Hello again—K.L. Noone popping in to chat about holidays, baking shows, and crossover stories! And thank you to the awesome Ofelia for letting me drop in! It’s always a pleasure.
I wanted to share my new release, “Sugarplums and Sailing Ships,” with you—out now from JMS Books! on sale for 20% off!—it’s a holiday-ish story, and one that just simply makes me happy.
“Sugarplums” is roughly 16k of m/m established romance crossover fluff, with two main couples from two of my series meeting! We get Nate and Marcus (from “Gingerbread Dreams”) and their baking show on the GourmetTV network, hosting the holiday baking extravaganza…and then Colby and Jason from the Character Bleed series appearing as guest judges for an episode! “Sugarplums” should stand alone just fine if you’ve not read their respective books—there’s enough context, I think—but I hope it’ll make you smile if you know the characters.
Also, no one throws any marshmallows at anyone. I promise. (Yet. Nate still might.)
Honestly, this crossover was pure fun for me—I’d been writing a lot of, on the one hand, Regency-era magical drama with a curse and a former spy (a collab with the marvelous K.S. Murphy!), and on the other hand the spin-off story for Leo, Colby’s and Jason’s friend in the Character Bleed universe, and my writing-brain wanted a distraction: something light and fluffy and utterly delightful, a fanfic sort of “what if some of my favorite characters met?”
And now they have. And it is very, very fun indeed.
Jason and Colby canonically do both love to cook, and Colby especially is a very good amateur baker, as established. So they’ll be good guest judges. And they might inadvertently solve a problem or two, especially when Nate’s having trouble sending anyone home, knowing precisely what it’s like to be on the contestant side. And, in fact, it’s good for both Jason and Colby as well…after all, Jason’s got the whole new cuddly public image, in love and domestic and settled down, and also it’s Colby making a public appearance, which he doesn’t do often, and enjoying himself. And making a friend or two, as well. (Though, again, there might be some flying marshmallows. And innuendo about cream.)
“Sugarplums and Sailing Ships” is out now, the 18th, and I hope you enjoy it—I certainly did!
K.L. Noone teaches college students about superheroes and Shakespeare by day, and writes romance – frequently paranormal or with fantasy elements, usually LGBTQ, and always with happy endings – when not grading papers or researching medieval outlaw life. She is currently the servant of a large black cat named Merlyn, who demands treats on a regular basis.
A Character Bleed/Gingerbread Dreams crossover!
It’s Holiday Baking Showdown time! This year, Nate isn’t a contestant. In fact, he’s agreed to be a judge. But he’s never had to critique someone else’s baking on television before, he feels terrible about eliminating anyone, and he hates to disappoint his boyfriend Marcus, the show’s executive producer. And this week’s guest judges are two of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Jason and Colby both love baking, cooking, and holiday recipes, so agreeing to be guest judges on an episode of the Holiday Baking Showdown sounds perfect. It’s good for Jason’s new domestic image, and Colby’s a huge fan of the show. But Colby’s not a fan of crowds and chaos. And Jason can’t help worrying about him.
But with new friends, delicious desserts, and a tacky holiday sweater or two, everyone’s sugarplum dreams might just come true…
His phone went off a third time, still his agent’s ring tone, over on the nightstand. He groaned.
Colby exhaled, the breath a kiss against Jason’s skin.
Jason grumbled, “No…”
“She keeps trying…I’d hate to not answer, if it’s something you should respond to…”
“…fine.” He stuck out an arm. Flailed. Grabbed electronic nosiness. “Hello?”
“Were you two still in bed? Never mind, I don’t want to know. Check your email, finally.”
“Um.” Jason found Colby’s laptop—it’d been on the nightstand too; Colby sometimes did some writing in bed—and found his own email. Colby cuddled up next to him, under his left arm; both of them were comfortable that way. The sheets nudged his feet with designs of sails and ships and waves, from the heap they’d been kicked into. “Okay…”
“If you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, it’s just GourmetTV, a holiday baking thing, but they reached out and we like this new cozy domestic version of you, so it might be a good idea.”
“I’m still opening it!…oh. Huh.” He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting. Hadn’t been an invitation to come and be a guest judge. On a holiday baking competition. On television.
“Yeah, you don’t have to, but they know your mom’s a chef, and they’re all harmless over there, and it can’t hurt. Lighthearted family-friendly seasonal fun, and all that.”
“Oh, it’s for the Holiday Baking Showdown!” Colby had been reading along. “I’ve got some marvelous inspiration from that, for recipes! I love it. I watch it every year. Hi, Susan.”
“Hi, kid.” Susan liked Colby; he’d been good for Jason, she said, both personally and professionally. Jason thought that his agent was sometimes too cynical, but also she was right and he knew it.
Colby was good for him. In every single way.
“Hmm.” Colby reread the email. Ran a hand through his own hair, absently. The platinum blond was growing out; he’d contemplated dyeing it back to brown to get that over with, but hadn’t done it yet. The lighter strands fell like cornsilk over his fingers.
Jason watched the gesture. Felt the usual throb—lust, love, adoration, pure glee—deep down in his gut, his heart, his soul. All Colby’s, as ever.
“Do you think…” Colby looked up. “Would you mind, would they mind, if I came along with you? Two for one, as it were.”
Jason turned to look at him. Sunshine slid across Colby’s face, and swirled through his hair—nearly the same shade, at the moment—and painted one cheekbone with gold. Colby also did a tiny eyebrow-shrug—what, you thought I wouldn’t want to? —and grinned at him.
Jason wanted to see that grin every afternoon. Every day.
“Oooh,” Susan said, over the phone. “You know they wouldn’t mind. Colby Kent, on a baking show? The world would eat it up, pun intended. You baking cupcakes for that entire production is, like, an industry legend. But, look, kid, a couple things. First, I’m not your agent, so you should probably get in touch yourself. Second, you don’t do a ton of public appearances; you sure you want to do this one? It’s not exactly high profile.”
“I know,” Colby agreed. “I would like to, though.”
“Colby,” Jason said, kind of quietly because he was still caught up in that grin.
“Well,” Susan observed, “I’ll let you two talk it over. They don’t need an answer immediately, but by the end of the week would be great. Let me know, okay? Bye, kid, take care of him for me!”
Jason set phone and laptop down, after, a more complicated maneuver than usual because he didn’t want to dislodge Colby from under his arm. Still, he’d been an action star for years and a stunt guy before that; he could be flexible. “Babe?”
“Yes, love?” Colby wriggled out from under Jason’s arm, rendering that effort moot, but arranged himself across Jason’s lap instead, head pillowed on Jason’s thigh, gazing up; so that was just as good. “Go on. Ask me.”
Jason wove fingers through his hair, petting pale strands as they darkened to brown. “You know what you’re feeling up to.” It was a question, and also a statement; he trusted Colby.
“I do, and I am up to it, thank you.” Colby smiled up at him. “In any case it makes logical sense, doesn’t it?”