Can you believe that it is a year since Paul Andruss entered out lives and took up residence here on a weekly basis. Over that year we have enjoyed learning about some of the most legendary figures and events in our history. Always deeply researched and delivered with panache.. with details that only those present at the time could have known. Paul is the master of deconstructing a myth or legend we have heard hundreds of times and the reconstructing in a completely understandable and believable way. You can find all these wondrous articles in his directory.
This was the story that Paul sent in last year for the Christmas blog promotion and here it is again but with a slightly different ending.. because Santa did leave a story and next Friday and Saturday you get to read it.. The Three Sisters…… and you will enjoy which is a promise not an order! Anyway here is Paul’s archive post.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Writer’s Block – Paul Andruss
T’was the night before Christmas… Oh, please!
But it is the night before Christmas. And all through my head, nothing is stirring, not a single idea.
Dear Lord, if you’re listening, send a Christmas miracle.
Or should that be dear Santa?
Hallelujah, that’s it!
No, it’s just the plot for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. I wouldn’t mind but there’s no way I’d pass for
Jimmy Stewart, even with the lights off… more’s the pity!
So, what can I say? How did I get into this mess?
Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.
Good grief! The Sound of Music now is it? Just because it’s on every Christmas doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas film. Get a grip!
Although I have been writing for a while, I am quite new to the Bloggers-fear. (Is that the right word? Remind me to look it up.) After years of hiding the light firmly under a bushel, I needed to get out there and promote my work. Imagine my delight when I saw an invitation from Smorgasbord- Variety is the Spice to write a Christmas story.
I was hesitant. I admit. But Sally’s blog, felt like the sort of warm, safe place to dip my toe. And I mean, everyone’s written Christmas stories: Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, Hans Christian Anderson ‘The Little Match Girl’. How hard can it be?
From Doctor Who to the Crankies, there is not a TV show that doesn’t do Christmas Specials. Even the muppets managed the Christmas Story. And heaven knows I’ve been called a muppet often enough.
But what to go for? There’s the rub. Should it be something to tug the heartstrings; full of noble sentiment and the spirit of Christmas? Or something to make you laugh out loud? How about a bit of both?
Start with something like ‘A Dog is not just for Christmas.’
Then hit ‘em with the old one two… ‘If you’re careful there might be enough left over for Boxing Day!’
Hmmm, don’t think so. That might have made me roar with laughter at thirteen, but if my kids read it they’d never speak to me again. And neither would the puppy.
So it was off to the attic to leaf through my old pile of People’s Friend. Oh no, I mean Mum’s old pile. She loves that magazine. When they moved she asked if I’d store them. I guess she forgot to pick them up. To be honest I’d forgotten myself! Yes. No. Really I did. So let’s just leave it there, shall we?
Anyway, that was about 16th November, which then turned into 17th, 18th and 19th, and before I knew it… T’was the night before Christmas…
For heaven’s sake! Not this again!
I admit Sally was great about it. She was a scholar and a gentleman; if you can say that about a lady. I wrote copious emails explaining my predicament, begging for a bit more time. We ended up corresponding so regularly she now feels obliged to send me Christmas cards.
(PS. Thanks for the card Sally…. Did you get mine? It’s in the post!)
So as I started saying…
T’was the night before Christmas…
Well actually, it’s not the night before Christmas anymore. It stopped being the night before Christmas about two and a half hours ago. Who am I kidding? It’s Christmas! It’s over. Like every unstirring creature in the house, even the mouse, I should be abed.
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!
I had not been in bed fifteen minutes (tossing and turning; racking my brains for a Christmas story to win the hearts and minds of… yeah, you get the picture) when I heard a noise downstairs.
First I thought it was the kids; like you do. But though my little darlings got every present imaginable this year, I had no recollection of buying hob-nailed boots.
Bugger! I thought. It’s gotta be burglars; an’ on bloody Christmas an’ all.
I hunted round the bedroom in the dark, terrified to wake the missus, or kids next door, or puppy sleeping with the kids next door. I wished for a baseball bat or some other blunt instrument; knowing you’re on a total loser trying to defend yourself with a slipper. My heart raced. Mouth bone dry. I wished I was a braver man.
Taking my courage in both hands. Actually, courage in one hand; slipper in the other, I crept downstairs; hitting the one that creaks. Why does one always creak?
For a lifetime I stood outside the living room, straining to hear past my thumping heart. It was now or never. I flung open the door, snapped on the light. I was desperate to think of something butch and intimidating; wondering how to handle the whole fiasco; wondering if I’d survive it.
What did daddy get for Christmas, kids?
It’s not a parlour game.
Well, knock me down with a lead pipe (in the library, Colonel Mustard). The room was empty!
All I saw was crumpled tinfoil on a plate that once held a mince pie and an empty glass. Hang on; guilty as charged. To be honest I’m not proud of myself drinking sherry at that hour, but you know, I only did it for the kids.
Then, my eyes fell on sooty footprints leading to and from the chimney.
It couldn’t be.
But it had to be.
But, it couldn’t be.
But, it was.
How fat old Santa got past the wood burner, I’ll never know.
On the mantelpiece was a scroll, wrapped in red ribbon, tied in a bow. I saw my name written in elegant copperplate handwriting. Tell you what; Santa must have gone to one hell of a good school!
With shaking hands I pawed the bow until it fell open. Swallowing hard, I unrolled the scroll. It read…
‘Jenny isn’t it?’
Jenny spun round, staring blankly at the tiny old woman wrapped up against the cold.
I laughed! I wept! It was brilliant. My Christmas miracle!
©Paul Andruss 2016
About Paul Andruss.
Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.
Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels
When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.
Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.
The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.
The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?
When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.
The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.
Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.
Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic
Find out more and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY
Here is my review of Thomas the Rhymer
Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter by Sally Cronin
After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.
I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.
However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.
This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.
Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.
The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!
The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.
The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!
I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at £1.22 it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.
Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.
Paul would love your feedback and please join us next Friday and Saturday for parts One and Two of the story that Santa left.. The Three Sisters……Thanks Sally