Just to Clarify: An Interview With George Elf

The Chimney Sweep released on November 23, just in time for Black Friday! If you haven’t read my comedic holiday novella, you can order the e-book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Paperback is available at Amazon and Lulu Publishing! I would highly recommend reading the book before reading the interview since there are some spoilers, but if you’re not one to care or you’ve already read it, please read on for answers to commonly asked questions from the book!

Without further ado, an interview with George Elf!

Hi George, and thanks for doing an interview with me.

 I literally had to. I had no choice. You’re writing me.

 Okay, George. What really happened with the pogo stick?

 Just gonna skip right over that part where you’re making me do this against my will?

 Yep. What happened with the pogo stick?

 Um… I’d think it’s obvious what happened with the pogo stick.

 It’s not. The readers want to know, George. So, what happened?

 Nosy readers you’ve got there. Can’t a man have an incident with a pogo stick and not tell everyone about it?

 You’ve gotta give the readers what they want, George. This wasn’t my idea.

 But it was. I was there in your head when you thought of it. This is all you, MJ.

 Would you just answer the question?

 Fine, but I’m not sure how it’s not obvious. Uncle Henry tried to get on the pogo stick and slipped. Then the pogo stick went straight up his a—

 Whoa, George! We’re keeping this interview clean, okay? Nice words only!

 Um, okay… I thought attic was a nice word, but perhaps you prefer the storage unit above a house? Anyway, it shot straight up into the a—the storage place, and out the window, bounced on the sidewalk and knocked down all his Christmas decorations before it bounced all the way to Elf Central and gave Fancy Nancy Elf a concussion.

 I… what? How did… never mind. On to question two—

 But you’ve already asked me, like, four questions.

 *sigh* Yes, George, you’re right. Next question, where does poo go?

 (shocked expression) Wow, your readers are very strange. Why would anyone want to know where poo goes?

 Look, I’m just the writer. I ask what the readers want to know.

 Well, we, ya know… poo, then it gets sucked down into this pipe thing. After that, it flows through a big grate where the bigger things are filtered out. Then, it goes to another treatment plant where—

 Wait, so it’s like a regular sewage treatment plant?

 I’m not done. Don’t interrupt, MJ. So anyway, the solids are collected, and the rest moves to another treatment where micro-organisms—

 George, this is just like a human sewage treatment plant.

 You’re annoying for an author, did you know

 I created you, George. I can erase you if I want to, so don’t be mean.

 Sorry, won’t happen again (wipes sweat from brow.) Anyway, once the micro-organisms eat everything, the broken-down solids are transported for use as fertilizer while the treated water is released into the ocean.

 *Blinking and annoyed* Yes, like I said, just like—

 Next question, please. I’m on a tight schedule.

 Fine. Can you explain the whole accidentally killing humans thing you mentioned your father doesn’t like?

 Uh… does your father like it when you kill people?

 I don’t… that’s not what… have you killed people, George?

 What?! No! Why would elves kill people?

 I meant by accident. Have any accidents lead to the death of a human?

No, who told you there were? Who? Nobody said anything about accidentally killing any humans, and if they did, they are liars! You can check the records, and you’ll see there have been no human-killing incidents.

 Right… okay, moving on. So, we’ve heard there are a lot of instructional videos you watch during Elf training. Can you tell us about them?

 Where were you when you wrote the end of my story? Were you not listening to yourself? You literally eliminated them from the curriculum when you made me Santa.

 I do not like your attitude, George. I made you Santa, and I can take it away and give the title to the other, less-awesome George anytime I want.

 Don’t be preposterous! We both know you wouldn’t… wait… would you?

 (Arches eyebrow and taps pencil on paper.)

 Heh… uh, well… this is awkward. Um, yes, the instructional videos. Well, there was one on avoiding fires in fireplaces, how to hide from drunk humans, what to do if a child sees you… all basic stuff really.

 So, in other words, you don’t remember because you didn’t pay attention in class?

 Precisely. You know me well.

 Well, what about TOD?

 What about him? He’s doing well. His wife just had a set of triplets and boy can they scream. Once, they screamed so loud folks in Greenland heard them. It was quite the ruckus around there for a while, earthquakes and—

 Wait, George, I meant TOD the reindeer communication system.

 Ohhhhh, yeah, well we had a lot of crashes, so we invented a way to hear the reindeer think. I mean to tell you the truth, I’m not sure why a reindeer would fly straight into a nuclear reactor just because an elf told them to. You’d think they’d have better self-preservation instincts.

 A nuclear reactor?

 Yeah, in Chernobyl.

 In… I have a feeling I don’t want to know what else you elves have done.

 Likely not.

 I’m too afraid to ask so we’ll skip ahead to the incident in Roswell, New Mexico. What happened?

 Oh, yes, the alien thing. I don’t get why humans believe in aliens. It’s silly, really, but anyway… Bob Elf, rest his soul—

 Wait, he died?!

 No, he’s just resting in front of the fireplace down at the North Pole Mall. What is wrong with you? You’re so morbid.

 But you said… never mind, just tell the story.

 Okaaay… so his reindeer was acting strangely, bucking around and thrashing in the harness but old Bob didn’t pay him any mind. Well, he flew right past the great big sign announcing the area was off limits and under control of the United States Military. Apparently, they take their no-fly zones seriously, and they shot at him! He crashed into a tree and the sleigh caught on fire. Bob and his reindeer, Zachariah, they got out okay, but boy did it cause a commotion on that base! To this day they think that old, burned up sleigh is a flying saucer—which is strange because it doesn’t look like a saucer.

 I see, so this along with the events of which we will not speak, all sparked the need for TOD?

 No, Tod’s mom and dad sparked the need for—Ohhhhh… you mean, ha, sorry. Yes, TOD was designed by Morton Elf to help us read the reindeer’s thoughts, so we don’t make any mistakes like that again.

 Nice. Can you tell us about the toy Jack in the Box?

 Oh, poor old Jack Elf. See, one time he decided to hide in a box to scare the Big Guy himself, only it wasn’t a box at all, not the packing kind. It was actually a casket for Santa’s deceased goldfish.

 Wait that must’ve been a huge goldfish?

 Well, it liked to eat. So, anyway, poor Jack had no idea he was inside the final resting place for Smiley the goldfish. When they lowered him into the ground and covered him with dirt, he finally realized he was getting buried alive! Then POP out came Jack to scare the bejesus out of everyone. Poor Santa… let’s just say my brother got the job the next day.

 That sounds ominous. What happened to the old Santa?

 He had a heart attack and died, duh. Where have you been?

 You… but you said I’m morbid for… oh, my gosh, just forget it. What kind of mileage does your sleigh get, the energy efficient ones that run on marshmallows?

 Oh, that’s easy. It gets 287x/619y(2.67xy)+9.9874x/3.225yz marshmallows per gallon.

 *blank stare*

 *eye roll* That’s about one hundred miles per marshmallow, the mini kind. Now if you use the large ones you get—

 Don’t! It doesn’t matter.

 But if you use marshmallow fluff, then—

 Ah! No! Next question. Please tell us about the excessive use of force against Henry Elf.

 Oh man, that was awful, just awful. He’s still traumatized by that. See, Henry went to deliver presents at a corporate Christmas party in New York City. There was eggnog left over so—

 Hang on, he was delivering gifts to an office building?

 Yeah, why not?

 But… no one lives there, George.

 That’s not the point.

 It is the point. If no one lives there, why would he deliver presents there?

 You make a solid point. I… have no idea. We just go where the list tells us to go, leave the presents, and get out.

 Who makes the list?

 I do, of course. That’s Santa’s job.

 If you make the list, then why do you send people to corporate offices?

 To deliver gifts, obviously.

 But no one lives there, so why are you delivering gifts to no one?

 I fail to understand your line of questioning. Can I just tell you the story?

 Go on.

 So, he drank the nog and got so drunk, like so, so drunk he was tripping everywhere when he got back. He knocked over the annual Christmas tree and was just acting like a doofus. He even hit on Mrs. Claus! We couldn’t have an inebriated elf running around, so Thomas Elf tackled him while Gregory Elf blew sugarplum dust in his face. Henry slept it off in the wrapping room and woke up with green polka-dotted paper stuck to his face. He thought he had some kind of strange pox and went running around again. Well, we had to dust him again, but this time we put him in sorting. Well, he woke up there and fell into a crate headed for—

 Does this story have a happy ending?

 Yes.

 Can we get to it?

 Sure. The end.

 Great, so the taffy making incident.

 I don’t want to talk about that.

 We must. People want to know. I get it’s traumatic, but this is a safe place to talk, George. I won’t judge you.

 But they might.

 They won’t.

 But they might.

 They won’t, George. They love you.

 *narrows eyes* Are you sure?

 I’m sure. Tell us about the taffy incident.

 There was taffy. It was sticky. The end.

 Nope. The whole story, George.

 *sighs* Fine. Annie Elf was… well, see… man, this is embarrassing. Annie Elf was trying to flirt with me and… do I hafta tell?

 Yep. If you don’t, I’ll just write about it later.

 Fine. She was flirting with me and accidentally walked between Carol Elf and the taffy machine. She got stuck in the taffy and when I tried to help her… the taffy got stuck and mlsdkadsdnfsdkf.

 And what? You mumbled nonsense, George.

 Grr… the taffy got stuck on my pants, and when the conveyor belt moved forward, it ripped my pants off. There, happy now. Stop laughing. Seriously, it’s not funny! How would you like it if your pants got ripped off and you got taffy stuck all over your body? It’s like a whole body waxing only with fruity flavored taffy!

 Still funny.

 Not funny. I have scars and emotional trauma from that incident. Not to mention we had to shut down production for two weeks to clean the mess. The whole time people just kept laughing at me and… hey… I’m Santa now! I can fire them all!

 You could, but then you’d have to do all the work.

 Oh yeah. Fudgesicles.

 Okay, we’re almost done. We all know how Camilla became an elf and how you almost died, rather than become human—

 You mean how you almost killed me? Right, ‘cause that’s what happened. You gave me three crummy choices, and you were all mean about it until the end. I really thought you were gonna kill me!

 Sorry, George. But can you tell us how many people walking around out there used to be elves?

 How would I know?

 You’re Santa. Don’t you keep a record?

 No! I thought that was your job? Oh man, was I supposed to keep records of everyone you tried to kill?

 No, I wasn’t saying—forget it, George.

 I’m sorry, but I cannot forget how you almost killed me. Impossible.

 I was never going to kill you. The plan was always for you to have a happy ending with Camilla.

 Well, you could have told me that to start with!

 I’m so sorry, George. Will it make you feel better if I tell you there will be a sequel?

 A whatwell?

 A sequel. Another story about you and your family, specifically Elanor.

 Wait a minute! You’re not going to hurt Eleanor, are you?

 Absolutely not. I would never hurt your daughter, George. Would you like to tell the readers what Eleanor’s story will be about?

 How should I know? You haven’t written it yet.

 I think you know what it’ll be about. Think about it.

 Oh! How could I forget? Yes, it will be about that time she accidentally flew her—

 No, not that. The other thing.

 The epic disaster in wrapping last week?

 No, the one with the boy.

 Oh, yeah… him. (rolls eyes) Yes, let me share the blurb with the readers (looks at me expectantly).

 Oops, oh yeah, here it is.

 Thanks. Okay here goes…

 Eleanor Elf has a legacy she takes very seriously. She’s the jolliest, merriest, happiest elf in all the North Pole. She kind of has to be, she is Santa’s daughter after all, but poor Eleanor finds it difficult to fit in. She hasn’t found her special talent just yet. Some elves are good at wrapping, others are great candy makers, some bakers, some are expert organizers… Eleanor can’t seem to do anything right, but she really, really wants to. One Christmas Eve, Santa discovers a boy who gave up. He stopped believing. His name disappeared from the Good List, but Eleanor doesn’t understand why. She’s determined to figure out what changed Simon Zane. He’d always been good, until that night. Eleanor steals a sleigh and heads to Simon’s house to find out what she can do to restore Simon’s faith and bring him back into the good graces of Santa Clause. There was just one problem with Eleanor’s plan. She never thought she’d fall in love.

Thanks for reading my interview with George! You can discover what his daughter is up to in The Chimney Sweep’s Daughter next December!

 

Ashes to Ashes – Five Questions

It’s that time! Ashes to Ashes, Volume Two in The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses is now available for e-book pre-order through Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble! Order now for the December 15 release date! The paperback should be available by December 20! Now, let’s answer the five most asked questions about the sequel to Snow Kissed!

How is Ashes to Ashes different from Snow Kissed?

So many ways! You’ll see a lot of similarity in the first couple of chapters. This is only to get you back into the groove, then Ashes shoots off in an entirely different direction with a surprising heroine! The battles are bigger, the twists are sharper, and there might be more than one villain in the story!

Is the family dynamic the same?

Yes and no. Calla was a lucky girl who found adoptive parents who were very supportive. She forged some tight family bonds with her siblings and many others. While the bonds are also tight in book two, there are some sad differences between Sierra and Cecily’s story and Calla’s that are made clear from the very beginning.

What big twists can we expect?

I don’t want to spoil it! I can say this, there is A LOT going on behind the scenes and Ashes will touch on that a few times. Where Snow Kissed introduced the ideas and set up the world, Ashes takes you deeper into that world and builds on the mystery of “the big bad.” Something major is coming in this series, and Ashes tees it up.

Who is your favorite character in Ashes?

I think my favorite will be a fan favorite. No question, I loved writing Jack Thomas. He’s about as lovable a character as I am capable of writing I believe. And *spoiler alert* shh… he’s also a primary character in Volume Three!

When we think Cinderella, her glass slipper comes to mind. Why fire and no shoe in this volume?

The burning question (lol)… Honestly, I tried. I did, but I couldn’t come up with a creepy, yet non-gross way of utilizing the shoe the same way I used the apple in Snow Kissed. In Snow Kissed, the apple is almost synonymous with Snow. It’s her calling card. When the apples rot, you know she’s somewhere doing something unsavory.

In Cinderella, the shoe grossness was carried out by her stepsisters in a pitiful attempt to fool the prince. Cinderella (unlucky for her) just so happened to fit perfectly into that bloody shoe. To me, it didn’t signify Cinderella’s power as a character. Her name, however, is a calling card in itself. Cinderella, or Cindersoot in some versions, was a nickname given to her because she was always sooty from cleaning the fireplace. It felt more like her. Besides, lighting things on fire was much more fun than bloody feet! So, that’s why there’s no shoe and lots of fire!

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy today for download December 15! And stay tuned for Volume Three announcements coming this spring!

Final Front Cover