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.
Content Warnings: Parental disowning of queer children; Cheating; Parental death (heart attack/stroke); Physical illness (appendicitis with eruption).
“Saving the Date” (A 1Night Stand novella)
After a vicious gay bashing, Morgan has spent the last three years working hard to survive and thrive. His latest plan? Using Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service, 1NightStand, to take the anniversary of the worst night of his life and replace it with a good—and maybe even sexy—memory.
Zach, a police officer with the Hate & Bias Crime Unit, is still coming to terms with his divorce and struggling to move on with his life. Using a matchmaking service is so very not his style, but sometimes a guy has to trust his friends—even if they don’t know everything about him, and he’s not sure they ever will.
Face-to-face, however, it becomes clear that despite an attraction, there’s a problem. Morgan and Zach have already met—three years ago. But with some courage, a couple of pairs of skates, and a leap of faith? Morgan and Zach have a shot at saving more than one day. Together? They might just make a future.
Content Warnings: Biphobia (mentioned/discussed), Queer bashing (off-page, but mentioned and after-effects described, including a triggered reaction); Body image struggles; Parental disowning of queer adults and queer children; Discussion of past suicidal ideation.
Silas Waite doesn’t want his big-C Conservative Alberta family to know he’s barely making rent. They’d see it as yet another sign that he’s not living up to the Waite family potential and muscle in on his life. When Silas unexpectedly needs a new roommate, he ends up with the gregarious (and gorgeous) personal trainer Constantino “Dino” Papadimitriou.
Silas’s parents try to brow-beat him into visiting for Thanksgiving, where they’ll put him on display as an example of how they’re so “tolerant,” for Silas’s brother’s political campaign, but Dino pretends to be his boyfriend to get him out of it, citing a prior commitment. The ruse works—until they receive an invitation to Silas’s sister’s last-minute wedding.
Silas loves his sister, Dino wouldn’t mind a chalet Christmas, and together, they could turn a family obligation into something fun. But after nine months of being roommates, then friends, and now “boyfriends,” Silas finds being with Dino way too easy, and being the son that his parents barely tolerate too hard. Something has to give, but luckily, it’s the season for giving—and maybe what Silas has to give is worth the biggest risk of all.
Available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, direct from Bold Strokes Books, Kobo, and can check anywhere else quality queer e-books are sold via Books2Read. Edited by Jerry L. Wheeler and cover design by Inkspiral Design.
Content Warnings: Homophobic family, Discussion of Bashings (very removed, not on-page, but mention of resulting trauma).
Outside a hospital in Ottawa, a heartbeat returns long enough for a good-bye. Downtown, a man steps into shadows of the past to help those who have died find their way free from their memories. In Niagara, an icewine vintage is flavored with the truth of what happened on a dark evening of betrayal. In British Columbia, the snow itself can speak to someone who knows how to listen.
The past echoes through these queer tales—sometimes soft enough to grant a second chance at love, and other times loud enough to damn a killer—never without leaving those who’ve heard it unchanged.
Of Echoes Born is the first short story collection from Lambda Literary Award finalist ’Nathan Burgoine.
Available now in e-book and print from Bold Strokes Books, and from your e-tailer and retailer of choice. Check Indiebound for a local brick and mortar near you, or try Bookshop.org or Books2Read for your options. Edited by Jerry L. Wheeler, and cover art by Inkspiral Design.
Content Warnings: Cheating, Child Abuse (off-page), Death, Dementia (main character POV), Gay Bashing (off-page), Homophobia, Infertility, Miscarriage, Murder, Parental disowning of queer child, Sexual Assault (off-page).