Nell Iris' Christmas

Christmasvaganza: Surprise Special Guest


I know I said last week that the fabulous Amy Tasukada would be my last guest here in Christmasvaganza, but I have a surprise. Another guest! I wanted to extend Christmasvaganza through the entire month of December, but didn’t know what to do with the extra Thursday. Answer the questions myself? Sounded boring so I asked my friend Kiska Gray if she wanted to be a surprise extra guest on the blog, and she did!!

Kiska is not part of the Make the Yuletide Gay anthology like my other guests, but she’s a  friend of mine who happens to work nights…which works very well with my time zone. So she and I talk a lot during the days (when she doesn’t actually have to do her work stuff of course…she’s not a lazy bum). We kick each other’s butts when necessary, support each other and just chat about writerly things. It’s awesome, since most of my writer friends are on an American time zone which sucks when you’re in South East Asia like me 🙂

But enough blathering. Please help me welcome Kiska to the blog 🙂


Hey there, everyone—Kiska Gray here! Nell was awesome enough to let me hang out on the blog today, to talk a bit about Christmas—because who doesn’t love Christmas, right?

The holidays were always a big deal to my family growing up. We’d always celebrate on Christmas Eve by going to my grandma’s house and having dinner and hanging out with the cousins. Grandma always wrapped our presents in newspaper—the comic section, to be exact! Of course, that meant finding our NAMES on the packages was next to impossible…not to mention the few years she decided to “code” them, or one time she forgot to put names on them entirely. Oiiiii.

After a big meal with my Aunt Sharon’s famous pie (mmmm piiiiie) we’d go home that evening and watch a Christmas movie, eat hard candies, and go to bed. Sleeping was next to impossible, since we’d have the butterflies of excitement in our bellies, and early Christmas morning, we’d wake Mom and Dad up and open presents and eat the candy out of our stockings for breakfast.

Those were the days… -wistful sigh-

Now that we’re adults, it kind of sucks. We had to really work around everyone’s work schedules this year, which makes for stress-a-palooza, but we still try every year to make it special 🙂 Nell has given me a few Christmassy questions to answer, so we’ll start it off.

What’s the worst thing about Christmas?
Honestly? For me, it’s the stress. I have anxiety, and on top of work stress and family stress and holiday stress, it just gets to the point where it all builds up and by the time Christmas is over, there’s this HUGE letdown for me (I usually cry it off LOL yes, I’m a big baby!

Which is the worst Christmas song in the history of Christmas songs and why?
UGHHHHH That stupid Christmas Shoes song. I don’t know why I can’t stand it, but it makes me cringe. I know it’s supposed to be super sad, about a dying parent and crap, but it just makes my skin crawl #NOPE

What’s your favorite Christmas…
– candy: Queen Anne chocolate covered cherry cordials ❤

– song: No particular favorite, but the older ones, the ones that have that Christmassy feeling that slam me right back into childhood, listening to the radio as my parents drove around looking at Christmas lights.

movie: The Santa Clause, with Tim Allen. Love it.

tradition: Every year, my family would buy a box of Zachary chocolates, sort of a tradition, and Christmas morning we’d hand the box around and use the little “map” guide thingy to figure out what flavor was what. Good times, good times…

– food: TURKEY! And pumpkin pie. MMM.


I actually have written a Christmas story this year (though, to be fair, I wrote it in July—yay Christmas in July!) and it ironically became my debut novella. It was released out into the wild early this month and kicks off a series that revolves around sexy guys with sheltered hearts and their rescued pets…and true love, of course.

Second Chances is the story of Ky and Nikolas, childhood best friends turned college lovers, who met their end when Ky spooked and left Nikolas without an explanation. Six years later, each with their own lives, they meet again—but will they get a second chance at love? (I write romance with HEAs, guys, so take a guess! :P)


It’s a 28,000 word novella and while it starts the Sheltered Hearts series, each book in the series is centered around a different couple, so it definitely stands alone. Who knows? We might even get to see Ky and Nik later on down the line, as cameos in other heroes’ books.

Get it on Amazon:

It’s also FREE in Kindle Unlimited 🙂

Want a free short story? Sign up for my newsletter and download “The Kissing Booth” for free! Link:

Happy holidays!

~ Kiska


2 thoughts on “Christmasvaganza: Surprise Special Guest”

  1. Aww, your grandma’s wrapping style reminds me of a woman I once worked with. She never labeled her presents and always had some kind of system that the kids would have to try to figure out. Was it the paper? The color or number of bows? The style of ribbon or how it was used? Something else? I always meant to try that one year, but never did.

    Seems like our likes/dislikes are in alignment! I don’t care for that Christmas shoes song either. I’ve always felt like I should, so I’m glad to know I’m not alone in that. I also prefer the older songs to new ones, and although I don’t list The Santa Clause as my overall favorite, it’s very high on the list!

    You got my attention with the sweet kitty on the cover or your book, but cinched the deal with the storyline. I love second chances, the intriging reasons why things went awry a couple’s first time around, and how they work past it. Is Second Chances exclusive on Amazon? Will it be available in epub down the road, if not presently?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard the Christmas shoes song, never even heard about it, until I got Kiska’s answers. I had to Youtube it, and it’s TERRIBLE!! It lays it on way too thick, and makes me feel bad that I caved to consumerism and bought my loved ones Christmas presents instead of buying shoes for dying mothers. 😩 I say NO THANK YOU to that song! 🙂

      On a less negative note: it really is a lovely cover! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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