An Extra Christmas present for my friends and fans

Merry Christmas! I hope each of you has started that gentle slide towards the holidays as the gravity of expectations meets the realities of the day. I know that this year, more than most, has beaten us unmercifully with uncertainty and chaos, seemingly at every turn. While we are faced with enduring a little longer for the return of “normal,” as if that was a thing, I would like to take a moment to say “Thank you.”

I have enjoyed this part of my year very much. The chance to be creative and problem solve, and grow as a writer has been an unexpected buoy that has carried me across some of this years’ choppy waters. The fact that those of you that were courageous enough to risk the tides with me has been so supportive has been an unexpected blessing in my life.

While I think the New York Times Best Seller’s List doesn’t have to worry about adding “Bartley” to their spell-check dictionary just yet, I am thankful for each of you that have read, shared, promoted, and especially reviewed my book. Knowing that Mason and Ricardo are drinking coffee in someone else’s subconscious besides just mine makes me happy.

So, for those of you who are in the know, I made you this for Christmas:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Wilson House
Only one thing was stirring, and it wasn’t a mouse;
Five stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And Ricardo waited patiently for Santa to be there;
The Knights were nestled all snug in their beds;
Unaware of the secret that came for their heads;
Ricardo in the kitchen had planted his trap,
And listened intently for it’s steel claws to snap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Ricardo sprung out the door to attend to the matter.
He flew past the window in his devilish dash,
he coursed through the shadows and flew like a flash,
The moon on Carol’s lawn, which was perfectly mowed,
Luminated the interloper now trapped in the cold.
The Krampus had come, as he did every year,
With chains and with fangs and a blood-thirsty sneer.
And with him a bundle of pointed birch sticks,
to skewer the Knights like giant toothpicks.
As he saw Ricardo, his curses they came.
Each one of them vile as he called him by name
“Trapped devil, deceiver, you failer of mission,
I have come again to hasten your dire expedition.
Let me kill all these Knights! In their sleep, they will fall.
Then you shall be free of this cursed hall.”
With a clawed hand on the trap, the Krampus did pry,
And it’s steel, it did snap, as it rose to the sky,
So up on the housetop, it perched on the roof,
dislodging the tiles where it dug in it’s hoof,
Ricardo wasn’t impressed; up the walls, he did bound,
It was his charge and quest to destroy these fair grounds.
The Krampus dark fur was all matte with soot;
He clawed at Ricardo, and he kicked for his foot!
But Ricardo had dodged him and taken his back,
he unsheathed his claws and began to attack.
The speed and ferociousness of it was quite scary
but the Krampus was no regular Christmas fairy.
As the violent attacks took a damaging toll
The Krampus’ defensive efforts did slow.
The blood from the Krampus now pooled down beneath,
and ran down through the yard and out into the street.
The body was burned despite being quite smelly,
and Ricardo still schemed like the prince, Machiavelli.
Then back to the Wilson House to clean up himself,
The hands on the clock had not quite reached the twelfth.
and there in the library and still dressed in red
Santa saw Ricardo and just shook his head.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But Ricardo heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas, Ricardo, and that was a great fight!”

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