The Writers Grapevine Magazine

The Writers Grapevine Magazine

Tell it to the WORLD






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Hello everyone 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 certain to send out the entire newsletter, or if you choose to share specific items make certain to copy each one in its completion thus giving the author or business full credit.


Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist) is now seeking sponsors to assist with keeping our prices reasonable so those who are unable to 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 where we marry social media marketing with more traditional approaches, we strive to assist clients with the promotion of their books, blogs, and small businesses.

We provide services such as:

  • Featured blog posts
  • Social Media coverage including:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn 

Our prices range from $80.00 for three months to $170.00 for a full year package.

We provide services such as Facebook Page admin Assistance for those who aren’t able or who don’t have the time to maintain their author, blog, or business Facebook pages.

We also provide, Network and Outreach which can range from something as simple as assisting you with a query letter to a task as complicated as researching and creating a marketing mailing list so you can send out information which will target those you serve as well as many other promotional assistive services.

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 up to 500 words in length on the homepage of my blog which will remain until you either request it removed, or ask it to be updated in some way
  • A spot in my monthly newsletter, the Writer’s Grapevine, and:
  • A spot in the front page of the annual Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing catalog Books and Those Who Make Them Happen.

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

The price for becoming a sponsor is $30.00 or is free with the purchase of a one-year advertising package.

We accept payment via For more information including ad guidelines please write us

*NOTE* We’ve a lot of sponsors, and the actual sponsor page which is found on my blog is quite long so to put up their ads in full would take an enormous portion of this newsletter. Rather than put up pages of ads, I’m going to list their names, and how to find them. You can of course visit: . click the sponsor page and see all their ads in full including photos. Keep in mind the sponsor page is a work in progress and is always updating 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.






To see and buy her books please visit:




To see and buy her books visit:


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


Author Assist Program

Lynda McKinney Lambert Announces!

First Snow

Get YOUR COPY OF THIS LIMITED EDITION chapbook. #poetry, #book #booklovers #readers #flp #poetry lovers #chapbook


Leonore and David Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Publishing Services:





Author, editor, citizen journalist, blogger, and human and animal rights advocate, website:


Shop for Stephen and Tasha’s books, ABACADABRA MOONSHINE & OTHER STORIES by Stephen Halpert, Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life and Up to My Neck in Lemons both by Tasha Halpert online at:

Anne Copeland


Folklore, History, Planting Care, and Good Eating

by Anne Copeland (C 2019)


Not only do we have a great group of sponsors for the month, but we’ve also got a bunch of continually busy writers and business owners in our midst. As you can see below the work just never seems to stop.

First, we’ve author podcaster Robert Branco with an update on his podcast In Perspective.

Hi everyone.

I am pleased to report that In Perspective is now available on iTunes.

You can open the podcasts app and search for the In perspective Podcast. Once you find the podcast, tap subscribe. It may be Faster if you tap this link which will take you directly to the podcast from your iPhone. Here’s the link.

If you’re successful at finding In Perspective on iTunes, have questions, or if you’ve other feedback on the show, I’d like to hear from you.

To contact me and learn about my published work as well please visit:  

Thanks and have a nice day.

Bob Branco

Plaisted Publishing House Presents…

Calling all Ghostly Rites Authors!

Here is your schedule of submissions for 2020.  Details of how to submit coming soon.

Each submission will cost US $10 per 7,000 words.

Your manuscript MUST contain your author name and story title on the first page.

Ghostly Youth—Volume 1

This is a new publication aimed for the young, and young at heart, aged from 10 to adult.

Please remember the content must be suitable for children.

Submissions due:  1st May 2020

Publication:  Mid-June 2020

Ghostly Romance—Volume 2

Following on from our August 2019 edition,

Ghostly Romance is an anthology containing ghostly tales that will tug on the heartstrings, and make you check under the bed…

Submissions due:  1st July 2020

Publication:  Mid-August 2020

Ghostly Rites 2020

Our flagship publication, to make the hair on your neck stand on end and make your skin crawl.  The scarier the better!

Submissions due:  1st September 2020

Publication:  October 2020

More to come very soon!

Regards Claire.


Here’s Leonore Dvorkin with news from DLD Books.

February 10, 2020

An Interesting Formatting Detail

News from David and Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services


Email contact: 

Phone: 303-985-2327

An Interesting Formatting Detail

Quite recently, due to our work on a forthcoming book of short stories by our client Ann Chiappetta, we needed to confirm that we had this interesting formatting detail correct. We found the necessary confirmation on the Amazon KDP website.

It has to do with formatting a new paragraph after a break in the text, such as for a change of scene in a story. There are several such breaks in many of Ann’s stories.

Previously, we had usually marked such breaks with extra spaces between the last sentence of the previous paragraph and the first sentence of the new paragraph, plus a short row of asterisks or some other visual marker, as requested by the author. However, Ann told us that those can be distracting to a reader who is using a screen reader. Therefore, she requested that we leave out the asterisks, which was fine.

What David was pretty sure of, and what was confirmed by the information on the KDP website, is that when a new paragraph is started after such a break, the first sentence of that new paragraph is not indented, while the subsequent sentences are. We also checked in a few traditionally published books, those put out by major publishers, and yes, this is the way it is done. Subsequently, we made sure that the formatting after scene changes was correct in Ann’s new book. That is A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future, which will come out this month. Look for it soon on Amazon, Smashwords, and on her book-related website, which is .

Thank you for your attention to the above, and we welcome any inquiries or comments from you.

— Leonore Dvorkin             

Mary Hiland has recently released a new book, and here she is to tell you more.

Hello readers.

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that, “Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life” is now available on Amazon or through  

Today I’d like to offer you a peek into the book by giving you the Forward. Here it is:

I hope you enjoy. I’d love to know your thoughts. So, using the email on my website, please do get in touch.

Next up we’ve an update from Edward Cohen of EZ2SeeProducts.

Hi everyone.

I’m sorry to report, I am now sold out of 2020 calendars.

However, an online or physical store may still have some.  Either search online for “EZ2See weekly calendar” or check out my list of Retailers.  Be sure you’re ordering the 2020 edition.

EZ2See® Sticky Note Pads are still available.  See them on my Buy Now page.

Thank you so much for your interest.

Edward Cohen.

Author Artist Lynda McKinney Lambert

Lynda has a lot of irons in the fire at present and has asked me to post the following on her behalf. She shares with us a wonderful recording of a speaking event she recently participated in:

Next on the scene is multi-genre author Phyllis with a writing project update.


Phyllis Staton Cambell – Author

Many of you have been asking about my new book, “Goin’ Home” the sequel to “Where Sheep May Safely Graze.” Yesterday, I received the edited proofs for both interior and cover. When they receive my approval, it will be set for the printer.

Blessings to all of you, who have encouraged me through this process, and a special thanks to you, Patty.

To read about me, and see more of my books with reviews go to my site:



First, to business.

The Writer’s Grapevine welcomes contributions to its columns.

Our submission deadline is the 10TH of each month 5 P.M. Eastern.

We’re also now accepting paid ad submissions.

If you need a list of columns, ad submission prices, and submission guidelines please email: and put Writer’s Grapevine Submission in the subject line.

Please specify whether you wish column or ad information.

Please note, from here onward, The Writer’s Grapevine reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. All contributors will be informed of changes and will be given the opportunity to refuse and remove their submission.

If you missed the last  Writer’s Grapevine you may read it here:

To receive the Writer’s Grapevine via email send your name and email address to:

Put Writer’s Grapevine Subscribe in the subject line, and in the body of your email include your first, and last name as well as the email address you’d like the newsletter to come to.

Please put the email address on a line by itself.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Speaking of Email, I’ve an email group called Freedom To Be Me, and I’d like to invite you to join.

I created this group a couple of years ago and would like to see it grow.

Freedom mTo 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:

Tech News.

Many of you know that last April I bought a computer from Computers For the Blind. Since my purchasing this computer I’ve had one issue after another with the blasted thing. Although their “Volunteer Techs” worked with me over the phone a couple of times, they were never able to resolve the computer’s issues.

After having the thing evaluated by several different “Certified technicians” the conclusion is that the main issue with this computer is that there is simply not enough RAM to support all the computer’s function.

On February 5TH I went to a center which assists disabled persons with all thing’s tech:

Their technicians agree with the others who have evaluated the computer and they’ve said that if I purchase the RAM chips for the computer that one of their techs will install them for me and also will see to making sure that my Windows 10 is updated.

This I must say is a huge relief to me. Just knowing exactly what is wrong and having someone to fix the problem is a large weight off my shoulders.

I’ll be purchasing the computer parts needed for this repair during the first part of March. When the parts needed arrive my Blind Services worker will during her weekly trips to and from Knoxville and Johnson City transport the computer to the tech and then back to me once the repairs are done.

Many have asked me if I would recommend Computers For the Blind after having had this experience.

I’m going to answer you this way. If you purchase a computer from them you will need to purchase enough extra RAM and have them install it so that your computer will function as it should.

2 or 4 Gig of RAM is simply not sufficient for running a screen reader program along with your operating system, Microsoft Word and whatever other programs you may run.

Personally, I will never work with Computers For the Blind again.

Writing News.

And now onto my upcoming book.

It has been my hope to have my latest creation ‘Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: Book One How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (second edition) published in April which is mine and Campbell’s 9TH anniversary month. However, given the fact that I’m about to be without a computer for a week or 2 I will not commit to that publication date. I still have a lot of work needing done on the manuscript and Claire Plaisted of Plaisted Publishing House:  has told me that if I want the book published in April 2020 that she and her staff must have the manuscript to work on by March 1 and I simply don’t think I can meet that timeframe with all the other obligations I have at this time. So, while it would be nice, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

At first, I was truly bummed out by this but once I settled down and gave it some real thought I decided that just as with everything else in my life, my writing is in the palm of the creator and if I am prayerful, patient, and persistent, my book will be completed and published just when it should be and will be the best of my published work thus far. So, stay tuned for further developments.

From the Bubba Barkyard…

Hello everyone, King Campbell A.K.A Bubba Retired Seeing Eye Dog here with a very important message from my homeland The Seeing Eye Inc.

I’d like to ask you read this information provided by Melissa R. Allman Senior Specialist, Advocacy and Government Relations very carefully, and then go to the website provided and make your comments concerning this urgent matter.

As you likely already know, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) concerning traveling by air with service animals. The NPRM was issued by DOT on January 22 and officially posted in the Federal Register on February 5. DOT is giving the public until April 6 to submit comments. After DOT reviews the public comments, they will issue final regulations.

The DOT regulations on Traveling by Air with Service Animals will have a significant impact on guide dog handlers. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Below are the comments submitted by The Seeing Eye on February 19; you can also view our comments on our website at

We urge all graduates to comment on the NPRM and to reference or use The Seeing Eye’s comments as you see fit. Below is a link to the site where you can read the NPRM, post your own comments, and review comments posted by the public:

We thank you in advance for your engagement in this important issue. Please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-539-4425 or email if you have questions.

Melissa R. Allman
Senior Specialist, Advocacy and Government Relations

To: The U.S. Department of Transportation

From: The Seeing Eye, Inc.

Re: Docket No. DOT-OST-20180068, RIN No. 2105-AE63 – Traveling by Air with Service Animals, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

The Seeing Eye has been providing specially bred and trained guide dogs for people who are blind or have low vision since 1929. Since that time, The Seeing Eye has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of guide dog handlers to have equal access to all modes of transportation including air travel. At present, there are approximately 1,700 active Seeing Eye graduates in North America and many of those people are regular air travelers. As Senior Advocacy and Government Relations Specialist at The Seeing Eye and a guide dog handler myself, I am submitting the below comments on behalf of our organization.
We commend DOT’s efforts to amend and clarify its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulations to ensure safe and equal access to air travel for all passengers including people who work with service animals. We also understand DOT’s need to balance the protection of civil liberties with safety concerns. Nonetheless, we urge DOT to take into consideration the burdens some of its proposed changes would impose on handlers of task-trained service animals like guide dogs. The position of The Seeing Eye on DOT’s proposed changes to 14 C.F.R. Part 382 is as follows:

1. Service Animal Species

The Seeing Eye is not opposed to DOT’s proposal to define a service animal as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability” (NPRM, 23-24). The Seeing Eye recognizes the likely benefits of more closely aligning the definition of service animal in the ACAA regulations with the definition used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. The new definition would help alleviate the concerns of both air travelers and the airline industry about the growing number of animals traveling by air that are not trained to behave appropriately in public. The new definition would also eliminate the stress imposed on animals that are currently permitted to travel in the cabin without having been prepared or socialized to cope with the many stimuli that occur in public settings, let alone air travel.

2. Breed or Type Restrictions

The Seeing Eye applauds DOT’s proposal to continue prohibiting airlines from placing restrictions on service animals based on a dog’s specific breed or general type. The Seeing Eye agrees with DOT’s current policy of requiring airlines to conduct “individualized assessments of particular service animals based on the animal’s evident behavior or health rather than applying generalized assumptions about how a breed or type of dog would be expected to behave” (NPRM, 27). The Seeing Eye believes that an individualized assessment is adequate to ensure that aggressive animals are not allowed to travel by air. Banning an entire breed is simply not the answer. The Seeing Eye believes that if current DOT regulations are understood and applied correctly by airline personnel, they offer sufficient protections to passengers and airline employees without imposing unnecessary breed or type restrictions.

3. Emotional Support Animals

The Seeing Eye does not object to DOT’s decision to adopt a definition of service animal that would not include any animals that are not trained to perform a task. If the proposed DOT rule is adopted, airlines would not be precluded from implementing policies that allow passengers to request to travel with an emotional support animal as an accommodation for their disabilities.

4. Psychiatric Service Animals

The Seeing Eye does not object to DOT’s proposal to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals since, like other animals encompassed by DOT’s proposed definition of service animal, they are trained to perform tasks.

5. Large Service Animals

The Seeing Eye has concerns about DOT’s proposed limitations on large breeds. It is our position that the current rule is sufficient to safeguard against larger dogs encroaching on the foot space of other passengers who do not wish to share space with a service animal. The current rule states that a service animal must be permitted to accompany a passenger with a disability “at any seat in which the passenger sits, unless the animal obstructs an aisle or other area that must remain unobstructed to facilitate an emergency evacuation” (14 C.F.R. §382.117(b)). If a service animal cannot be accommodated at the passenger’s seat, the airline is required to “offer the passenger the opportunity to move with the animal to another seat location, if present on the aircraft, where the animal can be accommodated” (14 C.F.R. § 382.117(c)). The Preamble to the rule states that if a service animal cannot be accommodated at the passenger’s seat or at another seat in the passenger’s class of service where the animal will not obstruct an aisle or emergency exit, “the carrier should first talk with other passengers to find a seat location in the cabin where the service animal and its user can be agreeably accommodated (e.g., by finding a passenger who is willing to share foot space with the animal). The fact that a service animal may need to use a reasonable portion of an adjacent seat’s foot space that does not deny another passenger effective use of the space for his or her feet by taking all or most of the passenger’s foot space is not, however, an adequate reason for the carrier to refuse to permit the animal to accompany its user at his or her seat. Only if no other alternative is available should the carrier discuss less desirable options concerning the transportation of the service animal…” (73 Fed. Reg. No. 93, 27661 (May 2008)).

The proposed rule would categorically deny passage to service animals that are too large to fit on the handler’s lap or within the foot space of the handler unless the handler can be reseated next to an empty seat where the animal can be accommodated. Otherwise, the handler would be offered the opportunity to travel on a later flight or place the service animal in cargo free of charge. Unfortunately, the likelihood that a commercial aircraft will be booked to capacity continues to increase, while the size of airline seats and the amount of foot space afforded to passengers continues to decrease. These conditions have significantly diminished the likelihood that airline personnel will have the flexibility to reseat a service animal handler with a larger dog next to an empty seat. Thus, handlers with larger dogs could be, more often than not, faced with choosing between traveling at a later time that may not meet their needs or placing their service animal in cargo. Placing a service animal in cargo is fraught with problems, among which are the handler’s separation from the animal and the inherent risks to the animal’s safety.

In proposing this change to the rule, DOT seems to be relying on sparse anecdotal data provided by airlines about passengers feeling pressured to share foot space with service animals. In the NPRM, DOT indicates that the current guidance does not require passengers to share foot space with an animal if they do not wish to do so (48). What is more, most legitimate service animals are trained to curl up at the feet of the handler in the space allotted to them even if they are large breeds. The Seeing Eye, which matches people with German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers, is troubled by a rule that would allow airlines to place more restrictions on the space allotted to these dogs. A more effective solution would be to better educate airline personnel about how to accommodate people with service animals while considering the needs of other passengers.

Furthermore, The Seeing Eye urges DOT to consider the lack of clarity around the concept of passenger foot space. The boundaries between one passenger’s foot space and that of another can be very hard to determine, for example, on smaller aircrafts or in bulkhead seating. That said, the proposed changes to the rule appear to focus more on accommodating the hypothetical uncomfortable passenger adjacent to a service animal than on providing equal access to people with disabilities as these regulations are intended to do.

6. Number of Service Animals per Passenger

The Seeing Eye does not take a position on DOT’s proposal to limit the number of service animals per passenger to two. We do, however, maintain the position we took in our comments on the ANPRM that a handler’s ability to control their service animals is likely to diminish as the number of service animals they are handling increases.

7. Service Animal Restraints

The Seeing Eye agrees with DOT’s proposal to allow airlines to require that service animals be harnessed, leashed, tethered, or that other effective means be used to maintain control of the service animal. The Seeing Eye stands by the position we took in our comments on the ANPRM. Service animals should be leashed or otherwise under the handler’s control at all times. There are times during air travel when it may be appropriate for a passenger using a guide dog to remove its harness for the comfort and safety of the dog. However, the guide dog handler still has control over the dog in these limited circumstances because the leash is the means of control.

The Seeing Eye does, however, have some concerns about DOT’s proposed definition of “handler.” DOT proposes to define “handler” as “a qualified individual with a disability who receives assistance from a service animal(s) that does work or performs tasks that are directly related to the individual’s disability, or a safety assistant, as described in section 382.29(b),96F97 who accompanies an individual with a disability traveling with a service animal(s). The service animal handler is responsible for keeping the service animal under control at all times, and caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting and feeding” (NPRM, 57). Although current ACAA regulations do not protect the rights of service animal trainers to travel with the animals they are training in the cabin free of charge, most airlines allow credentialed trainers from organizations such as The Seeing Eye to fly with guide dogs. A more restrictive definition of the term handler may give airlines incentive to tighten their policies to a degree that compromises the ability of guide dog schools such as The Seeing Eye to provide necessary services to qualified people with disabilities throughout the areas they serve. If DOT is intent on defining “handler,” The Seeing Eye requests that DOT expand the definition to include credentialed service animal trainers.

8. Service Animal Documentation and Early Check-in

The Seeing Eye is strongly opposed to DOT’s proposal to allow airlines to require that passengers, as a condition of traveling with a service animal, submit to the airlines forms concerning the animal’s behavior, training, and health, as well as requiring passengers with service animals to check in an hour before the general public so the forms can be processed. One of the three forms DOT proposes to allow airlines to require is a “DOT Air Transportation Service Animal Behavior and Training Attestation Form.” This form would be completed by the passenger and would provide assurances that the animal “has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the passenger with a disability and has been trained to behave properly in public, and that the user is aware that the service animal must be under his or her control at all times” (NPRM, 65). The Seeing Eye is not persuaded that this form would be effective enough to justify the burden it would impose on passengers with service animals. Passengers who are motivated enough to obtain documentation online misrepresenting their pet as a service animal will likely be equally motivated to submit an attestation form. A passenger could complete and submit the form knowing full well that their animal is not trained to behave appropriately in an airport setting and may be undeterred by the fact that they are falsifying a federal form. As a practical matter, the animal’s potential misbehavior in the airport or on the aircraft would occur well before any action could be taken against the passenger for falsifying a federal form. Meanwhile, a law-abiding passenger with a task-trained service animal who flies frequently and on multiple airlines would be required to complete the form multiple times.

The Seeing Eye does not dispute assertions by airlines that airline personnel are often not in a position to observe and assess whether an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the airport environment. It seems that airline personnel do not receive the training they need to make these assessments. At a minimum, airline employees should be familiar with existing DOT guidance on this issue. The Preamble to the current rule states, “Service animals are trained to behave properly in public settings. For example, a properly trained guide dog will remain at its owner’s feet. It does not run freely around an aircraft or an airport gate area, bark or growl repeatedly at other persons on the aircraft, bite or jump on people, or urinate or defecate in the cabin or gate area. An animal that engages in such disruptive behavior shows that it has not been successfully trained to function as a service animal in public settings. Therefore, airlines are not required to treat it as a service animal, even if the animal performs an assistive function for a passenger with a disability…” (73 Fed. Reg. No. 93, 27659). Instead of unfairly burdening passengers with service animals, DOT should mandate that airlines provide more comprehensive training for their employees on how to make these assessments.

The second form DOT proposes to allow airlines to require is a Service Animal Health Form completed by a veterinarian describing the animal; confirming that the rabies vaccination is up to date and whether the animal has any diseases; and stating whether the veterinarian is aware of any aggressive behavior by the animal. DOT proposes that the form be valid for one year. The Seeing Eye is strongly opposed to DOT allowing airlines to require this form for traditional, task-trained service animals. The burden it would impose on service animal handlers far outweighs the value it would have for airlines attempting to assess whether a service animal poses a threat. Any service animal handler flying after the proposed regulations take effect would either have to anticipate the possibility of air travel and ask their veterinarian to complete the form at an already-scheduled office visit, or incur the cost of an additional office visit so the form could be completed. A service animal handler who must fly on short notice due to an emergency, professional engagement, or any other reason for that matter, would be unable to fly if they could not have the form completed beforehand. Even if the form is standardized and can be used for multiple airlines, the handler would have to physically provide or upload the form each time they fly with an airline for the first time during the year the form is valid and may have to provide it again for every trip unless the airline is required to retain the records. Furthermore, many veterinarians may be unwilling to make any assertions about whether they have observed aggressive behavior by the animal for fear of either exposing themselves to liability or providing an answer that would jeopardize their client’s ability to fly with the animal, especially given the fact that dogs are often stressed in veterinary offices.

The form would also not be effective in protecting passengers from injury or ensuring that they would not contract rabies if bitten. First of all, if a passenger or airline employee is bitten by an animal, a document attesting to the animal’s health and non-aggressive tendencies does not undo the injury. The animal’s observable behavior before an injury can take place is a far better indicator of what its behavior is likely to be. In addition, the Center for Disease Control characterizes the possibility of a healthy appearing dog being sick with rabies as “remote.”

In the NPRM, DOT agrees with airlines that “requiring proof of rabies vaccinations should be permitted to help ensure that the animal does not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others” (68). At least one airline is currently requiring passengers to travel with a current rabies certificate and DOT has taken no action against this airline pursuant to its current enforcement priorities. The Seeing Eye does not agree that proof of rabies vaccination will, in and of itself, ensure that an animal will not pose a threat. However, The Seeing Eye also acknowledges that service animal handlers are, like pet owners, bound by state and local laws requiring vaccination. If DOT is firmly convinced of its position on this matter, The Seeing Eye strongly urges DOT not to require more than a rabies certificate from passengers with service animals. Any additional requirements such as the proposed health form would be unduly burdensome, especially for service animal handlers taking domestic flights to locations other than Hawaii.

DOT is also proposing to amend its current rule allowing airlines to require service animal handlers to attest that their animal can refrain from relieving itself on flight segments lasting 8 hours or more or do so in a sanitary way. Currently, airlines that have this requirement can create their own forms in order to obtain this information. As a result, some airlines use forms that request information in a manner that is not consistent with current ACAA regulations. In some cases, the forms are not accessible to people who use screen readers. The Seeing Eye does not object to DOT requiring airlines to use a standard DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation form to obtain this information so long as the form is accessible to people using screen readers.

DOT’s proposed rule does not stop at allowing airlines to require passengers with service animals to complete these forms. DOT further proposes to allow airlines to require service animal handlers to check in at a designated location in the airport an hour before check-in for the general public so the forms can be submitted and so that airline personnel can observe the animal. DOT states that airlines would be allowed to impose this requirement “so long as the airline similarly requires advance check-in for passengers traveling with their pets in the cabin” (NPRM, 75). It is The Seeing Eye’s position that this requirement would be extraordinarily burdensome to passengers with service animals and would deprive them of equal access to air travel. It is also irrelevant whether people choosing to travel with their pets in the cabin are required to check in an hour early. Service animals are not pets. People with disabilities traveling with service animals are entitled to receive treatment equal to that of other passengers — period. Imposing the same restrictions on passengers with disabilities who need to travel with service animals as those imposed on people who wish to travel with their pets is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of these regulations.

Currently, passengers have the ability to check in online or by using an airline’s phone app, regardless of whether or not they are a person with a disability traveling with a service animal. The proposed rule would take this option away from people with service animals. Passengers without service animals would continue having the option to check in online or at curbside, undergo security screening, and proceed to the gate. The scenario for passengers with service animals would be quite different. They would have to arrive at the airport an hour earlier than the general public, go to the airline’s designated area for people traveling with service animals, wait in line regardless of whether or not they are checking bags, have their service animal forms processed by an airline employee, receive a boarding pass, undergo a security screening, and then proceed to their gate.

The NPRM is not clear about whether service animal handlers would be required to check-in at the same designated location as people traveling with their pets. If that is the case, people with task-trained animals such as guide dogs would have to wait for processing in close quarters with animals that may ultimately not pass muster under the DOT’s definition of service animal because of their behavior or lack of training. Guide dog handlers are already experiencing increased interference from other poorly managed dogs in airports. This interference can compromise a guide dog’s ability to do its work, put it at risk of physical harm, and potentially end a partnership forever if such harm occurs. Forcing guide dog handlers to wait in an area specifically designated for screening animals to determine whether their training and behavior is acceptable for travel in the cabin is an invitation for this type of interference.

It is not known whether DOT considered the burden imposed on the service animals that will be required to refrain from relieving themselves for an increased period of time as a result of the early check-in requirements. The Seeing Eye urges DOT to consider the potential ramifications of requiring passengers with service animals to wait in the airport for an increased length of time in close quarters with other animals without adequate relieving areas in proximity.

DOT explains its rationale for allowing the forms and early check-in as follows: “The Department recognizes that these forms go beyond what DOJ allows in its ADA service animal regulations, but the Department believes that air transportation, which involves transporting a large number of people in a very confined space thousands of feet above the ground, is unique in comparison to airports, libraries, and other locations covered by Title II or Title III of the ADA. For this reason, the Department believes that a proposal allowing airlines to require all service dog users to provide these forms to assist airlines in determining whether a service dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others is appropriate” (NPRM, 75).

The Seeing Eye respectfully disagrees with DOT’s rationale concerning the forms and early check-in and urges DOT to reconsider its position. First of all, aircrafts thousands of feet in the air can hardly be compared to tranquil settings like libraries. Nonetheless, The Seeing Eye understands that passengers cannot escape an uncontrolled animal in an aircraft the way they could on the ground. The Seeing Eye also realizes that DOT is attempting to adopt regulations that will provide clarification and fairness in what has become a very confusing climate for air travelers and airlines. The Seeing Eye commends DOT on these efforts, but allowing airlines to impose burdens on service animal handlers that are not imposed on other passengers is not the solution. If DOT adopts its proposed definition of service animal, the only service animals traveling by air will be dogs trained to perform tasks. The drastic increase in various species of animals traveling in the cabin did not begin to occur until after the broader definition of service animal was adopted in the existing regulations. For decades before the current regulations took effect, people with task-trained animals such as guide dogs had been traveling by air routinely. Guide dog handlers are not responsible for the circumstances that led to the need for this NPRM and The Seeing Eye strongly believes they should not be burdened as a consequence.

9. Codeshare Flights

The Seeing Eye takes no position on whether DOT should include language in the final rule making it clear that U.S. airlines are not responsible for the failure of their foreign carrier codeshare partners to transport animals other than dogs. That said, The Seeing Eye notes that if the proposed definition of service animal is adopted, the species requirements for service animals will be the same for U.S. carriers and foreign codeshare partners, thereby eliminating the need for any clarifying language.

In closing, The Seeing Eye expresses its appreciation to DOT for the opportunity to comment on this NPRM. Please feel free to contact The Seeing Eye If we can provide any further assistance or information on issues raised in this NPRM given our areas of expertise.

Melissa R. AllmanSenior Specialist, Advocacy and Government Relations, The Seeing Eye, Inc, P.O. Box 375, Morristown, NJ 07963-0375 (mail) 1 Seeing Eye Way, Morristown, NJ 07960-3412 (deliveries) 973-539-4425 ext. 1724, Fax:  973-525-1081, email: 

Now to personal news.

The human of the Campbell Kingdom, A.K.A. Me (Human Servant) has been struck down by a flu bug. Never fear, I believe I will live, although, vestiges remain even as I type. King Campbell has been a wonderful dog nurse.

Speaking of Campbell…

Many of you have written privately to ask after Campbell. Your continued interest in his wellbeing is touching and much appreciated.

Campbell turned 11 years old in November. For those who don’t know, Campbell is a black Labrador who for 8 and ½ years served as my guide dog. He comes from The Seeing Eye guide dog school in New Jersey and you can learn all about them by visiting the website shown in the article above.

Campbell is now fully retired. As some know he began having health issues last year about this time and as of January 10, 2020 we have not been able to narrow his diagnosis down to just one thing. Unless something new turns up it is our opinion that Campbell is simply aging, and his body is wearing out.

I’m taking care of him daily and plan to continue to do so until he passes away.

I’ve been asked when I’ll go and get a new working dog. After careful consideration of our current situation although last year I did request and receive an evaluation visit from The Seeing Eye in preparation to attend training to receive a successor dog, I’ve decided to hold off on that process.

Owning and working a new guide dog is a lot of time and energy consuming work. If Campbell were reasonably healthy and simply no longer working I would be able to manage a new working dog because in most situations the retired dog is happy to simply turn into a couch potato and has the attitude of, “Take my mom please?”

But, since Campbell requires some extra care and I live alone with no daily support I’ve decided to bring a new dog into the mix would simply set us all up to fail.

When Campbell is no longer with me, I will then, after a time of grieving go to The Seeing Eye and train for a successor dog.

It is my feeling that if I am to have a relationship with a new dog even closely resembling what I have had with Campbell over all these wonderful years that this decision is best.

I’ll be writing much more about the events which have taken place over this past year later. For now let me just suffice it to say that although we’ve had some good times while Campbell has enjoyed retired life it has also been very challenging.

I’d like to add that The Seeing Eye has been most supportive and to them I say thank you. Before we continue onward, I’d like to take a moment to send out a huge Thank You to all my totally talented Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist) clients.

Your patience throughout my many setbacks both technical and personal over these last few months has been much appreciated by me. I don’t have words to describe just how wonderful I think you guys are.

I promise, if you hang in there just a tad bit longer, I’ll be fully up and running and once that happens I will redouble my effort of telling the world all about you.

Thanks for reading, may harmony find you, and blessid be.



My name is Paul White, and I’d like to take this opportunity to talk to you about a very important charity.Vision 2020.


VISION 2020: The Right to Sight was launched in 1999. It sought to promote: “A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential.”

The Global Initiative was set up to: “Intensify and accelerate prevention of blindness activities so as to achieve the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by 2020.”

It sought to do this by: “Focussing initially on certain diseases which are the main causes of blindness and for which proven cost-effective interventions are available.”

It aims to reduce the “prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019” (compared to the baseline prevalence of 2010).

This is now seen as a more realistic global target as to what can be achieved by the end of this decade, rather than the original target of global elimination by 2020.

Some individual countries may achieve, or be close to, elimination by 2020.

 The long-term goal of both the GAP and VISION 2020 remain the same… to rid the world of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. It is a shocking fact that in the 21st Century there are still some 285m visually impaired and blind persons and that 80% of these cases could have been prevented or treated.

  • 36 million people who are blind
  • 217 million people with moderate or severe distance vision impairment
  • Of those with blindness and MSVI, 124 million people have uncorrected refractive errors and 65 million have cataract—more than 75% of all blindness and MSVI is avoidable
  • 253 million people blind or vision impaired (in 2015)
  • 1 billion people with near-vision impairment
  • 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women
  • Top causes of visual impairment: uncorrected refractive errors, cataracts and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
  • Top causes of blindness: cataracts, Uncorrected Refractive Errors and glaucoma. PeeJay Studios have a unique Vision 2020 design on a selection of over 60 products available via Redbubble from Fashionwear, Tech Accessories, Homeware, Wall Art, Prints, Stationery and Gifts.

Show you care. Follow this link to see the designs.

Dear Readers. I’m back to share with you a tragic report. As I’m sure you know by now, the world of reading and writing has recently suffered a tremendous loss.

Below is the article concerning the passing of one of the world’s greatest mystery writers Mary Higgins Clark.

Mary Higgins Clark, Best-Selling Queen of Suspense, Dies at 92

She became a world-renowned author writing about “nice people whose lives are invaded.” By Helen T. Verongos, The New York Times, Published Jan. 31, 2020Updated Feb. 1, 2020, 11:15 a..m. ET

Mary Higgins Clark, a fixture on best-seller lists for decades whose more than 50 novels earned her the sobriquet Queen of Suspense, died on Friday in Naples, Fla. She was 92. Her death was confirmed by her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, also a mystery novelist. In addition to Naples, Ms. Higgins Clark had homes in Saddle River, N.J., and Manhattan and on Cape Cod Ms. Higgins Clark, whose books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone, was still writing until recently, her daughter said, and had a book published in November. Legions of readers were addicted to her page-turners, which popped up on the market one after another. She wanted to create stories that would make a reader say: “This could be me. That could be my daughter. This could happen to us,” she told Marilyn Stasio in a 1997 interview in The New York Times. Her heroes were most often female, her villains male, and she said that she wrote about “nice  people whose lives are invaded.” Ms. Stasio wrote that “Mary Higgins Clark writes to a simple formula that entails putting a woman  in peril and letting her figure her own way out.” Though that formula is “repetitive and predictable,” she added, it works because Ms. Higgins Clark “is a natural-born storyteller.” It certainly worked for fans. Masses of followers flocked to her Facebook page and showered her with praise and questions, and she kept them informed about her projects. In her memoir, “Kitchen Privileges” (2002), Ms. Higgins Clark described herself in her younger years as “aching, yearning, burning” to write, certain that she would succeed but needing guidance. She eventually found it in a writing class at New York University. The professor suggested that his students seize upon a situation that they had experienced or read about and begin by asking the questions “Suppose …?” and “What if …?” It was a recipe that Ms. Higgins Clark said she stuck to, with the addition of the question “Why?” There are, however, two things that won’t be found in her books — sex and profanity — and that choice was deliberate. In her first successful novel, “Where Are the Children?” (1975), which Ms. Higgins Clark sold for $3,000, a young mother who is accused of killing her son and daughter changes her identity, finds a new husband and builds another family, only to have her second set of children disappear. Years later, the secrets of the cutthroat high-end real estate market in New Jersey were among the scariest aspects of “No Place Like Home” (2005), a story about a young woman who tries to distance herself from a painful childhood in which she accidentally killed someone close to her. When her husband surprises her by buying her a dream house, the consequences are nothing short of a nightmare. Ms. Higgins Clark and her daughter Carol also wrote as a team, producing five holiday-themed crime novels that bring together Mary Higgins Clark’s characterAlvirah Meehan and Carol Higgins Clark’s Regan Reilly. And in recent years she collaborated with Alafair Burke on the “Under Suspicion” series, in which the character Laurie Moran, a producer of true-crime television programs, grapples with mysterious cases. The latest, “You Don’t Own Me,” was published in November 2018. Ms. Burke, discussing their collaboration, said in a 2016 interview: “Our voices blend quite well. When you read it, you can’t really tell it was written by two people.” Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins was born on Dec. 24, 1927, in the Bronx. When she was 11, her father,  Luke, an Irish immigrant who had owned a thriving pub before the Depression, died, leaving her mother, Nora, with three children. A few years later, she lost her beloved older brother. Each loss meant that Mary had to work harder. To help pay expenses after her father’s death, she got after-school jobs. In one of those jobs, as a switchboard operator at the Shelton Hotel in Manhattan, she eavesdropped on inhabitants, including Tennessee Williams — who, she noted in her memoir, had the cheapest room in the hotel, at $30 a month. In listening to his conversations, Ms. Higgins Clark wrote, “I didn’t hear anything that fascinated  me.” “Years later,” she wrote, “when a mutual friend gave Williams a copy of the manuscript for ‘Where  Are the Children?,’ which had just sold to Simon & Schuster, his comment was, ‘I have a lot of friends who can write better than that,’ so I guess I didn’t  fascinate him either.. We’ll call it a draw.’” She and Warren Clark, from her neighborhood in the Bronx, fell in love, and he proposed on their first date. They determined that she should continue with her plan to become a flight attendant for Pan Am and planned a wedding for the next year, 1949. Although she had begun pitching her first short stories to confession magazines when she was 16, Ms. Higgins Clark endured a rain of rejection slips for the next several years before she sold her first story, “Stowaway,” to Extension magazine in 1956.  By then she had three children: Marilyn, Warren Jr and David. The fourth, born in 1956, was named Carol for a character in that story. The youngest, Patricia, was born in 1958. After 14 years of marriage, Warren Clark, who worked in the shipping and airline industries, died of a heart attack in 1964, when Ms. Higgins Clark was37. Soon she was looking for a job again, but she did not abandon her fiction writing. She rose before dawn to churn out pages while her children slept, then car-pooled to Manhattan to work at the Gordon R.. Tavis tock advertising agency. Her first novel, “Aspire to the Heavens” (1969), was not about a murderous psychopath or a jealous friend bent on bloody revenge, but rather about George

and Martha Washington. It failed to make a splash, but was republished in 2002 as “Mount Vernon Love Story” and joined the other Higgins Clark titles onthe best-seller lists. Simon & Schuster became her primary publisher. Her second suspense novel, “A Stranger Is Watching” (1978), brought in enough money to buy a Cadillac. In1979 she achieved another milestone, graduating from Fordham University with a B.A. in philosophy. As the best sellers piled up, they would sustain her family beyond anything she had ever dreamed possible. In 1988, The New York Times reported that she had broken a record for what was believed to be “the first eight-figure agreement involving a single author.” The multi-book contract guaranteed her at least $10.1 million. “All I have to do now is write the  books,” she told The Times. In a statement on Friday, Simon & Schuster said that all of her 56 books beginning with “Where Are  the Children?” had been best sellers. Michael Karda, editor in chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster, said in the statement that he and Ms.  Higgins Clark had worked together since 1975, “duringwhich time we  never had a cross word between us, which surely sets something of a record for  author-editor relationships.” Two of her books were adapted for film and many others for television movies, including some in  which she played minor characters. She also wrote children’sbooks and short stories, and her recipe for Game Night Chili can be found in “The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.”

Ms. Higgins Clark married twice after she was widowed. Her brief second marriage — in 1978, to Raymond Charles Ploetz, a lawyer — is glossed over in her memoir as a mistake. The marriage was annulled, and in 1996 she married John Conheeney, a former Merrill Lynch executive whom she celebrated in the dedications of several books. He died in October 2018. Her five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive her. Even into her 90s, Ms. Higgins Clark continued to address her fans in online videos, appearing  elegantly dressed and accessorized with glittering gems.  (She liked to buy jewelry now and then, she said, to celebrate her accomplishments.) In one video, Ms. Higgins Clark, who was grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan in 2011,  discussed the role of the Irish narrative heritage in her work and her legacy. “Let others decide whether or not I’m a good writer,” she said. “I know I’m a good Irish storyteller.” Michael Levenson and Matthew Sedacca contributed reporting.

Helen T. Verongos is a senior staff editor on the Culture Desk. She is a former assistant editor of international news and a former deputy editor of the Continuous News Desk.



By: author Joan Myles

Copyright February 2020.

Dear Friends,

I claim membership to the community of creative folk, those who seek goodness and sweetness in all things of nature and fellow humans.

And as a means of giving back for all that I receive, I write, poetry mostly.

For words have their subtle way of coaxing and influencing, and I would use mine for goodness only, to bless and inspire any who read.

If my words bring the slightest comfort or a twinge of delight, if my images expands someone’s sense of wonder and appreciation of the natural world, if what I write draws the reader closer to Love Divine, It is enough.

Wishing you blessings and sweetness,



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. And what’s more, once blind, her spiritual seeking took on a deeper, richer dimension. No longer was Divinity somewhere out there, hovering just out of reach. She felt God to be with her, a whisper away, a breath, a sigh, a longing inside her, an expression of wonder and delight and most emphatically, Love.

Joan earned a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies, and spent 15 years teaching Hebrew and Judaics to third through 6th graders. During that time, she also founded Yismehu, a non-profit organization which provided free Jewish learning to blind students nationwide via distance learning, and served as both textbook developer and instructor for 7 years and her husband raised four children together. They currently live in Oregon, where she continues to delight in the wonders of Life Divine, and in the magic of words.

Connect with Joan online at the following link:

Articles From Ernest Dempsey

By: Patty L. Fletcher On Behalf of Ernest Dempsey

Since opening my business in 2017 I’ve been asked many times about the kind of work I do for people.I always answer, it varies according to the Client’s need. Some clients work hand and glove with me, while others, simply assign me monthly tasks and trust me to get the job done.

One such client is Ernest Dempsey of Recovering the Self a Journal of Hope and Healing and Word Matters and he’s asked I share the following links with you. As you’ll see these lead to a variety of topics ranging from mental healthcare physical healthcare, homecare and a few more in between.

I hope you enjoy and if you should visit please do let Ernest know from where you heard of him.

Before you click over to enjoy these interesting articles, I’d like to remind my clients that Ernest accepts article submissions from me on behalf of all of you. So, if after you’ve perused his blogs, you think you’ve something to contribute, get in touch with me to receive his guideline information.

Article Links…


Author, editor, citizen journalist, blogger, and human and animal rights advocate, Ernest Dempsey has seen his writing appearing in print and online worldwide. A vegetarian and advocate for peace and justice, Dempsey moves forward with his passion for the written word. Visit his website

To order a copy of Ernest’s Chapbook Runs of Life from Barnes & Noble visit:

Hi Readers.

Author Paul White here. The following is a short story taken from my paperback book, ‘Within the Invisible Pentacle’ I post it here as my story for Valentine’s day, Enjoy.

It is available at (UK)  (


By: Paul White

couple sketch (1)The journey proved to be a nightmare.
I have never encountered so much traffic as I did last night. At one point, I was stationary for almost two hours. Stuck on the highway with no way of going anywhere.
I called Josephine.
She said she would wait up, or at least stay awake for me.
“I might go to bed and read my book, it will keep me occupied until you get here,” she said teasingly.
I could tell Josephine was wearing her cheeky little grin, because of the tone of her voice, the teasing lilt.
“I’ll get there as soon as I can,” I promised her.
“Just be careful. I love you,” she replied.
The journey took me another six hours.
I do not like driving on unfamiliar roads at night and when it is raining, I hate it.
I only travelled to Josephine’s once before, when she was driving, so I was trying desperately to remember the route.
Each mile seemed like ten, every junction I came to I slowed, looked and double-checked.

When I finally arrived at Josephine’s home I was mentally and physically drained. In fact, I had been far too tired to drive those last few miles.
I should have stopped, taken a rest.
I should have been careful as Josephine asked.
But I did not. I drove on, radio blaring out, window open and the rain refreshingly stimulating as it blew over my face.
It was only when I turned the engine off, sat back in the seat for a moment and felt my eyes closing of their own accord, I realized how near falling asleep at the wheel I was.
How close I came to killing myself on those dark, winding roads
I considered myself lucky. A lucky fool.

When I opened the bedroom door, Josephine was fast asleep.
The book she was reading resting on the fingers of her hand. Music playing softly, almost inaudibly, from the bedside radio.
I could tell she tried to stay awake.
Josephine would have fought sleep for as long as she could.
But my journey took far too long.
The Sandman had won. He had taken Josephine into the dream world of slumber.
I stood in the doorway for some time, admiring her beauty.
I considered myself lucky. Dammed lucky.

I crept about the house, trying to be quieter than the proverbial mouse. I wanted a coffee, a hot coffee, laced with brandy or rum or something strong.
But I simply grabbed an orange juice from the refrigerator before using the bathroom and undressed in the hall.
I kept everything; every movement as quiet as possible so I did not disturb the sleeping Josephine.
This was far from our original plan for tonight.
Tonight, Josephine had cooked a special meal, a treat to welcome me home.
The pots and pans were piled in the kitchen sink. The table was set, laid out with red candles in the centre.
Nothing had been used.
Like us, the meal had been stood up.
After the meal?
After the last of the Barolo was been drained from our glasses.
I will leave you to guess Josephine’s plans for the rest of our evening.

Quietly and very slowly, I inched into bed beside her.
I did not want to disturb her sleep. She looked like an angel, a cherub, all delicate and childlike.
I lay, half propped on the pillow watching Josephine sleep. Watching her chest rise and fall beneath the cotton sheet. Occasionally her eyes flickered.
I wished her sweet dreams.

Gradually, I too drifted off into the world of slumber.
Josephine’s movements as she awoke disturbed my own nocturnal dreams.
I opened my eyes and looked across the pillows towards her, she was smiling at me.
“When did you get in?” she asked.
“Not long ago,” I said, looking at the clock.
I had only been in bed for twenty minutes. I must have disturbed Josephine after all.
She moved closer, cuddling into me and hooking one leg over mine.
“Do you want to…” she smiled, one hand resting on my thigh.
“Not tonight, Josephine,” I replied.
But she was already fast asleep again.
I smiled to myself.
I was the happiest and most content I have ever been in my entire life just holding her next to me.
I needed nothing more.
I was a lucky man.
A very lucky man.

Phyllis Staton Campbell with an excerpt from her upcoming new release.

The end is in sight on that long journey called publication. You’ve been asking about “Goin’ Home” Here’s a sample just to tantalize you. For book-buying information and updates see my website:



Warden Somers stood watching the rain cascading down his office window. He knew that it would be hurling the last of the leaves from the trees in his front yard, and he grimaced at the thought of raking on the weekend. Every year, he resolved to buy a leaf blower, and every year, he put it off until the next.

Here, at Red Onion, named for the nearby mountain, there were no trees, no leaves, and very little hope. He knew that such thoughts would be frowned on by the social workers, but thirty years working in corrections had killed most of his expectations for the hardened inmates, many like Robert Thomas, serving life terms. 

Sighing, he turned to his desk, and picked up Thomas’ record. Newer records were computerized, but Thomas went back fifty years and hadn’t been put on the computer yet. Although he had been only fifteen, he had been tried as an adult, and sentenced to life. He found himself wondering about Thomas, not the frail old man he saw moving, like a gray spirit around the exercise lot, but about the boy, who had committed the atrocity, now so common, but almost unheard of fifty years ago. What had motivated him, a country boy, his whole life ahead of him, to brutally take the lives, not of enemies, or imagined enemies, but of innocents, ending his own chance for the life he had been intended to live.

As he scanned the document, he noticed that the crime and arrest had occurred exactly fifty years ago to the day. The timing hadn’t been intentional, of course, but he knew enough about people to know just how unfortunate it was. Feelings would be running high, even after all those years.

Thomas had come up for parole once, but even the social workers had thought it was a bad idea, so there he had stayed, forgotten, for the most part, except for his friend, some kind of celebrity, who visited when he could. When the doctors diagnosed a terminal heart condition, there had been no objection to cutting him loose to die out of prison. Robert Thomas was going home.

Chapter 1

The rain started around dawn, a real gully washer according to Henry, the owner of the town’s only grocery store. Henry had been considered something of a weather prophet, since he, with the assistance of his big toe, had predicted the storm, two months earlier, that had almost destroyed the little mountain town of Pleasantville.

Until then, Eve, known as the parsonage cat, had been as placid and predictable as is possible for a cat to be. Not anymore. Let one drop of rain touch her sleek black coat, or one noise remotely resembling thunder pass through her pointed ears, and off she went, screeching like a banshee, seeking safety.

“Where do you suppose she’s hiding?” Amy Miller, the pastor’s wife, asked. They had spent most of the night at the hospital in Charlottesville, praying with Susan and Bill Williams, as their only son, Matthew, underwent brain surgery, following an injury at football practice the afternoon before.
“I feel awful that I forgot to let her in before we left, but everything happened so fast.”
By then, the rain had stopped, and a weak sun was feebly trying to master the chill of the wind, that was playfully blowing through the autumn leaves.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Pastor Jim told her, as he unfolded his white cane, and started toward the house.
“Oh no, Jim!” Amy wailed. “I see her.”
“Let me guess,” Jim said. “In the elm, next to the garage.”
“How’d you know?”
“Amy, how many times has Sonny Hopkins climbed up there to get her down?”
“I’d rather not count,” she replied. “But, Jim, it’s teacher workday, and Sonny and his grandmother have gone to visit his Aunt Peggy.”
“Lovely,” he drawled. “Okay, it’s me. I’ve climbed a few trees in my time.”
At the words, Amy felt the old struggle she’d fought ever since a bullet in Iraq, where he was serving as chaplain, had left Jim totally blind. He’d gone through rehab with flying colors, as her Grandma had said, but still, the struggle was there. She knew he was capable, yet it was there, the need to help, to protect. She knew he could climb up and bring Eve down, knew it, but there was that little worm of guilt. She could see. Shouldn’t she be the one to get the cat, or better still, tell him to leave her there? Leave her there? That wasn’t going to happen. They’d tried it, and the poor thing had crouched there in misery all day, and part of the night, afraid to come down.

You take over, Lord, she prayed, as Jim folded his cane, and took off his blazer, placing them on the wrought-iron bench next to the garage. She looked down, and was grateful he wasn’t wearing the shoes he usually wore on Sunday. These would do better for climbing. It wasn’t a hard climb with limbs close to the ground, but she was still afraid for him.

“I tell you, Amy,” he said, moving surely to the tree, and stopping at what he thought was the best place to start climbing. “That cat’s got to work on her faith in the face of a storm. Is this right?”
“I think so,” she replied, in answer to his question, “but I don’t see her, now. The leaves are so thick.” And oh, how she wanted to say, leave her until we can find somebody else. And again, she conquered the urge.

To her fear and joy all rolled up in one, up he went from limb to limb, cooing, “Eve, pretty girl. Come on pretty Eve. Amy, I’m feeling around, and I can’t find her. Are you sure she’s up here?”
“Absolutely. I only caught a glimpse, but I’m sure. What’s wrong with her? Cats usually fight their rescuer, but last time she was so anxious to get down, she jumped on Sonny’s head.”
“Gee thanks, that’s comforting,” he said, but she could hear a smile in his voice. “Got her tail,” he said triumphantly. “Ouch! What on earth is wrong with you, Eve?”

“Jim, what happened?”
“She bit me.”
“Oh, no!” she exclaimed just as the phone inside the parsonage began to ring. She turned in that direction; torn between Jim and the fear that Matthew had taken a turn for the worse, although things had been fine when they started home. Then, with horror, she saw her, Eve, casually strolling from the garage.
“I think she’s going to jump down,” he announced, just as a black streak soared from the tree, and into the street.
“Well, yes, she did, but, well, Jim it isn’t Eve.”
“It what?”
“It wasn’t, I mean isn’t, Eve.”
“What do you mean, it wasn’t Eve? You saw her!”
“I did see something,” and she just knew she was going to cry, and then, she just knew she was going to laugh, because Jim was laughing, that wonderful laugh that had brought them through so many crises since his blindness.
“But, darling,” he said, as he dropped safely off the last limb, “if it wasn’t Eve, who was it?”
“Jim, I haven’t the faintest idea, but it was definitely a cat, and I have the feeling it didn’t want to be disturbed. Jim, I really am sorry.”
“Yeah, well, so am I, sort of,” he said. “Where’s Eve?”
In answer, the little cat, purring like a buzz-saw, began to rub around his legs.
“Where was she?” he asked smiling in spite of himself.
“She came strolling out of the garage. Jim she’s getting hairs all over you.”
“That’s all right,” he said, mock malice in the next words, “you’ll brush it off.”
He picked up his cane and put on his blazer from where he’d left it on the bench and transferred Eve to his shoulder, further distributing black hair over his beige blazer, and put his free arm around Amy.
Then, he started to laugh again, pulling her close.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Just proves to us that the eyes of people who can see, can deceive them.”


This month I’d like to introduce you to a brand new column. If it’s one thing, my clients have taught me it’s that the old adage of, ‘Be careful what you wish for, cause you just might get it’ is true.

When I saw that I wasn’t going to get The Writer’s Grapevine out in January, I began planning for February, the month of love instead. With that thought in mind I put out a call for poetry. Well, I got so many incredible submissions, a new column was born. This is something I hope to keep going every month from now on, And here to wake up your poetic muse are this month’s poems.

We begin with author Trish Hubschman with a poetic farewell to her father, who passed away suddenly.

Bye Bye Daddy

By Trish Hubschman

February 2020

My heart is  broken

You are forever gone

You left us and earth so unexpected

You are loved by so many

If you only knew

You’d be smiling

You are smiling

I miss you so much

Never to see you again

Or hold your hand.

I feel empty

The tears keep falling

You were my knight in shining armor when I was a child

We danced at my wedding and you  sang to me

I  clung to you.

You were always my Daddy no matter how old I got

Please be happy in  Heaven

Please rest in peace.

About the Author

Trish Hubschman has published three books with America Star Books: a short story collection of time travel and romance stories called Through Time and the first two books in the Tracy Gayle/Danny Tide series: The Fire and Unlucky Break. Trish attended college at Long Island University’s Southampton campus, earning a BA degree in English with an emphasis in writing. She lives with her husband and dog Henry.

To learn more visit:

Next is author Jo E. Pinto with some poetic political food for thought.

A Hundred Plowshares

By: J. E. Pinto

There will be peace in the valley someday, someday …

And the young men will beat their swords into plowshares.

The politicians spin tales of peace and prosperity–

Honey drips from their sound bites and campaign promises.

But one sword sells for a hundred plowshares on the Senate floor.

Peace in the valley is bad for the economy.

Pickers with brown bodies are cursed, beaten, deported–

They feed our children and disappear in the shadows.

Young soldiers with great dreams march off to war with the

Triumphal dirges of their high school bands and devoted church choirs

Ringing in their ears, ringing in their ears …


Jo Elizabeth Pinto was born in Chicago in 1971 and grew up in Brighton, Colorado. She was part of the first generation of disabled students who integrated the public school system in the late 1970’s. In 1992, Pinto graduated from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley with a degree in Human Rehabilitative Services. While teaching disabled students how to use adaptive computer technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Organization Management. Blind since birth, she is currently self-employed as a braille textbook proofreader.

As an author, Pinto knows the importance of entertaining her readers while also giving them food for thought. Whether she writes fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, she draws inspiration from her own experiences to show her audience that hope is always just an action away.

Pinto currently lives in Colorado with her husband Gerald and her daughter Sarah, her yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn, two cats named Sam-I-Am and Andy, and a parakeet called Rocket.

For book information, interviews and more visit Jo’s Author Website:

Here’s Author Anne Copeland with a poetic birthday tribute to her daughter.

Dear Readers.

I wrote this in honor of my daughter’s birthday.

The Birthing

By: Anne Copeland

February, 2020

Feb. 13, 1960

I waited with the world for you to be born.
Each of us waited,Some counting the minutes
Some aware but working to do the many things
that keep the wheels of the world turning.
And some slept
Knowing you would come without their encouragement.
I waited along working at tasks gentle and
quiet vaguely aware of the minutes speeding by.
The rain fell as if the world were crying and then
softly with just a few fireworks, you were born.
And despite such a small, quiet entrance
You filled me with a sense of promise;
A sort of inner rebirthing.
I have witnessed your birth some 78 years.
I have seen you born sometimes with tears, sometimes with a sense of joy.
But always there is the smallest sense of change and of something
that is already ancient. 

For more information on Anne and her work please visit:

Author Butterfly Thomas joins us with a hopeful Haiku which calls for spring. 

Haiku 6

By: Butterfly Thomas

My pure hope will spring

Eternally like a star

That Shoots through the Sky



The author is on Facebook at Tasha Hubbard. To learn more about Butterfly and her work visit:  

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor shares her thoughts on love.

What Is Love?

By: Abbie Johnson Taylor

February, 2020

Being warmed from within by another,

having someone with whom to share dreams,

a soothing voice that comforts you,

gentle hands that smooth life’s hardships,

strong arms that hold you close,

lips that bring you pleasure.

Love is a heart that’s yours forever.



Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies. She is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years she cared for her late husband, who was totally blind and was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after they were married. Before that, she spent 15 years as a registered music therapist, working in nursing homes and other facilities that serve senior citizens. She also taught braille, facilitated a support group for the visually impaired, and served on the advisory board to a trust fund that allows people with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment.

For more information visit:

In closing, we’ve author Tasha Halpert with her poetic thoughts about time.

About Time

By: Tasha Halpert

Copyright February 2020

Oh you can’t keep time,

 though it seems to fit in clocks,

and it’s easy to lose

even if you have locks.

Maybe you can steal time

if you’re very stealthy

but you can’t buy time

even if you’re wealthy.

You might beat time,

 though it wouldn’t be kind;

 and should you waste time

you’ll be left behind.

To be behind time

just isn’t much fun,

 and you can’t gain time

even if you run.

It’s best to take time

whenever you may

because before you know it,

It has run away.

To learn more about Tasha visit:


Here back with us in the Reading With the Authors column is author Joan Myles with a quick update concerning Ari and a review of a book that was surely a comfort to her throughout her recent trials.

Dear Readers,

After his recent sickness, my retired Guide Dog Ari continues to do well, a bit better each day, and is a spark in these dark days of winter skies and governmental misdeeds. *but let’s not go there right now*

Below I’ve enclosed a book review for the Reading With the Authors column.

Hope all is going smoothly with you, dearest friend.

Love and sweetness to you, the King, and your readers.


Walden: Or Life in the Woods

By Henry David Thoreau

Copyright 1854

BR 12576, 3 volumes

To read Walden is to step outside the mundane, to explore the wonders of Nature, to discover afresh the timeless delights and challenges of being human. 

Penned nearly two hundred years ago, Thoreau’s account of living at Walden Pond is a vividly delicious feast for the spirit and senses alike. Everything is described in rich detail: the cost and materials for building his cabin, the varieties of trees and wildlife he encounters, his feelings and opinions concerning the functions of government, the need for the railroad, for education, and so much more.

But if Thoreaus descriptions stray into tedium at times or seem to be a bit self-involved, they will just as suddenly sweep you off your feet and carry you away with surprise and wonder.  The antics of a loon, for example, flying overhead and diving into the pond’s depths, passing under and beyond his little boat ; his careful, awe-filled study of bubbles forming amid the ponds ice in winter;  and the child’s eye he brings to a battle between black and red ants, all keep the pages turning. The author’s deep appreciation of Nature is apparent in every line, and his invitation to join him in experiencing Walden’s woodland sanctuary feels like a veritable call to prayer. 

Throughout his discussions, Thoreau shares his vast knowledge with humility and sensitivity. He calls elements of the natural world by their actual names, cites classic and scientific sources, relates Eastern and Native American spiritual traditions, and interweaves objective fact with local hearsay. 

Poetic, humorous, and deep, Walden transports readers back to simplicity, and urges us to wrestle big ideas. Most importantly, by relating his experiences at Walden pond, Thoreau shines a light into every person’s soul and proclaims: Wake up friend, and live! 

Connect with me online at the following link:

A Place To Belong

By Phyllis Campbell

Copyright Phyllis Campbell, 2002

Soon to be rereleased at a lower price. Reviewed by: Patty L. Fletcher

***Reader’s note***

I feel quite strongly this book would make good reading for Young Adult and Older Readers.

The professional description you’ll read shortly will tell you only a tiny bit of what this magnificent book is about. It will if you allow it cause you to think you’re in for an afternoon of light sometimes Whitty while being tender, in spots, reading and you’d be right. But. You would also be wrong. A Place To Belong teaches so many lessons while entertaining from word one until The End at the bottom of the last page that it is at times emotionally overwhelming to read. Yes, in a couple of spots I stopped reading to wipe my eyes and catch my breath. The contrast of the tender thoughtful ways of the family Jill goes to compared to the ones who sent her there are so vividly drawn throughout the book I felt I knew each one and could feel them wanting to help but not impede her growth. I found myself admiring the way her Grandmother and the rest of her family as well as the community jumped in to welcome and care for her until she began to be more able to care for herself. Loved the way she was drawn into the warmth of the family like it or not and when that was threatened by a lying disrespectful boyfriend and his girl on the side, I felt angry. The way in which this author who has also been a teacher of students such as the ones she writes of here, captures their youth both with Roger’s lack of understanding to Kevin’s warm slightly older young-man ways is refreshingly accurate and the attention to detail is flawless. I’d love to see another book from this one, maybe a two-part series, something. I don’t know but when this book ended, though there were no loose ends I found myself wanting to know what happened next in this wonderful group of people’s lives. Do I recommend this book for you? Absolutely 100 percent I do. I read this in one afternoon on my iBook in PDF format with no trouble and was amazed to see hours had passed without my having been aware. A nice way to spend the day to be sure.


Phyllis Staton Campbell, who was born blind, writes about the world she knows best. She calls on her experience as teacher of the blind, peer counselor and youth transition coordinator. She says that she lives the lives of her characters: lives of sorrow and joy; triumph and failure; hope and despair. That she and her characters sometimes see the world in a different way, adds depth to the story. She sees color in the warmth of the sun on her face, the smell of rain, the call of a cardinal, and God, in a rainbow of love and grace.

Although she was born in Amherst County, Virginia, she has lived most of her life in Staunton, Virginia, where she serves as organist at historic Faith Lutheran church, not far from the home she shared with her husband, Chuck, who waits beyond that door called death.

To see more visit:


HEALTH MATTERS: Benefits of Low-Fat milk, Mushrooms, and Exercise

by Leonore H. Dvorkin


Leonore welcomes comments on any of her articles.

Note: This article was first published in the February 2020 edition of Bob Branco’s online newsletter, The Consumer Vision, which is edited by Leonore and David Dvorkin.

Drinking 1% rather than 2% milk accounts for 4.5 years of less aging in adults

 (Source: EurekAlert, 1/15/20. From the University of California – Riverside) 

Summary line: High-fat milk consumption is connected with significantly shorter telomeres.

A new study shows that drinking low-fat milk, both nonfat and 1% milk, is significantly associated with less aging in adults. The results were from a study on 5,834 U.S. adults by Brigham Young University exercise professor Larry Tucker, PhD.

Telomeres are the nucleotide endcaps of human chromosomes. They act like a biological clock. They are correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, a human loses a tiny bit of the endcaps. The older people get, the shorter their telomeres. It appears that the more high-fat milk people drink, the shorter their telomeres are. In the study, for every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (drinking 2% vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter in the adults studied, which translated into more than four years in additional biological aging. Those consuming whole milk had telomeres that were a striking 145 base pairs shorter than non-fat milk drinkers.  Surprisingly, Dr. Tucker found that those who drank no milk also had shorter telomeres than adults who consumed low-fat milk.

The bottom line: Dr. Tucker says his findings support the current Dietary Guidelines for Adults (2015-2020), which encourage adults to consume low-fat milk, both nonfat milk and 1% milk, rather than whole milk.  

A personal note: After reading this article, my husband and I switched from 2% to 1% milk. We buy organic milk from Costco.  

  1. Eating mushrooms may help lower prostate cancer risk

(Source: EurekAlert, 9/5/19)

A total of 36,499 Japanese men were followed for a median of 13.2 years. Of the participants, 3.3% developed prostate cancer. Compared with those who consumed mushrooms less than once a week, those who consumed mushrooms once or twice a week had an 8% lower risk of prostate cancer, and those who consumed them three or more times a week had a 17% lower risk. Information on mushroom species was not collected.

  1. Numerous additional benefits of mushrooms

Search online for the benefits of mushrooms, and you’ll find multiple lists of them. I consulted a few such lists. According to those, mushrooms can do all of the following:

– Reduce inflammation, especially shitake mushrooms. 

– Lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.

– Improve bone health and heart health.

– Boost the immune system.

– Provide vitamin D, which is not easy to get from food unless it is fortified.

– Aid in weight loss.

– Improve the health of skin and nails.

– Boost iron levels.

– There is some evidence, at least in rodent experiments, that mushrooms promote nerve growth in the brain. Thus the hope is that they might possibly help prevent Alzheimer’s.

– They are a good food choice for diabetics, as they are quite low in carbohydrates.

All types of mushrooms are good for you. My husband and I mainly eat the common white button mushrooms, both canned and fresh, with the latter lightly cooked. We enjoy other, more exotic types of mushrooms when we eat out at various Asian restaurants.

We are also enjoying dried and seasoned shitake mushrooms, which are crunchy and delicious, ready to be eaten right out of the bag. The company that produces the ones we buy at Costco is The Snak Yard (spelled S n a k). A one-third cup serving of these dried mushrooms provides 120 calories, just 8 grams of fat, and just 8 grams of carbohydrates. It also provides 7 grams of fiber. According to the diabetes management class I took, you can subtract the fiber grams from the carbohydrate grams in a given food, so that leaves only 1 gram of carbs per serving, making these a very good snack for me.

  1. Summary of a long article called “The New Science of Exercise,” TIME Magazine, September 12 and September 19, 2016 (a double issue).

While this article is not new, it is so comprehensive and impressive that I want to summarize  parts of it for you here.

– Now there is proof that exercise works almost like a miracle drug. It can be used as medicine for even the sickest patients. It is the most effective way to improve the quality and duration of life.

– Proven benefits of exercise include slower aging at the cellular level, better mood and stress release, less chronic pain, stronger vision, more resistance to fatigue, stronger bones, and faster wound healing. 

– Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week. (You need both types of exercise.)

– People with low physical activity are at higher risk for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and early death by any cause.

– Nearly half of U.S. high school students don’t have a weekly PE class, and only 15% of elementary schools require PE at least three times a week.

– Childhood obesity rates have climbed every year since 1999.

– For cardiovascular training: Walking has the lowest quit rate of any type of exercise. Cycling at any intensity improves mood. Running improves sleep and makes bones stronger. Even just 5-10 minutes of running per day is linked to a longer life.

– For strength training: Yoga improves strength and mindfulness and reduces stress. Weight training of any type builds muscle and strengthens bones; lifting lighter weights for high repetitions improves bone health in key parts of the body, which is good news for older people. Tai chi strengthens the back, abdominals, and lower body.

– Longer, less intense workouts and shorter, more intense ones seem to be equally beneficial.

– These things count, too: Heavy gardening, taking the stairs, fidgeting, singing, laughing, doing housework, standing more, and sitting less.

A personal note: My husband and I lift weights, walk, and use an exercise bike and a treadmill. We are delighted to know about all these benefits of exercise.  

About the Author

Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver, Colorado, since 1971. They are the authors of a total of 33 published books, both fiction and nonfiction. Twenty-nine of the books are by David. His most recent book is a short, nonfiction account of his years at NASA, where he worked on Apollo 11 and four other Apollo missions. The title is When We Landed on the Moon: A Memoir. The book is for sale in e-book and print formats. Full details and buying links are here:    

Leonore teaches German and Spanish in her home. That’s where she also teaches exercise classes, mainly weight training. She’s been teaching those classes since 1976, and in 1977, she won a state-wide award from the YWCA for her program.

Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services.

David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for more details.

David’s website:

Leonore’s website:

DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:

Note: David and Leonore are currently accepting new editing projects for 2020. The books are edited on a first-come, first-served basis. They request that you kindly read the details on the DLD Books website before contacting them regarding an editing project, as the information there answers multiple common questions regarding their services and self-publishing in general. 


The 15 Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks

It’s well after dark and your stomach is rumbling. The challenge is figuring out what you can eat that’s quick, tasty and won’t cause you to pack on the pounds. After all, there’s growing scientific evidence that eating too late at night could make weight control harder. Fortunately, if you’re truly hungry, a small, nutrient-rich snack under 200 calories is generally fine at night

Some snacks even contain compounds that may help you sleep better

Here are 15 excellent and healthy late-night snack ideas.

  1. Tart Cherries

Consider adding tart cherries like Montmorency or their juice to your late-night snack options.

A few, small studies suggest that they may help you sleep better. What’s more, they have anti-inflammatory benefits and may offer protection against inflammation-related conditions like arthritis and heart disease

In a recent study, a small group of older women with insomnia drank 8 ounces (240 ml) of 100% tart cherry juice or a placebo drink at breakfast and 1–2 hours before bedtime.

After two weeks, an on-site sleep test showed that those drinking cherry juice slept nearly one and a half hours more at night, compared to the placebo group

Tart cherries contain the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, but only a relatively small amount.

However, they also contain the phytochemical procyanidin B-2, thought to protect the amino acid tryptophan in your blood, which can be used to make melatonin An 8-ounce (240-ml) glass of 100% tart cherry juice or one-third cup (40 grams) of dried tart cherries have around 140 calories

Summary Tart cherries and their juice make an ideal late-night snack since studies suggest they may help you sleep better. Eight ounces (240-ml) of 100% tart cherry juice or one-third cup (40 grams) of dried tart cherries have around 140 calories.

  1. Banana With Almond Butter

One small banana dipped in a tablespoon (16 grams) of unsweetened almond butter is a tasty, 165-calorie pairing that may even help you sleep

One study in healthy men found a more than 4-fold increase in melatonin blood levels within two hours of eating two bananas. Bananas are one of the few fruits known to be relatively rich in the nerve messenger serotonin, some of which your body converts to melatonin.

Almonds and almond butter supply some melatonin as well. Plus, they’re a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E and magnesium. Magnesium has been linked to good sleep, since it may support your body’s production of melatonin

Summary Snacking on a banana dipped in almond butter may help increase your body’s melatonin levels to support a good night’s sleep — all that for only about 165 calories.

  1. Kiwis Fruit

This fuzzy-skinned, sweet-tart fruit is nutritious and figure-friendly.

Two peeled kiwis pack only 93 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 190% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. In addition, kiwi fruit may help you sleep better.

The fruit was put to the test in a study in 24 adults with sleep difficulties. Participants ate two kiwis one hour before bed every night. Sleep diaries and a sleep wristwatch were used to track sleep. After one month, people noticed a 35% decrease in the time it took them to fall asleep. They also slept about 13% longer and 5% better).

Kiwis are one of few fruits containing a good amount of the nerve messenger serotonin, which has a relaxing effect and can help you fall asleep faster. Serotonin also helps curb carb cravings Though larger studies are needed to confirm the sleep benefits of kiwi, there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy this fruit in the meantime.

Summary Kiwis are a light, satisfying snack that’s rich in vitamin C. Two peeled kiwis pack only 93 calories. They’re also a natural source of serotonin, which promotes relaxation and helps curb appetite.

  1. Pistachios

Pistachios stand out among other nuts for their high levels of sleep-promoting melatonin. Though all plant foods are thought to naturally contain this substance, few have as much as pistachios  One ounce (28 grams) of shelled pistachios, which is about a handful, has 160 calories and about 6.5 mg of melatonin

For comparison, the amount of melatonin typically recommended aiding sleep is 0.5–5 mg

Summary A handful (1 ounce or 28 grams) of shelled pistachios packs as much sleep-promoting melatonin as a dietary supplement, at only 160 calories.

  1. Protein Smoothie

Eating a protein-rich snack before bed could support muscle repair and help slow down age-related muscle loss, particularly if you exercise routinely. Smoothies are an easy and tasty way to sneak in protein-rich milk before bed.

For example, blend 8 ounces (240 ml) of low-fat milk with 2/3 cups (110 grams) of frozen pineapple for a tropical treat with only around 160 calories. What’s more, milk is rich in tryptophan. Your body uses this amino acid to make both serotonin and melatonin, which aid sleep

Pineapple has been found to boost melatonin levels as well

Summary A milk-based smoothie supplies protein for muscle repair and tryptophan, which is used to make sleep-promoting brain chemicals. An 8-ounce (240-ml) smoothie with low-fat milk and pineapple packs only about 160 calories.

  1. Goji Berries

The red-orange color of these sweet-tart berries hints at their rich supply of antioxidants, including carotenoids.Goji berries also contain a bit of melatonin, which may help you sleep. In a preliminary, two-week study, participants drank 4 ounces (120 ml) of goji berry juice or a placebo beverage.More than 80% of people in the goji berry group reported improved sleep quality, and about 70% found it easier to wake up, while around 50% reported feeling less tired. People in the placebo group reported no such benefits

Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to confirm these sleep benefits, but goji berries are a simple, nutrient-rich snack, in any case. One-fourth cup (40 grams) of dried goji berries has 150 calories. You can eat them like raisins or add them to trail mix or cereal

Summary Goji berries are an antioxidant-rich snack, which may aid good sleep. One-fourth cup (40 grams) of these tasty, dried berries has only 150 calories.

  1. Crackers and Cheese

Snacks that offer a balance of carbs and protein like whole-grain crackers and cheese support consistent blood sugar levels. From a sleep perspective, combining a carb-rich food like crackers with a good tryptophan source like cheese helps make tryptophan more available to your brain This means that the compound can be used to make serotonin and melatonin, which aid sleep.

A serving of 4 whole-wheat crackers (16 grams) and one stick of reduced-fat cheddar cheese (28 grams) is around 150 calories.

Summary The combo of protein from cheese and carbs from crackers supports steady blood sugar levels and the production of sleep-supportive brain chemicals. What’s more, 4 crackers and 1 stick (28 grams) of reduced-fat cheese pack only 150 calories.

  1. Hot Cereal

Hot cereal isn’t just for breakfast. It’s also a great way to wind down at night.

Hot, whole-grain cereals like oatmeal are good sources of fiber. Plus, they’re generally a healthier choice than cold, more refined products. You can also think outside the box by turning cooked barley or whole-grain rice into hot cereal with the addition of milk and toppings like cinnamon, nuts or dried fruit.

Prepare whole grains that require longer cooking times in advance and store them in your fridge for a few days. Simply add a bit of water and reheat the grains when you’re ready for a late-night snack. Besides satisfying your hunger, oats, barley and rice (black or red rice) are natural sources of melatonin. One three-quarter cup (175 grams) of cooked oatmeal made with water averages 124 calories. Sprinkling it with 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of raisins adds 27 calories

Summary Just about any cooked whole grain can be combined with milk or other toppings for a healthy late-night snack. The melatonin in grains like oats and barley supports sleep, and a 3/4 cup (175 grams) of cooked oatmeal made with water only has 124 calories.

  1. Trail Mix

You can buy trail mix pre-made or purchase your favorite ingredients individually and make your own.

Dried fruits, nuts and seeds are typical healthy choices. Mix them together and pre-portion about one-fourth cup (38 grams) into snack-sized bags or reusable tubs. Since trail mix ingredients are generally calorie-dense, it’s important to watch your portion size. A one-fourth-cup (38-gram) serving of trail mix averages 173 calories Besides supplying healthy fats, B vitamins and minerals, certain trail mix add-ins may even support sleep.

For example, walnuts, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries have been noted for their melatonin contents

Summary Some trail mix ingredients, such as walnuts and dried cranberries, contain sleep-promoting melatonin. A one-fourth-cup (38-gram) serving averages 173 calories, depending on the mix. Measure your trail mix portions to avoid excess calories.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Long known for keeping your bones strong, this mineral has more recently also been linked to better sleep. Your body needs calcium to make melatonin the amino acid. Yogurt, from especially Greek yogurt, is also rich in protein, particularly casein.

Preliminary studies suggest that consuming casein protein at night may help reduce hunger the next morning. If yogurt is your snack of choice, opt for plain and flavor it with unsweetened fruit, such as berries or peaches. A 6-ounce (170-gram) container of plain, nonfat yogurt has 94 calories. Mixing in a half cup (74 grams) of blueberries adds 42 calories

Summary Yogurt is a good source of protein, which helps curb hunger. It’s also rich in calcium, which has been linked to better sleep. A 6-ounce (170-gram) container of plain, nonfat yogurt has only 94 calories.

  1. Whole-Grain Wrap

Tortillas can be filled in any number of ways to satisfy late-night hunger.

For a simple snack, warm one whole-grain tortilla, top it with hummus, unsweetened nut butter or sundried tomato spread, roll it up and enjoy. A 6-inch (30-gram) tortilla averages 94 calories. Adding 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of hummus increases the number of calories by 25

If you need something a little heartier, try adding leftover chopped chicken breast, leafy greens and dried cranberries. Chicken is a notable source of tryptophan, which is needed for making melatonin. Dried cranberries supply melatonin as well

Summary A small, whole-grain tortilla is a blank slate for a healthy late-night snack, at only 94 calories. Just add nutritious toppings or fillings, such as hummus and leftover chicken breast, and enjoy.

  1. Pumpkin Seeds

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds has 146 calories and provides 37% of the RDI for magnesium, which has been linked to better sleep

Pumpkin seeds are also rich in tryptophan. Eating some carbs like half an apple or some raisins together with pumpkin seeds encourages your body to route the tryptophan in the seeds to your brain to make melatonin.

In a small, preliminary, one-week study, some participants consumed 250 mg of tryptophan from pumpkin seeds daily, plus carbs in the form of a nutrition bar. These people slept 5% better and spent less time awake. In comparison, people who received 250 mg of supplemental, drug-quality tryptophan powder and carbs in a nutrition bar slept 7% better. A control group who ate a carb-only snack did not report improved sleep quality

Larger studies are needed to confirm these results. Still, it’s encouraging that tryptophan from a food, such as pumpkin seeds, may have a similar effect to pure, supplemental tryptophan.

Summary Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, which may help support sleep, particularly when eaten with carbs, such as raisins or fresh fruit. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds has 146 calories.

  1. Edamame

Edamame, which are unripe, green soybeans, can be purchased fresh or frozen.

For a simple, late-night snack, toss fresh or thawed, shelled edamame with a bit of salt and pepper. You don’t even need to cook them. A half-cup (113-gram) serving has 150 calories Alternatively, you can buy dry-roasted edamame, which is similar to fully mature, roasted soybeans (soy nuts). One-fourth cup (30 grams) has 130 calories

Edamame is a good source of protein, which includes a notable amount of the amino acid tryptophan. To help shuttle the tryptophan to your brain to make melatonin, pair the edamame with carbs. For example, use edamame instead of garbanzo beans in your favorite hummus recipe and spread it on whole-grain toast or pair dry-roasted edamame with dried fruit.

Summary Green soybeans, known as edamame, are a good source of protein, including the amino acid tryptophan. Buy them fresh, frozen or dry-roasted. One-half cup (113 grams) of fresh edamame has 150 calories, while dry-roasted edamame are higher in calories.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of snacks, depending on how much time and effort you want to put in.

For example, keep some hard-boiled eggs on hand in your refrigerator for a quick snack or to turn them into egg salad as a spread for crackers. There are also many grain-free, scrambled-egg muffin recipes online. These tasty treats can often be frozen and reheated at a later point in a muffin pan or your microwave.

One large egg has just 72 calories and supplies 6 grams of hunger-satisfying protein, including 83 mg of tryptophan

Summary You may not think of eggs as a snack, but they’re quick to cook and a good source of protein, which helps tame your hunger. One large egg has just 72 calories.

  1. Strawberries and Brie

If you’re looking for a large snack serving that doesn’t pack a lot of calories, reach for fresh strawberries.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain a notable amount of melatonin One cup (166 grams) of sliced strawberries has only 53 calories. At that rate, you could enjoy two cups and still stay well below the recommended 200-calorie limit for late-night snacks (46). Alternatively, pair a cup (166 grams) of sliced strawberries with 1 ounce (28 grams) of brie. The cheese adds 94 calories and about 6 grams of hunger-satisfying protein

Keep in mind that brie and other types of soft cheese are not recommended for pregnant women. Eating soft cheese carries a risk of listeria infections, which may cause miscarriage

Summary Fresh strawberries are great when you want a visually-satisfying, large serving for few calories. Pairing them with brie provides protein to help satisfy hunger longer. One cup (166 grams) of strawberries with a 1-ounce (28-gram) side of brie has only 147 calories.

The Bottom Line

If you’re truly hungry late at night — rather than just bored or stressed — eating a snack under 200 calories shouldn’t tip the scales.

Whole, minimally processed foods like berries, kiwis, goji berries, edamame, pistachios, oatmeal, plain yogurt and eggs make easy, tasty and healthy late-night snacks. Many of these foods even contain sleep-supportive compounds, including tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium and calcium.

The most important thing is to keep healthy snacks on hand that you enjoy. You’ll be less tempted to run to the convenience store or hit the nearest fast-food drive-through for an unhealthy, high-calorie snack before bed.

Goddess Bless!




First up is a post from Sue Vincent and her four-legged friend which is sure to bring a smile to your heart:

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This ends The Writer’s Grapevine Valentine’s Day Edition.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.

Thanks to Claire Plaisted of Plaisted Publishing House for her assistance with proofreading and posting onto my blog: .

May harmony find you, and blessid be.



Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer and Social Media Promotional Assistant.

Patty is the owner and creator of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, and is the published author of two books, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, and Bubba Tails from the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye.

Patty can also be found in two anthologies which are, December Awethology Light and A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales.

Patty is now working on the first book of a memoir trilogy called Pathway To Freedom Broken and Healed. 

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