Tag Archives: AMMC

Tales by The Tree

An eclectic mix of Christmas tales, 
a story for everyone!
I was very privileged to be asked to write for a new Christmas/Holiday Season Anthology. Over 40 authors created 75 Winter tales for the book which donates all of its proceeds to Mount Rose Elementary School library in Reno, Nevada. 
My own copy…
The book is separated into four genres: Family Friendly, Traditional Tales, Holiday Humour and Noel Nightmares, each with their own beautifully illustrated title page. The fantastic cover and interior art, and all formatting was generously donated by Blue Harvest Creative. We, authors, were happy to write for a project celebrating this lovely time of year! 
You’ll find tales to delight children and adults alike, crossing the vast snowy plains, sorry, genres of this season…nativities, fairies, Santa stuck in a chimney, a town buried beneath ice, magic, unicorns, children desperate for Christmas Day, enchanted snowflakes, dragons, good deeds, angels, zombies, stars, invitations to macabre parties…and so much more!  
This book, the perfect accompaniment to Christmas, is available from Amazon in paperback and eBook. It’s ideal to dip into, read aloud in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter night, or enjoy anytime, anywhere!
Welcome to Tales by the Tree, a collection of holiday stories brought to you by a group of authors whose imagination knows no bounds. No matter how you enjoy your holidays, our collection features something for everyone. Included are Traditional Tales, Family Friendly, Holiday Humor, and Noel Nightmares.  

Grab a cup of cocoa and settle in for a long winter’s night with Tales by The Tree, an amazing way to discover new talented authors, many of whom are published and can be found on Amazon.

Tales by The Tree amazon.co.uk

Tales by The Tree amazon.com 

AMMC: The Little Mouse

My third and final tale for AMMC, a Christmas Anthology.

Genre: Traditional/Religious
Author: Lisa Shambrook
eBook: Yes
Dedication: To all who dream and believe…
The Little Mouse
Food was scarce, and the little mouse scampered hurriedly across the straw avoiding hooves and scavenging poultry. A chicken screeched in his ear and he skidded aside, ducking quickly beneath the manger’s wooden leg. He dragged a fresh piece of barley caught between his teeth and a couple of lost grains filled his swollen cheeks.
He peered out from behind the manger, chaos had broken out over the last few weeks and finding food had become a chore. His home was overrun with creatures of all kinds and his daily route for food was constantly obstructed.
His bright, black eyes stared with disbelief as yet more shouting rang out as another crude shelter was erected outside the livestock caves. A rough-hewn branch crashed down, its hollow thud resounding through the bedlam as it bounced and rolled. More yells and hasty footsteps followed before the makeshift roof was assembled, roped together above the temporary pens. He watched as more sheep and goats were crammed into the pens, and chickens flapped their irritated wings throwing dust into his eyes.  He retreated into the pungent, dank straw, longing for peace and quiet.
The little mouse awoke from his nap as light began to fade and streaks of red filled the sky. He noted with relief that the busy footfall had diminished moving into the streets rather than the livestock stalls. Music and chat poured from the buildings and the sounds and the spices of evening meals curled up into the sky, along with spirals of smoke and fire, but it was quiet in his little neighbourhood. The chickens slept, roosting upon beams and clustered in corners, the sheep cried out every now and then, and the goats had fallen silent. The donkeys in the stalls brayed softly, but these were familiar noises and the little mouse was calm.
As darkness fell, the little mouse scurried to and fro collecting food and grains, and preparing for night.
His tranquillity was rudely interrupted by footsteps, tired voices and the weary drag of hooves on the dusty ground outside, and he scuttled back to his hole.
He squinted in annoyance as a donkey clumsily stepped into the cave and a woman slipped off, steadied by the man at her side. Another man dropped the donkey’s rope, spoke quickly, and handed them an oil lamp before disappearing, leaving the couple alone in the dark stable. The lamp flickered, throwing dancing beams across the shadows and the man helped his wife settle into the straw. He dropped down beside her and wiped away the dust-stained tear that rolled down her cheek. A sheep bleated as a chill breeze wafted in and the man took his weeping wife with her swollen belly into his arms. Her soft moans echoed and the mouse withdrew.
It was very dark when the mouse woke again and moonlight tried to gain entry through the front of the cave. The little mouse ventured out, scampering across the floor, but was stopped by the sudden cry that echoed in the gloom. He lifted his head and rose onto his hind legs, and stared into the shadows. The cry wasn’t a lamb’s mewling call, or the soft bray of a donkey, or even a goat’s bleat, and the chickens were quiet…it was an unfamiliar cry and he stared harder.
Lit only by glimmering lamp light, the corner threw oddly shaped shadows as the couple quickly wrapped a parcel in their arms. The mouse crept closer, every fibre of his tiny being both fascinated and fearful of the soft cries that emanated through the night. At the foot of the couple, the mouse stopped and gazed, and as he beheld, so did every other animal in the cave.
The young mother wiped tears from her face with her threadbare sleeve and kissed her newborn, and the little mouse climbed up onto the man’s scruffy, leather sandal. The little mouse could not take his eyes off the tiny babe and leaned closer. The man felt the scratch of tiny claws on his raw, weary feet and glanced down. He moved his hand and the mouse flinched, but the man took the mouse in his large, rough hand and brought him up, cradling the tiny creature against his chest. His heart thudded and he whispered softly, “And his name shall be Jesus, and you, little mouse, shall be the first to see him…”
The little mouse relaxed and peeped over the man’s fingers, gazing in fascination and curiosity.
The noise from the late night streets had subsided, and from the fields round about came an altogether different refrain. His large ears heard music vibrating in the air, strains of glory and joy, and shivers reverberated through the little mouse.
A glinting moonbeam sought out the child in its mother’s arms and cast a halo around the babe, and the little mouse remained serene as the new dawn arrived…
(819 Words)

AMMC: The Star Shone Brightly

My second Christmas tale for AMMC:

Photograph and painting by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use)
Genre: Traditional/Religious
Author: Lisa Shambrook
eBook: Yes
Dedication: With love to all who learn they can and should shine brightly…
The Star Shone Brightly
Orion stretched languidly across the sky, winking at Danica or anyone else who might be admiring him, as he adjusted his sword and hitched his belt. Danica’s eyes darted away as her luminosity flared in sudden embarrassment. She curled her lip and her shimmer dulled as she slouched in melancholy.
Far below, the earth all green and blue, slowly spun, swathed in cotton-wool clouds, and Danica sighed. She was surrounded by twinkling stars, huge constellations of them, but she felt invisible.
She didn’t stretch across the night like Orion, was nobody’s first point of reference like the North Star, and didn’t hang glittering like the Southern Cross. She had no vast reach like the Great Bear and failed to shine like Sirius.
Danica’s gleam dulled and her sparkle was lost. The only thing that glistened was the tear that rolled down her cheek.
She didn’t notice the kerfuffle that arose with the entrance of Virgo.  She just moped behind Little Bear, until Little Bear whispered excitedly. “Virgo’s looking for a new star…Spica and her sisters are exploring the Galaxy!”
“What for?” asked Danica, peering forward as glitter erupted in showers across the sky.
Little Bear shrugged. “They’re not saying…”
Danica eased slowly out of her hiding place and strained her ears to listen.
“I’ll go,” boomed Orion, “I’m courageous and I’ll mark your place for you!”
“We’re good!” chorused Castor and Pollux, “Two for the price of one!”
Below them Draco roared. “If you want a real star…”
Spica twirled, shimmering in her sapphire robes, and shook her head. “It won’t work, you’re all too recognisable. No Hercules, it’s just not going to happen! We don’t need arrogance; we need humility, something new…”
Spica and her sisters sparkled and dazzled Danica as they swept across the blanket of indigo, dancing in and out of constellations, leaving a trail of glitter and restlessness in their wake. Danica stared after them, watching their effervescent cascade with eyes of envy.
The heavens stretched far and wide and the little star gazed as Virgo searched, hunting out the lesser known stars. She had no grand ideas and tucked herself back behind Little Bear, out of the way.
“I wonder what they’re looking for then?” wondered Little Bear, “Something new, something new’s happening. Look Danica, they’re coming back this way…you should show yourself…”
“I can’t,” protested the little star, “I’m nothing.”
Virgo swooped past Cassiopeia and as Spica swung by she noticed Little Bear kick a little star from behind him. Spica turned her head, sprinkling sparks as she came to a stop, and the little star tumbled down towards her. Danica sprawled before the beauty and her cheeks flushed again with hot, white light. She crawled backwards whilst offering apologies, until Spica leaned down and smiled. “And who are you?” she asked.
Danica gulped, her iridescence dancing in an aura of pure light. “I’m no one,” she whispered.
“No one?” Spica smiled softly, “You’re not no one, you’re the one we’re looking for.”
Little Bear grinned as his shy friend straightened her sparkling skirts and stared in wonder at the majestic constellation surrounding her. The sisters gathered Danica in their celestial arms and swept her off her feet.  “You’re the one,” Spica whispered in her ear, “the one who can change the world. Now hurry away with us.”
Several days later, a new star hung in the sky dressed in lustrous shimmering robes, only she wasn’t a new star and she didn’t have any new clothes. Danica sparkled and scintillated lighting a dark, inky sky, and three wise travellers used instruments to plot and follow her glowing trail. Whilst they journeyed, she shone with effulgence and guided both angels and shepherds, and glistened with everything she’d got, as a newborn cry rose from the stable heralding change in the world below.
And all around stars twinkled and gleamed, but none shone as brightly and as joyfully as she.
(654 Words)

AMMC: Winter Hope

This is for AMMC a Christmas Anthology set up by Laura, Missy and Nick.

Winter Hope © Lisa Shambrook

Winter Hope

Gossamer threads hung, decorated with frozen diamonds, and beneath the lacy webs Winter rested her head on the stony floor. Swirls of vapour rose from her nostrils and tiny blue flames licked across her tongue. She sighed.

An amber glow suffused the sky with light, banishing the indigo skyline over the horizon, and the vista smouldered beneath an ethereal haze. Snow clothed the valleys, and ice clung to every rock and ridge. Icing-sugared trees blended the woods together, evergreens bathed in a blanket of white and leafless trees stood dipped in sherbet. A cotton-wool carpet covered the grass before the cave and red berries shone like rubies peeping through earth’s crystal mantle. Lakes shone like glass, and early-rising village folk danced across the sheets of ice.

Winter yawned…


This is a preview to the story that can be found within A Symphony of Dragons. It has become one part of my symphony, a composition, of A Symphony of Seasons… You can find this enchanting book of short stories in many outlets in both paperback and eBook or at my publisher BHC Press.

Read previews to Spring’s and Autumn’s tales: Spring Symphony and Autumn Flame.