Friday, 13 December 2013

Tales by the Tree

I have some amazing online writing friends and between us we have put together a fabulous anthology of Christmas stories called Tales by the Tree.

It is available from Amazon as both an eBook and a proper book that you can wrap up for the perfect Christmas present! A delight for anyone who loves a good story.

As it says on the back of the book “gather around the tree with a collection of 75 tales from 40+ authors”

Note that word “author” – I am now a proper published author and have even created my own author page on Amazon! Which is crazy and unreal and I can’t quite take it in.

Tales by the Tree with one of it's authors!
Many thanks go to Laura, Marissa, Nick and Ruth our wonderful editors who have worked tirelessly to get this to happen. And I must also thank Blue Harvest Creative who have done a marvellous job with the cover and book design.

Have I mentioned it would make a great Christmas gift?

And if you need convincing any more let me tell you that all proceeds from the sale of the book are going to Mount Rose Elementary School library in Reno, Nevada.

Now just to whet your appetite for more Christmas stories here’s my own tale for the book entitled…

The Angel who didn't like Christmas

“Tinselitis?” Angel Anna raised an eyebrow suspiciously.

“I’ve got a sick note, signed by Dr Laura. Had all the tests confirmed.” His nose was already starting to twitch, must be that fake twinkling Christmas tree strategically placed to make Anna’s desk look festive.

She tapped efficiently on her laptop. “’Tin-sel-i-tisan allergy to tinsel, glitter and sparkle.’ Such a shame this time of year.” She said without a flicker of sympathy.

“So if you’ll just stamp this letter, verify that I’m too sick for duty I can be getting off home to recover.” Jeff had it all planned out, a quiet Christmas in front of the TV for a change. He hated being an angel this time of year.

The telephone rang just as he sneezed.

Anna listened intently to the voice at the other end, nodding her head. Jeff found a handkerchief in his pocket and blew his nose with more force than was necessary to make the point that he was still here and he was sick.

“It seems the Big Man upstairs has a mission for you.” Anna put down the phone while flashing Jeff her sunniest smile.

“I can’t go down there at Christmas; you know how crazy those humans get.”

“Special orders.” She hit the send button on her laptop and he was on his way.

It was angel rush-hour, thousands of them were gliding up and down the heavenly staircases off to work, each one chattering loudly, all decked out in their shiny best. Sequins twinkled in every direction like millions of eyes conspiratorially winking at him. 

He shuddered, feeling hot and cold all at once. He should be in bed sleeping off this fever but it was impossible to escape. Pushed along in the melee he was trapped and descending earthwards.

He sneezed some more which at least kept his fellow angels at a distance giving him some much needed space to breathe.

“Special orders”,  well that was an honour he supposed, he couldn’t remember the last time he was singled out for an important mission, but before he had chance to ponder what it might be he felt the ground give way beneath him.

“You have reached your destination.” The voice was cheery yet mechanical as he gracefully floated to the ground.

He stood outside an inauspicious looking house, number 67 with a green door.

Most houses in the street were festooned in bright lights. There was a lopsided plastic reindeer opposite with a red nose that flashed rather alarmingly. 

Jeff was glad this house was plain and ordinary looking. He shivered feeling chilly, not feverish this time, just cold, there was snow on the ground and he had no coat.

Unsure what else to do he rang the doorbell.

It took an age before it was opened by an old man wearing a cardigan and slippers.

“If you’re selling double glazing I don’t want it. Or a new driveway. I don’t want a time share and I’ve got enough tea towels to last a lifetime.”

“I’m not selling anything.”

“Well you’ll freeze to death out there lad, letting all my good heat out too. You best come in. Don’t suppose you’re a murderer, I’m too old for this life to care anyway and if you’ve come to rob me I’ve got nowt worth having.”

Jeff followed the man as he shuffled down the hall into a stuffy over heated room with the TV turned up loud.

“I was just about to watch The Great Escape, you seen it?” He didn’t wait for Jeff to answer, “Sit down then lad, you’re making the place look untidy.”

The room was uncluttered, TV, two armchairs, clock on the mantelpiece with a photo propped up beside it, mum, dad, three smiling children somewhere in a sunnier place.

“Family?” Jeff said nodding in the direction of the photo.

“Son, daughter-in-law, in Australia. Now shush, film’s about to start.”

Sometimes it didn’t matter where you went, heaven or earth, you were destined to be ordered about.

They watched in silence, each of them so caught up in the familiar story there was no need to speak.

As Steve McQueen was shut in the cooler for the last time the man got to his feet, “Cup of tea?”

“I’d prefer a beer.”

“Oh what the heck, it is Christmas I suppose.” Said the man with a definite twinkle in his eye.

They chinked their glasses together.

“So what’s your story then? Turning up on an old man’s doorstep on Christmas day out of the blue.”

“Would it surprise you if I said I was an angel?”

“An angel! So what’s your name then Gabriel?”


 “That’s not an angel name. Jeff?” The man shook his head but he was beginning to grin.

“So what’s your name then?”


“Now that is a good angel name.”

“Pah! You can call me Wombat.”


“Always fancied having a nickname. Don’t you think it suits me?” He tried to twitch his whiskery face which made them both suddenly roar with laughter. “It’s good to laugh ain’t it. I ain’t laughed properly for … well for a long time.”

Jeff studied the man, looked at the photo on the mantelpiece and surveyed a room devoid of Christmas cheer. He guessed his mission was just to keep this man company, not much of a special order but he had to admit this wasn’t a bad way to spend Christmas.

They sat companionably, laughing at the festive entertainment on the flickering box in the corner.

All of a sudden Jeff was aware of another presence; the room had become still and quiet for the first time. Anna stood beside Michael’s chair.

“Is he gone?”

She nodded, “Peacefully and happy.”

“And that was my special mission?” 

She opened the folder she was carrying. “Last heartfelt prayer of an old soldier: please don’t let me spend my last Christmas on earth alone.”


  1. One of my favourite tales in the book Sarah! :)

    1. That's kind of you to say Lisa and it means a lot to have some praise from one of my fellow authors.
      Must confess I've not read any of the stories yet but now I've got my tree up I really should grab my mug of cocoa, snuggle up and read them - as per instructions on the back of the book! ;-)

  2. I have just read your story to Brian and am typing through tears (yes, you made me cry) letting you know how much we enjoyed your first proper-published story. You really are a writer, believe it. Lots of love, Jude & Bri .

  3. It was a pleasure to design this book for everyone! Happy holidays and congrats on being an author :)

  4. Absolutely LOVE this story, Sarah! I so do love to read a story that ignites emotion - just lovely...!