Purple grapes hang from green vines which frame the upper half of the image. Stylized white text reads "The Writer's Grapevine" with smaller vines under the lettering. Below, a translucent white banner provides the backdrop for handwritten font that reads "Springs Into Fall" and in slightly smaller text "September/October Edition". 
The image behind the text is a bright blue sky above green grass. On the left side of the image is a cartoonish drawing of two large, bright orange pumpkins, surrounded by green vines and heart-shaped leaves. Two brown hedgehogs are among the pumpkins, one climbing over the side of the largest pumpkin, and the other with its nose pointed towards the right side of the image. On the right, two brown rabbits with fluffy white tails are among three bright green cabbages and clusters of darker green grass. One of the rabbits is looking at his hedgehog companion, while the other is facing away, eating a cabbage leaf.





If you’ve trouble clicking any of the links in this magazine, simply copy and paste them directly into your internet browser. You can also try tabbing to the links, then either right-clicking the link or pressing Shift+F10 and arrow to something that says, “Open Link.” If, for some reason, they don’t work correctly for you once you’ve done this, please email: to let me know.

*** Navigating for Users of Screen Readers***

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Navigating headings in word?
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Press JawsKey+z, then h or shift h to move around by heading.

When you’re done reading, press JawsKey z again for normal editing.

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Navigating Instructions by Casey Mathews!


*Editor’s Note*

At times, the link placement guidelines will be ignored when needed for instructions or relative information.


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.

My special thanks to Claire Plaisted of PLAISTED PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD FOR FORMATTING and Mara Reitsma of COVERED BY THE ROSE for the magazine cover. Contractor for Plaisted Publishing House Author Consultant at And Colleen and Dawn from Two Pentacles Publishing at for assistance with editing and photo descriptions. As well as the seasonal design additions to this month’s themed cover.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We take payment via PayPal at:

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

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



Author Website:

Author Website:

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

Author Consultant Website:

Lynda McKinney Lambert announces
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems now available on Audible
Author Website:

Virtual Tech Advisor and Research Assistant Website:

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:

Folklore, History, Planting Care, and Good Eating
by Anne Copeland (C 2019)
Author Website:

Author Website:


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


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.

This month, I’d like to open the What’s Up column with what I think is one of the most incredible personal essays I’ve read in some time.

You all have heard me talk of Christy McMakin and how much she means to me. You know that she’s largely responsible for my good fortune in finding the wonderfully warm community in which I now reside.

You’ve read her work here and on her blog, as well. Now, I’d like to invite you to learn a bit more about this courageous lady.

The Rebellious Boob Chronicles – One with the River
October 12, 2021
By Christy McMakin

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a cancer recovery retreat in the Lake Logan North Carolina area hosted by Casting Carolinas. Casting Carolinas is a non-profit organization that offers one-day and three-day retreats for women surviving all types of cancers. They use their own unique F.L.O.W. program that combines fly fishing instruction with medical education and mindfulness, teaching survivors skills to help them deal more effectively with the emotional effects of cancer and survivorship.

To say that I was extremely excited for the retreat is a gross understatement. I had originally been chosen to attend in October 2020, but due to the unforeseen circumstances of a pandemic, the retreat had to be cancelled indefinitely. Sigh. I would remain on the waiting list to be contacted when things opened back up. When the email came through in June stating they were opening up registration again for an October 2021 retreat, I was so thrilled that I set an alarm to remind myself to sign up first thing! The anticipation over the next few months stirred in my soul as I felt this time away was going to bring many blessings. I am a nurturer at heart, and I spend the majority of my time, at work and at home, taking care of others. This 3-day weekend, however, was going to be a time of focusing on me and for once in my life I didn’t feel selfish about that.

The day had finally arrived, the weather forecast for the weekend looked fabulous, I was packed and headed out. I had my windows down, some praise music on, the leaves were already wearing autumn attire and the two-hour drive quickly passed. I caught myself smiling from ear to ear as I drove up the gravel road to the retreat center, pulled into a space, took a deep breath, and stepped out of the car to spend 3 days with complete strangers whom I shared a common bond with – survivorship. All of our lives had been uprooted by a cancer diagnosis, some more than once, yet we were all here, ready to embrace what was in store for us.

Laughter and peace permeated the atmosphere as I stepped up on the porch of the cabin. I was greeted by several volunteers that made me feel welcomed immediately and directed me inside to the registration table. All the ladies that hosted and served at the retreat were so full of life, joy and friendliness and made you feel at home immediately. Once I checked in, I was to come back outside and be fitted for my river waders and boots for the fishing trip on Sunday! Wait. A River. Moving water. Insert anxiety. Was I ready for this part?

My mind wandered back many years, to a moment in time that had forever seared itself into my brain. I was 6 or 7, at the lake with my family and my father was trying to teach me to swim. He stood at a distance, chest deep in water, swearing to me that it wasn’t over my head, and promising that if I started to go under, he would save me. Little did I know he was standing on a stump that lifted him up a good 3 feet. I attempted to swim, face down in the water, arms stroking back and forth. I was making some progress but suddenly, I began to sink. The water overtook me, I was thrashing left and right, eyes wide open, surrounded by the murky water and bubbles created by the oxygen that was leaving my lungs. My feet desperately searched for the bottom, and it was nowhere to be found. I screamed but no sound came out, only gulps of water rushing into my mouth. Where was my father? I needed him to save me! Whether this lasted 5 seconds or 5000 years, for me it felt like an eternity, and I just knew at that moment I was drowning. Finally, a hand reached down and pulled me out of what I thought was a near death experience, and as soon as my feet could touch ground, I ran out of the water, coughing, spewing out water, and terrified. I sat there on the shore crying, wanting a hug or reassurance that I was okay, yet what I got was belittling laughter. I was a worthless crybaby, a chicken, a coward, a sissy. My dad demanded that I get back in the water but all I wanted was to run away in fear and I didn’t care what kind of punishment I would get for refusing his demands. A whipping would be better than dying, right?

From that moment water became my enemy and at the age of 51, I still cannot swim. I can climb a 500-foot mountain, stand on death defying cliff edges, leap a tall building in a single bound – okay maybe not that extreme – but I can handle getting my feet wet in stream crossings. However, if the adventure involves any part of my body above my knees being immersed in water, you can guarantee that anxiety rushes in. There I stood on the front porch of the cabin, getting fitted for boots and river waders and in two days, I would be standing in a mighty rushing river holding a fly-fishing rod. Oh Lord, what had I gotten myself into?

The next couple of days were amazing! The heart of the retreat is a mindfulness program developed by the hosts of Casting Carolinas, called F.L.O.W. It focuses on taking a deep breath, calming your spirit and being aware of what is going on with your thoughts, emotions, and reactions. We had several group sessions where we all came together and spent time connecting with ourselves and each other, learning, and growing. We shared lots of laughter, life experiences, and shed heartfelt tears. I felt incredibly honored to be in the midst of so many strong and powerful women. We also spent time learning about fly fishing! We learned about the river and the different aspects of it. What kind of insects the fish eat. How to put a fly-fishing rod and reel together, tie on the flies, and how to cast. We even got to make our own flies! Saturday evening, we were entertained with a time of live music, dancing and singing. Oh, and not to mention, that we ate so much delicious food I thought I would bust. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratefulness as I laid my head down on the pillow Saturday night, closing my eyes in anticipation of Sunday morning’s river adventure. All that we had learned about fly fishing would be put into action as each woman would have their own guide and get to spend almost four hours on the river fishing.

The sun rose quickly the next morning, and decked out in our boots and waders, we all gathered at the cabin for a closing ceremony. Whew, what an emotional hour! 🙂 We then made our way to the dining hall for breakfast and to meet our guides. My guide for the day would be Rick, an experienced fisherman who cut his teeth fishing in the Gunnison Valley of Colorado. We enjoyed small talk over bacon and eggs, got group pictures and then headed out to the Pigeon River to hopefully catch some fish! As we made our way down to the river and stepped in, I was entranced by the melody of the moving water. Rick took some time to educate me on a few things, observe my newly learned casting skills, find a nice spot to steady ourselves and then it was time to fish. I admit it was awkward at first feeling the difference between fishing with a spin cast and spinning reel versus the fly rod. I was used to having weights on my line and the fly-fishing line seemed weightless. After a bit of practice, I got the hang of it and I was casting, getting bites, losing fish, and yes, I finally caught some.

My catches included a brook trout, a rainbow trout, and a brown trout, which earned me the badge of what fishermen call a “grand slam,” catching one of each type of trout. Go Christy! It was so fun being played by the fish. The water was crystal clear, you could see them just hanging out underwater and watching as my fly would float downstream right in front of them. Then those little buggers would jump right out of the water in front of you just to show you who was the real boss! As we were walking upstream to fish in another spot, I noticed a brook trout hanging out in a little pocket of water to the left of the river. I said to my guide, “Hey, there’s a fish right here!” He said, “See if you can catch it?” I said, “With my bare hands?” Yes! So, I took a deep breath, raised my hands in the air and breathed out, “I am one with the river.” I was being silly, but hey, it worked! I knelt down, slowly put my hands in the water and very gently eased them under the belly of the fish and bingo! I raised him right up out of the water! My guide let out a huge belly laugh, and I was proud to be his first student to catch a trout with their bare hands!

As fun as it was catching the fish, my favorite part of the day was reading the river. I loved observing how the different sections flowed at different speeds. I learned what lanes were and began to identify riffles, eddies, and pockets. I discovered that you begin fishing the river in front of you and slowly progress across the stream so that you don’t spook the fish. At one point I even told my guide that he was more than welcome to fish while I just stood in the river being mesmerized. For the professional record…he did not fish! At one point I was standing in moving water that was almost chest deep and I could feel the weight of the current against me. Wait, I was standing in water ALMOST CHEST DEEP! I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and realized that for the first time in my life I was surrounded by water and my mind was not consumed with anxiety. In fact, all morning I had not given one thought to anything other than the delight I was feeling as the river had wooed me like a new suitor and captured my undivided attention.

Twelve thirty rolled around quickly and it was time to head back to the dining hall for lunch, our graduation ceremony, to tell our fishing stories, say our heartfelt goodbyes and head back home. Some folks had caught tons of fish, others a few, one had caught waders full of water as she took a tumble, and me, yep, I told the story of how I caught that brook trout with my bare hands! The weekend had written so many great stories, yet I knew that the greatest story of all was that, on this wonderful Sunday morning in October, I was no longer a terrified little girl, a crybaby, worthless, and a coward. I was also a strong, powerful woman, and in those few passing hours I had made a new friend, and the river and I had truly become one.

To see more information on Casting Carolinas, visit:

Now we have author Meredith Burton, also from Tennessee, with her totally terrific tale.


I hope that all of you are doing well on this gorgeous day. The weather here in Middle Tennessee has been phenomenal – temperatures in the sixties and seventies with nice, crisp fall mornings and evenings. I love this time of year, particularly because it evokes so many memories of childhood Girl Scout camping trips. We always erected tents and spent autumn weekends at picturesque campsites, enjoying hikes and fun times in nature. I always ate more than my fair share of s’mores, but the indulgence was worth it.

2021 has been a busy and eventful year thus far. One of my most exciting accomplishments occurred on October 17. I have, over the last three years, been trying to exercise more for health purposes. While exercise is not my favorite pastime by any means, I have developed a respect for physical activity. My energy level has improved, and I have noticed a sharpness in mental clarity and an overall feeling of accomplishment.

On October 17, I participated in a half marathon with some friends from my church. Even two years ago, I would have never considered walking thirteen miles for any reason! However, the Four Bridges Half Marathon in Chattanooga, Tennessee raises money to assist wounded war veterans. Both my grandfathers served in World War II, and that is a cause that is dear to my heart. So, with much trepidation, I decided to participate in the race. We set a tentative goal of completing the event in five hours or perhaps a little longer. My friends and I completed the race in five hours and twenty-five minutes. We did not enter the race to win first prize. Physical winning was not the issue. Participating in the half marathon accomplished a moral victory that I will never forget. While I was definitely tired when the race was completed, the feeling of euphoria eclipsed the tiredness. Our team name was The Persistent Tortoises. The name was inspired by my youngest niece’s love for turtles and by the Aesop fable about the tortoise and the hare. While I am a tortoise who occasionally overindulges on choice tidbits and loves relaxation, I have grown to respect and appreciate the place physical activity holds in a well-balanced life. The half marathon showed me that setting a goal and accomplishing it is something that will always bring me joy.

So, a tired but excited tortoise is prepared to take her next step on life’s journey, reminded that taking one step at a time will bring great rewards. The race of life is not always to the swift but to those who persist. Obstacles will be encountered, but it’s how the obstacles are faced that matters.

Next, Annie Chiappetta is here to share her latest news. She’s a lot going on so settle yourself in for a great read.

Annie Shares News Issue 10
October 2021

🎃 🍂 🎃 🍂 🎃 🍂

Autumnal greetings to all!

I have so much to share with you. First, it’s no secret this is my favorite time of year and will always be a deeply spiritual time for me. The configuration of religious rituals is what grounds me, along with the shift in this earth’s transition from summer to fall and winter. It’s awesome, beautiful, and inspiring.

What’s been happening? First, my blog Thought Wheel is now on my main website. Thanks to my equally awesome webmaster, Dave Annett and Stonebridge Media, everything Annie is now in one place. 🙌

Next, after over three years and assistance by a number of key people, all my titles are available in accessible formats. This means if you prefer purchasing an audible book, my titles are there, if you use Bookshare services, my books are there, if you want an eBook or Kindle book or a print book, it’s available. Same for Smashwords, Amazon, and even the braille and audio book download (BARD) National Library Service catalog stores all my titles. Why is this important? I am an indie author, which means I am in charge, and I am dedicated to equal access no matter what format a reader chooses. When I lost my ability to read print over twenty years ago, I never thought I would be championing for full access to books for people with print disabilities. Knowing that this goal cannot only be reached, but is also achievable by authors with disabilities, to reach readers with disabilities as well as readers without print disabilities, is full-circle for me as an author. Equal access is a most laudable idea and goal to reach, but it takes more than a village and various resources to achieve it. I am blessed with caring and talented people who have supported these goals and assisted me in achieving them.

Check out my favorite co-narrators Lillian Yves and Vincent Lee Grayson, as we share the version of Words of Life: Poems and Essays. It would make a great gift.

Links to all my books are on

My website includes audio and video of my performances so don’t be shy and check it out!
Best wishes from me and my book dragon, Dreya.
Making meaningful connections with others through writing.

A colorful image of a dragon, standing among three stacks of books, next to text which reads "Ann Chiapetta: Making meaningful connections with others through writing." Ann's name is written in flowing cursive in different shades of blue, and is separated from the fanciful black, block text beneath by a thin black line. The dragon is green with orange wings and spines along its face, back, and tail, and is curled around books of varied thickness and color. Brightly colored music notes flutter around the books and above the text.

For those of you who have been following Edward Cohen’s continuous journey through the world of business and innovation, concerning products designed to assist those who are visually challenged or who have age related disabilities, here’s an update you’ll not want to skip.

Edward’s got lots going on, so as you continue through the magazine be sure to check out his announcement in the Adverts and News Nuggets section as well.

For now, here’s Edward with more.

September At Last
By Edward Cohen

Hello and Happy Fall,

For many reasons, September has always felt like a special month for me.

The heat of the summer begins to wane. But at the same time, the days grow noticeably shorter. My father’s birthday was in September. Mine, too, is in this month; not that it matters that much to me now. But for one of my young grandsons with a birthday this month, September is a big deal. It also contains that horrible attack 20 years ago along with a couple of important religious holidays.

I have strong memories from 52 years ago, of being a college freshman walking down new streets to and from class. My mind was filled with the very real immediate challenges I faced and the future I imagined would follow. I recall those days being pleasantly cool. The sun shone brightly in a cloudless, bright blue sky. Back then I could see the trees gradually losing their brightly colored leaves. I recall scenes when windblown leaves soared over my head to add to the piles growing in the path.

While I no longer see those colors, when the weather matches those days and the leaves begin crunching under foot, memories of those long-ago days return. Might you have any special memories of September as well?

Ok, enough reminiscing, here’s the latest.

The 2022 calendars are in!

If you missed it, the 2022 calendars are in. Grin. Details below.

Jury Duty
As you may recall from last month, I declined the county’s offer to avoid serving because of my age or blindness. So, for two weeks, I dutifully called every day after 4:30 to learn if I needed to report. Maybe because they didn’t have too many jury trials or maybe because of the Labor Day holiday, my group was never called up.

After living here for 11 years. This was my first jury summons. If the next one takes another 11 years, we’ll see how eager I am to serve when I’m in my 80’s. Grin.

The Address Book and More
The process to create and finalize print-ready PDF files of the needed pages is well underway. Only a few more pages need to be created or finalized. The cover and the logo are done. Getting the content for the “Welcome” page is the most challenging, as was expected. All the great stuff about the product needs to fit on the two half-size pages.

Some troubling news. Folks really liked the slogan I dreamed up for this product, “Your Reminder Binder.” After typing that into my browser, I learned of a company who has registered that term. ☹ Too bad I didn’t think to check it before I started to like it.

That company makes planners and that sort of thing. Shows how tricky the world of publishing and intellectual property rights is. Now to find a replacement slogan; suggestions are welcome. Maybe a free address book if your idea is chosen?

St. Olaf College Consulting Club
The leaders of this impressive college club will select a team of “agents” to work for two months with me on the market for the Address Book and More product. That first meeting happens after I send this, so look for a report next month. It is exciting to have such assistance.

Alerting Canadians of the product
I’ve gotten the green light from the three main blind and low vision groups in Canada to share news that the EZ2See® calendar will be on Amazon Canada in October. I’ve written the announcement that, with minor adjustments, can be sent to all three.

Let’s go Shopping Virtual Event
I was invited to present sometime In November through this online shopping network. I’ll be getting more details soon. It is described as an accessible version of QVC. I’ll be the pitchman during my time on the audio-only sessions. Besides telling you when my sessions will happen, I must share news of the event through my network. So, count on hearing more next month. Many products are offered meaning you might be interested in the event.

Sponsoring the Blind Post for 3 Months
Maybe you’re aware of this source of a variety of information of interest to those with vision issues. EZ2See® will be a sponsor through the end of the year. Appearing here will alert many for whom the calendar and sticky note pads might help.

So, except for a bunch of medical appointments and procedures for both of us, that’s been our month.

Wishing you peace and good health,


Well, looks like Edward is continuing to be his busy, productive self.

Speaking of busy and productive, the ladies at Two Pentacles Publishing are up next with their latest news.

Two Pentacles Publishing Services

Here at Two Pentacles, we’ve been hard at work, and we have several exciting things to announce!

First, we recently published a children’s book by Meredith Leigh Burton called The Chocolate Dog. This adorable story is about a girl who meets an unlikely friend while out for ice cream! You can purchase her book on Amazon in eBook and printed formats by clicking here:

This month, we’re also working on the design, art, and editing of another lovely book of poetry by Joan Myles! Keep an eye out for announcements in our monthly Two Pentacles Newsletter.

As always, if you’re looking for inspiration or writing tips, check out our social media platforms for more! Links for our social media can be found on our website. We post writing prompts and tips weekly, so get creative and send in your submissions for a chance to be featured in our newsletter!

To subscribe, follow us on social media, or view our submission guidelines, please visit our website:

WOW! Once again, our contributors have tons going on. I never cease being amazed at all the wonders they have to share.

Speaking of sharing, before we move onto the Adverts and News Nuggets section, I’ve got a bit of news myself.

I’ve copied a portion of a post I wrote at the beginning of the month and am sharing it here with you so that you, too, can savor the miracle.

Wheel of Blessings
By Patty L. Fletcher

There are no words in the English language with which I can adequately describe how I’m feeling at this moment. I stand in awe of the power of our Creator. I’m so amazingly blessed it simply takes my breath away.

Those who have followed me for some time know of all the various struggles I’ve faced over the past few years. Some have been with me in my darkest moments and walked with me through the dankest deepest places a woman can go, and some are with me still.

Some of you are just joining me on my journey and to you, all I can advise is if you truly want to understand my elation you should read my published works and have a look through my blog archives so you might walk a bit of the pathway, I’ve traveled to reach this plateau overlooking the gorgeous meadow of my life which lies ahead.

When I moved from what I’d always thought of as my forever home in 2018 I immediately found myself in a place of struggle. Don’t get me wrong, everyone I worked with during that time did all they knew to do, but it was clear to me I was not in the right place for that time of my life. I tried various methods to relieve the pressures placed upon me by my living arrangement to no avail.

Then, I stumbled upon Life Bridge and my now good friend Christy McMakin, and my feet found solid purchase once again. It wouldn’t be an effortless walk out of my situation, though. Christy, her coworkers, and I tried and rejected many options until we found one which would fully meet my needs. But through it all I maintained a level of peace I’d never before known.

Christy and I worked together in a consistent attitude of prayer, asking each day for guidance as we traveled together through the perils which lie before us on what was then a hideous pathway of obstacles, and at times heartbreaking failures.

We worked tireless hours trying to get me into apartments only to discover I either didn’t qualify or what we’d found just didn’t meet my needs. We never gave up though, and now, as I sit here in my new home with Blue snoring peacefully in a patch of sun and Prince Edward purring sleepily on his little hideaway bed, I feel a joy such as I’ve not known in many moons.

If this were all there was to tell, it would be enough. Just living in an apartment which is income based and having the constant weight of the survival mode I’ve been living in for so long removed from me is more than I could’ve ever asked. But it is not all. For I’ve been bestowed with yet more gifts from Mother Father God.

This morning, I woke with the knowledge that I could pay off all my outstanding bills and start a clear slate. Sitting down at my desk, I took a moment to give thanks for all I have and have not yet. Then I began to go through my bills and make payments.

Suddenly, I ran into some confusion. The email I had from the power company stated I owed 108.00 dollars but when I logged into the website to make my payment it read 0.00 dollars due.

“What is this? How can it be?”

I looked carefully through my payment history but could find no reason for this discrepancy. Finally, I called the power company’s customer service and after some wrangling with the automated system managed to get on the line with a live person.

“Hello, thank you for calling AEP Customer service. May I have your name?”

“My name is Patty Fletcher, and I’m calling to pay my final bill. I’ve moved and disconnected the service. The email I have states I owe 108.00 dollars, but when I log in to pay the bill it insists, I owe nothing. Is there some new account because I moved or…?”

I trailed off; this simply made no sense to me.

“Well, let me look at your records to see what’s going on. Please give me your account number or your social security number and I’ll see if we can straighten it out.”

I gave the needed information, but I wasn’t prepared for what the woman found.

After a few moments of silence broken only by the occasional clicking of her computer keyboard she said, “Ma’am it looks as though you’ve a credit on your account and you do indeed have a $0.00 balance.”


“There’s more,” the woman who I’ve since dubbed an angel of goodwill said. “You have a $400.00 credit, and it was processed on the 27TH of September and will be sent to you shortly.”

I had no words. My mouth opened but nothing would come out.

“Ma’am are you there?”

“Y…. Y…. Yes.” I stammered. “I’m here. Hmmmm are you sure?”

“Yes ma’am, I’m very sure.”

“WOW! I never expected such news. You’ve, well, you’ve made my day. Tell your supervisors you can go home for the day. You’ve done your good deed for the entire month already.”

She laughed, I made certain they had my new address and tapped off.

For a moment, I could do nothing but sit in amazed silence. I’d learned a few days before that I would get the deposit back from the rental I’d vacated, but this was something I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams.

Suddenly, I had to share the news. Grabbing my phone, I sang out, “Hey Siri, call Christy McMakin!” When she answered I told her my news and like me she was quite amazed.

“Christy, when you come back from your weekend retreat, you and I are going to lunch. My treat! You’ve walked every single solitary step of this journey and we must celebrate our success.”

There are others who deserve celebration, and they will hear from me soon. But Christy and Life Bridge have changed my life in ways I never in my most private imaginings anticipated.

Sitting here telling this story to you, I’m reminded of an experience I had long ago.

In 2007, way back in the day, when I worked as an AmeriCorps Vista for 2-111 Contact Concern, I had a caller who called in with multiple issues. After taking down her information and looking at all our referrals, I went to my supervisor and explained her issues and then told him of my plan.

“I believe sir, if I give her one referral at a time, and follow up with her regularly with more referrals and coach her as to how to make them work for her situation, I can truly assist her out of the hole she finds herself in.”

“Alright.” He agreed, “I’ll let you see what you can do. Make certain you document everything and keep me apprised.”

Over the next few months, she and I kept in constant contact and as I’d predicted with my guidance, she worked her way through each problem and out of the situation she’d found herself in when she’d made that desperate call.

I’d forgotten about that until today. Then, as I’d sat here giving thanks for all that had been bestowed upon me, I remembered it and also something the woman had said to me when we’d worked through the last problem and closed her case.

As we chatted about how good things had become in her life she’d said, “One day, you may find yourself in need as I did that day in midwinter when I called and got you on the line. I hope if you do, you find someone as willing to stand by you, as you’ve done for me through all these hard months.”

It is said, life is a wheel. What goes around comes around. Christy and others who worked tirelessly by my side to bring me where I am today have done for me as I did for others in my other life which today seems so long ago. I hope in the future, I can once again find ways to help others so this wonderful wheel of blessings can continue turning for many moons to come.

Thank you, Christy, and all who have assisted me. May Harmony find you and Blessid may you be.

To read the original post which includes the magickal Calendar entry for the day this was written and information on Life Bridge please visit:

Though it’s not quite November yet, many of us have already begun our holiday shopping. If you’re like me and wish to get a jump on your gift giving list, our Adverts and News nuggets section is the perfect place.

Remember – books, products, and services make great gifts so don’t pass this section by.

Next is an update from Claire Plaisted.

Eighteen Days and Counting #What’s Up #News #Joy #Love
By Claire Plaisted

The excitement is mounting, my daughters are coming home. It’ll be two years and eight months by the time I get to hug them. For my husband it will be just over three years, and then there is our son living in Wellington who I’m sure is looking forward to seeing his sisters and introducing his girlfriend to them. It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas this year. I can’t wait to get the whole family together for the first time since 2017. Along with all this, we get another cat called ‘Bonnie’ whose story you may have read.

Bonnie the cat stands among a collection of knickknacks and items on a neutral-colored, carpeted floor. Bonnie has a white face, belly, and feet, with gray tabby stripes along her eyes, cheeks, ears, back, and tail.

Bonnie is my eldest daughter’s cat and is coming home with the girls. How my cat ‘Nero’ is going to take this, we’re unsure, because Bonnie is sociable, and Nero isn’t. Along with this we have to find somewhere else to live, as the unit we’re currently renting is too small for all of us.

Rent in NZ is horrendous these days, getting close to 3/4 of your wages if you’re on a low income. Of course, it also depends on where you live in New Zealand. At least the laws are better for those who are renting, and we have a healthy home criteria. Our current place still doesn’t meet the criteria, much to our annoyance, considering that the owners knew this when we moved in, just over two years ago.

My other news! I have my first hardback book with a brand new cover, with thanks to Mara Reitsma, who is one of my contractors and works as an Illustrator with ‘Covers by the Rose’. Excellent work, and I’ve added a photo below of Oxford Bear reading one of the new hardbacks. The story is the first Children’s book I ever wrote (six years ago) called Girlie and the War of the Wasps. An adventure in an English Country Garden. I actually used my parents’ garden from the house I grew up in. This story also has some lessons for children. Healthy Eating is the main one along with Bullying and Racism. You can buy a copy HERE:

A fuzzy brown teddy bear sits on a wooden table with a copy of "Girlie and the War of the Wasps" propped under its nose. Another copy of the book rests against the bear's feet. The cover of the book is illustrated with brightly colored blue sky, large blades of green grassy leaves, tall yellow sunflowers, red capped mushrooms, and gray stones. An orange cat looks quizzically at a blue insect with purple spots while another insect flies overhead, and an inchworm sits on a mushroom. The title is written in pale yellow bubble letters.

The image shows the new hardback book cover. In the background is Oxford Bear reading a copy. This book is the first in a series of Girlie Adventure Stories, about a little blue ladybug called Girlie and her friend Sammie Kitten. We are in the process of making the rest of the books into hardback copies. Until then you can still buy paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon.

Time to head out into the garden and plant some edible flowers. Enjoy the read.


AD: Rebecca’s Refuge
The book cover is a dark green and black theme. The background features a bar of music flowing behind the silhouette of a girl picking leaves off of a silhouetted tree above her. In the leaves of the tree, the title and author's name are written in the same emerald green as the background. There is grass beneath the feet of the little girl.


Hello all:

I am thrilled to announce that I have a new novella just released on August 8, 2019. The book is entitled Rebekah’s Refuge and is a loose retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel. Writing this novella meant so much to me, because it addresses the difficult theme of knowing when to acknowledge your desperation and turn over your problems to a higher power. I am dealing with the sickness of a family member and have come to understand the difficult stress placed upon caregivers. This novella explores, in a fantastical setting, the difficulties placed upon those who seek to save others even when circumstances are beyond their control. Rebekah’s Refuge is about learning to listen for the calming song of peace even in the midst of turmoil.

In a plague-ravaged world, Rebekah is a blind norn, a being with the ability to create life-giving plants through her hair. Her people are often misunderstood, and Rebekah must flee from a desperate man who seeks to obtain her hair in order to save his ill wife. When Rebekah’s path crosses with that of Martha’s, a mother who has lost her daughter to the same man, the two women must find a way to band together to save human and nornkind alike. Will Rebekah’s pursuer capture her? Will the plague upon the land be eradicated, or is a more sinister plot at work? Things are not what they seem in this story of loss, danger, and triumph. Rebekah’s Refuge is a story of finding the inner strength to fight even when you feel alone and powerless.


Meredith Leigh Burton was born on July 4, 1983. She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University. Graduating in December of 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and theater, she then obtained her teaching certification for grades 7-12. She enjoys working with students, helping them to explore their own talents and learn self-expression through writing. She also enjoys helping with church activities. She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Meredith is an author of young adult fantasy. Her previous release, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption, is an anthology of fairy tale retellings that seek to explore the familiar tales in unique ways. Most of her works feature disabled protagonists who are called upon to fight against evil. All her characters face difficult obstacles and must find strength to fight. Meredith hopes to show her readers that disabilities are really blessings, that we all have gifts and long to make a difference in the world.

To see and buy her books visit her at:

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:

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

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

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

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

About A String of Stories

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

AD: first snow
The E-Book cover for "First Snow", showing a black and white image of two dogs on long leashes against a snowy landscape. The author image shows Lynda McKinney Lambert, a white-haired woman with a blue shirt and a warm smile.

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

A chapbook collection of 30 wintry-themed poems:
Acid-Free Paper – Archival Quality
Publisher: Leah Maines
Finishing Line Press
P. O. Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324
Contact: Finishing Line Press.

$13.99 Paperback

Author Website:

“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” (Proverbs 25:11, NLT)

The cover of "Apples of Gold", showing an illustrated image of golden apples piled high in an ornate silver bowl on a pedestal. The apples are illuminated from above by a silvery white light, casting the cavernous room beyond into shadow. Framed wall-hangings and statues are visible in the space behind the pedestal.

The turbulent times we live in require us to look at our changing world in new ways if we hope to find the blessings that will sustain us. The short, easy-to-read vignettes in this book focus on sifting the true and positive out of the grit and grime of daily life.

Like the abundance of apples, we can choose from to satisfy our varying tastes, there are different kinds of stories in this book. A few are specifically about the Coronavirus; most are not. Some mention God: most are as practical as they are spiritual. There are even some poems sprinkled in for good measure. All of the pieces are intended to help readers seek strength and joy in the challenging days that have come upon us.

Delve into the silver basket and find the golden apples that await you.

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970s. 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 Denver’s Metropolitan State College 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 preteen daughter, and their pets.

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

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.

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 the Author

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 the author:

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:


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.

Author bio:

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.

The 2022 edition of EZ2See® Products’ large print, large space, high contrast weekly planner/calendar will be available starting in August 2021.

Since 2015, thousands of these revolutionary calendar/planners have been sold, directly or as gifts, to people experiencing:

  • Vision decline.
  • Memory loss.
  • Unsteady hands.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • A need to manage schedules for children or parents, or
  • The need to record daily events.

Customers say everything’s included, because a legally blind senior created it—for himself and then others—and incorporated the following features, most of which can’t be found in any other product:

  • 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.
  • 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.

For complete information or to order, visit: or place phone orders at 800-234-8291.
Visit Edward on his Facebook page at:

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:

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 at:

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.

Contact: please send all inquiries to

News Nuggets: Marlene Mesot Announces New Release and More
by Marlene Mesot

The Snowball Effect, 4 Elements of Mystery Book 2, now available.

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


The Purging Fire Audiobook:

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

The Purging Fire Brief Summary:

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

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

Book Jacket Review:

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

The Snowball Effect Brief Summary:

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

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

Book Jacket Review:

An enjoyable story with unique circumstances. I like your dialogue. It flows easily. Can’t wait for the next book.

Trish Hubschman,
Author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series

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

The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets Brief Summary:

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

Book Jacket Review:

“The Cat Stalker’s Sonnets surprised me in more ways than one! The melodious flow underlined with a mysterious edge kept me completely enthralled. This page turner will captivate and enchant all who delve into its pages.”

Rachel Loepker author of Bleeding Ink: Finding Purpose YA fantasy

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

If you share my passion for mystery, I hope you will visit my website at:

Thanks so much for reading. I love hearing from readers, please email me at:

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!





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?


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

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 the Author 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.


News Nuggets: New from Abbie Taylor Johnson
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. Outside, it is bright, with plants on a terrace. There is also a plant behind the woman inside. The woman has 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" on the top and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" on the bottom.


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.


To learn where you can get your copy, visit: Please feel free to email me at:

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 are happy to adjust to accommodate screen readers and large text requirements and are open to discussing 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:

Visit for more information!

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

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

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

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

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

Our Vision:

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

Our Mission:

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

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

Message Crafters Offers:

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

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

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

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

What We Do:

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

Why We Do It:

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

How We Do It:

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

Who We Help:

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

Problems We Help You Solve:

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

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

Our Results:

You will know how to create powerful stories that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scholarship Information:

Each Enrollment Application is Submitted for Scholarship Consideration.

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

Terms and conditions apply. *

*Terms and Conditions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are different links for Tuesdays and Fridays:

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

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


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. Here’s Jo with all the delicious details.

Ginger Pecan Pumpkin Pie
by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Pumpkin pie comes around as surely as the leaves change colors every fall. But here’s a new twist on an old favorite that might have even some pumpkin naysayers giving the traditional autumn pie a second look.

Ginger Pumpkin Pecan Pie


2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps (about 40 cookies)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup brown sugar, divided

1 16-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-3/4 cups heavy or whipping cream, divided

1 cup pecans, finely ground


1. Mix the cookie crumbs, butter, or margarine, and two tablespoons of the brown sugar thoroughly in a pie plate. Press the crust mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin with the remaining brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and one cup of the heavy cream. Fold in ground pecans.

3. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted an inch from the edge of the pie comes out clean. Cover pie with foil halfway through baking.

4. Cool pie completely before serving. Garnish with remaining cream, whipped to stiff peaks with sugar added, and additional cookie and pecan halves.

If you try and enjoy this recipe, please do let me know.


Author’s Corner

Now that we’ve our tummies full of tasty treats it’s time to settle in for some stupendous story telling. We’ve got a great lineup for you this month so grab your favorite Halloween brew and enjoy.

First up is author Trish Hubschman with a bit of romance.

The Officer and His Sweetheart
By Trish Hubschman
August 2021


Jack Smith

I joined the Navy! My father had been an officer. I grew up on four different military bases. When I was a kid, I liked to spend time down by the airplane hangars. I wanted to be a Blue Angel flyer. Now, my dream was coming true. I’m licensed to fly a small craft. I’m not an official Blue Angel flyer yet, but I will be.

It was a Tuesday. I was headed over to the hangars for my first lesson with Flight Instructor, Sgt. Gary Block. With a bouncy step, I walked into Block’s small office. I was wearing my dress-white uniform. I just got the word from upstairs that I’d been raised in rank to a lieutenant! Sitting at Block’s receptionist’s desk was a lovely young woman. I had no idea who she was, but I very much wanted to know. I took my hat off. “Lieutenant Jack Smith,” I said, holding out my hand.

She looked at me sweetly with big green eyes but didn’t introduce herself. Her tone was efficient and totally professional. “Sergeant Block is on the phone at the moment, Lt Smith. He’ll be with you shortly. If you’d care to wait?” She gestured to a chair across from her desk. I took it.

My gaze searched around for something to talk about. There was a framed picture of a young boy on her desk. “Your nephew?” I asked, gesturing to the photo.

She glanced in that direction and smiled. “My son,” she corrected. “He’s five.” Her expression grew dim. “His father died two years ago on a mission in Korea.” She cast her beautiful eyes at me again. I felt compassion for her. “The base was good enough to give me this job, I guess, as compensation.” She shrugged. “As if they could compensate for a little boy losing his father.”

She was right. “I’m sorry,” I said.

Block’s office door opened, and he stuck his head out. “Mary?” he called. “You’re here, Smith?” Block said, raising his hand. “I’ll be with you in a moment. “Mary, can you run to the commissary and get me some aspirin? This tooth is killing me.”

“Of course, Sergeant,” she replied, opening her bottom desk drawer, and taking out her purse. She rose and slid past me out the door. Three days went by before I saw her again.

Whenever I went down to Block’s office to wait for my flight lesson, I chatted with Mary. She was a lovely lady. She was twenty-seven. Her son’s name was Eric. He recently started kindergarten at the school on the base. His grandmother lived with them.

Three weeks passed; My flying was going well. I was probably going to solo soon and that would end my lessons with Block and visits to his office and very enjoyable chats with Mary Tate. I invited her out for a cup of coffee after work one day. She accepted. I couldn’t leave it at just one cup of coffee or one date. “The base is holding a picnic this Saturday,” I said. “Would you and Eric care to accompany me?”

Mary lowered her eyes. I felt a strong urge to swear. Had I gone too far? She hadn’t been widowed that long. Maybe she wasn’t ready to date, but what were we doing now? Her eyes finally came up and met mine. “Thank you. We’d enjoy that. Eric’s been bugging me for weeks to take him to the picnic. He wants to see the planes.”

I chuckled. “I always loved that too when I was a kid,” I said. “Saturday it is.”

I was at her front door at eleven a.m. wearing my dress-white uniform. Eric squealed when he saw me. The three of us walked down to the airfield and we had a great time. I took them home at four that afternoon. Eric was half asleep. He was a great kid. “Call me Jack,” I told him. Eric loved that. Mary, on the other hand, shot me a disapproving look.

Four months later, Mary and I were married by a base chaplain. Block was my Best Man. Soon after, I legally adopted Eric. A little over a year later, Mary gave birth to twins, a boy and girl.


Mary Tate

Was it acceptable as Sgt. Bock’s receptionist for me to offer my hand to shake a superior officer’s hand, introduce myself and chat with him, have coffee with him and join him to a base picnic? I don’t know if it was, but I did those things and enjoyed them very much. Lt. Jack Smith is a lovely man, and handsome. Eric was agog when Jack came to our front door. My five-year-old son and the Lieutenant got on splendidly. You know what Eric asked me when I was tucking him into bed? ““Are you going to marry Lt. Jack?”

Oh boy, I hadn’t expected that one. “Only time will tell, love. Now, close your eyes and go to sleep.” I had my hands on Eric’s shoulders and gently tried to ease him back onto the pillows, but he wasn’t finished with his questions yet.

“Are we going to see him again?” Eric’s tone was hopeful. That, I didn’t have an answer to. On a professional level, yes, I would see Lt. Smith down at the hangar three or four times a week, but that’s not what Eric was asking. “I’m sure we will, honey.’

That seemed to satisfy my son. He laid his head back and fell asleep. I rose and left the room.

Lt. Jack called at eight the next morning and asked if we’d like to join him for Sunday mass. Since we were going anyway, having a handsome escort sounded perfect.

I helped Eric don black slacks and a blazer. My little boy looked so grownup. I wore a simple blue dress. When I opened the front door to greet Lt. Jack, Eric jumped into his arms. He picked my giggling son up in the air.

“Are you ready?” Jack said to me, a broad smile on his face. Jack settled Eric back down on his feet. I closed and locked the front door. After Mass, we went to breakfast.

It was the start of a wonderful new family relationship.

Jack asked me to marry him three months later. It was the day of his first Blue Angel air show. I’d been watching him at practice out the office window. He was superb, but that wasn’t the real thing, this was. I was a nervous wreck. When he proposed to me, and at such a time, I was confused. He repeated it. “Are you going to make me a very happy man and marry me?”

Of course, I was. I wanted to cry and laugh. I didn’t want to get him excited though. He was about to do his dangerous stunt show. Keeping a calm face, I nodded. Jack smiled and kissed me, and then turned and jogged over to his plane.

I couldn’t move. I felt a tugging on my skirt. I looked down.

“What’s up, Mom?” Eric asked.

I giggled and ruffled his sandy-brown hair. “I think I’m going to be getting a new husband and you a daddy,” I said.

My five-year-old son understood. “Didn’t I tell you after we got home from the picnic that you would marry Lt. Jack one day?”

He had at that! “You’re a fortune teller, huh?” I teased and Eric burst into giggles.

The following year, when the twins were born, Eric wanted to name them Lucy and Ricky. “Absolutely not,” Jack said.

I had a twin in each arm. I looked down at them. The names had already been picked out by Jack and myself. “Timothy and Elizabeth,” I said. Eric had to think about it. Finally, he gave me a thumbs-up. Jack and I burst into laughter.



Eric Smith

Mom and Dad are celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? I was there. How many people can say they were at their parents’ wedding?

I know Jack didn’t father me. Mom’s first husband, Jerry Tate did. I have no memories of him. I was three when he died. Jack has been my dad for a long time. He retired as a captain after thirty-two years in the navy.

What are we doing for the anniversary? Well, the whole gang is coming in for a huge bash. Steph and I are already at my parents’ house. We live the closest. Mom doesn’t know this, but Captain Jack is going to be wearing his navy dress-white uniform. He had to go to a tailor to get it taken out, but it looks fantastic. He’s going to get down on one knee and propose to Mom. My wife helped mom pick out a gorgeous dress.

Tim and Jane are flying in from Colorado. Jane is Tim’s second wife. Liza and Mitch have two daughters and a son and four grandkids. They live in Maryland.

I joined the Navy too. I retired as a Lieutenant with twenty-five years served. I’ll be wearing my dress-whites for the party too.

The End

Next, we’ve Claire Plaisted with an amusing tale of what happens when her multiple muses take over her office.

My Muse Attack
All in a day’s work
by Claire Plaisted

“Claire what on earth are you doing to Fabia? Who’s attacking her?” demanding Zoe, flying through the door, Jagan (thank the lord) a small drag on her hand blowing fire.

“Slow down Zoe, and please tell Jagan to stop his fire, I don’t want the fire alarms or sprinklers being set off again,” I told her sternly.

“Jagan,” she scolded.

“Sorry, it’s such fun,” he sighed, curling up to go to sleep.

“Fabia will be fine; she’s allowed to have an adventure too.”

“I don’t want her getting hurt.”

“I won’t get hurt, Zoe,” said a smiling voice from the door.

“Fabia,” she squealed, shoving Jagan in her pocket.

They ran to each other hugging, both talking at once.

“Girls, will you either calm down or get out of my office.

“Sorry Claire,” they grinned.

They sat on the sofa, clasped together giggling when Tristian from Fred, the Evil Incarnate, walked in. They gawped; eyes wide.

“Yes Tristian?”

“What did you do with my son?”

“He went exploring.”

“Please find him.”

“Da da, I’m going to have an awesome adventure.”

Tristian’s youngest boy rushed through the door, his dark hair and grey eyes alight with excitement.

“Where too young man,” he said, crouching down.

“Into the other worlds beyond the edge,” he replied.

I cringed, waiting for the explosion of temper. Before he could, Abraham from GIB walked in, his hands in his pockets. He looked tired and on edge.

“Abraham,” I murmured, standing up and approaching him. “What’s wrong?”

“The world is going to go to hell!” he said, looking down at me.

“What do you mean?”

“I met…oh never mind, just get ready to die, the world—” sighing he walked out again.

“What was that?” said Zoe?”

“That was Abraham, he works with Garrett Investigation Bureau,” I replied, frowning as I sat back at my desk.

“What was he on about – the world going to hell stuff?” said Fabia. “Our world went to hell and is on the brink of returning to near normal again.”

“Tristian, meet Zoe and Fabia, best friends from a book called “The Princess of the Earth.”

“Hi,” he smiled down at them kindly. His son tugged on his dad’s hand. “Yes son?”

“Who’s that in the doorway?”

“Hey Cera, solved any more riddles lately,” I grinned.

“No,” she scowled. I can’t find—”

“You can find anyone.”

“Those dratted faeries took her, I lost her track,” she snapped.

“Well get the heck out of here then and find her and hurry up. I want your novel on sale by this coming Christmas at the latest.”

“Charming, has to be my fault.”

“Well, you’re the one with the magic powers Cera, Black Cat.”

“Whatever,” she said as she changed into her cat form and padded out of my office. The others watched, their jaws dropping open.

“Get outta here you lot and go do your thinking. I need to get some of these draft stories finished.”

There was a knock on my window. I looked out and nearly screamed, when I realised it was Paul the Moa with David, his best friend. Quickly, I jumped up and flung the windows open.

“Oh my, it’s been two years since I last saw you two, how you have both grown.”

“Yeah Paul is quite scary now he’s twelve foot tall,” laughed David, with a cheerful grin.

“You must tell me your adventures. Last time I was writing about you, Paul was only a baby and fast asleep.”

“We’ll stop by soon when you’re not so busy,” he replied.

Pulling on the bridle, Paul pecked me, making me laugh then lifted his head away and off, then ran over my back garden. I looked now at the rather large footprints Paul left behind and winced. My gardener was not going to be pleased.

“What the hell was that thing? It looked like an overly large Ostrich,” gasped Eilish Garrett, who had entered my office while I was chatting with David.

“That was a Moa, a native New Zealand bird which was thought to be extinct.”

“It’s huge.”

“Maybe I’ll introduce you one day. Meanwhile, everyone out, I need my office back so I can finish at least one novel.

“Grumbling, they left, though I knew I would be disturbed again soon. It was always the same with my muses. God help me when the Gothixies finally put in an appearance.

The door crashed open.

“When are you publishing my story?” demanded Jones.

“Another few weeks, now get out,” I was getting aggravated with them all.

“Touchy aren’t you,” he grinned and slammed out again.

“Just one more interruption and I’ll scream,” I muttered as I began to type once more.


Claire Plaisted lives in New Zealand with her husband and son. At present, her daughters are in the UK. Palmerston North is a University City with plenty to do from walking tracks, an observatory, the Esplanade – Victoria Gardens and a huge shopping complex.

Claire is a Multi-Genre Author, with side-lines in Genealogy where she researches and formats family history books for clients. Since this time, she has also developed a business to help Independent Authors with Independent Publishing.

Claire has published many books under several pen names. Four short stories, a series which is called ‘Garrett Investigation Bureau.’ One young adult fantasy, a mythical children’s story. Claire also has six contemporary romance novellas under her pen name ‘Beth Bayley.’ Claire also has a children’s book series called Girlie Adventures. The first three are now available. ‘Girlie and the War of the Wasps,’ ‘Girlie and the Quest for Pedi’s Family, and ‘Girlie’s Circus Adventure.’ They are adventure stories for children from four years upwards. The first book is, in essence, about healthy eating. The second is about kicking and biting, and the third is about rescuing an animal from distinction.

Enjoy your lives and read a book.


Visit Claire at:

Now, here’s author Annie Chiappetta with what I think is an awesome space story.

Space Bones
By Ann Chiappetta

The Nine Lives slipped past the Hound, engaging the warp drive, and entering hyperspace.

“Blood and bones,” snarled the Hound’s commander Akita, “Ensign, track that ship,”

“Arf, Captain,” she barked, toenails tapping.

“Captain, the ship is headed for the Feline Space cluster,”

The Captain licked his canines.

“All dogs on deck, “Captain Akita howled.

He turned to his first officer, Commander Rottweiler,

“This could be a trick, be ready for anything,” he growled, shaking out his annoyance.

“Arf, Captain. Red alert!” he snarled, a thick black toenail tapping the communication array.


The stealthy pirate ship slowed as it entered the star cluster, the fur on the bridge relaxing after the harrowing chase.

“Don’t congratulate yourselves yet, pretties, that ship has our scent. Tux, employ the scent cloaking device. Tabby, set course for the Hair Ball sector, full light speed,” growled Captain Blackie, hissing his orders through needle sharp teeth.

“Aye, Captain,” Tux and Tabby replied.


“Report” snapped Captain Akita.

The ensign whined.

“Ensign, do I need to trot over to your station and read the report for you?”

“N-no, Captain,”


“We’ve lost them in the cluster,” she stammered, delicate, Whippet tail tucked between her legs.

The bridge quieted, Akita scratched an ear. He stared out the bridge window. He didn’t have a choice, he had to chase the other ship, it was his assignment and if he did not succeed all would be lost.


Captain Blackie tracked the ship’s progress, claws kneading the seat. He had to reach the checkpoint, the pride depending upon their success. Just a few more clicks and this would all be over. His mouth watered in anticipation. He could practically taste the reward of a fine, roasted breast of fowl, feminine company, and the adoration of his world for delivering the precious cargo. He scanned the bridge reports and hissed. The cloaking pheromone gas wouldn’t last much longer. He made the calculations in his head, it would be close, too close. He flicked his tail. The captain of the Hound was dogged but not flexible; they would be able to slip by unnoticed and once in Cat Nip’s orbit, all would be well. He was counting on it.


Commander Rottweiler raised a paw.

“Speak,” said Captain Akita.

“Sir, consider this: Captain Blackie is most likely counting on us to break off the pursuit once we reach the Hair Ball sector,”

“Yes, I’d read all the reports. What’s your point?”

“Well, Sir, it seems to me that we should think like a cat,”

The Captain swiveled his ears forward and as if on cue, the pack tilted their heads at an odd angle.

“Go on,”

Commander Rottweiler explained the plan.

“It’s the best plan we’ve got, it’s either this or going back with our tails tucked,” said the Captain. The pack yipped in agreement and scrambled to their posts. If it worked, thought Akita, he’d be able to retire and not slink away in defeat.

“Approaching the planet Cat Nip in one minute,” reported the ensign.

Sixty seconds later the star lines melted away and the Hound appeared above the planet.

“Mr. Doxy, take us to the lee side of the planet with sub-light thrusters, power down, then remain there until we detect the other ship,”

Agile paws piloted the ship and soon the deepness of space enveloped them.

“Steady, Mr. Doxy. Ensign, begin countdown the moment that ship drops from hyperspace,”

He swept the bridge with his best alpha expression,

“We’re on the prowl, Commander Rottweiler, is the tracking beam ready?”


“Let the hunt begin,”


The Nine Lives shed the hyperspace star lines above the planet and Captain Blackie retracted his claws. He gave the command to the pilot to begin entering the atmosphere. Boris, a Russian blue, hissed a warning.

“Captain, there is an anomaly orbiting the lee side of the planet,”

Blackie flattened his ears.

“We’ll be within scanner distance in 30 seconds,” Boris said, then counted down.

The ship nosed into the planet’s shadow and found nothing.

“Scan for the anomaly,” hissed Blackie, a bad feeling quivering his whiskers.

Then all hell broke loose. Every alarm went off, proximity alarms, tracking alarms, weapons arrays, and then the canine ion cannon blasted them into submission.

Too late, Captain Blackie realized the Hound was behind them, using the shadows to first drop below them, then attack from behind, just like Blackie had done a hundred times before. It was a pirating maneuver he didn’t believe a canine would or could employ. Being chased wasn’t usually so demeaning to Captain Blackie, he’d been chased before but this time it was infuriating—those space dogs used his own strategies against him. He vowed at once that if any of the Hound’s captain and pack ever trotted into his territory, he’d scratch out their eyes.


Akita sat on the bridge, thinking. The rest of the pack had disembarked hours ago. He completed the reports but wasn’t ready to go, not yet. There was one last thing to do. Exiting the bridge, he trotted off to find the new captain of the ship. Commander Rottweiler stood at the observation deck, lost in the business of the spaceport. He turned when he smelled Akita’s scent.

“Captain,” he said Akita nodded and sat beside him, taking in the activities below.

“You did well today, Commander, I am proud to have served with you,”

“Served, Sir?”

Akita met his eyes, then dropped his gaze and settled down, forepaws outstretched, chest touching the floor.

“I’m retiring. You now have command, Captain,”

Rottweiler stood and shook, stretched, and smiled, his tongue spilling out a gap between his teeth.

“It was an honor, Captain,”

Akita stood.

“Now that this is settled, let’s go eat until we puke,”

The two dogs turned, playfully walking beside one another from the ship.


Ann Chiappetta M.S. author and poet. Making meaningful connections with others through writing.

Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her books, a poetry collection, C 2016, memoir, Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust C 2017, Words of Life: Poems and Essays C 2019, and short story collection, A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future C 2020 are available in both ebook and print formats from



Before I close this month’s Author’s Corner I’m pleased and privileged to share a guest contribution by Eva Pasco.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I.

Rooted in Time
by Eva Pasco

I’ll venture the recent 20th anniversary commemoration of 9/11 rooted Americans in time. Catapulted to September 11, 2001, I vividly recall the spot of linoleum in the corridor on which I stood outside my third-grade classroom. I even recall the aqua capri set worn that day.

The Phys. Ed. teacher, having escorted my students to the gym at 9:10 a.m., allowed me a prep period to organize materials for future daily lessons. That’s when I learned American Airlines Flight 11 had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., and United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. I’d yet to witness TV coverage of hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon—with more to come in Pennsylvania.

Rooted in time, it’s November 22, 1963. I’m a seventh grader sitting in the third seat of the second row from the window in my last-period social studies class. 1:30 EST, the school principal announced over the PA system that President Kennedy had been shot. I slip on my red flannel pullover filing out the front doors of the building to the bus. On my way home along a rural route, the bare, bony tree branches scrape the windows as our bus driver pulls over to the side of the road. He stands up to tell us the President has just died, and we’d all better say a prayer.

Rooted in time, it’s July 23, 1966, and I’m 15 years old. My father passed away just before midnight. My mother, sister, and I are seated at the kitchen table, force-feeding ourselves lunch: a sandwich of salami and mustard on white bread. We’ll be ready for my aunt and uncle to drive us to the funeral home to pick out a casket. I’m wearing a black, sleeveless shift with tiny white polka dots, not of my choosing.

Where are you standing, rooted in time?


Midlife restlessness prompted Eva Pasco, a retired elementary education teacher, to rekindle her passion for storytelling. Her award-winning “lit with grit” is distinguished for its character-driven plots featuring female protagonists propelled by the nuances of their human condition.

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.

Poetry Place

Our first poetry reading is shared by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

I’ve sailed in a canoe, encountered an alligator,
putt putted in a motorboat that saw better days,
waded in muddy water at the edge,
but I’ve never kayaked down the Loxahatchee River,
nor am I likely to do so.

Instead, I’ll be on my back patio at dusk,
where a cool breeze will caress my skin
amid chirping birds, barking dogs, droning lawnmowers, and happy children’s cries.

My phone will ring with a Facetime call from my brother,
who will tell me about kayaking down the Loxahatchee River,
and I’ll be thankful he’s safe.


Author’s Note: The above was inspired by Billy Collins’ poem, “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July,” which you can read at:
Please feel free to email me at:


Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her third novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, published by DLD Books, is due out this fall. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Recovering the Self, and other publications. Please visit her website at:

Next, we’ve author and Proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto back with a poetic story to share.

Mixed Signals
By Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Be a lady, she said; be still.
Sit with your ankles neatly crossed.
So I did–and she frowned because
I froze in the heat of attack.

Be outspoken, she said; be fierce.
Be a force to contend with.
So I was–and she frowned because
Raising my voice was impolite.

Be compliant, she said; be strong.
Be stoic and stubborn and smart.
So I tried–and she frowned because
I never got the timing right.

This poem received an Honorable Mention prize in the 2021 National Federation of the Blind Writing Contest. If you would like to find out more about me and my writing, please visit my Website at or contact me at

Next up we’ve Butterfly Thomas with a piece which I must say moved me deeply.

By Butterfly Thomas

Who are you?
I said nothing this time
But you chose to take
What didn’t belong to you
What wasn’t authorized
What wasn’t permitted
What wasn’t approved
You took advantage
You said I will any way
Regardless of what she said
She won’t know
She won’t check
She’s blind
To the fact
That I’m a thief
And a liar
A taker
A disrespecter
it’s not okay


You can contact me at

I am currently working on 2 books of poetry, but you can find this piece in my 2020 release entitled “IN My Feelings.”

You can find it and my other works here:

As I close this wonderful Poetry Place section, I’d like to leave you with a bit of humor from Abbie Johnson Taylor.

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Being a lady, I should be more modest, but I’m not. When I need to squat, it doesn’t matter where I go; on the lawn, on the sidewalk, even in the street if I’m there long enough. Most of the time I’m not, because when I wander into traffic, my humans yell, “Maud, get out of the street.”

They tell this story about Ed. He got me from a man who called me Old Glory because I was born on the Fourth of July. I hated that name and the fireworks on my birthday that always sent me scurrying into the bathtub for cover. So, I was relieved when Ed decided to call me Maud instead.

Anyway, during family road trips when he was driving, even in broad daylight, he would sometimes say, “Piss call.” Then, he’d pull the car to the side of the road, jump out, and do his business right there. So, that’s me. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

One day, I was walking along with Ed and his daughter Abbie, who lived in an apartment across town. I suddenly had to go, and I spotted a beautiful green lawn. Being off leash, I scampered onto the grass and did my business, just as the front door opened. The woman who stepped onto the porch and greeted Abbie turned out to be her boss at work. Fortunately, Abbie didn’t lose her job over this, but I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Once, I relieved myself indoors. It happened after Abbie told me she was moving to a different apartment complex where dogs wouldn’t be allowed to visit unless they were service animals. I thought I’d served her well over the years. I’d chased the white ball at the end of the stick she sometimes rolled along in front of her when she walked. I’d licked her face when she was sad and moved into the back seat when Ed picked her up so she could ride in front with him. Apparently, that didn’t qualify me as a service dog.

Abbie explained that this apartment complex would be better than where she was living now because there would be laundry facilities, and the apartment would have a shower, not just a bathtub. Also, there was a garbage chute on each floor. So, she would no longer need to slip slide through the alley to empty the trash. I wagged my tail as if I understood, but I didn’t.

The next day, while Ed was helping Abbie move stuff out of the old apartment, I had to go, and I wasn’t about to wait until I could get outdoors like I should have. I delivered a nice surprise on her dining room carpet, and it wasn’t pee. Abbie stepped in it. That’s what she got for trading a lovable Irish setter for laundry, a shower, and a trash chute. When you gotta go, you gotta go.


Author’s Note: I wrote the above work of fiction during my local poetry group meeting, believe it or not. We were prompted to write a poem about what goes on inside an animal’s head. Well, as I’m sure you realize now, my poem metastasized into a short story. Please feel free to email me at:


Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her third novel, published by DLD Books, is due out this fall. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Recovering the Self, and other publications. Please visit her website at:

Health World

Normally, in the Health World section of our magazine, Sally Cronin shares one of her incredible health columns with us.

However, not long ago, a friend of mine, Kelly Singing Rain, sent me a link to a video she’d done that demonstrates how she’s taken her Synesthesia and merged it with her spiritual self. She has found a new and wondrous way of life, which has brought her to new heights of self-awareness and acceptance that some only dream of.

Kelly and I hope you find this an educational and entertaining bit of knowledge.

Here’s Kelly Singing Rain and her amazing presentation:

*A Note from Kelly*

Thank you for sharing my video to your magazine!
I’d love to hear from you so do get in touch at:
Hugs and Beeps,


We here at The Writer’s Grapevine value your thoughts. Be sure to let us know what you think about the magazine by emailing either me or our contributors.

This ends the September/October Edition of The Writer’s Grapevine. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

As requested above, if you’ve any feedback for me or others who contribute to the magazine, you may send it directly to the author, or you may send it to me at:

Thank you for reading.

May Harmony Find You.


  1. Thank you, Patty, for another great edition of this wonderful magazine. I enjoyed reading the many offerings here and appreciate you including my work. I especially like the way you presented the front cover of my new book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, with that great description of the image. I’m planning to schedule this post for a reblog as part of my occasional Saturday Surprise feature on My Corner.

    1. Hey Abbie, wasn’t that description great? I’ve just gotten the new Adverts and News Nuggets page back and your ad is there. I’ll be placing it onto my blog sponsor page later today!
      I’ll send you a copy if you like.
      Take care.

      1. Sounds great, Patty! Thanks. Yes, that is a nice description of my book, and I’m sure I could use the ad somewhere.

  2. […] head. Well, as I’m sure you now realize, my poem metastasized into a short story. You can click here to read this and other wonderful work in The Writer’s […]

    1. Hi Abbie, so sorry I’m late responding. Took my birthday off. Thanks for sharing here.
      I’ll get everything approved everywhere else shortly.


      1. No worries, Patty. You deserved to take your birthday off.

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