Crafting With Gladness: Christmas Paper Chains

It’s Christmas Craft Day on Gazette665. We’re continuing with projects related to short stories in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection. The first craft of December 3, 2016, features decorations mentioned in the California Rancho story.Christmas Paper ChainFive-year-old Margarite laughed at Barbara’s distracted attempts to finish the long paper chains to hang around the windows. (From “A Light In The Window” in With Gladness, page 41) Continue reading

With Gladness: Civil War Christmas

with-gladness-coverYes, With Gladness has a short story set in the American Civil War. Someday it will happen: I’ll write publish a book that doesn’t have a tie to the 1860’s. But it hasn’t happened yet, and probably won’t in the near future.

“The Christmas Sermon” pays tribute to the chaplains during the conflict and their role of serving and preaching to the soldiers in camps, on battlefields, and in hospitals. The main character is young and still learning his role as a minister, but his role highlights the dedication of faithful preachers during this era.

I don’t like to “play favorites” with my stories and writing, but “The Christmas Sermon” is consistently one that I enjoy reading. Today, I’m pleased to share some historical details and background from the story. Continue reading

With Gladness: California Ranchos


California is my native state. I was born, raised, and still live here. It’s sort of ironic that the focus of my history studies are on places, events, and people thousands of miles away…especially when I have such wonderful history “in my own backyard.” What can I say?

Truly, I appreciate and enjoy California history, so when I was planning the short stories to write and feature in With Gladness, I knew I wanted one of the stories to be set on a California Rancho. The “classic era” of the California Ranchos was during the 1820’s and 1830’s, but I set the story in 1848. Why? It was a time of conflict and change.

Today’s blog post explores more of the history behind the short story “A Light In The Window.” Continue reading

With Gladness: Trail of Tears

with-gladness-coverTrail of Tears. How did this historical topic with such a sad sounding name make it in a Christmas story collection entitled With Gladness?

Well, I always write the stories I want to read. Trail of Tears is a dark moment in American history and the people who endured the hardships and injustices and worked to rebuild their lives in a new land. There’s just something courage-inspiring in that history. And it’s overlook, smoothed over, or politicized too often.

I didn’t write the story to emphasize the political conflicts, broken promises, and injustices. There’s actually a lot of faith and hope in the story. However, because the short story focuses on the characters and their situation, it leaves out a lot of historical background. We’ll try to fill in some of the historical details in tonight’s blog post. Continue reading