© 2016 by Alice Jane-Marie Massa
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.
Many thanks to Cindy Kennedy-Leskyfor the cover photo!
© 2015, by Cindy Kennedy-Lesky Photography
Edited by David and Leonore H. Dvorkin
Cover by David Dvorkin
To read more about the photograph used for the cover of the book, please click here.
Below is the Table of Contents of The Christmas Carriage.
Introduction: Writing Through the Snow
Thanksgiving Vignettes: A Cornucopia of Thanks for Family and Friends around the Thanksgiving Table (memoir)
The Thanksgiving Phone (a short story about a military family)
The Thanksgiving Poetry Game ("how-to" and poem)
Leader Dog Zoe Visits U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree (recent memoir)
The Magic and Wonder of the First Weekend of December (memoir)
Making a Christmas Card: Keeping a Christmas Memory of the Best Gift Ever ("how-to" and memoir)
Zoe's Christmas Eve (story poem for children and adults)
Hallmark of a Home for the Holidays (memoir)
2000 Holiday Wishes! (poem)
The Christmas Carriage (short story about a Christmas Eve carriage ride)
Acrostic Christmas Gift (poem)
A Sign of Peace at Cocoa with the Clauses (short story about a homeless person)
Winter in Wisconsin: A Hard Time to Be Homeless (essay)
Blissful Bells (short story about two weddings on December 30)
The Puppies of New Year's Eve (short story about adopting two puppies and a new way of life)
Still Dreaming of a White Christmas, but Waiting for Global Warming (humorous essay)
A Snowflake Garden (poem)
Snow Dancers (poem for children and adults)
About the Author
About Leonore and David Dvorkin
To read the document describing the photos, click here.
In the 47-minute segment focusing on the "Best Gift Ever"—broadcast on November 23, 2017, on "The Morning Show" of the Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio—host Kate Archer Kent welcomed Alice to the show at approximately 27 minutes after the start of the program. To listen to the entire segment, during which Alice spoke about her "Best Gift Ever" and her holiday book, click here.
To read the story of Alice's "Best Gift Ever," refer to "Making a Christmas Card: Keeping a Christmas Memory of the Best Gift Ever," a memoir/how-to piece in The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season (page 41).
To listen to Alice's one-hour presentation on the Branco Broadcast of November 13, 2017, click here.
During this presentation, Alice recited her poems "Zoe's Christmas Eve" and "Acrostic Christmas Gift" from The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season (pages 45 and 65).
One of numerous book-related happenings for which I am particularly grateful this Thanksgiving is an in-depth review of my book that was posted on the Vision Aware "Bookshelf" of the website of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) on October 19, 2017. Visual artist and author Lynda McKinney Lambert, who retired from teaching fine arts and humanities at Pennsylvania's Geneva College in 2008, wrote the in-depth review of my book. After clicking on the following link to read this review, you also will easily find a link to read about Ms. Lambert's new book, Walking by Inner Vision: Stories and Poems, as well as my follow-up comment. Since I know how much time and effort go into the writing of a book review, I am very grateful to Lynda McKinney Lambert for the review.
To read Lynda Lambert's review of The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season, click here.
I am very pleased to announce that print copies of my book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season were sold at the 2017 Little Italy Festival (Clinton, Indiana).
To learn more about the Little Italy Festival which has taken place each year since 1966, you may visit one of the following:
Grazie to LIFT for selling my book during this year's Little Italy Festival!
Also, special thanks to Clinton resident and longtime LIFT volunteer Mary Fornero for facilitating this opportunity for my book!
Alice Massa and Leader Dog Willow
August 25, 2017, Friday
Below are three photographs related to the festival and my appearance there.
Photography by Susie Zanandrea (Clinton, Indiana)
The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season, as well as other writings of Alice Jane-Marie Massa, were displayed at the Clinton Public Library on September 2, 2017, to coincide with the Little Italy Festival and the library's special genealogy exhibit. Many thanks to librarian Ashley Wolfe and her staff!
The Daily Clintonian published Alice's poem "Fifty Years Later, Meet Me" in the September 1, 2017 issue. During the Little Italy Festival, this poem was also displayed at the Clinton Public Library and the Art Exhibit at Clinton's Coal Town Museum/renovated train depot. Special thanks to Fran Massa, Mary Fornero, Rosemary Iacoli, and Susie Zanandrea!
I have always loved books, libraries, and book stores; however, due to vision challenges (since early childhood), I could never read as much as I wanted to read. Then, in 1980, after filling out the appropriate application, my world significantly changed when books recorded specifically for patrons who are legally blind or otherwise print challenged came into my life—thanks to the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, of the Library of Congress. For the first decade, I received books from the cooperating library in Indiana (Indianapolis); since 1991, I have been receiving audio books from the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library. In recent years, I have been able to download audio books from this library service. Through these nearly four decades, I have read, learned from, and enjoyed hundreds of books. The first year after I retired from full-time teaching, I read over eighty books—a couple in braille and the remainder in audio format.
Now, can you imagine how excited I was and still am when I learned that my book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season was accepted to be added to the collection of the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped? On Tuesday, August 15, Ms. Linda Vincent, the management librarian of the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, informed me that my 101-page book was available on Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). Today, August 16, when I downloaded my book for the first time, I was overwhelmed to hear the title of my book and my name given as the author! When I put the special NLS cartridge into the NLS digital player and began listening to my book, I was thrilled, tearful, and humbled because I have so many individuals to thank for helping me to reach this goal.
To honor my third Leader Dog Zoe and my parents, I decided to dedicate a book in their memory. The dedication page alone was an important motivation in my achieving my goal. Additionally, I decided to select posts from my Wordwalk blog and from my other writings for a small holiday book, spanning Thanksgiving through January.
I worked with DLD Books (Denver, Colorado) to produce my little book; after the initial publication, Leonore and David Dvorkin have continued to assist me in a variety of ways with other book-related goals.
December 1, 2016:
I officially announced my book on Wordwalk. Throughout December, my Leader Dog Willow and I made many trips to the post office to mail copies of my book to all family members and friends on my Christmas card list; then, Willow and I enjoyed delivering other copies in our neighborhood. My little book made the holiday season one of the most special of my life.
SUMMER OF 2017
July 15, 2017:
From Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE, of Milwaukee), I received the first copy of my book as recorded by a narrator at ABLE. (This recording became a part of the NLS collection.) Thanks to narrator Dave Raasch and the entire ABLE staff!
July 21, 2017:
David Dvorkin, of DLD Books, uploaded my book to Bookshare, where my book is available to individuals who belong to Bookshare.
August 5, 2017:
Thanks to Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE), its director Cheryl Orgas, and braillist Lenore Tesch—I received the first copy of The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season in one braille volume. Any braille reader across the United States, may order this braille volume for only $7.50 by contacting ABLE at 414/286-3039 or
August 6, 2017:
From a friend in Clinton, Indiana, I was delighted to learn that my print book will be available for sale at four festival locations at the Little Italy Festival, during the four days of Labor Day weekend. Thanks to the LIFT Board and to Mary Fornero!
August 15, 2017:
For patrons of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (throughout the United States), my book (DBC 08305) is available on BARD. Thanks to Ms. Linda Vincent and her staff at the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library!
My book certainly has been the little book that keeps on giving—giving me much creative satisfaction and joy. Throughout this past year, my holiday book has brightened many of my days. Special thanks to all who have read and will read my book, as well as to all who have given or will give my book as a gift!
With smiles of happiness,
Alice Massa and Leader Dog Willow
August 16, 2017, Wednesday blog post on: http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com
Alice and her fourth Leader Dog, Willow,
are at the bridge to a new season of life together.
(Photo by Christie Bane,
GDMI at Leader Dogs for the Blind)
Although Alice Jane-Marie Massa has lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for over 25 years, growing up in the rural Indiana town of Blanford (with a population of approximately 400) influenced the subject matter and style of her writing. After earning master's degrees from Indiana State University and Western Michigan University, Alice, still a Hoosier at heart, taught for 25 years, including 14 years of teaching writing and public speaking at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Having retired from teaching English and grading stacks of student papers, she now focuses on her own writing.
Alice invites you to visit her blog
where, since January of 2013, she has posted weekly her poetry, essays, memoirs, or short stories. Her writings on Wordwalk frequently focus on her Indiana hometown of Blanford, her four guide dogs, her Italian ancestors, and writing. Additionally, some of her writing pieces have been published in Indiana Voice Journal, Magnets and Ladders, Dialogue, Newsreel, and The ACB Braille Forum, as well as in the anthology Behind Our Eyes: A Second Look.
Away from her desk, Alice enjoys reading, container gardening, and the television program Jeopardy. Since March 21, 1990, Alice's guide dogs have added sparkle, spirit, and independence to her life. Currently, most of all, she is grateful for her long walks with her fourth Leader Dog, Willow (a black Labrador), who is following very well in the amazing pawprints of Alice's beloved first three Leader Dogs—Keller (a Golden Retriever), Heather (a Yellow Labrador), and Zoe (a Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix).