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Charlie's Christmas Carole by Diana Stout is a Christmas in July Fete pick #holidayfiction #giveaway



Title: Charlie's Christmas Carole


Author: Diana Stout


Genre: screenplay, family holiday fiction


Book Blurb:


When middle school principal Charlie Dickens must eliminate the Christmas pageant or lose his new job, he struggles with his daughter (Lindy, 10) who just won the lead, the director—his childhood sweetheart, and a magical reindeer he saw as a boy.


Excerpt:


Yards and porches decorated for Halloween: scarecrows, carved pumpkins, ghost hangs from a tree, a cobwebby porch with giant spider.


Ten-year-old LINDY DICKENS sits on the top step, elbows on her knees, chin in hands. Wears jeans, sneakers, T-shirt, oversized jean jacket. Grumpy/sad face.


LINDY

I'm not moving.


Charlie looks at his watch. Looks down the road after the van. Looks at his watch again, anxious, then at Lindy again.


LINDY

I'm not leaving my friends. It's not fair.


His shoulders sag. He's been down this road before.


He sits beside her.


LINDY

Why did Mom have to die?


CHARLIE

She was sick, Honey.


LINDY

So why can't we stay here?


CHARLIE

Because I have a new job.


LINDY

But why the principal of my school? I'll never have any friends.


CHARLIE

We talked about this and decided this together. Change is good for the soul.


LINDY

You sound like a greeting card.


CHARLIE

That's what Mom always said.


Lindy leans toward Charlie, rests her head against his shoulder.

LINDY

I miss her.


Charlie wraps an arm around her and hugs her.


CHARLIE

I know. I do too.


Charlie stands, offers his hand.


Lindy looks at his hand, sighs, then finally puts her hand in his, and rises. Charlie takes one step down, but Lindy stays put.


She lets go and goes into the now empty house. Charlie follows.


INT. HOUSE

Their FOOTSTEPS ECHO in the empty house. They reach the—

INT. KITCHEN


Lindy pauses at the island and runs her hand along the counter-top.


FLASHBACK — INT. KITCHEN — A YEAR AGO

Lindy, and her mother, JEAN enters kitchen, their arms full of groceries. Jean wears jean jacket.


CUT TO:

Lindy and Jean roll dough, cut out Halloween cookies, laughing, talking. Jean dots Lindy's nose with flour.


END FLASHBACK


Lindy sighs and leaves kitchen. Charlie lags behind at the door.


FLASHBACK — INT. KITCHEN — A YEAR AGO

Jean at sink, washes rolling pin and cookie sheets. Charlie comes up from behind, wraps his arms around her waist, then turns her around and kisses her. She smiles at him.


Her eyes turn sad, her smile falters.


JEAN

The doctor called today.


CHARLIE

And?

(beat)

How long?


JEAN

A month... six weeks. At best. There won't be...

(her voice catches)


... another Christmas.


END FLASHBACK

Charlie turns off the lights.


CHARLIE

(whispers)

You almost made it to Christmas last year, Jean.

(beat)

Almost.


EXT. HOUSE — FRONT DOOR

Charlie stands on the sidewalk... waiting.

Lindy's hand on the doorknob, she starts to shut the door, then stops.

Sticks her head inside.


INT. HOUSE

LINDY

(whispering)

Bye house.


(voice shaky)

Bye Mom.

She shuts the door.


O.S. FOOTSTEPS across porch, down stairs. Car doors SLAM. Through the door window, the blurred image of the car as it backs out the drive, then down the road.


INT. CAR

Lindy looks back, her gaze fixed on the house.


Finally, the house and neighborhood disappear. One lone tear trickles down her cheek.


Only then does she face forward, wrapping the jacket tight around her.


Charlie watches her as he drives. He starts to open his mouth to say something, reconsiders. He puts a hand on her leg and pats it.


She stares out the side windows, tears flowing silently. Lindy puts her hand in his and clasps it. He squeezes and she squeezes back.


EXT. CAR

— leaving city limits, entering freeway.


LINDY O.S.

How much farther?


EXT. CAR — LATE NIGHT

— as it pulls into a Kentucky motel parking lot. Charlie carries a sleeping Lindy into the room.


INT. DINER — MORNING

Charlie has shed his jacket and warm clothing for lighter clothing. Lindy still wears jacket. Both study menu.


Waitress places two glasses of water on table.


CHARLIE

I'll have two eggs, scrambled, rye toast, lightly buttered, two strips of bacon, crisp, and grits.


Lindy slowly lowers her menu and peers at Charlie over the top, her face scrunched up.


LINDY

Grits?


CHARLIE

You'll learn to love them.


Lindy shudders violently.


LINDY

I don't think so.

(to the waitress)

I'll have the Belgium waffle. Lots of whipped cream.


INT. DINER

The waitress sets down their food, Lindy's waffle buried under the whipped cream. Lindy is about to take a huge bite of whipped cream.


Charlie holds out a spoon loaded with grits.


CHARLIE

Try it.


LINDY

Do I look stupid? Never!


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):






What I love most about the holiday season:


I love the bright colors, greenery, glowing lights, and a snowy landscape after a new snow, when the world is looking like a snow globe, where big fat snowflakes are floating slowing from the sky.


Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?


Those who have read the script say that it's a Hallmark movie, a Christmas story perfect for cable TV during the holidays.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card:



Open internationally.


Runs July 1 – 31, 2023.


Drawing will be held on August 1, 2023.



Author Biography:


A multi-genre award-winning writer and former English professor, Dr. Diana Stout has placed and won awards in screenwriting, playwriting, poetry, short and long fiction, and various non-fiction categories.


She loves sharing her expertise as a writing coach and presenter. She’s served as an editor, reviewer, columnist, and contest judge for multiple national writing organizations. Traditionally published in the past, today she’s an indie publisher dealing with the crowd of characters who badger her crying, “Write me. Me. Me! Me! It’s my turn!” Additionally, she has three blogs and contributes regularly to the Writers in the Storm blog.


Dr. Diana celebrates her return to creative writing full time as an indie publisher through her company, Sharpened Pencils Productions. Currently, she's finishing her romance novella series, plotting and writing two gothics connected by genealogy and a remote location: one a historic gothic romance, the other a psychological paranormal thriller. Also, she's editing a couple resource books for writers, and editing screenplays for publication. She's published 16 books, including 2 so far this year, with plans for 3-4 more yet this year. So many projects, so little time!


Social Media Links:


Twitter: ScreenWryter13 or https://twitter.com/ScreenWryter13

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