A bit of Christmas... Six Christian Short Stories Celebrating the Season.
Sometimes you only have a few minutes to read. Short stories are the answer! This boxed set of six short stories features the winners of the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Virginia Chapter short story contest. Each previously unpublished tale has a clear Christian faith element and focuses on the theme of Christmas. So grab a warm drink and a cookie, and relax for a bit with a Christmas short story!
First place: "I Heard the Bells" by Angela K. Couch (Historical category). Three years ago, Gabriel Morgan left his home in Virginia to fight for the Union Army, despite his family and fiancee's loyalties to the South. Now, with battle fresh in his mind, and the Civil War still raging, he chances a quick trip home with one prayer... to make peace this Christmas.
Second place: "The Missing Piece" by Kathleen Neely (Contemporary category). Donning her designer clothing and superior attitude, Sandra reluctantly agrees to accompany her friend to an estate sale. The discovery of a photograph that looks remarkably like her sends her on a search for truth. Knowing that she was adopted and finding the photograph so close to home is too coincidental to dismiss. Her search leads her to a life-changing truth beyond the face in the photograph.
Third place: "Returning Christmas" by Emily Conrad (Speculative fiction category). When Gwen receives an extravagant Christmas present from Maddox, a neighbor she doesn't know, she must decide if she can accept a gift she can never repay. The other tenants in her building return and exchange Maddox's pricey gifts to suit their selfish agendas. Sensing there's much more to Maddox than her neighbors suspect, Gwen struggles to understand the motivation behind his generosity and what he could mean when he claims that the others would return Christmas itself, given the chance.
Honorable Mention: "Christmas Presence" by Kari Fischer (Contemporary category). Ex-Navy SEAL, Deputy Sheriff, Guardian and Daddy? Entrusted with his late ex-wife's daughter Mia, Nick Gardner takes his responsibility seriously. It doesn't hurt that he's certain Mia is his daughter. Before he can establish paternity, an unexpected visitor threatens to tear Mia away from the most stable home she's ever known. Mia longs for a special gift, but the only present Nick wants for Christmas is legal proof that Mia is his daughter.
Honorable Mention: "Just Another Navidad" by Allison K. Garcia (Contemporary category). Compared to his childhood home of Guadalajara, Mexico, Navidad in the Shenandoah Valley seems like just another day to hard-working Alberto Gonzalez. With bills piling up and no end in sight, he barely has the energy to enjoy his family, let alone Christmas. When things go from bad to worse, Alberto isn't sure where to turn. Will the church down the hill from his trailer park help him get into the Christmas spirit, or will it end up being just another Navidad?
Honorable Mention: "The Dance" by Kathleen Neely (Young Adult category). Connie's shyness is challenged when her family moves across the country in her senior year. In an effort to make new friends, she tells a lie. Her classmates now believe that she is a dancer and encourage her to join a local production. Connie's lie is exposed, but the journey leads her to a passion that is greater than her fear. Join five Christian writers and their six stories to bring a bit of Christmas into your day.
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Angela K. Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. A passionate believer in Christ, faith permeates her stories. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada, with her “hero” and three munchkins.
Kathleen Neely is a retired educator, wife, mother, and grandmother. After teaching elementary school, she moved into administration and worked as an elementary principal. She is a member of ACFW and Cross N Pens, a local writing group. Her desire is to write wholesome fiction that honors Christ.
Emily Conrad created her first stories in washable marker shortly after she learned to write. The marker gave way to a computer, and she is now a full-time writer and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She shares her 500 square-foot home with her husband and two rescue dogs.
By day, Kari Fischer is a secretary at a large corporation. By night and on weekends, curled up with her iPad, she’s creating another story. She had written nearly 300 pieces of fan fiction before self-publishing the novella “Wolves and Sheep Don't Mix” in 2012, and “Bonded By Blood” in 2014. Kari lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two cats. When she’s not writing, or volunteering with the Sheboygan County United Way Lunch Buddy program, she and her husband spend time at the range or hit the road looking for new places to visit.
Allison K. Garcia is the head of the Shenandoah Valley cluster meeting of the ACFW Virginia Chapter, is the Municipal Liaison for NaNoWrimo in the Shenandoah Valley, and a member of Shenandoah Valley Writers. Her short story, “At Heart,” was published in the From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in the local newspaper for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She also enjoys cooking real food for her family and spending time with the hermanos at her church.
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