All Ethan wants for Christmas, and the rest of his life, is Toby.
For years, Ethan and Toby have said they’ll never marry, despite Ethan’s secret wishes. So leaving sunny California for snowy Minnesota to witness his sister’s vow renewal is not how he wants to spend his Christmas Eve. It’s the second time she’ll say “I do” in less than a year, when Ethan saying those words to Toby even once is hopeless.
In the run-up to the ceremony, Toby seems to avoid Ethan, and doubts grow in his absence. Ethan can’t help noticing Toby spends more time with Ethan’s family than with him. Little does Ethan know, Toby has desires of his own. But if Toby doesn’t find a way to reveal them, Ethan could leave for home without him.
Genre: MM Romance, Contemporary, Holiday Flavor: Sweet 🍊 Length: 13,600 words Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Series: Part of the Bah Humbug Advent Calendar Release Date: December 1st as individual story. Later in the month if you bought Bah Humbug. Bah Humbug anthology
Since late Tuesday night, much of the United States is in mourning and dealing with their grief in various ways. I’m one of them. And yes, it is grief. Hope for the future, the promises we made to our children about growing up in a safe, inclusive, equal world were ripped from us election night. That was a significant loss.
Words like shock, numb, lost, and afraid describe emotions since election night. I watched the TV with hope and excitement at first. My best friend took a picture of us and we were all smiles. Two hours later, after a healthy dose of denial and then reality crashing down, I was crying. In the wee hours of the morning, I was sobbing.
It was as if I were on a highway watching a car filled with all my loved ones crushed by a semi-truck.
In slow motion.
I bled beside my friend and then at home with my daughter and husband. We tried to heal each others’ gashes, punctures, and lacerations, but we were so stunned we didn’t even know where the blood was coming from yet.
Five days later and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve staunched all the bleeding, and some of what I’ve seen on social media has only made the wounds more painful.
Move past it. It’s not that bad. It’s only four years. Not all Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamiphobic haters, so try to see it from their point of view. It’s time to build bridges and stop whining.
I’m still gushing blood over here, yet people are giving me physical therapy instructions on how to get flexibility back in my thigh. My lacerated muscle is mince meat exposed to poisonous air, so physical therapy is a long way away.
Please don’t forget, we are still in mourning.
And these messages of get over it are being met with a lot of hostility, which has been a shock for some. Friendships have been burned, respect lost, and nerves frayed.
Person A might be at the Adjustment phase of their grief—congrats on getting there so quickly—but Person B doesn’t need to match the speed of your process. This isn’t a contest. Many are deep in the Loss-Hurt phase. Some of us are still dealing with emotional outbursts. I cried several times yesterday and I have panic attacks about how I’m less safe today than I was last Monday.
And these aren’t hypotheticals. These are realities some of us have already lived.
I was raped when I was eleven by a boy who thought he had a right to my body. When I was thirteen, three boys held me down to see how many fingers they could “get in her pussy.” They only stopped because the sound of my flesh tearing echoed in the room. I was raped again when I was twenty. Mere weeks after finding out I was pregnant from that rape, a strange man lifted me from behind by my breasts and carried into a hotel room filled with men! I was on my way to visit my mom to figure out what to do about the pregnancy.
And now we have a president-elect who thinks grabbing a woman by the pussy without her consent is something to laugh off and dismiss as locker-room talk.
That’s not even my greatest fear because balls can easily be crushed. I fear for my daughter’s future, one I thought would only get better, more equal. One where I hoped she’d see the glass ceiling shattered. One where she could kiss her girlfriend in public and no one would give her a second look.
I fear for my friends’ safety. I fear the beast Trump unleased, essentially giving permission for all the haters to come out of their caves and show their true colors. What about my friends who can’t hide or diguise themselves for one reason or another? And no one should have to feel that need in the United States of America.
The last thing I want is for closets to be considered the only safe space.
We kicked down a hell of a lot of closet doors in the last decade, and there’s no way I’m going back into the darkness. I will fight. I will fight like I did in the past by boycotting businesses who promote hate. I’ll donate to causes that promote equality. I’ll keep coming out and telling people I’m bisexual so their delicate snowflake worlds can be put on edge again and again. I’ll speak up and stand up and fight back rather than hoping someone else will step in. And I’ll keep writing books where men fall in love and find their happily ever afters.
But I still need time to grieve. Allow me to do it in my own way, in my own time, and with my own process, not yours or anyone elses. Try to respect that.
Please stop pouring salt and vinegar into open wounds.
We will get to the reorganization phase soon.
Grief is normal.
Grief can occur with any significant loss.
Grief is a personal and unique experience.
Grief takes time, which is unique to each person.
Grief cannot be sped up by outside or inside forces.
I’m a consumer, and I buy things I don’t need. I spent my twenties accumulating because without doing so, I’d be sitting on cardboard boxes rather than furniture today. In my thirties, I was a new parent, and with kids comes more “necessary” equipment. Then the stuff took over. Now I’m in my forties, and I want less in my life.
Decluttering is a common theme in magazines, blogs, and TV shows and has been for the last decade or more. Watching one episode of Hoarders and you see how lives can be controlled by stuff. Right now my dining room is being held hostage by paperwork that needs to be sorted, filed, or tossed, but everyday there’s more mail. Argh!
Over the years my husband and I have made several sacrifices. Some have paid off. Others, not so much. As much as I dream of being a great gardener and feeding my family with fresh, organic produce, my poor body just doesn’t do digging and weeding.
But we’ve managed to live with only one car for the last sixteen years, and are happy to live without cable TV. We do have Internet, however. I won’t live without that. Same thing with Netflix, ereaders, computers, phones, and iPads. Those possessions all save me a ton of time while taking up minimal space.
I try to buy less than I used to, and I’m now very conscious of the packaging that ends up in a landfill somewhere. Now that we’re slowly going through our possessions, I’m passing some on to new homes so they can have a new life.
But it’s not enough. I’m still swallowed by that pile of paper on my table. I’m overwhelmed by the storage areas in my house. Why am I keeping fifty cardboard boxes? Do I really need the box my iPad came in? Could I use it for something else?
Since paring down is a slow process that overwhelms me, I’ve decided to live out my utopian vision through the fictional commune at Kaleidoscope Gardens instead. The men and women in my Naked Organics series conserve and reuse everything. That iPad box of mine might end up be filled with art supplies or a tools. It has a sturdy handle, after all. When it’s no longer useful, it could be shredded and composted, turned back into soil to feed the plants that eventually feed the people who live there.
When writing Farm Fresh, my research turned up fascinating tidbits. It’s made me even more aware of what I’m bringing into my home, ways I can reuse it, and rekindled my fascination with composting that I gave up after becoming a mom. I might get a compost pile started again, and I’m certainly going to be getting rid of more stuff. I’d rather spend my time living rather than sorting.
Who knew fictional characters living off the land could inspire me so? 😉
Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture.
And one particular farmer.
Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.
Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.
Today my Love’s Landscape story, Forever Under a Rainbow, was released by the Goodreads MM Romance group. For the last several years, this group has held their Don’t Read in the Closet event, and I was lucky enough to grab a prompt. If you are a member of the MM Romance group, you can read it now, and for the rest of the world, the story will be released to the general public in a few days. I’ll get the link up here as soon as I get it. Enjoy.
Bridger Jenkins’ life has felt like a huge puzzle with only the edges put together since he realized he’s not straight. Trying to understand the radically novel culture of dating men is confusing because Bridger wants to find love, and all the men he meets only want sex.
When he befriends Stone Moore, he finds a man he can talk to about anything. Stone helps Bridger make sense of his new sexuality, helping him sort through the pieces so he is more comfortable. Bridger can’t help falling for Stone in the process, even if Stone only wants friendship.
Will Stone be the last piece of Bridger’s puzzle, or will they find they simply don’t click into place?
So why on earth would someone who identifies as bisexual and is technically out be afraid to tell their family they are dating someone of the same sex?
That’s been a common question in the last few months related to a character I wrote. My character Cal in Feathers From the Sky has a very loving family who has known in theory that he identifies as bisexual since he was in high school. Now at age 26, he is basically coming out again or in a new way, because all his family has known about him is that he dates women. They’ve never once seen him with a man.
Coming out can be scary no matter how supportive your family might be, because losing that loving family is not something you’d ever want to consider.
When I wrote Cal’s character, I wrote from my own experience as a bisexual woman. According to my mother, I’d only been with men. Yes, I knew she was supportive. I knew she could no longer kick me to the curb, but she could shut me out of her life. Being cut off from her and her love and acceptance would’ve been horrific. She was the foundation of my childhood, the woman who made all things right when everything around me went to shit. To lose the women who had always helped me rebuild my world would’ve been tantamount to a disaster.
I did come out, but I was “old” when I did it. For a long time, I was happy allowing my mom to think she had raised a heterosexual daughter. But then I started writing M/M Romance. I was facing the truth telling of coming out in so many stories I’d written as well as read, and yet I was, in essence, lying.
Was I scared? Hell yes, even though my life was stable. I didn’t need to rock the boat. Yet, I wanted to rock it, because I wanted my mom to know the real me, especially as she was getting closer to the end of her life.
So when people say they just don’t get why Cal was so nervous, I want to ask those people how they felt prior to coming out to their families. My suspicion is that many of those people never had to do that. Because coming out is essentially what Cal was doing again, even if his parents and siblings knew in theory that he was bisexual. In reality, he was straight to them, at least from Cal’s perspective, which is truly what matters. If he ever experienced any sort of bisexual bias, he was even more justified in his concern. Bisexuality is hugely misunderstood, and the stereotypes of being confused, undecided,gay-for-you, or being easy are never far behind the admission, “I’m bisexual.” Cal thought his parents were on the “he’s confused” wavelength, and in the story, his own father admits to that even.
In the end, how the individual feels about exposing this part of themselves is the most important thing, not what other people think you should feel or do or say. You should never be forced or coerced to come out. Coming out happens in small stages. Cal sharing Philip with his family was one of those stages, possibly one of his last stages.
As for me, when I chose to tell my mom about my bisexuality, she wasn’t surprised at all.
And she still loves me.
Never once did I think my fear or rejection was unjustified though.
Jules Lovestoread reviewed Flare over at Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books. She also interviewed Hugo and even got him to reveal a few dirty secrets. O_O Click over and comment to be entered to win a copy of book 3 of my North Star Trilogy. What do you have to lose? Not a thing, and according to Jules,
This series is fantastic, and I fell head over heels for these characters – Hugo especially. Flare is the final installment in the trilogy, and Posy Roberts couldn’t have done a better job with this ending.
Hugo and Kevin knew they should be together all the way back in high school, but life took them in very different directions. When they have a chance to continue their relationship, life’s circumstances have other plans for them. But they know they are meant to be, so they fight for each other, and they will fight for the family they want to nurture together, even if the world around them doesn’t quite understand their “alternative” family and tries their best to keep them apart.
This might look like yesterday’s post, but it’s so different. Yesterday the voting at Mrs. Condit Reads was preliminary voting. This time around it is the Author of the Month Finalist!!!! So thank you for tugging Posy Robert’s fusion into the new poll. XOXO
So, if you have a few moments to grab your devices, whichever ones you fancy, would you be so kind as to vote for Posy Robert’s Fusion or any other book that jumps up and grabs you. Winners will be announced Jan 9th.
The entire North Star Trilogy will be released in a week on January 13th. If you haven’t cracked Spark or Fusion yet, you have a week to get ready for Flare. Or maybe you want to re-read Spark and Fusion before Flare comes out. Please spread the word to all those people who were “waiting for all the books to come out,” because it’s not that far away. And thanks to all my wonderful readers. You rock!