I never used to be the sort who waved goodbye to Hallowe’en and immediately turned to thoughts of the winter holidays. I put that down to being in Retail where I had no choice in the matter, and had already been forced to schedule, hire, plan, train and prepare for Christmas Retail (a.k.a. the most hectic time of the year) for about two months already. By the time the actual day would roll around? All I wanted was what I considered the best thing ever about Christmas Day: not having to go to the mall.
These days, more than half a dozen years later, some of the joy of the notion of Christmas (and winter itself) is starting to return to me. It still takes some effort—I start listening to holiday-themed romances as a bit of a vaccine against the darkening skies and the coming long dark that is Canadian winter—and I find I turn to comfort reads more often. I’m not a huge re-reader, but when November and December roll around, that changes.
I’ve read Becky Cochrane’s A Coventry Christmas every year since I got my copy. I’ve listened to Eli Easton’s Blame it on the Mistletoe and Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles while walking the dog every year since they were released as audiobooks. I always do a re-read or a re-listen to A Christmas Carol (preferably the Patrick Stewart version, thank-you-very-much) and this year? My husband and I are planning on listening to the new version of The Hogfather together.
It’s not just rereads, of course. Every year, I find new stories, or new-to-me holiday stories, and I dive in cheerfully. I started listening to The Geek Who Saved Christmas, from Annabeth Albert, and I picked up and enjoyed Elle Rush’s latest, Tinsel and Teacups—Rush’s holiday novellas are a yearly staple for me—and I know I have more audiobooks and ebooks and preorders just waiting to arrive, download, or jump up the queue. And new favourites always sneak onto the reread or relisten list. Two examples? I adored All I Want for Christmas, a trio of novellas by Fiona Riley, Maggie Cummings, and Georgia Beers, and this year there are audios and I know I’m going to end up nabbing them for dog-walking joy. I also freaking loved Hank Edwards’s Snowflakes and Song Lyrics, and The Christmas Accomplice, and I’m sure I’ll be re-reading both this year, too.
Do you have repeat holiday stories you go back to year after year? I’d love to hear about the books you go back to like a warm mug of holiday cheer (and if those books happen to include Handmade Holidays or Faux Ho Ho—both of which now have amazing audiobooks performed by Giancarlo Herrera—I would absolutely adore to hear about it!)
It’s also one month to the release of Felix Navidad! Felix was definitely a character people had strong feelings about—I remember doing a reading with some of the Bold Strokes Books authors and Melissa Brayden just saying “Oh my God, Felix!” after I was done with reading my piece from Village Fool—but this time he’s not making trouble for other people via poorly-thought-out April Fools’ Day pranks. Instead, Felix is trying to enjoy his holidays, and… it’s not going as planned.
Felix doesn’t do impulsive anymore. But attending a friend’s wedding reminds Felix he’s the only one of his friends attending solo, and recent losses have him thinking he’s swung too far in the not-impulsive direction.Felix Navidad, by ‘Nathan Burgoine; Cover art by Inkspiral Design
So, impulse decision number one? Cutting in on a dance with handsome farmer Kevin, the ex of one of the grooms, for a spin at the reception. Impulse decision number two? Planning his first holiday vacation off work. Christmas in Hawai’i will be a gift to himself.
When dancing doesn’t work out, Felix keeps high hopes for his vacation right up until the first flight cancellation. After bumping into a stranded Kevin, who lost his flight home, Felix gives impulse a third try: Why not drive to Toronto together? But after ice rain strands them halfway, it looks like Felix isn’t going to get to give himself his gift after all. Instead, this Christmas is a small cabin—and Kevin.
You can pre-order Felix Navidad at the Bold Strokes Books webstore. They have it in all the e-formats for all the e-readers, or you can wait until the first Tuesday in December for the novella to release widely, and support your e-tailer of choice.