My mother was in a state of high dudgeon.
“SSSSo,” she hissed. (I learned early in life that she was deadly serious when her sibilants extended). “You’re a TOKEN.”
“A token! You wrote a story for a Christmas whatchamacallit—anthology. What kind of word IS that? Sounds Yiddish. Anyway, nineteen Christmas stories from the goyim and one Hanukkah story from you. You’re a token!”
“Come on, Ma. That isn’t even remotely true.”
“Really, smarty pants? All these other authors in this collection – they’ve written great books! That Kristy Gamble – she’s on the USA Today Bestseller List!”
“Kelly, Ma. Kelly Gamble.” (My mother is no good with names).
“That’s what I said. Bestseller!”
“You would love her books. Her heroine whapped her husband in the head with a shovel.”
“If we’d had a shovel I would have whapped the crap out of your father, that son of a bitch.”
“I know you would, Ma.”
“There’s another writer in this book, this Justin Bog character. What kind of name is Bog? Is he from Scotland or something?”
“Actually, I think Bog is short for something unpronounceable. Possibly Eastern European.”
“He can’t be Jewish. He wrote a book of Christmas stories. Very well-received by the critics. Not like YOUR chazerai.” (‘Chazerai’ is the Yiddish word for ‘bullshit’. I didn’t even have to look it up. It was in the Amazon review my mom left about my first book).
“And I checked him out on the Tweeter—”
“That’s what I said. There’s no way he’s Jewish. He’s got German shepherds!”
“Ma, that’s ridiculous. Dog-ownership isn’t relevant to—“
“My point is that these are accomplished writers. That Kate Birdsall. I got one of her books. They’re so good. Mysteries. That’s what you should write. Or even that Claude Bouchard. Also a bestseller. Lotta violence, but ok. And Diane Byington? She’s won AWARDS, Stace. Awardssssss. What kind of awards do YOU have?”
“I got an honorable mention by the Recreational Vehicle Enthusiasts Society of Missoula, Montana.”
“Big deal. Nicole Evelina won three Book of the Year designations. Maybe she could give you some writing tips, since you’re so interested in concocting Christian stories all of a sudden.”
“Ciara Ballintyne wrote a non-denominational story about a winter festival. It’s got wizards and demons in it. Nothing Christian about THAT.”
“SSSSStace. ‘Winter festival’ is just another way to say Christmas. And goyim are all about demons. They’re everywhere in their heathen Bible. Piles and piles of demons.”
“Anyway, my reason for calling is to let you know that the book is available for pre-order—“
“Just send me a copy.”
“You should buy one. The proceeds go to benefit a great charity. It’s a really good cause—“
“These goyim. They should have asked your brother to write a story. He’s got a real way with words.”
“I’m sure he does. The charity is The LifeAfter—Visions of Hope Project. They spread awareness about suicide, substance abuse and domestic violence.”
“There would have been a lot more domestic violence in our house if I’d had me a shovel.”
“I’ll buy you one for Christmas.”
“We do NOT celebrate Christmassssssss!”
“Hanukkah then. But really, any occasion is good for a shovel.”
“Yeah, like now. You’re a lot like your father, you know.”
“So you keep telling me. Will you pre-order the book?”
“You should send me a copy. And get that Barbara Vicars to sign it.”
“That’s what I said. You could at least get it autographed by some real authors, couldn’t you? Even though you’re just their mascot or whatever you are.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“You should, Buster. I’m your mother.”
The good news is that none of you will have to go to all this trouble to get your own copy of Tangled Lights and Silent Nights: A Holiday Anthology. Some of the best writers in the business contributed holiday-themed stories based on the characters from their books. The proceeds from all sales will benefit a great cause. This will make a perfect gift to put under your own Christmas tree, if you’re into that sort of thing.
And, my mom wants you to know there’s a Hanukkah story in it.
Help Stacey show his mom his IS a real author! You can pre-order Tangled Lights and Silent Nights: A Holiday Anthology here: https://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Lights-Silent-Nights-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07JDVSMK5