Free Excerpt: A War of Deception
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The eBook of A War of Deception has been on sale for the month of December. With a week left in the year, would you give me a hand in getting that word out?
There’s a site called “ThunderClap It” which makes it easy for you to share the news of the sale on your social media platforms. It’s totally free and quick to use. (Hey, if I can figure it out…)
Click here to share the 99-cent sale for the eBook of A War of Deception.
Thanks, and happy holidays!
Being joyful at this time of year has always been a struggle for me. Early in my life, my father was in the military, but we didn’t live on base with him. Quite often he didn’t get holiday leave to come home, which meant my mother was in a hellish mood. There were several December holidays without him.
There wasn’t much of an improvement after he got out of the military because of strains in his and my mother’s marriage. I often longed to be anywhere except at my house at this time of year.
One Christmas Eve when I was around sixteen and didn’t much care but my brother was nine and still very much into holiday decorations and what Santa would bring, we got ready to put up and decorate our tree. (I suspect because both my parents had British backgrounds, that was why our tree didn’t go up earlier in the month.) The fresh-cut tree was in its stand, the tree skirt precisely placed beneath it, and… There were no hooks for the ornaments.
I’ve always suspected my mother tossed them out because she was never much of a Christmas person. She saw the holiday as extra work put on her to cook, clean, buy and wrap presents, and decorate the house for the holiday. As a feminist, I can understand that. There was very much a division of “man’s work” and “woman’s work” in my house growing up. Her reasoning might have been, “No ornament hooks, no decorating, no tree, no extra work for me.”
This was Christmas Eve close to forty years ago in a small, Virginia town. Nothing would be open to go buy ornament hooks–no CVS, no Target, no Wal-Mart. Nada.
Being a teenager, I was “meh.” My brother, however, was convinced that without a tree it wasn’t really Christmas. He was close to tears.
My Dad went to the tool kit he kept in the house and got a pair of needle-nose pliers. Next, he went to his desk and took out a container of paper clips. He sat in his recliner and began shaping those paper clips into ornament hooks. True to his nature, each one was perfect. It took hours and hours: big tree, lots of ornaments. My mother eventually grasped the reality of it and improved her mood, my brother got more and more excited as each ornament went on the tree, and even this disinterested teenager got into the spirit.
This year will be thirty-seven Christmases without my father, more than I had with him. Each year I bring that memory of him to mind, sitting in his chair and doing what he could to make the holiday meaningful to his children. And it’s the best reminder of what the holidays should mean to families.
It’s my favorite holiday memory, ever.
What’s your favorite holiday memory? Share in the comments.
Today, I was in a post office, mailing off two paperback short stories to people who’d recently subscribed to my newsletter, Secret Briefings.
(If you’re interested, click here and subscribe, and you can pick from four different short stories: “Best Served Cold,” “Blood Cover,” “Brave New World,” and “Spymaster.”)
One was to someone not far from me, and the other was to a fan in Africa. I’ve known this person on line since I used to participate in a Friday flash fiction exercise called Friday Fictioneers. She always commented on my 100-word stories, and I appreciated her comments and suggestions.
Indeed, she is one of my most frequent commenters on this blog. She’d indicated to me she wanted to buy my novel, A War of Deception, but where she lives there is no Amazon. However, she gleefully told me of her workaround: She had her sister buy it on Amazon.uk and ship it to her!
That touched me deeply, that someone would want my book enough to go through hoops to get it. So, I was excited to see she subscribed to my newsletter and picked a short story to receive.
However, sending a small package overseas to Africa wasn’t as easy as sending the one to someone down the road. First, you have to fill out a customs form and bring that with you to the post office. Silly me, I thought the region, city, and country information would be sufficient, but the small town postal clerk couldn’t find the country on her list and informed me she’d never heard of “Guana.”
“That’s because it’s Ghana,” I said.
Mind you, I printed the country name on the package. “No. G-h-a-n-a,” I said.
“Still never heard of it.”
“Not to worry. There are millions of people in the world who’ve never heard of Virginia.”
Well, that didn’t go over too well, but the clerk finally found Ghana on her list of countries, applied all the labels, inked the various stamps on the envelope, and entered all the details into her computer, not simply one-handed, but one-fingered.
The short story is winging its way across an ocean and a couple of continents, and I hope my first fan–I trust she doesn’t mind being called that–enjoys “Best Served Cold.”
Little things like this make it all worth it.
Thank you, Celestine.