Lisa's Lair
Hi everyone –
 
Sorry my regular Sunday night blog has gotten a little off schedule!   Sometimes I really wish we could the way we were, but change is inevitable, right? LOL
 
Anyway, between moving blog homes, lots of extra Christmas singing gigs, and getting everything ready for the holidays, I’ve also been crazy busy with contest deadlines and submissions for my books. 
 
Last week I got the exciting news that Hunter’s Moon, the second book in my Moon Series, won the Paranormal category in the Gateway to the Best contest.   WOOT!!!
 
But wait it gets even better…  The editor from Grand Central Publishing asked to see the entire book!!!
 
If you’re curious, I posted an excerpt from Hunter’s Moon on my blog earlier this year…  http://www.myspace.com/lisas_lair/blog/530991459
 
So I’ve been madly editing the rest of the book, while at the same time writing a synopsis so I could get it entered in the Golden Heart which is the big national contest for unpublished manuscripts.  Shew!
 
It’s been insane, but in a very good way!
 
A week from today we’ll find out if Moonlight made it through to the next round in the Writing with the Stars contest…  *fingers and toes crossed*  Thanks for voting and telling your friends to go vote!  I never could have made it this far without all of you supporting my book! 🙂
 
As a writer who is trying to get novels published, advice is what we ask for, and the more published authors I meet and literary agents I talk to, I’m quickly learning that there is no formula or recipe.  Everyone’s path to publication is different. 
 
So will these contest wins and finals help make Moonlight, Hunter’s Moon, and Night Walker get published?  I have no idea! LOL
 
But I hope so! And this is the season of hope, right? 🙂
 
So speaking of Hope, I was working on a new holiday short story last night, but it really got away from me! LOL  Sometimes I get so excited while I write something that I try to throw too much in it and the focus of the short story is lost.  In some ways, a short can be tougher to write than a novel because you really have to narrow your focus and keep the “scene” from getting too broad.
 
So I’ll work on corraling that one in for a later showing…  This week I thought I’d bring out one of my favorite Christmas stories I’ve ever written.  I hope you’ll love Sheelak and his Christmas story as much as I enjoyed writing him! 🙂
 
Thanks for reading and commenting everyone!!!
 
Lisa 🙂
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

The Demon’s Christmas – By Lisa Kessler

 

Sheelak loved Christmas. He couldn’t help it. It was a guilty pleasure. Maybe it was all the shiny decorations, or the secret gifts, or all the candy. He even loved the Christmas carols, although he had to sing quietly.

Demons had incredible hearing. One “Joy to the World” and his five-hundred-year-old-demon-butt would be banished back to Hell in a millisecond.
He shuddered at the thought. He liked being in the human world. They didn’t have sweets and energy drinks back in the underworld. They had flames and hot steaming pools of boiling water that reeked of sulphur.

And no Christmas. No gifts, no stockings, no trees, and definitely no singing.

“No fun,” he muttered as he climbed down his step ladder and stood back to admire his tree.

His black scarred wings fluttered behind him as he tilted his head. The star at the top was still leaning toward the right, but he could live with that.

Close enough, he thought.

Now for the gifts. Ok gift. It was a tough year for a four foot tall demon in a human world.

He carefully lifted the box from the plastic Rite-Aid bag and grinned. It was just what he wanted. In a flurry of cutting, creasing, and taping, the box was wrapped. He plucked out a bow and pressed it into place.

“Gift for Sheelak,” he announced as he tucked it under the tree.

Rubbing his gnarled hands together, his lips parted in a pointy toothed grin. He couldn’t wait to open it! But it was still Christmas Eve he needed to be patient. That was part of the fun.

He tottered over to his small stove to start the water for some hot cocoa when a loud bang echoed through his tiny apartment. Sheelak jumped, turning to face the door.

“Sheelak!” A deep voice bellowed. “Open this door before I rip it off the hinges.”

His bulging eyes flicked from the door to his beautiful Christmas tree and back to the door again, and his tiny leathery heart pounded. What to do? Stall. Yes, stall that’s it.

“Just a minute,” he called out as he wobbled over to his petite Christmas tree. Grabbing the tree skirt, he gave it a yank and then tossed it up over the branches, fighting to hide his homemade ornaments.

“You don’t have a minute, Pond Scum. I’m coming in.”

Sheelak gasped as his apartment door popped free of its hinges and a hulking black demon walked through the threshold.

“Durlu. H-hello. What brings you here?”

He watched Durlu’s tongue flicking past his thin lips as he stalked around Sheelak’s tiny studio apartment. Good thing he hadn’t gotten the cocoa mixed yet, or Durlu would have smelled it for sure. A tiny sigh of relief escaped him as he glanced over at his tree. Uh oh. Would the tree smell? Sheelak’s wings unfolded behind him, fluttering as he clasped his hands over the top of his round belly.

“‘Scuse me, Durlu. But why are you here? Is s-s-something wrong?”

“That’s what I’m checking out, Worm.”

Sheelak flinched at the name calling. He was a demon, sure. But a worm? He sighed. Durlu was a bully. Nothing worse than a demon bully. Not only were they mean, but they could back it up too. Best not to stand up to them. Best to stay out of their way.

“I haven’t done anything,” Sheelak stammered. “I’m just doing my job.”

Durlu glared at him with beady red eyes. “Your job, Toilet Bowl, is to lose school children’s homework. Stupid job for a demon if you ask me, but either way I haven’t heard any crying kids lately so I thought I’d better check it out.”

“Oh I see,” Sheelak said, trying to mask his sudden wave of relief. “All the kids are on winter break from school, so there isn’t any homework for me to take. They’re not crying because they’re waiting for Santa.”

He almost reached up to cover his own mouth. Had he just said “Santa” out loud? Judging by the narrowing of Durlu’s eyes he had. Sheelak cringed as the bully stepped even closer.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing.”

“You said…”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did. You aren’t celebrating in here are you?”

“Celebrating what?” Sheelak replied, keeping his bulgy eyes downcast.

Durlu caught him by the neck and lifted him up off the floor. Sheelak’s tongue popped out past his pointed teeth as he gasped for air.

“Are you celebrating Christmas again, Sheelak?”

He shook his head so vigorously that his brain felt bruised. “No,” he gasped. “Not me. It’s forbidden.”

Durlu nodded and released his hold. Sheelak crashed to the floor in a tangled heap.

“It is forbidden,” Durlu said. “And yet…” He walked into the cozy kitchen and lifted the kettle as he glared at Sheelak. “…you’re in here all alone… Cooking?”

“It was just a little cocoa. It’s cold outside.”

Durlu’s black brow jutted up. “Cocoa?”

“Yeah, humans like it. I just thought I’d try it.”

He slammed the kettle back on the stove and stalked back over to Sheelak. “What is wrong with you, Mosquito Larvae? You have a simple job to do here. Don’t mess everything up by celebrating human holidays. My tail is on the line here too, do you understand? You know what Christmas is celebrating, right? A savior for humankind. It’s not like Halloween.”

Sheelak nodded, “I know.”

“Do you?” Durlu stared at the draped tree.

Sheelak rushed over to put his squatty body between Durlu and the tree. He puffed out his chest as much as he could and raised his arms to keep the larger demon away from his hidden treasure.

“I understand,” Sheelak said. “Now you should go so I can fix my door.”

“Is that what I think it is?”

“What?”

Durlu rolled his red eyes. “Behind you.”

“Behind me?” A bead of sweat trailed down Sheelak’s brow.

“Yes behind you, Dung Beetle. Is that what I think it is?”

He shrugged and used the last of his magic reserves. “If you think it’s my pet sewer rats then I guess you’re right.”

“Sewer rats?” Durlu reached over Sheelak’s head and lifted the drape.

Sheelak squeezed his eyes shut, hoping for the best.

Grunting, Durlu released the drape and stepped back. “This isn’t over, Duck Snot. Not til the fat lady sings!”

“What?”

“It means… Never mind,” Durlu said, heading for the door. “I’ll be watching you, Nose Wart.”

And then he was gone. Sheelak puffed out a sigh of relief and peeked under the tree skirt. His Christmas tree twinkled back at him. His magic had worked!

“Christmas miracle,” he grumbled as he lifted up his door and propped it up against the jamb.

With the door temporarily fixed, he plucked the tree skirt off of his little tree and wrapped it back around the bottom like he’d seen them do on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and stood back to admire it again.

Durlu just didn’t understand. He’d probably never gotten a gift before. If he had felt the colorful paper ripping under his calloused fingers, and seen the way the ornaments on the tree sparkled, or tasted the delicious sweet hot cocoa, maybe then he’d see why Sheelak celebrated.

Halloween was fun. He could go out without his human disguise. In fact, people complimented him on his “costume”, but he played pranks all year long, and he always looked like a demon, so Halloween almost felt like a normal day.

But Christmas was different.

Christmas was full of special, one time of year things, like Santa and Christmas carols and gifts and candies. Being forbidden probably made it even more delicious. After all, he was a demon.

He grinned and went to the stove to warm up his cocoa. While the water heated, he grabbed his water can and carefully watered his Chia shelf. Another guilty pleasure. He had the Chia pig, turtle, frog, hippo, professor, and over there, wrapped and placed under the tree was his brand new Chia Shrek. He couldn’t wait to open it! An ogre Chia was probably the closest to a demon that he would ever find.

Just as the kettle started to whistle, a tiny sound caught his attention. Sheelak snatched the kettle from the stove and waited. A soft knock echoed through the room. His brow furrowed. It couldn’t be Durlu, he already broke the door down once. He wouldn’t have bothered to knock.

“Who’s there?” He called.

“Mr. Sheelak? It’s me Cindee.”

He grabbed his trench coat and quickly slid his arms inside, covering his wings, then his hat to cover his little horns, it wasn’t perfect. Usually he’d wear gloves and a scarf too, but he didn’t have time. He’d get rid of her quickly anyway.

Sheelak carefully lifted the door to the side and stared down at the little girl on his doorstep. She gave him a toothless grin, proudly showing him the tooth fairy’s handiwork, and offered up a plate of gingerbread men.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Sheelak. My Mom made the cookies for all the tenants. I decorated them myself.”

Sheelak reached out with trembling fingers to take the plate of homemade treats. “For me?”

“Yep.”

He stared at the tiny men with crooked frosting smiles and missing red hot buttons and grinned at the girl. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She frowned a little. “What happened to your door?”

“Oh it’s nothing,” he said. “It just came loose I guess.”

“It’s not loose, Mr. Sheelak. It’s off. Want me to have my Mom call the repair guy? He can fix it for you.”

“I’ll fix it,” he answered without taking his eyes off the Christmas cookies. “Do you want some cocoa?”

“Ummmm.” Her foot started to scrape against the floor. “I’m not ‘aposed to go in people’s apartments.”

He nodded, “I guess that’s a good rule. You never know what kind of demons you might run across, but I’d like to give you something.”

And then he realized what he just said was true. He did want to give her something. Odd.

Her little face brightened. “You got something for me?”

“Yes!”

Wait. He didn’t have anything for her. Did he? Sheelak stepped back from the door, allowing her to race inside.

“Oh you got a pretty tree, Mr. Sheelak!”

He nodded, “Thank you I…” His gaze fell on the brightly wrapped gift. His Chia. No, he couldn’t. He wanted that. But he was already reaching for it. No! What was he doing? “This is for you Cindee.”

Oh no! He was giving his beautiful present away. No! He wanted to yank it back, but the joy on her face stopped him faster than a ball of fire from the devil himself.

Her big blue eyes stared up at him as she spoke. “For me? Really?”

He nodded and watched as she made quick work of the wrapping paper, squealing with delight.

“It’s a Shrek! One of those things like on tv! I’ll get to cut his hair, right?”

“Yes,” he said. “It’s a Chia pet.”

“Ch-ch-ch-chia!” she sang.

“Exactly!” Sheelak laughed.

“Thank you, Mister Sheelak,” she said giving him a quick hug. “Can’t wait to show my Mom! Merry Christmas!”

She was gone before he could return her greeting. Sheelak stared at his tree in stunned silence, unable to wipe the smile off his round face. What was wrong with him? He’d just given away the gift he had wanted all year. And he felt… Good?

Good. Amazing in fact. Better than when he stole entire science projects!

A crooked smile tweaked the corner of his mouth. If one gift felt this good, how incredible would it be to give twenty?

Hmm…

He slid on his gloves and reached for his scarf. There wasn’t any homework to steal right now anyway, right? Stealing toys from stores on Christmas Eve would be equally as wicked. Durlu wouldn’t have to know he was going to turn around and give them to children. The kids would think the gifts were from Santa, and Durlu would think he was finally acting like a demon.

No one would ever have to know how good it felt to give a gift. It would be his little secret. Another guilty pleasure. He couldn’t wait…

~~~ The End ~~~

 

(For Marvin – We had “Advice is what we ask for”, “the way we were”,  and “insane” 🙂
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  • This is adorable, Lisa!

    • Thanks Cindy! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      I’ve been adding blog links to my new blog home here… Can I add yours too?

      Lisa

  • OMG I loved that story! Nice job, Lisa. 🙂

    • Hee! Thanks Rebecca!!! If only they made tv Christmas specials about demons… *sigh* LOL

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! 🙂

      Mind if I add your blog to my blog links here?

      Lisa

  • That’s a lot of good news, Lisa. So proud of you. You’ve really been working hard. Keep us posted.

    • Thanks Elen!!! 🙂

      I definitely will keep you posted… I feel like I’m very close, but some days it feels farther away than others! LOL

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Lisa 🙂

  • Hi Lisa 🙂
    Congratulations on the great news!
    I think the contests WILL help.
    I really enjoyed your short story THE DEMON’S CHRISTMAS.
    Thanks for sharing it!
    Love & Best Wishes,
    Rob

    • Hi Rob! *waving*

      I hope you’re right about the contests!!! 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story!!! Sheelak is very dear to my heart! LOL

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! I’ve been adding blog links to my page here, mind if I add yours too?

      Lisa 🙂

  • Marvin

    8 points

    • YAY!!! Thanks Marvin! 🙂

      I love the little monster avatar my blog gave you! LOL

      Lisa 🙂

  • Very nice. Congrats on the finals and wins. Wishing you the best of luck in the Stars contest. I can’t wait to hear!!!!! 🙂

    • Thanks Lynn! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed meeting Sheelak! LOL

      I really appreciate all your support!!! I’ll definitely keep you posted on the Writing with the Stars contest too!!! 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a great week!

      Lisa

  • Ken

    Great story, Lisa! And congrats on all the good news!

    And speaking of good news (and Christmas singing), it looks like Amazon is almost sold out of your Christmas CD again!

    Ken

  • I love it, Lisa!

    • Thanks Linda!!! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the story!!!

      I’m going to add your blog link to my blogroll too…

      Have a great week and thanks for reading and commenting!!!

      Lisa 🙂

  • First congrats on all the first stuff!

    I still have my fingers crossed on the big contest. 😉

    and I LOVE love love this story! Thanks for the smile today. I needed it!

    HUGS and happy Holly Daze Lisa!

    • Hey Rachel!!! *waving*

      Thanks for keeping your finers crossed for me in the Writing with the Stars contest!!! Each month we lose two more writers so it’s very nerve wracking! Yikes!

      I’m glad you loved Sheelak!!! He’s one of my favorite little demons I’ve ever written… 🙂

      Hope you have a great week! Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

      *HUGS*

      Lisa 🙂

  • I love all the creative name calling! Never thought I’d call a Demon story sweet! LOL

    • Hee! Thanks Melissa!!! 🙂 I had so much fun writing this one…

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a great week….

      Lisa
      PS – I’m adding your blog link to my blogroll… 🙂

  • sue

    LMAO – goes with my The Devil’s Mistress – which I want to do a follow up on someday – Loved this – I could visualize both of them – make a good cartoon

    • Hee! I’m glad you enjoyed the story Sue!!! 🙂

      I can totally see this one as a cartoon! It’s too bad they don’t make TV Christmas specials about demons! LOL Sheelak and his chia pets always make me smile… 🙂

      Have a great week! Thanks for reading and commenting Sue!!! Let me know when you get your blog up so I can add your link to my blogroll… 🙂

      Lisa

  • First of all, congratulations on all that fantabulous news, Lisa! You deserve the accolades my friend!

    I so love your story…. Sheelak truly does have a kind heart, kind of reminds me of the Grinch who stole Christmas…. Very sweet story. I love all things Christmas as well, so good to know that demons enjoy the holidays too. Your mind is so creative!!!

    So good to read your stories again. See you over on Facebook!
    (((HUGGS)))
    Colleen

    • Hi Colleen!!! *waving*

      Thanks so much for the good wishes with the contests!!! Hopefully I’ll be begging everyone to vote again next week… *fingers crossed*

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story! I love little Sheelak!! 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a great week!

      *HUGS*

      Lisa 🙂

  • OMG OMG OMG!!! You should find a great illustrator and submit this as a children’s book. It’s fabulous! I love Sheelak!

    I laughed at him wanting to snatch back his gift. I remember doing that when I was a kid. Each year my brother and I would get a check from our Christmas club at the bank, one dollar a week plus a tiny bit of interest. Mom gave the money to us with strict orders that we had to spend it on other people. It was so much fun but you know what, all those other people ended up getting gifts *I* wanted. LoL Especially my brother, I soooo wanted him to forget and let me play with them sometimes.

    ~chickee

    • Hee! I’m so glad you love Sheelak!!! I had so much fun writing him!!! 🙂 I think it would make a great kids’ book or TV animated special, but I’m pretty sure I could never get it to fly since it’s demons… LOL

      I’m glad it brought back happy Christmas memories for you!!! 🙂 I’m going to add your blog link to my blogroll too if that’s okay…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Have a great week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • Congrats on the contest win and request. That is sooo exciting!

    • Thanks so much Ciara!!! 🙂 I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she likes the rest of the book! LOL

      Thanks for swinging by to read and comment! Hope you have a wonderful week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • Yay! I have missed these, Lisa!

    Another great story and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you for Moonlight!!!

    Hugs and smoochies…

    • Hey Andrea!!!! *HUGS*

      I didn’t know you have a wordpress blog too! I added your blogspot blog to my links, should I have added the wordpress blog instead? (or both? LOL)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for all the good wishes for Moonlight!!! Hopefully I’ll be begging for votes all over again next week! *fingers crossed* 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Have a great week…

      *HUGS*

      Lisa 🙂

      • I saw that, Lisa and I thank you.

        No, leave the link as is to my Blogger blog (which is also my website) because I don’t use my Word Press blog. It’s too difficult to use. I can’t figure it out. Ha ha – yes, I’m a serious technotard.

        Hugs…

        • Hee! Okay… Just wanted to be sure I used the right link… 🙂

          I think I’m getting the hang of wordpress, sorta! LOL If you ever want to give it a whirl let me know…

          *HUGS*

          Lisa 🙂

  • Congrats, Lisa! Good luck on the contests and with that request!! Happy times, happy times! 🙂

    • Thanks Danica!!! Congratulations to you too on the sales!!! I’m so excited for you!!! 🙂

      Hopefully 2011 will be a fabulous year for both of us… *fingers crossed*

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a great week…

      Lisa

  • Marie Andreas

    FINALLY got on here! That is the cutest story ever! LOVE IT!

    And congrats again on the win and request 🙂

    • Awww yay! I’m glad you enjoyed it Marie!!! I really loved writing Sheelak’s story!!! LOL He was fun! And dreaming up crazy insults was also a blast… (Remember maturity is a choice! LOL)

      Thanks for reading and commenting Marie!!! Hope you have a great week… (Are you feeling better?)

      *HUGS*

      Lisa

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Lisa Kessler's books on Goodreads
Moonlight Moonlight (Moon, #1)
reviews: 137
ratings: 660 (avg rating 3.76)

Night Walker Night Walker (Night, #1)
reviews: 177
ratings: 624 (avg rating 3.87)

Beg Me to Slay Beg Me to Slay
reviews: 102
ratings: 228 (avg rating 4.09)

Hunter's Moon Hunter's Moon (Moon, #2)
reviews: 84
ratings: 246 (avg rating 4.16)

Across the Veil Across the Veil
reviews: 61
ratings: 180 (avg rating 3.88)

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