Meet Fran Lewis: Thanks Dellani


Biography: Fran Lewis

 

 Born in the South Bronx, I grew up with people from many ethnic backgrounds. I learned to play and work with children in my school that came from other countries and different places.

I was always over weight as a child and got picked on a lot by the other children in my class and even my teachers. I found it hard to do many of the sporting activities that my sister and cousins could do. I learned at an early age that kids can be mean and I promised myself that I would never retaliate or do mean things to other kids in return.

 

 

When I decided to write my short stories I realized that I had a lot to say about my youth and in both of my books I tell about a ten year old girl named Bertha who learns to deal with real life issues kids face today at home and in school.

 

As an educator I the New York City Public Schools for over 36 years, I realized just how unique and precious our children are. I was the reading and writing staff developer in my school and the dean. I loved the children and had the respect of my fellow teachers and parents.

 

Teaching children to read was really very rewarding and introducing them to writing and creating their own stories was exciting for the students.

 

I love reading different kinds of books in many different genres. I have started reviewing books of new authors and those that are more established. I love giving them great reviews and saying wonderful things about their writing. I am the author of nine titles four children’s books, three non-fiction and two horror. I have four books in my Bertha Series, Memories are Precious deals with Alzheimer’s and caregivers as well as hearing my mom’s own words and understanding her journey with this horrific illness. Because We Care focuses on helping caregivers, traumatic brain injury and Elder Care Abuse followed by Sharp As A Tack which will help you keep you mind and brain active and alert. Faces Behind the Stones and Bad Choices are my two horror books. The main characters tell their stories from behind the stones. I am a reviewer, talk show host on blog talk radio, I am an educator too. I am a reading and writing staff developer. I worked with students with learning difficulties as well as the Dean of Discipline of my school. When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I retired and decided to create a whole new career for myself. I have reviewed over 700 books in the 2 years that I have been reviewing. I host Focus Discussions on the World of Ink and Book Discussions on Red River Writers both on Blog Talk Radio on the net. I love interviewing authors, business people and working to help self-published authors known and noticed. I run a review site on facebook: Reviewingyourbook and the only guideline for posting a review: it has to be positive and all comments too.

 

My reviews are all over the net and I host blog tours for Hillcrest Media and I review for publishers and publishing companies.

 

Fran Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt: From Bad Choices: Faces Two:

The First Stone: Benita

 

Hear my voice as I relate this first story.

Pressures:  Not rich enough, not stylish enough, not the right clothes

 

I am the first face behind the stone.

No matter how hard I tried I never really made the cut with the popular girls. I never felt like I belonged to any one group. My parents were not rich, but we didn’t starve.  My dad was a dry cleaner and did fairly well. We had many of the same phones, games and flat screen televisions most other kids had, but with one exception— we earned these things ourselves. My dad believed, and still believes, in hard work, and paid us to work in his store on the weekends. Each summer we had to find jobs or go to school. There were no free rides or long summer vacations, but we still had fun.

 Wearing the right clothes and being popular mattered to me; being able to go to parties and dress like the other girls would have been great too. But, money was tight and I never really went to the finer stores to shop, so my clothes did not have the labels that others did. I wore clothes from department stores, thrift shops and sometimes my mom shopped online for something she thought I might like or want. But Nordstrom’s, Macys, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Express, which are stores I would have loved to shop in, were not labels on the clothes that I wore.

So, how did it get to the point that I am behind this stone and no longer here? Let’s start from the beginning and I will tell you my story. I promise to keep it brief and to the point. My name is Benita, and if anyone had bothered to listen to me and to hear my voice and what I had to say, I would not be the first face behind this cold, hard marble stone.

 The driver has finally stopped here for you to hear my words.

 

*   *   *   *   *

Everyone thinks they need to be bone thin and wear the right clothes in order to have friends and fit in. My parents, as I said, were not rich and did not have the money to spend on designer jeans, clothes or leather bags, so I wore hand me downs and old coats that were sometimes faded but still in fairly good shape. I never complained because I get a new coat for the winter every year. My sneakers were new but not a name brand, and all my shoes came from Kmart or Target, which I thought was just fine. However, the girls in my school found it hilarious when they saw me walking down the street in my faded jeans, jacket and old beanie hats.

So, why am I behind this stone? I just could not take it anymore. I was in school one Monday when Denise and Diane came trotting over to me.

“Benita, maybe if you were not so fat and ugly, and didn’t look like you belong in a homeless shelter, you might be able to get a date for the senior prom.”

 I just walked away from them, not wanting them to see the tears that welled up in my eyes. I am an A student and have never missed a day of school, but lately I have been feeling low; I even pretended to have a stomach ache just to miss gym on Tuesday and not have to face those girls in the locker room. Since I never did this before my mom allowed me to stay home, but not without a visit to the doctor. 

I had never drank, smoked or taken drugs , but in desperation I decided to try something that might make me fit in. Don’t do it!

I began drinking small amounts of whiskey from my father’s liquor cabinet. This was the dumbest thing I ever did, but for a while I thought it helped. I made sure I brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth before entering a room so no one would smell it on my breath. But, when you drink enough your tongue loosens up, and then the words begin to fly.

The next time I bumped into Denise and Diane, I handled the situation much differently.  Although their attitudes towards me did not change, they stayed away from me after I knocked out one of Diane’s teeth and punched Denise in the face for calling me names. I did not say this was smart, but they never told on me. Bullying and teasing others is wrong. I really did not know how to fight back, so I decided to get even with both of them and teach the world a lesson.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

With the help of a shovel, some wooden planks and some nails I put my plan into motion. Denise and Diane hung out at the local pizza place every Friday night, but this time they decided to have the pies delivered since they were having a party for Denise’s birthday. They ordered five pies and some sodas. Waiting for the delivery person to leave her truck, I quickly hit her over the head with the shovel, which knocked her out. Putting her in the back of the truck with a struggle, I put on her uniform and went to work implementing my plan. The soda bottles had tops on them that made them easy to open, add something special and then reclose them tightly. Walking up to the front door, my face was covered with a huge hat that the pizza place had given the delivery girl and a scarf that hid the rest of my face. Someone that I did not know came to the door and paid for the pizzas, and then the fun began. Unfortunately, some of their other friends suffered too, but since I had always been the brunt of their jokes, comments, and more I guess I did not care what was about to happen to the rest of them.

Needless to say the end result for Denise and Diane was not what they might have expected. The pizza was fine, but those who drank the soda…well, let’s just say that some of them are also faces behind the stones. Sorry: I drank some too. Now, I guess we all fit in, but not exactly where we might have wanted to. You see: One size stone fits all!

This is Benita: Welcome to my stone.

 

Parents, before it is too late make sure you are aware of what your children are doing.  Ask them how they are getting along with friends in school, and if you see anything change in their personality, or if they seem sullen or upset, don’t wait until they are a face behind a stone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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