Traditional Winter Holidays can be tough for a variety of reasons—family pressures, finding the right gift, homesick longing, and haunting memories to name a few. This collection showcases eleven queer short stories, from tender contemporaries to sweet paranormal to far-flung space tales, all designed to make you want to reach for your hot cocoa and your favorite snuggly spot. Come join us for A Holiday To Remember.
Authors: Various – See the individual book blurbs below
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Release Date: Varies – See the individual book blurbs below
Format: eBook short stories
Story Type: Novel
Word Count: 6-17k each
Cover Artists: Catherine Dair, Freddy MacKay
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Science Fiction, Paranormal
Pairing: M/M, M/NB, F/F (varies)
Keywords/Categories: gay, transgender, non-binary, asexual, lesbian, bisexual
Collection Name: A Holiday to Remember
A Piece Of Ourselves
Balancing holidays between two families can make cheerful celebrations into chores. Carson Benedetti’s mom has overscheduled the Christmas holidays and she’s more than insistent that boyfriend Tynan Harris come into the family fold. There’s so much to do Tynan can’t find time to bring Carson over to his own family and he feels like they are being left in the dust.
After dating for nine months, and with their relationship becoming more serious, Tynan’s patience is sorely tested by the multitude of Benedetti family traditions keeping them busy. Tynan needs to figure out how to find some breathing room, split their time more fairly, and make Christmas more than just tradition by rote.
Tynan Harris realized there would be a serious problem concerning Christmas scheduling as he tipped down the gravy boat during Thanksgiving dinner and Carson’s mom casually mentioned attending midnight mass.
“Wait,” Tynan said. “What?”
Carson’s mom, Dodie, frowned at him. She had a round, chubby face that was usually full of smiles but at the moment looked particularly perplexed. “You really like gravy, don’t you?”
Tynan looked down and realized he’d poured an overly thick puddle of gravy all over his potatoes. The gravy ran in rivulets down the potato mountain to leak in-between the green beans, like a marshy flood in spring. He liked gravy, but he’d emptied half the gravy boat’s contents onto his plate. Eating all of it would be a bit much. Throwing it out after taking it would be worse. One option made him look like a glutton and the other like a wasteful fool.
Tynan wanted to stay in Carson’s family’s good graces. They’d been dating for nine months and things were getting serious. He’d met Dodie and Henry Benedetti, Carson’s father, during the summer at a few barbeques and it had taken all summer for them to warm to him. This was the first meal they hadn’t been politely reserved with Tynan and had actually opened up and joked around a little.
“Your gravy is so good. I can’t help myself,” Tynan said. He would eat every last damn drop of gravy if he had to sop it up with half a loaf of bread to do it. Or spoon it straight into his mouth. Overenthusiastic sounded like a better label than glutton and Tynan would do his best to sell it hard.
“Well, bless your heart,” said Dodie. Tynan couldn’t tell if the smile she flashed at him was sincere or fake.
Tynan set the nearly empty gravy bowl down on the table. “I didn’t quite hear what you’d said about Christmas?” He made the statement into a question at the end.
Across the table, Carson looked like he wanted to slither down in his seat and hide beneath the tablecloth. Carson’s right eyebrow noticeably twitched and he pressed a forefinger on it for a moment.
“Oh, that’s right,” said Dodie. “You haven’t done a Christmas as part of the family yet. We have the most wonderful traditions.” Her smile grew truly genuine. “The first two weekends after Thanksgiving are dedicated to cookie making. I freeze them so they’ll stay fresh until the cookie swaps. There’s a community singers concert on one of the weekends. My sister is a soprano in the group and I always make sure we go to support her. The weekend after that we all take a trip to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree and we stay up late into the night to decorate it. I make real hot chocolate on the stove and serve lemon meringue pie.”
“It’s the only time of the year I get lemon meringue,” Henry added, sounding a little bitter about the lack of pie throughout the rest of the calendar. “My favorite pie and I get it once a year.”
“I don’t buy store-made. I make it from scratch,” Dodie said. “It’s one of those fussy pies. Besides, nobody makes them in the summer. The meringue won’t set when it’s humid. I’ve told you that, dear.”
“Hnnh,” said Henry. It almost sounded noncommittal, but contained an edge of dissatisfaction. “Winter lasts longer than a month. Doesn’t get humid until April.”
Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning.
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