Every year I go nuts reading Christmas stories. I’m a little bit of a fanatic for them. Not Valentine’s stories. Not Halloween stories. Just Christmas. Thus far for the 2009 Christmas book feast, I’ve found two gems. I actually knew that both would be gems because I have a lot of respect for both authors.
Jennifer Leeland is singlehandedly responsible for the fact that I am published. She goaded me in blog comments until I submitted something. Goaded is perhaps the wrong word. She inflated my ego bigger than the effing Garfield balloon in the Macy’s parade by telling me I was frickin’ brilliant. And I will never, ever let her live it down that she kept saying that to me until I stopped denying it and started wondering if she was maybe just an itty bitty bit right.
This Christmas Jen pulled out all the emotional stops. What she did with The Christmas She Rules reminds me of what I did with Ride the Lightning… create a heroine with a tragic past who uses the lifestyle to both protect and punish herself. While my Emily is submissive, Jen’s Pamela is the ultimate Domme. You’ve seen her in the other books Jen’s written about this community. You’ve wondered what her story would be. Now, Jen’s told it.
The Christmas She Rules gives you a heroine whose strength and expertise will leave you gasping for air. But she is also a heroine whose vulnerabilities begin to appear as a submissive like none she’s ever had before cracks her composure and makes her… feel. If you read The Trust She Yields, The Secret She Keeps, and The Mask She Wears, you know who Pamela is – or think you do – and you will definitely want to read The Christmas She Rules so that you will come away finally knowing who Pamela really is. You will also come away with the knowledge that Jennifer Leeland is some kinda author. If you don’t believe me read the book. And remember that I said this when you get to the scene where Pamela literally climbs on Christian as he’s hanging from the ceiling. Fuck. Yeah.
The other gem I have for you is one that Jen herself recommended on her blog. Not that I noticed that until tonight. Great minds like the same great things apparently. And this great thing is Josh Lanyon.
The Dickens with Love is written in that spare, but lush style that is so very Josh. His books are cinematic. I can see each scene, hear the characters breathe, smell the scents… Yet, Josh doesn’t waste a single word. Nothing is flowery. Nothing is scenic. Every word counts. And does double duty even. His is a voice you cannot shake and I found myself returning to The Dickens with Love repeatedly after my first read. Yes, you heard me… repeatedly.
I could not get enough of James and Sedge. And the thin line between sex, relationships, and true love became oh, so much clearer for reading this book. It made me hot. It made me cry. And it wrenched my heart. I wanted to find love on Christmas Eve when it snows in L.A. I found myself leaving work each night after that first reading, looking for the snow. (Of course, it didn’t snow in the O.C., but I had ice on my windshield one morning. Not that it counts.)
It takes a true master to wring those sorts of emotions from you without laying out the characters’ emotions word by word on the book’s pages. You understand Sedge’s love so much better not just because of what Josh says but also because of what he doesn’t say. Only a master wordsmith can convey emotion by what is left to the reader’s imagination.
I am still not done with my Christmas writing or reading. One of my first 2009 Christmas offerings released today, Christmas in Hell. It’s a whopping $1.89 and I hope you will stop by Pink Petal Books and get yourself a copy. A city girl, a cowboy, a wet Christmas Eve and a rickety barn. Sounds like a plan for love. *wink* I still have my M/M Christmas story to finish and then my freebie Antaeus family story.
When I finish my writing, I have the Santa Mug by my friend Patric Michael to read. I’ve saved Patric for last because he has a habit of pulling too much emotion from me. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard the raves of others, and I know Patric. You will LOVE his Christmas book.
So my Christmas rules are… read the good stuff and let the authors make you cry or smile and wring warm fuzzies from you. The best of the season is upon you. Make the most of it with these books.