Guest Post | Sugarplums and Sailing Ships by K.L. Noone

Guest-Post

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!

Buy links:

JMS Book :: Amazon

Author Bio:

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.

Blurb:

sugarplumsandsailingships

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…

Excerpt:

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!”

Will do!”

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?”

Guest Post | Holiday Garage by Jaymie Wagner

Guest-Post

Today, Jaymie Wagner is here to talk about her story, Holiday Garage. Welcome, Jaymie 😊


“Where are the lesbian Hallmark movies?!”

That was the question on Tumblr that got me thinking, and eventually writing back in 2019. We did finally get a lesbian Hallmark movie last year, but we can do more!

Besides, we all know those cheesy Hallmark plots are a goldmine of cute, feel-good holiday content that is just waiting to be tapped and turned into all kinds of queer goodness.

So, picture this: A lonely widow gets stuck on the side of the road when her car breaks down on Christmas Eve, and there’s only one garage open.

The hotels are booked solid, but the Mechanic has an apartment right above the shop and offers a place to spend the night…and did I mention the mechanic is awfully cute?

Throw in a quiet holiday dinner, a snowy night, some ice skating, and perhaps – just perhaps! – you end up with a chance for love again.

(Oh, and a kiss under the mistletoe, because of course there needs to be a kiss under the mistletoe!)

Sounds interesting?

Well, then – let’s take a peek at the little town of Holliday, Illinois…

Excerpt:

 Holding up a hand in a “Wait just a second” gesture, the welder (mechanic? Owner? All three?) pulled off her heavy gloves and apron before walking into the waiting area. “Hullo! Welcome to Holliday Garage!” 

   Emile blinked in surprise at the woman’s English accent. At least now she knew why Mike had seemed so amused when she’d asked if the garage had experience with Europeans. “Ah. Hello…”

  The mechanic cocked her head slightly, then laughed at herself. “Oh! Sorry, I’ve gotten used to living in a pretty small town.” She offered a hand with a friendly smile. “Nyra Olson.”

   “Emile,” she answered, shaking the shorter woman’s hand. “Emile Meunier.” 

   “Pleasure to meet you, Emile Meunier.” Nyra’s grip was firm, with calloused fingers that lingered perhaps a moment longer than absolutely necessary. 

   Emile was a bit shocked by the warmth in her touch, but tried to explain it away as her own cold skin and Nyra having just finished working with a torch. Still, she found herself wishing the brief contact had lasted another second or two longer as Nyra stepped back and pulled a heavy red and black checked flannel off of the coat tree in the corner.

   “So, obviously you had a spot of car trouble. Can you tell me what happened, exactly?” 

   Emile grimaced as she buttoned her coat back up again. “I was shifting when I suddenly went out of gear. I tried upshifting with no change, and trying to go down another gear didn’t work either.”

   Nyra gave a pained ‘ooof’ as she finished shrugging on her flannel. “I’ll be honest – that doesn’t sound good. If you’re lucky it’s just a plug, maybe a connection for the electronics in the gearbox. If not…” 

   Emile groaned. She hadn’t wanted to spend the holidays with Sofia  or their other friends, but she’d expected to be at home, not stranded in the middle of nowhere. “I will try to hope for the best, then.”

Holiday Garage

holidaygarageFive years after the death of her husband, ballet teacher Emile Meunier just wants to drive home after a long week of work and have a quiet Christmas at home. But everything changes when her car breaks down and she finds herself in the little town of Holliday on Christmas Eve.

Then she gets an offer of food and a place to stay from the town mechanic Nyra. Is it just a moment of kindness from a stranger? Or a chance at something more?

JMS Books

Guest Post | A Christmas Exchange by A.J. Morrow

Guest-Post

Today, A.J. Morrow is on a visit to talk about her upcoming release, A Christmas Exchange which will be released tomorrow! Welcome, A.J.

Christmas is often a time of contradictions; the cold and dark of winter is contrasted against hot chocolate and lights, while we celebrate family and the spirit of giving as we indulge head first into consumerism. Personally, I think the dual message of the holiday is part of its beauty. Warm mulled wine tastes better when you’re cold, after all.

Part of what I wanted to explore in my newest story, A Christmas Exchange, was this idea of complimenting contradictions–I love the idea of two fundamentally very different people being made better because of each other. Paired with a Christmas setting and a fun, secret-santa set up, and the story of Rachel and Emily soon took shape!

While writing this novella, I did my best to get into the holiday spirit–from watching Christmas movies to baking gingerbread cookies, I did it all. Because of the pandemic, I was only able to do a few ‘outside’ activities, which made me certain that I would include plenty of scenes where the characters were having fun in the snow, at Christmas markets, or with their friends. We could all do with a bit of escapism at the moment, and Christmas really is all about the important people in your life.

Blurb:

achristmasexchangeRachel works most days at a cafe in the middle of a small British town. Working alongside her, however, is Emily – the confident American who Rachel has been secretly in love with for months. Shy and often anxious, Rachel doesn’t know if she could ever act on her feelings, even as the rest of her coworkers raise their eyebrows in disbelief.

As the holiday season approaches, Rachel’s best friend, Ryan, suggests a secret santa among the workers of the cafe – and, while she’s certain the game is rigged, Rachel can’t help but be happy that she picks Emily’s name out of the bag. Even after the anxiety about what to get her kicks in.

Over the course of a few weeks, Rachel has to figure out a present while also not making it obvious who she got as her secret santa, and what follows is a series of awkward conversations, totally-subtle-flirting and more than one Christmas-themed outing. Will Rachel choose the right gift and come to terms with her feelings, or will she remain in the friend-zone forever?

A Christmas Exchange comes out on the 18th of December.

https://www.jms-books.com/holiday-c-34_120/a-christmas-exchange-p-4142.html