Friday, November 29, 2013

Author Interview with Alan Jankowski

Today fellow "A Wish for Christmas" author Alan Jankowski stopped by to talk about all things Christmas. As one of two gentlemen included in the anthology, Alan has a lot to say about writing and Christmas. Here goes!

1. Your story, "His Christmas Wish," was included in Alfie Dog's holiday collection, "A Wish for Christmas." What was your inspiration?

My story "His Christmas Wish" is actually the first 3300 words of a longer story called "Her Christmas Wish" which was written for an erotic story contest on Lush Stories.  I had started out writing by writing erotic stories back in 2009, and a story of mine came in third in their Christmas contest in that year.  The winner was a very romantic, tear-jerker written by a retired journalist, complete with returning war hero who adopts his new girlfriend's kids.  I told him it read like a Lifetime movie.  The following year, I thought to myself what I could possibly come up with that might be equally heartstring tugging.  I half jokingly thought about a story with a little boy in a snowstorm looking for a lost puppy.  The idea seemed a bit over the top at first, but after thinking about it a while, I figured as long as no children or animals were harmed in the process, I just might be able to pull it off.  Anyway, I wrote the intro which I called "His Christmas Wish" on December 20, 2010 and wrote up the rest of the story the following night.  If you read the story in this book, and think that Gary and Pam are destined to get together, you are right...they do in the longer story.  The longer story didn't win anything in the contest that year, but I've had some success with the shorter, non-erotic version.  This is the third time this story will be in print btw., the first time being in a Christmas anthology released in 2011, and now out of print.

2. What is your favorite holiday memory?

My favorite holiday memories would have to being going over my grandmother's house when I was a kid.  It was nice getting together with the relatives at Christmas time.  My grandmother Mary Jankowski lived to be 102 btw.

3. Do you have any iron clad holiday traditions that your family insists on every year?

I can't say we have any ironclad traditions anymore.  I don't see the relatives as much as when I was a kid, for instance.

4. Where can readers find more of your work?

I have been in quite a few things, as you can see from my Amazon page...though I really only have one book of my own out "I Often Wonder: a collection of poetry and prose" which is published by Inner Child Press.

Btw, I'm most famous for one poem, and here's a short interview video of me talking about it which appeared on a number of Gannett news sites on the East Coast of the US on Sept. 11...

Alan lives and writes from New Jersey.

Remember folks, "A Wish for Christmas" can be purchased on Amazon. For non-kindle users, Smashwords is a good option as well as going right to the source and downloading from Alfie Dog

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Parenting: The Ultimate Challenge in Adaptive Leadership

Just wanted to let you all know that I have a new blog post on The Detroit News MichMoms blog. You guessed it, it's about parenting and adaptive leadership. Want to know more? Check the post out by clicking here. Join the conversation by leaving a comment about your adaptive leadership challenges. My editors love it when people join the conversation!

In a few days, take a break from your Black Friday shopping to stop by and meet fellow "A Wish For Christmas" author, Alan Jankowski.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Author Interview with Patsy Collins

Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Patsy Collins, a fellow "A Wish for Christmas" author. Patsy writes short stories and novels and lives with her husband in the south of England. We connected soon after we both were published on Alfie Dog. Thanks for stopping by, Patsy. Take it away!

1. Your story, "Granddad's Snowman," was included in Alfie Dog's holiday collection, "A Wish for Christmas." What was your inspiration for the story?

You've started with a hard one! I very rarely know precisely what inspired any of my stories. I'm sure my own grandad had something to do with this one though as I always have him in mind when writing about grandfathers. I was lucky to have him around until I was in my thirties so have lots of good memories associated with him.

He and my grandma lived close by on the family farm and I remember him gathering holly to bring indoors over Christmas and he'd get my brother and I to help choose the very best sprig to go on the pudding before we set it alight. We did of course make snowmen with him too.

2. What is your favorite holiday memory?

My childhood memories of Christmas involve a house full of people. My other grandmother and aunts and uncles all visited. We played daft games, sang carols (extremely badly) and exchanged gifts. I was the first grandchild, so you can imagine that I got made a real fuss of.

A huge meal would be cooked on the wood fired range. It included Brussels sprouts, roasted parsnips and potatoes grown on the farm and the pudding, made months previously and steeped in brandy, was served with cream from our cows. There'd be a turkey, joint of beef, bread and cranberry sauce as well as gravy. To go with that would be little sausages wrapped in bacon, sage and onion stuffing, baked onions and seasonal vegetables.

The pudding was a rich mix of dried fruits and nuts, treacle, butter, eggs, flour and spices. It would be brought flaming to the table. Once cut into slices we melted on a piece of brandy butter and aded cream, brandy sauce or ice cream. (Or in my dad's case all of them!)

The first Christmas with my husband was special too. We went away in our campervan, just the two of us. The cold weather was no problem to a pair of newlyweds.

3. Do you have any iron clad holiday traditions that your family insists on every year?

We always walk along the beach whilst dinner is cooking. Actually it's me who insists on that one. I also put out extra food for the birds as I like to see a robin on Christmas morning.

4. Reader's in the US think that England is the most Christmas-y place on earth, probably thanks to Charles Dickens. What would you like tell American readers about the holiday season in the UK?

Other than the snow, which doesn't usually fall until January, the Dickensian vision of Christmas isn't far off. That's because Dickens was writing about long established traditions. When I say long established I mean more than 2,000 years, as the winter solstice was celebrated long before Christianity. The Church cleverly incorporated the midwinter feast into its own calender, so people could continue to decorate their homes with greenery, eat rich food, sing and drink mead weather they stayed pagan or converted to the new religion.

We tend to be a bit cynical about Christmas over here and don't admit we like it until the last minute. Then we go overboard.

Btw, in England 'holiday season' is august – that's when the schools are off and many people take a vacation. Christmas isn't a holiday, it's just a few days off work, eating and drinking and getting together with family. A bit like your thanksgiving, I think?

5. Where can readers find more of your work?

There are links to my books on my blog.
If you'd like to read a scene about an English family Christmas you can find one in my romance, A Year and a Day.

Remember folks, "A Wish for Christmas," as well as some of Patsy's other works can be purchased on Amazon. For non-kindle users, Smashwords is a good option as well as going right to the source and downloading from Alfie Dog

I'll have more interviews with "A Wish for Christmas" authors in the future, but in the meantime, to my US readers, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Author Interview With Pauline Wiles

Available for download through Amazon
 or Smashwords
As most of you know, I've had the privilege of having one of my stories, "The Christmas Tree Miracle," included in an anthology of holiday themed stories. I'm one of nineteen authors that have contributed to the collection. I thought it would be fun for my readers to meet some of the other authors that have works included in "A Wish for Christmas."

My first interview is with Pauline Wiles, an author living on the west coast of the US. Originally from England, she moved across the pond nine years ago. Her wonderful story "Travels with a Persian Rug" is about "house-proud Tess who is running out of patience with her husband's family, their eccentric ways and flamboyant gifts. Can her marriage possibly survive the burden of an unwanted Persian carpet?"

Welcome Pauline, I'm thrilled to have you join me today.

Pauline Wiles

Thank you so much!

1. Your story, "Travels with a Persian rug," was included in Alfie Dog's holiday collection, "A Wish for Christmas." What was your inspiration for the story?

This is probably one of the most auto-biographical things I've ever written and I'm peeking through my fingers in case it's discovered by those who might recognize themselves!  Suffice to say, I was once given an antique rug, and at the time I thought it was a bizarre present. However, it has grown in my affection since then and does now live happily in my dining room.

2. As a transplant from England to the United States, what is the biggest difference in celebrating the holidays between the two countries?

Well, in England, "holidays" usually mean our summer vacation, and we are politically incorrect in using the blanket label of Christmas for this time of year. The most obvious difference is the complete absence of Thanksgiving in the UK (at least, for native Brits) and I think that means, despite best efforts by retailers, we tend to get into the festive mood a little later. Hence, turkey is our typical meal for December 25, not late November. We accompany that with all kinds of quirky touches like crackers (party decorations with a slightly explosive 'snap' inside and usually a silly paper hat, which we insist on wearing at the lunch table) and mince pies, which in fact are sweet and contain no meat at all. Oh, and we like to set light to our dessert. To be honest, it's all a bit loopy.

3. What is your favorite holiday memory?

When I was young, my family owned a labrador mix named Brandy. He was hugely enthusiastic about Christmas, usually guarding the presents under the tree for several days beforehand. For the sake of his health, we limited his own (edible) gifts but wrapped them in many layers of paper to make them last longer. Watching him parade around with his parcel and eventually unearth the contents was a real treat. Naturally he supervised Christmas lunch preparations very diligently, too.

4. Do you have any iron clad holiday traditions that your family insists on every year?

Moving 5,000 miles from my parents has made a bit of a mess of family traditions! But when we're together, you can be pretty certain a brisk walk will feature somewhere in the morning, a really stinky Stilton cheese will feature somewhere near midday, and collective napping will feature in the afternoon. After the Queen's speech, of course. It would be rude to snore during that.

5. Where can readers find more of your work?

Thanks for asking! Links to my short stories and debut novel can be found here:
Bio: British by birth, Pauline Wiles moved to California nine years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Toasted Cheese and Alfie Dog Fiction. Saving Saffron Sweeting is her first novel. When not writing, she can be found getting the steps wrong in a Zumba class or calculating how many miles she has to run to justify an extra piece of cake. Her ambition is to sell enough books to cover the cost of flying herself and a reader to London for tea. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Story Included in International Holiday Collection

“The Christmas Tree Miracle” by Jeanne E.Tepper of West Bloomfield is one of the stories included in a new release, A Wish for Christmas, from the British publisher Alfie Dog Fiction. The holiday themed anthology presents an international perspective on the Christmas season by twenty authors from around the world. The selection of stories offers inspiration, romance, and laughter in settings across the globe. Tepper’s story, selected by editor and publisher Rosemary J. Kind, will appeal to anyone who has considered becoming a parent, but who thinks the options are limited.

Tepper is a published short story author and a veteran blogger. She currently writes for The Detroit News Parenting site’s “MichMoms” blog:

Alfie Dog Fiction specializes in publishing short stories for down load as well as in book form and has over 1200 stories on its website

A Wish for Christmas is available in print or as a download through Amazon and other leading online retailers starting November 18.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blogging for The Detroit News

Dear Friends:

I'm so excited to announce that I've been selected to blog for The Detroit News! I'm contributing to the MichMoms blog which is all about parenting and being a mom. I'll be creating interesting and informative posts about moms, kids, and all things parent. I hope you'll take the time to stop by and check out my first post entitled  "Puberty: Mother Nature's way of making sure we let go of our teen." I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.  I'll be posting links to my writing on my Facebook page and on twitter as well as here on my blog. The links are below if you prefer to follow me that way. 

Wishing you a wonderful day.