Flash Fiction: Christmas Eve, 1972

Would you like a very short, vaguely Christmas-related story? Of course you would!

A tiny bit of background: I’ve been turning over ideas for a story that takes place in New York in the 70s, and also feeling sort of sad that I didn’t get around to writing a Christmas story this year. Then both of those trains collided, et voila! Here are 830 words on the theme of people who are down on their luck on Christmas Eve, something I apparently keep returning to. So, think of this as New York in the bad old days, Greenwich Village in the wake of Stonewall, a city in decay.

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happy holidays!

This is the tree in my apartment. My cat keeps getting ahold of the tree skirt.

Warmest holiday wishes to you and yours!

It’s been a strange holiday season in these parts. Not everything has been pleasant, but I’m looking forward to a few days off and even to getting out of the city for a bit (I’m going up to New England in a few hours to spend the weekend with my dad, et al). My siblings and I will all be in one place, which doesn’t happen that often, so I’m looking forward to that. All my presents are wrapped, and I baked some snickerdoodles, so all that’s left to do now is to get on a train.

This has been a really amazing year for me, and I find myself introspective at the holidays. I’m so grateful to so many people who were encouraging and supportive and awesome and helped make a lot happen this year, and I, for one, am really looking forward to 2012. I feel like the possibilities are endless. Which is a nice way to feel at the end of the year.

Happy holidays!

Valentine’s Day with Harry and Noah

As a romance writer, I can’t say I have a problem with the general sentiment behind Valentine’s Day, even if I’d rather skip the hearts and flowers personally. Or if I’d rather avoid what I saw tonight: I decided that I’d buy myself a Valentine’s Day cupcake, so I stopped at a little bakery on the way home from work. While I was paying, this guy came running in frantically, all, “I need two cupcakes, and I need them to be sort of festive and Valentine-y! Stat!”

Anyway, in honor of the holiday, I thought I’d give you guys a terribly romantic scene from my WIP sequel to In Hot Pursuit. This scene might get cut, actually, depending on how I go with the revision, but here’s a little taste of what happens to Harry and Noah a couple of years after the end of their novel.

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it’s christmastime in the city

For the first five years I lived in New York City, I worked in an office near the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. If you need a landmark, the New York Public Library is right there (the iconic building with the lions out front). I was also right down the street from Saks and Rockefeller Center, so the whole area was abuzz with activity during the holidays. It was a boon and a bust simultaneously. I have a hard time with big crowds, and there were times when I’d be out to lunch and I’d look up 5th Avenue and see that sea of people crowding the sidewalk and feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, I still think there’s something magical about the city at this time of year, and I’d see glimpses of that and feel some measure of joy. I like things that are simple: someone changing the glass in the chandelier that hung at the entrance to my office building from white to red and green; a guy playing “Silver Bells” on a trumpet for pocket change; the way the lights reflected off all those glass office buildings in midtown.

I’m thankful I don’t work in the middle of everything anymore, but I miss it sometimes, also. Still, there’s something kind of charming about Brooklyn during the holiday season. All those brownstones with tasteful wreaths or garlands out front makes my neighborhood feel very Victorian to me, like I’ve walked into a new movie version of A Christmas Carol. Sure, you get the people who have Santas hanging off their balconies and plenty of tacky flashing lights, but there’s this one house near my office that’s just gorgeous, with old fashioned decorations hanging from the gas lamp in front of their front stoop.

It’s nice to think about that, as I’ve felt a little grinchy this year. Saturday, I went with a couple of friends to the Central Park holiday market, a European-style open-air market near Columbus Circle. Sometimes there’s magic to be found there, too, but mostly I was too distracted by the crowds and my need to find some last-minute gifts to find it.

I’ll start looking for it again, though.

In book-related news, my upcoming novel The Boy Next Door went off to the proofreader a few days ago. I saw the initial cover mock-up, too, and it looks great! (I’ll post when I get the final.) That will be out from Loose Id on January 25th. It’s about a man who moves back to his home town and winds up living next door to his childhood friend (and teenage crush). I’ll have more to say about that as the release date gets closer. A LOT of work went into this novel, so I’m glad to see the light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m really excited for it to finally be published.