New Christmas Story Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce I’ll be publishing a new Christmas short story this year. Unsure of release date, but it will be well early for the season. It even has a cover!

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Can you pick up the tone of it? Yes, light-hearted, silly, funny (hopefully) with a warm fire-place-like touch of sentiment – all those things you need to settle into the holiday season. You know, like a cinnamon stick in your hot chocolate or spiced cider simmering on the stove.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” was actually a short play that my drama group The RLT Players performed in their Christmas show “Tales of Wonder II” in 2015. It was a funny and well-received vignette, and last year I got the idea of re-writing it as a short story. I didn’t get very far.

Until now! I turned the 2000 word play into a 6000+ word short story coming your way to a Kindle near you!

I’ve actually not written many short stories in my life. I’ve written more novels than short stories, actually. I’m not sure if that is bizarre or not, but I’m becoming more familiar with the genre. Most of my short stories are Christmas-themed. Why is that? I’m not sure, exactly, but perhaps there’s something comforting about a warm cup of tea, a fireplace, and a 30 or 40-minute sentimental read.

In 2014, I published “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” about a runaway slave in 1852.  Available Here.

In 2016, I published “Christmas in the Trenches 1914” a fictitious account of the real-life truce between the Brits and the Germans in WWI on Christmas Eve 1914. Available Here!

In 2018, I will publish “Jolly Old St. Nick.”

I hope you enjoy, and look out for the release of my new one soon!

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FREE CHRISTMAS STORY: “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story”

My short story about a slave girl who runs into the boisterous and loving Beatrice on Christmas Eve is free on Amazon through December 24 – perfect timing for the holidays.

Get your copy HERE! Read reviews! Enjoy. After all, it’s free!

Reviewers have called it:

“A warm and poignant seasonal tale”

“New Christmas classic full of heart.”

“Wonderful story of love and protection.”

“Lovely. Warm. Full of hope.”

What do you have to lose except an hour of reading bliss?

Pick up your copy now. Please leave a review and share with a friend.

Thanks!

 

 

FREE: Christmas Story – “If Love is a Crime” (Limited Time)

Hey all,

I’m happy to offer my Christmas story “If love is a crime” for FREE on Kindle from November 28 – Dec 2. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t be a humbug! It’s sure to wrap you up the sweet goodness of Christmas and get you ready for the holiday season.

I wrote this piece last year. It’s based on a short play I wrote called, “If Love is a Crime, String Me Up.” I really do love this piece. It’s about a runaway slave in the 1850s who happens upon the house of Beatrice, where she receives unexpected Christmas love.

Did I mention it’s FREE!  Please go grab yourself a copy and tell your friends. It’s a great short read.

Get if FREE on AMAZON!

Let me know what you think. It’s my after Thanksgiving gift to you. Enjoy!

If lo

Free on Kindle through December 2.

Excerpt: “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story”

Here’s an excerpt from the opening scene of my new Christmas Story, where Beatrice finds an unexpected visitor shivering in the cold in front of her cabin. The full story can be purchased exclusively on Kindle for only $0.99 cents HERE!

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

She pulled at the nearly finished shawl hanging off the side of the table and skillfully bobbed and weaved the last few inches of the left tail, humming lightly a few bars of a Christmas hymn, randomly making comments to herself, most of which would have made no sense to another human being if one had been within a stone’s throw. She was ravenously intent on her shawl and stitched away for some time until Snowy, the plough horse tied up on the side of the cabin, grunted wildly.

“Now what is it, Snowy?”

Thud.

Something hit the side of the house. Beatrice stood immediately but didn’t move a muscle. She put her finger in her mouth and bit down in fierce concentration, intently listening for any other sound. She heard it. A scraping. Light and slow. It slid along the front of the cabin and stopped under the wooden, hinged panel, which swung open in the summer to let the breeze permeate the room. Beatrice stepped daintily, as if on thin ice, putting her head against the wooden shutters, packed tightly with wool strands meant to keep the drafts out during the winter months. She heard a faint whimper, like that of a frightened puppy. A hollow wailing, soft yet agonizing.

She walked over and lit the candle in the lantern, threw her new shawl over her shoulders, and slowly opened the front door. An early winter breeze startled her, but she lifted the light and shone it around the corner to the small divot in the ground where she had started digging a hole to replant her rhododendron but never got around to it. A figure, dark, blended into the night, huddled in a ball, shaking, panting softly with her head down in her knees.

“Hey, sweetheart. You’re shivering. Don’t be afraid. It’s all right. It’s cold out here, that’s for sure.”

Beatrice stepped two feet towards the shaking mass, who quickly backed away, slyly looking to her left at the lantern, which lit up Beatrice’s jolly-round face.

“Do you want to come in?”

The girl shook her head, tightening her arms’ grip around her knees. She wore rags completely torn at the bottom with shards of ripped cloth hanging down her legs. She had nothing on her feet.

“Well, I had a mind of getting a little fresh air myself. I think I’ll sit out here for a minute, if that’s all right with you.” Beatrice glanced over at the girl, who kept staring at her with no movement whatsoever. “Actually, I’m rather warm myself. I’ve been poking those hot coals in the stove all evening,” continued Beatrice. “I had the hardest time getting them to burn evenly tonight. I made a whole heap of biscuits.” Beatrice leaned in to whisper like she was about to divulge to the world a shameful secret. “Don’t tell anyone, but I almost burnt half of them. Don’t suppose you’re hungry, are you?”

Beatrice sat down on a log bench outside the front door and placed the lantern at the edge, illuminating the girl’s profile, who sat in the impending rhododendron pit.

“Well, are you hungry or not?”

The girl shook her head in a predetermined, mechanical manner.

“Well, I didn’t think so,” said Beatrice. “Young girls running through the meadows in rags on Christmas Eve are rarely hungry. Or at least that’s been my experience.”

Read the entire story HERE!

Why Can’t I be a Christmas Light Manufacturer?

If there ever was such a thing as a Christmas conspiracy, it has to have something to do with Christmas light manufacturers.

They get all the fun and last laughs.

1. Worse than a Taser: Shocking Developments

Where else can you get paid for shocking people with electricity? (OK, besides law-enforcement.) Last year, as I was unwrapping the stored lights for the annual wanting-to-swear-like-mad-because-none-of-them-work ritual, I found the one and only exposed 220v wire. The electricity shook my arm like a rag doll and I felt numb and feeble for several hours. This year I cautiously sat in the background and let my unsuspecting family put the lights up. Those cheap manufacturers nailed all three. My son was first, followed by my wife, and then my daughter. All three complained of lingering effects of the Christmas light taser conveniently disguised as a harmless string of Christmas joy.

2. Paid to Make Things That Fail 

What other manufacturer can make shoddy wares and still have the idiot consumers flock back to the generic mega-stores to buy their generic garbage year after year? It’s become a tradition in our family. Somehow, I get the job of untangling the lights and seeing if they do indeed work from the previous year. This year was pretty successful: only 40% of our light strands didn’t work. Not bad! So now I have a choice. Do I try to find which bulb is not working on each strand, or do I throw it in the trash and buy a new one? I usually start with a half-hearted attempt at fixing them. I put one strand up to the window-light, bulb by bulb, to see if I could identify a working filament. Halfway in I got bored and threw them in the trash. Some factory manager just smiled.  So I went to the generic mega-store and picked out three strands. I had to wait ten minutes to find a worker to help me plug them in to check if they actually worked. 67% of them worked in the store. Not bad! Another smile by that same manager. I brought them home to discover that …

3. All Lights Are Not Equal and I was Supposed to Know That

How was I supposed to know the difference between cascading lights, chasing lights, rice lights, waterfall lights? I thought lights were lights. And I brought home the two working packages that my wife absolutely didn’t want. So back I went, one more time. She actually wanted the rice lights.

If I wasn’t a teacher and didn’t have the opportunity to torture students with pop-quizzes, essays, and impossible true or false questions, I would really like to be a Christmas light manufacturer. There are apparently quite a few similarities.

Students keep coming back, year after year. Likewise, I’ll be replacing 50% of my lights at the mega-store next year. Tis the season.