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.

book gift jpg


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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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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – G J Stevens

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.

Give a big wolf welcome to GJ Stevens

29066376_1078869432253464_3932930084414947328_oGJ Stevens started writing fiction at the age of thirty. He describes his style of writing as popular fiction which usually has some sort of Sci-Fi or paranormal element, but he is on a journey and won’t pigeon hole himself into one genre. Even as a degree level engineer with a large family and a full-time career in a serious profession with plenty of adult responsibilities, he has always had an artistic and creative side. After years of self-suppression, the flood gates opened and his novel, In The End, is the culmination of many years of finding time from nowhere to learn the craft.

Whilst working to self-publish his first novel, GJ, real name Gareth, chose to document his publishing journey in an open-book and honest fashion and through his blog he lays bare his journey, detailing his mistakes and the findings of his research as he treads his way into publishing.

As a lover of the outdoors, every year he spends weekends out in the desolate countryside of the UK hiking and camping with his long-time friends which he uses as inspiration for both his creative fiction works and the subject of many a blog post. GJ Stevens is on the beginning of his publishing journey and wants to share the highs and lows with anyone who will listen.

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

Gareth: A dog person. I grew up with a dog in the family but as an adult I’m allergic to both cats and dogs. I get my dog fix vicariously through my best friend’s black lab.

Wolf: I’m a dog person too. (Shouldn’t be a surprise for a wolf.) While walking in the woods you come across…

Gareth: A sight I knew I would see eventually. I’d taken to the woods to get away. Walking between the trees because it felt safe, despite each step taken with care, a glance to where my feet might trip, might snap a branch or twig and turn their heads, might force me to run, to find some other place of safety

This is an adapted version of one of my favourite flash fiction pieces I have pinned on my twitter account.

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

Gareth: Invisibility, until I really think about it. I’d like to be left alone to write, but I’d have to be able to turn the power on and off. I love my family and friends and wouldn’t want that to end just because they can’t see me! I’m an introvert when it comes to creativity but weirdly confident and somewhat more extrovert when it comes to normal life.

Wolf: That would be a great power. It seems like every time I sit down to write someone walks in the room or calls. Maybe I should try closing the door. Speaking of doors:

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

Gareth: Shout at the TV and tell myself not to take a single step forward. When I realize I’m not on the TV, I’ll look around for anything heavy to swing. If nothing is at hand then I’ll check my pockets for a pen and paper so I can immortalize the moment, ready for adding the scene to my next book.

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

Gareth: Find my wife and hold her in my arms. If I’ve got a little longer then gather together with my friends and family and empty the wine stocks from the house.

Wolf: I’ll drink to that. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Gareth: This is very fitting. My first novel to be published is set at the start of a world changing event and I blog about preparing for the worst by packing a bug out bag. With the bag you’re limited to what you can carry on your back, but if I could only take five items they would be a water filtration straw so you can drink water from almost any source, my micro-pick for defense. It’s lightweight and packs a great punch suitable for all types of post-cataclysmic scenarios. A roll of gaffer type, the swiss army knife of survival. The final items would be a sleeping bag and my multi-fuel compact camping stove.


Wolf: You are ready to go. Let’s hope you never need to used it. I think my character, Tatiana, would have loved your bag. What story are you working on now?

Gareth: I’m editing the follow up to my first novel In The End. It’s is as-of-yet unnamed, but follows the same timeline as the first novel but from another, completely different perspective.

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

Gareth: I work full time and have a wonderful family and group of close friends. When I get chance, I like to hike with my friends but I only get the chance to do that once or twice a year.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. You can connect with GJ Stevens through these links:

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @stevens_GJ



Startouched front cover2


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Holdontothelight FB BannerI had intended to post a little something about mental health each day in September, but time slipped away. Excuses are easy to find, but in all likely hood, it was the gray shroud that tried to smother me again. I’ve battled depression since childhood, although I wasn’t diagnosed until my late twenty’s.

I’ve always been good at hiding my gray, showing the world my glass-half-full side. Perhaps that’s why I like the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile,” from Annie. That and “Tomorrow” were my go-to songs growing up. If only I’d felt that way inside as well. But I didn’t. I was more than a little sad. There were times when I’d cry uncontrollably for no reason, but I couldn’t stop.

So why didn’t I get help then? Why didn’t I talk to someone?

I had no idea who to talk to, and I was afraid of what people would say or think. A middle school run in with bullies left me hyper conscious of reactions. Besides, people didn’t talk about depression back then. They didn’t even talk about bullies. There was no internet to get information on depression or resources for help. There were no depression or suicide hotlines at school, or anywhere else that I know of.

Besides, I wasn’t that far into the darkness to consider ending my life. That meant that I didn’t need help, right?


No one should have to walk through life half in darkness. It took me years to figure that out and get help.

Next time you see someone without a smile, say good morning/good evening as you walk by. It may not seem like much, but sometimes that little greeting can mean the difference between gray and darkness, a small touch to let them know someone cares.

Everyone needs help at times
Don’t be afraid to ask
For a rope of light
To pull you from the darkness
Climb out of the gray
Hold onto yourself
Your life
Your heart
This world
Hold onto the light

About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to http://www.HoldOnToTheLight.com and join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight

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