A Story Within A Story

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September, 2014. I sat at my desk staring at the blank computer screen. Deadline loomed for my Christmas short story, and I couldn’t com

e up with anything new. I was determined to write something different and fresh. I went back to the kitchen to get some coffee and noticed the Arizona Republic still folded on the coffee table. So I put on my glasses, made myself comfortable, and read the paper. Fast forward: Jan D’Atri a local cooking expert was sharing the story of her lost-then-found giant tortoise, Frankie. Apparently Frankie went for an impromptu stroll, first got lost then eventually rescued by Gonzo, another local celebrity. Gonzo, former Major League Baseball outfielder Luis Gonzales, during his weekly radio talk show told his listeners how he ran into the reptile. Neighbor Jan D’Atri happened to be listening, and so we have a happy ending. I don’t know about you, but I found the circumstances fascinating, so much so that suddenly I knew exactly what my Christmas story would be about.

And so I wrote “Christmas in Venice.” A sweet romance with a bit of mystery.

Of course I needed to change the names to protect the innocent and the celebrities alike. Frankie became Matilda. I apologize in advance if Frankie is a boy. I swear, I tried to get the info, but I still don’t know for sure. Matilda’s keeper is now Amanda, and the mysterious rescuer is…well I can’t tell you, or I’ll spoil the ending.

But here is a pic of the real Frankie coming home from the Phoenix Herpetological Society as well as a picture of the lovely cover of the Christmas collection where my story can be found.

My story is #17, and the whole anthology is bargain-priced at only $1.99 until January. After that, no more Cozy Christmas Capers. Get it now. You’ll want to know all about Matilda, the matchmaking tortoise.

Visit my website at www.mariagraziaswan.com  for the links to purchase a Cozy Christmas Caper! 


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