So, yeah, more than just one friend to talk about today. I actually had Kris Jacen talk a little bit about this Anthology by MLR Press that's chuck full of Christmas stories. I've heard her going on about the stories over the loops for a few weeks, now and she's primed me to really want to read these stories. They are releasing one per day, and here's the schedule:
I know I'm especially looking forward to Nov 23, 25, Dec 10, 22, 25, 26...oh hell. I see much reading in my immediate future..... Here's Kris to talk about how it all came into being and what we readers can look forward to now:
Missing the Holidays in July (or how did this all come about?)
Back in July, Laura Baumbach (owner of MLR, for those that don’t know) was having a moment of “my babies are growing” when she was talking to her oldest son. With the way things were playing out for him, he’d be moving and taking her only grandchild away (ended up not moving but that’s a different story) – she was looking at a slightly empty house at the holidays and she was feeling sentimental. She posted a message to the author/staff loop about the holidays and traditions – she said something about if someone would like to join me, let’s do a holiday anthology. Within six hours or so, about 15 authors had said “oooh, I’ll write one.” So an innocent email to the MLR author and staff loop snowballed (yeah, couldn’t resist that one) into 42 days of stories (one a day with a few days with an extra story) covering the holidays between November 20th and December 31st…Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Yule, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s.
The stories range from the sweet and sentimental to a hot one or two (or more). Some of the authors are revisiting characters/series: Ethan Day is visiting Boone and Wade from Sno Ho/Life in Fusion; S.J. Frost has Ky and Robbie from Black Heart Down; James Buchanan’s Joe and Kabe go tree hunting. Others are introducing us to new characters. There are a few new to MLR authors with Mia Watts, Brynn Paulin, TA Chase; there are a few brand new authors with K-lee Klein and NJ Nielsen; and lots of MLR favorite authors with ZA Maxfield, Rick R. Reed, William Neale, JP Bowie….I could go on, but you can check out the calendar.
All of us at MLR wish everyone the happiest of seasons! May you keep warm with your someone special and a story or two.
And here's an excerpt involving two of my favorite characters, Kyler and Robbie from Black Heart Down, the band created by Sharon Frost in her Rocker series.
Blurb:Featuring Kyler Christenson and Robbie Russo from the novel, Black Heart Down.
Ever since rock stars, Kyler Christenson and Robbie Russo, pledged their commitment, they’ve lived only for each other, and it’s been a life of happiness every day. When Robbie wakes on Christmas morning to a special message in the snow and Kyler standing in the early sunlight, he races outside to be with him.
Though he and Robbie have faced challenges in their past, Kyler knows what he wants for their future. As Robbie stands before him, Kyler presents him with a gift that will change both their lives to one of beautiful harmony.
Robbie shifted in bed, groaning in displeasure as sleep started to slip away from him.
A low growl rumbled in his throat. What the hell was that noise?
Damn it. Maybe he could get Ky to check it out. He rolled over, sliding an arm across the bed to where Kyler was. Or, where Ky should be. His hand found nothing but an empty bed and cool sheets.
Robbie flung off the blankets. He’d go check and find Ky. It sounded like the noise was outside one of the bedroom windows. Actually, it sounded like it was hitting the window.
He walked around the foot of the bed toward the large windows that overlooked the backyard, the warmth from bed floating off his nude body with every step he took. He’d been hoping for a bit more romantic of a wake-up for his and Ky’s first Christmas morning in their new home. He just hoped there wasn’t something wrong with the mansion, like a gutter knocked loose from all the snow, or the roof getting ready to cave in.
Robbie reached the window and pulled the curtain aside, startling back as snow splattered across the glass on the outside. He stared at the spot in confusion…and all the other spots on the window showing it’d been getting hit for a while. He looked beyond to the yard, letting out a shocked cough, followed instantly by laughter.
Kyler stood below the window, a snowball in hand, proving himself to be the culprit in waking Robbie. He wore a puffy black coat and black gloves, but no hat, which didn’t surprised Robbie since in all their eleven years together, he’d never seen him wear a hat since Ky didn’t like his hair getting messed up. Even from a distance, he could see Kyler’s cheeks were flushed with the cold. With the faint morning sunlight touching him, Ky’s golden blond hair shined. Robbie stored the image of him in his mind, wanting to cherish forever how beautiful Kyler looked at that moment.
Kyler snapped one arm up, waving to him. Robbie’s smile grew larger, and he waved back. Ky looked so happy. He saw in him again the seventeen year-old boy he’d fallen in love with when they were both in high school. Over the years, their relationship had been more than a little rocky. On again, off again. Running away from each other only to turn around and run right back.
Through it all, he knew the young man he’d fallen in love with continued to exist within Kyler. He saw him in Ky so many times over the years, but in the few months since they’d committed fully to each other, Ky had become who he was always meant to be. He was still the same fearless and bold frontman of their band, but now the confidence Ky put out was real and true, because he had finally learned to accept himself. Kyler doing that accelerated their relationship to the level he always dreamed to have with him.
He knew their past problems weren’t all Ky’s fault. He was an equal partner in the hurt. With the success and fame of their music careers with Black Heart Down, they both had lost their ways and made mistakes. The important thing was, they’d both also let the past go. They still held onto the good parts of it, and really, there were so many more of those and they were so much stronger than anything else.
He had a feeling, though, this memory they were creating now would be one of the best for all their lives.
Kyler stopped waving and gestured behind him with flourish.
Robbie looked beyond Kyler and somehow his smile managed to grow even more. Spelled out in the snow with large letters were the words, I Love You. Each letter was connected to the next, as if Kyler had shuffled through the snow to create the message. Behind the message were two lopsided snow men, one with a wireless mic on a stand in front of him, and the other had one of Kyler’s old guitars that he never played anymore hanging from a strap around the second large snowball that made up the torso.
Robbie burst out laughing at the frozen versions of themselves, but also emotion welled inside him at Kyler’s efforts to make the first Christmas morning in their home special.