But, little known fact, Gambling Men was my first submission, but If I Must was my first published work from DSP– it was for their Advent Calendar, and nobody could have been as surprised as I was at how much everybody loved the befuddled Ian, the gentle, organized Joel, and the miserable cat named Manky Bastard.
If I Must came out in 2009.
The next year, I wrote for the Advent Calendar again, and I wanted a hero who was not perfect. I ended up with the chubby, well meaning Kit, and his rather slutty, but kind-hearted Jesse, and that was Christmas With Danny Fit.
That came out in 2010
The year after that, I had the idea for, well, a story that ended up with a rather interesting knitted item at the end. Mate and I had gone traveling a few years beforehand, and we’d been to Granby–the real Granby– and I thought, what if… what if a grumpy bastard named Craw lived in Granby, and ran the mill there. What if he met a tenderfoot named Ben…
The Winter courtship Rituals of Fur Bearing Critters came out in 2011. It spawned three sequels– How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, A Knitter in His Natural Habitat (all together, these are in the paperback, The Granby Knitting Menagerie), and Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair. These books spawned a character that people still refer to as “Jeremy Bunny” because I referred to him as that– he’s never actually called “Jeremy Bunny” in the books. And we love him so very much– still.
ETA: And I can’t believe I forgot this one! Puppy, Car, and Snow. The book was a sequel of sorts to two shorts– one called Shirt and one called Phonebook which came out from DSP. Eventually, I think I will be offering those stories for free, but in the mean time, Puppy, Car, and Snow is the story of two long term lovers (although we’ve seen them meet 😉 who have to endure a holiday under a mother-in-law’s gimlet eye, complete with over achieving children and socially awkward inlaws. It was fun and light, and sort of overlooked, really, in the midst of the Fur-Bearing Critters excitement;-)
In 2011 I also came out with a book called
The next year, I wrote a book about a care taking uncle who effectively became a single parent, and learned to relax with the irrepressible childcare worker at the nearby gym. The childcare worker was based after an actual childcare worker named Justin– I don’t know if Justin was gay, but I do know that when Squish was little and I went to work out, he was one of the best parts of her day. She was still getting over losing her regular childcare people then– Justin saved our lives. People responded to that, I think, because Turkey in the Snow was a big hit. Of course the cover helped– and an interesting fact is that Catt Ford, who was doing much cover work at DSP at the time, enjoyed the story so much that she painted the haunting, poignant cover picture on her own. My idea was to do a campy picture of a turkey wearing boots, ala the Granby books–but her painting was so lovely, I picked it out of a lineup, almost in tears. It remains one of my favorites to this day.
That came out in 2012.
In 2013, I actually came out with two Christmas stories. One of them was my first full-length Christmas story, an actual novel not a novella, written for Riptide, and part of the proceeds were donated to the Ali Forney center for homeless teens. Christmas Kitsch was near and dear to my heart, because it deals with two kids who were on their own (well, Oliver’s family helped a lot) and stupid in love. I remembered that feeling– and I got to relive a lot of it in the book and the blog tour, and that was wonderful.
The other was written for the Advent Calendar– and I should clarify here. Books written for the Advent Calendar usually had to be under a certain word count. In this case, 20K. I was not aware when I submitted Going Up! that it would be released on Christmas Eve, as a standalone– but I was enchanted by the storybook cover, that depicted the lonely prince in the city of San Francisco, and his ebullient, joyful knight who rescued him one elevator ride at a time.
For Christmas 2014, I released Candy Man— and since I knew it wasn’t for the Advent Calendar this time, I let it run a little… uh, long. (Okay– 49K. Yes. It’s two Christmas stories long.) And Candy Man spawned Bitter Taffy, which was out this summer, and Lollipop, which will be out in January, and Licorice Whip, which I will start writing about the time Bitter Taffy comes out. So, whew! Thank God I stopped by that little store in Sacramento, Candy Heaven, and met the real life Darrin who inspired so much joy. I’ve had the best time writing these books–I”ll be sorry to see the series come to an end!
Also for Christmas 2014, I released The Bells of Times Square, which nobody wanted to read because it was hella sad. But it was also apparently really good, because it was nominated for a RITA award, and no–I’m not going to let anybody forget about that, why do you ask?
So, here we come to Christmas, 2015– and my seventh year of having a Christmas release. (Yes– I had to count that on my fingers– 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015– that’s seven years of releases.)
And I’ve got another full length novel for you–and I love it so very much.
It’s not out until December 24th– I guess my other books have done very good on that date– and I’ll definitely be letting you know when those buy links are up! (Dude– you will not be able to toss a cat on social media without seeing this cover. I promise you. Swear to the cat on the front!) There is something… wondrous about this book– for me at least. See, I spent the first part of the year writing Quickening. It was 205K. It almost killed me. It was enmeshed in a previous 1 MILLION words or more of world building, and I was writing it with the full knowledge that it would be released with a VERY LONG lead time. I would wake up in a cold sweat, thinking, “I MUST WRITE MORE!” I usually release a book every two months– I was shaking whenever I thought about how long it would be between Bitter Taffy and my next release.
So when Quickening was done, and it was time to write Winter Ball– oh, I cannot tell you how free I felt. How much I was longing to write a simple story– two guys, working shit out. How much I wanted to write about first times, first sex, first true love, first holiday season in each other’s arms. Something visceral, and hot, but with an underlying tenderness that would just cut you off at the knees, make your breath stop, make you think, “Oh. This is love.”
So, yeah. That’s my history of Christmas releases.
As always, the one coming up is my favorite.