Perhaps it’s an age thing, but there seems to be more people missing around the Christmas table than ever. It could be because of the pandemic’s travel restrictions, bereavement, infertility, addiction, or mental health issues, to name a few reasons, but it always amazes me how brave some folk are to face Christmas with such good grace.
For many, Christmas is a tough time of year and especially this year. Yet, I hope to warm some hearts and bring a smile to some faces that might not otherwise have felt a Christmas glow. I’m keenly aware that it is insensitive to be bouncing around with Christmas cheer. That is why my next publication, Then Came Christmas, is dedicated to those people with empty chairs at their tables at Christmas. It’s a short story that picks up where March to November ends and is available on Kindle and as a pamphlet if you prefer a hard copy. Some of you may have read it when I had it posted on my old website in 2016 (Before I had my current website redesigned.) I came across the story in my files recently, and it struck me how apt it was right now.
Then Came Christmas – A Short Story Sequel to March to November begins on 20th December, just over six weeks from where the book ends and shows how Tracey and the gang face Christmas in the aftermath of March to November. It gives away some of the book’s ending but can be read as a stand-alone.
Each day, the story unfolds until it ends on Christmas Day. Here’s the blurb:
Every time she thinks about Christmas this year, Tracey experiences a vortex of panic and confusion. How can she face it while grieving for her best friend? But life marches on, and Tracey will have a Christmas with someone she truly loves for the first time ever. Tommy has been the warm, bright light in a very rough year. Tracey is also looking forward to her baby niece’s first Christmas, as complicated as sharing the day with her seems right now. However, Christmas day will not be the same without spending it with her big brother, Dermot. But Tommy can’t bear to be in the same room as him. How will Tracey keep everyone happy this year and get through the day herself?
I’ve added Bonus Material at the back too – an article I had published last year on a blog tour about How Irish Legends Inspired A Science Fiction Trilogy About Getting Younger and also a piece of Flash Fiction from The Bramley. I hope you enjoy them.
One thing I find heartening about getting to Christmas Day is that the days get longer. Even if you can’t yet see evidence of it, it’s nice knowing that the darkest day of the year is over us and that spring will be on its way, bringing warmth and light to heavy hearts.
One thing I do love about this time of year is that it is easier to see the dawn, and there have been some spectacular skies without having to get up at ridiculous o clock.
Another thing to look forward to is our Flash Fiction Saturday Night in the Museum on 12th February in the Armagh County Museum. If you’ve been creative this winter, perhaps you will be able to submit to it (you will be required to read your piece in person on the night.) The theme is Street Stranger, in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name by Alistair Prentice. The deadline for submissions is 12th January 2022. There’s more information in the last blog post.
Tickets will be on sale to attend in person after the submission deadline. All past Flash Fiction Armagh events are posted on YouTube for your enjoyment.
I wish you peace, love and solace this Christmas. Be kind to yourself if you’re finding it tough, and know that you are not alone. Brighter days are coming.