The Time, the Place, and the Story by Gayle Bartos-Pool
There are a lot of holiday books out there… and movies. I happen to collect Santas. 3500 and counting to be exact. I knew someday I would write a Christmas story, but what about?
I didn’t want to write a children’s story with twenty pages and big drawings. I wanted one that grownups would like. And not a retelling of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life. I like them just the way they are.
I was walking through the mall just as the stores had finished decking themselves out in tinsel and holly several years ago. I heard someone singing. He was using a microphone. He was also wearing a red suit. The guy had a great voice. A singer in a Santa Claus suit. An idea exploded in my head as I stood there listening to him.
I don’t live in Las Vegas, but what better place to locate my guy. Johnny Madison obviously isn’t a big-time singer, so I put him in an out of the way dive off the strip. He loses his job, but his agent who runs an employment agency, not a talent agency, gets him a gig singing Sinatra songs in another dive. It doesn’t go well. Then he gets hit by a taxi. But the driver is going to play an important part in his life.
Then his agent calls. The only job left in town is at the mall. What kind of singing gig is there in a mall? And he has to wear this suit… a red suit… a Santa Claus suit, but he can sing if he wants. And he does.
Johnny gets noticed by the female clerks in nearby shops and they like his voice. So does a young girl in a wheelchair. She loves Santa. And her father is a BIG TALENT AGENT.
Johnny finally gets another chance to sing, but this time it isn’t what he expects… it’s worse. And there is another problem. He makes a promise to the young girl as Santa. He makes another promise to the big talent agent as a singer. But this is his big chance. Maybe his last chance. What does a guy do on Christmas Eve?
A former private detective and once a reporter for a small weekly newspaper, Gayle Bartos-Pool writes two detective series: the Gin Caulfield P.I. series (Media Justice, Hedge Bet & Damning Evidence) and The Johnny Casino Casebook Series. She also penned a series of spy novels, The SPYGAME Trilogy: The Odd Man, Dry Bones, and Star Power. She has a collection of short stories in From Light To DARK, as well as novels: Eddie Buick’s Last Case, Enchanted: The Ring, The Rose, and The Rapier, The Santa Claus Singer, and a delightful holiday story, Bearnard’s Christmas.
She is the former Speakers Bureau Director for Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and also a member of Mystery Writers of America and The Woman’s Club of Hollywood. She teaches writing classes: “Anatomy of a Short Story,” “How To Write Convincing Dialogue” and “Writing a Killer Opening Line” in sunny Southern California.
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