When I came into a Facebook group last Saturday, December 5th, a project was being proposed. Kirsten Osbourne, a successful author as well as someone good at putting together projects, said she wanted to do an anthology of short stories, all under 4000 words with a Christmas theme. They did not have to be romances. The stories did have to be in her hands by the end of the week-end. So two days to write something. She intended to donate anything she earned from it to a Texas charity that is good at getting assistance to those in need and where she had personally donated time.The idea quickly caught on that any profits would totally go to the charity.
My history of writing short stories is brief. The first one, Connie's Gift, went into an anthology called Rawhide 'n Roses. It came through someone suggesting it and my thinking-- hey, I've never done that before. My second short story was called Curlie's Lesson for a friend's summer project. Although I've written some novellas, no more short stories. I liked the idea of being involved in one about Christmas, especially with all its profits going to a good cause.
To start, I needed a setting. For those of you not in Oregon, you may not know that Oregon has a beautiful mountain range called the [Blue Mountains]. It is a land of tall pine forests, creeks, rivers, ghost towns, ranching, and mineral deposits. I've been there, camping and driving through, many times. It is beautiful country and now has large tracts preserved as wilderness. It is a place where for awhile a surprising number of people lived, as mining communities would grow up overnight and often disappear just about as fast. In this blog, I wrote about one of our trips through it in 2007-- [Mountain Islands]. If I was to set this story in Oregon, this was the perfect place. I also decided early on I didn't want it to be a romance but about family, sharing, and healing.
There are three characters (not counting animals), with two from the fourth Oregon historical, Love Waits. That novel has a number of children as secondary characters with two pretty significant. If you write a series, following a family, where characters marry, have babies, those babies grow up, people age, and some die, it's a lot like our lives for how it goes. Since the fourth Oregon historical romance was set in 1867, that has left a lot of western life for the next generation to explore.
Blue Mountains Christmas is set in 1880 in a small cabin near a fictional mining town. Although there are some great ghost towns (or nearly ghost towns) still in the Blues, I went for fictional, since there was no time for researching what the others would've been like in 1880.
That Saturday, I wrote almost 4000 words (easy to go over) as a stand-alone story. It doesn't require reading Love Waits; and even though there might be a future book involving these characters, there might not be. After editing it multiple times, I submitted the story the next morning. Along with over twenty other authors, from several genres, Blue Mountains Christmas is in
For anyone who has Kindles Unlimited, it's also available to borrow there.
To have the challenge of writing a short story, to spend a Saturday again in the Blue Mountains, when I am a long way from there, and then to be part of a project intended to help others-- this was a win/win for me. If you like short stories, give this one a try and at the same time be contributing to a worthy charity. If you click on its link, you will find more about the charity.