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

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!

My Christmas Story: A First Review and some Chart Movement

After its first day of release, “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” has already netted its first review, and it has cracked the top ten in two Amazon categories.

I was particularly pleased with how the first review starts: “lovely. warm. something you want to read with a cup of tea in hand sitting by a roaring fire.”

If that review doesn’t scream Christmas, I don’t know what does. It was my intent to write a feel good story that has some profound substance underneath.

It’s also cool that it has checked in at #27 under historical fiction short stories and #86 under Kindle Short Reads.

I hope to keep it rolling, so please check it out. Much appreciated.

Amazon USA link: HERE!

Amazon UK link: HERE!

Amazon Canada link: HERE!

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Full Circle in One Week. The Story of my New Christmas Story.

Just a week ago I was sitting in a pool thinking, as I often do before I start writing. As I previously mentioned, I was planning out 2015 and had decided to turn my one short play, “If Love is a Crime, String Me Up” into a Christmas story to publish in November of 2015. Then I had a crazy idea. It was still November 30 at the time and I asked myself if it would be feasible to write a quality story in a week so I could release it this year on the second week of December.

I scoffed at the idea but decided to give it a try. Within 24 hours, I had a first draft nearly completed. This was fast! I never like to write and publish too quickly. A lot can go wrong, but there is something I had going for me on this project: I already had a quality story.

The play that my new Christmas story (“If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story) is based upon already had a complete story with three well-developed characters. The dialogue of the story was basically already there, minus the Christmas aspect, so I just need to flesh out the details and put the setting on Christmas Eve. I already absolutely loved the characters, and I had already seen them performing on stage two weeks prior to this. These were solid characters with a simple, but yet profound story to tell. So I moved forward. Here’s what I did throughout the week to get the story ready for publication.

Monday – I contacted my book cover designer and asked if he had any free time to see if he could whip me up a simple e-book cover within a week. He did much better than that. By noon Monday, he had already sent me FOUR sample covers. Wow! Now I knew I had to write a quality story. By Monday night I had finished a first draft, which was, actually, too closely connected to the play and not closely connected enough to Christmas.

Tuesday – I laid down some additional story twists and background information which was not present in the play. I figured out that Beatrice, our protagonist, was a widower. This is her first Christmas alone without her husband, Homer. I also brought in an angel gift that Homer had previously given her. It would now play a prominent role in the story.

Wed – Re-read and re-write. I also coaxed my wife to read it, the first and only person who has read it at this point. She caught some things which needed changing to improve the flow of the story. She also caught my mistakes. Asked my book designer to add a little color to the cover. Done.

Thurs – Re-read and re-write.

Friday – Re-read and edit.

Saturday – Double re-read. Also laid out the e-book and got it looking nice and pretty.

Sunday – Re-read by both myself and my wife. And this is where I find myself. A week older, and now with a new story under my belt, ready to be released tomorrow.

I hope it is an inspirational and meaningful read for people. I hope they love Beatrice as much as I do. What an incredible woman! You’ll see what I mean if you read it.

This is not something that I would do all the time, rush a story to publication in a week. For my novels, it takes between 6 months and a year from the time they are finished to the time I push them out. I feel it’s necessary to take it slowly, ensuring the quality is where I want it to be.

But with this one, I am confident that it is the story I want to tell. I hope everyone will like it.

And so I’m pleased to announce the release of my first, published short story: “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story.”

Enjoy.

PURCHASE THE STORY ON AMAZON HERE!

 

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