At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.
A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born. As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.
Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late. Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet.
I mentioned a while back how “Handmade Holidays” was getting a new cover to match the wonderful Inkspiral Covers of my other Village novellas, “Faux Ho Ho” and “Village Fool.” And as of yesterday? The design is unveiled! Isn’t it freaking awesome?
That’s Ru and Nick there in the window, and outside on the ledge? Wee little Celine, Ru’s black cat. Oh, and if you really look, you can see a merman lifeguard ornament on the tree. And those strings of lights? Take a glance at the other novellas. Basically, I’m sitting here vibrating my way through the chair with joy, is what I’m saying.
Now, this is a re-issue, not a new novella. I did do a tiny bit of housekeeping with the novella (fixing a couple of typos and inconsistencies), and I also tweaked a scene or three, but if you already have the original NineStar edition of “Handmade Holidays”? This isn’t a new story. I want to be clear.
Inkspiral also did a brilliant series of little artistries on the inside of the novella, too. Each chapter begins with a Christmas Tree, and as the story progresses, the trees change the way they do in the story. So, for example, that tree there? That’s the chapter one tree: when Nick’s only ornament is Ru’s folded paper crane, and some candy canes. When Inkspiral showed me his idea for the putting in the Christmas trees, I reacted like any author would: I burst into tears.
Anyway. This new version of “Handmade Holidays” will be popping into existence next Tuesday (December 1st, 2020), and if you’ve not nabbed it before, you can pre-order it now, at your choice of e-tailer. I’ve submitted it to every site I can, and that link will populate all the e-tail sites as it becomes available.