December Lights – Free Online Short Stories

Several authors have kindly put together an online anthology of charming, magical stories to keep us entertained and warm through the month of December. They include Jaclyn Dolamore, whose YA debut novel I wrote about earlier this year, Patrick Samphire, Stephanie Burgis and several others. Stories will be added through the end of the month, so be sure to check the site later to find new choices.

Jane. A Story of Manners, Magic, and Romance, by Sarah Prineas is about a spinster lady who wants to be left alone. She lives on a country estate with her uncle. He adores magic and she hates warlocks, which leads to difficulties as he seems to have his heart set on marrying her off to a magical dude. In turn Jane tries to hang back on the estate where she's relatively safe but a big change may be in the elemental wind when she and her uncle head to Thameside College for a dedication ceremony.

The Frog King, by Patrick Samphire is a super cute twist on the Frog Prince. It's told from the point of view of the frog, who has been waiting for his princess for long enough to run into some big snags. What do you do when nobody wants to kiss you and the person who turned you into a frog passed away?

The Band of Gold, by Maurissa Guibord takes a look at legends like the sword in the stone. A king wants to add to his kingdom but in order to do so he has to pass a test and prove his worth in the time honored way. This is another cute story with an ending that made me smile.

Queen of the Kitchen, by Karen Healey is a story I'd read before, possibly last Christmas? It was originally published on Ms. Healey's website as a gift to her readers. This story mixes a fancy recipe, fairies, a grumpy teen and a useful talent. End result – a delightful story with a surprise after the story ends. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the page.

Undead Philosophy 101, by Stephanie Burgis is about a student from the boonies of Michigan who is trying to keep her ultra annoying roommate from being turned into a vampire servant. Everyone else on campus seems to completely ignore the signs and symptoms of vampires existing right in their midst, which makes the whole thing even more annoying. But most annoying of all is the man she enlists to help her in her quest.

The Glass Slipper, by Sherwood Smith is a very short story that stresses the importance of making the right wish. I liked that the young characters in this story are thoughtful and have done their research.

The Grim Reaper's Christmas, by Jaclyn Dolamore is about what happens when Anubis asks Santa for a day off. He wants one day, Christmas, when nobody dies. Unfortunately he doesn't put the thought into his wish that the kids in Glass Slipper do and there are repercussions.

The Changeling, by Tracy Lynn is a story that I found deeply disturbing. Obviously it's about a changeling but it's not your traditional changeling story. Only a teen that is on a family visit against her wishes is able or willing to admit that her parents' friends are harboring a changeling. She isn't quite sure what to do with this information. I may have found this story so disturbing because it brought up some old feelings about a friend of my sister's who was brought up by a mother who claimed he was a changeling. She constantly threatened him with eggshell boiling and snuck religious artifacts into his bedroom to freak him out. I get the shivers just thinking about it.

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Why? who wrote in to say, "Caprica, Terriers and Stargate Universe were all cancelled. Dancing With the Fake Stars and Losing Weight for Dummies are both doing great. Does this make any sense?" Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at