Merry Christmas To All, And To All a Good Night

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s time: I need to go dark for a while. No, it doesn’t mean I’m going to The Dark Side (even though they have cookies). It means I’m going to turn off the light switch on this blog.

Closed for renovations, remodelling, rethinking.

In the words of Tara Leaver, a lovely artist I’ve been following and taking inspiration from for some time: “I need to go dark. To be in the dark with my work – the winter dark, the dark of not knowing, the dark of not showing.” (Tara Leaver’s ArtNote newsletter, 16/11/2020)

So that’s what I’m going to do. You’re not going to see me around here for a while. Don’t worry, all the current posts will stay up, so you can re-read them at your leisure, and I’ll still be available via email if you want to talk to me. Also, Steve says that any bears or other stuffed animals who want to come by our house for a chat are more than welcome (it’s been established that they’re immune to Covid-19; social distancing is not an issue for them).

So I’ll sign off for now. Thank you, everyone, for being along for the ride with us, and Steve and I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year 2021!

That’s Life, the Universe, and Turning Off the Light Switch. Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

“The Forty-Dollar Christmas: A Canadian Holiday Story”

Drumroll please: Another Christmas short story is now available for your delectation from Yours Truly!

THE FORTY-DOLLAR CHRISTMAS: A CANADIAN HOLIDAY STORY

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… unless you don’t have the cash to make it happen.
When Liz is stuck at home over the holidays, she finds out that her downstairs neighbour is too broke to celebrate Christmas with his little girl. Can she bring her ingenuity to bear to show Jonathan that it’s not the content of his wallet that counts?

Available now on Amazon for Kindle and print, and Smashwords (as well as other ebook retailers shortly) in any other format you’d like.

And here’s a little taste test:

Liz leaned back against the kitchen counter.
“Look, what do you mean you can’t afford Christmas? You can’t be that broke!”
“Yes, I’m that broke! I mean, just look around at this place—do I look like I’m made of money? Why do you think I’m looking for work? I don’t have the kind of cash to throw a Christmas shindig, or the room on my credit card, either. I can’t just pull a grand out of my back pocket!”
“A grand?!? Are you kidding me?”
“Why, you think that’s not enough? After all, she’s just a little girl, but… Yeah, I suppose; I think the last time Morgan and I had Christmas together it came to over two, and that was a few years ago. Prices have gone up since.”
“Over two thousand dollars?” Liz said. “That’s nuts! What did you spend all that on?”
Jonathan frowned. “Well, the usual stuff—Christmas trees, decorations, food, presents…”
“Wow, those must have been some kind of presents! What did you get? Diamonds and rubies and fancy new cars?”
“Yes, pretty much. Well, not the cars, but some jewellery, and I think there was an iPhone involved somewhere, or an iPad, or another i-something. I just can’t do that this year.”
“No, of course not! That’s crazy anyway. But that doesn’t mean you have to scrap Christmas altogether! Just keep it simple,” Liz said.
Jonathan reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a handful of carrots.
“Look,” he said gruffly, “can we please just drop it? I can’t even afford a simple Christmas. God knows I’d let Katie have a Christmas, but I just haven’t got the money.”
“Okay, I know this is totally intrusive—sorry—but are you so totally broke you can’t even afford groceries?”
He gave her a look. “No,” he said, “but just about. There’s barely anything extra.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “Okay, here, that’s as far as it goes. I can spare a twenty.” He took out a green bill and tossed it on the counter, Queen Elizabeth landing upmost.
“Hah!” cried Liz. “See, that’s not nothing!”
Jonathan scoffed. “Oh, sure, you can make a Christmas on twenty dollars!”
“Well, maybe not on just twenty. You know what, I think I can toss in a twenty, as well. And that we can do something with.”
“Forty dollars? That’ll get you, what, one branch of a Christmas tree! Or maybe one turkey drumstick. Come off it, lady.”
Liz’s eyes sparkled. “What’ll you bet?” she said.
“Bet on what?”
“That we can have Christmas, with tree and trimmings and turkey and presents, on forty dollars or less.”

Go to Amazon or Smashwords to find out if Liz wins her bet. Bonus: includes some recipes and a knitting pattern!

Happy reading, and happy Winter Solstice 2020!

#TheTwelveDaysOfChristmas: The Ebook Edition

Remember “The Twelve Days of Christmas“? The serialized Christmas story I posted last year, starting Christmas Day?

It all started with a partridge in a pear tree…
Mac’s boyfried goes missing on Christmas Eve, right around the time some unearthly beautiful people turn up in town. Will she be able to find Tom in time before the Twelve Days of Christmas are up?

Well, good news: it’s now available in book form! That’s right, you can get the ebook on Amazon (Kindle) or Smashwords (in whatever ebook format you like) for the princely sum of US$0.99 or equivalent, and pretty soon it’ll be available at other ebook vendors such as ibooks and Kobo. The print copy is available on Amazon, as well.

So what are you waiting for? Get your very own copy of The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Tale of Christmastide. With Elves. to read on your phone, ebook reader, tablet, computer, or good old paper, whenever you darn well please. If you get it and start reading today, one chapter per day, you’ll get done on Christmas Eve, and can start all over again on Christmas Day, in time for the actual events of the story!

Go ahead – you know you want to…

The Twelve Days of Christmas…

…start tomorrow, Christmas Day. Twelfth Night, which is one of my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays (especially the 1996 film version with Imogen Stubbs, Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kingsley), was written for a Twelfth Night party, the celebration to mark the end of the twelve days of jollification that in Ye Olde England(e) was the true period of Christmas.

Incidentally, I was just listening to Dickens’ Christmas Carol, and he mentions the Twelfth Night party, too, when the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge around to see people celebrating:

…the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. It was strange, too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly older. Scrooge had observed this change, but never spoke of it, until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party, when, looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place, he noticed that its hair was grey.

(from The Christmas Carol on Project Gutenberg)

Unlike in most film adaptations of the story, the Ghost of Christmas Present doesn’t just give Scrooge a single day’s worth of celebration, but good ol’ Ebenezer gets a condensed version of a span of almost two weeks. If that hadn’t cured him of his bah-humbuggery, there really wouldn’t have been any hope for him.

So, remember I said there’d be a surprise coming your way? It’s a twelve day long surprise! And it starts tomorrow…

Life, the Universe, and a Christmas Surprise! Just one more sleep…

amovitam_Christmas Ornament

 

Peace Angel

I wanted to use it for something special, the payment I got for my first published story. And I found the very thing at the local Christmas Art Show: a painting by my favourite artist, Eveline Wallace. It was priced exactly right.

The actual title of this piece is “Snow”, but I call it “Peace Angel”. (I told Eveline about it, and she approves.) He’s such a cool dude, that angel. So I wrote a poem about him, and here it is – my Christmas greeting to you.

Peace Angel
Eveline Wallace, “Snow”, 2017. Mixed Media, 6×12″.

PEACE ANGEL

Knobbly knees
A Georgian frock coat
Spiked hair like he is
From The Rise of the Guardians
And on his bent arm
The dove.

Snow whirls around him
As he says without words

That peace
Is not saccharine sweetness
Or fluffy emotion

But power,
Fierce courage,
And strength.

 

Wishing  you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas!