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: http://amzn.com/1479266248

Or visit this site for more information: http://adventanthology.wordpress.com

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

New Features and Book Review: The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan

New Features on my Blog
Now that I have a few more followers, I wanted to add a little more structure to how my blog posts run. I’m going to try going to the twice a week posting schedule, once on Mondays and once on Thursdays.  On Mondays, I will run a personal post about writing trends, the craft of writing, etc. On Mondays, I will also give an update on what I’m working on that week.  On Thursday, I will run a feature, such as a book post, a website review, etc.  If something really great happens in between, I’ll post about then whenever.

I’d like to start off this schedule with a book review of “The Hidden Sun” by J. Lloyd Morgan.
(Note: I’m trying out a new review format. My reviews will have two sections: What I Liked as a Reader and What I Learned as a Writer.  For the first part, I’ll put on my reader’s hat (a nice casual panama hat) and give a traditional review about what I thought of the book. In the second section, I’ll put on my writer’s hat (a dapper top hat) and will talk about what I noticed either good and/or bad that we all can learn from.

What I Liked as a Reader

The first thing that impressed me about “The Hidden Sun” was that it walks a path that few books these days do: it has a medieval setting, but does not rely on fantastical elements to tell the story. “The Hidden Story” is a wonderful story of political intrigue and family legacy.  I genuinely cared about the characters and the action kept me hooked on the story. 
The reader might find the names a little difficult, but the author has provided a helpful pronunciation guide at the beginning to help you out. When reading, be sure to keep the characters straight as the story sometimes jumps around quickly from one character’s story to another.
One thing I noticed about the names was the theme of sunlight throughout the book, which is reflected both in the actual weather and in the names of the characters.  I can’t say much about the names without giving the plot away, but I feel that this was elegantly done and added both depth and beauty to the story.
“The Hidden Sun” was just released in its second edition, with a beautiful new cover.  It will be continued with “The Waxing Moon”, another exciting installment in the story. 

What I Learned as a Writer
Sometimes the best way to draw the reader in is to do something a bit unexpected.  When I saw the medieval setting, I thought “Where’s the wizard?” and “There are bound to be some elves showing up any time now.” Instead, it read a lot more like historical fiction, which I also really love, and instead focused on the political intrigue and family legacy. That resulted in a satisfying read.
You can order the book by following this link: (Make sure that you get the book with the new cover that matches the one at the beginning of this post.  That’s the newest edition.) http://stores.handcartsinthevalleybookstore.com/-strse-1304/The-Hidden-Sun-by/Detail.bok
You can also visit Jason online at: http://jlloydmorgan.com/