Writing Wins and Woes: Oh, Good Grief!

There is good grief, isn’t there? There is the kind of grief you use to build upon your life. The experience of grief can be helpful when someone else is in need, and you can comfort them because they feel the way you feel. It can be helpful when that grief can be poured out into a sad story. It can be helpful when another person shows you compassion and your relationship grows because of this. I have experience all these things in my grief this year.

But I’m not here to write about that kind of grief. I’m here to share the good grief of Charlie Brown. This is a Christmas blog. How many know the history of a Charlie Brown Christmas? This TV special almost was never made. In fact, it was a fluke that it was made at all. It was the first of many Peanuts movies and specials, almost 50 of them and it has aired on television since 1965.

It actually came after Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi failed in their efforts to get A Boy Named Charlie Brown sold to the networks in 1963. But two years later after Peanuts made the cover of Time magazine, an ad agent for Coke called Mendelson and asked him if he ever thought of making a Peanuts Christmas special. Mendelson lied and said he did. It didn’t take long, though, for him and Charles Shulz to come up with a story, a matter of hours really. The story was a beautiful mixture of a sad Christmas tree, a failed Christmas play, Christmas carols and jazz. The icing on the cake was the wonderful story of the true meaning of Christmas–Jesus’ birth. Unfortunately, this cake topping made it almost unpalatable to TV execs who didn’t want the religious emphasis and this wasn’t even the 2000’s.

Somehow it was made and A Charlie Brown Christmas wowed everybody. It won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and the week it was aired it was #2 in the ratings, right after Bonanza, but is Bonanza still being aired primetime today? Fraid not.

Most of us have never seen the entire Peanuts Christmas special because some of it was edited out for commercials and dislike of content by the advertisers. There is a scene in the original where Lucy throws Linus out of the skating rink into a Coke sign. The tin can blanket whacking was taken out and actually restored for video.

Although it was made in sunny California, Shulz wanted snow in the special because he was from the snowy midwest. The cartoon was made with actual children’s voices except for Snoopy, whose voice was Mendelson himself.

Have a happy Charlie Brown Christmas everybody. I’ll see you in the New Year. 43258-A-Charlie-Brown-Christmas


Writing Wins and Woes: Special Edition

I am blogging twice this week due to the fact that Christmas and New Years are on Fridays and I won’t be blogging again until after that. Woo Hoo! A new year to make some new writing resolutions.

However, this blog is aimed at all you writers out there who want to win some big cash. I am sharing information on the Neoverse Writing Competition which you can enter now. You better enter now because this contest ends December 20. Enter a short story and you could win a $2000 prize! That’s right. I said $2000. There are 20 prizes in all ranging from the highest to the lowest of $100. There is no entry fee involved at all so if you have a great short story that you haven’t submitted somewhere, what could it hurt to try for this contest? Hurry and submit, people! You can’t win unless you enter.

All the info and rules are included in the link I shared. The contest is double blind judging, so don’t include your name in the submission, only in the registration.

Also sharing this fun, Christmas painting by my husband. Ha ha. Your welcome.1599

Writing Wins and Woes: Krampus

1272In honor of the Krampus movie being in theaters right now, and I have to add, I’m looking forward to seeing it, I am including my Krampus story in this edition of my blog. I tried for a contest in Enchanted Conversation with this humorous story and didn’t win some time ago, but I really liked my story and it seems a fun way to share some holiday stuff, which I hope to do all December of my blog. Let’s lighten us a bit!

Interviewing Krampus  By Shari L Klase

Santa lifted his foot with the gouty toe up onto the chair next to him and groaned. He shifted his weight carefully so as to ease the pain. He fiddled with his spectacles and examined the resume. He cleared his throat.
“Of course you realize this job requires quite a lot of deliveries on one night.”
Krampus nodded. His horns clacked together when he bobbed his head. “Yes, yes. I’ve been doing the same routine myself for years. So many nasty children around.”
Santa frowned. “I have a list. There are actually quite a lot of children on the nice list.”
Krampus laughed. He lifted his wine glass to his nose and savored the aroma. Then he drank. “Yeah, I’ll bet those parents paid a pretty penny to get the names of their bratty kids transferred. Not that you’re at fault here, Red, but some of your elves…well, you know what I’m saying.”
Santa took a bite of his Seafood Alfredo. “My elves have always come with the highest of recommendations.”
“Of course they have. Mommies always give their kids high fives, don’t they? And Santa, confidentially, you’ve always been known as an old softie. I think a pair of fresh eyes on that list might be prudent.” Krampus took another gulp of wine and sighed. “This is darn good stuff. All mine comes in a box. Better yet a keg.”
Santa grimaced as he shifted his foot. “The doctor says if I could stay off the rich food, but oh well…What do you have in mind for these children?”
Krampus stroked his chin. “It’s true I beat their butts, but not that hard. No child has ever needed medical intervention. I use softwood, Santa, not hardwood. Sure, they cry out but kids are all about drama. Ask anybody.”
Santa’s toe throbbed. “It’s the stress of the Christmas season. I try to be fair but there are always complaints. We do have a toy shop, you know. The kids expect toys.”
“I’ll throw in some toys. But you don’t really believe kids are all nice, do you? No kid’s 100% nice. Not even 50% nice. If you want fair, give them all a beating, and a consolation prize. That’s what I say.” He took another swig of wine.
“That stuff about you stuffing kids in a sack, that’s not true, is it?” Santa winced.
“What would I want with a sack full of kids? Kids are loud, obnoxious and annoying. A bunch of kids all bawling for their moms? No sir, I got no need for a sack of rotten kids. Beat and run. That’s what I do. Beat and run.”
Santa cleared his throat. “But you’ll deliver the gifts, right? I want to be clear on that.”
Krampus raised a hand. “Waiter! More wine. Yeah, I’ll deliver the goods.”
“No drinking and driving, Krampus.”
“Really? And you’re telling me that red nose and rosy cheeks came from the cold, huh? And what about Rudolf? I’m sure he’s got a snoot full. “Whatever! I’ll try to keep it under the legal limit. I’m pretty sure those reindeer drive themselves. Am I hired or what?”
“You’re hired. Now, where’s that dessert menu?”

Have lots of fun this holiday season!


Writing Wins and Woes: Do you believe in angels?


Sorry for the late posting. This weekend was my anniversary weekend and I spent it exploring a little known gem in my state; Bethlehem, PA which is just perfect for the season. I thought I’d do something a little different this time and post an article that didn’t get published in one of my favorite kids’ magazines, Guardian Angel Kids . This month’s issue was all about angels. The issue is worth a look see, but for whatever reason my article on Guardian Angels was not included and since I put a lot of work into research, I thought: why not include it in my blog. When rejected, publish yourself:  Here it is:

A scene from Bethlehem, PA                          Bethlehem PA                                  Do you have a guardian angel?

By Shari L Klase

A guardian angel is defined as “A spirit that is believed to watch over and protect a person or place.”

So, do you have a guardian angel? Well, many people believe that you do. This belief comes from all kinds of people, religions and the Bible. Matthew 18:10 in the New Living Translation says “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” That sounds like God has assigned an angel to you.

Even Saint Thomas Aquinas said, “From the very moment of birth, man has an angel guardian appointed to him.”

If it is true, as so many believe, that you have a guardian angel, what does your guardian angel do for you? Well, here are some things lots of people believe they do:

1. As the name suggests, they are your life time guardians. From the moment of birth to the end of our lives, they stay with us. Even the ancient Greeks believed in this creed that spirit beings guarded their descendants.

2. Angels protect you. Ancient Mesopotamians looked to guardian spirit beings to help protect them from evil. Even the Koran says “For each  person there are angels in front of him and behind him, who guard him by Allah’s command.”

3. Angels pray for you. It is included in the Catholic Church catechism and Buddhist philosophy that angels listen to people’s prayers and join in with the people who pray.

4. They guide you. In Exodus 32:24 God tells Moses, “My angel will go before you.” and Psalm 91:11 says “God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

5. Angels help you when you’re in need. In Acts chapter 12 an angel helped the Apostle Peter to escape from prison. And in Genesis 19, angels helped Lot and his family escape from Sodom before it was destroyed.

Do we have guardian angels? A lot of people believe we do and many find comfort in the fact that angels are watching over us. When you go to sleep tonight, think about this wonderful prayer.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, thy angels watch me through the night, and keep me safe til morning’s light.”