Advent Event Day 12

 Welcome to day 12 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here:

Or visit this site for more information:

Here’s a look at the last stories:

“Twas the Flight Before Christmas” by Michael Young

‘Twas the flight before Christmas, and all through the plane, holiday travelers were going insane…
A coach airplane seat was never meant to house a grown man and a squirming toddler. It’s a stretch for a first-class seat. This, however, was the just the situation I found myself in on Christmas Eve, 2009. Having recently been laid off, I had opted for the cheapest flight I could find, which happened to be on the day before Christmas. My wife couldn’t get off work, and so this Christmas, it was just me and little guy.
Our plane was stuffed fuller than Santa’s bag of toys, and none of the passengers looked like it was the most wonderful time of the year. My son was too young to understand that he wasn’t supposed to pout or cry around Christmastime. Doubtless, some of the passengers wondered what I had done to deserve a fate worse than coal. Though his grandfather is a pilot, my son is not a natural in the air. His ears never pop, he always wants to be free to move about the cabin, and doesn’t understand when I have to put away his DVD player for takeoff and landing.
Despite my son’s aversion to flying, we made it through the first leg of our flight and reached our layover in Wisconsin. As soon as the doors opened, I grabbed everything and dashed off the plane, knowing that my window for catching our flight was slim. It turns out, I could have crawled to the gate backwards and still arrived in time. It might have put me on the TSA’s Naughty List, but then again, it might have also gotten me on YouTube.

“Silent Night” by Shirley Bahlmann

 “Silent night, holy night,” Willis sang in a vibrant tenor voice that filled the cozy kitchen as his butter knife kept time with the music. “All is calm, all is bright.”
“Willis!” His mother’s panicked voice stopped his song.
“Yes?” he called, his knife hovering over the bread as he tried to decide if he should panic too.
“Come here, hurry!” Her words trembled in the air. Willis dropped the bread and the knife, which landed on the creamy yellow butter with a slurpy thud. He hurried to the front room and found his mother with a stack of mail in one hand and a single envelope in the other.
“What is it?” Willis asked, taking the letter from Mother’s shaking hand. “You’d better sit down.” He steered her to a chair and pressed down gently on her shoulders. She collapsed onto the cushion. “It’s the draft board,” she said, her teary eyes raised to his.
Willis ripped open the envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper. Printed across the top in bold letters were the words, “ORDER TO REPORT FOR INDUCTION.”
“My son is going to war,” Mother moaned.
Willis dropped to his knee so he could encircle her shoulder with his arm. “Lots of men are going.”
“But you are so talented. You’re a wonderful singer, the best I’ve ever heard—Margery  Milton even says so, and she’s not related.” Her face crumpled. “Oh, Willis, your barbershop quartet will be a trio.”
“It will turn out all right,” Willis soothed, patting her back. “I can re-join the quartet when I return.”
“Some soldiers never return,” she sobbed. “I prayed this day wouldn’t come. I prayed so hard, but it didn’t do any good, and it’s almost Christmas!”
Willis couldn’t think of anything to say to comfort her. He hated leaving his widowed mother, but there was a war that needed to be fought. All he could do was kneel on the carpet and pat her back until her tears were spent.

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by J. Lloyd Morgan
My trash can was nearly overflowing, and crumbs from several days’ worth of lunches were scattered on the floor. It seemed that once again, the cleaning crew hadn’t done their job. A blinking light on my phone indicated that the voice message box was full, even though I had cleared it out the previous night. While my computer was booting up, I looked at my planner from the day before. I always wrote down the things I needed to accomplish during the day, and then I’d cross them off as I’d go. Yesterday’s list started with ten items, and over the course of the day, it had grown to twice that size. I sighed when I realized I had only crossed off three.
After putting away my homemade lunch in my desk drawer—I didn’t dare put it in the break room fridge because it would disappear before I’d get a chance to eat it—I pulled up my email. I had one hundred and thirty-two new messages. About every third message was marked “urgent”.
I plowed through my work, like I did every day, when at around 4:45 pm I got an interoffice buzz on my phone.
“Jenkins here,” I answered.
“You’re required in conference room F,” said my boss’s secretary.  She hung up before I could ask why. I still had several hours’ worth of work to complete before I would be even marginally caught up.
I walked by the bigger, empty conference rooms as I made my way to F. Unlike the other rooms, F didn’t have any windows. My guess was that my boss preferred it that way so there were no distractions.
“You wanted to see me?” I asked.
“Sit down,” she said without looking up from the papers in front of her.
Though she wasn’t that many years older than me, she looked twice my age. Her hair was gray with streaks of black, and she wore narrow glasses that rested on the end of her nose. I imagined that at one time she could have been considered pretty, but years of being in a bad mood, and thus frowning, had created wrinkles that made her look like she was always upset.

And here a look of one of the prizes:

A signed paperback copy of “Sing We Now of Christmas”

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advent Event Day 5

 Welcome to day 5 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here:

Or visit this site for more information:

Here’s a look at the next two stories:

“The Blessings of Christmas” by Cheri Chesley

Little David had no family. He had no home. He had only the clothes on his back, his worn sandals, and the small drum his father had made for him. David slept under a torn canvas that hung from the wall behind the fish seller’s stand. It always smelled bad, but David could not be picky. At least the canvas kept the wind off him during the long, cold nights.
During the day, Little David stood between the fish seller’s stand and the stand belonging to the man who sold sugared dates. He beat out tunes he had learned on his drum and then held out his worn cap so passers-by could toss coins into it. On a good day, he made money to buy enough food so his stomach didn’t keep him awake that night. He rarely had good days.
One afternoon as the merchants closed up their stands, David stood in his place, beating out a favorite tune on his drum. People hurried past him, eager to get home before the sun set completely and the winds picked up. No one stopped to drop a coin into his hat. Little David looked longingly at the bread shop across the marketplace. He would not have enough money to buy his dinner.
Just then a woman stopped and placed a coin into his hat. “You play very well,” she said and smiled at him.

Stocking Stuffers, by Michael D. Young
 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and though her husband had settled down for a long winter’s nap, Theresa lay wide awake. While her husband dreamed of sugarplums, she could only think about cookies, specifically the ones on her side table next to the Christmas tree. 
Last year, the cookies had vanished, replaced by a note written in meticulous calligraphy. It read: 
Dear Fellow Cookie Connoisseur, 
We regret to inform you that St. Nick has developed a slight peanut allergy. In order keep him jolly, we humbly request that your Christmas cookies be nut-free next Christmas. Thank you for your attention in this matter. 
I.M. Fudge
At first, she was convinced that her husband, who had a peanut allergy, was playing a prank on her. A subsequent amateur handwriting analysis, however, proved this theory incorrect. It turned out that no one in the family could produce a single letter of calligraphy, even at the threat of a present-less Christmas. She had no other choice but to concede that a denizen of the North Pole had written the note. 

And here a look of one of the prizes:

A signed copy of “Life is Like Riding A Unicycle.” by Shirley Bahlman.

Life is Like Riding a UnicycleShirley Bahlmann

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Advent of the Advent Event

It is here: the advent of the Advent event!

I know it’s not quite December yet, but I’m sure you’re already starting to hear those carols on the radio. I’m doing this giveaway before Christmas starts, because the anthology I just came out with is meant to be read as an advent calendar, which means you’ll need it before December 1st.

This promotion will go on for 12 days and will have 12 great prizes from the authors who helped make the anthology a reality. Each day, I will highlight a different couple of stories from the anthology and their authors, and go into the prizes that will be offered. To enter, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Dates November 7th-18th.

Purchase the book here:

Or visit this site for more information:

Here’s a glimpse into our first two stories:

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” by Betsy Love

The evening news came on the television set. Depressing, that’s all it was. Christmas was supposed to be the best time of the year, and yet so many people were lonely and hurting and hungry. At least Claudia wasn’t hungry.

If only she could stop thinking about that trip to Bethlehem, the one she’d never experience since the accident had taken her sweet Joe from her.

How clearly she remembered that day. Was it really only a few months ago? Claudia had watched her husband take the expensive nativity off the shelf. “But Joe, we just can’t sell it,” she said as he dusted the pieces, wrapped them in the original packaging, and tenderly placed each one in the box.
He smiled down at her. “It’ll be like trading one manger for another.”

Later that morning, they headed off to the antique dealer. Joe was certain the set had gone up in value. It had, nearly three times. Joe tucked the money into the envelope along with the rest of their savings. A smile never left his face as they drove across town to the travel agency, but they didn’t make it. A drunk driver ran a red light, hitting the driver’s side.

“A Real Tree” by C. Michelle Jefferies

“What does he think he’s doing?” I asked my twin sister, Ellie. Outside the front window, my father wrestled with a gigantic pine tree. I sat at the kitchen table, my homework piled in front of me. Christmas break had started that morning, and I had homework to do if I wasn’t going to be behind when school started again. My twin pulled a sheet of sugar cookies out of the oven and placed another in. “Couldn’t we just have a hologram tree like everyone else?”

“Kai, you forget. Dad lived on Earth. He likes to do things traditionally,” Ellie said as large mechanical hands washed the dishes in the sink and placed them in the dishwasher. A second pair of hands waited near my twin’s shoulder. She had to remind MAT, the housekeeping program, that she was capable of making cookies without its help. An old, scratched record belted out a choir singing Christmas tunes. My mother was upstairs wrapping presents. The house was stocked to bursting with holiday food.

“It’s stupid,” I said. “Doesn’t he know what he looks like, fighting with a tree that’s bigger than he is?” At least he could use a hover-lift—it’d save me some embarrassment. I leaned back and pulled at the blond hair that kept falling in my face. While I looked like my dad, down to the green eyes, my twin was a striking image of my mother, with dark red hair and blue eyes. Her pale skin rivaled my mother’s in whiteness. Everyone remarked how the two of us were carbon copies of our parents.

And here’s a look at one of our prizes:

An autographed copy of “The Hidden Sun” by J. Lloyd Morgan

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get Ready for Sing We Now of Christmas

It has been a truly difficult time, and I’ve got to say, I was down and out for a while. Without going into too many details, I was laid off from a beloved job and have had a terrible time looking for work. I became very sick and for a couple weeks, I was barely able to do anything, much less get any writing done.

I’m still out of a job, but at least I’m back on my feet, and using the extra time to write and work on great projects.

I’m happy to announce that “Sing We Now of Christmas: An Advent Anthology” is coming very soon. I’ve ordered the proof copy of it and it just needs my final review. It will be coming out in paperback and Amazon Kindle formats.

You can get a better idea about what you’ll find at the anthology’s website:

We will be having a promotion soon to get everything kicked off that has to do with “The 12 Days of Christmas”.  We’re also hoping to do another book next year that will benefit autism. Please send any stories you’d like to have considered for that my way.

This week, another anothology came out of which I am a part. I have two stories that are modern parables that I think you’ll like. Check out “Parables for Today”:

Parables for Today

I’ll going to try to be online more in the upcoming days. Thank you all for your friendship and support.

Naming the Anthology: Fa, la, la, la…in May.

Hello everyone!

I know you’re all probably not thinking of Christmas yet (and if you are, you’re pretty good at not procrastinating), but here’s a little Christmas in May for you. We need a name for our Christmas anthology so that we can keep the ball rolling on getting it done in time for the season.

I have received many wonderful suggestions from a variety of sources, and I’m very thankful for every one of them. The following is a list that I have narrowed down to ten, and now I want to hear from you. My feeling is that there should be a main title and then a subtitle to help people know what kind of anthology it is. I had someone suggest “An Advent Anthology” as a subtitle, because there are 25 parts to it, which can be read from December 1st-December 25th.

Without further ado, and a few fa la la la las:
1.    Angelsong
2.    Sing We Now of Christmas
3.    Nightly Noels
4.    Literary Caroling
5.    Twenty Five Tales of Christmas
6.    Carol of the Tales
7.    Good Tidings of Great Joy
8.    Tune in for Christmas
9.    Yuletide Treasures
10. Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus: ## Christmas Stories Inspired by the Songs We Love

Leave a comment, either here or on my Facebook page ( and tell me what your top two favorites are.  You can also do a “write in” candidate in case a brilliant idea has struck you. I’ll leave voting open for a week and then I’ll go from there. Thanks!