I just put out via Kindle Direct Publishing a very (very very) short story collection called As Grandma Lay Dying Under The Hooves Of Trampling Reindeer And Other Twisted Holiday Tales. I consider it a Christmas gift to myself, as I’ve been meaning to self-publish an eBook of some sort for a few years now. I enjoy writing, I figured I’d have something to share in the format, but nothing ever materialized. At the same time, I’d look at some other people’s published books and eBooks and think, “I may not like what I’ve read, but at least they’re out there, at least they’re willing to put themselves on the line. They’re willing to make the effort and to commit.” I truly admire that, I think it’s a hurdle that needs to be appreciated and respected. Certainly, I wasn’t doing the same, I wasn’t delivering the goods.

So this is me, finally being out there, finally making a commitment. And it’s satisfying enough just to do that. I don’t know how many copies of this I’m going to sell – though let’s be honest, I’ll probably be able to count them all on my hands – but at least I’m out there. I’m past the “shoulda coulda woulda” phase, though it took an embarrassingly long amount of time. And there will be more eBooks from me soon. I have another themed story collection already in the works, and what I think is a novella that I’ve been working on for a year. Now that I have a first eBook under my belt, the notion of doing others doesn’t seem so daunting and doesn’t feel like a vague notion. It feels like a plan of action.

As for this particular stocking stuffer of mayhem, it was originally going to be a series of flash fiction blog posts called “12 Days Of Horrible Christmas Stories”. I came up with the idea back on December 12, which wasn’t a very long lead time. By the first day of Christmas – December 14, counting back from the big day – I had only a half-dozen ideas and no completed stories. So the blogging idea was dead… but why not turn it into an ebook instead? I settled on the title Tales To Ruin Christmas and began working on these story ideas whenever I was inspired. I found I would write a chunk of prose for one story, rest a bit, then have a turn of phrase or image that I wanted to try out for another story, and so on. I had intended for all the stories to be very short, five hundred words or so, but a few of them were becoming longer than that (though still quite short by any standard).

My family helped me along. I would run ideas past Haruna, who would laugh and offer her own ideas – and some of those I used in the stories, as well. Haruna read what she could of the manuscript – she has a low threshold for gore and the kinky stuff was off-limits – and gave me honest feedback. For us, it was a fun way to look at the holidays and get some laughs out of it. As for Barbara, she was appalled at every aspect of every story – which confirmed to me and Haruna that we were on the right track.

And as fun as it was to write these stories, it was the line-editing – printing up a paper copy of the draft and marking it up with corrections and notes – that felt like I was REALLY writing, that I was getting back in the groove of things. In some ways, I think I enjoy that even more than getting the words down on paper in the first place.

As I was finalizing the manuscript and putting in last-minute, I ended up dropping two of the seven stories. Two of the longer stories, too, which essentially halved an already suspiciously short collection. I needed to do it, though, because both stories were fun ideas at their core, but the way those ideas played out just wasn’t clicking. I needed to get back to them at a later date and start over. If anything, I hope to include them in a second edition of this book for Christmas 2018.

So, I hope you buy the eBook and read it, but only if it tickles your fancy. And if not, no hard feelings. But stay tuned, as there will be more stories and more questionable choices, coming up before you know it!