Instead of Tuesday Tales ~~ "The Holy Night" by Selma Lagerlof

"The Holy Night"

by Selma Lagerlof


 There was a man who went out in the dark night to borrow live coals to kindle a fire. He went from hut to hut and knocked. "Dear friends, help me!" said he. "My wife has just given birth to a child, and I must make a fire to warm her and the little one."

But it was way in the night, and all the people were asleep. No one replied.

The man walked and walked. At last he saw the gleam of a fire a long way off. Then he went in that direction and saw that the fire was burning in the open. A lot of sheep were sleeping around the fire, and an old shepherd sat and watched over the flock.

When the man who wanted to borrow fire came up to the sheep, he saw that three big dogs lay asleep at the shepherd's feet. All three awoke when the man approached and opened their great jaws, as though they wanted to bark; but not a sound was heard. The man noticed that the hair on their backs stood up and that their sharp, white teeth glistened in the firelight. They dashed toward him.

He felt that one of them bit at his leg and one at this hand and that one clung to this throat. But their jaws and teeth wouldn't obey them, and the man didn't suffer the least harm.

Now the man wished to go farther, to get what he needed. But the sheep lay back to back and so close to one another that he couldn't pass them. Then the man stepped upon their backs and walked over them and up to the fire. And not one of the animals awoke or moved.

When the man had almost reached the fire, the shepherd looked up. He was a surly old man, who was unfriendly and harsh toward human beings. And when he saw the strange man coming, he seized the long, spiked staff, which he always held in his hand when he tended his flock, and threw it at him. The staff came right toward the man, but, before it reached him, it turned off to one side and whizzed past him, far out in the meadow.

Now the man came up to the shepherd and said to him: "Good man, help me, and lend me a little fire! My wife has just given birth to a child, and I must make a fire to warm her and the little one."

The shepherd would rather have said no, but when he pondered that the dogs couldn't hurt the man, and the sheep had not run from him, and that the staff had not wished to strike him, he was a little afraid, and dared not deny the man that which he asked.

"Take as much as you need!" he said to the man.

But then the fire was nearly burnt out. There were no logs or branches left, only a big heap of live coals, and the stranger had neither spade nor shovel wherein he could carry the red-hot coals.

When the shepherd saw this, he said again: "Take as much as you need!" And he was glad that the man wouldn't be able to take away any coals.

But the man stopped and picked coals from the ashes with his bare hands, and laid them in his mantle. And he didn't burn his hands when he touched them, nor did the coals scorch his mantle; but he carried them away as if they had been nuts or apples.

And when the shepherd, who was such a cruel and hardhearted man, saw all this, he began to wonder to himself. What kind of a night is this, when the dogs do not bite, the sheep are not scared, the staff does not kill, or the fire scorch? He called the stranger back and said to him: "What kind of a night is this? And how does it happen that all things show you compassion?"

Then said the man: "I cannot tell you if you yourself do not see it." And he wished to go his way, that he might soon make a fire and warm his wife and child.

But the shepherd did not wish to lose sight of the man before he had found out what all this might portend. He got up and followed the man till they came to the place where he lived.

Then the shepherd saw the man didn't have so much as a hut to dwell in, but that his wife and babe were lying in a mountain grotto, where there was nothing except the cold and naked stone walls.

But the shepherd thought that perhaps the poor innocent child might freeze to death there in the grotto; and, although he was a hard man, he was touched, and thought he would like to help it. And he loosened the knapsack from his shoulder, took from it a soft white sheepskin, gave it to the strange man, and said that he should let the child sleep on it.

But just as soon as he showed that he, too, could be merciful, his eyes were opened, and he saw what he had not been able to see before, and heard what he could not have heard before.

He saw that all around him stood a ring of little silver-winged angels, and each held a stringed instrument, and all sang in loud tones that tonight the Saviour was born who should redeem the world from its sins.

Then he understood how all things were so happy this night that they didn't want to do anything wrong.

And it was not only around the shepherd that there were angels, but he saw them everywhere. They sat inside the grotto, they sat outside on the mountain, and they flew under the heavens. They came marching in great companies, and, as they passed, they paused and cast a glance at the child.

There was such jubilation and such gladness and songs and play! And all this he saw in the dark night whereas before he could not have made out anything. He was so happy because his eyes had been opened that he fell upon his knees and thanked God.

What that shepherd saw, we might also see, for the angels fly down from heaven every Christmas Eve, if we could only see them.

You must remember this, for it is as true, as true as that I see you and you see me. It is not revealed by the light of lamps or candles, and it does not depend upon sun and moon; but that which is needful is that we have such eyes as can see God's glory.
 
 

Snippet Sunday - Little Beginnings 21/12//2014 #Romance #Love #amwriting



~~~


LITTLE BEGINNINGS
 
Jeri lives in Hobart where she owns a gallery. Since her divorce, many years ago, she's finally ready to "be" with a man again. But finding the right one seems to be harder than she thought.
 
~~~

 
Jeri heard the noise of Ely packing up his tools and everything inside her tensed. Shaking her head, she let out a sigh. She didn’t know him and couldn’t believe how much he’d occupied her thoughts the last couple of hours.

When the echoes of his steps in the hall brought her back from her thoughts, she stood and walked towards the door, hoping she didn’t make a fool of herself.

“I’m sorry, Ely.”

He stopped, and then shrugged. “No probs. You don’t need–”

Jeri shook her head. “It’s not that.” She let out a long breath. “By any chance, were you supposed to meet someone at the Main Street Restaurant?”

The change of expression on his face said it all. The smile disappeared and was replaced by a look of anguish.

“Shit.”

She nodded. “Agree.”
  

 

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May I introduce: Helen Pollard "Warm Hearts in Winter"

 
 

Warm Hearts in Winter
by Helen Pollard
 

We're finally enjoying our Summer at this end of the world, reading "Warm Hearts of Winter" would a nice change in the daily routine. Please welcome Helen Pollard, a fellow Astraea Press author who's become a good friend over the last few months.


1 - I love the blurb. Tell us how you came up with the idea for "Warm Hearts in Winter"

When I was young, my family visited the village of Haworth in Yorkshire (home of the Bronte sisters) every year near Christmas. On the drive, I would watch the passing scenery and wonder who lived in those old stone houses looking out over the beautifully wild landscape. That childhood imagination eventually came up with Jack, a widowed novelist who uses his old stone house as a retreat for solitude, writing, and nursing his broken heart - until temporary personal assistant Abby comes along …

The fantasy of being cozied up with a handsome hunk while the wind howls outside, and long evenings by a log fire with nothing to do except get to know each other … Mmmm. How could I not want to write about that?


2 - When you're not writing, you love to read. What's on top of your tbr list and what is your favourite book and why?

I've been reading a lot of romance lately – naturally - so although I have a couple of fellow Astraea Press authors' books at the top of the Kindle pile which I'm very much looking forward to, I also fancy something different – maybe a thriller. I don't read them too often and I'm not keen on anything too gory, but I like the pace of Harlen Coben or Michael Connelly, so I think one of those will be next.

As for my favourite book, it's hard to pick just one, but I think it would be The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger. It made a huge impression on me in my mid-teens. We had to read it in school and not all my friends enjoyed it, but I really got Holden Caulfield. I read it in the early-eighties and had no idea it had been written thirty years before until I was nearly at the end of the book.


3 - Tell us a little bit about your current project.

I've just finished a romance set in northern Portugal. It took a lot longer than I thought it would because I got caught up in the release of Warm Hearts in Winter and all that went with it, so my writing went by the wayside for a few months. I finally set myself a tough deadline for finishing it, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It's another contemporary romance but the characters, setting and feel of it are very different to my last book, and I enjoyed the contrast. I have my next project vaguely plotted in my head, but I'm not allowing myself to start it until after Christmas- I thought it might be nice to reacquaint myself with my family for a while!
 


Blurb:

Forced by circumstance into the world of temping, when Abby Davis accepts an assignment in the wilds of Yorkshire as personal assistant to a widowed novelist, she assumes he is an ageing recluse.

Thirty-something Jack Blane is anything but. Still struggling to get his life and writing career back on track three years after his wife’s death, Jack isn’t ready for a breath of fresh air like Abby.

Snowed in at his winter retreat on the moors, as the weeks go by and their working relationship becomes friendship and maybe more, Abby must rethink her policy of never getting involved with someone at work … and Jack must decide whether he is willing to risk the pain of love a second time.
 

 Author:

Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She firmly believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor - to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love ... and we all need a little love, right?

A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers. They share space with a Jekyll and Hyde cat that alternates between being obsessively affectionate and viciously psychotic. Antiseptic cream is always close at hand.

When Helen’s not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.

 

Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/FacebookHelenPollardWrites    

Website & Blog:  www.helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O2BOMWU

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O2BOMWU

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/B-N-WarmHeartsInWinter

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/warm-hearts-in-winter

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/481257

 

 

Excerpt:

 Abby chewed her lip in anxious concentration as she peered through the windscreen, her fingers gripping the steering wheel so hard her knuckles were white. The narrow country road would be hard to negotiate at the best of times, but in the dark and the snow it was almost impossible. Despite her slow speed, the full beam from her headlights barely showed a bend until she was almost upon it — but since there was nowhere to turn around, all she could do was grit her teeth, stay calm and fervently hope her satnav didn't lead her down a sheep track or into a swollen river.

She allowed herself a soft curse at the weather and directed another at Casey while she was at it. It was all her fault this was happening. No, that wasn't true. Her friend was only trying to help, and it was because of their friendship that Abby had been foolish enough to accept this assignment. That and the fact she'd had little choice in the matter. Her recent bad luck — if that was what you could call it — hadn't allowed her the luxury of choice. She needed a job. Her best friend managed a temping agency. A job came up. Abby had exactly ten minutes to decide whether to accept the post of personal assistant to some thriller writer she'd never heard of. Casey had heard of him and recommended she did. Actually, she reminded her she was in no position to refuse. It would be a challenge, Casey said. Unusual, Casey said. Abby trusted her and accepted.

And now look. Desperate to set off before the weather deteriorated, she'd packed in such a hurry she'd probably forgotten half of what she needed, and she'd been driving for two hours through conditions that only got worse by the minute. She wasn't sure her ageing car could take much more. The wipers were clogged with the thick snowflakes that swirled across the windscreen, reducing visibility to virtually nothing. She had no idea what she would do if something came in the opposite direction — although she was so far out in the middle of nowhere she doubted there was another soul around. That is, apart from Jack Blane — her new boss for the next few weeks — who in his wisdom had chosen to write his latest novel miles from civilization on the bleak Yorkshire moors in the worst winter weather for years. Abby had heard writers liked solitude, but this was ridiculous!

Just as she was beginning to think this whole thing must be a bad dream, her satnav archly informed her she was nearly there. Abby slowed her car to a crawl, peering over the steering wheel like an old lady who'd forgotten her glasses.

"Nearly where?" she asked the machine's know-it-all voice.

A dark shape loomed at the side of the road, and she screeched to a halt. Not a bright move. The car skidded nearly full circle, and Abby had to fight both the wheel and her own panic to regain control. Her heart thudding, she opened the driver's window and stuck her head out. A house of forbidding dark stone, dusted liberally with snow, stood silhouetted against the grey sky. Abby glared at her satnav and back at the house. Well, this must be it. There was certainly nowhere else in sight.

"Great. Out of the frying pan and straight onto the set of Wuthering Heights," she muttered.

Get hooked on "Love Will Find You" - #MFRWHooks #romance #Football

 

Welcome to another MFRWHook!

 

"Love Will Find You" is set in Australia, a small coastal town in
 New South Wales as well as in Melbourne.

 
 
I hope you get hooked by this Snippet
 
BLURB:
After his father’s heart attack, Australian Football League player Tyson Gaspaldi takes his parents on holiday to a small place at the New South Wales coast.
One morning, following a surfing session, he comes across a crying woman on the beach. Everything about her intrigues him, and he can’t walk away. She’s not only sexy and humble, but, as he soon finds out, vulnerable as well.
It’s only been a few months since Katie Cassidy lost her sister in a car accident.
Still overwhelmed by the loss, a chance encounter on the beach with an attractive stranger awakens unexpected emotions inside her. She’s instantly drawn to his caring nature, but also his looks.
However, Tyson’s past quickly catches up with them, causing Katie’s childhood demons to return, and the road to romance becomes anything but smooth.
 
 
Today's hook :-)
“I still can’t believe he played me so perfectly. He really acted like he cared. And the thing is, he could’ve had any woman closer to Melbourne. I mean, didn’t you see the photo of his ex-girlfriend? This is an eight-hour drive for sex. It doesn’t make sense, Teagan.”
When her friend didn’t respond, Katie turned to look at her. She seemed in deep thought, but finally replied, “I agree.”
“Did you see his picture in the paper? I mean, holy smokes, Teagan, any sane woman would nibble on him.”
Teagan laughed. “I’m getting all hot just listening to you.”
Katie joined her friend’s laugh, but pushed her on the shoulder. “Go away. You’re plain dirty!”
There was a moment of silence as they both sipped at their drinks before Teagan said, “What do you mean by ex-girlfriend?”
“What?”
“You said I should have a look at the photo of his ex-girlfriend,” Teagan clarified.
“The one in the newspaper.”
“That’s his ex? This whole scenario is getting really weird. I should read the article.”


 
 
 
 
 
4 Stars:
I really enjoyed this book. The main characters popped off the pages right from the start and the author sprinkled a fun and quirky set of secondary characters throughout.  
 
4 Stars: 
If you’re looking for a character-led romantic read with realistic emotion, then I can definitely recommend Love Will Find You.

Tuesday Tales - DANCE



Welcome to Tuesday ... Welcome to Tuesday Tales ...
I continue with my story about Connor and his dad Jack, who's ill with cancer. Connor lives in London and is visiting his father who lives in a small town along the Victorian coast.

Today's prompt is DANCE.


Enjoy - and feel free to leave a comment. And don't forget to click the link below to go back to the main Tuesday Tale site for more stories by very talented authors.


“The famous five of Fermosa Bay.” He shook his head before he took another sip. “You, me, Niall, Emily and Skye. We lived in the same neighbourhood, same playgroup, kinder, and school. Even a few dance classes. Until you had the accident and disappeared.”

Connor stopped his drink half way to his mouth and stared at his new old friend.

“What accident?”

“Mate, you’re really low on fuel. You slipped on a rock, had a nice cut which needed a few stitches, and the next thing I remember was you had left.”

Connor instinctively touched the scar on his forehead. The one he got when he fell of the bike. Not when he slipped on a rock.

“Still there,” Ethan remarked with a grin.

“Still there,” Connor said. “But my story is different.”

Ethan’s expression changed as he shook his head. “Mate, what happened?”

With a slight shrug of his shoulder, Connor replied, “That’s why I’m here. To find out.”

“I suppose Jack hasn’t told you, yet, why he went through all the effort to find you.”

Connor looked at Ethan and choked back a chuckle. “Honestly? I thought it was to look after him, but if nothing else, I’ve found out, he’s got some great people around. So, no, I haven’t got a clue.” Then he gazed across the ocean. “To apologise? Make up for lost time?” He shrugged. “You’d probably know more than me.”

Ethan was quiet for a long moment before he met Connor’s gaze. “Jack’s missed you. Damn, he missed you. He’s an old man. A bit rough on the edges and grumpy, but he means well. Hell, I don’t think I would’ve coped, if it hadn’t been for him.”
 
A pang of jealousy rushed Connor and it blindsided him a bit, because he had no right to feel that way.



 

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