Friday, 9 December 2016

In the Still Midwinter by Charlotte Henley Babb

Having big feet, gray hair, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Charlotte Henley Babb loves fiction for strong women with a sassy attitude and a flair for magic.

She began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name--although she sometimes mistook "Chocolate" for "Charlotte" on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter. Growing up in the red mud and sweet tea Carolinas, she played with the fairies in the woods and the aliens in the back yard. She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours.

When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better. Her favorite authors now include Sir Terry Pratchett, Robert Aspirin, and Esther Friesner.

She has taught English in high school and junior college, written procedure manuals, and edited writing association newsletters. Her presentations at education and writing conferences on using the Internet, blogging, using social media, and writing science fiction have been well-received.

Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, was published in 2012 and won 2014 Sharp Writ Book Awards for Sci-fi/Fantasy and an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women communications contest for adult novels.

She brings to any project a number of experiences: technical writer, gasket inspector, wait staff, fabric and craft retail associate, craft artificer, secret weapon, and telephone psychic.

Currently working as a writing instructor, she writes fractured fairy tales, steampunk, and Southern fiction for people who have survived love's last kiss.

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About the Book

Five stories of redemption and relevation--families, strangers, coworkers, and even the dear departed--a constant theme and struggle for the winter holidays.

  • Queenie's Christmas - A doll helps a girl and her mom find the spirit
  • Cocoa and the Cat - It's dangerous to bring in a stray, but sometimes...
  • The Brick - Presents are about surprises, right?
  • Moon Dance - The magic comes just when the person is willing.
  • In the Still Midwinter - When the lights go out, will it be the worst party ever?

Being vulnerable helps people find the true spirit of the season despite the hype and expectations. Settle in with a cup of cocoa and enjoy.

Get it today on Amazon and Smashwords!

Keep reading for a short story from the author:

The Brick

"That's a very good choice, sir," the saleslady said. "Black velvet is always classy; it goes with everything." She rang up the sale with the hat, the pocketbook and the shoes, all the accessories that his wife liked. "That'll be $35.42. Shall I wrap it for you?"

He handed over his whole stash, everything he'd been able to save this year. She was worth every penny.

He had worked hard this year, as a man should, but this time, he'd put away his quarters, holding on to each one he got back in change, and forgoing a Coke at lunch, keeping his money to make a special Christmas for his wife. He hated getting clothes for Christmas, but she liked them, and that was important enough to brave the crowds on Christmas Eve, to go into the women's country where everything was so small and delicate, like his lovely wife.

She worked so hard—she shouldn't have to work, but there it was. They needed the money, and he'd gone too many winters working only one or two days a week. Maybe this would tell her how much he loved her, since it was so hard for him to say.

He took the presents home and snuck them into their bedroom to wrap them, one at a time. He'd also gotten a big box, so that she would have a lot of things to unwrap, a surprise, and one she would never be able to guess. She was so smart, and she always figured out what he had bought her, but not this year.

When the presents were wrapped, each in tissue paper, he added the first piece to the box, a brick. That way, the box would be heavy, and she'd never be able to guess. Then each of the other pieces--the velvet hat, black on the outside and white on the inside, framing her beautiful face. A black shiny pocketbook, not too big, not too small. Finally, the shoes, size 7, with tiny rhinestones on the buckle across the toe, shoes fit for a princess. She always bought plain, practical shoes, but he knew she'd love these.

They had not been asleep an hour when the kids woke them up, excited about Santa and their stockings, each with a toy, peppermints, nuts, an orange and a dime, down in the very toe. He'd always had money as a child, but not much of a Christmas. He wished he could give them more, but they were happy. His daughter was excited to get her first Barbie doll, and his son liked the fire truck they had laid away for him.

Finally, the children were sorted out, and he brought in the box he had hidden. He'd seen his wife glance at the presents, noting that there was nothing for her under the tree except the cheap cologne and earbobs the children had bought for her.

Her face lit up like the lights on a car lot...

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