Book News: New Guest Posts, Interview

As August comes close to an end I want to take some time and share my most recent guest posts and interview.

Life of the Differently Abled Blog, Guest Post
August saw my first guest post in a series for Laura Forde’s Life of the Differently Abled blog. The slogan incorporated on the website’s header perfectly describes Laura’s blogging goal, “removing the fence around social barriers one post at a time.” Over the next few months my guest posts will share some personal experiences not included in Off Balanced. To start I explore how CP influenced my work ethic. Take a read, “How Cerebral Palsy Helped Shape My Work Ethic.”

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo Blog, Guest Post
Northeast Ohio met Northwest Ohio when I penned a guest blog post for The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. The center serves the disability community with the mission “to assist people with disabilities to live, work, and socialize within a fully accessible community.” My post, “Empower Yourself and Not Your Disability,” focuses on turning your handicap into an asset through a positive mindset.

A Place for Writers Blog, DIY Interview
Writer Julie Jordan offers a great service to fellow scribes with DIY interviews on her A Place for Writers blog. You fill out a questionnaire and she posts the interview. Anyone interested in the behind the screen work which went into Off Balanced should checkout my DIY interview, “APW: DIY Interview- Zachary Fenell.”

Stay tune to future posts for more Off Balanced related content. I’m continuously seeking new interview and guest blogging opportunities. If you wish to interview me or want me to provide a guest post on your blog, please contact me at 



Personality Profile: Tony Bartoli

Considering students across the country will go back to school this month, now seems an ideal time to spotlight anti-bullying speaker Tony Bartoli. Two-plus years ago while conducting research for a Yahoo! Voices article, “Bullying & Cerebral Palsy,” I stumbled upon the name Tony Bartoli. Rather than summing up Bartoli’s story with my words, let me direct your attention to the Youtube video below.

Twice over the past couple years I enjoyed the opportunity to interview Tony Bartoli, once during the summer of 2010 when I wrote for Disaboom and then just recently for The Mobility Resource. In the Disaboom interview, “Bullying Students with Disabilities: How to Fight Back,” we focused on Bartoli’s personal story and his advice to help prevent and/or stop bullying from occurring. I know I’m bias because I wrote the piece but I do highly recommend the read for the back to school season. Bartoli really shares some useful insight.

During our chat for The Mobility Resource we expanded on the bullying subject matter to also address adults bullying each other and the influence the Internet possesses on  bullying. I found Tony Bartoli’s thoughts on whether the Internet proves a more positive or more negative influence especially interesting. Checkout the article for yourself, “Addressing Bullying in the Disability Community

Overall, I’m a big Tony Bartoli supporter. Therefore I’m grateful the sentiment remains mutual. Last year before Off Balanced hit electronic bookshelves I sent out advance copies to a few individuals within the cerebral palsy community, Bartoli being one of them. To end today’s post I wish to share his concluding thoughts on Off Balanced.

“I believe this book is a ***need*** to get into the hands of kids, teenagers and adults. I don’t say this because I have cerebral palsy too, but rather it captures the human spirit to keep going. Off Balanced will be on my desk as a reminder to never quit….and DREAM BIG!”

*To learn even more about Tony Bartoli visit his website,, or follow him on Twitter (@stopbullyingtb).



Creating an Inclusive Little League Environment

If you regularly checkout my blog here or read my book Off Balanced, you know I possess a great passion for baseball. As a result I naturally enjoy news stories about inclusion on little league teams. I came across one such story last week. New York NBC Channel 4 News reported on 12-year old Evan Sussman who despite not actually playing on the field remains a member of the Brewster Little League team.

Sussman, like his teammates, suits up for every game. Sussman, like his teammates, sits in the dugout. Sussman, like his teammates, contributes. Sure, the 12-year old doesn’t field balls or step into the batter’s box. Instead Evan Sussman contributes to the team atmosphere with his spirit. Sadly, rules and regulations recently threatened the Brewster team’s inclusive atmosphere.

According to the rulebook a player must play 60% of the games to become eligible to sit inside the dugout. Since Sussman didn’t literally play, his presence supposedly presents a liability. I voiced my personal frustration with the rule via the following tweet.

A tweet voicing my frustration.

I tweeted my frustration with the Sussman story July 24.

Frustration appeared a common response to the  news story and two days later I discovered a followup report about Sussman completed by ABC 7 News. Thankfully those who regulate the little league organization decided to grant Sussman and the Brewster Little League team an exemption to the previously mentioned rule. In other words Evan Sussman rejoined his teammates inside the dugout , returning everything back to Brewster’s normal inclusive way.