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e-book A Picture Perfect Holiday (MLR Press Story A Day For the Holidays 2011 Book 4)

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Over 40 authors of the genre will be offering up a new story every day for 42 days. Many of the authors here on this blog will be participating. A bit of holiday cheer and hotness. With the added backdrop of Christmas, a time when many think back on their lives and their friendships, I think holiday stories gain a layer of warmth and hopefulness it might not have if set at a different time of the year. It can be a spiritual time of year for many which carries a weight to it that other holidays may not possess and that makes the story have a greater depth for me.

I like happy endings, I like warmth and love and a sense of belonging whether it is to a family or a bond with one other person. Christmas is my favorite holiday and my favorite type of story to read once the air grows frosty and the days are more overcast that sunny. That first swirl of snowflakes bring a touch of magic to the air.

I start imagining colorful lights, pine boroughs and red ribbons, crackling fireplaces and hot cocoa. I think good holiday stories bring that whole sense of belonging to life. Hello there!

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For those of you reading who might know me, that makes sense. Convinced I was an angel sent from God and that someone would steal me away from her, my mother was, as you can imagine, very strict and very stifling. I rarely left my home on my own, and when I did, I was much older—in high school. Consequently, I developed little in the way of social skills. I wanted to go to the parties. I wanted to attend the events. None of them would like me, anyway—I was sure of that.

Getting back to GRL, though. I signed up in January of this year, and back then, October seemed a long, long way away. A distant idea. But the closer it came…the more I realized I was running out of time to back out. I had to go. Doom and gloom followed me for the two weeks before the retreat. My plane would crash. Something would go wrong at home while I was gone—Hubby or one of the animals would die, the house would burn down.

Dirty, seedy. I started crying in the security line at our tiny airport, Elmira Corning Regional. My heart pounded louder and louder as I made my way through. Something was going to go wrong with my bags. I just knew it. On the other side of security, I grabbed my stuff, shoved my shoes back on, and bit my bottom lip as I tried not to bawl my eyes out more and more.

I finally got on the plane. I expected to be seated by some obnoxious someone who wanted to know way too much about me. Instead, an Asian man sat down and proceeded to not speak to me the entire time. My connecting flight was out of Detroit Metro Airport. This place is massive.

I arrived and quickly looked for my gate. I needed to be at A Where was I? Something like A, Probably more like A56, but it seemed like a million miles between my gate and me. I bought some candy, a soda, and a pen with the shape of Michigan on the end, and humped it down to A And waited. More time on my hands to think was not what I needed.

Finally got on my flight, and managed to catch about ten minutes of sleep. A little over two hours later, I arrived in New Orleans. I live in a small town. With registration over, a ton of authors and readers had flooded the lobby, and I knew none of them on sight. Too many people. Too much noise. I fled and ran for registration, then the elevator, and locked myself in my room.

I missed my husband and my dogs and I wanted to go home. I ordered room service; skipped out on what was probably a fun event one of the local bars, and sat up watching repeats of Criminal Minds, Psyche, and Ice Road Truckers on ION Television for hours and hours. What an ass!

MESSED UP CHRISTMAS MOVIES

I mumbled no, then yes…maybe. All the while with me muttering about it not mattering and just going to my room, and beating a path to the check-in desk. That way, I could chicken out and stay in my hotel if I wanted, and no one would be disappointed. Truthfully, that was my idea. I got up, got ready, went downstairs, and headed to the pool for late registration. I found a seat at a table apart from everyone else and sat down. A crowd of people took the table next to mine, and one of them asked if they could steal two of my chairs. I meekly warbled sure. At that point, I knew that human interaction was inevitable.

I had to strike first. Erm…but not that bunch of people to my right. There were too many of them. A lady sat down by herself at a table across the pool from me, and I gathered my courage. DC Juris. We chatted, and then another person came over—Author Marie Sexton. Also lovely! We parted ways after a few minutes.

I got registered, then hopped in a cab, and zoomed off to the Audubon Zoo. My intention was the zoo, then the riverboat book signing. At the zoo, I found myself actually having fun in spite of the fact Hell had opening up and spewed forth a horde of small humans intent on stealing my sanity. I enjoyed being able to go at my own pace.

I managed to tour the entire zoo in record time, something like three hours, I think, then hailed a cab and was off to the riverboat, The Creole Queen.

A Picture Perfect Holiday

The riverboat. Although I did hook up with some people who had the same registration pouch as me, one of them was Laura from the morning, and another turned out to be the person who had spoken to me in the lobby the night before—Ellis Carrington! Well, hell! I knew her! Ellis is awesome—I knew that from Facebook. Once on the riverboat, I booked it to the back for a soda, and then turned around twice and ran into Michele Montgomery and Jeff Erno.

More people I knew! What luck! Michele is SUCH a fangirl!! LOL I broke off at one point and went out onto the deck to take pictures of other ships. In fact, I hate them. With the passion of a thousand hearts. Boats sink and people drown. Plain and simple. I had to do something, after all! Among a ton of others! I mingled some more, and then met back up with Laura and we went to dinner. We ended up bumping into Michele and Jeff again, and Allison Cassatta, who, if you ever get the chance to meet, you should.

You should break down doors to meet this woman. She is fabulous, hilarious, and made of awesome. In this area, as in writing, Jet's self-taught and thoroughly entranced, and now occasionally uses this art to illustrate her stories or her stories to expand upon her art. In real life, Jet is a self-proclaimed hermit, living in southern California with her life partner.

She has a bachelor's degree in acting, but her loathing of auditions has kept her out of the limelight. So she turned to computers and currently works in product management for a software company, because even in real life, she can't help but want to create something out of nothing. That's the best way to describe Jackie Nacht's stories. Then, she thought it was time to put her own stories on paper. She began writing short and sweet stories that ended with a happily ever after.

Thinking back to her own book addiction, where there were many nights she stayed up way too late so she could read just one more chapteryeah, rightshe decided to write short romances for young adults as well as adults. Hopefully, they will give high school and college students or working men and women something they can read during their lunch hour, in between classes or just when they want to briefly get away from the daily stresses of everyday life. William Neale was first published at the age of 11 when he won first place in an essay contest sponsored by his hometown's chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

As an adult, he plummeted from that moral pinnacle of his life by becoming a successful advertising executive, PR spin doctor, and admirer of a good bottle of wine. Now, many years later, he seeks redemption as one of the newest authors of romance and erotica for a gay and gay friendly audience. That sometimes prayers are answered; and sometimes they are blessedly not. That even in the bleakest of times and lives, there really are happy endings - which is what he and his partner of over a decade have found at the historic home they've restored together in Cleveland.

NJ needs to write like she needs to breathe It is an addiction that she never intends to find a cure for. When you don't find NJ writing about the wonderful men in her stories you find her reading work by others NJ lives in the SE of Qld, Australia with her family who all encourage her writing career even if she does occasionally call them by her character's names NJ thinks that anyone taking the time to read her stuff is totally awesome. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker Born in West Palm Beach, Florida and raised Then how about this?

Tinker, tailor, Indian chief Ooooh, especially when smexy men are involved! I've lived in Washington D. I've been in love with words since before I drew breath, and I don't see that ever changing. I write stories. Smexy man to the second The hair curls or frizzes as it will, the eyes are green and tend to look in two different directions-no, really-and the rest is subject to change. You know the guy who didn't know if he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man or a man dreaming he was a butterfly?

Yeah, that's me, but substitute drag queen for butterfly and wacky, wild ex-Army chick for man. Gregory L. Norris grew up on a healthy diet of TV science fiction and creature double-features. He once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount's modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and is a former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel. His work appears regularly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. Albert Nothlit is a writer and an engineer but mostly a writer if you were to ask him.

He enjoys creating science fiction worlds, and writing about how relationships come to be. He loves hearing back from readers, so pleased visit his visit his website, where you can drop him a note and find free stories by him. She often says that her real name sounds like Klingon to foreigners. Seriously, if "Eyjafjallajokull" looks like a random strings of characters, it's nothing in comparison to Erica's name. She's been writing for several years, or ever since reading became an obsession.

Aside from a business degree, Erica has taken English courses at the University of Iceland and gulped down anything that might help her in her career as an author. She takes great interest in English, but will break every single grammar rule for the sake of The Voice. Erica loves hearing from her readers. She's a friendly, easy-going if a bit silly person who doesn't mind talking about herself in third person. Neil Plakcy has been reading romance novels since he used to borrow Harlequins from his mother as a teenager.

A Picture Perfect Holiday | Gay Book Reviews

Publishers Weekly called Mahu Fire "Engrossing Plakcy is a journalist and book reviewer and writes author interviews for Gaywired. He is an assistant professor of English at Broward College's south campus in Pembroke Pines, vice president of the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a frequent contributor to gay anthologies. Jared has been creating art since he could hold a pencil. His love of the written word is only eclipsed by his passion for the visual medium.

It was this passion that drove him to create his first book cover as a gift for a friend's first published novel, and now he gives life to many more characters and their worlds. Louise Ripley is a retired Canadian Professor of Business and of Women's Studies, and an avid American Civil War buff, who believes that prose can be like poetry where one word or one phrase or one story can stand for another that cannot be written.

She also writes poetry. Most of her academic writing can serve as an excellent source of a cure for insomnia, perhaps except for her final piece before retiring -- a study of humour in dog ads. It was on those picket lines that she discovered her "inner guy", who happens to be gay. For as long as he can remember, Michael Rupured has loved to write. Before he learned the alphabet, he filled page after page with rows of tiny little circles he now believes were his first novels and has been writing ever since.

He grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, where he came out as a gay man at the age of 21 in the late s. He considers it a miracle that he survived his wild and reckless twenties. By day, Michael is an academic. He develops and evaluates financial literacy programs for youth and adult audiences at the University of Georgia and is Assistant to the Dean for Family and Consumer Sciences Education. He's received numerous awards and honors over the years and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.

Michael is also an avid gardener, a runner, and because he loves it and rarely misses a class, is known locally as the Zumba King. In , he joined the Athens Writers Workshop, which he credits for helping him transition from writing nonfiction to writing fiction. Michael writes gay romance thrillers that, in addition to entertaining the reader, highlight how far the gay rights movement has come in the last fifty years. A serial monogamist who is currently between relationships, Michael writes with his longhaired Chihuahua, Toodles, in his lap from his home in Athens, Georgia.

Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today. Her husband strives to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. And their kitty, a rescued Abyssinian, is always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration.

Her blog mizner I am a native Californian who has spent the years since graduating high school bouncing around the world at every opportunity. I'm an avid reader who spends much of my time engrossed in romance novels Right now you can find me in Northern California, but who knows where I'll be next? So long as I have my laptop and most discerning critic with me, I'm ready to travel and write from wherever the wind may take me. Kara Solberg has always loved books and language.

For her day job, she copyedits science research articles and writes educational literary studies, but her heart lies with fiction, especially historical romances. Kara lives near Annapolis with her husband, her two kids, and a very noisy cat. When her nose isn't stuck in a book, computer screen, or craft project, she enjoys kayaking and camping with her family.


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Starr is a high energy guy with a big heart and a dirty mind. As those of you who know him can tell, he loves to have fun and lives life with a glass-half-full attitude. While there are times his day job can feel like an EDJ Evil Day Job for those not in the know , he truly loves the work he does with middle school students, families, and teachers.

Despite the pictures and stories to the contrary, DH is actually a homebody type of guy who prefers to spend time with family, curly up with a blanket and a great book, or have dinner parties where he can cook the meals his friends love. But when he parties, he rivals the wildest of the rock stars.

Publishing through Featherweight Press, DH brings the raw emotions of first experiences and issues young people face and lays the emotions out on the page. Richard Stevenson is the pseudonym of Richard Lipez, the author of nine books, including the Don Strachey private eye series.

The Strachey books are being filmed by here! He grew up and went to college in Pennsylvania and served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from Lipez lives in Becket, Massachusetts and is married to sculptor Joe Wheaton. As a journalist, Christopher has written more than one thousand entertainments, lifestyle, and metaphysical feature stories, interviews, reviews and columns that have been published in some of this country's most popular magazines.

Stoebner, his spouse of more than twenty-four years. In addition to writing Liz works at a local hospital and is busy raising her four children. She loves rainy days, spicy food, and has seen about every horror movie known to man. When she has time she'd like to travel the world. She has her sights set on Greece, Mexico and Easter Island. Laurie Terson grew up and still lives in So Cal, with her husband of 30 years. She is the victim of an empty nest since her daughter and son have both moved out, but they have been replaced by a 15 lb cat named Miss Kitty and a 5 lb dog named Peanut.

A daydreamer, stories have always lived inside her head. She has always been and still is an avid reader. She decided to try her hand at writing when she started re-writing scenes from books she's read to make them go the way she thought they should go. When not reading she can be found watching sports, of all kinds. A tomboy while growing up, she loves fishing, camping and traveling. She also enjoys going to the movies, cooking, wine tasting and crafting. She is a believer that love is love, no more, no less. And gender doesn't matter and everyone deserves a happy ever after.

You could almost say Lex has OCD because when it comes to writing, she's driven to put words on paper. Well, digital paper. At the beginning of this decade her love of romance books took her to author sites which led to more writing and the creation of a blog called Sunlight Sucks. That's where author Jennifer Leeland first saw her work and encouraged cough bullied cough her to submit her writing to publishers.

Despite how distinguished that sounds, Lex is still driven by the written word, driven to write them and read them. At one time she had so many books her husband banned her from bringing home anything but digital editions. Creative and a little left of center, with her writing and graphic arts as the main focus of her life these days, Lex is a minority in conservative Orange County where she lives with Rott, her long haired, tattooed husband and a bunch of cats she calls Babies.

She has one daughter, a millennial who is an artist and gamer. Lex loves loud rock music from any era, builds her own computers, wears body jewelry in her ears and has a double helix threaded with purple titanium. Purple is her favorite color of course. A former IT Geek, Lex works full-time as a bean counter at a year old cemetery.

Zev is currently working on his second novel, which will look at the life of Nefertiti from a unique perspective. Zev lives in Brooklyn, New York. Haley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor's life was not for her. She became a successful graphic designer in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the '80s and early '90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her attention toward writing novels. Under another name she became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and writes an acclaimed series of historical mysteries.

She's lived all her life in southern California with a lot of gay friends dealing with a lot of gay issues. Shannon West is a bestselling author of Gay Romance and believes love has no gender. She has over a hundred and twenty-five short stories, novellas and novels to her credit, and her stories usually have a paranormal or sci fi twist, but she also loves contemporary. When she's not reading, she's eluding housework, lost in fantasy worlds, fighting to keep her cats off the keyboard and imagining love scenes--sometimes all at the same time. She makes her home in Georgia, with frequent jaunts to the North Carolina mountains and anywhere else she can, really, as she loves to travel.

She's married with four children, has two cats currently and a bulldog named Rambo. She is almost always working on a few more stories at any given time. Williams is a funny little middle-aged woman who mostly lives in Pennsylvania and writes romance novels you wouldn't expect. Parker Williams has lived in Milwaukee his whole life. He used to write as a teen, but after some hurtful comments by someone important to him, he gave it up. When he became friends with Eden Winters she encouraged him to put pen to paper again, to let the characters still living in his head free upon the world.

Characters such as Taylor, Jackson, Benny, and Addy came forth. It was something he just knew he needed to do. He was grateful when Kris Jacen accepted it, starting him on his path to becoming an actual author. John spent twenty-two years in the military, perfecting the art of looking busy whilst secretly writing. He left as a senior officer when his tunnel was ready for use. He is now living in New Zealand until he can raise enough money to leave.

Although he has no plans to return to the army, he can occasionally be caught polishing his medals. Ryal Woods is the author of the Secrets of the Senses series. She experiments with writing styles and genres, which include stream of consciousness, poetic prose, classic romance codpiece busters, mythologies, and metaphysical and philosophical fiction.

Woods' interest is literature about men who are expressive and intellectual as well as sensual. Her goal is to create stories that invite readers to extend their own thoughts about the characters and their lives beyond what is written on the page. She lives in Boulder Colorado.

Visit Woods at her website Stories for Boys. Stevie is a Brit living in the Northwest of England and has recently been able to leave her day job behind - though it's a quandary that there still doesn't seem to be much more free time in her day! A long time avid reader of romance with a dash of adventure, Stevie only stumbled over 'slash' pairings a few years ago and was an immediate convert.

Having dabbled with writing on and off for years, it wasn't long before Stevie was tapping away on the keyboard inventing stories around two hot guys, gaining her first publication in the summer of Stevie likes reading stories with a good strong plot and believable characters and does her best to create them in her own work. Stevie has a soft spot for Historical settings but also thoroughly enjoys SF and Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary, finding the similarities as intriguing as the differences.

Stevie already has a variety of novels, novellas and short stories released by other publishers. Atom was born to Chinese immigrant parents who thought it'd be a hoot to raise him as an immigrant, too--so he grew up estranged in a familiar land, which gives him an interesting perspective. He's named after a Japanese manga comic book character his father loved, in case you were wondering. For news and more, please follow him at www. Writing is Sara York's life. The stories fight to get out, often leaving her working on four or five books at once.

She can't help but write. Along with her writing addiction Sara has a coffee addiction. Some nights, the only reason she stops writing and goes to sleep is for the fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Sara enjoys writing twisted tales of passion, anger, and love with a good healthy dose of lust thrown in for fun. Almost a quarter of a century ago she met her lover, falling for him after knowing him for ten minutes. Sara's passion for him comes out in her stories, mixing with her passion for life, love, and good times, flowing onto the page and becoming tales from the heart.

Lance Zarimba is an occupational therapist working in Minneapolis, MN. His first novel, Vacation Therapy , will be out soon. He is an avid book collector and enjoys all the cultural events the Twin Cities have to offer. His Therapy series, Vacation Therapy, Missing Therapy, Shock Therapy, and Family Therapy, involve an occupational therapist who solves crimes with the help but more likely the hindrances of his friends. He can be reached at LanceZarimba yahoo. Logan Zachary is a mystery author living in Minneapolis, MN, where he works as an occupational therapist, is an avid reader and book collector.

Mark Zubro is the author of twenty-four mystery novels and five short stories. Pawn of Satan , his next mystery in his Paul Turner series, will be out in October. Safe , his first young adult book, will be out later this fall. Our Talent Clyde Abbott Clyde hangs out in paradise. Derek Adams Website Derek Adams is the award-winning author of a popular series of novels featuring the spectacularly inept detective, Miles Diamond.

Kyle loves hearing from readers so feel free to contact him. Victor J. Their love affair as well as some startling revelations about an older family friend named Daniel brings Jonas closer to his own family as well as the brother he never met. There is no indication here that Jonas is himself gay. Nor is he judgmental about Paul and Petr. He is curious about the brother he will never know, but his curiosity never becomes prurient. Although his version of the story is a bit self-serving, enough solid facts remain for Jonas to piece together what actually happened between Daniel and Paul as well as how his affair with Petr progressed.

But perhaps symmetry would not work in this case. One gets the feeling Jonas will take what he has learned to his own grave. An atmospheric and interesting read, My Brother and His Brother is successful on all levels—as art and as entertainment. Leave a comment. Filed under Uncategorized. Buy it now direct from MLR Press. How did his parents really die? And does Billy Ray really have the hottest, saltiest nuts in the state?

Rosen has a knack for this light, frothy mix no, no…not santorum of sex, mystery and setting, and this outing is just as satisfying as the others. It never stoops to be cloying or cute, relying on a breakneck sense of pacing. But Rosen also has a way with false endings—just when you think all the loose ends are tied up, someone else makes a confession or another shot rings out and yet another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Buy it now from Rebel Satori Press. You forge ahead anyway, leading with your heart despite the warning signs.


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  • The problem? Jay really loves his fiancee, Zahra. And Harry really loves Jay—just like he loved Matteo, who was also unattainable but for different reasons. It would be tempting to make Zahra the villain here, but Closs wisely avoids this trap, keeping her in the shadows for the first few chapters and making her appear somewhat inscrutable when she does show up. That gives her a distance that allows us to focus on Harry and Jay. Those flashbacks, however, are all the more revelatory for the delay. Their absence lets us see the patterns Harry establishes with Jay so that we can better see the similarities between the two relationships.

    One of the differences between them, however, is the danger factor.