Written Fireside is a round robin style written, short story feature based on the campfire game where one person starts a story then passes it on to the next person gathered by the fire to continue.

For each story I write part 1, then each participating author (a Fire Writer) adds a part in turn.

Dec 25, 2014

Naughty or Nice? Threes... Zara Stoneley

This Christmas enjoy how each author creates a unique tale from the same starting sentences written by

Georgia Beyers
the author of 
can be followed online 

fifteenth in the anthology is

Zara Stoneley

fellow Harper Impulse author 
and a Fire Writer for Written Fireside

Check out her Fire Writer Friday 
and First Fight Friday interviews.


Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely “nice”. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so “naughty” seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon. – Georgia Beyers

Seriously though, naughty or nice, she seemed to be hurtling headlong towards the obligatory three bits of bad luck. Why did it have to come in threes? And why now, when she really could do with a bit of festive encouragement? Actually, thinking about it, luck was a bit like buses, all or nothing, and right now her bad luck was piling up like a road block and the buses, well… there was a distinct lack of anything big, red and warm.

She glanced down at her watch, for the umpteenth time, if one didn’t come soon she’d be shattering (well shattering might be a bit on the strong side, severely denting more like) more than one little heart, and she’d actually BE blue, not just feeling it. 

Although not as blue as Daniel. Poor, poor Daniel. No festive cheer for him. He was the first bit of bad luck, if you could call it that, some might call it clever engineering. And talking of engineering (or should that be mechanics?) black cloud two on her horizon was her car. For the first time in like ever, their whole entire relationship, it had spluttered as though it had swallowed something down the wrong way, and then given up the ghost altogether. Which did just about sum up her past relationships (the human, not mechanical ones). The one with her car had probably been as good as it got. 

Maybe it was enough that her car had broken down just when she needed it most, leaving her waiting for a bus in the freezing cold. Maybe Santa could strike the Daniel thing off the list and call it quits – which left her in the good camp didn’t it? Well evens, because apparently the kitten wasn’t actually a stray. Long story, but hey she’d tried. And didn’t they say it was the trying that mattered? And it had been attempted rescue, she had climbed up the tree even if she’d missed the fact that the darn thing had decided a suicidal scramble down the other side was a better bet than being saved by her. 

Okay, so that left it about evens. Clean slate, hello Santa. Or maybe the third bit of bad luck would be no bus, and a lot of un-festive bad temper and maybe even tears. 

And the whole Daniel thing wasn’t really her fault anyway. Oh, why wasn’t life ever simple?

Copyright © Zara Stoneley

Read the rest of Threes... plus fourteen more short Christmas stories for free right now. 

Zara's bio: 

I’ve been writing stories for just about as long as I’ve been reading them – it’s rumoured that I’m related to Elizabeth Gaskell, so maybe it’s in the genes!

I live in a country cottage in the UK with a naughty mouse catching, curtain climbing cat, my wonderful guitar playing, video making, Minecraft mad teenage son and a wine drinking, sun loving, master chef in the making, sexy alpha hero.

I love my family, sexy high heels, sunshine, wine, good food, cats, horses, dogs, music, coffee, writing and reading – but not necessarily in that order! And I like my heroes just how I like my coffee – hot, strong and moreish.

Zara is the author of

Follow Zara Stoneley online

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