Sunday, December 16, 2012



How do vampires celebrate Christmas? Why, they make Christmas Spiders for the Christmas tree with loved ones, of course.

As this was something not slated to be shared with readers of the Promise Me series until next year, I’m sure it comes as a surprise to some. For your reading pleasure, here is a Christmas snippet of Taken in the Night, which will publish late January 2012.

A year before, I’d put up the tree with the werefoxes by day. This year, I, Elle and Danial put it up at night. As we three decorated the tree, I told Elle and Danial the story behind each ornament. The one I’d made in first grade from some poster paint, and sparkles for my mother. The glass birds with hair for tails my mother had ordered for me when I’d been small. The ceramic ones I’d painted through the years: unicorns, birds, dragons, Pegasus, and cats. And, as my tradition, we made Christmas spiders.

     They both thought I’d gone crazy when I’d brought out glue, pompoms, pipe cleaners and sparkly string.

     “Spiders, mom?” Elle said skeptically. The look in Danial’s eyes mirrored hers.

     “There’s a story behind it,” I said, pulling Elle into my lap, as Danial sat down beside me. “A long time ago, in a little village, there was a poor family who couldn’t afford to celebrate Christmas. They cut down a tree from the forest, but they had no money for presents, and certainly no money for decorations. They brought home the tree, and put it in their home, but it made them sad, as the branches were bare. They went to bed that night sad.”

     “But there were spiders in the house who heard, and who felt sorry for the people whose home they lived in. And they decided to do what they could to help.” I had Elle’s attention now, and Danial’s. “The spiders crept to the tree when the family was asleep, and spun webs over it. They sparkled as only spider silk can sparkle. It was all the spiders had to give.”

     “Then God looked down, and saw what the spiders had tried to do, and he was moved, that such small creatures had spent the whole night working, just to ease the sadness of one poor family. God turned the spider webs to gold. In the morning, the family came down to see the most beautiful tree anyone had ever seen before.”

     I had been working with my hands as I talked, and had fashioned a black spider from pipe cleaners and a black pompom, and a golden spider web from gold pipe cleaners and golden wire. Bending the spider’s legs to attach him to the web, I handed him to Elle. She took it, enthralled.

     I wiped away a tear with the back of my hand discreetly. I was a sucker for happy endings.

     Danial hugged me. “I enjoyed that,” he said, clearly moved. “Show us how you made it.”

     Together, we each made a spider, and hung it on the tree.

This is a Christmas tradition in my family, and my Christmas tree I’ll set up will have my spiders on their webs to grace the top branches. The story is retelling of The Legend of the Christmas Spider that I learned in gradeshool from my mother, who taught it to her class and made spiders with them. For a couple more “official” variations on this classic tale, see this website:

For instructions on how to make your own spider, visit the following site, and substitute additional pipecleaners for the chopsticks they specify:

Need help or want pointers? Shoot me an email (under links below)!

            Blurb from Shadow Man:

A renegade vampire begins amassing a flock of true believers, threatening America’s vampire hierarchy. Weresnake Lash partners with old enemy Danial and new allies Burl and Spiderboy to track down and annihilate them. Betrayed and left for dead, Lash reemerges the victor, edging ever upward in the Assassin’s Ranking, and catching the eye of the sultry nightclub singer Cassandra Nile. Drawn into drugs by Cassie, Lash begins to doubt himself, yearning to leave his life of violence, even as enemies close in from every side.

Excerpt from Shadow Man:

            “What’s that smoke?” Spiderboy asked, changing back as he pulled on his clothes as fast as he could. “Something’s burning, and it’s huge!”
            My gut clenched like a fist, and I hit the accelerator, swearing to myself.             
            I drove up to the small town outside Lafayette at dusk. It was smoking, and the grocery store and the diner were partly burned. There was no one in their homes, and no pets to be seen. The old man I’d spoken to years ago was gone, his house empty, the lights on. But something made me curious. By the breakfast plates set out in the kitchen, it was clear that he’d been fixing breakfast this very morning. So how had the vampires come for him in daylight?
            We checked the other houses, our guns out and ready. Everyone was gone, though some, by the blood and mess left in the houses, had not gone willingly. By the time we were done, it was full dark.
            When we went to the church, we found that it was burned too, to the ground. Standing in the still-smoldering ashes was a three-foot-tall pole, the top covered with a black bag. Spiderboy’s eyes were very wide as he stood, staring, but I just walked up to the pole, and gently took the bag off. As soon as I did, Spiderboy threw up behind me, making mewling sounds.
            Stuck on the end of the pole was Jeanna’s head, her mouth lolling open to reveal a tongue that had been split by a knife so it was forked. Her fangs had been pulled out, and her eyes burnt to cinders. The word ‘traitor’ had been deeply burned into the flesh of her forehead.
            I stood for a moment, considering the message. The forked tongue meant Eli knew I was spying on him, or that I’d been working with her. The brand of ‘traitor’ and the pulled fangs meant he knew it was Jacob behind this, that Jeanna hadn’t been working just with me. She’d been covered to ensure that the sun wouldn’t be able to erase what she’d suffered before I got a chance to see it.
            I didn’t know who’d killed her or tortured her, but someone had come for the humans here in the day, to take them. And there was only one group I knew of that worked for Eli who could walk in daylight: the members of the werecreature church.

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Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you so much for having me at Fangtastic Books, Roxanne :) A Merry Christmas to you and your readers!

ALSO, for you vampire fans who bake...there is a set of Wilton cookie cutters with a bat, a coffin, and a pair of fangs! Google Wilton 3-Piece Vampire Metal Cookie Cutter Set, and you should get lots of hits. I just got mine, and this year's gingerbread and sugar cookies are going to be FANGTASTIC! :)

kimberly holgate said...

a lizard one of those gecos that can change color or one of the ones that are blue and red i dont know there cute the colorful frogs are nice also
kaholgate at ymail dot com