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.
December 22nd ~ 60:00 hours to Eve Launch
Through sour eyes Kris hunched over a bowl of what looked like what a woodchuck might chuck-up if a woodchuck ate oatmeal. No raisins, nuts, honey, brown sugar or gumdrops to sweeten the vile mush. Despite his distaste for oatmeal, he tried to choke down a bowl twice a week to stay regular. When he was regular, he was a better Santa. Cheerful, able to perform his job. But this stuff… Holly had offered him a banana, but he’d declined. She had him by the Pfeffernüsse with her divorce threat, though after tasting her oatmeal, he wondered if twenty years wasn’t enough and it was time to call it quits.
Across the table his wife struggled to unravel her hair from one of the dozen buttons rippling her plaid blouse. When the strands refused to unwind, she unbuttoned until it released. The glimpse of her cleavage reminded him of their passionate dance the night before. Yes! Of course. Holly was worth any sacrifice. Though devastated by her decision to remove all but North America from his Eve schedule, her tears had dissolved much of his resentment. He would make her happy, even if it meant eating the offal she called oatmeal.
Maybe he could blame his foul mood on a restless night. After Valda hung up on his instructions to have a surplus of sugarless peppermints ready by morning, his dreams were infected with memories of Sandee Hallvaard. Not the way she had looked with light hair and soot-gray eyes when he dated her twenty-some years ago. Rather, she had Holly’s auburn hair and brown eyes. In his dream, Sandee had stood in their garden, chanting, Night time surrounds us with full moon floating free, lying beside her, you dream of me. He grimaced. Like he would want to dream of Sandee instead of Holly.
Sometime around three he gave up on sleep and slipped past the crowd on the front lawn, assembled to protest Holly’s Sugar Ban, shouting, ‘If we can’t sleep, neither can you.’ Clearly, they didn’t know she could sleep through Armageddon.
At the Complex he’d found guards stationed by each reindeer suite. A little too much too late. If security hadn’t been lax in the first place….
A surreal hush had underscored the sound of reindeer fighting for their lives. Up until Doc Robinson confirmed sugar was in the oats, Kris had hoped their sickness could be tied to dirty air filters, or the milk-based paint Candy had used in Vixen’s suite. But sugar. No. Sugar in the oats wasn’t a mistake. Sugar was deliberate.
Robinson said sugar was a toxin. “Any substance, that through its chemical action kills or impairs an organism, is considered a poison. When refined sugar is depleted of vitamins and minerals, what is left are pure carbohydrates. Refined sugar leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals. It eats away at the heart and kidneys. Abnormal blood pressure is created. The nervous system is affected. Organs shut down.”
Kris wondered if the oats had been contaminated at the granary and whether Havremel could determine which day and by whom? If the oats were tampered with at the Complex, who had access to them? He bowed his head, ashamed he didn’t know.
Soft snuffles and low moans drifted around him. For a while he watched Dancer, asleep on her canopied bed. Dasher lay nearby on the rug having refused to leave her side. A soft snore revealed a bleak figure in the corner. Despite Thorne banning Scotchie, the old elf had slipped past security. Kris thought, if at Scotchie’s age and awkwardness he could outsmart the guards, so could someone with deadly intentions.
In the make-shift kitchen lab, despite the early hour, he’d expected to see Royal Thorne with Howard Robinson. Instead he found the elderly toxicologist asleep over a Petri dish. A peek inside Thorne’s empty office contradicted his vow to burn the midnight oil. Perhaps Scotchie’s vendetta wasn’t all based on losing the reindeer physician job to Thorne. At that moment Thorne’s whereabouts were unknown while Scotchie slept on the floor to be near, if needed.
With ears perked for Thorne’s return, Kris checked the man’s desk, waste basket and file cabinets, unsure of what he searched for. He did find a yet-to-be-destroyed cookie, but instead of eating it he flung it into the sink and turned on the disposal. Sugar! He craved it like a monkey on Mountain Dew. Sugar kept him in trouble with Holly. Sugar might kill his reindeer.
He sunk to his knees and prayed.
“Tell me about them.” Kris glanced at Dr. Robinson, now awake. “I know them only through the Clement Moore poem, The Night Before Christmas. They’re nothing like I’d envisioned.” The octogenarian’s sympathetic smile triggered for Kris a genetic Santa memory through his grandfather who had filled Howard’s stocking as a child. The memory allowed Kris to ‘remember’ Howard as an excited six-year-old discovering a Lionel electric train under the tree.
~ * ~
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