My new holiday collection A Tapestry of Holiday Tales: Winter Adventures from the Odds and Endings Bookstore is part of the Holiday Collections StoryBundle! And if you love short stories as much as I do, you are absolutely in for a treat. If you want to get a sneak peak, Odds and Endings, the first story in that series and setting is available free as part of The Infinite Bard.
This StoryBundle features eleven collections, for a total of seventy-two (72!) holiday-themed short stories from some of the best short fiction writers working today for only $15. That’s enough for an epic few days of vacation reading, enjoying a few each day from now until the dawn of 2022, or simply turning to when you need a hit of holiday magic any time of year.
And if you’re like me and the holiday season can get to be a bit too jolly from time to time, one of the included collections is WMG Publishing’s Holiday Spectacular volume Mysterious Christmas. That one’s packed full of fantastic tales of the darker sides of the season, including my own crime story Pungent Justice. Another welcome alternative to tidings of joy overload is Rebecca Senese‘s delightful Wreck the Halls: 5 Christmas Horror Stories. Then there’s the always unique perspective of our curator Dean Wesley Smith‘s Holiday Insanity.
This bundle truly does have it all!
Head over to https://storybundle.com/holiday to learn more, and grab a bushel of wonderful reading starting at only $15! This StoryBundle makes a fabulous gift for all the readers in your life, and you’ll get the chance to support the great AbleGamers charity, and help combat social isolation through play.
Check it out soon, before time runs out, and happy holiday reading to you!
I’ve always been fascinated by the different ways people celebrate holidays.
Sometimes that means variations in the way different cultures mark milestones in life, such as diverse wedding or birth or funeral traditions all over the world and throughout history. On a smaller scale, each of those events can be handled in unique ways across regions of a country or even a state, and certainly within individual families. On household might make a huge fuss over each and every birthday, but stay very low key for funerals
One of the best holiday experiences of my life was during a visit to Morocco back in 2016. Our tour guide invited Jason and me to his home to celebrate Ramadan breakfast with his family. The whole evening was magical and filled with joy.
Or the remarkable range of celebrations can mean varied approaches to the same time of the year, like Christmas or Hannukah or Kwanzaa. Solstice or Yule. Each takes place around the same time of year, but the roots and rituals set them apart.
That’s not even getting into the ways the same holiday can look in different weather zones of our planet. Just think of New Year’s Eve in a cold zone like Ontario, Canada, compared to the tropics of Key West, Florida.
Now for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, go a step further and imagine Christmas lights and decorations as summer approaches in Australia!
So when I started writing A Tapestry of Holiday Tales: Winter Adventures from the Odds and Endings Bookstore, I had some basic choices to make. Clearly focusing on holidays that take place in winter was one of them. One of the reasons is I adore cold weather! So I knew I’d have a great time hanging out in that fictional climate.
I also decided to stick with secular holidays for this collection. That way I knew I’d have more common elements people could relate to, no matter what their own faith or tradition.
After that? I just wanted to play!
And one of my favorite storytelling playgrounds is the magical Odds and Endings Bookstore in the peculiar Appalachian Mountain town of Lightning Gap, Virginia.
At first I thought I’d just start there, maybe with one story of an unusual tradition. But the toddler running the storytelling engine inside my head suggested the far more intriguing idea of setting all of the stories there instead. That way I could have a whole festival with the resident writer in the bookstore, EllaJane Cole, and her character Chris Ramsey.
Then I heard my toddler’s delighted, only slightly mad giggling that let me know she’d come up with something even more fun.
What if the storytelling festival featured winter holiday short stories from established fictional worlds?
And what if those worlds all came from the same writer?
And what if that writer happened to be…me?
Even now, that idea sounds pretty out there to the (sort of) grownup part of my brain.
But the toddler, the one who knows more about stories and how to tell them than I’ll ever learn? She’s overjoyed with how the whole thing turned out, and absolutely plans to do this kind of thing again.
And soon. And quite likely for more than one different holiday!
I ended up setting each story—the five evenings of the Mid-Holiday Madness Festival at Odds and Endings—with an opening and a closing in the wonderful, book-filled secret basement at the bookstore. Describing the day, the select group in attendance, and the mood and surroundings in general.
The clothing everyone wore for each different night took on a life of its own that I had all kinds of fun with.
So rather than the five stories I’d planned for, this collection has a bonus sixth story that brings the whole thing together in a way I didn’t expect. That was entirely up to my toddler and her wild imagination.
You’ll find brand new visits to the series worlds of Misfortune and Magic, The Odd Society, Estonoa, Voices Through Time, and Storms of Future Past, along with that bonus story set in Lightning Gap and the Odds and Endings Bookstore that’s not available anywhere else.
As usual, I simply needed to get out of the way and let her take the controls. She truly does know best!
If you’re curious about the fabulous bookstore, my first visit there is available for free on my website and from your favorite ebook vendors. In Odds and Endings, you’ll learn more about the store itself, the writer-in-residence programs, and how EllaJane and Chris met and started their writer/character journey together.
Then jump over and grab the Holiday Collections StoryBundle for yourself and the readers in your life!