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.
“You’re ruining my life, Daddy. You don’t love me anymore.”
With Candy’s lament ringing in his ears, Kris returned to the Reindeer Complex where nothing had changed. He wanted to wait, but Robinson reminded him the sentient creatures sensed when he was near. His anxiety could keep them from the REM sleep required for healing.
Again of no use, Kris entered his office in a fine steam to see his Production Manager and Stockings Supervisor staring at a figgy pudding on his desk. A strong sweet stench reached his sugar-sensitive nose.
“Holes,” Sukka shrieked. “Poked into every stocking scheduled for delivery.” She clutched a ruined sample.
Scotchie looked to have aged a century overnight. “Who would do such a thing, Cap’n? I was up half the night worrying about my reindeer. Now this.”
“Do we have a disgruntled worker?” Kris asked. “The elves were happy when the Board voted to use the Fountain Funds as a Merry Makers Merit Award. We gave bonuses. We bought a cappuccino machine after complaints about long lines at Café PolarCap. What am I missing?”
Scotchie’s eyes flashed. “Until this mystery is solved, I’m putting off retirement.”
“No. You’ll retire as scheduled. I’ll call Erik Rayner.”
“You think I’m too feeble with my gimpy leg?” Scotchie raised his cane, making Kris brace for possible assault. “I’m not yet packed off to the home for the no longer needed, Cap’n. You keep Rayner out of my workshops.”
After Scotchie hobbled off with Sukka trailing behind, Kris thought, Pigheaded Scotsman. I’ll tell Erik anyway. His desk phone chirped. Line Two. “Yes, Dova?”
Malkorka claimed to be too busy with MJN press releases and wedding plans to type, file and ‘put up with his foul mood.’ Dova McAleer, Royal Thorne’s secretary, would sub until Malkorka’s full plate emptied.
“Hunky dory,” Kris assured. “Business as usual.”
“Well, your business as usual has you overseeing final production of Celebrity Dolls in the East Wing. Shall I give ’em a shout to see if they’re ready for you to toddle on over?”
“Sounds peachy keen.”
“Will do, Big Dog.”
He had no idea why she now called him Big Dog, but it chewed on his last nerve, making her usual ‘Santa Baby’ almost preferable. “Wait, Dova. I need to dictate a memo.”
“Be there in a jiff.”
He read the Tattle while he waited. The headlines screamed breakfast oatmeal could also be poisoned. Havremel feared for his life. The granary predicted lay-offs. Constipation had stalled production. Kris recalled the odd lumpiness in the offal Holly had served. Constipated elves during Final Week Rush could destroy Eve Delivery as sure as reindeer unable to fly.
He scowled at the photo of Candy’s bikinied belly, Photoshopped to appear distended. There was also the usual rotten picture of Valda with her eyes rolled back, licking cappuccino foam off her nose with a startlingly long tongue. Caption: No wonder she’s popular.
A sickly sweet odor drew his gaze to the figgy pudding. An Official Taste Test product had not appeared on his desk since Holly fired him, but with her Sugar Ban, maybe sugar-free OTT’s were okay. As he sliced a piece, Dova arrived wearing an ill-fitted evergreen suit with a flashing Santa pinned to her lapel. Red lipstick had been applied with a heavy hand and her beer-brown hair was piled in a top knot, skewered with a sparkly red pencil.
“Look at this.” Kris gestured with his hunk of pudding to page five, the designated page for any and all Brannoc news. “Engaged for one day and already he’s tonguing a hot blonde under the mistletoe. I’ll show this to Candy to prove he’s a scoundrel.” He opened his mouth.
Dova caught his wrist. “The hot blonde is Candy. Weren’t you fired from OTT?”
“This is sugarless.” He switched hands and took a bite. As the molasses, dried figs and spices hit his tongue, his taste buds stood up and sang the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
“I’ll ask Petra.” She reached for his phone.
“Tattling is not in your job description.” He shoved pudding into her mouth. “Good?”
She bobbed her head. “Fruity. Lemony.”
Dova slid on sparkly red cheater glasses. “Malkorka told me to ask whether you’ve checked the Naughty or Nice list.”
“Of course.” He ate a second piece.
“Twice?” She arched a brow. “Malkorka says you just scan it.”
“I checked it three times, woman.” He handed her another slice.
Dova consulted a forty pound book lying on the corner of his desk. “Then why is Sadie O’Connor on the Naughty list?”
At a glance Kris realized he had switched Sadie O’Connor with Sadie O’Connell, who made Lindsay Lohan seem like an angel.
“Check it again, Santa Baby. This time thoroughly.”
“I’ve checked for thirty-three years.”
Dova gazed over the top of her cheaters. “You’re sixty. Maybe you need glasses.”
She ate another slice. “Whipped cream might dilute the lemon.”
“Lots of whipped cream. The fruitiness is strong.”
Dova booted up her elfPad. “Reminds me of Joost’s farts.”
“You have a monkey named Joost? With fruity farts?”
“He loves purple grapes and apples.” She scowled at her elfPad. “Malkorka stopped by this morning to tell me the IT department installed Drummer Boy Dictation on this thing. She hasn’t used it yet, but Mary-Jane Giften was with her. She said all I have to do is launch it to transcribe your dictation. But…how do I launch it?”
Kris ate pudding while IT walked Dova through the process. Feeling his nose run, he sniffed hard and inhaled the pudding’s wine-vat potency. The lemon left a coppery aftertaste. He drank coffee to dilute it. Then he scrubbed his tongue with peppermint.
“Okay, I’m ready.” Dova’s voice sounded muffled. Kris tugged his earlobe. He felt off. A little cold. A little hot. A little stuffy. “You okay?” she asked.
“Cubbing down with a code, I tink. Let’s begin. To Chief Deputy Erik Rayner: This morning Scotchie Elphinstone and Stocking Supervisor Sukka brought me evidence of tampering. The stockings scheduled for Eve delivery…” He swiped his sweaty brow. “Uh, the stockings were discovered with…” His stomach dipped. Fresh chills rolled through him.
~ * ~
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