A #Christmas Mystery: When the 12 Days of Christmas meet Secret Santa – Part 2


Day 7

“Susan, it costs too much.  It has to go back.”

“Really, Dario? For all we know our lives are on the line.” She shifted her weight to the other foot, considering a way to persuade him. “Besides, we can use the webcam when the baby comes. That way, it’s not a waste of money.”

Dario rubbed the stubble on his chin, “That could work, but I’ll have to leave now. The others will be at the office soon. I’ll need enough time to plant the webcam in the Christmas tree. Then I’ll make sure it’s capturing the right angles. This should be good.”

“I hope so,” Susan wrapped her arms around herself. “I don’t like someone prying into our lives like this.”

“Don’t worry, hun,” he stroked her cheek then bent to look her in the eye. “We’ll know soon.”

Susan hoped so.

Continue reading “A #Christmas Mystery: When the 12 Days of Christmas meet Secret Santa – Part 2”


A #Christmas Mystery: When the 12 Days of Christmas meet Secret Santa – Part 1


Day 1

From: Barb Winston
To: Marketing Team
Sent: Mon, 14 Dec 2014 11:24:35
Subject: Team Holiday Party

Don’t forget about the party tomorrow. Bring your favorite dishes and Secret Santa gifts.


After reading the email, Dario leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and breathed a sigh of frustration. He had forgotten about the party. Now he had to dredge to the store on his lunch break.

Christmas was one of those holidays Dario believed was overrated – store fights and spending money to impress others, especially kids. It was a waste of money in his eyes. Then again, he thought everything was a waste of money. Around the office he’s known for being a Scrooge – financially and in holiday spirit.

Dario grabbed his coat and headed to the nearest discount store.


Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It’s the best time of the year…

Dario rushed in the store ready to conquer. He skimmed shelved and bins looking for something, anything with a feline and a cheap price tag. He picked Caroline, the cat lover of the bunch so the feat should be simple.

The more Dario searched, the less he felt holly or jolly. The Christmas music blaring was killing him. Then he found it – a blue mug with Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. This will do.

Amused with his finding, Dario sashayed toward checkout. Then he saw the lines. His jaw dropped. He had to disagree with Burl Ives. It wasn’t the best time of the year.


Walking to his car, Dario noticed something red under his windshield. First thought was a holiday flyer. As he approached, it was
Continue reading “A #Christmas Mystery: When the 12 Days of Christmas meet Secret Santa – Part 1”

Someone Else is Here

Image: Holliston
Image: Holliston

“Alright Jake! Time for bed.”

“Ahh, Mom! Can’t I stay up a little longer? That new detective show is about to come on.”

Margaret paused for a moment to consider. She knew there could be a consequential outcome to whatever decision she made – Jake would be too sleepy for school the next day or she would be helping him to learn more about the craft that he seems enthusiastic about. She chose the latter. “Just this time. You’ll have to record it from here on out, you understand?”

“Thanks mom,” Jake gave his mother a hug around the waist then stretched out on the floor, propped up on his elbows.

With each scene, Jake was glued to the television. His 10-year-old mind was determined to be like the detectives on the screen. Jake loved the science of it all – gathering evidence, running it through microscopes and tests, and linking what was found to the criminal.

The next morning, Jake had arose before his mother. He was still high on the excitement from the detective show.  He was sitting in front of the computer looking for forensic kits online when his mother came downstairs.

“Well, good morning! Surprised you’re already up.”

“Mom, I found this detective kit for fifty dollars. Can I have your credit card to order it?”

“Excuse me, young man. I know I taught you manners.”

“Sorry Mom. Good morning. Can I get it?”

Margaret grabbed a cup of coffee before going to see what her son was so consumed with. “Honey, that’s a lot of money to spend on something you’ll probably play with once. “

“I promise Mom, I’ll play with it every day.”

Margaret wasn’t convinced. “You’ve said that before and I’ve ended up giving away a ton of stuff. “

“But this is different.”


“I want to be a detective. This will help me learn about it. And didn’t you tell Grandma you wanted me involved in more things to enhance my educational development?”

Margaret was stuck. Jake was right. “Alright mister, here’s the deal. When you get home from school and your homework is done, box up all of the things you have not worn, played with, or touched in the last six months. You’re going to help me tag ‘em and sell ‘em.”

“Like a yard sale?”


“Ah man.” Jake’s shoulder’s slumped. He didn’t want to put in the work. Then he glanced at the computer screen and knew he had to do what he had to do.


When the detective kit arrived, Jake was on cloud nine. He viewed each piece, thinking of a thousand things that he would “investigate”. He finally decided to start with the dusting powder, brush, and tape.

Jake dusted every door knob, collecting the prints and taping them to sheets of paper. He then inked his own as well as his mother’s for comparison. After viewing under the microscope, Jake found that most belonged to him or his mother. But there was a third that he could not identify.

“Mom, I think there’s a ghost here.”

“Don’t be silly Jake.”

“No, really! When I took prints from the door knobs there was another set that wasn’t ours.”

“Well, it wouldn’t be a ghost.  Maybe they’re Grandma’s.”

Jake conceded. But the next time his grandmother visited, he made sure to collect them. They didn’t match. Something was going on and Jake was determined to find out.

How Long Should Your Chapters Be?

This is a good guide on chapter length. Some authors that I have read will have 30+ chapters, but they are short. Others maybe 12-14, but many pages. I admit that with the latter, there have been some booksI’be read that should have broken up some chapters. I found myself feeling like I’d never get to the end or the point of the chapter. Not a good thing an author wants to hear from a reader.


How Long Should Your Chapters Be?

by: Ronovan

Pick up any two books you have and you’ll likely find they vary in chapter length. Each author has their own style and preference.

To be honest this article isn’t about telling you which length is best. The story itself tells you where the cut off points are for a chapter. Don’t listen to a teacher or whoever about that. Sure an editor can help but when you are writing, get out of the way of the story.

I’ve written chapters 19 pages long and there wasn’t a place to break it up because everything needed to continue in order to flow properly. But then I’ve written chapters three pages long . . . maybe even less.

How do you pick a length? I mean there has to be some idea, right, some method?

As I’ve been writing for over 20 years…

View original post 344 more words