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.
Peppermint pulled my sleigh along the winding drive toward home, the Elfin Light Committee’s version of nightfall, a shadowy soot color, now several hours old. Decorated with classic white lights and tasteful woodland greens, the Kringle residence is twenty-thousand square feet with three stories and sixty rooms assembled from castles and baronial estates that had belonged to the Kringle’s Danish, Dutch and English ancestors. Kris’s multi-great grandfather christened it Frosne Tæer: Frozen Toes. His English wife believed him when he said it translated into Frosty Wonderland.
Positioned like a podgy queen on steroids, Frosne Tæer sits between Een and Zes branches and overlooks Sinterklaas Harbor with Gichigami Lighthouse three hundred yards to the left. Grand interior spaces, breezy open-air venues, cozy nooks, blah blah, blah. It’s impossible to heat and costs a fortune to maintain.
Despite our family business, Frosne Tæer is not festooned with year-round holiday décor. When I married Kris I made real good friends with my new mother-in-law by removing the over-the-top Christmas theme Ginnie Kringle thrived on, and returning the rooms to their original beauty. I’d intermingled modern with antique English, Dutch and Danish styles, and added hundreds of antique carpets to combat the stone cold floors—what were they thinking in this climate?
After handing off Peppermint to our stable boy, I walked the flagstone path through the garden adjacent to Grimm Forest. My back ached. My head ached. My heart ached. A day like this made me miss my Nanny Anian all the more. I pictured her sunshiny hair woven with the flowers she provided for her pet hummingbird, Dwe, who had separation anxiety. I could still hear her laughter when Dwe performed aerial tricks, flying backward, then upside down. Nanny’s death had left me without closure. Still, there were times when I felt her close, as though her spirit lingered in this world to keep watch over me.
Feeling the pin-pricks of tears, I sat by the three-tiered fountain of bronze nymphs cavorting within water that had frozen in mid-drip. When minutes passed and I had a handful of tiny pebbles plucked off the flagstone, I realized I was cried out. Instead I prayed for Divine help. My world had careened off course. I felt little cheer for the approaching holiday, my birthday or anniversary. My physical transformation would make me less attractive to my already emotionally-estranged husband.
What would Nanny advise me to do? She appeared in my memory, a vision of compassion and understanding. I confessed my heart and pleaded for protection from whatever evil had invaded my marriage. Even as I thought the word, I realized evil was the right word.
Tonight, a light wind blew from the east, and a bright moon had driven gloom to the fringe of our frozen garden. Rosemary, jasmine and mugwort hung in the still air. Not unusual in what few minutes of spring we have, but odd in winter. I inhaled a further complex blend of fruits, ylang ylang, tonka beans and cedarwood.
Nanny said the Förvandling would intensify my already amplified human senses. I’d never worn the Ring, yet my senses were above average, as were Candy’s and Cooper’s at puberty. The perfumed air irritated the dread already within me.
Inside my kitchen a mystic blueness drew my gaze to the hearth. “God aften,” I said. The haunted hearth had been donated to the Kringle’s after King Frederik VII’s renovation of Jægerspris Castle. A portrait of the King and his dog hung over the mantle. I assumed the ghost was a servant devoted to the Countess Danner who left Jægerspris “to the benefit of poor and destitute servant girls” in her will.
The aromatic chili I’d made on Sunday now simmered in the slow cooker. Our housekeeper, Edda, has been with the Kringle’s longer than I have, and from day one ours roles were reversed. I shopped, menu-planned, cooked a week’s worth of meals every Sunday so the family could thaw and reheat. And Edda did whatever Edda felt like doing. Because she’s Edda.
~ * ~
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