Contemporary Fiction Author, Infrequent Blogger & Retired Clown

The Inaugural Post

Welcome! I’m excited to launch this blog because (I hope) it’s going to bring me one step closer to my dream. Since the tender age of eight, I have had two passionate, lifelong dreams:

(1) Go to Florida State
(2) Be a writer

I achieved the first in 2003, spent five years enjoying every moment of it, and now I’ve found myself back at square one with two degrees in gorgeous frames on the floor of my closet in my parents’ house. Regretfully, it took me two months at home to move past my bitterness on the job front and realize that I have been presented with the perfect opportunity to re-visit dream #2.

So here we are.

After great internal debate, I’ve decided to make my first full-length undertaking a humorous Christmas tale with a serious undertone. The characters in this story first started coming to me a few years ago out of a selfish need for a good Christmas story. Every year, I trek off to the bookstore in search of a good holiday book to get me in the mood. And every year, I find myself mostly disappointed.

With few exceptions, it seems that most Christmas fall into two categories: romance or sappy. The romance novels always involve seductive single dads, bear-skin rugs and roaring fires (which has its appeals), but it’s generally not my cup of tea. The sappy novels, on the otherhand, always involve multiple boxes of tissues, homeless people, sad children and The True Meaning of Christmas.

Obviously there is a contingent of folks who enjoy those type of books, but I’m banking on the notion that I’m not the only person out there who does not find an interest in either of those subjects.

And so I came up with the Hamilton-Bailey-Flowers-Danforth family of St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest city. Their story goes something like this:

Our story begins inside an interrogation room at Jacksonville International Airport on Christmas Eve, where twenty-three year-old Bailey Hamilton has found herself in handcuffs for the second time in less than four days. Now she has to convince “Big” Tony the Security Guard to let her get back to Boston before she loses what tiny shreds of her sanity are left.

With no other option, Bailey begins the two, intertwining tales that have brought her to this point. The first, is the overall story of how her family–four grandparents, two parents, two (almost three) stepparents, two whole siblings, four stepsiblings, four half-siblings and one adopted African brother–became the motley crew they are today. The second, is the shorter tale of what’s happened to her in the last four days–from decking an old man in a Santa suit to burning down a hujta to being booed off a Christmas parade float, and everything in between.

Although there may be a few kernels of truth in this crazy tale, I can assure you that my family (although non-conventional) is not the real-life version of this modern American family unit. But I have come to love these characters for all their faults and idiosyncrasies and I hope you will to.

So read along as I post chapters (and revisions of chapters, most likely) and slowly pull this story together.

Thanks and enjoy!
– Shannon

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