An Office Christmas Carol

The Escapades

by Ainslie Paton

It was the night before we closed for Christmas and all through the cube farm, there was near chaos and threats of bodily harm.

Because despite everything we’d ever been taught, head office had demanded a seasonal report.

They dropped it on us at the last merry moment, when our brains were out the door and our hopes ill-equipped for a festivities postponement.

Instead of drinking egg-nog, and trying to score a nod from the girls at reception, we had our eyes down, tails up and sadly altered perception.

Singing jingle bells one minute and saying bloody hell the next. Bah humbug, I say, to this state of being thoroughly perplexed.

All we could hope for was that accounts got it together and it wasn’t looking good for sunshiny weather.

No one had ever been asked for a seasonal report and it wasn’t something we could…

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Celebrating the Winter Solstice in Summer down under

Danielle de Valera

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it strange celebrating a winter solstice festival in the middle of summer. As Christmas approaches and we swelter here in Australia, praying for rain on Christmas Day so we won’t be bathed in sweat while eating the Christmas dinner, we find ourselves looking longingly at pictures like this.

christmas-roomOh, how we wish …

All’s fine with me, up here on the Far North Coast of New South Wales. To anyone who bought Dropping Out, the collection of linked short stories I put out in early October at I’d like to say thank you.


And so I currently have a little cat fairy tale called “Perversity” going free at: If you’re in the mood for a cat fairy tale, this 700 word story could be for you. The story’s zany illustration (below) was done by my daughter Tara Sariban.



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December Gift Guides: A Little Bit of Magic

The Escapades

by Louise Forster

The trouble with finding that perfect gift for an uncle who only reads the sports pages and political satire cartoons, who loves throwing a steak on the barbecue, with a beer in one hand and tongs in the other, while listening to AC/DC is really difficult. The man loves inappropriate T-shirts, with inappropriate slogans and/or graphics. He’s not a bad person: on the contrary, he’s a big-bellied, big-hearted, generous person who contributes to many worthwhile causes, including marriage equality. He does get a kick out of verbal run-ins, loves the sparring. He’ll argue a point that is the opposite of how he feels with conviction, just so he can work out the other person … or push their buttons.

He has two teenage daughters who often find themselves in the middle of a heated debate with him. I’ve watched him grinning as in midstream he’ll swap sides…

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December Gift Guide: Community and Cookbooks

The Escapades

by Juanita Kees


Great reading and fabulous for rural readers and authors alike, this collection of true small town stories really warms the heart. For me, it epitomises the true spirit of Australia and small towns. These brave, big-hearted women are about so much more than just cake stalls and fundraisers. They are the backbone of support for rural communities no matter what the circumstances – drought, fire, education or immigration. The book includes 90 classic CWA recipes and stories from all over the outback.

29692 For readers who love stories about communities, we also recommend Juanita’s latest story, a rural romance about a man who’s shouldered the burden of caring for the small town – and the woman who might come to care for him.

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December Gift Guides: For BFFs

The Escapades

By Rhyll Biest


The title I’ll be buying for working women friends and colleagues this year is Feminist Fight Club, so they can enjoy a laugh while learning how to tackle the Manterrupter, (who talks over female colleagues in meetings) or the Bropropriator (who appropriates their ideas) in addition to a bunch more practical hacks for dealing with other external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviours that plague women in the workplace. And the Canberra Centre Dymocks definitely deserves some love during the holiday season for their friendly and knowledgeable staff!

29577 Also recommended for BFFs is Rhyll’s latest novel,  Hell on Wheels . What BFF doesn’t want a paranormal marriage-of-convenience story about a roller-derby playing demon princess?

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