Today I am so pleased to welcome Charley Descoteaux to Joyfully Jay. Charley has come to talk to us about her latest release, Holiday Weekend (Buchanan House: Book Five). She has also brought along a tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Charley a big welcome!
Locations in Holiday Weekend
Thanks for having me! I’m thrilled to be visiting Joyfully Jay to talk about my Christmas story, Holiday Weekend, Buchanan House: Book Five.
The Buchanan House series is grounded in at the camp on the Central Oregon coast. I love that—for years I’d wanted to write a series of stories all sharing a house in common. This series accomplishes that in some ways. While it would probably be possible to set all the stories at the camp, it’s been fun to mix it up too. In Holiday Weekend, as in the rest of the series, part of the story takes place in Portland, Oregon.
As I said in the Author’s Note, the locations are real but some are used with creative license. The camp itself is a combination of three places on the central coast. I did that intentionally, to preserve plausible deniability. That’s been the case with most of the locations in my books, because it’s impossible to predict who will be upset with the way they—or their business—is portrayed. I’d rather not make anyone uncomfortable, least of all myself. 😉
The Elliott Foundation House is a real building—it was built in 1890 and really served as a mortuary until about 1919. I couldn’t find a picture that I could secure the rights to, but you can take a peek here if you’re interested. To turn it into the Elliott Foundation House, I put the building in a different neighborhood and everything about the interior is fictionalized to serve the story.
Another important location is the restaurant that was just starting out in book #3, Puddle Jumper. The servers all call it PJ’s, which was much easier to type, so that worked for me. The building I transported into the Pearl District to house PJ’s was one of the last single-story buildings in an area loosely part of downtown Portland, and half empty when I decided that was where PJ’s lived. I thought the vacancies where stores and restaurants had been made it the perfect home for a restaurant, with room to grow when tenants moved out—but its real-life owner and the city had other plans. It’s since been demolished and that corner is a mess of rubble and construction equipment that doesn’t quite fit on the narrow downtown street.
As with the rest of the series, the camp building—Buchanan House—is the anchor of the story. The incident that forces both lead characters to act instead of coasting along in their slightly uncomfortable relationship happens there, as do their separate decisions about their future lives. But I’ll let you read about those things for yourself.
In this exclusive excerpt, Ryan learns the weekend of volunteering he signed up for isn’t exactly what he’d anticipated.
I hadn’t expected to see a chartered bus pull up in front of my building at six in the morning just to volunteer at Elliott House again. I’d expected Glenn to come for me the way he had at Thanksgiving. I’d even talked myself into holding his hand while we walked to the MAX stop, if he seemed like he’d be okay with it.
Crap. I didn’t pack anything.
I’d thought the long weekend of volunteering would include trips home to shower and change, but a chartered bus suggested we would be going farther than the Elliott Foundation House in Southwest. The bus looked like one of the midsized ones the church used to take kids to camp and adults to play bingo at St. Anthony’s, only it was painted blue and white and had no markings aside from the registration.
The thought that I should’ve asked for details about the weekend disappeared when Glenn jumped off the bus and onto the sidewalk. He looked a little sheepish as he bounded toward the building. I rushed down and met him outside the front door. He must have waited out there for me, because I was still not very fast even after losing thirty pounds.
“What’s the bus for?” I almost cringed but caught myself at the last minute. Maybe I’m getting used to being tongue-tied around Glenn, because that didn’t sound cringeworthy. “Where are we going to volunteer?”
“Um… out to the coast.” Glenn reached out, but at the last minute he didn’t touch me. He did hold eye contact, though. “I just found out last night. I would’ve called, but it was pretty late. You have time to pack a bag, if you still want to go. If you don’t, it’s cool.”
“No, I’m still in.”
Glenn waved to the people watching from the bus—I recognized a face or two from Thanksgiving, but not every one of them. We went inside, and Glenn took my hand as soon as the door to the stairwell fell closed behind us. I squeezed gently, and Glenn looked up and smiled. I wanted to say I didn’t care where I went as long as he was there, but that even sounded corny in my head. Glenn probably wouldn’t laugh, but he might get scared off.
The whole time I was talking myself out of getting too heavy and sappy—it’s only six in the morning, after all—Glenn had been talking. Softly, so he wouldn’t wake anyone, but I couldn’t remember most of what he’d said. The sound of his voice took up so much space in my mind, I couldn’t even remember where I’d stashed my gym bag. Paulie had wanted to lose weight for a while, so we’d gone to the gym together a few times, but it was horrible. The locker room had smelled almost as bad as the diesel and solvent in the garage. I hadn’t even felt bad for convincing Paulie to go dancing instead. Cardio counts as exercise.
I shook those thoughts from my head and found the bag in the back corner of my closet. Once I’d packed it with jeans and T-shirts and a heavy sweater, the bag looked less like it had been crumpled up on the floor for months, but it still wasn’t very attractive. At least I’d stashed Glenn’s Christmas present in a smart place. The small box wrapped in silver paper and tied with a green ribbon was in my underwear drawer. I wrapped it carefully in a few pairs of boxer briefs and grabbed a handful of socks while I was in there. The ribbon will probably get smushed, but otherwise it should be okay. When I turned to grab a hat from the closet, Glenn was standing so close I almost bumped into him.
“Hey, have you been listening?”
“Yeah. Beach. Resort. Volunteering. I’m in.” My smile felt goofy, but maybe he wouldn’t think anything of it. I love giving presents, and can’t wait to give Glenn his. “Will I need anything fancier than jeans? Maybe I should bring a pair of uniform slacks just in case.”
Glenn shook his head. When I tried to go around him, Glenn held my arm. “You haven’t. I’m not taking you if you don’t listen.”
“Okay.” I turned to face Glenn full-on, a fast heartbeat away from pulling him into my arms and kissing him until he needed help to stay standing, but people were waiting. And Glenn might have taken a half step backward.
“Um… okay, then. It’s at Buchanan House. The place where Paulie lives. Evan is Nathan’s brother. He arranged it. Evan did.”
“Oh. I thought Evan looked familiar, but I didn’t think I’d ever met him before.”
“Yeah. So the long weekend is out there at the camp. Thursday through Sunday.”
“Oh.” Oh shit. Shit, shit, and double shit.
“You don’t have to come. I didn’t know it would be there, or I would’ve given you a heads-up.”
He looks like he doesn’t really want to go. I thought about suggesting we stay in this bedroom for the whole long weekend. We already had the time off.
“No. It’s okay. I said I’d do it, and I will.”
After a long moment where we just looked at each other, Glenn nodded. “Let’s go, then. Don’t forget your toothbrush.” He grinned, but his eyes didn’t sparkle the way they usually did.
I followed Glenn out to the bus. It was a struggle, but I didn’t watch his gorgeous ass. The bus was full of kids—teenagers, whatever—so I couldn’t be a horndog over the weekend. Not an obvious one, at least.
Glenn put me against the window, and as soon as he sat down, we both reached for each other’s hand. I concentrated on not squeezing too tightly, but he didn’t seem to be thinking the same thing.
Maybe we’re never really thinking the same thing after all.
Ryan Orchard moved from small-town Idaho to Portland almost two years ago and still feels like a hick. When Paulie Nesbitt dumped him, he wasn’t even surprised. Despite losing twenty-five pounds since then, Ryan’s confidence is nonexistent and his life has stalled. Not only is he convinced the career he wants is beyond his reach, he’s given up on relationships. A new job at a familiar restaurant—and his gorgeous coworker—could be just what Ryan needs to believe in himself again.
Glenn Hernandez might be the only nineteen-year-old in Portland who dreads his days off. Between his horrible housing situation and the ever-present temptation to crawl back into the bottle, Glenn prefers to keep busy. He volunteers at the Elliott Foundation House, a homeless shelter helping LGBTQ sex workers. As an alum of the shelter, Glenn finds it hard to leave his past behind. But when the new server at the trendy restaurant where he works catches Glenn’s eye and works his way into his heart, Glenn finally has a reason to start a new life.
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Charley has brought a tour wide giveaway. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. The contest ends on at 11:59 pm EST.
Prize #1: signed paperback and swag (US only, winner’s choice: Tiny House or Safe House); Prize #2: backlist book (any ebook except Holiday Weekend; worldwide)
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Thanks again for having me! Happy Holidays everyone! <3
And a very happy holiday to you, too, Charley! Thanks for sharing tidbits about your book as well as the excerpt.
Thank you, Kareni! <3