by Julie, dealing with snow in Somerville
There is nothing more thrilling than congratulating a friend on their debut novel. I’m so thrilled to have Sharon Daynard on the blog today to do exactly that. Sharon has had many short stories published, but Murder Points North is her debut as published novelist. On behalf of all of the Wickeds, congratulations Sharon!
A Christmas Note from Santa
We’ve all had them. The holiday disaster we don’t talk about. Who hasn’t made the rookie mistake of roasting a turkey with the giblet bag still stuffed inside the bird’s cavity, regifting an item to the original gifter, or putting the wrong gift tag on the wrong present. Of course, none of those top the Christmas my protagonist has in my holiday whodunit Murder Points North. Not only does she have the misfortune of discovering a dead body, but quickly finds herself the prime suspect in the murder. And let’s face it… No one wants to shop for those last minute Christmas gifts in a prison commissary.
I’ve never faced the prospect of ringing in the New Year behind bars, but I do have a pretty good story of a Christmas that went horrible wrong. Decades ago my son, Ken, then a second grader, came home from school on December 23 and asked the question every parent dreads—Is Santa Claus real? My daughter, Kris, a kindergartner, was on the verge of tears at the suggestion. I didn’t think we’d be having “the talk” for many Christmases to come. I panicked. I told them Santa was as real as I was and all they had to do was leave a note asking him to write back to prove it.
To understand what happened next, you need to know my wedding anniversary is on Christmas Eve and we always celebrate it with Chinese take-out. Instead of cookies and milk, we leave a plate of Chinese food for Santa.
Come that Christmas Eve, my children left a note on the table next to the Chinese food and hurried off to their rooms with a reminder that Santa wouldn’t come if they got out of their beds before morning. You can imagine how incredibly clever I thought I was writing “Santa’s” reply to them:
Dear Ken and Kris,
Thank you so much for the Chinese food.
If I had to eat one more cookie, I think I’d puke!
My husband and I put on a Christmas movie and waited for the kids to fall asleep before placing the gifts under the tree. There was only one problem. We fell asleep watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the one thousandth time and woke to the sound of our daughter crying upstairs in her bedroom. Something about the combination of Chinese food, eggnog and sparkling apple cider didn’t sit well in her stomach and she threw up all over herself and the bedding. A quick shower, a clean pair of pajamas and fresh bed linens later, she was back in her bed.
With my daughter finally asleep, the stockings stuffed and the gifts under the tree, my husband and I headed off to bed. A few hours later we were woken a second time by my daughter’s crying—this time downstairs. After opening their Christmas stockings, Ken and Kris rushed to the table to see if Santa left them a note. When Ken read it out loud he thought Santa was a riot. Kris not so much. She thought Santa was mean and making fun of her for throwing up. She refused to open her gifts, wouldn’t wear her holiday outfit and was pretty much a Grinch for the rest of the day. And that’s they story of how I helped Santa ruin my five-year-old daughter’s Christmas.
Now it’s your turn. Have you ever been responsible for a Christmas gone wrong? I’m going to do a giveaway to one commenter on this post!
Sharon Daynard’s writing runs the gamut from light and quirky to downright dark and troubling. Her debut novel, Murder Points North, takes a humorous spin on murder in a small town. Her short stories include “The Boss of Butlers Square” which received honorable mention for the Al Blanchard Award and “Widows Peak” which was nominated for a Derringer Award.
About Murder Points North:
With one week until Christmas, picturesque Points North, New Hampshire, hasn’t seen as much as a token flurry and the temperatures are almost as high as local tempers. The lack of snow, however, is the least of Liesl Alan’s worries. Liesl teaches geology, collects rocks, minerals and ex-husbands—three at last count. On the brink of turning forty, she finds herself living amongst a group of eccentric “innmates” at the Muddled Moose, an inn her family has owned for generations. Hardly in the Christmas spirit, the last thing Liesl’s looking forward to is a night of wearing a too tight, too ruffled, too plaid gown for the village’s annual Home for the Holidays open house celebration.When the event ends in a fiasco and someone from the Muddled Moose is found murdered, Liesl becomes the prime suspect of everyone from the lead homicide detective to her own mother. Fellow residents at the inn are even offering fashion tips for her inevitable perp walk and mug shot.Determined to prove her innocence and find the real killer, Liesl teams up with a private eye wannabe. With a list of suspects that might as well include all of Points North, she has her work cut out for her, especially when each new clue points her in a different direction.