Short Tie-in and Giveaway for Gnomaggedon

Gnomaggedon is here! Hooray!


When I first began to write Gnomaggedon, it had a very different prologue. After the novel was done, I felt it needed a more form fitting beginning and end, so I changed the prologue to the existing one.  But I never forgot the original. As a treat, I give you the original prologue, in all of its gnomish glory. (story posted after prize widget)

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Bad News Bearers 
In which Piddles and Diddles brings the Gnomish court some fairly bad news.

Piddles and Diddles Littlebottom hustled their family's trademark attribute through the royal gates, across the royal garden, down the royal hallway, right into the royal throne room. King Harry the First, Lord of all Gnomes and Master of all he surveyed--which was quite a lot, considering he was just over a foot tall--stood from his seated position on the royal throne and thundered in a very impressive royal voice at the two interlopers.

"Interlopers!" he thundered.

"Your highness!" Piddles cried as he dropped to one knee.

Diddles was already on his knees. Being a gnome of some girth, he had trouble managing the single knee action, so he usually opted for both knees, claiming it was more reverent that way.

"Oh go highness yourself," King Harry said. "How dare you storm in here uninvited and unannounced like that. It's just rude."

"King Harry," Piddles gasped, because he was quite out of breath. Running for almost two days straight carrying an important message that could change all of the Gnomic race for always will do that to a gnome. "We bring dire news from west of the-"

But King Harry would give no quarter on his position. "Who do you think you are? King? Bloody well not, because I'm king, laddies. I'm the king here." King Harry waved his hands about, to illustrate the difference between the three of them. "You're just ... not kings."

"You must listen to us," Diddles said. "Our new is of utmost-"

"I must what?" King Harry lifted his skirts, or rather his royal robes, and trotted down the few steps that separated him from the common commoners. "Listen here you pointy hatted git, I was in the middle of telling a perfectly good joke and you to twats ruined it for me. Ruined it! Forever and always! How dare you ruin my joke. I was just about to deliver the punch line."

"And it was bound to be a delightful punch line I'm sure," said Mrs. King Harry from her royal but much more feminine throne. Though we should probably call her Queen Lucetta. Because that's her name, don't you know?

"It was," King Harry said as he looked back upon the smiling face of his Queen with a gentle, loving smile. "It was a delightful punch line. You were going to laugh so hard, and I was going to smile at you laughing, because you know how much I love to hear you laugh, my little peach-"

Unable to contain himself any longer, Piddles leapt to his feet and shouted, "Shut up!" Piddles then covered his mouth, but it was too late, the words were out there, hanging in mid air between him and the King.

The now very angry King. "Did you just tell me to shut up?"

Piddles nodded. He tried to shake his head, tried to lie, but every ounce of royal messenger training in him forbade him from lying to his liege.

"I thought as much," King Harry said. He hooked his thumb to two burly gnomes that stood on either side of the royal thrones.

Each was roughly the size of a miniature gorilla.

"Do you see these gnomes behind me?" King Harry asked. "Do you know what they do for a living?"

"Please sire," Diddles said. "We have something of grave importance to tell you."

"Guards!" King Harry yelled. "Seize them!"

"Sire! You must hear us out!"

King Harry turned his back on the warning and tiptoed up his royal stairs. "Nope. I don't want to hear another word from either of you."

"Please, your highness!" Piddles cried as the guards dragged the pair of brothers away. "You have to ready the army! They are on their way! We must prepare before it it’s too late! They're coming! If we don't act now it will be far too-" Piddles's voice echoed off into the hallway, then came to an abrupt stop when the heavy doors slammed right in mid warning.

"Now," King Harry said to his Queen. "Where was I?"

"You were about to say the punch line," Queen Lucetta said.

"Oh yes. What was it again?"

Queen Lucetta, Flower of the Eastern lands and doting mother to the whole kingdom, sat ramrod straight and recited, "If I had a vagina, all of this would be mine."

King Harry frowned. "Oh, poo. You've heard it already."

Now, it might've been of interest to a anyone listening just what sort of message the Littlebottom brothers were trying to convey. It should have been of interest to King Harry the First, Lord of all Gnomes and Master of all he surveyed. It was not of interest to Queen Lucetta, but only because the news was so terrible, and she hated terrible news. It was certainly of great interest to their subjects, both gnome and non-gnome alike, all across the kingdom. Even the rest of Malgaria not under gnome reign would've liked to have known.

Because the zombies were coming.

And it was going to take a hell of a lot more than a well timed punch line to stop the undead menace.