- Clare Revell
- Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.
Monday, 26 December 2011
The British charts have been taken by storm over the past week as Wherever You Are entered on Mon 19 Dec and became the Christmas No 1 on Dec 25 - less than a week later.
While their husbands were on active duty in Afghanistan, the wives of bases at Chivenor and Plymouth were visited by Gareth Malone and the BBC as part of a tv series The Choir. He wanted to give the women a voice, something to keep them occupied while their men were fighting thousands of miles away. None of them expected this.
Given the opportunity to perform at the Festival of Remembrance, a week after the men returned, Gareth asked the women for letters they and their husbands had exchanged. The song was composed by Paul Mealor from those letters. The title comes from a bracelet one husband gave his wife before he left.
I can't embed this for some reason click this link, watch the video then come back here. Oh and grab a tissue first. This song has had the Entire Country in tears - more than once.
All the money raised from the sale - INCLUDING the tax goes to two charities. The Royal British Legion and SSAFA. Both charities support military families all year around.
The single is released in the US on Dec 27th - http://www.amazon.com/Wherever-Military-Wives-Gareth-Malone/dp/B006DWW4SA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323379888&sr=8-1-fkmr0
You can follow the Military Wives Choir on Twitter @milwiveschoir and on facebook
Sunday, 25 December 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20HoJZecNqM This is Christmas - Kutless
The tall carpenter stood in the stable, looking down at the tiny newborn baby in his arms. Mary, his wife, lay exhausted on the pile of straw beside him. He loved her so much, didn’t think they’d have make it. Especially with everywhere full and Mary in labour. He’d never tell anyone how scared he was the last few hours. And as for delivering the baby himself...
He shuddered. He’d done it, but never again. He sat down slowly, the babe still sleeping peacefully in his arms. The angel said this babe was the son of God. It wasn’t his flesh and blood he knew that. He’d known for months. He’d been ready to divorce Mary, furious that she’d cheated on him, but the angel had set him right on that score. His faith and love for the woman nest to him wasn’t misplaced or in vain.
He stroked the babe’s cheek. “I will protect you, love you, raise you as much as any children I may have in the future with your mother.” He took a deep breath. “Lord, where do I, a mere carpenter, fit into this plan You have? I’m a man...how can I be a father to the Son of God? I know nothing about children or raising them? Surely a rabbi would have been a better choice. I don’t even know the scriptures as much as some men.”
The babe began to cry and he rocked him gently. “Shhh, my son. Let mamma sleep a little longer. She had a hard time birthing you.” For an instant it seemed all the light went from the room, then as the crying lessened the light returned.
Mary stirred. “Joseph...is he okay?”
He smoothed Mary’s hair from her face. “He’s fine, he’s gone back to sleep. Rest, my love, I’ve got him.”
Mary smiled. “You’re a good father. We don’t deserve you. Any other man would have cast us out.”
He kissed her forehead. “You’re my wife and he’s my son. That’s what matters.”
“God sent you to me Joseph,” she whispered. “He wanted you to raise His son here on Earth.”
He looked down at the baby. “A son of my love,” he whispered. “Lord, help us protect your son and help him fulfil his destiny.”
Yannick sat on the hillside—alone. The darkness seemed deeper than before and even the stars seemed dull and boring. Except for that new one which hung over the town, almost as bright as day where it shone. Ever since those shiny sky people appeared singing and raving about a baby born in town—in a stable of all places—nothing had been the same. Everyone had rushed off to see if the story was true. Everyone apart from him. He had to stay here and look after the stupid sheep.
Being the only kid still living at home sucked some times. No make that all the time. Yannick do this. Yannick do that. Yannick go make up the 20 rooms for the unexpected guests this census has brought us. Yannick go feed the animals. Yannick go help your brother with the sheep tonight. Yannick stay here while we go see and see this Saviour who’s been born.
Dawn broke. Strange...that star still shone, bright as anything. Where was everyone? Yannick sat up straight. Was that singing? Over the brow of the hill, came the shepherds. Arms linked and yes they were singing. Yannick shook his head. They lied to him. Made him stay here so they could go get drunk. That was it. He stood up. “I’m going home.”
His brother looked at him. “Mum wants you anyway. Load of work to do at the inn, but you should have seen it. Just like they said. It’s amazing. The baby, the manger...” He began singing the angel’s song again.
Yannick scowled. “Yeah, right. Save it for someone who cares.” He stomped off down the hillside. Anything, even working his fingers to the bone in the inn, would be better than sitting here doing nowt but listening to a load of drunk people singing. He kicked the stone out of the way as he walked. Biggest thing to have hit Bethlehem since the census was announced and he misses it. Ducking and diving his way through the packed streets he made his way to the inn. Packed to the rafters, the noise was incredible.
He ducked inside and made his way to the kitchen. “Mam!”
She appeared with a tray in her hand. “Glad you’re here. Take this to the stable Couple staying in there—turned up on the doorstep last night. Would have turned them away but the young girl was in labour and there was nowhere else for them to go. She had a baby last night. She could probably do with some food. Take this out to them, see if they need anything else. Could probably fetch the midwife to check her over too. Midwife never got there last night...too many other paying babes to birth than fuss over one that couldn’t pay.”
Yannick took the tray. “If they can’t pay the midwife then...”
“It’s paid for tell them. Some bloke last night gave enough cash for board and lodging for them. Soon as we have space I’ll move them inside. Be quick about it. Don’t know what all this fuss is over. It’s a babe. Women have been having them for years. It doesn’t warrant all these visitors especially in the middle of the night.”
Yannick disappeared with the tray, his mother still talking as he left. He loved her to bits, but she sure did yak on and on at times. He headed out the back, best not to argue with her when she was in one of those moods.
Wait a minute... Visitors...baby...stable...Could it be what those shiny sky people were going on about.
He glanced up and shook his head. No...and that star wasn’t shining straight down on him either. He reached the stable and crept inside. “I’ve brought you some food.” He stopped short. There really was a baby lying in the manger too.
A tall man came over to him. He took the tray. “Thank you. I’m Joseph...this is my wife Mary. Thank you for this. How much do we owe now?”
“Nothing...some bloke already paid. Mum says he paid board and lodging so soon as she can she’s moving you inside. He also paid for the midwife to come over later and check you both.” He looked back at the baby.
Mary smiled at him. “Want to see him?”
Yannick crept closer. A stab of disappointment filled him. It was just a baby. Couldn’t be the same one all the fuss was over. Not worth the singing and dancing if it was. “He’s cute. What’s his name?”
“We called him Jesus. You can hold him if you like.”
Yannick picked up the baby.
Mary smiled. “You're the first person to hold him other than us.”
“Really? Thank you. He’s so tiny.”
Joseph smiled. “But he’ll grow up to be a saviour like they promised.”
Yannick looked up. “So this is him? The one the sky people sang about? I thought after all the fuss he’d be bigger or shiner or different, but he’s just a baby.”
The baby opened his eyes and looked directly at Yannick. Those fathomless, bright eyes peered deep into his soul.
Yannick gasped. Those eyes were so old, he knew without a doubt who he was holding. He slowly dropped to his knees. “My Lord,” he whispered. “Those shiny sky people were right.”
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Twas The Night Before Jesus Came
Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their bibles were lain on the shelf without care,
in hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing a head;
And mom in her rocker with baby on her lap,
was watching the late show while I took a nap;
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter;
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
threw open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The light of His face made me cover my head,
it was Jesus returning, just like He said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the book of life, which He held in His hand,
was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name,
when He said, "It's not here!" my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
while all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late:
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight.
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear,
the coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when the last name is called,
we'll find that the bible was true after all.
And spare a thought for those in Afghanistan / deployed abroad and their families left at home.
See this post here for what its like.
Friday, 23 December 2011
Thursday, 22 December 2011
My Free Read is now available HERE
Collecting the cat from the vet should be simple. Right? Not when the paths are icy and the local Christian vet is drop dead gorgeous. Kady Harris has done as much as she could to win his heart and failed.
Rory O’Leary figured he’d missed his chance with the beautiful girl who sits opposite him in church -- after all, she's married. Until he learns things aren’t what they seem when she winds up injured in his arms.
Someone once called snowflakes 'kisses from heaven.' Can a snow covered landscape covered in God's kisses work it's spirit of love on Kady and Rory?
After The Fire hits an unsuspecting world on Feb 17th 2012. Avaliable as both Print and Ebook.
Private Investigator, Freddie Flynn, wants nothing to do with the man who left her fifteen years ago, or the God he left her for. Especially if the reports of corruption within the high ranking levels of the company are true.
Finding missionary life unfulfilling, Jason Bryant returns to Headley Cross and takes a position in the same firm as Freddie. Wanting to make amends, he is halted by a file which states she’s a traitor.
Thrown together on a case that could cost them everything, including their lives, can they see beyond their hurt and work together? Is all lost in the fire? Or will they find forgiveness in the still small voice of love.
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
For the top: 2 tablespoons sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and combine until creamy. Then, add everything except the sugar.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Today I have a guest blog here - http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/
mine is here
But there are over 100 authors being spotlighted between 19 and 30 Dec and every single one is giving away something. The more you comment the more likely you are to win.
All commenters on my post go into a draw on Dec 30th to win a PDF copy of Time's Arrow
My friend and fellow author Marianne Evans has reviewed Time's Arrow here
Another friend and fellow author Delia Latham has reviewed Cassie's Wedding Dress and Season For Miracles here
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Dad makes the most amazing bread sauce ever. I asked him how to make it, as I'd forgotten to buy any.
3 slices bread, including crusts. Tear into small pieces then make into breadcrumbs. (I use a tiny food mixer - it's actually hubby's coffee grinder. He had to buy a new one lol.)
Place into a saucepan with some onion salt.
Bring to boil.
Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes.
I looked at him. "How much milk?"
He grinned. "You'll know."
Funnily enough yeah, you do know.
300g pack fresh cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 clementines
110g light brown muscovado sugar
2 tbsp orange juice or port
Place the cranberries and the juice and zest of the clementines into a small pan with 150ml cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes until the cranberries have softened and started to burst.
Add the sugar and orange juice or port, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and serve warm or cold.
Keeps for up to 3 months in the fridge.
Today only you can get Season For Miracles for $1. That's over 1/4 of its normal price. My first novel.
A Killer lurks in Headley Cross…
…And Holly Carmichael is the only woman to survive his attack. Now she lives in fear, searching for normalcy and trying to put her life back together. When she meets Kyle Stevens, he turns her world upside-down. He’s as exasperating as he is appealing. How can Holly make sense of her awakening feelings when she’s so unsure of Kyle? His voice is familiar, he’s left-handed, and he wears the serial killer’s cologne. Who is he…really? As Holly struggles to restore her damaged faith, she must find the strength to trust once again—in Kyle and in God.
Kyle Stevens isn’t ready to live again. Racked by guilt, he’s afraid to feel. His sole focus is finding the Headley Cross serial killer—his girlfriend's murderer. That is, until he meets Holly Carmichael. He’s drawn to Holly, vows to protect her where he failed to protect his former love. But Holly makes him feel again, emotions quickly morphing into something much more dangerous to his hardened heart.
When the serial killer returns to finish what he started, only a miracle can save them…but then, it's the Season for Miracles.
Kyle’s voice came from a long way off, and Holly had to concentrate to hear it. “I’m sorry, Holly. He’s normally pretty well behaved, but he’s never seen snow before and is a little over-excited. Plus he was on his own all day yesterday. Are you all right?”
Holly nodded. The headache upped a notch. That was a stupid thing to do.
“Can you stand?”
She moved her head a little as Kyle helped her to her feet. She brushed the snow from her coat and tried to focus on the man. His hat, pulled down over his ears, hid his hair. Her head pounded, stars danced in front of her eyes, and it was all she could do to stand upright.
I want to sit down. Please, let me sit down. The words echoed in her mind, but she wasn’t sure she’d said them aloud. He didn’t respond.
His deep voice reverberated as he pulled off his glove. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
Holly nodded for a third time. She had a huge lump in her throat and she struggled to breathe. Her legs didn’t want to hold up, but she didn’t want a fuss. Fingers tingled inside her glove where he held her hand. His grip kept her upright.
Kyle’s other hand cradled the back of her head. Holly winced as he found and examined the lump. His touch increased the pain by a magnitude of five. Kyle checked his fingers and relief crossed his face at the lack of blood. “Holly? Please, say something. Otherwise I’ll have to assume Orion ate your tongue.”
Don't forget to check out the holiday extravaganza at http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com. Either a new book or special offer every day til Christmas.
Monday, 19 December 2011
Each day there will be a guest post and a book give away. Come over and see what the different authors have to say.
BTW I'm also HERE today :)
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Today we have author Tanya Hanson and her new book - Right to Bragg.
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Today we have author Nicola Beaumont with us. Nicola has written several books including The Lighthouse which I am spotlighting today.
Rachel is in love with her best friend, but when Malachi doesn't seem interested, she turns to an international stranger whom she meets on the internet. At first, conversation is just a pastime, but soon, romantic fantasies form in her mind. Why not consider a man who travels across an ocean to meet her-a man who makes her feel wanted? After all, Malachi might as well be a world away-even if his concern does seem genuine when he warns her about the intriguing Frenchman.
RESCUE ON THE WAY... Malachi has sworn not to interfere in Rachel's relationship, but he's in love with the head-strong woman who is determined to continue her budding romance...Yet, Malachi senses something isn't right about the playboy who has suddenly consumed Rachel's time, so he vows to save her from the stranger-and herself-even if it means losing her forever.
A thrilling read from cover to cover, the story of unrequited love between Malachi and Rachel is told in a wonderful mix of flashbacks and real time. The characters are so real and vivid I found myself wanting to bash their heads together on more than one occasion.
There is enough tension and emotion in this story to keep the reader riveted to the pages. A wonderful story to curl up with on a dark evening.
On to the interview…
Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?
This story came to me when I was looking at stock photos. I found a very cool picture of a lighthouse and I wanted to use it on a cover, so I decided I needed to write a story to go with it. Ironically, I did not end up using that photo. By the time the story was finished, the photo didn’t fit it.
How did you decide on the setting?
Since I knew ahead of time that I wanted to involve a lighthouse, I knew the setting had to be coastal. Although, I never name the setting in the story, I did use Oregon as a guideline. . .thank you Google Earth.
Where were you born?
In Chiswick. (London, England)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Not sure where I’d actually live permanently. I wouldn’t mind spending a bit of time in Scotland just looking at scenery and listening to people speak. I do love a Scottish brogue.
What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath? I have an odd sense of humour (many often don’t get it), so really anything can set me to laughing that hard. Sometimes, it’s just the way someone looks at me.
That’s just the English sense of humour. No one gets mine either
What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?
I’m really good at irritating people. If I could figure out a way to generate income from it, I’d be a millionaire. I do it all the time without even trying, and I can even do it in my sleep. It’s a gift.
Something else we have in common lol
What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
While I’m writing initially, if there’s music on at all, it’s probably Mozart or Beethoven. If I’m reworking scenes, it’s probably Kutless or Kutless…unless it’s Kutless.
What are you most passionate about, other than writing?
Truth and justice. And my most beloved Jesus.
Name some of your most favourite things.
Raindrops on roses. Whiskers on kittens. :) I actually do like those things, but music and books are neck-and-neck in the absolute favourite department. I also love Colorado in autumn when the leaves are changing. It’s just a beautiful display of God’s awesome creation.
What got you interested in writing?
I read a category romance novel and thought, “I could write one of these easy.” I was wrong, by the way. Not as easy as it appears, and I have plenty of those first and embarrassing manuscripts to prove it. Sometimes I think about having submitted the absolute drivel I wrote in the beginning, and I still cringe with embarrassment. But, learning to write is a process.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Don’t give up, but don’t be impatient, either. It takes a lot of hard work and time to hone writing skills. Learn to understand plotting, characterization, how to pull emotion out of a reader. It’s not about throwing together a string of sentences and “telling” a story. It’s about weaving an alternate reality that makes a reader want to be there. Being able to do that takes inherent talent, learned skill, and then some Providence.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Conflict and characterization. It’s almost terrible to say it, but if a book is rife with believable conflict and is alive with memorable, emotive characters, the rest of the plot won’t matter much. Readers will flock to that book.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Actually sitting down to write. Ideas flow like mad, but actually taking the time to formulate a viable piece of fiction is sometimes the hardest thing. –There’s a tid-bit of advice for aspiring writers: Actually write, even if it’s not good and polished. Start a manuscript and finish it.
What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any ;-) )
Ha-ha-ha. I sleep in my spare time.
Do you hate how you look in pictures?
I wouldn’t say “hate,” but there are very few pics of me for a reason.
You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
I wouldn’t erase anything. Even the horrible experiences helped to make me the person I am today. I may not be the best person, but who knows what I would be without everything that’s come before. “Worse” is always a possibility.
When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
I didn’t think anything. I just ran away screaming.
What were you doing at midnight last night?
You have to ask? I was reading. :) And I probably had some music on, too.
Have you ever eaten a crayon?
I don’t think so, but I’ve eaten some food that made me wonder if I’d eaten a crayon, and yes, I was the cook.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Rattlesnake. Made me wish I’d eaten a crayon.
What is your heritage?
Heinz 57 Variety
Have you ever cried during a movie?
Of course not…except for those times when I did.
Do you sleep with the light on?
Only when I forget to turn it off.
If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?
There are so many. I’d like to have a long conversation with St. John, the beloved apostle. Tomorrow, though, I’d like to see my kids and grandkids. They live very far away.
Nicola is first and foremost, a Christian. Without Christ, she would be nothing else. Secondly, she is a wife and mother. Finally, she is a lover of books and music, and so had no choice but to create both. Born in England to an English mother and an American father, Nicola spent much of her childhood outside of the United States. Now she resides in the Southwest, in a 100 year-old house that provides great ambiance for writing and composing.
Check out her other titles http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/.
Right now her book Hyacinths in Winter is on sale.
From the Heart
by Tara Manderino © 2009
Shoving his hands deeper into his coat pockets, and hunching his shoulders to pull his coat collar closer to his neck, Steven stared at the animated display in the store window. Nearly life-sized penguins wearing brightly colored toboggan hats rode up the escalator, and slid down the plastic slope, waddled across the silver pond to start all over again. Smaller home sets of the display were stacked strategically in the display area. The wind ruffled his hair, and he took it as a cue to move to the displays on the side of the building where nearby buildings made a windbreak. He stopped to watch the animated figures decorating the Christmas trees.
Steven had always enjoyed this time of the year, looking at the displays, sharing the warmth of the season and the people he would meet. The glow of the light from the department store window was usually enough to send a warmth through him, but not this year. He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets, and ignoring the sounds of cars and buses on the street behind him, gave a lingering look at the display, and then moved to the next one. He wanted the warmth that came from the familiar scenes, one after the other. He made his way back to the penguins. They brought a smile to his lips in spite of the chill, and he knew they would do the same for his youngest brother, 4 year old Nicholas. He caught himself with that thought. When he had he started thinking of Nicholas as his brother?
At 16, Steven was the oldest in what they now called a blended family. He snorted at that as he stepped away from the window and headed toward the fast food mart where he worked after school. What a stupid name for a bunch of people who were forced to live together. Now with his father gone, he was the one forced to live with Michelle and her family. His own mother had been gone before he called her mom. He should be glad to help Michelle out, after all he had a place to live, but now he was the only one old enough to help earn money. He would rather be doing a dozen other things, but he knew his responsibility;
Lord knew he heard it often enough. He really didn’t have anything to do with Michelle’s 10 year old twins, but Nicholas had been a wide smiling, drooling baby when he came to live with them. He hadn’t lost that smile in four years. He would adore that penguin toy, but twenty dollars was not something he had to spare. He frowned, disgusted with the situation, as he opened the door to the food mart.
“Yo, Steve, you haven’t even clocked in yet. Why the look?’
Steven smoothed his brow as he headed to the back of the store. “Just the whole holiday season, Franklin.”
The boy working the register chuckled. “I hear that,” he said before turning to wait on a customer.
Concentrating on stocking the shelves, Steven waited for the spate of after work customers to leave before making his way over to the counter and talking with Franklin. The kid was a year older than Steven, but his growing up years were different than Steven’s own. While he felt his childhood had been cut short, in his eyes, Franklin never had any.
He flicked the little packages of mistletoe hanging on the board resting on the counter. “I really hate this time of year.”
“You’re crazy. This is a great time. Most people seem a little nicer.”
“You really think so?” Steven rested his elbows on the counter and leaned forward, lifting his feet off the floor. “I think people are more stressed. You know, what to get people for a Christmas present. Who to buy things for and there’s not enough money.”
Franklin shrugged. “We don’t do that, so it’s not a problem.” He waved Steven aside when another customer came into the store.
Not buy presents? Steven couldn’t even imagine not exchanging presents. “Isn’t that what Christmas was all about?
Franklin shook his head and gave Steven a half smile when he asked. “Haven’t you learned anything?”
“What? You mean Christmas is peace on earth and goodwill to men, that kind of stuff?” It was his turn to shake his head. “You don’t believe that, do you? That’s a story for those church people to make them feel good.”
Two more people entered the store and Steven left to find the mop. This time of the year brought in slush and water from the melting snow each time the door opened.
He leaned on the handle as he talked to Franklin. Was there something that he didn’t know? “Come on, seriously, what are you getting your brother and sister for Christmas? I know they’re little kids yet. You have to get them something.”
Franklin gave him a self-conscious smile. “Okay, I did get them something. I’ve been saving a long time. I think I have enough money to get Jackson and Janelle new coats.”
“New coats?” Steven knew he sounded stupid, especially when Franklin looked at him as if he was confused by his tone. But new coats? How was that a Christmas present? “Oh, you mean like those team coats?”
“No, new coats. I don’t think those kids ever had new ones that they picked out. I’m going to take them shopping and let them get the ones they want.”
“I’m sure they’ll enjoy that.” He knew his voice sounded flat, but he couldn’t imagine any kid would think that was fun. Well, maybe Harley, Michelle’s daughter would. She loved clothes.
“What about your mama? What are you getting her?”
“Why do you care?”
“I’m trying to get some ideas here. I never got Michelle anything.” He shrugged, “And I don’t know what to get Nicholas. He’s too little not to have Christmas.”
“What are you talking about? Christmas is coming.”
Steven rolled his eyes. “There you go, all that church stuff again.” He walked away and started doing the other chores that needed done in the store. Franklin could get too preachy if you let him.
A few days later, and a few days closer to Christmas, he and Franklin were working together again. “Did you get your shopping done,” Franklin teased him.
Steven shook his head. “I don’t have the money, I told you.”
Leaning against the counter and crossing his arms, Franklin shook his head. “What are we going to do with you? You said it yourself, the kids are little, you have to give them something.”
How many different ways could he say that he couldn’t afford it? Even when he said it again, Franklin shook his head.
“Gifts are from the heart.” He thumped his chest with his fist.
Was that what the coats were, he wondered. Maybe. “But this should be fun stuff, something special, especially for little kids.”
“Hey, Baby Jesus wasn’t born just for fun stuff.”
“Come on, he had kings give him great gifts, gold and all that other stuff.” That was all he could remember.
“Gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
“See, gold is rich stuff. I don’t know about the other stuff.”
“They’re costly spices.”
Steven braced his legs and crossed his arms as he looked at Franklin. “How come you know all that stuff?”
“Because it’s all in the Christmas story.”
“I don’t remember that. All I remember is Ralphie.” He relaxed his stance and headed for the back for cleaning supplies, but stopped when Franklin let out a bellow of laughter.
“I meant the real Christmas story. The one all of the Christmas carols are about.” Suddenly, he stopped and snapped his fingers. “You know, one of my favorite Christmas Carols is The Little Drummer Boy.” At Steven’s blank look, Franklin sang a bit of it until comprehension dawned.
“I don’t remember all of the words.”
“But you should know that the little drummer boy couldn’t afford to give the Baby Jesus anything, so he played a song for him on his drum.”
When the bell over the door rang, Franklin went back to the register. “Think about it,” he said.
Not that he had much time to think, but by Christmas morning, he did have a gift ready. Maybe he couldn’t afford that penguin on the slide, but he had found a small stuffed penguin that he hoped Nicholas would like. To make his gift one from the heart, he had created a song, especially about Nicholas and the penguin.
With tears in her eyes, Michelle told him that his present was the most precious Nicholas could have received. The smile on the little boy’s face said the same. When Nicholas threw his arms around Steven and gave him a bear hug, Steven realized what Franklin had meant when he said Christmas was in his heart.
Author Tara Manderino loves to create stories and situations for the people running around in her head. She first began writing in third grade when she realized she couldn't afford her reading habit. Her novels include Regency, U.S. Historical, paranormal/vampire and inspirational.
Tara resides in her native town in southwestern Pennsylvania. When she’s not writing her own stories, or reading, Tara likes to bake, watch old movies, and do a variety of crafts.