Thursday, December 12, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Stories: WARM CHRISTMAS WISHES Anthology (AN ELFIN SECRET & ON THE WAY TO THE SNOW BALL by Brenda Whiteside)


AN ELFIN SECRET by Brenda Whiteside
When five-year-old Candace Cane questions why her father, Henry is an absent parent, her mother is speechless. But when Candace learns Daddy is an Elf named Santa Clause, life becomes magical…until Mommy dies and Henry and Santa cease to exist.

In this Christmas fantasy, Candace discovers magic lies within her heart and she’s never far from her mother or her father.

ON THE WAY TO THE SNOW BALL by Brenda Whiteside
Lovely, rich Marie Louise Le Mare apparently has everything in life. So what can the handsome man in the red suit possibly give her? When they’re trapped in an elevator with only each other for company, a surprise gift exchange makes this Christmas special.

The Gift by Mary Kate Brogan
It's Christmas In Ireland, and two men vie for Katherine Fannon's hand in marriage. Will she choose Arthur and the bright lights of Manhattan or Seamus and her Irish farm that he wants to save?

Jamey and the Alien by Jenny Twist
Jamey only wants one thing for Christmas. He wants his Daddy to come home. But first he has to kill the alien.

Saving Christmas by Nell DuVall
A woman wonders if she'll even have a Christmas when her husband turns up missing near the Afghanistan border and turns to helping a young teen to forget her worries.

Uncle Albert's Christmas by Jenny Twist
Elaine loves managing people. The only problem is, she usually makes their lives a misery. So Uncle Albert is in despair when she invites him for Christmas. But Albert's neighbour has other ideas. Could it be that Elaine has met her match?

Vicarious Christmas by Joanna Foreman
If it's not one thing, it's your mother, they say. My mother's religion disallowed Christmas celebrations. How does an eight-year-old girl get into the Christmas spirit and keep her mother happy at the same time?

Excerpt from AN ELFIN SECRET:
“You never tire of your picture book, do you? That’s probably the best present your father, Henry, ever gave you.” She stood over me gazing at the book.
Her warm hand glided down my cheek, and I looked at her. “Do you miss him, Mommy?”
“Miss him?” She sat at the foot of my bed.
There must have been a time when Henry did more in this house than drop off presents. Somehow they must have spent a lot of time together, I thought, or I wouldn’t be there. “Like when you were together?”
“Were? Candace you talk as if in the past. Your father is always with us.”
“Not really.”
She looked confused. “Yes, always. He’s always here, in a way, and at other times in another way. Not in the sense Sarah’s father is or…or… Oh! Candace, I seem to be short on words.”
“Why do you call him Henry?”
She tilted her head, her blue eyes grew gray. “Candace you ask the most unusual questions.” She stood. The stone expression I remembered from a few years back flickered across her face. My heart thumped and I rose to my knees, but before I could apologize, tell her never mind, her blue eyes twinkled and the color came back to her face. “Your father is a very special father. Which makes you a very special person. Oh, if only I were so special. But he loves me. What we share is…” She waved a hand in the air.
“You don’t know you’re special, Mommy?”
She sat closer to me this time. “I’m different. You’re still a little too young to understand. Although I have to say, you’ve always been wiser than you should be. You’ve always been wise, and I’ve always been different. I crossed a bridge one night on Christmas nearly eleven years ago.” She sighed and smiled. “My life is like a fairy tale.”
“Happily ever after.”
“See how wise you are?” She patted my leg and stood. “Now get dressed and come down to breakfast.”
I looked at my book, now on the Santa Claus page. The wink. The secret.

Review by Annie, author of contemporary romance, for An Elfin Secret by Brenda Whiteside (Warm Christmas Wishes).

An Elfin Secret is the charming tale of a child coming to grips with the discovery of her own Elfin magic, a secret well guarded by her mother and absent father during her early years. This well written story looks back at Candy Cane’s trials and tribulations, and how she dealt with an absent father, the death of a mother, and having to live with two relatives also full of secrets.   Her father Henry is always giving gifts while she’s sleeping, and gives her a special book on Elves with magical powers when she is six years old. She soon puts two and two together and decides that Santa has the same qualities as her missing father—he leaves gifts, isn’t seen, is loving and caring, and therefore is her father and he must live at the North Pole. The book teaches her the truth and ways of Elves. She questions her mother, only to have her mother ‘freeze’ and unable to answer her questions.  So when tragedy strikes,  Candy Cane gives up on her own beliefs that she is a Halfling, that Elves and Santa Claus don’t really exist, and decides at eleven, that she will throw caution to the winds and remain a human. Her reconnection to the reality of the many secrets interwoven in this short Christmas tale was engaging and drew my attention to the very end.  The writing was smooth and seamless, and although a lot of back-story, it is an inspiring good read for those looking for a bit of nostalgia, and holiday magic over the holiday season.  young adults and young-at-heart, especially,  will certainly enjoy this take on believing in Santa, Elves, and the spirit of Christmas.  

Review by Annie, author of contemporary romance, for ON THE WAY TO THE SNOW BALL by Brenda Whiteside (Warm Christmas Wishes).

On The Way To The Snow Ball pulls you in to the story wondering if a lovely, rich Mrs. Marie Louise Le Mare is stuck in a dark elevator with the real Santa Claus, a therapist thinking he's dealing with a teenager, or a patient that is rescued by men in white suits. Mind games intrigue and swirl in and out and around in this well-written short holiday exchange that leaves the reader wondering just what or who Harry/Mr. Claus really is-an Alfred Hitchcock-like puzzle.  With the play on holiday words indicating a North Pole workshop filled with workers/advisors who happen to be little, reaffirming beliefs, and fireside chats with children nine and under, mingled in between, one wonders just what it is Marie really wants. Still, Harry/Chris Claus lets Marie believe he is a therapist working on the 24th floor until the very end. Ms. Whiteside plays her own mind games with the reader as she unravels the truth as one contemplates, in fact, if people who do believe in chance are only kidding themselves. But then, if everything happens for a reason, why, Harry/Chris Claus wonders, are he and Marie stuck in the elevator until they both get what they are looking for, only to have the lights come back on, the emergency phone suddenly ring, and the elevator working again. Is it by chance? A fast-paced mind-twizzler with snappy dialogue, which reaffirms one's inner self-worth.
Available for purchase:

Author Bio:
Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. The rest of her time is spent tending vegetables on the small family farm she shares with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Together, they’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States - multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.

Although she didn’t start out to write romance, she’s found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. She’s also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or mystery, all her books revolve around those two facts.

Visit Brenda at:
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at The Roses of Prose.
She blogs about writing and prairie life at Brenda Whiteside author blog.

The author is sponsoring a giveaway for a box of miniature ornaments to one randomly drawn commenter.


  1. Brenda, An Elfin Secret sounds like a lovely Christmas story, and On the Way to the Snowball sounds pleasantly puzzling:) Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks, Val! Christmas stories are so much fun to write.

  2. Both your holiday stories sound fascinating! (As do the other tag lines.) I wish you a magical release and a bagful of success!

  3. All these stories sound great and like a terrific way to get into the holiday spirit.

    1. Thanks, Cara. It's fun doing an anthology with other authors.

  4. On the Way to the Snow Ball sounds like a really intriguing story. I love mind games in books! If Paul Auster wrote a Christmas story it might sound a bit like that!

  5. I love anthologies, 'cause there's always a little bit of everything in them. Something for everyone no matter what their taste. Love the cover, too. It's very cozy!

    1. Thanks, Debra. I think all the stories are cozy too.

  6. Especially around Christmas I really get into anthologies. I like authors that are new to me and I have found quite a few by reading anthologies--and the of course, there is the great pleasure of reading stories by my favorite authors, too. These stories look positively delightful.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I agree. Especially during these busy holidays, short stories are easier to enjoy with so much else going on.

  7. Hi Brenda,
    I want to welcome you today and also thank you for participating in my 25 Days of Christmas Stories. I just love your cover. It's very lovely.

    1. It was great being here, Melissa. I'm off to bed now but I'll check in tomorrow for any who manage to stay up later than I do!

    2. I loved this anthology. I enjoyed all the stories in it.

  8. My sister and I buy a Christmas anthology every year. This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I'll check out this hop. I love ANYthing Christmas.

  9. sounds like a nice collection of Christmas stories :)

  10. Congratulations, Aubrey. You are the winner of the ornament set!