Tag: short story

Christmas Short Story

Christmas angelsToday’s blog is just an announcement of my Christmas Short story, available to newsletter subscribers. (Subscription button at right) This year’s story is about the Christmas pageant. Many of us have been involved in the joys and sorrows of staging the nativity story at school or at church. This year’s story may evoke some memories, some good, some not so good.

I haven’t put up many Christmas decorations this year because of the calico cats. They love to knock things over and chase them around. However, I did make my annual ornaments for my great nieces and nephews. I finished them off in a room with a closed door. They are little crochet’s angels with names written on the ribbons.

This will be my last blog until January.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Christmas 2017

Five more sleeps and then…Christmas!  Do you still get excited?  Do you remember Christmases past as better or sadder?  Do you pull the covers over your head and wish the holiday were over?

I confess, I’m a lover of Christmas.  As a child I could barely contain myself as the house filled with scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, pine and spruce.  We shopped from the catalogue in those days and my brothers and I wore the pages to shreds as we debated and decided and debated again on which gift to give each member of our family.  Christmas morning was the most joyful time of the year.

I’m older now.  The family has spread far and wide.  Christmas dinner is a small affair, but I still love the season.  I love to put up the tree, to sing carols, to bake goodies that only appear in my cookie tins in December.  I love having friends come in to share a piece of Christmas cake.

And I love to read Christmas stories.  I hope you do too, because I have a new on for you. It’s titled “The Neighbour.”  Here’s a sample.  To read the complete story, sign up for my newsletter and receive your free copy.

Who Is My Neighbour?

Isobel Jordan drew a pan of shortbread out of the oven and set it on a rack to cool. With the edge of a spatula she lifted one cookie to peer at the bottom. Not black. An improvement on her last effort, but still not the perfectly golden rounds that Bella Barclay turned out.

She sighed and sat down at the kitchen table. She wished for a cup of tea but felt too defeated to fill the kettle from the pump, let alone add more wood to the stove. Instead, she nibbled on an over-done shortbread and stared out the window. Under a brilliant blue sky, the flat prairie lay smothered beneath a layer of deep snow, the surface marred only by the occasional rabbit track or bird scratch. Closer to the house, the sharply pitched roof of the barn drew a straight line against the sky. Johnny was out there now, coddling his team of big Clydesdales and mending their harnesses. At the edge of her vision, stretched the long rope running from house to barn. Johnny put it up every fall, even before the first snowstorm.

“A man can get lost in a blizzard three steps from his own door,” he’d said when she questioned him.

Her spirits lifted a little as she remembered last Christmas, her first as Mrs. Johnny Jordan. What a flurry it had all been. A mail-order bride. She shook her head in wonder. She’d been so desperate to escape the gold rush town of Prospect and her job as its school teacher, she’d answered a letter from Johnny Jordan in the Western Home Monthly. A husband, even one with a scarred face, seemed preferable to another minute of trying to keep order among the restless pupils in Prospect’s one room schoolhouse.

She bit into another cookie and made a face as the taste of charred sugar filled her mouth. Gloom descended once more. Before she left town, Prospect’s best cook, Bella Barclay, had given her a sheaf of recipes. Yet Isobel’s efforts never produced the desired results. Had Bella deliberately sabotaged the recipes?

She jumped to her feet and set about washing the mixing bowls. Bella would never do anything so underhanded. It was just her own bad mood that had produced such thoughts. And why was she in a bad mood? She scrubbed hard at a bit of stuck-on dough. Because she was a foolish, ungrateful woman, that’s why.

She set the bowl on the draining board with a sharp thump. She’d chosen to marry Johnny because she wanted peace and quiet and a kind husband. Which was exactly what she’d got – and a little more besides. She felt her cheeks warm and knew she blushed.

She looked out at the silent, white world and banged a pot hard against the stove, just to hear the clang. She wouldn’t have believed a body could get too much peace and quiet, but . . .

The kitchen door opened and Johnny surged in, bringing with him a shower of snow, and the smell of out-of-doors and horses. Her mood lifted. The sight of her broad-shouldered, handsome husband never failed to move her. Despite the disfiguring scar on one side of his face where a snapped chain had struck him as a child, he was handsome. The other side of his face was perfect. And his heart was large and kind, and to her amazement and delight, full of love for her. Just because he didn’t relish the sound of his own voice didn’t mean he was indifferent or neglectful. He was just Johnny, a man who preferred action to words.

To read more of this story, fill in your e-mail address and click on the sign-up form at the right side of this page.  You will need to confirm your e-address from your e-mail.

Have a Merry Christmas.  I’ll be back at this site in the new year.

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Short Story

I’ve been talking about Dreams and Promises, a collection of Canadian short stories, on this blog, and about my own story, When the Boys Came Home.

Since KDP rules preclude my sharing the story here, I’ve written a prequel for my readers.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

When the Boys Came Home – Prequel

 

 June 1920

 Pte. George Weston stood on the deck of RMS Olympia, watching the coastline of Great Britain fade to a distant smudge on the grey sea. He knew he’d watched this scene in reverse five years ago, but not a moment of it remained in his memory.

He turned to the woman at his side. “Regrets?” he asked.

Mabel Featherley shook her head. “Of course I’ll miss home and family, and friends.  But this is the right thing to do.”

He drew a deep breath and expelled it in a long sigh. As usual, his nurse made him feel safe.  Had he always been this uncertain, he wondered.  Had he always been afraid?  It was a damnable thing when a man couldn’t remember himself.  For the past couple of years, convalescing in hospital, he’d believed himself a wounded English soldier.  Then Harry showed up and George learned he was a Canadian, Pte George Weston of the Second Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  His mother had been notified he was missing in action in 1917, after Passchendaele.  Now he was headed home to Glencove, Ontario.  He didn’t know if he was more excited or scared at the prospect of going home to a place he could not recollect and a family who were strangers to him.

“Only another week.” Pte. Harry Peters, leaning on the rail on George’s other side rolled a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth.  “ One week and we’ll be home.”  He struck a match and held it to the cigarette, then drew on the smoke and exhaled a long, tobacco fuelled breath.  “Whatever that means.”

“Peace? Safety? A loving welcome?” George asked the questions that plagued his own mind.

“Maybe,” Harry smoked thoughtfully, “maybe not. The army despised POW’s.  Who’s to say the country won’t too?”

The rest of the story is available free in my newsletter.  You can subscribe using the button on the right hand column of this page.

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Christmas Short Story

I’m getting into the Christmas mood with some of my favourite things.  I’ve put up my nativity set and my Christmas village.  Last night we visited the Butchart Gardens to view the Christmas lights.  They do a wonderful job.  It’s like walking through fairyland.  Pictures can’t do it justice, but here’s one as a sample.

One of my other favourite things is Christmas stories.  I love to read them and I love to write them.  I was delighted to note that my collection of stories The Man Who Loved Christmas reached #3 on Amazon US, best seller list for Kindle short reads, Literature and Fiction.  How exciting is that?  The book is available in many formats.  To download your copy go to my book page and chose the one that’s best for you.

And speaking of Christmas stories, I have a new one.  Below is a sample.  To read the full story, please subscribe to my newsletter here

 

 

 

Joy Comes in the Morning

By

Alice Valdal

 

Go away, go away, go away.

Children’s voices, piping Christmas carols grew louder as the parade of choristers came nearer. Peggy O’Dell flattened herself against the wall of the darkened parlour not trusting the lace curtain to conceal her presence. Lace! What was wrong with good, sturdy cotton, like the ones she’d had in her own prairie home? Red and yellow roses, they were, against a creamy background. Real cotton too, that she’d ordered from the Eaton’s catalogue. No rough flour sacks for the O’Dell family.

Joy to the World!

She flinched. Her heart cramped at the sound of children’s voices any day. On Christmas Eve the pain was unbearable.

And Heaven and nature sing.

She left the window to huddle behind the sofa, alone in the dark, sick with sorrow.

Finally, after what seemed like hours but was more likely minutes, she heard the carollers scamper down the snow packed board walk. Their music and laughter faded into the night. She crept to the window and chanced a peek outside. Falling snow capped the horse trough and hitching posts with pointed hats of white, and turned everyday objects into mysterious, soft shapes. Peggy pressed her hands to her heart. Bessie and Tommy had loved the fresh snow, dashing outside to make snow angels then coming in to drip snow puddles from their boots and woollen scarves. She’d scolded them for marring her fresh-waxed floors.

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