Release blitz and #giveaway: Blackbird in the Reeds by Sam Burns

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 50,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Madeline Farlow @ Clause & Effect
Blurb
Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

Author Bio

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.



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#SuperShort

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Ballet in the Snow

It was the first day of the new year. The snow poured down from the sky in big, fat flakes, blanketing the world in white, muffling the city sounds and making everything eerily quiet. I would never have left my apartment if I didn’t absolutely have to, but I got back from my parents’ early this morning and the fridge was empty. My choice was either starve to death or brave the weather, and my stomach had been growling angrily at me for hours already.

I hurried along the empty streets with my shoulders pulled up to my ears and my head down to avoid getting whirling snowflakes in my nose. Shivers racked my body: I needed to save up to a warm coat if this was an indication of the winter to come. I was deep in thought and if I hadn’t looked up at that exact moment, I would have missed him.

About to cross the street, I raised my head and did a double take when I noticed him. Poised in the middle of the road with one arm reaching for the heavens and a booted foot stretched into a point, was a man fully dressed for the weather. He had a scarf wound around a long neck, leather gloves on his hands, and wore an unzipped parka. Bulky clothing, worn with surprising grace.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him as he held his pose for a second or two before starting to move. It was small at first, his hand shifted in a way that could have been accidental, but it soon became clear it wasn’t. The movements became more flourishing and spread to his arm and the rest of his body until there was no mistaking what he was doing.

He danced.

And oh my God, he moved like he didn’t have a bone in his body. Like he was liquid.

I drew a quick breath and my mouth filled with snowflakes, but I ignored them. The flurry from the sky and the freezing temperature faded into something insignificant as he moved. His limbs flowed seamlessly from one position to the next, his arms and legs stretched and seemed impossibly long. He held his head high and his feet moved rapidly to a melody only he could hear.

It was mesmerizing.

Enchanting.

Without warning, he leaped up and for what seemed like forever he was suspended in the air. Defying gravity with legs split wide, chin raised, arms arched over his head, and every muscle taut.

I couldn’t breathe. My heart stuttered to a halt as I waited for him to return to earth. When his booted feet landed with a thump and continued their routine, I expelled all the nervous air from my lungs in a rush, unaware that I’d been afraid he would slip and fall.

He continued his dancing for a little while longer and ended in a magnificent pirouette, spinning around his own axis with one leg bent at the knee.

My hand flew to my mouth at the sight and I gasped. How could he do that with such devastating grace wearing those clumsy boots?

Just as abruptly as he’d started, he sat down his foot and stopped, spreading his arms wide as if he was embracing the world. With a heaving chest, he leaned his head back and let the snowflakes land on his upturned face. He didn’t move, just stood like that as if the snow didn’t bother him at all.

Had that just happened? I rubbed my eyes with stiff fingers, but he was still holding his position when I opened them again. He wasn’t a cold-induced hallucination. He’d actually done that. Danced. In the snow. In the middle of the street.

It was weird. I’d never seen anything more beautiful in my life.

It was magical.

“Wow.” The word slipped out of me.

His head jerked up and he looked in my direction. Redness crept up his neck and stained his cheeks, and he bit his lip.

“That was…amazing,” I said. I didn’t want him to be ashamed of something so glorious.

“Yeah?” One corner of his mouth twitched, as if he wanted to smile but didn’t allow himself.

“Yes,” I exclaimed and nodded for emphasis.

Now that the man had stopped dancing I became very aware of the snow and quivered. “I should…” I said and pointed my thumb in the direction I’d been headed.

“Sure.” He averted his eyes and brushed away the snow gathering on his shoulders. I took the opportunity to really look at him. His chocolate brown hair was dotted with huge snowflakes. His beard was neatly trimmed, and his eyebrows were like black slashes across his face. He was very handsome.

I took a couple of steps, but something about him pulled at me. “I’m Josh, by the way,” I said, reluctant to leave.

He smiled at me then. It was shy and reserved, but his eyes glittered as he let his gaze rove over my body. “I’m Tom.” A pink tongue darted out and licked his lips and sent a tingle down my spine. The way his eyes lingered on my chest and face made the decision for me.

“I, uh, was gonna grab a bite to eat. You busy?”

He tilted his head to the side. “You asking me out on a date, Josh?” His voice was breathy.

“I guess I am.”

“Why?”

I shrugged. How could I tell him that watching him dance in the heavy snowfall in the abandoned streets of the city was the most unexpected and beautiful thing I’d ever experienced in my life? That it had warmed my heart, even though my body was cold? “I loved your dancing,” was all I said. I looked away.

Why had I even asked? Of course, he wouldn’t want to go with a complete stranger. Which sane person would? For all he knew, I could be a serial killer.

I was just about to apologize when his warm fingers nudged mine. It was the lightest touch, but enough to send a buzz through my body.

“Okay,” he whispered.

I glanced up and he smiled at me. A real smile—the shyness from earlier completely forgotten—and it transformed his face, lighting him up from the inside. Making him irresistible.

“You sure?”

“I never could resist when someone as cute as you compliment my dancing.”

I shot him a grin. “You think I’m cute?”

“Don’t fish for compliments, it’s not attractive.” He winked at me.

“I apologize.” My smile grew wider. I wanted to reach out and touch him. To trace his eyebrows with a finger. Warm his cheeks with my hands. Kiss away the snowflake that had the audacity to land on his lower lip.

I did none of those things. Instead, I held out my arm to him in the manner of an old-fashioned gentleman and he took it without hesitation. We started walking and even though I could feel the snowflakes land on my exposed skin, I didn’t care.

All I cared about in that moment was his arm linked with mine.

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Inspirational image found on Instagram

 

Release blitz and #giveaway: Vows Box Set (audio) by Addison Albright

 

 
Length: 17hrs 26mins
Narrator: David Gilmore
 
Blurb

‘Til Death Do Us Part: Henry and Sam Miller-Greene are living the dream, but their worlds are shattered when Henry’s plane crashes and he’s presumed dead. But Henry survives undetected on a remote, small, and insignificant island. Will Sam and Henry’s love be able to survive, as well? When Henry and Sam face an accidental estrangement, and Henry is assumed dead, can their love endure the trials of one’s fight for survival, and the other’s new love interest? When Henry is rescued, will Sam be able to put aside his new love when he reunites with Henry?

From This Day Forward: Henry and Sam are enjoying life after Henry’s rescue. With their nightmare separation behind them, Henry and Sam are anxious to renew both the intensity of their former intimacies — now hampered by having a curious and still apprehensive child sharing their home — and their commitment to one another. Will they be able to move their love forward now that they are together again?

Okay, Then: Sam and Henry’s first date/encounter is mentioned in flashback in ‘Til Death Do Us Part,but this short story fleshes it out. Relive the moment they first connect while on a research trip in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

To Love and To Cherish: Jilted by his fiancé Sam just weeks before their wedding, Nash Marino’s outlook on life in general, and love in particular, is jaded. Will Nash find love again? Of course he will. Will he go about it in the usual way? Now that’s another story entirely. When Nash’s marriage of convenience scheme is muddied by notions of love after a memory reboot, will their plans go awry, or will Nash’s new outlook on life be just what the doctor ordered?

 

Author Bio
Addison Albright lives in the middle of the USA with two peculiar cats. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance, and tend to be sweet man-love in contemporary settings. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

eMail: addison.albright@gmail.com
Website/Blog: https://authoraddisonalbright.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AddisonAlbright
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/addison.albright.profile
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AddisonAlbright
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/addisonalbright/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/addison-albright
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/addison-albright/

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Christmasvaganza: #SuperShort

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Today is the last day of 2017 and of Christmasvaganza. I told you on Friday that I switched places with the review and the Flash Fiction this week because I wrote a story taking place on New Year’s Eve. What I didn’t tell you was that the story is about Lenny and JJ, the two guys from my story The Christmas Day Date, featured in the anthology Make the Yuletide Gay.

It’s not standalone, but don’t fret if you haven’t read it yet. The anthology is FREE, so go ahead and download it and read it before you continue with this scene from their lives. The links are below.

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Scribd | Amazon

I hope you like this glimpse into Lenny and JJ’s future. If you’re really lucky, they’ll show up here on the blog again. Until then I wish you a Happy New Year. Please, please, please, let 2018 be better than 2017 was!

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Decisions

It was thirty minutes until the ball would drop and I still hadn’t decided if I was gonna watch it or go to bed. I closed my eyes to shut out flickering lights from the muted TV and leaned my head against the back of the couch. A deep sigh escaped me, and I rubbed my fist against my chest.

My heart ached with loneliness…which was fucking ridiculous considering I’d spent most of my nights alone since I sobered up ten years ago. But seven evenings with the greatest guy I’d ever met was apparently enough to make me crave his company. To make me itchy when I was parted from him.

Had it only been seven days? It felt like longer…and not nearly long enough. Like maybe forever wouldn’t be long enough, but it was far too early to think about heavy stuff like that. Especially since I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. For JJ to wake up one morning with a frown on his narrow face, and wonder what the heck he was doing with someone like me.

I would fly apart if his beautiful blue eyes turned cold and disdainful when he looked at me.

I shook my head and chuckled. Wrinkled my nose at my own stupidity. I could practically hear JJ scolding me. Stop putting yourself down, Lenny. It was good advice. Insecurities were a real turnoff and I didn’t want to make myself into a sad case of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Which should also be applied to the reason I was alone on New Year’s Eve in the first place, instead of hanging out with my new boyfriend. JJ’s friends had told him in no uncertain terms that they were welcoming the new year with dancing and drinks. He’d hesitated to agree. Said he wanted to spend time with me. And then he’d asked me the impossible.

To go with them.

I’d really wanted to say yes. To see his body wiggle in tempo with the music. To make out with him on the dance floor.

But I couldn’t. His pleading eyes, impossibly big behind his huge glasses didn’t help. I’d opened my mouth to say yes, but the thought of spending an evening surrounded by drunk people made my skin crawl worse than it had when I’d come down off the sauce.

What if I couldn’t keep my hands off it?

What if I drank myself into a stupor and hurt JJ?

I couldn’t risk it. He must have seen the terror in my eyes because he hadn’t pushed. Instead, he declared he would stay home with me, but I didn’t want to be the schmuck who kept his man from seeing his friends. So, I’d convinced him to go and kissed the slight pout he’d been unaware of, off his soft lips.

“Crap,” I muttered and stabbed the off-button on the remote. The apartment grew dark except for the light that filtered in from the outside and I rubbed my droopy eyelid with a knuckle.

I needed to do something about my hang-ups. I couldn’t keep hiding from the real world like a fucking loser if I wanted to be with JJ.

Leaning forward, I kneaded my neck. My knee bounced, and I had to force it to stay still by pressing down a palm on my thigh.

What if…

What if I went to the AA? Got myself a sponsor?

I’d stubbornly resisted going all this time. I didn’t want to rely on anyone but myself for my sobriety. I’d gotten myself into the damn mess and had been determined to get myself out of it. But maybe talking to someone who knew what I’d been through wouldn’t be all that terrible? Maybe they could even teach me shit that could help me cope with a situation where booze was involved? At least I’d have someone I could call if I was scared I was about to fuck up.

I waited for the anxiety to turn my stomach into a nest of angry wasps at the thought of going to a meeting and baring my soul, but it never happened. Instead, I felt lighter, as if someone had filled my body with helium and I was on the verge of floating away.

I flew off the couch and grabbed the key JJ had given me before he’d taken off earlier.

At least watch the fireworks from my place. I have a better view, he’d said and I wrinkled my nose when I remembered the half-assed promise I’d given him in return. No more of that shit. I stalked across the hall and stabbed the key at the lock, missing my target several times before I finally could let myself in. When I closed the door behind me, I was enveloped by a sense of home. Of peace.

The rainbow-decorated Christmas tree was lit, and the cheerful colors drifting from the living room drew me in like the moon pulled the tide. Even though I’d seen it every day this last week, it still had a profound impact on me. It was as if the twinkling lights colored my entire existence, transforming my boring, old gray life into a magnificent rainbow.

Or maybe it was JJ himself who did all that.

I shook my head. I was getting far too maudlin in the last shivering minutes of this old year. I needed to find some positive energy. Start the new year in the way I wanted it to continue.

Wandering over to the window facing downtown, I fished out my phone from my pocket and fired off a text to JJ.

hope ur having fun. gonna watch the fireworks from ur place. miss u

I jammed it back down my jeans and looked out. It was a cloudless night, perfect for fireworks, and cold seeped into my hand when I rested it against the windowpane. I shivered, happy to warm be inside. The city was awake and teeming with life, people celebrating and having fun. But I was right where I wanted to be.

I left my eyes drift closed. Funny how the loneliness had disappeared as soon as I set foot in JJ’s home even though he wasn’t there. Funny how my swirling thoughts unfurled and slowed down.

My eyes flew open when two cold hands slid under my sweatshirt and tried to steal heat from my tummy. “JJ? Whatcha doin’ home so early? I didn’t hear you come in.”

He moved closer, plastered his front against my back and buried his cold nose into the base my neck, mashing his glasses against my head. “Mmmm,” he hummed, and I shivered as his hot breath puffed against my skin. “I’m so happy to find you here.”

I tucked my hands under my shirt and laid them over his and he wove our fingers together. “Didn’t you wear your gloves? You’re ice cold.”

“I was in a hurry.” His lips touched my neck as he spoke, sending a quiver down my spine. He freed one of his hands and squeezed it between us, fumbling with the buttons of his coat, and started shrugging out of it. When he’d freed himself from one sleeve, he repeated the process with the other, until his coat thumped down on the floor behind us.

I reached back and grabbed his glasses, and pulled them off and put them away so he wouldn’t break them. I twisted my head and whispered, “I missed you, Julius.” I drew out the s in his name and it had the desired effect. His ballet slipper colored lips claimed mine as if he owned them, and his arms tightened around my waist.

He kissed the breath out of me and filled my belly with happy flutters. His fingers splayed on my stomach and tugged lightly on my sparse fur, but he didn’t move below the belt, respecting my limits.

His gaze was unfocused as he withdrew, and he rested his forehead against my temple. He let out a sigh.

“Did you have fun?” I asked.

“Mhm.”

The first round of fireworks exploded outside the window, but I didn’t move. Instead, I kept my eyes on JJ. The colors danced over his relaxed face and he looked so content.

“Why didn’t you stay with your friends?”

“Rob said we should start the year the way we wanted to continue it. He meant dancing and having fun.” He pressed his lips against my cheek. “But for me, it meant hanging out with you. So here I am.”

My breath hitched at his words. I’d thought the exact same thing a few minutes before he got home. And just like that, I knew how I wanted to start the new year.

Freeing myself from his embrace, I turned around. Cupped his dear face and looked into his icy blue eyes that shone with warmth and affection. A happy smile played on his lips. He took my breath away and it was definitely the right decision.

I stepped away from him, grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled it over my head, and dropped it on the floor. I ran my fingers down my chest, over my belly, and rested them on the button of my jeans.

His gaze zoomed in on my hand, and his pink tongue darted out and licked his lips. I wanted to kiss him. Suck on that quick tongue and mash my mouth against lips and not stop until his face was red and scratchy from my stubble.

“Lenny? What are you doing?” His voice was breathless and low. Red and green and blue flashed over his skin.

I flipped open the button. “You said you wanted to start the year the way you want it to continue.”

“Yeah,” he rasped and his Adam’s Apple bobbed in his throat.

I pulled down the zipper, but the heat in his eyes could have melted it right off the fabric.

“But you said…” He cleared his throat. “You said next time you had sex, it would mean something.” He kept very still, didn’t make a move or try to persuade me, but his eyes never left my hand and a slight tremble in his legs betrayed what he really wanted. His tongue darted out again, wetting his lips, making my dick twitch in my pants as if it had been the one being licked.

“And I meant it,” I said, letting my baggy jeans fall to the floor.

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#RainbowSnippets

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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 😁

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I’m continuing the snippeting from my third Christmas story, called Unexpected Christmas. I’m jumping forward a paragraph or two from last week, but the scene is still the same. Danny is miserable in the blizzard, and then this happens:

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.

I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.

He was huge and couldn’t hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears—at least an inch and a half wide—and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o’clock shadow more than an actual haircut.

“You need a ride?” he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.

“I’m not riding with a serial killer!”

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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…?

Order Unexpected Christmas here now! It’s cute and fun and you won’t regret it. Because you’re not tired of Christmas just yet, are you? 🙂

Christmasvaganza: Friday Review

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This is the last holiday themed review for this Christmasvaganza. But…it’s the wrong day, you say. I know, I know. I went rogue this last Christmasvaganza week, and switched places with the review and the Flash Fiction story that would normally be posted today. That little story takes place on New Year’s Eve, so I thought I’d post it on…you guessed it…New Year’s Eve 😀

Instead, I give you one of my all time favorite reads. Holiday or otherwise.

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christmas kitschSometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

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I’m like a big sea creature, and no place is the sea.

There’s something about the way Amy Lane uses language that speaks to me. She takes simplistic, boring everyday words and crafts them into magic with a power to reduce me into a blubbering mess on the couch, desperately clinging to the box of Kleenex. She writes feelings that I feel in my heart and stomach. She takes ordinary people and transforms them into super heroes. Because sometimes super heroes don’t wear a cape. Sometimes they’re the ones seeing you for who you really are, or the ones being there for you when you really, really need it.

Like Oliver and his family are for Rusty when he gets thrown out of the house when his parents catches him kissing his boyfriend on the day before Thanksgiving. Like Rusty’s friend Rex who starts out as an annoying roommate at college but ends up being a part of Rusty’s chosen family. Like Rusty himself, offering his big heart to someone you’d least expect.

I love this book. Rusty is a fabulous character; he’s a young man who doesn’t really know who he is until he meets Oliver. He thinks he’s nothing but a dumb jock who has to do what his parents say and that’s how he ends up at a fancy college where he doesn’t belong. Where he struggles every day until one day he goes to bed on a Friday and doesn’t wake up until Monday from Oliver screaming at him over Skype.

Which—by the way—is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I’ve ever read. Period.

Oliver is a fabulous character who realizes long before Rusty, that Rusty’s most likely gay. He fights tooth and nail for their relationship and when Rusty is overwhelmed with life and circumstances, Oliver is right there. Holding him up.

I love the scene when Rusty admits to himself—and Oliver—that he’s gay.

“Oliver?”
“Yeah?”
“I’m pretty sure I’m gay.”
“Me too, pendejo.”
“And even if I’m not gay, you know what?”
“What?”
“I’m pretty sure I’m Oliver-sexual.”

I mean. Awwwwwwww. Died.

This book is full of lovely moments that makes my heart break in my chest of both happiness and sorrow, and that’s just the way I love my books. After being tossed out on his ass, Rusty moves into a crappy apartment that he makes habitable with the help of Oliver’s family. He doesn’t have a lot. He sleeps on an air mattress and has mismatched furniture and in general it’s not great. But he finds the silver lining.

I woke up in the morning groggy, cold and hungry, but I was damned grateful for the milk in the fridge and the cereal in the cupboards. Oh, and for the toilet paper in the bathroom, too.

Or,

A perfect day for me will always start with tiny dogs and a warm house in the winter, and coffee, and people glad to see me when I wake up.

This last quote is perfection and is how I fell about life. Except I’m allergic to dogs, and I live in Malaysia so I prefer a cool house over a warm, and I don’t drink coffee, but tea. But the sentiment hits me right in the heart. Who needs big, grandiose gestures when it’s the little things that makes life worth living?

This book is fantastic. I loved it when I first read it back in 2015 and I loved it even more when I re-read it now. Read this book. Buy this book. You won’t be sorry. This book is 10 stars, but since someone…ehum…decided on a five star rating system, I give it five stars. Or Christmas trees, since this is Christmasvaganza after all.

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Christmasvaganza: Surprise Special Guest

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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 🙂

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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.

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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)

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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: myBook.to/KGSecondChances

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: https://instafreebie.com/free/5sGfi

Happy holidays!

~ Kiska
kiskagray.wordpress.com