Today I am so pleased to welcome K.L. Noone to Joyfully Jay. K.L. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Sugarplums and Sailing Ships. She has also brought along an excerpt to share. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hello, everyone, and happy holidays—and thank you to Joyfully Jay for having me! I’m K.L. Noone, and I write lots of LGBTQ romance, mostly m/m but some m/m/m, some f/f, and some m/f with bisexual main characters. I also pillage my medievalist day job for folklore and fantasy settings and references, for stories from the high fantasy of Magician to contemporary paranormal like Frost & Raine to contemporary actors-filming-a-historical-movie in the Character Bleed stories. (I’m still proud of the Margaret Cavendish joke!)
Today, I wanted to share some trivia and behind-the-scenes for my new holiday short, “Sugarplums and Sailing Ships”—out now from JMS Books! It’s a story that makes me happy, and a story that’s something I’ve never tried before, so I hope you like it!
“Sugarplums” is a crossover story, in fact—which is the part I’ve never tried before! (There are some little Easter eggs and connections in other stories, but not full-on character meetings, like here!) It’s roughly 16k, m/m, established romance holiday baking fluff, with two main couples from two of my series meeting!
Specifically, we get Nate and Marcus (from “Gingerbread Dreams”) and their baking show on the GourmetTV network, hosting the holiday baking extravaganza…and then Colby and Jason from the Character Bleed series appearing as guest judges for an episode! “Sugarplums” should stand alone just fine if you’ve not read their respective books—there’s enough context, I think—but I hope it’ll make you smile if you know the characters. I made myself smile, writing—and also made myself hungry!
Also, no one throws any marshmallows at anyone. I promise. (Yet. Nate still might.)
So, in celebration, five pieces of trivia:
One – I wanted to write something fun, and I wanted characters who’d be friends—though it’s not necessarily instantaneous! It’s a bit complicated, in fact…but they do all like each other, eventually! And Nate’s good at people. (Marcus isn’t. Oh, well…)
Two – in this story, contestants bake holiday-tradition history-inspired desserts! My own favorite time period is the later Middle Ages (I am a medievalist by training, after all!); as far as characters, Jason’s favorite is the nineteenth century/anything vaguely steampunk, and Colby’s probably is as well but only because he likes the fashions; otherwise he can never choose, because he likes everything. Nate also likes the Middle Ages because he likes the (occasionally very weird) recipes. Marcus refuses to consider any time periods before decent ovens and chef’s kitchens exist.
Three – this story actually connects multiple stories! Not appearing, but mentioned: Nate’s friend and fellow baker Evan and his husband Matt, the main couple from my flash fiction short “October Spice” and also appearing in “Gingerbread Dreams;” and then, too, Finn and Wes from my holiday short “December with Peppermint” at one point watch a Colby Kent romantic comedy film while making holiday decorations (and making out), and of course Colby and Jason have now appeared on Nate’s baking show…so I think we’ve got a small literary cinematic universe happening!
Four – I generally write with music! Four songs on my playlist for this one: Green Day, “Xmas Time of Year;” David Bowie, “Across the Universe;” The Proclaimers, “Make My Heart Fly;” Arctic Monkeys, “Electricity”
Five – because this one was such fun, there might be more crossovers on the horizon! I have some thoughts about Ben and Simon from the “Leather & Tea” stories…but, also, I have thoughts about Colby and Nate trading recipes, being history nerds, and probably coming up with a historical feast spanning time periods, and inviting all their friends…
Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Jay for letting me drop by! “Sugarplums and Sailing Ships” is out now from JMS Books, and I hope you enjoy it—and I hope your holidays are perfectly delicious!
His phone went off a third time, still his agent’s ring tone, over on the nightstand. He groaned.
Colby exhaled, the breath a kiss against Jason’s skin.
Jason grumbled, “No…”
“She keeps trying…I’d hate to not answer, if it’s something you should respond to…”
“…fine.” He stuck out an arm. Flailed. Grabbed electronic nosiness. “Hello?”
“Were you two still in bed? Never mind, I don’t want to know. Check your email, finally.”
“Um.” Jason found Colby’s laptop—it’d been on the nightstand too; Colby sometimes did some writing in bed—and found his own email. Colby cuddled up next to him, under his left arm; both of them were comfortable that way. The sheets nudged his feet with designs of sails and ships and waves, from the heap they’d been kicked into. “Okay…”
“If you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, it’s just GourmetTV, a holiday baking thing, but they reached out and we like this new cozy domestic version of you, so it might be a good idea.”
“I’m still opening it!…oh. Huh.” He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting. Hadn’t been an invitation to come and be a guest judge. On a holiday baking competition. On television.
“Yeah, you don’t have to, but they know your mom’s a chef, and they’re all harmless over there, and it can’t hurt. Lighthearted family-friendly seasonal fun, and all that.”
“Oh, it’s for the Holiday Baking Showdown!” Colby had been reading along. “I’ve got some marvelous inspiration from that, for recipes! I love it. I watch it every year. Hi, Susan.”
“Hi, kid.” Susan liked Colby; he’d been good for Jason, she said, both personally and professionally. Jason thought that his agent was sometimes too cynical, but also she was right and he knew it.
Colby was good for him. In every single way.
“Hmm.” Colby reread the email. Ran a hand through his own hair, absently. The platinum blond was growing out; he’d contemplated dyeing it back to brown to get that over with, but hadn’t done it yet. The lighter strands fell like cornsilk over his fingers.
Jason watched the gesture. Felt the usual throb—lust, love, adoration, pure glee—deep down in his gut, his heart, his soul. All Colby’s, as ever.
“Do you think…” Colby looked up. “Would you mind, would they mind, if I came along with you? Two for one, as it were.”
Jason turned to look at him. Sunshine slid across Colby’s face, and swirled through his hair—nearly the same shade, at the moment—and painted one cheekbone with gold. Colby also did a tiny eyebrow-shrug—what, you thought I wouldn’t want to? —and grinned at him.
Jason wanted to see that grin every afternoon. Every day.
“Oooh,” Susan said, over the phone. “You know they wouldn’t mind. Colby Kent, on a baking show? The world would eat it up, pun intended. You baking cupcakes for that entire production is, like, an industry legend. But, look, kid, a couple things. First, I’m not your agent, so you should probably get in touch yourself. Second, you don’t do a ton of public appearances; you sure you want to do this one? It’s not exactly high profile.”
“I know,” Colby agreed. “I would like to, though.”
“Colby,” Jason said, kind of quietly because he was still caught up in that grin.
“Well,” Susan observed, “I’ll let you two talk it over. They don’t need an answer immediately, but by the end of the week would be great. Let me know, okay? Bye, kid, take care of him for me!”
Jason set phone and laptop down, after, a more complicated maneuver than usual because he didn’t want to dislodge Colby from under his arm. Still, he’d been an action star for years and a stunt guy before that; he could be flexible. “Babe?”
“Yes, love?” Colby wriggled out from under Jason’s arm, rendering that effort moot, but arranged himself across Jason’s lap instead, head pillowed on Jason’s thigh, gazing up; so that was just as good. “Go on. Ask me.”
Jason wove fingers through his hair, petting pale strands as they darkened to brown. “You know what you’re feeling up to.” It was a question, and also a statement; he trusted Colby.
“I do, and I am up to it, thank you.” Colby smiled up at him. “In any case it makes logical sense, doesn’t it?”
A Character Bleed/Gingerbread Dreams crossover!
It’s Holiday Baking Showdown time! This year, Nate isn’t a contestant. In fact, he’s agreed to be a judge. But he’s never had to critique someone else’s baking on television before, he feels terrible about eliminating anyone, and he hates to disappoint his boyfriend Marcus, the show’s executive producer. And this week’s guest judges are two of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Jason and Colby both love baking, cooking, and holiday recipes, so agreeing to be guest judges on an episode of the Holiday Baking Showdown sounds perfect. It’s good for Jason’s new domestic image, and Colby’s a huge fan of the show. But Colby’s not a fan of crowds and chaos. And Jason can’t help worrying about him.
But with new friends, delicious desserts, and a tacky holiday sweater or two, everyone’s sugarplum dreams might just come true…
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sugarplums-Sailing-Ships-K-L-Noone-ebook/dp/B09NFPXK79/
- JMS Books: https://www.jms-books.com/kl-noone-c-224_279/sugarplums-and-sailing-ships-p-4146.html
K.L. Noone teaches college students about superheroes and Shakespeare by day, and writes romance – frequently paranormal or with fantasy elements, usually LGBTQ, and always with happy endings – when not grading papers or researching medieval outlaw life. She is currently the servant of a large black cat named Merlyn, who demands treats on a regular basis.