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.
Hauling a triple-tiered coffee caddy, I hurried through Kringle Enterprises’ colossal atrium with its hundred-foot glass walls and ceiling. Amid potted evergreens and thousands of poinsettias, this year’s Adornment Committee exhibited dioramas of Hispanic Christmas celebrations. I would have liked to admire their efforts, but the doll workers were waiting.
“And you’re okay with your mother’s malarkey?” Despite his ill health, Dad was in fine voice this morning. Uncaring how far his outrage traveled. He shouted, “I knew you were behind her divorce nonsense.” That’s the gist of his character. If you disagree with him, you’re at fault.
I entered the hall of elevators, gleaming silver and gold. “Call me Switzerland. I’m staying neutral.” The doors opened to a crowded carriage. They squeezed to make room for me.
“Switzerland!” With no room for him, Dad hollered, “How can you stay neutral when your mother has destroyed our family? She’s fuc—” The doors shut.
“Sorry ’bout that,” I told my employees. “Dad’s having a bad day.”
“That’s understandable,” said Martee-Kay, “since your mom’s having a great day.”
I looked at my Wreath Supervisor. “She is?”
They all chorused, “Ohhh yahhh.”
It had been fifty minutes since I’d left Mom with red lipstick, wolf coat and a free latte. How great a day could she be having? Before I could get details, the doors opened.
I broke from the crowd to enter the doll workshop. They had made progress. Jane looked lovely in her white theater dress and gloves. Marilyn sexy in her halter dress. Harry magickal in his Gryffindor robe. Then I spied the William Shatner doll.
“Santa say make that way,” Paavo argued. “Make Captain Kirk with three eyes.”
“You misunderstood. Pull the doll. It looks silly.”
While Paavo grumbled that I was no fun, I passed out coffee. Valda had brought the elves sugar-free cookies, iced blue with snowflake sprinkles. I sampled one and gagged on the deer lick saltiness. In protest of my Sugar Ban she had given them inferior food. How dare she! Elves are hard-working, friendly. Always singing and laughing.
“Den här kaffe smaken lik skit,” said Lennart, assigned to dress Jack Sparrow.
He gestured to his coffee. “Kaffe smakar som kycklingar har skit i det.”
My stomach flipped. Had the barista put something foul…or rather, fowl in my order? I smelled Lennart’s cup. “May I?” I sipped the bold flavor, smooth on my tongue. By now the others had also rejected their coffees. “Seriously, what’s wrong?”
“Behov av socker,” Lennart declared. “Massor av socker.”
The others nodded. “Lott och kasta lott av socker.”
My irritation ignited. They’d gobbled Valda’s salty cookies, but rejected fine coffee because it was not loaded with sugar. “Until I know who poisoned the reindeer, you cannot have lots and lots of sugar.”
A dozen tongues stuck out at me. I bit my own to keep from reciprocating. Yes, elves are hard-working and friendly. They’re also manipulative little pecknards.
“You don’t want ’em, toss ’em.” I needed a projection on the doll completion, but didn’t see Brannoc. Behind me cups sloshed as they hit the trash.
“We’ll work through lunch,” said Paavo. “We’ll meet the deadline.” He shoved two cookies into his mouth. Elves loved sugar as much as Santa. Was I wrong to cut them off, cold turkey?
Candy abruptly burst from a storage closet. Sobbing, she fled the workshop. Brannoc emerged behind her, but turned toward his office. There, he threw a tree ornament at the wall. Evidentially not finding satisfaction from its destruction, he hurled several more.
“Doing all we can,” said Paavo, “considering sabotage is rampant.”
“We don’t know its sabotage,” I said, distracted by the shattering ornaments. I’d never seen Brannoc lose his temper. “Sugar could have been added by accident.”
Paavo pulled out a handful of blue cubes. “Sure, that cudda happened. But, how did holes get poked in Sukka’s stockings? Martee-Kay’s wreaths were spray-painted black, Iluminada’s candles melted to spell O-O-G, and Kormos’s Yule logs torched Bruna’s trees.”
I couldn’t close my mouth.
“O’course, that all cudda been a buncha accidents.” Paavo ate a cube.
I stared at his blue-stained lips. “Is that sugar?”
He jerked his fist behind his back. “No.”
I noticed they all had them. “What is it?” He shook his head. “Did Valda make them?” He shrugged. “Where did you get them?”
“Is this the fobbing Inquisition? Piss off.”
His nastiness stunned me. “Hand them over. Everyone!” As I reached for his candy, Paavo shouted, “You’re no fun. Get her!” He leaped onto my back. Lennart piled on. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor. Pointed shoes struck my back, my side. I curled into a ball, beyond stunned.
~ * ~
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