Monday, July 2, 2018

Book Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The 12 Terrors of Christmas by Claudette Melanson

The 12 Terrors of Christmas
Claudette Melanson

Horror Short Stories
Award-winning author Claudette Melanson offers eleven new and original stories to make your skin crawl at any time of the year. This horror anthology also includes an original short by Amazon International Best-Selling Author, Lynn Lamb, titled "Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine." A special bonus story is also included by Melanson, "Mislead," previously published only on the Halloweenpalooza blog. 

Grab a cup of cocoa and make sure the windows and doors are locked tight as you settle in by the fire to enjoy these tales of terror, but be warned...locks have never succeeded at keeping Santa from gaining entry. If you enjoy a slice of horror with your holiday cheer, this collection of Christmas horror shorts will satisfy all your dark cravings during the holidays...and beyond.

Terror One: 
Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?

Terror Two: 
It is said that every wish bears a cost...even a wish of good intent.
What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?

Terror Three: 
Christmas can be a time for great joy...but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?

Terror Four: 
Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn's home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster? 

Terror Five: 
As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa's yearly deliveries forever.

Terror Six:
 A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa's workshop and its inhabitants. The world's children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.

Terror Seven: 
A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem

Terror Eight: 
Santa's sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?

Terror Nine:
 Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he's kept hidden during all the months of their courtship...

Terror Ten:
 The world's population explosion means business is booming at Santa's workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.

Terror Eleven:
 A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura's extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn't quite play out the way the vampires planned?

Terror Twelve:
 It's a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa's existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?

Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?

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That night had marked the sixth day of December…and time seemed to fast-forward to the fourteenth. I’d framed the picture of my own child, beaming with joy while seated on Santa’s knee, but at that point, I didn’t know if the Tomlin’s would ever have theirs taken. The scarf had turned out to be a dead end—not a hair, stray fiber or scrap of DNA to be found on its surface—and I’d become more desperate to find the missing child with each passing day. The closest I’d come to tracking him down had been during the nightmare I’d had on the night of the thirteenth.

Inside my darkened dream-world, the lost scarf twisted past me in the wind, winding its way past my head to snake its way back into the branches of the tree where we’d found it. Only this time, the magnolia had been in full bloom, each buxom white blossom dripping crimson as if someone had upended the tree by the roots and dipped it in an impossibly-large vat of blood. And the blood had rained down in large, fat drops to land and pool on the ground as if the earth below refused to accept it. The pools had found their way into the network of rivulets carved into the surrounding parched soil so that the space upon which I stood became surrounded by a network of racing, intermingling mini-rivers of blood. Though they all separated before changing course and joining together again, each, eventually, found a common goal. The boy. Colden.

Even though he stood some distance away from me, I recognized his pale, frightened features, a sharply contrasted centerpiece within the dark frame of his hair like crow’s feathers—save for his matching eyes. The innocent set to his expression demanded justice, a justice I swore in that sleeping moment to deliver. Before my horrified eyes, the little rivers filled past capacity, allowing them to rise up and touch the boy. At first, the red fingers only sidled along his shoes, but it didn’t take long for their reach to extend, like circling vines, to stain his jeans and shirt and splash lines of scarlet across his nose and cheeks. The streams continued to run up and over the child, defying every known law of gravity, until he was soaked and dripping, appearing to have stepped from the frame of a horror movie.

I woke with a start that yanked Tristana from sleep as well. “What is it, Devlin? Nightmare?”

“The worst. I saw that missing kid… Doused in blood from head to toe.” I left out the part about the spoiled purity of the magnolia tree. It didn’t seem relevant in the whole scheme of things anyway, just some random creation from my psyche.

“You’re going to find him, Honey. Alive.” But even an optimist like Tristana uttered that last word without a hint of belief behind it.

“It’s been more than a week. You know the statistics…”

I’d wandered into an area of rocky terrain over which my wife would not follow. “I think I heard Mallory.” She rose and left our bedroom before another word could escape to pursue her.

I couldn’t blame her. I, too, deeply desired the luxury of focusing solely on buying Mallory’s Christmas presents, watching every canned Christmas special known to man while he snuggled into my chest and seeing his eyes light up as he sprinkled red and green sugar over freshly-baked gingerbread men and women. But I couldn’t be blessed with such good fortune. Because we weren’t the only family in the world. And because Mrs. Tomlin loved Colden just as much as we loved Mallory. Wished she could be sharing all the same special holiday memories with her son as we were lucky enough to share with ours. Because I had once been fortunate enough for a detective who cared enough, worked hard enough, to bring my sister home after a bad man had taken her, carried her away from her own birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese—I strove to repay that debt of gratitude every day. If men like me rested, all the stolen children would remain just that…stolen.

I had eleven days. Well, ten if I wanted Colden to sleep in his own bed on Christmas Eve. Even with a son of my own to consider, I couldn’t think of a single thing I wanted more.
Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

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  1. Thanks for hosting this great, fun tour and letting us find out about terrific books to read. Thanks also for the great giveaway.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting the 12 Terrors today <3