…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Thanks so much for letting me visit Boys in our Books today. I’m here to tell you about my Christmas novella, Cold Feet, and to talk a little about what Christmas means to me.
As an atheist brought up in a non-religious family, Christmas as a religious festival means nothing to me. But all cultures and religions mark and celebrate midwinter, and I think there’s a great need for some warmth, cheer and connection during the darker months of the year. Christmas is one of the bright points of winter, and I always enjoy the opportunity to spend some time with my family and count my blessings.
My Christmases are usually busy and hectic, and that’s exactly how I like them. I always host and we have a houseful of people—there will be eight of us here on Christmas Day this year, and twelve on Boxing Day. Our ages range from six to sixty. Most of them are blood relations, but two of them are ‘family’ I’ve chosen and who’ve chosen me back.
We exchange gifts after breakfast, and then spend the day cooking Christmas dinner (turkey for the meat eaters and nut roast for the veggies). We gave up on Christmas pudding a few years ago because nobody ever ate it; now we just eat chocolate instead. We also drink copious amounts of bubbly and play a huge variety of silly games—Twister, Names in the Hat, Wii Dance Party, Truth or Dare. There’s usually a lot of laughter. But sometimes the mood is shadowed with sadder memories too, as we think about people who can no longer be with us, and whose loss we feel more keenly during the celebrations.
Overall though, every Christmas I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people I love, and who love me back. That’s what Christmas is about for me, and it seems fitting that it happens in the darkest month of the year (for those of us in the northern hemisphere at least).
However you celebrate Midwinter, and whatever you’re doing this year, I wish you all the very best :)
Ironically perhaps, Cold Feet is about as far removed from a family Christmas story as you can get. My boys are snowed in together, cut off from their family Christmas plans. But they find someone else to celebrate with, and they definitely find happiness!
Best friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?
Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.
Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.
As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.
Afterwards, Sam denied he’d started it.
He’d been aiming for the tree behind Ryan, not at Ryan himself, he insisted. But whatever its intended target, Sam’s snowball hit Ryan perfectly on the back of his neck, exploding on impact and sending powdery snow down the gap between beanie and jacket.
After that, mayhem ensued. Snowballs flying as they ran and ducked, laughing and trash-talking each other. They were in a small copse with a few trees and bushes for cover, but as soon as one of them ventured out in search of a new patch of snow to make missiles with, the other would take the opportunity to release a fresh barrage of snowballs.
Finally, frustrated by Sam’s surprisingly good aim, Ryan reverted to his rugby skills and tackled Sam, knocking him full length into the snow with an “Oomph!” Of course, Ryan went down too. But by then he was too wet and cold to care.
They were on a slope, and the impact caused them to roll together, over and over until Ryan wondered if they were going to turn into a giant snowball like characters in a cartoon. But they finally came to rest, panting and laughing as the slope levelled out.
Sam ended up pinned beneath Ryan, laughing out loud. He’d lost his hat at some point in their tumble, and his hair was in his eyes. Snow crystals had caught in it, glinting in the sunlight. His smile was wide and infectious, and Ryan laughed too, dazzled for a moment. Then Sam’s gaze drifted over Ryan’s shoulder and focused on something above them.
“Is that mistletoe?” he asked.
Ryan pushed himself up and offered a hand to Sam to help him back onto his feet. Then he tilted his head back to squint at the spherical tangle of leaves in the bare branches of the tree above them. “I think so.”
Ryan met Sam’s eyes again, then realised he was still holding his hand. They each had gloves on, and Ryan wished they didn’t. He wanted to feel Sam’s skin. They stared at each other for a moment, and Sam licked his lips. They were pink, a little chapped from the cold, and Ryan’s gaze locked onto them. His heart surged, and panicky heat flooded him.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.