A Darker Holiday Tradition with Dianne Hartsock – Post + Giveaway

December 18, 2015

A Darker Holiday Tradition

Hello! I’m Dianne Hartsock, one of the new authors here at Dreamspinner Press. I’m so excited to say my novel, NICOLAS, releases today. Yay! Just in time for Christmas, though I can’t promise this is your traditional Christmas story.

Christmas, two years ago, we were sitting around the tree talking idly while waiting for dinner to be ready, when my cousin’s husband made a comment about Krampus taking all the gifts away before we got a chance to open them. Krampus? What was he talking about?

His family is Dutch, and he told us a very condensed version of the legend of St. Nicolas and the Krampus, the dark goblin that follows Santa around, punishing the naughty children while St. Nicolas leaves the gifts. I needed to know more! I’d never heard of the Krampus before and was intrigued.

So, I do what I always do, and headed to Google for answers. First, I read everything I could on the Krampus. What a creepy little troll! He leaves coal for the naughty children, switching them if they’ve been very bad. And for the very worst, he simply snatches them up and takes them to his home in Italy, never to be heard from again. Yikes!

St. Nicolas, on the other hand, is everything good, spreading the word of peace and goodwill. He was a man born in the third century in a small town in Greece, who used his family’s wealth to help the poor in his community. After his death, it is said he raised three children from the dead after they’d been murdered by a butcher during a famine.

Aha! There was my story. I took this good man, the one behind our modern Santa Claus, and paired him with this terrible creature who wants to do nothing more than destroy all the good Nicolas does in the world. The death and resurrection of those children brought them together, and now Nico can’t be rid of the monster.

What would it be like to be chased through the centuries by a terrible presence, never allowed to form meaningful friendships, your lovers torn away or seduced from your arms? Yes, I said seduced. I write romances, after all! It took me about three seconds to decide that the Krampus could take the form of a beautiful, sensual man when he chooses.

And Nico needed a love interest, someone sweet and lovely who would believe in him no matter how preposterous his story sounded. I gave him Jamie, a sensitive artist with a core of steel under the gentleness.

NICOLAS is a contemporary romance wrapped up in the old legends of St. Nicolas and the Krampus with just a taste of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale thrown in. Just the thing for the holidays!

For a chance to win an e-book copy of NICOLAS, in a comment below, please tell me what your favorite holiday story is, whether it’s a childhood book or one you read now, or even a movie you watch every year.

Merry Christmas!

You can find me here:





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14 Responses to “A Darker Holiday Tradition with Dianne Hartsock – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Milica says:

    Home Alone…for me it never gets old.

    Congrats on your release! It sounds great!

  2. Kylia says:

    I’m not sure if I gave a specific favorite holiday story. I do tend to pull out all of Astrid Amara’s Hanukkah books, but I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I’m pagan myself, but I haven’t found Winter Solstice story that’s really stuck with me.

  3. That is a good one, Milica! Thanks for stopping in. :)

  4. Helen says:

    I took my daughter to the US one year to experience a white
    Christmas and we learned how to properly make a snowman (who knew you needed a university degree in these things???). We had been happily piling up the snow and trying to shape it when my friend’s husband came outside and taught us that you start with a snowball and roll it so that it gets bigger, we thought that only happened in cartoons. Anyway, we had so much fun rolling the different sized balls and stacking them up to make our first (and only) snowman. We called him George!

  5. Trix says:

    Lately, for some reason, I remember the Fraggles appearing on an old Muppet Christmas special. They had one gift every year: a pebble, which was given to the person the Fraggles found most deserving. Then, that person would give the pebble to someone the next year. I remember at the end of the show, they gave the pebble to Grover (always a worthy choice, if you ask me). It was pretty aww-inducing!

  6. Helen, what a terrific memory! Thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for stopping in. :)

  7. The Fraggles and Muppets were so much fun to watch! Thanks Tris for making me smile and I’m glad you made it by.

  8. Kylia says:

    I don’t really have a specific favorite holiday story, though I do tend to drag out Astrid Amara’s Hanukkah book’s around the holidays. I don’t think I have a particular favorite. I myself am pagan, but I haven’t found a Winter Solstice story that really stuck with me.

  9. DeQuan says:

    My absolute favorite Christmas story has got to be How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I love the story, and Jim Carrey as the Grinch in the movie still makes me laugh all these years later. Watching the movie now with my younger family members brings back so many happy memories. Congrats on the book : )

  10. Kylia, I do like the idea of a winter solstice story. It could be intriguing… Thanks for stopping in!

  11. Thanks DeQuan! Yeah, Jim Carey makes the perfect Grinch. Crazy. Glad you came by. :)

  12. Morgan says:

    This book sounds too good to pass up. I am always interested to see where authors get there ideas. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  13. Thank you Morgan! Have a terrific holiday. :)

  14. Kylia is my winner by Random.org. Congrats! And thanks everyone for stopping in. Happy Holidays!

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