When you’re in a bookstore, you read the first few pages of a book to see if you like it before purchasing. You have a similar option at Amazon.com, too. If you click on a book’s cover image, a Look Inside link appears.
If you click on Look Inside, you can read the first seven pages of my rock & roll Christmas fantasy.
I’d like to make it even easier for you to do that right here, so you can see what the story is like, how Elvis is portrayed, how well the writing is done, etc. Please read following Chapter 1 of the book. I’m confident you will enjoy it a lot, and maybe you will be motivated to click on this Amazon link to buy a copy. [Note: the illustrations are not in the book, but it is a blogger axiom that you must break up large chunks of text with pictures.]
– Chapter 1 –
A Trek to the North Pole
Late September, 1977…
The relentless arctic wind swirled over a harsh and desolate world. Glacial fields, broken by jagged ice outcroppings, stretched between ridges of foreboding mountains. A solitary figure, with a backpack and guitar case slung over his shoulders, climbed up one of the lower slopes. He slipped and stumbled, beaten by wind-driven snow, as he fought to reach the top of the ridge.
Without warning, his footing gave way and he slid downward at a frightening speed. His shoulder bounced off a large crag, slowing him down. He flailed wildly with both hands, and grabbed an outcropping to stop his fall. The man clung there, panting, and shifted his feet around until he found a solid foothold. He pulled himself together, checked to see that the guitar case was undamaged, then struggled on.
He clawed himself to the top and saw the object of his incredible trek – an inviting valley, bathed in sunlight, with beautiful evergreen trees and holly bushes all around.
And, right in the middle, stood Santa’s castle. Not far from it, a tall red and white object stood by like a sentinel. Even from this distance, the traveler felt certain it was the North Pole.
He took a deep breath and started down the incline toward the castle with new resolve. Suddenly, a shaft of energy shot down from the sky, locked onto his body, and lifted him three feet in the air.
“What the heck!”
“Weasel, put that man down immediately.” The thin old man’s outburst shattered the quiet hum of the spacecraft’s command bridge. He managed to get his anger under control, but his disposition remained as dark and grim as his soiled black lab coat and tangle of unkempt hair.
Weasel jutted out his chin, flashing his displeasure with the command, but he grumbled, “Yes, sir,” and moved a lever on his control panel.
The old man continued his rant. “You need to get over this idea that I’m merely a brilliant scientist. I’m also the commander of this spacecraft, and you guys don’t make the decisions. I do. Sometimes you Humbahs are so stupid.”
Weasel headed a group known as the Humbahs, four elves who had washed out with Santa a few years earlier. They were all surly and stubborn, especially Weasel. He had purple spiked hair, and wore a heavily studded, sleeveless black leather jacket. His face sported several piercings, and numerous tats covered his little arms.
The commander turned back to his telescope monitor screen and watched as the traveler settled slowly back to the mountainside. Dammit, I really have to keep these Humbahs under tighter control, he thought. Evil elves with no qualms about ruining Christmas ought to make the right crew for my plot, but sometimes that independent streak of theirs drives me crazy.
Then the old man twisted to face the elf again. “Weasel, what the hell did you think you were doing?”
“Just having a little fun,” he said with a tone of insolence. “I wasn’t going to hurt the man – just shake him up.”
“We’re not here to have fun. We’re here to complete a mission.”
Weasel straightened up in his chair and puffed out his chest. “Well, we’ve tested our prototype transporter beam on big rocks and stuff, so why not on a person? It didn’t do any harm.”
The scientist snorted at Weasel’s continued defiant attitude. “You better hope there’s no harm. That man is obviously going to Santa’s castle. Suppose he tells what happened to him, and Santa gets suspicious and figures out we’re back with another plot this year to ruin Christmas.”
Weasel shot back, “Even if he does, there’s nothing Santa can do about it.”
The commander shook his head in exasperation and turned back to the monitor screen.
The traveler settled gently onto the mountain slope. He sat there for a moment, unhurt, wondering what just happened. Then, he looked ahead and locked his eyes on Santa’s castle. His mind spun back to the task at hand, and he stood up, shrugged, and continued his journey.
About halfway down the mountain, the traveler realized it was getting warmer – but the snow was not melting. The lower he went, the warmer it got. When the slope leveled off, he thought, it feels like a gorgeous spring day, but there’s snow on the ground. This is pretty cool. He unzipped his heavy parka and pulled back the hood.
Soon he reached a point where he could make out the details of the North Pole. It looked to be almost two feet in diameter and over thirty feet tall. The traveler hadn’t known what to expect, but its massive size surprised him.
The traveler spotted two young elves ahead playing in the snow. They looked up and stared at him, then scurried off around the corner of Santa’s castle and out of sight.
As the traveler passed the North Pole, he noticed a small compartment door about three feet off the ground. It looked like it might cover some sort of control panel and had a combination lock securing it. He wondered why it was so low, then smiled when he realized the answer. That door is set for elf height. I’ll bet one of them opens it up and works some kind of switches or dials. Wonder what it does?
He trudged forward to Santa’s castle, a sprawling stone structure with multiple turrets and Tudor-style wood trim on the gables. The snow on the roof made it a picture-perfect image, and it beckoned him with an irresistible pull.
The traveler reached the steps, climbed up to the porch, and paused in front of the door. Well, this is it. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
In a few seconds, the door opened to reveal a familiar face. Santa smiled broadly when he saw his new visitor, and said, “Welcome to the North Pole. We don’t get many visitors here, but we’re real glad to see you, Mister….“ Santa paused.
He didn’t greet me with ‘Hello Elvis,’ so I guess he doesn’t know, or else he’s cuttin’ me some slack. Yeah, that’s probably it. “Well, sir, aaah, aaah…you can call me… aaah….Big E.”
Santa reached out and shook his hand. “Well, Big E, won’t you come on in?”
“Thank you, Santa,” he said as he passed through the door. “I’m really sorry to show up unannounced like this, but I’m hopin’ I might be able to stay here for a while. There’s some stuff goin’ on with my life, and I need to get away, you know?”
“You’re welcome to stay here as long as you like, Big E.” Santa looked at the guitar case. “I presume you can play that guitar or you wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble to lug it up here.”
Big E laughed. “There’s some debate about that, but I can hit a few licks.”
“Well, four of the elves entertain us with music occasionally,” Santa said. “They would like to play rock and roll, but it’s not going so well. Maybe you could work with them and help them along.”
“Oh, I’d love to. It would be great to get back to makin’ music again, just for fun.”
“Excellent. Say, can I help you get that heavy parka off?”
After Big E shed his gloves and coat, he tugged on his loose pants and shirt. “I guess I lost about fifty pounds making this trek. It’s been years since I’ve been this trim.”
“That’s nothing,” Santa said. “It’s been centuries since I’ve been trim.” They both laughed.
Big E looked around and took in the grandeur of Santa’s living room. Massive beams and sturdy wood decking towered over rough-sawn walls and a dark-pegged hardwood floor. A huge couch and two overstuffed armchairs formed a semi-circle facing the massive stone fireplace. Christmas decorations adorned the tables and walls, and a sturdy Christmas tree somehow supported an extensive display of ornaments.
“Oh, wow,” Big E said. “This is some place you’ve got here.”
Santa nodded. “It suits Mama Claus and me quite well. Say, let’s go out to the kitchen and I’ll introduce you to her.”
As they headed across the room, Big E asked, “I noticed the temperature around your castle is quite mild, but the snow doesn’t melt. Why is that?”
Santa stroked his chin. “For now, let’s just say that it’s one of the many magical properties of the North Pole. I’ll explain it all to you later, but you’ll be happy to know that anyone living at the North Pole never gets any older.”
Big E smiled but did not reply. Oh, man, this is going to be even better than I thought.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of BIG E and the SANTA MAN. Like any good writer, I tried to work in as many things as possible to hook the readers. There’s our two iconic title characters, an evil villain and his bad-elf henchman, hints about all the magical properties of the North Pole, and mention of the four musically-inclined elves who will pair up with Big E to play some serious rock & roll.
Of course, the whole idea is total fantasy, but it sure makes for a fun story. I say this every year: BIG E and the SANTA MAN is the perfect Christmas present for Elvis fans. Please click here to go to the Amazon page, then email the link to your sweetie with this in the subject box: I want this book for Christmas.
Or. if you live in the U.S. and want a signed copy, and you have a PayPal account, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me what inscription you want on your book, and I’ll take care of the rest.
I would like to end by paraphrasing the message on the above magazine cover.
Who is this Big E guy?
And will he be under your Christmas tree?
Phil Arnold, Original Elvisblogmeister