Dear Santa, here’s my Christmas list,
It’s just about that time,
And as an Indie writer
Thought I’d submit mine in rhyme.
I know you’re overworking
And your mailbox must be full,
So maybe a poetic list
Might have that extra ‘pull’?
I’d like to say that I’ve been good,
But that’s not up to me…
So could I have some nice reviews…
Some stars to top the tree?
I know it’s not that simple
As folks have to read them first,
And lugging all those books around
For you must be the worst!
So maybe you’d get Amazon
To do the decent thing…
Delivering the books for you…
Think of the joy they’d bring!
You wouldn’t have to carry them
Or break poor Rudolph’s back
With all those heavy volumes
That you’re hauling in that sack!
My third request of course you know;
To bring a little cheer…
Could you arrange that everyone
Gives Indie books this year?
Would it be too much trouble
If a few of them were mine?
(I won’t forget the usual…
The mince pies and the wine…)
But while we’re on the subject
Think of other Indies too…
The artists and musicians
And the illustrators who
All work with so much passion
In the small hours of the night
To share their own creations
And bring their art to light.
So many Indie artists
Working hard to share their vision!
It would be nice if you could
See your way to make provision…
So Santa dear, if we have earned
A crumb of approbation
Please fill your sleigh this Christmas
With Indie imagination.
And Then We Were Eleven (or The Eleventh Day of Christmas?)
Betsy and Deborah Jay
Hi everyone, and thank you Ani for inviting us to be a part of your Advent Calendar.
My name is Besty, and I’m very excited about Christmas this year with my new big family. Last year I was in what I thought was my furever home, but when that funny stay-at-home thing happened in March, my mini-mum, who doesn’t cope well with changes in routine, had a bit of a meltdown, and then naturally so did I – I couldn’t stop barking!
And so, I came to stay at this new house – until things went back to normal, you understand – with this exciting big pack, and I fitted in so well and was so happy all my two-legs parents agreed it would be best if I stayed permanently. My mini-mum comes to visit sometimes, which is awesome, and I still love seeing her, but my new home definitely suits me best.
The garden is HUGE, it goes all around the house, so we use it as a race track. Sometimes we collide with each other, or even one of our two legs mums. I can’t repeat their language in polite company, especially when we knock one of them down, but hey, they really shouldn’t stand in the way, should they? Or are they playing skittles?
We also get to run in the forest on miles and miles of tracks. Sometimes one of my sisters, Karis, is very naughty and goes hunting (lots of deer in the Scottish Highlands), and we have to wait at the car for her to return, which she always does. Eventually.
Most of us speak with Spanish accents, although Ben the Collie has a broad Scottish twang. We all have tales of horror from our youth that we’d like to forget, but sometimes that’s difficult, though we never cease with our happy wagging about where we live now. Apparently, Ben started the rehoming trend – before that, our two legs bred dogs for other people before they saw the error of their ways.
Ben was a birthday present for a teenager. I’m sure she didn’t mean to, but she would often go out and forget about him, leaving him in his crate for hours, and sometimes forget to feed him as well. He came here as a foster dog, but every time they tried to rehome him, he would misbehave and come back. It took a while for the two legs to understand he wanted to stay – they can be a bit slow at times – but in the end they got the idea.
Our Annie came next. She’d been pulled out from under a car in Spain where someone had tossed her at 3 weeks old, to dispose of her. I don’t understand it, how can any two legs feel it’s okay to do that? There’s no doubt Annie can be a little – odd? – at times, but I guess that early trauma shaped her a bit off kilter.
Annie has been joined by other Podencos Karis and Dyson (who can hoover up anything almost before it hits the floor). Then there are the wee ones: the little white dudes Darcy, who is a Japanese Spitz, (without the Japanese accent!), and Toby terrier who has nightmares and wakes up biting if you startle him, which I try to avoid! Finally, blind Lola (cocker spaniel who used to bite, but now can’t see to aim her teeth so she’s a lot safer!) and Aise (Labrador cross. Probably).
You see how many siblings I have to play with? Apparently, they are all misfits that no other two legs would take, but ours love us just fine.
The others tell me Christmas will bring lots of food – I’m a Galgo (Spanish greyhound) and I’m always hungry, so I can’t wait! – and lots of time snuggled with our two legs beside the fire. I might just have to be careful where I poke my very long nose as it can get me in trouble, especially as it reaches right to the back of the kitchen work surfaces. I might have had a few extra meals that way. My two legs’s call it my probos-kiss, I think that’s right???
Oh, and I mustn’t forget our extra holiday guests – Corrie and Lola 2 – whose mummy and daddy have parted company and can’t keep them anymore. Everyone is hoping their mummy will get a new home where they will be allowed to go live with her, but for the moment they are staying with us. So that makes for eleven of us temporarily.
We shall see…
About the author
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Fortunate enough to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.
She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.
A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, due out in 2021.
Her first urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, about a Scottish water sprite, is the opening novel of the CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES. The companion short story, SPRITE NIGHT is available FREE on most ebook retailers.
Find and follow Deborah
Books by Deborah Jay
Click the images or titles to go to Amazon
The Prince’s Man (The Five Kingdoms Book 1)
Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’
Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.
And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.
Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.
They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.
For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.
Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.
The Prince’s Son: The Five Kingdoms: Book Two
This epic fantasy can be read as a stand alone story.
Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.
Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.
And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.
Desprite Measures (The Caledonian Sprite Series Book 1)
On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.
Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.
Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.
She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?
And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.
So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?
Sprite Night: A Caledonian Sprite Short Story (The Caledonian Sprite Series)
Discover a unique eco-urban fantasy with a touch of romance.
When Scottish water sprite, Cassie, volunteers for an anti-fracking protest, the last thing she expects is to find herself at odds with a druid. But with time running out for the local environment, she can’t afford to be distracted by the handsome hunk of a Highlander.
Intent on a minor act of sabotage, Cassie is totally unprepared to be caught in the cross-fire of a magical battle. Can she avert catastrophe? Or will she become the very agency of an ecological disaster?
A Caledonian Sprite short story.
THE WORLD AND THE STARS: Dazzling Science Fiction and Fantasy
Twenty-four of the most exciting voices in genre fiction bring you the world and the stars, each in their own individual way.
Stories that explore the vast grandeur of the universe, worlds close to us, worlds far in the distance. Alternate Earths, colonies in the sky, engineered worlds, mystical battlegrounds, pirate seas, underground caverns, journeys in time and across the stars.
In ONDRALUME (Tanith Lee) two sisters, Ondain and Unniet, plead with the gods to bring rain to their parched and dying land. But can their sacrifice save their people? The answer might come from another world, or from the stars.
In SUBSTITUTES, (Colin P. Davies) offworlders have come to Earth, and Melinda and her Dad are on the run. She sees patterns everywhere, in the stars or in the bubbling water of a stream — but what does this signify, and where will it lead?
GLITTERING SPIRES (Elizabeth Counihan) merges Science Fantasy and Austen sensibilities to playful effect. A young princess might well have to navigate not just the mores of her society, but also the wild, fabulous rogues and creatures that inhabit her world.
In THE BATTERY CAVERNS, (Nigel Brown) Jak is a member of a clan living within the labyrinthine tunnels of his ‘world’. Conditions are worsening, and fearsome raiding parties from other clans are scavenging for the precious battery pods. To survive, Jak must learn the true nature of his environment, and the cause of the seismic tremors that threaten to tear it apart.
In DUSKING, (Liz Williams) a young girl, Emily, longs to escape the watchful gaze of her aunt. But if she goes out into the woodland at night, to see what can be captured there, she might find something darker and more primal than she bargained for.
GOLTY’S BURROW (Paul Laville) is found on an engineered world that has suffered through a technology Armageddon. Races clash in the ruins, fighting for survival. An evolutionary stalemate needs to be broken if things are to change. But as Lorni and her twin, Prilly, discover, everything has a cost.
PERFECT FIT (Deborah Jay) follows a starship travelling to a planet to colonise. But as time passes and resources dwindle, the promised world has not been found. The ‘splicers’ rely on genetech to keep the ship going, but for how long will the inhabitants of the ship tolerate their rule?
In TEN THOUSAND MOONS OF HOWLING, (Gareth Caradoc Owens) the Warchief Olambur stands with his army and priests at the border of the mortal world and the land of the dead, Nuji Giya. To repel the rising dead, Olambur is commanded to give up the Lord of Wits, Din Yirgish. Alliances are forged and battles fought, but in a war between gods and mortals there are bound to be casualties.
THE DISAPPEARED (Sarah Singleton) presents us with Britain preparing for war, with paranoia all around. An invitation to the Blue Cat café might well be an enticing proposition, but a reporter should be careful where his curiosity might lead.
In MICRO EXPRESSIONS, (Stephen Gaskell) a woman asks to cross a border, to pay homage and pray. But is that her true purpose? A decision must be made to grant or deny her passage. Might the first tentative steps towards a better world be there for the taking?
THE COURT OF HIGH RENOWN (Cherith Baldry) takes us to a mysterious enclave, shaped by its Queen and her Court. But is everything within the castle and the surrounding forest as unreal as it seems? And is there anything beyond the fading horizon?
THE RETURN OF ODYSSEUS (Peter T. Garratt) reinterprets the events of Homer’s epic poems to tell a somewhat different tale of Odysseus’ journey, of what happened when he failed to return, and what happened when he did return.
Perhaps the harrowing WE SHELTER (Leigh Kennedy) occurs in the future, or maybe its story is universal and timeless. It is all too easy to imagine that the sick and dying are somehow less than human.
Plus many more…