My short story “The Least Merry Elf” is one of the twenty Christmas tales in this bundle. It’s about Jolper, an elf working at Santa’s Workshop. Jolper is frustrated by the inefficiency of his job. The elves make all the toys by hand, and it’s a slow, inefficient process – at least from Jolper’s perspective. Here’s a sample.
As he walked further into the trees, the sounds of laughter and music faded until the only things he could hear were his own breathing and the tiny crunching sounds his boots made in the packed-down snow that covered the winding path. The striped poles lead the way, the round globes on top of each brightening the forest and making the trail look magical.
Magical and fake, just like everything else at Santa’s Workshop.
Were there even any trails that weren’t light up at night? What if he wanted to take a walk without the continual reminder that he was trapped in the world of Santa’s Workshop? Was there no end to the dominating force of Christmas and Santa Claus?
Maybe he should just accept his fate. It wasn’t as if there were many career options for elves. He could switch to working with the reindeer, but he didn’t want to spend that much time in the barn, or shoveling hay, and he certainly didn’t want to have anything to do with the flying sleigh. He had absolutely no desire to work in accounting and manually check off the names of children and the toys they would get, nor did he want to look at the wish lists the greedy creatures had mailed to the North Pole. And he didn’t want to work in the mailroom, carting around the never-ending stacks of letters and cards that were sent to Santa. Not that Santa actually read all of his mail. He had a team of elves screen them, and only read the ones that were picked out for him to look at.
No, out of all the options available to Jolper, making toys was the least aggravating.
That was such a fun story to write that I’m planning to write more Christmas stories about Jolper – and perhaps about other characters he meets. Next year’s story will be a mystery. I don’t know what the mystery is yet, but I look forward to finding out. 🙂
Right now I’m working hard on the Haunted bundle.
I’m wrapping up my own story and cover – which means settling on a font, which is hard because I love them all! 🙂 I’m also working on marketing images and copy. With both The Fantasy in the City bundle and The Witches’ Brew bundle I learned a lot, and I’m trying to apply those lessons to subsequent bundles.
For example, with The Fantasy in the City bundle I published all twenty author profiles on the bundle’s Facebook page on twenty consecutive days. With The Witches’ Brew bundle I decided to spread out the profiles over time, create a custom header for each author’s profile (they’re Facebook Notes), and post covers and write up information about four of each author’s other publications. I found that sometimes the custom header was super easy to do, and sometimes it wasn’t – my intent was to use a subset of a cover or something from each author, and the artwork didn’t always fit what was needed for Facebook. Researching each author’s other titles, writing a few sentences about each, and preparing the combined cover image didn’t take a ton of time, but it took just enough that I found it hard to squeeze in to the time slots I’d expected it would fit into.
So for the Haunted bundle my plan is to use the same header for each profile (using the artwork I’ve chosen for the bundle), and to format information about each author’s other titles a little differently so that it’s quicker to put all that together. I also plan on writing everything ahead of time – in fact, my goal is to start later this week, as soon as I get some of the other bundle chores taken care of. If all goes well, everything will be lined up and ready to roll weeks before launch!
On that note, I’m going to take my optimism and get back to work on bundling. 🙂 Happy Solstice!!!