This year I have two new holiday anthologies to add. The first is a Charity bundle from Riptide Publishing.
Riptide’s 2016 Charity Bundle – Benefiting The Trevor Project.
Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity.
Twenty percent of the proceeds of this title will be donated to The Trevor Project.
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: thetrevorproject.org.
This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:
Click logo for buy link:
Next up is the 2016 Advent Calendar from Dreamspinner Press. Bah Humbug!
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Genres: Contemporary / Holiday / Mythology / Other Paranormal / Urban Fantasy / Vampires /Werewolves/Shapeshifters / Western
Summary: There’s always that one guy for whom the holiday season is anything but jolly. It’s a bother, a trial, or in a few cases, a downright misery, but in the end, the holidays bring hope, love, and cheer to even the darkest of days. What else but love would get Scrooge willingly under the mistletoe?
Holiday reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in December. More than 400,000 words of romantic fiction in 31 stories that would sell individually for a total of $85.69. Buy the package early and save:
October – $39.99 November* – $49.99
*Sale of packages for daily delivery ends Nov. 25.
Beginning December 1, stories will be available individually as priced or as a bulk package for $64.99.
click logo for buy link:
#ChristmasHatesYouToo by E.F. Mulder
Born December 25, Noel Beebe is tired of having his birthday overshadowed by all things Christmas. While looking for love on social media, he comes across a prospective new beau just in time to celebrate the Big 3-0, someone who encourages him to take back his day and say thumbs down to Christmas! On a trip to the Big Apple, Noel does just that, flipping off the Rockefeller Center tree and demanding his coffee in a nondecorative paper cup as a fun birthday prank. His act of defiance is caught on video and soon goes viral, leading to a backlash all over the Twitterverse, Internet, and TV. Suddenly what Noel thought would be his best birthday—and even Christmas—yet is shaping up to be his worst. Can his family and his potential boyfriend prove to the world that Noel isn’t the Scrooge he’s been labeled?
All I Want for Christmas… Is No Christmas by Colton Aalto
Alec Ryder’s arrest in Aspen, early on the morning of December twenty-fifth, is the latest disaster in his series of unhappy Christmases. He’s dreaded the holiday since being subjected to endless church services as a child. Being kicked out on Christmas Day after he came out to his parents, followed by an improbable series of yearly yuletide trips to the emergency room, haven’t made his Christmases any merrier. But getting busted for prostitution is the worst catastrophe; it means Alec’s dream of a college degree is gone, replaced by the specter of jail time.
Just when Alec thinks things can’t get worse, Hayden Adler shows up to interrogate him. Hayden is a glamorous attorney who also happens to be Alec’s college roommate’s cousin. Alec’s had a crush on Hayden for years, but whatever miniscule chance Alec might’ve had is now history—just like the life he’s been trying to build for himself.
But things aren’t quite what they seem. In a long line of miserable Christmases, Alec will never forget this one, although not for the reasons he suspects.
Analog to Digital by Posy Roberts
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.
And to All a Good Night by Felicitas Ivey
Kobbi AAkers was excited to have a traditional family Christmas with his younger sister Franzi, a famous rock star. But instead of the peaceful holiday he had planned, she’s turning it into a televised musical extravaganza, in a desperate bid for publicity.
Kobbi can adapt, especially since the show’s host Wytt Kanard is easy on the eyes and easy to work with, even if he doesn’t believe in Christmas at all. Wytt is alternatively amused and horrified at the simplicity that is Kobbi’s life and the enthusiasm he has for the holiday, all while taking care of his houseful of unexpected guests.
Maybe Kobbi can convince the cynical Wytt that Christmas isn’t an event to be managed, but something special to be shared. Maybe he can muster the courage to confess his attraction and offer Wytt a surprise present.
Anyplace Else by Kim Fielding
Grant Beaudoin should be thrilled to escape Minneapolis at Christmastime and grateful to lounge on a Hawaiian beach. Instead he is mired in self-pity and drowning in too much tequila. His twin is marrying the perfect man, while Grant is stuck in middle management with no love life in sight. A walk into the rain forest leads to a meeting with a doomed man who has a story about a holiday that predates Christmas. Grant comes to realize that difficult endings can lead to new beginnings—and perhaps a brighter future.
Bite Night by Clare London
Creatures of the Night and Santa’s Christmas duties don’t mix. Every myth and bedtime story tells you so.
But on Christmas Eve, when the Elves walked off the job over pension rights, it was time for me—Irwin, the only vampire on Santa’s payroll, despite recent diversity initiatives—and my trusty team to help out. Just deliver a few parcels, Santa asked me. Just help out on your local patch. Just for one night.
Armed with my reluctance to face all that human sentimentality, and accompanied by a wise-cracking werewolf and an unruly fairy with a taste for vodka, I did my best. Honest.
But we were heading for disaster until I came face-to-face with cute babysitter Benny. It’s Santa’s Number One Rule—no interaction with the clients. But Benny somehow managed to upset my appetite, inflame my libido, and restore my faith in the Christmas spirit, with one cheeky smile and a tasty body piercing.
It’s Christmas, and the show must go on!
Crashing the Party by Ginger Streusel
Retail workers and evil never get a day off, and traveling printer salesman Kale Green is no exception. He might look like a Jolly Green Giant, but he can be a real Grinch. Working on the holidays can dampen anyone’s spirits, and on top of that, a sleepy Georgia town has it out for Kale and his car. From fender-benders to flat tires, Kale and his trusty company car Bessie suffer through it all.
While everyone else enjoys holiday parties, Kale drives down south to demo printers. Business is good, but on Christmas Eve, the weather turns bad. A few patches of ice put an end to Kale’s Christmas plans—a night alone with his video games. While Kale waits for the police, his only consolation is the company of fellow driver Wes Armstrong. As festive as a Christmas tree and as jolly as Kris Kringle, Wes proves unexpectedly charming. Kale never thought he’d crash right into a crush.
Cursed Miracles by Meg Harding
Two hundred years ago on Christmas Eve, William Mashinter was frozen in time, cursed by his wife to roam the world on his own, waiting for the love of his life to find him. The love of his life, whom she killed. Time hasn’t healed this wound, and William is tired of the happy holiday and the constant reminders of a love that’s been taken from him. But then the impossible happens, and maybe… maybe he can get a new Christmas perspective.
Brady Gallagher has lived three different lives, always aware of the first and most important, yet unable to find the man who will fill in the missing pieces and let him know he’s not crazy. He encounters him at a work event, of all places, but is he willing to throw everything else to the wind and embrace the miracle laid out before him?
Don’t Let the Light Go Out by L.A. Merrill
Ray Fine would like to forget Hanukkah even exists. The holiday holds too many sad memories for the young widower. When he’s paired with new convert Josiah Wilson in a year-long welcoming program at his synagogue, he doesn’t know how he’ll get through eight days of celebration, let alone twelve months of guidance.
Josiah has enough on his plate—school, conversion, the holiday concert season—without becoming someone’s shoulder to cry on. But when he discovers there’s more to his new synagogue buddy’s sadness than a case of the “Hanukkah Blues,” he sets out to show Ray how much there is to live for.
The first blizzard of the season has other plans, though, and Hanukkah might be a lost cause if Ray and Josiah can’t plow through the snow—and their differences. Determined not to lose Ray to his own darkness, Josiah plans to teach him a lesson about the real Miracle of Light—and love.
Driven to Distraction by Cassie Decker
Cowboys Wyatt and Brady are competing in a team roping event in Missoula, Montana’s annual Christmas Eve rodeo. Christmas is Wyatt’s favorite time of year and nothing is going to dampen his holiday spirit, not even his surly, no-nonsense roping partner. They’ve only been riding together for a week, but Wyatt has already secretly fallen head-over-boot-heels for Brady, though it’s painfully obvious Brady only has eyes for the rodeo’s grand prize purse.
When Brady is distracted during a crucial moment in the night’s first roping run and nearly disqualifies them, Wyatt is almost certain he is going to be another of Brady’s many rejected partners. Will Wyatt and Brady be able to sort out their differences and work together to win the grand prize? Maybe if Wyatt can show Brady that Christmas really is a time for miracles.
First New Year’s After the Apocalypse by Jessica Payseur
Wade Turner takes a drunk Jaxxon home after work hoping to get laid. What he gets instead is news that the world as they know it is ending—superbugs are sweeping the nation, leaving high death tolls in their wake, and the president has been assassinated. In this new storm of chaos everyone is referring to as the Apocalypse, Wade decides their chances are better if they stick together.
But when Jaxxon’s ex dies in a hurricane and his daughter goes missing, Wade watches the man he loves slip into despair. Desperate to save his relationship, Wade leaves in the middle of the night on a dangerous journey to save Jaxxon’s daughter—a child he’s not sure is even still alive. If he can put this family back together, maybe there will still be something worth celebrating in the aftermath of the Apocalypse.
Guardian Angels by Geneva Vand
One snowy evening, a car wreck in front of his toy store triggers terrible memories for Jake. Suddenly, he is in the midst of another winter storm—and another accident, one that not everyone walked away from. When he returns to the present, Jake is on the ground, being watched over by a guardian angel in the form of a kind man named Eli. Eli is no stranger to panic attacks and PTSD, and he’s happy to help Jake get home—where the weather forces him to remain for the night. For Jake, it could be the first step toward a life free from fear and loneliness.
How the Supervillain Stole Christmas by Charles Payseur
Rex Devious (Dr. Devious to meddlesome do-gooders everywhere) can go toe-to-toe with superheroes without blinking an eye. So picking out a Christmas present for his new boyfriend should be no problem. After all, he and Sanjay seem perfect for each other. But with a terrible track record for finding gifts that won’t scare his potential partners away, Rex is paralyzed with insecurity. Until, of course, he decides to change tactics. Instead of having to pick out that perfect present, why not just destroy Christmas altogether? If his nemeses (or his conscience) can’t stop him first, he might just become the supervillain who stole Christmas.
Iced by Jon Keys
Keith Walker, a mall bookstore employee, is struggling to get through another miserable holiday season while trying to preserve a crumbling long-term relationship. One of his few comforts is his morning coffee made by a good-looking, younger barista. Austin Novak felt an attraction when Keith started frequenting the coffee shop, but he doesn’t think the older man has any interest in him or his graphic novel collection.
A Christmas week snowstorm buries the city and locks Keith’s car into its parking spot. Keith decides to show Austin his gratitude for helping free the car from the ice with a dinner invitation. The meal becomes complicated when Austin meets Keith’s boyfriend, Shawn, and things go downhill from there when Shawn announces he’s heading to Cancún with his coworkers. Keith is caught between keeping his boyfriend happy and keeping his job. But Keith might not need a plane ticket to find the happiness that’s been missing from his life.
Krampus Hates Christmas by Andi Van
Karl Kringle hates the modern-day Christmas. He was born to be Krampus, but the Holiday Council refuses to let him help his brother Nick—aka Santa Claus—with the Naughty List until he finds his holiday spirit. To meet that challenge, he’s turned human and dumped in a strange apartment.
Lewis Weatherby loves the holidays and always has. Not only do his parents own a pumpkin patch and tree farm, he’s also inherited a Christmas-themed shop. All he wants from Santa is the man of his dreams, and the Big Guy might’ve just delivered. Lewis’s new neighbor Karl is gorgeous, sweet, and has a fantastic sense of humor—if his jokes about being Krampus are any indication.
Soon getting home is less important to Karl than what will happen when Lewis inevitably realizes the truth behind his jokes. He’s finally starting to understand the real joy of the season—now he just has to figure out how to hold on to it.
Matthew’s Present by Sarah Hadley Brook
Matthew Blick is almost thirty years old, and he hates the thought of another holiday alone. He has become a bit of a wet blanket when Christmas rolls around every year. So much so that even his five-year-old niece, Hannah, knows something needs to change. She asks the department store Santa to bring her uncle a man to love, and when Santa sees her uncle, he formulates a plan to set that possibility in motion.
Santa shows up at Matthew’s house and at first Matthew can’t place him, but then the memories of his first kiss flood his mind and he is shocked to find that Santa is the man he has carried a torch for since high school. Will this twist of fate help Matthew change his view on the holidays? Only a kiss can tell.
Mele Kalikimaka by B.G. Thomas & Noah Willoughby
Being rich has its advantages, but it is also rife with suffocating pressures and family telling Chandler Buckingham how to live his life. When his assistant offers to help him escape the mounting obligations of the holiday season by running away to Hawaii, Chandler jumps at the chance. Only to find nothing is quite as he’d expected.
Micah Keolu has lived in Hawaii all his life. He has to work two jobs and has little time for a social life, but his loving family and the island beauty around him have given him a heart as big as the ocean. And then one day he rescues a man trapped in an elevator in the building where Micah lives and works maintenance.
The unexpected happens as they find themselves drawn together, only to learn there is more to each other than meets the eye. Can two men from very different worlds find a way to enrich each other’s lives? Maybe the magic of the holidays just might bring them lasting joy!
Of Mooning Santas and Penis Lights by Thianna Durston
Former US Marine John Ving hates everything about holiday displays: they’re tacky, they waste energy, and they’re an eyesore. So what does his new neighbor do? He sets up the holiday spectacle from hell, and he doesn’t seem to care which holiday—he has a menorah, a baby Jesus, a Santa, and everything in between. Not to mention it’s swathed in enough lights his house is probably visible from space.
High-school teacher Kaden loves the holidays, and huge light displays on his lawn make his heart glow. He’d love to share some cheer—and maybe some kinky fun—with his smoking hot neighbor John. Odd things start to happen to his displays and just as he begins to think life is going his way, with the holidays and with John, a Grinch destroys everything.
It’s gonna take the display-hating John to set things right—and what he has planned might blow Kaden’s mind.
Pixies and Paperwork by Cassia Rose
Micheal Donovan’s family has kept the peace between mortal and magical realms for generations, but Micheal skipped out on glory for other plans. He finished school, got a nine-to-five, and tried to fit in. When his cousin meets an unfortunate end on All Hallows, Micheal abruptly inherits the position of Riftkeeper, along with all the prestige and responsibility he didn’t want. Estranged from his family, Micheal never learned the details of the job. All the grumpy, ancestral spirit now possessing his goldfish can tell him is that a mistake could be catastrophic. Micheal isn’t feeling the holiday cheer, and coworkers’ attempts to encourage him only add to a headache of magical proportions. To make matters worse, Ryan Nickles, Micheal’s colleague and cubicle neighbor, has assembled enough Christmas decorations to attract more pixies than Micheal can hide.
When Micheal’s attempts to find the Winter Court on the week of the solstice leave him with nothing but a bad cold, he fears he’ll be the first Riftkeeper to break ancient contracts. He’s too stressed to handle Ryan’s attempts to get him into the holiday spirit, but Ryan might know more about the magic of the season than Micheal realizes.
Popcorn Garlands by Ariel Tachna
Carlos Mendez spends all year working hard at his Houston-based landscaping business, and he sends every spare penny he earns back to his family in Mexico. By the time the holidays roll around, he doesn’t have much patience for the unadulterated greed and consumerism paraded past him. But a chance meeting with his neighbor, Ned Williams, and Ned’s cancer-stricken daughter, might help to remind him of the real meaning of the season—something beyond the gaudy lights and extravagant displays—something he wants to be a part of.
Ranger Station Haven by S.A. Stovall
Federal park ranger Carter Williams dislikes kids almost as much as he dislikes Christmas. He chose his career to escape human contact, not embrace it. And no matter how much his husband Owen tries to sway his opinion, Carter is a grump who would rather ignore the holiday. Owen’s efforts are put on hold, however, when they get a call about six missing foster kids lost in the park.
Christmas Eve takes a turn for the worse when Owen injures himself rescuing the children. Stranded in a snowstorm until dawn, Carter has to keep Owen awake and healthy while simultaneously watching six runaways. What he thinks is a nightmare come to life is actually a beautiful gift in disguise—the kids transform the ranger station into a Christmas wonderland. And before it’s all said and done, they might transform Carter’s heart as well—if he can keep his bah humbug attitude in check.
Resolutions by Emma Keene
As an advertising executive, it’s Logan’s job to sell people holiday cheer, and he’s good at what he does. But deep down, Logan hates everything about Christmas, so he worries that his crush on the hot baker who loves the holidays is a recipe for disaster.
Last year, Logan saw Ryan at a holiday party Ryan was catering, and the attraction was instant. In a drunken moment, Logan made it his New Year’s Resolution to ask the pastry chef out. But another year has slipped away, time is running out, and Logan’s assistant demands he collect on his resolution. Can Logan find the confidence that usually comes so easily to him? And if he does, will Ryan have any interest in spending the holidays with a man who doesn’t share his enthusiasm for the season?
Santa for Hire by Asta Idonea
Dumped by his ex on Christmas Eve two years ago, Oxford Street department store manager Richard Barrett now hates the holidays. Things go from bad to worse when the store’s usual Santa is too ill to reprise his role and the firm sends cocky but handsome Blaine Ryder to take his place. The attraction between the two is clear, but Blaine is an incorrigible player who reminds Richard of his ex. His idea of a relationship is a quick roll in the hay, and his advances have Richard running for the hills. It might take some special intervention for both of them to realize they can change enough to have a chance at a holiday romance.
Scrooged Over by David Connor
For dueling radio hosts Deke and Dudley, the battle over Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. Deke hates the whole season. Dudley is a yuletide overachiever. They put their debate to a vote, inviting audience members to weigh in. The loser must go on a blind date of the winner’s choosing. Dudley decides he wouldn’t mind taking the loss, if his blind date, picked by Deke, turns out to be Deke himself. As Christmas gets closer, not only does that fantasy seem unlikely, but everything that can go wrong for Dudley does, including malfunctioning decorations, rancid cookies, and a lost pile of hundreds of handwritten Christmas cards. Just days before Santa’s arrival, Dudley’s about to throw in the red and green towel and join all the haters. It’ll take a miracle to change his mind….
Simple After All by Yolande Kleinn
Noah Fiore, contracts attorney and dedicated curmudgeon, spends every Christmas with his family on the shore of Lake Superior. It’s practically tradition for his sister to invite a tragic tagalong to the festivities. But this year Kara’s guest is no pity case. Riley Coto is a friend, and his warmth and charm quickly win over the Fiore family.
When Riley overhears Noah complaining about Kara’s habit of bringing home strays for the holidays, he feels more than a little out of place. But Riley finds himself drawn to Noah. Something tells him there’s more to the man than the bad attitude he shows the world. With Christmas coming fast, Riley is falling for Noah, and there’s nothing simple about that.
Teddy Bears by Brandon Witt
Other than working the front desk of a gay bathhouse in Denver, Brian McKay is a bit of a recluse. At the best of times, his social life consists of work, role-playing games at a local toyshop, and making YouTube videos with his Teddy Bear hamsters. The arrival of the holidays—with the annoying music, Christmas shopping, and all the reminders of how he disappointed his father—just reinforces his reclusive nature.
When James Olsen, a gorgeous daddy bear who frequents the bathhouse, notices him, Brian is at a loss. He’s not proud of his own bear status or his struggle with weight. The idea that James has interest in him beyond an easy hookup is more than Brian can fathom. But with a little bit of holiday magic, James might help Brian learn to accept Christmas again—and himself.
The Fortune Cookie by Matt Burlingame
Thirty-three-year-old technical writer Laurence Hart is a modern-day Scrooge when it comes to the holiday season—and the rest of the year, too. He doesn’t like most people, they don’t like him, and he’s happy to keep it that way. Over lunch with his best friend, he receives a fortune cookie promising him true love. The next day, forced to work on a holiday charity committee or lose his job, he meets Nick, a jolly ginger giant who loves all things Christmas. Together they face numerous obstacles to put together a holiday fair to raise money for children in foster care, in only four days. While Laurence has to mend his curmudgeonly ways to make the event a success, Nick’s holiday magic might mend Laurence’s heart.
The Orpheum Miracle by Pat Henshaw
Christmas joy is a matter of perspective. For some, it’s the happiest time of the year. For others, not so much.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their joy.
Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.
The Stockings Were Hung by Cassie Sweet
Hill hates Christmas.
The shoppers. The cheer. The drama. All of it.
Each holiday season is a painful reminder that seven years before, his lover, Drew, walked out of his life and moved across the country, leaving Hill like a cup of rotten eggnog. Now Drew is back and wants Hill to put a little jingle in his bells. Well, not this Scrooge.
Drew admits he moved to get away from Hill—but not for the reasons Drew gave him all those years ago. Some of his best memories are of Christmases he celebrated with Hill, and he wants nothing more than to spend a little holly jolly with the only man he’s ever loved. However, getting Hill to agree to a reunion is going to take a Christmas miracle.
The Vampire’s Dinner by TJ Nichols
For vampire Charles Redfort, Christmas is a bitter reminder of the day he was killed by a werewolf. After fleeing the vampire army he was created to serve in, he has lived in exile in England. Once a year he allows himself to tell the truth about his life over dinner. Then he eats the man he’s hired for the night.
Blake Wells is an engineering student by day and escort by night. He works Christmas because he doesn’t want to see his father, and his mother doesn’t want to see him. When he meets Charles, he thinks he’s gotten a bonus present that he can’t wait to unwrap. But as the truth is revealed, Blake will have to think fast to live until morning and convince Charles to give up his lonely life.
Traditions by Ann Anderson
When Marcus and James started dating a few years ago, James invited Marcus home to spend the holidays with his close, Christmas-loving family. Marcus quickly realized once was enough, and since then, he’s stayed behind.
But this year will be different. Though the festivity and chaos make Marcus uncomfortable, he loves James, and he’s decided to put aside his unease so they can spend Christmas together—even if it means losing his hotel room to one of James’s siblings, braving the cold to go caroling, and battling the crowds so the children can visit Santa. It’ll all be worth it if Marcus can take his place in the family’s traditions—and maybe begin a new tradition for the two of them.