The Gift of Stories

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35 stories in 35 days! The gift that keeps on giving, whether you get it for yourself, your best reading buddy, or both of you to share over the holiday season.

Years ago, I wondered what it would take to give a holiday story per day to readers. After all, in the holiday season, animated calendars give everything from music to games to those who sign up. Why not short stories?

When I first got this idea, I hoped to write all the stories myself. As many of you who come to this website know, I put up a holiday or holiday-adjacent story from Thanksgiving to New Year’s for Free Fiction Monday. The day after Thanksgiving, I put up my annual holiday recommended reading list—the holiday-related books and stories I’ve recommended over all the years I’ve done my monthly Recommended Reading List.

The WMG Holiday Spectacular came out of all of that and more. I decided it would be better to edit a bunch of stories for the spectacular, and write some as well. I tried to fill in the gaps (as I perceived them), which, this year, had me writing two looong stories. Yes, I said this year. Because we ran a successful Kickstarter on this project, which means there will be a next year as well.

Here’s how the Spectacular works. Subscribe before November 28, and you’ll get all 35 stories on the day you were meant to get them. You’ll receive an email with an introduction from me, and a link so that you can download that day’s story in your preferred format.

If you subscribe after November 28, but before December 26, you’ll get the stories you missed on the following Monday, along with the remaining daily stories on their particular day. If you subscribe on or after December 27, you’ll get all the stories on January 6.

If you subscribe, you’ll also get—as a bonus—the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 ebook compilation, which includes all 35 stories and introductions. The compilation volume will be released in July 2020.

Let me be a bit personal now. As many of you know, I was very ill for a number of years, and one of the results of that illness was that I became more or less housebound. I couldn’t go to holiday parties or eat holiday foods or even, in my small town, see a holiday movie because the dang movie theater (and there was only one) didn’t heat the theater. So reading holiday stories became my way of celebrating the holiday season.

Another way I celebrated was with the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. It’s animated, and fun, and opening the daily surprise felt like a daily celebration.

I wanted to create that experience, only with fiction, for the folks who love holiday stories. If you’re on your own during the holidays, this is a way of spending a little celebratory time. If you know someone who is housebound, the stories might brighten their day a bit. And you can also set up your own little reading group for the stories. Share with friends, and have a social media or email chat (or using that old fashioned thingie, the phone) to discuss what you’ve read.

The stories vary from sweet and romantic to dark (although there’s nothing dark during Christmas week). The stories are non-religious, and are (usually) in the mystery and romance genres, with a touch of fantasy added in.

I hope you subscribe. And if you do—or even if this isn’t quite right for you—I hope you share as well. We hope that this project will grow organically year after year, and the only way for that to happen is through word of mouth.

So give yourself (or a friend) 35 gifts this season. Get the WMG Holiday Spectacular, and brace yourself for a tidal wave of short fiction to help you celebrate the season.

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