And so the year draws to an end and nature becomes a quieter place. As I draft this post it’s the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s snowing. The countermelodies are the holidays and shopping mania, even in these days of shortages.
Me? I keep writing.
I write even while reflecting on my own gratitude, which begins with this blog and all those who read and comment here. I can’t thank all of you enough. I earn no money from the blog. It’s my gift to you. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t pay me back. It does. It pays me back in sharing and in connections.
The day approaches when there’ll be books to sell, but for the moment, there’s this WordPress blog, which I started in 2013. Each post has been a joy to write and share.
I’ll be here alone through Christmas, but not really. There’s my writing, so many characters, those I know online, and even my beloved Green Bay Packers playing on the 25th.
Alone is what I make it.
There’s even snow this year, which, for me, represents winter’s hope and promise.
Recently, as I’ve mentioned, I finished the Carrdia series when I drafted the last two books back-to-back, finishing on December 12th (there’s more gratitude right there!). That left me just over two weeks for my year end tradition, which is to draft at least one holiday story.
Thing is, our holidays don’t exist on Ontyre. In Carrdia there are remnants of traditions, but for the most part they’ve been driven underground. Those stories are, after all, about a nation that’s become a dystopia and the efforts to restore it.
Pannulus, though, thrived while Carrdia was struggling. Though there are problems, there’s also a thriving economy, magic, and traditions. Thus, for me, each year finishes somewhere in Pannulus.
For the most widely recognized holiday traditions I wanted something vaguely familiar to readers, yet not. Thus was Beneva Day born. There’s a Giving Tree. There are the Seven Stars of Pannulus. There’s the Beneva Wizard and his sleigh drawn by six flying unicorns. It’s a little like life for my grandparents when they were young in the 1920s, but with real magic.
Best of all, because Pannulus is quite far to the north, there’s always lots of snow.
My Pannulus holiday tradition began with a short story, The Beneva Wizard, in 2017, though I’d penned winter stories there as early as 2015. I then went back and edited the earlier winter stories to include the tradition where it applied.
*The Beneva Wizard will be included in the first anthology.
Holiday novellas came later. In fact, after drafting Protecting the Pneuma Key in 2019, I transitioned into a holiday sequel that was my first novella. I followed that up with a holiday romance, New Year’s Train to Talonspear. More have followed, including the one I’m drafting right now.
All these stories, which have warmed my heart through the holidays, have given me so much over the years.
Strange to think, thought, that the themes permeating the holiday tales are the same ones running through the novels, just more obvious. I’m talking about friendship, kindness, and love.
Not that there isn’t conflict in these stories. New Year’s Train to Talonspear opens with a funeral. Holiday in Farthing opens with a kidnapping. A Truth So Close opens with recovering from an extended illness. The present story, Interview Anxiety, opens with Quilleen Cane’s trauma and loss on display.
So, thank you, everyone, for allowing me to share with all of you. It’s my sincere hope that 2022 or early 2023 will be when these stories will begin to appear. Until then, again, my thanks for listening to my ramblings all these years.