Weight of Light reviewed by fran lewis

Weight of Light

Author: Sandria Rodriguez

Why were some born slaves and others free? Why were some treated as cattle and animals and others adorned with the finest things in life? Why did the color of your skin or your race and creed make a difference in what liberties you were afforded or not afforded? Just why was the world so prejudice against those born with a different color skin other than white? Why were some treated better than others? Why were people allowed to buy and sell children, adults and horses at the same time? Why did we allow slavery to exist?

This is the story of three courageous women. Three different stories yet in many ways the same. Each undergoing abuse, hardship and mistreatment at the hand of others without any remorse for their actions. This is the story of Emma, Justice and Bess. Hear their voices, read their words and understand their lives. Three women whose lives intertwined and how you will learn and why you will understand. Each one wanting one thing: FREEDOM!

Born to a slave mother, Emma started life on the wrong side of happiness. As she grew up she worked for the man’s wife who had bought her mother in a card game. Fortunately, for Emma, Mrs. Tucker was a kind and wonderful person who taught her much about life. Tom Tucker was a lazy, slob. Mean, ill tempered and only concerned with his own needs and not those of others.

Breeding horses and dogs that come from a superior stock is not unheard of or wrong. When both parties, who own the horses agree or the dogs that is one thing but to do the same thing and concept to breed human slaves that would be of a stronger stock and able to work the land, fields and do household chores, is deplorable, yet done. Emma was a strong young girl and Tom Tucker decided to take advantage of her innocence one night. Thinking his wife was tucked away he approached Emma and the end result was quite painful- Tom.  But, Emma is no one to be trifled with and early on you find out that she and Mrs. Tucker know how to take matters in hand when Tom finds himself not exactly in a position to bargain as Emma takes action and Mrs. Tucker finishes the job. Needing her own brand of surgery to remove the needled stuck in his rump, and ignoring his loud screams, Emma and Mrs. Tucker exile this man to a small room.

Emma grew to care for Mrs. Tucker and had Tom’s baby boy. But, Tom was only concerned about the end result, which was money and himself. So, when Mrs. Tucker died, he sold both her child and Emma and made out quite well. Never realizing that his wife, had made a deal with the bank President and the end result would send him reeling. But, the loser was Emma and Sammy her child not anyone else. As her new master informed her as long as she could breed healthy children she would keep her son, named Sammy the Runt. The minute she could not she would lose more than just him. Giving birth to several children and having them sold to other masters was painful for Emma. But, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when her master took her son and daughter away from her and she knew it was time to rebel. And she did! Emma escaped with her youngest daughter only to find herself not able to take her with her on the entire journey. Leaving her with slaves that she met on the way, she hoped things would be better for her child and that she would finally be free.

As Emma finally experiences the taste of freedom, meets Silas along the way a slave that saves her and protects her, life finally begins for her. Reynolds’s Sutton, his master takes her in, protects her and when things come to a head and the sheriff tracks her down what happens will surprise the reader, create hope for Emma’s future and let you know that all slave owners are not the same. As Emma’s life takes on a positive light, she learns from Silas’s granny how to care for the sick; use herbs and other methods to bring them back to health and saves one family from death. As they leave she prays for their safety, their survival and you hear her inner most thoughts as she looks to the Lord for answers and for guidance.

As the years progress she finally realizes and hopes for another child to raise. Her freedom and Silas’s bought and given and their life together finally starting was two free black people. “I am a person, aren’t I,” she states. You are the beacon for the black slaves, the inspiration for everyone to keep the faith. She is smart, aware of who she is and what she wants, filled with courage and definitely brave as she gives all that she has to help others. This is where her story breaks and we need Justice and her father Elijah. How these two women and their lives intertwine remains to be seen.

Justice when we meet her is 12 years old and living with her father who seems unwilling to give life a chance since losing his wife Hannah three years before. Under his wing and not allowed to really enjoy the flowers and beauty in life, Justice spends her days working in the fields and just existing. Even two young girls fighting over Elijah does not impress him and the community who came to his aid has given up on him. But, the one who suffered at his hand the most was Justice. Trusting a stranger proved harmful to Justice when one young man took advantage of her innocence and kind ways resulting in her becoming pregnant. When her father realized the reason for the bulge in her stomach his reaction was anything but rationale as the end result was catastrophic for Justice leading her to Emma’s home to be cared for and tended to with the help of her son Mint who immediately took to Justice. Justice flourished under Emma’s guidance and learned much about life, people, sewing, cooking and much more. She learned the meaning of love and understanding and grew to care for not only Emma but Mint too.

Next, we meet Bess whose life was almost snuffed out before it began. When her parents could not hold her underwater and take away her chance to live, instead they gave her away. Justice and Mint took in Bess and here is where her story begins. Given away by her parents because of her heritage and being part Indian and part Black, Bess started life without the love and nurturing every child deserves and needs. At four her mother, Mary, gave her to Mint and Justice to raise. Bess took to Mint in a heartbeat and never accepted Justice no matter how hard she tried and how hard she tried to push aside her prejudices against this child, they never really became mother and daughter. As Bess grew and become more outspoken and headstrong, she left home, married a man named Tommy and returned to her parent’s home with one child and another on the way. But, Tommy proved to be abusive, cruel in his words and often beat Bess. With so many children to feed and needing a roof over their heads, she had no choice but to deal with his wandering ways and drunken stupors. But, no one should take what she did. No one should allow anyone to treat him or her as if they were their slaves as he did. As the years grew long and both Mint and Justice passed, you could hear their voices coming through loud and clear, as they talked about their life together, the way they felt about each other and how they both were so blessed to have each other. As Justice states so loud and clear to Mint: “ Everything about you speak to my heart.” Never abusive always kind and caring from the start why did her family and their children settle for anything less.

As Bess and Tommy’s family grew her love for him disappeared. Meeting Mrs. Mabel Haskins would change a lot for her and her family and the ending of her journey will tie it all together for the reader. Six children, one dying due to an accident, one man who stole, lied and cheated her out of her youth, her life and happiness, Bess’s legacy will be told and received and passed on to those she loved in a very special way.

Freedom is not always what you think. Bess and Justice were not born as slaves but were they really ever free. Bess tied to Tommy treated as if she was his own personal property even though he had not paid for her or bought her from a slave owner. His children, what would become of them? Would they follow in his footsteps? Would his daughters do better? Three women all bound together. Emma, Justice’s guiding light, mother –in- law, inspiration and friend. Justice, trying to care for Bess even though she never would accept her. Bess, just wanting to do right for her kids and having to try and find her own way in this world that was right for her. Freedom: Truth is Light! Love Is Ligtht. The Weight of Light: Freedom is everyone’s right: the way we each perceive and get it sometimes harder and a bigger burden than we think. Freedom is the Light. Told with such passion, feeling that you experience the events along with the characters, the author brings back a time that many have forgotten as slavery really happened, prejudice still needs to be eliminated and freedom is everyone’s right. Working wherever you want should not be contingent on the color of your skin.

One novel that brings to light the wrongs done to black people, the prejudices of so many and the unfair and cruelty that many women put up with at the hand of their men. Not just black men, but white men were no better. Abuse is wrong. Cruelty is wrong. Children are special and need to be cherished. What one mother did to free herself of the heavy burden of caring for her child comes full circle at the end of this thought provoking, outstanding and very important novel that I feel everyone needs to read.

Emma, Justice and Bess: You are the Light !

Fran Lewis: Reviewer


A Day We Must Never Forget

Title: The Watchman Of Ephraim

Author: Gerard

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Ash, cinders, smoke and fog filled the air, blinded the vision and burned the hands, faces and bodies of many as the two planes minutes apart crashed into the Twin Towers forever changing the skyline of our magnificent city and leaving in its wake a carnage that would forever be embedded in the mind, hearts and soul of every American. Air permeating with a foul and burnt smell that would remain as a lingering perfume that would haunt those that live near what is now names ground zero forever, one man, Kris DeNiro, shares his story with everyone as he remembers that fateful morning when all he wanted to do was present his precious wife, Lisa with some magnificent roses, take her to breakfast and savor the life he so proudly loved not knowing seconds later it would all end. 8:46 A.M. on September 11, 2001 would be the time that no one would ever forget. Walking into the North Tower, carrying these magnificent roses, Cris witnesses a sight that he would never forget, a pain that seared through his entire body and a loss that would never be replaced. As he walked to the elevators only to be shot back, burned, pushed and thrown into a heap on the street. Clothes on fire, body burned and trying to make sense of what happened, he manages to help a woman in distress, answers his cell phone only to hear his wife’s plea for help hoping it was not too late. As the author allows the reader to hear Lisa’s voice, her final words and experience the pain and agony of one man, who goes back into the building only to be forced to turn back. As he walked up the steps and made it to the 30th floor one firemen who would become a lifelong friend, ushers him back outside. Explaining that his sons needed him and that there was nothing they could do to save those on the 104th floor where his was trapped, Cris made his way back down, left the towers and had to find a way back into the world that would never be the same and deal with a pain, or permanent throb that would always be a reminder of that horrific day.

Moving to Las Vegas, millionaire, Cris DeNiro started over again along with Lisa’s brother and his best friend Ricci. Starting their own business they would soon become involved in missions so dangerous and grave putting them in danger yet, hopefully saving the world from another September 11th. Working his way to the top of the hedge fund world, he becomes the owner of his own counter terrorism agency. As De Niro reads from the Bible, he finds a passage titled the “Watchman of Ephraim,’ a defender who watched and defended his land. Buying into this counter terrorism agency he decides to form sculpt, form and create one that would mirror the original of the Watchman for the United States.

Cris DeNiro sent his brother-in-law to begin work as President of the new counter terrorism agency The Watchman Agency formerly Liberty Defense Contractors. Upon entering the office he encounters a pompous man named Les Pastek acting as President and another Charley Santappai, Director of Operations. But, that changes in as heartbeat as Ricci enlightens everyone and explains to Pastek his new role or fate.

At a gathering at his home in Las Vegas close friend and firefighter, Keith Tompkins asks Cris for a favor. Prominent in the news is the building of a mosque at Ground Zero that many; especially the family of the victims and Cris are opposed to. Enlisting his help to find out more about who is behind it and hoping he can some how buy the property of stop the construction of it, causes Cris, unknowingly to come front and center with the man that would eventually try and bring down a lot more than the Twin Towers. Hiding behind his true agenda, and pretending to want to know his views on the mosque being built there, Cris discuss his viewpoint as this man puts his people on alert and wants to find out more about our billionaire mogul.

The ten-year anniversary is coming up. A sober reminder of the horror of that day. What could be next? Are we ever going to be safe? As DeNIro viewed the site-remembered the day, you hear his voice, echo his words on the page as he reminds us of how many were buried alive there in what many of us call a true burial ground and building anything there would desecrate the memory of those lost and much more.

As he reflects and is approached by one man who questions his feelings about this mosque not realizing that he could soon be more than the downfall of our country. Victims reduced to ash on contact, soot, dust and cinder how could anyone in due conscience think to build on such sacred ground. But, the man, Aref Zamani masks his thoughts and marks his words. Alert! Red! Flash! Zamani- sends his men to investigate Cris. Would he realize the danger before it is too late?

As the true or prime focus of this company is brought to light we learn the history involved and behind the name Watchman and the reason why he formed this company. Purpose: Never let your guard down. Protect your country. Since our government had no warning nor did the American people- We were caught off guard that day- not forewarned by our intelligence organizations and the end result we all know.

As the new team and heads get to work and form their teams and choose their respective staffs, Cris informs Mugsy, Charlie and Johnny F the new head of intelligence and security of the real reason behind the agency and the Black Ops unit he needs to form and keep under the radar of everyone. ArchAngel: Never again will he allow what happened to his wife Lisa happen again. Just what this group will do and who will run it and how many men will be involved that remains to be seen.

Intel information alerts Cris about an operation in Mexican dealing with a dangerous drug cartel. Sending two men to investigate and find out more information should have been no problem. But, there’s a plant or traitor working within their walls whose feeding Zamani information and the end result proves fatal when they come face to face with their killers. Through the information found in their new Big Brother computer network they learned about a 25 million dollar cash flow related to a Mexican operation. Knowledge needed: Is this money funding the building of the mosque or something else? Frustrated whey they do not hear from the agents, what they learn will leave permanent chills down your spine after you read the events so expertly described by this outstanding author. What really ads to the plot is the author allows the reader to hear the inner thoughts, conflicts and emotions of each character when he/she expresses doubt, fear or conflict.

Truth be told and the traitor uncovered what happens next will alert this person of impending danger when teaming up with the wrong side. But, although injured and hurt what happens next creates fear in the minds of the terrorist forcing them to take stronger action and hopefully revenge on the one man he is really after: DeNiro.

DeNiro’s team finds out more than these people realize and the race to see which side will succeed is definitely on and the starting gun has already been fired.

As Charley and the crew of the Santana go on a recovery mission and hopefully bring back the two agents, they face other adversaries before the truth about what really happened to the men is revealed. The end result will cause your heart to race, ignite your energy and create a definite rise in your anxiety level as you cannot put the book down, rush to turn each page and wait for the explosive ending.

Thinking he can bring down DeNiro hacking into his network, Zamani is toying with the wrong man and just might be out of his league. The Watchmen are smart, clever and crafty and definitely not to be under estimated and Americans: never underestimate us either!

Each member on high Orange Alert at all times using methods not often conventional, you come to route for their success and with they were not just part of the author’s imagination in this first rate thriller.

Underlying this plot is one between Cris and Moriah that is not fully developed but hopefully will unfold in the future. Each losing a spouse on September 11, 2001, their feelings even after ten years raw, and the memories fixed in their minds, they are not ready to fill that empty void. Will they in the future remains to be seen as the main even has not been unfolded. Meeting her at a July 4th gathering the author allows the reader to her thoughts feels and entertains her doubts about meeting his billionaire and his two sons. Will something happen between them? That remains to be seen.

The truth behind Zamani’s miss is revealed and the players are all in place- bomb is set to explode and the martyrs thinking they will succeed. A bomb is supposed to explode over Las Vegas is the goal? Can he be stopped? Wait and see! What they have planned is so far creative that no one will expect it. Invade DeNiro’s ranch- capture or interrogate him but first they have plans for his kids, staff and more- horrific, deadly-bone-chilling to say the least.

As the phones go dead, computers compromised, leaks revealed- what happens next you will not believe as the enemy finds it way to close to its targets.  Battle lines drawn- on site combat- families in danger. DeNiro needs to work fast as ArchAngel and Shadow Wolves team up to fight for their lives when the enemy comes knocking at their front door.

But, just who would deliver this package and where will it land? One twist, turn and surprise that I cannot reveal: You can place your bets on the roulette wheel as to who comes out the winner: Red the Enemy or Black DeNiro!

Just what happens you will not expect and will surprise the reader. One-man fights not only for his family, county and the memory of his wife Lisa, but those who gave theirs on 9/11 and those who lost theirs fighting this war you have to read for yourself.  Who wins and who loses? Just how many lives are sacrificed and what is next for the team of the Watchman- only the author Gerard demerging knows that for sure. Let’s hope he brings Cris, Brian, Johnny F, Michelle and the rest back again in a sequel to this great thriller. This book is a sober reminder that we must never let our guard down, we must fight for our country and we must remember those who gave their lives that horrific day. Tuesday: September 11, 2001: Never Again!

I dedicate this review to all those who lost their lives that day and to the author’s friend Daniel and to Janine Gonzales my student who died in the first tower.

A book so well written and filled with suspense it kept me on the edge of me seat and I read it in one day.

Thank you for giving me the honor or reviewing your book.

Fran Lewis

Interview with Author Brent Davis


I would like to welcome author Brent Davis and thank him for agreeing to interview it me this week. Brent is the author of As I See it: Memories and Musing of a Middle Aged Southern Man. These are true stories that will make you laugh, smile and remind you of a period in time that everyone really enjoyed: As a baby boomer Brent gives the reader his own perspective of the 60’s and 70’s and his outlook on life and how it was shaped by his family, church ad his peers. Join in the discussion. Comment in the comment box at the end of this interview and ask the author some questions. Listen to my in-depth interview with this outstanding new author on April 20th on my show Book discussion with Fran Lewis at 3 Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.



Fran: In writing this book how did you determine which stories to include?



Brent:  Hi Fran and thanks for having me. By the time I was putting the book together, I had been writing for my local paper for nearly two years. So, I went back through nearly 100 columns and picked 60 or so. I tried to include a mix of local interest columns with those that were more widely adapted to being a baby boomer. Also, I tried to include those columns on which I had received the most feedback. Then there were my particular favorites as well.



Fran: Why did you begin with Father’s Day and complete the book with your Dad’s funeral and weather test?


Brent:  My first column ran the Friday before Father’s Day.  My father had passed away the previous September 2007.  He didn’t live to see me begin writing and it felt like the proper subject at the time.  He was a major influence in my life.  When selecting the column to end the book, it was a no-brainer. I felt the story of how he was when i was a child at the beginning of the book was the perfect set up for the story of his funeral at the end.



Fran: Who sent you the poem for the holidays that your father wrote? Just how special and touched did you feel or do you feel when reading it?


Brent:  I had lost my job at the end of May 2007.  My father was going through the final rounds of chemotherapy at the time. I had become good friends with many of the staff at my former place of employment. About three months after my father passed away, I received a letter in the mail from one of those coworkers. The envelope was plain and inside was a poem about Christmas. It was from the perspective of a parent who had passed away. It spoke of not being sad and enjoying the holiday because the loved one would be “spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.”  On the day the poem arrived, i had spent the morning watching over the placement of my father’s headstone at the cemetery. Seeing it there made it all seem so final. I drove home, pulled up the mailbox and took out the mail. I stopped halfway down the driveway because I was curious about the envelope. I opened it and read the poem to myself. No one else was home. I still had not found a job. The words felt as if my father was speaking directly to me and I cried…and cried and cried. A simple poem on a single sheet of paper. But it was more powerful than anything I had experienced before. I had been the strong one during this time and now it was my turn, at a time I could handle it, to grieve.  I will never forget that moment.


Fran: Tell everyone what Laurisms are? If found that hysterical: Why did you include them?


Brent:  Lauraisms are little quirky words or blunders made by my incredibly supportive and patient wife Laura comes up with. She creates words by accident by mixing two related words together. For example: Once when we were manning the concession stand at an event, the question was asked about how we could let people know that hamburgers were being taken off the grill and ready to be eaten. Her response was  to announce it on the “over-com”, a blending of “over head” and “intercom.” These Lauraisms are funny in and of themselves but what makes them especially endearing to me is the fact that Laura laughs along with us.  She is such a good sport, even though she knows that at one time or another, all new Lauraisms will make their way into my column. The material is too good to pass up!



Fran: The story about the grilling reminded me about my rotten experiences cooking. Have you grilled again and what did you learn from this experience?


Brent: Not for several years later!  In fact, I never used that grill again. The thing I learned from the experience is either to have a list of things to do before lighting up the grill…or make sure your wife isn’t watching.

Fran: When you shared the story about Aunt Joan and mothers yelling out of the window: What happened if the voice was ignored? Did you mother yell too?


Brent:  Well, in the first place, Aunt Joan’s voice could not be ignored. Neighbors would step out onto the porch to find out what all the dogs were barking at and all the horses were running around in the pasture for. My mother didn’t have to yell for us as much simply because our house was where all the other kids would go to play. All mom needed to do was to flicker the outside light when it got too dark for us to play outside. That was our “time for a bath” signal.


Fran: Growing up where you did; Did you ever feel that you wanted to move to a bigger city? Why or why not?


Brent: Never. I didn’t know there were cities that were bigger. For me, cities are about people and not square miles. I just figured that anywhere I went, people were all the same.  Plus, even though I grew up in a town with a population at the time of about 15,000, my grandmother lived in a town of 108 people. We WERE the big city. My cousins from the small town all considered me to be a city boy.  I love small towns and won’t live anywhere else.


Fran: Tell everyone about Crank’s IGA Foodliner and why being a delivery guy was important?


Brent: Crank’s IGA Foodliner was the typical small neighborhood grocery store that was prevalent at the time. Each store was independently owned by local people. Crank’s was located on the not so prosperous side of the city and about 50 yards from the railroad track. Since our town didn’t have fast food places, working in a store was just about the only form of work a teenager could do. Crank’s was about one block from my house and directly across the street from my paternal grandmother’s house. A teenager in the store could do one or all of three different tasks: bag customer’s groceries and carry them out to their car; stock the shelves; or deliver groceries. This also happened to be the progression of trust placed upon you from the boss. Both times I delivered groceries were memorable experiences. The people I met and the lessons I learned working in that store during high school will be with me forever.


Fran: What was your reaction to being called Sir the first time?



Brent: I had been called Sir many times but it really didn’t mean much to me because generally it was being said by a person close to my own age. However, once when I was interviewing with an employment agency, a young lady across from me was asking employment questions and it was at that very moment I realized that my fate was in the hands of someone almost young enough to be my own daughter. It was like I had been hit with a 2 x 4. Being called Sir hasn’t felt right since then.  I may be 53 now but i don’t feel like it.


Fran: What are the five things you remember the most about the 60’s and 70’s that really stand out? Why?


Brent: Tang: every boy wanted to be an astronaut back then. We had seen men land on and walk upon the moon. The closest we mere mortal youngsters could do was to buy astronaut suits, drink Tang and eat Space Food Sticks.

Television Remote Control: prior to the invention of remote controls for television, I was the remote control in our house. It was my job to turn the dial to one of the four stations we could receive through our antennae (one station really didn’t count because it was PBS) and to turn the volume knob until told when to stop. When remote controls came along, I actually got to watch a show for a change

JFK Assassination: It was a day that everything stopped. It was quiet everywhere. No cars. Nothing. Watching the funeral procession and seeing John Jr salute and the sight of a horse with no rider and boots turned backward in the stirrups gave me the chills.

Hot Wheels: When Hot Wheels cars came out, everything changed. It was like living all your life with a Model T and then trading up to a Cadillac!  Those plastic orange race tracks were all over my room. I even had the Hot Wheel carrying case. It was a gift from the girl who broke my hand.


The Beatles: You can’t have the 60’s without the Beatles. I still listen to their music. It changed everything. I find it incredible to think about how a bunch of young kids touched so many lives around the world and for so long.

What happens when you put a Q tip in your ear? What did you learn about not doing this again?



Brent: When you put a Q tip in your ear, you end up at the Emergency Room. Mostly I learned that I’m a terrible patient and that even though it will fit in your ear, it doesn’t mean it should!


Fran: What is so great about TV themes?


What is your favorite television theme? What show would you love to see brought back today and why?


Brent:  TV theme music is what set the mood for what was to come. If you weren’t in the room, you could hear them and come running: just like when your mom called you from the back porch. There are so many good themes. One of my favorite was from the cartoon “Johnny Quest” It got me all pumped up to watch the show. Very action oriented. Also, you can’t forget “Mission: Impossible” or “Hawaii 5-0” or “The Beverly Hillbillies” but I’d have to say one of my all time favorites was “The Andy Griffith Show” It was a great theme for learning to whistle. Honestly, I don’t want to see any of them come back. They were great as they were and trying to imitate the original would do nothing but fall short and diminish the original.



Fran: Why did you compare your live to Plinko?


Brent: Because we sometimes bounce back and forth among the many obstacles, unforeseen situations and events that shape the direction our lives take. Just like dropping that little chip at the top of the Plinko board and watching it go in unpredictable directions until it comes to rest at the end.


Fran: The article : Do you know where your kids are: Really hits home as all of these mom had their own way of yelling out of the window. Why is Mrs. Hodshire so special and why did she stand out?


Brent: Her daughter was my age and had a very unusual name. Lynesa. It was pronounced “La NEE sa”. Mrs. Hodshire would hit the NEE part really hard and stretch it out. Even if you didn’t understand the words, you knew “Nee Nee” as we called her, had to go home. She is also the one who saw me sneaking cigarettes and smoking them when I was about ten years old. It was not fun in the Davis house that night.



Fran: Why did you compare your doctor to Dr. Welby?


Brent:  Dr. Curtis Jones, Jr was such an easy going man. He was a family doctor and did everything from pulling splinters to birthing babies. He was always smiling and had a great sense of humor.


Fran: What was an is your relationship with Doug?

Brent: Much different now than it was then. Like most brothers who were a year apart in age, we fought a lot. I was bigger than him so I tried to take it easy on him but we mostly just wrestled.  Now, it’s much different. We get along well but we live apart now and don’t see each other as much.


Fran: How did you feel in school being called a nerd?


Brent: I really wasn’t sure what that meant, to be truthful. If I was a nerd, I was ok with it since I was ok with me. It was only when I learned what a nerd was that I looked back at it all and, I must say, I agree with them!

Fran: How did you deal with the teasing?


Brent: In the first grade, there was a curly haired, freckle faced red headed boy named Kenneth. One day, I wrote a note saying “I hate you” on a piece of paper. I even had the nerve to take it to him and watch him read it. He looked up at me and started to cry. My feelings don’t get hurt easily so I figured neither did his, but I was wrong. So, I never did that again. Plus, church taught us not to be unkind to others.  I remembered this and decided that it was the one doing the teasing that should be concerned with what they were doing, not the one being teased. It also helped that I was really tall!


Fran: Tell everyone how you got into the movies for free and why?


Brent: One Saturday afternoon I was standing in line at the movie theater waiting my turn. I was tall for my age and always had to prove I was younger to get the kids price ticket. So I stood at the end of the line. Along came a busload of children from the local center for mentally challenged children. They piled out of the bus and lined up behind me. When i put my quarter on the counter for my ticket, the lady in the booth looked at the kids behind me and then said “That’s alright sweetie. You don’t have to pay.” I was overjoyed, ran in the theater and hit the concession stand. It wasn’t until decades later that I realized she thought I had come there on the bus with the others.


Fran: What is your ONE THING!?

Brent:  My one thing is, being kind to others. I fall short much of the time but I really try to do what’s right.

Fran: What made you to decide and write this book and share it with everyone?


Brent: I had been encouraged by many of my readers to put the book together. Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. I’m glad I did.

Fran: From start to finish how long did it take to get it published?

Brent: I self published so it took about three months to go from compilation to interior design to book cover design to photography to numerous edits and finally to the finished product. I enjoyed each step.


Fran: How long did it take to compile the stories and complete this book?


Brent:  From the first article I wrote to the published date it took just over two years.

Fran: What are you going to include in book two?


Brent: Book two will include columns left out of book one plus and new ones I have written since then.  It will also include new stories not previously published including the story of horse back riding in Hawaii on our tenth wedding anniversary.


Fran: Where did you write you column?


Brent:I write two columns a week for the Saline Courier, one of the oldest newspapers in Arkansas. It is a daily newspaper. My Friday column is title “Resident Boomer” and I write about baby boomer topics.  My Sunday column is titled “Common Sense” and is more locally slanted regarding current events, people and politics in Saline County Arkansas.


Fran: Tell everyone the inspiration for this book


Brent: My family is my first inspiration. My extended family.  My home family and my childhood family.  The people around me and the community where I live inspire me as well.

Fran: What /who influences you the most to become a writer?


Brent: My parents mostly.  Mom always encouraged me to write and dad told me he could picture me in a cabin in the woods with a typewriter on the table, banging out books.

Fran: Why would someone give your book a five star review?


Brent: Because I paid them very well for it!  Seriously, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to me that I am doing anything different than anyone else is doing.  To me, having gone through the process of getting a book published, anyone who writes a book deserves a five star review.


Fran: What other projects do you have in the works? What are your websites and where can we learn more about you and get your book?


Brent:  I am currently putting the finishing touches on book two, yet to be titled. After that, I plan to write a book about my father and also a fictional work about  weirdly interesting town in the south. But who knows. In any respect, I will be writing, I know that for sure.

My website is Common Man Gazette (www.commonmangazette.com). My book can be purchased there and I will mail it signed. Also, Amazon.com has my book listed. Last time I checked it was 517,452 on the best seller list. I’m just happy to be on it!

My columns are posted on the Saline Courier website as well (www.bentoncourier.com).

This is one book I think everyone should definitely read. I hope to read Brent’s second set of stories when completed.

Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with me. Fran Lewis