Punch & Candy at Midnight

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All proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the hungry during Christmastime – a time as Charles Dickens reminds us “(they) suffer greatly at the present time.”

Proceeds will be split between two charities: Feed My Starving Children and The Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Thanks for everyone who supported this in 2018! Will look to sell more books in 2019 🙂

Every year, for as long as anyone can remember, the Cave Goblins attack the Christmas Elves on Christmas Eve at the North Pole.

This Christmas Eve, as the night grows dark and the attack becomes imminent, one small Goblin is lonely, hungry and cold.

Seeing the light and warmth of the Elven camp, he steals away for a closer look, setting off a chain of events that will leave Goblins and Elves questioning everything.

Chapter One: Glimmer Hill

It was Christmas Eve in Reindeer Grove, and instead of celebrating, the elves were preparing for the goblin attack.

It happened every Christmas Eve. At midnight, the goblins would charge up Glimmer Hill with shrieking voices and mysteriously carved spears. The elves would defend the hill, firing golden arrows from their silver bows, and a battle would begin that neither side would win, but the elves had their orders from the High King. Defend the elven way of life!

The Elven King ran a karaoke lottery to choose the elven defenders. Much to the despair of the elves, the King thought himself a wonderful song writer. The truth was, he was an awful song writer. After posting another terrible song in the town square, he’d approach an elf and demand he sing the song. If the elf didn’t know it, his name was put into the lottery.

That’s how Zingle was chosen.

He didn’t know the King’s latest song “The Birds Don’t Land on Me Anymore Since I Burped on that One Day.”

It was supposed to be a great honor, but Zingle didn’t see it that way. He wanted to spend Christmas Eve with his two young girls, Ara and Sandy, who were finally old enough to help bake cookies for Santa. And his wife Annabelle was really looking forward to having their traditional Christmas Eve dinner by the fire. Instead, he was out in the cold stamping his small feet trying to stay warm. The sound of the bells on his elf boots cascaded sad little notes into the frigid air.

He looked at the rest of the elven defenders as the elf sergeant led them up Glimmer Hill. Zingle was by far the smallest. What good would he be against a goblin attack?

Since the elves hated to fight, the Elf King had a great feast prepared to keep up morale.

They reached the top of the hill in the soft blue and pink glow of dusk where a large table was lavishly set for a big meal. There were silver plates and crystal goblets. All sorts of sweets and side dishes were scattered about. A large roasted goose sat on a golden platter with all the trimmings.

A huge evergreen tree glittered with lights and tinsel, topped by a silver star.

The small elf sighed, wondering if there was some way to sneak away when the sergeant’s voice sounded out.

“Listen up, elves!” he said. “Choose your bow and quiver and join me at the table. Let us enjoy the King’s feast!”

There was a halfhearted cheer. Nobody wanted to be away from their families fighting goblins, no matter how grand the feast. But the sergeant clapped his hands and urged them into action. Sticking in the snow were twenty silver bows, each with a quiver of golden arrows. The elves lined up to grab their weapons.

Zingle kept getting pushed out of the way. As he clumsily took his bow, he looked off into the darkness toward Mount Cloven, home of the goblins. The clouds created fearful shapes in the sky. Were the goblins out there, just out of sight? He looked back at the lights of Glimmer Hill, but they didn’t contain the usual Christmas joy.

Chapter 2: Goblin Gully

Obedient to the Goblin King, twenty goblins were chosen by sneeze lottery to launch the Christmas Eve attack. To be sneezed upon by the king was seen as a great honor. Each time the King sneezed on a goblin, their name went into the lottery skull. Since the King had a terrible allergy to cave mushrooms (which was quite unfortunate, because he ate loads of them) he sneezed a lot. And he never covered his mouth.

Wunk had been sneezed on this year so here he was, away from his family and out in the cold. He was shivering and feeling completely miserable. In fact, all the goblins were gloomy. Goblins hate the cold and rarely leave their warm caves except to hunt.

“Let’s go, you dogs!” said the goblin sergeant. “We need to cross the gully by dusk. If you want to be back by dawn to see your families on Christmas morning, you’ll make it double time!”

Contrary to popular belief, goblins love Christmas. Every year, Santa visited those on the nice list and brought them presents. (The Goblin King rarely made the nice list due to his sneezing.) So the goblins felt as bad about being out on Christmas Eve as the elves.

“What’s the point?” muttered one goblin who had a limp and wore six earrings in his left ear. He pulled his bear skins tight. “It will just be another failed attack. The elves know we’re coming. We’ll just chuck spears and arrows at each other and freeze to death.”

“Yeah,” said a goblin with a duck bone stuck through his nose and a big purple wart on his right eye. “Plus there are polar bears prowling about, and those reindeer can be pretty mean.”

A chorus of “yeah’s” and “no kiddings” sounded from the group. One said under his breath “Donner bit my wife!”

The sergeant’s eyes bulged in anger.

“You fools!” Spittle flew from his nearly toothless mouth. “The elves mock us with their colorful clothing, flaunt their toy riches in our faces and hoard Santa’s sweets! Aren’t you tired of being put down by the elves?!”

Various responses leaked out of the goblins in the form of “No,” and “Not really,” and “Who cares what they wear?” and “What is he even talking about?”

“The King has declared these truths!” said the sergeant.

“Like he knows what’s going on,” said a goblin with a necklace made out of tiny bird skulls. “He’s too busy sneezing on everyone.”

“Enough talk!” said the sergeant. “Get moving!”

The goblins muttered to themselves and trudged ahead in the deep snow.

As the weakest goblin, Wunk struggled, trying to walk within the snow path created by the stronger goblins. He missed his wife and two young boys Wog and Cog. This year they were old enough to stay up and trim the Christmas totem on the night before Christmas. He was sure his wife Korline was preparing the family dinner over the hot coals, and he was going to miss it. All for a great honor bestowed by a sneeze.

Cover and chapter art by Wouter F. Goedkoop.