WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Jan Bowman

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.

IMG_1899Jan Bowman’s story collection Flight Path & Other Stories (Evening Street Press -October 2015) is available through the publisher or Amazon. Her next story collection, Life Boat Drills for Women is under construction. She is working on a novel based on the last story from her published collection. Bowman’s stories have won awards and been finalists in a number of publication contests, including the Danahy Fiction Prize, Gival Press Awards, Glimmer Train, Roanoke Review, Broad River Review RASH Awards, Phoebe and “So-To-Speak” Fiction Contests, among others. Winner of the Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Bowman’s stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award. 

Wolf: Thank you for visiting. What story are you working on now?

Jan: I am revising a new story with the working title:  Dark Matter, that I envision as the fifth story in my new eight-story collection, tentatively titled: Life Boat Drills for Women: Survival Stories, that I hope to complete by late fall of this year. Then by early next year I hope to get the first draft of my yet untitled novel completed.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

Jan: Generally, I find I like all of my characters, even the deeply flawed ones. In particular, I like the strong, kind, compassionate potential within all of them.

Since I don’t have repeating sessions with characters in my short stories, like I would if I wrote a novel, I can’t answer this fully until I finish my first novel that I’ve begun.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Jan: I like to garden, bird watch, travel, and read all kinds of books. Poetry helps me see and feel life more intensely. Nonfiction opens up new ideas and possibilities for plots. Fiction, particularly short stories help me appreciate the complexity of crafting and revision. Usually I have multiple books going at the same time and I read a chapter or story in each most evenings.

Wolf: What are your reading now? 

Jan: Currently I am reading and rereading Mary Oliver’s Devotions, a collection of her favorite poems from her previous published poems.  For nonfiction, I am reading Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel. I’m reading Edna O’Brien’s Select Stories: The Love Object and also rereading an Alice Munro collection, Vintage Munro.

And recently, I reread John Hersey’s Hiroshima, because I am reminded how horribly stupid and dangerous our political leaders are when they engage in casual discussions about using nuclear weapons.

Wolf: Wow. That’s a lot to keep track of. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters? 

Jan: I try not to ever do mean things to anyone. No good comes from that.

We are all flawed humanity. Most of us do our best to be kind. I make it a practice to avoid mean people, and before I remove them from my life, I do them a kindness of telling them why I don’t enjoy being around them, giving them the opportunity to become more aware of their best potential.

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

Jan: I leave them with a thread of hope. Always leave people room to grow, to hope, to change, and have a better tomorrow. I’m not talking happy endings. I’m talking about hope.  Characters need this, as do readers and writers.

Wolf: Do you consider yourself as a cat person, or a dog person?

IMG_0384Jan: I love both cats and dogs. I’ve enjoyed the company of two cats and a dog at the same time on many occasions throughout my life. They’ve all become great friends, and they grieve along with us when one of them dies. At this particular time, I have only one cat, having recently lost a very old cat and dog. My current cat often lies beside me on the desk as I write. I read passages aloud and if she purrs, I know I’m on the right track.

Wolf: Sorry for your loss. I know what it’s like to lose a furry friend. If you could have a super power, what would it be? 

Jan: I would like to have a cloak for invisibility and the ability to touch the most compassionate possibility within individuals. I would go out into the political world and try to touch the heart of even the most evil people, so they would not continue to do horrible things. I would want people who continue to show no compassion to others to have a powerful moment of truth that would shake them to the core. I would hope they would decide to make up for their past transgressions or remove themselves from the world.

Wolf: That would be a great super power. Today’s world is scary. Speaking of, the world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Jan: Assess the cause and evaluate the possibility for survival. Then gather the needed survival tools already available to me, and help others around me, organize a plan to help each other within the community, because transportation would likely be limited.   And, if all else fails, I always keep a bottle of champagne chilling, for those moments we need to celebrate or to say good-bye. And. Yes. It is a bottle that is changed out monthly so it doesn’t go bad.

Wolf: So glad you could stop by.

Jan is a retired MCPS teacher, researcher and writer with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. She taught advanced journalism and AP English Lit. and Creative Writing at Walt Whitman in Bethesda, MD for many years.

Publisher:  Evening Street Press

www.eveningstreetpress.com

http://www.eveningstreetpress.com/jan-bowman.html

www.janbowmanwriter.com

email:  janwriter@comcast.net

Read Reviews of Flight Path & Other Stories on Amazon and Goodreads

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THIS HAS TO END

March for our livesAlthough I am unable to go to the March For Our Lives in Washington today, I stand with those who do. It’s time to end gun violence.

Children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school, but sadly, many are scared today. They deserve better. I am a parent and a former teacher. Every educator I’ve spoken with agrees that arming teachers isn’t the answer. The only people who should have a gun in school are trained, active-duty officers.

Teachers, who are already underpaid, are there to educate our students, to prepare them for the future. Many schools don’t have sufficient books, computers, or other basic resources. Asbestos is still present in several while some in warm climates lack air-conditioning.

A few people have said that gun violence is a mental health issue and not a gun issue. They are wrong. It’s both. Instead of putting money into training teachers to use guns, or spending millions on a parade we don’t need, we need full-time nurses and counselors to effectively help all our students. Instead of cutting funds for education and healthcare, provide them to identify and to treat those in need.

The second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, but owning a gun comes with responsibilities. Not everyone is capable of safely handling firearms, nor should they have easy access. I have no problem with gun ownership or hunting. In fact, I know several gun enthusiasts and love a good piece of venison, but you don’t need an assault rifle to take down a deer or protect your home. There are easier ways to make ground meat than spraying dozens of bullets.

I am required to have:
A license for my car
Insurance for my car
A license to drive a vehicle
A license to fish
A license to hunt
A license for each of my dogs and cats

It is not too much to ask that:
All guns be registered
All gun owners be licensed and insured
All gun owners be required to take gun safety classes.
All gun owners be required to pass a written and practical class to receive a gun license.
Gun owners that commit violent crimes or prove a danger to themselves or others lose their license and be required to give up their guns.

It’s time to put an end to easy and unlimited access to firearms and hold all gun owners accountable.

Give our children a safe and healthy environment to live, learn and grow.

They are our future.

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BE WHO YOU ARE

Sometimes it’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

STAR TOUCHED

Startouched front cover2

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble. Will Tatiana flee or stay and fight for the new life she has built? Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends…and herself.

Star-Touched is the fast-paced and emotional journey of a teen-age girl and those surrounding her in a post apocalyptic world. Tatiana is a sensitive, likable young woman who is left “star-touched” with various powers after a cosmic event transforms the Earth. The planet becomes a place where simple survival is a full time shore, and Kaplan draws this new version of her characters’ home expertly. Tatiana’s world is a reflection of what might be left, or what might emerge, as people reconstruct civilization. It’s complete with dangers, hunger and power struggle. As a heroine, Tatiana is complex, kind and deeply damaged. You can’t help rooting for her as she and her canine companion Fifi try to start a new life – again – with a variety of fresh and original characters such as Gareth, Brother William and Bobby Sue. As the story unfolds, Tatiana is forced to confront both her own past and her deepest fears, which will leave young readers on the edge of their seat. Quick read with a roller coaster of emotions. 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and emotionally complex

–Rissa Miller

Amazon logo                                              Barnes & Noble

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Nancy Alexander

081

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.

 

nancyNancy Alexander devoted her professional life to helping those in need. As a psychotherapist, she provided intensive, reconstructive psychotherapy to those recovering from childhood trauma; as a mental health educator, she developed and delivered comprehensive mental health staff training programs; as the chair of the Maryland Social Work Coalition, she advocated for healthcare, mental health and social justice reforms in Maryland.

In 2017, she and her colleague, Linda Ciotola developed, recorded and launched a comprehensive online training series in Psychodrama, a reparative, expressive treatment modality. The training program can be found at www.ac-ts.com.

Nancy launched her career as an author in 2015. Five of her short stories have been selected for publication in Literary Magazines; three of her novels are available online and she has recorded seven audiobooks. Her most recent novel, Twisted Realms is available in paperback and kindle version, that audiobook will be released shortly.

She is currently working on her 4th novel, Sun Runner. Nancy has been publishing independently and has formed her own production company, NJA Productions.

Her blogs and her novella, entitled Elisabeth, can be found on her website at www.nancyjalexander.com

 

Wolf: Wow. You’ve been very busy the past few years. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Nancy: A wolf. Wolves are smart, confident and loyal pack animals. Wolf packs coordinate well with each other, care for their cubs collectively and have a high level of respect for pack hierarchy.

Wolf: Thank you. I’m a big fan of wolves myself, for obvious reasons. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Nancy: I’d pick my body as a weapon… skilled in the martial arts. I’d always have my weapon with me and be strong enough, well trained enough to fight most foes. The advantage would be surprise, because no attacker would ever suspect I have these many skills.

Wolf: Remind me not to startle you in a dark alley. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Nancy: Let them be themselves. I work to create characters who are authentic and internally valid. Once they are created I let them take the lead in the story and support their needs, instincts, conflicts and emotional complexity.

Wolf: Super. I’ve always said people should be who they are. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Nancy: Superimpose my will on them or misunderstand them. My writing works better if, once characters are created, I respect who they are and let them do the things that each particular individual would actually do.

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

Nancy: I am amazing, full of color, movement, beauty and grace. My flower blossoms are like the hibiscus plant but they cluster around one another forming complex patterns of splashing orange, yellow and red. I am tall and willowy; I stretch high into the sky like Jack’s beanstalk, moving past the clouds, flowing with the breeze; I reach toward the sun.

Wolf: Don’t go too close to the sun. You could get burned. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Nancy: I am both. I love all creatures domesticated, wild, farm, aquatic. I have had the pleasure of having many different species through the years of my long life and recognize the gifts each species has brought into my life.nancy and cat.jpg

I see cats as living sculptures who bring beauty, warmth and love into my world. Their cuddling warmth, calming purr and soft touchable fur, make them unique family members. They can also bring a sprinkling of chaos. Cats are to be loved, respected, admired and appreciated.

Dogs bring their pack mentality into my world, they are responsive, joyful, and intelligent; dogs move in concert with me bridging the gap between the inside and outside of the home.

My dogs wanted to be with me, listen to me and be one with me. They have loved me as I have loved them. They were my dearest friends.

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

Nancy: First I’d hide so I could evaluate the sound. Once I knew what it was I would decide whether to run away, stay hidden, call for help or fight. Hopefully by the time I was in this corridor, I’d have my ‘weaponized body’ ready to deal with whatever opened that door!

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

Nancy: The title character in my Elisabeth Reinhardt series is a fav in that series. She and I are a lot alike, especially when in our therapist role.

As to bad guys in that series, I’d have to say it’s Jake. He’s sociopathy to its core.

In my Olive Grove Series, my fav is Rafi… though he and Ari were identical, I like Rafi’s personality. Their twin-ship is always a pleasure.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

Nancy: I’m working on my 4th novel, the 2nd in the Olive Grove series called Sun Runner. It’s action-packed, fast-paced, complicated and filled with exciting ‘spy’ things.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Nancy: I have a small private psychotherapy practice and provide consultation services to other therapists. A colleague and I have developed an online training series in a reparative, expressive treatment modality called Psychodrama. Our training series is available online at www.ac-ts.com.

I maintain a blog that leans toward social/political commentary on my website @ www.nancyjalexander.com

I am the president of the Maryland Writers Association, Howard County Chapter; I go to the gym and I see my children and grandchildren as often as possible.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. You can learn more about Nancy Alexander by visiting these links.

www.nancyjalexander.com

www.ac-ts.com

https://www.facebook.com/NJAProductions

https://twitter.com/njaproduction

 

 

 

 

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – D L Carter

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.

evil author laughterD.L. (Dee Leana) Carter was decanted from her incubation pod in the outback of Australia many decades ago. This terrifying event was closely followed by shrieks of “there, there it goes. Hit it with a brick!”

These valiant attempts to correct the existence of D.L. were, unfortunately, unsuccessful and she now resides in New Jersey, US., in a box with her toys, two human beings and a variable number of cats.20170221_133020

Wolf: That’s an interesting introduction. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

D.L.: Deep fried Witchetty Grub
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchetty_grub

Wolf: Lots of protein in grubs, especially that big boy. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

D.L.: Nulla Nulla
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waddy
I have a scar on my upper lip from where my brother hit me when I was five.
HE has a scar on the top of his head because… well… sometimes it amazes me that anyone survives childhood.

Wolf: Sounds like you played with some interesting toys growing up. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

D.L.: In First Destroy All Giant Monsters I psychically bound a guy to his ex-girlfriend. It was, is, complicated and it almost resulted in his death. Nasty way to die, that.

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

D.L.: Blooming Idiot.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/134896951308997624/

Wolf: Interesting sense of humor. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

D.L.: I am the imperfect human slave of six cats at the moment. I have the greatest respect for my cats, four of which are Maine Coons, who are very intelligent companion animals and are very good at managing me.

I dearly love the senior Maine Coon for whom I am writing a series of children/YA stories in which a cute, fluffy cat has ambitions to become The Evil Overlord.  Stay tuned.

That being said, I love Boarder Collies. I wish I could have a few of those about because they are so intelligent and determined but my life doesn’t allow for the amount of time that breed of dog requires from their humans.

Wolf: That’s a lot of cats! While walking in the woods you come across…

D.L.: A snake.
A big snake.
No, seriously it was a f###ing big snake – 15 feet long and known to be poisonous because, you know, all snakes in Australia are seriously poisonous. A black whip snake. http://www.snakecatchers.com.au/Lesser_Black_Whip_Snake.php
This particular snake was better than me at climbing trees.
And eventually I had to kill it with a hand axe.
Thank you so much for bringing the memory back. Time for chocolate.

Wolf: I think I need some chocolate now too. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

D.L.: IN one of my unpublished books I have a character who is a rock singer. One of her songs is “Put Your Super On” in which she acknowledges that everyone is a Super. Super doctors, nurses, police, moms, dads, teachers, etc, . In the music video she produces everyone develops a power when she plays a guitar lick but she, at the end, walks away still herself – which is an acknowledgment that this particular character is happy just being herself.

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

D.L.: Have lunch.

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

D.L.: Post a Facebook Meme.

Wolf: What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

D.L.: Adam Savage
Jamie Hyneman
Kari
Grant
… not Tory. Maybe Jamie’s storage facility.

Wolf: Interesting ‘items’ to choose. Which of your characters is your favorite?

D.L.: Millicent North – Ridiculous – This is one well adjusted, happy, adaptable lady who is determined to do what is necessary and laughs while she does.
Also makes everyone else laugh.
In the reviews I have received for this book a number of reviewers say they want to have Millicent as their BFF.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

D.L.: Um. That is kinda a secret but on my to do list I have book three of the changing magic series, book three of the Ridiculous Lovers series and the first book of a new regency series overarching title Uncle Burnside’s Nieces in which a retired sea captain turns matchmaker.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

D.L.: http://www.dlcarterauthor.com/about.html – scroll to bottom of page.
I paint, sketch, do needle felted animals, collect antique medical books, visit sci fi conventions and turn my characters into cats.20170221_133240

Wolf: You’re really making me work with all these links.

Thanks for stopping by. For more information on D. L., check out these links.

www.facebook.com/pages/D-L-Carter/410572495645067
if you want to chat – please drop by Facebook group “Reasonable Intelligent Heroines”
www.funwithghoulsandgoblins.com
http://funwithghoulsandgoblins.blogspot.com

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – M J Patrick

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.

Mary-portraitM.J. Patrick was born in Sacramento CA to a military family. She lived in faraway places such as Taiwan and Alaska. Today she lives in the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area. M. J. is an avid reader and video game enthusiast. She is ferocious in her determination to win. Her middle son shamed her into writing her first novel after he had written his.

She truly imagines herself as Jane, her ten-year-old main character in The House on Moss Swamp Road! Her adventures have just begun.

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

M J: If I could be any animal in the universe, I would be one of the whales that Captain Kirk, Spock, and Scottie rescued in San Francisco in 1986 and bring back to the year 2286 to save Earth from an alien probe. Returning these awesome creatures back home is a touching lesson to never lose them in the first place.

Wolf: That was one of my favorite Star Trek movies. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

M J: I have a strange food story. My parents were stationed in Taiwan when I was four. A friend of theirs tried the local cuisine. He liked what he was served and ate it all up. When he asked what it was, the cook took him to the back and showed him a pen of live rats. Sometimes its better not to ask.

Wolf: I hope they were a step up from alley rats. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

M J: I would choose a quick-witted tongue because it could convince opponents to lay down their weapons, to forgive me, or sway them I’m a friend not a foe.

Wolf: I like that. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

M J: The nicest thing I ever did for my characters was to give them a wonderful grandmother who understood when no one else could.

Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

M J: Hmmm, the meanest. One of my characters cuts her foot on a broken beer bottle. That’s pretty mean. Another character was punched three times in the jaw for no reason at all.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

M J: A favorite character? As I used to tell my three sons, I love you all the same. But since you asked so nicely I’ll share my secret. I love writing the villains. Lilly is a pixie who uses nature to scare you to death. A close second is my newest villain Gordo who will slay you with his smile and southern generosity. Just don’t cross him.

Wolf: Lilly is a great character. What story are you working on now?

M J: I’m working on Veiled Horizons – a young adult family drama about seventeen-year-old Rachel who has to decide either to follow her heart and lose her family and friends, or stay in their good graces by giving her baby up for adoption to the perfect family.

Wolf: That’s a tough choice. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

M J: When I’m not writing, I’m boating on the Chesapeake Bay, enjoying the sun and water. It’s important for writers to read, so I’ll curl up with an adventure, fantasy, or a mystery.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. You can connect with M J through the links below.

Social Media Links:

https://authormjpatrick.com
https://twitter.com/AuthorMJPatrick
Authormjpatrick@gmail.com

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BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

20180102_184509

“Moonlight sends a shiver into night’s brisk sky.”

“You keep spouting poetry and I’m leaving,” said Gary.

Mark grinned. “I’m just trying to set the mood. Got the camera ready?”
“It’ll take pictures every ten seconds and I programed the mechanism to adjust automatically with the moon’s movement.”

“Super,” said Mark, rubbing his hands together. “This is going to be a magical night.”

Gary rolled his eyes, then tossed him a can of soda. “Don’t care how full the moon is or how perfectly aligned the stars are. All you’re going to get are pictures of a moon.”

“We’ll see.”

“Whatever.”

After several hours of listening to the camera click, Gary’s eyes started to feel heavy. Even the ancient oak he leaned on began to feel as soft as a feather bed. He drifted off to the sound of giggles. A sharp pain in his leg woke him up. Mark stood over him, holding the camera.

“What the hay,” he said, rubbing his leg.

“I’ve been trying to wake you for ten minutes. We fell asleep.”

“Surprising,” said Gary, with another eyeroll.

“Remember when you said we would only get pictures of the moon?”

Gary leaned back against the oak. “Did it magically turn to cheese?”

“Funny,” said Mark. “Check this out.”

Gary took the camera and flipped through the digital pictures. Half-way through, his jaw dropped. “Is that a.…”

“Yup. That’s a sprite’s bare butt and its drinking your Sprite. We got mooned. Told you there were fairies in these woods.”

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