Something To Look Forward To

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During the last few holiday seasons I spent in Oregon, I was so sick that I couldn’t go to most holiday celebrations. I’m allergic to much of the universe, I guess, and in the tiny Oregon town where I lived, I couldn’t go to any restaurant because they cross-contaminated. Not to mention the fact that they had terrible ventilation systems, so if someone showed up with too much perfume, the stench knocked me down for days.

I managed movies in the Valley, an hour either way, but even that could be fraught. And gettogethers with friends were nice, but not possible every year as they went to be with family.

Toward the end there, my holidays became constricted. Mostly me and Dean with a home-cooked meal and maybe a movie on TV. We decorated the house, and I read a lot of holiday fiction, which honestly, was a real highlight.

I love holiday stories. I loved them before my enforced isolation in Oregon, and I love them now.

While that occurred, I found myself looking forward to the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. She started it about twelve years ago, and back then, it was really rudimentary. But the images were pretty, the animation good enough, and the music cool. Over the years, it became a production, with much improved animation and professional musicians providing the soundtrack. It gave me something to look forward to each and every day.

The advent calendar that she put together is Christmas-centric, so it ends on Christmas Day. Every time, I found myself feeling a bit bereft on December 26. That week between Christmas and New Year’s was especially bleak up north. The holiday was over, the advent calendar was done, but that space between the holiday and the beginning of the year stretched forever.

I have been thinking about those holidays as Covid spread its nasty claws all over 2020. So many of us will spend our holiday moments on Zoom this year. Grandparents won’t hug their grandchildren. Adult kids aren’t going to travel to see Mom and Dad for fear of spreading the disease. No one wants to isolate for two weeks before the holiday, after taking the long trip to get wherever.

The parties aren’t going to happen. Some of my favorite events here in Las Vegas, the Great Santa Run and the Glittering Lights walk, will be virtual this year (meaning get the swag and do it on your own). Other things in Vegas will happen, because much of the holiday here is something to look at, not something to do. I feel lucky in that. But we can’t invite friends over for dinner, and we can’t share some of the celebration…because of the virus.

Commercials from various companies are already acknowledging this, kind of preparing families to spend their holidays together online. It will be a different and strange holiday for most of us, but for me, it feels familiar.

What everyone will need during this time is something to look forward to. Something to make both the holiday and every day special.

Our Holiday Spectacular will do that. I came up with the idea in Oregon, because I wanted to do a calendar of stories for the entire holiday season—American Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. We did the first Spectacular in 2019, and I’m so glad we did. It was like a warm-up for 2020.

Now, I can safely tell you that the Spectacular will improve your 2020 holiday. The stories are wonderful. Some are filled with magic. Others have a touch of romance. Still others have a bit of mayhem.

You can get the Spectacular through this year’s Kickstarter. It’s the best way to get all the pieces, because we offer discounts through Kickstarter. (We’ll offer a subscription afterwards, but buy it now.) There are other fun things in the Kickstarter. You can get last year’s calender in a single ebook volume or as three different anthologies. There’s a how-to-write workshop that’s exclusive to the Kickstarter.

And there’s a reward that allows you to buy one calendar for yourself and some as gifts. I think you should get several gifts, and use them as an excuse to have a little holiday book club on Zoom or Skype with friends every day or every week.

We’ve also expanded the calendar to include Valentine’s and Halloween. You can get those separately, or all of the calendars in one big package.

Rather than outline all of the rewards, I urge you to head to the Kickstarter and see for yourself. If you back it, you’ll get two free ebooks, and more if we hit our remaining stretch goals. So tell your friends!

The Kickstarter discounts will last for another week, and then we move into the holiday season. WMG needs time to get everyone in the system. By the last Thursday in November, subscribers will get their first story.

The holidays are approaching fast. Make this year’s special. Trust me, it’s possible. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can. You can share fiction with the ones you love. Or you can have the special moments all to yourself.

I know 2020 is hard, but we will get through it. And maybe even have a little bit of joy along the way.

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