It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Lisa Batch


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The premise for The First Song is, peace is obtainable through open communication. In the case of this children’s book, peace was obtained in the jungle village 30,000 years ago by singing together; people with people of other ethnicities, and animals with animals, and people with animals. All the jungle inhabitants bonded in friendship while singing together, the first song ever made up! There were very few howls and growls anymore, and best of all, there was no killing each other. These new friends discovered other means of survival.

lisa headshot

Lisa Batch is the author and illustrator of this story, which is the third book she’s written. She’s also composed three songs, to add another dimension to The First Song, that have been professionally arranged, and are available through ASCAP.
Lisa Batch’s background is in the music industry. A native of Newton, MA, Lisa moved to NYC and completed her schooling at Professional Children’s School and American Musical & Dramatic Academy, before performing on Broadway and as a headliner on international cruise lines. Lisa is a mother and grandmother who splits the year between her homes in RI and FL, where she lives peacefully with her wonderful husband, Herb.
Visit Lisa’s website,  or follow her on Twitter and Facebook
Her book is discounted 10% through December 15, when ordered through her website.
Recommendations: “The First Song teaches compassion and open communication. It’s an absolute winner!” – Wayne Barber, Host of WNRI Author’s Hour
The First Song is a miraculous yet believable story of a peaceful world. This is storytelling with great heart.” – Charlotte Burnham, Youth Services Librarian, Rogers Free Library, Bristol, RI
GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of The First Song to one lucky winner. Just comment below to be entered. The winner will be chosen at random, and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.
Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo
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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Leah DeCesare


 

For the past few years, I’ve had intermittent intentions of getting a “real” job, but writing keeps winning out and dabbling in applying for corporate jobs fizzles away. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do and I’m finally living that dream. As I was updating my Linked-In profile and my resume a couple of years ago, I discovered a thread that links my divergent and seemingly unrelated career and volunteer paths: Empowerment. Before recognizing this life theme, I’d written my debut novel which is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves.

 I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that my character, Amy York’s, dad sends her off to Syracuse University with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.” 


That idea sat with me for decades, but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth. In the end, I had a story about friendship and learning to believe in oneself.

I feel strongly about bolstering and helping people to have true self-love and confidence, especially girls/women who often don’t get the same messages as boys/men from society, family, and media. How can we step out into the world and grab hold of what we want in life without believing in ourselves? It’s critical.
I’ve been a Big Sister to a young woman, now twenty-three, since she was seven years old and it’s something we’ve worked on consistently. I facilitate leadership experiences for collegiate women, middle school girls, and older women in various life stages and the time we share is often described as “life-changing,” and I know that’s because we all need to hear messages of empowerment and strength. Messages that tell us it’s not only okay to prioritize ourselves and our desires, but that it’s essential to our health and happiness. By going after our own dreams, we in turn model the way and empower our daughters, our friends, our peers.
As I’ve met with and heard from readers of Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I’m proud that I continue to hear sentiments such as: “This should be required reading for all young women,” “Every high school and college graduate should be reading this book,” “I will be getting this book for the young women in my life.” To me, that means the message I hold dear is coming through and being shared and that’s a joy to any writer.

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS and the nonfiction parenting series NAKED PARENTING, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. 

Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel. 
Visit Leah’s website, find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagramBookbub, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering one signed copy of Forks, Knives, and Spoons  plus one of the T-shirts pictured above (Men’s sizes M, L, or XL). Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contac you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Regina Andrews


Spotlight on Love

Ever-dutiful, Nurse Helen Middleton is a successful Emergency Room Supervisor at Rhode Island Hospital in December, 1941. To help her family through tough economic times, she has sacrificed her dreams of a singing career for steadier employment.

Things change when she meets William ‘Red’ Williamson, a dynamic and compelling man she finds irresistible. As they to get to know each other, Helen considers following her musical dreams and a new world of romance and song seems to be opening up to her.

Then, the horrors of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 change the world and throw Red and Helen into the danger and chaos of wartime. Will Helen’s dreams be shattered by World War II or will the power of love triumph over all the obstacles in their way?

Spotlight on Love is actually based on the author’s parents’ love story. Her mother was a nurse in World War II and her father coordinated the Postal Service in Algeria during the war. As a child (and older!), Regina listened to their stories over and over again.

 

Gina Andrews

Award-winning author Regina Andrews, a resident of Providence, RI, grew up in the nearby seaside village of Barrington. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her master’s Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. The author of numerous works, Regina is currently working on the Sterling Lakes Series. In November 2010, Destiny’s Designs won the AKW Books 2010 eBook of the Year award for Fiction. Her hobbies include travel, museums, theater, reading, music singing and gardening.

Regina is involved in numerous community organizations, and is a radio host for In-Sight, an association for the visually impaired. She and her husband share their home with a semi-feral cat named Queen Tiana, whom they rescued from a shelter.

Visit Regina’s website and subscribe to her blog!

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of Spotlight on Love to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only for print copy of the book – everyone is eligible to win an ebook.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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November is RI Authors Month! (well, at least on my blog)


Again this year, as a lead-up to the Fifth Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo, I’ll be featuring a different RI author on this blog. (The Year of Living Minimally posts will continue on Fridays, too.)

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about an author you may or may not know. Many of the authors are also giving away a book, and all you need to do to enter is comment on the post! Here in tiny Rhode Island we have hundreds of authors – some with one book written, some with many. Genres include romance, history, horror, literary, memoir. There’s something for everyone.

So I hope you enjoy the coming month’s posts and get to know some fabulous authors!

Best Friends



Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts, October 1994
Marry your best friend.

I do not say that lightly.

Really, truly find the strongest,

Happiest friendship

In the person you fall in love with.

Someone who speaks highly of you.

Someone you can laugh with.

The kind of laughs that make

Your belly ache, and your nose snort.

The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.

Wit is important.

Life is too short not to love someone

Who lets you be a fool with them.

Make sure they are somebody

Who lets you cry, too.

Despair will come.

Find someone that you want

To be there with you

Through those times.

Most importantly,

Marry the one that makes passion,

Love, and madness combine

And course through you.
A love that will never dilute –

Even when the waters get deep, and dark.

~Anonymous 

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Fourteen



Yes, there’s stuff – a ceramic dog, a broken chair, a heavy glass ashtray. We filled the St. Vincent de Paul donation bin, and we filled the dumpster, too. We’ve hauled bags and boxes to the curb, where ‘pickers’ have picked and taken their share. We had walls painted and carpet installed.

I’m writing this post on Wednesday morning (10/18). Four weeks since my father-in-law died unexpectedly. Nearly four weeks since we began this massive clear-out. The house is almost ready. We’ve been so busy, every day. 

We’ve reduced Ray’s house to a shell. 45 years of living, making memories, gone. Ready for someone else to breathe life into it.


Our footsteps echo throughout the empty rooms. On Thursday, we contacted our realtor and locked the door behind us. 


Now, I turn back to our own home. Next week’s post will focus on whatever I can manage to accomplish. One thing I am sure of – living minimally is the way to go.

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Thirteen



A quarter of the way through this year-long project. The focus is still on ‘the other house.’ But what a lot of work has been done in just a few weeks’ time! Seven rooms, an attic, a basement, and a garage. Donations and discarding. Discarding isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.

Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists posted this (excerpt): “Initially, I didn’t want to let go of anything. If you’ve ever lost a parent, a loved one, or been through a similarly emotional time, then you understand exactly how hard it was for me to let go of any of those possessions. So instead of letting go, I wanted to cram every trinket, figurine, and piece of oversized furniture into that storage locker in Ohio, floor to ceiling. That way I knew that Mom’s stuff was there if I ever wanted it, if I ever needed access to it for some incomprehensible reason. I even planned to put a few pieces of Mom’s furniture in my home as subtle reminders of her.”

We felt the same way – Jim had the emotional ties, I was being practical (don’t toss it if it can be used). But the clothes, the coats, the hangers, the photographs, the curios, each item held a small memory for my husband. The memories would remain, even without all the stuff.

We are not defined by what we own. Not by the car we drive, or the square footage of our house or apartment. We’re not measured by our possessions. There is joy in knowing some things will be put to use by others.

In California, some folks have literally minutes to evacuate their homes. Minutes! What do you grab? (My external hard drive – it holds my books and my wannabe books).

As Joshua noted, he didn’t need his mom’s stuff to remind him of her. We don’t need Ray’s houseful of stuff to fuel our memories. 

I began this project by tackling little things – a couple of drawers in the bathroom, the kitchen. I donated some books, some clothes. Larger projects await me in my own house (the garage, my writing space), but I’m ready.