Myths and Rumors

Welcome to Christmas 2018. If are reading this on Christmas day then you’ve already opened your presents, and the chaotic day has slowed to a comfortable pace. And maybe you thought it was time to go see what is out there on the web, and maybe a story or two to bring a smile to your face. Later in the day a Christmas dinner but for now that’s the future. Now is your time, a few minutes to yourself to enjoy family, the day, and a bit of nostalgia as you remember past Christmases.

As I’ve done, since this blog has existed, I’ve posted, on Christmas day, a short story which is about this time of year. And this year is no different. I actually begin to write these stories at least three months in advance of Christmas day. After all, it takes time, and work of course, to get the story created, and then just right to present. As the title to this post suggests, this is the name of this year’s story. As I stated with Sunday’s post I will give nothing away other than what little I stated in that same post. That way it is fresh and unknown with no expectations. So for your reading pleasure and for Christmas 2018, is Myths and Rumors:

I cannot say what started me on this, well for lack of a better word, quest, (But if I want to be entirely honest that isn’t necessarily true). I’m one who studies and teaches history. Not one who goes on useless and worthless searches. And I really considered this to be one of those. Still, as I sat here by my campfire, under the canopy of the night sky with the stars shining down, and by looking back to where this began I believe that it went something like this: I guess it might have been that night at the local watering hole and being under the influence of that fermented drink that they serve there, I believe again that it was then it most likely happened.

My friends and I were in a deep discussion about many of the myths and rumors of what the past held. One of the main myths stated that there had been an event somewhere before written history that spoke of a disaster of some kind that was to have been on an apocalyptic scale. Personally I’ve never seen any evidence of such. Still such things have a tendency to come up when that fermented drink is being consumed. It leads to passionate discussions, arguments, and, in my case, commitments.

Oh there were other such rumors or myths talking about large cities, the ability to fly, and to cover great distances on land in some type of conveyance that kept one comfortable. Then there was the one dealing with what our distant – very distant – ancestors celebrated every season around the time of the winter solstice. It represented a time of giving and had a name. Well to be honest most myths and rumors do have names attached. Otherwise nobody would know what you’re talking about. Well this myth’s name is Christmas, whatever “a Christmas” is.

My friends would say, “Johnathon Cane you know that there’s always a kernel of truth in those things. You’ve said so yourself, not only here, but when you teach.”

Well, this isn’t something I can deny since it is the truth. But back onto the subject at hand and that myth about this Christmas. It is said that this celebration was so big that there even was a town named Christmas. Well, actually these myths and rumors said that there was more than one. Every time I’d hear those comments I’d end up laughing. “Really?” I’d ask. “Next thing you’ll tell me is you have some wonderful lowlands for sale for a really good price.”

Somewhere along the line a challenge was put forth. I guess it must have been even though I didn’t necessarily remember. The next day I found myself dealing with one huge headache that hurt worse every time I moved. As far as what we had discussed and talked about the previous night, well, once again, it was well beyond my memory. It wasn’t until those same friends, (and I use that term loosely), over the next many days, asked when I would begin my trek to prove that this town of Christmas didn’t even qualify as myth.

I would reply, simply stating that whatever we discussed over the table at our favorite watering hole was to be left there . . . Even though these same myths and rumors had placed one of those towns north and east of us. I stated, “After all, we wouldn’t – couldn’t to be honest – solve the world’s problems, or really know what happened deep in the past before anything was written.” And, to be honest, any conclusions we came to were influenced by what we were drinking anyway.

So, why was I out here then? Why was I out in this wilderness, where only the wild beasts roamed, searching for a myth that most likely was just that and completely unprovable. Well, if I knew the answer I probably wouldn’t be here. Our time’s tracked with sundials and moon cycles, and I had left at the end of winter figuring to return a no later than the end of fall before winter began to turn things white and it being much too cold to be outside.

Judging from the conditions I was now heading into the beginning of summer which meant that over one third of my time on this search was gone and other than getting a nice tan and seeing a lot of country I had nothing to show for it. Heck, I hadn’t even found any sign that anyone had ever lived out here, let alone had traveled in this wilderness. It seemed that even trails were few and far between. In fact in some of the areas the forest grew so thick that one had to find ways around.

If nothing else the experience I continued to gain showed how diverse and beautiful this land was. Someday it might be filled with people, but that someday was many generations down the road of time. And as I sat by my warming and cooking fire before night truly settled in, these thoughts would continue to haunt me . . . Everything that I just talked about and showed you. And I’d continue to consider myself a fool for agreeing to this.

That is until one night after heading inland towards the east and following a somewhat shaky trail which ran through mountains that appeared to be of solid rock. Well, not quite solid since those alpine trees grew there. Still I could see that these mountains were young by their very jagged and rugged nature. There was a river close by that soothed one with the quiet sounds it produced. Since I would normally set up camp just as dusk was approaching, which I had, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

In a sense it had been an introspective day as I looked inward. Of course since I was in the wilderness I had to remain alert to the dangers inherent to such places. I’d more or less been close to this river for some time and it helped provide the food I needed to survive. And before it became dark I had cooked my meal of fish over the open fire. I must admit that it would have been nice to have someone here with me, but alas I was alone.

In retrospect I realize that it was probably stupid but there was little I could do about it. To have someone to assist and to cover one’s back would be the obvious reason. But there are others such as companionship during the trek, as well around the campfires. And then there probably would be the most important. If I actually did find something out here then they would be able to confirm it. And yes, I did find something.

Night had settled in when suddenly ahead and in the distance the sky lit up. With the mountains around me and the trees of course, it was impossible to determine where the light originated. It appeared to be actually somewhere in the forest coming up from the ground. I thought, impossible. This must be my imagination . . . Probably the moon rising or something like that. Yet I realized that we were at the time of the new moon, which meant no moon.

Trying to judge the distance I knew there would be no way for me to make an attempt to move forward in the dark and locate the source of this light. It would have to wait until the light of day. As I stared at this distant light it seemed to draw me, beckoning for me to come and see. It was like the Siren’s call. As I watched that light I realized it was much brighter than even our village put out. It sent chills through me. What possibly existed that might do this? I had no idea and no answers

And the night and surrounding forest remained quiet and peaceful . . .

I found that I slept well and was up before the sunrise. I searched, with my eyes, in the direction that I saw that fantastic light but it had disappeared. So after eating a hearty breakfast I packed and continued down the trail to whatever destiny awaited me.

It approached midday when I finally turned a corner on this almost nonexistent trail when things suddenly changed. No there was no gradual subtle shift from where I was to what I saw before me. It was instant. The trail initially widened and the surface of that same trail shifted from dirt to a hard broken grey-black surface, and then widened significantly. In fact we probably could have placed two carts side-by-side and still had room. It caused me to pause.

“So Johnathon”, I said to no one since as far as I knew I was the only one here, “what’s this all about?” I stood there wondering what this surface was made of but had no answers. One thing for sure it made the hiking so much easier. With the sun directly overhead there was little shadow to reveal much of what lay ahead, so with this easier path I picked up the pace. Soon I’d need to find a place to camp for the night.

Suddenly, and in the distance, I saw what had to be ruins of what I or we of our time would call a village. And this widened path or trail went right down and between those ruins. It left me wondering why and what such a place would be doing here literally in the middle of this virgin forest. Yet from the size it obviously had been thriving when people were here. It only deepened the mystery. I had taken off my pack to rest my shoulders so I picked it up from the ground and put it back on and quietly continued on into this strange and lost place.

It appeared that many of these, well for lack of a better word, shelters had been more than ground level. As if the ones who lived here had learned how to build upwards adding other spaces on top of the ones that were built upon the ground. It was a unique concept. I know that there were suggestions from my time that said such were possible and that it would simply require that the first level be built heavier to support the weight of the second level. But as far as I knew no one had tried.

Yet here before me was proof that it had been tried somewhere deep in the past and was successful and a common practice. So maybe there was truth to many of those myths and we were simply relearning and rediscovering ideas and practices that we had once known and was common knowledge. These thoughts caused me to pause and really look around. Unfortunately this lost village wasn’t close to anything, anybody, or any of the locations where there were a lot of people.

Not being an artist, and not having much to either draw or write upon I’d had to do the best I could with what I had. Unless . . . unless what? Unless somewhere in these ruins I’d be able to find something to use, some scraps of something that’d allow me to do a better job of recording all that was around me. I had the time so there was no need to hurry this. This meant I might do a thorough job of searching these ruins and maybe find out what happened here. Still this dead village couldn’t have been the source of that light I saw in the night. So should I go further to see if I might find that source, or would it behoove me to simply stop here and do a bit of research?

Again that stopped me. In a sense it had been that bright light in the night that had brought me here. And here might be the greater treasure as far as knowledge. That bright light was more a draw bringing forth a strong curiosity and in the end might actually be that Siren’s call drawing one onward never to find the source. Like chasing those images of water in the desert that always retreat.

So I decided to stay here. After all, if I wanted to continue on and search for that source I would most likely have some additional time to do that. So looking at these shelters from the deep past I headed towards one of the closest that was on my left. There happened to be a bench on the outside and so I sat there, carefully since I didn’t know if it would support me or not. And once I was satisfied with its strength I, once again, removed my pack and set it next to me, relaxing and just enjoying the peace, the quiet, the slight breezes that cooled the after zenith air.

The sun felt wonderful. In fact I suspect that I ended up napping as I awoke suddenly and realized half the after zenith had passed and the sun was well on its way to going behind those mountains that I had just passed through. It was time to find somewhere to spend the night. And that meant that I wouldn’t really begin my exploration of this hidden gem until the morrow. One thing for sure, I wouldn’t lack for wood for my campfire.

At first I thought that I’d stay right here in the middle of these ruins, but thought better of it. Who knew what might actually live in these long abandoned and collapsed shelters. So I retraced my steps back outside of this place lost to time and memory. Just outside there seemed to be an open area with nothing around. Simply the natural grasses with the trees off in the distance, leaving it to appear to be a safe place to camp – at least I thought so at the beginning.

So with practiced ease I set up my camp, and since I had a little more time before dusk settled in, I loaded up with wood so I might have a fire all night if I so desired. Looking off in the distance I saw something I could use to sit on, fetched it and faced it in the direction of this unknown village from the deep past.

Being a scholar it piqued my interest and curiosity wanting to know the history of this place, why it was here, and were there other such places close by. Of course there was no way to know, and to be honest I really didn’t have the time. I felt that once I was done exploring this one that I’d head back home letting my friends know that there were places where people had once lived. But I believed that this one I had found was just that, a place where people had lived, and nothing more.

After eating my evening meal, I smiled, as thoughts of what I’d say, briefly entered my mind. I mean, in the end, even if nothing was truly answered I’d gained experience and seen a lot of beautiful country. That alone made this trek worthwhile. I just wish I could have talked another into coming with me. So looking towards where the trees began, with my back to the ruins, as the light faded, and with the end of dusk these same trees disappeared into the darkness, I looked up at the fantastic display of stars in the sky. I have to admit that I never tired of the night sky.

I felt something, heard what sounded like a whoosh, and was struck by a strong wind that briefly swept over the meadow where I was camped. I watched as my fire leaned sharply towards those trees hidden in the darkness and flared higher before settling back down. What’s that, I thought. Turning back towards the source of the wind chills ran up and down my spine and I thought I’d gone crazy. “This is impossible,” I said out loud. I stood there staring. It was as if I grew roots and was unable to move.

These ruins that I had been in earlier this day were no longer ruins. It now was a live and thriving village or town, (as I learned later) lighting up the surrounding night in bright unnatural light. Looking to my right towards that trail I had followed to get here, well, it was no longer a trail. In fact it had become wide and covered in some substance that made it smooth instead of the broken surface that I’d hiked earlier this day. On that trail were strange wheeled . . . well, I don’t know what one would call them. I’d never seen the like.

I stared at these moving things, which had lights of their own that allowed them to see ahead. And the speed at which they moved was shocking. Even the fastest of steeds couldn’t move this fast. And as they approached the town they slowed. This directed my eyes to the village itself and I saw that there were many of these same things, again for lack of a better word, not moving, and seemed to be corralled in areas that were marked with white lines. I wondered if these things were alive, and those lines kept them there.

Then I saw one of the moving things pull into such an open marked area, stop, the lights and noise it was making ended and suddenly people got out of this thing, smiling laughing and conversing. I was seeing many of the myths coming true right before my eyes. It was then I began to hear music drifting with the night breeze, and as my eyes followed the light created by one of those, I guess I would call them mechanical moving things, I saw the sign at the entrance to this place, and it said: WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TOWN.

I looked up into the sky and saw that same light I had on the previous night and was in awe of the power to produce such brightness. In fact it turned night into day. I found that suddenly I was being drawn towards this town, this place out of time. I wondered, if I did enter, would I be able to leave. I mean I’m from my time, and I saw this place in my time and only dust moved along and through those silent ruins. Not this vibrant and living place. If I entered would I be pulled into their world never to return to mine?

Yet the colors in the light produced, well I’ve never seen the like. I found that unconsciously, like that moth to flame, I had started moving in the direction to the entrance of this, this unbelievable place. As got closer I noticed that the people were dressed strangely. I don’t know how to describe it only that even they wore bright colors that matched the colors of those shining lights. I noticed that many of those same lights seemed to randomly blink off and then light again like the twinkling of the very stars above. How was this accomplished? What magic allowed such brilliance?

I found that I had actually approached to the very edge of this town and then like a shy child stood in the shadows drinking in all the sights, the music, and the very crush of humanity. I have never seen, until this very moment, so many people. Even if we had brought together the many surrounding villages close to where I live, for whatever the reason might be, it still wouldn’t be enough. These observations left me standing there in shock and awe.

It was then that the night breeze brought to me the smells of food cooking, and other such delights. This left me even more confused as I tried to understand how any of this was possible. I know that earlier this day I looked upon this dead “Christmas Town” with questions in my mind asking who had lived here, and why this was so far from anywhere. Yet, if I wasn’t dreaming, this place seemed to have none of the problems that I had associated it with earlier this day – no, none at all.

It was then that I noticed a booth that sat beside the trail those mechanical things moved on. And it was lit just as brightly as each of the shelters. It reminded me of the booths we used during our gathers where we would buy and sell, barter, and contract for services we couldn’t provide for ourselves. It was then that I realized that the one that was in that booth was looking at me. It was kind of a shock. I mean, up until that moment, I really didn’t know if what I was seeing was touchable, or that the ones who seemed to be in that world would see and be able to become part of my world.

With a smile and hand signals he beckoned me to come out of the shadows and come join him there at this particular booth. To say I was uneasy would be an understatement. I still worried about the fact – for which I had no proof either way – that I’d be able to enter this place and then return to my camp later. So with reluctance I slowly approached the booth and came out into the light. If this one was bothered by how I was dressed or where I’d come from there was no sign. In fact he continued to smile simply waiting.

As I did, come into the light that is, I stared at these shelters. They were beautiful, with the white fronts, large glass – yeah real glass – windows. And the amount of wood used to contrast that white made them the more enticing. Still that worry nagged me. This might be a trap. And if it is then I had already fallen under its spell, and was slowly being drawn in.

As I approached the booth I heard the one behind speak. He had a strange accent and some of the words were unfamiliar, yet I understood him perfectly. It was as if we were communicating on a different level, leaving the verbal as a simple support to be sure each understood the other. He said, “Howdy stranger, I’m Terry, and we’ve been expecting you.”

Now if such a statement did anything it did the obvious, sending chills up and down my spine and making the hairs stand up on my arms. “You’ve been expecting me?” I asked.

Here he smiled once again and said, “Yes . . . and no.” Then he shrugged. “What I mean is that we knew that a stranger in clothing different from the times would arrive. You see it was written a long time ago that such would be the case. I suspect there’s even a name – your name – attached. But, to be honest, it has been awhile since I’ve read it, and there’s been much that has happened since I last read it. Still all who live here know of it.” He canted his head to the side with that slight smile that showed curiosity before continuing.

“Now I know that you might consider this a trap of some sort. If what we have written is accurate then you are from our future, and we deep in your past . . . Meaning that if either I, or you move to the other’s position then we might never be able to return to our own time, remaining forever out of time, living in a place that we would probably never understand. Yet the truth is even stranger than that. Believe it or not this only happens – this shift in time – once a year. I know that a few days before the town arrives, wherever and whenever in time it will, that a bright light will light up the night sky – sort of a beacon to bring the chosen one here.

“Now I don’t know if you measure time the way we do but I’m sure that you do measure time. It might be by the seasons, or the cycles of the moon, or in many other ways.” Terry pointed over to the sign that stated, Christmas Town. “You see even this only exists for the last part of the year and as we approach the day of Christmas, then and only then does this shift in time happen. Call it magic, call it whatever you want or like, yet it happens. Whatever led to this is unknown, (there are thoughts on this), but whatever it is it does happen and we seem to arrive for a short period of time, somewhere in time, revealing our town to whoever happens to be here. And this time, stranger, it is you.

“It is always one person, and what is written always has one change. That change being the name of the person this is revealed to.” Here he laughed. “I guess it’s another reason not to remember the name that is written since it seems to magically change. Anyway Christmas has much myth attached to it. You will have a chance to experience much of what it is about during your night here. Still, and here I must warn you, once you find yourself back in your camp, nothing of this place will be with you . . . well, maybe something, but what will remain will be something only you will see and know.”

He now leaned on the counter that was part of the booth and asked, “So stranger, are you ready to come in and experience what your distant ancestors enjoyed? The joy, the celebration, the peace, the food – yes how can I forget about the food – and the gift giving that is all part of the celebration.”

What can I say? I mean what could I say; he had answered all my questions even though I hadn’t asked them. I felt a need to cross that line, to see what this town had to show me. So I answered, “Sure.” I had to admit that those twinkling bright lights were drawing me in and I wanted, honestly wanted, to see all of what was here before me. And I hoped that this Terry hadn’t lied and that when I awoke the following day that I’d be in my camp.

Terry smiled once again and signaled for a girl, who had to be somewhere between ten and twelve, and at the same time he handed me something that was on a chain. “She is Samantha, and she will be your guide throughout your time here. For you see this time is actually more for the children than adults, and this you will wear around your neck so all can see and know who you are. It allows everything you do here tonight to be at no cost to you.” Once again he laughed. “After all, you do not have what we use to purchase stuff anyway.” He then signaled for the two of us to get together, bowed, and pointed in the direction of the town saying with meaning, “Merry Christmas.”

Samantha smiled and said, “Welcome Mr. Cane.”

I know that he had stated that they knew who would arrive but I had thought this to be impossible. Yet without hesitation she had stated it. I looked at her with questions in my eyes and she looked down somewhat shyly before looking back into my eyes. I think that she knew what I was thinking and questioning. But did I dare ask since I had already been told? She reached up and took my hand and asked, “Shall we go? Our time here is limited and before you know it this will be only a memory with nothing to prove otherwise.”

She sounded old for her age. I wouldn’t have expected such a statement from one so young. And maybe that was exactly why she had been chosen. Anyway I nodded and she led me into this town. How can I describe what I saw and experienced? We went into most of the – as she called them buildings and stores – shelters that were here. I found that they were decorated just as brightly inside as out. And by being with this young girl and the medallion I wore around my neck I was able to sample much of the foods, and was given many small trinkets.

Each time we’d return to the street, and this was what she called it, not the trail as I would have known it, I’d stare at those wonderful strings of colorful twinkling lights that seemed to be around anything that that was above the ground – even the trees. And it seemed that the trees got special attention with brightly colored balls made of glass reflecting the very light that made it appear that the very stars from the night sky and been plucked and placed here for our pleasure.

The music, what can I say, it was surrounding us and she said that this was special music for this time of the year – again this was their way of measuring time. I was shown that book and there written within was a description of this night moving out of the flow of time and when I read my name written there, it literally took my breath away. How is such possible? I mean I had never been here, so how is it possible? No! Inside I thought, it cannot be, so I must be dreaming.

I learned that this came about because of a dying child sometime in their past and when this day arrived and the child has passed on to wherever we go after death something magical happened and this day became a day out of time moving for those hours during this special day to whenever it was deemed this Christmas Town would go. Who knows, it may have been the child’s dying wish. It was to be a gift for all time, and for the ones visiting it from the outside in their time nothing would be out of the ordinary. They’d arrive enjoy their visit here and return to their homes none the wiser to this other event, this unbelievable visit involving me, which was happening at the same time.

I saw excitement growing within this child and finally as the hours drew near to midnight she grabbed my hand and with some impatience pulled me back out to the street. Looking down at her I saw a big happy smile. She looked up and said, “It is time for the arrival of Santa Claus. Many consider him a myth but we know better.”

“So who is this Santa Claus?”

She smiled again at such ignorance. “He brings gifts and small treasures and leaves them under the decorated trees in the homes for the children. This is why this time of year is considered special for us.” Here she laughed, “After all, for a little longer I still am a child and it is a very special time for us as well as everyone.”

So we stood on what she called a sidewalk and waited as most of the people who were here. And speaking of people again I have never seen so many in one place or so many waiting for something that had this crowd almost breathless. Not knowing all I could do was wait. Then in the distance I saw a strange sight. Down that street came what could only be called a sled, something she called a sleigh, being pulled by what she named as reindeer – eight to be exact. In that sleigh was a man who had a white beard and was dressed in red. As the sleigh came closer it was obvious he wasn’t a small person.

Everyone cheered as he came abreast of them and there seemed to be smaller individuals with him that were tossing, out to the crowd, what appeared to be sweets of some kind. As this thing pulled even to the two of us the sleigh stopped and this Santa Claus looked directly at me. At that moment silence dominated this town. He smiled at me saying, “Welcome Johnathon Cane!” I was too shocked to respond, and after a nervous moment I bowed to him and he smiled and returned the gesture.

At that moment a cheer went out and the sleigh moved on down the street and in the distance turned a corner and was out of sight. At this moment Samantha grabbed my hand and began pulling me in the direction that this Santa Claus had gone. “Come on, we must go to where he will stop. While his time here will be short, since it is Christmas Eve, he will still stop long enough to give many here gifts.”

So with some reluctance I let her lead me. Shortly we were in an area that had to be the middle of this town. There was a huge tree in the center decorated just as extravagantly as the smaller ones I saw throughout this town. And I saw most of the people standing in a large circle which opened up when we approached. There was a breathless silence, one that spoke of anticipation . . . Of what I didn’t know.

Suddenly I realized that all eyes were on the two of us including this Santa Claus. He was sitting in a large chair and with that smile of his he motioned for me to come forward. I looked down at Samantha and together we approached him. There seemed to be such a peacefulness attached to him. He cocked his head sideways for a moment as if in thought. Then he said, “Johnathon Cane, you’ve been given a gift. Not one that can be placed in your pocket, or placed for display in your shelter, but one of the mind. You are a teacher and one who studies the past.

“So here before you is a taste of that very past. When you wake tomorrow you will still be near the ruins of this place, and you will wonder if you simply dreamed this.” He laughed, “Well, who am I to say it isn’t a dream? After all isn’t a dream simply another reality? When we are in a dream does it not seem real? And only upon waking do we know the difference.

“From what you’ve learned, studied, and yes even taught nothing would have shown you this. It is just for you.” He then had Samantha and me of course stand on either side of him and suddenly I was blinded by flashes of light. At that moment Samantha led me away leaving me unsettled by what this one had passed on and said to me. I knew I’d have to think long and hard about this night.

As we left I saw others lining up to see Santa Claus. And with most of the crowds here to see him the rest of Christmas Town seemed somewhat subdued and quiet. It was then I heard a bell ringing and I subconsciously counted the tones until I reached eleven and as the twelfth struck I was no longer in the town but back in my camp with the sun beginning to rise.

I thought, wow what a dream. I now looked toward those ruins with different eyes, and later that day when I explored them I was able to locate every place I had visited in that dream – if indeed it was a dream. It was then on the last day before I began my trek home that I found, in an inside pocket, a scrap of stiff paper. When I pulled it out wondering where this had come from I stopped. “No, no, this is impossible. What I saw and experienced had to be a dream!” Yet in my hand was proof that maybe it wasn’t and had been real. What was on that stiff paper was a small image with me, the man in red, and Samantha staring out. Both of them were waving and smiling with me standing there trying to understand.

I sat down in shock, thinking that this can’t be real. I turned it over and there on the back were these simple words:

Merry Christmas – Santa

Advertisements

Nine Days to Christmas

Here, in the US, it means that all the young children are getting really excited. “Wow, only nine days to Christmas!” It’s so exciting to wake up on Christmas morning and sneak out at the crack of dawn where it’s barely light enough to see. And yet there before their very eyes are those many brightly colored gifts just begging to become theirs.

Yes, there’s magic in the air, and it is a time for children who add their own magic to the day making it both special and memorable. And with those thoughts I’m providing a repost that looks back to another Christmas short story that I posted here in the past. And in many ways the story applies to what I’ve just stated.

I found that after many years of writing these short stories that I ran out of ideas, and so I asked my wife if she had any suggestions. And she did. So with her idea I ran with it and wrote, again like last week, another favorite for me. If you did take the time to follow the link last week and read, And it Came to Pass, you know that it’s not necessarily a happy story. When I first began to write these Christmas short stories I thought about it and knew that while most do have wonderful Christmases others do not. So most of these short stories look at this other side.

This one titled, The Ornament, isn’t one of those. It is a story from the perspective of an ornament and what it learns through the time it is with a family. And I think that it’s a great short story. Again, this one is Christian based, so will reflect that aspect. Instead of linking it back I decided to repost.  And as a reminder, I will be posting a brand new Christmas short story on Christmas day. This new one is just a fun story for which I will give nothing away. You’ll have to come back and catch it after all the excitement had died down, and the day has become quiet and relaxed. A time to take a small journey to another place, and another time.

And this story I’m presenting here plus seventeen others are available in the book, Words in the Wind. And here for your reading pleasure is, The Ornament:

She came running up to the display where I sat. And I could see the sparkle in her eyes, and a soul full of merriment and excitement for the time of year. She can’t be more than five, I thought, and probably a bit younger. In the distance I saw the one who had to be her father coming to collect her. It became obvious to me that somehow in the hustle and bustle that she had escaped his watchful eye. In the distance I saw the one who must have been her mother as she stayed with the shopping cart. In that cart sat an infant, plus one more that had to between this one standing before me and that baby in age.

If I could smile, I probably would have. But, I was of glass, made to look like a shining silver star with a slight gold tint. Like the one that could have been similar to the one announcing the arrival of another child over two thousand years ago. With the bright lights I shown brightly, reflecting that light from the many facets that is a part of me . . . Just the thing to catch a child’s eyes, but much too delicate for them to handle. I heard him, the one who had to be her father, say, “Come on honey, mama’s waiting for the two of us and we still have much to do. Plus, you know, if we have time, we need to go over and see your grandmother today.”

She answered excitedly, “But daddy . . . look! Isn’t it pretty?”

He took a quick look that said to me that he really hadn’t, and nodded to her. “Yes, yes it is. Now please come back. There are a lot of strangers in the store, and it would be easy for you to get lost.” With that he grabbed her hand and pulled her gently in the direction where the rest of the family awaited.

I watched as she resisted, reluctant to leave, but it was also obvious that she really wouldn’t disobey and with her head down, said quietly, “Yes daddy.” She quickly looked up at him and back at the display where I was and she said with hope, “Can we get one of the stars? Please?”

I could tell from his reaction that this wasn’t the first thing she had asked for in the shopping center, and it was also obvious that with the crowds that his nerves were on edge. He simply said, “Look, as I said, we have a lot more to do here today. And if we still have time, and you’re not tired, we can come back, okay?”

She stopped for a moment, and then looked back to me with a big smile and said, “We will be back, and then I can take you home with me and put you on our Christmas tree.”

I thought that it would be something which wouldn’t happen. With so many bright and shiny things to draw the attention of one so young, she would forget and it would simply be a brief memory for me . . . but I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, with as many who had looked and with the crowds there was a great possibility that some other person or child would pick me and I’d become part of their personal family and history. Yet, as the day moved on, and many of my brothers were chosen, I remained. Why, who knows, I surely didn’t. Still it must have been providence, or whatever word you like, for me to remain.

With the time of year all the stores remained open late, but even so eventually they would close down for the day. After all, the ones who worked here had families of their own, and they deserved to return to them at the day’s end. It was close to closing, and the crowds in the stores had thinned when suddenly in the distance I saw them. To be surprised was an understatement. I could see the weariness in the parents. I mean think about it. Running all day through the many stores with young children who would become overly tired and cranky as it is called, besides all the crowds. Well, I’d give it to them. I really felt they’d have gone home a long time ago, probably stopping off and picking up something to eat so nothing had to be prepared once they got home. And I honestly suspect the children – all three of them – would be fast asleep from that ride home.

With a big smile on her face she pulled a reluctant father back over to the display where I remained. I could see by his reaction that he was surprised that I was still here, and I suspect that he had promised his daughter that if I was still available that yes, they would buy it for her. So with care he lifted her up and she carefully picked me up and gently carried me back to their shopping cart where I became part of the many items. I guess I was to be a part of this family and only this family and thusly why I hadn’t been picked earlier in this day. As we wheeled out into the parking lot I felt the fresh cold air as all the numerous bags of treasure were placed into the trunk of their car. But, she wanted to hold me and so her father carefully dug me out and had her sit in the car, followed by being safely strapped in before he handed me to her.

I looked up and saw the excitement in her eyes, but she yawned so I suspected she’d be asleep soon. Still before we really got on the road to where they lived they pulled into a drive-thru and ordered their dinner. She carefully placed me on the seat between her and the baby. She quietly admonished the baby to “not touch”, and happily grabbed the burger, fries, and drink, and began to eat them telling me all about her day. And as we headed down the road I saw that she was trying hard to stay awake. But the food, the excitement of the day, plus the quiet droning of the car was winning and as hard as she tried, she lost the battle and soon was sound asleep as were her siblings. I saw the mother look back and smile a loving smile and say something to her husband, where he whispered something back. And by the lateness of the hour I felt they would be heading home instead of going over “to grandmother”.

I really couldn’t see out from where I sat but I did see that the side windows were frosted telling me it wasn’t warm and soon I heard a change as we pulled off the interstate and onto the side roads. I heard the windshield wipers rhythmically slapping the car as they cycled trying to keep the windshield clean and clear. Eventually the car slowed more and then pulled into a driveway where it stopped. They left the car running with the heater on and one of the parents left and I guess unlocked their door to the home where they lived. Then one by one they took the children inside. Yet before they could take the little girl she awakened slightly reached down and picked me up hugging me to her breast and then her father carried her inside with the mother shutting down, locking up the car and following behind.

They took her to her room, got her into her night clothes – you know those pajamas with the footsies – had her take care of the bathroom routine and tucked her in her bed. Looking up she reached out hand hugged her father saying, “I love you daddy.” For which he smiled a tired smile saying, “And I love you too sweetheart.” At this point he handed me to her since it was obvious she wasn’t going to let me go. At this point she snuggled down deeper under her covers, sighed a contented sigh, and was almost instantly asleep. I watched from where I was as he smiled a loving smile, making sure she was tucked in, and quietly left the room, turning out the light and closing the door. Still there was a nightlight so the room wasn’t dark. I knew they – the parents – still had to unload the car, plus all the other responsibilities they had to do before they would retire. I thought about this sleeping child where I remained. Yes to be young and innocent, to not understand what the world really is, to think what little I see and understand to be the world, and feel safe, such a wonderful thing.

I knew as he put her daughter down for the night that she, her mother would be doing the same thing for the middle child and I suspect that together they’d get the baby to bed before heading out and finishing the night. Yet, for me it simply is a guess since here I am in this bedroom with the one who’d chosen me.

* * *

It was the next day and for a while I remained in her bedroom. It seemed she had much to do and at this time it didn’t involve me. I guess it is the standard stuff, but you must remember I hadn’t been around such before. I learned she had to go to the bathroom, take a quick bath after getting out of her pajamas, and from the laughter and splashing I could tell she, and later I learned her younger brother had a good time playing in the water. From where I was I heard screams of laughter as the sounds got closer to her bedroom and she ran into her room with her mom close on her heals. She jumped on the bed naked as a jay bird, as the saying goes, throwing the towel she had with her on the floor. I saw her mother shaking her head, even though she had a smile on her face. “Okay, little one, it’s time for you to get dressed and then we need to go downstairs and have breakfast.” It was quiet for a moment as the mother appeared to be listening and whatever she heard caused her to shake her head.

At this point she turned around and went to the door and yelled down the hallway. “I have this one, you take care of your son, and then we can all head downstairs and get some food.” Whatever the answer brought laughter to her lips. She turned around and her daughter was still on the bed daring her to make her get dressed, but in a fun way as there was a sparkle and challenge in those eyes. I could see that this was a familiar game the two played and with much tickling of the daughter and laughter from both of them the mother finally got the girl dressed, had her sit on the bed as she brushed her damp hair, and again it was obvious this young one didn’t really like having her hair brushed.

Soon they disappeared downstairs and for the longest time I knew nothing and heard nothing. Then she ran back into her room came over to where I was and carefully picked me up and said, “It’s time. I get to put you on our Christmas tree!” When we left her room I could hear, in the distance, what sounded like music – Christmas songs and such. And as we reached the stairs where I could look down I found a room transformed from what I remembered from the previous night. There was garland interwoven in the railing of the stairs, and a big green tree in the middle of what they call the living room. And it was obvious that much time and care had been given to decorating this Christmas tree with lights, bobbles, globes and so much more. But at this moment there wasn’t anything placed on the top, the place of honor.

It was at that moment I realized that this was to be my place. To be the one on top of the tree and to look down on all that existed here. If I were a living thing I probably would have glowed and been filled with pride for such an honored place. I watched as she handed me to her father who then unpacked me carefully from the packing that protected me from being broken. I saw the impatience on her face as he took his time. Looking up I could almost see a hidden smile saying to me that he was deliberately being slow, and watching her and her impatience. Finally when he could tell that she had almost reached her end he handed me over. She reverently took me in her two small hands and her father lifted her up and with care she placed me in this place of honor. She studied me for a few moments, made a slight adjustment and then told her daddy she was done. He carefully set her down and tickled her a little bit getting the expected giggle.

He looked down and asked. “So what do you think?”

“Oh I think the star is won-der-ful, and just right!”

I could tell that the big word was something she said with some difficulty, but I could also see that she was proud that she could say it. I watched from my high perch and he looked up and appeared to be studying me and where I was, paused, looked down, and it was obvious to me that she was waiting for his approval. At this point he crouched down so he could be eye to eye with her. He simply said, “Yes, I agree.” At this point they turned on the lights and the Christmas tree shown in its own splendor.

* * *

The days flew by and I saw, as the days passed, the children, at the least the two older ones, were becoming more and more excited. As to the whys I really didn’t understand then. Still there was a routine to what happened in the house, and I fell into this feeling comfortable with the love I felt here. Then one night they left – all of them – and this was different. Yet it had become obvious that something important was about to happen. I heard something about going over to the children’s grandparents as it was a tradition they did every Christmas Eve.

Now I knew that I had been created for this time of the season, but really didn’t understand the significance of what it represented. In fact it took a few seasons for me to put it all together, and then it all made sense. It represented a time of giving. And while it appeared to be a magical time for the children, it really was much more serious than it appeared. It was a couple of conversations the parents had that finally put it all in perspective. This time of the year represented the ultimate gift – God bringing man back to Him through the gift of His Son. This led to the understanding of the gifts magically appearing under that tree. That same tree where I sat on top, but I get ahead of myself since this is the first year or season I became a part of their tradition.

The house was quiet and seemed empty while all of them were gone. And while the lights that lit the tree were normally on at this time, they weren’t at this moment, and a soft glow from the hallway light was all that could be seen. It was hours later when I heard the car park in the driveway and the key open the lock. This was followed by the daughter being carried in by her father sort of half asleep. She looked over at the tree and me, and I could make out a huge smile and it was obvious she was anticipating something. Again what this was all about I hadn’t a clue. Her father carried her up the stairs and I suspected to her room, then returned and with a practiced routine returned with the son and the mother carrying the baby.

The next hour or so seemed to be involved in getting the three to bed and tucked in for the night. Then they came downstairs and went into the kitchen where they turned on the light, made some coffee, and sat quietly and talked. It seemed, to me, that all was right with the world at this moment. I heard the chairs scrape the floor as they were pushed back and I watched the parents head upstairs. I thought they would go to bed also, but I was oh so wrong. I heard them whisper something and then, as if by magic many wonderfully wrapped gifts appeared under the tree. I noticed, for the first time that a plate had been left out and there appeared to be some cookies on it with some kind of note propped up. And like the gifts appearing, the cookies magically disappeared, and a new note replaced the one that had been left. Then it was quiet, quiet until just before dawn.

I thought I heard a creaking of the floor, and I saw her quietly come down the stairs wide-eyed and full of wonder. She carefully looked at all that was there – all the brightly wrapped gifts and presents. She tentatively picked up a couple. If it had been lighter in that room I probably would have seen that huge smile, and probably a lot of impatience. I suspected that she had to wait until everybody was up, and right at this moment she knew she was the only one. So she went over and sat in one of the big chairs and tried to wait. Again, it was obvious she was too excited to be able to sit still. So she headed into the kitchen, and kind of walked around trying to make that old clock go faster, but nothing seemed to work.

I could see that she thought, a couple of times, that she heard someone moving upstairs, but each time it turned out to be nothing. Eventually, and it was still before dawn, she saw her brother at the top of the stairs rubbing his eyes and looking like he had just awakened. She looked up at him and whispered he needed to be quiet, and come down and see what Santa had left them. So, with care taking one step at a time he came down, and I saw that incredulous look that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Now taking on the role of her mom she told him he could look but that’s all, until momma and daddy came down to join them. Now I had two impatient kids waiting and it was obvious it seemed to be killing them.

Eventually I heard the coffee machine begin its daily ritual of making coffee. This only heightened the anticipation for the children as they knew their parents would put in an appearance shortly and then they could find out what awaited them behind all the beautiful wrapping paper. Yet, I learned this day they had a family tradition where fresh cinnamon rolls would be baked, and with coffee for the parents and milk for the children they would gobble the food down before the father would become the official gift giver as he would look to each package, read the name on it and hand it to the new owner. And they had to wait until all of those wonderful gifts were piled in front of them. Then they’d each open one and show all what they got, and continue until all of them were open.

I saw, from the squeals of excitement, and the joy that these items they received were loved things, and soon with Christmas music playing in the background, each child began playing with their new treasures, and quietly, since there had been gifts exchanged between the parents, it was time to clean up all the torn and beautiful wrapping paper, plus all the boxes these gifts came in. And as the morning progressed I began to see yawns on the young ones, and with urging from mom and dad, they took their gifts to their bedrooms and soon it was quiet. I saw the mother and father look at each other and smile. For a while it would be quiet and they could relax before working to put together that final Christmas meal that they all would share later that evening.

And then, it was over. As a new year dawned everything got packed away including me. So until it became that time of year once again, I would know nothing of what happened with the family. Again that is the way it should be since I am to shine during that special time of year. Still this isn’t the end of the story. I guess we could say so but that leaves so much out, and so much that is important. Still I have to admit that very first Christmas that I participated and remembered will always be special to me. But I digress and it’s time to continue . . .

Now I feel that it’s important that I cover that first Christmas season in much detail, but to continue to do so really would make no sense. Yet I remained an important part of the family for years to come. I watched the change in the little girl as she grew. And each year she became less and less of a child, until she became what her parents called a pre-teen. I began to notice a change and while she still placed me in the position of honor on the top of the tree, it seemed to be more of a chore instead of a privilege. Still all things change, and believe it or not even me. I now had a few scratches, nicks, and such even with the careful handling. Still I felt the love in this house and the care they gave to everyone and everything.

Then one year a few after this one she was gone, and only her brothers were home. I found that the mother and father now placed me on top of the tree, and the two boys helped with the rest of the tree. Yet, once again, I felt the changes that were in the air. I didn’t know what to attribute these changes to, but realized it had to be because the young ones were no longer young. And then all the children were gone and it was only the two. And while I felt the love, it seemed the magic was gone.

It was during this time that the children would show up for an evening – not all, all of the time – before returning to wherever they lived. I realized that the ones who lived here, well, their hair had turned gray, and they seemed to move a bit slower. It surprised me that so much time had passed. Then in the middle of one of those years, where I normally remained packed safely away, new changes happened. Suddenly I, with everything in this house, was packed away and this house with so many happy memories became empty. The mom and dad moved away from this home and into something much smaller. I guess it made sense because they really had no need of all that space.

It felt strange that first Christmas in this new place. I knew nothing about or of it. It was then I realized that when the children came to visit, that they had children of their own, and of course soul mates – all beginning a new tradition for each new family. And it was then I found that I was removed from the tree top and given to the daughter, the one who originally spied and wanted me so long in the past. So I left this home and went to a new place. I saw as I was carefully packed into the car that she rode while her husband drove. I heard the sounds of a baby, and knew I would be seeing another family grow.

* * *

And yes I did. I watched as the magic returned and her four children grew, and like when she left I saw her family leave. And on a sad note I also knew that her parents had passed making her the matriarch of her family, as well as her younger brother who became the patriarch. And, for whatever the reason, it seemed that none of her children were interested in me – those two girls, and two boys. Yet, as I had seen it happen to her parents, I saw the gray beginning, and suddenly she was alone as she lost her soul mate. It had been just before Christmas, and while I ended up on her small tree, I knew it was a sad time for her.

* * *

And yes, life goes on, and I got to see it renewed as her children found loved ones and had children of their own. It meant that most likely that I would see an end to my beginning, to see the one who had chosen me so long ago join her parents, and her husband, but that is life. Yet, before I witnessed any of this, one of her granddaughters fell in love with me, and I could see, while the one who had chosen me so long ago was reluctant, she passed me on to her granddaughter. Where I became special and once again held the place of honor . . .

Yes, I wondered what happened to my brothers who had become part of other families, but this is something I will never know. Still, I consider myself blessed with all I’ve seen in those snapshots each and every Christmas. I learned of love, and what it meant, and what it does. I learned the importance of family and the ties that keep them together. So as an ornament what more can I ask, other than to continue being a part of something so great. And I guess this is my story. So God Bless to you and yours, and Merry Christmas!

https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com

Sixteen Days to Christmas

As we approach Christmas day, and the day when I will present my annual short Christmas story, I thought I’d link back to one each week. This week I’ll link to one of my personal favorites, And it Came To Pass. This one and the one I’ll link to next week are Christian based stories. And to be honest Christmas itself is a Christian holiday. Still each country has their own way of celebrating the season and as such the traditions and the way of celebrating this time of year will be different. So these short stories are based on the way it is celebrated here in the US.

Of course all the Christmas short stories up through 2017 are available in the short story novel, Words in the Wind. Available in paperback and the Ebook format. Enjoy! and may this time of year be memorable:

https://windmillsmetaphor4writing.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/and-it-came-to-pass/

https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/

 

Published in: on December 9, 2018 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Available Today!

I’ve released a new book, as of today, titled of all things, Words in the Wind. It’s available as a paperback, or in the popular EBook formats. I’ve titled it this way since all the short stories included in this novel came from this blog. So if you’ve loved and enjoyed the stories that I’ve presented over the years then they are now available in one place.

Eighteen short stories ranging from the contemporary to science fiction. And it includes all the holiday – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas – short stories. Personally I think the stories are great. Of course since I’m the writer it should be that way. I’m including an image of the cover, so no excuses if you really are interested.

God Bless, and have a great week – https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Coming in September

As time moves on for all of us I’m happy to announce that I’m on schedule for releasing a novel of short stories in the month of September. I believe the total count will be seventeen. As the time approaches I’ll post the release date so any who are interested will know when to look for the novel.

Whether you’re a longtime follower of this blog, rather new, or have just found this site, I want to let you know that the title of said novel will be, “Words in the Wind“. Funny thing since it’s the name of this blog. And the simple explanation for this is because what will be in that novel is the short stories I’ve presented here over the many years this blog has been in existence.

And while I do not, as of yet, have the cover for this novel it will be similar to the icon I use – namely a picture of a windmill. To me this represents this blog, the title of this site and the upcoming book, and writing in general. The book will be available as paperback, and in the two popular formats for EBooks – namely Epub, and Mobi. It should be available from your favorite retailer.

For each of the short stories I will provide an introduction that I’ve titled, Author’s Notes. The idea is to give some insight into the story, and possibly where I was and what I was thinking at the time I wrote the short story. The stories run the gambit from contemporary to science fiction, and includes a section where you’ll find all of my Christmas short stories by year of publication. In other-words from the earliest to the latest.  In this section I’ll also be including a couple of Thanksgiving short stories, and a couple that deal with a Halloween theme.

Overall it should be a fun read and novel that is perfect for those times when you don’t have a lot of time but still want to read something. And because of the varying lengths it means that it should fill any such time period no matter what you have available – God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Published in: on June 23, 2018 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Thoughts on My Two Trilogies

Before beginning the actual post, here in the USA Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day. To be honest none of us would be here or be who we are if it weren’t for our mothers. Raising children or the next generation is probably the toughest job on this world. So here’s to all of the mothers, and mothers-to-be out there. Have a great mom’s day and I personally salute you for your love, work, devotion, and dedication.

* * *

On Tuesday May 15, 2018 I’m releasing A Taste of History Past, Or – That’s Another Fine Myth You’ve Gotten Me Into, Book three of the Survival Trilogy. This is a second edition with revisions and updates This completes this trilogy with this release. With second editions of the first two novels in 2017, and the release of the novel The Harsh Lands which is the trilogy in a single novel, and A Taste of History Past, this week I’ll be moving on to my next book which will be one of short stories titled Words in the Wind.  (Links to the website where additional information is available is below.)

* * *

I’ve written, as I stated above, two trilogies. Of course when I began the first novel the plan, at the time, was for the story to be presented in a single novel. This makes me think about Anne McCaffrey and one of her short stories that then became four novels later, (Freedom’s Landing is the first book). Sometimes a story stays with you and demands more.

My two trilogies are: The Survival and Discovery. The Survival trilogy consisting of, Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past. The Discovery trilogy consisting of, The Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. The trilogies are listed in order of publication. Yet I wrote the first two books of the Discovery trilogy before I wrote the Survival trilogy.

As I stated, the original plan, in both series, was to write a single novel and here I want to explain how I track my writing as I create the first draft. First off, if you’re new to this blog, when I write I don’t outline. I have the complete story in my head and I see it as images that I then translate into words on the page. My goal is around 100,000 words but normally end up with around 15,000 more. This translates, for my novels, into the range of the high 300’s to mid 600’s, (one novel pushed close to 170,000 words) for a page count.

As I write I keep this goal in mind and actually worry that I won’t reach it until I reach 50,000 plus words. At that point I know how much story I have left. Then comes the next worry: Will I complete this within the limitations I’ve set? And as I push 80,000 words I generally know. I realized in the novels, Time of Isolation, and The Ones Before that when I reached my word count limit I still had a lot of story to tell. Too much to wrap it up in a single novel.

This meant that there’d be a second novel. Still with what I saw, in my mind, I really didn’t think I had enough left to create a second novel. So this left me in a quandary as to what to do. Yet, the desire to continue the story stayed with me and I then wrote, Desperate to Survive, (Survival) and Discovery, (Discovery). In a sense I probably had no reason to worry since both novels turned out to be longer than the first ones. And to be truthful in both trilogies the second novel wraps up the main story. As you can see from the titles of the second novels it is where the name for the trilogies came from.

I realized that the two fictitious universes I’d created left room to write about different time periods within those worlds. So with The Survival Trilogy I went forward in time creating a whole new set of characters and where in this world and time period the action takes place would then reflect the past world from the first two novels. In the Discovery trilogy I went back in time where that story would reflect and show the beginnings of what became known as fact in the first two novels.

In both trilogies I realized that if I had a desire to continue that there would be many other novels that could come from these worlds. Most likely both will stand as they are. The genres for them are: Survival trilogy – Science Fiction Adventure, and Discovery trilogy – Post Apocalyptic. By going to my website, (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction/) you can see the covers, and read the blurbs about these stories and see if they may be of interest and something you’d love to read.

There you will find the ISBNs. And they are available from most retailers and can be ordered online through their sites.

God Bless and have a great weekend and Mother’s day! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com)

A Taste of History Past

I will continue to post here now and then. I just won’t be here weekly. While the title of this post suggests a novel I also want to write about what I might consider suspicious circumstances. So whether there’s any basis to these suspicions I really have no way of knowing unless I begin to see my content show up on other sites with the owners of those sites claiming that the content is their own.

And what I’m referring to is the fact that with the announcement of regular posts to this blog ending, for a short period of time, suddenly and out of nowhere I’ve have a lot new followers show up, all from the same location on the web. It makes one think that either this blog was discovered late, or because these individuals feel that the blog may be abandoned then they can come in and take what they want and then claim it as their own.

After all, if the writer isn’t around then he or she will be none-the-wiser if the material happens to show up elsewhere. If this isn’t the case and you new followers are legitimate then thank you. Still I must point out that all the material posted here is copyrighted material and as such is protected.

* * *

On May 15, 2018 I’ll be releasing the second edition of the novel, A Taste of History Past, Or: That’s Another Fine Myth You’ve Gotten Me Into – book 3 of the Survival Trilogy. Over 360 pages in length and in the Science Fiction Adventure genre. I originally released this as an EBook many years in the past, but now will be releasing it with updates and revisions as both a paperback and as an EBook, which includes both popular formats – Kindle, and EPub. Below is the blurb for this novel:

The time of the clans and tribes is now ancient history. It is a time of growth, of villages, and farms with much of the lands tamed. There are centers for learning, and teams attempting to unravel the past. Yet much of what has taken place in those ancient times is considered myth. Especially the period of time, dealing with that first alliance, where K’jor brought together the warring clans and tribes to destroy a hidden enemy living deep in the desolation.

Their cycles of the seasons, 1503 presently, as they track time, came from one of those mythological meetings between this first alliance and their gods. With what is known presently this encounter is impossible so it must be something their ancestors created, adding to the myth theory. Yet with this event being so deep in the past even the valley where this supposedly took place has been lost to history.

Into this present world a young baker and his mate begin to question the present version of their past. This comes about because of a gift. It is a written record of this world handed down through the generations of his family, and it counters much of what is believed to be fact.

They decide to search the lands, the places and locations spoken of in this massive record, and then compare it to the official version. This leads to conflict with the leaders of the learned who suspect that the young couple have a document and want it for themselves. And thusly begins this adventure where one side wants what is known to remain as the official truth, and the other only seeking answers to the questions that lay before them.

Have a great weekend, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

 

ISBN

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

I have to admit that while I knew of ISBNs, I really knew nothing about them. I know that you can publish a book without one, but then what can be used to find it if a search using the title turns up nothing, or a thousand similar titles? On the subject of ISBNs the Wikipedia states:

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.

The initial ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the SBN code can be converted to a ten digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero).

Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN. The International ISBN agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.[2]

Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines; and the International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers for musical scores.

For the US, Bowker is responsible for the sale of ISBNs, and again from the same Wikipedia article:

ISBN issuance is country-specific, in that ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency that is responsible for that country or territory regardless of the publication language. The ranges of ISBNs assigned to any particular country are based on the publishing profile of the country concerned, and so the ranges will vary depending on the number of books and the number, type, and size of publishers that are active. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture and thus may receive direct funding from government to support their services. In other cases, the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded. In Canada, ISBNs are issued at no cost with the stated purpose of encouraging Canadian culture.[15] In the United Kingdom, United States, and some other countries, where the service is provided by non-government-funded organisations, the issuing of ISBNs requires payment of a fee.

Australia: ISBNs are issued by the commercial library services agency Thorpe-Bowker,[16] and prices range from $42 for a single ISBN (plus a $55 registration fee for new publishers) to $2,890 for a block of 1,000 ISBNs. Access is immediate when requested via their website.[17]

Brazil: National Library of Brazil, a government agency, is responsible for issuing ISBNs, and there is a cost of R$16 [18]

Canada: Library and Archives Canada, a government agency, is responsible for issuing ISBNs, and there is no cost. Works in French are issued an ISBN by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Colombia: Cámara Colombiana del Libro, a NGO, is responsible for issuing ISBNs. Cost of issuing an ISBN is about USD 20.

Hong Kong: The Books Registration Office (BRO), under the Hong Kong Public Libraries, issues ISBNs in Hong Kong. There is no fee.[19]

India: The Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN (Book Promotion and Copyright Division), under Department of Higher Education, a constituent of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is responsible for registration of Indian publishers, authors, universities, institutions, and government departments that are responsible for publishing books.[20] There is no fee associated in getting ISBN in India.[21]

Italy: The privately held company EDISER srl, owned by Associazione Italiana Editori (Italian Publishers Association) is responsible for issuing ISBNs.[22] The original national prefix 978-88 is reserved for publishing companies, starting at €49 for a ten-codes block[23] while a new prefix 979-12 is dedicated to self-publishing authors, at a fixed price of €25 for a single code.

Maldives: The National Bureau of Classification (NBC) is responsible for ISBN registrations for publishers who are publishing in the Maldives.[citation needed]

Malta: The National Book Council (Maltese: Il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb) issues ISBN registrations in Malta.[24][25][26]

Morocco: The National Library of Morocco is responsible for ISBN registrations for publishing in Morocco and Moroccan-occupied portion of Western Sahara.

New Zealand: The National Library of New Zealand is responsible for ISBN registrations for publishers who are publishing in New Zealand.[27]

Pakistan: The National Library of Pakistan is responsible for ISBN registrations for Pakistani publishers, authors, universities, institutions, and government departments that are responsible for publishing books.

Philippines: The National Library of the Philippines is responsible for ISBN registrations for Philippine publishers, authors, universities, institutions, and government departments that are responsible for publishing books. As of 2017[update], a fee of 120.00 per title was charged for the issuance of an ISBN.[28]

South Africa: The National Library of South Africa is responsible for ISBN issuance for South African publishing institutions and authors.

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland: The privately held company Nielsen Book Services Ltd, part of Nielsen Holdings N.V., is responsible for issuing ISBNs in blocks of 10, 100 or 1000. Prices start from £120 (plus VAT) for the smallest block on a standard turnaround of ten days.[29]

United States: In the United States, the privately held company R.R. Bowker issues ISBNs.[5] There is a charge that varies depending upon the number of ISBNs purchased, with prices starting at $125 for a single number. Access is immediate when requested via their website.[30]

Publishers and authors in other countries obtain ISBNs from their respective national ISBN registration agency. A directory of ISBN agencies is available on the International ISBN Agency website.

All of this that is stated above was unknown to me. So I went ahead and allowed Book Baby to provide the ISBNs for my first four novels not knowing that by doing so left control of those novels to the company that provided the identifiers. It meant that they became the publishers of such novels. The next lesson I learned, once I understood this, is the fact that ISBNs are not cheap. In fact they are quite expensive. Still I learned that Bowker, (USA) periodically has sales on the ISBNs, so to make it as cheap as I could for each number I purchased a block of one hundred reducing the cost to $45 for each one.

As it stated in the article, each version of your novel needs a unique number, (hardback, paperback,epub, mobi, PDF) so you can use at least five numbers for each publication. For the ones I’ve published it’s been three – paperback and two versions of the EBook format. So it’s easy to burn through your numbers rather quick, and can end up being quite expensive. So if you become a member of their website don’t jump in immediately, as they have sales all the time giving you a chance to save, (Here I’m speaking of Bowker in the US since this is who I have experience with.). In the end this means that total control over your work is in your hands.

Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com)

Published in: on March 10, 2018 at 6:53 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Closing Thoughts

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

In a sense I suspect many may be disappointed by the way this series of posts ended. Many probably were expecting much more detail, and maybe a better sense of direction. Still with writers being anywhere on their paths to success it means that being specific or drilling down to that exact item, or specific advice would be impossible. Each of us is on a unique journey, a path only we can take. Others can view it and take away what may be important, but in the end it will only be a small part of the overall process or picture.

For me finding Joel Friedlander, (joelfriedlander.com) was that final piece that made it happen for me, (And no I’m not being paid to say this. In fact this person is unaware of this post). And we all must realize that his solutions are not the only ones available to us. There are many great sites out there with great teachers and educators who are willing to tutor or mentor. And there are also the opposite. So it behooves us to research before investing. With the anonymity of the web it is easy to lose one’s money with no recourse.

There are sites like, authorscommunity.net where they are set up to help and assist authors in their journeys. And we can always look to Writers Digest, and The Writer magazine, since it is their business to bring important information, training, suggestions, and trends to the writer. Or a site such as authors.me where they attempt to bring writers, publishers, agents, and editors together.Sites that didn’t exist in the recent past.  And as far as sites I could continue to list them, but then again, there’d be no room for anything but websites.

I could have also gone through the mechanics of what and how I do my writing, (but this isn’t what this or these posts are about). Still, if you think about it, this is my personal way of attacking the whole project from beginning to end, and it works for me. And while parts may work for others, we are each individuals who will tackle the problems before us in our own personal way. There is no one right or wrong way to do any of this. I can remember my mother saying that my dad would always try to make her do something the way he did. She always responded back with, “I don’t do it that way”.

We must remember that as individuals we will always see the problem from our personal perspective. And with this we will also solve whatever that problem is with what has worked for us. So while we may want to help others with the way we do something it may not work for them. That is probably why giving one the tools and understanding to use those tools is as far as we need to go. From there all of us must learn to fly on our own.

We may look back fondly on that particular mentor that made the light shine in the darkness, and understanding suddenly dawn. Yet if we honestly think about that experience we will see that they allowed us the room to make mistakes, to then come back and ask questions. And yes, while they were the teacher in truth they probably were more of a guide keeping us within the boundaries we needed to be. Using their experience to keep us from falling too hard and becoming discouraged.

So consider this as a series of posts on my personal journey and an overview of the road I traveled. It cannot be your road. Take away from it what is important to you. In the end only you can move yourself along your personal journey. Will it be easy? No. Rarely is such the case. So expect it to be hard, and if some parts are easy then this type of disappointment is positive. For me when such happens I generally wait until the other shoe drops because there always seems to be something waiting in the wings I hadn’t anticipated.

Oh yes, some of you may have been wondering if those novels I’ve self-published were just short little things that might be considered novellas. No not really, since my shortest is close to three hundred pages, the longest which combines a trilogy into a single book is eleven hundred and fifty plus pages, and the longest stand alone novel is over six hundred and fifty pages in length. I’ve released two trilogies with the other three as stand alone novels. Remember:

Set those goals, and keep your mind and eyes on what those goals are. As in life, there are always distractions, always other things to pull you away from your path, your personal journey. And never, never give up. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Eight

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

At times it seems like there is nothing out there that can move things along into the direction that one needs to go. So I suspect at this point many give up. We have to remember that we are not the only ones who have been down this road. It is also important to remember that many stop at this point and fall away thinking about all the time they’ve wasted and that there surely are easier ways and other things which are available. In their mind it is definitely time to move on.

We have a plaque in this house that simply states ,”Never Give Up.” Three little words that are important to remember. Still and in the end there are no guarantees – none. You see the results of this most often when someone is fighting a terrible illness or injury. As long as they are fighting they seem to persevere. Of course for many it doesn’t matter since they are terminal. Yet, one can see, once  they give up, it is soon after this that they die. There is a point where one becomes tired of the fight. (Still, we are all terminal. It’s just the “when” that’s unknown.) This is true for anything we do in life. How many times have we been frustrated and eventually give up considering it a lost cause? And if any of us would honestly look back we will see this happening in our own lives.

So I continue to try, to never give up, and pursue that dream of being a successful writer. Truthfully to have completed and published – whether traditional or self-publishing – a novel can be considered a success. Many start this journey and never get but a few words written on the page. Finding that in the end, it’s not as simple as it appears. For me, so far, it has been nine novels – all self-published.

And since this series of posts deal with that journey I wrap it all up this week, followed by my closing thoughts next week. I have to admit, up to this time that I’ve learned a lot. Still what I knew at the beginning wasn’t even close to the knowledge needed, (even though I felt I knew enough). So I continued my personal search to learn more and to be able to take control of the overall process. This lack of knowledge and the learning of this forced me to drop many of the preconceived ideas I had, which is probably a good thing.

It was during this time that I received an email for a free webinar. Now any who have attended these know that it does two things. First, it tries to sell you a product, and secondly it builds an email list for the ones who are presenting the webinar. I knew I was sadly lacking the tools for dealing with the publicity or book marketing side, and this webinar addressed this. So I signed up and watched the webinar.

In a sense this is where things began to change. The one hosting the webinar was Joel Friedlander (joelfriedlander.com). And the one presenting the webinar was Joan Stewart (publicityhound.com). I learned more in that one class or webinar than I knew about the subject. I purchased the product. And with the knowledge gained I began to notice the very thing being taught was used by established authors and can be described as a media kit.

Now if you decide to go to the sites I’ve just listed great. With Joel, once there, head to the “sites” in the menu at the top of the page. Why you may ask. Simply stated, here are links to all of his sites and everything that he has available, for a price of course, to assist the indie author on his or her journey. And I’ve personally spent a lot of time and money on many of the products he has available.

I have to say that what I’ve learned through his webinars and products have brought more understanding and knowledge for the industry I find myself in. I use his templates for my books, I’ve learned about publishing, and so many other things. And he continues to offer webinars as the host as he brings in others who have expertise that is important to the indie writer. In fact I just finished a webinar that dealt with what’s known as “copy”. And simply stated that’s your blurb, or anything written that is about and outside of your novel.

I’ve found that writing blurbs and such isn’t easy. In fact it’s hard. What was presented opened my eyes to a different, and I’d say a better way of writing this critical material. I couldn’t afford the cost of the actual course this time around, so will take away what I can from the webinar.

Now, to be honest, I’m sure there are many great sites out there to assist one in whatever direction they want to go. Finding that right one can help propel one in the right direction and give one the knowledge needed to be successful in the end. I have purchased other courses over time and found that so far what I’ve picked up from Joel is, by far, better presented, detailed, timely, and accurate. And his products are always being evaluated and improved. (No, I’m in no way affiliated with or are being paid for these comments)

In conclusion what I can take away from this is the fact that one must never stop learning, never stop improving, and never stop period. It is important to set those goals and to attain them. It is important to continue to improve on all levels. To continue your education, and as your knowledge grows so will your ability to see things and make sense of what you are seeing. It’s always frustrating to see something that’s important and it goes right over one’s head.

This has  been a journey that’s still moving, changing and growing. And this isn’t one for the faint of heart, or for the ones who don’t have the will or fortitude to continue. There are no guarantees in life, as I stated earlier, but if one doesn’t try, then one will never succeed. Next week I close out this series of posts with some closing thoughts. God Bless, and have a great week! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

%d bloggers like this: