Daughter of the Forest


Daughter of The Forest

By Ray Shoop

What would happen if the world became overcrowded and you had to live on another planet? What would happen if you had to find a place to live there and did not have any of the convenience that we do today? How would you survive without a grocery store, stove, department stores and many other things that we take fore granted? What if your new home was no longer in the city but in the forest and you had to learn to hunt food, plant seeds, grow herbs, make your own hammock and build your own shelter? You would learn about the world created by author Ray Shoop in a novel that brings to light what happens when things change, people need to uproot their lives and danger lurks just around the corner. You would be part of the forest people in the novel Daughter of the Forest.

A little girl wanders off into the forest to explore. She trips and hurts her ankle and is in pain. Falling asleep and losing track of time she becomes ill and finds herself disoriented. A group of people find her and snatch her away form her family and create a whole new life and identity for her. Fearing for her survival and her life she learns their customs and ways in order to become part of their society.

Traveling through time and space with her family she comes to live in a new land in order to plant a seed colony- a project that was made necessary due to overpopulation in their Home World.

While her mother and a group of woman are working together they are captured and taken to live in with another tribe against their will. A group of diggers from the Dumeasets are out to destroy the Fumalesets by stealing their women and killing the men. With the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries, Ray Shoop brings to light an issue that has plagued the world, hate. In all of these countries groups of people are trying to kill and eliminate others for religious reasons or more. In our novel the author created the Dumeasets to let us know that even in a world that is supposed to be peaceful there are those that would rather pillage, kill and hurt others just for their own reasons. In this case they want their women to live and work among and breed since many of theirs are barren. Taking the lives of their men and transporting them to live amongst their people, is equal to kidnapping and enslavement.

Arlene and several other women from her tribe are now part of the Dumeasets. They work and live together as part of the women belonging to one of their leaders, Ram. Guarded wherever they go, they are made to conform to the ways of these cruel and inhumane people. Added to that Arlene does not know what has happened to Laura, our young child who got lost in the forest.

Thieving, slaughtering and killing is their trademark. Each cycle, or year, they force groups of forest people to uproot their lives and move away in order to avoid their carnage. But, they seem to focus on only the Fumalsets and not any other people who live in the forest. The Palasets, Aquasets, the Vanquesets do not suffer at their hand but still move around to avoid these people. People of different backgrounds, each tribe with their own specific physical characteristics, skills and ideals, author Ray Shoop reminds us that prejudice lives on even in the forest.

Laura now lives with the Fumalsets and has to pass many tests and stringent scrutiny before she is allowed to become part of this new tribe. With a new mother and new father and a new name, Nu-Del she learns that life, as she knew it would never be the same. But, Laura has a special gift that no one knows about. She can read the thoughts and minds of others and uses it to help her learn about her new family, new tribe and alert them is the Fumalsets are about to raid their village. But, with anything new, everyone is skeptical and until they learn the truth the hard way, no one really trusts her or what she tells them.

Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del. Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more.

Dom, who is from a different tribe whose whole family has been killed and whose mates have been kidnapped by the Fumalsets to live among them and work, has to find a new tribe and ask acceptance for himself and his family. Learning about these people and the different traditions and customs was quite interesting and allows the reader to learn how difficult Nu-Del and others that are treated at times like outcasts feel. But, Dom is finally accepted and proves he more than worthy to live among the Pidar tribe and is now called Transoni meaning Traveler, which he does.
Nu-Del loves to learn languages and wants to be able to understand the language of every tribe especially the Fumalsets. How this will help her and her tribe you will have to read for yourself. What is does do is bring her and Transoni closer and they form a strong bond as father and daughter, which will also change at the end in a surprising way.

When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? Who comes out ahead? Who does hot? What strange voice is calling her at the end? Does she ever get acceptance by her adopted father and a sense of belonging?
These questions and mysteries will only be answered if you read this book about a young child who you will love, respect and will endear you for Nu-Del/Laura is quite special.
Differences in appearance are often shunned and people are made to feel inferior or told they are ugly. Laura/Nu-Del and many of other woman or mates in this amazing novel understand how that feels and more. If you learn anything from reading this book learn that judging a person on the outside limits what you need to learn about them on the inside. Like a great book, as this one is, you miss what is between the pages and you lose out.

I give this book 5 Nu-Dels to teach everyone planting, herbs, healing and tolerance and unconditional love.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious

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Tungee’s Gold: Be Part of the Gold Rush and More


Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing

Author: Tom Barnes

Greed makes people do many things that often go against their principles and beliefs. Taken further, greed can force a person to enter into a deal with the devil, even if the end result would cause harm or injury to others. Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing is a unique story about a man who wanted to make his fortune by panning gold during the Gold Rush like so many other people. It is the story of a man who not only made his mark and his fortune but also as a result became embroiled in a dangerous plot that might cost him his life, the lives of others and, his integrity.

The time period is the late 1800’s. This historically based novel brings the California Gold Rush and us back to 1851. Finding gold and staking their claims meant a person could create a life for themselves wherever they wanted. In 1851, Gold was discovered in Greenhorn Creek, Kern County leading many people to flood the area.  Wouldn’t you want to be part of this great hunt for Gold?

Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision for Tungee Cahill. But, was it? How and why did he become the primary target of an assassination plot? Who planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will become clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure our where all of the characters fit and how.

Tungee Cahill wanted to find his fortune and he did. But, what happens as a result will surprise the reader and compel you to read on in order understand that this book is not just about finding gold, but much more. Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision to keep the gold safe. But, was it? Then how and why did he become the prime target of an assassination? Who would have planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will be clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure out where all of the characters fit and how.

Stopping off at a local restaurant before returning to his hotel, Tungee learns about a group of Aussie’s called the Ducks who caused major problems in the area. Little did he know that he would soon learn more about them and their true mission. Meeting several captains of several ships Tungee learns that there is a shortage of manpower to work on them. But the biggest surprise is yet to come. Walking back to his hotel he is shanghaied. Waking up in a locked cabin on a ship with two other men, he learns his fate. None other than Gideon Foster, the sea captain, he saw at the restaurant that evening, was the cause of his new working and living arrangement.

But, the worst has yet to come, and his keen sense and with the aide of some of the other crewmembers he learns about a possible mutiny aboard ship.  Tungee decides to aide the captain and his crew to foil the mutiny but at what cost? Learning that the name of the ship was also changed beforehand, sends up a red flag and no one has the answer as to why.

The real reason for Foster’s trip to Liverpool has not been revealed and the cargo that will be picked up and delivered will astound the reader and remind you of how difficult it was for some people to survive because of their race.

Slave trade began in 1440 when Portugal started to trade slaves with West Africa. By the 16th century, there was an organized system for slave trade was in place. But, many incidents of slave trade and what could go wrong, as the captives often try to escape are related in this novel.

Jefferson Randolph, a primary character in this book and an ally to Tungee, describes how he felt when he regained his freedom and the fear of the unknown. What happens when you are enslaved and you are no longer bound to a master? Where do you go and what are you going to do? In his case he ran and kept running, but not far enough.

After leaving St. Katherine’s Island the captain informed the crew of their real destination and their new cargo. Informing them that they would unload the grain and pick up 350 slaves created quite a stir and remarks that only prove that prejudice is not a thing of the present but the past.

The fact that they were now a slave trading ship made matters worse for the crew. The possibility of another mutiny was not out of the question. Dobbs, Jefferson and even Tungee would have to decide whether to compromise their way of thinking and go along with the captain or remain in West Africa and hope for the best. In Jefferson’s case he might even be thrown back into slavery.

Captain Foster was faced with an insurmountable task and a difficult decision. He needed Tungee’s help and the help of his crew in order to transport the 350 black slaves to their destination. But, convincing them would not be easy. Tungee, Jefferson, Dobbs and many of the other crewmembers believed and voiced that slavery and slave trade went against their moral beliefs and thought twice before agreeing to help the Captain. But, money talks and morals in this case walked when going along with what you are against might be the lesser of two evils and bring you to safety at the end of the voyage.

Slavery is wrong no matter how you turn it. Treating people like cattle or subhuman is reprehensible. But, there are those that would disagree. The Ebo Tribe has been enslaved on the ship and their King has voiced that he would never become a slave. A young child is groomed and trained as the new messenger of the tribe and the end result of his plan will shock the reader and help you understand why selling someone into bondage for greed in the form of money was wrong. This tribal king encourages his people to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to escape their predetermined fate.

Their ship gone and their journey over Tungee, Jeff, Dobbs and Blakely had to decide on what to do next. Being born a slave and having his papers and not doing anything to help his people, Jeff decides to part ways with the rest and go to Boston. Signing on with another ship Tungee hoped to reclaim his stake and money in San Francisco.

Remember that Tungee was the target of an assassination and the Ducks were not going to give up. This story is about to come full circle when he returns to San Francisco and wants to regain what he left behind.

How this ends will renew your faith in trust, loyalty and friendship. With the help of an Australian Police Inspector and the Vigilance Committee, Tungee is able to right many of the wrongs that not only were inflicted on him but others too. What does happen and what twists and turns the author created at the end will surprise the reader. Is justice served? Who was really behind the plot to kill him? Will he get what he left hidden behind?

Author Tom Barnes weaves a web of deceit, hate, deception and neatly ties up all of the lose ends. “ I  might be a prisoner, but I will never become a slave,” said King Kumi the king of the Ebo tribe. The Ebo Tribe is a group of people that are stubborn, bullheaded and would not allow, anyone to act superior over them. They are their own masters. The sea brought our brave King and his followers and the sea brought him home.

May freedom ring for all and where it does not we need to fight and change it. This book is a must read for everyone and my pick for a number one book for 2010.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and the author of the Bertha Series of Children’s books and Memories are Precious my Alzheimer’s book.

Solar Wind: The Mystery Lives On


Powerfully written: Mind Stimulating: Terrifying and Full of Twists and Turns:

(The mystery of)

The Solar Wind

By Lyz Russo

Secrets, mysteries, lies, deceptions, intrigue and murder are just some of what you will encounter when you board the Solar Wind for your journey into the 22nd century.  This will not be just any ordinary journey, it will keep you spellbound, alert, terrified, inquisitive and more, to learn about the new regime and the new world powers of the year 2116 and just what changes are in store for you.  With a cast of characters so diversified, yet so alike, you will want to not only learn the reasons why each crewmember signed on to the Solar Wind, but go along with them on their dangerous journey to find freedom and safety in a world filled with fear.

The world is not the same any more.  The governments in most parts of the world are no longer democratic.  The Unicate and the Rebellion are two opposing World Domination Governments that have taken over and captured many countries on both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. Let’s meet the Captain of the Solar Wind:  Radomir Lascek, who sails his illegal trader ship around the world doing shady deals and illegal trading of ships and much more.  Next we have three teenagers that were rescued and brought aboard in Dublin, escaping the wrath of the Unicate Government.  What would happen if everyone in the world that needs medical care did not have to pay a co-payment for service but instead a hefty fee for a medical care license, just like a driver’s license?  This license has to be renewed on a yearly basis and if you cannot afford the fee, you do not get the care.  What would happen if you had to flee your country because you were accused of murder but did not          commit one? Wait until you learn why and how the Donegal kids came to work and live on the Solar Wind:  Paean, who has the ability to forecast when something bad will happen and has an understanding of herbal medicine and more; and her two brothers Ronan and Shawn who have skills of their own that make all three invaluable to the captain of this dangerous ship.

There are many more interesting characters:  Federi the gypsy, who has a secret of his own; the captain himself, the doctor and the centenarian, and all of the others on this ship who are trying to escape the government and find freedom.   But will they?

And what about the mysterious Ailyss who is on the ship but seems cold and stays to herself?  Paean tries to befriend her, but is aware that she might be dangerous. Paean is the one character that you can fall in love with despite everything that is going on.  She is tough, adventurous, kind, straightforward and will do anything to win the captain’s favor even if it means breaking the rules.  Proud that she is now considered part of the crew and a pirate, she does more than her share to keep everyone stitched up, safe and properly hydrated with her own brand of medicine and coffee.

Added to this mix is the captain of the Hun, Anya Miller, an angry bounty hunter who was humiliated by our captain and will resort to anything to bring him in and collect the reward.

Most importantly let us meet the Solar Wind, the most unique ship ever to sail the seas.  A ship that has more sensors than the government and more eyes than the FBI of CIA when tracking predators, sharks, change of temperature and current.  This ship is smarter than any person that mans it and its computer is constantly processing the information from the sensors all the time.  Elusive and able to change appearances, its name and location, this ship can hide from just about anyone.  Or can it?

The Unicate with its army of Stabilizers is trying to track the Solar Wind, with the help of Anya Miller.  With the crew of several other ships aiding him, our captain manages to escape capture and get through the Panama Canal almost unscathed.  But what happens next will astound the reader and only author Lyz Russo can tell it in her brilliant way and keep the reading on edge throughout the entire novel.

Their frightening finds on the Pacific island of Hiva Oa lead them to a trap that endangers the lives of two of the crewmembers.  Vanishing lizards; killed tourists.  Sunken treasure ships that were not supposed to be there, with fifteen skeletons left behind.  Shawn Donegal steals a metal device from the body of a dead hobo, and Paean, wanting to return it, soon finds out that this is the missing piece of a data capsule from the Hun, and might provide the information they need to uncover what the Unicate had planned.  Going back for the rest of the bounty, both Federi and Marsden are captured.

Throughout the novel the reader learns about Federi and his life before coming to the Solar Wind in letters he writes to his sister.  Paean decides to keep some of her thought on paper too, helping the reader to understand her even more.

Who is the spy for the Unicate or the Rebellion on the ship?  What happens when another ship’s crew comes on board and the Captain of the Solar Wind befriends them?

Keeping the enemy busy on board their ship allows Captain and Jon Marsden the time to dig deeper into the information on the two capsules, continuing their spy work right under the Unicate’s nose.  For years the Unicate has hunted the Solar Wind hoping to finish off the rest of the crew that they led into a trap two years before.  Is the Solar Wind at the heart of a political plot against the Unicate?

With the Unicate aboard and the Rebellion on their tails, the crew struggle on through a storm.  But what is wrong with the radar?  The Captain demonstrates his power over the ship and his ability to control it in his own elusive way.  But then the rebel ships capture Paean and Sherman; and Federi, Rushka and Ronan Donegal will stop at nothing to find them both.  With Paean and Sherman in trouble Federi risks more than his position on the Solar Wind to save them.

Who is the spy and why is this person on the ship? What does happen, will surprise the reader and renew your faith in loyalty, friendship and understanding.  Will the Solar Wind ever be free from the Unicate or the Rebellion forces?  Will the world succumb to being dominated by evil?  Wait for the sequel and find out!

I never give stars so I will give this book FIVE SOLAR WINDS THAT HAVE AN INVISIBLE SHIELD TO HIDE FROM THE UNICATE AND REBELLION FORCES TO SAFETY AND  FREEDOM: In the words of our amazing author: DONEGAL MAGIC PREVAILS

Fran Lewis: Reviewer and author of Memories are Precious and the Bertha Series of Books.


Come on in and chat with me…I’ll be featuring guest bloggers on a few pages here.

My first guest is Fran Lewis, who describes her journey and what motivated her to write.

Here’s her story, in her own words:

I attended P.S. 67 in the South Bronx and JHS 44 on Prospect Avenue where I grew up on Southern Blvd. and Tremont in the South Bronx. P.S. 67 was on 180th and Mohegan Avenue.  High school was Columbus and I graduated in 2 years, to be followed by Hunter College with graduation in 3 years. My first two master’s degrees were from Lehman College in the Bronx:  one in Education and the other in Reading and Learning Disabilities. My next master’s was from Manhattan College in Riverdale, in Administration and Supervision. I also received a PD diploma along with my master’s degree.

I became interested in writing books when I retired from teaching; at the time that my mom was diagnosed with dementia Alzheimer’s in 2003, I decided to spend my time doing something constructive. I started out writing short stories about things that happened to me growing up. I guess that is when I realized I could take all of the short stories and turn them into a children’s book. My Aunt Tova Ross made me promise (before she passed away) that I would write a book about my life growing up in the South Bronx; I kept my word. I wrote about my dancing lessons, ice skating fiasco, and other things from my childhood that I felt I wanted to share with children. I was always overweight as a child and I got picked on a lot by my friends and family. I decided to write these stories to help teach children how to deal with these issues and other real life issues they face today in an intelligent and humorous way.

I have written three books in my Bertha Series and I am working on my fourth. The first is My Name is Bertha which includes short stories about my dancing, ice skating, and bowling lessons and more. Bertha Speaks Out tells about how I dreaded long car rides and the funny things that happened along the way. It tells about how I dealt with my mother who insisted that I get perfect scores on all of my tests or I had to write the test over. I learned to deal with difficult girls in school and it tells how we came together when a family member gets dementia. Bertha Fights Back is my first chapter book and it is dedicated to 9/11 and to one of my student’s who died in the first tower. It deals with hate crimes, peer mediation and what happens when Bertha is accused of doing something and is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It teaches adults what happens when a good kid does the wrong thing and learns the hard way. It does not have a happy ending but it teaches important lessons to kids about tolerance and understanding and more.

Bertha is my grandmother. She was my father’s mother and my sister said that I looked like her growing up. She was not a happy person and at times when I would get angry she would call me Bertha. I would call her Tillie after my grandmother’s sister Tillie who she reminded me of.

I am proud to be a part of Robins Falls Kids radio show and Red River Writers.Thanks to April and the authors on Robins Falls Kids I have been given the opportunity to read from my books, meet great authors and learn more about the writing profession than I would have without their help and support. I love being on the radio and I never thought, as a shy child growing up, that I would ever have the courage to do an interview show or read from my own books on live radio. I love contributing book reviews to the magazine and I hope to always be a part of Red River Writers and hopefully be on many more of their shows. I would love to review some of the books of the writers on Red River Writers for the magazine too. I would love to add something to my speak out column.  I would love to speak out about issues that authors have felt that are difficult in writing and also other issues that we might read about in the news. If not, speaking out about which books I have reviewed that area must read .

I think that if I did not become an educator I would have become a journalist or a professional book reviewer and an author. I think that writing is great but I am finding it hard to get my books republished by a traditional publisher. I think that young students today need to know that writing is a great way to get your voice and thoughts heard.

I think that if I did not decide to become a writer I might have decided to tutor children with reading problems. Since my mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I have learned a lot about health care and medicare and Medicaid services. I probably would have become a advocate to help seniors get the services they need.

My wish is to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Alzheimer’s hopefully through the sales of my book Memories are Precious. The book is about my mom’s journey with the disease, told in her own words. There are memories and dedications from authors, family members and friends from around the world. It is also a resource for anyone who wants to understand the illness, the stages of the illness, and how to get help for a friend or family member. It has caregiver tips and much more.

If I could go back in time for just one hour I think that I would have become a school administrator and not just a reading and writing specialist and dean. I think that I felt that teaching reading and writing was more important than running the school. I realize now that my school, or any school, would have done better with someone who cares about the students, the teachers and parents; someone who respects them and would look at her day and running a school as an educator and not just as an administrator.

My Name is BerthaBertha Speaks Out, Bertha Fights Back and Memories are Precious are my four books. My websites are:

Bertha Series Author

My Space

Gabina 49’s Blog
Xlibris

Xlibris Bookstore

You can purchase all of my books on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Shelfari, goodreads, booksamillion and other online resellers and Xlibris.com

I love reading books of all genres and reviewing them. I review books for Manic Readers, bookpleasures.com and Ijustfinished.com . You can read my reviews on Ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina which is what my sister calls me. I love to walk and I enjoy museums especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love doing research on the net. I am presently doing research for my second Alzheimer’s book will be called Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain?

I have written three children’s books and one on Alzheimer’s.  The Alzheimer’s book was written in order to raise awareness for a cure and to raise funds for research. I have given Memories are Precious to many people to see what their reactions would be. I was surprised when my doctor and his wife said it should be required reading for anyone that wants to learn about the illness, the stages and caregiver tips too. It includes my mom’s story and feelings from the day she found out she was diagnosed with the illness until now. It has resources for those who need to get help for a family member or a loved one too. Dedications from family, authors throughout the world, and stories of how others have dealt with this illness when family members were diagnosed helps the reader understand why there is an urgency to find a cure.

My three children’s books are based on true stories that happened to me growing up in the South Bronx. I was always overweight and a total klutz. My mom decided that dancing lessons and ice- skating lessons would help make me graceful and agile. Not really. She also expected me to always be perfect and get straight 100’s one every test I would ever take. You have to read Bertha Speaks Out to see what I finally have to do and more. Bertha Fights back is a chapter book and helps children deal with real life issues that kids face in middle school today. My niece, Dani Nicole Miller co-authored the book with me. My niece, Jamie Miller illustrated the book and all of the covers for all of my three children’s books.

Links and sites:

Barnes & Noble:  Memories are Precious

Barnes & Noble:  Bertha Fights Back

Barnes & Noble:  My Name is Bertha

Barnes & Noble: Bertha Speaks Out

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  1. […] SPOTLIGHTING FRAN LEWIS Posted on January 17, 2010 by laurelrainsnow Today I have had the pleasure to spotlight another blogger/author, Fran Lewis, whose story is told as a Guest Blogger. […]

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Come on in and chat with me…I’ll be featuring guest bloggers on a few pages here.

My first guest is Fran Lewis, who describes her journey and what motivated her to write.

Here’s her story, in her own words:

I attended P.S. 67 in the South Bronx and JHS 44 on Prospect Avenue where I grew up on Southern Blvd. and Tremont in the South Bronx. P.S. 67 was on 180th and Mohegan Avenue.  High school was Columbus and I graduated in 2 years, to be followed by Hunter College with graduation in 3 years. My first two master’s degrees were from Lehman College in the Bronx:  one in Education and the other in Reading and Learning Disabilities. My next master’s was from Manhattan College in Riverdale, in Administration and Supervision. I also received a PD diploma along with my master’s degree.

I became interested in writing books when I retired from teaching; at the time that my mom was diagnosed with dementia Alzheimer’s in 2003, I decided to spend my time doing something constructive. I started out writing short stories about things that happened to me growing up. I guess that is when I realized I could take all of the short stories and turn them into a children’s book. My Aunt Tova Ross made me promise (before she passed away) that I would write a book about my life growing up in the South Bronx; I kept my word. I wrote about my dancing lessons, ice skating fiasco, and other things from my childhood that I felt I wanted to share with children. I was always overweight as a child and I got picked on a lot by my friends and family. I decided to write these stories to help teach children how to deal with these issues and other real life issues they face today in an intelligent and humorous way.

I have written three books in my Bertha Series and I am working on my fourth. The first is My Name is Bertha which includes short stories about my dancing, ice skating, and bowling lessons and more. Bertha Speaks Out tells about how I dreaded long car rides and the funny things that happened along the way. It tells about how I dealt with my mother who insisted that I get perfect scores on all of my tests or I had to write the test over. I learned to deal with difficult girls in school and it tells how we came together when a family member gets dementia. Bertha Fights Back is my first chapter book and it is dedicated to 9/11 and to one of my student’s who died in the first tower. It deals with hate crimes, peer mediation and what happens when Bertha is accused of doing something and is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It teaches adults what happens when a good kid does the wrong thing and learns the hard way. It does not have a happy ending but it teaches important lessons to kids about tolerance and understanding and more.

Bertha is my grandmother. She was my father’s mother and my sister said that I looked like her growing up. She was not a happy person and at times when I would get angry she would call me Bertha. I would call her Tillie after my grandmother’s sister Tillie who she reminded me of.

I am proud to be a part of Robins Falls Kids radio show and Red River Writers.Thanks to April and the authors on Robins Falls Kids I have been given the opportunity to read from my books, meet great authors and learn more about the writing profession than I would have without their help and support. I love being on the radio and I never thought, as a shy child growing up, that I would ever have the courage to do an interview show or read from my own books on live radio. I love contributing book reviews to the magazine and I hope to always be a part of Red River Writers and hopefully be on many more of their shows. I would love to review some of the books of the writers on Red River Writers for the magazine too. I would love to add something to my speak out column.  I would love to speak out about issues that authors have felt that are difficult in writing and also other issues that we might read about in the news. If not, speaking out about which books I have reviewed that area must read .

I think that if I did not become an educator I would have become a journalist or a professional book reviewer and an author. I think that writing is great but I am finding it hard to get my books republished by a traditional publisher. I think that young students today need to know that writing is a great way to get your voice and thoughts heard.

I think that if I did not decide to become a writer I might have decided to tutor children with reading problems. Since my mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I have learned a lot about health care and medicare and Medicaid services. I probably would have become a advocate to help seniors get the services they need.

My wish is to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Alzheimer’s hopefully through the sales of my book Memories are Precious. The book is about my mom’s journey with the disease, told in her own words. There are memories and dedications from authors, family members and friends from around the world. It is also a resource for anyone who wants to understand the illness, the stages of the illness, and how to get help for a friend or family member. It has caregiver tips and much more.

If I could go back in time for just one hour I think that I would have become a school administrator and not just a reading and writing specialist and dean. I think that I felt that teaching reading and writing was more important than running the school. I realize now that my school, or any school, would have done better with someone who cares about the students, the teachers and parents; someone who respects them and would look at her day and running a school as an educator and not just as an administrator.

My Name is BerthaBertha Speaks Out, Bertha Fights Back and Memories are Precious are my four books. My websites are:

Bertha Series Author

My Space

Gabina 49’s Blog
Xlibris

Xlibris Bookstore

You can purchase all of my books on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Shelfari, goodreads, booksamillion and other online resellers and Xlibris.com

I love reading books of all genres and reviewing them. I review books for Manic Readers, bookpleasures.com and Ijustfinished.com . You can read my reviews on Ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina which is what my sister calls me. I love to walk and I enjoy museums especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love doing research on the net. I am presently doing research for my second Alzheimer’s book will be called Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain?

I have written three children’s books and one on Alzheimer’s.  The Alzheimer’s book was written in order to raise awareness for a cure and to raise funds for research. I have given Memories are Precious to many people to see what their reactions would be. I was surprised when my doctor and his wife said it should be required reading for anyone that wants to learn about the illness, the stages and caregiver tips too. It includes my mom’s story and feelings from the day she found out she was diagnosed with the illness until now. It has resources for those who need to get help for a family member or a loved one too. Dedications from family, authors throughout the world, and stories of how others have dealt with this illness when family members were diagnosed helps the reader understand why there is an urgency to find a cure.

My three children’s books are based on true stories that happened to me growing up in the South Bronx. I was always overweight and a total klutz. My mom decided that dancing lessons and ice- skating lessons would help make me graceful and agile. Not really. She also expected me to always be perfect and get straight 100’s one every test I would ever take. You have to read Bertha Speaks Out to see what I finally have to do and more. Bertha Fights back is a chapter book and helps children deal with real life issues that kids face in middle school today. My niece, Dani Nicole Miller co-authored the book with me. My niece, Jamie Miller illustrated the book and all of the covers for all of my three children’s books.

Links and sites:

Barnes & Noble:  Memories are Precious

Barnes & Noble:  Bertha Fights Back

Barnes & Noble:  My Name is Bertha

Barnes & Noble: Bertha Speaks Out

One Response

  1. […] SPOTLIGHTING FRAN LEWIS Posted on January 17, 2010 by laurelrainsnow Today I have had the pleasure to spotlight another blogger/author, Fran Lewis, whose story is told as a Guest Blogger. […]

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Come on in and chat with me…I’ll be featuring guest bloggers on a few pages here.

My first guest is Fran Lewis, who describes her journey and what motivated her to write.

Here’s her story, in her own words:

I attended P.S. 67 in the South Bronx and JHS 44 on Prospect Avenue where I grew up on Southern Blvd. and Tremont in the South Bronx. P.S. 67 was on 180th and Mohegan Avenue.  High school was Columbus and I graduated in 2 years, to be followed by Hunter College with graduation in 3 years. My first two master’s degrees were from Lehman College in the Bronx:  one in Education and the other in Reading and Learning Disabilities. My next master’s was from Manhattan College in Riverdale, in Administration and Supervision. I also received a PD diploma along with my master’s degree.

I became interested in writing books when I retired from teaching; at the time that my mom was diagnosed with dementia Alzheimer’s in 2003, I decided to spend my time doing something constructive. I started out writing short stories about things that happened to me growing up. I guess that is when I realized I could take all of the short stories and turn them into a children’s book. My Aunt Tova Ross made me promise (before she passed away) that I would write a book about my life growing up in the South Bronx; I kept my word. I wrote about my dancing lessons, ice skating fiasco, and other things from my childhood that I felt I wanted to share with children. I was always overweight as a child and I got picked on a lot by my friends and family. I decided to write these stories to help teach children how to deal with these issues and other real life issues they face today in an intelligent and humorous way.

I have written three books in my Bertha Series and I am working on my fourth. The first is My Name is Bertha which includes short stories about my dancing, ice skating, and bowling lessons and more. Bertha Speaks Out tells about how I dreaded long car rides and the funny things that happened along the way. It tells about how I dealt with my mother who insisted that I get perfect scores on all of my tests or I had to write the test over. I learned to deal with difficult girls in school and it tells how we came together when a family member gets dementia. Bertha Fights Back is my first chapter book and it is dedicated to 9/11 and to one of my student’s who died in the first tower. It deals with hate crimes, peer mediation and what happens when Bertha is accused of doing something and is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It teaches adults what happens when a good kid does the wrong thing and learns the hard way. It does not have a happy ending but it teaches important lessons to kids about tolerance and understanding and more.

Bertha is my grandmother. She was my father’s mother and my sister said that I looked like her growing up. She was not a happy person and at times when I would get angry she would call me Bertha. I would call her Tillie after my grandmother’s sister Tillie who she reminded me of.

I am proud to be a part of Robins Falls Kids radio show and Red River Writers.Thanks to April and the authors on Robins Falls Kids I have been given the opportunity to read from my books, meet great authors and learn more about the writing profession than I would have without their help and support. I love being on the radio and I never thought, as a shy child growing up, that I would ever have the courage to do an interview show or read from my own books on live radio. I love contributing book reviews to the magazine and I hope to always be a part of Red River Writers and hopefully be on many more of their shows. I would love to review some of the books of the writers on Red River Writers for the magazine too. I would love to add something to my speak out column.  I would love to speak out about issues that authors have felt that are difficult in writing and also other issues that we might read about in the news. If not, speaking out about which books I have reviewed that area must read .

I think that if I did not become an educator I would have become a journalist or a professional book reviewer and an author. I think that writing is great but I am finding it hard to get my books republished by a traditional publisher. I think that young students today need to know that writing is a great way to get your voice and thoughts heard.

I think that if I did not decide to become a writer I might have decided to tutor children with reading problems. Since my mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I have learned a lot about health care and medicare and Medicaid services. I probably would have become a advocate to help seniors get the services they need.

My wish is to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Alzheimer’s hopefully through the sales of my book Memories are Precious. The book is about my mom’s journey with the disease, told in her own words. There are memories and dedications from authors, family members and friends from around the world. It is also a resource for anyone who wants to understand the illness, the stages of the illness, and how to get help for a friend or family member. It has caregiver tips and much more.

If I could go back in time for just one hour I think that I would have become a school administrator and not just a reading and writing specialist and dean. I think that I felt that teaching reading and writing was more important than running the school. I realize now that my school, or any school, would have done better with someone who cares about the students, the teachers and parents; someone who respects them and would look at her day and running a school as an educator and not just as an administrator.

My Name is BerthaBertha Speaks Out, Bertha Fights Back and Memories are Precious are my four books. My websites are:

Bertha Series Author

My Space

Gabina 49’s Blog
Xlibris

Xlibris Bookstore

You can purchase all of my books on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Shelfari, goodreads, booksamillion and other online resellers and Xlibris.com

I love reading books of all genres and reviewing them. I review books for Manic Readers, bookpleasures.com and Ijustfinished.com . You can read my reviews on Ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina which is what my sister calls me. I love to walk and I enjoy museums especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love doing research on the net. I am presently doing research for my second Alzheimer’s book will be called Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain?

I have written three children’s books and one on Alzheimer’s.  The Alzheimer’s book was written in order to raise awareness for a cure and to raise funds for research. I have given Memories are Precious to many people to see what their reactions would be. I was surprised when my doctor and his wife said it should be required reading for anyone that wants to learn about the illness, the stages and caregiver tips too. It includes my mom’s story and feelings from the day she found out she was diagnosed with the illness until now. It has resources for those who need to get help for a family member or a loved one too. Dedications from family, authors throughout the world, and stories of how others have dealt with this illness when family members were diagnosed helps the reader understand why there is an urgency to find a cure.

My three children’s books are based on true stories that happened to me growing up in the South Bronx. I was always overweight and a total klutz. My mom decided that dancing lessons and ice- skating lessons would help make me graceful and agile. Not really. She also expected me to always be perfect and get straight 100’s one every test I would ever take. You have to read Bertha Speaks Out to see what I finally have to do and more. Bertha Fights back is a chapter book and helps children deal with real life issues that kids face in middle school today. My niece, Dani Nicole Miller co-authored the book with me. My niece, Jamie Miller illustrated the book and all of the covers for all of my three children’s books.

Links and sites:

Barnes & Noble:  Memories are Precious

Barnes & Noble:  Bertha Fights Back

Barnes & Noble:  My Name is Bertha

Barnes & Noble: Bertha Speaks Out

One Response

  1. […] SPOTLIGHTING FRAN LEWIS Posted on January 17, 2010 by laurelrainsnow Today I have had the pleasure to spotlight another blogger/author, Fran Lewis, whose story is told as a Guest Blogger. […]

Leave a Reply

Logged in as gabina49 Logout »

Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

Notify me of new posts via email.

Heartache and Sin by Charles Soto


Heartache and Sin by Charles Soto

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Heartache is defined as anguish, sorrow or distress. Sin is defined as an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will. There are so many sins and so much heartache within this novel that you will come to truly understand their meanings and much more. A group of people, who are easily swayed, easily manipulated and who are looking for something to believe in whether it is honest, true or read and you have the breeding ground for anyone who wants to brainwash and deceive people. Pastor Ryan who prays runs the Church of Resurrection preys on the minds, vulnerability and poor self-esteem of his congregation, wife, and young women. He convinces them that he a man who can foretell their needs, future and predict world events and more. Without him and his guidance they could not exist, live or repent the terrible sins that he claims they committed. This brings me to my review of Heartache and Sin by Charles Soto. This novel brings to light many issues that are controversial, will create strong discussions and possibly arguments and disagreements when used as a basis for a book club or family discussion. This is a book whose messages need to be heard.

Steven and Karen Wheaton live in Havana with his family and friends. Karen is diagnosed with diabetes and is told not to conceive. Upset with the diagnosis and other conditions that she is made aware of, she falls prey to the teachings, preaching and voice of a corrupt, sinister and deceitful man. Preacher Ryan preys on the minds of his congregants claiming that with his prayer and the will of God, he will make it rain and the drought will end.

Brainwashing is something that many people who want to believe in something and want to come true fall victim to. Karen is one who is innocent, sweet and believes the words of this man and so do many others, as you will learn when reading this book. Added to this her husband; Steven and his two brothers knowing that he is a fraud, use the Internet to bring him down. Confronting Pastor Ryan, Steven gets him to admit the truth and now he must fight to save his wife from this man and many others too.

Karen believes that Pastor Ryan is the answer to the prayers of the people of Havana. No one bothered to find out why he left his previous congregation or what he did to the young women there. Abuse whether physical, verbal or sexual is unconscionable and needs to be punished no matter who the source is or the reasons why they are committing the abuse. Pastor Ryan is guilty of all three and justifies it in his own mind and to his victims that he is right and they are worthless and deserve what he decides to hand them. Frightening and scary since a Preacher or any member of the clergy is suppose to guide, listen, comfort and provide guidance to help people that are in trouble or need someone to talk with you realize that this man is nothing but pure evil. But, Pastor Ryan does not fit the definition a clergyman and although Steven knows he is a fraud he needs to tread carefully before exposing him and make sure that he has the proof or he may lose Karen and a lot more.

What is unique about this book is that the author has the characters reveal their inner most thoughts and explain what they need to do in order to survive. Mary, the Pastor’s wife gets the strength and courage to fight and leave the confines of her prison.

The author speaks to the reader as he relates what is in the character’s thoughts and mind as Steven forges a plan to unfold and reveal the deceptions created by this Pastor and the many inhumane things he has done and is still doing. Berating and humiliating his wife and physically and mentally abusing her and praying on the minds of bereaved women he increases his flock of unsuspecting women on the pretense of trying to help them. Using the Internet and the postal system he has devised a diabolical plan that needs to be stopped. But, the worst has yet to come and his cruelty has not reached its peak as the reader will learn and author will impart as he reveals what Steven knows in his heart is happening and must be done.

Karen is easily swayed as her the young women that are now in the living in the family quarters. Their clouded vision and poor perception and need to feel wanted, hope and comfort allows this horrific man to prey on their weaknesses and things will only get worse. Pastor Ryan does not care that he humiliates, who he deceives and how he goes about funding his own treasury and confining those to his compound who fall under his spell and believe he is there help them redeem their sins, find solace and peace within his congregation. Steven, Anne Marie his sister-in-law have witnessed first hand what they know to be the truth and are frightened by the blinding light that encompasses the compound and the people within it. Knowing that he even imprisoned his wife and abused her physically makes him and this family moves ahead to try and stop him. But, when the unthinkable happens and Karen gets pregnant the course of action that the Pastor wants and Steven’s not only conflict but also jeopardize more than their marriage but her life.

Believing himself to be the true and only prophet and the hand of God, this evil man controls everything that oversees and all he sees.  Feeding, as the author puts it, the starving minds of this improvised county. He needs praise, power, to instill fear, false hope and total domination of his congregation. With no respect for women as I can see it, and trying to keep his wife under his total control, Mary finally learns how to play his game in order not to be the object of his ire. But, can she? What is his true ambition? Will she survive the abuse?

This brings us to another controversial issue that the author skillfully includes in this bone chilling and thought -provoking book. The serious issue of Abortion and whether Karen, who has diabetes should consider a full term pregnancy and the Pastor’s crusade to destroy the abortion clinic in Fargo and the women who have had abortions in it.

An abortion that occurs naturally without any medical intervention when there is a physical problem with a pregnancy is called a spontaneous abortion or a miscarriage, while an abortion that is the result of any procedure done by a licensed physician or someone under the supervision of a licensed physician to purposefully end a pregnancy is called an induced abortion as defined in your dictionary.com. This issue becomes the basis for the end of the book and what finally happens between Karen and Steven and their unborn child. The Pastor goes on a crusade to protest against the clinic and abortion and will do nothing short of destroying the women and the people within it starting with the doctor and his family. Using Karen in his propaganda to fight against abortion even though she should not go to full term and will not change her mind, the Pastor hides his true colors to in order to achieve his goals and pretends concern for her.

What happens will give you pause for much thought about the issues that are important in this novel. A man whose goal was to destroy, control and deceive others for his own purposes. Destruction of lives, towns, people and communities all because of one man. What does happen to Karen? Will Mary and her sons ever are free of the horrific hold the Pastor has on her and others? Will the truth about him ever be told and who will pay with their own heartaches and sins? I recommend this book as one of my best picks for the 2010 and I have read more than 25 since the New Year.

I am honored to have reviewed this book and hope to review Pride and a Prayer the author’s new book.