What makes it a holiday novella? Is there like a type?”Kelly
Believe it or not, there are some unofficial criteria for a holiday novella. You won’t find it spelled out anywhere, but if you say “holiday novella,” most commercial authors will immediately know what you mean.
It’s a short work of between 20,000-39,000. At 40,000 it technically becomes a short novel. The holiday novella usually has a holiday in it, for US, typically Christmas or Thanksgiving, and has themes of reconnecting with friends and family. It’s often sentimental and it packs an emotional punch, but it’s ultimately designed to be uplifting. You should feel better after reading it.
I had proposed a different holiday novella prior to us writing the Sweep With Me. I was told by both Gordon and Jeaniene Frost that child murder was not an appropriate topic for the holiday novella.
Anyway, I was like, dark gods and murder, and they were like you lost your mind. In retrospect, they were right. Here is the start of the never to be failed holiday novella for your enjoyment.
The endless steppe stretched in front of him under a moonlit sky. Tall dark stalks of kovyl, the feather grass, reached to his thighs. In the distance, black clouds churned, lying low on the grass, a supernatural darkness, cold and alive. It had no eyes, but it stared at him all the same, impatient.
A gust of wind came. The kovyl bent, the silvery feathers of its flowers and leaves shivering in the wind. Waves rolled across the grass ocean.
He picked up his black robe and walked through grasses to the darkness…
A woman’s voice fought through his dream. Someone shook his shoulder.
His eyes snapped open. A woman leaned into his view, her big blue eyes open wide. Her red hair, put away into a slick bun the night before, stuck out around her head in lose curves. He rather liked it messy, he decided.
“Someone’s in the house,” she hissed. “I heard a noise.”
His head hurt. Getting out of the soft, warm blanket and looking for the source of the noise was absolutely the last thing he wanted to do right this second.
“Let them be,” Roman muttered, sinking back into the drowsiness.
“Okay, okay.” He sat up and swung his legs out of the blanket. Cold bit at his naked flesh and he shivered. The magic was up, which meant the furnace had no power. He’d left a fire burning in the fireplace, but it must’ve died down during the night. One of the drawbacks of the magic waves among many. Oh, so many.
Something banged in the kitchen.
Behind him Layla gasped.
He crossed the bedroom to the doorway. He didn’t bother with feylanterns. There was no need. His vision was as good in darkness as it was in daylight, and even if it hadn’t been, he’d memorized the contours of the house a long time ago. He could walk around his home blindfolded and never bump a single thing.
Another noise, a ceramic clink of one plate on another.
A cold draft iced his back, and he jerked in response, shivered, and walked into the kitchen. Moon shone through the window, sending gauzy light at the U-shaped arrangement of cabinets. He never understood the need to fill each horizontal surface, and the black granite countertops gleamed slightly in the moonlight, mostly bare. The dirty dishes in the sink were an eye sore. He would’ve washed them last night, but Layla had interesting ideas about the rest of the evening, and he’d decided they were worth exploring.
A dry staccato of claws clicked on the wood. He spun right, following the sound. A small dark shape darted to the left.
Behind him the window banged, and a fresh gust of icy wind lashed his bare back. Well, that explained it.
He sighed, closed the window, and latched it shut.
Claws scurried behind him. A cabinet door thudded.
He’d had a hard week. All he wanted was a quiet weekend, a good meal, sex, and ten hours of sleep to catch up on all the downtime he’d been missing. He would’ve settled for eight hours. Hell, even six.
He pulled a little bowl out of a cabinet, opened the refrigerator, took out a jug of milk, and poured some into the bowl.