A Holiday Surprise!

As I write this, I’m snug in our little beach cottage on Tybee Island, Georgia. I have heat and electricity, cable, internet and access to all the necessities of life–including food and gas and Diet Coke and cheap Chardonnay. But many of the victims of Hurricane Sandy are without the comforts of home.

Which is where you and I come in. For weeks now I’ve been plotting a little holiday surprise–the E-publication of an original Christmas short story called Fatal Fruitcake, featuring my mystery series protagonist Callahan Garrity. Callahan, for those of you who don’t know, was the star of eight mysteries I wrote under my own name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In March, HarperCollins is going to re-issue all the Callahans as trade paperbacks by Mary Kay Andrews writing as KHT. So I thought it might be fun to give my MKA and KHT readers an advance taste of Callahan–and of some holiday shenanigans.You can buy it here for your Kindle. And you can currently buy it here for your other e-Readers, including iPad, Kobo and Nook.

Fatal Fruitcake is not a novella or a novel. It is a SHORT STORY. The story is 17 pages long, plus, at the end, I’ve included my own personal recipe for not so fatal fruitcake. Personally, I detest all those weirdly colored candied fruits that go in most fruitcakes, so I adapted my recipe to use dried fruits I like. I don’t specify that you wrap the cake in cheesecloth and drench it with likker for the weeks leading up to Christmas, although I suppose you could do that if you wish.

After Superstorm Sandy turned out to be such a nasty surprise to so many folks in the Northeast–including many of my dear publishing friends in New York and New Jersey, I got a new idea. In addition to making the book available for e-readers, I decided to do a small limited edition printing of Fatal Fruitcake. My talented friend Lauren Lee designed what I think is an adorable cover for the story. And I’ve lined up six retailers in Georgia who will be selling the 500 signed and numbered copies of the short story. My plan is to donate a dollar from the sale of every $9.95 copy of the story to the American Red Cross, to go towards disaster relief. And I’ll also donate a percentage of the sales of the electronic version of the story to the Red Cross.

I’ve also set aside the very first copy of Fatal Fruitcake, and it’s available now through Sat. Nov. 17 on eBay. The buyer will receive Fatal Fruitcake #1, along with some holiday surprises, including an autographed copy of my Christmas novella Blue Christmas..

Want your own limited edition, signed and numbered copy of Fatal Fruitcake? Contact these retailers to make arrangements. And please note that I will not be selling the copies myself–cause I’ve got a book to finish!

The Book Exchange, Marietta, Ga.

Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga.

Fox Tale Bookshop, Woodstock, GA.

G.J. Ford Bookshop, St. Simon’s Island, GA.

Omega Book Center, Peachtree City, GA.

Seaside Sisters, Tybee Island, Ga.

I hope you’ll want to help me help our neighbors who’ve been victims of this devastating storm. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I’ve lived through storm evacuations, and when I was a newspaper reporter, I witnessed and wrote about the destruction Hurricane Hugo wrought on Charleston and the low country of South Carolina. I’ll never forget the sight of all those downed trees and homes waist-high in muck, mud and water. In our own small way though, we can hopefully help speed hurricane relief efforts.

Thanks, y’all…and happy holidays!