During the entire month make sure to follow all the blogs listed on the Darynda Jones Blog Tours Home. Each blog will be posting a special Christmas story written by Darynda Jones. Exclusive art will accompany the story at each post. Each blog will have a different name on the wall within the art. Viewers must keep each name or names found on each blog post in order to unravel the secret message. Take note of the most prominent name(s) within the artwork. Some blogs will have more than one name. When viewers have found all the names they will then take the first letter of each name, these letters will need to be unscrambled in order to find the secret message. Once you have the message, fill out the form below to be entered into an amazing Rocket Giveaway!
Clues below in the picture!
A Blue Christmas
Rocket pressed his nose against the basement window and watched the lights twinkling across the way. Several houses around the abandoned asylum where he and his sister lived were decorated for the holidays, and the cheer reflected off the snow that blanketed the ground, just enough to cast a soft glow of color. Rocket stood transfixed. Names of the newly departed rushed through his head, bounced and collided with one another like atoms in the sun, but he didn’t care. Not tonight. It was Christmas Eve. And Santa was coming.
“Hurry, Blue,” he said, calling out to his five-year-old sister. He was much older than she because she’d died long before he did, but she’d waited for him, followed his every move until he eventually succumbed to the conditions of the mental hospital their parents had placed him in during WWII and joined her in the afterlife. “He’s coming!” Rocket said, giggling to himself.
His sister Blue appeared in a far off corner, too far from the window to see the sparkling lights or the glittery snow. She wore her same outfit as always, denim overalls and a dirty shirt, with her dark brown hair cropped short and tucked behind her ears. When he beckoned her over in a series of excited gestures, she finally rewarded him with a cautious a smile, and for a moment she stopped wringing her hands and took a wary step forward.
He shook his head. “You’re going to miss him. I’m telling you, he’ll be here lickety-split and you’re going to be over there hiding in the corner.”
Of course, Rocket knew why she hesitated. She’d been hoodwinked before, so he understood why she thought maybe Santa wasn’t really coming. But this year would be different. Miss Charlotte told him the truth about Mr. Claus. Said he was getting on up there and sometimes he forgot a few stops, but this year she’d make sure he remembered him and Blue. Rocket figured Santa didn’t come because Blue Bell and Rocketman weren’t their real names and maybe he didn’t know where to find them, but Miss Charlotte said Santa was a lot like him. He knew all the names, real and pretend, of all the kids in all the world. Rocket wasn’t a kid no more, but Blue was, and Santa needed to get off his keister and do his derned job.
Then he saw movement. He took in a breath and stilled. Widening his eyes, he watched as black boots with red pants tucked into them hurried past the window. His arms flailed out and he fell off the chair he’d been standing on, tumbling to the ground.
“He’s here!” he shouted, scrambling to his feet. “He’s really here, Blue. Hurry.”
Blue’s face brightened and she stood beaming at him. Or she was until he tackled her and scooped her into his arms, but he didn’t have no time to be gentle. They had to get to bed. Miss Charlotte said in order for Santa to come, they had to be in bed fast asleep. They hadn’t slept in years but that wasn’t going to stop him. He had a job to do, and if he had to tie Blue to that derned bed, so be it.
“But I’m not sleepy,” she whispered to him.
“Just pretend then.” He rushed her down the hall to where the old spring cots were.
Blue chuckled softly in his ears and hugged him close. “Is that why Santa don’t come, you think? ‘Cause we ain’t never in bed?”
He almost tripped but caught himself and carried on. He hadn’t thought of that. “I bet you’re right. Dang it. No one ever told me Santa had rules. No breaking rules.”
Blue nodded, her porcelain face revealing the excitement she’d kept stored for far too long. “No breaking rules.”
He laid her on the springs of a cot, her body—tiny and depleted from the effects of dust pneumonia before she died—barely took up half the cot. He wished there’d been a mattress to lay her on, but the springs would have to do.
After getting her settled, he tiptoed over to his own cot, wiggled onto it, then pulled what had been a paper sack up over his face until only his eyes showed. Then he waited. And listened. As the first rustling sounds wafted down from one of the upper floors, Blue gasped. She bolted upright and gaped at him. He motioned her down, crinkling his paper.
“Sorry,” Blue whispered, but it took him forever to reposition the paper just so. She lay back down and cupped her hands over her mouth.
“Close your eyes,” he said in a hushed voice. “We have to be fast asleep.”
Blue nodded and closed her eyes, but he could see her peeking.
“Blue!” he said in a louder hushed voice.
Blue slammed her hands over her whole face to keep from peeking, but he saw her fingers part. He sighed. Santa was never going to fall for this. Or so he thought, until he heard boot steps on the stairs. He tensed to contain his excitement. Even when he heard the commotion of someone slipping and falling down the stairs or the loosing of a string of blistering curse words, he didn’t dare move. But he did wonder about Santa’s inappropriate vocabulary choices and his voice. It was very . . . girly. Rocket thought it would be much deeper.
Slamming his eyes shut, he waited as the footsteps drew closer and closer. Santa paused at the door and turned off his flashlight. Rocket could see the light dim because his lids were almost clear nowadays. But he kept them closed anyway as Santa stepped toward him. Rocket held his breath. Santa stopped right beside his bed then walked to Blue’s and did the same beside hers before heading back up the stairs.
After the scraping of some furniture and another strings of curses that kind of resembled the names of his reindeer if Rocket concentrated really hard, Santa was gone. Rocket peeled open his eyes. The first thing he saw was Blue’s present. He bound off the cot and rushed to her side.
She lowered her hands and opened her eyes, the dark circles underneath making them look even bigger when she saw her present. A doll small enough for Blue to carry around without great effort lay on the floor in front of her. Blue blinked and her mouth formed a perfect O, even more stunned than Rocket.
“He came,” she said, her soft voice still husky from the pneumonia. She reached for the doll but missed, her hand swiping through it. Then she focused and reached again. She took hold of it that time. Cradled it. Her eyes watering with emotion. “He really came.”
Her doll looked almost exactly like the one she’d had back home. Santa really did know things. Lots of things.
“Rocket,” Blue said, her voice so soft, he could barely hear her.
He’d been lost in memories when he bound back to the present and turned to where Blue motioned. Beside his cot was a tin rocket. He hurried over to it, picked it up. It was a windup toy like in the dime stores. The kind they could never afford.
“He didn’t forget us,” Blue said.
Rocket smiled. “I told you Miss Charlotte knew him. She even knows the Easter Bunny. And the president.”
Blue nodded, satisfied completely, and stroked her doll’s hair.
Meet Darynda Jones!
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones won the 2009 Golden Heart® in the paranormal category for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. After the Golden Heart final, she pimped herself as best she could, landed an amazing agent and has sold 8 books to St. Martin’s Press. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.
Want to purchase Darynda’s’s novels?
- First Grave on the Right Amazon | Book Depository
- For I Have Sinned Amazon | Book Depository
- Second Grave on the Left Amazon | Book Depository
- Third Grave Dead Ahead Amazon | Book Depository
- Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet Amazon | Book Depository
- Fifth Grave Past the Light Amazon | Book Depository (Jul 9, 2013)
- Death and the Girl Next Door at Amazon | Book Depository
- Death, Doom, and Detention at Amazon | Book Depository (March 5, 2013)
I hope you enjoyed the Rocket short above. Please read below for instructions on how to play with Rocket. There is one room in the asylum in which he doesn’t want Charley to see the names, but he loves teasing Charley, and has decided to let you have a peek and let you see the names in the room. Once you have followed all the blogs listed HERE and have all the names posted on each, use the first letters in each name to create a new phrase.
Shhh! Don’t tell Charley!
(*There may be extra letters and the letters are jumbled)
Remember the following:
- Visit each blog listed in the link above for a name or names (no more than two nanes per blog).
- Jot down the prominent name you see in each picture on each post. Just the first name will be needed.
- Then take the first letter from each name to create the secret phrase. The phrase will contain exactly 22 letters.
- Once you have unraveled the letters and have found the secret message, fill out the form below to sign up. You must know the secret message in order to have your entry validated.
Click on the Entry Form to take you to the giveaway sign up sheet! Thank you to all and the best of luck!
A special thank you to Jess Rissmiller, the artist responsible for Rocket’s rendition.
To view more of his amazing work please visit his site at www.imaginextsoft.wix.com/2d#!
“A Blue Christmas” by Darynda Jones is in its entirety the sole property of Author Darynda Jones and may not be copied or used without sole permission from the author.Unless otherwise noted, all of the material found in this post is property of Darynda Jones. All rights reserved. No part of this post or story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author, Darynda Jones.