Christmasvaganza: Music Monday

christmasvaganza

Happy Monday everyone, I hope your week was good. It’s time for another Music Monday here at Christmasvaganza.

This week’s song is All I Want For Christmas Is You. However, I’m not a Mariah Carey fan, and to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t use to be a fan of this song either. Until I heard this version. I love the feeling of Steve Grand’s rendition; it’s so very different from the original. Less hysterical, if you know what I mean 😁

And it doesn’t hurt matters that the music video contains two cute boys and a very creative use of Christmas tree ornaments. See for yourself. 😁

Advertisements

Release blitz and #giveaway: The Mistletoe Kiss by Ruby Moone

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 26,600 words
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
By 1816, widowed bookseller Lawrence Fenton has spent a lonely lifetime hiding who he is. He has convinced himself his feelings for his far too young, gorgeous, but troubled assistant Christy Shaw are nothing more than pride in his protégé and concern for his plight.

Christy’s life involves walking fine lines: one between his mother and his abusive stepfather, one where he must keep his needs hidden, and hardest of all, one where he must keep his feelings for his serious employer to himself.

Lame since birth, Lawrence cannot imagine anyone wanting him, least of all Christy. But when Christy’s life threatens to spiral out of control, Lawrence steps in. Then Christy’s emotions spill over into a kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas. Will Lawrence be able to face the long-buried truth about himself and keep Christy by his side?


 

Author Bio

Ruby lives in Lancashire in the northwest of England. All through school she was told she would never get anywhere if she didn’t stop daydreaming. Eventually it occurred to her to write down the daydreams, and voilà! The beautiful men in her head came to life. Ruby writes historical and contemporary gay romance but has a definite weakness for handsome men in billowing white shirts, breeches, and cravats. Oh, and she loves tea. Lots of tea.

Facebook | Twitter | Website/blog | Email

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Christmasvaganza: Sunday Review

christmasvaganza

Today I treat you to three reveiws instead of one, and all of the stories are from this year’s Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar. I’ve looked forward to reading some of the other stories since I first read their blurbs, and I share three of them with you here today.

Being accepted to the advent calendar was unexpected and a happy event and I want to celebrate it by honoring some of my writer colleagues. Let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂

JollyHolidayDivider

three advent calendars

JollyHolidayDivider

An Open Window by Rick R. Reed

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home

This was a very short story, only twenty-one pages, but it’s still jam-packed with feelings. We’re treated to two scenes from Henry and Jim’s lives: one in the present where they are an established couple and one from the past when they first met.

The love between the men in the scenes taking place in the present leaps off the page and curls itself around my heart, making me feel really great. I love the story of how they met, even if it might be necessary to suspend disbelief to believe it. But that’s why we read in the first place, isn’t it? To get away from the bleak reality even for a short time, and I’m all aboard with that idea.

I really would have loved seeing how the two men fell in love, so I—the lover of short stories—think it’s a little on the short side. But I love Rick R. Reed’s use of language and the emotions he conveys, so I still give it five solid Christmas trees.

julgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetyg

JollyHolidayDivider

A Gift of Family by Tami Veldura

Scott Burke has always desired a big family, but as a divorced single dad, all he has is his young daughter, Lexi. He pours himself into raising her, half-convinced he’ll never find what he’s looking for. When Brennan Price strolls into Scott’s life, he’d better have enough patience for both Lexi and Scott if he intends to stick around.

Brennan has a huge family and a successful career, but no one to call his own. Wooing Scott and his daughter is right up his alley, though, and he steps up to the challenge to prove he’s enough for both of them. His attraction to Scott is immediate, but he recognizes a family man when he sees one and hatches a plan to win Lexi over. Her handsome father is sure to follow…

This is thirty-two pages of awwww-inducing sweetness and that’s just the way I love my holiday stories. It’s two men, a little girl, and a dog in reindeer antlers. It’s insta-love (which I personally love), wintery goodness, hot chocolate, and dirty talk…and seriously: What more do you need? It’s perfect for getting you in a Christmas mood: curl up on the couch with a hot beverage of your choice, light the fire (if you have one), and let yourself be transported to the land where it’s possible for two men to meet and fall in love over the course of a couple days.

It was the first book I ever read by Tami Veldura, but it won’t be the last. Loved it.

julgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetyg

JollyHolidayDivider

A Timely Gift by Kris T. Bethke

Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

This was my favorite of the three books in today’s review. I’ve been a fan of Kris T. Bethke since the first book I read by her (which was Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds which I read only because of the fabulous title and definitely didn’t regret it!) I love her writing style and her characters and she delivered on both counts in this story.

I love second chance stories and when stories are infused with tiny glimpses of unexplained magic. This isn’t a paranormal story. It’s a contemporary story with a twist and I loved how the pocketwatch “interfered” in just the right times. Both characters were great and I really loved that they both still feel the attraction even after all the years that passed since they were together.

My favorite character probably was Apollo the Parrot though. Read it and you’ll understand why.

Also: extra kudos for writing a bi character without making a big deal about it. As a bi person myself, I appreciate it a lot 🙂

julgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetyg

JollyHolidayDivider

To sum it up: they were all great stories that got me in a holiday mood and made me want to read more from all three authors. Isn’t that the best praise you can give a writer? “I want to read more of your stories.” It would be for me at least 🙂

#RainbowSnippets

rainbow-snippets

Weekends means Rainbow Snippets-time here on the blog, since I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. According to their description, “it’s a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction—a WIP or a finished work of even 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).”

Don’t forget to like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I’d also be happy to become friends on Facebook if you’d like 😁

summer-divider-clipart-rainbow-bunting-hi-png-o1yiij-clipart

Today I’m snippeting from my third upcoming Christmas story, called Unexpected Christmas. It will be released on December 16, but it’s available for pre-order at JMS Books if you clickety-click the link.

Here’s a link to last week’s snippet, if you need a refresher!

When my shiny dress shoes slipped on yet another patch of black ice—and I barely managed to keep myself from landing on my butt on the roadside—I tilted my head back and screamed out my frustration. An angry, wordless wail, directed at the universe in general and homophobic relatives in particular. But my bellowing drowned in the roaring winds and I regretted it the second the ice pellets found their way down my throat.

I coughed and looked back over my shoulder. I could still tuck my tail between my legs and trudge back. Mom would welcome me with open arms like she’d always done—no questions asked—and fuss over me and give me dry clothes and a hot beverage to make sure I wouldn’t “catch my death.”

summer-divider-clipart-rainbow-bunting-hi-png-o1yiij-clipart

Unexpected Christmas by Nell IrisAll alone, caught in a blizzard—without a coat—on Christmas Day. Would you accept a ride from a huge guy looking like a serial killer?

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on his turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into his car…hoping he won’t be ax murdered.

Axel Wilson—Ax for short, unfortunately—is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely, he’s not dangerous?

Thrown together by family drama, they spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient—and hot!—Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.

Right…?

Pre order Unexpected Christmas here now! Release date December 16, 2017.

Christmasvaganza: #SuperShort

christmasvaganza

The Sound of His Heart

The most beautiful sound in the world is the thumps of his beating heart. Comforting. Steady. Especially since I, for a short terrible while, thought I would never hear it again.

Two years ago, the second week of December, the first snow fell. At first, it was big, beautiful flakes floating down from the sky, melting immediately when they hit the ground, but after a while, it morphed into a blizzard. Turned treacherous.

On his way from work, he crept along at ten miles per hour so he wouldn’t slide off the road, careful as ever. Never taking unnecessary risks. Unfortunately, that didn’t help as another car came hurtling toward him. Lost control. Crashed into him.

I will never forget the look on my boss’s face when he interrupted the meeting I was in. There’s a call for you, Seth. You…you need to take it. Now.

I will never forget the look on my boss’s face…but for the life of me, I can’t remember more than fragments from the following conversation.

Car crash. Critical. Hurry.

He was alive when I got to the emergency room and they agreed to let me see him for a little while. His face was bruised. He had a tube down his throat. The heart-monitor beeped.

Until it didn’t.

He crashed fast. The sound grew irregular and before I knew what happened, it turned into a long, continuous beep.

People came running. They said things, but it was as if they were talking in slow motion and I couldn’t make out the words. I stared at his unmoving chest and I wanted to scream. Rise, dammit. Breathe.

Someone ushered me out of the room and I stood outside with my palm pressed to the window and my terrified heart in my throat. I wouldn’t want it to keep beating if his didn’t.

“Please, please, please,” I whispered. My vision grew blurry and I had to force my feet to keep still and not run into his room and climb on top of him and hug him and shake him and beg him to come back to me and shower his poor battered face with kisses.

And then. A miracle.

Beep.

Beep-beep.

His brave heart, his steady, wonderful heart decided not to give up on life. On us.

Two years later, he’s all healed up except for a slight limp when he grows tired and a scar at the corner of his left eye that he tries to hide behind a curtain of hair, but that I kiss every chance I get.

“Wear it with pride,” I always say and kiss it. Kiss him. Then, I rest my ear on his chest and listen for his heartbeat. Making sure it’s still there. So far it hasn’t let me down.

That’s where I lay one cold fall evening a month ago when he combed his fingers through my hair and asked in a breathless voice, “How about we get married, Seth?”

I think it was my heart that stopped beating then, if only for a nanosecond. Then it jumped with joy as I sat and stared into his warm brown eyes that no one except me ever seemed to notice. “You mean it?” I asked.

“Of course, silly.” And just like that, we were engaged.

“But I don’t want a ring,” I said.

“Why not?”

“I want something even more beautiful. Something permanent.”

He cried when I told him my wish. Cried and kissed me and whispered a million I love you’s in my ear.

This morning, the second week of December, we exchange I do’s. This morning I become Mr. Seth Jones-McIntyre, proud husband of Abe McIntyre. The entire time in front of the justice of the peace, my thumb sweeps over the inside of his sensitive wrist with the new tattoo. After he says his vows, he kisses my matching one, and I can’t hold back my tears.

His soft lips against his own heartbeat immortalized on my body is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

And my heartbeat etched on his skin makes my love swell and grow so big I can’t contain it within me.

“You may now kiss,” says the JP.

And we do. I don’t plan to ever stop.

Screenshot_20171104-035010

Inspirational image found on Instagram.

Release blitz and #giveaway: Eight nights In December by Keira Andrews

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 25,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs
 
Blurb

A geek. A virgin. One sexy holiday.

Orphaned Lucas figures spending the holidays with his obnoxious roommate’s family in New York City is better than staying alone on campus upstate. He ends up sharing a room again, this time with his roommate’s brother, Nate. Geeky photographer Nate isn’t at all what Lucas expects. In fact, he’s incredibly sexy—especially when he invites Lucas into his darkroom…

They hide their attraction during Hanukkah celebrations, but behind closed doors, Lucas and Nate can’t keep their hands (or mouths) off each other. Nate’s only looking for a bit of holiday fun, and amazing sex with a hot virgin definitely fits the bill. Yet as the candles burn, Nate and Lucas begin to realize eight nights will never be enough.

This gay holiday romance from Keira Andrews features secret trysts, new adult angst, spinning the dreidel, and of course a happy ending.

Author Bio
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bookbub

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Christmasvaganza: Special Guest Stephen Hoppa

christmasvaganza

Wohoo, it’s Thursday again and time for my next special guest: Stephen Hoppa. He writes really twisted characters and if you’ve read his story in Make the Yuletide Gay you know what I’m talking about: even the dogs he writes are bastards!

Please help me make Stephen feel welcome, and I gotta say: he wins the prize for most unexpected favorite Christmas movie! 😁

JollyHolidayDivider

Which one of your characters would make the worst Santa and why?
Haha, probably all of them would make terrible Santas, but Nate from Everything Between Us would by far be the worse. He would probably break half the gifts and drop the rest off the sled into a snow bank when he got bored half-way through the night.

Which one of your characters gives the best Christmas gifts and why?
Probably either Travis or Cody from Keep Me Still because they are the only nice characters I’ve ever been able to create

What’s your least favorite holiday tradition?
The over all consumerism of Christmas is more than a little depressing.

Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?
No, because I know nothing will come of them.

Which is the worst Christmas song in the history of Christmas songs and why?
Baby It’s Cold Outside…. do I even have to say why? Does that song not creep every decent person out?

Would you rather
– give presents or get presents? Give presents. Getting presents hasn’t really been fun ever since I became an adult and could buy pretty much whatever I want.

– have a white Christmas or no snow? Is it still cold? If so, might as well have the white Christmas, but I’d trade the cold for no snow.

– have a full on celebration with family or curl up alone with a good book and a hot beverage? Family!!

– have a real or a fake tree? A real one, but I got a fake one passed down from my grandma, and it doesn’t seem necessary to cut a tree down every year.

– stay in your PJs or dress up? Do I have to leave the house if I dress up?

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?
Eyes Wide Shut—yes, it counts, there are Christmas trees in the background of every scene.

JollyHolidayDivider

Stephen Hoppa is an author of gay romance who sometimes doubts his own existence. He writes sexy stories about boys kissing and more, because he think sex and love are magic. He writes flawed, broken characters who go beyond shades of grey into completely technicoloured morality, because rainbows are the sh*t. (He also writes gratuitous smut…)

You can subscribe to his mailing list follow new releases and freebies!