Hi, I’m C. J. Anthony and I’d like to thank Divine Magazine for hosting me today. I’m here to talk about my new novella with Dreamspinner Press coming out July 24th called Falling for Santa Claus…
*record scratching noise* Back up, wait…did I just say Santa Claus? But it’s July, you’re thinking. Santa Claus comes in December with all that cold and snow right? Not in July when it’s shorts and T-shirt weather and ice cream and sunshine and all the good stuff we look forward to all year, right? Well, yes, that’s true…but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little Christmas in July!
This is the third stop on my blog tour. I hope you’ll prop your feet up, grab some ice cold lemonade or ice tea, turn that AC up to it’s coldest setting and blast it while you follow along. You’ll get to find out more about the story, why I wrote it and also a little side story about what Jack, Nick and the other residents of Great Falls are up to this summer. At the end of the tour, I’ll be choosing two winners from all the comments on all of the blogs (which means every time you comment on a different blog, you get another entry!) and they’ll receive a special Christmas in July gift from Santa himself. Blog links are listed below.
Christmas and New Year’s are my absolute favorite holidays. I love the spirit, I love the food (Christmas cookies!!) I love the decorations. (Okay, actually I’m not always a fan of putting the tree up and taking it down, but I love it while it’s up.)
I loved having a break at Christmas when I was a kid, and as an adult I always try to save any vacation days I can and take them during Christmas week. Of course Christmas can also be a stressful time, the rush of trying to get everything done when there is so much to do that time of year—buying and wrapping presents, making food, visits to friends and family. And sometimes it can be a letdown when it’s all over so quickly.
But it’s still my favorite time of the year. Some of my favorite Christmases that I remember when I was a little girl revolved around gifts, of course—the year I got a bike from my aunts and uncles and grandma. And one year when I didn’t get the Dorothy Hamill doll I wanted but then got one the next year, LOL. As an adult, my favorite Christmases have been ones with my family. I generally spend the day with my mom’s family and we have Italian food at my aunt’s house. I enjoy spending time with them more than any gift.
If you celebrate Christmas, what are some of your favorite things about the holiday?
Comment (and leave a contact email) below for an entry to win a gift from Santa.
When Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.
Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.
Review by Christopher Stone
Let others call it maudlin and mawkish if they must, I’m calling Falling for Santa Claus, a first-class tale – one that evokes Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives: In other words, an old-fashioned Christmas, American-style. C.J. Anthony’s holiday tale will delight the masses that have made It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas in Connecticut perennial must-see events.
So this reviewer is all in for this five-star Christmas in July fable.
When we meet John “Jack” Frost, autumn is in full swing, and Jack is relocating from Chicago to Great Falls, Vermont, where he has inherited a house from his newly dead Aunt Margaret.
As it happens, Frost, a financial analyst, has decided to kick-start his stalled life – in the throes of middle-aged craziness. Jack is not only reinventing himself personally in the small-town house that he has inherited; he has accepted a job as librarian at the Great Falls Public Library.
So, in all areas, Jack Frost is giving his torpid, not-so-young, life nothing short of an extreme makeover.
Reaching his destination by car, in the wee hours of a cold Vermont evening, Jack is greeted, not by the Great Falls Welcome Wagon, but by a baseball bat-wielding brute that interrogates Jack and scares the bejesus out of him before allowing him to enter his own house.
Jack learns that the armed, intimidating bully is not a street tough or even a thug. This threatening, if attractive, bear of a man is one Nick Saint James, the town Grinch, and the longtime tenant of another house once owned by Aunt Margaret, but now belonging to Jack.
The men have little in common except for their gay sexual orientation – and the fact that they are the only homosexuals in town.
Jack has serious misgivings about his Scrooge-like tenant, but the colorful characters that populate Great Falls charm him; none of who have any trouble embracing a second gay citizen.
Among Jack’s favorite of the town people is Mabel, the spinster owner/operator of the diner that bears her name. This civic-minded businesswoman is a tart-tongued, gum-popping, force of nature that slings hash and gossip with equal gusto.
Thanksgiving Day finds Jack and Nick thrown together by circumstances and reluctantly sharing take out versions of Mabel’s traditional Turkey Day dinner.
And it is she who convinces Jack to ride in Santa’s Sleigh costumed as an elf in the Great Falls Annual Christmas Pageant. Mabel coordinates the yearly event with Flo, another diner habitué – one who suggests having a Great Falls Gay Parade now that the town boasts two homosexuals.
But when Jack climbs aboard Santa’s Sleigh in full elf regalia, including revealing tights, he is in for a few surprises. Just for openers, Mabel and Flo decide that rather than being an elf, Jack will instead represent his fictional namesake Jack Frost: the personification of frost, ice, snow, sleet, and freezing cold winter.
The flesh and blood Jack is surprised a second time when he learns that the pageant Santa Claus is none other than Nick St. James, his tenant and the town’s embodiment of Bah! Humbug!
But this Scrooge-like man bear is anything but a Grinch today. In a Santa costume, literally seated beside Jack Frost, Saint James is all smiles and Ho-ho- hos!
Still, Nick’s jolly demeanor is short-lived and all for show. The moment the pageant ends, Nick reverts to curmudgeon form.
A strange twist of fate compels Jack and Nick to spend a non-sexual night together. When day dawns, Jack begins thinking that the town Scrooge may just be the man for him.
Jack doesn’t know what to do with his new feelings for the guy. Nick is a great tenant, and he has even taught Frost about the care and feeding of auntie’s chickens, but he remains personally frosty to his landlord.
With the dawning of Christmas Day, somewhat of a Christmas miracle occurs, and Jack clearly sees his and Nick’s path forward.
I will not spoil anyone’s fun by detailing the road that is revealed, but readers will not be disappointed. That is, they won’t unless they loathe happy endings and new beginnings.
Meet C. J. Anthony
C. J. Anthony started reading and writing at an early age. She attributes her love of reading and romance to her mother who not only taught her to read but also made countless trips to the library lugging piles of books home for her to read. She loved getting lost in the people and places and adventures she found in books. It wasn’t a far jump to start writing her own stories, early childhood tales about flower families and travelling to the moon with her best friend.
C. J. has always been a hopeless romantic, believing in true love and soul mates, and HEAs with a little humor and a little angst along the way–life is never perfect, after all, but everyone deserves a happy ending and someone there to catch them when they fall. Her favorite stories to read and write revolve around the idea of “opposites attract”—couples who start out as two people who couldn’t be more different from each other. They might appear to be the odd couple to the rest of the world, but to each other they are perfect, creating their own happy ever after with a little hard work and a whole lot of love.
Not surprisingly, C. J. is a big lover of Rom Coms—she’ll gladly take Julia Roberts standing in front of Hugh Grant asking him to love her, over car crashes and shoot-em up movies any day. She also watches way too much TV and every singing reality show there is. She loves music and musicians of all genres with the attitude that nothing is a guilty pleasure and all music has a purpose even if it is just to make you dance and laugh.
She spends most of her time juggling a day job and a commute and freelance design work on the side and falling asleep on her couch.
You can find C. J. at:
@C_J_Anthony on twitter