Monday, December 13, 2010

The ebook adventures of Santa...

Fictionwise, the ebook site operated by Barnes & Noble, provides a best-seller list for Wings ePress, my publisher.

Six of the 10 top novels are romances. The genre is hugely popular for readers who use ebook readers like kindles. If self-conscious while reading in public, they don’t have to worry about bystanders gawking at the risqué covers of half-naked women draped across their lovers’ bodies.

Other popular ebook genres are suspense/thrillers, historical fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.

The No. 1 novel, the only fantasy among the top 10, happens to be The Emperor’s Mistress, authored by yours truly.

A while back the editors of Wings ePress asked its authors to submit short stories for the publisher’s website. The request had me thinking about what genre writers would plot out for a short story with a Santa theme.

Here’s my take, written as teasers:

Mystery/detective: Santa investigates the apparent murder of an elf whose body was found near the stable housing his magical flying reindeer. The little fellow’s head had been bashed in by an iron skillet. The chief suspect remains Mrs. Claus, owner of the skillet, but she claims it was stolen the day before the murder. Santa suspects the voluptuous elf Alena committed the killing, wishing to transplant Mrs. Claus in his affections. Santa must do a fair and impartial investigation and pray that his suspicions are correct. He’s nervous, though. The man in the red suit just learned from a reliable source that the dead elf, Zydar, had been having secret affair with Mrs. Claus, and had threatened to tell Santa if he wasn’t made head of her candy and cookie baking department.

Romance: Readers learn how Santa met and fell in love with Jessica Mary, the future Mrs. Claus. In olden times she was willowy with long blond hair, rosy cheeks and a stunning figure. Back then all the boys in Gotlands, Sweden, found Jessica the cat’s meow. But one in particular, the coolly handsome Loke Gustavsso, had nearly convinced her to make love in her father’s barn’s hayloft, but then Santa came into her life. On a dreary, overcast day in October he’d been taking a new sleigh for an aerial spin when two sick reindeer forced him to make an emergency in a meadow outside Gotlands. When Santa set eyes on Jessica, he felt his heart flitter, and he swore he wouldn’t leave the village unless she sat snuggly on the seat beside him.

Fantasy: When supervising the toy factory became too tedious, Santa likes to retreat to the office and its cozy fireplace for a D&D adventure with Mrs. Claus, chief elf Supervisor Almog Lonelash and his main squeeze, Tiana Lightglow. When too much eggnog leaves his bladder overflowing, Santa must temporarily leave the game to seek relief in the outhouse. Halfway to the jakes, he sees his breath turn to ice and plunge to the snow. A moment later Santa’s sucked into a passing wormhole and deposited into the middle of a laser battle on the planet Niijima—and without his magical reindeer, sleigh and gift bag.

History: A young Santa without responsibilities—his father St. Nick delivers the presents—gets caught up in 17th Century English politics. Young Santa abhors kings and queens, though he does have an eye for fiery princesses in low-cut gowns. Rather taken by the political beliefs of Oliver Cromwell, Santa joins Cromwell’s New Model Army to rid England of Charles I and his monarchist supporters. As he witnesses the destruction done by the armies to the lives of yeomen, Santa comes to realize the importance of his father’s mission of delivering toys to the children of the world.

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