Welcome Scribers and Readers, PJ Sharon here. I have with me as today’s guest, Brenda Maxfield. Her short story, SEEKING CHRISTMAS hit home with me since neither of my two sons has a relationship with their dad. Brenda Maxfield’s perspective from the minds of teen siblings, Courtney and Dennis, truly reflected how I imagine my sons dealing with this situation. And may I also say, I LOVE this cover!
Blurb for Seeking Christmas (an Ocean Mist short story Two):
The Christmas season has eighteen-year-old Courtney crossing the state line with her little brother Dennis to rendezvous with the man who deserted them years ago. Courtney remembers him only as the tall man who ran away. Dennis doesn’t remember him at all.
Courtney is furious, but Denny is curious. Will their meeting result in a happy Christmas memory or another miserable disappointment?
I asked Brenda what made her write this as a short story. Here’s what she had to say.Take it away Brenda…
My first thought is that “Short Can Be Sweet”. But there was more to my decision than simply wanting to write a short story. Here’s what happened.
Open Call for Submissions: Such musical words of opportunity to any writer’s ears.
Except when such writer is buried deep in her latest work-in-progress and stretched thin between a day job, family, and uh, well, trying to stay sane!
That’s where I found myself a while back when my publisher put out a call for submissions. Sometimes emails are ripped open like paper envelopes showing checks through tiny little windows — and that’s how I opened that one. Yet even while my eyes flew downward over the content, censuring comments such as, “Who are you kidding, Brenda? You’re insane. All you need is another project…” coursed through my mind.
You know how it goes, scolding yourself even as you continue with whatever you were doing. (Hmmm, now I’m thinking about that luscious half-eaten piece of dark chocolate cake. But I digress.) My scolding continued until my eyes landed on the phrase, “Short stories only. No longer than 5,000 words.”
I major perked up. That I could do! That I could find the time for!
I’d never considered short stories as part of my writing career. I love the YA novel, the joy of unfolding a character’s crisis, angst, redemption, and growth over the course of chapters. I didn’t realize the fun of writing a short story: the smaller time frame to completion, the opportunity to give readers a taste of your style, and the possibility for those same readers to get hooked and become fans of your novels.
I did answer that open call and send a short story to my publisher. I’ve also self-pubbed two other short stories. The first was Player, which introduced the characters in Buried Truth. (Writing about two-faced Daniela in Player turned out to be a blast. Oy, I couldn’t stand the girl!) And this season, I’ve released Seeking Christmas, dealing with the aftermath of Cornered, which is releasing in a few weeks.
Christmas in September
I couldn’t bear to let the Christmas season go by without a release. So in September, I started playing with the characters from Cornered in my mind. I wondered what would happen if Courtney heard from her jerk of a dad — the guy who deserted her and disappeared like so much water down the drain years previously. Would she want to see him? Could she swallow her anger long enough to hear him out? And what about her little brother? Would taking Denny to meet the guy result in a disaster? What kind of Christmas would it turn out to be?
The characters wouldn’t stay quiet, yet I knew I didn’t have time to write another full. Thus, the short story Seeking Christmas was born. (It’s @ 8,000 words.)
I loved it. I loved the whole process. We writers are fortunate to have many avenues to get the stories out of our heads and onto the page. Short stories are just one of those ways. I heartily encourage all writers to give them a whirl!
And of course, I’d be totally thrilled if you’d give Seeking Christmas a read. During this season, take a bit of time to curl up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) and take a trip with Courtney and her little brother in Seeking Christmas. I hope you enjoy it!
Seeking Christmas Purchase Links:
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/jvktfxz
Ocean Mist Books: http://brendamaxfield.com/ocean-mist-series.html
I’m a teacher so I spend most of my waking hours with young people. I love chatting with them and hearing their views on love and life. My students are magical, and I am honored to be part of their lives.
I’ve lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, I live in Indiana with my husband, Paul. We have two grown children and three precious grandchildren, special delivery from Africa.
When not teaching, I love to hole up in our lake cabin and write — often with a batch of popcorn nearby. (Oh, and did I mention dark chocolate?)
I enjoy getting to know my readers, so feel free to write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Join my newsletter at: http://mad.ly/signups/85744/join. Visit me to learn about all my books and some smart and sassy, clean teen reads: www.brendamaxfield.com Happy Reading!
Contact Links for Brenda Maxfield:
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570620.Brenda_Maxfield
Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/psj82bj
Don’t Miss any News! Join my Newsletter Gang: http://mad.ly/signups/85744/join
Thanks for joining us today, Brenda! Readers, if you have any questions or comments for Ms. Maxfield, please don’t be shy!
How about you? Do you like to read short stories? Have any favorites you’d like to share? Are you reading any wonderful Christmas stories right now? We’d love to know!