Devra Robitaille – The Efficiency Claus
London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids. She had a successful career as a professional musician in England, playing keyboards and touring with Mike Oldfield of ‘Tubular Bells’ fame, before moving to America in the nineties. She has been music director for several theatrical productions in Los Angeles, including a show she co-wrote, which was optioned for Broadway. Her first children’s book series is a trilogy of books about a dog named Muffy. Muffy and the Dog Catcher, Muffy’s Florida Adventure, and Muffy and the Medicine Cat are all available now on Amazon. Devra has also written a Christmas fantasy adventure book aimed at middle grade readers, The Efficiency Claus, and a sci-fi fantasy space adventure called The Dream Stealers, and her teen book, The Henge is available now. Devra now lives in Florida with her family on the Sarasota Bay. She loves to kayak and bike and is a consummate foodie.
Interview with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole, November 15th, 2017
By Artie Bookman
I arrived at the North Pole yesterday by sled. Rooney Aldrich and his reindeer Splash had flown down to my office in Sarasota Florida to collect me and bring me up to the toy workshop. I liked Rooney immediately. He disembarked, grinning from ear to ear, offering a huge basket of Mrs. Blithe’s famous tea-cakes. I was a tad warm at first, all tucked in with blankets on the back seat of the sled, since it was over ninety degrees in Florida, but as soon as we were aloft I appreciated the snuggly blankets and began to gobble up the still-warm tea-cakes and apple grog that Mrs. Blithe had sent. I was so excited to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. I wanted to work on my questions, but my fingers were a bit stiff and cold, so I hunkered down and enjoyed the incredible view as we soared across the Rockies.
It had been quite difficult to get an appointment to interview Santa, but eventually my people and his people were able to arrange a meeting and here I was on my way to Santa’s famous workshop high above the arctic circle at the top of the world. The journey was over in the magical blink of an eye, and I found myself being ushered into a nice warm kitchen, with a big crackling fire in the corner. It smelled of cinnamon and cloves and plum pudding, and it was the most cheerful place I think I had ever seen. Santa’s secretary,Mrs. Kulkarni was greeting me with outstretched arms. “My dear Mr. Bookman,” she said, “Santa and the missus can’t wait to meet you!”
She indicated a large and comfy-looking couch where I was to sit and I sat down awkwardly. Mrs. Kulkarni was delightful, she prattled on about this and that, and I found myself relaxing, and then after a few moments the door was flung open and a hearty “Ho ho ho” filled the room and we were off! I found the big man and his missus so easy to talk to, very open and forthcoming and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. So here it is:
Artie: I understand you won Christmas back from Under-claus last year, how does it feel to be back on top once more?
Santa: Well you know, Old Undie was a pretty fierce foe, and for a while there we weren’t sure we would win back Christmas, but with the help of the brave Elf Liberation Force… (he turned and winked at Mrs. Claus who smiled back and patted him on the knee)
Mrs. Claus: …we made a good stand didn’t we dear, we all pulled together and saved the day.
Artie: Yes I heard that Rooney’s father, Alarik had a lot to do with that victory.
Santa: Yes, Alarik and our friend Knotty Pine were at school with Under-claus; he is from the famous Gwenillian clan of elves you know… Did you know Under-claus banished me to the Bahamas! But, that’s a story for another day…anyway, he wasn’t always a bad sort, just went off the rails, that sort of thing…well, Alarik and Knotty formed the resistance movement…and Bob’s yer uncle!
Santa: Manner of speech, dear boy…manner of speech…
Mrs. Claus: My husband sees the good in everyone, you know. (peering over the rim of her little glasses at me and winking) That’s why he’s in charge up here.
Artie: I heard he tried to ban music in the workshop; why did banning music have such a devastating effect on Christmas?
Santa: My dear Boy! Music and Christmas are synonymous for a reason—you can’t ban music and still keep all the things that Christmas represents intact, the joy and the happiness and the gifts and the baking, the baking for goodness sake!—all these things are bound together by the glorious singing of songs! If you ban music it’s like kicking the stuffing out of the thing, and Under-claus very cleverly knew that. But Mrs. Blithe and Mrs. Kulkarni and the kitchen elves managed to keep the singing alive.
(He smiled at Mrs. Kulkarni who was sitting a little way off, knitting a long, red, wooly scarf.)
Artie: Yes of course, I heard about the kitchens and how they resisted, it’s legend now!
Mrs. Claus: We are very proud of our baking elves up here. Won’t you have another cake? (she reached over and picked up a plate that I hadn’t seen from behind the couch. It was heavily laden with the most delicious looking cakes and pies I had ever seen, and they smelled like heaven. I giggled nervously and mumbled something about being on a diet, while selecting the largest piece of lemon cake I had ever seen.)
Artie: (I cleared my throat and tried to swallow a big mouthful of glory) Under-claus wanted to replace Santa with a drone and have the toys delivered to the kids on earth digitally. How would that have ruined Christmas, since the kids would still be getting their toys, one way or another?
(Santa and Mrs. Claus both looked scandalized; their eyes popped open wide, and I nearly dropped my cake.)
Santa: My dear Boy! You can’t just drop toys on people from drones and call it Christmas!! Oh my word!
(Mrs. Claus got up and mopped Santa’s brow a bit and soothed him saying, “There there dear, he didn’t mean anything by it.”)
Artie: I only meant…you know from Under-claus’ viewpoint…I mean I….
Santa: It’s simple! Christmas isn’t about toys and commerce; it’s about magic! The magic of Christmas is like a light in the world. It’s like a beacon that reminds everyone to be a little kinder, a little more compassionate to their fellows. It’s about hope! It’s about faith! And it’s about believing in Santa and all that I stand for…
Mrs. Claus: And miracles, dear, don’t forget the miracles.
Artie: And cake, mustn’t forget the cake!
(We all laughed at that as I took another big bite of lemony goodness.)
Artie: So the battle is won, then?
Santa: Well, my dear boy, I can assure you if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be sitting here by the fire chatting with the likes of you…Ho ho ho…..There’s work to be done for this coming Christmas. Alarik is gearing up to train a whole army of new elves on the toy assembly line—this year the boys and girls will get better presents than ever! It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas.
(Santa gave a big yawn and a stretch, and Mrs. Claus got up to help him.)
Mrs. Claus: Come on dear, it’s time we went up to bed. And you Mr. Bookman will be well taken care of by Mrs. Kulkarni here. Rooney will take you back in the morning.
I chatted a bit longer with Mrs. K, who showed me around and introduced me to her great-niece Lyric. And then this morning, here I am tucked up in the back of Rooney’s two-man sled with a basket of Mrs. Blithe’s tea-cakes on my knees, hurtling back across the Rockies with Splash and Rooney, and feeling a little sad to be going home.
“Children and young adults alike will love this story. A fantastic fairy tale mixed with epic myths and legends, the story is riveting and captivating.
“Santa took up his position in the front driving his war chariot, which had been long forgotten in the back of the compound, unused for centuries. “” – Words A Plenty.
M. L. Tompsett – Sex, Lies And Family Secrets: The Guy Next Door
Weeks away from turning eighteen, Alexia Steele is about to face the hardest challenge in her young life. The love of her life – Drake, is gone and Alexia’s mother just revealed a massive family secret, changing her life forever. Arriving in a mysterious new world where Dark Ones roam, Alexia is on a mission to protect the people she loves at the same time fighting to stay alive and work out who is trying to kill her.
Alexia starts her search for her next-door neighbour, the absent love of her life – Drake. Alexia soon finds Drake surrounded by women, wanting his body and marriage. Will their love be strong enough to reunite them, or is Alexia already too late?
It soon becomes clear not all family can be trusted and will the person who wants Alexia dead; succeed in their evil plans for power.
With strong sex scenes, this read is for 17 years and older.
This eBook contains coarse language, sexual themes (yes-steamy sex scenes), blood, vampires, young love, violence, nudity, handsome – muscled men. Some readers will notice this book is written in UK English/Australian, not US English. If you are offended by any of these themes, this book is not for you.
Dale E. Lehman – The Fibonacci Murders
Dale E. Lehman is a veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, and bonsai artist in training. He is the author of the Howard County Mysteries series (The Fibonacci Murders, True Death). His writing has also appeared in Sky & Telescope and in a couple of software development journals. With his wife Kathleen he owns and operates One Voice Press and its fiction imprint Serpent Cliff. They have five children, five grandchildren, and two feisty cats. His third Howard County Mystery, Ice on the Bay, is nearing release. Meanwhile, he’s at work on the fourth book in the series, plus a science fiction/humor novel and a crime/humor novel. No wonder he has no free time…
About the Book
“I start with zero. Nobody dies today.” The strange note delivered to Detective Lieutenant Rick Peller of the Howard County, Maryland, police was just the beginning. Soon Peller and his colleagues find themselves chasing a cunning killer who is basing his crimes on the Fibonacci series, a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the preceding two. And the only thing Peller knows for sure is that the series never ends.