Best-selling mystery writers have penned some killer holiday stories

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Just as popular singers give their sales a boost by recording Christmas songs and albums, many best-selling authors do the same by using Christmas settings and themes in some of their novels and short stories. The cozy mystery genre has countless examples of these. Cozies go with Christmas like raindrops on roses, and many mystery readers look forward to these releases each year.

But beware! Not all Christmas cozies are created equal. Some of them are so bad that their authors should be on the naughty list. So, in service to readers with discriminating tastes, here are twelve Christmas stories that deserve the Sugarplum Fairy seal of approval. …


Nearly every girl on the cusp of womanhood imagines herself to be special. Whether it’s a fairy bloodline, or a mortal gift that’s hers alone, her dreams are deceptions…

In the midst of WWI, America’s factories were producing weapons of war, but one man stood up for the spirit of imagination

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Erector set ad in The American Boy, 1918 (public domain)

“In the early days of the great war the American public was dazzled and astounded by the public reports of the contracts for enormous quantities of munitions, at unheard-of prices, that were being placed with our manufacturers by the European allies, and it was regarded as quite natural and fitting that European countries…should turn to America, with its reputation for mechanical ingenuity and ability, and its great factories, for assistance.” — Scientific American, December 23, 1916

World War I, the “war to end all wars,” broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, following the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although the United States did not enter the war until almost three years later, American companies were busy filling the growing need for armaments overseas and turning a tidy profit in the process. …

New Year, Knew You

I thought I knew you
Unaware what lurked beneath
The bright reflection of the sky

Your love is narrow, isn’t it?
I failed to see the spite, the beast
You clutched to your breast like a troubled child

As we raised a glass to youth reduced to memories,
Laughing, smiling at recollections shared
Hysterical, heartbreaking, fond
A bond I thought no one could break

And then this year

This year of outrage, anger, and division
Of destruction and death
When truth went into hiding
And people licked up lies like lollipops

I turn my back on it and you and look into the sun
To embrace the better days ahead
And friendships built on shared beliefs instead of old…

Nothing happened this Christmas, thank goodness!

Nobody woke up hungover today because getting drunk is the only way to endure Christmas with Uncle X, Grandma Y, or Cousin Z. A visiting cat didn’t knock one of our favorite ornaments off of the tree, smashing it to smithereens. We avoided pretending to like our coworkers’ loathsome Secret Santa gifts. No one humiliated us by snoring open-mouthed through midnight Mass. Our families are spared jaw-dropping credit card bills due to overspending to impress out-of-town guests. Food servers, actors, and musicians spent Christmas at home for once. Countless arguments, car accidents, and heartbreaks were avoided. And, best of all, if the kids didn’t make it home for the holidays this year, it was because they do care about us. Christmas 2020 had a bright side. …

How often are your artistic decisions based on money?

“I think that any artistic decision that is based on whether or not you are going to make money, it is…

Daily Meditation

There’s no limit to the amount of money you can make if you refuse to burden yourself with principles.


Sometimes, your detours become destinations

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Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

I go into the woods to find a tree for my front yard
To dig up, haul it home, replant, it shouldn’t be that hard
Then there it is the perfect tree; I think my search is done
But now a closer look reveals this cannot be the one
For deep within its branches a bird has built her nest
An old red mitten, sticks, and straw stir something in my breast
I’ll find another tree, I think, and come back in the fall
By then the nest, its owner flown won’t mind me there at all
I will not bring my shovel, but put popcorn garlands round,
Hang apples up and gingerbread, and something to be found
The birds will feast and people peep within the nest and find
An image of the Christ Child that I have left…


Denise Shelton

I write whatever I want, like poetry The New Yorker wouldn’t dare print. Visit me at

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