Into every life a little Christmas must fall, and Our Hero Todd is no exception to this rule. What with being a hopeless romantic and a little bit of a drama queen, he finds himself with some feelings to sort through, and he drags himself home to his childhood home in Ogallala, Nebraska to sort through them. OK, well, maybe to use the chaos of Christmas with his brothers and nieces and nephews as an excuse not to sort through them, but give the boy time; it’s a process, as Todd will go on to appreciate.
You won’t be needing excuses, though: just in time to brighten your own holidays (or those of the queer fiction fans on your Holiday Shopping list), JMS Books is having a sale! ALL eBooks on the site are 30% off, which means Kiss Me, Straight can overflow from your digital stocking for only $5.59! The print version is also on sale if you’re looking to get a few snapshots of the book under your own tree. You can snag a copy on Amazon, and it’s not too late to enter to WIN a copy on Goodreads (although it will be too late on January 1).
Christmas preparations here continue apace; Jared is baking loaf after loaf of yummy pumpkin bread, I’ve bought my Rudolph-themed wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree, as you see, and had my Xmas pedicure (oh yes, I am that fancy), and Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks assure me that Santa Claus is coming to town. Will he make it to Ogallala? Scoot back off the edge of your seat and find out in the Kiss Me, Straight Christmas Excerpt:
Christmas Eve night, my brothers George and Harry pulled up in front of the house in a minivan and family sedan caravan. They had driven up together from Colorado with their families (George has three kids, Harry four) and made it to Ogallala just as the first flakes of snow were starting to fall. There was much hugging and unloading of bags and presents before the family got down to the business of decorating the Christmas tree, which Ford and I had spent most of the day trying to get into its stand. My mom put on the same staid, choral Christmas album we’ve been listening to on Christmas Eve for as long as any of us can remember. I staked out a position next to the eggnog with my brothers and my sisters-in-law and watched my mom hand ornaments to the older kids to hang while my dad lifted the little kids up to decorate the top branches. With seven kids in the house under age twelve, a noisy spirit of holiday chaos took over the house, and I was able to fade into the background with no effort.
Santa came, of course. I stayed up with my brothers and helped put together the doll houses and set up the train track and stuff the stockings so that everything could be laid out under the tree. The eggnog and reminiscences flowed into the early morning hours, so my nephews had to be sent to wake me for Christmas brunch at eleven o’clock.
“Get up, Uncle Todd, get up!”
“You can’t be lazy on Christmas!” my four-year-old nephew Tucker announced. He’s probably right about that, and besides, I knew the kitchen table would be creaking under plates of eggs and bacon and potato casserole and bowls of oatmeal and pitchers of juice and pots of coffee and half a dozen loaves of white bread to be basted in honey. I had the rest of my life to sleep away in my old room, but no Eisenbraun passes up a chance at my mom’s Christmas brunch.
I shuffled barefoot into the kitchen in an old pair of flannel PJ pants I’d borrowed from Bertie and a T-shirt from my high school drama club that I’d found in a drawer in my old room, my hair standing in clumps every which way. I was teased and mocked for sleeping late, mostly by George and Harry, who were bitter that they’d been awakened by my same two nephews less than two hours after Santa finally left. Dad has to be there for the initial unveiling. Uncle can always be shown later, thank God.
At about one o’clock I finally pushed back from the table, my gut packed with bacon and oatmeal and my head spinning from about twenty cups of coffee. I went back upstairs to my room to grab my cell phone and filch some slippers from my brother, then snuck out to the front porch. The snow had let up except for the very occasional flake drifting by, but all the cars were covered in snow, Bertie’s white truck practically invisible, and the yard was pristine and muffled in quiet. I was still in my T-shirt; I was cold but not freezing, and after stuffing my face in a hot kitchen with twenty relatives for two hours, it felt good to be out in the fresh air.