Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Amazing Amy Hollinger

Author and Editor Amy Hollinger is a member of the South Jersey Writers Group and the person responsible for getting the anthology project started. She worked very hard on getting this book done and if you look closely at the picture, you can even see the gray hair that I gave her. Without keeping you waiting, let me introduce to you Amy Hollinger, Editor, Publisher and author. She has a story featured in the anthology

 Story: Hole in the Sky

Tell us a little about yourself?

I'm an outdoor enthusiast who always liked to tell stories. I run an outdoor adventure group, and like playing around with film and photography. Professionally, I'm an insurance agent with a specialization in Medicare plans. I play soccer and love to travel; planning to run a race in every state!

What got you interested in writing and when did you start?

My mom says I've been making stuff up since I could talk. She still has some of the stories I wrote in elementary school. I never really knew how to go about it until I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2004. Write a novel in a month? Sure why not. It didn't work out but I stuck with it ever since, and for the most part it's gotten much easier. This is the first time I've been published.

What type of stories do you enjoy writing?

Everything I write turns in to young adult fiction. Just kind of happens that way!

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

I honestly can't say for sure! I like to think about fairly common objects with unusual uses; what if a mirror was a portal for time travel? (And that is the premise for something I'm working on now!)

Why did you pick this particular story for our anthology?

I started it as a blog post several years ago, never finished (which is pretty much the status of everything I've ever written.) When I decided to take on the task of editing an anthology, it seemed the thing nearest to completion, so I worked a little bit on turning it more into a story. Hopefully it worked.

What advice can you give to our readers who are interested in writing and getting their book published?

Network, network, network. Keep on the lookout for every opportunity and be ready for them when they arise! If you really want to be published, you have to know what is happening in the industry.
Is it important for new writers to join a writer's group and why?

Of course! There is so much to learn from other writers, even if they're just casual journalers. Reading the writings of people you know is a fascinating learning experience. I've learned so much from so many people in our group!

It was a pleasure to interview you, Amy and I hope our dear readers enjoy the post.

Amy's Blogs:

Also on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hello to Our Facebook and Twitter Friends

                                                                                Got a second?

                                                               Don’t have plans for January 6th?

Well, we’re inviting all our friends, family and the wonderful residents of Haddonfield and the surrounding area to come on over on January 6th to Jersey Java and Tea on 140 N. Haddon Ave. in Haddonfield, N.J.  from 1 to 3 p.m.

                                                                            Why, you ask?
We are having a Book Signing and Discussion with our authors reading select stories from the anthology.
                                                                       What anthology?

Glad you asked. The South Jersey Writer’s group put together a short story anthology. It has stories for everyone.
                                                                          Like what?

Well…we have stories that deal with every aspect of life and the afterlife, including one of the funniest westerns this side of the Rio Grande.
                                           Do you like zombies? We have that too.
                                                     So…will we see you on January 6th?

                                     Don’t let me send those pesky little flesh eaters after you.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fight Cabin Fever!! Buy Our Book!!

Okay, the cold winter weather is coming and we all know what that means.


You can only watch so many re-runs on T.V. before you start going a little crazy


I have the perfect solution!! Read a book and not just any old book! Read our book, Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey. We have all types of stories from slices of life, a comedy western, to a good scary ghost stories.


For example, Author Robert Cook's Beach Morning, which will bring back memories of a childhood at the beach.

Or read Author Shelly Szajner's The Feathered Messenger which tells of a daughter's reunion with a long lost father.
Author Amy Hollinger's Hole in the Sky is a loving tribute to the silent guardians that enhance our daily lives.


Author Kitty Bergeron's tale  Phone Call tells of a wicked practical joke that brings death.
Author Mieke Zamora-Mackay's story The Walk is the heartbreaking tale of a loving couple's betrayal by Father Time.
Author Dawn Byrne's story Footprints That Don't Match is about memories of a loving Grandmother
Author Jennifer M. Eaton's poem Hold On'Till the End is a tribute to  survival


Author Barbara Godchalk's stories Yard Sale and Driving Lessons tell of her hilarous adventures with Yard Sales and Driving.
There are many other stories in this fabulous book....So? What are you waiting for?

You can find the book on Amazon

Sunday, December 23, 2012

An interview with Barbara Godshalk


Author Barbara Godshalk is a member of South Jersey Writers Group

 Stories: Yardsale and Driving Lessons

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am a full time mommy knee deep in a mid-life crisis. I want to leave the glamorous life of a tax accountant behind and become a full time writer. The biggest challenge I’m facing these days is having the discipline to pursue that dream seriously.


What got you interested in writing and when did you start?

I began writing around 2006, when I lost a job that I liked at a bank. The layoff really got me thinking about what my next career move was going to be. While away on vacation, I met Nancy Aronie, a published author who encouraged me to write.


What type of stories do you enjoy writing?

Bitter, angry rants mostly, (Just kidding!!) Actually, I enjoy writing anecdotal humorous stories about life and what I learn along the way.


Where did you get your inspiration for your stories?

My family is a walking wealth of material.


Why did you pick these particular stories for our anthology?

Many of my stories are parent and child oriented but I felt that ‘Driving Lessons’ and ‘Yard Sales’ would appeal to the widest audience possible as you don’t have to be a parent to appreciate the experience.


What advice can you give to our readers who are interested in writing and getting their book published?

Never give up.


Is it important for new writers to join a writer’s group and why?

It is a great source of support and new ideas. Isolation can be deadly. I enjoy the live audience when I read pieces aloud. It gives one new resources to use to improve your writing and explore publishing avenues.

Thank you so much, Barbara, for sharing with our readers today. You can visit Barbara Godshalk at the site below and visit amazon to order the book.

Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Signing and Write in at Jersey Java

Our next book signing and author's meet and greet will be held on Sunday, January 6 from 1-3 pm. At the same time we're hosting a Bring-a-Friend Write In, so everyone is welcome to join us for a little socializing and a little writing. We'll have readings from about 1-2, and the write in will go until 4 pm.

Hope you can join us! Dawn Byrne, author of "Footprints That Don't Match," created a Facebook event; feel free to RSVP and comment over there as well.

The next event will be held at the Quarter Note Cafe on January 25; details to follow.

Bookmark our Calendar of Events for other upcoming events!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Great Gift Idea

If you're looking for a great gift idea for the reader in your life, you can’t go wrong with a copy of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

The collection of stories in this anthology features a broad range of genres, like Joanne Costatntino’s “Philly Girl in Jersey,” a delightful tale of a city girl trying to survive on the other side of the Walt Whitman Bridge.

or James Knipp’s “No Fun Joe,” about lessons learned from hard choices.

If you like comedy, we have several stories that fit this bill. Joseph Arechavala’s hilarious tale of a tiny hired gun in the Wild West is called “Destiny in Dusty Springfield.”

There's also John Farquhar’s hilarious tale, “Bad Day for Santa,” which tells of a young boy’s somewhat unexpected meeting with that jolly old Elf.

“Where are you Zeppie?” is Marie Gilbert's comical warning of what happens when we take on "virtual dependents," social network creations that have a mind of their own.

Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey also has stories of the mysterious and macabre, such as William Harden’s ghostly tale “The Junkyard.”

K.A. Magrowski’s “Apparitions of Murder" is the story of a vengeful ghost come back from the dead.


Christine Hardy’s “The Gargoyle Cat" is about a toy come to life. Kids would even like this one!

And no anthology is complete (from our group, anyway) without a tale of the apocalypse. Marie Gilbert, our "Steampunk Granny," fills the bill with the story “The Night of the Attack."

Sixteen talented authors with stories of enchantment, horror and comedy just for you.



So, what are you waiting for?

Don't give another tie as a gift

Books make good gifts, and our book is a great one!

Get your copy of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey today!

See "Where to Buy" for local businesses carrying the book.

And thanks for your support!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Author Interview with Shelley Szajner


Author Shelley Szajner is a member of the South Jersey Writers' Group

Writer of Mystical Fantasy and Adventure Stories

Story: The Feathered Messenger

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m so glad that I never grew up! Life is much more fun with imagination in the driver’s seat. I still climb trees, use a boogie board to ride the ocean waves, and in the winter, take my sled for a glorious ride on a snow-covered hill. I am an artist as well as a writer, and I love to paint, draw, or create anything that inspires me—usually fantasy, animals, or nature. I’m also an Intuitive Symbolist, which is someone who understands the signs and symbols that appear in life, especially in dreams. I’ve dreamt all my life and still do. With a hot cup of Earl Grey tea in my hand, I will gladly discuss the cosmos, or the dream that you had last night, or the meaning behind the synchronistic events that happen in our lives via the signs and symbols coming from the Universe that guide us every day. Hint: If you happen to notice an ant crossing your path, it's telling you to be patient about something. If you see a hawk, pay attention to messages coming your way. And it it's a skunk--run! I know that I would, but skunk Medicine isn't that bad at all. It has to do with your reputation, and if you respect yourself, you will create a powerful and honored one.

What got you interested in writing and when did you start?

When I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien at the age of 12, I loved those stories so much that I wished I had a magical device that could teleport me into that fantastical world. The written word is a powerful force, and from then on, I’ve wanted to write my own stories that people love to read.

What type of stories do you enjoy writing?

I enjoy writing mystical fantasy, romance, or anecdotal stories, especially anything with a metaphysical or paranormal theme to it. I also like writing children’s books, mostly for middle grade, but also picture books. I’m an illustrator as well.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Some stories come to me in my dreams, while others are from my imagination.  And some stories are from true to life experiences. I may also learn about someone’s family history and get a character for my next story. I have two muses, and I have to credit them with inspiring me as well.

Why did you pick this particular story for our anthology?

It was such an incredible story about my life that I had to write it. I wanted to share what happens when a long-held secret is revealed, along with the surprising discoveries that eventually lead to a reunion. 

What advice can you give to our readers who are interested in writing and getting their book published?

Employ the three P’s: Practice, Patience, and Persistence. These three qualities are required if you ever want to make it in the publishing world. Take workshops, classes, or get a writing mentor. Learning the craft is essential! You cannot get published until you have this down, and it can take a while as there is much to learn. Read other writers in your genre as well.  

Is it important for new writers to join a writer’s group and why?

Yes indeed! Writer’s groups are a great resource for networking and provide much needed support for fledgling writers, which is very important when starting out. It’s also a place to get some critiquing done of your work and learn the do’s and don’ts of the craft of writing. 

Thank you so much for sharing your time and advice with us. Dear readers, you can find Shelley at

Get your copy of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey on today!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

An Interview with Author Christine Hardy


Author Christine Hardy is a member of the South Jersey Writers Group

Stories: The Gargoyle Cat and Radiance

Tell Us a little about yourself.

I'm a marketing data analyst and a soccer mom. I used to build doll houses and still have several of them getting dusty in the basement.

What got you interested in writing and when did you start?

I've been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil, but stopped during my 20's due to the demands of college and career. I picked it up again when I was a stay-at-home-mom.

What type of stories do you enjoy writing?

Everything I write ends up having some kind of fantasy element in it. I can't help myself.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Anything can trigger them, usually an interesting place or object that implies something mystical, like a little statue of a gargoyle cat in a museum shop.

Why did you pick this particular story for our anthology?

I wanted to try a flash piece, as I haven't done it before. This was written specifically for the anthology.

What advice can you give to our readers who are interested in writing and getting their book published?

Learn all that you can, everywhere you can, but don't let yourself get paralysed by too much information. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break, disconnect from the internet, and then get back to the heart of your writing-the story. Many times I would curl up in a mental fetal ball from reading all kinds of agent and writing blogs, because I felt so much pressure to be polished and perfect. That was so detrimental to my process as a writer. Don't do that.

Is it important for new writers to join a writer's group and why?

Yes, because you need people who will encourage you when you feel like giving up. However, pick the right group. They should be supportive, not overly critical or judgmental, and there should be at least a few people who write the same genre you do who can give you feedback. The important thing is to keep learning and improving.

Thank you Christine for your valuable insight into the world of a writer. Please follow Christine at:

Get your copy of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey from today!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Successful Book Launch

On December 2nd, the Treehouse Coffee House was set up for the big day. Tables were arranged, signs displayed, books placed strategically on the table.
        Joanne Costantino with her granddaughter Tayler and her husband, "Jersey Boy" Mike Costantino

Mieke Zamora-Mackay made sure that all the authors practiced their handwriting for the busy day of book signing ahead.

Jennifer M. Eaton and Mieke Zamora-Mackay

Krista Magrowski and Jennifer M. Eaton manned the book table, under the supervision of Jen's oldest son.

K.A. Magrowski, Jennifer M. Eaton

A celebration was about to begin! We were so excited!

Dawn Byrne

And hopefully, lots of books would be sold. What book?

John Farquhar

The South Jersey Writer's Group first anthology, 

cover art by Shelley Szajner

Editors Amy Hollinger and Marie Gilbert were there to start the show...

Amy Hollinger, Marie Gilbert, Shelley Szajner

...and Jim Knipp kept us on the agenda as the Master of Ceremony.

Jim Knipp and Marie Gilbert (aka Super G)

The books were flying off the shelves!

Amy Hollinger

                 The joint was jumping with well wishers who had showed up to give their support. 

It was a packed house.

The authors read stories, and prizes were given away. There was lots of fun to be had 
(and books to be signed)!

The editors and authors are so thankful for all the support of our family, friends, and the community! There is another book signing and sale at the Audubon Library on 239 Oakland Ave. on December 6th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Thanks for everyone who participated to make our launch party such a huge success!