With Christmas fast approaching, I thought why not ease you all into the spirit of the holiday with ten chapters from my novel, KRINGLE. Yes! Ten free chapters for you to enjoy running Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Hope you enjoy!
To catch up on the story I’ve added the Links to the end of this post.
Toasty in a red down parka, Flurry Michaels said to WGRM’s camera audience, “Towering an unprecedented twenty feet tall, Candy Kringle looms statuesque over St. Nicholas Square, her perfect features frozen with acceptance of the admiring crowd. Though citizens have turned out to see this season’s Miss Joyous Noël ice sculpture, understandably they would have preferred to tuck themselves into somber contemplation over what might happen if the Famous Eight die. Still, this is Candy’s special moment. Polartown will not let her down.”
Flurry smoothed back her hood. “A labor-intensive process, Polartown is lucky to have an ice artist who excels in the 3D variety. You may recall Lars Utgaard is the genius behind Soren Solheim’s ten foot phallic lawn ornament gift to Ludvik Ibsen for coming out of the closet.” She unzipped her parka. “Cripes, it’s warm tonight.”
Chain-chewing peppermints, Kris wandered the crowd fringe to take advantage of their attention focused on Candy. As terrible news spread, Townies sought him to hypothesize on what the toxin might be. Some spouted home remedies while others, primed for the worst, made suggestions for a memorial service. He scanned the faces of people he had known all his life. Did one of them have a terrible secret?
As the Klokkentoren struck seventy-three hours to Eve Launch, a brass band shuffled past, their somber mood and frozen lips paying horrible tribute to the Commodores’ “Brick House.” Kris checked his elFone. The toxicologist had arrived and Royal Thorne said he would call with a progress report. As yet, there was no word.
Kris tugged at his turtleneck. He should have known wearing Holly’s straightjacket-like gift would not distract her from smelling sugar on him. Her superior nose made it impossible to deceive her. He’d even used a damp sponge to blot powdered sugar off his clothes, and still she’d spotted a speck the size of an ant’s ankle.
Around him people vied for his attention.
“Is it true? Christmas is cancelled?”
“Is it true? Dancer is dead?”
“And Dasher killed her?”
Afraid he’d detonate if he heard one more rumor, remedy or memorial song suggestion, Kris kept his head down, hands shoved into his pockets, eyes focused on his moving feet. Petra Lundegaard, Director of Elfin Resources, had told him to be prepared to deal with citizens expressing their alarm, grief, and helplessness.
As though his thoughts conjured Noak’s sister, Petra grabbed his arm. Posture perfect, winter-white hair coiled in a braid, her delft-blue eyes searched his. “How’s it going?”
Kris flapped his elbows. “Hands in pockets so I don’t punch the next idjet who asks when I think my reindeer will die.”
“You’re their logical target to process their fears.”
“I feel like a target. A dart board.”
“It’s vital to keep your temper,” Petra whispered. “If you react outside your typical character, you’ll cause panic.”
“I want to be left alone.” He saw LaRoux laughing with Lars Utgaard. That the brawny, young ice artist appeared interested didn’t surprise Kris since Lars liked older women.
Petra tugged his arm. “I know its Final Week Rush, but I’d like to offer a support group so everyone can process their fears.”
“Go for it.” He clenched his jaw for what common manners expected him to ask next. “Noak’s back in PolaRehab, eh?”
Her eyes turned stormy. “Yes, and this time he’s assigned to Mary-Jane Giften. She takes only the severest cases, ya know?”
Kris scanned the crowd in preference to looking his friend’s sister in the eye. Petra knew he was Noak’s sugar-abusing buddy. The crowd pitched and swayed. He lost sight of LaRoux. Instead he locked eyes with Nattie Blather. The Tattle parasite had the tenacity of a bloodsucking tick. If she didn’t get the story she wanted, she made it up.
“Thanks for the pep talk, Petra.” Kris dove into the crowd and swam from Nattie. He surfaced in front of Brannoc, surrounded by fans. For an engaged man, Kris thought the fairy looked pretty pleased to be pawed. On stage, Candy waved to the crowd, oblivious to her cheating fiancé.
Recent Tattle headlines surged to the forefront of Kris’s memory:
Polartown’s Hottest Bachelor Alive
He burns with the intensity of a firestorm, so it comes as no surprise that Brannoc Twrgadarn has again been named the Tattle’s Hottest Bachelor Alive! Still avoiding the nuptial noose after one hundred and nineteen years, Brannoc ignites the beds of Polartown’s women, regardless of their marital status. One married woman, age fifty, who asked not to be identified said, “My husband had his feet licked by Heikki Lunta. I need a hot man in my bed to thaw me.”
Brannoc Humping Miss Antarctica
Another Walk of Shame caught on tape. This time we caught Miss Antarctica slinking out at dawn after a night spent with Brannoc Twrgadarn.
Brannoc dumps Miss Antarctica for Miss Down Under
Miss Antarctica says Brannoc Twrgadarn ruined her sex life: “I’ve been celibate for a week and think I may never have sex again.”
Watching yet another woman join Brannoc, Kris felt his fury surge from bubble to boil as Holly gave the fairy a hug. Probably congratulating him on pulling one over on Santa.
A newsboy waved a hot-off-the-press Tattle in his face. Kris read:
Kringle Marriage Threat
Holly Furious over Candy’s Engagement to Brannoc
“I wanted him for myself.”
There was also a photo of Valda Gulltopp picking her nose. Suitable for framing, the caption claimed.
“That’ll be two bucks, Santa.”
As Kris dug into his pocket, Cookie materialized to snatch the tabloid. “Mom said to stop buying this trash.” She turned to the rail-thin teen with a pin-straight nose. “Wilde Thorne! Does your father know you work for the Tattle?”
Wilde swept his black hair from his eyes. “I need the money so I won’t have to sell my drums. College is expensive.”
Cookie softened. “Sorry. Still, selling lies is wrong.”
Wilde tugged her braid. “We can’t all be smart like you, Sugar Cookie. Some of us are worker bees.”
Cookie glared at her father. “You don’t believe this garbage, do you?”
Kris watched Brannoc help Holly maneuver the icy pavement. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, little girl.”
~ * ~
Holly Kringle has a very full plate. She is Highest Mayor of Polartown and President of Kringle Enterprises–the company that puts the ‘Merry’ in Christmas and the ‘Happy’ in Holidays. She is also the mother of teenagers and wife to Kris Kringle–the World’s Biggest Kid. When the reindeer are poisoned three days before Eve Launch, Holly adds amateur detective to her resume. With just about everyone in Polartown under suspicion, she doesn’t have time to dwell on employee problems, personal family issues, her 50th birthday, or investigate her husband’s highly suspicious behavior. If Dancer dies, her soulmate Dasher won’t want to live without her. And like a pod of whales beaching on the shore, the remaining Famous Eight will surely follow.
10 KRINGLE chapters will post Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Naturally there is my hope that you will be caught up in the story to want to buy the book, either paperback or ebook, and to make it so much more enticing to you, I’ve dropped the prices. Plus every penny of profit will benefit cats from a local colony. All of my fur babies, except for Herman, came from that colony. While I cannot afford to adopt another cat — when I took in Candy, Elly and Chevy over the past 12 months with Els and Chev being FIV+, that brought the Wonderpurr Gang up to 13 — I would never turn away a hungry animal who wanders into my yard, especially in winter.
Hope that sounds enticing to you Christmas novel readers. And if it does, I have created three ways for you to purchase KRINGLE, if you so desire.
KINDLE eBooks – If you enjoy ebooks, KRINGLE is available on Kindle for $3.99 with a generous royalty profit of $2.73 for the kitties.
Amazon.com – You can purchase the paperback for $7.95 where the royalty is .54 (grrr) and shipping is about $4.59.
CREATESPACE – I’ve set up a Createspace store specifically for KRINGLE readers. There the book is priced at $7.95 with a royalty of $2.13 and standard shipping is about $3.59.
I hope you enjoy the ten free chapters. And if you do, please tell your friends. Better yet…buy a book, either as a gift for yourself, or for someone on your gift list who enjoys campy, funny, holiday mysteries.
Love to you all!
Kim, Herman, Dori
and the Wonderpurr Gang