My husband had to get up at three in the morning to catch a flight to Miami for work today. Max didn’t take it so well, and ended up keeping me awake ever since, so I’ve been going for roughly four hours now, and it’s going to be a long, long day.
I imagine there’s some holiday re-reading in my immediate future.
Speaking of which…
This is probably the Christmas story I re-read the most. A Coventry Christmas, while technically not queer in the sense that the main character is Keelie is a straight woman, has one of her best buds, Evan, who is gay and gets a fully formed side-plot complete with a love story. Not only is Keelie a well-written ally, the theme of chosen family pops up quite a bit, too, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s queer enough.
Keelie is a blast. She’s an assistant manager for a grotesque boss at a bookstore, and Christmas is coming, with all the attendant issues thereof (you can tell that Becky Cochrane has book retail history, and the scenes in the book store made me chuckle for their accuracy). She’s tired, cranky, hates Christmas, and just wants… well, something. Anything. Preferably being swept off her feet (and out of the bookstore) by the handsome beefy security fellow who picks up the morning deposit. But, with a broken ankle and time off at Christmas for the first time since her retail career began, Keelie has the chance to walk… well, hobble… into a new sort of Christmas.
With the superb group-of-friends style that I’ve come to know and love from Becky Cochrane and her compatriots in other works, the ensemble cast is just the right mix of people, and the plot kept me laughing, smiling, and interested. Empathizing with Cochrane’s characters isn’t hard – somehow, regardless of how out-there some of the characters might be, you click with them and get pulled in for the ride.
It’s not the kind of thing I expected to say about a Queer Leather Little retelling of A Christmas Carol, but then again, having been lucky enough to meet Sassafras Lowrey a few times at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, it’s a combination in retrospect that makes perfect sense. Much like Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales envisioned familiar fairy tales with a kinky and erotic lens to amazing effect, A Little Queermas Carol takes on a genderqueer Little/Daddy dynamic and brings forth the same result: a great narrative that invites in the very people that the original version of the tale would never have dreamed to even mention, let alone include.
Even better, that spirit of light-hearted joy that so infuses a Little narrative doesn’t shy away from the hurts and pains that many queer Littles have experienced. This isn’t a story of sunshine and rainbows, much like the original Dickens, and is instead a story of someone taking their pain and finding the joys and rainbows where they can—which, as in the real world, is often in the company of others like themselves who can truly empathize.
Stories like A Little Queermas Carol are exactly the kind of narratives we need: stories that remind us we exist, have always existed, and will continue to exist. The spirits of past, present, and future queerness are very much alive in this novella.
Speaking of titles that give me something I rarely see? Teddy Bears is a great little novella that explores a queer holiday from a bunch of fresh angles:
One: both of the guys involved aren’t in their twenties/early thirties. (I love reading about guys my age or guys older than I am, frankly.)
Two: bears who aren’t just muscle bears! (And one who’s struggling to be cool with his body, which—hey—we’ve all been there, no?)
Three: nerd/geek who isn’t “secretly gorgeous super-lean model type once he gets new clothes and reveals his abs.” (Because no.)
Four: Buffy/Spike/Angel dwarf hamster YouTube stars. (No, like, really.)
Five: a bathhouse setting for a romance? (Yep.)
So, with that in mind, if you’re in the mood for a holiday story that lives up to its description, you’re well advised to nab this one for the next time you want something jolly, sweet, a little bit smexy, and funny to boot. This was a wonderful bit of warmth for a frigid winter day.