Thursday, December 30, 2010


by Eric J. Krause

"Frilly Frillbrast here for North Pole Elf Television interviewing the head of the Toy Department, Tolly Tollbrilly. How are you today, Mr. Tollbrilly?"

"Call me Tolly. And I have to say how excited I am to be on NPETV. It's always on in the workshop."

"I'm delighted to hear that. Hopefully more departments will follow suit. The reason I'm here with Mr. Toll . . . excuse me, Tolly, is that the big announcement came down just a few hours ago. This year the Toy Department pulled down the big award: Department of the Season. How does that make you and your crew feel?"

"We're still stunned, Frilly. All we want is for everything to run smooth for the big night. We know we're the ones who not only have to be done with our products first, but we have to be on our toes for the last minute nice list converts."

"Excellent. This is the first win for the Toy Department in quite a number of years, is it not, Mr. Toll . . . excuse me, Tolly?"

"Sure is, Frilly. I don't think there are words enough to describe how ultra-excited we all are."

"In a related note, this is your first year as the head of the Toy Department."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean anything. We wouldn't be anywhere without the hardworking group I have in there. I just made sure they were motivated with plenty of milk and cookies."

"Milk and cookies?"

"Yes, sir, Frilly. Everyday I'd set a goal. If we achieved it, milk and cookie party for everyone. That's what kept us in the game."

"As the star reporter for North Pole Elf Television, I'm often in the trenches, so to speak, and I have to say I've noticed most departments doing this. How did it happen to work so well for your group?"

"I made sure our goal didn't stay stagnant. If I noticed moral dipping, the goal would drop to a level I knew we couldn't miss. If I saw a bunch of swelled ears in there, it would rise to an almost impossible level. Funny thing is, that group in there is such a well-oiled machine that more often than not they'd hit that inflated mark. Those were the days I went home with tears in my eyes. No department head should be blessed with such elves."

"Wow, sounds like you might have a dynasty on your hands. You might not get the trophy back anytime soon, Master List Department. So there you have it, folks. I want to thank the head of the Toy Department, Tolly Tollbrilly, for joining us today. From all of us at North Poll Elf Television, Mr. Toll . . . excuse me again, Tolly, we'd like to thank you for the interview."

"My pleasure, Frilly. Can I give just a couple of shout outs?"


"All my elves are all-stars, but I just want to thank my three MVPs: Milly Milbrinker, Doddy Doddbist, and Ochy Ochvibint. Any time I, or anybody else on the team, needed anything, they were right there to get it."

"Fantastic! For Mr. Tolly Tollbrilly, this is Frilly Frillbrast signing off. Have a fantastic night, North Pole."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Writing Prompt #47

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

After the "Happy New Year!" has been shouted, someone is found dead.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Story in the 12 Days 2010 online anthology

I had my story, "Twelve Drummers Drumming," published today over on the 12 Days 2010 website. I'm thrilled to be a part of this project, as there are 23 other great stories there as well. You can read my story here, and make sure you take some time to check out the other great stories, each pertaining to one of the 12 days of Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

#FridayFlash--Santa's Secret War

Santa's Secret War
by Eric J. Krause

"Gather round, gather round. Yes, Billy, Gramma is bringing out cocoa and cookies. But while we wait, I have a story for you kids. I've always loved stories on Christmas Eve. No, Mandy, it's not going to take any time away from presents. You know as well as I that those don't start until your mommy and Auntie Peg finish cleaning the kitchen.

"What story, you ask? This is the story of how Santa became the undisputed King of Christmas. I don't know, David. You'll have to tell me if it's true or not when I finish the tale. It might mean an extra gift for each of you.

"Do I have your attention now? Good.

"This didn't happen too long ago. Santa Claus had been around for many a year at this point, but something happened which made him have to fight to keep his place as the jolly guy who ruled Christmas. A surly little goblin named Gilly Weedwacker started a war to take over Christmas.

"It happened one Christmas Eve-eve night as Santa was just about to jump into bed to rest up for his gigantic tomorrow. The clatter outside his window didn't faze him at first--the elves often liked to blow off steam with rousing rounds of snowball fights. It only took a minute, however, for Santa to realize he wasn't hearing raucous shouts of mirth and joy, but instead yells of pain, surprise, and hate.

"The King of Elves threw open his curtains and saw strange green creatures overtaking his elite Elven guard. The monsters were vicious, but pride poured through Santa when, after the initial shock wore off, his elves fought back hard. There were far too many goblins (that's what those creatures were) for the Elven guards to handle. Many surged through the ranks as his elves handled the first wave. Santa could only hope the rest of his army could repel these evil invaders.

"Mrs. Claus urged Santa to stay hidden; he was too important to the world to go down in battle. He shook his head. No, if these goblins succeeded in overthrowing the North Pole, it wouldn't matter if he were alive or dead. And his elves would fight all the harder if they knew their beloved leader was standing tall alongside them on the front.

"Santa's elves, even though they weren't an elite force like his advanced guards, still outclassed the goblins one-on-one. Too bad the goblins outnumbered them three or four to one. How had such a large force advanced up the world without anyone noticing? The North Pole had surveillance equipment to prepare for situations such as this. How had they missed this assault?

"And then he knew. The smell hit him first. Gilly Weedwacker. King of the Goblins. While his subjects were lower than low-tech, Gilly possessed magic that could get this job done.

"Santa stepped up to face the challenge. Sweat dripped down his rosy cheeks. Though he knew his powers were more than a match for the Goblin King's, any careless maneuver would give the upper hand to Gilly Weedwacker. That would mean the goblins would control Christmas, and no one wanted that.

"The goblin grunts and Elven warriors all stopped and turned to watch their leaders clash. None of them mattered, and they knew it. This war would be won and lost by the two big-wigs. If they could have, both sides would have pulled up comfy couches and munched on popcorn while they watched.

"Gilly Weedwacker struck first. Goblin magic is deadly, but a master of Elven magic can turn even the most devastating spell aside. And, boys and girls, Santa was--and is--a master of Elven magic. He's never had an equal. And on that night, with his entire workshop--nay, his whole holiday--in jeopardy, the Goblin King stood less of a chance than the proverbial snowball in Hades.

"With a mere flick of his wrist, Santa knocked the torturous spell aside. A quick snap of his fingers brought Gilly Weedwacker, who'd been planning this assault on Christmas for over a century, to his knees. Mop up wasn't even necessary. Victory belonged to Santa and his elves. The goblin soldiers couldn't scatter out of there fast enough.

"With Gilly Weedwacker utterly and easily defeated, there was no one to challenge Santa. And that, children, is the story of why Santa is the current, and forever, King of Christmas.

"So, as David asked earlier, is this a true tale? Before you answer, I want each of you to go look into your stockings. Yes, Mandy, I realize you never open them until morning. And I also know each of you snooped in them before dinner. You better believe I was watching. Was there anything in them then? No? I didn't think so.

"Yeah, those are each for you. Only kids who know about Santa's Secret War can get those presents. Those are there for you to promise to tell your grandchildren when they're old enough. Yes, it's a long time away, but those will help you remember. I promise.

"How? Easy. I got the same gift when I was your age. Now don't hold yourselves in suspense any longer. Open them up."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why not buy an Ebook?

Tis the season to buy an ebook, and I have three for your downloading pleasure! These make great gifts, either from someone on your list or even yourself! And they're very reasonably priced.

The first book I have for you is my upper middle grade/young adult book, Way Over the Line. Jessie Campbell loves baseball, but he's terrified of the ball. Though he can make great running catches, if a ball is hit right at him, he'll duck out of the way. And forget about batting. When he and his best friend, Ryder Gonzalez, are abducted by space aliens, the boys learn that the aliens want Ryder to play in the huge Intergalactic Over the Line Tournament. Jessie is only along for the ride. He soon learns, however, that this won't be a simple spectator sport. He'll need to deal with horrors such as space pirates, and, even worse, actually participating on the field. With the help of Ryder, his alien teammates, a cute girl from another planet, and even Mickey Martell, the best baseball player in the Universe, Jessie must learn to push away his fears and focus on learning how to better play the game--both mentally and physically.

And if all of that wasn't enough pressure, there's also whisperings that he may be the fabled Chosen One, destined to bring the championship to his team.

Though this one is aimed at 10-13 year-olds, anyone who is a fan of baseball and/or science fiction will be sure to enjoy this tale. You can get it at:
Amazon for your Kindle here
Or here at Smashwords for most other formats, including right on your computer
Wherever you get it, it's only $1.99!

I also have a book called The Breath of Life and Other Stories, which is a short story collection containing 20 of my stories. They are works of speculative fiction--horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Discover what the downfall of Atlantis was. Enter a video game that is a bit too real. Watch a hide-and-seek-type game that gets interrupted by evil spirits. Discover what pushed one blues guitarist over the edge. See who the mysterious figure in the window really is. Find out why there always seems to be a crowd at accident sights. Find the secrets of eternal power with the twin coffins. Join a young adventurer on his first quest. Learn the secret of a town of dragons. Find out what happens when a war clone falls in love. Discover if a controversial medical technique can cure amnesia. Wait and see if a dating phone line is what it says it is. All this plus much more.

You can get it at:
Amazon for the Kindle
Barnes and Noble for the Nook
Smashwords for most other formats
This one will only cost you $0.99!

Finally, I have one that won't cost you a cent! This is a free download at Smashwords called The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume 1. This is fifty flash fiction stories that are tales of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, as well as some bent more towards the mainstream.

To download it for free on Smashwords, click here.

I hope you'll give these a look. What better way to fill up an ereader or smart phone with a reading app?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Writing Prompt #46

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week (or labeling it as Christmas), so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

The North Pole is under attack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#FridayFlash--Her Mission

by Eric J. Krause

Angelica watched the little girl shuffle through the mall. She should be with an adult, but no one around looked like they knew her. The little girl, however, paid none of this any mind. She was on a mission. Angelica only wished she knew what it was.

Up ahead, Santa loomed. Of course. No little one could resist the allure of the jolly old elf. She clutched something in her fist, no doubt a crudely written list of Christmas wishes. Angelica almost left right then, content this one had found her way. Mom or Dad would surely be right behind.

Until the little girl wandered past without so much as a glance at the Santa display. Now Angelica watched with full attention. Where could one this young be going by herself, especially when she had no business being alone?

Angelica scouted ahead to guess the destination. Then she lagged behind to find any frantic parents searching for their little darling. No luck.

Others around the mall began to take notice. This was good, to a point. Most people had nothing but honorable intentions, but those few that didn't . . . Well, they were the reason Angelica searched a bit harder for answers.

Before anyone could intercept the girl, she found her destination: a kiosk specializing in wallets. The twenty-something behind the counter smiled down at the girl.

"Do I have enough for a new wallet?" She held out a small amount; Angelica saw three dollars and some loose change. "Daddy says he never has enough money, so his probably has a hole in it."

Angelica waved her hand at the clerk so he'd see the correct amount. She'd make sure the till had enough before closing. She also perked the clerk's curiosity about the girl.

"Where are your parents?" he asked as he handed her a brown leather tri-fold wallet.

"Mommy's in the bathroom, and Daddy's looking in the TV store. I wanted to surprise them."

The clerk chuckled. "And I'm sure you have." He picked up a phone, likely to call security.

Angelica drifted to where she guessed the girl's parents would be based on the description. She found them on the brink of hysterics, but a peaceful word calmed them both. They hurried in the direction of their daughter, now certain they'd find her.

Not far from the wallet stand, the young family reunited in tears and hugs. Angelica twirled her halo, unfolded her wings, and rose back to the heavens. All in a day's work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Break from the Project--Revision Process Pt. 1

For many authors, this step is the toughest. You need to let the first draft rest. Preferably for as long as a month. That might seem like forever, and you might think you'll lose valuable momentum on your novel, but trust me, this is important downtime away from the book. The reason you want to wait is so when you do start tearing into that first draft, the words and story will seem fresh to you. This makes it much easier to catch mistakes and to be open to changes that need to be make in order to create a better story.

What can you do in this downtime? I like to work on other projects, such as short stories or thinking up new novel ideas. I also occasionally take time off from writing anything and simply read more than normal. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you take your mind off your first draft. You'll be worrying enough about it in the coming months, so enjoy this time now.

That's it for this week. Simple advice, but sometimes difficult to achieve. When the new year gets rolling, I'll get into my actual revision process. Until then, keep writing and/or reading.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Writing Prompt #45

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

Someone (or something) crawls down your chimney.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

#FridayFlash--Missed Visit

Missed Visit
by Eric J. Krause

Riley's eyes flashed open, and he flung his pillow off the bed. Instead of a crisp dollar bill, his tooth lay there mocking him. Tears flashed in his eyes, but he refused to give into them. Instead, he picked up his tooth and stormed out to find his parents. And answers.

Mom sat at the kitchen table, reading the morning paper on her laptop. Dad stood cooking eggs and bacon at the stove. Neither noticed him until he slammed his tooth onto the table.

"The Tooth Fairy didn't come."

Mom and Dad shared a panicked look that wasn't lost on Riley.

"She's fake, just like Santa, right? Even though you promised me she wasn't, you lied about her."

Mom's face had gone pale, and Dad had turned off the burners even though breakfast wasn't done. Dad put a hand on Mom's shoulder. Riley saw it was shaking. Mom started to cry.

"She . . . she really didn't come?" Dad asked.

Riley sighed and shook his head. "Bobby Milken told me she was just like Santa, but I didn't want to believe him. I guess he was right." Riley stuck out his hand. "So just give me the dollar and we'll pretend none of this happened." It stunk that they lied to him, and then got caught in it, but he didn't really care. He just wanted the dollar promised to him.

Mom sobbed harder, leaped forward to give him a big hug, and then ran from the room. Dad, whose face might've looked paler than Mom's, sat down in her chair.

"What's going on?" This went way beyond them forgetting to trade out his tooth with a dollar.

Dad didn't answer right away, and when he did, Riley had to strain to hear. Dad sounded like he'd break down into tears any moment, just like Mom.

"I swear to you, Riles, the Tooth Fairy does exist."

Riley scoffed and held up his tooth. "Earth to Dad. If she existed, I'd have a dollar right now instead of this."

"She only skips kids if . . . if . . . " He stared crying, but managed to finish with, "if that kid is going to die the next day."


His dad grabbed him in a bear hug and sobbed into his shoulder.

"So should I stay home from school today?" he asked when Dad finally let go. A missed day of school wouldn't be so bad. Sounded like a fair trade to him.

Mom walked up behind him and tousled his hair. Her eyes were red and puffy. "No. It's said if you hide from your troubles, it'll get you for sure. But if you go about your normal day, there's a chance the curse won't hit." She did her best to give him a brave smile. "And you can put your tooth back under the pillow tomorrow night." She nudged him towards his room. "Go get set for school."

Riley frowned but complied. Why did he have to go? He was the one dying, not them. It wasn't fair!

Ten minutes later, he emerged with his backpack slung over his shoulder. "Are you sure I can't stay here and hide out?"

They both shook their heads. Mom gave him a big hug and kiss before breaking down into tears again. Dad hugged him while scrunching up his face to keep from crying. They both waved and closed the front door.

Riley sighed and headed for the sidewalk and school.

Holiday Writings as Gifts

As a writer with not much money to spend on gifts for my extended family, I've discovered that a Christmas-themed short story works wonders. I write a piece of flash fiction, print out enough copies for everyone, and stick them into everyone's Christmas card. I make sure the story is short enough so it fits on one printed page, though since it's not going to a publisher, I can fudge the margins, text size, and other formatting features as necessary. I've been doing this for four or five years, and it's become a hit with the family. Since I've been doing this for a number of years, I've gotten into a rhythm. One year I'll write a heart-felt nice story, and the next I'll pen a more lighthearted story.

I print my stories out on regular white paper. To gussy it up a bit, I'll go through the fonts and pick a fancy one that matches the mood of the story. For example, if I have a sweet story about an angel reuniting a young girl with her family, I'll use a flowing, flowery font, while if I have a story of a PI interrogating Santa, I'll use Times New Roman. The possibilities are endless. You could go with fancy multi-colored paper; you could, if you're a crafty sort of person, add lace or other ornaments to the page; you could write a short poem and needlecraft it; or you could do anything else your imagination can come up with. The great thing about family (for the most part) is that they tend to appreciate the hard work as much as the gift itself.

To sum up, I like to use my talent for the written word as a gift for my family. It's unique to my family--no other family out there in the world is getting that story as a gift. You can make it as elaborate or simple as you want, and it's still a special gift. I hope this has inspired some of you to use your writing talents--be it flash fiction or poetry--to give as gifts this (and every) year! Have a Happy Holiday season!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Writing Prompt #44

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as fantasy this week, but take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

An assassin targets the king.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Free ecopies of Way Over the Line

I'd like to give out free e-copies to my middle grade novel called Way Over the Line. I'm doing this by giving out a code from Smashwords that will get you the book for free. Here's a description:

"Jessie Campbell loves baseball, but he's terrified of the ball. Though he can make great running catches, if a ball is hit right at him, he'll duck out of the way. And forget about batting. When he and his best friend, Ryder Gonzalez, are abducted by space aliens, the boys learn that the aliens want Ryder to play in the huge Intergalactic Over the Line Tournament. Jessie is only along for the ride. He soon learns, however, that this won't be a simple spectator sport. He'll need to deal with horrors such as space pirates, and, even worse, actually participating on the field. With the help of Ryder, his alien teammates, a cute girl from another planet, and even Mickey Martell, the best baseball player in the Universe, Jessie must learn to push away his fears and focus on learning how to better play the game--both mentally and physically.

And if all of that wasn't enough pressure, there's also whisperings that he may be the fabled Chosen One, destined to bring the championship to his team."

This is a book aimed at 10 to 13 year olds who are baseball and/or science fiction fans, though I think it's a story that can make anyone happy who reads it. And who can beat for free, right? To get your code, you don't have to agree to do anything but send me a direct message on Twitter. You can find a link to me on Twitter here. That's it, though I do have some requests.

If you enjoy the book, or if you think you know others who would enjoy it, please give them the link either on Smashwords or Amazon (both links are at the top right of my webpage, and I will put them at the bottom of this post). If you know teachers who teach upper elementary school or middle school/junior high, I'd love for you to share the links with them. If you know parents with age-appropriate kids, I'd love for you to give them the links. If you know others who simply enjoy a good story, I'd love for you to give them the links. The book is only $1.99 on both Smashwords and Amazon, so it won't cost much at all for those you recommend to. I'd appreciate it if you didn't hand out the code to anyone else, but honestly, there's nothing I can do to stop you from doing so. I only earnestly ask that you don't publish the code anywhere in a public forum.

That's all I request: if you enjoyed it, let others know. I don't even require it from you, just request. You don't need to retweet my links, you don't need to say anything about it. Just send me a direct message on Twitter and you get a code for a free book. I'd love a review on Goodreads, at Amazon, at Smashwords, but again, none of that is necessary for you to get your free code. It's just me humbly asking for some publicity for my story.

So, to recap, simply send me a direct message on Twitter and I'll send you a code for a free copy of Way Over the Line. That's it. No hidden catches. I just hope you enjoy the book and tell others that you enjoyed it. Thanks everyone!

In case you've never used Smashwords, I believe you have to sign up for an account to get the free book, but that account is free and should only take you a minute or two to sign up for. I also believe you don't need to enter any credit card number if you put in the free code.

Click here to find Way Over the Line on Smashwords

Click here to find Way Over the Line on Amazon for the Kindle

Thursday, December 2, 2010


by Eric J. Krause

I'll never forget it. It'll haunt me to my dying day. Possibly into the afterlife, whatever that entails.

There I was, minding my own business, walking to the corner convenience store for a bag of low-sodium soy chips and a diet flavored water (damn healthy living) when I noticed people congregating around, looking up. What the hell? Monkey see, monkey do, right? I turned my attention skyward.

Up on the top floor of a four story apartment building perched a man. Using my keen insight into human behavior, I knew he wasn't there to catch a few rays. But I didn't know if this was some sort of publicity stunt or if he might really jump.

No one on the ground said a word. Heck, I think most were holding their breath. I joined them, though I wished I hadn't. Not in holding my breath, but in the whole thing. Why hadn't I kept walking?

The guy on the roof never shouted demands or pleas or anything. No one on the ground yelled up any advice or words to talk him down. I was as guilty as anyone. Someone called 9-1-1; the approaching sirens in the distance spoke to that.

When a cop car turned onto the street about a half-mile down, the roof guy made his move, and it was a doozy. He stepped off the ledge and plummeted to the street. The crowd let out a collective gasp and leaned forward. Except me. I had no wish to see the aftermath, so I turned away.

Oh, if I'd only thought to plug my ears, I might be able to sleep at night without my dreams being haunted by that sound. I wouldn't cringe anytime anything made a bang or squishing noise. I used to think it such a funny, silly sound, but no longer.


Way Over the Line at

Way Over The Line is now available on Amazon for the Kindle: Click here to check it out! If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free app to read Kindle books right on your computer. Or if you have a smartphone or other device, you can download a free Kindle reader for that, too. No excuse to not check this out! ;-) It's only $1.99. It's geared towards kids ages 10-13, but I think even adults will enjoy it. It's a science fiction story with plenty of baseball, so if you enjoy either of those, give it a read. If you know any parents with kids who enjoy science fiction and/or baseball, let them know. And tell teachers about it, too; I'm sure they know some kids who would be interested in reading this story. I hope you give it a go and enjoy it!