Worship in the City

Jesus Walks on City Streets by Linda Bonney OlinFaith Songs for People Where They Are

Shepherds and lambs … lakes and rivers … bountiful harvests of golden wheat … crowded sidewalks and grungy alleys—Wait a minute! When was the last time you sang about those in church?

Probably never. Yet city pavements, not rural pastures, are the everyday surroundings of millions of Christians.

Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Hardy, a retired minister and a city resident herself, saw that the urban viewpoint was severely underrepresented in existing hymnals. Supported by the 2013 McGeachy Senior Scholarship, Nancy launched a quest to fill that void. She wrote prayers and selected songs whose themes and imagery resonate with city dwellers.

The resulting book, Worship in the City: Prayers and Songs for Urban Settings, was just released by United Church Publishing House. Although this hymnal was published for the United Church of Canada, urban congregations of any denomination will find it a rich resource for public and private worship.

You can check out the paperback edition at United Church Resource Distribution or the ebook edition at Amazon and other online retailers.

A Faith Songs Milestone

I’m celebrating Worship in the City for a personal reason, too. It’s the first appearance of my work in a church hymnal. What an exciting milestone! One more evidence that the Lord keeps his promises.

Worship in the CityNew hymnals aren’t produced every five minutes like novels, anthologies, or magazines, so opportunities to submit new hymn texts for publication in a hymnal are few and far between. When Nancy Hardy’s project was mentioned last year in The Verse (the newsletter of the Hymn Society in the United States & Canada), submitting a text for her consideration went right onto my to-do list.

Unfortunately, not one of the dozens of hymn texts I’d already written featured an urban theme. I challenged myself to create one. Although I’m a country gal, my visits to metropolitan areas from Houston to Boston, including Toronto, Philly, and of course the Big Apple, furnished memories to work from. “Jesus Walks on City Streets” became a four-verse meditation on living as a member of the community of faith in a city environment. Louis J. Herold’s tune MESSIAH (familiar as the tune of “Take My Life, and Let It Be”) provided the musical setting, with a few timing tweaks to make my lyrics more singable. To my delight, “Jesus Walks on City Streets” was placed in the Hope and Healing section of Worship in the City.

I love being inspired to write a new hymn to meet a particular need. Can you suggest a hymn or faith song that begs to be written? Please share your ideas in a comment below. Or just stop and say hi. I love that too!

~ Linda

Is Lent “Biblical”?

I’m dismayed by the notion that the season of Lent is “unbiblical,” “pagan,” and an all-around work of the devil. Everyone is entitled to his own understanding, of course. But …

I’ve seen online rants condemning Lent as a pagan practice because the date of Easter (hence Lent, which falls on the 40 days prior to Easter) is determined by the spring solstice. Some folks condemn Lent out of hand because they (incorrectly, says this Methodist) view it as a “Catholic thing” and they are against all things Catholic. Others blame Lent for the ugly excesses of Mardi Gras, which makes as much sense to me as condemning Christian observance of Christmas because people get drunk and misbehave at Christmas parties.

A person of sincere Christian faith once informed me that Lent is unbiblical because it is not named or observed in the Bible. Yet I believe his church acknowledges the legitimacy of Christmas and Easter, which also are not named or observed in the Bible. Of course, Christ’s birth and resurrection are recorded in scripture. But the annual observances of those important events, which we call Christmas and Easter, are not. Yet who wouldn’t agree that Christmas and Easter are wonderful and spiritually uplifting occasions? Never mind whatever historical connection to paganism there might be in practices like Christmas trees and Easter eggs—the fundamental nature of the occasion is biblical and Christ-honoring.

Matthew 4:1-11The same is true of the annual observance which many churches call Lent. This wonderful, spiritually uplifting season commemorates the 40-day period of fasting and prayer that Jesus Christ undertook in preparation for his journey to the cross. Like his birth and resurrection, this is an important biblical event, recorded in Matthew 4:1–11. Like Christmas and Easter, Lent should not be discredited as unbiblical because the annual commemoration began after the Bible was written, nor should it be attacked because some of the practices associated with it had pagan origins or are sometimes conducted in ways that do not honor the Lord God.

Honoring the Lord God, in my opinion, is what truly counts here. I urge Christians of all denominations and traditions to simply take time during the coming weeks to prayerfully prepare for the journey to the cross. Reflect upon the sacrifice the Lord Jesus Christ made there for the glory of God and your salvation. In response, consider what sacrifice you might make to bring glory to God the Father and do good for your neighbor.

To help you do that, I hope you’ll read Giving It Up for Lent, no matter what your faith tradition. If you want to explore the concept of Lenten sacrifice for the first time, check it out. If you’ve already been observing Lent and you want to breathe new life into stale or shallow Lenten practices, check it out. It includes lots of Bible references for the tradition of worshipful sacrifice. You can find information on my book page.

You can receive a free PDF copy of Giving It Up for Lent (or one of my other books if you prefer) just for the asking from now until Monday, February 9, 2015. I made that offer to the folks who are reading Dr. Terry Dorsett’s interview of yours truly, on Next Generation Evangelistic Network’s blog. Hop on over there to read the interview and hop back here to request your free book.

For another explanation of Lent, see BibleGateway’s blog post. BibleGateway.com is a wonderful resource for scripture study.

As always, I invite you to post comments and questions below.


Al Zimmer Comes to Call

Years ago, when a television news show discussed Alzheimer’s disease, my mother misheard the name as “Al Zimmer’s disease.” It became a running gag in our family to refer to a spell of forgetfulness as a visit from Al Zimmer. The joke lost its humor six years ago. That was when we learned that Al Zimmer had come to call on my father and had taken up permanent residence.

When the doctor informed Dad that he had Alzheimer’s disease, Al Zimmer translated this to Dad as, “We want you to take extra pills to make you smarter.” There was no point in trying to correct him. When Al Zimmer holds his hands over Dad’s ears, the facts have little chance of filtering through his fingers. When Al Zimmer plants a lopsided idea in Dad’s head, you can’t pry it out with the proverbial crowbar.

From time to time, though, my father’s big heart evicts the uninvited guest—at least temporarily. One such occasion was my niece Angie’s wedding, the year after Dad’s diagnosis. Continue reading

After the Cross: Mary the Mother of Jesus

White cross on dark blue backgroundApril 8, 2014

I certainly didn’t intend a five-week gap between posts in my series about how people close to Jesus were transformed by his resurrection. But a few hours after I posted the meditation about the Apostle John, way back on Ash Wednesday, my mother was unexpectedly hospitalized. I hit the road to my parents’ home in Maine the next day. A month of turmoil later, I’m sitting in their kitchen, alone with my laptop and my thoughts about recent evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness—the same faithfulness Mary trusted through thick and thin.

Mary, as far as I can see, never doubted that the Lord God would fulfill all his amazing promises. She pondered and praised and treasured and obeyed, but never doubted. When she asked the angel Gabriel how she, a virgin, could birth the Savior, I hear surprised curiosity rather than skepticism in her question. Even at the cross, her faith did not falter. Of all Jesus’ family, friends, and followers, Mary alone watched her son suffer and die without losing confidence in the Lord God’s word that Jesus was the promised savior. She simply waited to see how—not if—the promise would be fulfilled.

In Mary the Mother of Jesus, Transformed, Mary strengthens John after the crucifixion by revealing her knowledge of God’s plans for Jesus. Even Jesus’ death, painful as it had been, couldn’t quench her faith.

MARY:  It’s not necessary for servants to understand their master’s plans, John. A faithful servant obeys his master and trusts his promises.

JOHN:  Are you suggesting that Jesus’ death is part of the Lord’s kingdom promise? (He shakes his head.) How could such a thing be?

MARY:  Do you remember the angel Gabriel’s answer to that question?

JOHN:  “The Lord God is able to bring it about. Nothing is impossible with God.” But—

MARY:  I know. Jesus’ death doesn’t make any sense, not to us. But his conception and birth didn’t make any sense either.

JOHN (wryly):  That’s true enough.

MARY:  Besides, look how generously our master in heaven has favored you and me with personal glimpses of his plans for the future. Shall we repay such extraordinary gifts with anything less than our complete trust?


August 11, 2014

Yes, it’s been four months since I started to write this post. When I began, I was sitting alone in my parents’ kitchen for the first time ever because, by the grace of God, I had been able to settle them into an assisted living facility in record time after Ma’s latest discharge from the hospital. I expected to do a little cleanup at the house, chauffeur her to another medical appointment or two, then drive home on the weekend to get my farm bookkeeping caught up before driving back to Maine for her next round of tests and procedures. But, Friday afternoon I arrived at an office too late to transact a piece of business for my parents, and I had to postpone my trip home. So I was still in town when the call came Saturday morning. My mother was in an ambulance en route to the emergency room.

She was barely responsive when I arrived. I didn’t know what to think, what to expect, what to do. Least of all, what to say. I asked if she’d like me to pray her rosary for her. She nodded, or at least I thought she did. Somehow the words bubbled up from my memory and out of my mouth. Fifty Hail Mary’s, ten at a time. Five Our Father’s and Glory Be’s. I probably missed something, but I don’t suppose the Lord held it against me.

The priest came in to give Ma the Anointing of the Sick. Doctors spoke to me, each grimmer than the last. It finally sank in. Ma wasn’t going to pull through this time.

I prayed to Jesus, as one child to another, asking him to deal as lovingly with my mother as he had dealt with his own. Hadn’t he put aside his agony on the cross to place his dear mother into John’s care? Now I placed my dear Ma into Jesus’ care. If not to heal her, at least to ease her journey to heaven.

A very short time later, she slipped away from this life, her hand clasped in mine.

I imagine Jesus, with great big smile, handing his good and faithful servant an Express Pass to Glory, to collect her reward for 84 years of devoted service. I think of the many blessings that fell into place for her and Dad over her last months—evidence of the heavenly master’s generous favor. Yes, my prayers were answered, long before they were uttered.

There’s so much more to tell, but I haven’t had the heart to write about it. Finishing this post is a start.

For more about my mother, Theresa Bonney:
Faith of Our Mothers

For more about Mary the mother of Jesus:

For more on Mary the Mother of Jesus, Transformed:
Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas

Please post a comment to commiserate, console, or converse. I’d love to hear from you.


After the Cross: Simon Peter

White cross on dark blue backgroundWhere was Simon Peter on Good Friday?

I have no idea where the “senior statesman” of Jesus Christ’s apostles spent that day. But the Bible gives us a pretty good idea where he wasn’t. Peter isn’t among those mentioned at the foot of the cross, watching Jesus suffer and die. John was there. Some of the women, too. But not Peter.

So, what happened to the man who had assured Jesus, “I will never desert you,” and, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you”?
Matthew 26:33-35 (NRSV)

Mere hours after that brash declaration, Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter’s first impulse when the mob swarmed in was to swing his sword in his master’s defense. His display of bravado totally failed to rescue Jesus. What’s more, Jesus put a stop to it and even healed a fellow whose ear Peter had sliced off. Peter stood helpless as Jesus was bound and dragged away.

Peter followed at a distance. While Jesus was questioned by the authorities, he stood with a group of people warming themselves around a fire outside. I suspect that no amount of heat could have chased away the chill that settled into Peter’s heart.

Then, the betrayal.

One person, then another, and another accused Peter of being a follower of Jesus. Peter vehemently denied them all. Then Peter recalled how Jesus had predicted his betrayal. Jesus had even foreseen that Peter would deny him three times. Peter broke down and ran, weeping with shame, into the anonymous darkness.

Imagine Peter sobbing in his hiding place that night, overwhelmed by guilt, shame, and fear. He must have replayed his cowardly betrayal over and over in his mind. The shame was multiplied by his having crowed to Jesus in front of his fellow apostles that HE wouldn’t fall away, even if all of THEM did!

I wonder if Peter told himself that, wait a minute, he’d had good reason to be afraid! Those soldiers meant business, and the Jewish leaders were out for Jesus’ blood. Jesus knew that. They’d had words over it before. You can’t protect someone who refuses to be protected. Why did Jesus always have to squelch Peter’s efforts to save his neck, and embarrass him with reprimands besides? Why shouldn’t Peter be smarter, and save himself at least?

Imagine fresh guilt sweeping over Peter for even thinking such thoughts.

Did he sink at last into exhausted sleep? Or did his emotional turmoil keep him awake until dawn?

The new day brought Peter’s worst fears into being. Jesus, tortured and mocked. Forced up the road to Golgotha, bleeding and falling. Crucified. Taunted. Pierced with a spear. Taken down from the cross, dead.

Did Peter witness those events? Was he too overwhelmed to face any of it? Did he stay holed up for fear of being arrested too, perhaps straining for bits of information from passing conversations, hoping yet fearing to know Jesus’ fate?

What was Simon Peter doing, thinking, and feeling after the cross and before the resurrection?

Meditate on this question. Especially if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by guilt, fear, and shame.

Be encouraged by the one thing we know about Simon Peter’s whereabouts on Friday and Saturday: He did not follow Judas Iscariot down the one-way path of despair after betraying his beloved Lord. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Sunday, Peter was back in the company of Jesus’ family and disciples. Along with them, he experienced the amazement and joy of the Lord’s victory over death. He was forgiven for his failings. He was—transformed!

Learn more of Peter’s story in Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas. The first script in this collection of half-hour one-act plays is Simon Peter, Transformed. Simon Peter’s appearance on a TV news show is comically interrupted by his brother, Andrew, who proceeds to “help” Peter explain to the hard-nosed interviewer how the brash betrayer became a solid rock of faith.

And please join me at the online Book Launch Party for Transformed on Facebook on February 22, 2014. HINT: The previous paragraph of this post might help you win a prize at the party!

Click here and then click the “Join” button to join the event. You can do that ahead of time. Please invite your friends who might like my dramas. Then visit the event page on February 22 to wish me well, answer trivia questions for giveaways, and get info about 50% book discounts.

Now, don’t forget to leave a reply on this page. Comments warm a blogger’s heart. In this weather, I need all the warmth I can get! <3



Who Doesn’t Love Books and Bargains?

Greetings from Faith Songs!

I almost feel as if I should introduce myself, after my two-month absence from Faith Songs. As many of you know, my parents’ health needs take me away from home (and away from my high-speed Internet) for weeks at a time, and that was the case for most of December and part of January. When I got home, my first priority (okay, second—after smooching my husband) was the farm bookkeeping. Besides the usual accounts payable/receivable and payroll, January is prime time for annual business reports, employer reports, tax reports, lender reports, Workers Comp audit reports—you get the idea. Squeezed in writing and submitting a few new hymns and devotions. No time for blogging.

New release: Transformed

Book cover TRANSFORMED: 5 Resurrection Dramas by Linda Bonney OlinWhen the bookkeeping finally hit a lull between deadlines, the Holy Spirit shifted me into high gear to get my latest drama book published. I polished the content, cover, and interior design to a high gloss with the help of my wonderful beta readers. The paperback edition of Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas rolled onto the cyber-shelves at  Amazon and CreateSpace the last week of January, and the Kindle version went up on Amazon shortly afterwards. Stay tuned for information about a Book Launch Party (exclusive giveaways, discounts, fun trivia, and who knows what-all) on Facebook. Hopefully I can get that scheduled before the book and I both curl up and yellow with age.

But, first!

My Holy Ghostwriter poked me to share some thoughts about the Bible characters in Transformed. I say “characters” because that’s what you call people in a play, but these were real people, even though the premises of the dramas are fictional (at least, I’m pretty sure none of the apostles ever appeared on a TV talk show!). In fact, the five lead characters were among Jesus Christ’s closest family and friends: his mother, Mary, and his brother James; the apostles Simon Peter and John; and his devoted disciple Mary Magdalene.

The five dramas portray how they were transformed by Jesus’ resurrection. But what about the soul-wrenching days that led up to it? What was each of those individuals doing, and thinking, and feeling after Jesus died, before news came that he’d risen from the tomb, alive? We tend to treat Holy Saturday like a blank page between Good Friday and Easter. That page deserves to be examined more closely before we turn it. That will be the focus of an upcoming series of posts here at Faith Songs.

Book Resources for Lent

In the meantime, I invite you to check out Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas on Amazon or CreateSpace. It offers drama, comedy, music—and best of all, life-changing truth.

Book cover of Giving It Up for Lent: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion by Linda Bonney OlinAnd don’t forget my other Lent resources: The Sacrifice Support Group: A Dramatic Comedy for Lent and Giving It Up for Lent: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion. ’Tis the season! Ash Wednesday is March 5, 2014.

Chances are, you’re not one of the few people who shop for church play scripts and Bible study materials for a church group. But my tribe (that’s you!) can pass the message to the people in your church who do buy them—pastors, worship leaders, drama teams, small group leaders, adult Sunday School teachers. Please do whatever you can to help me get the word to those folks. If you’re not a church person yourself, you probably know one or two you can mention it to.

Yes, the post title said “Bargains”

Trumpet fanfare! My Book Launch Party for Transformed will unveil a discount code of 50% on all my Christian drama books and Bible study workbooks. The code will be valid only on paperback editions, only at CreateSpace.com, and only on the Launch Party dates.

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Book Launch: Lenten Bible Studies and Drama

Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

Book cover of Giving It Up for Lent by Linda Bonney OlinThat Bible verse serves as the epigram in the three books exploring Lenten sacrifice I launched this week:

Giving It Up for Lent—Leader Guide: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion

Giving It Up for Lent—Workbook: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion

The Sacrifice Support Group: A Dramatic Comedy for Lent

It might seem strange to talk about Lent in December. After all, Ash Wednesday won’t roll around again until March 5, 2014. But I hope my helpful readers will pass the information about my new books to whoever organizes Bible studies, dramas, and supper programs for their churches. They may be preparing next year’s programs now.

Speaking of preparation, today is the first Sunday of Advent, and Advent and Lent are sister seasons of spiritual preparation.

During the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, Christians around the world remember the time when God’s people waited—not weeks, but centuries!—for the Savior God had promised. We traditionally read Bible passages from Old Testament prophets including Isaiah, Samuel, Jeremiah, and Micah, and gospel accounts, especially Luke, that shed light on that promise and its fulfillment in the coming (“advent”) of Jesus. His arrival as a baby in Bethlehem is a joyful occasion, so Advent meditations carry a hopeful note.

During the forty days of Lent, Christians prepare to mark the final fulfillment of the salvation promise, in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Although Lent ends with a victory celebration on Easter Sunday, the horrific circumstances of Jesus’s suffering and death give Lenten meditations a solemn tone. As we read the Bible accounts, we wonder, how can we make ourselves worthy of Jesus’ willing sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins? We can’t, of course. But we can reflect on it, with gratitude. And try, in our own small way, to emulate his spirit of self-sacrifice for the good of others and the glory of God.

Giving It Up for Lent and The Sacrifice Support Group might just help folks do that. So please, pass the word!

No matter what your faith, may you find peace, renewal, and true joy during this holiday season!



Are You Peeking Through the Publishing Window?

Poster of a Sparrow Perched on a Window , asking Why peek in the window when the door is wide open?High-flying indie authors make news practically daily. Industry gurus exhort writers, practically hourly, to invest major effort and money into launching our own books into the stratosphere of publishing success, whether by independent or traditional methods. We must conduct our writing activity in a serious manner. Be professional. Businesslike. Goal and results oriented.

Shrewd advice. But …

On Saturday, September 14, I’m setting aside my aspirations to soar with the eagles. Instead, I’m heading to W. B. Ogden Free Library in Walton, New York, to flock with a few of my favorite sparrows.

The Ogden Writers Group grew out of a memoir-writing workshop led by Columbia University professor Leslie Sharpe, so it’s not surprising that quite a few members are older individuals who write memoirs and fictional stories about bygone days, primarily for the benefit of family, friends, and others interested in the times and places they describe.

Do these writers expect to land fat royalty publishing contracts, or want the obligations a contract would entail? Not really. Do they have the means or desire to set themselves up as self-publishing moguls, managing teams of editors, designers, and marketers to turn their books into indie sensations? I doubt it. Do they have big bucks to shovel into the coffers of vanity publishers? Not that I know of.

No, they’re what many in the industry refer to (with disdainful sniffs) as “amateurs” and “hobby writers.” The sparrows of the writing world, I call them. True, some write more polished prose than others. But they all have stories to tell. Poignant stories. Funny stories. Historically, socially, and spiritually significant stories. Should those manuscripts lie in a drawer forever because they weren’t written by people who fit the “professional” mold?

My presentation to the group will encourage those sparrows who are perched on the windowsill—not on the outside looking in, but trapped on the inside looking out wistfully at the eagles, and woodpeckers, and hummingbirds with their published books. I’m going to suggest that they (you?) can get out there and fly, too. The publishing door has been opened wide by self-publishing services like Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s ebook publishing division) and CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand division). Maybe my sparrow friends’ books will never reach the highest heights. But a sparrow-sized flight is still a flight to be proud of.

Are you a sparrow on the windowsill? Stay tuned. I plan to record my talk and post it for those who can’t attend the meeting. (Update: Recording and script are now posted on my Resources page!)

Meanwhile, here are several sparrow flights I’ve helped launch. Please click on the covers and give them a look. <3

Cover of My Cup of Tea by Phyllis Neff Lake

A Novel of Conversation, Friendship, and Love
by Phyllis Neff Lake


Kindle cover of Rivington Street by Frank Di Giovanni

A Drama in Three Acts
by Frank Di Giovanni


Cover of Songs for the Lord by Linda Bonney Olin

by Linda Bonney Olin


Photo of paperback book cover of The Sacrifice Support Group:Lenten Drama and Discussion by Linda Bonney Olin

Lenten Drama & Discussion
by Linda Bonney Olin



Eddie Jones ~ Skull Creek Stakeout

Cover of Skull Creek StakeoutLast October I posted a fun interview with the irrepressible Eddie Jones. Eddie is an author, acquisitions editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, humorist, and follower of the Lord’s leading—not in that order of importance, as Eddie would surely agree. He had just released Dead Man’s Hand, the first book in his Caden Chronicles trilogy for boys.

Since then, Dead Man’s Hand has won the 2013 Selah Award for Young Adult Fiction and racked up nominations for the 2013 INSPY Award for Literature for Young People and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.

Now Eddie Jones is in the news again with the second installment of Nick Caden’s adventures, titled Skull Creek Stakeout. He’s a busy guy these days, but he posted an interview on his website that will bring you up to date and explain why vampirism is an appropriate and important theme in a middle-grade boys’ book with a Christian worldview. Yup. Vampires.

Read my October, 2012, interview with Eddie Jones.

Read Eddie Jones’s August 23, 2013, message.

Check out Dead Man’s Hand.

Check out Skull Creek Stakeout.

New Indie Author ~ Frank Di Giovanni

Photo of Frank Di Giovanni, author of RIVINGTON STREET, reading from his play

Frank Di Giovanni, author of RIVINGTON STREET, reading from his play

Frank Di Giovanni, a long-time member of the W. B. Ogden Writers Group in Walton, New York, enthralled an audience at W. B. Ogden Library last night with a dramatic reading from his newly released play, Rivington Street.

The three-act drama follows the conflict between retired businessman Sam Israel and his son, Robert, a pushy lawyer. After the death of his beloved wife, Sam leaves their Florida residence and returns to the old neighborhood in New York City—over Robert’s fierce objections. Sam meets up with Dave, the present owner of Sam’s former clothing store, and can’t help but compare Robert’s attitude to the close, respectful relationship Dave enjoys with his adult son, Max. The fat hits the fire when Robert shows up, armed with papers authorizing him to take Sam “home” by force. Yes, Robert is one of those characters you love to hate. Don’t worry, though. “Salvation,” as Frank calls it, comes by the end of the play.

Missed the event at Ogden Library? Click here to listen to Frank Di Giovanni’s reading of Act Two, Scene One of Rivington Street. (The recording runs about 25 minutes. Please forgive the slight gurgle that was left behind when I filtered out a loud ventilation fan.)

Having heard Frank read his work at writers group meetings, I wasn’t surprised by the authentic characterizations he dressed his dialogue in. As audience members remarked during the question and answer session that followed the reading, both Frank’s writing and his animated reading put us right into the scene. Frank says he’s had no acting experience to account for his theatrical flair. He jokingly suggests it came with his Italian heritage.

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