WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

DSC_0157Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast is the author of The Ferry Home, a memoir about her childhood on Prudence Island, a tiny island off the coast of Rhode Island. Debbie began writing as she embarked on a quest to reconnect with her island roots, starting with a cookbook for her family.

She has been published in Country magazine, and her poetry has been published in three anthologies published by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, Shoreline, Under the 13th Star and soon to be released, Selections.

Debbie, a retired teacher and Nutrition Educator, now enjoys volunteering as well as writing, gardening, biking and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Wolf: Thank you for participating in my oddball interview. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Debbie: I am a vine, climbing over an arbor and flowering year round in shades of pink, purple and blue. My hypnotic scent brings love and happiness to anyone who takes the time to stop and smell the haunting fragrance.

Wolf: That sounds lovely. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Debbie: I am definitely a cat person, and I love their independence, affection, and soothing purrs. Over the years our cats have sprawled across desks as my boys did their homework and snuggled their soft warmth next to me when I was ill. Whiskers, my childhood pet, didn’t mind when I dressed her in a doll dress and bonnet, covered her with a blanket and took her for a walk in my doll carriage.

Wolf: She sounds like an extraordinary cat. While walking in the woods you come across…

Debbie: A hidden, deep, blue pool and a doe with three fawns frolicking at her side. The doe raised her head, gazed directly in my eyes, and I felt her trust as she returned to grazing in the emerald grass. I turned to leave, but my feet wouldn’t move. She looked into my eyes again and I heard her breathe, “Stay, you are one of us now.”

Wolf: Cool. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

I would be able to fly at warp speed, bypassing traffic and making short, but frequent trips to see my grandchildren in NY, MD and TN. I would take a leisurely flight, soaring over the ocean and countryside, or on a whim, zoom to Holland to see the tulips in bloom.

Wolf: Fun. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Debbie: In my mind I would open the door and investigate. In reality I would probably turn around and run as fast as possible in the other direction.

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Debbie: Call each of my three sons and tell them I love them. None of them live nearby and the phone is our connection between visits.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

FerryHome_V9-2 copyDebbie: Since my book is a memoir, I changed this question to, “Which story is your favorite?” I love the story called “Sleds and Sundays.” The island where we lived year-round was more isolated in the winter. Since the population dwindled to about fifty, my sister and I had fewer friends nearby, and my father’s store was closed so my dad worked fewer hours. My winter memories are cozier and more intimate than summer ones.

Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Debbie: Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island where I grew up on a tiny island in its midst and learned to swim along its rocky shore. It is still my favorite spot for a swim, from May when the water has yet to warm until the October chill arrives. I love walking along the island clam shell beaches, watching the changing colors of the bay and listening to the waves, whether whispering or crashing on the shore.

Wolf: Brrrr. What story are you working on now?

Debbie: I’m in the midst of a romance novel as well as a collection of essays and poems.

Wolf: Glad to hear you’re delving into fiction. Your answers were super creative. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Debbie: I love the outdoors and travel that includes a new place to hike. At home I enjoy walking, biking and gardening as well as reading and cooking.  Most of all I like to spend time with my three children and four grandchildren.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Debbie at https://www.facebook.com/debbiekaimantillinghast/?ref=bookmarks

Books make great gifts

Start the holiday season out right

Pick up your copy of


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Do you have the courage to be who you are meant to be?


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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Karen Dowdall

081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

KarenKaren DeMers Dowdall, PhD, MSN, BSN, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and spent her elementary-grade school years in the small farming community of Salmon Brook, settled in 1680 by a stalwart group of Europeans. She grew up exploring Salmon Brook’s Forest Preserve, swimming in Salmon Brook, and ice-skating on a “haunted” pond in winter.

Karen has traveled extensively, and has lived in the Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and England. Living overseas opened a vista of cultures and history. It led her to understand that all cultures have storytellers that reveal all their hopes and dreams through vivid fantasy fictions, poetry, short stories, and dramatic written presentations, throughout their cultural history.

Karen has always written poems, songs, and short stories. She now has three novels that represent fantasy, coming of age, and a dark mystery. Her next novel is a time-slip fiction love story set in the present and 1692 – the age of the witch trials, and will be published in December 2018.

Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why? 

Karen: I would be a Singing Blue Sparrow. Many people don’t know that the sparrow family of birds come in many colors.

Wolf: That sounds lovely. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Karen: Words are the best weapons, because they can hurt and heal too.

Wolf: So true. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Karen: Let them live, be happy, and fall in love!

Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Karen: I would be a daisy in a field of beautiful daisies.

Wolf: Pretty. I’ve always liked daisies. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Karen: I am an animal lover, but I love doggies best. 

Wolf: Me as well. While walking in the woods you come across…

Karen: A bear and this is true!  During a forest fire, my cousins and I were caught up in a forest fire and we ran for home, running beside me and my sister, was a large black bear. We looked at each other and I thought he smiled at me. All the other forest animals, large and small, were running with us too.

Wolf: That’s scary! Glad you and your family escaped the fire. I hope the bear did as well. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Karen: I would be a guardian Angel.

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Karen: Pray!

Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Karen: I was an ocean life guard when I was in college and so I love the ocean. 

Wolf: Crashing waves. Salty water. Perfect. What story are you working on now?

Karen: I am writing a time-slip novel during the colonial period when women were accused of witchcraft. It is a fantasy and a love story too that transcends time.

Wolf: That sounds cool. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Karen: I love to walk daily, and above all, I love to dance and even owned a dance studio. I love to teach little girls and boys to dance. To be a really good dancer, one must learn ballet, modern dance, jazz and contemporary dances.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. Catch up with Karen at these links:


Books make great gifts.

Star Touched

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Tracy Barton-Barrett

Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Wolf: I had the pleasure of meeting Tracie Barton-Barrett at the Baltimore Book Festival this fall. Please welcome her to Wolf Notes.

Tracie&MishkaAs a life-long animal enthusiast, Tracie Barton-Barrett is a speaker, Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialty in pet loss, and former psychology and sociology instructor. Buried Deep in Her Hearts is her debut novel, and she hopes it will help the reader to relate, reflect, and heal after the loss of a beloved animal. She’s facilitated pet loss support groups and presented and written articles on the subject. She and her husband live in North Carolina in the US and are owned by their two cats, Rutherford B. Barrett and Oliver Monkey.

Wolf: What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book and how did it develop?

Tracy: Buried Deep in Our Hearts is a novel that uses a dog, cat, and horse story line to celebrate our important connection to our animals, and honor their memories. As someone who has lost animal companions, the desire to write a book about pet loss, and addressing the unique, yet universal experience, was always a goal of mine. We know now that when a person experiences sadness or grief, similar parts of the brain light up as if a person were experiencing physical pain. After losing two beloved pets in grad school, I remembered what one of my professors said, “Don’t do nothing (with grief.)”

Buried_Deep_in_our_H_Cover_for_Kindle (1)So, ever the devoted student, I delved into pet loss research, copying as many articles as I could, proud of my newfound labeled and neatly stacked folders. But, they just sat there. Collecting dust. For years. It wasn’t until the anniversary of our Kimball Kitty’s death (whose story is featured in my book) when it hit me: Make it fiction.

From the second this “a-ha moment” occurred, a new energy and trajectory took its course, and Buried Deep in Our Hearts was born. Ironically, I primarily read non-fiction for most of my childhood. I was more interested in reading books about psychology and physiology than picking a book from a fiction reading list. It’s only been in the last ten years that I’ve read and truly enjoyed fiction. I know that my book came from something bigger than myself.

Wolf: It’s hard for non-pet owners to understand the connection we have to our pets and the loss we feel when they are gone. They are part of the family. Just wondering, do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Tracy: Yes! And, a horse person, as well as an elephant person, and a sloth person, and an orangutan person, and a swan person, and …..

Wolf: Not surprised at your answer. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Tracy: As a seafood lover, I thought I would try Lionfish. Yes, the beautiful, striped fish you see in the aquariums with the long spines. Unfortunately, they are upsetting the ocean’s balance because they don’t have any natural predators. So, as a seafood lover, I decided to take one for the team, and try one. Unfortunately, it didn’t end so well for me. The bathroom became my best friend the next day. Maybe the spines weren’t completely cooked out!

Wolf: Sorry to hear that. I’ll steer clear of them. If you could have a super power, what would it be?


Tracy: To be able to teleport. It sure would cut down on travel expenses! I do believe that toddlers, as well as my cats, already teleport!

Wolf: I think you’re right. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Tracy: Gladys Paisley. Eccentric, older women always make me smile. Can’t pick a favorite animal character. They’re all my favorite!


Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why?

Tracy: As a native of Michigan, I’m certainly a “water baby.” I’m drawn to any body of water, larger than a puddle. I used to live in Virginia Beach near the ocean and would visit the Boardwalk every day, regardless of the weather. The constancy and rhythm of the waves soothed my mind, especially after a stressful day.

Wolf: I’ve always loved the ocean myself. What story are you working on now?

Tracy: This can be a trick question for an author! For me, much of the work happens even before sentences are typed out on the screen. At the moment, I’m writing a novel focusing on a girl that loves horses, but, for various reasons, can’t have one. I’m also looking into writing a children’s book based on Buried Deep in Our Hearts. In addition, there are two other books that are just in the planning stage, but all my books will celebrate the human-animal bond, in some form.

Wolf: Love the idea for the children’s book. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Tracy: Love to travel, laugh from a really good or clever joke or meme, learn about history, be near the water, listen to and play music, watch movies and Will & Grace or Friends reruns, or find a good bingeable Netflix or Hulu show.

Tracie&horseWolf: You really like water, don’t you. If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

Tracy: The question I asked my students: Who would you like to play you in a movie if they did a biopic of your life? Most of my students said they think Tina Fey for me. What an honor—she’s such an amazing and talented woman. Not to mention, hilarious!

The other question is: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? Because we tend to remember negative things people say about us, also known as the negativity bias, many students needed a minute to think. Truthfully, so did I. But, when I heard my students say that something I said changed, or even saved their life, it doesn’t get much better than that. 😊

Wolf: Connect with Tracy on Social Media.

Social Media Links:
Email: AnimalsConnectUs@gmail.com
Website: www.AnimalsConnectUs.com
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/TBartonBarrett
Twitter: @AnimalsConnect
Instagram: traciebartonbarrett
Amazon (Please buy new copies. Used copies only benefit seller) Paperback & Kindle: https://goo.gl/eXERyq

Books make great gifts.

Don’t forget to pick up you’re copy of STAR TOUCHED.

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Rest In Peace Stan Lee


charles french words reading and writing


(Gage Skidmore)

Stan Lee, the guiding creative genius behind the golden age of Marvel Comics and the current explosion of Marvel movies has died today at the age of 95.

Mr. Lee was an enormous influence in my life. As a child, I was completely absorbed in comic books, and through Marvel’s stories, I learned of heroes with human flaws and a world that had many difficulties. Out of his guidance came such important figures as Spiderman, Ironman, Thor, and my personal favorite–Captain America.



Lee took these characters past the simple fight-the-supervillain-approach of so many other brands of superheroes. In Spiderman, I identified with a high school science nerd who could defeat villains but remained a lonely kid. In Thor, I reveled in learning about another mythology that had previously been completely unknown. In Captain America, I saw the man who was not the superpatriot but the opposer of…

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Meet The Author This Saturday

Hope to see you at the Northern Virginia Christmas Market on Saturday, November 10th. I’ll be there starting at 10:00 AM

Start your holiday shopping with a copy of STAR TOUCHED.

Dulles Expo Center
Chantilly, Virginia

Startouched front cover2


Do you have the courage to be who you are meant to be?

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Looking for something fun do do?

Come the the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading.BU-RFR-WFC2018_final

Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading at WFC 2018

 *** Brief readings from several authors *** Book giveaways *** Free chocolate! ***

When: Saturday, 10:00 pm to 11:30 pm    Where: Federal Hill.


Carmen Webster Buxton has published 10 novels and one novella. Under her real name (Karen Wester Newton) she published a short story titled “Cold Comfort” in Space and Time magazine.  Her work encompasses science fiction, fantasy, and romance. [carmenspage.blogspot.com]

Randee Dawn is a Brooklyn-based author and journalist who has published dark, speculative fiction in Well-told Tales and Fantasia Divinity, plus anthologies Where We May Wag and Children of a Different Sky (both available in the dealer’s room). She is also the co-author of The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion. [RandeeDawn.com]

J.L. Gribble writes the urban fantasy/alternate history Steel Empires series, which includes Steel VictorySteel MagicSteel Blood, and the recent Steel Time. Her other jobs include medical editing, Netflix watching, cat snuggling, and blogging for SpeculativeChic.com.  [jlgribble.com]

A.R. Henle writes non-fiction by day and magical realism by night. Her short story “Strong Meat” is forthcoming March 2019 in Sharp and Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good.

Laurel Anne Hill  has authored two award-winning novels, most recently The Engine Woman’s Light (Sand Hill Review Press), a gripping spirits-meet-steampunk tale set in an alternate 19th Century California. Laurel’s published short stories total over thirty. She’s a Literary Stage Manager, speaker, writing contest judge and editor.  [www.laurelannehill.com]

Paula S. Jordan writes moderately hard, character-driven science fiction, with three stories in Analog and her first novel, a present-day alien contact story set in the mountains of North Carolina, now near completion. In a previous life she supported 30+ unmanned science missions as an orbit analyst with NASA and NOAA. [PaulaSJordan.com,  Facebook.com/PaulaSJordan/,  and on Twitter @PaulaSJwriter]

A L Kaplan’s work has been included in several anthologies and magazines. Her novel Star Touched released in 2017. She is the Maryland Writers’ Association’s Vice President and served on the Howard County Chapter board for several years. A. L. holds an MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. [alkaplanauthor.com]

Laura Kelly is a former professor with degrees from Bradley University and Michigan State University. She currently lives in Ohio, although the lakes of Michigan continue to call and leave inviting messages in her voice mail.

Emily Lavin Leverett is a writer, editor, and Medievalist English professor. Traitor’s Spring, the second novel in the Eisteddfod Chronicles, debuts in 2019, following Changeling’s Fall and Winter’s Heir. Recent editorial works include the anthology Lawless Lands and the collection Faith and Ethics in the Works of Terry Pratchett.  [emilylavinleverett.com]

Margaret S. McGraw is co-editor of the anthologies Weird Wild West and Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier. Her stories appear in Lawless Lands and Chasing the Light. Margaret writes and edits speculative fiction, blogs on WritersSpark.com and TheMillionWords.net, and spends too much time on Facebook.

Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, artist, and surfer grew up with a prophecy hanging over her head: Her parents hoped she’d be an author. The Song of All is her debut novel. Dreams of the Dark Sky (Book 2 The Legacy of the Heavens series) available February 2019 (Night Shade Books).  [www.tinalecountmyers.com]

Jennifer R. Povey writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She is currently working on an urban fantasy series, Lost Guardians, of which the third book was released in the fall of 2017. She also rides horses. [www.jenniferrpovey.com]

Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between. Her credits include a multi-award nominated novel, two popular art books, and editing CrescentBlues.com. Her short stories have appeared in Asimov’s and numerous anthologies. Her video interviews are featured on BuzzyMag.com. [JeanMarieWard.com]

Startouched front cover2

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An Attack On American Democracy

Worth repeating.

charles french words reading and writing



American democracy is under attack–the threat of the bombs that have been found that were aimed at numerous people, including political figures, business people, artists, and leaders from national intelligence–has precedent only in the assassination of President Lincoln. That conspiracy intended to kill 3 other government figures and bring down the Union.

There can be no doubt that this is a domestic terrorist attack, and all Americans should be horrified by these actions. These are the kind of actions that put many people, including the people who work in the postal facilities and offices where the bombs were sent, into grave danger. This is an attack clearly focused on one political side. I would condemn this kind of action, no matter who is the focus.

We are supposed to be Americans, regardless of political party affiliation. After 9/11, we had a brief moment of unity. We need to end…

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