One Small Victory

One Small Victory

By Maryann Miller

One phone call can change your life forever. Picking up the phone you never expect to hear the words that Jenny did: Your son Michael has been in an accident and you need to come to the hospital now. Hoping beyond hope that the news is good you know in your heart it might be too late. How many parents have experienced this heartache and pain? Too many, I am sure. Drugs and alcohol abuse are very prominent in teenagers and young adults today. Never really thinking through or understanding the ramifications of driving under the influence of alcohol or using pot or cocaine while behind the wheel, many teenagers and adults often wind up in fatal accidents.  Michael and Brad were supposed to go camping over the weekend and never came back. Why? Brad thought his car was an airplane and tried some stunts that proved deadly? For Michael.

How does a parent deal with this and how does Jenny decide to fight back and make sure that other parents never hear the same news or have to experience such tragedy? Maryann Miller’s book One Small Victory brings to light these issues and shows just how far a mother will go to seek justice? How far would you go?

Making a difference is not going to be easy and seeing what drug dealers are allowed to get away with incenses Jenny and she asks to become part of the Drug Task Force as a Confidential Informant. Would you go that far? She does and manages to pass both the physical and psychological tests required and are about to embark on something that might cost her not only her life, but also her family’s trust since she cannot divulge to anyone what she is doing, why, how, or where.

As Jenny becomes more embroiled into the world of the drug dealers she is forced to make some life changing decisions that might jeopardize her life and her fragile relationship with her son, Scott. Strong-minded and impulsive, she takes the undercover world by storm and not only Police Lieutenant Steve Morrity, the officer she is working with, but also the drug dealers find out that she is more than a force to be reckoned with in order to get justice for her son’s death. But, at what cost!

A best friend she cannot confide in and whose life change when she learns the naked truth about Jenny and more; a son who is rebelling and wants to find answers to his mothers’ actions, a daughter who plays peacemaker, a mother who will not stop until she learns the truth, and an ex-husband who is going through the motions of being a father to stress her out more. Will she risk it all or just fold?

What happens to Jenny as a result of working with the police? Will she have to worry about the safety of her family? Will she and Steve have a future after working together to foil this drug operation? The answers you need to find are in this novel and the only way you are going to get them is by reading this informative, important and outstanding novel that brings to light how imperative it is for parents to know what their children are doing and how necessary it is to be there for them and listen.

With characters whose personalities are clearly defined author MaryAnn Miller creates real life situations faced by DEA officers and the police daily. As an educator I have seen dealers near or close by many schools. The sad part is that little or nothing is often done about them. Arrest one or more and there are many more to take their place. DARE or The Drug Resistance Education Program This program that comes to many schools throughout the world will provide millions of children with the information and skills needed to say NO to drugs and avoid involvement in gangs, violence and drug addiction. The organization was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven quite successful in over 75 percent of our nations’ school districts and in 41 countries in the world.  Peer pressure, which is what Michael Jasick succumbed to, is something that happens each day. Using drugs or smoking weeds or any form is wrong and harmful. The site below contains information for everyone about DARE and how we can prevent more casualties like Michael and Brad.

A mother’s love that is so strong that her One Small Victory turned out to be a lot more for her and her family. What will her future hold; only time will tell if your author writes another chapter in her life.

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

You can contact this author and buy her book along with others written by Maryann Miller at the site below.

I give this book Five Gold Stars

Maryann Miller

“A room without a book is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

Managing Editor



In the Beginning by Alfred Langer reviewed by Fran Lewis

In the Beginning

Author: Alfred Langer

ISBN: 9781934938850

Publisher: Langton Street Press

The time period is the World War II. This is the true journey of one family’s desperate pursuit for safety, happiness, hope and survival. Through the eyes and words author Alfred Langer we hear the cries, screams, feel the tears and visualize the horrors inflicted on them in the novel In the Beginning written by Alfred Langer.

Rudolph and Elsa Langer lived in the small town of Hermannstadt where they felt safe and secure. Working their land and teaching their children respect and honesty they lived what one might called a sheltered life as all of the residents of this small town did. Hidden away from the rest of the world and receiving limited information or propaganda about the war and Germany’s fate, the people never realized until it was too late, that life as they knew it was about to end. This brings me to my review of In the Beginning by Alfred Langer who relates to the reader and the world the true story of the horrific atrocities, terrible conditions inflicted on his family and the people of his town when invaded by the Russians and the Czech. One knock on his door and one piece of paper would forever change the life of the Langer family, his friends and leave them with nothing.

A frightening train ride, indignations and humiliations that were inflicted on all of the passengers, families separated and made to live apart and more. Children forced into work camps, others sent away to work in the mines and families hoping for their return. With the bare minimum that they were allowed to take they wound up in Naila and under the care of the Red Cross and their strict rules. The children were forced to grow up really fast. Living in the barracks the Langer children were grateful to be able to take part in various organized activities. When all of their valuables were stolen and they were forced to live in a cramped space above a shoe factory, the Langer family learned not only the meaning of keeping the faith but prejudice too.

With the help of the Red Cross and the American Government, the Langer family was able to survive.

With enterprising children and a father who would stop at nothing to provide for his family, Rudolph Langer learns the meaning of prejudice, injustice because of his ethnic background and the nearsightedness of people. But, that was about the change.

Reading this true and heartbreaking story of this family I could picture what they went through and feel part of the journey that the author is relating. Closing your eyes you can visualize the atrocities graphically described by the author and inflicted on his family and himself. No matter what was thrown at him or his family they endured, survived and held together as a unit.

Could you live above a shoe factory? Could you survive on food rations in cans? Could you share a bathroom with people that you never met? Could you learn to live without toys, expensive shoes and even Christmas presents? The family of Alfred Langer learned to live without many material things but they not without the love of his parents and family. The stories that he shares about his childhood and the lessons that he imparted on not only his family but his schoolmates will help you to understand that material things cannot replace a family’s love.

At 21 years of age Alfred Langer left Germany to embark on a new beginning and a new life. Imagine coming to a new country and not able to understand or speak the language. Working with his friend Hans at the Manhattan Die Company, as a machinist, he not only became invaluable to the running of the company but also managed to take night classes, learn the language and graduate. Many more hard lessons would be learned as he embarks on a career as a machinist in the Manhattan Die Company working with his friend Hans and eventually marrying a wonderful girl named Irene and a daughter, Christine.  Sharing his roots with his wife and daughter, taking them home to Germany, he intertwines his past with his present to make them one.

A man who never gave up and a man who worked in the tool and die industry for over 46 years. He valued friendships, loyalty and honesty in his workers, family and friends. New beginnings are not always bad they are often the start of something even better. A man that some day would realize that wealth and social status are secondary to character, honesty and integrity.

Alfred Langer we are truly blessed that shared your story and your life with us. I am honored to have reviewed this heartfelt, heartbreaking and yet encouraging story of one family who would never take defeat. As your mother said: God did not mean for us to be ruined. You more than proved him right.

Color Me Jazzmyne

Color Me Jazzmyne

Author: Marion L. Thomas

Colors are vital and important in our lives. We cannot live our lives devoid of the many influences each color might impact on our actions and emotions. Our lives are often embedded in the many colors that we create to outline journeys we take in life, our important moments, emotions and the events that create our author Marion L. Thomas so brilliantly states, the crayon box of colors that are the many facets of colors of Jazzmyne. The memories that are etched in our minds, engraved in our hearts, replayed in our minds, are never turned on silent or off.

Naya Mona spent most of her life looking for answers to one question: Why? Living some of her childhood in fear of an abusive father and searching for freedom, she began an emotional and psychological journey shared with the reader in the novel Color Me Jazzmyne by author Marion L. Thomas. As you enter the world of this incredible young child you learn of the many hardships she faced and the meaning of survival. Naya Mona was a smart, strong willed young lady who knew when her cup of anger was filled to the brim and the many colors in her crayon box needed remixing, it was time to leave and reaffirm herself as a person and take Control of her life.

Control: As the colors in your crayon box have distinctive ideas, thoughts and emotions attached to them thereby defining your history and the past. When you allow someone to dominate, regulate and dominate your movements, your emotions and try to manipulate your thoughts. Naya’s father tried to control her every move and even kept her locked in a closet in the dark to discipline her. Thus, the creation of a young child’s mind who learned to deal with the darkness and see the images within her mind and heart as she tried to picture a Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After Scene in her mind.

Naya Mona escaped her life with her father and went to New York and found she was still not free. Singing was her goal. Jazz was her niche. Love, did not exist in her life, nor ever came out of her mouth. But, our pasts come back to face us and now she would retell the journey of her life and the reader will travel back in time with her to learn the truth and the answer to the one question: Why?

Giving up a child is hard. When the decision is made without your knowledge it can rip you apart. A young son, who has become hard due to the life he was forced to live comes full circle and now wants the same answers that Naya wants: Why did you give me up? What is my history and explain my roots. Facing this young man who cannot come to grips with all the good in his life, a wife and children, Jazzmyne or Naya retells the story of her life to a man she barely knows and hopes will understand.

As we take this journey along with Naya we meet many people who offer her help. Getting her first job in a club called the Skinny for a man who was not really interested in her future, but what her successes and future could do for him. We often learn the hard way and she did. Never sign anything that you do not read and never ask a friend to take control of your finances and your career. Trust must be earned and every step of the way the people closest to her betrayed her in some way making her reassess, take a step backwards and forge ahead even stronger.

As you learn about her past, her present and her life you will become embroiled, enmeshed, angered, fearful and hopeful that she will prevail win. As she tells her story to her son, he learns the truth about his father, his grandparents who brought him up but the coldness that surrounded his mother and him growing up. Their lives might have been apart but the emotional upheavals and the lack of love was the same.

Wrong marriages, lies, deceit and deceptions all engulf her life while singing at the Skinny and then at the Jazz Cat. But one man would forever change her fate and bring things full circle. What would she reveal to her son? What really happened in her life and what answers are revealed you will learn by joining the journey of this incredible woman’s life. A woman who has many colors in her crayon box that defined the many times, moments, emotions in her life and whose voice was finally heard by one man who made a her change.

A letter from a father that was too late, hollow words without meaning on a simple piece of paper. A son whose life was filled with love needed more. A life filled with ups and downs, emotional upheavals and finally success. The life of a woman who knew when the right moment came to get take the questions and give the answers she and Jonathan, her son, needed to hear. Thought provoking, a well developed plot with each main character’s voice heard by the reader, this outstanding novel that brings to light many issues that are relevant today is a must read for everyone that needs to find the right colors in a crayon box to create a beautiful picture.

To Jazzmyne: Color you Successful and to our author who created you: I Give You Five More Colors to Add to your Crayon Box:

Gold for success, Yellow for Happiness, Blue for Harmony, Green for life, well- being and respect, and White purity.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious by Alzheimer’s Book.

I Know You By Heart

I Know you By Heart

By Linda Spear

Your family is gathered around your mother who is about to take her last breath and as she does she speaks the name of a man who is not her husband. In her eyes you can see the frustration and in her face the sadness and anguish as she calls this man’s name. Who is this man and what was his relationship to the mother of both Sarah and Tessa?

Andrea Fielding was 58 years old when she succumbed to cancer. With her family around her she closed her eyes but not before making a startling revelation to them in her own way. She spoke the name of a man named David, professing to those present, her feelings for this unknown man. A tightly knit family whose background is Jewish and whose ancestors came here from Poland, we learn much about Andrea’s youth and the hardships and difficulties both she and her mother endured with a father who was an alcoholic and mentally unstable due to the horrors he could not come to grips with in Poland. Many people that have lived through the nightmare of being in the camps whether in Poland or Germany often relive it in their dreams, their thoughts and fear that they will be sought after and returned at any time. Andrea’s father was one such man who changed his name, refused to tell his family his true identity and lived his life in fear of being deported something that would never happen. With a wife who did her best and a daughter who cared for him, when he finally died the circumstances surrounding his death were needless to say suspicious.

Sarah and Tessa are Andrea’s daughters who are total opposites in many ways. Both are married to amazing men, but Sarah seems more centered and more in control and able to handle difficult situations without shying away from responsibilities. It is after the funeral that we learn more about this family and Andrea’s sister, Cynthia who appears distant and Carly her closest friend who relates a story about Sarah at the funeral that seems out of place and inappropriate.

Sharing with the reader the past, her sister’s past and how they met their individual spouses helps to set the stage to understand the present. As Sarah sits at her mother’s computer she opens one folder that will forever change her life the one with email’s from the man whose named she called: David. Reading their emails and learning of their relationship causes the reader to have many questions about why their relationship did not last and what was the event that David alludes to that Andrea need to handle due the their breakup.
Everyone has one first love and hopes that it will last a lifetime. Some people think that person is their soul mate. Many times relationships between two people are manipulated and destroyed by others. What really happened between Andrea and David? Was Sarah ready for the truth? Understanding and reading Andrea’s words brings to light many parallels in the lives of so many people. What caused David and Andrea to part ways is not uncommon. What caused her to decide to find him and finally express how she felt about what happened and after their breakup will enlighten the reader and help you understand that this strong woman who endured enough as a child taking care of her father and dealing with a cold mother, had to deal with something similar again. Why should social class matter when two people love each other? Hard question, not really. There are many people who feel that education and intelligence does not make the person, money, social status and economic standing is the benchmarks for measuring a person’s worth. I disagree and I am sure that Sarah does too.

As the author reveals the truth about David and Andrea’s relationship and the one secret that infuriates her even more, she decides to contact him telling him of her mother’s death, the fact that she has read their emails and wants answers to many unanswered questions. David is a cardiologist who never had to worry where the money for medical school and his education would come from. Nor did he have to worry about the funds needed to begin his practice. How far would you go to get what you needed if it meant giving up the one person who you really cared for and loved?

As Sarah learns more about her mother’s relationship with David and reads their emails she learns more about the true man and what he lacks as a person and someone who skirted adversity and did not face his own truths. But, Sarah and her family would have to face and endure much more within the week of her mother’s passing. Relationships would change, family members would be betrayed, others would be angered when they learned and had to face certain truths.

A close friend who explains who shares her mother’s past with her. A man who would not stand up to his mother and fight for the woman he truly loved. Misunderstandings, a father’s need for love, two secrets that must never be revealed, two sisters that finally become best friends and learn to deal a parent’s death and a father’s love in their own way.

There are many events that the author recounts that really strike a loud chord with me. I truly understand how Andrea felt and how devastating it must have been to have to cope and deal with what David did to her in the past and realize that her unrequited love for him would never die, even in death.

Read this heartbreaking, true to life, heartfelt, and yes made me cry and use up two boxes of tissues before coming to the last page, novel and learn what happens when one true love is replaced with another.

Sarah and her husband Ben and Lester, provide the glue that keeps everything together, for she truly can say to Ben: I Know you By Heart as Andrea did David.

I give this book Five Perfect Hearts

Fran Lewis

Author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious

Storytella by RYJC



The writer shares many facets of the lives of many different people of all walks of life. After reading the stories I realized that there was a common thread throughout the book. The author shares the relationships, the friendships and bonds formed and others that were broken or lost. The hard lessons that we all learn, the consequences that we face when we fail to sometimes confirm to the rules and what others expect of us in order to survive in this world whether as an adult of a child.

The book opens with a simple statement: In the beginning: It tells of the lesson learned by a young girl dealing with her own identity self-esteem. Adults and children often feel that in order to fit in they have to change their look, personality and way of thinking to conform and be accepted even if they are fine the way they are. The first part of the book is titled Early. It tells of the early life and beginnings of a young girl named Crei and the friendships she formed and the ones that she lost. Family is important to her and yet she is depicted as an outcast in her own world. Smart, intelligent and heard through the voice of the writer of these stories, Crei learns many hard lessons in this first part of the book, which I call Survival. This is a story of one girl’s journey through life. Her name is Crei and she tells her story, allows the reader to come into her life, understand her triumphs, defeats and heartbreaks in this inspirational, heartbreaking, heartwarming and outstanding novel, Storytella. As the story opens we meet someone who is telling the world that she has little or no self-esteem. The author brings to light this very important issue in the prologue. This character sets the tone for the book when she states that in order to fit in she has to look cool, chic and change the her total appearance and she does.

As we enter the body of the book this theme does continue and many other issues arise as well. Crei is a young girl who comes from a poor family. Within the neighborhood where she lives are families and people of many economic backgrounds who often flaunt their wealth, their feelings of superiority and make her feel unworthy to be around them. But, not her best friend Cody, whose family is wealthy but that is their only plus. Being rich does not make the person or make you better than someone else. In Part One of Crei’s journey we learn that Cody’s family is not one that any child should be part of. Although rich and able to have many of the luxuries that Crei might never have, her mother and aunt treat her in an abusive manner whenever the whim hits them to beat her for any slight infraction, is unconscionable and unwarranted. Yet, Cody’ mother Mrs. Kelly and her Aunt Rooge are fair to Crei. Crei really does love both of these women yet parents back then as even now punish their children in the same manner.  The antics that they pull and the schemes that they come up with to run away, clean Crei’s clothes in the drier and many other wild things they do lets the reader know how far these two would go to show their loyalty to each other as friends.

Continuing in Part two-titled Mid Afternoon entering another part of her life, we see how she has grown in some respects and stays the same in others. When Cody leaves Crei is really sad and wishes her friend were still there. We meet and get to know the people in her neighborhood and the various scenes that the author describes helps us understand the difficulties this young child faces when she has no one to defend her and no one to befriend. Taking over where Cory left off, she learns to speak out and up for herself and Crei now lets her voice be heard. Made to apologize to a neighbor for doing something she never said or did, she retaliates when in food shopping with her mother and sister and lets the reader know that from now on she will be her own force to be reckoned with. There are numerous lessons and issues highlighted. Learning to deal with lies told about you by adults is not easy for a young child. Her retaliation lets the reader know that she is a force to be reckoned with and that her feelings count. Including a story called Jagged Edge dealing with a young girl’s relationship with a boy helps young adults learn the pitfalls we sometimes fall into when we first think we have met Mr. or Ms. Right.

Part three, Midday, enters the world of education and the author does not present it in a positive light. As an educator I do know that in the past and certainly more prevalent today there are many teachers that do not have the passion, the love and knowledge to want to educate our children. Educating our children is a privilege for the teacher and not a right. Children are not paychecks that we get on a weekly or monthly basis and the sad part is that many educators do work for that merit pay or that quick promotion even though their real goal should be reaching out to their students and making them knowledge hungry as our young aspiring writer was in the story two stories irrelevant and The Vagabond. This last one reminds me of a young wandering child who is trying to find her way into the world of Literature and the classics and as a vagabond moves from place to place in our educational system and due to the lack of encouragement cannot find a permanent home.

The next part is called Evening. The author then goes on to teach Crei and her new friends the many pitfalls of marriage, army life, dealing with difficult relationships, the hardships that life can befall you and more. Living on a limited amount of money and having to hope that you are able to feed your child and your family, Crei, her husband Royce learn that life is not always what you would like it to be. With friends that have much more than she does and others even less, Crei has one thing that she can always count on: Royce and his love for her. I think that everyone would love to go shopping and fill a cart or a dressing with every item they want or desire. The story Wish List lets us know that we cannot always have everything we want but it can be fun trying.

Part Five is called When Night Falls and it seems like a dark shadow falls over the world that she lives in and needs to be lifted. She expands on the way the relationships of the people where she lives; their spouses, the girlfriends and wannabes learn more difficult lessons in life. Throughout it all Crei’s friends should have learned that she is loyal, smart, understanding and always tries to make things come out right. But, sometimes friends like Diamond never learn. The author even shares what happens when relationships among the friends become more intimate and change. You need to read this for yourself to decide how you would feel living there.

Part Six is called Crack of Dawn. In this part there are many different writers, voices and people who are heard. The voice of Crei is heard as she succeeds in getting a well -deserved job in a bank, but is she going to be happy? You decide after reading the story Head of the Class. What happens when a 911 operator for calling yells someone at in an emergency? What happens when a group of workers decide to teach a new employee a lesson and have it backfire on them? What would you do if you got locked in your office and could not get out? Why is Mrs. Murphy so distraught about her money and what do you think she really did with the funds? Why does Mr. Smothers get what he deserves? There are so many lessons learned Part 6 that you will only appreciate them if you read these stories for yourself.

I really loved the one with Mr. Kraup and the doctor in Part 7 called Autumn Again.  That was hysterical. How often do we go to the doctor and are we asked,” Why are you here and why do you need to see me?” What Mr. Kraup does to Dr. Klein is priceless and you have to read to know that sometimes doctors need to be put in their places and remember why they became doctors. From a story about a son feeling he has the right to his mother’s inheritance, to a woman who reaches out to young girls to teach them social graces and give them a better life, author RYCJ has shared with the reader some heartfelt and thought provoking stories of real life and the many truths we need to face.

The last story comes full circle with the issue of relationships among young women who are unmarried and are deciding how to meet the right man. This is just the opposite of Part Four where we learn about the many relationships and pitfalls of the army wives, including Crei.

The author sums it up so perfectly in the epilogue.  When she states that teachers are supposed to reach children in many different ways with lessons that will open their hearts and minds to learning. Working students that are reluctant learners is a real challenge and needs to be addressed not pushed aside. The class of 6249 got it right. Read the book to find out why.

Using the parts of a day as a way of delineating her ideas the author shares the hopes of a young child in early, what happens when she is older in Mid Afternoon, Coming into her own in Midday, Dealing with adult life in Evening, Crack of Dawn which refers to early morning or the early part of their careers and Autumn Again where the world takes on a different look from Spring and Summer and life as the leaves begins to change.

Fran Lewis

Reviewer and author of Memories are Precious and the Bertha Series of Children’s Books and Book Review

The Goring Collection

The Goring Collection by Tom Barnes

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Imagine watching waiting for your parents to return from a trip and they never do. The year is 1941 and the place is Berlin Germany. Jacob Meyers and his sister Natalie stood on a platform at a station in Berlin. They waved goodbye to their parents never to see them again. Only Fritz Heimann a close friend of his parents understood the gravity of the situation and on a train to Rostock explained that they would be joining his family risking his life to do so. Explaining to both young Jacob and his sister Natalie that they needed to call him Papa.

Years later Jacob decided to become involved with the KGB and the Communist Party. Being assigned to a position in America he did not question where he was sent but was disappointed in not joining the Intelligence Service. Becoming assimilated in his work and joining the CIA and going to KGB lectures and other diplomatic functions Jacob developed a lifestyle that his sister Natalie did not approve of or want him to pursue.

Years later Jacob decided to pursue a different career and became part of an organization called the Founders Group which was comprised of patriotic activists and who were loyal to the United States and preserve the Constitution and U.S. Sovereignty. Part of his new career would be to expose politicians that are corrupt and uncover priceless works of art before the originals were intermingled with the fakes and lost forever.

Living with another family as a child hanging in their home was a beautiful Pissarro Painting belonging to his father. When the Nazi’s came and took the painting from his home little did he and his sister think that they would ever see it again. Here is where the action begins.

Hermann Goring, the Nazi’s second in command and an avid art collect turned up on the doorstep of the Goudstikker art gallery in Amsterdam two weeks after the 42 year old art dealer’s death. Goring orchestrated a forced sold the Goudstikker’s inventory in what is now, according to history one of the largest art thefts perpetrated by an individual by the Nazi’s during WW II.  Tom Barnes in this outstanding and mind provoking novel takes us on a journey with the members of his Founder’s Group all over the world to track down not only the lost Pissarro belonging to Jacob Meyers but a drug ring, international art thieves, members of a Cartel that will stop at nothing to thwart his efforts and those the members of his group and solving the murders of a gay political activist, art collector and the rape of one of Jacob’s operatives.

Sam Brannan, Paul Murphy, Sue Grady, Don Bowman, Jacob and many others put their lives in jeopardy to find the killers, the missing Manet and Cezanne, and what happened to his father’s painting.  This well researched novel has the characters searching for the Manet and the Cezanne, which are sold as copies at the Berghoff Gallery in Chicago where an auction attendee was killed.

What does a U.S. Senator have against odds maker Eddie Barr? Why does he want to see him jailed for crimes he never committed? Who will try to set things right for Eddie and protect him from what this Senator has planned for him? What does Eddie really have that he wants?  What other U.S. Senator is just as corrupt and is dealing in the theft of million dollar paintings?

What was the real reason these people were killed and what was the motivation behind this dangerous Cartel’s eagerness to eliminate them, you will have to find out for yourself. Family histories all gone due to the Nazi’s and their raids on homes during the War?

The ending will keep you on the edge of your seat and you will never see it coming. Will Jacob recover his father’s painting or has it been sold? Will the Founder’s Group find any paintings matching the ones that were stolen by the Nazis and will they find the originals or just forgeries? Read this novel filled with twists and turns and find out for yourself.

Paintings stolen by the Nazi’s. Thousands of art collections stolen during WW II some surfacing after the war with many families hoping to find their lost paintings and more. Which galleries were selling forgeries? How did they get away with it? Were any of these paintings or any part of the Goring Collection ever recovered? Feel the energy and go along on the ride of your life as the members of this great group with the aid of Interpol agents, reporters and art experts try and take down this Cartel find the originals before it is too late.

Hermann Goring was in charge of looting and hiding thousands of museum paintings. These paintings were the work of some of the most famous artists in Europe. Some of their work became more valuable during proceeding decades. These paintings that this man had stolen became known as the Goring Collection. Hundreds of these paintings have still not been found or returned to their rightful owners.

I give this book Five Priceless Original Renoirs and Monets and to the author I give Five Gold Stars for writing this great novel.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and author of Memories are Precious

Author of the Bertha Series of Books

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional by Philip Yaffe

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional

Author Philip Yaffe

Part Two: Oral Presentation

Getting readers and listeners a reason to hear your words and read them is your primary goal. Organizing your information in order to generate either the interest of your readers or listeners requires skill, the proper techniques and a lot of work. Whether you are writing a novel, a speech, new article or presenting your dissertation or any type of presentation your information must be clear, concise and incorporate the two elements of density- precise information and logically linked. These are the elements that are the same.

Remember that no one wants to read what you have written. This is the writer’s attitude and your goal is to assume that the reader’s interest when presenting information that instructs or informs is not as great as when reading a novel, short story or a play. No one wants to hear what you have to say when presenting the same type of expository information. Listeners come to hear a speaker and want to learn from that person and will be attentive at first. The fundamentals of writing also apply to speaking. You need to emphasize the key elements and deemphasize what is less relevant. Eliminating what is of no importance takes practice and skill. Being concise is vital in both writing and speaking. Giving an oral presentation you need to remember that you have a limited amount of time to grab your listener’s attention, keep them focused, and present in a clear and concise manner. Remember: Never eliminate anything of key importance and reduce things of less importance. Keep your speech or writing as short as possible making your writing or presentation: Clear, Concise and to the point.

A great speaker will have a lot of enthusiasm when presenting. Listeners will not respond to you if you show no emotion or strong feelings for your subject or what you are presenting. You need to gain the confidence of the listeners, and present your information in a precise manner in order to control the minds of your audience.

Readers can reread and digest the information and come back to it and formulate their views. Listeners get a one time shot at hearing what you are saying and if not interested will tune you out and lose interest.

Having presented many times in front different audiences I understand how group of people might not stay focused on what you are saying. After reading the various tips before my radio show yesterday I was able to refine my opening and closing and create a format that was concise, precise and logically linked. Read pages 88-94 to learn how to get the listener’s attention and use effective body language. I have never used slides or visual aids when presenting information about my books or at a book signing. However, the author does explain how to use slides and other visual aides effectively.

When giving a speech it is possible to lose you train of thought or possibly state your information using an incorrect word or phrase. I find that if I practice my speeches or presentation in front of a mirror, or even taping it I can see if the information is clear, concise and logically linked before I face an audience. If I don’t understand or want to hear what I am saying, no one will want to listen. Pausing in the right spots and at the right time is not easy. Do not as many people do use the words: A, Um or You know. If you pause and are looking critically for the right word or words you appear smart, intelligent and precise. When reading an excerpt from one of my books to children at my book signings, I often pause for dramatic effect to help their interest and not give away the plot. Pausing also allows you audience a chance to keep up with you and absorb what are saying.

I do agree with the author that begins dependent on notes will detract from your presentation. I rarely use notes but might have key points on an index card to help me stay focused. I often present with nothing in my hands and just to engage the audience without the use of visual aides, slides or papers in my hands. But, having the cards does help. A strong point made by the author is that listeners lose interest and giving periodic summaries at the right time during your presentation will help refocus them on your key points. Memorize your introduction and your conclusion. Know what you are going to say. Your conclusion should include a brief summary of your presentation and convey a single idea that you want your listeners to remember.

There are many appendices at the end of this book, which summarize and focus on each of the elements of both expository writing and professional speaking. The author provides an opportunity for the reader to have hands on experiences using the techniques and tips he presented in his book.  I am working on my fourth children’s book. Reading Appendix D, how to excite reader interest is one that I am working on. Doing the exercises understanding how to better present my story and information in my second Alzheimer’s book will help me reduce what is not important and keep what is relevant. Appendix C and Appendix D that focus on the 5 W’s, followed by the one area I know that I really need help with Appendix E using the right tense when writing. I intend to read all of the appendices and do all of the exercises as I think everyone who wants to become a better public speaker, writer, journalist, secretary or presenter should do.

I really loved this book and although it might not a traditional plot including some interesting characters, I found that it grabbed my attention with its own special plot of how to write in a clear, concise and precise manner and understanding how to present in front of an audience. I am going to use the tip and techniques as a guide when I do my next radio show in April.

Where was this great book when I was in college taking English and writing term papers. I am definitely going to use this book as a guide and resource when writing my book reviews and next children’s book to help me write a better review that is precise, clear and as long as necessary and short at possible.

Thank you for giving me the honor of reading and commenting on this great book.

Fran Lewis

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional Part One

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional

Comments by Fran Lewis

Author: Philip Yaffe

This book engaged my interest from the first page. Although it might not be a novel with characters, plot, scenes and dialogue it will help you learn how to create those scenes, write your news or magazine article and come straight to the point. Most important, it will teach you how to get readers and listeners when giving a speech to want to read or listen to what you have written or saying.

In Part one of the Book the Fundamentals of Writing the author defines both creative and expository writing. Creative writing entertains or amuses the reader. Expository writing instructs or informs. Both have their own mindsets, similarities and differences.

When you think about writing a short story or a novel, which are considered forms of creative writing you writing attitude is on that everyone will want to read what you are writing. The opposite is true in expository writing. The attitude is no one wants to read what I am writing. Your goal is to organize that information you are writing to generate the reader’s interest. How do you do this in both forms of writing? First, I learned that you text must have clarity. It has to be understood, simple and clear. Sounds easy but it takes skill, understanding and reading more of his amazing tips and techniques understand what this means.

How can a writer achieve clarity?

  1. Emphasize what is of key importance
  2. Deemphasize what is of secondary importance
  3. Eliminate what is of no importance.

This is one of the most difficult things I find when writing my reviews. I understand why I need be more concise and come straight to the point without any extraneous information to cloud the review and bore the reader. Make your piece as long a necessary and as short as possible. The point made is that everyone should be in there in the text that you want to have read. Conciseness means saying what needs to be said in the minimum number of words. I definitely agree with this statement and will try hard not to be too verbose in when making my comments.

One word that I have never heard used in writing is density. Density means presenting precise information and logically linking it so that what you are writing is organized for the reader to understand. Precise information allows you to direct the reader’s mind where you want it to go. You want the reader to understand what you think. Precise writing helps to ensure that the discussion will be about the information and conclusions that can be drawn.

Logical linking is something that I am just learning to do when writing my non-fiction books.  The data your article, book or story needs to be organized to create information for the reader to comprehend. The information has to have relevance, if it does not leave it out. It must avoid misconceptions and make sure that the logical link is clear.

The author explains how to build your text one sentence at a time. But, the most valuable tip that I learned was the inverted pyramid which I found quite helpful and caused me to go back and reread my second Alzheimer’s book to make sure that I followed the author’s tips for how to delineate the sections. Using this pyramid you start by creating your lead. Using the five W’s will help you to create your lead, your body and the information needed to construct the body of your work.

When you write your lead use the 5W’s as guideline and after writing your short lead answer all of the questions that are applicable. You are writing for people that might not have time to read an entire text. Make your message clear, sharp giving a vivid picture of what you are writing about.

Constructing the body: this is the hardest part I find when writing. You want to get the point across and using this pyramid you do that in descending order. The information after the lead becomes less and less important. Using the 5 W’s as a guide you can be more precise and clear. In other words the body of your work has detailed information in declining order of importance.

The fog factor, the sentence length and the tips on pages 61-72 helped me to reorganize what I had written. Learning the correct way to use bullet points and numbered lists and using the correct tense in my writing helped me to realize that I cannot write in every tense when creating my children’s or non-fiction books. The final part of Fundamentals in writing, which honed in on writing tips and techniques in English is really to all writers.

Charles Toftoy’s review of Memories are Precious by Fran Lewis

Why is it that people shy away from those that are ill? Do you really think that you can catch this illness? What you did catch is not the illness it is fear! The fear of getting older and this happening to you.The fear of having to deal with this disease and you are too afraid that when you look at me you might be seeng yourself in the future. MY NAME IS RUTH SWERDLOFF:AND I AM HERE!”

This is one of many comments made by Ruth throughout the book, Memories are Precious, written by her faithful daughter, Fran Lewis. This is an important book that everyone should read. It is down-to-earth with intimate insights which provide the reader with help and care. Also, it makes us aware that there is a need for a cure for Altzheimer’s. Lewis writes, “MOM! We will never stop fighting for you and never give up on a cure!”

It is interesting to read the words straight from Ruth which covers how her life changed beginning in July, 2003. The 162 page book includes pictures of family members and friends. Many of them have written about the good times they had with Ruth before Altzheimer’s set in.For example, her great-granddaughter, Carly Tappan, wrote: “…I love you Grandma Ruth. You are the best grandmother in the whole world…”

There are several poems about Altzheimer’s. Fran Lewis engages us with two wonderful poems that she wrote,”Because I Am Right: Because Her Words Are Few”, and “Before It Is Too Late.” A letter written by Fran Lewis to her mom covers the topic of “Why Me?”

I was drawn into this book as though I was a family member—living the journey with Ruth and her close supporters.

The book is an excellent source of information for care-givers and about the disease itself. Lewis provides key information on: power of attorney, papers and documents needed, possible expenses, meeting financial responsibilities, determining whether your loved one should continue driving, special tips for care-givers, types of care, stages of Altzheimer’s, qustions to ask your doctor, and ten signs of Altzheimer’s disease.

It was a privilege to review Memories Are Precious. It is different from many other books on the Altzheimer disease. It’s different because Fran Lewis opens up her heart to us and explains the Altzheimer journey of her mom in a realistic, earthy way.

Reviewed by Charles Toftoy author of It’s in the Eyes are great must read thriller.

The Eye of An Eagle

The Eye of An Eagle

Author: Stan Allotey

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

How would you define success? Is it how much money you have and are able to spend? Is it the number and make of the most expensive cars that you could possibly own? Do you define success in knowing that you could buy designer clothing and spend money as if there was no tomorrow and debt is a word that you never considered? The road to true success is hard. In order to appreciate it you might have to bear many disappointments, overcome huge hurdles and deal with many setbacks before achieving your primary goal.

Stan Allotey in The Eye of An Eagle, a very inspiriting and thought provoking novel, brings to light many issues that people faced in the past and are still facing today.

Nii Ankara, an African student barely escapes with this life as he is caught in the middle of a Ghanaian Coup that erupts when the military decided to overthrow the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in 1966 leaving Ghana in total chaos without the proper leadership and more. Before leaving he made a promise to the man who risked it all for him, his friend Osei that he would come back and help the bring freedom to the people of Ghana.

Winding up in California and meeting some amazing young men, Nii learns t not only the value of hard work and getting an education but the true meaning of friendship and loyalty. But, he learns many other lessons as well. Throughout this novel the author reminds the reader of the rich heritage and contributions of many Black People, the civil rights movement, the deaths and assassinations of many of our leaders and much more. Through the eyes of Nii, the reader learns about the many court decisions, movements in history and hardships that African Americans had to endure in the past and what they still need to have their voices made more powerful and heard in the future.

Nii’s way of life and culture is much different than ours. Becoming assimilated in the ways of the people in his new community, he learns the true meaning of hardship, defeat and prejudice. Stan Allotey reminds the reader of the many invaluable contributions to science, technology, medicine and education made by Black Americans. Nii embraces his newfound knowledge and learns about Rosa Parks who stood up for the right to sit where she wanted in a public bus. The deaths of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy made a strong impact on him. Our author reminds everyone of how far we have come and reminds us that we are not there yet. With countries around the world that have insurgents going against the rights of the people in their country, when civil unrest is still a thing of the present in many places, we need to be reminded of how lucky were are here in America and how we still need to help those who have do not have the same freedoms were have been afforded.

As Nii becomes more immersed in our culture and life, through his eyes the author takes us and Nii back in time to learn about the heritage of his people in order to help him understand where he came from and hopefully provide him with the tools and knowledge to understand where he needs to go to fulfill his promise to his friend.

Nii, is a bright young man with a great future ahead of him.  Wanting to fit in and wanting companionship, he falls prey to the wiles of a young woman named Barbara Jackson. His marriage to her would be the beginning of his downfall and the end of his career and his life, as he knew which lands him on Skid Row the lowest a place a man of his intelligence and stature should never have wound up. But, on Skid Row he learns valuable lessons and the means to survive in a world in which he feels alienated and alone.

What does causes him to rise up and develop a new perspective on life? What causes him to return to school, handle the courses, deal with the costs and become independent, you will have to read for yourself in order to understand the determination of this young man.

Throughout the novel the author explains the major differences of the two groups of people within the Ghanaian community. But, these two groups are not any different than those in most communities where one group feels their net worth or their social status is based on their material things or material wealth. The other group called the Progressives, never wastes their money on high-end items and expensive material things. Theyiput their energies into their businesses and their education. You decide which one would define your goals and your status. You decide which type of life would bring you success and then read what does happen to many of Nii’s friends and to Nii as a result of the greed of others and the lack of understanding as to what is really important in life.

When Nii does return to Compton College and receives his degree, he finally attains a position of status. From that point on the road would not be easy but he would never take that same downward spiral again.  Focusing on his tasks, remembering what he learned from each of his failures and the reasons that cost him many of his jobs, he developed a keen sense and strong instincts that would help him survive in a world where it is not so much what you know, but who!

The many changes in his community, in his college and in his life will help you to understand why this young man would not give up until he would fulfill the dream of Dr.Kwame Nkrumah the first President of Ghana and help the people of Ghana get their independence and create the United States of African. This was Dr. Nkrumah’s goal. This goal has yet to be realized.

Well-written, informative, drawn from many parts of the author’s life, Stan Allotey takes the reader on a journey that has many more chapters and many unsolved answers. But, one question does stand out and remains unanswered until today: When will people learn that everyone in the world should be afforded the same rights, liberties, education and privileges, jobs in every arena in life and more? Putting a lot of himself into this book Olympic Gold Medalist Stan Allotey gets the another Gold Medal for writing this inspiring true to life novel.

Keeping a promise to a friend is more precious and sacred than all of the money, power and wealth in the world. Nii vowed to help bring change to his people and go back to Ghana to set them free. How would he do this? What major changes in his life does he make? Where does he get help and whose help does he enlist? Is he successful or does he have more hurdles to overcome? Read this novel and see if Nii is true to his word.

One man’s journey, one man’s vision, one man who truly has the Eye of An Eagle to see things clearly. This novel will renew your faith in loyalty, friendship, hope, determination and more. Never give up on yourself: Nii Didn’t. Let the voices of these people be heard and hopefully the dream for freedom and independence will be a reality for all countries throughout the world.

I am honored to have been asked to review this novel and I hope the author will grant me the privilege of reviewing more of his work.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Author of Memories are Precious and the Bertha Series of Books