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As if a giant bearded guy in a red suit isn’t scary enough…

It’s here: that special time of year when otherwise loving parents—who would normally call the police if a paunchy, oddly-dressed old guy with a beard picked up their children and started offering them candy and presents—urge their kids to suck it up and smile at the Camera Elf, who already suckered them out of a $19.95 photo commemorating this special moment. Yes, it’s the official harbinger of the season: the traditional heartwarming picture of children screaming in panic on Santa’s lap.

Ho ho ho? [image credit hwdoin.com]

I remember the first time I attempted this yuletide assault. My daughter was almost a year old, and she had finally agreed to sit on Santa’s knee so she could get a closer look at the fluffy little balls of pompoms and jingle bells dangling invitingly from the end of his hat. She got a firm grip and began to pull.

Santa’s camera-toting Elf started to scream. “She’s pulling Santa’s little balls off!” Santa had to go feed his reindeer immediately.

As if that’s not scary enough, Christmas in Austria and nearby countries ramps up the terror in the form of Santa’s evil twin, the Krampus. When I chose the Krampus as the villain in my holiday-themed story, Don’t Touch, I had to explain to people about this monster and the traditions behind him. While a familiar St. Nicholas does make the rounds, in many Germanic traditions he’s accompanied by his dark twin, a terrifying beast called the Krampus whose job is to punish—and even take away—naughty children. With his curling horns, long red tongue, and tail, the Krampus is enough to chill any heart.

English: Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria. Newspaper-illustration from 1896 Deutsch: Besuch von Nikolaus und Krampus in der Stube, Zeitungsillustration aus dem Jahr 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria. Newspaper-illustration from 1896 Deutsch: Besuch von Nikolaus und Krampus in der Stube, Zeitungsillustration aus dem Jahr 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want a little warm-up before subjecting your kids to the big guy’s Ho-ho-ho-ing, or if you’re just looking for a quick holiday-themed read, you might want to try my Krampus tale, Don’t Touch, which one reviewer calls “vividly imaginative and full of humour, fun and excellent writing“.

Of course, you’ll never get a chance to see any of its dozens of reviews on Amazon, because when my publisher switched distributors recently, almost every review for the Null City series disappeared. Long phone calls with Amazon have ended each time with the assurance that they didn’t lose a thing because there never were any reviews. I finally got it. Amazon is The Krampus, and I’ve just been given a lump of coal, beaten with a switch, and tossed into a black hole of his review sack.

If you’re looking for a quick holiday read, please check out Don’t Touch.

[shameless plug for reviews: if you’d like a FREE review copy of Don’t Touch, please email barbtaub (at) gmail(dot)com.] Take that Amazon! 

With it’s little bit quirky main characters, sweet romance and christmas tie in it was the perfect book to curl up on a couch with and ignore the weather.—Jessie at BehindTheWillows.com

Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it.

Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between.

In hopes of a normal life, Lette joins the man she should love and the one she can’t help wanting as they fight a holiday monster who lives off the pain and terror of children. 

What did some of those wonderful reviewers say about Don’t Touch?

“Lette (short for Roulette) Simoneau has a rare superpower. Each day, she has a new ‘touch’, which means that on a particular day everything she touches (with fingertips only) will turn into whatever her superpower has decided it will be that day. It might be jack-in-a-box toys, or roast beef sandwiches, or okra (that one made me laugh), or (hurrah!) diamond rings, or all manner of other things, including smells, or levitation. There are some real laugh out loud moments; it’s very clever and witty, and completely off the wall.” Terry Tyler, best-selling author of 1books including the Project Renova series

“If you like Null City’s fast paced edgy romance cum chase scene, Don’t Touch is a different tempo with the same cool, different, and edgy characters.”Mary Rosenblum, author of over 60 sci-fi and writing craft books

“What a fabulous story! I really enjoyed this unique book, full of interesting characters and fascinating magic powers.” [5-Star review, Amazon]

“A strong, beautiful heroine (who doesn’t see herself as that) with a superpower that is both humourous and heart-breaking, an original story, handsome hero’s with their own tragic pasts, a hopeful but ultimately doomed romance and plenty of action…oh and there’s an evil cat, George, …what more could you want in a book!”Georgia Rose, author of the Grayson series

“You just know when you read something written by Barb Taub it’s going to be vividly imaginative and full of humour, fun and excellent writing. This intriguing and engaging story is no exception.” —Between the Lines Bookblog


I’m not saying The Krampus is coming to your house this year, but Amazon might show up. You might want to leave out a few extra cookies and write a book review or two. Just in case…