Tag Archives: Author: Fran Lewis

I DID SURVIVE: A TRUE STORY told by Fran Lewis


Growing up I wondered why my grandmother had trouble seeing at times, why she constantly had to check her blood levels and why she always seemed so sad and frightened. As a young child and because she was my best ally, best confidante I knew that at the age of 14 I was too young to ask her about her life as a child not of course thinking that she had something she wanted to hide. But, one day she sat me down when no one was around and explained just why my grandmother was her hero, her champion and how she came to be Mrs. Max Goldberg.

My grandmother had five sisters and all of them were in different camps during WWII. The stories she told me that I am going to relate to you as they were told to me will reopen old wounds, replay scenes from the war most would choose to forget and let everyone remember that this really did happen and we better stay on guard or it just might happen again. What was done to my grandmother was an insult to humanity and her dignity. So many suffered at the hands of a select few. Hear her voice as she relates the story behind the stone and then meet the man who did this to her as I made sure he had a stone of talc with his name written on a piece of paper pasted to the outside. It’s more than he deserves.

Here is my grandmother’s story.

My name is Katie and what I related to my granddaughter really happened to me and explains why I had so many medical issues to deal with and why she heard her Aunts and Uncles at first call me by my first name or Tante and not Mama. How the world allowed this to happen is unthinkable and the fact that I survived quite remarkable. Doctors are supposed to save lives not destroy them. I was placed in a cell that was filthy with rodents crawling from all parts, as there were so many holes inside it. No windows, no vent just a small metal opening in the door to push a food through. Food that I would never touch because just smelling it allowed me to know that it was drugged and would make me even sicker than I already was. There was a cot, a small mattress, a small pillow and a blanket with holes in it. The cell was about four feet long and 6 feet wide. The bars on the door were close together you could barely see outside but the screams and cries of the others could not be ignored. Fear entered my heart as I had no idea what they were going to do to me and why. The time period of the Third Reich and the Nazi doctors violated more than my privacy, dignity they tore at my inner core and soul. They were cruel, relentless, heartless and demanded total submission. They taunted us every chance they got and the tortures were many. One morning after trying to make me eat what was supposed to pass for oatmeal but looked like someone’s stomach contents they took me into a stark white lab and placed a burning hot sun lamp on my lower parts. They did this many times and the pain was horrific. My screams were unheard and the faces of those in the room frightening as the just smiled, laughed and wrote down what they saw.

But, this was not the worst of what I endured as they had devised a sterilization plan that led to more than 200,000 Germans being sterilized and based on The Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases. ( July 14, 1933). If successful and in my case it was the sterilization could rid the world of inferior races and create what they felt was the master race of those within it who were masterful and rid the world of those of us that were not perfect.

There were two forms of sterilization that they used: x-rays and injections. In my case it was X-rays. Fear was in my eyes but I would not allow them to see me cry nor would I give them the satisfaction of knowing that I was terrified. I tried to hide my feelings as two or three times a week I was brought in to have my ovaries irradiated with x-rays. The dosages varied. I was subjected to these experiments and at times too weak to go back to work but they did not care. I don’t know whether working in the kitchen and making their food was better than living in a state of hell within that cell. Prisoners such as myself were subjected to these experiments and the pain and burns from the radiation did not deter my tormenters. Suffering the serious burns and swelling on my genitals did not receive any medical relief.

The results of these sterilization experiments to some seemed disappointing but in my case they served what they would say was their purpose. Others were victims of surgical castration and they felt that this time more time-efficient.

The sick mastermind behind these experiments was Dr. Josef Mengele who became the chief physician of Birkenau in 1943 hoping to prove the superiority of the Nordic Race. Schumann was the man that created them where I was. But, this was not to be my final destination as they sent me to Dachau where pharmaceutical compounds were tested to supposedly fight off contagious diseases like TB, yellow fever, malaria and other infectious diseases. Sulfa drugs were invented and used on some prisoners but they refused to see that I am allergic to that drug and kept injecting me with it anyway.

These doctors were sadistic and enjoyed what they were doing and they had little or no morals, no consideration for any of use and could care less if we survived. There were some seventy medical research programs at these camps or so they were called and over 200 so called doctors. The fact that they had contacts with leading universities and medical institutions is scary.

After being here for at least two years or more I have lost track I look at myself and wonder that I really am. I can’t sleep, eat and every time they come to get me I have no idea what will happen next until a miracle occurred and God heard my pleas and my voice.

In response to the German occupation, some Poles organized one of the largest underground movements in Europe. More than 300 widely supported political and military groups. I could not believe what happened. We heard little about the outside world or the news but the guards often talked when we were even allowed in the yard for some respite of fresh air but not much.

After finally escaping I learned more about this group and why someone would come to my cell dressed as an SS officer, pretending to take me for another experiment or test and then I was taken into the woods, under tunnels and found myself somewhere else and supposedly brought to safety with many others. Air force physician Dr. Horst Schumann ran the experiments where I was at Auschwitz.

Liberated and free did not help when I was haunted by the nightmares of this horrific place and the stench that never left my body. The bugs, the smell of death and the tattoo on my arm that I hid from everyone by wearing long sleeves, hiding my shame at being a victim of these monsters as I picture the camp divided into three main areas. According to what my granddaughter learned from her research the estimated amount of innocent Jewish people killed at Auschwitz was between 2 and four million people. Those gas chambers burned the bodies in twenty minutes and starvation, showers; sleep deprivation were just some of the horrors. Freedom comes at a high price but those of us that found our way were not ever really safe within our own hearts. Although freed from the horrors we had to remain silent, safe and in close quarters in the homes of others who agreed to protect us until we could gain safe passage to America.

When I finally arrived in America my sisters Fanny, Rosie, Shandina and Tillie all who were taken to safety but had not undergone most of what I did greeted me. We never spoke of our experiences or shared our heartaches. We preferred to keep it all-private. My granddaughter will tell you some of the rest before I complete my thoughts and the reasons why I am behind this marble stone.

Fran Lewis continues the tale:

I am named after my grandmother Fanny. She had four sisters who survived the concentration camps in Poland. Two sisters and Fanny’s parents were brought to America from Poland by my grandfather. Katie and Tillie came from Poland and their parents Tzvia Bella and Joseph Mordecai Cohen as well.

Fanny, my biological grandmother, spoke five languages and instilled in her children the importance of being educated and going to school. Both Max and Fanny taught their children Irving, Kenneth, Harry, Tova and Ruth, to always strive for what they wanted and never give up until you succeed. Always working to succeed on your own with the support and guidance of your family is the only route, Max felt to being successful.

When Fanny passed away, Max was devastated. He no longer had a mother for his five children. Faced with this serious situation he decided to court and finally married the only grandmother I ever knew, Fanny’s sister Katie.

Katie did not walk into a great situation. She had a difficult time making the transition from aunt to mother. A unique and wise woman, she quickly won the love, trust and devotion she so rightly deserved from all five children. Katie and Max brought up the five children with love, understanding guiding them and supporting each one in whatever they chose to do. With a strong and firm manner my grandfather headed his family and received the respect he deserved from every member.

Katie’s story continues:

Five children that learned that I was their new mother after Fanny died and left them. It took many years before they considered me their Mama but they finally did. My grandchildren, many of who live in so many different places never learned the truth. You see, because of those monsters and what they did to me I am sterile and cannot have children. I have this awful brown liquid that comes out of me and I have to use stool softeners and enemas in order to cleanse my colon. My life is great being married to Max and my grandchildren and children are my life.

They are respectful, wonderful and my granddaughter that is telling you this story even taught me how to write my name and read. I still cannot see that well when I walk in the street I have to count the number of steps that I know to my destinations. You see I have these awful cataracts too thanks to everything they did to me plus Diabetes and other illnesses. This would get anyone down but not me you see I DID SURVIVE. The love of one man who devoted himself to me and his children and the love of my grandchildren is what kept me going for so many years. To the SS officer that did this to those and me that helped him torture so many others and they and me your voices have been silenced do not deserve to hear now or ever. This is my story. My name is Katie Goldberg and I DID SURVIVE! They tried and tried but my spirit was never broken.

Fran continues:

Although the facts are there the sequence of events might not be perfect but this is what I recorded when my grandmother told it to me. Historical events sited in this story are written and told the way my grandmother told them to me. She was brave. She was smart. She was KATIE!
Shared by Katie and Fanny’s granddaughter Fran Lewis:

Technology Addiction: Fran Lewis


Walking the streets of Manhattan a few weeks ago I observed something that was to some quite interesting and to others mundane. I often wonder what goes through the minds of people as they are walking to work, going in for their morning caffeine or even just wondering what the day will bring. People are quite unique and their facial expressions so intense that I wondered whether with the literally hundreds of people walking head to toe on the street if they even realized anyone else was even there. Everyone or just about everyone I guess except me since I was doing the observing and realized that with what is going on in the world it pays to stay aware and alert of your surroundings and people, were buried in their cell phones, making calls, texting or on their IPADS walking not never looking up even when crossing the street.

Couples walked together but apart you might say as they walked, texted and never spoke a word. With so many people on the street you would think the din or the noise would be loud, as people would be talking to each other. But, not one person paid attention to anyone and you could practically hear a feather drop. If not for the click of high heels or the bounding of heavy feet or leather you would never know anyone was out there.

Cell phones are great and they do help us to communicate but what about your morning conversation, or just talking with your friend or partner before starting your hectic day? Everyone looked so intense and so caught up in their texts its was hard to tell if they were even aware of their surroundings. Like automatons walking or even robots concentrating on a work text or friend’s text. What about a phone call? Very few were talking on their phones to anyone and even after disconnecting they needed to text more.

Birthdays were fun when you actually got a phone call to wish you Happy Birthday. Now, it’s a text. The Internet provides us with so much information that I wonder about the reference section of a library. Even calling to pay a premium for my health insurance required going through voice prompts and ridiculous announcements that waste time. Technology is great and the Internet is a valuable tool for research and finding information needed to write an article, a book or just to learn more about a particular topic, but give me a book anytime.

Family dinners required that cell phones and IPADS and video games be placed aside and everyone shared their day with their parents, brothers and sisters. Not anymore. Family dinners are now eating, texting, and playing games on their phones or handheld video games. You can’t blame kids because parents do the same when they gamble on line, pay bills on line, play video games of a different sort like fantasy football, or other online games that people play even for money.

The world has become quite technology oriented and yet we are not as advanced as many other countries, places or groups. I often wonder how some are able to hack into our servers, our phones and even our private lines. I am amazed at how some of these groups know our Intel and much more making it hard to keep ahead of them hoping that we can prevent something before it happens by doing the same.

I reviewed a book last week where the main character’s father was a telegrapher and he refused to have a phone put into his home in order to not always connect with everyone. Using Morse code seemed to make him happy and not connecting with everyone around the world or even his family seemed to be the norm not just for him but also for the people of this small town where the author grew up. I wonder what would happen if for one-hour everyday everyone stopped and talked. I wonder whether it would be more fun to talk to your partner on the way to work rather than focusing on your texts and answering. I wonder what would happen if there was noise on the street and you could not hear yourself think because everyone was talking. Focused on their surroundings and even paying attention to the people around them.

Entering an ER the first thing they do is search your name, birth date and check to see if they have your insurance on file before even asking you what is wrong. Scary when you just tell them your basic info and so much comes up on the screen. Hoping that they have some of your medical file there so that you don’t have to answer the same questions over again might seem better than starting from the beginning. But, if you are lucky and that is not always the case, they restart you file again, ask some basic questions and hopefully get to the bottom of what is wrong with you. Everything depends on a computer. No one has notepads to write on, no one writes in a file or folder anymore and when systems go down and let’s hope they don’t I wonder if there is a backup. We have become numbers, account numbers, social security numbers and sometimes they remember to call us by our last name even when we tell them my name is Fran not madam or mam. So impersonal. I guess they have so many people they really can’t stop and listen and care about everything you say.

Technology is great and it does help cut corners in many ways but walking the streets of Manhattan, putting my cell in my bag, watching the people walk or just taking in the sites, the landmarks and more: Much more fun and definitely the only way to appreciate the amazing world we live in. Of course holding my husband’s hand and walking together talking makes all the difference in the world.


An educator and book reviewer, Fran Lewis is also the founding editor of M.J. Magazine and the author of books for adults and children. Her opus includes both fiction and nonfiction, the latter reflecting her concern for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, both the patients and the caregivers. You can find her work on Amazon and her voice BlogTalk Radio.


About Music (Part 2) …

Music moves us. Whether it be to make us happy, sad, or (in some rare cases) violent, music affects our emotions. The authors of the Write Room have shared their thoughts and feelings about music and how it shapes our lives (Dellani Oakes)


The Music of Life By Micki Peluso

Music is ingrained in our lives from the melodic chirping of birdsong to lullabies crooned to sleepy toddlers. We celebrate with music, we mourn with music. Even some dogs like to sing; or maybe they just howl to get us to stop. My house was always filled with music, especially when five of my six kids were teenagers. It was the late 70s but we all loved to sing songs from the 60s as well; Elvis Presley was an icon in our home.

My oldest daughter Kim played guitar and wrote songs, and her sisters and I sang along, sometimes taping ourselves on cassettes with a little red recorder. We all cried while singing Teen Angel, but couldn’t stop singing it. That song would prove an omen of the day when we would have our own Teen Angel.

Dante could play any instrument and song by ear, even classical music like Beethoven and Bach — Where did he hear that? Kelly sang in the school choir and Noelle played the trumpet in the band. The rest of us were not musically talented but I did know if a note was flat. I taught myself to play the guitar years before but when I could go no further I taught Kim, who was six years old at the time. She quickly surpassed me.

I did love to sing, albeit off key, and sang Baptist spirituals and folk songs like I Gave My Love a Cherry, and my favorite country-western songs. I could do a fair Love Me Tender, or so I thought. Noelle burst in from school one day to show me her new trumpet by blasting me with a few earsplitting notes. “Can you play, Long, Long Ago, Far, Far Away?” I asked. When the joke finally the hit her, she just laughed. Thankfully we had an acre of land and no close neighbors – although I thought I heard the dairy cows from the nearby barn mooing backup up one day.

On a sunny late summer day, 14-year-old Noelle was singing and dancing down our country lane, on her way to a concert at the nearby park with her girl friend. I knew she was meeting her first puppy love, a cute, blue-eyed, shaggy haired boy named Chuck. Within moments, a drunk driver struck her and left her face down on the side of the road. That day the music died – except for the mournful dirge of the church organ on the day of her funeral.

It was a few months later when her younger sister, Nicole’s, 11th birthday was coming up. I had to convince her to have her party at the Roller Skating Rank where the girls had spent so many good times skating to the hit tunes and a few oldies. She felt guilty but agreed to go. As she and her friends ate pizza and drank soda, I turned to gaze at the skating rink. For a few brief moments I saw Noelle, dancing on skates smiling and full of life. I was mesmerized. I blinked, and the vision was gone, but I heard a line from the stereo playing the song, American Pie, by Don McLean . . . “The Day the Music Died.”
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Joy of the Blues by Bryan Murphy

I fell in love with blues music as a teenager. For a provincial Brit, it was irresistible; exotic, foreign but accessible, and hypnotic. It has proved to be an enduring love. Blues music would make an ideal soundtrack to my science fiction writing, because it is dark, like the futures I project. But my poem below is celebratory, more suited to a rare piece of joyful blues: Rock Me Mama by the ultimate blues pianist, Otis Spann.


Joy of the Blues

On holiday from a theatre of war,

wandering around the retirement town

where I’d tried to grow up,

I ran into well-groomed, greying men

last seen snarling

in playground brawls.


“You still got all them blues records?”

Sunshine, I bloodied your knuckles on my nose,

seduced your sweet sister, and you remember me

for my blues collection?

“You bet: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker,

Otis Spann, Howlin’ Wolf, …”


that other Americana beyond the dream:

bitter with authenticity, on the periphery

of our consciousness, offering

the human experience in twelve bars,


on the rack, stretched to limits,

infinite variation on finite themes,

like language, soccer, life. Blues

transcended the conventions it endorsed,


seeded my malleable mind with a conviction

that cultural barriers are there to overcome,

so that the Sirens of this world’s uneasy zones

will always outbid the muzak of too-sweet home.

You can find Otis Spann on YouTube, and Bryan Murphy’s e-books here: viewAuthor.at/BryMu

caregie hall

Music: Releases Stress by Fran Lewis

Music has always been an integral part of my life from the age of seven. Loving the sound of the ivories on the piano and wanting to play on a real piano my mom allowed me to have lessons but I practiced on a paper keyboard. She wanted to make sure that I really wanted the lessons and that I had a true passion for the piano. Within six months the instructor told her she should definitely buy me a piano and my grandfather did. School, even at seven years old, was demanding since my mom required that I do my homework as soon as I came home, studied for tests and then, of course, had dinner. But in between, I would practice my scales and prepare my piano pieces for my lessons. Just sitting in front of the piano and playing relaxed me and all of the tension from the day vanished, and I was in another world filled with the sound of the music. Whether it was a Chopin Waltz, or a Beethoven Concerto or a Sonata, I immersed myself in the piece and could feel myself one and the same with the music.

Music was my major in college and learning to transpose pieces into different keys was a real challenge, yet it was one that I loved. Majoring in music also required that you learn another instrument–mine was the violin. So, along with the piano at age 10, I took on the violin, became concertmistress in the ninth grade and played first violin throughout high school. I even played in the borough orchestra.

Music has, and always will be, a great part of my life. To this day, when I feel overwhelmed, know that I have to visit the dentist one more time or must handle any other type of crisis, I sit down, put on the earphones and listen to the Three Tenors, a classical piece of music, or the first piece that I ever played in Carnegie Hall: The Waltz of the Flowers.

Educator, author, magazine publisher and book reviewer Fran Lewis has had a career that celebrates the written word, but she has also had a life filled with the pleasure of music. http://www.amazon.com/Fran-Lewis/e/B002F8Z87U

hand bells

Christmas Carols and Being Gay are Related. I Promise by Cody Wagner

I recently joined a singing group that performs around Phoenix during the holidays. We had orientation Tuesday and were given 50+ carols to memorize AND choreography to study AND handbells to… well, I don’t know what the frick to do with handbells yet.

With all that stuff to learn, we were told to begin practicing right away. Consequently, I walked around the house all day singing “Jingle Bell Rock”. And maybe around Safeway. And possibly Chipotle.

Please note it’s early September. We haven’t even reached Halloween season yet. Yet there I was humming “Dancin’ and prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square!” down the aisles at Wal Mart. Oh yeah, I practiced at Wal Mart, too.

Let me just say I received some judgmental looks. I fully expect to make that “People of Wal Mart” website with the caption “This guy is wearing a ‘Mom, Dad, I’m Gaelic’ t-shirt and singing ‘Fum! Fum! Fum!’ during Summer”.

When I received a particularly nasty look from a mother who covered her child’s eyes, I admit I got embarrassed. Believe it or not, that embarrassment was sparked by memories of growing up gay in a little redneck town. OK OK, Christmas carols in summer and being gay may seem like the most unrelated things ever, but wait for it.

I wasn’t the gay kid who hated himself. Somehow, I knew being gay wasn’t wrong, although everyone around me said homosexuals were evil. I had this little seed of self-confidence I’m eternally grateful for. With that said, I was still in the closet. Big time. While I was OK with myself, I knew people around me weren’t. They had this thing in their heads that straight people were the norm and anyone outside that circle was a weirdo.

I bet you a plate of delicious Pad Thai that the mom who shielded her kid’s eyes thought, People sing carols from Thanksgiving to New Years. Anyone outside that circle is a weirdo.

Look how I brought it all together. Cody – 1, Not Cody – 0.

That feeling of not being evil yet not fitting in has always been a part of my life. It’s also an integral part of my new book as well. I worked to infuse that element into the protagonist. I wanted him to fight, to remain secure, while being bombarded from outside forces. Especially when he gets sent to a pray-away-the-gay school (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN!).

And my experience with public music brought those old conflicted feelings out in me, which made me feel even more connected with my character. Funny how that happens.

Part of me ultimately wants my protagonist to stand up for himself. But for him to rise up, I felt I had to do the same. So when that mother’s glare burned into me, I actually straightened, looked her in the eye, and sang, “Here I come a caroling, among the cans of peas!”

It was the lamest verse ever, but my protagonist will be better off for it.

Cody Wagner writes about things he questions, ranging from superpowers to sociopathic kids. His debut novel, The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, will be out October 27th, 2015. Check out his writing updates and read more of his wackiness at www.wagner-writer.com or follow him on Twitter @cfjwagner.

Memories of Marcia

Fran & Sister

If you think that this article is going to evoke tears think again. My memories of my sister that I want to share with you I hope will make you smile, laugh or just plain feel the fun that we had being sisters. This story will make you understand just why my sister was so amazing, my best friend and had to invest in earplugs or a soundproof room.

I majored in music in college. I played both the violin and the piano and had to take other courses too. Keyboard harmony, transposition, strings, woodwinds and anything that involved the piano I really enjoyed. Opera and classical music having to be able to identify any part of a symphony, sonata or concerto when the professor dropped the needed on the record was really quite challenging but not s challenging as the two courses I dreaded the most: VOICE AND SIGHT SINGING! You have to understand I CANNOT SING! My sister on the other hand started in many musical productions such as Oklahoma, Carousel and the King and I to name few. She had a magnificent voice in the soprano range and she could dance like she was Ginger Rogers. Marcia was talented in all of these areas and I well let me explain.

At the end of the semester everyone had to prepare two programs to sing in front of all of the professors to determine how well you progressed. I progressed but not exactly the way they would like. I have perfect pitch in my head and can tell you if you are sharp or flat or off key. That’s in my head but when the notes come out and the words are sung it’s a whole other story. So, when I attempted to sing an Aria from Madame Butterfly I spoke the words quite well and refrained from torturing the audience. My professor agreed that I had this down pat but not exactly the right way so he agreed that I could create a program for the final that would make me shine in my own way.

You know how some call Help me Howard when they have a story to tell or others call Ghostbusters when they want to rid their homes of unwanted spirits I called Marcia Joyce who I knew could rescue me the same way Jon Taffer rescues bars. So, we sat down together at the piano in my mom’s house and planned what we hoped would be a great four song program to dazzle and wow an audience of about fifty students and five professors. Now, you have to understand that not only did my final grade depend on this program but the audience and the professors would critique it too. The pressure was on to create something spectacular and we did. At least I thought we did!

We practiced the songs with and without the piano just in case they would not let me use the piano to help me with the melody. I was told right before that there would be someone who would accompany everyone but not with the melody but in my case they would make an exception. See! I am special and you will soon learn why! We practiced several hours a day and then when my sister was at work we practiced using the tape she made so that we could work on the program on her lunch hour. She deserved more than just a medal for this.

When the day of the performance arrived I dressed for success or in whatever outfit my mom thought appropriate but that’s another story. I looked great I hoped: Hair, makeup, clothes shoes to perfection my mom and sister said. Too bad Marcia could not be there but I put one of those pocket recorders in my bag and another in my jacket pocket and turned them on before I sang so she could hear just how well I did.

Standing in front of all of these people was terrifying and conferring with the pianist that would play the songs in several different keys scary. They told me in order to see how wide a range my voice had. Well! It had a range but more like the gas jets on an oven or gas range!

For my first selection I chose to sing the song in the key of G with one sharp and then the same selection in C with no sharps or flat. Both major keys. The second selection I chose the key of F major with one flat and then C major again. The third and fourth songs I chose to sing in D major with two sharps and G major with one sharp. I sang all four songs to perfection I think. The audience was stunned. You could hear a pin drop! No one said a word. My professor had to grade my work on the spot and this is what he said:

I realize that your voice is unique and that you had to create a program that would be different. Everyone else sang arias and songs from well known shows or the radio but you sang four songs of your choice and considering the fact that you know you cannot really sing but your instrumental skills are first rate and I know how hard you and your sister worked I am giving you a B+ for your efforts and the same grade in the course. I will even offer you another B+ not to take the next class and just get the credit for it.

I think that was great. So, would you like to know what songs I wowed or stunned the audience with? I bet you are totally curious: For my first selection I sang: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in both Keys that I stated above and if I do say so right on key. I THINK! The next song was Are You Sleeping? In French and English and the third Mary Had A Little Lamb and for my fourth song I chose something more difficult: America. Now are you not impressed! My sister when I called her was totally excited. My mom would have liked an A but she understood that this was more than I hoped for.

My sister and I went shopping that weekend and I bought her the outfit she wanted in her favorite store New York and Company and her favorite bag from Kate Spade. That’s the least I could do for her hard work and effort. Then, we sat down and listened to the tape and wherever she is now she is smiling or laughing or both. Miss you Marcia Joyce.

Your sister and best friend forever: Frani


My Bio:

Fran taught for 36 years in a public school in the Bronx. Fran was the reading and writing staff developer and dean. For many years Fran ran the musical shows and talent performances helping to showcase the glee club, dance groups and music groups in the school. Fran has three master’s degrees in education, reading and learning disabilities and administration and supervision as well as a PD in supervision. She is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Professionals. She had her own network on Blog Talk Radio: MJ network in memory of her sister Marcia Joyce as well as her magazine in MJ magazine. She has written 12 books and is working on her next to hoping to have the release dates in the fall. Fran is an avid reader and loves spotlighting the work of authors when reviewing their books and posting her thoughts all over the net. Fran’s books are on Amazon and here is the link to all of them:

One Man’s Dream: Making A Difference


The True Story About My Grandfather: From Poland to Ellis Island to the Bronx

A Tribute to A Wonderful Man

Making a difference in the lives of everyone he encountered is what Max Jacob Goldberg did the moment he arrived in Ellis Island. It is this special difference that makes a person’s life fulfilled and complete. Respect and understanding for people of all walks of life should be a component instilled in everyone. It is this significant character trait that my grandpa instilled in each member of his family. Throughout his life he was revered by everyone he met, family, business associates and friends. He taught his five children and grandchildren to find the positive and good in everyone. Heritage and upbringing are two key factors that mold and form what a child becomes as an adult. They determine your values about family, education and what is important in life. My grandfather was the most giving, understanding, trusted and honest businessman in the community.

One word defines the character of my grandfather- Humanitarian. His selflessness and courage to better his family and himself is what brought him to America during difficult times. Landing and winding up in Ellis Island was the start of his great adventure. My grandfather could not speak English and when they asked him his name, which was Bocian, he spelled it in Yiddish and could not spell it using our alphabet. Someone asked if he knew anyone or had a relative in America whose name he could use and he said no. They changed his name to Goldberg during the interview and instinctively knew that his new name would bring him new challenges and great things. You see Goldberg means: Mountain of Gold. But, not literally. It just referred to the hard work and diligence he put into everything and trying to survive with five children in a new land and new country.

As an orthodox Jewish man he encountered many obstacles. Married to Fanny his wife, and having five children to support and feed was enough of a challenge for him or anyone else. Being a Sabbath observer he would not work on Saturday and could not get an employment in his vocation as a European tailor. With pride and dignity he did not give in to the pressures of society or wants of others and instead sold apples on a street corner to make ends meet. Eventually, he was able to open his own business. My grandfather was very enterprising from the start.

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My grandmother’s name was Fanny who I am named after. She had four sisters who survived the concentration camps in Poland. Two sisters and Fanny’s parents were brought to America from Poland by my grandfather. Katie and Tillie came from Poland and their parents Tzvia Bella and Joseph Mordecai Cohen as well. Fanny spoke five languages and instilled in her children the importance of being educated and going to school. Both Max and Fanny taught their children Irving, Kenneth, Harry, Tova and Ruth, to always strive for what they wanted and never give up until you succeed. Always working to succeed on your own with the support and guidance of your family is the only route, he felt to being successful. When Fanny passed away, Max was devastated. He no longer had a mother for his five children. Faced with this serious situation he decided to court and finally married the only grandmother I ever knew, her sister Katie. Katie did not walk into a great situation. She had a difficult time making the transition from aunt to mother. A unique and wise woman, she quickly won the love, trust and devotion of all five children that she so rightly deserved. Together they brought up the five children with love, understanding guiding them and supporting each one in whatever they chose to do. With a strong and firm manner my grandfather headed his family and received the respect he deserved from every member.

Throughout his life Max Goldberg, my grandfather, looked for ways to channel his energies to help others. Important to him was the fact that he was Jewish. Going to synagogue on a daily basis made him and fulfilled. Becoming active in the Bronx Jewish Center and donating funds to keep the temple prosperous always brought him joy. When my grandmother, Katie died, he moved in with my parents. My sister and I were thrilled to have him there full time. My mom Ruth and my dad Doc adored him and were so glad that he agreed to come and live with us. He immediately became an important and integral part of the community helping to establish and build a new temple with Rabbi Bulka. Congregation Khal Adath Yeshurun is special to my family and we do everything to support the temple as best we can. The Rabbi and my grandfather became best of friends and the Rabbi enjoyed his many talks with him until he and his wife moved to Israel. Not only did my grandfather donate his time to the temple but any time funds were needed for renovations or anything else he was the first one to make sure things got done. The memorial plagues in his memory are a constant reminder of his everlasting presence.

A child’s most gratifying reward is when a parent or grandparent is proud him/her. He was a grandfather to nine grandchildren. Each one received time that was special with him to discuss and focus on their special goals, needs and endeavors. He encouraged all of us to purse whatever vocation would make our lives fulfilled and most gratifying.

Max Jacob Goldberg touched the lives of many people. Family, friends, relative and anyone that had the honor of knowing him loved him. He was certainly Mr. Goldberg the best European Tailor on Mohegan Avenue in the Bronx. The cleaning store he opened was Arista Cleaners. Arista to him meant the best that someone could attain in school and his store lived up to the name. Goldberg: Mountain of Gold in heart and love for humanity.

I am truly blessed that he was my grandfather and taught me the values that I have today. Helping other people and working to make others succeed brings a smile to my face every time I read and review a book and the author loves what I wrote. He taught me the meaning of giving and my two books on Alzheimer’s and Keeping your Mind and Brain Active were written to raise awareness for a cure for Alzheimer’s and Brain Traumatic Injury with royalties going to two specific organizations. Everyday he would remind me of all that I was understood my strengths and weaknesses and supported me in all that I would do. When he learned I was going in for Education and teaching he beamed. Listening to me practice the piano and violin was one of his favorite parts of his day. He would ask me to wait until he came home so that he could listen to my play and monitor my progress. My grandfather was an important member of his synagogue and the many Rabbis he knew would often call him for advice on many matters concerning the Temple and to join them for important meetings. Just being his granddaughter was special and made me proud till this day.

Although my grandfather and all of his children are gone his values and his teachings live on in myself, my brother, his children and many others in my family. Thank you dear Grandfather you taught us well and you made each of us strong. Learning that family was the most important component of his life he never gave us material things. He showered us with love, guidance and understanding and was always there when we needed him. My grandfather started out with nothing and wound up owning many cleaning stores but even more he was loved by not only his family but by everyone in the community too. Fran Lewis


Bio: Family values and morals are really high on my list of what is important to me. As a child I was never really that popular and often spent my spare time reading books or talking on the phone to some of my friends. Schoolwork was important to me and getting perfect grades paramount to my mom. The one person that was always on my side and my champion was my grandfather. Becoming an educator was my mom and my aunt’s idea as they drummed it into my head from the age of three. (Glad they did). Getting several degrees and working as a reading and writing staff developer still makes smile and me proud. Becoming an author and talk show host was a dare. When I retired because my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I drowned myself in food. My sister asked if I was going to remain an overweight couch potato or do something with my hidden writing talents. She was right and it was a rude awakening. I weighed close to 190 pounds and now weigh 109. Never gained it back and never will. But, she also dared me to review books and that was the start of my first non- paid career that I love. The radio show was the next as April Robins gave me my first spot on Red River Writers. I have written 12 books and the last if The Vanishing Mind of Ruth Swerdloff: IN HER OWN WORDS, and Alzheimer’s Suffer’s Journal. I miss my mom and my sister even more. Giving me the courage to do something that I never thought I could do: RADIO and review books.

Fran Lewis

What’s Next by Fran Lewis


Imagine walking into work one day and being told that you are no longer needed. That your job does not require a human to handle it and although you might be an auto mechanic, electrician, painter or even a teacher you have been replaced by a computer, drone or even a robot. What would you do if you had to start all over again? What would you do if you had to do something else with your life?

You are told that your position no longer exists and that many others have also been phased out due to budget cuts. Computers can do your job faster and younger people have more drive and energy. Your boss states that if you wish to remain in the company you will have to take a pay cut and a demotion in position. A corporate lawyer who is not a partner is offered a job as a paralegal. A Registered Nurse is offered a job as an aide. But, what if the decision was in your hands and you could decide on any career you wanted–even though you are older: what would you do? Where would you look and how would you go about beating out others who might be younger but do not have your knowledge and experience?

Thinking about it, if I had to start over again I guess I might consider going into another field other than education. The way things are going you never know if teachers are going to remain in the classroom or if children might learn more online, from online teachers and or from some form of artificial intelligence. You just never know when you might have to start your life again. Your company, as companies have done in the past, may outsource to other countries, leaving workers here unemployed. Some might even find that their jobs are no longer needed, that others can do more than one task, forcing you to have to move to another area, another company or apply for unemployment.

Forget that I retired early because my mom had Alzheimer’s. Forget that I decided to go into another career as an author, interviewer and editor of a magazine. Before choosing another career I might have to be trained in the new field as well as research the requirements, job availability and age requirements, if there are any. Of course, working for someone much younger might prove uncomfortable as you try to fit into a company where most people are under 40. It might create situations that at times alienate (for example, during times when workers socialize before and after working hour)s. As an educator I worked with people of all ages and found that in some cases the younger teachers were in their own group and the older, middle range not as much. So, what would I do right now if I decided that I wanted another career, had to go back to work in order to make ends meet or just because I wanted to do something other than review books, do radio or my magazine? Good question! I was recently told that I have a great memory for facts and information by an author who I was interviewing who said I recalled more facts about his book and understood the deeper meaning. I would love to do research for a medical company. I would love to learn more about forensic science. Starting over again would be hard for anyone, depending on the reasons. What about if you are forced to move to another state or country for health reasons or because your job insists you work in another area of your company?

Think about this the next time you go to work and realize that things are changing. Maybe people are being forced into early retirement. There might be talk of a company take-over or, worse, the company is going under. What would you do if you had to start over again? What obstacles do you think you would face? How would you overcome them?


Fran Lewis: Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The titles of her new books are Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs, Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 11 titles. Her 12th title: In Her Own Words is in final edits.

She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of her reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina. Here is the link to her radio show www.blogtalkradio.com, Fran is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Educators and Professionals and is the editor of MJ Magazine.

How To Decide What To Read? A Reviewer’s Point of View by Fran Lewis

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As a reviewer I receive numerous requests each week from many different authors to review their titles. However, I do not always agree to review every title that I receive. Panning a book or giving a negative review is not my style. Constructive criticism to a point is valid. Rating books becomes a difficult task at times as everyone wants Five Stars but not every title warrants it. Trying to find some common ground at times is not easy but presenting the author with a fair, honest and straightforward review is my goal. My reviews tend to be detailed but never have any spoilers.

Everyone wants to think that they have the next number one New York Times Best selling novel. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone succeeded! But, let’s be realistic most books are not best sellers but there are some debut authors and less seasoned ones that I can definitely say are on their way. Not every book on the Times best seller list gets five stars from me. Not every storyline is fast paced, cohesive and keeps me glued to the printed page. Not every book peeks my interest and sometimes grammar and spelling errors get in the way of the plot and the flow of the story. In cases where the book does not warrant at least three stars I provide the author with a summary or synopsis of the book and will not post it on Amazon or any site that requires a rating.

Choosing which books to review first was easy at first but became more difficult at the amount of books received increased. At first I would review the titles with the least amount of pages in order to complete them first. That made sense. But, there are few if any titles that have fewer than 300 pages and those that do the font are often small making it harder for me to read. So, I had to resort to a better way of choosing the ones that I felt I wanted to focus on first. Everyone is different and each reviewer has his or her own style of presenting a review and their own turn around time. I love murder mysteries, memoirs, and historical fiction, fiction and have course biographies. I tend to toss aside self-help books, inspirational books and books that are sent to me by publishers that I call surprises or books that show up at my door unexpected and can wait until I get to them. I love reviewing books and there are so many talented authors that have gone unnoticed and whose titles I feel are equal to those on the many bestseller lists.

Reviewing takes commitment, a passion for reading and in my case a private oath that I have taken to present a review that will spotlight every author’s work that I read in a fair, honest and straightforward way. What do I read? What ever I am fortunate to receive? Deciding which to review is often my biggest problem but if I commit to a blog tour, cover reveal of specific site that needs a review within a specific time frame those titles come first because deadlines have to be met and I always meet them. If someone sends me a book in large print it moves to the top of my list. Of course if you are Mark Rubinstein, Ken Weene, Steve Berry or John Lescroart you must might more to the top of my list even faster. But, for those who are not familiar with Mark Sasse you might want to read The Reach of the Banyan Tree. Others who are not familiar with Larry Thompson, Insanity Plea or Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong Series. But, what about authors like Fran Orenstein whose YA titles are first rate or even Christoph Fischer and Time To Let Go! There are so many new authors that have gone unnoticed and authors like Daniel Palmer who should move to the top. No matter what you read or how you choose what you read authors appreciate an honest review. Remember: Not everyone will get Five Stars but that does not mean that your title is not good or that you should stop writing. A mean and negative review is wrong. Reading just a few pages and not completing the novel and reviewing it is not fair to the author. So, how do you choose what you read? What are your favorite books to review? Who are your favorite authors? Success to everyone: Fran

A good challenge is something that I would never shy away from. My sister, MJ or Marcia Joyce dared me to review a cookbook. Now, you have to understand that I don’t cook and have no idea what the knobs on a stove are used for or why they are even there. I am serious. No kidding! My sister thought it was really cool when Martha Cheves suggested that I review her book Stir Laugh and Repeat. I thought it was going to be my first and last attempt at writing a review. But, after reading her book, checking out the cook recipes and then the personal stories she relates about each one, I knew I was up for the challenge. Not only did Martha love my review, but she appreciated my sense of humor when referring myself as a non cook who could just about figure out maybe one of her recipes but the personal stories were priceless. It seems that one review received quite a bit of acclaim and my sister thought after reading and editing my work, which was one of her favorite pastimes, that I just might have a career in this non-paying job and I would make a real name for myself. Not sure if that happened but I have reviewed so many books that I have lost count of the number. My sister then decided to take things one-step further when I told her that I was offered a guest host spot on Red River Writers. Little did I know that I was going to be the host of Book Discussion and Chat Time. With MJ’s guidance and her distinct ability to map out what I should say and how I should say it I managed to get through show one and I guess I must have done something right because I am still a reviewer and still hosting radio shows.

I am dedicating this short piece to MJ’s memory and the fact that it is with her encouragement that I have succeeded today. In her memory I have created MJ magazine for readers, writers and authors and I love interviewing authors on Chat Time on Red River Writers and Book Discussion on The World Of Ink.



Fran Lewis: Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of her new Alzheimer’s book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 11 titles.

Some of Fran’s reviews can be read at Ezine.com and Lunch.com. Her Internet radio show is on Blogtalk.

To find Fran Lewis’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Fran-Lewis/e/B002F8Z87U

To sample her reviews, visit http://tillie49.wordpress.com/

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College Athletes: Why Stress them Out!



Universities spoon feed athletes with gilded promises while also making out checks of gold to them on the sly, oh and perish the thought if the athlete is injured and then suddenly all the help they were promised, for a degree for a profession, by staff dries up – oops! Out of luck! So, what’s a college student to do without the promise of big money, new car and lots of empty promises? Greed sounds about right. Hoping for big money in a contract, thinking that scouts might be interested in them and not realizing that most team owner are mainly focused on making money than being good role models for their players. What would any of these kids do for a million dollar contract or better yet 2 million? Poor examples are not only set by coaches and team owners but by major league players who set the tone for those to come. Going on strike if they do not get that 6 figure contract and big raise they think they deserve. So, what would happen if someone finally put the Cabash on salaries and actually made them work for the pleasure of playing a sport they claim to love?


Young college athletes learn from the best, or the greediest and are so overwhelmed with what they think will be their future they fail to see what is at the end of the yellow brick road: GREED, MONEY AND hopefully good health insurance incase they get hurt. Teachers and doctors work hard to instruct students and save lives and if they went on strike every time their unions did not pay up with big money or insurance companies skimped on payments, what would your nation’s medical care be like. Of yeah: Doctors are not any different than athletes everyone wants more and more money. Why do athletes feel they should be handed everything they want and have to not strife to earn it? Oh Yeah! Because they are athletes, good at what they do or maybe just okay and the school needs the revenue from the games and the concessions to keep the athletic department afloat.


“The pressures faced by young college athletes are too overwhelming and often drive these poor overworked students to drink, take steroids, drugs or even worse have no time for the mundane assignments required of them,” says the head coach of a small college. “Sometimes the pressure,” he continues, “ can be so unbearable, so great that while taking courses like beginning ceramics or pottery in this way they will be able to create their own casts if they have any broken bones remembering that they can put harmful stress on the players fingers and hands, and caution has to be heeded to make sure that they don’t burn themselves when using any of the tools like the kiln or ovens. Making sure they have extra accident insurance would help too. Football players might be offered a course in basic geometry in order to learn the differences between circles, diamonds and triangles and how these shapes might come in handy when reading their play books or formulating new plays. Baseball players might be offered courses in batting practice or hitting a piñata in order to strengthen their arms and enhance their batting averages. Basketball players might profit from the courses in basic shapes in order to be able to tell the difference between a sphere and a circle, which would help them find the hoop.


Athletes put themselves on the line every time they enter the playing field, the basketball court or just enduring a strenuous workout or practice. The academic curriculum and course load puts undue stress and pressure on these young people requiring them to stay up past curfew to study, to assignments and unfortunately have brain overload which might prevent them from doing what they are really in college to do and that is win games.


So, let’s be realistic and come to an understanding of how we as college coaches and college officials can lower the bar for them in order to attain some type of success. Incentives are the answer and eliminating the worry of having to live up to the high GPA of 2.0 is another way to prevent failure and insure that no one will be cut from the team. After all these athletes have a short lifespan on the field and within three or four years they will have outworn their worth and be ready for a more lucrative career working in McDonalds or even pumping gas.


Academic overload is dangerous and these young people should not have to bear the headaches, bodily aches and fear of getting cut from the team when many should have a course load of no more than one or two classes of their choice. But, these athletes provide such pleasure to spectators and bring in the funds that support the athletic department why not pay them for their skills? Getting into college must have been difficult if not traumatic for them until they either got daddy to hand over a big donation to the school or maybe someone wanted a star athlete and looked the other way when viewing their grades. Not every athlete cannot handle the workload but let’s be fair: the average athlete has to do his assignments, practice before and after class and on weekends, have weight training, conditioning and be sleep deprived. So, rather then stress them out the school should fund the bill for tutors to help them with their assignments, a massage therapist to work out their kinks and a heavy paycheck to make it worth their time. Minimum wage would not suffice after all they can get that working in Burger King or Subway. The colleges might even want to come up with pay scale based on athlete productivity, which team wins the most games and pay players accordingly. Incentives do work and paying them to score big points, practicing and doing the job they came to college for seems to be a step in the right direction.


Sports for profit that’s what it has come down too. If actors can demand their fair share of the million dollar pie then why shouldn’t young athletes get paid some big bucks too after all child stars get money to star in movies so why not pay for their services too. After all it’s only temporary. How long can they last? Legs, arms and bodies burn out, muscles can be strained, discs can rupture and even worse trigger thumb or finger from signing autographs. It’s all about money: Education needs to take a back page to the importance of paying a young superstar what he is worth. Is it really sports for profit? Have we lost sight of why people enter the sports arena? What happened to playing football, basketball and other sports because you have a passion for it? Money, Greed, Five Star Contracts and maybe even a stint as a host on ESPN. Is that what being an athlete has become? What’s Your Opinion?

 Fran Lewis


Fran Lewis: Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of my new Alzheimer’s book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 11 titles.

She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of my reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina. Here is the link to her radio show www.blogtalkradio.com,

Monica Brinkman and Fran Lewis on Radio Shows


So You Think You Want to Be An Internet Radio Show Host

by Monica Brinkman

Many people have shown interest in creating their own radio show. Nothing wrong there—Internet radio is an excellent source of communication and entertainment.  In fact, we the hosts of It Matters radio entered into the business with a purpose—to provide exposure for the many talented musicians, writers and artists and to offer open communication on meaningful topics. Great idea, right?
So, you sit there fantasizing of the fame, the glory, the thrill and the excitement of it all: Your name spread across the internet, thousands flocking to be a guest on your show, even more thousands listening.  What a lark; what joy, what fun. After all, how difficult could it be?
Let me put it this way; to be successful as a radio host you need a spark of masochism, nerves of steel, and a very broad sense of humor. If you are the type who gets their feathers easily ruffled, if you cannot handle stress or change, let alone lack of a decent night’s sleep…do not…I repeat…do not even consider this venture. 
You will spend hours seeking show guests, researching topics, reading books and articles, listening to music, visiting web-sites, creating show pages and communicating with guests, fans and supporters. Then you have the inevitable marketing of the show itself. Remember, there are thousands of broadcasts; so if you do nothing to promote your show, no one will attend and you’ll be talking to dead air.  It is up to you to spread the word, to believe in the quality of your broadcast and to happily share the information with others.
Sound like a full time job to you? That may be because it is.  One more thing, you had better have a bit of personality and have it come through in your voice. No one wants to listen to someone drone on and on in a monotone voice. You are bringing entertainment to the audience; no matter what topic you discuss, it is entertainment and it is up to you to make darn sure it is worth a listen.
Believe me, it is not something everyone is able to pull off and on a continual basis. You must love what you are doing; have a purpose or it will show in your broadcasts. I do not say this to dissuade anyone from taking on this venture, but to let you know that along with the joy and fun it takes true dedication and the willingness to put your own needs aside. So, if you love people and can put your ego away, you might have what it takes to host an Internet radio broadcast.
Okay, a little about It Matters, Live talk Radio at Its Best. Our number one rule: Our show is about our guests, not us. We believe if you are having a guest on the show, you show disrespect if you won’t take the time to listen to their music, read their book, learn about their product, service, or investigate and learn of their topic of conversation. If you don’t value your guests’ work, don’t insult them by having them on the show; and don’t insult your audience by sharing something you hold in such little esteem. You will not find our hosts asking you to buy their product or service, even though we consist of three authors and a well-known name in the entertainment industry.  Of course we offer advice, support and occasionally another host may offer a tidbit about a host’s article or new book release—not to sell ourselves, but as a gesture of friendship.
It Matters believes in embracing humanity through music, the arts and open communication. We put our personal beliefs aside and offer a variety of topics to our listeners. You’ll find music a part of every show along with special guests–be they actors, comedians, artists, non-profit organizations, authors or well-known celebrities. No matter who is a guest on a broadcast, every one of them is afforded equal respect and becomes part of our It Matters family for the evening.
We love to have fun. We adore laughter and we believe it good for the soul to chuckle at oneself every now and again. Some topics will be dead serious such as Child Abuse, Animal Cruelty, and Bullying while others will tug at your heart or just make you feel fantastic. You’ll meet country bumpkin Ola Mae, the Sexy Single Sadie, Psychic Madame Alana Obynskea and many other colorful characters who seem to call in at the most inappropriate moments. 
It Matters also feels our listeners are very important and we honestly love and adore them. To show our appreciation, It Matters holds many contests and give-a-ways and invites everyone who wishes to receive our weekly newsletter penned by Kenneth Weene. We never take our fans, listeners and supporters for granted. We want to know what they are doing, what they like, and what matters to them.
In the end, it is worth every single bit of labor, time, and effort to be able to work with Co-hosts Kenneth Weene, Brenda Brown of Brenda Brown Entertainment, and Ms. Kerry Hall. It is a delight to speak with such diverse and informed guests. Each show teaches us something new and opens our eyes to other possibilities.
We invite you to be part of our It Matters family, Thursday evenings 9PM ET @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/itmatters or call in @ 213-769-0952
In ending, I applaud the hosts of all Internet radio shows and appreciate the variety of content they bring us.  Perhaps you will become a part of this wonderful entertaining outlet. Just be prepared to work.


Radio: Who Me? by Fran Lewis

Imagine the first time you are on the air and have to interview an author. Even though no one can see your face or you does not mean that your heart is not beating fast, your pressure is rising and you pray that everything goes as planned. When April Robbins suggested that I host a radio show on Blog Talk Radio I accepted the challenge after reading one of my Bertha stories live on her show. Never ever thinking that this quite, shy and reserved girl from the Bronx would ever be a radio talk show host no less star, not only surprised my mother at the time but before she passed away my sister too.

I think the hardest part was deciding whom to interview, what type of show I wanted, and how to relate to an audience that I couldn’t see. The first season of Book Discussion with Fran Lewis, started on March 16th 2010. The format was quite different from what it is now. I had several authors that read the book of the author I was interviewing. I created questions that I wanted to ask and interspersed them with the questions of five other authors, who had agreed to be on my discussion panel for the show. Each panelist asked the featured author three questions. This worked well for the first few shows until one or two of the panelists wanted to ask more questions. Not wanting to insult anyone, I asked my assistant to call time after the third question was asked. After the next few shows, I realized that I would have to take the reins and tighten the format—to have better control of the show in order to highlight the work of my featured guest authors.

I changed formats. Rather than having a panel I invited one guest author to ask some questions of the featured author after I had asked my own questions. This worked well for a while. My assistant at the time was an avid reader, and after all of the questions were asked and answered. we had a great discussion among the four of us for the remainder of the two hours.

 However, things change and assistants do, too. I was lucky to get Bethany Cross as my new assistant and we developed our own show and created a rhythm that until this day is unbeatable. The authors whom I am honored to feature and interview receive the questions way in advance in order to know what is going to be asked. I never blindside anyone. Since many of the authors are NY Times Bestselling authors and will not always answer plot questions that are too detailed, this makes it easier for me to revise the questions and create new ones if the author requests.

The shows vary, my sense of humor does shine through, I love when the conversation gets stimulating and the authors enjoy being on the show. Many who are apprehensive at first warm up after a few minutes and you never know what anyone is going to say so you have to be ready for the unexpected. For example: the day I was doing Mystery Thursday and someone was playing classical music in the background. We never found out who it was or where it came from so I just made a joke and said it was my piano teacher reminding me to practice my scales and my sonatas before my next lesson. Doing life shows is full of little challenges. There are even times you get knocked off and have to call back.

The greatest compliment I have received from some of the authors is asking to book another show and interview while on the air. Many have been return guests, and they are also now among my personal friends.

 Doing this show has really made a positive impact on my life and I hope a positive one on the authors too. I have had the honor of having Kenneth Weene as part of many of my shows, Peggy Greene, and of course my very first author that agreed to let me interview her, Dellani Oakes. Marsha Cook has encouraged me to continue on the World of Ink and we have fun and laugh doing shows together.

Book Discussion is strictly about the work of the guest authors. I read, evaluate and really try to develop questions that highlight the theme, message and thoughts being conveyed by the author. If we laugh, smile and have fun: that is a real plus. I prefer having no call ins because I want to focus on the author and prefer asking the questions myself unless I invite a surprise guest or an author is in the chat room and asks to call in.  Radio is fun, challenging and every show is different. I truly hope that I can do this for many more years and spotlight the work of so many talented authors. 

Book Discussion is just one show that I am doing. Starting September 18th I will begin Chat Time with Fran on Red River Writer’s Network. That first show Jon Land will chat with me about his latest release, “Strong Rain Falling”, his career, and give authors some valuable writing tips that he shared with readers in my new magazine M.J. Magazine. So, please listen. Join in the chat room, in the discussion and be part of the fun.