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Romantic Heart

The stories and poems of John McNeil (and others)

This site seeks to bring you quality material you can browse online.
(There are no subscriptions, no registration.)
There are also links to the works of other writers.
If you have an item to share, or would like to notify me of other writers,
I would love to hear from you. Please email me at fr33flight@yahoo.com.au

Stories

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Father McEvoy's Christmas Crib

 

This baby Jesus is not the doll that Father McEvoy placed in his Christmas scene.

A Nullabor Christmas

 

This story is based on an actual hitch-hiking trip I made one year from Sydney to Perth.

Namatjira

 

Albert Namatjira was an aboriginal painter who was the first of his race to be granted Australian citizenship. The facts of this story are correct, but the realisation is my own. I lived for five years in Australia. You cannot live there without being shaped by the landscape and the spirit of the country.

Paid in full

 

The original idea for this story came from a true incident that happened in a World War II German concentration camp.

Sex for Dummies

 

 

The Pensioner and the Mission

 

Christmas is a lonely time for many. Will this year be any different?

The Prodigal Father

 

 
     

Children's stories

 

Like most parents, I told my children bedtime stories. Some of them I wrote down.

David, the 3-year-old detective

 

David has been blamed for breaking a window, and with the help of Sam the Cat he sets out to discover the real culprit.

The Poggitty Farm Choir

 

The animals of Poggitty Farm are taken in by a confidence trickster.

The Poggitty Farm mixup

 

Strange things happen when there's a new arrival at Poggitty Farm.

     

True stories

   

"And you'll be at the railway station..."

 

When you're single and 30, where are you to find love?

The true story of Christmas

 

The true and full story of the coming of the Christmas child, told in simple English.

     

Reflections

   

I fell in love with my wife again today.

 

That makes at least twice just this week.

Random thoughts

   
     

Poems

   

The Writer

 

The world's greatest irony. Before anything, there was The Writer. He called a world into being but was rejected by those he created. (It is seldom I would dare to call a particular piece inspired, but I think this was.)

Metamorphosis

   

Song for a Sunday morning

 

A reflection on Mary in the garden on Easter morning.

Love poems

   

Out of the shadows

 

Collected poems

In a foreknowledge of my years

 

For Patti, who told me what it was like to face one of the hardest decisions a woman has to make.

     

Drama scripts

 

Many of these scripts were written as discussion starters, so some may leave you to make up your own mind about the ending.

Three Wise Dudes

 

If Jesus were born today, where would we find him?

Christmas Quality Control

 

A play for the week after Christmas. Santa does some market research.

Song of Mary

 

The inside story of Christmas, told by Mary to doctor and historian Luke.

Weaving a Web

 

A woman in an unsatisfactory marriage looks for love on the Internet.

Honeymoon Hotel

 

The behaviour of couples and staff at a honeymoon hotel reveals different expectations of marriage.

Circle of Love

 

Uncle Henare was rescued from the gutter as a street kid. Now he devotes his life to helping kids who are not making it....including his own daughter.

Fourth World Airways

 

A humorous look at international travel.

Venting Feelings

 

A ventriloquist is forced to face issues of dealing with truth, and his unsatisfactory relationship with his wife.

Joe and the Night Visitor

 

A Christmas play for those who don't believe in Christmas (or who have lost what it's about). Joe Davidson is a driven, self-made man. He was born into a poor family, but with hard work has made a name for himself as a property developer. A small, dilapidated house in Linwood has been both his inspiration and his obsession. The house once belonged to his parents, but was taken over by the bank after his father lost his job. Later, as a young married couple, Joe and his wife Miriam rented the house, which had become run down, but was all they could afford. One Christmas, Miriam caught a bad chill in a sudden storm. In their damp and unheated home, she developed pneumonia and never recovered. She died giving birth to the child, a boy, Joshua. Joe has never forgotten the house. In his continuing bitterness at Miriam's death, he has become obsessed with a determination to buy the property, pull the house down and build a new apartment block. But the property is now owned by the City Mission, which uses it as a community drop-in centre. The conflict comes to a head when on the anniversary of Miriam's death, Joe receives an unusual night visitor.

Like Mummy and Daddy

 

Two children playing "Mothers and Fathers" conclude their tea party by acting the same way as their parents.

Taking Offence

 

Two neighbours at loggerheads with each other try mediation to settle their quarrel.

Search for the Hero

 

What's life really like for the middle-aged super-hero with family responsibilities?

The Shelter

 

The reactions of three survivors of a nuclear attack - sheltering in a fallout shelter - to the disaster which has just entered their lives.

The Long Silence

 

At the end of time, the people of the world bring their complaints before God.

The Gleeman

 

Echoes of the Pied Piper in this full-length play - a classic "good versus evil" drama.

The Day God Died

 

A full-scale Easter passion play, beginning with the Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, and continuing to the resurrection of Jesus. This has been written for an outdoor production, but can easily be adapted for the theatre/church. The script is designed to allow scenes to take place in multiple places around the set.

More drama scripts are available at www.dramatix.org

 

 

     

Links

   

True stories

   

Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

The true story of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of the most romantic in English literary history. Here, G.K. Chesterton gives wonderful insight into the tensions of the story.

An evening at The Waldorf

 

By Bud and Jean Ince

The Wallet

 

Author unknown

It happened on the Brooklyn subway

 

By Paul Deutschman

My Loveless Marriage - Why divorce wasn't the answer to my emptiness

 


by Judy Bodmer

A family for Freddie

 

By Abbie Blair

Appointment with love

 

By Sulamith Ish-Kishor

The perfect gift

 

Author unknown

The bracelet promise

 

Author unknown

My miraculous family

 

By Michael Jordan Segal

Hungry for your love

 

By Herman and Rosa Rosenblat

The Fortune Cookie Prophecy

 

By Don Buehner

An awesome story

 

If you don't believe in miracles....

A brother's miracle

   

The Right Approach

 

Edmund Phillips

Real-life Fairytale

 

Norma Grove

The Missing Candelabra

 

Bruce McIver

The final bid

 

By Robert Strand

The old man and the dog

 

Author unknown

The orphan

 

Author unknown

The price of a miracle

 

Author unknown

Three letters from Teddy

 

By Elizabeth Silance Ballard

A Christmas gift for mum

 

Author unknown

eharmony.com

 

Do internet dating sites work? Here are some stories that suggest they can.

Our love was meant to be

 

Romance author Rachel Rossano's romantic proposal.

The Little Girl with the Toothless Grin

 

Sharon Palmer

The Miracle

 

Author unknown

 

 

 

Regency stories

 

I am a great fan of Regency romance. All these novels and short stories are available online.

Jane Austen
Emma
Lady Susan
Love and Friendship
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Persuasian
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility

 

All Jane Austen novels are available online.

Virtue and Vice

 

Based on a letter Jane Austen wrote to her niece concerning an Outline for a Novel based on all the BAD ideas she had ever received for improving her own writing! (so, the story is definitely tongue-in-cheek)

Georgette Heyer
Pursuit - a short story by Georgette Heyer

 

The queen of "modern" Regency authors. She effectively invented the genre.

The Black Moth (full text)

 

Georgette Heyer's first novel (written when she was 17).

Bath Tangle
Sprig Muslin
The Black Sheep

 

Three others which have recently become available online.

Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre

 

 

Baroness Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel series
Lady Molly of Scotland Yard

 

Many of the books and short stories, including some not published elsewhere.

Other Regency stories

   

A different time

 

By Cathy Weisger

Free short stories from the Regency period

 

By Lesley Anne Mcleod

Midsummer Masque

 

Deborah Hale

The Duke's Solution

 

By Jo Beverley

The Christmas Wedding Gambit

 

By Jo Beverley

Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss

 

By Jo Beverley

The Mysteries of Udolpho

 

Before you have read many Regency novels, you will meet reference to this story by Mrs (Anne) Radcliffe. It actually exists! It's not my cup of tea, but here it is for the record. "Follow the fortunes of Emily St. Aubert who suffers, among other misadventures, the death of her father, supernatural terrors in a gloomy castle, and the machinations of an Italian brigand. Considered by many to be the first "Gothic" novel."

Christmas stories

 

Christmas stories have a special magic for me, even in the summer Christmas experienced by those of us who live in the southern hemisphere.

The gift of the Magi

 

The classic by O. Henry

A Christmas Gift of Love

 

By Darlene Mindrup

A Christmas Carol

 

By Charles Dickens

Papa Panov's Special Christmas

 

By Leo Tolstoy

The Staying Power of Sir Rohan

 

By Frank Stockton

The Holly-Tree

 

By Charles Dickens

O Holy Night

 

By Kimberly Ripley

Christmas Day in the Morning

 

By Pearl Buck

A True Christmas Story

 

By Jay Frankston

My Christmas Miracle

 

By Taylor Caldwell

The Mistletoe Bough

 

By Anthony Trollope

Christmas at Thompson Hall

 

By Anthony Trollope

The Snow Fort of St Timothy

 

By Chuck Miller

The Twelth Guest

 

By Mary E. Wilkins

The Wooden Shoes of Little Wolff

 

By Francois Coppee

The Visits to Summer : a Christmas story

 

By James Vincent Fusco

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

 

The true origin of the saying.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

 

By A. Conan Doyle (a Sherlock Holmes story)

At Christmas Time

 

By Anton Chekhov

A Christmas story

 

Author unknown

Mary's Christmas Gift

 

By Jack Zavada

The Romance of a Christmas Card

 

By Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

Mary's Christmas Gift

 

By Jack Zavada. (Note: This novella is in pdf format.)

     

Short stories

   

The Four Million

 

Some more classic O. Henry stories are in this collection. (Project Gutenberg also has other collections.)

Rafael Sabatini
The Fool's Love Story
The Curate and the Actress
Mr. Dewbury's Consent
The Foster Lover
The Blackmailer
The Ordeal
The Wedding Gift
The Tapestried Room
The Baker of Rousillon

 

Rafael Sabatini is a largely neglected writer today, but he pioneered the romantic novels of high adventure, sword-fighting and damsels in distress. His most famous works have been translated into the classic swashbuckling films The Sea Hawk, Scaramouche, and Captain Blood. However, these three books represent a small fraction of Sabatini's work. A popular author during his lifetime, he produced 31 novels, 8 short novel/short story collections, 6 nonfiction books, numerous uncollected short stories, and a play. Sabatini's writing, usually fiction in a historic setting, explores political intrigue, religion, and the place of chivalry and honor, while entertaining with clever dialogue, deftly drawn characters and action sequences as vivid and thrilling as modern movies. Here are some of his short stories.

Anthony Trollope
Miss Sarah Jack, of Spanish Town, Jamaica
The O'Conors of Castle Conor, County Mayo
The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne
The Courtship of Susan Bell
The Man Who Kept His Money in a Box
An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids
Relics of General Chasse: A Tale of Antwerp
The Chateau of Prince Polignac

Aaron Trow
Returning Home

 

 

Victorian Short Stories of Courtship

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

 

The Verger

 

The classic short story by W. Somerset Maugham

Emma's Dream
Someday

 

By Kerry J. Spencer
By Valerie Collins

Shotsie

 

By Michael Kechula

Wishing for the Moon

 

By Deborah Dixon

Armor-ella

 

By Holly Lisle

The Laws of Love

 

By Debra Salonen

The Hired Baby

 

By Marie Corelli

Amateur Night

 

By Jack London

Novels

   

The Mark of Zorro
(also known as The Curse of Capistrano)

 

The original by Johnston McCulley that inspired several movies. A new version by Isabel Allende has more recently been released - somewhat darker and dealing more with the spirit world of the Indian tribes of Southern California.

The Prisoner of Zenda

 

A romantic, swash-buckling tale - inspired at least two movies.

L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
The Golden Road
Anne's House of Dreams
Chronicles of Avonlea
Further Chronicles of Avonlea
Rilla of Ingleside
Kilmeny of the Orchard

Rainbow Valley
The Story Girl

 

If you have read only Anne of Green Gables, you have missed a great deal. If you have not even read that, time to get going.
After the Anne books, I particularly loved the two collections of short stories, Chronicles of Avonlea, and Further Chronicles.

Charles Dickens
Martin Chuzzlewit

 

My favourite Dickens novel. The BBC made a wonderful six-part TV adaptation, starring among others Paul Scofield, Peter Postlethwaite and Julie Sawalha.

John Buchan
John Macnab

 

John Buchan's 100 works include nearly thirty novels and seven collections of short stories. He is best known for The 39 Steps, but my favourite is John Macnab. Many of his other works can be read here.

Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone

 

Wilkie Collins's novel is credited with being the first "modern" detective story.

R.L. Stevenson
Kidnapped
Catriona
The Black Arrow

 

Probably the most romantic of R.L. Stevenson's novels. I believe a movie is in the pipeline. Catriona is the sequel.
An enlightened high school teacher gave my class The Black Arrow as an English text in Third Form. It was wonderful stuff.

R.D. Blackmore
Lorna Doone
Springhaven

 

One of English literature's most romantic period novels. A wonderful read! Has been made into a movie several times.

Francis Hodgkins Burnett
The Secret Garden
The Lost Prince
Little Lord Fauntleroy
The Dawn of a Tomorow

 

Francis Hodgkins Burnett wrote the greatly loved The Secret Garden, of course, but my favourite after that is probably The Lost Prince (which my children loved).

John Buchan
The Thirty-nine Steps
John Macnab

 

John Buchan wrote a large number of adventure/mysteries apart from The Thirtynine Steps, many featuring the same characters. My favourite is John Macnab.

The Limberlost stories
Freckles
A Girl of the Limberlost
The Harvester

 

By Gene Stratton-Porter. As a teenager, I was captivated by these stories. I thought they had long vanished, so was delighted to rediscover them on line.

Miscellaneous
Lord Malcombe

 

By Cathy Weisger

Love Before Breakfast

 

By Frank R. Stockton

Beauty and the Beast: a tale of old Russia

 

Not the same as the traditional fairy tale.

 

 

 

Folk tales/fairy stories/children's stories for adults

   

Hans Christian Anderson stories

   

George MacDonald
The Princess and the Goblin
The Princess and Curdie

 

C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and others acknowledged George MacDonald as one of their inspirations. He ranked among the top authors of his day, but has fallen out of fashion. These two stories, though, are still classics. (You might need to do some translation if you are reading them to children, who don't seem to have the linguistic skills of previous generations.)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass

 

The first works of fiction to be included in the Gutenburg Project, which gives you an indication of the importance of these wonderful stories. Did you know that the "Alice" to whom Through the Looking Glass is dedicated is a different Alice from the first book?

The 5 Children and IT
The Phoenix and the Carpet
The Railway Children

 

The classics by E. Nesbit.

Nonsense Song (including The Owl and the Pussycat)

 

The Edward Lear classic.

Peter Pan

 

The original is considerably darker than the Disney version, as was the case with most Victorian children's literature (including Pinocchio below).

The Adventures of Pinocchio

 

Did you know that "Pinocchio" is Italian for "pine-head"?

Beauty and the Beast

   

Doctor Dolittle

 

By Hugh Lofting (before Disney and Eddie Murphy ruined it)

Winnie-the-Pooh
Intro
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chaper 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9

 

If you have only ever seen the Disney version of A.A. Milne's classic, you have missed a treat. Disney murdered them. Please read them as they were originally written.

 

 

 

Other Links

   

A celebration of women writers

 

A vast collection of women's work.

ByGosh

 

Another vast collection of stories

 

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