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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Changing Traditions

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

Christmas is a time of traditions that we hold tightly…the much-loved decorations we put on the tree every year…Grandma’s recipes we faithfully reproduce…the rituals on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. But as our children grow up and grow into families of their own, it’s not always possible to maintain those traditions. We must embrace the changes, just as our parents had to do and remember that being together is all that matters – whether it’s Christmas day, the day after, or a week later.


                      BELATED CHRISTMAS


They tumble out of my house the same way they tumbled in

sippy cup and mugs in hand, mini I-Pads under their arms,

giggles echoing in the quiet, frosty after-Christmas morning.


Adaline, the ten-year-old, big-sisters the little ones into their car seats.

Emma, the bright-eyed, six-year-old middle child,

tenderly tucks her new Cabbage Patch baby into the seat belt.


Zachary, the all-boy, five-year-old force of nature,

waves a battered Tigger, his irresistible dimpled smile

displaying the space where his new front teeth will soon be.


Daughter-in-law, Amy, and son, Steven, circle the van,

tightening seat belts, squeezing in last minute snack bags,

fastening those ever-present I-Pads to the backs of seats.


They are like a well-oiled machine, packing every space,

carefully tucking newly-acquired Christmas presents

into their digitally-equipped Santa sleigh on wheels.


Their visit has been a whirlwind of presents, food and laughter…

getting re-acquainted with grandchildren who are suddenly taller,

and squeezing in quiet catch-up talks by the fire after kids are in bed.


As I watch the firelight play on Steven and Amy’s much-loved faces,

I silently lament the fact that they live out of daily hugging distance.

Kudos on these parents who could have stayed home by their own fire.


The kids wave as our 2017 Christmas visit comes to an end,

and the Santa safari van moves on to the next grandparent visit.

Happiness is…all of us together…for three glorious days.


SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; a book of poetry, Tapestry; and four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing…Revolt of the Teacups…and two newly released books, Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library and Buddy, the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books. Her poetry is also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. 

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Cindy L. Freeman Blog- Riding the Rails, 11/20/2018

Cindy Freeman

As I write this blog, I’m sitting in Amtrak’s Business Class car on the way to Alexandria, Virginia. At Thanksgiving, my husband and I voluntarily forfeit spending time with our children and grandchildren in favor of seeing them for Christmas. It’s one of those compromises that couples can expect upon tying the marriage knot.

While we’re in the D.C. area, we’ll take in a show at the Kennedy Center, enjoy many fine restaurants, get together with a couple friends, and frequent our favorite Smithsonian museums.

We prefer taking the train to driving, fighting traffic on I-95, and trying to find places to park. Riding the train is not the most efficient means of travel with its numerous stops along the way and slow crawls through congested areas, but it’s a pleasant, relaxing experience during which I can write, Carl can snooze, and we have access to a café car for snacks and drinks. We arrive at our destination rested instead of frazzled.

As we waited at the station this morning, I ran into people I knew and engaged in friendly conversations. The station master was most entertaining as she greeted us with her bright smile and regaled us with her comedic style. “She’s not from around these parts,” I quipped when I heard her characteristic Brooklyn accent, pronouncing Washington “Warshington” and car “caw.” I was reminded of the various dialects I’ve portrayed in my novels and the research necessary for presenting them as authentically as possible.

In Unrevealed, one of my characters, Zavie, is Jamaican. Through research, I learned as much as I could about the island and, in the process, discovered the native language is Patois. I found some colloquial phrases and peppered them in his words. Since another of my characters in this book is from Bedford, Virginia, I wanted her to speak with a southern accent. I accomplished this by writing some of her speech phonetically and using figures of speech that are characteristic of Virginians from the Piedmont area. My book, The Dark Room takes place in Hickory, North Carolina. Since my husband was raised in Lexington, North Carolina, I simply borrowed the dialect from my dear, departed mother-in-law.

Maria, a character in my third novel, I Want to Go Home, travels from Mexico to Washington, D.C. seeking shelter for herself and her two young children. I remembered enough Spanish from high school to give her broken English a Spanish element.

During every trip, whether short or long, whether flying, driving or riding the rails, I make it a practice to study people, including their patterns of speech. I never know when I might need a character for a new book.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website:; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available from or




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Joyce Carr Stedelbauer – Xavier – November 17, 2018

Joyce Carr Stedelbauer

May I introduce my newest friend the Angel Xavier? He is joyous, boisterous,
mysterious, mischievous, full of fun, always on the run from here to there and back again.

But I should warn you Xavier,,. sometimes has problems with behavior.
He’s often late or forgets completely, then he’ll call out meekly,
“I’m sorry, but skating on the crystal cloud was as smooth as vanilla ice-cream today,”
Hanging upside down, or dancing at the edge of high dark sky, he’s often in danger of falling split-splat, but even worst than that—in the angel choir he sometimes sings …just a little flat.

His robe is always ragged and the green striped socks, sagged, his belt’s a rope,
the elder angels almost despair.  Is there any hope for Xavier?

It’s time, it’s time, it’s almost time. The amazing Star moving in a straight line
toward Bethlehem.  Shepherds are sleepy in the fields, sheep cuddled close after their evening meal, stars are dancing high and free, the Heavenly Host singing, Come and See,,.The Baby in the manger comes for you and me.

And Xavier, Look and See—He’s in the front row, dressed in a new golden robe
and singing on key…






XAVIER is the main character and helps you tell the traditional Christmas Story from the Angels perspective. This alphabet poem is illustrated with exciting scenes followed by coloring pages and questions for reflection on “The Greatest Story ever told.”

JCS is an award winning poet and author of 5 previous books for adults, children.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Tis the Season… To be Grateful for Dreams Realized

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

Two years ago in September, my first poetry book, Tapestry, made its debut on Amazon, followed by my memoir, Daughter of the Mountains, and my first children’s book, Herman, the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing — all out there for the whole world to see in December, 2016. By December, 2017, a new children’s book, Revolt of the Teacups, and Captured Moments, a poetry anthology, published with my James City Poets group, joined the growing list of titles under my name on my website. I was thrilled to have an author website and blog and teared up every time a new book got listed there.

This week, we added two more children’s books to my list…Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library, about a couple of bookworms who would rather read the books than eat them, illustrated by my granddaughters, Adaline, age 11 and Emma, age 7; and a second bookworm book, Buddy, the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books; the first and second in what we hope will be a series of bookworm books. I used the word, “we” earlier because none of this would have been possible without my amazingly creative publisher, Jeanne Johansen, her husband/partner, and their company, High Tide Publications. Jeanne has been my publishing fairy godmother, complete with magic wand, computer and belief.

I’ve been writing since high school…fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I was in my twenties when my first non-fiction article was published, in McCalls magazine. If you remember that publication, you’re probably in your 70’s like me. I received a check for $1000 for that story and thought I was on my way to fame and fortune. If you’re also a writer, you know how naïve I was. Most of us wind up with more rejection slips than checks. But the checks did come, enough to keep me writing. Even without them, I would have kept writing. It is a life force for me, as essential as the air I breathe. But I never dared to dream that I could publish a book.

In 2016, a friend told me about his publisher, the aforementioned fairy godmother. Gathering all the courage I could muster, I dialed the number and told the pleasant voice on the other end that I had a story I thought would be a good children’s book. Would High Tide be interested? I was in the right place at the right time. They were looking for good children’s books to publish. We met, Jeanne liked the story; my talented artist/friend, Vivien Mann, illustrated it; and Herman was High Tide’s first children’s book! While we were waiting for the illustrations to be completed, I told Jeanne I had a nearly-complete memoir and also a book of poetry. She read them, loved them — to my amazement – and the rest, as the cliché says, is history.

Thank you, Jeanne, for your vision of a publishing company that focuses on authors over fifty, and brings our stories to the world. Thank you, also, for your hard work, long hours, patience and belief. Keep waving that magic wand and helping authors like me realize our dreams.


SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning author whose work has been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies. She was a 2017 winner of the Art Lit project to display poetry on the streets of the City of Williamsburg, VA. She was a columnist for the Ashland Oil Newsletter and the editor of Expats International. She is a member of Pen Women International

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – The Run For The Wall

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

They descend on the small mountain town

of Rainelle, West Virginia,

like swarms of noisy mosquitoes

five hundred strong,

motorcycles of every size and noise decibel,

bound for the Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D. C.


Piloted by veterans of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan

and every skirmish in between,

they thunder down the mountain,

into streets lined with families,

unemployed miners, disabled in wheelchairs,

all applauding, cheering, waving American flags.


For many years, this small coal mining town

has welcomed the Wall vets who travel

to D. C. each year to honor their fallen comrades.

They feed them, house them, and honor their sacrifices.

The mountainside behind them, is covered with flags,

representing the war casualties from the state.


An event that started with a small welcome picnic,

has become a town-wide celebration of remembrance.

Vets look forward each year to this reunion

with their West Virginia friends.

This year, the mobile Vietnam Casualties Wall

draws silent visitors and tears.


The Run For The Wall assures that those Americans

who paid the ultimate price for our freedom

are remembered and revered.


Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; two children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; and Revolt of the Teacups; a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poetry is also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK, Buddy, the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books, will be released on Amazon in November.