Over the years, I’ve written a few Christmas stories or, at least, winter holiday stories. Some of them have been included in anthologies. Here are the ones currently available as of 12-21-14.
DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND was produced by Wolfmont Press to benefit Toys For Tots. My story, “Team Player,” is about a member of a very special team that supports one another to benefit children all over the world.
Neither Helen nor her friends did their Christmas shopping at Cranston’s. Not all children would wake up, like the children of Cranston’s privileged customers, to new skis and tickets to Switzerland. Helen and her friends spent their Christmas savings at sales and discount stores. They saw to it that the least fortunate children on their list – children they had never met – woke up to something, even if it were only a candy cane and a plastic truck. Too bad Santa’s workshop full of busy little elves was only a fiction.
Helen stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the toy department.
When the doors opened, Ray Donner, Assistant Sales Manager and Helen’s dearest friend, stood waiting for her. He was trim and athletic, with soulful brown eyes. He and Helen had grown up together, working side-by-side since the day they’d entered harness.
THE GIFT OF MURDER was also produced by Wolfmont for the same charity. My story in that one, “The Spirit of Spadena Street,” was my first story about LeJune and her Mama, June Rose, who live in a Storybook Style neighborhood. I’m currently knocking a series of stories set there into publishable shape.
While we waited for Buck to get there, we warmed up with hot tea or coffee and ate store-bought cookies and argued. Not mad, just more or less to pass the time.
“This isn’t state property,” Mama said. “It wouldn’t be a Christmas party without a sweet little Baby Jesus in it, and we’re going to have a sweet little Baby Jesus.”
“I’m not Christian, so I don’t particularly want a Christmas party,” Laurence Feldencamp, one of the retirees, said.
“What are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”
Alexandria Candless, the other retiree, said, “He’s a Colts fan.”
HOLIDAY BIZARRE, by the Southern Indiana Writers Group, was originally CHRISTMAS BIZARRE until we added more stories set during other celebrations throughout the year. “The Christmas Pool,” my Christmas story in that anthology, is a sort of a ghost story about friendship. (This volume also includes “Lonnie, Me and the Battle of St. Crispin’s Day,” my second Lonnie and Tiny story.)
I went out after Christmas Eve Mass with a packet of freeze-dried grubs. Baxter refused to leave the house. COWARD, I thought.
But, as I neared the pool, I heard them: the screams. They seemed louder this year and I ran to the pool, convinced that, this time, they came from human lungs. In the water, two fat pink arms reached up; a round face, too small for the arms, between them… mottled… gaping…
The panic passed, my vision cleared, and I saw the koi, lined up for feeding. I shook the grubs out in one grand spray and staggered home.
LET IT SNOW! SEASON’S READINGS FOR A SUPER-COOL YULE was the brain-child of The Fabulous, a.k.a. Red Tash. For this one, I wrote a science fiction piece, “The Pratty Who Saved Christmuss,” featuring everybody’s favorite off-world librarian, the fictional version of the very real Holly Jahangiri. LET IT SNOW was intended to be a promotional book, and it’s FREE! Don’t be confused by the cover, which has changed since Red posted the announcement of the original publication.
When the men had shaken the snow off themselves, the smaller of the two looked from Holly, in her trademark purple feather boa, to the book, in his swallow-tail coat and top hat, and asked, “Head Librarian Holly Jahangiri?”
“Yes,” said Holly. “And this is Living Book A COMPENDIUM OF CHRISTMAS CLASSICS, from the Living Library of Books of Old Earth.”
“I’m Bar and Grill Owner Dickens O’Henry,” said the smaller man. “This is my assistant, Humbug Plugugly.”
They all hooked thumbs with one another in greeting.
“I’m looking for your cousin,” O’Henry said, while Plugugly rummaged about noisily.
“So am I,” said Holly. “He was supposed to come with us, but he never showed up.”
O’Henry cursed, then apologized. Librarians are allowed to curse, but must never be cursed in front of. That’s the rule.
Finally, this year the Speculative Fiction Guild invited me to contribute to GIFTS OF THE MAGI, to benefit Indy Reads, a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. Indy Reads operates a bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more at www.indyreads.org. My story for this one is set in the world of SAGE, my fantasy trilogy, and features Andrin the Waymaster. It’s called “The Warmth of Midwinter”.
The young Sword had thawed enough to peel off his filthy, sodden uniform and had washed in water warmed near the fire. Andrin had given him the cloths to wrap his feet and legs and the nightshirt to cover the rest of him. Now they sat facing one another at the table, sharing the food provided by Andrin’s cooking pot.
“I think you know who I am,” said Andrin mildly, resisting the urge to say more. Do you see how I’ve fallen? Are you happy? Are you proud? What will you and your fellows do to me, now that you know where to find me?
The boy, his mouth full of Andrin’s food, nodded. His bloodshot eyes held a hint of wariness but more of unpleasant humor.
“We took bets on how far you could pull that cart,” he said. “Looks like I came closest. My guess was the middle of Fiddlewood River.”
“And yet,” said Andrin, before he could stop the words, “you’re the one who fell in.”
So there you are: Whole entire short story collections of holiday stories for your enjoyment. What’s left to say, except: Enjoy!
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write a holiday story about an imaginary holiday.