Wednesday, December 31, 2014

30 Days of Snippets from "Ink," my 2014 NaNoWriMo Novel

During NaNoWriMo in November, I usually share a small excerpt or snippet from each day's writing on my Facebook profile and author page. Normally, on december 1st, right when NaNoWriMo has ended, I collect all of those snippets together into one big post sharing them here on the blog. I'm a little late doing it this year, but here it is.

Please keep in mind that these are all snippets from a FIRST DRAFT. These snippets might not even be in the completed novel, once it has gone through editing, revisions and rewrites. Or they might exist in completely different forms to what you read here.

Here they are:

30 Days of Snippets from "Ink"

Day 1:
Of course, we don’t yet know what else is out there. When I think about how many fairy tale creatures like the taste of human meat, I become very scared for humanity. I like to think that it’s why my powers showed up when they did, so I can do something about it, so I can help save people. Maybe it’s so I can help even up the odds between Normals and Paranormals.

Day 2:
The vampire screeched and released me, moving a step back.

“What the hell are you?” he asked. 

I didn’t answer him. I just spoke one word to my tiger. “Feast.” 

And my tiger did. By the time my tiger tattoo returned to its place on my upper arm, there was nothing left of the vampire. Once the tiger’s teeth had reached his heart, the vampire scattered into a million particles of dust.

Day 3:
“Stop that!” I could feel my eyes already starting to go black, my tattoos felt as though they wanted to come to life. I’d never felt that from them before. I shook my head and loosened my shoulders, concentrating briefly on stopping my metamorphosis. A secret identity wouldn’t do me any good if everyone in the park saw me change.

Day 4: 
The corpse was of a woman, or what used to be a woman. At least, that’s what it looked like from what I could see. She was wearing a short red dress that was lifted up high on her thighs because of the way her legs were skewed. They were both laying at unnatural angles, as though they’d been pulled out of socket and twisted. Her chest was covered in knife marks, as precise as scratches from a cat, only about ten times bigger and deeper. The killer had literally shredded her breasts, even pulling some of the bones of her ribcage loose.

But the worst was her face, or what had once been her face. It looked like something had chewed her face off. Her neck was still intact, but there was nothing but a bloody, pulpy mess topped by long blonde, blood-soaked hair.

I was thankful that I was still outside, because I’d read that the smell of blood would have turned my stomach even more. I didn’t want to find out if it was true.

Day 5:
I held the dagger like a pro. It was clear I knew how to use it. Black ink from the many tattoos I sported coalesced into dark, inky smoke which surrounded me, weaving through my hair, changing it from dark red to inky black. More of it swirled around my waist. Different shapes could be seen periodically in the black mist surrounding me, shapes of dragons and tigers and more, but none of it fully took form.

One of the tattoos on my face oozed and spun, changing shape, reforming into a dark mask over my eyes. Some of the tattoo ink covered my irises and the whites of my eyes. I knew it made my eyes look completely black.

Day 6:
I suppose if evil was something we could easily see in people, no one would get hurt because everyone would know who to stay away from. But it was never that easy. Evil has always sat amongst us, hiding itself in ordinary faces or charismatic personalities. It could reside in the politician you just voted for in the election, in the neighbor who smiles and says “good morning” to you each day, or in the bank official who helps you secure a loan for your dream house. Evil looks no different than kindness looks on a person’s face. Each heart has its own secrets, and we, the observer, cannot see what those secrets are just by peering into eyes and taking in the way someone appears. Appearances can, and often do, lie.

Day 7:
I watched, horrified, as several large gashes opened up in the man’s chest, crossing from one armpit and down towards his waist on the other side. I couldn’t see what was attacking him; it was as if the very air itself was shredding him. He screamed, and it galvanized me into action.
I could feel my tattoos shifting and forming around me, disguising me. My dragon tattoo swirled into a mist from my thigh and materialized into a large dragon beside me. I knew my tiger was somewhere behind me as well. My dagger tattoos formed into daggers in each of my hands. My other tattoos just misted around me, cloaking me in shadows.
This only took seconds and yet, I could see that the man already had several more wounds opened up on him. It was as if someone was peeling his skin away, one slice at a time. I ran to him, but I didn’t know how to help. How do you fight what you can’t see?

Day 8:
“You’re the one who told me that my powers made me a superhero. You’re the one who told me I should use them to help people, that I had a responsibility to help others,” I reminded Jack. “I can’t help people if I’m so concerned about myself and my own problems that I give up at the first sign of trouble.”

Day 9:
I was frustrated with this whole case. Eventually, I went to bed and had troubled dreams only to wake up to hear on the news that yesterday’s victim had died from his injuries. I hadn’t saved him after all.

Day 10:
“No,” I shook my head. “What do you think about the figure in the smoke? Could it have been a ghost?”

“A ghost? You think a ghost killed that man? No way!”

“So it’s not possible?”

“Well,” she said, “it’s not possible that a ghost did it but there are other beings out there who might have been able to do it while maintaining an incorporeal form.”

“There are?” I didn’t keep the surprise out of my voice.

“Well, yah. Of course. You didn’t think ghosts were the only things out there did you?”

Day 11:
I knew my shoulders were stiff, and I could feel the muscles in my legs tense as if prepared for flight. 

“Um, your eyes –“ Aerin looked worried.

Dang it! My eyes must have been turning black. My body ink seemed to be responding to my moods lately. I concentrated on pulling it back, and looked at Aerin with normal eyes a moment later.

“Uh, what was that?”

“Nothing,” I said, brushing past him.

Day 12:
He led us over to two men who were discussing something between themselves. I couldn’t help but cringe when I saw which two detectives we were about to be introduced to. I grabbed Aerin’s sleeve. 
“Uh, you don’t want the detectives to see me.”

“What do you mean? Why not?” Aerin frowned slightly at me.

“Because I was a witness to a murder recently and they treated me as a suspect.”

He was about to say something back to me, but we were interrupted by the captain.

“Detectives Mason and Detective James, this is Aerin Castle, the consultant I told you about, and this is, ah…” he looked at me, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

My voice came out as almost a whisper. “Jasmine Storm.” I could see the surprise on both detectives’ faces as they turned to face me.

“Miss Storm is an intern at the Paranormal Investigations Consultancy,” he explained to the detectives while I cringed internally.

“We’ve already met Miss Storm,” Detective James said. “I’m afraid she won’t be able to accompany you into the crime scene.” 

Detective Mason was scowling, but I was beginning to think he didn’t have any other expression.

Day 13:
This crime scene was different than the previous ones in one way; there was blood everywhere. It coated the walls and dripped from the lampshade, pooling under the dresser. It soaked the bed and covered the floor. How could one person leave so much blood?

That’s when I noticed another glaring difference about this crime scene; there were two bodies on the bed, both eviscerated. The smell hit me at about the same time that I noticed the two bodies, a cloying, coppery tang that had me instantly heaving and fighting not to vomit.

Day 14:
“What are you? Seriously. A witch, maybe?”

“I already told you. I don’t know what I am. I’m something – different.” I couldn’t help letting some sadness into my voice. I hated not knowing anything about my paranormal ability and where it came from. It was lonely, not knowing anyone like myself.

“Your turn,” I said. “Now you get to tell me what you are.”

“Fair’s fair,” he said. When we stopped at a light, he pulled his hair back, showing a slightly pointed ear.

“What does that make you? Some kind of elf?”

Day 15:
“There’s a Paranormal Council?”

“Yes,” I answered, “and they’re known to the world as a company called Paranormal Investigative Consulting. No Normals are supposed to know about them, so don’t let on to him that you know.”

“Why? Would he have to kill me to keep it a secret?” Jack joked.

“Let’s not find out.” I frowned at him.

Day 16:
That’s when Aerin stood in front of me, blocking my sight of the ghost. “Jasmine,” he whispered for my ears only, leaning down so his lips almost touched my ear. “You’re eyes have turned completely black.”

I blinked and concentrated on calling back the ink that had coated my eyes. I hadn’t even realized it had been happening. What if Gina had seen my eyes?

“Did she see?” I whispered back.

He shook his head, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Day 17:
The shadow moved quickly towards Jack and then just seemed to meld into him. 

“Jack!” I said, “Jack, are you okay?” I took a step towards him.

“Stand back,” Aerin said, a low tone to his voice.

“Help us.” Jack’s mouth was moving, voicing the words, but his eyes had turned completely white and the voice coming from him was high and child-like.

Day 18:
“No,” I shook my head emphatically. “I can take care of myself. Besides, sending someone to watch over my place will be costly.” I glanced towards the hallway, but the detective was still out there on his phone, nowhere near the door, so I allowed my wrist dagger tattoo to ooze off my wrist and form as a formidable-looking dagger in my hand. “See? I can take care of myself.” I sent the dagger back into its tattoo form.

Until now, Aerin had never seen that part of my ability, or, at least, he hadn’t seen enough to connect my ability and my tattoos. I’d just let him in on my secret. I had to trust that he would keep it a secret.

Day 19:
I sipped my coffee and looked up to find Hunter looking at me. I was suddenly uncomfortable. My morning look was not a good one – messy hair, no make-up; I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet. I started running my fingers through my hair self-consciously.

“You look beautiful,” Hunter said, making me blush even more. I was never very good at taking compliments.

Day 20:
I stepped into the entrance of the alley. The sun was bright, glinting off of discarded beer cans and odd bits of junk here and there. A large dumpster sat to the right about halfway down the alley, a light breeze blowing its stench past my nose. I raised my hands up to cup them over my nose and that’s when I saw something move behind the dumpster.

I took a few steps to the left and forward and a furry head poked out from behind the dumpster, looking right at me. I immediately stepped back. Wolf eyes, unusually large wolf eyes, shone back at me from a furry, grey face. A low growl rumbled through the alley.

“Werewolf,” I didn’t even realize that I had voiced the word out loud.

Day 21:
My wolf tattoo twitched. I’d never felt a tattoo twitch before, but that’s the only way I could describe the sensation. It started twitching and straining and then it misted up off my upper ankle, taking form as a massive wolf by my side.

This created chaos within the werewolf ranks before me. Some cowered and whimpered; some bristled and growled deeper. One, the first one to have shown itself, stepped forward, stiff-legged and snarling.

My ink wolf stepped in front of me, blocking the werewolf’s access to me. I knew that my one wolf against so many werewolves would not be enough.

Day 22:
He grabbed me by my arms. “I am supposed to be protecting you. I can’t do that if you keep wandering off on your own.”

His hands tightened a bit. He wasn’t hurting me, but I didn’t like being held in place either, so I shrugged his grip off of me.

“I wasn’t hurt, and I found out something that might help. Believe it or not, my ability to take care of myself hasn't lessened just because someone is threatening me. You need to chill.”

He scowled. 

“You’re starting to resemble Detective Mason. Are you sure you two aren’t related?” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.

Day 23:
“Your boss should be arriving back at the crime scene right about now. Shall we head back?”

“My boss?”

“Mr. Castle.”

“Oh, him.” I said. “He’s not my boss. He’s just trying to convince me to come and work at his company.”

“He said you were an intern.”

“If I’d accepted his offer of employment, I guess I would have been.”

“You don’t want to work at PIC?”

“I don’t work well with authority.”

“They’re not an authority.”

“If they work with the police, they are,” I covered, almost having forgotten that Normals like Hunter were not supposed to know about the Paranormal Council.

Day 24:
“Understood,” I said, “but, since this guy is out there following me and taking photos of me, I’m not going to be standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for him to make his move. As long as you understand that, then we’re good.”

Hunter looked like he was about to say something, but he was interrupted before he got the chance.

“Don’t bother, Detective. I’ve not known her long, but even I know you’d be wasting your breath to argue with her,” Aerin said.

It was good to know they understood me enough to at least have learned that much about me. My mom used to say I had a stubborn streak so wide a person could walk across the Atlantic Ocean on it.

Day 25:
I had managed to evade them both and gain some freedom from their male interference, even if only temporarily. Hunter and Aerin were going to be pissed. A pleased grin spread over my face and I walked with more of a jaunt to my step at the thought. 

It would be good for them. Someone needed to keep them on their toes. Why shouldn’t it be me?

As I walked, I pulled out my phone and rang Jack. 

“Hi, Jack. Feel like getting some lunch?”

“You ditched your police escort, didn’t you?” Jack knew me so well.

Day 26:
The guys were being really quiet. I snuck a peek at them and found them both staring intently at my exposed side. I couldn’t tell if they were more interested in the tattoo-in-progress or me, but I got the impression they both worried that any sound from them might mess up Jack’s concentration and ruin my tattoo. They didn’t know Jack very well. Nothing broke his concentration when he was working on a tattoo.

Day 27:
I burst from the bathroom. If I had looked in a mirror at that moment, I knew exactly what I would see: black hair, demonic black eyes, blackened lips, black eye mask and inky black smoke swirling all around me in a stormy torrent, as though hurricane winds were blowing around me. My new tattoo, the sword, was in my right hand, held low and my wolf was beside me on my right. My tiger was beside me on my left.

I didn’t even look at Jack. I just moved straight for the door, filled with a sense of purpose. We hadn’t been home for long, so the killer had been here recently, maybe recently enough that I could track him. Or, at least, my wolf could track him. He was already sniffing the ground around us by the time we reached outside.

Day 28:
My wolf leapt at the creature. I couldn’t see what was happening, only hear the battle and watch my wolf attack something that only appeared to me in short glimpses. It looked like he was biting down on something and hanging on at one point, so I knew he could somehow affect the creature, as intangible as the creature seemed, but the creature was also doing damage to my wolf. I could feel him weakening. He would return to his tattoo form soon, and I could still barely breathe past the pain. I wouldn’t last long without my wolf.

Day 29:
The wolves came back to me, circling around me and just watching with eyes that glowed in the faint light. I knew that the smell of my blood as it seeped from the wounds in my stomach, would most likely urge them into a hunger frenzy. Blood had that effect on werewolves. But they just stood there. I recognized the alpha from the pack I had met in the alley, just before I felt myself falling and everything went black.

Day 30:
I let my wolf materialize beside me, which he did in a cloud of inky black smoke.

I could feel Bryce’s arm against my back tense. I felt his power sweeping through me as he tried to assert his dominance over my wolf, but my wolf wasn’t a werewolf, my wolf wasn’t even a real wolf, so he had no power over it. I patted my leg and my wolf came to my side and leaned against my legs, lending me its support.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Superhero for Christmas #StoryAdventCalendar

art by Rebecca Fyfe

A Superhero Christmas
by Rebecca Fyfe

Santa Claus shook his head at Dancer. 

"I know you are anxious to get going, but the accident means we won't be able to deliver presents. Prancer and Blitzen both have broken legs, my back is out and the sleigh's landing gear got smashed. I'm afraid Christmas isn't going to happen this year." Santa sighed heavily.

Blitzen looked at Santa intently. 

"Well, I suppose you're right," Santa said. "I could call the Superhero Official Force Task. SOFT might have a way to save Christmas."

Santa picked up the phone and made the call.

"Superhero Official Task Force here. How may we help?" The receptionist at SOFT rarely took any holiday time off.

art by Robert Fyfe
"This is Santa Claus," Santa said into the phone. "I have an emergency. There's been an accident, and I'm afraid my sleigh and reindeer are out of commission. With my back out too, I'm afraid Christmas will have to be cancelled unless you have a superhero there who can save the day."

The members of the Superhero Official Task Force who were on duty all gathered in the SOFT conference room to discuss how they were going to save Christmas. 

Sea Siren offered up her water creatures to traverse the sea, bringing gifts to far-off locations. She even had some waterproof storage for the gifts and toys.

art by Rebecca Fyfe
Ink allowed her tattoo beasts to mist up off of her skin and form into living creatures. "My tiger, wolf and dragons will help," she said. Her tattoo wings burst forth into real ones on her back. "And I can take some gifts too."

art by Rebecca Fyfe
Fire Angel let her huge feathered wings expand across the room. "I can deliver toys too."

Shadow smiled, pulling the shadows in the room around her. "I can form a shadow sleigh and reindeer and deliver gifts. I've been practising, so it shouldn't be too hard to hold the form through the night."

Demon Huntress pouted. "None of my special abilities will help deliver presents." She really wanted to help.

art by Rebecca Fyfe
"Neither will mine," said Warrior Mom. "But I would hate any children to go without presents from Santa this Christmas."

"Well," Demon Huntress had an idea. "I know of a dragon nearby. It's been terrorizing a local neighbourhood and killing people. I was going to head out to fight and kill it, but if you fight with me, maybe we can tame it long enough to deliver some of the gifts."
art by Rebecca Fyfe
"Let's go," Warrior Mom said, and the two of them suited up, grabbed their weapons and headed out.

All of the children with toys from Santa got their toys that Christmas. But for the few children who were naughty enough to try and sneak a peek to see if Santa was real, they got to see something else entirely. They either saw two women riding a dragon, dolphins and whales speeding across the ocean with giant red sacks on their backs, inky black tigers, wolves and dragons delivering their gifts along with a dark-looking fairy of some sort or a sleigh and reindeer made of shadows.


The superheroes in this story were pulled from my creations for "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" - Volume One and Volume Two. Volume One is out now and Volume Two will be out in January.


Merry Christmas! I hope you have enjoyed all of the stories in this Story Advent Calendar!


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Teddy Bear #StoryAdvent Calendar

The Teddy Bear 
by Rebecca Fyfe

Tina Diggle and her husband James Diggle had always wanted a baby of their own, but they were unable to have one. All of the children on their street adored them, because the two of them were especially kind to children. Sometimes, Mrs. Diggle made gooey chocolate chip cookies for the neighbourhood's kids, and she would often find small toys to give to the children which she knew each one would love. She knew each child on her street by name.

But, no matter how much the children on the street loved her, she still felt a hole in her heart because she couldn't have a child of her own to raise and love. Mr. Diggle knew how sad this made her. A few days before Christmas one year, he bought his wife a cute little tan teddy bear. It was soft and chubby and had a pacifier in its mouth. He knew it was nowhere near the same as having a real baby, but he just wanted to bring something home that might cheer her up, even a tiny bit.

Mrs. Diggle thought the teddy bear was adorable. She decided to name it Connor. She set it under her Christmas tree with some of the Christmas teddy bears and presents.

"I wish you were a real baby," Tina Diggle said to the teddy bear, before leaving to get ready for bed that night.

Connor the teddy bear felt very sad upon hearing her words. He wanted only to be loved by someone and to love that person back. But he couldn't change what he was. He had been a teddy bear all of his life. If he could change himself into the baby that Mrs. Diggle so badly wanted, he would. He sighed as he sat under the tree.

"Why so sad?" asked the Christmas teddy bear beside him.

"I wish I was a real baby, instead of a teddy bear, so that Mrs. Diggle would be happy." The teddy bear sighed again.

"Well then, what are you worrying about? Tonight is Christmas Eve. Santa Claus will be coming, and he always lets us teddy bears have one wish."

"Really? What do you usually wish for?" asked Connor.

"Last year, I wished for a name, and the Diggles gave me one first thing in the morning. They named me Chris. This year, I think I'll wish for my vest to get washed. It's looking a little bit dirty lately."

"Those are very small wishes," Connor said. "What if Santa can only give small wishes? What if my wish is too big?"

"Well, you won't know unless you ask," said Chris matter-of-factly.

Connor tried very hard to stay awake long enough to ask Santa to turn him into a real boy, but, long before Santa ever arrived, Connor fell asleep.

In the morning, Mr. and Mrs. Diggle entered the living room to open their presents. Connor the teddy bear was gone and, in his place, a tiny baby wearing a teddy bear costume slept in a special red Christmas sack.

Mr. and Mrs. Diggle were over-joyed to finally have a baby of their own, and Connor got all the love any former teddy bear could ever hope for and then more.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fairy Christmas Bauble #StoryAdvent Calendar

Fairy Christmas Bauble
by Rebecca Fyfe

"Mommy, how does this Christmas ornament light up?" asked Cameron. He held the pretty red bauble and watched the glowing light that flitted around inside the ornament. "Is there a lightning bug inside?" Cameron had never seen a lightning bug, but he had heard that they lit up at night time.

Cameron's mom smiled. "No, honey. It's not a lightning bug. I think it probably has some sort of light bulb inside and runs on batteries."

"You think? Does that mean you aren't sure?" Cameron asked. "But how does it move around inside the bauble? Wouldn't a light bulb break?"

His mom frowned a little. "Hmm, you have a good point there. Now I'm wondering how it lights up too." She gently took the bauble from his hand. She had bought the bauble from the craft fair just the other day from a fortune teller who had some trinkets for sale to go along with her fortune-telling business.

"Maybe if I see the fortune teller again," his mom said, "I'll ask her about it." She gently hung the ornament on the Christmas tree, and then she and Cameron continued decorating the rest of the tree.

That night, just as his mom was about to tell him it was time for bed, their new kitten raced across the living room floor and jumped into the Christmas tree, knocking over several of the ornaments.

Crash! The pretty red bauble lay broken in pieces on the floor. Cameron walked over to it. His mom told him not to get too close, but he saw something sitting amongst the broken pieces of the ornament.

"Mommy, I think you need to see this."

His mom walked over to join him, already holding the dust pan and broom, ready to sweep up the mess.

The two of them stood transfixed at what they saw amongst the shiny, broken pieces of the red bauble.

A tiny fairy with glowing wings sat amongst the broken pieces. As they watched, she stood and dusted some loose fragments from the ornament off her clothes and flew away, straight out their window.

"Wow," Cameron said. "I never would have guessed that was how they got the light inside the ornament."

"Well, the British call those little lights that decorate houses for Christmas 'fairy lights,' but I don't think even the British would have expected this," Cameron's mom said.

"Do you think the fortune teller has trapped more fairies inside ornaments?" Cameron asked his mom.

"We'll go buy the rest of them tomorrow and free them," his mom assured him.

Cameron went to sleep that night dreaming about fairies and Christmas magic.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Kitten #StoryAdventCalendar

Christmas Kitten
by Rebecca Fyfe

The tiny kitten shivered in the cold snow as he huddled under a wooden porch. His mother had been picked up by a white van two days ago. The people in the van had been kind to his mother; he'd watched from his hiding spot and seen that they stroked her fur and gave her food.

But it was so cold out here and his stomach was rumbling. He hadn't eaten in so long.

A little girl and boy came out of the house and sprinted down the porch stairs, giggling and laughing. They were bundled up in layers of clothes to keep them warm outside, and they were making balls of the white, cold snow to throw at each other.

The kitten felt warmth coming from above him and he crept out of his hiding place to see what was so warm. The kids had left the door slightly ajar. It looked so warm and dry inside. The kitten decided to sneak into the house and find a nice, warm hiding place.

The kitten saw a large tree decorated with lots of pretty baubles, but he chose to hide under a large couch. It was so warm in here. He settled down to a nice nap, trying to ignore the fact that he was still hungry.

When he woke up, he peered out from under the couch. There was a fat man in a red suit placing gifts under a tree in the living room. The man looked the kitten's way and he was sure the man had seen him. He didn't want to be sent back out into the cold, so he needed to find a different place to hide before the man came over to look closer.

The kitten spotted a large, red sock on the floor. It was too large for anyone to actually wear as a sock and it had a few bits and bobs inside it, but there was enough room for him to slip inside. It was extra warm inside the sock and he knew it was a good hiding place so the man in red wouldn't see him. When nothing happened for a while, the kitten drifted off to sleep again. He didn't even notice when the sock he was resting in was lifted and placed hanging from the fireplace.

In the morning, the kitten heard children's voices. He peeked out of his hiding place and the two children squealed in delight.

"Mommy, look what Santa brought us! I've always wanted a kitten," said the girl.

Her mom looked surprised at first, but when she looked at the tiny, hungry kitten peeking out of the stocking, her heart melted.

"I'll go get some of the chicken left over from last night's dinner to feed him while you two choose a name."

The little girl picked up the kitten and held him in her hands. He couldn't believe his ears. He was going to get food and he was going to get to stay here in this nice, warm place.

"I already love you, little kitten," said the girl to him, stoking his fur gently.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

But We're Not Sleepy by Robert Fyfe #StoryAdventCalendar

illustration by Robert Fyfe

But We're Not Sleepy
by Robert Fyfe

“But we’re not sleepy!”

Jenny sat scowling at her mother, arms folded tight across her chest. Tommy was not really an active part of the conversation as what could a three year old add that would be important?

“Santa won’t come until you’re asleep, ” Mommy warned in a kindly voice.

‘How will Santa know? I don’t believe you, ” Jenny said. She was determined to stay up and see Santa tonight.

Mommy swept Tommy up in her arms from the floor, and gently placed him in his cot. She sang him a lullaby and kissed him while tucking his blanket snuggly around him.

“Good night, my cuddle bug. Mommy loves you lots.”

Tommy’s eyes shone brightly and warmly. Then he blinked once, twice and on the third time his eyes stayed closed. Mommy smiled. Funny how he and his sister were so different when it came to bedtime.

She turned to Jenny who had kicked her blanket off the bed and was now doing handstands against the wall.

“Santa has his friends, and they tell him when the children are asleep,” she said.

illustration by Robert Fyfe
“Santa has a spy in the house? I don’t believe you.” Jenny was now trying to stuff her pillow into her pyjamas.

“Oh, it’s true. I think that, in this house, it's Waggs or Ginger. I’m not sure which but one of them I am sure is watching.”

Mommy smiled at Jenny who was now looking questioningly at the big ginger cat that was at that moment sitting on the chest of drawers, pushing her hairbrush closer and closer to the edge until it fell off.

“Can’t be Waggs. He can’t see us from downstairs,” Jenny said while still looking doubtfully at the cat.

Mommy had now carefully removed the pillow and plumped it back up as she placed it back on the bed. She picked the blanket up from the floor and shook the folds and dust from it. Then she slid it over Jenny. She kissed Jenny and then moved to the door.

“He can hear you talking though.”

Jenny lay on her bed and thought about that, and decided that she would stay awake and see Santa. But she wouldn't make a noise, in case her dog ‘snitched’ on her.

Ginger dropped down off the drawers and jumped up on the bed next to Jenny who stroked him.

“You wouldn't snitch on me, would you, Ginge’? You’re my friend.”

Ginger just grinned at Jenny, his deep purr hypnotic and calming as he curled up at her side. Jenny’s stroking began slowing, slowing until her hand slipped down onto the bed covers.

illustration by Robert Fyfe
As the house grew quiet and Mommy and Daddy had gone to bed, Ginger quietly stretched, jumped down onto the floor and then up onto the drawers. He checked on Tommy and then jumped back down onto the floor, walked out the bedroom and to the top of the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, Waggs, the dog, looked up, his tail waving quietly. Ginger blinked twice and then went back to the children’s room.

Waggs listened to the sounds from outside. A gentle breeze carried the sounds of the night: the sound of bells and the sound of hooves on the air. Waggs gave a quiet bark and, there, by his side, a large man dressed in red with a big white beard popped into view.

”Ho, Waggs. Thank you and Ginger for keeping an eye out for me,” he said.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa Gets Stuck #StoryAdventCalendar

The reindeer landed smoothly along the rooftop, hardly jarring the sleigh at all. This was Santa's 500,000th Christmas delivery. He grabbed his sack full of gifts for the children living inside the house. Santa walked around the tiny chimney stack.

"I'll never fit in there," he said. "I'd better use the pixie dust." Santa always kept a supply of pixie dust on hand for his Christmas eve deliveries. The magic of the pixie dust helped him create chimneys on houses that didn't have them and make chimneys larger when they were too narrow for him to fit through. He had to limit how much pixie dust he used on each house to make sure he wouldn't run out before the night's deliveries were completed.

Santa took a small pinch of pixie dust out of his pocket. He kept the small amount clasped between his finger and thumb, just a pinch. As he reached towards the chimney to throw the pixie dust in, a few sprinkles of it fell from his fingers and landed on the roof top, nowhere near the chimney. Santa didn't notice.

The chimney rumbled and groaned, though the sound it made was not too loud because it would never work to wake the family inside the house. It expanded to a much larger size.

"Does it look smaller than the last one?" Santa asked Blitzen, peering closely at the chimney.

Blitzen didn't answer. Reindeer understand humans, but they can't speak like humans. Santa hadn't expected an answer anyway.

"Well, I'd better get inside," Santa said. "I hope they have some more cookies and milk for me. My stomach is rumbling again." Santa had a very big appetite.

When Santa jumped into the chimney, he found that something was very wrong. He didn't fit! He fell down the chimney but got stuck inside before he could come out from it inside the house.

Oh no! Santa had no time to be stuck! He had other houses needing his deliveries and he couldn't let the children in this house see him.

Santa hit a button on the watch on his wrist. It signalled the elves back at the North Pole that Santa needed help.

The Emergency Response Elf Team got to work right away, loading up their backpacks with things that Santa might need and going through a magic portal which always took them straight to wherever Santa was at the time.

They emerged from the portal in the living room of the house. Once there, they noticed Santa's legs dangling from inside the fireplace.

"I've got just the thing for this," said the lead elf, Tonks. Tonks took out a pinch of the extra pixie dust he had brought along with him in his backpaack and sprinkled it over the entrance to the fireplace.

With a quiet groan and rumble, the fireplace widened and Santa emerged. They quickly set out the gifts under the Christmas tree and then leapt back into the fireplace, where they were magically whisked back to the roof. One last pinch of pixie dust returned the chimney back to its normal size.

"Thanks, Tonks! That was close," Santa said, sending the Emergency Response Elf Team on its way back to the North Pole and returning to his deliveries.

Inside the house, two children were waking up, hearing the jingling of the sleigh bells as Santa's reindeer and sleigh travelled off into the night.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hope - a story by Sharon Giltrow #StoryAdventCalendar

by Sharon Giltrow

In a little village not far from here nor there, lived a young girl named Hope. She lived in a rose covered cottage, nestled at the edge of a woods. Every morning she woke to the sounds of the chirping blue jays, and twittering red robins. Life for Hope was good, peaceful and tranquil. Hope was good, peaceful and tranquil and this beautiful young girl had a special gift, she made everyone around her smile. Her smile bought joy to the lives of all the villagers.

But sadly Hope was unable to return the smile of the villagers. Hope was cursed. When she was a baby her mother took her berry picking. She placed Hope’s cradle next to a brook and then went to pick berries. A cloaked figure stepped out of the woods and up to the cradle. Hope, who had only ever known kindness, smiled up at the stranger.

“Oh, my little one, your smile, could light up the darkest corners of the world,” said the cloaked figure as she picked Hope up and stole away into the dark woods.

Hope’s mother returned to find the cradle empty. She cried out and fainted. Later that day, Hope’s father went searching for his wife and daughter. He found his wife sobbing on the bank of the brook.
He began searching the crystal clear water of the brook, where he saw his daughter’s bootie, he feared that his daughter had been stolen and he thought he knew by whom. The locals spoke of a young woman who fled into these woods grief stricken at the loss of her infant daughter and her husband in a tragic carriage accident.

Hope’s father wasted no time. He splashed across the brook and raced into the woods. He had not gone far when he came to a tumbled down cottage where he heard a lullaby.

“Lullaby, and good night, you're your mother's delight. Shining angels beside my darling abide. Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes and rest your head.”

He rushed into the cottage and snatched Hope from the woman, who let out an ear piercing scream and collapsed to the ground shouting, “Take her, take her, but from this day forth, she will be cursed. She will never know or be able to see how beautiful she is and none will see her smile ever again.” Hope began to cry in her father’s arms.

Time passed and life for the family continued, the curse forgotten. All who met Hope saw a beautiful, gentle, young lady who spread happiness and joy wherever she went.

One day, a travelling artist came to the village. He sketched people from village to village, for bed and board. He was blind and he asked his subjects to describe themselves.

The first cottage he came to was Hope’s. He asked if he could sketch someone. Hope’s parents, believing her to be the most beautiful person in all of the land, suggested her.

“Tell me about your hair,” the artist asked Hope.
“Tell me about your face, what is its shape?” He continued.

“Your jaw, your chin, your nose – describe these?”

“Now your eyes – the colour, the shape, the light that shines from them.”

“What would be your most enduring feature?” he finally asked her.

Hope answered each of his questions truthfully and honestly, but the artist was not happy with her description. He asked for a villager to come and describe her.

The villager said, 
“Her hair is the colour of gold. Her face is the shape of love. Her jaw is strong, her chin is soft and her nose is as cute as a button. Her lips are full, and a ghost of a smile lies beneath them. Her eyes are as blue as the cobalt sky. It is a face that makes you want to smile even on the darkest days.”

The artist now had two sketches of Hope, her description and the villagers. He showed them both to Hope and for the first time in sixteen years she smiled and the curse was broken.


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!