The anthology is available now, in all the usual places. Note, however, that it’s a special edition, available for only two months (until the end of January, so if you want it, even if you won’t have time to read it until after the holidays, get it now!), and only in digital format. If it were in paper, it would be something like a thousand pages, and the cost would be prohibitive. This way, you get 19 stories, short enough to read in the little snatches of time, maybe while waiting in line somewhere, for less than two bucks!
You want an excerpt? I thought you’d never ask.
A (GINGERBREAD) DIORAMA OF DEATH
Helen Binney refused to be afraid of winter.
She might look frail, but that was just because of her short height, small bone structure and the cane she needed because of some lupus-related joint damage. She was tougher than she looked, and she wasn’t ready to give up the activities she enjoyed, simply because of a cold spell.
“Seriously,” her visiting nurse, Rebecca Grainger said as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff around Helen’s arm. The redheaded Rebecca was only a couple inches taller than Helen, and twenty years younger, but worry lines were already etched into her forehead. She was shy and quiet, except when she thought a patient was doing something dangerous. Then, she could be implacable. “You’ve got to bundle up before you go outside. More people die in the winter than any other time of year, and the risk increases as you age.”
“I’m only forty-six,” Helen said. “Barely. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I’m not going to suddenly drop dead from a little chill in the air.”
“It’s not just a little. This December is already the coldest on record. Pipes are bursting everywhere, school’s been closed due to the risk of kids getting hypothermia waiting for the bus, and even lower temperatures are expected over the next few days.”
“I’m just going to the nursing home and back.” Her usual driver, Jack Clary, was too busy to take her anywhere these days, while he filled the Christmas orders for his clay figures, but he’d found a couple of back-up drivers who met his exacting standards. They’d be here in about half an hour to take her to the nursing home, where she would be judging a gingerbread house contest. Assuming she could convince Rebecca the brief trip wouldn’t kill her. “That place is always overheated, and I’m sure the car will be fully warmed up before I get into it.”
“You still need to bundle up,” Rebecca said. “Blood changes with exposure to cold. It gets thicker, more concentrated. Almost half of the excess winter deaths each year are due to a clot in the heart.”
“I don’t have a heart condition,” Helen said. “Or a heart, if you ask my nieces.”
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