Hello, my lovelies. I’m popping in to share another holiday read! If you like your romance filled with men, and men, and more men… Have I got an anthology for YOU!
MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE has holiday short stories from some of the male/male fiction genre’s biggest names. Here’s a little peek at what you’ll be getting with this anthology…
LONE STAR by Josh Lanyon – Growing up in rural Texas, Mitchell Evans’s ambition to be a dancer made him a target. Though he found success in New York City, Mitch is at a crossroads, and heads home for the first time in twelve years to figure things out. When what appears to be a reindeer jumps out in front of his car, he drives off the road and into the path of the one man he hoped to avoid.
The last person Texas Ranger Web Eisley expects to see four days before Christmas is his first love. He hasn’t seen Mitch since they quarreled over coming out to their friends and family years ago. Though he’s not in the closet now, Web has worked hard for the respect of his fellow officers, but he still regrets the loss of Mitch in his life. And his bed.
The attraction between them is as strong as ever, and it doesn’t take long for the men to pick up where they left off. But is love enough to keep Mitch in town in the New Year?
THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION by KA Mitchell - It’s Christmas in Epiphany, Pennsylvania—the busiest time of year for Mel Halner. But running the family Christmas tree farm has worn down his love for the happiest season of all, and lately Mel’s been wondering what if he’d said yes to a ticket out of town with millionaire Bryce Campion three years ago.
Bryce isn’t used to people saying no to him, and he can’t forget Mel or their brief but sizzling affair. He might not have been offering forever, but Bryce can’t understand a guy as sexy and smart as Mel choosing to stay rooted on the family farm over enjoying the high life with him. He’s determined to make Mel see what he’s missed out on the first chance he gets.
MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME by Ava March – Alexander Norton loathes the festive season. The revelry of the tonis a reminder of Christmas four years ago, when his first love, Thomas Bennett, broke his heart and fled to New York without a word. So when he encounters Thomas at a holiday ball, Alexander is determined not to let on how much he still hurts.
Thomas has returned for one reason only: Alexander. Having finally come to terms with his forbidden desires, he will do whatever he must to convince Alexander to give their love another chance. But instead of the happy, carefree man Thomas once knew, Alexander is now hard and cynical. Saddened to know he’s to blame for the man’s bitterness, Thomas resolves to reignite the passion he knows lies hidden behind the wall of disdain…
WINTER KNIGHTS by Harper Fox - Historian Gavin Lowden is in Northumberland on Christmas Eve for two reasons: to find evidence of a romantic bond between Arthur and Lancelot, and to finally tell his partner Piers that he loves him. Piers has promised to come clean with his conservative family and join Gavin for their first holiday as a couple, but at the last minute, he bails. Devastated, Gavin heads out onto the moors alone, just as snow begins to fall…
Gavin stumbles into an underground chamber, where strange happenings cause him to question what is real and what is fantasy. He’s found by two mysterious men who offer him a bed for the night—and awaken him to nuances of erotic pleasure he didn’t know existed. Pleasure he hopes to share with Piers.
When Piers learns that Gavin has gone missing, he is desperate to find him. He knows now breaking up was a terrible mistake, and he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship—if it’s not already too late.
I was lucky enough to get a few minutes of rare free time from the MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE’S editor extraordinaire, Angela James for a mini Q&A about this anthology and her holiday plans.
Had you read anything from these authors BEFORE editing the stories for the anthology? If so, how do the holiday stories compare (in overall feel) to their “everyday” work?
With the exception of KA Mitchell, I’d actually worked with all of the authors before in some capacity. I have a long editorial relationship with Ava and Josh, and Harper has written several novellas for Carina Press, including her debut novel, Life After Joe, which I read on submission. I’ve long been a fan of all four authors’ work, even outside our editorial relationships, and I was excited to get the chance to finally work with KA.
All of the authors are exactly the type of author an editor wants to work with—they delivered polished stories with fantastic holiday storylines, and were an absolute dream to do edits with. Fans of their other works will find all four authors have delivered the same character-driven, uber-readable stories they’ve become used to from past works.
Is it harder/easier/the same to edit a short story? Are there benefits to the length of a story from an editorial standpoint? (Character building, continuity, story arcs, etc.)
I adore editing novellas, especially now that I don’t get to do much editing anymore (my job is much more administrative these days). I find novellas edit much more quickly and are easier to fit into my schedule. The challenge is that not every author can write in the short format. It is challenging building a realistic relationship with fully realized characters in a novella setting. Every author I’ve worked with on their novellas has had so much talent developing the story and characters in a short time, I’ve been amazingly fortunate.
Do you ever read a short story, then beg the author to find a way to make it longer or continue it in some way? If so, how successful have your requests been, lol?
Oh yes, we’ve asked authors to both lengthen and write sequels to novellas. I don’t think I’ve ever had an author say no to a request like this.
What is the thing you’re looking most forward to this holiday? (traditions? food? family? presents? time off, lol?)
This is going to sound bad, but it’s definitely time off. I traveled a lot for work in 2011 (gone for around a total of at least 2 months!) so I’m alittle tired and have so much stuff around my house I need to get done. Because I was always traveling for work, I didn’t take much vacation, so I have to use it before the end of the year or lose it! So I find myself with 2 weeks off at the end of December and I’m really looking forward to just…being. And having time to read. And sadly, clean my house (sounds fun, no?)
I will say that we have a Christmas Eve tradition of doing a mini-train ride around a local park that has Christmas lights set up, and then going out to dinner. I love that tradition. And yes, I also really, really love presents. I love getting surprises and seeing what people think I’d love (everyone should feel free to shop for me. I’m easy to shop for, honest!)
Thanks for featuring our holiday collection, Jennifer. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I loved editing it. And I also hope they’ll also check out my other two 2011 holiday collections, A Clockwork Christmas (steampunk) and Holiday Kisses (contemporary).
I want to thank Angela for sharing her thoughts with us… have fun with your down time!! Now… it’s time for you all to check out this awesome anthology. (And if you’re interested, yes, the stories are available individually, as well.) Go… Read… Be Merry!!