Excerpts

Fractured Fragment Friday: “Sleep with the Snowmen” (and a coupon!)

Not all of us are angels, and there are reasons that Santa has a NAUGHTY list and a NICE one. Would Santa really just drop a couple of lumps of coal in a misbehaving boy’s stocking, or would he do something a little more meaningful – perhaps send him to “Sleep with the Snowmen”?

Here’s the blurb:

Ask not for whom the bells jingle.SleepWithTheSnowmenCover

A petty criminal crosses the wrong fat man, and is offered the opportunity to change his path; or he could just “Sleep with the Snowmen.”

And here’s this week’s excerpt:

The first time was five Christmases back, at this very same house. I’ve never been such a heel that I’d go after the poor; the Winthrops were the richest people in town, and they had plenty to spare. I was easing a window up from the sill when I heard the jingling. It sounded like it was coming from over my head, maybe from the second floor. I thought there might be someone in the house who was on to me, watching from an upstairs window; I froze with my fingers still gripping the underside of the window.

And then I saw him come right out of the fireplace – not sure how he did it, but there was Jolly Old Saint Nick, red suit and all. He unloaded a dozen packages from his bag and set them around their tree, and then he went back to the fireplace. He took a cookie from the plate on the mantle, washed it down with some milk, and then, like they say, “up the chimney he rose.”

Now this wasn’t all leisurely, mind you. I mean, he didn’t look like he was rushed, the whole thing just sped up like a video playing on fast-forward. He’s not just hypered-up from all the sugar – it’s something else.

I heard the jingling again right after he went up the chimney, and then nothing. I thought about going out into the yard and looking up at the roof to see if I could see his reindeer, but I didn’t want to take the chance of being spotted out in the open, so I gave it a bit to make sure he was gone.

I looked through the window at their tree. I could see where he put all the new stuff he brought, and I looked at all those packages and realized that if I just lifted those, no one would know I’d been there. After all, none of it was there when they went off to sleep, all snug in their beds. They wouldn’t know anything had been taken – they’d just think the fat old man wasn’t as generous this year, or that maybe he just didn’t come at all. So I slid the window open, climbed in and rustled them all up and I was in and out in a flash. Not as fast as him, but I’m still pretty quick.

So here I am five years later, standing behind the trees off to the side of the house waiting, and at 2:22 I hear that telltale jingle. I can see the glint up on the rooftop from the sleigh and the harnesses and all – for some reason it’s easier to see there’s something there when there’s no moon; the lighter it is, the more it looks like there’s a haze hanging over the shingles. I don’t think it’s camouflage; it could be the whole assembly is hyper-speeding or something like that, so the shimmer is all there is to see, but it’s easier to notice in the dark.

He’s in there now, so I shift around on the packed snow trying not to shiver too much while I wait. Then I hear the jingling and the shimmer disappears, and I spring quickly but quietly across the new-fallen snow. I slide the window up and slip inside.

I’m bagging things up when I see it – the jolly old fellow’s left his sack by the fireplace, and it looks like there’s something in it. Lucky me – I get a bonus this year. It’s too dark to see anything, so I reach in and grab what’s at the bottom.

That’s when I know I’ve made a mistake, but I don’t have time to think about it, because I feel a couple of pairs of hands grab mine, and I’m pulled off my feet and into the sack. I try to get out of it, but I can’t find the opening, and then it’s like the whole world is jerked upwards. I’m knocked off my feet, and I’m bouncing back and forth as I’m dragged up the chimney.

And then my stomach drops and my ears pop, and I know we’re flying, and we must be really high up, because it’s so cold. It feels worse than being on one of those small commuter planes, and this pilot doesn’t care how uncomfortable the passengers are, cause we’re going to get where we’re going no matter what. And then it all stops.

Part of me wants to scream, but I have to catch my breath first. Part of me wants to run, but I’d need to get off my hands and knees, and then where would I go? I’m in the dark, trying to get my bearings when I hear a deep, jolly sounding voice, and there’s no mistaking – it’s you know who.

“Berkie. Perkie. Bring him out,” he says.

Someone’s messed with the wrong fat man, alright…  “Sleep with the Snowmen” is a short, fun, slightly twisted holiday tale – yes, we ARE firmly in THE SEASON now! The eBook is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760508

Collection10 CoverAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077NVPN31

“Sleep with the Snowmen” is also included in the collection Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies. (The next ten people who purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code NQ72T will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for TEN stories – such a deal!):

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/906524

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KFQGLSR

<<<>>>

Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready Swordsmaster4for reading.

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?

Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/954501

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WNK79FM

(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910 )

<<<>>>

CatsOfWar_IIa_CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including Cats of War II (a collection of his Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series), can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri

To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress:  https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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