GRAND PRIZE Winner of our 2019 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS Contest, “SO, YOU’RE RAISING YOUR GRANDKIDS!” by RWISA Author, Harriet Hodgson.

We honor today the 2019 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS Contest, winner,

Author, Harriet Hodgson.



If you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren, help has arrived.

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 10% of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids, and the number is going up. You may be one of the millions of these grandparents and it’s a role you never expected. Willing as you are to assume this role, you have some questions. How will I find the energy for this? Is my grandchild normal? What if I “blow it?” Each day, you look for ways to make life easier.

This book will:

•Help ease your worries and guilt;
•Offer tips for creating a grand family;
•Give methods for improving grandparent-grandchild communication;
•Suggest ideas for how you can connect with your grandchild’s school;
•Provide child development information;
•Recommend approaches to help your grandchild set goals;
•Stress the importance of having fun together;
•Offer ideas of how to foster your grandchild’s hopes and dreams.

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids blends Harriet Hodgson’s wise and moving grandparenting story with recent research and findings. It shares her 21 years of caregiving experience, including seven years of raising her twin grandkids. Each chapter ends with What Works, proven tips for grandparents raising grandkids.

At the end, you’ll cheer for all the loving grandparents—including you—who are putting grandchildren first.


Rochester, Minnesota resident Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. She has a BS from Wheelock College in Boston, an MA from the University of Minnesota, and additional graduate training.

Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, and The Caregiver Space websites. Visit to read her articles.

Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 talk radio shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of television stations, including CNN, and dozens of blog talk radio programs. A popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences.

Her recent work is based on Hodgson’s 21 years as a family caregiver. She was her mother’s family caregiver for nine years, her twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver for seven years, and is in her fifth year as her disabled husband’s caregiver.  Visit Harriet’s RRBC Author Page to find out more about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author, as well as more information on her many other books listed in the RRBC catalog.




      Today is the Day 8 of our 2020

      RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! 


      Yvette Calleiro

      Yvette Calleiro

      Here’s her author’s RWISA PROFILE PAGE –


      by Yvette M. Calleiro

      What if,

      In our hustle and bustle,

      In our go go go,

      We made it a point

      To slow down and meditate –

      Tune in to the now,

      The beauty of each moment?

      If only we had slowed our lives down

      To enjoy the present moment,

      We’d have less people living with anxiety,

      Fewer suicides and more survivors,

      More productivity in our workplace

      With fewer hours at the job.

      What if we chose

      To care about the foods we eat,

      To focus on nutrients from our earth

      Without pesticides or genetic modifications?


      If only we had stayed away

      From GMO-products and processed foods,

      We’d have fewer loved ones suffering

      From obesity and digestive issues

      And autoimmune disorders.


      What if we cared

      About our fellow man and woman and child

      Enough to help them find shelter

      And food

      And employment?

      If only we had cared more about

      The community as one

      Instead of individualism,

      We would have risen up

      To find solutions for homelessness,

      To help rehabilitate the hopelessness

      And leave no human hungry.


      What if mothers and fathers

      Could spend quality time with their children,

      Laughing and playing,

      Nurturing and comforting,

      Molding them into loving human beings?


      If only we had valued the family unit,

      There would be fewer broken families,

      Children would grow into

      Caring and confident adults,

      Valuing love and laughter.

      What if we chose

      To heal the mind, body, and spirit

      As one,

      With natural remedies,

      Focused on healing and curing

      Instead of masking and prolonging?

      If only we had focused on healing

      Instead of profiting on illness,

      Our immune systems would be strong,

      Able to fight harder against viruses and diseases,

      Our minds would be calm and serene,

      Our spirit would be at peace and

      In harmony with the world.

      What if we cared about our planet,

      Sharing the earth with

      Its other living inhabitants,

      Making small sacrifices

      So our planet can grow and prosper

      Alongside us?

      If only we had not been so selfish in our ways

      And had made the necessary changes

      To allow our planet to heal,

      Our forests would flourish

      And shelter our animals,

      Our oceans would provide life and enjoyment,

      And our air would be clear and breathable.


      What if we changed our ways?

      If only we could do something

      To stop this downward spiral of catastrophes

      That we have created.


      We can.

      We should.

      We must.

      When RWISA asked its members to consider the new world we are now living in, they wanted us to consider what we would have done differently to better the situation we are currently in. This led me to think about foresight and hindsight. We all have the ability to pause and wonder what the world could be if we choose to make the hard choices and work toward a better world. Similarly, once the catastrophe has happened, we can look back and realize what we did wrong.

      So, I created this poem. Choose to read it line by line or read the left side in its entirety and then go back and read the right side. Either way works! 😊

      So often, our leaders look back and say, “Oops!” and then just keep trudging along without righting their wrongs. We, as citizens, do the same. We have become quite comfortable in our spoiled lives. We, as a society, focus on individualism instead of community. We live in a bubble that is only concerned with how enjoyable our own little world is, forgetting that we do not live in isolation. We ignore the pleas of others to help the planet/hungry/homeless/poor because that would mean putting effort or perhaps making sacrifices, and who wants to give up the luxuries that they have become accustomed to?

      And so it goes. Our current path is not sustainable. If we are to survive and thrive, we must put the planet and all who encompass it as our priority. We need to make changes/sacrifices to flourish. Just look at what the past month or two of stay-at-home orders has done for our planet. Endangered turtles are being born and surviving. The peaks of the Himalayan mountains can be seen in India for the first time in decades. Pollution levels have shown a decrease in nitrogen dioxide over China. The waterways in Venice are crystal-clear and fish can be seen swimming in the canals.The signs are everywhere.

      Can anyone still doubt that humans and our ways have hurt our environment and will continue to hurt our planet unless we make serious changes to our ways of life? How many businesses are realizing that their workers can actually do their jobs from home? That one change can cut back on car emissions, stress, and other pollutions. I don’t have all the solutions, but maybe it’s time that we, as a society, start to use our foresight to change our world for the better.


      Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!



      Today is Day 7 of the 2020 RWISA

      “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!


      Wendy Scott


      Wendy Scott

      Here’s her author’s RWISA




      by Wendy Scott

      Darkness swallowed dormitory B49. The lights had been extinguished an hour before at 8 pm. Stevie listened for the rhythmic breathing from the cots, aligned with military precision, one metre apart. Twenty beds, divided into two rows, sat on opposite sides of a red painted aisle. Identical grey bedding topped each hard mattress. The sheets were starched so stiff they were difficult to tuck under the corners, and the pillow was as unyielding as set concrete, but its worst feature was the coarseness of the blanket’s weave that threatened splinters.

      Controlling his breathing into an even flow, he opened his thoughts to the ones forbidden by the masters. Silently, he recited his litany of self, as he had every night for the past five years.

      “I am more than the number B49-17.

      My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

      My father’s name is Mark.

      My mother’s name is Katie.

      My sister’s name is Jenny.

      My family existed.

      I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

      Tears gathered, but he was careful not to snuffle aloud. The cameras and microphones embedded in the walls monitored any transgressions every minute of every day.

      Further, up the row, bedsprings creaked as B49-3 tossed in his sleep, deep in the throes of another recurring nightmare. The silence shattered. His roommate screeched into the blackness, “Mama!”

      Heart palpitating, Stevie squeezed his eyes closed, stilled his body, and faked sleep. Moments later, boots thundered into the dormitory, followed by scuffling sounds as the offending boy was dragged out his bed and marched away. The doors crashed shut, muffling the boy’s protests. Stevie had witnessed numerous night raids, so he knew to remain frozen.

      A torch button snapped on, then measured boot steps resonated on the wooden floorboards. Three paces. A pause. Stevie imagined the torchlight scanning over the statue-like faces. A few paces at a time the master inspected the dormitory until he halted by Stevie’s cot. The smell of leather polish ripened the air. Stevie focused on breathing. In and out. In and out. No twitches. Feigning sleep. Early into his captivity, he’d learned the harsh consequences of non-conformity.

      Finally, the boots trod away. Before he exited the master intoned, “The Leader watches over you all.”


      Clad in identical uniforms, the boys from B49 trooped into the instruction room, their orderly line pausing as each boy bowed before saluting the oversized portrait of the Leader. A shadow of crew-cut hair, a creased forehead, lips thinned into a disapproving line, and demon eyes bored out of the frame as if tracking each boy’s movements. The identical image dominated the boys’ access zones: the dormitory, the canteen, the corridors, and the ablution’s block. The Leader’s face had become more familiar than Stevie’s own. It had been five years since he’d seen his reflection in a mirror.

      Without a murmur, the boys filed to their designated desk and stood beside their seats. Stevie glanced at the empty space allotted to B49-3. A sickly sensation puckered in his stomach but it wasn’t due to the beige mash the servers had dished up for breakfast. Years ago, his taste buds had withered away as he learned to chew the gluey texture for its sustenance value. Refusal to eat resulted in ejection, and reassignment to the intensive reprogramming wing. For boys who cried out in the night, the punishment was the same. None ever returned, and within days a different boy would be slotted into their place, and assigned their numerical identification. The Leader’s message clearly delivered. They were expendable cogs in the Leader’s war machine, merely insignificant numbers. Individuals didn’t exist.

      Head straight, eyes forward, Stevie snapped to attention as the master strode into the room. “Be seated.”

      Chairs scraped across the floorboards in synchronised motion. The master’s laser gaze scanned above the boys’ heads. “It seems a reminder is necessary. Our lesson will focus on our basic principles until the Leader is satisfied that B49 understands their function.”

      Lies. Propaganda. Brain-washing. A turmoil of thoughts swirled through Stevie’s brain, but he kept his expression bland and his body language submissive.

      Do. Not. Attract. Attention.

      The master picked up a cane and whacked it against a board, directing the group’s focus to the three sentences printed in regulation white chalk.

      “Recite together.” He traced the written words with the tip of his cane.

      Obedience—Leader knows best.

      Conformity—Leader made everyone equal.

      Conception—Leader created each of us for his divine purpose.

      The taps acted as a metronome commanding repetition until their voices sounded like they’d gargled gravel.

      “Halt.” The master consulted the clock on the back wall. “Proceed outside for drill instruction. Convene back here in one hour. The Leader watches over you all.”


      Under the direction of another master, the boys marched around the quadrangle in orderly lines under an overcast sky. Beneath his cap, Stevie swept his gaze around his surroundings. Windowless concrete high-risers towered around the compound, each one housing identical dormitories. Electrified barbed wire fences and fortified watchtowers incarcerated the thousands of boys within the indoctrination camp. Overhead, a drone buzzed, surveying the sea of uniforms for any sign of non-conformity.

      A minefield separated a squat building from the rest of the compound. It accommodated the reprogramming centre. The only entrance was via a rusty metal door. Stevie’s nostrils twitched, the air tainted by the black smoke belching out of the stack of soot-stained chimneys on its roof. The air stunk like burnt barbecued ribs. The boys’ route included parading past the centre’s outside gallows platform. Relief flooded Stevie when he spied the empty nooses. A brief respite as today, they wouldn’t be forced to stop and stand to attention, witnessing the distorted faces of those who broke the Leader’s rules.

      For years, he’d shared a room with B49-3. They’d eaten, washed, and marched to the same regimented routine day-in and day-out. He shuddered to think of what the other boy was suffering inside the bowels of the centre. Trained sadists, the masters displayed no capacity for compassion.

      Behind him, a voice whispered, “His name is Tom.”

      Heart thumping, Stevie’s foot fumbled the next step. He didn’t dare turn his head and acknowledge B49-18’s forbidden comment.

      From the front of the line, the master roared. “Keep in time.” The cane whacked on the concrete. “Left, right, left.”

      The path turned sharply by the outer fence. A flash of purple and yellow caught Stevie’s attention. A lone pansy grew between the cracks in the pavement. He risked peeking at the master before stooping down and plucking up the flower. Careful not to crush its petals he tucked his stolen prize up his jacket sleeve. A tidal wave of adrenaline coursed through his veins; he hardly believed he had dared to jeopardize his life for a pansy.

      No outcry ensued and he concentrated on keeping the rhythm. Sometimes the authorities planted informants among the dormitories. Boys who traded secrets for extra rations. He could not afford to slacken his guard.


      The clock hand ticked over to 8 pm, and the dormitory plunged into darkness. Stevie waited ages before rolling onto his stomach. He extracted the flower from his pillowcase and brushed the petals across his nose. The floral bouquet reminded him of the tubs of pansies his mom had grown on their porch. After gardening, the pansy fragrance lingered on her skin.

      Memories cascaded like a broken dam. Blowing candles out on a chocolate frosted banana cake. Giggling with his younger sister as their dad spun them around in circles on the back lawn. Wet kisses from his puppy, Sparky. Rainbow lights flashing on the Christmas tree. His mom reading him a bedtime story before pressing a goodnight kiss on his forehead. “Sweat dreams, son.”

      He smothered a sigh with the pillow. Silently, he recited the words that kept him sane.

      “I am more than the number B49-17.

      My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

      My father’s name is Mark.

      My mother’s name is Katie.

      My sister’s name is Jenny.

      My family existed.

      I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

      Stevie swallowed the flower, destroying the incriminating evidence. He added to his mantra.”The Leader watches us, but I’m watching back. In my heart, I will never follow the Leader.”


      Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!


      Today is Day 6 of the 2020 RWISA

      “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! Featuring

      Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

      Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko author’s







      Indeed, these are difficult times. A time for soul-searching. A time to take notice of just how fragile we humans are, and, a time to look to God for solutions.

      There is a plague ravaging the whole world, and what are we doing? We are running helter-skelter, trying one remedy after another by trial and error. Each day we are thrown deeper into a pile of confusion with all the false and misleading information we are being given. And still, there is no solution in sight.

      We are a people who have built huge cities, shuttled to the Moon, and created structures mightier than our imaginations.  We have accomplished so much greatness, that now we have begun to believe that we are gods – that we have all the answers and solutions to everything. The human looks around and sees the great things God has given him … the knowledge and skills to achieve, and now, he believes he can challenge God. Because of these reckless beliefs, man goes into laboratories to play God – looking for ways to surpass God’s greatness.

      The result is what we are experiencing today. God created order; man creates dis-order. God sits and watches us, like He did with us during the time of the Tower of Babel, with man trying to prove that we are gods. With His little finger, He muddled the waters to show us that only He is God, and He is the only one in control. Now, we have gone ahead and messed up the order of things again, and He continues to watch us. What amusement it must be for Him to see us wreaking havoc in the world, and then trying to clean it up without much success.

      I don’t believe that God will allow the whole human race to perish because of this. Those who believe in Him are praying, and those who do not, are still clueless. Eventually, God will relent, and again, with His little finger, redirect things in His own good time. He will inspire a human to come up with a solution to end the pandemic; a human who will probably take the credit for doing so. It will not matter at all. God knows His creatures more than we know ourselves. He will understand. Those who know the ways of God will thank Him for the end of the pandemic because they will be able to see the hand of God at work in it.

      Will the end of this pandemic stop the non-believers from trying to one-up God?  Never! That is not the nature of the evil one. He never stops trying to prove to his followers that he is more powerful than God – that whatever God can do, he can do better.

      All I know and pray for is that whoever inflicted this pandemic on the world is going to be in great trouble at the end of it all. They will pay! This will come back to haunt them, person per person, death per death, economy per economy, for all they have done. So, help me, God!


      Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!




      Today is Day 5 of our 2020 RWISA

      “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! featuring

      P. T. L. Perrin


      P. T. L. Perrin

      Here’s herRWISA




      by P. T. L. Perrin

      …it immediately created a toilet paper shortage. No restrictions had yet been put into place the day I went shopping at Walmart. As always, the items I needed were available. I loaded my cart and headed for the paper aisle. Wait! What the heck happened? A single pack of toilet paper sat on the otherwise empty shelves, left there, most likely, because of a tear in the packaging. I grabbed it. The paper wouldn’t spoil because the package was ripped.

      Two women, one elderly and one a younger version of her, stopped in shock, just like I did. I couldn’t help myself. Tears filled the older woman’s eyes, and I had to do something. I handed her daughter the pack, fully expecting to find one somewhere else. Besides, we were okay for a while. How could Walmart, of all places, be out of TOILET PAPER? And why THAT item and no others?

      In the coming weeks, when nary a roll was to be found anywhere, I fantasized about the hoarders having to eat it. Roasted TP. Grilled TP. TP Soup. TP pie. I hoped they choked; until I realized that some of them might be families with kids, and they’d be up the creek without a paddle if they hadn’t bought it all up that first week. I began to wish them well and decided to order some online. The next available delivery date was sometime in June, in two months, but it wasn’t guaranteed. A friend suggested I search Amazon for a bidet.

      Having lived in Italy in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, I was familiar with bidets, simple low basins separate from the toilet with shower nozzles that sprayed upward. Back then, they were a place to float toy boats, complete with a fountain in the middle. I did not know their true purpose until I was much older and no longer living there. We had plenty of toilet paper back then.

      The bidets I found online ranged from a hand-held sprayer, which can double as a cloth diaper cleaner (for those with babies who still use cloth diapers), to a seat attachment that requires no aiming. It appears that the sprayer might take some practice in order to avoid a wet bathroom. But then, if you turn on the no-aiming-required spray without your rear end covering the inside opening of the toilet seat, you could give your ceiling a wash. At least you could with the Italian ones. Amazingly, the guaranteed delivery date was in three days. I clicked the button, quite satisfied with myself.

      Neighbors drive to a local farm, where a box of fresh veggies is placed in their trunk, and they drop some off at our front porch. Other neighbors are busy sewing facemasks for a local nursing home. I gave them some colorful fabric and a treasure trove of elastic leftover from my long-ago sewing days. Kids ride their bikes in the quiet streets, six feet apart from each other most of the time. Couples walk holding hands (come on…they live together!) and greet other walkers, keeping their distance and using their ‘outside’ voices. Everyone asks everyone else, “How are you doing? Need anything?”

      The air smells fresher, the office is gradually getting cleaned out, and my tennis-pro husband burns off energy doing yard work and cutting the hedge shorter and shorter. By the time this is over, it’ll be six inches tall. We’re finally using up the canned goods in the pantry, at least those whose expiration dates are newer than July 2015.

      The worst part of this for most people is the loss of jobs and income, although we’re all hoping it’s temporary. We hope to scrounge enough to pay the mortgage for the next couple of months, until the tennis courts open and people take lessons again. Younger people with families at home are worried, including our children with their families. Some can work from home, others cannot.

      The systems that should facilitate what the government has done to ease the burden are broken and scrambling to find fixes. When this happens again, hopefully in the far distant future, they should be prepared, and the process should run smoother. The same goes for medical supplies and personal protection equipment. There were no stockpiles when this virus shut us down. After this, there will be.

      We pray for the sick, that they will recover, and for those who’ve lost loved ones. We pray for those who are feeling the pain of lost income, especially those with young children. We pray for the teachers who have poured themselves into making lessons their students can do from home, and we pray for the parents of those students. We pray for the homeless and the prisoners who have little choice in anything. We pray for Bill’s mom in a nursing home, and for all those who live and work there. We pray for doctors, nurses, hospital staff, first responders…everyone helping others through this.

      We were both sick in January, and so were some of our kids and grandkids. Could it have been this virus, this invisible scourge, that made us miserable for a while and then left us to recover? Perhaps. Perhaps many people have had it unknowingly and are now immune, with antibodies that can help someone who is seriously ill to recover. In time, we may all be tested, and then we’ll know for sure.

      For now, we practice social distancing. We stay home and catch up on things we’d been meaning to do for the last twenty years, and thank the good Lord we have a home to shelter in. We follow the rules, not to protect ourselves, but to protect the people around us, known and not known, just in case. We are witnessing the spirit of the people who live here, who, when faced with calamity, reach out and help their neighbors. We have never been prouder to be Americans than we are right now.

      The bidet arrived right on time. It looks nice in its box, which will remain closed until we run out of toilet paper, an unlikely issue with our kids and neighbors watching out for us. Neighbors, if you run out, we have some to share. I want to try that bidet.

      Now about those toilet paper hoarders…


      Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISAsite.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!


      Today is Day 4 of Our 2020 RWISA


      Blog Tour! Featuring

      Robert Fear

      Robert Fear

      Here is his author’s RWISA




      by Robert Fear

      If anyone had told me at the start of the year what was going to happen in 2020, I would have thought they were crazy.

      Over the past few weeks, I have learned to cope with this new reality. The initial feelings of anxiety and fear subsided, and my views changed as I became more sensitive to others and aware of how fragile our society is.

      We are among the lucky ones. Although work from my day job has evaporated, my wife and I live in a comfortable house, our three cats keep us company, and we have enough money to last through this crisis. As a bonus, the weather has been warm and sunny for the daily exercise walks we are allowed to take.

      When the lockdown was implemented, my thoughts turned to those less fortunate. Older people unable to leave home, those suffering from grief and depression, and residents of countries with even stricter lockdowns. I thought about how I might share my experiences on social media, to give motivation and bring a smile to the faces of those within my reach.

      Living where we do in Eastbourne, on the south-east coast of England, we have many beautiful spots close to our home. There are several parks filled with trees, plants, grassland, and lakes. Not far away is a farm track that winds through fields where horses, sheep, and cattle graze. Birds sing as though nothing is wrong with the world. Then there is the seafront, along which runs a three-mile promenade, with views out across the English Channel.

      Because of the lockdown and social distancing measures, there have been few people around on my daily walks. I gained a sense of tranquillity and tried to capture those precious moments on my smartphone, so I could share them with others.

      With video clips, I recorded nature’s sights and sounds. These included gentle swaying trees with uplifting birdsong in the background, views across idyllic farmland to the hills of the South Downs, and waves crashing onto the shingle beach on a windy but sunny afternoon.

      Amongst other subjects, my photos captured the beauty of spring flowers, rainbows drawn by children hung in windows, colourful beach huts, seafront carpet gardens, and the pier’s golden dome sparkling in the sunlight against a backdrop of clear blue skies.

      I posted these to Facebook, both on my timeline and in two groups. In addition, I shared selected videos and photos on Instagram and Twitter. Three of those images are included here.


      Cherry blossom


      Social distancing seagulls


      Children’s rainbow drawings


      The responses to my posts have been encouraging and there has been positive feedback from around the world:

      Ah, the sound of the sea. Just what I needed. Very clear skies.  Robyn – New Zealand.

      Oh, happy memories of a childhood near Brighton! The shingle beach and big waves. Thanks for sharing.  Jackie – France.

      I don’t know about you, but I’m appreciating spring more this year. It’s so lovely to watch the birds, butterflies, bees, and other creatures carrying on with their daily lives amid the blossoms and blooms.  Jay – Turkey.

      Ebony was watching the birds outside from her perch and listening to the birds on your video thinking she was in real-time.  Laurie – USA.

      One can’t be stressed watching the cows graze and listening to the bird song.  Carola – Canada.

      Lovely sights and sounds! Thanks!  Susan – Uruguay.

      How lucky to be able to go out for a walk. Thanks for sharing the pics.  Patricia – Spain.

      If you are on Facebook and want to view the video clips and see more photos, please send me a friend request and visit my page by clicking here.

      As I bring this piece to a close in late April, the weather here has changed, and there is some much-needed rain. Our first rose of spring has chosen this day to make an appearance. A sign of hope for the future?



      Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISAsite.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!




      Welcome to Day 9 of the “EMPTY SEATS” Blog Tour! @EmptySeatsNovel @4WillsPub #RRBC #Baseball

      I am honored today to host Author Wanda Fischer on my blog.


      GIVEAWAYS:   During this tour, the author is giving away (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card, (2) $5 Amazon Gift Cards, (2) e-book copies of EMPTY SEATS & (1) copy of the author’s acclaimed “SINGING ALONG WITH THE RADIO” CD which features many prominent folk music singers (a $15 value)! For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below as well as leaving a comment on the author’s 4WillsPub tour page.  GOOD LUCK!



      Day Nine (Empty Seats)

      When the book first came out at the end of 2017, the Houston Astros had just won the World Series. I’ve always been partial to the Astros (not as much as the Red Sox, of course), since the local minor-league baseball club, the Tri-City Valley Cats, is the low-A affiliate of the team, and I had the chance to watch some of the 2017 stars, such as Jose Altuve and George Springer begin their careers in a small ballpark about 20 miles from where I live.

      I attend several games every summer at the stadium known locally as The Joe, named in honor of Joseph Bruno, the former New York State Senator who secured funding to have the facility built. It’s a great place to watch a baseball game, especially for people with children, because it’s affordable, it has a casual atmosphere, and the kids get to participate in some on-field activities during every game. The staff finds fun things for the kids to do, and they have creative “theme” nights, as well as frequent fireworks.

      When the ballpark first opened, the Valley Cats invited me several times per season to sing The National Anthem before the game. I would go out on the field and see these young guys in the dugout—aged 18, 19, 20, maybe—and look into their faces, knowing that they had a dream to play professional baseball. They also looked, to me, anyway, as a mother and grandmother, as if they were a little lost, sitting in that dugout. So many were far away from home, some not even speaking English, and I just saw a longing in their faces that was part of the inspiration for my writing Empty Seats.

      When they left the dugout and went onto the field, however, it was a different story. That lost feeling left their faces, replaced by a spark, ignited by a little white ball, a bat, and a leather glove. They came alive when they were playing the game they love, the game they dreamed would make them big stars, would allow them to soar to new heights that might even eclipse what they’d imagined in those dreams from when they were little kids, facing a ball on a tee for the first time.

      That excitement is what I attempted to capture in my novel, while simultaneously incorporating what happens to these anxious, talented young men who’d been told all their lives that they were the best, that they’d make it all the way if they only put their minds to it and worked hard—but when life gets it the way, as it does for all of us—what happens? Is it a simple slap in the face when one of these players doesn’t make it to the next level or is told to go home for good? Do the choices these athletes make off the field interfere with the aspirations they’ve had for their entire young lives?

      A large percentage of the young men I see every year at the Valley Cats games won’t go any further than that, whether they’ve been recruited by the Astros or they’re playing against the Valley Cats on a different team. That’s the reality of the situation. The players on Major League Baseball teams are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and many have gone through incredible challenges to get achieve that goal. Once in MLB, they face constant injuries, criticism from fans and sportswriters, and life on the road that leaves them separated from their families for months at a time. The MLB season consists of 162 games per year, and, while players are paid well, they also face a grueling travel schedule that often includes personal appearances on the side.

      Someone reading this may say, “Well, I’d do that if I were making that kind of money,” but it’s not that easy. Staying in shape year-round, facing the prospect of career-ending injuries, and the pressure the travel schedule puts on one’s family can take its toll. Pitchers, in particular, these days seem to be undergoing surgery on their elbow named after Tommy John, because he’s the first pitcher who had the surgery successfully. Two of the most successful pitchers—one in the American League, one in the National League—Chris Sale of the Red Sox and Noah Syndergaard of the Mets—recently underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2020. So far, neither one has been missed, due to the lack of baseball-related to the Coronavirus. If there is a baseball season in 2020, these two won’t return until sometime in 2021.

      What I Learned from Writing this Novel

      After writing this novel, I have heard from people all over the United States and Canada. I’ve talked to Montreal Expos fans who are working hard to try to bring baseball back to their city. In fact, several ran a bowling fundraising event in Cooperstown two years ago, when former Expo Vladimir Guerrero was being inducted into the Hall of Fame. They invited me to bring a few of my friends to bowl with them as they raised money for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital cancer unit.

      The event included several former Expos, including Bill Lee (who makes a cameo appearance in my novel, because he also was a member of the Red Sox), Claude Raymond, and Curtis Pride. My friends and I were on Curtis Pride’s team, and we had a great time trying to bowl. I hadn’t been bowling since I’d had my knee replaced in 2016, but it was a fun night.

      I learned that Curtis was the first totally deaf baseball player to make it to MLB. He’s now the baseball coach at Gallaudet College in Washington, DC, which caters specifically to deaf students. He said his team includes several students who might be draft-able. Curtis is an amazing person who reads lips and converses with everyone.

      Claude Raymond was once a pitcher for the Expos, but then he became one of their broadcasters. He and the other broadcasters had to come up with French words that would translate into terms such as “double play,” “home run,” and more. Claude is in his eighties, but no one would know it by meeting him in person.

      My son and I were supposed to attend Expos Fest this year on March 21. This event was canceled due to the arrival of the Coronavirus, but perhaps it will be re-scheduled. Expos Fest is also a fundraiser for Montreal Children’s Hospital’s cancer unit.

      I also learned, from making the rounds to bookstores and libraries, that people don’t expect a woman to know much about baseball. When they realize that I do, they view my book in a different light. I tell them about how I had wanted to become a sportswriter in the 1960s but that opportunities for women back then were limited. It took 40-plus years then retirement for me to have the time and energy to write this novel.

      I was a public relations/marketing/media relations professional for 40 years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be publicizing my own work, writing my own blog posts and twitter feeds, telling people at any opportunity about my novel. It’s a delicate balance when it comes down to promoting oneself. Given my past experience, I believe I could promote someone else much better than I promote myself.

      I have had a few promotional successes.  I sent a note to my alumni magazine (Northeastern University) and received several inquiries from there. I appeared on the national show, “Only a Game,” talking about my original career path that was sidelined ( and I did another radio interview on the radio station where I do my folk music show, WAMC. I did a segment focusing on women on a local TV station. Local newspapers were also quite kind in their coverage, and I was on the receiving end of what I’d set up for years for my employers.

      The first one is my “broadcast” attempt with Red Sox Mascot Wally.







      The second one shows my grandchildren in the “field” during practice at Winter Weekend.

      Every day I look for ways to introduce people to my three characters—Jimmy, Bobby, and Bud. Now I’m working on a sequel to Empty Seats, mainly because people have asked for it. “What happens to these guys?” one emailer wanted to know. “I was just getting to know them when the novel ended.”

      In my mind, I always knew what happened to them. I had planned to write a novel about the three of them when they were in their sixties and may still do that at some point. However, the sequel in the process is set in 1976, and, as one reader told me, I “have some ‘splaining to do.”

      Book Blurb

      What Little Leaguer doesn’t dream of walking from the dugout onto a Major League baseball field, facing his long-time idol and striking his out? Empty Seats follows three different minor-league baseball pitchers as they follow their dreams to climb the ladder from minor- to major-league ball while facing challenges along the way—not always on the baseball diamond. This coming-of-age novel takes on success and failure in unexpected ways. One reviewer calls this book “a tragic version of ‘The Sandlot.’”

      (Winner of the 2019 New Apple Award and 2019 Independent Publishing Award)

      Author Bio

      Following a successful 40-year career in public relations/marketing/media relations, Wanda Adams Fischer parlayed her love for baseball into her first novel, Empty Seats. She began writing poetry and short stories when she was in the second grade in her hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and has continued to write for more than six decades. In addition to her “day” job, she has been a folk music DJ on public radio for more than 40 years, including more than 37 at WAMC-FM, the Albany, New York-based National Public Radio affiliate. In 2019, Folk Alliance International inducted her into their Folk D-J Hall of Fame. A singer/songwriter in her own right, she’s produced one CD, “Singing Along with the Radio.” She’s also a competitive tennis player and has captained several United States Tennis Association senior teams that have secured berths at sectional and national events. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern University in Boston. She lives in Schenectady, NY, with her husband of 47 years, Bill, a retired family physician, whom she met at a coffeehouse in Boston in 1966; they have two grown children and six grandchildren.

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      I just released my new book, a collection of short stories, on Amazon.Com. Here is the link: VAGARIES OF LIFE AND: GIRLS’ TALK. You may want to check it out. Please, Read & review! The link again:

      Thank you.

      In a world where everything is in motion, with everyone heading toward a destination, some to perdition and some to salvation, The Vagaries of Life… is a collection of short stories where the characters are on their various journeys. Helen in You Will Die If You Scream, out of nowhere, fin…



      Rave Reviews Book Club (#RRBC)
      The Club that makes a writer, and a starter feel like a winner!

      My meeting with the Rave Reviews Book Club started by chance. After publishing my first book, I relied solely on my friends and family to read, review, and post their reviews on the on-line stores where they bought their copies. I didn’t know what else to do beyond that.

      Then I published my second book. This time, I decided to go looking for help in getting the words out. It was during this search that I came across the RRBC, and a couple of other sites of writers’ forums. Of all the ones I researched, RRBC was only one stood out. It was the answer I received from Nonnie, founder of the RRBC that peeked my interest.

      My question for Nonnie was, “Do you charge for your reviews, and if you do, how much?”

      The answer came back almost immediately. “No, we do not charge for our reviews. As a member, you read and review your co-member’s books, and they do the same with your books.” And she invited me to join and try it out. To tell the truth, I did not believe that such a thing existed, because all the other forums that answered my query had one twist or another about their service, you heard me, service.

      I joined any way, and my first shock came the day after my joining. I was inundated with an outburst of welcomes, from people I didn’t know or ever met, who were simply happy that I joined their group. I ticked that, inwardly, as a plus. Then I started reading and reviewing, not much tweeting. I didn’t know how. It took me only one week as a member before I was taught how to engage with others on line. Thank you Nonnie Jules, Shirley Slaughter, and Harmony Kent for initiating me, first into the group, and then about how to navigate the group and the outside world.

      Since then, I have experienced the most wonderful support that I never envisioned. I was looking for something small, just enough to get along, and I landed myself into something huge, that has launched me and my writing into a circle wider than my wildest dreams. Thank you my fellow RRBC members. You all are the best! Since joining, I have come across some extraordinary reads that can pass as “Best Sellers,” and have had conversations, and help from people I could never have met in my life. Thank you again RRBC authors.

      I just want you all to know that to date, I have read and reviewed so many member books, and counting, mostly because I love reading, but also because these books are readily assessable. So, I fill my Kindle with them. I don’t let any promo pass me by!

      So far, I have been profiled in all ways possible. My first was when I won a spot on the shelf. As if that was not enough, I won the book of the month spot after that, and a member of the week to follow. I have been on the WillsPublishing book tour twice, and bracing for more. You may want to know that WillsPublishing has many wonderful services, at really bottom prices, and they do good job. I have also appeared on the #RBCBeyond the Cover radio blog show. One day I was listening to the “Author Scoop” Radio Talk when I heard my book being profiled. I started tweeting like mad. That is one show at which anything can happen. All of the above did not happen in one day. It took me some time before I started seeing the result of my hard work. And when it started, it rained.

      Guys, it is true! RRBC is the place to profile, support, and promote, and you will receive the same treatment a hundred times over. They say that while you are pointing one finger away from yourself, four others are pointing back at you. Never tire from promoting others. Just remember, the more you do, the more it comes back to you. I thank you all.

      For those of you who are not familiar with my own books, you can find them here:,,

      If you are not yet a member, please go here:, to find out all about it.