A Santa Dragon Stop: The Christmas Kindness We Enjoy Today,
Can Be Shared Throughout 2017
Elle Burton exhibits the kind of Christmas Kindness we all dream of during the holidays. Kids today need better role models than what we’ve seen lately in the leading news stories. Both “Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” and “Missing” will teach tweens to be kind to others and stand up to the social injustices that plague our kids in today’s environment.
Bullying and rudeness fill our world and unfortunately, they have for quite some time. It’s time we provide a role model to our kids who shuns negative behavior. This isn’t a unique idea, but it’s the one my Grandpa Burton would have suggested!
As my Christmas Gift to you, I’m sharing a portion of Elle’s Christmas Story from “Missing” below. But before I do, I’m delighted to share the newest review for “Missing” here for the first time.
“Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.”
What a great Christmas Gift! Because this was such a surprise, I decided to share the Christmas Kindness here with you. “Missing” ends in a beautiful Christmas Story that your child doesn’t want to miss this Christmas Season.
Give your child the gift of Christmas Kindness so they can see the world as Elle does. This is the first Christmas this book is available for purchase…Share it with your friends. Every little girl needs to meet Elle. There is hope!
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5
Wow! What a magical story! However, the back cover copy is a little misleading as the story is more about Jimmy than Elle. With that said, your characters are really well developed. The reader is vested in Jimmy from the first chapter.
You grab the reader and don’t let go for the entire story. You’ve invited the reader into a world of adventure and mystery that is simply amazing.
Mother Blue and the Fiorin are great characters. With your wonderful writer’s voice, you bring them to life, each with a different personality.
That was so fun to read.
There are a few grammatical errors, but nothing that detracts from the readability of the story. Your plot is well paced.
There are just enough slower spots to let your reader catch his or her breath. The scene where the mother is frantically working on Elle, who isn’t breathing, is really well written. As a reader, you really feel the panic that her mother is going through. Even the dispatcher is well done. That is not the only part that is well written, but these well-written small parts make the book such a good read.
Your designer did an excellent job designing the cover, as well as the interiors of the book. Thank you for sharing this beautiful world. Fantastic job. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Excerpt from “Missing.”
“Someone’s anxious.” Mike stumbled over the footstool.Supper’s ready,” Elle said. “Let’s eat so we can get to the tree.”
“Careful there, dude, or you’re going to hurt yourself!”
Mike grinned sheepishly.
“Hurry, or the food will get cold. Grandma’s ready.”
“We’d better get going then,” Grandpa said. His voice was a bit raspy after the throat cancer treatments, but he spoke distinctly now. “We certainly don’t want to offend the cook, especially when she’s as cute as your grandma.”
Elle ran into the dining room. They had set the table with a Christmas green tablecloth and a centerpiece made of pine greenery, shiny red Christmas tree ornaments, and red bows. In the center of the arrangement were three tall red candles that burned with a rich glow.
Grandma put steaming bowls of wild rice soup at each place. A large round loaf of bread sat sliced on a cutting board beside a platter of Grandma’s famous triple-decker sandwiches. The outer crusts of the bread were cut away on the sandwiches. Elle loved them that way.
Christmas Eve Dinner
“Can I say the prayer, Mom?”
“I’d love that, Elle.”
She waited until they were all seated with their heads bowed.
“Dear Lord, thank you for letting Grandma and Grandpa move back to Menomonie with us and for keeping them safe. Thank you for protecting JJ and for bringing him home, and for helping me find my voice when so many have lost theirs. We also thank you for bringing Mike into our lives and having him love us all so much. Thank you for your son who was born so long ago to teach us the right way to live. Bless us and please don’t let anything bad happen to our family. Oh, and God, if you could, would you ask Jesus to hug Poppy for me tonight? Amen.”
When Elle looked up, she saw that her mom was smiling. The raw pain of losing Poppy had begun to dissolve into blessed memories.
“Amen,” everyone said.
“The soup is delicious.” Mike held up a spoonful. “I don’t think I’ve ever eaten wild rice soup as good as this.”
“The recipe calls for ham, but I always add chicken instead,” Grandma said.
Mike looked at his watch. “What time is the service at church?”
Why is Mike so nervous?
Elle couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Mike. He’d been checking his watch every few minutes for the last hour. The footstool wasn’t the only thing he’d stumbled against. It was like he wasn’t paying any attention to where he was going. She’d never seen him so nervous.
“The candlelight service is at eleven. There’s an earlier service at seven,” Ginny said.
“You’ve always loved the candlelight service,” Grandma said, feeding JJ a bite of sandwich. “Why don’t you and Mike go? We’ll stay here and watch the kids.”
“I don’t know.” Ginny looked up from her soup. “I think we should all go together.”
“Nonsense,” Grandma said. “Tomorrow’s going to be a big day. This old man and I are going to need to get to bed early. If you go to the candlelight service, we can clean up the table and open our presents before it’s time to put JJ down.”
“Are you sure? I do love the candlelight service.”
“I’m certain,” Grandma said.
Ginny patted Mike’s sleeve. “Let’s eat so we can get to those presents.”
“How did it go with Dovey, Grandma?” Elle asked.
Christmas Kindness: Forgiveness for the Kidnapper
Grandma and Grandpa had driven to the facility in Minneapolis where Dovey (JJ’s kidnapper) was staying.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been that nervous!” Grandma wiped her mouth with the napkin. “Dovey told me she had no idea why she did what she did.”
“I was angry when we got there, but she changed my attitude as we talked to her,” Grandpa said. “She’s a lovely woman, and she’s lost everything that was important to her.”
Grandma nodded. “We talked together for nearly two hours. She told me it felt as if something possessed her and she wasn’t in control of her actions.”
“That’s pretty tough to accept.” Mike was holding his fork in front of his mouth, but he looked like he’d forgotten it was there.
“She’s genuinely remorseful. I’m not sure what the courts will do. She’s pretty scared.”
“What about her husband?” Elle asked.
“He’s out now and has rented a small apartment near the facility. He was coming in as we were leaving. Her face lit up when he walked in. I think they have an excellent chance of patching things up.”
“I’m glad you went, Grandma!”
“She loved your present!”
Ginny turned toward Elle. “You sent a present?”
“I used some of my birthday money and ordered a book I saw in Grandma’s Guidepost’s Magazine.”
“So . . . what was it?”
“The name of it was Positive Living Day by Day.” Elle twisted Healani’s ring on her finger. “I thought maybe a gift would help her get her happiness and faith back.”’
Elle’s Kindness Shows Through
“You never cease to amaze me, young lady.”
Mike was still sitting with the fork in front of his mouth.
“Are we going to see Wendy sometime over the holidays? I haven’t met her fiancé, Brad, yet.” Grandma said.
Elle laughed as Mike finally put the fork in his mouth.
“I think they’re planning on coming over soon,” Ginny said. “You’ll like Brad. He’s an amiable guy, and he’s attentive to Wendy.”
“Brad and Wendy are so cute together. He keeps kissing her.” Elle giggled, and everyone at the table laughed.
Elle gobbled down the rest of her soup and sandwich. She looked longingly at the plate of sandwiches. There were three left on the plate.
I’d sure love another sandwich, she thought, grinning at Grandma Statler.
“Go ahead,” Grandma said.
Mike excused himself from the table and went back to the living room. Elle saw him pull his phone out of his pocket. She couldn’t hear what he was saying. It was odd that he was still working on Christmas Eve.
They finished up and did the dishes.
It’s finally time for the tree!
Grandma walked into the living room and sat in the chair nearest the tree.
Grandpa followed, pulling the footstool over next to her chair.
“Elle, why don’t you play Santa Claus?” Mike said.
She responded by pulling a present from under the tree and reading the tag. “This one’s for Grandma.” She carried it to Grandma Statler.
Grandma checked the tag as she removed the bow, putting it on the side table.
“I can’t even guess what this might be.” She slipped her finger under the tape on one end and removed the tape at the other end. The paper slid off the box and onto the floor.
“Oh my goodness, what’s this?” She lifted out a white turtleneck sweater with a matching quilted vest.
“They’re beautiful, Ginny—thank you so much.”
Elle picked up another present and handed it to her grandfather. He wasn’t as careful. He ripped the paper off and held up a pair of tan suede bedroom slippers.
“How did you know I needed these? My old slippers have a hole in the toe, and the stitching is coming loose.”
“Santa knows everything.” Elle giggled.
They continued to open presents until there were none left under the tree. Elle loved her two new outfits. The charms for her bracelet were perfect, and the earrings were the ones she’d seen at Robert Giede’s studio. It was hard not to show her disappointment. She’d known she probably wouldn’t get a puppy.
The front doorbell rang as they were gathering up the wrapping paper.
Elle ran to the door and opened it. There stood Santa Claus. He held a big box and a Christmas sack.
“Hello, Elle, I’ve heard that you’ve been a good girl this year,” Santa said.
“I’ve certainly tried.” She giggled.
“Well, are you going to invite me in?”
“Sure, but I have to warn you that we don’t have the cookies and milk out yet.”
Santa smiled. “I’m going to get far too many cookies tonight. I go to Germany next. They make the best butter cookies in the world.”
Elle led Santa into the living room. Santa put the sack down next to JJ, who crawled over and tried to get the rope untied at the top of the bag. He was fifteen months old now, and getting into everything. He’d already knocked over the Christmas tree once.
“I wish you a Merry Christmas, Elle.”
“Thank you, Brad. I mean, Santa.” Elle laughed as she sat down on the floor next to Santa’s sack. Elle thought she heard a noise. She looked up at her mother.
“Go ahead, honey,” Ginny said.
Elle opened the large sack and saw two gift-wrapped boxes.
The noise was coming from one of them. She reached in and pulled the lid off.
A little black and white puppy looked up at her. He felt so fluffy and soft as she lifted him out of the box and cuddled him in her arms.
The doorbell rang again. Her mom went to answer it this time and came back with Wendy.
“Ooh, you have a new puppy for Christmas.” Wendy patted Santa on the back. “Nice job, fat guy!”
“Be nice or Santa might not bring you what you want for Christmas.” Santa held his belly and gave a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Mom, thank you so much.” Elle held the puppy close.
“You need to thank Santa Mike.” Ginny scratched the puppy’s ear.
Elle put the puppy down on the floor and ran over to give Mike a hug. “Oh, thank you, Mike! He’s exactly the dog I wanted.”
Puppies are hard work
“Just remember, there’s a lot of work involved,” Mike told her. “Your new puppy just ran out to the kitchen and piddled on the floor. Go get some paper towels and clean it up before someone steps in it.”
“I forgot something.” Wendy ran back outside. She returned, carrying a small blue dog crate. It contained a bright blue blanket with two squeaky toys. She placed it on the floor by the tree.
“You’ll need this to put the puppy in when you go to bed or when you leave the house. He’ll be much easier to house train if he’s in the crate part of the time. Puppies don’t go potty where they sleep.”
“Thank you so much, Wendy.” Elle watched as the puppy ran back into the living room and over to JJ. He licked the little boy’s face.
JJ giggled so hard he fell over sideways on the carpet. The puppy put his front paws on JJ’s chest, continuing to lick his face. JJ kept giggling and tried to roll away.
Do you remember puppy messes?
Elle hurried into the kitchen to clean up the mess before someone walked in it. She came back to the living room as her mom was picking JJ up.
“Oh look, Mom! The puppy has a black spot on his side that’s shaped like a heart.”
“That’s what makes him so special,” Mike said. “He has a big kind heart like you. You’re going to have to name him. Have you thought about it yet?”
Eunie Mae flew over and stood on Elle’s shoulder. “Mother Blue was there when Mike picked the puppy out. She suggested that you name him Cosmos to remind you that you are now part of two worlds.” (Eunie Mae is JJ’s assigned Fiorin. No one in the room except Elle and her Grandmother can see or hear Eunie Mae. She has wings like all Fiorins and is the size of a moth or butterfly in Earth’s Dimension)
“Yes, I have.” Elle smiled up at Mike. “We’ve been studying the universe in science. I think I want to name him Cosmos.”
Mike reached down to pet the little dog’s head. “That’s a perfect name.”
“He’s your responsibility,” her mother said. “You have to take him outside, and potty train him. You’re the one responsible for his food and water.”
Elle takes full responsibility
“I promise I’ll take good care of him.”
“There will be no excuses. Cosmos is dependent on you. You can’t forget that he needs a lot of love and attention. It isn’t easy raising a puppy.”
“I will. I have one question, though.”
“What’s that, honey?”
“It’s after supper on Christmas Eve; where are we going to find some dog food for the poor little guy?”
Mike started to laugh. Santa also let out a chuckle, and the laughing became contagious.
“It’s not funny, you guys. This puppy is going to be hungry by morning.”
They were all still giggling when Mike walked into the kitchen and came back with a sack of dog food and dog dishes. He handed them to Elle.
She shook her head in disbelief. “You guys could have told me.” Then she laughed with the rest of them, thinking how silly it was to wonder about shopping for dog chow on Christmas Eve.
“There’s one more present we haven’t opened yet.” Mike reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet box.
Find out how this ends: Amazon’s Page for Missing
Please use the comments below to enter the name of your favorite reindeer for a chance to win the drawing and share in the Christmas Kindness!
$25 Amazon Gift Card + Signed Copy of Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals
Signed Copy Missing