28 July 2018
Lynda McKinney Lambert & Miss Opal
If you are NEW to SCAN,
The Welcome Page at: https://llambert363.blog/welcome-page/
Today we are celebrating
Christmas in July
Alice Jane -Marie Massa
Alice with her current Leader Dog, Willow
Q_Alice, We are so glad to have you as our guest today. Would you please tell us a little about your book?
Alice_ Yes, and ’tis the season for thinking of “Christmas in July.”
Since I have always enjoyed the holiday season, my first book naturally spans from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season includes:
- five memoirs
five short stories
two how-to pieces
If you are someone who makes an early Christmas shopping list, I do hope you will consider my 101-page gift book as a special little present for several people on your gift-giving list.
On one of these hot summer days, you may want to cool off by reading The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season.
While the e-book is $2.99, the price of the print, audio, or braille version is $7.50.
For additional information about ordering my book in any of the four formats, please visit my author’s web page: Buy it!
Below, I am happy to share with you the first 250 of 2200 words of my book’s title short story.
Excerpt from The Christmas Carriage
by Alice Jane-Marie Massa
For at least three decades, Mrs. Nevando’s Christmas wish was to have a carriage ride through the city on Christmas Eve. She never mentioned this wish to her husband: the idea seemed all too frivolous. Twelve years ago, when she sat beside his hospital bed, Mrs. Nevando dozed periodically and dreamed of a Christmas carriage ride. Each of the past twelve Christmases that she endured with the memories of her deceased, beloved husband, the 74-year-old woman still entertained the thought of a carriage ride, but then routinely dismissed the notion. “An old woman riding in a carriage alone on Christmas Eve! What would people think?” she often found herself wondering aloud–well, in an audible whisper.
In mid-December, Mrs. Nevando was in her usual mode of declining all holiday invitations although she was not receiving as many as she had in earlier years. One son was somewhere in Europe, and the other son was on the East Coast. Of course, they knew their mother was a Midwestern girl–old girl–who did not care to join the masses at airports during any holiday season. After she wrote e-mails to both sons and a few other family members, Mrs. Nevando found herself exploring the website for the city carriage rides. Although she read that carriage rides were available on Christmas Eve, the cost was too expensive for her taste. Nevertheless, she reasoned that one carriage ride was certainly way less money than an airline ticket to Italy or even to Boston.
Q_ Can you tell us how you began writing this book?
Alice_ Yes, I had always planned to write during my retirement years. This avocation developed into my initiating a weekly blog on January 19, 2013.
Through my regular blog posts, I realized that I was accumulating quite a number of memoirs, poems, and essays, as well as a few short stories. Thus, in August of 2016, I decided to select some of the holiday pieces for my first book. The impetus for my beginning the work on the collection was my wanting to dedicate the book in memory of my third Leader Dog, Zoe, and in memory of my parents. As a writer, I had often dreamed of writing a dedication page and an acknowledgement page for a book of mine.
Q_ Do you have a favorite animal?
Alice_ Since March 21, 1990, I have been blessed with four Leader Dogs. Each of these guide dogs, as well as each of my earlier pet dogs has been loved and special to me in his or her own way. Zoe, (in the photo to the right) my third Leader Dog, was a nearly perfect guide dog and was absolutely perfect for me. My Black Labrador/Golden Retriever excelled with impressive guide work, extraordinary devotion, and loving ways.
Zoe’s extremely sudden and unexpected passing prompted me to write a book to honor her remarkable life. After such a loss, I had to focus on something positive: thus, during the early months of working with my fourth Leader Dog, Willow (a British Black Labrador Retriever), I put together and had published my first book.
Q_What is your most notable achievement or accomplishment?
Alice_At one point in my life, I am certain I would have answered this question by mentioning my return to college life at age 40 for a second master’s degree at a university I had not previously attended and with my first guide dog. Having the opportunity to conclude my teaching career with twenty years of full-time teaching at Milwaukee Area Technical College was a most satisfying accomplishment. Overall, I would answer this question by emphasizing my being able to live very happily and work successfully with four Leader Dogs over a span of more than twenty-eight years and still counting.
However, in my writing life, I am most pleased that I was able to have my print book published in time to give as gifts to family, friends, and other acquaintances for Christmas of 2016. Receiving in the mail on July 15, 2017, and listening to the audio version of my book, recorded in the studios of Milwaukee’s Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE), were amazing and memorable experiences. Click here!
Then, I was especially delighted on August 5, to hold in my hands for the first time and read the braille version (also prepared by ABLE) of The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season. On August 15, 2017, when the managing librarian of the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library called me to let me know that my book was available on BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) throughout the United States for patrons of the National Library Service for the Blind of the Library of Congress, I was overwhelmed. My goal of having my print book available in accessible media for people who are blind and visually impaired was most gratefully achieved. (Once again, I must give another special thanks to Cheryl Orgas, executive director of ABLE, and her staff and volunteers, as well as to Linda Vincent and her staff at the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library.)
Q_What plans do you have for future writing endeavors?
Alice_ Besides continuing with my weekly Wordwalk blog which I post each Wednesday evening, I would like to have published one or more of the children’s books I have written. Perhaps, someday, I will publish a collection of my poetry.
Writing is a wonderful avocation for a retired instructor of English and for so many other retirees. I most like to encourage others to preserve family history by writing the stories of older family members. A family tree and photographs are not enough: we do need to write our family’s memoirs.
The book blurb on the back cover of The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season is:
To celebrate holiday reading, author Alice Jane-Marie Massa invites you to join her on a snowy, imaginary carriage ride featuring her holiday memoirs, short stories, and poetry .
Spanning from Thanksgiving through the new year, this collection includes her remembrances of Hoosier holidays in the 1950s and 1960s. “The Christmas Carriage” (set in Milwaukee) and “The Puppies of New Year’s Eve,” along with stories about a military family, two holiday weddings, and a homeless person will warm your heart this winter. From “Zoe’s Christmas Eve” to “Snow Dancers,” Alice’s poetry provides merry and memorable reading for both adults and children.
This book is one you will want to wrap as a holiday gift, as well as a book that you will want to keep beside your chair while you settle into the sparkle and joy of this holiday season.
Alice Jane-Marie Massa
The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season
A FINAL NOTE:
You can find a MEMOIR by Alice on a previous post here at SCAN, from November 24, 2015: Remembering Grandma Farm
Alice, Miss Opal and I are glad to have this opportunity to share your life and your book with our readers today.
I’d like to add that last year, I gave little “Thank you packages” to some people who I have contact with throughout the year.
Friends, people who provide services to me such as manicure, pedicure, and hair salons and the Keystone Blind Association.
One of those people told me in a note that she put your book away with the Christmas decorations. She did this so that she can take it out and read it during the following Christmas season!
What a great idea this is –
I’d like to recommend that our readers buy your book for gifts and to keep a copy with their own Christmas decorations – for years to come.
It will always be Christmas in July and Christmas in December for your little book!
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright. July 28, 2018. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing
is a weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.
Lynda is the author of 4 books:
Lynda has just completed her 3rd book
- Star Signs: New & Selected Poems
AND… her FIRST CHAPBOOK
- first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.
Both new books are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.
Thank you for visiting with us today.
Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert
Contact Miss Opal and Lynda at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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