Now that Handmade Holidays is out and about—thank all of you who pre-ordered or snapped it up right away, I actually hit the top-10 in my little “two hour read” category!—it turns out my next challenge was viral. I’m fighting off a cold, and it’s a doozy, and so I’ve not been doing much in the way of creative writing. I’m going to skip Writing Wednesdays today, because it would just depress me and my head hurts.
But. Today, Melissa Brayden (who you need to check out if you’ve not checked her out) posted about her latest tie-in (I call ’em “Easter Eggs”), but whatever you call the little cameos or nods to previous stories, I adore them, and I try to make a habit of them, too.
So it occurred to me that instead of sitting here under a blanket feeling woozy and sad for myself, I could sit here under a blanket feeling woozy and sad for myself and maybe do a blog about some of my tie-ins/Easter Eggs/cameos.
Easter Eggs for Christmas
I’ll start with Handmade Holidays because it’s the most recent, but I have a feeling it’ll get all snarled up in no time and there’ll be no chronology to the blog. Also, I’m on cold meds and so really, I should consider myself lucky I’m still speaking in English at this point.
Okay. So. Handmade Holidays starts with Nick on his own, coming home from his shift at Book It, where he’s been picking up shifts from other staff as Christmas approaches. His boss, Tracey, knows she can count on him for this.
That would be the same Tracey who is Chris’s boss in the short story “Struck” from Foolish Hearts, working as the assistant manager at the same Book It. She’s on maternity leave when “Struck” happens, though, and by then, Nick is at another store, which adds to Chris’s misery, as he’s the only queer guy remaining to face off against the homophobic maternity-leave replacement put in her place.
By the second Christmas, Nick meets Matt while they’re both in line at a small, local-chain coffee shop, Bittersweets. Bittersweets is mentioned in “Struck,” too, but it really debuted in “Vanilla,” included in Threesome: Him, Him, and Me. Pete Marlin, the manager of one of the Bittersweets, shows interest in making a cross-promotional deal with Avery, the new owner of the candy store in the Village (among other things he’s interested in doing with Avery).
By the fifth Christmas, Matt brings a boyfriend to the yearly Christmas parties: Johnny.
Johnny doesn’t get a lot of presence in Handmade Holidays, but it is mentioned he can be somewhat campy, and those of you who read “Line of Sight” in Love Between Men might have recognized him as Cameron’s energetic friend, who was so upset by a particular request from his then-boyfriend that he ended the relationship and started dating someone else. (It didn’t work out with him, either, but now he’s with Matt and those boys are going to make it for the long run, I’d say).
In the sixth Christmas, Haruto is called back to Oneida. His father is a teacher at the high school there, and needs him. Oneida is a fictionalized version of one of the many places I grew up, and that high school (and town) appears in a few of my stories, but the first time is in “The Psychometry of Snow” from The Bears of Winter. Luke and Rick first met each other there. I don’t think either of them hung out with Haruto, unfortunately, as Luke was too addled most of the time, and Rick was a burly jock-type, and older than them both.
But Wait, There’s More!
There are also references to stories yet to come.
The Stephen Bees, Erik’s somewhat obnoxious friends, feature in an as-yet unpublished erotic story of mine called “The Rear Admiral,” hosting one of the very wine tastings where Nick remembers being made to feel so unwelcome.
FunkArt, the gallery in the Village where Phoebe purchases a glass ornament, is one of the businesses I’m visiting in my Village series of novellas that I’m working on. I’ve gotten two of them written out of the five I’ve planned to have ready to release within close range of each other, but there’s no release date for them as of yet.
But the most immediate Easter Egg of Stories Yet-to-Come? One of the guys who helps out Nick after the disastrous revelation of the Sixth Christmas is Morgan, who gets mentioned a couple of times in Handmade Holidays. He has his own novella on the horizon for next year, which I co-authored with Angela S. Stone. It’s called “Saving the Date,” and it’s going to be a part of the 1Night Stand series. I wrote the Morgan POV chapters, and Angela wrote the Zach POV chapters, and I’m sure I’ll be making lots of noise about that later. Also Phoebe returns in “Saving the Date,” as Morgan’s boss at The Urbane Myth, her consignment clothing shop in the Village.