01 Dec 2013

ASMSG Anthology : “A WORLD OF JOY”

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ASMSG x-mas book cover

“A World of Joy” is a remarkable collection of short stories with the common theme of the holiday season. We know that this period represents different things for different people and that is marvellously reflected in the careful selection of the included stories.


The first Christmas without a loved one or a Christmas under dire financial circumstances are just two examples of stories that go beyond the appearance of father Christmas and angels. Humans can find themselves in that season in all kinds of situations and not every Christmas is necessarily a happy one.
But the anthology has a much more positive note and many stories covering the classic magical themes of the season.
Thankfully the editors have put together a rounded selection which covers a great many aspects of the holiday experience and is sure to have something palatable to offer for anyone.


X-mas is all about togetherness, about joy, hope and celebrations. This Anthology pays tribute to this motto with wonderful stories about the human condition and about Santa, mistle toes, magic surprises, family and love. For better and for worse. Christmas is what you make it and the ASMSG authors have made it a World of Joy.


It is no surprise to me that ASMSG anthologies are frequently topping the download charts and Listopia lists on Goodreads. The quality of their formatting, cover choices, editing and writing is consistently high and has brought some very talented writers to my attention.


In true Christmas-spirit the stories a free to download, so enjoy the gift that is A World of Joy.





Brought to you by Grey Mouse Publishing and the authors of ASMSG, A World of Joy is a collection of holiday-themed shorts. It is a Yule-tide celebration of joy, hope, renewal, and love. With stories from multiple holiday traditions, geared towards all audiences, this anthology is meant to infuse the reader with the holiday spirit of good cheer.

TIME—Andrew Lennon
WEEKEND WIFE—Elizabeth Rye (AKA Grace Rellie)
AXE MAN—Jessica Knauss
TOMMIE’S GIFT—James J. Murray
SANTA’S VISIT—Kirstin Pulioff
THE SNOW PERSON—Lorna Dounaeva
CHRISTMAS COOKIES— Gwendolyn Michelle
























05 Aug 2013

Andy Szpuk: “Poetry and Fate” and “Stories for Homes”

2 Comments Book Reviews


Today I am pleased to welcome back novelist and poet Andy Szpuk. He’ll be talking about his poetry and about Stories for Homes, a charitable  anthology he has contributed to.

Poetry and Fate


My interest in poetry blossomed when I was working on a historical memoir of my father’s life, Sliding on the Snow Stone (That Right Publishing 2011). The story opens in Ukraine in 1932 and is one man’s journey through famine, Soviet terrors, Nazi occupation during World War Two and subsequent eviction from his beloved homeland. It’s one man’s quest to get back home, and for personal and cultural freedom.

I included, with permissions, English translations of some sections of ‘Kobzar’ by Taras Shevechenko, the most revered of Ukrainian poets, and each chapter of Sliding on the Snow Stone opens with a Ukrainian proverb. At that stage I resisted the notion of writing any of the memoir as poetry, although there is a short section in chapter one adapted from a poem of my father’s, and because of that, perhaps seeds were planted.

As a debut, Sliding on the Snow Stone proved to be a powerful and profound experience, and I knew finding a project to follow it wouldn’t be easy.

One day, almost by accident, a year or so after it was published, I constructed a short 12 line poem, called ‘History’, all about Sliding on the Snow Stone, and it served to act as a closure of sorts. A burden was somehow shifted, and I then knew it was time to move on.

Not that I’d wasted any time. Following the publication of Sliding on the Snow Stone I set up my blog: One Author’s Very Own Discovery Channel (http://andyszpuk.wordpress.com), to showcase my work and to engage with readers and the outside world. I also worked on a couple of side projects, while looking for another full-length work to undertake. And I wrote poems.

Then, one day, I discovered a story I knew was the one to tackle. My mother’s family comes from a region in the Carpathian Mountains called Lemkovyna, an area split across the borders of Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. At the conclusion of World War Two, the Ukrainian Partisan Army remained active in battling for a free Ukraine, and regular ambushes took place on Polish or Soviet patrols. My mother’s people, the Ukrainian Lemkos, provided support to the partisans, whose activities continued into 1947, until an event occurred that was to trigger an act of revenge. A Polish General was murdered in an ambush by the partisans, and retribution arrived in the mountains. To break support to the partisans, the Polish Army came to carry out a forced resettlement.

The working title is ‘Fate and Circumstance’, and it already includes some poems, reflecting the thoughts of one of the characters, Kasper, who runs away to join the partisans.

My intention is to preface the novel with my own translation of one of Shevechenko’s works, a 16 line poem called ‘Fate’, from the abridged version of ‘Kobzar’. It was quite a challenge to translate even such a short piece, it took several attempts to get it into shape, and my appreciation of the talents of translators has grown as a result:




Those poor, starving 
wretches, my brothers and sisters,
All over Ukraine, eked out an existence,
Without mercy, you 
crushed them under your boot,
But, as a young boy, you led me to school,
You guided me well, and
 I quenched my thirst,
For knowledge and
 learning, wisdom and verse.
‘One day, we’ll be
 something, so learn well, my love’,
Your words drove me
on, they were enough,
To make sure I listened 
and learned so much more,
But your words were 
deception, for still I am poor.
My eyes on a road
 that turned onto nowhere,
I followed you
 blindly, I followed you square.
But my heart is still 
open and so is my hand,
And we still walk
 together all over this land.
We journey to glory, we 
wander so far,
And my legacy rests in the depths of my heart.


This poem sees Shevchenko reflecting on the fortunate circumstances that enabled him to get an education, but his affinity with the common man is evident.

‘Fate and Circumstance’ is multi-themed, with three interwoven storylines. I hope to get it finished soon.




I was lounging on social media one day when a post caught my eye – it was a request for submissions to a short stories anthology called ‘Stories for Homes’. I took a look at the WordPress blog and then emailed the editor Sally Swingewood to ask whether she would consider poetry. She said to send some over, so I did, and then received an email a few weeks ago informing me my poems were to be included. It’s now available on Amazon Kindle! The proceeds from ‘Stories for Homes’ go to the housing organization, Shelter. It’s a worthy cause, and by way of a preview here’s one of my poems from the collection:


The Sign Said For Sale

The sign said for sale

And when the people moved out

Removal men came

To heave away the piano

Along with the beds and everything else

Until the house was empty

And standing forlorn

Like a dog without a tail

The letterbox flapped

And deliveries of junk mail

Landed in a pile

Gathering layers of dust

On a worn out, left behind, welcome mat

The doorbell didn’t ring

And no footsteps

Ran down the hall to answer it

The doors were all locked and bolted

Lamps left on timer switches

The seashells in the bathroom

Long gone with the goldfish

Now and then, people arrived

To poke around and peek in corners

Until, one day, a ray of sunshine came

And took the for sale sign down

Once again, the house could breathe

The world was returning

It might be two-year old terrors

Making mucky marks on the landing walls

Or people with a taste

For Sky dishes and wallpaper paste

The house opened its doors

And let them in




Here are some links to ‘Stories for Homes’ 

on Goodreads




More Links:









© Andy Szpuk 2013

18 Jul 2013

“A World of Possibility” : A Short Story Collection by the Authors of ASMSG

1 Comment Book Reviews



A truly eclectic offering of short stories ranging from humorous and inspirational to dark and frightening, A World of Possibility presents the work of many authors in the group ASMSG, or  Authors’ Social Media Support Group, and each author’s link is provided for your further review of their other work. We hope you enjoy the diversity, laugh, cry, shiver, or look behind you once or twice as you read.

The Authors’ Social Media Support Group (ASMSG) is proud to present the 1st Authors of ASMSG Short Story Anthology under the title A World of Possibility. ASMSG represents a membership of authors throughout the globe, so we found the title of the book and it’s cover appropriate. Inside, you’ll find twenty-six stories of pain, pleasure, anger, despair, fear, love, hatred, passion, and hope. Stories of historic inspiration to the edge of current affairs. Stories that will occupy your thoughts when you turn the lights out, or dance on your mind as you arise with the sun. We hope you will enjoy them


A World of Possibility” is a wonderful selection of short stories of a remarkably consistent high quality of writing throughout the entire book.
Always unsure what you get from an anthology that includes unknown writers I was glad to be captivated by the opening piece, “The Jumper”, and the mystery what said jumper represented in the story.
The book takes us through worlds past and present, into the minds of a killer, victims of abuse, to a possibly haunted Inn, into the past of shipping at Cap Cod in the 1869 or to Germany after WWII.
Not one of the stories failed to grab my attention, something that I find rare in anthologies and which I accredit to good editing and selection processes.
The situations described are inspired, captivating and provide amazing entertainment as well as food for thought.
I have noted down several of the names in the hope to find more of their work in novel form, my personally preferred genre.
This is an excellent showcase of writing talent and I wish all contributors the very best for their promising futures.
Highly recommended.


What a wonderful collection of stories, showcasing the talents of many new authors. The stories range, as do the emotions and visuals they invoke. This is the perfect book to read when you only have a few moments… that five minutes waiting for the bus, ten minutes waiting to pick someone up… the perfect collection for everyone.


“A World of Possibility”, an anthology of short fiction by ASMSG Goodreads authors compiled by Christopher Shields, is a heterogeneous blend of vibrant writers. We find stories of all genres ranging from Kirstin Pulioff’s tale of a young boy and girl unearthing a deadly buried treasure, to Yelle Hughes’ detailed account of a journalist’s sexual experience while interviewing a porn star. Alan Hardy’s sad depiction of a marriage gone stale also deals with sexual frustration.
Criminal acts, both present and past, abound: Iain Parke’s Lala Salaama is masterful with its gruesome depiction of the methodical butchering of a human body.
Ghosts, spirits and vampires make an appearance in quite a few stories. Susan Hawthorne’s description of how the spirit of a long-dead boyfriend takes over the body of a younger man in order to entertain his now elderly lover is captivating.
Each story had the power to transport the reader to another reality and to leave strong imprints of each character. Well done ASMSG authors! I bow to the talent in all of you.

For more on the book on Goodreads:


Download it now on Smashwords:


For more on the Author Alliance:


6643379 6055453







Alliance Founder R. Grey Hoover



Editor Christopher Shield


08 Jul 2013

Of Words and Water: An Anthology in aid of Water Aid

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Of Words and Water

by Words and Water group, Ali Isaac (Goodreads Author), Kerry Dwyer (Goodreads Author), Marie-Anne Mancio (Goodreads Author), Mark Bell, Mike Duron (Goodreads Author), Mona Karel (Goodreads Author), Neel Kay (Goodreads Author) , more…

Short description

Published in support of WaterAid, a delightful selection of varied short stories, poems, and song lyrics from an international group of top class authors, that features Peggy Seeger, noted singer and environmentalist. The cohesive theme is Water, something most of us take for granted. For millions of people clean drinking water is a luxury. Together we can change that.

Water. Many of us take it for granted. With the turn of a faucet, an endless supply runs across our hands, douses our face, fills our pots, kettles, tubs and swimming pools. We depend on the life-sustaining qualities of water for everything from the essential to the mundane, to refresh our bodies and replenish our thirst, to clean ourselves, our clothes, our automobiles and even to maintain our lawns. For us, the fortunate ones, safe water and sanitation is an integral part of our daily lives. Could we survive without it?

Roughly one in ten of the world’s population do not have access to safe water. Two in five people do not have access to adequate sanitation.(*) WaterAid is working to change that. Since 1981, the international non-profit organization has been transforming lives by helping the world’s poorest communities help themselves.

Of Words and Water is a collection of water-themed works from authors around the globe, all of whom wish to contribute to WaterAid’s invaluable efforts. Our work is given freely: if you enjoy it please give generously to share the gift of clean water, the gift of life.

(*)WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2013 update

In my opinion: 

Of Words and Water” is an impressive anthology of short stories and poems, all around the theme of water, a charitable project for WaterAid.
The pieces chosen cover a broad range of approaches, they are poetic, poetic prose or use more modern language; some are more symbolic, others more direct and literal.
The editors did an excellent job at compiling a huge variety of unique styles and ideas on the subject. Whether we experience the power of ocean waves or have a comparatively safe swimming pool as setting, a flooded house, a woman’s water breaking or snow in an unusual location – the collection as a whole hits home the importance of water, its many shapes and forms and its all permeating importance. Water is needed everywhere, water is life.
The book can be downloaded for free, a donation for WaterAid is suggested.</em>


Get your copy here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/330936

Please donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/Of-Words-And-Water

or here: http://www.wateraid.org/uk

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