Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2024 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 4 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable By Able Barrett-Christmas Book Review AND How to Support The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary


Product Details

  • Title: The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable 
  • Author: Able Barrett-
  • Genre: Christmas
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ BookBaby (October 21, 2022)
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1667864637
  • ****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****

Book Summary

Andrew and his older brother Nicholas were separated as children.

Nicholas had been snatched away by the Prince of Darkness, and Andrew had all but given up hope, but now their mother is ill, and he's determined to reunite them before she passes - despite her objections.


With his dog Jenny by his side, Andrew sets out on an epic and perilous crusade well beyond his wildest imagination, facing evil protectors, giant wolves, dark magic, Sorcerers, Goblins, and even the Prince of Darkness himself.


Then there's The Great Tree. 


It's enormous, with a presence that's nearly impossible to describe...


And it's clearly the heart of the kingdom of the wicked Sorcerer. 


This is the setting for the adventure story that changed Christmas forever!


More information that you can include:

Young people and adults of all ages will enjoy this thrilling fable in the same way we've enjoyed other great Christmas stories of the past.


Jenny the dog is based on a very real Jenny, the author's vision of a true warrior - who has her own inspiring story that he's happy to share with anyone who asks.

All proceeds from the sale of The Great Tree go to The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary to rescue unadoptable dogs, cats, and horses, an approved 501 (c)(3) Animal Public Welfare Charity that greatly appreciates the ongoing support of readers like you!

My Review

I always love to find a new Christmas story. This story is for tweens and up. It tells of an adventure in a faraway kingdom where mystical forces rule over mere humans. This tale is somewhat dark in places and could scare young children. Fantasy lovers will love the mythical feel of this fable. With only 42 pages in the book, there are enough details to draw readers in and become invested in the characters and the final outcome. I really liked how at the end of this fantasy-filled adventure we get a new version of how Santa came to be.

One thought I had while reading, was how this fable would have played out as a full-length novel. It has all of the important elements of a great novel: the brave hero, an evil sorcerer, threatened children that need saving, a damsel in distress, and enough magic to bring a sense of wonder. The best thing, if you purchase this book, all proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary. The Great Tree can be added to your collection of Christmas books to share with family and friends.

****Meet Author Able Barrett****

Able Barrett is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force Prosecutor who shamelessly admits he loves animals more than most people, and he’s the manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary.

Author Links:




Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

~*~*~*~*Purchase a Copy of The Great Tree~*~*~*~*

A Christmas Fable HERE:


Support The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary by buying The Great Tree:

Help Us to Help Them

The Sanctuary's Story
With the help of generous donors  we  accept dogs, cats, and horses that otherwise would probably never get adopted and are often forgotten because of varied ailments or behavioral issues. TLRD loves these guys and gals. We provide them a home for the remainder of their lives and they too become a part of our family. We often take animals from other rescue and welfare organizations to relive their populations and allow them to rescue and adopt out the more adoptable dogs. In 2004, we adopted Pebbles and Bambam who spent the first three years of their lives in a shelter. They arrived at the door step of the Wood River Valley Animal Shelter in Hailey, Idaho when they were only 3 months old. We adopted them both and we had them sleep downstairs in our family room because they would not come up the stairs. These two turned out to be two of the best dogs we have ever rescued. They were delightful. We have story after story like that.  

Afghan Military Dogs Left Behind - Air lift Rescue: We help rescue  military dogs left behind in Afghanistan upon the US’s withdrawal as well as dogs displaced by Hurricane Ida.

Jenny’s Fund: This fund helps families with a sick pets with financial help. 

Cross Country Rescue to East Coast: We rescued 2 – 1 year old American Eskimos. Jackson was run over on a road in northern Indiana with his brother Jordon laying on top of him. We provided $7,500 in vet bills for Jackson’s new titanium hip.

Horse Rescue  – Santiago is a polo pony injured retired. Beau was a homeless upon his retirement. 


~~~~The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable Excerpt~~~~

The room at the inn had a window that faced the Great Tree with the castle by its side. As Andrew gazed through the window at the castle, his mind wandered back to his mother, who was at home sick with a deadly fever. Although she wanted to see her lost son one more time before she passed, she insisted that Andrew not look for him, for it was much too dangerous. She made Andrew promise that he would not venture off and search for his brother. Andrew agreed not to. 

Andrew was now looking for his brother, Nicholas, in defiance of his mother’s wishes. He had made up his mind that he could not live with himself if he did not try. He understood his mother’s concern, but he felt he had to do what he thought was right. He lied to his mother out of love for her and because he did not want her worrying about him on his quest. Right or wrong, it was the way he felt about it. Nicholas had been abducted by an evil Sorcerer, an evil wizard of sorts when they were both very young. Nicholas was his older brother. Andrew had been searching for Nicholas for weeks; he was now at a small mountain village where he had hoped to find Nicholas and bring him back to his mother before she died. 

With Jenny at his side, Andrew, weary from his lengthy travels, fell soundly asleep while gazing at the castle in the distance.

Blog Tour Interview With Able Barrett

How did you do research for your book?

I start of course with my own knowledge; from there I am pretty

impatient so I go to the internet and reliable sources. Since my

books are mostly fiction I can make up anything I want, although

I like to be as close to the truth as possible to make it believable

which is always a goal of mine. 

Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

Nicholas was the hardest; here is a guy we swept away by

the Prince of Darkness as a kid and transformed into something

he was not; but he remembers deep in his soul what he was like.

The easiest was Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy. 

In your book you make a reference did you come up with this idea?

What made you write a book about...? Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

I was working on a project and as I sat in my office out the window

I saw this huge tree sitting on a hill in the distance, shaped perfectly

and it came to my mind immediately what a “Great Tree” and the rest just fell into place. 

There are many books out there about....What makes yours different?

I could not find a book/story about how Santa Claus (St. Nick) came

to be; also how did this Christmas tree celebration come to be.

It may be the first book about how St. Nick and Christmas Tree

celebration came to be; at least to my knowledge. 

What advice would you give budding writers?

Just go for it! Don’t let any excuse stop you. Failure is not

a good reason not to try; otherwise, nothing would get done. 

Your book is set in (name place). Have you ever been there?

The Great Tree is set somewhere between the 7 Kingdoms,

Middle Earth, and the Shire. Great places that I love in lore and from great writers. 

In your book you state....why is that?

Two young men together were the only powers on earth that

had the power to defeat the evil before them. It is the key to

the book and story, without it, the story fails. 

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

That is an easy one Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy. 

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I am the manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Rescue where

we have a home for unadoptable dogs, cats, and horses that

otherwise would be homeless or worse. I get to spend every

day with my animal buddies which is a life all dream; while at

the same time to write; nothing is better than that for me. 

How long have you been writing?

The Great Tree only took 25 years to finish. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

Absolutely. Drop it for a while then just jump back into when

you least expect it and boom you are at it again. 

What is your next project?

Life Beneath the Surface.” It is about a man that wakes up in

the sweat lodge of an Indian medicine man, who just brought him

back to life when all else failed. He has little memory of his past

except that he remembers his wife, Aurora, who was killed. It goes from there…

What genre do you write and why?

Fiction; fantasy, animals, and sometimes epics, but always a good yarn!

What is the last great book you’ve read?

The Bible. 

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

“I really like your story but really loved the pictures!”

How are you similar to or different from your lead character?

I was a young man very similar to Andrew, as his persona is that of

my own at that age, at least from my perspective, in particular his love of Jenny. 

If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

Andrew: Timothee Chalamet

Nicholas: Tom Holland

Aurora: Sydney Sweeney

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

A movie score by Hans Zimmer; Lead Song by Lady Gaga; and Directed by Antoine Fuqua

What were the biggest rewards and challenges of writing your book?

Making it as perfect as you can; proofed to perfection and

getting the pictures to match your mind’s eye and then getting people to read it!.  

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Long and winding road!

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Just go for it. You will be surprised what you have inside you,

that just needs a jump start to get going, and you will have great fun doing it. 

Which authors inspired you to write?

J. R.R. Tolkien

George R.R. Martin

Jack Kerouac

Dr. Seuss

Jack London

What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

A deeper dive into the personalities of Andrew and Nicholas but

it slowed the pace of the book too much. 

On rituals:

Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?

Nope! I work best on an empty stomach. 

Where do you write?

In my office with my dogs all around me. The atmosphere is perfect.

Do you write every day?

It goes in spurts. Days at a time and then a break, sometimes caused by

life’s ever-changing events. 

What is your writing schedule?

Late nights when it is quiet.

Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?

I like having a movie I have seen a million times but has a good soundtrack in the background. 

In today’s tech-savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop.

Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I have because it is actually faster and you can do an outline form

much faster, at least in my case that sometimes is the only way to

keep up with my brain pumping out ideas quickly and rather in random order. 

If you’re a dad writer, how do you balance your time?

I am a dad to my dogs, and I find the time with them is in balance at all times. 

Fun stuff:

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

431 BC – 404 BC to the Greek and Sparta era; the time of my ancestors!

Favorite travel spot?

The beach.

Favorite dessert?

Don’t like desserts; but I would like to visit the Sahara Desert. 

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you? 

Boat building book for novice; Edible native plants; and The Bible.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

My compassion and caring for animals.

What is something you've learned about yourself during the pandemic?

That is my life; it didn’t change much during the pandemic, because I pretty

much stayed at home most of my life anyway; it is typical, not atypical.

What TV series are you currently binge-watching?

Kojak – he is of Greek heritage too. 

What is your theme song?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 

What is your favorite thing to do in (the current season)?

Playing with my kids (dogs and cats); going on hikes with them

is wonderful, even better in the snow. 

What is a favorite (upcoming holiday) tradition (or memory)?

I love watching It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I first

saw it when I was about 14 or 15 and I lived outside of Chicago,

where I grew up. It was on the local PBS station. I started watching

just when George Bailey is on the bridge and about to jump in to

commit suicide when Clarence, his guarding angel, saves him.

After the movie was over I went outside at about 1 in the morning

and it was snowing big snowflakes outside and it was an absolutely

beautiful night out, with the snow gently falling ever so gently.

I will remember it forever. 

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

Walking in Memphis 

What is something that made you laugh recently?

When Jenny just starts to roll over on her back and scratches

in the grass, always cracks me up as funny and happy because she is so happy. 

What is your go-to breakfast item?


Hard Boiled Egg

Whole Grain English Muffin


Non-fat Milk

What is the oldest item of clothing you own?

I have t-shirts from my high school days from the 1970s. 

Tell us about your longest friendship.

I have some friends that we get together every year in summer

that date back to grade school days, about 60 years; Rob,

Will, Jimmy, Scott, and Cookie. Rob and I are the closest.

I pray for their good health and prosperity every day. 

What is the strangest way you've become friends with someone?

I saved (adopted) a couple of dogs Pebbles and Bambam from

a no-kill shelter in 2004; they had been dropped off when they

were just puppies on the shelter's doorstep, and had been there

for 5 years. Pebbles was quite famous as she one night opened

the gate to the puppies’ room and they found a bag of kibble and

they all feasted until morning when they were found. Pebbles

and Bambam were great dogs and I loved them both. The lady

that helped me adopt them; we became very good friends from then on;

even today. 

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

An actress that went to my high school, before my time, but

I still had quite a crush on her, even today, Ann-Margret.