December 28, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Happy Friday Everyone!

As I mentioned in my extremely late post Wednesday, I'm not posting today.  Instead, I will be going skating with my kids and nieces and nephews (an outing which I know would be VERY entertaining for you to witness - too bad there's no streaming video! - Michelle Kwan I am not! :))

For anyone who has more time than I do and wants to post and visit, here's the list.  Have fun!  See you all next week, probably Wednesday.

Have a nice weekend and Happy New Year!!! :)

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December 26, 2012

The Holiday Contest Winners!!!

Good Extremely Late Afternoon Practically Evening Everyone!

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a Merry one filled with happiness yesterday.

I realize I'm way behind schedule today... lots of family visiting and lots going on... but having promised, I didn't want to let you down completely - better late than never, right? :)

I know you've all been waiting with barely controlled (or possibly uncontrolled) antsiness to find out who won the amazing Holiday Contest!

So without further ado, here they are, the winners of the Pretty Much World Famous 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

First Place: Laura Renauld for Humphrey The Humbug

Second Place: Marci Henry for Jingle Sheep

Third Place: Cheryl Secomb for Dashing Through The Snow

Fourth Place: Penny Klostermann for Christmas Bash-A-Roo

Fifth Place: Joanna Marple  for The Tree

All five winners will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate as soon as I have all the email addresses (Marci and Cheryl, I may need yours).  And I will sort out which winner gets which PB critique ASAP and update this post, so check back!

UPDATE: The critiques have been sorted and will be assigned as follows:

Laura - Corey Rosen Schwartz
Marci - Amy Dixon
Cheryl - Sarah Frances Hardy
Penny - Tiffany Haber
Joanna - Alison Hertz

Congratulations to all our winners for fantastic stories amid fierce competition, and congratulations to all who entered!  Everyone who took the time to exercise their creativity and actually write and post an entry deserves to feel proud of their efforts.  And many thanks to everyone  - writers and readers - for making the Holiday Contest so much fun for the second year in a row!

And now, because I have grossly overestimated how much blogging time I'd have during the holidays, I must announce that I will not be doing Perfect Picture Book Friday this week (although I will post the link list for anyone who wants to) and I will probably not post Monday the 31st either.  And if I fail to visit your blogs as much as usual, it's not because I don't love you :)  It's important to enjoy time with the family when you can :)

Enjoy your holidays and Happy New Year to everyone, with all best wishes for happiness, health, and publication in 2013!!!



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December 24, 2012

Guardians Of The Gift - A Special Birthday Choose Your Own Adventure

Today, we have a VERY special blog post to celebrate the birthday of a VERY special member of our writing community!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIK!!!

As our special birthday gift to you, we have written you a Choose Your Own Adventure story!  We hope you'll have fun with it! :)

(And we hope LOTS of other people will set out on Erik's adventure too because it's extremely fun :))

Start below.  Read each section and at the end you'll have a choice of where to go next.  Make your choice and see what happens!  You can always go back.

I must confess, before we begin, that this was a bit of a rush job.  I'm truly hoping all the sections will be posted in time, and that all the links will work properly, but on the off chance they don't I will put a list of the sections and links at the bottom of this post so you can find your way if need be.  But don't peek unless you have to because it will give away the story! :)  Also, we had to start with generic blog links, so if you follow a link and don't see a section of the adventure, you might have to scroll to the December 24th post.  We will do our best to update with post-specific links as we get them.

I would also like to thank the lovely Ms. Klostermann for designing and sharing your birthday banner.  And I would like to extravagantly thank the lovely Ms. Stilborn for writing half the sections - I literally could not have done this without her!  But boy did we have fun writing :)

I hope you enjoy your adventure, Erik, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday and a Merry Christmas :)

Ready?  Here we go... :)

The Start Of The Adventure - Guardians Of The Gift


Erik was polishing Sir Lionel’s armor and dreaming of the day when he’d have armor of his own when a small pageboy dashed into the antechamber.

“Erik!” he gasped.  “You’ve been summoned to the Great Hall!”

Erik dropped his polishing rag.  “Me?  Are you sure?”

The pageboy nodded solemnly.

Erik swallowed nervously.  Was he in trouble?  He had never been summoned to the Great Hall before!

He swiped at his hair trying to smooth it, brushed himself off, and hurried after the pageboy.

The doors to the Great Hall stood open.  Erik paused on the threshold.

“Welcome, Erik!” said the king.  “Come in!  We have a surprise for you!”

Sir Gareth stepped forward and presented Erik with a box.  “Happy Birthday, Erik!” he said.

“For me?  Gee, thanks!” Erik was delighted.  He hadn’t received many birthday presents in his life, and none today.

He lifted the lid of the box eagerly.  But what was this?

“Uhh…” he said.  “I don’t get it.”

Sir Gareth looked down.  “Hey!” he exclaimed.  “Where’s the present that’s supposed to be in here?”

The other knights gathered around to look at the empty box.  “It’s been stolen!” cried Sir Lionel.

“Well I guess I’d better go find it!” said Erik.  “Someone must know what happened to it!”

“The court jester is always at the center of activity,” said Sir Gareth.  “He might know what happened.”

“Or one of the castle guards,” suggested Sir Lionel.  “They ought to know who comes and goes.”

“Then I’m off to discover the truth!” declared Erik.  “I don’t want to miss out on my only birthday present!”

If Erik asks the court jester, go HERE.
If Erik asks the castle guard, go HERE.






The Blog Link List (to be looked at and used only in extreme emergency :)) (and not helpful if the posters simply haven't gotten their posts up yet... :))


Section 1: well, you're already here! :)
Section 2 - Ask The Jester - located at http://www.bethstilborn.com
Section 3 - Ask The Castle Guard - located at http://imaginecreatewrite.blogspot.com
Section 4 - Search For The Woodcutter - located at http://www.sylvialiuland.com
Section 5 - Ask The Cook - located at http://pennyklostermann.com
Section 6 - Ask Another Guard - located at http://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com
Section 7 - The Second Fork - located at http://stacysjensen.blogspot.com
Section 8 - Erik Chooses The Righthand Path (after the woodcutter's) - located at http://frolickingthroughcyberspace.blogspot.com
Section 9 - Search For A Ford - located at http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com
Section 10 - The Rickety Bridge - located at http://hnewmanart.blogspot.com
Section 11 - Mystery Mountain - located at http://www.sfhardy.blogspot.com
Section 12 - Soggybottom Swamp - located at http://thepatientdreamer.com
Section 13 - Otterley Creek - located at http://joannamarple.com/?p=4873
Section 14 - Face The Ogre - located at http://mylmnopreadstokids.blogspot.com
Section 15 - Seek Information From The Gossip - located at http://viviankirkfield.wordpress.com
Section 16 - Attempt To Pass The Icky Pods - located at http://storypatch.wordpress.com
Section 17 - Ye Olde Cake & Candle - located at http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com
Section 18 - Tackle The Ooze - located at http://creatingcuriouskids.wordpress.com
Section 19 - Enter The Clearing - located at http://childrensbooksheal.com
Section 20 - Go For Help (the Mystic Seer) - located at http://melissawrites.com.au
Section 21 - Face The Dragon - located at http://www.bethstilborn.com/interviewing-erik-and-josie-wednesday-worthy-kids/
Section 22 - Head For Home/Celebration/The End - located at http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2012/08/summer-send-off-writing-contest-and.html


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December 21, 2012

Holiday Contest Finalists! - Vote For Your Favorite!


The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

I don't know about you, but I am completely floored by a) how many entries we got for the Holiday Contest (40!!) and b) how good they all were!!!

What a job it's been trying to winnow down 40 fantastic entries to a manageable number of finalists!  It's actually a great exercise in understanding what editors must go through.  I could find at least something to like about every entry - it was a question of weighing and balancing strong points and weaker points and overall impression - and it gives me an appreciation for the subjectivity aspect of editorial choosing - it's entirely possible that some of the finalists my assistant judge and I settled on are not the same ones you would have chosen.

All of this to say that everyone really did a wonderful job.  It was a pleasure to read every entry, and even if you didn't make the list of finalists, please know that our decision was agonizing and there were many great things about every single story - we really wrestled with choosing the finalists and went back and forth for a LONG time! - so you should feel good about your effort no matter what!  And my assistant judge and I, as well as ALL the readers (there were over 1200 views of the Holiday Contest post alone, not to mention how many visits you all got on your individual posts) got loads of enjoyment and entertainment out of your wonderful stories, so thank you all so very much for participating and sharing your creativity with us all!

In the final analysis, though, the finalists were chosen on the basis of 1) kid appeal (it is a children's story after all!) 2) originality/creativity 3) writing quality and story quality, and 4) if you chose to write in rhyme we were pretty strict about how well you did it since there was a prose option (although of the 40 entries, only 15 were in prose.)

Please review the finalists' entries below and then vote for the one you think should win!  You have until midnight Christmas Eve to vote (December 24 11:59 PM EST.)  There are 10 finalists (I know!  I'm sorry!  But I did get it down to 25% of the entries, and a lot of you will have read them all already and there will be 5 prizes given!) and they're all fantastic, so we're going to need all the votes we can get! :)  Oh, and one more thing - if you make it all the way to the bottom, the girls and I have a special Holiday message for you and I really don't think you'll want to miss it :)

#1 Dashing Through The School


Dashing through the school,
The bell’s about to ring,
I can’t be late again,
And disappoint Miss Sing.
I’ve got the leading role,
The play’s about to start,
Through the doors and up on stage,
I’m born to play this part!

Oh,
There’s the bell, there’s the bell,
I’m in the nick of time,
The auditorium is packed,
And the curtains start to climb.
Oh,
“Jingle bells, jingle bells,”
The chorus sings in tune,
My tummy’s feeling funny,
‘Cause I know it’s my turn soon.

I take a big deep breath,
Step forward on the stage,
Look out at the crowd,
Is that my Aunty Paige?
The lights shine in my face,
This costume’s far too hot,
The words catch in my throat,
An actor, I am not.

Oh,
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
They’re ringing in my head,
At practice I was doing fine,
But now I’m filled with dread!
Oh,
I’m not well, I’m not well,
I’m really feeling ill,
I wonder if it’s not too late,
To swap my part with Bill.

I take another breath,
Deliver my first line,
The butterflies are gone,
Suddenly, I’m fine.
When the play is done,
Applause rings ‘round the hall,
I take my final bow,
I’m an actor after all!

Oh,
I did well, I did well,
My heart is beating fast,
I never thought I’d feel this way,
The day that I was cast.
Oh,
“Jingle bells, jingle bells,”
I’ll sing it loud and clear,
I wonder if they’ll let me play,
This part again next year.


#2 Christmas Bash-A-Roo

Tromping through the pines
In their woolen socks with toes,
Yetis march in lines
Grunting Ho, Ho, Ho’s!
They meet their Sasquatch friends,
And Bigfoot buddies too.
The time is here to all attend
The Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap,
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
High up in the sky
A flash caused them to pause.
“Could this be the guy?
Could this be Santa Claus?
We’ve heard the tales of old.
We’ve heard the human lore,
But never has he joined our fold
At Christmas time before.”
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap,
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
They heard a Ho! Ho! Ho!
And saw a red-nosed gleam.
Coming through the snow
Was Santa and his team.
“I think we can agree—
Though sightings have been few
It can be reality—
Yes, legends can be true”.
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Santa flashed a grin
And said, “Hey guys, let’s bop.”
The reindeer joined right in
And did the Reindeer Hop.
He handed out sweet treats
To each and every beast.
Then said, “Let’s dance a few more beats
Before we fly on east.”
Oh…
Black-boot tap, Santa rap
Reindeer line dance too.
What a holly-jolly,
Hairy Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Santa waved goodbye
And headed to his sleigh.
He winked a twinkling eye
As he flew away.
Oh, what a joyful night—
A Santa Claus debut.
Oh how merry! Oh how bright!
The Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Tromping through the pines
In worn out socks with toes
Yetis march in lines
Grunting Ho, Ho, Ho’s!
They wave at Sasquatch friends
And Bigfoot buddies too.
And say, “We’ll see you all again
At next year’s Bash-A-Roo.



#3 Garbage Truck, Garbage Truck



Trashing through the snow, in a noisy garbage truck,


The bins are hard to empty, with boxes getting stuck.


Crumpled wrapping paper, chunks of Styrofoam,


Packing peanuts everywhere are blown from home to home.


    Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


     Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


    Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Haul it all away.


    What looked so festive yesterday is now J-U-N-K.


Dried-up wreaths with bows, Lights that didn’t light,


Toys already broken, clothes that got too tight.


The garbage man is tired.  He’s handled lots of stuff.


He wishes folks could see that they already have enough.


          Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


          Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


          Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Haul it all away.


          What looked so festive yesterday is now J-U-N-K.


The garbage man goes home, and hugs his kids and wife.


They eat and read together, a calm, uncluttered life.


He’s happy with his job, but wishes people knew


That things don’t bring you happiness, but times together do.


        Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


          Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


          Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Watch it blend and mix.


          So much turns to garbage on December 26.

#4 The Tree


Sliding through the snow
in Granddad’s beat-up truck,
Looking for a tree.
  Not having any luck.


Evergreens galore.
The Spruce and Firs abound
Nothing fits our search -
too dense, too big, too round.


Finally I spy
the perfect Christmas tree.
Granddad swings his axe,
“Ready. One, two, three!”


“Granddad, stop!” I shout,
“I see a mouse nose there.
Don’t you see that nest?
And isn’t that a hare?”


Thoughts swirl round my head.
I tell Granddad my plan.
He wags his graying beard,
then shakes my mittened hand.

Singing as we drive,
we race back to the farm.
I raid the kitchen store,
while Granddad raids the barn.


Night begins to fall.
We truck back through the snow -
find our lonely tree,
lit up in starry glow.


Stringing beans and hay,
instead of paper chains.
Nuts and seeds in fat,
we cover all in grains.

Then we sit and wait.
and slowly they appear.
The bestest gift and tree
from any Christmas year.


#5 Humphrey The Humbug


Dropping through the mail slot in a BAH-Mobile, came Humphrey. Humphrey was no ordinary bug. He was a Humbug. And being a Humbug, Humphrey had to follow one simple rule: ‘Make Christmas cheer disappear.’

It was Christmas Eve. Humphrey’s well-trained eye zeroed in on the slightly tilting Christmas tree. “All I have to do is give that tree a push, knock over the glitter, and let the cookies burn and the Holly Household’s Christmas cheer will soon melt into the Grinchy grumps,” Humphrey said to himself.

But I can’t wreck another Christmas, thought Humphrey. The truth was, Humphrey was a half-hearted Humbug. He secretly liked everything about Christmas: the tree, the lights, and especially the music.

He poked his head out of his BAH-Mobile.  The coast was clear. First, he made his way to the tree but, instead of giving it a push, he made it stand taller, tightening the bolts in the stand.  Next, he took the jar of glitter and tightly screwed on the lid. Finally, he set the kitchen timer so the Holly’s would take the cookies out of the oven. 

Humphrey settled down inside his BAH-Mobile, happy for the first time. I spread Christmas cheer this year, he thought, as he drifted off to sleep.

Humphrey awoke to a laugh. “Ho, Ho, Ho,” chuckled Santa. “I’ve caught a Humbug!”  He gently placed Humphrey on his knee.

“I know I’m on the Naughty List, Santa, but let me explain,” started Humphrey.  Santa held up his hand.

“You are mistaken, Humphrey.  You are on the Nice List this year.”

“I am?”

“You, my friend, have had what is called a ‘Change-of-Heart.’

“Yes!” said Humphrey. “I don’t feel like a Humbug anymore.”

“Did you know,” asked Santa, “that Humbugs are very musical?”

“I do like to hum,” said Humphrey.

Santa handed Humphrey a small package. “My first present!” he shouted. Tearing it open, Humphrey found a book of Christmas carols. “Oh, thank you!” he beamed.

Now, at Christmastime, Humphrey, the humming bug, follows his own rule: “Hum carols far and near to make Christmas cheer appear!”  


#6 That's Not Santa!


Walking through the mall,
In my brand new Christmas Shoes,
Look at that kid bawl,
I have got the blues!
-
My mom smiles at me,
She wants this photo,
Can’t anybody see,
That’s NOT SANTA -NO!
- 

(Chorus)
OH!
His beard is fake,
His eyebrows snake,
His mustache is dark brown,
I feel bad for the lad,
That Santa just put down!
-
OH!
He has a belt,
It’s made of felt,
That just makes me pause,
His suit’s off-red, like I said,
THAT’S NOT SANTA CLAUS!
-
(Second Verse)
I don’t have a choice,
Four more kids to go,
I hear Santa’s voice,
He says “Hoo Ha Ho”?
-
The girl on Santa’s knee,
Looks as scared as she can be,
The camera makes a flash,
The girl makes a dash!
-
(Chorus)
OH!
His beard is fake,
His eyebrows snake,
His boots are made of plastic,
I’m ahead and my mom said,
“This will be fantastic”!
-
OH!
He has no belly,
That shakes like jelly,
I am feeling sick,
On his lap is when I yap,
THAT’S NOT OLD SAINT NICK!


#7 Jingle Sheep


Tiptoeing through the fog
On teeny tiny feet,
Six hundred wooly sheep
Were sneaking down the street.
Poor Santa had the flu.
His temperature was high.
His doctor told him, “Stay in bed
And stay out of the sky.”
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made.
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
The sheep tried very hard
To visit every child.
They tried to keep it quiet
But soon got very wild.
The children did not dream
Of sugarplums and toys.
They peeked out of their bedroom doors
To wonder at the noise.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
At first the children stared
And some began to cry.
They then began to giggle
And not be quite so shy.
The sheep shared all their hats
And danced around the tree.
The children shared their gingerbread
With shouts of happy glee.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
The sun began to rise.
The party had been grand.
The gifts had been delivered,
Though not like Santa planned.
He thanked them just the same,
The dear sweet, sneaky sheep.
He asked them what they wanted.
They asked for sixty jeeps.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.




#8 New Skates Please, Santa!


Wobbling on the ice
In my sister’s worn-out skates,
I might as well be wearing
Great big wooden crates!
The blades are really dull,
They’re too big for my feet,
and when I try to glide along
I end up on my seat!
Ohhhhhh,
Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Ohhhhhh,
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.
My friends all have new skates
They glide around with ease
While I just watch them swish right by
Me, fallen on my knees.
It’s almost Christmas Eve,
I’ve wished upon a star,
I hope that Santa hears my plea
And brings skates from afar.
Ohhhhhh,
Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Ohhhhhh,
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.
The presents are unwrapped,
No shiny skates in sight,
Just sweaters, hats, and oranges –
but what about tonight?
My sis hands me a box
and much to my surprise
Bright shiny skates, the kind I wished,
And look! They’re just my size!
Ohhhhhh,
Swish, swish, swish,
Zip, zip, zoom,
My skates are really fast,
I can whirl and twirl all day
And never be outclassed.
Ohhhhhh,
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh,
Jump, twirl, spin,
Across the ice I glide,
This is better than I dreamed,
I’ll never go inside!


#9 How The Grinch Spends Christmas


Dashing through the snow
In Santa’s stolen sleigh
Over Santa’s toe
Laughing all the way. MUA-HA-HA!
Flying snowballs sting
I’m not at all contrite
How fun it is to toss and fling
The gifts into the night.

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Trouble making – Reindeer MUSH!
In Santa’s stolen sleigh
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Trouble making – Reindeer MUSH!
In Santa’s stolen sleigh

This morning when I woke
I thought, “The fun begins,”
I’ll lick the cookies clean
Return them to their tins
Pluck festive door wreathes bare
Chop down Christmas trees
Cram stockings -- not the kind you wear --
With coal lumps to the knees

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Shelf Elf shaking, snow globe breaking
Reindeer led astray
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Snowman baking, present taking
In the mall Santa’s toupee.

Whooshing far and near
Dropping water bombs away
Then, Santa calls his deer
And rats! They do obey
He hums a little tune
Shakes his head so slight
Nails me with the last balloon
And flies into the night.

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Santa made my day
I think I saw him gloating
As he rode his sleigh away
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mean is in my genes
I can't wait for him to find
I fed his reindeer beans. 


#10 Dashing Through The Snow


“Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh…” The song floated from the kitchen radio. Holly heard her neighbor, Mrs. Frost, humming along.
Holly stared out the window at the snowless neighborhood and sighed. Would she ever have a white Christmas? She picked up the snow globe from the table and shook it. Tiny white flakes swirled about the miniature horse pulling a sleigh with two riders.
Mrs. Frost poked her head into the living room and smiled. “The first batch of cookies is almost done. Once they’re cool, you can help me ice them, okay?”
Holly grinned. “Sure!”
Mrs. Frost was Holly’s favorite grown up…besides her mom and dad, of course. There was something kind of magic about her, especially at Christmas. Her house glowed with red and green lights and holiday decorations. She even had a Christmas name. Like Holly.
Holly shook the snow globe again and set it on the window sill. She watched the tiny flakes spiraling inside. The song continued to play. “Dashing through the snow…” Her eyelids drooped. “I wish we had snow,” she whispered.
Suddenly, wind whipped through her hair, and she squinted as wet flakes splattered her face. “What?" She gasped in the chilly air. "Where am I?”
“Dashing through the snow, of course!” Mrs. Frost sat beside her, chuckling. She held the reins to a horse covered in white. Its neigh echoed like laughter.
Holly glanced down. Tiny houses flickered with Christmas lights far below. “We’re flying!” she yelled.
Snow flurries danced around them. “We’re dashing!” Mrs. Frost snapped the reins.
“It’s time,” she said.
Someone gently shook Holly’s shoulder. She opened her eyes to see Mrs. Frost standing beside her. “It’s time to ice the cookies.”
Holly blinked. A dream? She shivered. But it felt so real.
“Oh, look!” said Mrs. Frost.
Holly peered out the window. “It’s snowing!” Fluffy white flakes tumbled down.
She turned to Mrs. Frost and spotted something sparkling in her hair. Could it be?
Mrs. Frost’s eyes twinkled.
Holly was sure she saw a snowflake…before it melted away.


I told you it was going to be tough!  Ready, set, VOTE!



And my assistant judge and I felt we really must give Honorable Mention to Julie for Splash! Crash! Dash! - sibling Christmas vacation, very well written!, Renee for Holidaze - quite possibly the cleverest entry and amazingly well done, Carrie for Christmas In Lights which had a wonderful message about helping neighbors, Maria for Elmer The Christmas Sprite - a lovely, original, quiet story, and Linda for In A Daddy Open Buggy - excellent, excellent small child POV!  Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jill whose story I Believe brought tears to my eyes with its wonderful ending, and Delores's A Christmas Memory with it's evocative writing and lovely nostalgic feel...  And now I'm going to stop before I've got the entire list up here :)

Have fun voting everyone!  And here's a little holiday message from me and the girls :)

video

P.S.  I wasn't going to post on Monday... and I still might not... but there may be a special surprise post going up that day if I can get it written and organized and if the stars are properly aligned... :)  If I can't pull it off, then I'll see you on Wednesday the 26th with the winners.  Happy Holidays Everyone! :)


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