THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE SPRING AND THINGS MARCH APRIL 2023 EDITION

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE SPRING AND THINGS MARCH APRIL 2023 EDITION

The Writer’s Grapevine cover image. The magazine title and signature illustrated grapes appear over painted image of a long-eared rabbit gazing up at a full moon, visible between the grape leaves. The moon illuminates the rabbit’s face and chest, as well as the peaks of the soft clouds in the dark sky which obscure some of the splattered stars. Apart from the warm golden glow of the moon, the scene has a soft blueish tint, which darkens the purple grapes and the rabbit’s brown fur and white fluffy tail.

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE SPRING AND THINGS MARCH APRIL EDITION

BY PATTY L. FLETCHER

A PUBLICATION OF TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD MARKETING (AUTHOR, BLOGGER BUSINESS ASSIST)

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GREETINGS…

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 sure to send out the entire magazine. If you choose to share specific items, please copy each one in its completion, thus giving the author or business full credit.

Thanks to Two Pentacles Publishing for formatting, photo description and final edits.

Thanks also to editors:

Abbie Johnson Taylor,

And:

Marlene Mesot

As well as to our proofreader, poet Joan Myles.

 

SPONSORS…

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

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

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

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

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

  • An ad or ads up to 500 words in length on the sponsor page of my blog will remain until you either request them removed or ask to update in some way
  • A spot in my monthly online magazine, the Writer’s Grapevine, and:
  • A spot in the annual Writer’s Grapevine Holiday Extravaganza.
  • Your ads will also be used in Facebook events held on my Facebook page, @TellItToTheWorld

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

We take payments via PayPal here.

Our sponsor page is a work in progress and is always being updated, so be sure to check back often.

SPONSORS…

COLONIAL HEIGHTS ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Website

AUTHOR JO E. PINTO
New Release 2020
Apples of Gold

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

Author Website

MEREDITH LEIGH BURTON: THE CHOCOLATE DOG

Author Website

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

EZ2SeeProducts Website

PLAISTED PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD


Author Consultant Website

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

Author Website

CASEY MATHEWS OF WEBFRIENDLYHELP
Virtual Tech Advisor and Research Assistant


Website

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


Author Website

AUTHOR AND BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER PRAANAV LAL


Author Website

JOHN CRAWFORD’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC


Website

MARLENE MESOT
Author of The Purging Fire and Other Titles


Author Website

AUTHOR BUTTERFLY THOMAS
In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry


Author Website

TWO PENTACLES PUBLISHING SERVICES


Website

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


Author Website

WHAT’S UP…

EDITOR’S WELCOME

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

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

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

First up with all her celebratory goings on is poet Joan Myles.

Snuffles of Spring and a Birthday

By poet Joan Myles

Here in the Willamette Valley, February marks the middle of the rainy season. Songbirds cheerily proclaim their message of renewal. Breezes stir the air and push against me playfully as I walk along beside Aries.

For her part, Aries seems to snuffle the yard with renewed interest because everything is new, renewed and alive. Everything is celebrating life again and again, one season at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time.

And hey! Speaking of celebrating, I am writing this update on Aries birthday. Three years old and spirited as a colt, Aries is already a pro at getting me up and moving. She carries her yellow ball around most days, ever ready and hopeful that a game of fetch is just around the corner. She lures me out of my chair by squawking her toys. She runs up to me in the hall and tugs me into the living room, growling and wagging and prancing us around in circles. During games of Scrabble with J, she frequently interrupts by “showing” me her ball without actually giving it to me. Walking backward, she leads me away from my chair and into her play.

And oh, what a walking partner she is becoming!

So, Happy birthday to you, dear Aries! Now let’s go play a game of fetch!

About the Author

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

Joan earned a B.A. in education and a Master’s in Jewish studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a rehabilitation teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over fifteen years.

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

Find her work and contact her here.

Next, we’ve Edward Cohen Founder of EZ2SeeProducts with a word about Hawaii, cats, business and more.

#43 February 2023 EZ2See News

By Edward Cohen of

EZ2See® Products LLC

Hello,

 

Now firmly two months into 2023, I finally stopped writing 2022. Grin.

First the Personal Stuff

How My Vacation Went

Last month I said I was finally taking a vacation. I’m not going to run through each of the 11 days my wife and I were gone. That includes two days totally spent in transit to the destination of Maui Hawaii. To keep it brief, here are the highlights.

Leaving through an extraordinarily busy Minneapolis airport was made possible by airport staff seeing me with my white cane and ushering us through quickly. I’ve learned to always use my cane when in an airport.

We spent the first two days on the east coast of the island. We wanted to experience both sides which are very different. It rained on and off both days. But having appropriate rain gear, we still reveled at being able to wear shorts and t-shirts having come from frigid Minnesota.

The next seven days were spent after an hour cab-ride away on the west coast which is a hilly area of moderate-sized hotels, condos and pricy, private developments. The amount of car traffic was surprising, considering gas cost $5.25 a gallon.

Over the days of relaxing on the public beach across the street and by the hotel’s pool, the stresses of the past gradually faded away.

We used the island’s modern public bus system to get around a bit. The bus had an automatic stop announcement system and even seatbelts. It appeared well used by both locals and tourists.

One day it took us to the town of Lahaina which is famous for its huge Banyan tree and an active harbor. We spent several hours exploring and enjoying lunch.

There we boarded our 2-hour whale-watching cruise. Within 15 minutes of motoring out, the captain cut the engines and the naturalist got on the microphone. In the whale marine sanctuary, you are prohibited from motoring closer than 100 yards from any whale. The whales decide if they want to come closer. And closer they did! Within minutes, the excited naturalist and others were shouting and spotting whale fins and plumes of exhaust spray not far off on all sides. Then as if she couldn’t get any more excited, the naturalist shouted that two whales were approaching and then twice closely circled and even dove under our ship. She stated that they appeared to be a female and a male. She explained that it was not uncommon for such behavior when the female is telling the male to, “Get Lost.”

It was while the two circled us that I realized I was on a whale-listening cruise. Several times as I turned to track their movements, I clearly heard the explosive sound of their exhaling breath. As I disembarked with cane in hand, I thanked the crew person helping us off for the whale-listening cruise. She clapped me on my shoulder and said she loved that.

Travel by air covering multiple time zones and airports seemed exhausting. Perhaps having not done it for many years and now being into my 70’s might also have something to do with it, though I’m not ready to admit that part yet. Grin. I’m grateful I had this opportunity. Now far more relaxed, I was ready to get back to work.

What We Brought Home With Us

My wife found a cute little purse with images of colorful native flowers on it. After three days home I discovered what I brought back. Yup, my first case ever of Covid-19. Symptoms started that night and a lab test the next morning confirmed it. After the 5-day round of antiviral pills called Paxlovid, congestion cleared up, the slight headache ended and my normal energy level slowly returned. Within two weeks after finishing the pills, two tests two days apart came back negative and life was good. My heart goes out to those who caught Covid and had a much worse experience.

Cat News But Not What You Expect

Long-time readers know that our daughter and her family live about three blocks away. They also know that one of the grandson’s cat Snickers pays us the occasional visit. Till now, I never mentioned that at that same shelter visit, the other grandson adopted a small female cat and that the two cats have been living under the same roof for many years together.

Her name is Kit Kat and she is the most lovable cat you can imagine. Weather permitting, she can often be found lying where their driveway meets the neighborhood sidewalk. She’d learned that by flipping and squirming around, she got loads of petting and attention from adoring neighbors of all ages who passed by. In turn, they received the calming joy that comes from petting an affectionate animal. While cute, I never mentioned her. But now there is a story to tell.

Both cats are known, in moderate weather, to spend one or two nights away. But when Kit Kat failed to return after even more nights in August, our daughter made and plastered “Lost cat” signs throughout the neighborhood and via social media. Hope ran high through the fall but as winter dragged on, even the most hopeful sadly accepted that she was gone.

Then early this month we got a text from our daughter saying, “Kit Kat was found.” A vet in a town 25 miles away was presented with the little cat. He had scanned her embedded chip and reached out. If you want more of the story he shared, let me know.

With amazement and joy, arrangements were quickly made for the older grandson and my wife to drive to the vet and collect her. When they arrived, they noticed a strong odor coming from her. She casually came right over and jumped into the familiar cat carrier. Upon exiting the carrier at home, things got interesting.

Snickers was right there as smelly Kit Kat exited the carrier. His immediate reaction was to puff up and growl at this stranger as if saying, “This is my house.” Kit Kat’s immediate reaction was to flop on the floor meaning, “It’s me, your friend housemate.” Snickers was satisfied by this strange cat’s sign of submission and wandered off.

Once Kit Kat had been bathed and dried, they confronted each other again. This time, tentative touching of noses was followed by embracing cat style and a major lick fest. A photo of that moment is attached. While I can’t see it, I’m told it was a sight to warm the heart of any pet lover. Over the following days, familiarity took over and it was like she’d never been gone.

Two cats sitting on a throw rug, sniffing each others’ faces. The cat on the left is a ginger cat with faint stripes, and is facing away from the camera, sniffing the other’s ear. The cat on the right is facing the camera, though the ginger’s cat is blocking most of its face. The second cat is white with grayish-brown splotches on its back and head.

And Now the Business News

 

Update on the EZ2See® Organizer and Address Book

With my crazy busy January followed by the vacation and fun with Covid, work on this took a hit. But final touches have been turned in and we await a second printer proof.

Update on the Academic-year Calendar

Seeking input from teachers, I continue to focus on how to best adapt the design of the annual calendar to meet the needs of students. I’m reminded how many different ways school years are being structured from K-12 to college. Teacher input and interest has been encouraging.

The target is to broadly announce this product’s availability by May and ship orders in August. We’ll then see if this big step to make a new product will be well received. If you want ordering information, just ask.

Update on the 2023 Annual Calendar

The fourth quarter sales set a new record that greatly reduced calendar inventory. As a result, for the first time, we’ve ordered a partial second print run to avoid running out as orders traditionally continue for months. Again, another example of hoping we are making the right decision. In a nutshell, that is what a small business finds itself doing all the time.

And that’s it for February.

Thank you for your interest and continued support,

Edward

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

Edward is a low vision senior living in southeast Minnesota.

 

He is the founder and owner of EZ2See® Products LLC, established in 2015. Visit his website if you or someone you care about is looking for innovative organizing products for those living with vision loss or other challenges.

To receive this monthly news or to connect with Edward, email info@EZ2SeeProducts.com

Where to Find the EZ2See® weekly planner/calendar and high-contrast sticky note pads:

* EZ2See® Products LLC

* Amazon.com

* Select US retailers

Or simply call, 800-234-8291.

Before we leap into all the Adverts and News Nuggets, here’s the scoop from me and Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue.

What’s Up with Team Blue

By Patty L. Fletcher and her Sidekick Chief Seeing Eye® dog Blue.

March 1, 2023

Hey everyone!

I hope you are all doing super-duper-awesome as we are leaping from winter to spring.

There have been a few things happening in Patty’s Worlds, so I thought I’d best write a little update about the Chief and me. Several have asked after my health since I was so sick earlier in the winter.

Though I’m still having some water retention in my legs and if I’m not careful my blood pressure does still spike, for the most part, the lifestyle changes and medication adjustments are working and I am feeling better.

The lung CT scan was normal, my mammogram came back clear and my echocardiogram came back with a showing of a lower than normal heart function.

At first this frightened me, but the tests were read to me by a “health caseworker” rather than a doctor and as it turns out the way she presented the results to me gave a false impression. I spoke with a doctor later because I was so very concerned and he explained that the sickness I had in 2017 which partially shut down my kidneys and shot my blood pressure through the stratosphere had caused my body to age more than my actual age, thus the reason for the lower function. I also have a slow heart rate which has always been the case, so though he said it should be monitored, I’m in no serious danger as long as I take care and do as prescribed.

In the meantime, I’m lowering my salt and caffeine intake and adding more water, juice and teas to my daily routine and it is making a huge difference.

I also learned what is causing my short-term memory loss to go off the rails. It turns out a tincture I was using was too strong mixed with my meds, so I had to readjust that as well.

I’m so grateful to all of you for your support and prayers and I ask you please keep them going.

If you’ve things you’d like me to lift up in prayer please do not ever hesitate to get in touch.

As for Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue, I couldn’t ask for a better guide. He has matured so much this past year. As many of you know, when I brought Blue home, he was not amused by our public transit buses. The ramp used to go up into the bus is a bit narrow, there are lip edges along the sides and that along with the way the door is open there on one side, gave us a bit of issue with clearance. For some time, he had a bit of trouble boarding. He was also a bit nervous when riding.

The buses in NJ are different from ours so it took him some time to get the hang of them.

At first, my trainer advised me to carry a cane with me and use it to show him exactly what I wanted of him on the ramp, etc.

The drivers were extremely helpful and now, Blue has overcome this and is riding like the pro he is.

I don’t carry the cane anymore, unless we’re going to a new area where I need to show him something specific and on Monday, because our door-to-door transit was going to get me to the senior center later than I wanted, I ditched it and told Blue, “Today, we’re riding the big boy bus. The tap whacker is staying in the drawer and you, young man, are going to do your job. It’s time for you to grow up and be my big boy, so let’s go show’em what you’re made of.”

He bounced me to the bus stop with glee and when the bus arrived he happily boarded, and thanks to a little assistance from the driver, he has now learned to target the box where my bus fare goes if I don’t have a pass.

I’m continuing with my pottery and writing and before too long there will be a new book from me.

Speaking of books, several have asked about mine on BARD. So, here’s the latest book from me there.

Of course, NLS has the title wrong, but that’s OK. The recording is quite amazing not because it’s my book, but because the narration is incredible.

The correct title is “Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: Book One How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life.”

This is the first book in what is to be a memoir trilogy. They have it listed as a biography, I don’t want to split nails to make tacks but honestly, it is a memoir not a biography.

Anyhow, here’s the NLS info.

Pathway to freedom: how a seeing eye dog retrieved my life DB106095

Fletcher, Patty L Reading time: 9 hours, 47 minutes. Madelyn Buzzard

Biography of Persons with Disabilities

Biography

Disability

The author reflects on how her decision to gain independence by getting a guide dog helped her build a new life she had never imagined possible. She also discusses how she realized soon after that not all was right in her world. Strong language. 2020.

Before we go, the Chief and I would like to tell you about our new page. Here’s the scoop!

Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue is on the case.

He and his service human, Patty L. Fletcher wish to bridge the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the Non-disAbled.

Follow Team Blue here.

If you like, you may follow us there for lots of neat adventures and more.

For now, this is Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue who is always on the case and Patty who needs another cup of coffee saying, “May Harmony find You and Blessid Be.”

About Patty L. Fletcher

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

Follow her here for updates, stories and more.

ADVERTS AND NEWS NUGGETS…

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

Wild with Life

A collection of Mother Earth poetry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To contact us: cportolano@hotmail.com

 

AD: Songs for the Pilgrimage

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

By Lynda McKinney Lambert
Website

NEW!

I am proud to share my newest book publication!

From the Prologue and Epilogue of Songs for the Pilgrimage:

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

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

I conclude with an artist’s prayer:

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

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

© 1997 © 2021 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

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

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

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

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

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

About Meredith Leigh Burton:

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

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

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

C 2021 / 107 pages in print.

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

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

About the Book

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

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

“Outside the Circle”

Outside the circle I can’t see the sun

Outside the circle I don’t know anyone

Outside the circle time is on the run

Outside the circle is not much fun

Inside the circle is a white–noise crowd

Inside the circle is fashionably loud

Inside the circle there are people with guns

Inside the circle is a lot of fun

About Kevin Hubschman:

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

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

Website and contact information.

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

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

C 2020 / 117 pages in print.

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

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

About the book:

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

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

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

About Butterfly Thomas:

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

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

AD: Uneasy Tides
By Trish Hubschman

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

C 2021 / Number four in the Tracy Gayle mystery series

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

About Trish Hubschman:

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

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

Finally, a Weekly Planner You Can See!

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

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

• Vision decline

• Memory challenges

• Unsteady hands

• Cognitive impairment

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

• The need to record daily events

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

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

• Printed on heavy weight 8.5” x 11″ paper

• Uses only high contrast, black ink

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

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

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

• Runs from December 2021 into January 2023

• Spiral bound so it folds in half and lays flat

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

• It’s only as thick as a wooden pencil

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

Visit Edward on his Facebook page.

AD: Join Freedom to Be Me

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

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

What’s the More?

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

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

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

AD: Heidi Lambert McClure Sassafras Hill Studio

Oblong red and black earrings on a white lace tablecloth.

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

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

Handmade jewelry by Heidi McClure Available for purchase on Etsy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUY LINK

AD: BOOKS BY PRAANAV R LAL

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

NONFICTION (SELF-HELP)

Outsmart Blog Hijackers
Keep away those pesky hackers!

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

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

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

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

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

How to build trust with your customer even before your homepage loads!

How do you ensure your customer stays on your website and not run screaming from the homepage?

How do you establish instant legitimacy?

What happens if you lose the trust of your buyers?

FICTION…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venture Capital
A failed entrepreneur moves towards redemption

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

About Pranav Lal in his own words:

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

I write non-fiction and short stories which are hard to classify but tend towards fantasy and science fiction.

I do not give my characters any breathers and enjoy keeping the action sharp and continuous.
I use a visual prosthesis, thanks to which I am a photographer.

I enjoy technology, particularly cybersecurity which is what pays the bills.

I love interacting, so feel free to comment or say hello.

WEBSITE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Eva Pasco:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

You can order your copy on Amazon and Smashwords today!

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

About Joan Myles:

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

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

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

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

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

AD: NEW RELEASE
Poems and Prayers
By Tasha Halpert
Website

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

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

Poems and Prayers is available to purchase on Amazon today.

About Tasha Halpert:

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

 

AD: Two Pentacles Publishing Services

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

Two Pentacles Publishing Services

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

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

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

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

By phone: 971-599-7495

By email: info@twopentacles.com

Visit our website for more information!

Listen to our interview with Patty L. Fletcher of Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, linked on our website.

AD: Victoria Zigler

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

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

AD: Books by Anthony R. Candela

Anthony's book cover for Vision Dreams: A Parable: A Black background with the iris of an eye. The iris has dark blue edges, lighter neon blue inside of that, a light green color inside that, then gradually darker green as you near the center of the eye. The pupil is black. Around the eye is a luminescent blue light. The title and byline of the book are centered at the top of the cover in silvery block letters shaded like an eclipse. "Vision Dream" is in the largest font with "A Parable" beneath it with lines on either side of the words to center it. Above the title is the name of the Author.

By Anthony R. Candela
Christian Faith Publishing, 2019
Facebook

Vision Dreams: A Parable

This is a sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.

This novella increases our understanding of what it means to live in a society that is supportive of its citizens’ daily happiness and humanity. Perhaps after reading it you will be more on guard against what can happen when nations decide to be hyper-vigilant. As the plot unwinds, you will see the lengths to which people will go to achieve their humanity. In the midst of the subtle kinds of strife that leads many to live lives of quiet desperation, there are heroes willing to take risks.

Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy

A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports.

The story related in these pages will occasionally give you cause to chuckle or even shed tears of sadness or joy. Above all else, it will enlighten you about why things happen the way they do. Ultimately, this memoir increases our understanding of what it means to be truly human. Perhaps after reading it we will be kinder and gentler to each other. Most importantly, perhaps we will be kinder and gentler to ourselves.

About the Author

Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager consultant and administrator for more than 40 years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar.

AD: Hope for the Tarnished by Ann Chiappetta

A silhouette of a man and woman standing off-center gazing out on a beach at sunset in full color, the water reflecting blazing rich sunset colors.

© 2022 By Ann Chiappetta

You don’t choose who you love, it just happens.
Follow young Abbie Raymond as she traverses concentric rings of tragedy, hope and healing.

Available on:

Amazon: Hardcover and paperback and Kindle eBook
Smashwords
Coming to Audible in 2023. Narrated by Lilian Yves and Graydon Lee Schlichter.

What Readers are Saying About My New Novel

-“I just read Hope for the Tarnished and thought it was written well. It kept my interest and I cared about the characters. I liked the mixture of problems and people who supported Abbie. It also had a good blend of drama and rest between troubles plus humor and the beloved dogs.  What more could a reader ask for?” – From Lisa B.

-“It’s excellent. I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s full of action and kept pulling me along. It’s a totally realistic story about a family’s struggle in the 1970s, a divorced mom with three daughters. Sometimes I had tears pouring down my face. Other times I was clapping my hands and laughing. Ann’s descriptiveness of things was incredible, from the design of Abbie’s swimsuits to the fishing boats on Long Island Sound.

I don’t remember the last time a book affected me as much as Hope for the Tarnished did. I’d give it more than a five-star rating if I could, but five stars is the top of the line, so is this book. Thank you for such an impactful story, Ann.” -From Trish Hubschman, author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series.

Add my book to your reading list: Good Reads and Smashwords

NEWS NUGGETS: Introducing Message Crafters – Online Toast Masters

What is Message Crafters? And how can it help you?

Think of Message Crafters as a communications gym where you can develop your personal strengths, stop your weaknesses kicking your butt, and build upon your unique personality so you develop a speaking style that is authentically you.

Message Crafters is an online Toastmasters club which is dedicated to helping people boost their confidence while comfortably socializing with others who understand the challenges of living in our complicated world.

We can stop you from being boring. That’s not to say you are boring. We know you aren’t. But we also know that people sometimes choose to communicate in a boring way because it’s ‘professional’ or because ‘it’s how others do it’ or even simply because they don’t know any better.

That’s where Message Crafters comes in: We can help you navigate the challenges of life.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

You can learn:

Presenting/Speaking

WE KNOW IT’S SCARY

Presenting / Public speaking is listed as people’s number one fear: More scary than death. Which is why it’s crucial to establish a warm and positive training environment for members to practice presenting. And that’s what you get: road-tested training, time to practice and positive feedback in a warm, relaxed environment that makes people actually want to get up in front of an audience.

Responding to life’s ‘Say what?’ Moments

Life isn’t predictable. Master the art of speaking off the cuff and learn to handle any questions, complaints or audience responses. No preparation? No problem.

Each meeting has an impromptu-speaking practice session where you’ll perfect the art of responding to the unexpected, so you can face the world with the belief that you can handle whatever comes your way.

All our meetings are online.

  • Online training and accessible materials are available
  • You’ll make lots of friends!
  • You can attend from the convenience of your home!

Cost…

Under $100/year

Drop by as our guest and check out the fun!

Join our meeting Virtually via Zoom.

When?

Fridays @ 5:30 – 6:45pm (New York Time)

Where?

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 270 409 149

Passcode: 292848

 

For more about Message Crafters and to learn how to become a member please visit their website.

News Nuggets: RELEASED IN 2022

“The Spirit of One” by Marlene Mesot. The title is written in thin, blue, italicized letters in the center of the image, above the author’s name and “Performed by Timothy G. Little” which is written in gold lettering. In the upper right corner is a gleaming golden cross. The background of the image is a dark sky, illuminated by a spiderwebbed bolt of amber lightening, which brightens the black sky around it to a deep purple.

The Spirit of One Audiobook

By Marlene Mesot

Performed by Timothy G. Little

This is a gathering of four short stories which were separately published in print only in different collections of various Christian authors published by Christian Book Marketing.

One Door…Knocking – Sheltering in a dark, creepy run-down house, seeking light…

One Man’s Destiny – Spiritual warfare…

One Man’s Quest: Seeking the Unpardonable Sin – A quest for answers with a mysterious Book…

One Weekend…in the Woods A struggle to survive…

The Author’s Edge

By Marlene Mesot

Forward by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Performed by Timothy G. Little

This collection of 80 poems is meant to bring encouragement and inspiration to anyone who has ever thought, or dreamed, of writing, whether personally or professionally. Writing takes many forms, whether it’s a letter, diary, blog, article, story, play, poem or novel. I will confess my writing leans in favor of fiction.

 

These poems are also meant for readers because we cannot have one without the other. The goal of any author is to have universal appeal. Thank you for considering the work of this author.

 

“Poetry is music in words.”

Marlene Mesot

Forward by award-winning artist/author Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Jacket Review

Readers will connect with her newest collection of forty poems from the opening Quatrain of her first poem. Craftsmanship in the arts is a recurring theme. It feels like she is conscientiously continuing to weave her way along the path she established from the inception of this book.

 

~ Lynda McKinney Lambert

Author of Songs for the Pilgrimage, Star Signs, First Snow, Walking by inner Vision.

OTHER BOOKS

4 Elements of Mystery Series

  1. The Purging Fire (2018)
  2. The Snowball Effect (2021)

The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets – Romantic Suspense Novel (2020)

Edgy Poetry (2021)

My MarlsMenagerie Website

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

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

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

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

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

by Jo Elizabeth PintoThe front cover of Dancing with the Seasons by Jo Elizabeth Pinto. The cover features a photo of ash trees, viewed from base of the trunk, looking up at the boughs directly overhead. The leaves are almond shaped and hanging in odd numbered clusters. The leaves are all shades of yellow and obscure most of the clear blue sky. The title and author name are in white text in the center of the image, with the title being twice as large and above the author name. The font emulates handwriting, and looks to be written in marker. The letters are almost entirely printed, though the writing flows so that each letter is connected to the next.

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

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

About Jo Elizabeth Pinto:

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

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

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

Author website

Tips…

EDITOR’S GREETINGS FROM JO’S KITCHEN AND MORE

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

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

Though I’ve never found Jo’s recipes hard to follow, I did find her instructions . “Cook the husband in a skillet, skin side down, over medium-high heat for two or three minutes” a bit intriguing. Whoops! Wait! She said salmon. Well, she did mention something about unladylike thoughts. I suppose, we’d best let Jo tell the tale.

Maple Mustard Salmon

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

When the weather warms up and the days get longer, I love to open my doors, pull back the curtains, and let in the fresh spring breezes. My two dogs and the family cat jostle for the patch of sunshine the southern-facing kitchen window makes in the middle of the hardwood floor. Winter stews and hearty soups give way to green salads and lighter, fresher dinners as strawberries, asparagus, and other produce start coming into season.

I’d never liked salmon much till I met my second husband. In fact, I hated it with a passion. The only way I’d ever eaten it was out of a can. I’d found dozens of ways to use the canned stuff in my tight money days—salmon sandwiches, salmon patties, salmon salad, salmon mac and cheese—and none of them covered up the fact that I was eating, well, canned salmon. *Shudder.* When I started earning enough money as a freelance proofreader to get away from those dreaded cans, I vowed to never touch salmon again.

Then, I met Gerald. He came from Detroit, which almost by birth made him a salmon connoisseur. He coaxed and coerced, sweet talked and strong armed, whined and wheedled till I finally agreed to try smoked salmon, which I could tolerate. Then he brought home a fresh salmon filet and asked me to cook it. My first thought about exactly how he should cook that filet was very unladylike—use your imagination—so I told him I had no idea what to do with the fish. He put it in the fridge and said I was a kitchen magician; he had every confidence I would figure it out. Well, wasting food isn’t an option in our house, and besides, Gerald threw down a challenge if I ever heard one.

This recipe is the result of my efforts, and it proved that, although salmon still isn’t my go-to meal, it’s not half bad when it’s fresh instead of canned. I’m game to try it now and then grilled, broiled, or with other seasonings and sauces.

Maple Mustard Salmon

Ingredients:

1 side of salmon or two salmon filets

nonstick cooking spray or very small amount of butter or oil

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Cook the salmon in a skillet, skin side down, over medium-high heat for two or three minutes. Flip the fish with a spatula and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Remove from heat.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

3. For easy clean-up, lay each piece of fish on a sheet of aluminum foil. Coat generously with sauce, then seal the foil in a packet, making sure to tuck in the ends. Arrange the packets in a baking dish.

4. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filets. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy!

About the Author

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

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

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband and their teenage daughter. Their family also includes Pinto’s guide dog Spreckles, a poodle/Maltese mix called Leo, and an aging family cat who answers to the name Sam-I-Am when he feels like it.

This poem appears in my recently released volume of nature poetry, “Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse.” All four of my books are available on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats. My novel and my two memoirs can also be purchased as audio versions.

Please follow this Amazon Author link.

Health World…

EDITOR’S HEALTH WORLD GREETINGS

As times get busier, and instant foods play a larger role in mealtime, I’ve found that my body is having some trouble. At first, I didn’t realize the cause but then I began reading the following health column series from Sally Cronin and her Smorgasbord Café and as I implemented what I learned into my everyday life, I began to see positive changes.

If you find the following useful, please do let us know.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid) oranges, grapefruit, cauliflower, eggplant

Posted on April 13, 2022

By Sally Cronin

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

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

Continue reading this important post here.

Author’s Corner…

EDITOR’S WELCOME TO THE AUTHOR’S CORNER

Before we settle in to enjoy the main storytelling event, I’ve an incredibly breathtaking author interview to share.

This interview was originally posted on my blog Patty’s Worlds in our Friday’s Fantastic Finds Featured Author of the Week column.

Read:

Joseph Carrabis Featured Author of the Week.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Featured Author of the Week. It’s been quite some time since I posted an author interview here, but today I’ve got something special for you.

Reading this author’s interview earlier today, with my coffee, the phrase ‘Breath Taking’ kept coming to mind as I thought about how to describe it.

Without further ado, I give you, Joseph Carrabis Featured Author of the Week.

Interviewer: First, in your own words tell us a little about you.

Joseph: Hmm…I usually respond with “I’m boring and dull” and Susan (wife/partner/Princess), friends, editor and publisher repeatedly tell me to stop.

Hmm…I enjoy a good single-malt Scotch and fine cigar. Usually while sitting on our back porch reading and listening to the wildlife (our backyard opens to about 60 acres of woodlands). Can’t stop reading, by the way, and usually have three books minimum going at once, often more like 7-10.

What else what else what else…I love music, both listening and playing. And languages. My dog. The Wild.

Interviewer: Where do you live?

Joseph: Mostly in my imagination. Otherwise, New Hampshire.

Interviewer: Who are the special people in your life?

Joseph: People…aside from Susan (wife/partner/Princess) and my sister, Sandra, I’d count my teachers and mentors and these include wildlife (probably more so than humans). Jennifer “JenBitch the Editress” Day who makes my work look presentable.

I really don’t have a lot of people in my life. Lee Iacocca said if you’ve got five real friends you’ve had a good life. The statement leads to “What’s a real friend?” I have a quote, “A good friend will come and bail you out of jail…but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, ‘Damn…that was fun!'” Another is, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

I’ve learned my life has been different – is different – from the lives of most people I know. I consider myself an open book (the author said) and that I wear my heart on my sleeve (to use an outmoded cliche), yet someone I considered my closest friend once told me (after knowing me for some 6-7 years) that he always felt he was looking at the ocean and could only see the waves, that he never got below the surface. His statement surprised me. Many years later he asked me to tell him the truth about something. I did, and he never talked to me again. Work took me to a town near him and I made it a point to reach out while I was there. No, the door was closed.

I miss him, think of him often, and have made it a point not to contact him or enter into his life since.

On the other hand, I routinely befriend wildlife to the point they take food from my hand. This includes everything from raccoon to owl to fox to coyote to deer to bear and just about everything in between. You can see much of these interactions at https://josephcarrabis.com/category/wildlife

Interviewer: Do you have any pets?

Joseph: Boo, our dog. Much of the wildlife in our backyard behave like pets now and again.

No, not correct in either case. I most often interact with animals as equals. Changes the dynamic, eases any tensions on both sides, promotes harmonies among species.

Interviewer: What keeps you going? I mean, like what inspires you and keeps you moving forward in your work?

Joseph: Do things like bills and mortgage count? How about food?

Beyond those, life, probably. It rarely ceases to amaze me.

Interviewer: What is your favorite song?

Joseph: That is a tough one. A single favorite? Can’t do it. I listened to music with my family from as early as I can remember and started playing different instruments when I was a young child. Didn’t matter the size or type of instrument, if I could get my hands on it I’d give it a go. Music plays an increasing role in my writing and I draw from many musical traditions.

Plus I’m a child of the ’60s. Amazing music from back then. Actually back through the 20’s and into the 90’s, me thinks. Don’t listen to much new music unless someone suggests it to me.

Perhaps I’ll come up with something before I finish this interview…

Interviewer: What is your favorite movie?

Joseph: Another single favorite…another impossibility. Something else for me to cycle back to…

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Joseph: I’m going to give up on this interview if you keep asking me these types of questions. Sheesh…

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Joseph: Anything hot and spicy. Doesn’t matter if it’s Mexican, Italian, Thai, Hunan, …

Interviewer: What is your favorite quote?

Joseph: I’ve been collecting quotes since I was a teenager. The file is now 967K. Each one is a favorite and each for a different reason.

Interviewer: What is your favorite affirmation?

Joseph: I put this questionnaire aside to get some other work done and am coming back to it after a heavy late winter snowfall.

My first response to this question is “See my answer to the quotes question. All the affirmations I relate to are in my quotes file.”

And I got to thinking…specifically about any individual who can encapsulate their entire existence into a single, favorite anything. People are multifaceted (I hope. At least I hope my main characters are. Of course, if you create a character able to encapsulate their life, it’s a good defining element) and to indicate one thing suffices for them throughout their existence – even throughout a single day – amazes me. It speaks to a shallowness of character, or perhaps a lack of experience, me thinks.

For example, ask me the best meal I ever had and my answer is quick and responsive: Salmon stuffed steak at Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye. A close second was the Catch of the Day at The Pictou Lodge. After that it would be a toss up between any of The Keg locations in Canada (a chain, and each one we visited was amazing., Gambrinus’ in Quebec City (sadly closed but what an amazing place it was), and Gibbet Hill in Groton, Ma.

What binds these all together in memory is yes, the food, and more so the experience (which is usually with friends, although sometimes it’s just Susan and me, and then the service and staff put things at the top).

What I realize is it’s not a single thing which makes something penultimate to me, it’s the experience enfolding that single thing which makes it penultimate to me. Again using Three Chimneys as an example, I can still taste the Salmon Stuffed Steak close to thirty years since our visit. But what comes immediately with that taste are the sounds of the people, the laughter, the cast of Breaking the Waves singing at the cast party two tables away from us, the brogue of our waitress, the chef coming out to make sure everything was okay, the clear, full-mooned sky driving there, the sheep in the middle of the road that made us fifteen minutes late, the…

And such it is with Gambrinus’, any of The Kegs we visited, The Pictou Lodge, Gibbet Hill, …

Each experience is a favorite and choosing any single one is to deny my joy in the others.

So music – Bach played on a heavy organ (“heavy” meaning “grand,” four manuals plus full pedal, 64′ diapason, and unified. This from my own playing and when I traveled the northeast US repairing church pipe organs) organ. Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis” (while in the backseat of my ’64 Mercury Comet with a beautiful woman, at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass, the full moon rising on a cold winter’s night, the windows steamed from our exertions, and epitomized in my forthcoming novel, Search (due out Dec 2023), CSNY’s “Guenivere” playing softly in the background at Miss Ruby’s Inn (long gone, wearing a hooded monk’s robe. I was in a monastery at the time) with several friends, cuddling with Susan in a twin bunk bed listening to Bob James “Angela” (theme song from “Taxi”) from (then soft jazz station) WEEI, playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for my sister, Sandra (it was the impetus for me to study piano), and watching her light up, … mastering a polka on the clarinet to the delight of my music teacher, Mr. Marino, …

So again, no single favorite. Each swarms with other references. FWIW, Susan and others comment on my ability to remember when I’ve heard a piece of music, who I was with, what we were doing, … I think being blind (legally blind, meaning I had limited vision) most of my life helps. Mapping visual experience is an effort for me, mapping non-visual sensory experience comes naturally.

Interviewer: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Joseph: This one’s easy because, like the concept of favoriting, it has a universal element – people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do. I would rather have someone tell me they’re not going to do something, period, than say they will do something and not do it.

Mind you, I have no problem with someone doing something and failing to achieve their goal. Such is an opportunity for learning and sharing and I cherish those.

It’s the person who says or promises they will do something and simply doesn’t do it. They are my biggest pet peeve. I encountered them at all levels of business. Sadly, I find this to be true with lots of indie publishers. Promises are made – sometimes even contractually – and never kept. Contractually broken promises provide a recourse, but then one must decide if the reward is worth the cost.

Interviewer: What do you think your best strengths are, and how do they help you in your work as a writer?

Joseph: Hmm…Readers constantly comment on my voice, my characters, my story lines. It seems I write in rich yet necessary detail. One thing often said is readers can’t skim my work, each item is significant and relevant to the story. I agree because I work to that end when I write.

Interviewer: What are your weaknesses, and how are you making them stronger?

Joseph: I’m constantly working on things I notice about my writing. What I notice today is different from what I noticed yesterday and I’ll notice something else tomorrow. I spend a lot of time developing attribution via action, meaning I have the characters doing something when they say something. Example, “Joseph filled his coffee cup in the break room while Peter stood beside him and bitched about his home life. His cup full, Joseph reached into his pocket, pulled out a dime, and handed it to Peter. ‘Here’s a dime, Pete. Could you please go call someone who gives a damn?'”

In the above I’ve shown the situation, shown the emotional energy involved, defined the characters, shown their interaction, indicated who’s talking to whom and about what. Many writers would use narrative or exposition. If not that, they’d use some form of “said.”

But do the latter and you lose the opportunity to move the plot forward and keep the reader engaged. Granted, sometimes some form of “said” is fine, but most often I’ll shy away from it.

Interviewer: What is your dream for the future, and how does it relate to your work as a writer?

Joseph: To improve my crafting, to share with more readers.

Interviewer: What is your preferred way of communicating, and how can someone reach you if they wish to buy from or work with you in some way?

Joseph: List of links … finding me is easy. Any of those will get you to me.

Interviewer: Before you go, is there anything you’d like to add about yourself, or your work that I’ve not asked?

Joseph: I’ll share this with my editor and others. They’ll make suggestions, I’m sure.

(and they did)

A photo of Joseph Carrabis, standing in front of a green leafy background. He has short white hair and facial hair, and is wearing a buttoned black shirt.

Publisher’s bio: Joseph Carrabis told stories to anyone who would listen starting in childhood, wrote his first stories in grade school and started getting paid for his writing in 1978. His work history includes periods as a long-haul trucker, apprentice butcher, apprentice coffee buyer/broker, lumberjack, Cold Regions researcher, mathematician, semanticist, semioticist, physicist, educator, Chief Data Scientist, Chief Research Scientist, Chief Neuroscience Officer, Neuromarketer-in-Residence, and Chief Research Officer. Prior to becoming a full-time author, Joseph sat on several advisory boards including the Center for Multicultural Science and the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research; an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future; Director of Predictive Analytics, Center for Adaptive Solutions; and was an original member of the NYAS/UN’s Scientists Without Borders program. He held patents covering mathematics, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics based on a technology he created in his basement and from which he created an international company. He retired from corporate life and now spends his time writing fiction and non-fiction based on his experiences. His work appears regularly in anthologies and his own novels. You can often find him playing with his dog, Boo, and snuggling with his wife, Susan. Learn more about his work at http://nlb.pub/amazon.

And now our main storytelling event.

First, we’ve author and poet Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Amazing Grace (Fiction)

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

“Grace, you have a visitor,” the nurse told my grandmother.

I approached the bed with caution, not knowing what to expect. Her hair was as white as the pillow and sheet. Her eyes were sky blue, and they were looking straight at me. Her mouth broke into a weak smile.

“Hello, Grandma.” I grasped the wrinkled hand that lay on the sheet. After pulling a chair close to the bed for me, the nurse left the room.

As I settled myself, I took stock of my surroundings. The bed was next to a window. The curtains were open, and bright sunlight streamed into the room. The only evidence of illness was a machine of some sort that stood next to the night stand, its roar and hiss filling the room.

“Melissa, I hoped you would come.”

“Mother called me last night, and I caught the first plane out of New York. I arrived here in Sheridan about an hour ago.”

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Grandma said, squeezing my hand. “How are things going?”

“I’m still working on my new CD. It should be released in a few months.”

“That’s wonderful. When you and I sang together years ago, I never dreamed you’d be singing for a living.”

She closed her eyes. I held her hand and thought of the happy times I spent with her as a child. When I visited her, we often sang together as we did dishes or other domestic chores. Her favorites were “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” I learned these and many others at an early age.

One Sunday morning when I was about thirteen, Grandma and I were driving to church when we heard Judy Collins singing “Amazing Grace” on the radio. Grandma pulled the car to the side of the road, and we sat and listened. Her eyes grew misty, and she reached into her purse for a handkerchief.

“That’s so beautiful,” she said, wiping her eyes.

I bought a recording of the song and practiced singing it her way until I mastered it. The next time I visited Grandma, I surprised her by singing it slowly and methodically just like Judy Collins. Her eyes filled with tears, and she reached for a handkerchief. “Melissa, you have such a beautiful voice.”

She called the pastor of the Baptist Church we attended and arranged for me to sing “Amazing Grace” at the service the following Sunday morning. It was my first solo performance, and I was terrified, but Grandma said, “If you can sing to me, you can sing to the congregation. Just pretend you’re sitting at the kitchen table across from me like you were the night you first sang me the song. God has given you a wonderful talent, and He will give you the courage to use it.”

Despite my nerves, my performance at church was a success. People in the congregation wiped their eyes and blew their noses. That was when I decided I wanted to be a singer.

Grandma always supported my musical endeavors. As I grew older, I lost interest in singing hymns and started singing popular songs. I even wrote a few songs of my own. I learned to play the guitar and used it to accompany my singing.

Although Grandma didn’t like this kind of music, she always listened with interest. When I landed my first recording contract, I called her from my apartment in New York City.

“Oh, Melissa, God has finally answered my prayers,” she said, her voice breaking. “Now, you can make money by sharing the special gift He has given you.” That was about ten years ago.

Since then, although I couldn’t always find time to visit Grandma, I often called and wrote to her. She was always there for me through the triumphs and sorrows of my career, even when she was diagnosed with cancer and her prognosis was grim.

Now, as I sat by her bed at the nursing home, I noticed a portable CD player on the nightstand. On top of the machine lay a copy of one of my albums. Touched by her loyalty, I was about to insert the disc into the machine when her voice stopped me.

“No, Melissa. I don’t want to listen to that now.”

“What would you like to hear?”

Without hesitating, she said, “I want you to sing “Amazing Grace” the way you sang it in church those many years ago.”

“What?”

“You heard me. I’ve been waiting so long to hear you sing that song. You sang it to me years ago. So, you can sing it to me now.”

It had been years since I sang that. But when my mother called the night before, she said they didn’t think Grandma would live much longer. I couldn’t deny a dying woman her last request, could I?

Although I wasn’t warmed up and hadn’t practiced the song in years, I sat up straight in my chair, took a deep breath, and began. At first, my voice was hesitant, but when the words and interpretation came back to me, I grew more confident. As I sang, I forgot Grandma was dying. I was singing in church, years ago, for the first time. When I finished, her eyes were misty. I pulled a Kleenex from the box on the nightstand and wiped them.

“I want you to sing that at my funeral.”

“What?”

“Promise me you’ll sing that song at my funeral the way you sang it in church years ago with no band, no chorus, no nothing. Promise me, Melissa, please?”

Although I wasn’t sure I could do what she asked, I said, “Okay, Grandma. I’ll sing ‘Amazing Grace’ at your funeral. Now, try and get some rest. I’ll be right here.”

With a satisfied sigh, she closed her eyes, and I did the same, resting my head on the back of the chair.

A light touch on my shoulder woke me. Shaking my head to clear the cobwebs, I saw the nurse standing by my chair. Grandma’s hand was cold and limp. One look at her face told me she was at peace.

“It was your song that did it,” the nurse said, as I blinked back tears.

“What?”

“She had been asking for you. She said she was hoping to hear you sing ‘Amazing Grace’ one more time. After you sang that for her again, she figured it was time to go.”

“I see.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“She already made arrangements. So, I just need to call the funeral home. If you need anything, just pull the red cord.”

After she was gone, I let my tears flow, as I saw my grandmother’s face for the last time.

I kept my promise and sang “Amazing Grace”, slowly and methodically, the way I heard Judy Collins sing it years ago, the way Grandma liked it. My flawless performance was followed by a chorus of Amens, and then a respectful silence.

I also recorded “Amazing Grace” on my next CD, which was released a few months later, and sang it the same way. It was the last song on the CD, and in the liner notes, I wrote, “This selection is dedicated in loving memory of my grandmother who was my saving grace.”

About the Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor has published three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. With a Bachelor of Arts in Music, she worked as a registered music therapist with residents in nursing homes and other senior facilities for fifteen years before writing full-time. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, with her robotic cat Joy.

Visit her at her website here.

Next, author and public speaker Tony Candela takes us on a virtual tour of New York. So, get your walking shoes on and let’s go.

Virtually New York: Getting to Know the City That Never Sleeps

By Tony Candela

It is true. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. New York City, my home town, is at nearly nine million people, the most populous city in the U.S. I am happy to tell you about it. So, put on your walking shoes; we are going to cover a lot of ground. No matter where we stop on the streets, avenues, bridges, subways, tall buildings, and waterways of this great city, we will have fun.

Most people think about New York City in terms of its most famous division or borough, Manhattan, technically an island. There are four other boroughs: the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The Bronx lies to the north of Manhattan, separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River. Queens lies to the east of Manhattan, with the East River in between. Brooklyn lies to the southeast of Manhattan. Staten Island is the city’s southern-most borough. The Hudson River forms the western boundary of both the Bronx and Manhattan, separating them from northern New Jersey to the west. Its most famous crossing is the George Washington Bridge. An array of automobile and rail tunnels also connect Manhattan to New Jersey.

Speaking of famous bridges, the Queensboro or 59th Street bridge, officially named for former mayor Edward Koch, connects Manhattan to Queens. Simon and Garfunkel sang about it in their song “Feeling Groovy.” The Brooklyn Bridge has long been the brunt of jokes related to sales scams. Every day, thousands of people stroll across it en route to The Prominade, a wonderful vantage point in Brooklyn that looks west toward the iconic Manhattan skyline. The Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, the starting point for the NYC Marathon, connects Brooklyn to Staten Island. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (where millions of immigrants including my mother landed by ship in the 19th and 20th centuries) lie in New York Harbor, an ideal entrance point for cruise, merchant, and naval vessels. Roughly speaking, the harbor lies between Brooklyn and Staten Island and Manhattan. It is accessible to the Atlantic Ocean to the south east and the effluence of the Hudson River to the west. In addition to lots of cruise ships, the retired aircraft carrier Intrepid (containing an air and space museum) is berthed in the Hudson on the west side of midtown Manhattan.

Native Americans occupied the land that is now New York City for several centuries before the English explorer Henry Hudson, working for the Dutch East India Company “discovered” it in 1609. The Dutch, most notably under Peter Stuyvesant and Peter Minuet who purchased Manhattan Island from the Lenapi Indians in 1626, controlled the island until 1664 when the English wrestled it away from them, renaming it after the Duke of York. While in charge, the Dutch built a wall to protect themselves from the natives. This is the current locus of the financial center known as Wall Street.

Not far from Wall Street at the southern tip of Manhattan Island are, from east to west, the South Street Seaport, Little Italy and Chinatown, and the site of the former and present World Trade Centers, the target of al qaeda on 9-1-1. A memorial museum and cemetery now occupy the site of the original centers. I visited there a few months after September 11, 2001 and witnessed the giant hole in the ground that was once the symbol of the good and bad of American capitalism.

Gather your energy, dear reader, the tour has only just begun. Let’s begin in the north, the Bronx and work our way into Manhattan where we will spend the majority of our time. Visitors tend to gravitate to three spots in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Traveling south, northwestern Manhattan has Washington Heights, subject of a recent Lin-Manuel Miranda musical film. You will recall Mr. Miranda also authored Hamilton.

South of the Heights is Harlem, subject to bad publicity at certain points in its history, but also home to some of the richest African American culture in the country. The Cotton Club, Apollo Theater, Schomburg Center and Marcus Garvey Park are located there.

Let’s pause, so I can introduce you to the grid. Manhattan is easy to navigate if you know that its streets run east to west and its avenues north to south. The grid is extremely logical. I’ll mention streets and avenues, so you can remain at least a little bit oriented as we quickly cover lots of ground. All of the places have web sites. So, I’ll spare you a plethora of links here.

Moving into the heart of Manhattan and to the places you have no doubt been waiting for, we pass the Riverside Church and nearby Grant’s Tomb, (W125th St.), Columbia University, (W116th St.) and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (W110th St.) all in southwestern Harlem.

Making our way to the Upper West Side, we find Lincoln Center (W65th St.) with its giant fountain, home of the NY Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, NYC Ballet, the Juilliard School of Music, and more. Slightly north and east on W79th Street and Central Park West is the Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian system and host to the Hayden Planetarium, led by astronomer Neil Degrasse Tyson.

In the center of this part of Manhattan is the world-famous Central Park, spanning 848 acres. The park contains a small zoo, a skating rink, the Tavern on the Green and Boathouse restaurants, outdoor performance theaters, and lots of walking paths and good old Mother Nature. To its east is the Upper East Side.

Fifth Avenue between E90th and E59th streets contains “Museum Mile,” locus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Museo del Barrio, the Jewish Museum, and many more artistic, historic, and cultural institutions. It is a place not to be missed. Continuing below 59th Street on Fifth Avenue, you can visit Bergdorf’s, Goodman’s, and Tiffany’s for upper class shopping as well as Trump Towers and St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a ying-yang experience. Just west on Sixth Avenue in the high 40s is Rockefeller Center, home of Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall. At holiday time, visiting the always very tall and beautifully decorated Xmas tree is a must. Just west of there, up and down Broadway, is the richest theater district in the world.

Continuing south on Fifth Avenue to E34th Street brings you to the Empire State Building. A visit to its 86th floor observatory provides a head-spinning 360-degree panorama of Manhattan and beyond, the best such views in my opinion, in the city. Directly west at Seventh Avenue is NY Penn Station, a major rail hub and above it, Madison Square Garden, home of the NY Nicks and Rangers and venue for great rock concerts.

Remembering what I mentioned about lower Manhattan in the first few paragraphs (from east to west, the South Street Seaport, Wall Street, Little Italy and Chinatown, and the World Trade Center site) brings us almost to the end of our tour. At South Ferry, you can board ferry-boats to Staten Island and at Battery Park, to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. While I’m on the subject, Circle Line Boat Cruises depart from piers around 45th Street on the extreme west side of Manhattan. You can cruise around the Island, seeing 130 sites going under 20 bridges. Or you can go up the Hudson River about 45 miles to Bear Mountain or take a short trip to the Statue of Liberty.

You can use the subways and buses to get almost everywhere; just remember to ask a hotel concierge for instructions and maps. If you decide to venture into Brooklyn, don’t miss Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Barclays Center, where the NY Nets play basketball, and last but certainly not least, Coney Island for some of the best amusement park entertainment in the region. I suffer from PTSD because of one of its diabolical roller coasters! It is also home to the annual Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

There are so many more places that our walking shoes could take us. I haven’t enumerated sites in Queens. So, let me at least mention City Field, home to the NY Mets, and Long Island stretching 100 miles to the east. Staten Island is more of a nature hub and suburban community, but its diversity is on the rise. It has been the starting point for the NYC Marathon which hosts 50,000 runners every year. I ran the race twice in 1989 and 1991 and once cycled through Staten Island in a 5-Boro Bike Tour. What a thrill.

Now that you are virtually acquainted with the Big Apple, please consider a visit. You will spend money, especially at all of the theaters, eateries and night-spots in the city that never sleeps, but it will provide memories for a lifetime.

More About Tony

Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager, consultant, and administrator for more than forty years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar.

Follow him on Facebook for more here.

Here’s author, proofreader and Momma at Large, Jo Elizabeth Pinto with a grand tale.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

Reflections After Mother’s Day

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Human beings have a long history of valuing their moms. One of the earliest known annual tributes to motherhood occurred in ancient Greece, where people held spring festivals in honor of Rhea, the goddess of fertility and generation. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world throughout the year. Besides the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Samoa, Georgia, Australia, and Thailand have set aside official holidays to show respect for the mothers in their nations.

In the United States, Mother’s Day began after the Civil War with a peacemaker named Ann Jarvis. Eager to foster community between mothers who had suffered incredible losses on both sides of the war, Ann Jarvis helped to establish “Mother’s Friendship Day” in 1868. Her daughter, Anna Reeves Jarvis, built on the legacy by creating the official holiday. The first modern American Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908. President Woodrow Wilson placed the holiday on the second Sunday in May and signed it into law in 1914.

A century later, Mother’s Day has become a tremendous commercial event, an outcome Anna Reeves Jarvis fought hard against when she set up the original holiday. Around 122 million phone calls are made on Mother’s Day, more than on any other day of the year. The holiday ranks third in flower sales after Christmas and Hanukkah. About one fourth of the plants and flowers purchased in the United States annually are bought for Mother’s Day. According to the National Restaurant Association, about 87 million adults dined out on the second Sunday in May of 2018, and roughly 4.4 billion dollars were spent on lunches and dinners. Another 4.6 billion dollars were spent on jewelry. On average, shoppers spend $180 on Mother’s Day gifts. The most popular gifts are greeting cards. Every Mother’s Day, approximately 152 million cards are mailed.

With so much commercial hype and social pressure surrounding the holiday, Mother’s Day can often lead to resentment and disappointment. Some moms are missing children who have left the nest, or worse, passed away. Some are estranged from their children. Some women long to be mothers but haven’t been blessed with that chance, and some are grieving the loss of their own mothers. Many moms are deep in the trenches, worn out by crayons and carpools, and wanting a day off more than they want a dinner out or a bouquet of flowers.

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed on Mother’s Day, I could identify with the feelings of the women who posted. Some rejoiced, some mourned, some raged, some simply prayed for bedtime. As a woman who has battled infertility, as a daughter who had her share of conflict with her own mother and who now grieves the resolutions death has forever stolen, as a mom who has spent eleven challenging and wonderful years raising a child, I could relate to all of their raw and rightful emotions.

I began thinking about how dealing with Mother’s Day, and life in general, has a lot to do with letting go of preset expectations.

I had to do exactly that on Mother’s Day and the day after. My daughter had asked her dad to help her fix a holiday brunch for me. We’d bought bacon and eggs and fresh raspberries and strawberries at the store Saturday night. But by Sunday morning, our little girl had a fever, a sore throat, a headache, and an upset tummy. We went out to dinner once she felt better, which made her a little sad, but it suited me fine. Plans change.

Monday came, and my daughter still felt slightly weak and feverish. At lunchtime, she asked me to make the bacon and scrambled eggs for her that were supposed to be on the menu for my Mother’s Day brunch. I didn’t mind cooking bacon and eggs. But I was starting to feel exasperated—no, downright hacked off—because, although my kid wasn’t quite over the bug that had zapped her on Mother’s Day, she was definitely playing up her delicate condition so I would wait on her. I’d been fetching and carrying cold drinks, headache and tummy medicine, and pillows all morning. The crowning moment came as I washed the lunch dishes and she called for yet another glass of ice water. Annoyed, I asked her if I were her mom or the maid.

“I just fixed you my Mother’s Day brunch,” I reminded her.

“But it’s not Mother’s Day anymore,” she snipped in that tone that makes moms of tweens go from zero to livid in less than a nanosecond.

Biting my tongue, I went back to washing dishes. Then I started putting things in perspective. The brunch didn’t really matter. What matters is that I have a thriving child who, although she hasn’t always learned to be empathetic, is kind and caring most of the time. I spent many a Mother’s Day grieving my empty arms, which are now blessedly full. Conflicts come and go, but I have much to rejoice about.

My daughter eventually revived her brunch plans. She peeled herself off the couch in the middle of the afternoon and shooed me out of the kitchen. From the sounds I heard as she got busy making my snack, I guessed the feast would consist of a strawberry Poptart®, some fresh berries, and a strip of packaged fruit leather. Not exactly bacon and eggs, but who cared? She told me the scrambled eggs I had fixed for her were delicious.

About the Author

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the Colorado public schools in the 1970’s, when federal law finally allowed the disabled to learn alongside their peers. After earning two college degrees, she published four books and a freelance editor and Braille proofreader.

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband and their teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging cat who answers to the name Sam-I-Am when he feels like it.

Visit Jo at her website here for more.

Now we’ve author of the Tracy Gayle Mystery Series and Gayle’s Tales Trish Hubschman with a fictitious lawyerly treat.

Son in Law

By Trish Hubschman

“What you up to, boy? Why aren’t you in the shop?” Miller’s tone was gruff.

Kyle’s head snapped up from the history book he was poring over. Irritation flooded through him. “Just studying for finals, Dad. Have to pass all of them, so I can graduate next month.”

Miller’s chin poked up in the air. Kyle knew what was coming. He sucked in his breath.

“I didn’t graduate high school and I have my own business,” Miller said.

Miller was the owner of Reed Auto Body Repair, which Kyle oversaw most of the time. Miller was a heavy drinker. He was either passed out cold or too hungover to heed his business responsibilities. Kyle wasn’t complaining. There was no one else to take care of Miller and the business. His mother had walked out two years ago. Kyle still spoke to his mom, though Olivia wanted nothing to do with her ex-husband.

“I don’t need no fancy degree to prove I’ve got smarts up here,” Miller added, tapping his index finger against the side of his head.

Kyle was tempted to roll his eyes. He’d heard that a hundred times before. He turned his gaze back to the textbook. “We can’t all be so lucky, Dad,” he muttered. It was meant as a rebuke, but Miller took it as a compliment.

“That’s true, boy,” Miller noted, waving his hand. “When you finish that studying, so you can go to that fancy college you got into, you can get your butt down to the shop.” With that, Miller left the room.

In mid-August, Kyle would be starting at Thomas Jefferson College of Law in Pennsylvania. During the weeks before his departure, Kyle would work his butt off at his father’s auto body shop and put things in order.

Miller didn’t attend Kyle’s high school graduation. He mumbled that someone had to watch the shop. Kyle conceded to that point, though he doubted Miller was going to be hanging out at the body shop. Olivia was at the commencement. She took her son out to lunch afterwards.

“I’m worried about Dad, Mom. Who’s going to watch out for him when I’m at Thomas J?” Kyle posed. While he was away at college he didn’t want to think about his father or the auto body shop. For once in his life, he wanted to think about himself and his future.

Olivia frowned. Never breaking eye contact with Kyle, she lifted her tea cup and took a sip. She had barely touched the Caesar salad in front of her. “Darling, that’s why I walked out on your father two years ago.”

Kyle raised a questioning eyebrow.

Olivia chuckled. “No, darling, it wasn’t so you could babysit him. Miller needs to grow up and take care of himself. I did it for too many years, and you’re now doing it for him. You’ve got to let go, Kyle, and live your own life, be your own person. Miller has to do the same.”

Kyle sucked in his breath. His mother was right. “What if he falls, Mom? Where is he going to land?”

Olivia raised both sides of her lips. “Hopefully, on his feet, darling, but that shouldn’t be our terror. Go to college and be the whiz kid that your adoring mother knows you are. In six years, you’ll be a full-fledged Perry Mason.” Her blue eyes sparkled at her own words.

Kyle spent the next six weeks before leaving for college in his dad’s auto body shop training one of his father’s men in the workings of the main office. He chose George Nolen to be the step-in in command. He was in his sixties, a loyal employee of Reed Auto Body and a close friend of both his parents.

“I’ll be sure to keep close tabs on your old man for you, Kyle,” George assured him. “You go on to college and make us all proud. And I’ll keep things running smoothly here.”

Kyle thanked him.

He didn’t see much of Miller in the ensuing weeks. When their paths did cross, they didn’t say much anyway. His father seemed more withdrawn than usual. To his surprise, Miller made dinner for them both the night before Kyle headed off to Thomas J.

“This is really something, Dad, thanks,” Kyle said, sitting down at the kitchen table. Miller served up franks and beans.

“Sure thing, boy,” he replied. “Who knows what they’ll feed you at that place.”

Kyle almost laughed. “I’m sure the food service up there will be fine, Dad.”

The next morning, Kyle found Miller asleep on the sofa. He was face down, his mouth open, and snoring. Kyle didn’t want to wake him. He packed up his 1992 Mustang as quietly as possible and drove off. It was the last time he set foot in Miller’s house or spoke to his father for eight years.

***

“Hey, Reed,” Jack Monroe called out, coming into Kyle’s small cubicle. Jack was Kyle’s boss at the public defender’s office. Kyle had taken a job there immediately after graduating from Thomas Jefferson. He figured once he took and passed the Bar, he’d move on to other things. The PD was a means of getting experience.

Kyle had passed the Bar nearly two years ago, and he was still at the PD office. He liked the job. He was helping people who needed it.

“Yeah, Jack, what’s up?” Kyle shot back.

“Got a new case in that might interest you. It’s easy stuff,” Jack said, holding up a file folder. Kyle raised an eye to look at Jack. Grinning mischievously, Jack tossed the file on Kyle’s desk. Kyle glanced at it. The name on the flap made him freeze. The label said Miller Reed. Jack was still talking. “It’s a Drunk and Disorderly.”

Kyle’s head popped up. His mouth dropped open. “What’s this about?” he asked, waving a hand over the file folder. “What’s the story, man?”

Jack repositioned himself in the visitor’s chair. He took a deep breath, then flipped his hand toward the open file folder. “This guy goes to a bar with a male friend. A disagreement erupts. Guy tosses the whiskey from his glass at the other guy.”

Kyle looked up. “Just the liquid, not the glass itself?”

Jack nodded.

“That’s not a crime,” Kyle said, making a face.

“There’s more, Reed, much more,”

Kyle was staring down at the mug shots of his old man. There was a gash over Miller’s right eyebrow.

“The other guy doesn’t like taking a whiskey shower,” Jack began, chuckling. “He then throws his glass at Miller’s head.”

Kyle cringed. He let a second go by before answering. “That’s assault on the other guy’s part. Miller may have baited him, but that’s not a crime.”

Jack was proud of Kyle for that deduction. “Other guy’s probably being charged, but that’s not our case. This one is.”

Kyle leaned back in his chair. “Okay, go on. There’s more to this one. I can feel it.”

Jack grunted. “Next thing anyone knows, the two guys are on their feet, brawling it out. At some point, the bartender comes over, tries to break the war up, and gets socked in the face.”

Kyle didn’t miss a beat. “Whose fist made contact with the bartender’s face?”

Jack shrugged. “We’re not sure yet. When they make the determination, another assault charge will be added to the list.” Jack frowned. “Right now, both men are being charged with public misconduct and vandalism.”

Kyle made a face. “How come he needs a Public Defender?”

Jack shrugged. “Says he’s broke. Business went under a few years back,” he replied. “When asked if he wanted to speak to an attorney, Miller specifically asked for you, Reed.”

“Are they still holding him at the police station?” Kyle asked.

Jack shrugged. “They’re not really holding him. They’re saying it’s in his best interest and safety to keep him there until either he unravels from the drunken state, or somebody picks him up.”

Kyle pushed his chair back from the desk and rose. “Guess I should get over there and find out what’s going on.” He edged his way around the desk in the small space and headed to the opening of the cubicle.

Jack called for him. “Hey, Reed?”

Kyle turned to face him.

“Some advice, kid, a good lawyer never reveals how he’s feeling.” Jack wagged a finger. “Posturing, man, brush up on it.”

A broad smile drew to Kyle’s lips. “That’s why I’m not the DA yet, Jack. I’m still trying to learn from the pros.”

Jack liked that one. Smiling, he nodded his head. “Go get your old man out of the pen and take him home. Tell him to cool it with the drinking and bar fights. It’s costing the state a fortune having to send one of their people out on family matters during work hours.”

That was Kyle’s cue. Laughing, he dashed off.

About the Author

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series: Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, Uneasy Tides, and Gayle’s tales.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-writing. She is deaf-blind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Kevin and their dog Henry.

Visit her website.

Here’s author Eva Pasco, with a wonderful family story to share.

Still Standing

by Eva Pasco

Standing firm against time—three stone walls my father built at the edge of our front lawn 61 years ago!

Every spring and fall, my mother and I embark on a scenic drive through our former hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island. Invariably, we pass by the one-level, five-room ranch on Angell Road, where my sister and I grew up. My father’s uncle and his crew custom-built our home in 1957. The tiled kitchen had a state-of-the-art, built-in, stainless steel oven and kitty-cornered, knotty pine hutch.

Back then, our nearest neighbor was about a half-mile up the bumpy, narrow winding road. Though many more opulent homes have sprung up along new offshoots of roads, the terrain along Angell Road is still country-bumpkin rutted.

In 1962, my father built three stone walls at the edge of our front lawn, not so much for a boundary line, though they certainly contained and defined our property. But, rather to serve as retaining walls to obstruct the devastating effects of run-off and erosion that accompanied heavy downpours. A part-time project my father engaged in after work and during weekends all summer, stretched into autumn. His venture evolved into an obsession which recruited the labor force of my mother, sister, and me to gather stones.

The three of us would explore the woods behind our back yard and along the roadside for rocks we’d dutifully haul back home in a wheelbarrow for direct deposit in the ravines. Oftentimes, our family would be out for a leisurely drive in the countryside, and my father would stop if he espied a wall-worthy rock or two. He was a pushover for boulders too. Those he managed to pry loose from Mother Earth’s grip ended up in the back of our Plymouth station wagon.

As of today, those three stone walls still hold their ground, having withstood the pummeling of hurricanes and blizzards. Only now, they are overpowered by untamed shrubbery, practically obscuring them from view. Although the neglect saddens and disappoints both my mother and me, the change hasn’t altered their design or our perspective on life. These relics are still a testament to my father’s determination and perseverance—a piece of family history, preserving the legacy of an industrious and independent-thinking man.

A sturdy looking stone wall separates the fallen brown leaves in the foreground from the red and green leaves in the branches of trees in the background. The wall is made of many shapes and sizes of stones, all smoothed by time, sealed together with a grayish mortar. The stones vary in shade from almost-white to gray, to warm brown.

About the Author

Midlife restlessness prompted Eva Pasco, a retired elementary education teacher, to rekindle her passion for storytelling. Whenever Eva can break away, she enjoys day tripping along Rhode Island’s coastline where her favorite pastime is walking the shore to collect beach glass.

Visit her Amazon Author page.

Before we head over to the Poetry Place, I’d like to share this with you. If you’re looking for a place to belong, the ACB Community is where you want to go. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

 

In This Community, Thanks and Love Are Enough

By Patty L. Fletcher

February 5, 2023

Every time I think I cannot go one step more, feel like the struggle is too much to bear, think I might give up and crawl into a corner and pout and hide, this awesome community comes through for me.

We’ve just had a great time in the Happy Hospitality room, where I’m privileged to facilitate the call. We laughed, chatted and I felt the warmth of fellowship and friendship smoothing the cares of the day away.

But wait, there’s more. Earlier today, in the ACB Community Facebook group, I posted a message for help with learning the newest ins and outs of Facebook because I felt like I was sinking in quicksand. Immediately someone in the community reached out to me with an offer to assist.

I must say, when I first heard of the community, I was skeptical. I’d been in many groups before and the end result for me was always the same, I just never fit in.

Though I’ve hit a few bumps in the road along my way here and found out there are some things I’m better at than others and a few things which I should avoid, overall this has been the best experience of my life as far as experiencing such things as this and all I can say is thank you for allowing me to be a part of it all.

I am grateful for each of you and if there’s ever something I can do for you please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks doesn’t seem like quite enough, but it and my love are what I’ve to give and the best part of it all is, in this community, that’s enough.

Thanks for reading. May harmony find you and blessid be.

About Patty L. Fletcher

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

Follow her at: https://pattysworlds.com/ for stories, book updates and more.

This essay was originally published at: https://acbvoices.wordpress.com/2023/03/17/in-this-community-thanks-and-love-are-enough/

Poetry Place…

EDITOR’S POETIC GREETINGS

Here we are in the Poetry Place, where honestly, we need no introduction. For, poetry always touches the soul.

Though we’re in the fringes of spring, the following poem from The Avocet Nature Magazine touched me so, I had to share.

Winter Walk: a Haibun

By Janice F. Booth

A sunny, winter’s day in Michigan. Bundle up the babies, load them in a car; let’s head off for a walk at Kensington. We take one of the familiar trails through the oaks, elms, maples and evergreens and along the lake; it might be frozen today. The snow’s been tramped down by early risers, except for a few tracks of bunny and squirrel. We’re the first footsteps in the glistening snow. There’s a deer, oh, and a fox in the distance. And here – our dear songbirds, Juncos, Titmice, and Chickadees; such little beggars. They know we’re carrying treats. Look. The Chickadees and Nuthatches on those branches just ahead. Such squealing from you, Babies. We know you’re delighted with the songbirds’ chirruping. Softly now; don’t frighten the birds. Birds and humans, we all know the routine. First, here are your goldfish crackers, Kiddos. Oh, my; very little of the crackers reach those tiny mouths. Like the children in “Hansel & Gretel,” you’re leaving a trail of cracker crumbs behind you. What fun! The wrens, finches, and sparrows swoop in to glean the tidbits. Okay, time to open our little sack of sunflower seeds. I’ll put a small mound in my hand. “Watch, a hand filled with fragrant seeds is irresistible to our feathered followers,” I whisper. After a moment, a tiny, warm ball of feathers lands delicately on my palm and selects a plump seed. Then, so quickly, our visitor flies up, onto a nearby branch. The feeling is exquisite. The warmth of that tiny creature, the softness of those gray feathers, the delicacy of those tiny toes, grasping my finger, resting on my palm – the jolly children and trusting birds, a gift that will stay with me as long as I live.

Winter Walk

Young mothers eager for an outing,

sunshine beyond the window pane,

the crunch of snow beneath our boots,

babies bundled for the snowy day

out of doors.

Overhead, hunting to feed her young,

a solitary hawk watches

women with babies on their backs

beneath blue skies.

New snow upon old trees,

old trails to new vistas.

Welcoming songbirds

romp among the branches –

shared joy.

Glistening, black seeds

held high on steady palm, an offering.

A heartbeat in silver down perches to feed.

Silent pause.

About the Author

Janice F. Booth is one of the poets whose work is included in The Song In the Room: Six Women Poets. She is the author of Crofton: Images of America. Her poems are included in Dan Murano’s The Road Beneath Our Feet, She has written for local, regional and national publications including a long-running gardens column. Janice taught at both community college and university. She has a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, She can be contacted by email at janicefbooth@gmail.com. Read her blog at www.open-line.org

Janice Booth sits on a ledge outside, with leafy green branches and a smooth white pillar behind her. She is smiling, and has shoulder-length blonde hair and bangs. She’s wearing gray slacks, a long sleeved white shirt, and a puffy black vest.

Now, moving us into spring is author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto.

Lady Spring

By Jo Elizabeth Pinto

She flutters gaily to the dance

On airy wafts of sweet perfume.

The maiden fair takes every glance

And turns the heads there in the room.

Her beaming eyes and smile bright

And lightest laughter in her voice

Enrapture every heart in sight

And souls in helpless love rejoice.

The gentle touch of Lady Spring

Stirs dizzy hearts to quickened beat

But wooing her regret shall bring

For none can win her hand complete.

So fleeting is her presence there

And then she exits swift and cold.

Her splendor comes but once a year

To light anew desires old.

About the Author

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

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

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband and their teenage daughter. Their family also includes Pinto’s guide dog Spreckles, a poodle/Maltese mix called Leo, and an aging family cat who answers to the name Sam-I-Am when he feels like it.

This poem appears in my recently released volume of nature poetry, “Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse.” All four of my books are available on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats. My novel and my two memoirs can also be purchased as audio versions.

Please follow this Amazon Author link.

 

Annie Chiappetta is here with a poetic tip on falling asleep.

 

How to Fall Asleep

By Ann Chiappetta

Ride the lift down

Breathe the numbers

20, 19, 18, 17

Clear the mind

16, 15, 14, 13

Let go

soft glow

12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7

Cushion Pulse

Inflate diaphragm exhale

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Open door

late afternoon

Deep quiet

reeds rustle

throaty croaks

warbling, temple bells

Wood chimes beckon

Quiet hours

The deep pressure of sleep.

About the Author

Ann Chiappetta author and multi-media specialist

Making meaningful connections

The author of five fiction and nonfiction books, Ann’s poems, creative nonfiction, essays and fiction appear in anthologies, online magazines, blogs and small press reviews.

Ann is also a co-host of the Art Parlor podcast produced by Friends In Art of ACB and visits schools and organizations in Westchester County presenting a disability awareness and people with disabilities program to K-6 grade students.

Visit Ann Chiappetta on the web.

Abbie Johnson Taylor has some poetic speculation on turning 60.

On Turning Sixty

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

I gaze at my reflection in the mirror.

A young woman smiles back at me

with green eyes, brown hair,

no gray curls or wrinkled skin.

You wouldn’t know she’d reached her sixtieth year.

Could her secret to staying forever young be

that she never had children?

Author’s Note

I wrote this poem in 2021 after I turned sixty. At the time, someone speculated that the reason I look, feel, and sound so young is that I never had children. I couldn’t help wondering how our population would be affected if more people held that belief. Then, I attended a virtual workshop where we were prompted to write about how we saw ourselves in a mirror, and this poem was born.

About the Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor has published three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. With a BA in music, she worked as a registered music therapist with residents in nursing homes and other senior facilities for fifteen years before writing full-time. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, with her robotic cat Joy.

Visit her Website.

As I approach the anniversary of when my guide dog journey began, I’d like to share this poetic salute to puppy raisers and guide dog trainers everywhere.

The Puppy Grew Up and Became…

By Patty L. Fletcher

Once upon a time long ago,

When you were very small you know.

In the morning’s early dawn you were born,

But all too soon from your mother you were torn.

You were sent to live far away with a family you thought forever you would stay.

You learned the neatest and most awesome tricks.

So much more than chasing sticks.

You learned to sit to rest to lay,

You learned to obey in every way.

You did all these things so very well,

And every day you grew.

All too soon your life changed again,

And you made another new friend.

He was your teacher, your very own guide.

Would you forever walk by his side?

No! This was not to be.

You learned all you could from him,

And then,

You were given to me.

Fast we became best of friends,

And it is with me you will now stay until our work together ends.

In honor of Guide Dogs, puppy raisers, Trainers, and Handlers Everywhere!

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

About Patty L. Fletcher

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

Follow her at: https://pattysworlds.com/ for stories, book updates and more.

Reading with the Authors…

Step into the library with me, where you’re sure to find your next read.

Author and poet Annie Chiappetta, is up first with an essay which while not a review, shares what the love of a book can do.

Book Lover

Creative nonfiction

By Ann Chiappetta C 2019

Readers note: this essay uses a style called objectification. The nouns are replaced with adjectives, i.e., the girl , for example, is named Happy and her father is named Remote, indicated with a capital letter of the adjective replacing the actual name of a person.

Happy was young and free. She lived in a brown house and a backyard. Happy felt like a princess thanks to her room, decorated with pretty pink walls, ruby red carpet and white canopy bed. Happy was content most of the time, except for one thing: she had lost Nurture. Sure, Happy had her sisters, Angry and Busy, and Remote, her father and even her grandfather, Moody. Yet, Nurture, her mother, had left and her mother’s place beside her father, Remote, was now empty. Happy did not have Nurture to read bedtime stories, brush Happy’s hair or kiss Happy’s boo-boos. Happy was happiest when Nurture pulled the brush through her hair, it was so relaxing. Nurture would hum a tune while stroking Happy’s chestnut waves and Happy would sigh with contentment.

Now Happy’s hair was almost always tangled, her bedtime stories went unread and she hummed like Nurture to try to make herself feel better and make up for Nurture being gone. Happy tried to find a happy medium or a smile when dealing with Angry, but her sister would shut the door of her room in Happy’s face. Busy was doing important things that the oldest sister did, and Happy ended up alone and unhappy most of the time.

One day, as she played with her doll, and Remote sat reading a book, Happy asked Remote why he liked to read. He replied, “I learn about other places, like the Antarctic, Africa, and Europe,”.

“Do you read about animals and trees and stuff?”

He smiled, and nodded, then took her by the hand and showed her how to take out an encyclopedia,

“Start with these.”

Happy curled up on the sofa and as she began exploring the words and pictures, Happy understood why Remote seemed to always have a book in his lap.

Remote didn’t brush her hair and hum, or kiss her scrapes, but he did whistle when working in the shop, and this made Happy smile. It wasn’t the same way Nurture would tell a story, but sitting beside Remote and reading her own book as he read his gave Happy a warm and satisfied feeling inside.

Happy realized, over time, her middle name was Curious, just like her dad.

About the Author

Ann Chiappetta author and multi-media specialist

Making meaningful connections

The author of five fiction and nonfiction books, Ann’s poems, creative nonfiction, essays and fiction appear in anthologies, online magazines, blogs and small press reviews.

Ann is also a co-host of the Art Parlor podcast produced by Friends In Art of ACB and visits schools and organizations in Westchester County presenting a disability awareness and people with disabilities program to K-6 grade students.

Visit Ann Chiappetta on the web.

Now here’s author and poet Abbie Johnson Taylor reviewing one of her fellow author’s books.

Sweet Mystery Stories: My Review of the Tracy Gayle Series

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Tracy Gayle is a private investigator living in New York. She meets California rock musician Danny Tide after his band’s bus is set on fire while the group is performing in her area. After solving that and related crimes, Tracy and Danny work together to solve other mysteries involving a Miss America pageant contestant, Danny’s second and first wives, and other characters. Along the way, they make new friends, fall in love, and start planning their wedding.

I met the author of this series, Trish Hubschman, through Behind Our Eyes, an organization to which we belong. I enjoyed reading the work she posted on our email list and recently had an opportunity to interview her during a book launch our organization held for her latest book in the series, Gayle’s Tales, a collection of short stories about Tracy and Danny.

Usually, I don’t care for mysteries anymore. But since I once wanted to be a rock singer and enjoy reading stories about celebrities, I was drawn to this series. The books remind me of the Nancy Drew stories I read as a child. Tracy Gayle is Nancy Drew all grown up, and she’s not just locating missing persons.

Although the five books in this series could stand alone, it’s better to read them in order: Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, Uneasy Tides, and Gayle’s Tales. The stories flow from one to the next with believable characters and plots and engaging dialogue. The last story in Gayle’s Tales will leave you wondering.

I recommend these books to anyone who likes romantic mysteries with not too much violence.

You’ll find more information and purchasing links here. I hope there will be a sequel to the last story in Gayle’s Tales.

About the Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor has published three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. With a BA in music, she worked as a registered music therapist with residents in nursing homes and other senior facilities for fifteen years before writing full-time. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, with her robotic cat Joy.

Visit her Website.

Notes from Patty, Readers, and Her Editors…

Before I close this edition of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine, I’d like to thank all those who help make our magazine possible. I couldn’t do this magazine without my editors, proofreaders, and of course Dawn and Colleen of Two Pentacles Publishing make us all shine.

I’d also like to invite any readers who aren’t members to our Facebook or email group, here’s more.

The writer’s Grapevine is a quarterly news and literary magazine featuring Writers, Small Business and Nonprofits.

In each issue you’ll find a variety of Articles, Essays, Short Stories and Poems for your enjoyment and education.

Along with the magazine comes a community to which you’re invited.

This group is an extension of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine and is a place where authors, bloggers, and business owners as well as nonprofits come to share tidbits about their personal and working lives, etc.

Joining this group will allow you to…

  • Receive monthly editions of the magazine and all things related.
  • Be in direct contact with magazine contributors. And…
  • Have conversations about what you read in the magazine and more.

There are only a few group rules, and they are…

  • No flaming or racist comments and absolutely no bullying.
  • We will be respectful and kind to all who subscribe.

To join us via email, send a blank message to: writersGV+subscribe@groups.io

If email is not your thing, we’ve a Facebook group as well.

Join us at The Writer’s Grapevine Mag Here.

Thanks for joining us.

May harmony find you.

Blessid be.

Lastly, my contributors and editors would totally love to have your feedback.

Please review our magazine and send your comments to: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you.

From the Desk (okay the couch) of Two Pentacles

Dawn and Colleen, of Two Pentacles Publishing. Dawn is on the left, with chin-length dark blonde hair and light purple square glasses. She is wearing a black sweatshirt with a wide neck and a white design. Colleen is on the right, with short brown hair and large, black, square glasses. Both are smiling at the camera.

Hello again from Colleen’s cozy couch in confusingly chilly Salem, Oregon!

Our days in the Willamette Valley are currently maxing out at about forty-five degrees Fahrenheit. And in spite of this, everyone I work with seems completely content to walk around in short sleeves, talking about what they’re planting in their backyard that weekend (mostly peas, in case you were wondering), and waxing poetic about the joys of springtime returning to the valley.

In other words, everyone in my office is a liar who is in complete denial about their seasonal allergies which are somehow running rampant despite the fact that it’s still, very much, winter.

While I’ve been trying to find new ways to duct tape my space heater to my person without acquiring any third degree burns, Dawn has been happily ensconced in a life of yarn.

Some time ago, her love of knitting spawned a new and terrifying infatuation – crochet. While this means that everything in her home, her dog, and all of her friends are covered in multicolored, knotted spools of wool, it also means that I’m now the proud owner of several granny-squared creations.

So, all in all, it’s been a good quarter.

  • Colleen

By way of a PS: if you’re wondering why it’s taking longer than usual to get a response to your email to Two Pentacles lately, it’s because Dawn is in charge of our inbox. And she’s currently knotted herself into a corner. Please be patient. And send your sleeve size.

Closing…

This concludes The Writer’s Grapevine Spring and Things March April Edition. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

As always, your comments on the magazine are wanted and welcome.

Please be sure to get in touch.

Send all comments and queries to: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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

From:

Patty L. Fletcher and Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue as well as the Writer’s Grapevine Magazine crew.

2 Comments

    1. Thanks Abbie for having the magazine over on your blog.
      I hope your readers will enjoy it and let us know what they think.
      If anyone would like to subscribe to our writersGV@groups.io email group which allows direct communications with contributors Etc. Please send an email to: writersGV+subscribe@groups.io that’s writersGV plus subscribe at groups.io
      Abbie is a member, and she posts a lot of great content there. some is the same as here, some is not but the conversation is something you won’t find anywhere else. Also, and this is most important, you get the magazine there far earlier than anywhere else.

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