only child, grandchild and niece from Manchester New Hampshire, and deceased husband Albert, have two sons, two grandchildren and English Mastiff dogs. She is legally blind and moderately deaf due to nerve damage at premature birth. She has loved writing since early childhood.

Marlene holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Keene State in Keene, New Hampshire and a Master’s in Library and Information Studies from U-NC Greensboro, North Carolina.

Author website

I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed the tales our authors had to share.

If you did as well, please, pretty please write and let us know.

Truly, your feedback is quite important so do let us hear from you.

Reading with the Authors…

Welcome to the TTW Reading Room. Where we will be ‘Reading with the Authors’.

I’d like to invite you to come and join us on our garden terrace where flowers are in full bloom wafting their sweet scents into the air, bouquets on every table along with the most tantalizing appetizers imaginable and the finest wines.

Where some of the best authors are gathered waiting to share their book reviews with you.

First up, we’ve Jo Elizabeth Pinto with an outstanding book review.

Review of “The Birchbark House”

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Publisher’s Summary:

Set in the Lake Superior region in the mid-1800s, The Birchbark House is a vital novel providing fascinating details of a year in the life of young Omakayas, a girl of the Ojibwa.

With exquisite care, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Louise Erdrich has fashioned a story rich in the way of life and heritage of the Ojibwa people, a story that begs to be told out loud. As each season in a year of Omakayas’ life is lovingly portrayed, the satisfying rhythm of her days is shattered when a stranger visits the lodge one night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever.

Pick up a copy for yourself.

My review…

I’ve read many books about the collision between the white and Native American cultures during the settlement of the United States. Some of the books were geared toward adults, and others, such as “The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, were written for young people. “The Birchbark House” stands out to me for its honest portrayal of Native Americans as real human beings with both noble traits and character flaws, with lives that were very difficult as well as beautiful before the white men appeared. Many other books tend to portray Native Americans as either victims or heroes with idyllic existences ruined by white invaders. While their lives were undeniably changed, and mostly for the worse, it’s fair to assert, as “The Birchbark house” does, that issues such as severe hunger, illness, and depression had been part of the Native American experience before the first white traders entered their world.

In “The Birchbark House,” Omakayas, or Little Frog, tells about a year in her life on a small island in Lake Superior around 1850. In the summer, Omakayas and her family live in a cozy birchbark house by the lake. They gather with the rest of the Ojibwa tribe to feast and dance while harvesting wild rice in the fall and collecting sap in the spring to turn it into maple sugar. And in the winter, they all hunker down in their cedar log cabins and prepare to face the bitter snow.

The book would be interesting enough if it were just a tale of life on an island long ago. There are adventures with bear cubs and wild berries, cornfields and pet crows. But there’s also much more that makes the story relatable to our world today. Omakayas has to sort out the conflicting envy and admiration she feels toward her beautiful older sister, Angeline. She must get past the serious annoyance she has for her younger brother, Little Pinch, who is pushy, noisy, and rude. She starts learning about her gifts as a healer, and when her family suffers a terrible loss because of a disease brought by a mysterious white stranger, she is forced to figure out how to mend her own broken heart and rekindle her will to live. In so doing, she discovers a secret about her past that causes her to examine the true meaning of family.

“The Birchbark House” is the first book in a series of four. It’s available on Kindle and as an Audible edition. The second book, “The Game of Silence,” can also be found on Kindle and Audible, and it’s already on my wish list.

About Jo Elizabeth Pinto:

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. She freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader.

As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging family cat named Sam-I-Am.

Author website

Thanks Jo, it seems that in the midst of cooking, writing and dealing with a teenage daughter, you’re reading some interesting books.

Next up, we’ve author Abbie Johnson Taylor who does seem to have murder on the mind. She’s back with a wonderful review of a book by one of her friends and fellow authors. Let’s settle in to see what she’s to share.

A Tidalwave of Murder

By Abbie Johnson Taylor

Tidalwave: A Tracy Gayle Mystery by Trish Hubschman

What Smashwords Says:

Tidalwave’s tour bus bursts into flames while the band is relaxing on the beach. The band’s leader, Danny Tide, hires private detective Tracy Gayle to do some discreet investigation into the matter. She’s joining the band on tour as security chief. The arsonist is discovered, but much deeper, more dangerous things come to light as well: an assault, an attempted murder, and then two murders. Tracy is faced with far more than she bargained for. Her stint with the band goes further than just that summer tour. She is fully determined to protect America’s favorite rock and roll heartthrob, and they become the best of friends along the way.

Buy from Smashwords.

My Thoughts

I met Trish Hubschman several years ago when she joined Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers to which I belong. Her favorite rock band is Styx, and her passion for this type of music comes out in Tracy Gayle’s determination to protect Danny Tide. Trish’s realistic dialogue and surprising plot twists kept me engaged.

This is a good book to read while preparing for a colonoscopy or anticipating anything else unpleasant. From the first page, Trish transported me into the world of the rock band, Tidalwave. Having wanted to be a famous singer in my younger years, I found this story fascinating. However, I realized that my anal adventures were more preferable to being a famous rock star in danger and wondering who in the world would want me dead.

About Abbie Johnson Taylor:

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. Please visit her website.

Before I share what I’ve been reading with you, I’d like to draw your attention to a type of book review one doesn’t see much anymore.

Author and artist Lynda is here to share an essay review which I found delightfully entertaining and educational all at once.

Painting is an Act of Belief

By Lynda McKinney Lambert, BFA, MA, MFA

Les Fauves, by Barbara Crooker, is a series of sixty-two poems divided into four sections. A series of paintings created from 1899 to 1937 inspire the poems in this book. The lyrics show a more comprehensive history than the official period for The Fauves movement (1888 to 1906).

Crooker presents a literary exploration into the roots of modern art with selected key paintings by members of a small group of French artists known as Les Fauves. The meaning of this name is “The Wild Beasts”. The most notable artists are Henri Matisse, whose paintings appear in Section 1. Sections 2 and 3 are not based on specifically named artists. Finally, in Section 4, she presents poems inspired by Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard, Seurat, Raoul Dufy, and Georges Braque. In the fourth section, she finds themes in several artists and artworks from the earliest years of the Impressionists, and she moves forward into the post-Impressionists. The Fauve period is sandwiched in-between those two.

From the first poems in section 1, readers enter into the world of postmodernism. Writing in English and French, Barbara tells the stories and histories of two worlds, including their contemporary society and the earlier world views of the artists and their paintings. Two languages, two distinctly different periods. Barbara Crooker defines a post-modernist worldview while glancing through the lens of the ModernistsLes Fauves. The book is a collection of exquisite contemporary poems inspired by paintings and drawings. In a sense, Barbara Crooker creates new poetry out of the techniques used in the pictures created over a century ago. Crooker takes readers on an intriguing journey from the very first poem in Les Fauves.

By choosing the period that she used for her artists and paintings, she sets the historical context preceding the new art movement and focuses on works by artists that followed The Fauves. Crooker combined imagery from the past with her contemporary thoughts and musings to create pictures of constellated time.

CORE BELIEFS

The main aspects of the Fauve artists are

  • Primacy of color
  • A solid desire to define Modernism

Crooker chose the particular period as a critique of Modernism by using post-Modernist language and thought. Keep these goals in mind while reading the book.

Part I: 15 poems

Each painting described in the verses in this section dates between 1905 through 1937, near the end of the Fauve’s prominence.

All artworks discussed in these poems in Section 1 are by Henri Matisse, the most prominent leader of Les Fauves.

In the opening poem, Landscape at Collioure (1905), readers meet Henri Matisse. In the poem he describes the experience of being outside, with a focus on the Earth and the sky. This poem immediately gives us the primary philosophical requirement for a Fauve painting – the celebration of bold, even shocking, color. Notice the active verbs.

Color must be a physical act, created in new ways. The pigment shows the artist’s feelings and emotions about the people and the places he paints. Grass can be purple and blue – it is not necessarily green. A person’s face can be a variety of unexpected and stunning hues. Color selections reflect the desires of the artist. Color and texture make thick layers. Color is a building block, and it is like looking at buildings built from the bottom up. The paintings invite viewers to touch them to experience the artist’s energy at work.

Readers are given a window to peer through into the painted world of Matisse, where we find one of the most prominent themes of the Fauve movement – voyeurism and looking. We view this world through the eyes of the poet as she is seeing the Matisse landscape. Soon, we realize we are privy to the poet’s thoughts, and we enter into her contemporary world at the same time as she describes the scene. Listen for the description of the senses and the colors:

“Landscape at Collioure, 1905”

This hillside is the shade of grape soda,

lawn an ooze of electric jaundice,

and the sky is a violet slither. The red,

blue, and green trees are dancing, supple and sinuous, and the leaves are singing, a riot

of light. He squeezed out red-orange-like plastic explosives. Painting is an act of belief.

Notice that Inside and Outside merge –

Crooker focused on the entire landscape first.

That was followed by noticing the lawn;

Finally, details of the sky, trees, leaves. The focus moves from the wide-angle view of the world to the macro view of minor parts. Nothing is too short of describing.

In the final line, the poet speaks the words of Matisse to describe the act of painting, which is

“An act of belief.”

“Figs”, is the final poem of Section 1. It describes Crooker’s feelings about the past artists and writers she encounters in this book. She uses the poetic I to speak as she describes an encounter with

“a young woman I had met the night

before…”

The woman offers her “a ripe fig”. They split the fig and share it. It has beauty and tastes good.

The physical aspects of the fig are described in Fauvist textures and colors:

“Dark violet chocolate

with a greenish flesh, blood-red pulp…”

The “ripe fig” becomes a metaphor for the history of thought, language, and artistic progress. Those who are creators in arts and literature possess these qualities. Crooker opened this poem with a quote by the Prophet Mohammed because he believed the fig to be worthy of being in Paradise.

Language and grammar, combined with history, are post-modernist techniques. Section I introduces the complexity of this period in art and literature.

“The seeds embroidered our teeth.”

This line contrasts two art and literary movements – modernist and post-modernist.

“Figs”

“If I should wish a fruit brought to Paradise, it would certainly be the fig.” – The Prophet Mohammed

I was staying in a village in southwest France,

trudging up the steep hill to the boulangerie

for my daily baguette. On the way back, I saw.

A young woman I had met the night

before. In her hands, a ripe fig, which

we split. Dark violet chocolate

With a greenish flesh, blood-red pulp,

it opened with a thumbprint’s thrust.

The seeds embroidered our teeth.

I barely knew enough words to thank her,

my mumbled tongue, clenched teeth, dumb

as the stones under our feet. I crunched the grit,

my mouth filled with fruit and new syllables.

Even the fog, lifting from the river, which had

no language of its own, began to speak.

In Sections 2 and 3, Crooker provides no dates or individual artists. Instead, she opens up the world of poetry with ideas sprinkled throughout the entire book.

Some examples from sections 2 and 3 are:

“Listen” (inspired by Psalms 51 (p. 25)

“This American Life” is focused on 1950s music, clothing, foods, dance, and war. (p. 28)

“Grammar Lesson” (p.32)

“The Beauty Trap” (p. 46)

Drawing is the root of everything.” – Vincent van Gogh

Section 4 is the final part of the book.

The poet selected paintings that date from 1888 to 1932.

This section is where readers encounter a variety of artists and pictures. In the artworks of this section, additional members of “The Fauves” offer a contrast with the prior art.

“The Fauves” feels like an art history discussion in the form of poetry. By palimpsestic layering ideas in language and imagery construction, Barbara Crooker created meaning.

Vincent Van Gogh inspires two poems:

“Ink” (p.59)

“Dreaming on Paper” (p.60)

These two poems give readers a feel of the motion of van Gogh’s hands and the weight of the tools in his hands as he worked at his craft. Some examples of this sense of heft and touch are clear.

“cross-hatched the paperwork fields

of Arles…trees in winter…”

She speaks in the poem of the

“bones of the paintings – the things that came before

Paper and Ink, cheaper than canvas and paint.”

Could “The Fauves” have broken new ground in painting if they did not see the work of Vincent van Gogh? His oozing and vivid color applied in a frenzy of passion? It was he who

“came before.”

Crooker also stands in a place provided by the artists who came before her.

In this collection of contemporary poems: “Drawing is the root of everything.”

Les Fauves, by Barbara Crooker, is available on Amazon. Visit her Authors Page on Amazon.

Note:

Book Title: Les Fauves
Author: Barbara Crooker
Publisher: C&R Press
Publication Date: 2017

(Note this is an academic book review and follows scholastic protocol)

This essay will be published in the fall/winter issue of Magnets & Ladders, 2022.

About Lynda McKinney Lambert:

Lynda, a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, Geneva College in Pennsylvania, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda lives with her 2 dogs and 6 cats. Lynda’s love of nature, fine art, and history provide her dominant themes.

Author website

I’m truly glad to see authors are reading. It is necessary if one is to write in a vivid lifelike manner.

I too have been reading and here is a book I’ll happily place in my best reads of 2022 list.

The Becoming

The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 2

By: Nora Roberts

Reviewed by author Patty L. Fletcher

Publisher’s Summary:

A new epic of love and war among gods and humans, from the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Awakening.

The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two – including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm – a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no Wi-Fi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here, she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people – and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.

But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh – and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Press

©2021 Nora Roberts (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Fantasy

Paranormal

Having read the first in this series, to say I was thrilled to find this second on sale not long ago would be an enormous understatement. After I bought it, it was all I could do to wait until the weekend to begin reading.

When finally, Friday evening came and all my obligations were tended, I settled into bed with my Big Blue Dog, pressed play and was immediately drawn back into the story.

The way the author took the time at the beginning of the book to gently remind us of all which had taken place before was wonderfully done and though I do not recommend you read these out of order, I can say if someone accidentally begins here, it won’t be the end of the world.

Since I’m a stickler for reading series in order this is a big deal for me to state.

From the first page to last, I begrudged most anything which took me away. The descriptions of training for battle, mixed with the heat of attraction between instructor and Warrior student was quite well-done.

The growth of all characters from the first to second book had me wanting to invite them all for dinner or better yet I could envision myself traveling through the portal in the welcoming tree to theirs.

Hmmm? What’s a welcoming tree? You ask. Oh, I dare not try and explain, best you read and find out for yourself.

Warning!

You’re sure to read late into the night and well into the morning sunrise before your eyes betray you and slide shut, your body demanding sleep and your dreams have you soaring overhead by the wing of a dragon whilst your arms wrap tightly round the one you’re terrified to love.

Friendships and family ties may be tested, lovers betrayed but as in all things the battle between good and evil reigns.

Pick up your copy today.

About Patty L. Fletcher:

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

To learn more visit Patty’s website.

Poetry Place…

Welcome to the Poetry Place, where poets of all kinds come to shine.

This month is National Poetry Month, and we’ve poems of every description. Some teach, some send spring and…

Well, don’t take my word for it, let’s just dive in and enjoy the beauty.

Here’s author and artist Lynda McKinney Lambert with a crafty poem to share.

Learning to Knit

By Lynda McKinney Lambert, BFA, MA, MFA A cozy looking knitted sweater drapes around a dress form. The sweater is crimson with patterned edges and shaggy tufts of yarn along the sides. 
The dress form is a human-shaped torso atop a wooden stand which wears the red sweater layered over a black camisole shirt.

How to knit?

Step One – Go shopping

buy richly textured yarn

red boucle is just right.

Create a fabric you love to touch

silky soft, nice-to-the-touch

for fashionable on- trend designs.

Step Two – get needles.

Lots of choices.

Do you like them

thick or thin?

Do you want plastic,

metal, bone or wood?

You might like them circular or straight?

It’s your choice

Do you have a good sense of balance?

You’ll be knitting with both hands,

with two or four needles

and a ball of yarn.

Your cat might

help you with enthusiasm.

Stay focused.

Keep your attention

on your hands.

Candy Apple red boucle’

tangles quickly.

If you get distracted

by your cat’s claws

stuck in your yarn.

keep your mind

on the project for best results

Don’t give up!

Step Three – an important lesson.

You’ll visit the frog pond often –

rip it, rip it, rip, rip

slice it, split or tear it

slit, tear or break it.

Oh, my!

©Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2022.

Published: Magnets & Ladders, Spring/Summer Edition, 2022.

About Lynda McKinney Lambert:

Lynda, a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, Geneva College in Pennsylvania, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda lives with her 2 dogs and 6 cats. Lynda’s love of nature, fine art, and history provide her dominant themes.

Author website

As Lynda’s needles click and stitch yarn into beauty, so do the words of poet Joan Myles bring forth buds of wonder, and loveliness.

Spring

By Joan Myles

she abides in singing

confides in daybreak dreams

mingles what she brings

of Soul with solar-beams

in times of rain

rain falling down

In pooling puddles on the ground

this angel child with naked toes

ponders where each raindrop goes

with hand extended

upturned face receives

one answer only

grace.

About Joan Myles:

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. She considers her poems to be a kind of footpath for readers, an opening into Wonder and Awe as a means to reclaim their own sense of spiritual playfulness.

Joan’s words also reveal the invisible link between one human being and another, between humans and Nature, between the physical realm and the Spiritual. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. The poems in One Glittering Wing represents this kind of journey, specifically through Joan’s yearlong passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life.

And of course, One Goes to the Sea is her way of asking, “What can we learn from imagination as we dream our days and nights away? And can these lessons help awaken us to Love?”

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

Find her work and contact her at her website.

While Joan continues calling down the beauty of spring, I’d like to ask you to see, smell, and hear the Bluebells bloom and ring.

The Bluebell Song

By Patty L. Fletcher

April 2, 2022

Listen to the spring birds sing.

Listen to my Big Blue Dog’s bell ring.

Though he’s not a Bluebell blooming in spring, he can make you dance and sing.

If Bluebells grew here, he would bounce through them with great cheer.

Then, I’d have to make him dance away, for eating them would put him in a bad way.

Though I’m a day late, with this prompt, which is great, I hope you’ve enjoyed my silly poetic song and that it’s not too long.

When reading the post referenced below, I was inspired to write the above poem.

To find out more about this prompt and how you can get in on the fun, visit this website.

Thanks for reading. May Harmony find You and Blessid Be.

About Patty L. Fletcher:

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

To learn more visit Patty’s website.

Marlene Mesot is back and she’s definitely got weather on the brain today. When reading this poem I felt I could tap my toes in time to the rhythm with which it flowed. So sit back, sip some wine and ready yourself to enjoy.

Rhyming Weather

(Quatrain)

by Marlene Mesot

02/03/2022

No one controls the weather,

So do not think it clever,

When you get into a scrape,

It is your own mistake.

If the day is gloomy.

Don’t sue me.

I have no tether,

To control the weather.

If your old leather recliner is tattered and worn,

Don’t treat it with scorn.

It has served you well,

Through many a dry spell.

Amid snow and ice,

This weather is not nice,

So, stay warm by the hearth,

And give blessings from your heart.

Amid summer heat,

There is no need to repeat,

How refreshing it can be,

In the kitchen with iced tea.

With the sky dark as night,

Thunder booming, lightning flashing bright,

You know that rain is imminent.

So don’t lose your innocence.

Once every spring has sprung,

And your patience is wrung,

Do not despair.

Try to repair.

When life turns the tide,

And your frustration you can’t hide,

Assess the ebb and flow.

There is always an answer, you know.

When leaves start to fall,

Make your resolve,

To weather each storm,

Go forward and keep on.

About Marlene Mesot:

Marlene Mesot, an only child, grandchild and niece from Manchester New Hampshire, and deceased husband Albert, have two sons, two grandchildren and English Mastiff dogs. She is legally blind and moderately deaf due to nerve damage at premature birth. She has loved writing since early childhood.

Marlene holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Keene State in Keene, New Hampshire and a Master’s in Library and Information Studies from U-NC Greensboro, North Carolina.

Visit her website here.

Last but surely not least, we’ve Trish Hubschman with an acrostic poem in which she shares sweet Easter memories.

Easter Glee

An Acrostic Poem

By Trish Hubschman

Day 10

Eggs are colored, bright and pretty

All around the world,

So, the Easter bunny can come and hide them.

Then tots to teens hunt them out.

Easter candy, marshmallow and cream.

Rabbits made of chocolate too.

girls in bonnets with parasols.

Little boys in suits and ties.

Easter means the rapture of spring.

Everyone enjoy!

 

About Trish Hubschman:

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and Uneasy Tides. Tracy is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, henry.

Author website

WOW! What an awesome array of poetry we’ve enjoyed this edition.

Thanks to all our poets for sharing their beauty with us.

 

Favorite Links…

Each month I scroll through a lot of internet content, trying to find interesting blog posts, articles or other neat things to share with you.

I’ve also been encouraging others to submit links to posts they find interesting as well.

First up, we’ve a link to the ACB Voices blog featuring some great stuff happening this spring and summer. Check it out here.

Next up, I’ve got a great one from author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto.

Jo Says…

I love Captain Grammar Pants and often post it on my author page. Check it out here.

Now, that’s the spirit! Thanks Jo.

I’d like to end this edition’s Favorite Link column with the following link from Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Cafe. Here’s Sally with more.

There have been few families who have not been touched by loss in the last two years with Covid and also other diseases that rob us of those we love.

As a writing community there has also been loss, and today as I near the end of the Meet the Authors 2022, I could not miss the opportunity to pay tribute to two authors in particular, who became friends, were supporters of the blog and also long term members in the Cafe and Bookstore.

As a writer, thanks to today’s technology, the books we write remain part of the worldwide web stretching into the future. It is a legacy we leave, and books, unless deliberately removed from selling sites, are still available to be enjoyed with proceeds passing to the author’s family.

This is the case for the two authors today whose blogs, support and books I was privileged  to enjoy. Sue Vincent died at the end of March 2021 and Mary Smith late December, both far too soon… I hope that if you have not read their books you will consider doing so, and enjoy the legacy they have left us here.

Notes from Patty, Readers and Her Editors…

Hello again to all. If you’re reading now, I hope it means you’ve read the magazine through, rather than flipping through the headings quickly to reach the end.

A lot of talent, time and trouble goes into the production of our wonderful magazine and it’s my hope it not only brings you enjoyment but that you’re sharing with your friends, fellow authors and bloggers and onto your social media as well.

If you’ve got contributions, comments and yes, even complaints we want to hear from you.

Please make sure to write to us at: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com and if you’d not mind please let us know if we can share your thoughts in the next edition of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine.

And now, a word from our editing team.

Hello from Two Pentacles Publishing!

We are very excited and grateful to be a part of the Writer’s Grapevine team and experience what each of you has to offer! Many of our writers are featured in this magazine and we are so fortunate to be able to continue to be a part of this community.

Thanks to Patty for allowing us to be a part of her amazing team and introducing us to an amazing group of writers and creators!

We have been engrossed in the beautiful stories and prose that our clients have shared with us, and have been lucky to be included in several upcoming projects from many of you! We are excited to see what you have in store for us.

To check our availability, please visit our website and contact us anytime! Though we may be juggling several projects at once, we will work with you to ensure your publishing dreams come true!

The Two Pentacles team,

Dawn and Colleen

Closing…

This ends this edition of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.

The next edition will, if all goes to plan, be released during the Summer/Winter depending upon where you find yourself in the world.

The submission deadline for any of our columns or our Adverts and News Nuggets is June 10, 2022.

To find out how to submit please write to me at: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com In the subject line, please type Submission Query from (Insert your name).

In the body of the email please tell me who you are and if you’ve a media kit or website please provide that information.

Also, please remember to include your email in the body so I’m certain to send you all the necessary information.

Thanks for reading. May Harmony find You and Blessid Be.

5 Comments

  1. […] THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE FALLING INTO SPRING MARCH APRIL EDITION 04/23/2022 […]

  2. Patty, this is a wonderful collection of a wide variety of writings, photographs, and portraits. I absolutely loved being a guest at Trish’s anniversary party – and the photo was so lovely. I love when photos or art works are put with the writings! It is a win-win situation for both the writings and the illustrations. I love the formatting of the newsletter – the graphics are so memorable when we open this letter up to begin the journey through the writings. I also loved seeing all of the books that other authors have posted here – so many beautiful book covers. I did a special blog post today on this magazine and I included links to a number of places with the post. Oh, and how can I forget – your POTTERY!!!! My goodness, you have such a sensitive hand with the clay – and your forms are so classic and beautiful – even before the glazing process. You definitely have a feel for this process – and the clay. I can see you just allowing your hands to make all those decisions as you sit there in sheer joyfulness. Art is such a healing process, isn’t it. It’s all good stuff!

  3. I forgot to include the post I wrote about the magazine and put up on my blog – Here it is!

    https://www.lyndalambert.com/a-spring-bouquet-of-writing-and-art-patty-l-fletcher/

  4. […] Note: The above story appears in the spring issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be read here. […]

    1. Hi Abbie. Hi to all our followers too!
      Thanks to Abbie for sharing this snippet of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine.
      A good story from you which made for a great promotion for yours and the magazine’s work.
      Thanks to all who read, like, comment on and share this post.

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