WELCOME today to Chrissy Munder, and congratulations on the release of her new Christmas book, part of the 2018 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar! Join Chrissy in celebrating the season – whether it’s freezing cold or Florida-hot LOL – and share YOUR favourite traditions with us all.
An except and BUY links are also below. Read the story and chuckle! I certainly did *wink*.
Is everyone staying warm? I’m Chrissy Munder, currently buried under far too many inches of snow! I’m here to celebrate my latest release, one of my favorite holiday traditions, and hopefully, learn a little about yours. First, let me thank Clare for sharing space on her blog today. *smooches* Thank you!
I had a lot of fun writing this year’s novella for the 2018 Dreamspinner Press Advent Collection, A Holiday Tradition. I wanted to explore the ties that unite us all, despite our surface differences.
My main character, Paul, can’t imagine the holidays without his usual, cold weather celebrations. But here he is in Florida where his new crush, Kevin tells him that they still have traditions, they “… just don’t have to wear as many clothes when we celebrate them.” I’m a firm believer in families of choice and enjoyed helping these two come together and develop the first of their own traditions.
So, what is one of our favorite holiday traditions? If I ask the now-adult children they’ll roll their eyes and tell me it’s where we throw them in the car with a thermos of hot cocoa and a bowl of buttered popcorn, then drive them around for an hour looking at holiday lights and decorations while blasting rock guitar holiday music. (Every try any? Good times. You can listen to one of our favorites here:
What’s one of YOUR family’s special ways to celebrate, if you do? Do you have a favorite holiday movie, book, or cookie recipe? Do you torment, erh, torture, erh embarrass your kids like we did? Like Paul, do you find it hard to celebrate without the trappings of snow and cold, or wouldn’t you trade your favorite holiday swimsuit for an ugly sweater if paid?
Go ahead and leave a comment or share a memory below.
A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder
BLURB: Paul Carpenter has his life all planned out. Or at least his father does. The right school, the right degree, the right job. Paul is on track, until a bus accident has him sitting out a coveted internship, babysitting, or being babysat, by a grandfather he barely remembers during his holiday stay in a Florida RV park. His father’s reasoning? How much temptation can Paul find around a bunch of senior citizens playing bingo? There’ll be nothing to distract him from his studies.
It’s hard to muster his holiday spirit when Paul is used to snow and cold, not sun, surf, and plastic flamingos in Santa hats. But then Paul meets Kevin Lombardo, who offers to show him some new holiday traditions. Suddenly Paul’s fast track hits a curve.
“Your father says you sleep with men.”
His grandfather’s unexpected statement dropped into the silence of the RV like a bomb, and Paul Carpenter jerked upright, knocking his head into the passenger-side window with a loud clunk.
Oh. My. God. A burning surge of resentment rose in Paul’s throat. What the hell? He’d send his father a furious text if it would do any good. Not only for dumping his sexuality on his grandfather, but also for the idea behind this entire trip!
He closed his eyes, focusing on the coolness of the glass rather than the scream he had held back for the last few miles of the drive from Michigan to some mobile home and RV park on Florida’s eastern coast. Paul had never heard of the place, but Grandpa Louie swore Decembers were better under the Florida sun.
Two hours down, a minimum of sixteen more to go. Probably eighteen, with as many rest stops as his grandfather made. Paul took a deep breath and dug his thumbnail into his palm, mentally gearing himself up for the confrontation sure to come. “If you’re asking if I’m gay, yes, Grandpa. I am.”
Grandpa Louie nodded in reply. He carried his years with comfort, the bulk of muscle honed by hard work not yet whittled away by time, and his hearty appearance overcame his fondness for dressing in bright pastels.
Paul hoped he would age just as well, but he took after his father’s family. Which translated to him being shorter, thinner, and with hair more dishwater than blond.
“Thanks for telling me. It sure would have been embarrassing if I tried to set my wingman up with a bird of the wrong feather.” Grandpa Louie cackled at his own joke, his quick glance inviting Paul to join in.
Paul released his tension with a choked-off huff. “Wingman?”
“You betcha. Why do you think I spend my winters down south?” His eager grin peeled the bushy mustache away from his lips, making him look ridiculously like Paul’s roommate in the first part of his freshman year.
Paul shuddered at the memory. The adventures of Dean-o Hamilton, the self-proclaimed “Party Dog” of their floor, were something he preferred to forget. While his father’s intense micromanagement of his college experience sometimes chafed, Paul hadn’t protested when his father insisted he transfer to the designated quiet dorm after paying them a surprise visit.
“I can give you the answer in one word: widows.” His grandfather whistled through the gap in his front teeth. “Fun in the sun doesn’t always mean pinochle and shuffleboard.”