Monday, December 7, 2015

Carol of the Bells

Carol Cover final.jpg

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

I’ll start off this week with a little announcement: The Storyside, the writing group I’m working with to try to bring the public the highest quality fiction we can, has gotten its toes wet in the publishing pool. Carol of the Bells, my 40-page tale of holiday horror, is now available from Amazon and Smashwords as a 99 cent ebook, the first little thing to roll off The Storyside Press.

Sean.jpgNow I’ll follow up that happy announcement with some sad news: last month my cousin, Sean, was in a fairly serious motorcycle accident, fracturing his pelvis and lower spine. A full-time student, Sean wasn’t working enough hours to qualify for health insurance, and is 100% responsible for his medical expenses—surgery, the installation of steel rods to support the healing bones, and long and painful physical therapy—and the expenses, already daunting, are mounting. Sean’s girlfriend, Chandra,  has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help. Here’s the part where I say you can help. Are you ready?
You can help.
Below I have an excerpt from Carol of the Bells. Read it. Below that you’ll find links to Amazon and Smashwords (for you Nook and Kobo readers) where, for just 99 cents—less than you’d spend on a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, or even your average pack of gum nowadays—you can purchase a short story from a Pushcart Prize nominated, award-winning author: me. From now until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, every cent generated through the sale of Carol of the Bells that isn’t scooped up by Amazon and Smashwords will be lumped into the payment I’ll be making to Chandra’s GoFundMe campaign at the beginning of the new year.
I’m not asking you to donate a big chunk of cash to a stranger. I don’t want you to give me something for nothing. This holiday season I’m asking you to spend less than a buck for a tale of snowy, small-town terror that I hope you’ll enjoy.
You get a story to read. We both get to feel good about doing something nice. Sean and Chandra get just a little more help during a very tough time in their lives.
Do you see a downside here? I don’t. Even if you don’t click the link, or buy the story, please share this post and spread the word.

Thank you.

An excerpt from

“We don’t get many visitors here,” said Mrs. Barstow, setting a salver of bread and cheese on the table. “You two being here, well, you make this year special.”
It didn’t take Brian long, once finding out his drinks were on the house, to forgive himself for the money clip fiasco. Soon he was standing by the fire with the other men, discussing things he knew nothing about, or following them out to celebrate in the square, mug after mug of home-brewed beer sprouting from his fist.
Carol remained at their table, simmering about the money, and nervous about her part in the upcoming ceremony. People stopped by her table occasionally, most expressing their thanks for taking part in Solsticeniht before moving on. Though Carol wasn’t drinking with Brian’s unabashed abandon, Mrs. Barstow kept her wine glass topped up so she was never quite sure how much she’d had. Eventually, lulled by the constant singing, bored with waiting for dusk to come, and unused to drinking wine all day, even in moderation, her eyelids grew heavy, then heavier, until the sandman finally crept in, the world’s gentlest mugger, and stole her consciousness away.
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“Time to wake up, dear.”
Carol opened her eyes. Mrs. Barstow stood before her, hands folded primly, teeth bared in a wide smile.
“Wha—?” Carol said, confused, the taste of old wine sour on her tongue.
“It’s time, dear,” the older woman said through her grin. “They’re all waiting for us in the square.”
“Waiting?” Carol looked about the taproom, finding it empty. The afternoon came back to her: the dance about the tree, holding court at her table, and her ever-full wine glass.
Carol rose and took two faltering steps: the long time spent in the wooden chair had left her unsteady on her feet.
“I’m not drunk,” she told Mrs. Barstow, worried the woman might somehow think less of her, but the landlady merely nodded and took her arm, steadying her as they walked across the taproom. Carol was struck again by the emptiness, the silence and shadows combining to make this place of friendly talk and good cheer now seem cold, almost sinister. She shook her head, trying to lose this strange feeling of dread along with the shreds of sleep-fog still clinging to her brain.
“You said ‘they’re waiting.’ Who’s waiting?”
“Oh, now, dear,” said the little woman, turning the handle and pulling open the inn’s front door. “I did say ‘all,’ didn’t I?”
Carol’s eyes widened, and her voice emerged as a whisper. “Holy shit.”


Carol Cover final.jpg
Carol Cover final.jpg


Please Share this post and spread the word.
Thank you for your support.

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