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Q&A Behind “The Saint Who Stole Christmas”

Santa in Handcuffs

Phil Sanderson takes some time to answer some of the questions you may have about his first-ever Christmas story, The Saint Who Stole Christmas!

Q:  Why would I want to buy The Saint Who Stole Christmas after hearing that you were bitter when you wrote it?

A:  Despite being bitter during my separation from my wife, I still managed to focus on the joy of Christmas, which helped to keep me mentally healthy during this emotionally stressful time in both our lives.  I also attempted to channel humor into s bitterness creating a more realistic look at the Santa legend while making fun of it at the same time.  Great efforts were made to utilize descriptions that will warm a reader’s soul creating a comfort during whatever Christmas the reader will decide to read it.

Q:  Did you model the characters after anyone in particular?

A:  No.  But the irony of the story is that I worked with a fellow named Robert Moorer at the Veteran Affairs Hospital shortly after I finished the story on my blog.  Robert reminded me — in a strictly humorous way, not serious way — of the story’s main character. Officer John, a policeman who suspected a complainant of being racist at the beginning of the story, and Robert would actually get along quite well, buying each other’s rounds of Rum and Eggnog during a fine Christmas Party in the story’s New York City setting while making humorous conversation.  LOL  Coincidentally, Robert also assisted me with the cover of the book.  The majority of the cover image is credited to him as photographer.  The only part that isn’t are the hands, which I had to super impose from another image due to failure to obtain handcuffs.

Q:  Santa Claus is one of the characters in your story.  Do you believe in Santa Claus?

A:  Absolutely!  I do not believe in him as an actual physical person.  But I do believe in him as a spiritual embodiment that exists in the hearts of all who are willing to believe and have fun in doing so.  He exists simply because parents take the time and trouble to help their children believe in him:  wrapping gifts and tagging them in his name, sneaking gifts under the tree while they sleep, eating cookies and drinking milk that were left out by the children for Santa to enjoy, etc.  As long as parents continue to act as Santa for their kids, then he will continue to exist…at least as far as I am concerned.  😉  At the very least, parents sharing my mindset can HONESTLY answer their kids that the Good Saint DOES indeed exist and is very real.

Q:  What is the concept of The Saint Who Stole Christmas in a nutshell?

A:  The hard economy hits Santa’s North Pole like a brick through plate-glass!  Santa now has to find a new way to provide Christmas to millions of believers the world over.  With a limited means to accomplish this historical objective, he is forced to lay off elves and reindeer alike.  He also decides to visit the boys and girls on his “naughty” list and STEAL their toys from their homes in order to deliver them to the homes of those on the “nice” list.  Two police officers at the beginning of the story are trying to catch whatever burglars are committing these various crimes, and the whole experience requires them to examine their deepest beliefs in Santa and Christmas.

Q:  What do you hope the reader will take away from this story?

A:  I hope the reader will realize that it pays off to be good and productive not only at work, but also in how we treat others.  I hope they will feel the spirit of Christmas as they move from one page to the next.  Lastly, I hope they will not lose fact that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa.  I make this point boldly in my introduction.  Some may call me a hypocrite because of the boldness displayed in the “Off-Color” edition of the story.  But I never claimed to be a perfect Christian.  And anyone who judges me that claims to be is not any better.

Q:  When does the story take place?

A:  It takes place during the modern world where many people are still jobless with gloomy outlooks.  My goal in writing the story is to take it from a funny sort of doom and gloom prospect and to weave it into a very positive and happily ended story.

Q:  The book is available in two editions:  The Off-Color Edition and the Children’s Edition.  What are the key differences between both?

A:  I started off writing the Off-Color edition.  And then I decided to tone it down so that children could enjoy it.  I wanted a children’s edition primarily because I feel that Christmas — as depicted in the tone of this particular story — is FOR children.  So when I went to work editing my original work, my key goal was to eliminate any and all cuss words and sexual references.  Right now, the only even remotely questionable content is the fact that there is a slight racial misunderstanding at the beginning of the story that — I personally feel — will not affect children in any sort of negative way due to how it is portrayed in the story…in more of a comical way.

Q:  Why is this book only available exclusive to Amazon?

A:  I wanted to try out Amazon’s KDP Select publishing program which allows me to keep more of my royalty money.  So far, I am quite pleased with it.  I only wish for readers to know that they can still read the book due to the free apps that Amazon offers for their Kindle reading program.  I, myself, own a Nook.  But I have added the app so that I can read Amazon books on my Nook.

Q:  When is the best time to purchase this book?

A:  Definitely during the Christmas season!  Right now, you can get the book for only $1.99 until the end of Black Friday on Amazon.  Right now, the Daily Countdown Deal allows you to save nearly 40 percent off the cost of my book as it normally costs $2.99.  I am deciding whether or not to offer a deal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But it will depend on how this current promotion goes.  I’ve invested advertising dollars on Facebook.  And it is looking as though the investment may very well have been worth it.

Q:  How can readers purchase your story?

A:  On Amazon at the following links:  Off-Color Edition or Children’s Edition

Q:  Anything you else you want to convey to your book and blog readers?

A:  Yes.  I wish all of you the very best in your holidays.  And I hope that you will consider allowing my book into your digital library so that you may possibly enjoy the spirit of Christmas that much more.  Being a short story, it is a quick and fulfilling read according to others to whom I’ve read the story.  God bless all of you and keep you safe this wonderful season.

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“The Saint Who Stole Christmas” — Only $1.99 for a Limited Time

Christmas Teaser

Save almost 40% on “The Saint Who Stole Christmas” now through Black Friday! Get either the Off-Color or Children’s Edition for only $1.99 before the price goes back up! For more information: http://ow.ly/i/7GtDT

Amazon’s Black Friday Deal on “The Saint Who Stole Christmas”!

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Phil Sanderson is pleased to announce his Black Friday deal on Amazon, taking place from midnight Saturday Nov. 22, 2014 to midnight Saturday Nov. 29, 2014!  For this one week only, running through Black Friday, you will be able to purchase The Saint Who Stole Christmas in e-book format for only $1.99!  That is a savings of almost 35%!

This short story brings the story of Santa Claus into the modern world where Santa is faced with having to cut some financial corners in order to pull off Christmas for nice and naughty children alike.  The story is both witty and humorous and possesses enough substance to be remembered with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and May’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Most importantly, the story contains enough seasonal imagery to reignite the spirit of Christmas in even the Scroogiest reader!

The story comes in two editions, which easily covers entertainment for all family members!  The Off-Color Edition has slightly rude, crude, and suggestive humor; while the Children’s Edition is perfectly suitable for those wanting to stay on Santa’s “nice” list.  The e-book is only available on Amazon and normally retails for $2.99.

For more information on these stories, please click on the links in the previous paragraph.  For more information on Phil Sanderson and his literary works, please visit his Official Website.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!

2018 = 99 Cents!

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What better way to celebrate independence than to read about the winning of freedom over tyranny?  Starting Memorial Day and running through the Fourth of July, you can purchase Phil Sanderson’s 2018: An Uncivil War on e-book for only 99 cents!  Depending on the success of this promotion, 99 cents could become the new permanent price.  The author has started this promotion on Memorial Day in order to honor all the fallen patriots of our great nation here in America.  He’s thinking about ending it on Independence Day in celebration of our hard-won American freedom.

 So if you have not yet added this book to your digital library, now is the perfect time to do so.  This book, published by Phil Sanderson the author himself, doesn’t get any cheaper than this.  In order to get the discount, please be careful to distinguish between the e-book published by AuthorHouse, and the one published by Phil Sanderson.  The aforementioned book costs $3.99, whereas the latter one is the one covered by this promotion.  You can follow the links on this page to get directly to the promotion:  http://www.philsanderson.net/novels

Happy reading, thriller fans and action lovers, the world over!  And God bless America and the people who fought and continue to fight in order to keep her free!

Please read what readers have said about 2018: An Uncivil War:  

I love mysteries and this book filled that criteria, but it also had a lot more in the book that would attract other readers also.  It is not just about war.  This book kept me glued to it from the moment I picked it up until the moment I finished it.  Surprisingly I have found a new author to add to my favorites.  I have told all my book reading friends they need to get a copy and I am now telling you that you need to check it out.  Please if you are not sure whether you will like it or not, try it.  You won’t go wrong.  You get involved in the characters’ lives from the start, and you can’t help but want to help them all the way through!  — Pamela L. Bradshaw

It appears as though the author lived these events…so real, so true, hard to put down…enjoyable / easy read — Anna

I found Mr. Sanderson’s book very interesting, and it seems to be true of what is happening today.  The threat of the government taking our guns and the repercussions from this seem to be playing out in today’s world.  I found his characters interesting, and I could relate to them.  I did get a little lost during the discussion of gov’t and the gov’t officials.  But overall I found it interesting, and the fact that it was broken into 3 sections gave a time to prepare for what was coming next.  I hope Mr. Sanderson has not seen into the future and written out our fate to come. — S.Z. Smith

What a great book.  I haven’t finished reading, but had to jump on here and give my review.  With over 400 to 500 pages, 2018: An Uncivil War, is worth the price.  Phil Sanderson’s writing is remarkable, and yet fearful.  Understanding what could happen is very frightening.  The nation collapses into chaos, and government is divided.  As a reader you are also divided, who’s right?  What side will you take?  The people?  The government?  Phil brings out points that will make you think about events of today that may effect tomorrow.  — Mike Jones

 

The Busy-ness of Writing!

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Since I was a teenager, I’ve always DREAMED of being a writer.  Little did I know just how much work was involved.  I thought to myself, after becoming a journalist:  “Certainly being a book writer can’t be much busier than this.”  Man, was I wrong!

Shortly after I got out of the Marines, I researched what it took to become an author of fiction books.  I found out that it involved sending hundreds, if not thousands, of query letters to publishers and agents in order to either secure a book deal, or at least representation for such.  But those were the old days.  

Then came the dawn of self-publishing!  

I suddenly realized it was a brave new world for anyone who wanted to make their dream come true.  Unlike regular tradition, anyone who possessed enough money for the investment could pay to have their book made into reality.  There were no letters to send out.  No one you had to impress.  

The good thing about this was obvious.  Talented writers, who had previously not received a fair opportunity, and who had a great story to tell, could now get it out there and share it with the reading public.  Unfortunately, the downside of this was that some people who had no business writing a book would put — what many avid readers would consider — complete garbage on the market.  And then you had everything in between.  Thus, readers found themselves becoming much more selective and careful when making their purchases; and they found themselves publicly sharing their opinions (via the internet mostly) freely and liberally with any who would listen.

Just when it seemed that the writing revolution had played its last card, then came the ebook revolution.  Now anyone could suddenly write a book for free!  And the same thing as above happened once again, only this time in a new electronic format.

The main thing that all of these methods of publishing have in common is the writing itself.  And, if you do this correctly, this will keep you super busy in the very beginning.  Effective writers conduct research and schedule and keep interviews with key people who can give them helpful information for the books they write.  So here you have only three vastly time consuming duties in the single duty of writing.

As for the various ways of becoming published, there are advantages and disadvantages to each avenue.  I’ve never traditionally published myself, but I’ve heard that, the advantages in this classic way of publishing far outweigh the disadvantages.   For example, most traditional publishers will pay you up front to begin writing your book.  With the investment being made on the front end, the publishers make their money as your books begin and continue to sell on the market.  If they end up receiving a return on investment, then you can almost bet they will offer you another book deal.  If not, then there is always flipping burgers or dancing topless (or maybe both simultaneously…though I would not much recommend this!).  

As for the disadvantages of traditional publishing, many stories abound about how writers suggested a certain look to their cover and were totally blown off by the production team.  It is sad there is little creative control unless it is somehow written into the contract beforehand.  

As for self-publishing, it is about totally flipped upside down as compared to traditional publishing.  No one produces your book until you pay them.  Usually they will give you a lot of leeway in creativity.  Because of the usual steep investment required in self-publishing, most companies give you a lot of creative controls for your money.  

When it comes to ebook publishing, it is basically the best of both worlds, but without the final proud moment of holding a physical book in your hand.  You have complete creative control over everything.  And it costs basically nothing other than time (unless you pay someone to design your book cover) to produce your book and publish it to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and various other publishers / booksellers out there.  

The biggest thing I have discovered about both self-publishing and ebook publishing is that in the end, writing the book seemed to be the easiest aspect of the process.  The hardest part, that which I never bargained for, lay in the marketing required for making any sort of profit.  I’m totally new to the process, but I am becoming very savvy very quickly as I post constant updates on Facebook, Twitter, and other various social media websites out there.  With traditional publishing, this is one headache that many writers are thankful to avoid.  And for this, I am very jealous of them.  

Many of you probably ask:  Was it all worth it in the end?  I cannot honestly answer this, because I haven’t yet reached the end…whatever the end happens to be.  Hell, maybe I end up doing an imitation of the King of Rock and Roll and end up dying on the toilet — not exactly the end I’m wanting, but okay.  Or maybe I become the next best thing to Tom Clancy.  Now, there we go!

What I can surely tell you is that quite a bit goes into writing a book, no matter how you do it…especially if you want to make any kind of money for doing so.