Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #39 - The Keeper

The Keeper
Christmas Romance


Mark Shafer is about to become the next Keeper of the Christmas Trees but that isn’t what he wants. Unable to understand or sense the trees like his grandfather, Mark plans to sell his family’s picturesque, yet demanding, tree farm in Sutton, Massachusetts so he can be free to pursue a career in music. And propose to his city-loving girlfriend. His plans are coming together until he learns the trees might be miracle trees.

Sound unlikely? Mark thinks so too, until Angela, a single mom, and her daughter visit the farm. They meet Papa Shafer and when he shares a secret about the trees, Angela has to grapple with her daughter’s expectation for a miracle. A tall order when Angela is jobless and facing eviction. An anonymous gift begins a series of events that threaten Mark’s ability to sell the farm and Angela's opportunity to find work. Both struggle to learn the truth about the trees and must decide what, and who, is most important.

First 150 Words:

The Nor’easter brought the snow, but that didn’t start it. The radio station began playing carols around the clock, but that didn’t start it. Main Street wrapped the lamp posts in candy-cane striped garland, but even that wasn’t enough. Not until the decorated tree stood in the front window with soft lights glowing around the angel’s contented face did Christmas officially begin in the Donovan family. This year, Angela promised her daughter she could have the honor of choosing the tree.

“Is this the one?” Angela asked as she held her daughter’s hand and stared at the four- foot pine tree.

Caroline leaned closer to it. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?” Angela asked.

“The tree, she’s beautiful,” Caroline answered.

Angela bit her lip and glanced at her watch. “Is this the tree you want?”


  1. I remember this one from the Pitch Polish contest & still love it! I hope to read more. A Christmas romance sounds so charming & I'm intrigured by the premise. Good luck!

  2. Really like the 150 words. I can totally see an impatient parent trying to make their kid hurry up and decide. And I know as I kid I would have taken forever to pick a tree :P

  3. This sounds so heartwarming. Like a book you'd want to curl up with a quilt and a mug of hot chocolate. Good luck!

  4. Picturing Caroline 'feeling' the trees made me excited for the Christmas season to get here. Nice descriptions.

  5. awww!! I can picture sweet little caroline 'feeling' the trees. Best of luck :)

  6. I always love a romantic Christmas story! And what's better for a Christmasy feel than a tree lot. I love your first 150... “The tree, she’s beautiful,” Caroline answered...I'm hooked. Bring on the hot chocolate and the carols!

  7. I loved the imagery in your opening!I could definitely picture a mom and daughter out choosing a tree.

    One suggestion in the query: in the second paragraph, I'd take out "a single mom". It makes the sentence clunky, and doesn't come up again in the letter.


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