Guest Post | Heart of the Holidays by Pat Henshaw


Today, we have Pat Henshaw here on the blog. She’s here to talk about her writing and why she writes the stories she does.

Why Do I Write about Contemporary Gay Men at the Holidays?

Heart of the Holidays is the fourth piece I’ve written expressly for the season and the fifth written surrounding the Christmas holidays.
Like my other work, I’ve written this story of two men in their 30s for everyone to read: from grandparents and great-grandparents to teens and young adults and everyone in between. I’m a firm believer that the love two men have for one another should not be hidden away as an aberration or shameful but rather should be seen as what it is: love.

One comment my books frequently get—and one which applies to this story also—is that there is little or no sex in my stories. That’s simply because I think love and sex are two different things, and I write exclusively about love.

I also believe a gay man is gay not because he has sex with men (which he does) but because he’s attracted primarily by men. My favorite novellas and novels in the m/m genre are those of how and why two men get to know each other and fall in love, not the number of times they have sex.

So writing a holiday piece for me is merely an extension of what I write the rest of the year. The difference is the scenery.

Blame It on the Fruitcake, the first gay romance holiday story I wrote years ago, revolves around a motorcycle mechanic and garage owner. He’s introduced to fruitcake by his new neighbor, a guy he’s attracted to. Since status plays so heavily on some men’s minds, the story’s message is that love trumps social status in the game of love.

The Orpheum Miracle, the second holiday story, is based on a short newspaper piece I read about a homeless man who was discovered living in an abandoned movie theater. I wondered how a man like that could find love, considering that he spent his life hiding. So in true author fashion, I made up a story to find him the perfect partner.

The title of the third holiday story, Making the Holidays Happy Again, was a riff on Trump’s idiotic statement about making American great again while he ruined our reputation at home and abroad. But the story I made up isn’t about politics or America at all. It’s about a blacksmith who’s trying to make his profession viable in today’s world. And, oh, yes, how he sees his journey to love going in the future.

Finally, this year’s story, Heart of the Holidays, is based on the number of gay writer friends who have created their own families when their blood relatives have let them down or let them go. The story reflects what I saw and heard of gay life before the pandemic hit. While there were many stories of abuse and rejection, most of the men I know were leading even-keeled lives with a few bumps and setbacks along the way. In other words, instead of being shunned, they were leading fairly normal, ordinary lives, which is exactly as it should be. This story reflects a status quo of sorts.

If I want readers to get anything else out of my stories, my tagline says it all:

Every day is a good day for romance.

Have a wonderful holiday season filled with health, happiness, and love. And please visit me at where you can find out more about me and my books. Cheers!


Everyone hopes his road to happily ever after will be carefree and smooth, but too often hair-pin turns and detours seem to get in the way.

Having thought he was on the road to forever before, former Silicon Valley programmer Dan Lassiter is leery about pedaling down it again. His elderly companion Charlie urges him to get to know Rick Reardon whose bakery is across the street from Dan’s bicycle shop.

Under the watchful eye of Charlie, Dan and Rick take tentative steps toward each other, all the while trying to avoid potholes such as exes, homophobes, and family problems.

As summer turns to fall and then winter, they hope that the road will be smooth going from their first date and first kiss to having what Rick’s sister euphemistically calls their “sleepovers.” At each step, though, they are tripped up and wonder why there seem to be so many bumps in their road.

Maybe Dan and Rick should heed some of Charlie’s sage advice, or maybe they should listen to their hearts instead of the ghosts from their pasts.

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