The Day I Killed Santa Claus

I don’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus, though I know I must have. There’s an old 8mm tape somewhere that shows a four-year-old me sitting on my Grampa’s lap and grilling him about Santa. “How does he get down the chimney? What if you don’t have a chimney?” Even at that young age I was skeptical.

My daughter, however, believed everything I ever told her. So when Emma was in third grade and some of the other kids found out she still believed in Santa Claus, they made fun of her and she was very upset. So upset, in fact, that she hit a little boy who called her stupid for still believing.

I had to go to the school and pick her up. She was in tears. She cried, “He said there was no Santa Claus, Mom. He said I was a baby for believing it. He said you’d lied to me. He said it was you who put the presents under the tree. He said you ate the cookies and milk I left out for Santa.”

Oh boy, I thought. Here it comes. I didn’t have a choice. I was going to have to kill Santa Claus.

When we got home, I sat Emma down for a serious talk. “There is no Santa, honey. Not really. The spirit of Santa is there. But there’s not really a man dressed in red with a white beard and –“

“You lied to me?” Emma interrupted.

“Well, it’s more like a white lie. It’s for fun. And it’s not really a lie because –“
But Emma didn’t let me finish. “I hate you!” she yelled as she ran for her room and slammed the door behind her.


I was stricken. I didn’t know what to do. After a bit, Emma came out of her room. She stood before me with her little arms crossed defiantly over her chest. “What about the Easter bunny?” she asked. “Is he a lie, too?”

I nodded. She ran back to her room. The door slammed again.

Later, Emma came out and squinted at me. “How about the Tooth Fairy?”

“Made up,” I answered.

She ran. Slammed the door.

A little later, she peeked out her door at me. “Jack Frost?”

“No,” I answered.

“The Sandman?”


The door slammed shut.

Well, that’s it, I thought. All the childhood characters were now officially dead and gone. She would be mad for a little while then she’d forget and that would be that.

But it wasn’t over. The door opened. Emma peeked her head out. “What about Jesus? Is that all a lie, too?”

Oh boy…


A new romantic comedy by the duo of Saxon Bennett and Layce Gardner.

Available at Amazon in ebook and paperback.


The Beautiful Beaded Belt

Have you ever wanted something so bad that every waking moment was consumed by it? You even dreamed about it? That happened to me when I was nine-years-old. I fell in love with a beaded belt. This was no ordinary beaded belt. It was the be-all, end-all of beaded belts. I simply could not go on living without this fabulous, groovy belt.

You see, every summer my Grandparents would load up their Winnebago and take me camping with them in the Colorado mountains. They would find a nice secluded campground and we would stay there nestled in the mountains for three months.

I took ice cold baths in the creek, picked gooseberries, dug for night crawlers, hiked in the mountains and read lots of books. Even as a child I was an introvert and I spent my days pretending I was the last soul on earth and lived off the land in what was formerly the state of Colorado.

But I’m getting off track. I was supposed to tell you about the beaded belt. Every week we would travel ten miles to the nearest trading post to stock up on supplies. It was at this trading post that I first saw the beaded belt.

It was love at first sight.

The belt was leather with tiny, colored beads across the back that spelled out “Colorado.” It was beautiful to behold.


It cost five dollars.

I didn’t have five dollars. I didn’t have a penny. I sucked up all my courage and asked Grandma if I could have it. “No,” she said without even looking at it. “It’s a waste of money.”

Dejected, I walked outside the store to wait on her to finish shopping. There was a lady sitting in a lawn chair at the edge of the parking lot. She was selling rocks off her truck’s tailgate. They were pretty rocks, all right, crystals and such. She was charging five to ten dollars for each specimen. Now if you asked me that was a waste of money.

It was on the way home that I came up with my idea. Surely, Grandma could not object to me buying the beaded belt if I bought it with my own money.

That day I scoured the campground for rocks. I hauled them to the side of the road and laid them out in a nice pattern on the right-of-way. Then I made a cardboard sign that proclaimed: Rocks for Sale. 25 cents!

You would be amazed how many cars will stop if they see a little fat girl standing beside the road with a sign like that. You would be even more amazed to know that I could actually sell the rocks. By the time Grandma found me down by the road I had my pockets stuffed full of quarters and was almost out of inventory.

I dreamed about that belt every day until we went to the trading post.   I proudly bought that beautful beaded belt with the money I had earned. I wore it for about three days until the beads began to fall off. After that it lost its magic for me and I stopped wearing it. The next time we went to the trading post, I used the rest of my quarters to buy a box of Mexican jumping beans.


There is a moral to this story. Sometimes dreams are better than reality.



“Adorable, crazy, charming and laugh out loud funny! Must read!” ~Jade



Once Upon a Time Travel


My Young Adult book  is on sale over at Amazon!  Only 99 cents for the ebook.  The sale begins today and last through Saturday, April 5th.    Click here!


Twelve-year-old Rebel has a nose for trouble. During in-school detention, Rebel stumbles upon a wormhole and travels back in time to the 1930s Dust Bowl in Oklahoma. She meets Dixie O’Dell, an orphaned girl, who picks pockets to earn enough money to survive. While on the run from the law, Rebel and Dixie are taken in by a traveling carnival freak show. The company freaks – The Illustrated Woman, the dwarf, The World’s Fattest Woman, Spidergirl and The Half-Man, Half-Woman – teach Rebel the true meaning of family.

“Fun and Fast… a delightful read” ~Sher

“Couldn’t put it down!” ~Lorene63

Definitely not just for young adults.” ~JBaker

Are You Smarter Than a Second Grader?

My daughter came home from seventh grade and told me that the math teacher wanted to place her in advanced math.  She respectfully declined, saying, “No, thanks, my mom can’t do advanced math.”

It’s true that I help Emma with her homework.  I started helping her when it became apparent that without me she wouldn’t do it at all.  And, to be truthful, I have to admit that a little part of me likes doing homework with her.  It gives me a chance to learn all the things I missed the first time around.  (I can actually do fractions now!)

Sometimes, though, I think Emma wishes she had a mom that wasn’t so hands-on.  Like the time in second grade where I helped her make a poster when they were studying ocean animals.  Emma decided she wanted to study the Great White Shark.


I spent days and days thinking up how to do the poster and gathering the needed supplies.  I cut the poster board to look like a shark had taken a giant bite out of it.  It had tooth marks and everything.  The bite not only took a chunk out of the poster board, but also took a chunk out of the penguin I had painted on the front.  I used lots of red paint to depict the bloody decapitation.

Emma participated by watching the whole thing and helping to smear the “blood” around the ocean.  She also did the clean-up.

A week later, Emma came home from school in tears.  She blubbered, “I got a D on the shark poster.”

Enraged, I stormed the school, demanding to talk to the second grade teacher.  “Really, a D?” I said.  “Why did she make a D?”

“Emma’s poster was very creative.  And bloody.  It was voted most popular by the other students.”

“So what was the problem?  Why a D?”

“She didn’t follow the directions.”

“What directions?” I asked.

The teacher said, “The sheet of paper I sent home.  She was supposed to list five characteristics of her chosen animal.  Also, she was supposed to list its size, where it lived, what it ate –“

I interrupted her, “Those were directions?  I thought they were suggestions!”

The teacher smiled.  “No, they were directions.  Not to mention, Great Whites don’t live in the Antarctic where obviously that penguin and the iceberg are.”

“Pssshaw,” I said, flapping my hand at her, “details, details.  Doesn’t she get a higher grade for being creative?”

“I took that into consideration.  Hence, the D.”

Ouch.  That hurt.  I made a D in the second grade.  I cried all the way home.  Emma hugged me.  “It’s okay, mom,” she said.  “It won’t show up on my college transcript.”

“We’ll do better next time,” I said, wiping away my tears.  “That teacher was just a meanie.  Don’t worry, next time we’ll make an A.”

“Listen, about that next time.  Do you think maybe I can do my own homework from now on?”


Available at Amazon in ebook and print!

“If Buster Keaton and Red Skelton had a love child that was a lesbian romance, it would be this book!” ~JA


Birth of a Comedian

“Have you always been funny?”  I get asked that a lot.  The answer is no.  I didn’t come out of the womb like Groucho Marx with big glasses, bushy eyebrows and a cigar.  I actually wasn’t funny until I was nine-years-old and then it was a very calculated move on my part.

You see, comedy was my last hope.  I was an ugly kid.  I was fat.  I had a head shaped like the Planter’s Peanut man.  I was nearsighted and wore cat eye glasses.  I had a Toni home perm.  My mother sewed me velveteen dresses that had high collars.  The collars looked like the cones dogs have to wear to keep from licking their sore spots.  If you don’t believe me, ask Saxon.  She’s seen photographic evidence.  The first time she saw a picture of me at this age, she thought I was dressed up as Queen Elizabeth for Halloween.



Queen Elizabeth I


It may be unbelievable to you now, but I wasn’t a popular kid.  I sat at the back of the classroom.  I wasn’t invited to slumber parties.  Nobody traded me their ding-dongs for my snowballs at lunch time.  I was picked last for Red Rover, Red Rover.  The most popular girls, Lori, Trixi and Joni, held court everyday at the top of the jungle gym.  Boys flirted with them.  They laughed and giggled.  I wanted so badly to be a part of their inner circle, but I didn’t know how.

I began to study the popular girls.  I had to figure out what they had that I didn’t.  Suddenly, it hit me.  They all had names ending in an “i.”

I began to sign my papers “Laci.”   I did that for a whole week and the popular girls never noticed.  Not even when I dotted the ‘i’ with a little heart.  The only person who noticed was my teacher who gave me a demerit for spelling my name wrong.

I happened onto comedy by accident.  I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when the teacher called on me.  She said, “Layce, can you tell me about the Magna Carta?”

I didn’t like being called on.  It made me nervous.  Even when I knew the answer, I would break out in a cold sweat and stutter.  But this time was worse.  All the kids were looking at me and I got so nervous that I… Well, if you’ve ever sat on a hard wooden chair and pooted, you know how loud it can be.

The entire class stared at me.  Nobody blinked.  You could hear the second hand on the clock tick.

Thinking quickly, I smiled and said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I thought you said the Magna Farta.”

The whole class erupted in laughter.  I basked in the warmth of their applause.  A star was born!

But I didn’t stop there.  I used my allowance to buy a book, “Henny Youngman’s One-Liners.”

hy book


I sat up late at night, memorizing every joke Henny Youngman had ever uttered.  The next day I went to school, armed to the teeth with enough one-liners to knock them dead in the Catskills.  As the teacher called roll, I waited for her to say my name. And then instead of saying ‘present,’ I said, “Here I am!  I just flew in from New York and, boy, are my arms tired!”

I didn’t get quite the reception I had been expecting.  But I didn’t give up.  I tried another.  “I just got back from a pleasure trip.  I took my mother-in-law to the airport.”  I was met by stony silence.  I tried again.  “Have you ever seen our teacher and her husband?  They’re what you call a fastidious couple.  She’s fast and he’s hideous.”

That was when the teacher grabbed me by my cone collar and dragged me out of my seat and toward the door.  “He’s not her first husband,” I continued, “She’s been married so many times, she has rice marks on her face!  Her bridal gown is wash and wear!”

And just as the teacher pulled me into the hallway, I cracked one last joke:  “Take my teacher…Please!”

I learned a very valuable lesson that day:  Not everybody understands comedians.  But how boring would the world be without us?

Available now at Amazon!

A new romantic comedy by Layce Gardner & Saxon Bennett

 “An awesomely beautiful, funny, quirky, riot of a book!” ~SB









I am a mother.  Which is simultaneously the best and worst job I’ve ever had.  I adopted my daughter, Emma.  It was a private adoption and I was present at her birth.  From the second she was born I got to hold her in my arms.  It was the best moment of my life.

However, I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that being a mother isn’t all fun.  Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.  Sometimes you just want to pull your hair out.   Like the other day when Emma told me she hates her name and wants me to start calling her Jinx from now on.  (Yeah, ain’t gonna happen.)

Yesterday, I got a phone call from the school nurse at Emma’s middle school.  I should tell you that phone calls from the school nurse happen several times a year.  Emma is a pretty smart kid and she figured out in first grade that if you can buffalo the school nurse into thinking you’re sick or hurt she can make your mother come and get you out of school.

Yesterday, Emma had gone to the school nurse complaining about her wrist.  Yes, it was true that she had sprained her wrist playing hockey Monday night.  She told the nurse she had to go home because of the incredible and intense pain and, “Look, I don’t have complete rotation. I can’t even hold a pencil.”  Emma demonstrated trying to hold a pencil, but it kept slipping though her fingers and falling to the floor.

When the nurse called me, I told her Emma knew she was new on the job and was trying to take advantage of her.  I told her about the other times I had been called by someone at Emma’s school.

Here are a few of the highlights:

First Grade:  The teacher called because Emma was disrupting her entire class.  Emma was pretending to be a puppy and kept sniffing and licking the other students.  I told the teacher to roll up a newspaper and hit it against her desk.  The noise would scare her into submission.

Second grade:  Emma was picking leaves off the plants in the school room and eating them.  I told the teacher to spray them with tobacco sauce and she would stop.  It had worked at home.

Third grade:  The school nurse called because Emma was complaining of “growing pains” in her feet.  She said she couldn’t walk down the hallway and needed a wheelchair.   The nurse called bullshit on that one all on her own.

Fourth grade:  Emma complained to the nurse that she was itchy and couldn’t concentrate.  She thought she was allergic to school and probably should be homeschooled.  I gave her “allergy pills” every morning for a whole month.  Little did she know they were actually “Beano” pills.

Fifth grade:  Emma went blind for a whole hour.  It was some mysterious disease.  It was quite unfortunate that it happened in English class and she couldn’t read out loud.  It mysteriously disappeared during her dance class (her favorite.)

So you can see what I have to deal with here.  Fortunately, I can use all this stuff as fodder for future stories and books.  It’s the least I can get from all the phone calls I’ve had to suffer through.

And, Jinx, if you’re reading this, I am so sorry about the incredible and intense pain in your wrist, but you’ll just have to write with your left hand from now on.  And that pain pill I gave you this morning?  It was actually a stool softener.

My Young Adult book is now available in both paperback and ebook.

If you buy the paperback, you can purchase the ebook for only 99 cents!


Once Upon a Time Travel

I was asked the other day why I chose to write a Young Adult book. I take it they meant why didn’t you write a lesfic book instead? Well, the truth is that I did write a lesfic book. It will be out next month. In the past year in the lesfic genre I wrote two novels, a novella and four short stories. So, writing YA is not stopping my lesfic outflow. Also, if you knew me, you’d see know how natural YA is. You see, I have a thirteen year-old daughter, Emma. I am writing for her.

Emma came home from school one day and showed me the book she was reading. It was one of the Harry Potters. I asked her if she liked the book. She replied, “Sorta. But why are the good books always about boys?”

Well, that got me to thinking… Why are there so many books with male lead characters? Why are all the stories featuring female protagonists romances? (Okay, not all of them, but enough of them to give me pause.)

I asked Emma, “If you had a book to read with a girl as the lead character, what would you want her to be like?”

She replied, “Brave. Strong. I want her to have big adventures. I want her to sometimes be scared of stuff, but overcome it. And I’d like her to be invisible.”

So that’s what I wrote. (Except for the invisible part. Sorry, Em, maybe next time!)

My goal with writing Young Adult is to give young girls (or boys!) a lead character they can relate to. I want to give them a role model that doesn’t base their entire self-worth on a boy. I want them to read about Rebel, my lead character, and go on adventures with her and learn what she learns and overcome stuff even when they’re scared.

That’s why I’m proud of my newest book, “Once Upon a Time Travel.”  I use the pen name Dinah Katt when writing Young Adult.  FYI:  I chose the name Dinah Katt because Alice in Wonderland is my favorite book.  And Dinah is the name of Alice’s cat.


Twelve-year-old Rebel has a nose for trouble. During in-school detention, Rebel stumbles upon a wormhole and travels back in time to the 1930s Dust Bowl of Oklahoma. She meets Dixie O’Dell, an orphaned girl with Artful Dodger tendencies. While on the run from the law, Rebel and Dixie are taken in by a traveling freak show. The illustrated woman, a dwarf, spider girl, the world’s fattest woman, and the half-man, half-woman teach Rebel the true meaning of family.

Available for purchase at Amazon.  (buy the paperback and get the ebook for only 99 cents!)   Ebook also available at Smashwords.


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