Today, Amy Spector is on the blog to talk about How to Cheat at Dirty Santa, which I had the privilege to read even before it was out 😊 Welcome, Amy!
A big thank you to Ofelia for letting me take over her blog today!
Today is release day for my very first Christmas book!
I love Christmas. The more decoration a holiday requires, the better. And, of course, with school-age children, and a near addiction to shopping that I rarely get to indulge, Christmas is the perfect storm of awesome! So, it’s amazing that I have not written more stories centered around the season. In fact, this is my first true Christmas story. The only one that came close was Shiny Things, but that’s really a Thanksgiving story that just happens to end at Christmas.
How to Cheat at Dirty Santa is a story about Jonah, a—possibly—misguided man whose plan to win the heart of his coworker Nathan is thrown into jeopardy.
Like with most of my books, there was a little real-life story cannibalizing for this one. But what good is stupid life mistakes if you can’t steal them for the stories you write? None! LOL
Check out the How to Cheat at Dirty Santa blurb and an excerpt below! As well as a link to an Advent Calendar giveaway of Big Flames and Small, my first title with JMS Books.
Some things are worth risking the naughty list.
Jonah Newfeld is not someone men fall for at a glance. They have to get to know him first. So when he meets the perfect man, he knows he needs to play the long game.
Nathan Sharp is the newest guy on the customer service floor. He’s clever, kind, blessedly single, and volunteers weekends at a local animal shelter. Jonah wants to raise babies with him. But when Nathan’s sister starts trying to fix him up with her veterinarian, Jonah’s dream is put into jeopardy.
Jonah needs the perfect plan if he wants to win over the man of his dreams. But a terrible plan will have to do, and more than a little help from his friends. If Jonah can pull it off and manage to get the boy, it’ll be more than worth being put on Santa’s naughty list for good.
“Did he invite you up?” Lydia asked, tossing me another bag. This time they were kitschy red-cheeked cowboys.
“Christ, how many balloons does one birthday party need?”
“More helium, less bitching.” She pointed at the tank with an angry mom finger. I would have found it intimidating if I’d never held her hair while she was throwing up. “Did he invite you in?”
“He did, but then my grandmother called that she’d locked herself out of the house.” It had been tragic timing.
“Oh, hon.” Lydia gave me a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry.”
“Did I tell you that he volunteers weekends at an animal shelter?” With Lydia, I didn’t have to hide the longing in my voice. “I want to have babies with him.”
“Maybe you could just ask him out?” She held a hand up before I’d even opened my mouth. “It’s not high school anymore, Jonah. Guys actually like redheads in the real world.”
Casey walked through the front door with a bag of ice and the cake candle they’d forgotten to pick up, and I was saved from having to justify why I felt the need to play the long game.
I couldn’t take a chance and mess this up. It was too important to me.
“Who saved the day?” Casey held up the giant wax three, and Lydia pressed a quick kiss to his mouth.
“You did. Thank you.” When he disappeared into the kitchen, she caught me looking at her. “What’s that look?”
“Oh, nothing.” But it wasn’t. I wanted that. After the messiness of my parent’s divorce, what she had with Casey was lovely to see. “Just thinking.”
I was not much for crowds, but as expected, family from both sides were soon filling the small apartment. It was loud, and crowded, but still fun to see the birthday boy enjoying being the center of attention.
Lydia had been born on December seventh, and had lived twenty-seven years of afterthought birthday presents wrapped in Santa paper, and pulled from among her gifts waiting under the Christmas tree. When Tyler had been born on the eighteenth, she’d swore he’d never have to suffer the same disappointment.
He’d never remember them, but Tyler’s birthday parties so far had been grand affairs, and I’d never missed one.
“So, Jonah.” Lydia’s great-grandmother asked me the same question every time she saw me since tenth grade. “Have you met a nice boy yet?”
“I think I have, Gigi.” Gigi loved me, and this made her beam. “You’d probably like him.”
“You should have brought him with you to the party.”
“Maybe next time. I’m still working out the details.”
That made her laugh, and she patted my knee like she understood. “I thought Lydia’s great-grandfather was the most handsome man I’d ever seen. But he was dating my best friend.”
“So what happened?” If anyone had dating wisdom to share, I was sure it was great-grandma Gigi.
“They broke up just before Thanksgiving, and when Christmas rolled around, I had the luck to get his name in the Christmas gift exchange in our church group.”
“What’d you get him?”
“Well, it was just before the war, and I was broke in those days. But I knew from my friend that he was a terrible cook and that his mother lived in Des Moines. So I gave him a homemade meal.” She was grinning now, enjoying a chance to reminisce about her late husband. “I’d had a few dollars squirreled away, and I made him meatloaf and potatoes, and baked a vinegar pie.”
I caught Lydia watching me, the same huge-eyed I’ve got a brilliant idea look she’d been giving me since we’d met in high school, and I squinted at her and shrugged my shoulders, before turning my full attention back to Gigi. “And that won him over?”
“Yes and no.” She laughed again. “The meatloaf was dry, the potatoes lumpy, and the pie was a disaster, but we’d spent the evening together, talking and laughing, and trying to salvage what we could. And when it was over with, he asked me out.”
“Awww.” I let out a sigh. “That is a perfect story.”
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is give them a chance to get to know you.”
Yeah, Gigi got it. I was not everyone’s cup of tea. Men got to know me before they like-liked me. It was the way it had always worked.
The birthday cake came out then—a yellow cake with buttercream frosting and little plastic cowboys roping cows on the top—and Tyler clapped his hands and yelled surprise for himself, making everyone laugh.
It was exactly what I wanted someday. And I knew I wanted it all with Nathan.
Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns and mystery novels.
After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.
She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.
Amy lives in the Midwest with her husband and children, and her cats Poe, Goji and Nekō.