It's Christmas Eve and how better to celebrate than with Charlie Cochet and her new North Pole City Tales book, Loving Blitz? We have an interview, excerpt, and a giveaway! So, go get your hot cocoa and candy canes, snuggle by the fire, and enjoy.
Published: Dec, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
From North Pole City to Winter Wonderland, preparations are underway after a royal announcement sweeps everyone into a frenzy of festivity. At the heart of the celebration are the city’s most beloved elf pilots, the Rein Dears. Once the Big Flight is behind them, the pilots prepare for the royal event. Assigned a special task of finding an Elska rose, Cupid and Blitzen are unaware of how their friendship is about to change forever.
Yet not all that glitters is gold. The sweet, angelic Cupid hides a dark secret, one that threatens to destroy his Rein Dear status, his friends, and the elf who’s captured his heart. It’s up to Blitzen to help Cupid see the light in the darkness and show him that together they can mend broken hearts.
Here we go.
Blitz pulled on his flight gloves as he headed for the lineup. It was the same year after year, yet each time he saw his Rein Dear brothers lined up in a neat little row in front of their biplanes, he smiled. Especially when his gaze landed on his dear friend Cupid. As the only Rein Dear who was part winter faery, Cupid was the smallest of Mayor Kringle’s nine Rein Dears. He was also the fairest, with his wispy pale-blond locks falling over his brow and his fair skin. His cheeks were always rosy and his blue eyes sparkled bright. Blitz was captivated by the sweet and timid Cupid from the moment they met. He never expected them to become friends back then. He figured their differences would be too great, but he warmed to Cupid instantly.
Blitz took his position at the end of the line, though not before giving Cupid a wink when their eyes met. Should anything happen, Blitz was the last line of defense for his brethren. Rudy, as always, headed their squadron. Their captain waved at the cheering crowd, signaling their departure. The rest of them followed his lead, waving at the excited citizens of North Pole City who’d come to see them off. It was a grand event, especially since Jack Frost had attended to kiss his lover good-bye and ensure the Rein Dears clear skies, a new tradition for them all.
Everyone turned to their planes, their helpers running out to make their final checks. Blitz took the opportunity to pull Cupid behind his plane.
“And you,” Cupid replied sweetly. He threw his arms around Blitz and hugged him like he did every year before the Big Flight, and Blitz returned his hug, holding him close. Their embrace tended to last a little longer than a warm hug between friends, and Cupid did snuggle up close, but Blitz didn’t mind in the least. In fact, he secretly enjoyed it. Cupid had a way of drawing out Blitz’s affectionate nature the way few others could.
Reluctantly Blitz pulled away. He smiled at Cupid and gave him a nod before heading back to his plane and climbing in.
“Are you lovebirds done?” Dasher’s voice came through the dashboard of Blitz’s biplane as he closed the door behind him.
“Don’t you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk?” Blitz settled into his seat behind the yoke before he fastened his harness. He then checked his gauges, ignoring Dasher cackling through the speakers.
“I never get tired of hearing myself talk. I love myself too much.”
Blitz muttered a few choice words under his breath. Nothing the rest of his brethren needed to hear him speak out loud. Dasher simply laughed. The jackanapes.
No matter how many times he did this, the excitement never waned. He watched as one by one his Rein Dear brothers sped down the tarmac before the wheels of their colorful biplanes left the ground. Their planes ascended until soon it was Cupid’s turn. Blitz shouldn’t be nervous. Cupid was an expert pilot like the rest of them, yet until the pale-blue biplane with white ice fractals and swirling white foliage was safely in the air, Blitz wouldn’t be at ease.
As soon as Cupid was up in the night sky, Blitz relaxed. Donner came next. Soon Blitz was rolling down the tarmac. Moments later the earth disappeared beneath him and a few wispy clouds appeared outside his window. Thanks to Jack they had good flying weather. They might hit a small snowstorm along the way, but nothing they couldn’t handle. Jack made sure of it.
Many often wondered how they could circle the globe in one night. Most humans believed it was still Mayor Kringle who delivered Christmas. Blitz chuckled at the thought. Mayor Kringle hung up his reins centuries ago when his once-tiny workshop flourished and soon became a town, then a city. Now North Pole City was the largest city at the North Pole, with thousands of citizens, shops, schools, a government, law enforcement, businesses, factories, and everything one tended to find in a large city. Running North Pole City wasn’t all Mayor Kringle did. He was also part of the Enchanted Council of Magical Creatures.
The ECMC took up a great deal of Kringle’s time, and in a way, the council spawned the Rein Dears, special handpicked Christmas elves who would deliver Christmas on Mayor Kringle’s behalf. Blitzen had been a pilot for so long he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Being a Rein Dear was who he was, and he loved it.
Since the Rein Dears were connected to Mayor Kringle, they were able to draw magic from him, including the power to stretch time. What might appear like minutes to the humans were really hours for the Rein Dears, giving them ample time to spread Christmas cheer and deliver all the presents around the globe. Their biplanes contained every human’s coordinates and designated where a gift was to be released. Inside each biplane was an exact replica of Mayor Kringle’s magic bag. When a particular button flashed on his dashboard, Blitz would open the cargo door of his plane, and the designated gifts would zoom down undetected and appear in the right place when no one was looking. It was all very hush-hush.
I do love this series by Charlie. Every holiday season I know one is coming and I squeeee when I see it! I devoured this in one day! It’s the love story of Blitzen and Cupid. Cupid is an adorable fair haired elf. Full of happiness joy… and secrets! Blitzen is his best friend, protector, and the one who has Cupid’s heart. This is a fun, exciting, and jolly story. Terrific Christmas read!
When and how did you come up with the idea of North Pole City and making the reindeer (Rein Dear), for lack of a better word, people?
The idea for North Pole City came about when I was writing Mending Noel. I need to build the world Tim would be living in. I thought about all my favorite Christmas characters growing up—Santa, his helpers and reindeers, Jack Frost—and gave them all a new mythology. I thought, what if Santa’s reindeer weren’t magical animals, but elves? What if the world had gotten so big, so populated that Santa was forced to expand his operation, and out of it sprang a city, a Christmas themed city at the North Pole which he became the mayor of. So I ran with all these “what if” questions, giving life to my own version of Jack Frost, creating the Frost Monarchy. The Rein Dear became pilots, which meant they’d each have their own plane. The plane’s had to look historical because of the costumes I chose, so I went with colorful biplanes that were decorated to match each Rein Dear.
Since the Rein Dear delivered presents for Mayor Kringle, it would likely mean they were very important to the livelihood of this city. They became akin to celebrities. After all, they brought Christmas to the world. The Rein Dear flourished into the famous flyboys of North Pole City, loved by all. They do charity work, do PR, and work hard year round to prepare for the Big Flight.
I had to give each Rein Dear his own personality, one that matched his name. Rudy, as Captain of the Rein Dear Squadron, has bright red hair. He’s dashing, cheerful, and the most sensible. He’s their leader after all. And who better to steal the handsome Rein Dear’s heart than the imposing and blustering Prince of Frost. Who else could calm the brewing ice storm in Jack Frost than the sweet and kindhearted Rudy? Cupid is small, sweet, fair, and adorable. Blitzen is big and gruff. Dasher is dashing, forward, boisterous, and headstrong. Vixen is fiery and mischievous, sensual and flirty. Soon we’ll get to know Dancer, Prancer, Donner, and Comet.
Do you have a set amount of books for this series or are you sort of flying at the seat of your pants?
Since I never planned for this to be a series when I wrote the first book, I’ve sort been letting the characters and stories guide me. While I was writing Loving Blitz, two more stories developed, which would bring the series to six books. After that, I have no idea. I’m having fun writing this series and releasing one every holiday season, but at some point I’ll have to bring the series—or at least the initial Rein Dear stories—to an end.
Do we get to see characters from your other books in this series in Loving Blitz?
In Loving Blitz we pretty much get everyone. Although it can technically be read as a standalone, it’s much more fun if you’ve read the previous books. Jack Frost and Rudy play a significant role, since events in their lives is what sends Cupid and Blitz on their adventure, bring them together. Vixen and Vale show up, along with Vale’s twin brother Hollis, the rest of the Rein Dear Squadron, Mayor Kringle, and the King of Frost, plus two new elves we’re meeting for the first time.
Seeing all the festive holiday happiness in this series, do you have any holiday traditions that are your favorites?
I don’t know that I keep up with any one tradition in particular, but I love the festive feel of the holidays. I think when we get older there’s that danger of letting it slip away. When we’re kids it’s a magical time, and when we get older, it’s easy to get swept away in grown up stuff, how busy the end of the year gets, and we forget about that “magic”. So I always decorate for the holidays, no matter how busy I might be.
Of all the characters in this series that you’ve written, which character is more like you and how?
Hm, that’s a tough one. In the North Pole City Tales series, I’d have to say Cupid is more like me, but I’m not nearly as easily scandalized as he is. Cupid is cheerful and sweet, but he has a bit of a dark side to him. Nothing scary, but enough so he’s not completely sugary sweet or perfect. He’s far from perfect. He’s also curious and easily distracted by pretty shiny things. LOL.
Charlie will be gifting one person a $10.00 Amazon gift card! Simply enter the rafflecopter below.
Contest will run until December 30th! Winner will be contacted via email so please check your spam.
I want to thank Charlie for sharing Christmas Eve with us and to all of you I wish you a Happy Holiday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Love Charlie Cochet books <3 <3ReplyDelete
Confession time: I haven't started on this series yet (Charlie's THIRDS agents distracted me too much!). Pinky swear with gummy bears chewed in mouth, I'll get to book #1 pretty soon! ;-)ReplyDelete
Thank you for this lovely post.
Have a great Holidays Charlie, Meredith.
I haven't started this series yet, because I've pre-ordered Loving Blitz and I want to binge read the series. :D I don't really have a Christmas story (unless The Muppets Christmas Carol counts) because I generally love them all!ReplyDelete
Happy Christmas! and thanks for the giveaway!
i won an e copy of Loving Blitz. and even though i've read all the THIRDS books and some of Charlie's other stuff i never read this series. i still havent read the other books in this series but Loving Blitz was pleasantly sweet and made me really wanna know Dasher's story :) so my christmas story: we sent my cousin to pilfer cookies from the kitchen while we watched from the bedroom. the mission was a failuure as my dad caught my cuz and asked what he was doing? note my cuz has the biscuit tin in his hand now and he says: 'drinking water" lol. so of course we got no cookies. and we never sent my cuz on cookie caper missions every again!ReplyDelete
I enjoy reading Christmas stories so I always get the "Daily Dose" from Dreamspinner. Some of my favourites "Turkey in The Snow" by Amy Lane and also from MLR press "Something For Santa" by AKM Miles and of course your "North Pole City Tales"ReplyDelete
I have been reading more Christmas stories this year than ever before. This series sounds really good. I will be adding the series to my list of books to buy. I have really enjoyed If Only in My Dreams by Keira Andrews, Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher, and The Proof Is in the Pudding by Nic Starr.ReplyDelete
I really don't have a favorite but I do read The Christmas Throwaway each year. I love reading all the holiday stories!ReplyDelete
I love this series of course (esp Vixen's Valor). Where the Lovelight Gleams by Keira Andrews, Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, and Snow Globe by LE Franks are some other favorites.ReplyDelete
I really like Heidi Cullinan's Minnesota Christmas series.ReplyDelete