I asked Twitter a few weeks ago if I should write a story about a barbarian Santa Claus fighting Krampus. Well, the week of Christmas has arrived and as an early gift, I’ve written, edited, and built a cover for Kritz & the Krampus. At this time, it is only available on the Kindle for $.99.
Kritz Kringle is a mix of Santa Claus and Conan the Barbarian, which sounds weird and maybe it is. All I know is my beta readers said it was a lot of fun. You can read the synopsis below or pick up your copy here.
“A horned predator stalks the small folk that live at the top of the world. They whisper the name Krampus during the long hours of darkness. Desperate, they seek out a champion to defeat this monster. Kritz Kringle comes to their aid, dressed in red leathers with a war hammer in hand. If he can defeat this Krampus, what will he do about the dozens of them that are thirsting for blood?”
I’ve always enjoyed the sword & sorcery genre started by the late Robert E. Howard. I finally decided to try and write some.
I hope you enjoy. I’d also like to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and brightest of new years. I’ll see you in 2022.
Hello faithful readers, I have two more shows before the end of the year.
The first is Christmas in Lithia. This show is on November 11-12 at Lithia Springs High School. It is a craft show featuring a variety of vendors, I will be there with copies of my books alongside my wife, who will have her prints and coloring books available. My sister-in-law will be joining us with her collection of handmade, geek-inspired bags and pouches. For more information, you can click here.
On November 18-19, I will be at the Atlanta Steampunk Exposition at the Atlanta Marriott at the Galleria. This promises to be a fun show. The weekend before Thanksgiving, this show will be debuting with a host of steampunk guests and authors. If you are a steampunk enthusiast, then I urge you to come out. You can click here for more information.
If you are looking for Christmas gifts that are not your average store bought merchandise, or you want some autographed books for yourself or someone special, then both of these shows are places to find them. Also, if you happen to be in the area on those dates and are looking for something to do, I think you’ll have a good time at either event. Hope to see you there.
It was the day before Christmas Eve, and the winter winds whipped around the buildings of the city. Staring out of an office window, Lollipop Jones watched the people below hurrying to finish their chores before the official start to the holiday. She shifted the ever-present sucker to the other side of her mouth. Behind her, Pecan Sandie was wrapping presents for the local children’s home. The hulking behemoth that was Pecan Sandie struggled with the tiny tape dispenser. Lollipop heard a frustrated grunt and a moment later the familiar sound of her partner extending his flip-out battleaxe.
“Don’t put any more scratches in your desk,” she cautioned.
When she didn’t hear the sound of the weapon sinking into wood, Lollipop Jones turned around to see what her partner was doing. Pecan Sandie had set the axe down beside the desk and was using the honed edge to cut the tricky tape. “You know they put those ridges on the end of the dispenser for a reason,” she said, smirking at her friend.
“It wasn’t working,” Pecan replied with his rumbling voice that sounded like gravel in a cement mixer.
This close to Christmas, the detectives didn’t expect anyone to be needing their services. Tomorrow, they would go to the Big Red V for chili dogs, an old tradition the friends had held. It had only been a few years since they had been forced to fight their way through a clan of ninjas to get their usual Christmas Eve dinner. Hopefully, this year would not be quite so hectic. Their was a knock at their door, accompanied by the faint sound of bells. Lollipop looked at the door and then her partner. The massive shoulders of Pecan Sandie moved up in a shrug.
Going to the door, the detective opened the door and saw a short individual dressed like a Secret Service agent. “Can I help you?” Lollipop asked.
The diminutive figure held up a finger, glanced around the room, and then whispered into his palm. A moment later, a red-suited figure hurried down the hall and into the room. He was followed by three more of the suited little people. “Sorry for the security,” the red-dressed man said. “They insist, especially at this time of year.”
“No threat too tall, even though we’re small” – Elf Security Forces
His cheeks were red and rosy, while a button nose sat directly in the center of a jolly face, framed perfectly by a white beard. “Santa?” Pecan asked, standing up.
“I told you they’d recognize me,” Santa Claus told his security team.
“We haven’t seen you since that incident with the ninjas and chili dogs,” Lollipop announced.
“That’s true, but I’ve known when you were sleeping and when you were awake, not to mention when you’ve went out of your way to help your clients,” Santa announced.
“What brings you into town early?” Lollipop asked, pulling the now empty white stick from her mouth. Throwing it away, she grabbed a new sucker from her desk and promptly inserted it into her mouth.
“Krampus,” the jolly man stated.
Pecan turned away from his wrapping. “The horned, whip guy?” The behemoth asked.
“I’m afraid so,” Santa confirmed. “He broke into my shop, and…”
“Stole all the toys?” Lollipop asked.
“Toys?” Santa asked. “He’s got no need for toys. Every year on Christmas Eve, he tries to capture one naughty child to take back to his dark domain. Every year, I’m able to stop him.”
“Santa, what seems to be the trouble this year,” Pecan asked, offering their prospective client a chair.
Nodding his thanks, Santa sat down and started to explain. “At the center of my workshop is the first Christmas tree. We don’t advertise the fact, but every Christmas tree in the world is connected to that one tree. It’s the nexus of Christmas trees. We use it to get into the homes without chimneys,” the iconic figure explained. “Krampus broke in and entered the tree. We don’t know where he’s gone. My reindeer can track the monster’s scent that’s how I stop him every year. The reindeer can’t find him inside the nexus. We tried before coming South.”
“What can we do?” Lollipop asked.
“I need you to go into the tree after him,” Santa explained. “Krampus is devious and dangerous, but I think you two are up to the task.”
“How do we track him?” Pecan asked.
“You’ll have to search through the nexus for him,” the symbol of the holidays stated. “I know it’s a big job, and I would go in myself if I could, but this time of year, if I go into the tree after him and spend too much time, Christmas will be ruined for millions of children.”
“We’ll do it,” Lollipop and Pecan said in unison.
“Can one of your guys wrap these?” Pecan added.
One of the suited elves stepped up and in moments had finished all of the wrapping. “Transferred from the gift wrap department,” the elf stated.
“We need to go if you’re going to have enough time to find him,” Santa said. “I know this is going to be difficult, but if Krampus gets his hands on any child, it’ll be the end for that little boy or girl.”
“They’ll be a naughty kid, right?” Lollipop inquired to make sure she understood.
“Yes,” Santa confirmed.
“Don’t you give them coal?” The detective asked.
“All children are precious, even the naughty ones,” Santa Claus responded with a twinkle in his eye.
Flanked by the security elves, the detectives followed the big man in red up the stairs to the roof. Opening the door, the duo were surprised to see a red sleigh and eight reindeer. “Where’s Rudolph?” Pecan asked.
“We only bring him along for night flights. He keeps the planes from hitting us,” Santa explained.
Climbing up into the front bench, Santa sat behind the animals. Climbing into the back section, Lollipop and Pecan could not help but take in the expert craftsmanship that had made the vehicle. It looked like it was freshly assembled and painted. Climbing in beside the detectives, the security detail, pushed themselves firmly against the back corners. “You’re going to want to hold on,” one of the elves offered.
Santa began to call the reindeer by name, when he finished, the sleigh shot forward into the sky. The gravitational forces pushed the detectives back against the rear panel of the sleigh. Lollipop’s small frame prevented her from hitting the security elves in the back corner on her side. The elves on Pecan’s side were not as fortunate. A struggling arm was protruding from over the behemoth’s shoulder. Gripping the back of Santa’s seat, Pecan pulled himself forward enough to let the elves squirm out from behind him. “I thought we were goners,” the one elf said to his friend.
Letting go, Pecan slammed back against the wood. “Fast,” the hulking detective announced.
“You think so?” Lollipop asked her partner. “I bet Bill Murray’s never met Santa Claus.”
“He played golf with him at the Glen Campbell Invitational Tournament in 1981,” Pecan informed his partner. Lollipop knew that her friend’s zealot-like love of the comedy icon meant that he was full of obscure facts. The detective never could tell if the facts that her partner spouted were true or made up.
“Yeah, he’s improved his game since then,” Santa announced from the driver’s seat.
Lollipop stared across at Pecan, who just smiled at her.
The ride only lasted twenty minutes. “How did you get from the city to the North Pole in twenty minutes?” Lollipop asked. “I mean the reindeer should have friction burns at the very least.”
The animals were calm and waiting as a small group of elves in overalls came out and began unhitching them from the sleigh. “Seriously, we’d have to move so fast that we should have liquified,” the detective announced.
“Christmas magic,” Santa explained, never losing his smile.
Behind them, hangar doors began to slide shut, cutting out the cold and preventing the north winds from blowing inside. Santa led the detectives through the facility. The elves stopped and stared at the strange pair their boss had returned with. Pecan was taller than Santa with impossibly wide shoulders, while Lollipop was much shorter and lithe. As they passed, Santa greeted each of the small employees, calling them by name. Stepping through an old wooden door that had been carved with intricate designs and patterns, the duo found themselves in Santa’s workshop.
The space was filled with several small benches and tables with different toys on them. “I thought the elves built the toys?” Pecan asked.
“Most of them,” Santa answered. “But I still dabble. Somethings you just never get over.”
Sitting on one of the tables was a small carved train set. Lollipop saw it and bent over to admire the craftsmanship. It had been delicately carved and must have taken days to complete. “That was the first train I ever made,” the jolly man announced, proudly. “Made a great many since, I think my biggest hit was probably the rocking horse.”
Pecan saw the giant evergreen tree sitting in the center of the room. It was decorated in red and white with gold lights shining out through the branches. “This is it,” Santa said. “The first Christmas tree.”
“How do we get into it?” Lollipop asked, brushing her fingertips across the soft down of the evergreen.
“Just a moment,” Santa said.
Leaning forward, he whispered something into the branches and stepped back. A white light began to shine between the limbs, growing brighter and wider until the tree was glowing. “Now, you can step through. When you’ve found him, come back, and the doorway will open for you automatically.”
“What if we have to leave through another tree, how do we get back?” Lollipop asked.
“You have fifteen minutes from the time you step out of a tree before the door closes behind you,” Santa explained.
“See you soon,” Pecan stated as he stepped into the light.
Lollipop followed closely behind her partner. Once they were inside the tree, they found themselves floating in a strange place with multiple points of lights in the shape of Christmas trees all around them. Suspended in this void, the duo tried to find some hint at where the Krampus might be hiding. “Any ideas?” Pecan asked.
“I’m not sure how to track something when there isn’t anywhere for it to leave tracks,” Lollipop answered. “I guess we can try and maneuver around. We’ll see if we can find anything.”
“How do we move?” The behemoth asked.
“Good question,” the smaller detective replied.
After several minutes, the duo discovered that moving around within the nexus point was as simple as thinking. If they wanted to move in a specific direction, they just had to think about it, and they would begin to head that way. Moving through the inter-dimensional space, Lollipop and Pecan searched for any indication that the Krampus had been this way. Lollipop had gone through half of the reserve suckers in her trench coat when something black covered part of one of the Christmas tree shapes.
Making their way towards the symbol, the detectives saw a mark where the light had burned out. It was in the shape of a clawed hand. “We’ve found our way to track him,” Pecan stated.
“You know, one thing bothers me,” Lollipop stated.
“No pine scent,” Pecan replied.
The diminutive detective noticed the lack of smells that one associated with Christmas trees and had expected the climbing into a tree gateway there would be an overwhelming smell. “Okay, two things are bothering me,” Lollipop conceded.
“What’s the other one?” Pecan inquired, keeping his eyes open for any other marked symbols.
“How did the Krampus get into the tree,” Lollipop answered. “You saw how Santa opened the it. How many people could know the secret to opening the tree?”
“We’ll have to check with Santa when we get back and find out.”
“Found another one,” Lollipop stated, pointing to the burned out spot on the door.
“There’s another,” Pecan stated. “I wonder where he’s heading?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Lollipop announced. “We just have to get to him before he can do any real harm.”
The detectives continued following the claw marks until they caught sight of their target. Hulking shoulders that rivaled Pecan Sandie’s sat atop a smaller waist with small goat-like legs. Spiked horns that were slightly curved sat on top of a gray face with burning red eyes. “No!” He rasped. “I was told I’d have more time.”
Krampus – aka not Santa
“Don’t you know that the naughty ones don’t get what they ask for for Christmas,” Lollipop replied.
Turning to the tree symbol in front of him, Krampus pushed through and exited the nexus. Speeding behind him, the detectives launched from the tree in the corner and landed onto a sofa. Krampus was just picking himself up off of the floor when the duo made their entrance. Rolling to their feet, Lollipop and Pecan moved to encircle the Christmas fiend. “What’s with the noise?” Someone called from the adjoining room.
Distracted by the voice, Krampus gave Pecan Sandie an opening. Running at the horned being, the detective slammed his shoulder into his opponent’s back and tackled him to the ground. In two quick steps, Lollipop was by her partner’s side. “Get off!” Krampus shouted.
“I’m calling the police,” the voice announced.
“Do you have him?” Lollipop asked.
Pecan nodded. “Back to the tree,” he stated.
Lifting Krampus from the floor, the detective forced the punisher of naughty children into the tree, where they emerged once again in the nexus realm. “I will not be stopped!” The fur-covered creature announced, taking advantage of Pecan Sandie’s momentary disorientation and breaking free.
Lashing out with its hooved foot, Krampus kicked Pecan and sent him tumbling away. “Pecan!” Lollipop shouted, heading towards her partner.
“No!” Pecan called back. “Stop him, I’ll be fine.”
As she started to turn and follow the creature, she saw Pecan’s stop tumbling. Floating through the void between Christmas trees, Lollipop trailed after the creature. The detective had been trained by the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, a group of warrior nuns. However, all of their techniques were useless while floating here. For her to be effective, they would have to be on solid ground. From ahead of her, she heard Krampus’ excited squeal. “Finally!”
Vanishing into one of the symbols, the villain left the nexus realm. Preparing for the change, Lollipop followed after Krampus. With her warrior-nun honed reflexes, she was able to adjust her balance and land on her feet, while her opponent was still trying to stand The tree had come out onto a large foyer with a winding staircase. Several bags of presents sat beneath the tree. “This isn’t going to go well for you,” Lollipop told Krampus. “Give up.”
“No,” he rasped. “I’m so close, you can’t stop me now.”
“Look, I appreciate that you want to punish some naughty kid, but we aren’t going to let you do that,” the detective stated plainly.
“Naughty kid?” Krampus repeated confused. “This isn’t about some snotty, little brat. This is something greater.”
“Have it your way,” she replied, putting a fresh sucker in her mouth and dropping into a fighting stance.
Krampus dropped his hands back, preparing to strike with his clawed fingertips. To be as large as Pecan Sandie, the Christmas creature moved with amazing speed. Spinning, Lollipop avoided the attack, while lashing out with a kick. Landing her blow, Lollipop watched as Krampus slammed headfirst into the wood paneled wall, cracking it. “What’s going on?” Someone called from upstairs.
Lollipop thought the voice was familiar but could not place it. It did not matter, she had bigger problems at the moment to deal with. Shaking off the headbutt to the wall, the horned creature rushed forward again. Dropping onto her back, Lollipop placed her feet into Krampus’ stomach and sent him hurtling over her. Rolling across the floor, her opponent knocked over a china cabinet. “All right, who’s throwing a party in my house and didn’t invite me,” the unseen voice said. This time footsteps approached the top of the stairs.
Krampus pushed up to his feet and staggered towards the foot of the stairway. Lollipop knew that she needed to end this fight quickly. Drawing back, she prepared the ultimate technique of the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, the Uber-Death Punch. It was powerful enough to atomize the bones in a human body. Striking out, she saw the punch headed directly for the horned crown of Krampus’ forehead. Dropping prone to the floor, her opponent dodged the blow, which connected with the curved banister railing. The force of the blow rippled up the rail, snapping it free from the supports and acting like a whip as it raced towards the top of the stairs.
A loud thud and a growl announced the arrival of Pecan Sandie. Getting on all fours, Krampus charged, slamming his head into Lollipop. The deadly detective managed to block the blow, but it still threw her into the wall, breaking the boards. Sliding to the floor, she saw Pecan unfold his battleaxe and growl a challenge to the yule time terror. Several strikes from his weapon glanced off of Krampus’ horns, sparking along the floor. Finally, the unseen speaker came into view on the stairs. Lollipop thought she must have a concussion.
With a quick flick of his horns, Krampus sent Pecan’s axe sliding across the floor. “What’s going on guys?” The speaker asked, confusion clear on his face. “You’re not my normal Christmas visitor.”
Both Krampus and Pecan stopped their combat and stared in awe at the newcomer. Bill Murray, wearing a tuxedo with an untied bow tie still tucked under the collar, just smiled and gave a small wave. “Hey,” he said.
“BILL MURRAY!” Pecan shouted as he landed a punch square on Krampus’ jaw.
The blow dropped the monster, easily. Rather than following up and ending Krampus’ threat, Pecan stood staring at his favorite actor, mouth hanging open. Pulling herself free of the wall, Lollipop stretched, cracking her back. “We need to get him out of here,” she announced to her awestruck partner.
“But…” he started.
“Do you guys want some egg nog?” Bill Murray offered. “Or I could make pancakes.”
“Lolli…” Pecan started, biting the corner of his bottom lip.
“I know, but we don’t have long before the tree will close behind us,” she replied to her partner. “Just shake his hand.”
“Autograph…” Krampus rasped, drawing a marker and a worn VHS copy of The Razor’s Edge from his matted fur.
“Wow, don’t see many copies of this,” the actor stated, bending over and taking the items.
“An unsung triumph,” Krampus said, rolling onto his back.
Pecan raised an eyebrow. “It is,” the hulking detective agreed. “How do you feel about Mad Dog and Glory?”
“Great performances, but the world wasn’t ready for it,” the defeated creature stated. “Remake with the original cast now, academy awards.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Pecan exclaimed, lifting Krampus to his feet.
“Pecan?” Lollipop asked, concerned by this change in tone.
“He’s not all bad,” her partner replied. “He likes Bill Murray.”
“It’s true, so far no serial killers or genocidal dictators have been fans,” Bill Murray added, handing back the VHS with a still-drying signature on it.
“Thank you,” Krampus offered. “I’ll go quietly now.”
“Wait,” Lollipop started. “This was all just for an autograph from Bill Murray.”
“I can’t find him on Christmas Eve by normal means, I only smell naughty children. He’s not naughty,” Krampus explained. Bill Murray gave a small bow and mouthed “thank you.” “Tree was the only way.”
“What about collecting a naughty child?” Pecan asked.
“This was a once in a lifetime chance,” the horned creature offered. “I’ll try and get a kid next year.”
“I can’t say I blame you,” Pecan Sandie agreed. “I’d have done it.”
“It’s always nice to meet a fan,” Bill Murray replied. “Hold on just a second.”
Walking past them, the comedic genius disappeared around the corner and came back a moment later. He held three pictures in his hands. “Since you guys seem to be in a hurry, just take these and Merry Christmas.”
Lollipop, Pecan, and Krampus each took one of the pictures. They were autographed stills from some of his most iconic roles. Pecan and Krampus almost giggled, but caught themselves. “Thank you and Merry Christmas,” Lollipop offered. “Guys, we really need to head out. I think we haven’t solved all the problems at the North Pole just yet.”
“Merry Christmas,” Pecan and Krampus said in unison.
Stepping back into the tree, the trio vanished from the actor’s home. He took a moment and looked at the damage to his home. “Nick, I hope your elves are good at wood work,” Bill Murray offered as he went back upstairs.
Due to time passing at a different rate within the nexus realm and the normal world, Lollipop, Pecan, and Krampus emerged from the Christmas tree in Santa’s workshop around ten on Christmas morning. Santa was sitting by the tree with a large contingent of elves. The diminutive workers ran forward to take custody of Krampus.
“Back off,” Pecan instructed, growling at the elves.
“Is everything okay?” Santa asked.
“No,” Lollipop replied. “Someone here sold you out. Didn’t you think it odd that Krampus was able to get into the workshop easily and knew how to activate the tree?”
“I was to worried about the child that he was going to take to think about it,” Santa admitted.
“It’s okay,” Pecan replied. “This is your busy season.”
“One of your elves had a little chit chat with Krampus. He wasn’t after a child,” Lollipop replied, telling Santa Claus all about their chase through the tree and meeting with Bill Murray.
“I know about Billy’s house,” Santa admitted. “I sent a crew down to fix his wall.”
“I’ll try and get a child next year,” Krampus stated.
“Who helped you?” Santa asked.
From the back of the gathered elves, one of them took off at a run, leaving the workroom behind. “I’m on it,” Lollipop shouted as she took off after the small fugitive.
She was quick and agile like a reindeer, only instead of gifts she was bringing fistletoe (see what I did there). Before the elf had made it halfway down the hall, the detective was within reach. With a quick kick, she took out the runner’s legs. He tumbled onto the ground, losing his green and red hat as he rolled along the floor. His attempts to fight back were almost cute to the detective…almost, she gave a quick chop to the side of his neck, knocking him out. Grabbing one of his belled shoes, Lollipop dragged him back down the hallway to Santa’s workshop.
“Got him,” she announced triumphantly.
“Okay,” Santa replied. “Krampus, you can go. I’ll see you out there next year.”
“Bye Santa,” Krampus said, running from the workshop towards the sleigh exit.
“Have security make sure he actually leaves,” Santa whispered to one of the elves, who stepped away to follow his orders.
“Why didn’t you destroy him?” Lollipop asked.
“Destroy him?” Santa Claus chuckled, his belly trembling like a bowl of jelly. “I don’t destroy things, other than sadness. Krampus and I are two sides of the same coin. I am the promise of reward to the nice and he is the threat of punishment for the naughty. However, all children are under my protection. Funny thing, all the children that Krampus has tried to take away, they all are on the nice list the next year. Sometimes, seeing that the threat is real, is all it takes.”
“Okay,” Lollipop replied, not really understanding the red-suited icons reasoning. “But what about this guy?”
“Can you wake him up?” Santa asked. “Gently.”
The behemoth stepped over to his partner and shouted in the unconscious elf’s face. With a yelp, the elf woke up.
“Now, Gup-gup what’s the meaning of this?” Santa asked.
“Well, guess I’m on the naughty list for sure now,” Gup-gup admitted. “You were supposed to chase after Krampus.”
“Yeah, but your security detail was waiting in here for your return,” Gup-gup stated. “I wanted you to go in after him. While the workshop was going to be unmanned, I was going to burn the tree.”
A collective gasp came from the assembled elves. “What good would that do?” Pecan asked.
“If the original Christmas tree was destroyed, the connection to all the other trees would be lost. I’d be trapped forever,” Santa announced.
“That would ruin Christmas,” Pecan growled at the captive elf.
“Why would an elf want to ruin Christmas?” Lollipop asked.
“I’d be fine if they canceled it forever,” Gup-gup announced, which drew another gasp from the other elves with one of them fainting.
“Gup-gup, why?” Santa asked, his smile disappearing for the first time.
“I’m allergic to candy canes,” Gup-gup confessed. “Without Christmas they would vanish, not too mention that we keep them all over the place up here.”
“You could just stay away from peppermint”, Pecan scoffed.
“Aren’t you listening, that is almost impossible around this place”, the naughty elf bellowed. “Besides, I’m not allergic to peppermint, it’s candy canes I can’t handle. Any candy in a cane shape. It’s a rare allergy.”
A confused look covered all the faces in the workshop, followed by a short pause.
“Why work here?” Lollipop asked, breaking the silence.
“I’m an elf, I can work here or make shoes. I tried the shoe thing. I’m a really bad cobbler,” the elf admitted.
“Well, we do have one job that you might be able to do,” Santa stated.
Two of the security elves led Gup-gup away. “What are you going to do to him?” Pecan asked.
“We don’t put any candy canes in the coal chutes,” Santa announced. “If he’d said something, we could have transferred him without all of this mess.”
“What if he doesn’t want to work with coal?” Lollipop asked.
Santa shrugged. “We’ll find something for him to do,” the seasonal celebrity offered. “I’ve seen his shoes, he’s right, he’s a really bad cobbler. Now, we need to get you two back home.”
A short sleigh ride later, the duo were back at their office building. As the symbolic sleigh started to pull away, Santa called over his shoulder: “Merry Christmas!”
Waving, the detectives returned the sentiments, heading down to their office. “That was strange, even for us,” Lollipop admitted.
“I got to meet Bill Murray,” Pecan replied. “We could have had pancakes with him.”
“I know, I’m sorry,” Lollipop answered.
“I left my axe at his house,” the hulking detective replied.
“We’ll get you a new one,” Lollipop Jones promised.
Back at their respective apartments, the two found their stockings filled. Sitting under Pecan’s Christmas tree was a familiar shape: his axe. Lifting it, he saw a note.
Thought you might need this,
Smiling, Pecan looked at the autographed still from Bill Murray and thought to himself, best Christmas ever.
Thanks for reading everybody. Since Lollipop Jones & Pecan Sandie got their start a few years ago at Christmas, I thought I’d bring them back for another romp. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all, I’ll be back next year with more stories, appearances, and as much fun as I can.
Since you people have been so awesome and followed these two detectives through their adventures, check out the video below to enjoy some classic Bill Murray caroling featuring George Clooney and Miley Cyrus.
As promised, I wanted to let you all know of some of the fine people that I try and support during this time of year. Saturday was small business Saturday, which is intended to help small, locally owned businesses. A lot of people don’t realize that this can also mean independent authors, artists, musicians, etc. So, since this is Cyber Monday, I wanted to give you all some other places where you can find some great gift ideas.
First of all since, I know that a lot of you will be on Amazon today, let me go ahead and make some suggestions that you can find there.
For those of you looking for that someone who enjoys coloring, I recommend Henna Dreamers, click on the cover below to go to the Amazon page.
Do you have a reader in the family that you are looking to pick up a gift for. Might I recommend my books, the works of Bobby Nash, or the debut novel by J.A. Tony? You can click the names to visit the Amazon author pages for a list of complete works or click the links below for these recommended titles.
Now, let’s look at the more unique gifts. The following individuals can be found on Etsy.com.
My cover artist/wife sells prints and her one of a kind sculptures online at Etsy. You can find her store here.
Wouldn’t you like to take this little guy home? Or maybe a different animal?
Do you know anyone who enjoys handmade quilts or bags? If so, I have just the shop for you. Jul’s Treasures specialized in quilts but also makes wonderful handmade bags. My wife picked up a purse from her and has loved it. So, please check it out.
Do you have a manly man on your list? Might I recommend something that has been forged? North Crescent Iron hand forges different items from railroad spike bottle openers to knives and other items of interest. Check out their store for awesome items like the one pictured below.
Lastly, for those who are looking for something more rustic, I would recommend Northwood’s Carvings. They are handcrafting some fun items for home decoration or to trim your Christmas tree with.
There you have it. If you want to help support the little guy, these are the ones that I have supported in the past and hope to continue to do so. Do you have different individuals that you’re supporting? If so, please share in the comments below.
I know, it is only a week until Christmas and some of you are looking for that perfect holiday read. I can recommend two.
Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
Synopsis: One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets earthward, a magical sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, and how half a millennium ago, the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.
Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself to his family, to save his own broken dreams…and help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.
I have read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is by far not your traditional Christmas story. Click on the cover below for the Kindle version for only $1.99.
And speaking of classics, my second recommendation is Charles Dickens’ eternal classic: A Christmas Carol, I am sure most of you know this timeless tale of a miserable old man who is visited by three ghosts to teach him the meaning of Christmas and spare him from a horrible afterlife. I read this book for the first time last year and can honestly say that so many of the adaptations leave out some of the little things that make this a much more enriching story. If you click on the link below, you will find the Kindle edition (for free) with the original illustrations.
Any of you last minute shoppers who don’t know what to get those pesky relatives/friends, check out my Author’s Page. There is still time for Amazon to deliver these books. A Merry Christmas to you all or happy holidays.
When I last left you, we had successfully brought the tree from the yard into the house. Now we had an equally challenging task, placing the tree in the stand. This was not the traditional stand, mainly because the tree was too large for any normal stand. The stand my friend had procured was essentially three pieces of rebar welded together with a spike darting up from the center, around the spike was a large plastic bucket shaped contraption for holding water. After the ordeal of bringing the tree into the house, this should be easy, right? Well given that bringing a Christmas Tree into the house should be easy as well, this went a little better but still not great.
First we had to lift the monstrous ten ton, 14 foot tree into a position where the spike would insert itself into the hole that had been drilled into the bottom of the tree. So as you can imagine Luke and I started to lift the tree, starting with the tip and lifting it higher each step we took toward the base. Then while the tree was standing we had to lift it up and place it on top of the spike, while my friend made sure the insertion was done correctly. We got it on the first try. The only problem was that the tree was so heavy that it split the rubber covers on the end of the rebar. We should just leave it right? Wrong, my friend has hard wood floors and rebar can be very scratchy. So we lifted the tree off of the stand and placed it against the wall. Several goings over with duct tape solved the problem of bare rebar on the floor; now to put the tree back onto the spike. It was like Ahab harpooning Moby Dick, after everything that happened getting the tree into the house, we all wanted to stab the thing.
Still we had it on the tree stand: mission accomplished . . . until we checked and saw about three inches of spike gleaming underneath the tree. This thing just would not die! Luke, myself and our friend stood in a circle around the tree and began turning it, hoping that the spike would drive itself further into the heart of the tree. It took a lot of doing and the strangest rendition of a maypole I’ve ever seen, but we finally got the spike to sink into the tree. Awesome job’s done. We step back to admire our work as our muscles groan and our joints pop. “Why is the tree leaning?” Asked our friend’s wife.
A collective groan, mingled with profanity, answered her question. The tree was leaning, the top of it was tipping over slightly and the center seemed to be bulging out at an odd direction. How should we fix this? Exactly, with rope that was our thoughts also. The large loft area overlooking the living room of the house, where we had placed the tree, has a railing to prevent someone from taking a fall. It just so happened that the top of the tree reached the railing. So with rope in hand we proceeded to tie the top of the tree to the railing. Easy fix, now what to do about the curve in the center of the tree. MORE ROPE! That’s right, we opened the glass sliding door that leads into the library and using a heavy duty cargo strap we pulled the tree in the opposite direction. Once we had the tree straightened out, we tied off the cargo strap around yet another railing in the library stairs. Good thing our friends bought a house with lots of stairs.
Now some of you may already see the problem here, we fixed the top and then the middle. Once the middle was fixed it changed the position of the top of the tree (at this point I would like to state that I believe that exhaustion caused our lack of foresight). So up to the loft, where we had to untie the tree, re-straighten it, and then tie it back off. Standing and looking at the tree tied to two separate railings and impaled on a rebar stake, we realized then that perhaps this tree was a little too large. The white cord holding the top of the tree to the railing was easy to disguise and most people could not see it from the living room, the bright orange heavy duty cargo strap though, well that tends to stand out no matter what.
And yet despite, the aches, the pain, and more profanity than should be used near the Holy Day of Christmas. We were victorious. Three men and women went into the woods that day and returned bearing a tree; a monster of a tree, but a tree nonetheless. Before the clock chimed midnight on that evening, that monster had been conquered and all that remained was a Christmas Tree and three very sore men covered in sap. Well that and a very important lesson. Never get a Christmas Tree too big for your house, seriously.
Trying to determine where to tie the tree. Luke in awe of our accomplishment and the massive tree.
I know that judging by the title of this blog, you expected it to be about the time the chimp and I took on those seven foot tall twins in Tokyo but that’s really more of an Easter story. We were trying to find Mothra’s crazy colored chocolate eggs after all. No this tale is a story of a hard fought battle, of man against nature, of . . . a lapse in judgment.
An omen of things to come.
A little history before we begin, every year my wife and I along with another couple go and cut down a live tree to put in our houses and decorate it. Simple enough, right? Our friends had recently moved into a new house with a magnificent (i.e. insanely tall) ceiling. To accommodate this space while touring the tree farm, our friends on the advice of a third party (I’ll get to him later) chose a 14 foot beast of a tree. My truck sagged under the heavy load of this tree. Once back at their house, we discovered a whole new set of problems. How do we get the tree into the house? We couldn’t fit it down the stairs if we went in through the front door and it was too big to make the turn and fit into the basement. So there we were two reasonably intelligent men and Luke (our previously unnamed third party).
There are only two words to describe Luke: big and Luke (anyone who has met Luke can attest to my description as accurate). So there we stood when Luke came up with an idea. Let’s try and use ropes to deadlift the ten ton tree onto the deck 18 off the ground. There we were two intelligent men, listening to Luke. Thus began the lapse of judgment, because we agreed to try Luke’s plan. This is where things started going terribly awry. So we carry this monstrous evergreen to the side of the house, where we leave it. Then it is into the house and up the stairs to secure the ropes to the railing of the deck and then we wait, while the friend who purchased this gigantic tree headed back down to tie off the rope around his prize.
Safe in the knowledge that the ropes were tied tightly to the tree, he proceeded to join us on the deck. Three guys, young and . . . well we’ll leave it at young, took hold of those ropes with our gloved hands and we gritted our teeth together. It was time to pull. Several moments passed our muscles straining. We needed a break before we dropped the tree and lost all the progress we had gained. We tied off our ropes and looked over the rail. THE TREE WAS STILL ON THE GROUND. It goes without saying that our morale at this point had dropped fairly low. Fortunately, our stupidity was running very high.
Did we decide to try and get it to fit into the basement? No. Did we think to try and use one of another myriad of entrances? No. What did we do? We listened to Luke again. We brought the women along for our sleigh ride of frustration and labor, why? Because that was Luke’s idea and Christmas is about sharing.
So out came the three lovely young ladies, who have been laughing at us this entire time. With their added strength we were able to finally start making progress. The tree was almost halfway up when something grabbed the end of the tree. The massive evergreen suspended above the ground, as some unseen force pulled at the base of the tree. Was it gravity? I’ve heard that can cause problems when things are lifted off of the ground, or was it merely the hand of fate adding to the mishaps surrounding this tree? Neither, while we were hoisting the tree’s base had gotten lodged underneath one of the support columns of the porch.
So with shaking limbs and dwindling spirits, we sent Luke to free the base of the tree. Apparently it was an arduous journey because I know marathon runners that have finished in better time than Luke did for making the 150 foot walk. As his laughter filled the air when he saw the predicament, visions of murder danced in our heads as we maintained our hold on the tree.
Finally, after Luke completed his task and returned to us on the deck it was time to finish bringing this monstrosity into the house. It took five or six good massive heaves and we had the tree on the deck. It lay there for a moment as the deck gave several long, low ominous moans, but the deck held. Surprising given how many troubles had been associated with the tree. So it was that we beat the beast and wrangled it into the house. Of course now we had to set it upon the tree stand, but that is a tale for another day, tomorrow or maybe Wednesday. Check back to find out which.
I previously posted this on my old blog, but thought with the Christmas season and the new readers I’ve found here on radioactiverabbitink.com that I would repost it for your enjoyment.
Last night, I arrived home shortly after sunset with a full moon cresting the horizon. It was then that I heard it, an unmistakable howling. I knew the Christmas Wolves were in my neighborhood, staking their prospective victims.
I’m sorry, you don’t know about the Christmas wolves? Guess I should warn you properly then.
The Krampus . . . you don’t know the Krampus? You can find out about that horned menace here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus. Story tells that on Christmas Eve in 1684, the Krampus was on his way to Pope Innocent XI’s nephew. Apparently, having the pope as an uncle does not exclude one from the naughty list. At the pleading of his sister, the Pope imprisoned the Krampus in a blessed ivory box, which is still stored in the bowels of the Vatican.
Before the Krampus was caught, he had already taken three children, the worst in the land, and stuffed them into his basket. As the blessed box closed, the evil powers of the Krampus were expelled into his enchanted basket. As Innocent opened the basket, three large black wolves rose from its confines. Gone were the children, replaced by these malevolent beasts. Ever since on the days approaching Christmas, the wolves go around the world to naughty children seeking the worst of the worst. They will entreat the children with promises of fun and games. If the children leave the safety of their beds and go to the coarse haired beasts, those children then become wolves themselves. They are cursed to roam with the pack, always seeking naughty children to join them.
I know it sounds bleak, but don’t worry. Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was charged with not only rewarding the good children, but protecting all children from the evil of this curse. So it is, that he rides each Christmas Eve with his reindeer to keep away the wolves. The large Arctic reindeer that Santa employs are heartier than their European brethren. One kick from those mighty legs can end a wolf. Although, the world is a large place and Santa cannot be everywhere at once on Christmas Eve, so it is that he has employed the help of Gingerbread men. Yes, those Gingerbread men. Created with so much loving care for children around the world, infused with a mother’s care, the baked men rise at night to patrol the house and insure that no wolf can enter.
Wolves detest peppermint, so if you ever find a gingerbread man with a peppermint stick be grateful, he was most likely fending off one of the Christmas Wolves. Mistletoe also can serve as a fine way to keep the wolves at bay. According to tradition, cut Mistletoe must not touch the ground before it is hung, it is a ward against ill omens and evil deeds. To some degree this must be true, because the wolves will not cross the threshold of a door with Mistletoe hung above it.
So those of you reading these words, be sure you take all the necessary precautions. Gingerbread men need to made and formed. Hang your candy canes on the tree. Make sure that the Mistletoe is hung above the door. Take these precautions and be sure to ward the Christmas Wolves away from your door.
Also these are just nice traditions, so you know double win. You don’t lose a kid to the Christmas Wolves and you get to make some fun memories.
Hello out there. In case anyone is going to be in the Powder Springs area this Saturday, December 13, you should stop by the Bookworm used & rare bookstore. I will be there along with another author, selling and signing copies of both Winston & Baum books. It’s my last appearance of the year, and your last chance to see my smiling face in person for 2014. Also, autographed books make great Christmas presents, especially when you can get them personalized to a person of your choosing. One guy had me make one out to “Pookie,” so when I say a person of your choosing, I mean it. Or if you wanted, I could make it out to your pet, if you have dog or cat that can read, please bring it in, I’d love to know what it thinks of my work.
If you won’t be able to make it out to the signing, I will leave a few copies at the Bookworm and you can contact them about purchasing them. Although if you really want to get personalized autographed copies and help out an awesome cause, please visit this auction site. Some dear friends of mine are looking to add a precious little life to their home through adoption. You can pick up an author’s pack in their auction. It contains, a copy of each book autographed to a person of your choosing, an 8×10 print of each cover and a set of bookmarks. All this for starting at $20.00. My cover artist has also donated some postcard sets, and a sculpture to their auction. Julie isn’t just getting donations either, she is a fantastic quilter and has many wonderful quilts for auction as well. So if you can, please donate to this worthy cause and help them share their love.
Please keep checking in for more fun stuff that I have going on and you never know, a fun little holiday adventure may appear here very soon.