Sunday, December 20, 2009


Kelly contacted me recently and said she has an opportunity to hand-delivery her book, "A Better Man," to Oprah Winfrey. What a fantastic prospect! Everyone knows that a mention of your book on Oprah is an instant best seller. I wish Kelly that good fortune, and I'm posting my letter here, hoping that others who aren't familiar with Kelly's book will pick it up and pass it along to a teen.

Ms. Winfrey: As you are aware, teens need role models, and I would like you to know that Kelly Johnson has an indisputable line-up of 26 role models in “A Better Man,” the book of essays and interviews she has compiled and edited. Johnson found reputable leaders in a vast array of professions from athletics, politics, the military, education, entertainment and more. Some of the men, such as director, producer and actor Kenny Leon, grew up poor. Others, such as President George H.W. Bush, were born to privilege. In all cases, these men overcame adversity, used their talents to achieve success and also to benefit others.

This book can help boys look to men who have succeeded in fulfilling their dreams. It can help them understand they can attain their goals. I recommend this book for all young men from middle school through college. They can benefit from reading about men with dreams just like they have. Johnson gets to the heart of the subjects and presents their stories in understandable terms.

I hope you can find time to invite Johnson to your television program to discuss “A Better Man.”

Thank you for considering this request.

Jo Ann Mathews

Thursday, December 3, 2009


One of my first posts at my Writers Forever blog was about LENKE BROWN, an 88-year-old who wrote a book with the help of her long-time friend, MAUREEN WOODS. “Life As Lenke” is an autobiographical account of how Lenke overcame monumental obstacles growing up in Hungary, worked as a seamstress in her homeland, survived the Hungarian Revolution, immigrated to America and became a successful businesswoman/designer/seamstress in her adopted land.
Her inspiration for writing the book was her husband, Larry, who encouraged her to record the fascinating, as well as sordid, details of her long life. It was his dream to have Lenke write her autobiography. His dream was fulfilled in May, and at the end of October at the age of 97, Larry died. He and Lenke had been married more than 30 years.
Even though it was Larry’s dream, out of love for him, Lenke fulfilled that dream. At the same time, she accomplished a seemingly unachievable goal. English is not Lenke’s native language, and she didn’t feel competent to write a book. In steps Maureen.
Think about how people help each other and how many massive roadblocks are smashed when someone believes in another. All of you who want to write to publish can accomplish that goal. Find others who encourage you, others who believe in you. Don’t be discouraged in spite of barriers. Think of Lenke and what she accomplished. If writing a book is your life’s dream, work to accomplish that goal. Make that your 2010 resolution.
Larry believed in Lenke. He didn’t want any recognition for Lenke’s book. He just wanted other people to know how valuable and noteworthy her accomplishments are.
“Like As Lenke” is available at