Red Hot Christmas - Launch! December 15th PLUS Meet Shaunna Hennessy - star of the story PLUS First Christmas Giveaway!!!

Next Monday (December 15th) marks the release of my second Christmas story of the year, Red Hot Christmas, so we'll start as we mean to go on, by officially revealing the FABULOUS cover, created by Natasha Snow.

Natasha's a brilliant cover artist / designer, and such a great person to work with. For both Red Hot Christmas and Crying in the Rain, I gave her a brief outline of the story and her first ideas were what we eventually went with, even though I fuss and fret and go all around the world before I reach the conclusion that she had it right all along.

I think it's what comes of writing a series, whereby Crying in the Rain and Red Hot Christmas are chronologically #5 and #11 (full list at end of post), although I wrote Red Hot Christmas last Christmas, and wrote Crying in the Rain during the summer. By this point, the characters are so familiar to me that I have a clear picture in my head of what they are like - it's more of a psychological profile than a physical presence (which is also how I see people in 'our realm'). It makes me a bit too picky when it comes to having any likeness of the character on the cover, which is why in the past I steered clear with all my dull, dull covers. They're soon going to be replaced with all-new wonderfully appealing covers, which is very exciting!

The cover model for Red Hot Christmas is very much how Shaunna is to me. She's passionate, strong, sexy, independent, and she's a redhead. So once again, thank you, Natasha. You're a star. :)

But anyway, you're probably wondering what this story is about, especially if you've arrived here having read any of the gay (male) romances I've written recently. I'm not an author of gay romance per se, or indeed of any kind of romance. I write diverse, realist, contemporary fiction, which means there's romance in there as part of that general tapestry of modern life. There's also birth, death, marriage, illness, education, friendship, family...

I also try to make my books as universally accessible as I can, which means that (with two exceptions) I don't explicitly describe scenes involving sex, violence or abuse, which doesn't mean that my stories are devoid of the emotional stuff. In fact, I've been led to believe they are quite an emotional read. Then there was the sexy chapter in In The Stars Part II that my dear husband said he needed to re-read, just to make sure there were no errors, or something like that... ;)

Red Hot Christmas is really Shaunna's story, and if you are reading the whole series in order, then I should warn you that there are significant spoilers in this instalment.

Just one more thing, Mam...

Whilst Red Hot Christmas is 'stand-alone', it is connected to the other two stories I've put out recently.

Crying in the Rain - the story of Ade and Kris - happens a year before Red Hot Christmas (and if you're reading the series, there are two books and two novellas in between).

A Midnight Clear happens at exactly the same time as Red Hot Christmas, but should be read first, as there are events mentioned in Red Hot Christmas that would ruin surprises in A Midnight Clear. There are a couple of occasions where the narrative of the two stories crosses over, but they are very different stories relating to different characters who just happen to be part of the same group of friends - The Circle.

 You don't have to read all three, but if you are going to, then the order to read them would be Crying in the Rain, A Midnight Clear, Red Hot Christmas.

A Midnight Clear is included in the Boughs of Evergreen Holiday Anthology and the proceeds go to The Trevor Project. And it's cheap! 99 cents! It's only $9.99 for the full anthology (23 stories) - that's awesome, you've got to admit! Plus it's had some great reviews, so you should read it. :)

OK, maybe two more things...

If you like Christmas stories, then you might enjoy First Christmas, which is also part of the series and was released last year, but now has a shiny new cover! To celebrate its shiny newness, there's a GIVEAWAY at the end of this post - 3 copies available (but it's only $1.99 if you wanted to go and snag yourself a copy).

Remember the way you used to feel when you were little? So eager for Santa's visit, sleeplessly counting the minutes till morning, trembling with excitement and anticipation... Will I get what I wished for? Have I been good enough?

Josh and George spent half a lifetime apart, so it matters not that they're all grown up now. For this is their first Christmas together, in their new home. They finally have all that they wished for...

...But perhaps Santa still has a few surprises in store.

This Christmas, join Josh and George for a Christmas story full of festive magic and romance.

Best read in December, in front of a roaring log fire, by the twinkling light of a Christmas tree.

That's quite enough preamble. As mentioned earlier (up there ^ somewhere), Red Hot Christmas homes in on one character (and her significant others). That character is Shaunna Hennessy.

Who is Shaunna?

Let's ask her and see!

DM: Hi Shaunna. Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions.
SH: You're welcome.

DM: First off, that question you're not supposed to ask a woman, but...?
SH: I don't mind you asking at all. I'm 39 and looking forward to turning 40. I'm kind of doing the whole living it up thing in reverse! I've got a brilliant job that I love, great friends and an amazing daughter...

DM: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
SH: Nope. Just me, but I do have quite a few cousins in Ireland.

DM: How about your parents? Are they still alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?
SH: My dad is still alive. My mum died of breast cancer eleven years ago. Dad's doing OK, but he's very forgetful and needs quite a lot of support these days.

DM: If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?
SH: Mobile phone? Oh, wait. That probably wouldn't work. I'd definitely take tea bags, and...a distress flare. Ha-ha!

DM: Do you have a hidden talent?
SH: Not totally hidden, as my mates know, but I'm not bad on the footy pitch. These days there's less stigma about girls playing the game, and women's football is becoming really popular, but it wasn't like that back when I was at school.

DM: Do you have a habit you wish you could break?
SH: Not that I can think of. I don't bite my nails, or anything like that. I could maybe drink less tea?

DM: What features do you like the most about yourself?
SH: My hair. I'm a ginger. Well, it's more the colour of barley sugar, and dries into major curls. It's quite long too - when it's straightened out it's past my waist, and none of the redheads in my family have gone grey, so I'm optimistic it's going to keep me looking young forever!

DM: What feature do you dislike the most about yourself?
SH: Freckles. I'm covered in them and I'm fair-skinned, so no lush tan for me. I'm totally jealous of people who can get a good tan.

DM: Do you have a hobby?
SH: At the moment it's doing a short psychology course - part time from home. A couple of my friends are psychologists - they were chatting about it - showing off, really. Anyway, it snagged my interest, but I don't want to make a career out of it. I might study something else next. Pottery? Conversational Spanish? Car mechanics? Yeah, maybe not the last one.

DM: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
SH: Ha! Lots of them. I'm told that I'm the star of a book of some sort?
DM: That's right. It's called Red Hot Christmas.
SH: Red Hot? How about that! Well, you can no doubt find out more about my most guilty pleasure in there...hopefully heavy on the pleasure, easy on the guilt.

DM: What kind of music do you like?
SH: Pop, rock, anything really. My favourite of all time is A-Ha, fronted by the dreamy Nordic sex god, Morten Harket.

DM: What is your biggest pet peeve?
SH: Smelly dog. I know they can't help it, and I love the dog, but he really does stink at times, and then the house does too.

DM: What is your favourite food?
SH: I'm more of a favourite drink kind of girl - tea, strawberry milkshake, blueberry yoghurt crush, or yoghurt-not-smoothie as my dear friend Sean likes to call it. Food-wise, pasta is always good. And I love chocolate fudge cake. Yes, actually. It's chocolate fudge cake.

DM: Do you have a passion and if so what?
SH: Krissi - my daughter. I had her when I was fifteen, so she's been my life. Now she's all grown up maybe I'll find something else to get passionate about?

DM: Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?
SH: Definitely extrovert! On my psychology course we all met up for a 'day school' and they gave us a fun introvert-extrovert test. I came out second highest out of all of us!

DM: What is your idea of a perfect day?
SH: Lie in, cup of tea, maybe even breakfast in bed, followed by doing something fun, preferably with someone fun.

DM: Who is your favorite author?
SH: Err...I don't actually read. Honestly, I've never read an entire book. I love films, and film adaptations of books. That would probably make my favourite Bridget Jones's Diary.

DM: What would the first thing be on your bucket list?
SH: Ooh, that's a tricky one. There is quite a big thing currently at the top of the list. Maybe I'll stick it on my Christmas list too, and see if Santa thinks I've been nice enough to get it. ;)

DM: If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?
SH: Depends if you wanted to read it afterwards...just kidding. Right now it would probably be about getting organised for Christmas. My aunty is having my dad stay with her, which is really kind of her, as we've had a hell of a year and I'm looking forward to the break, but I'm not done Christmas shopping yet!

DM: Tell me something no one else knows about you?
SH: That book I mentioned? I have a feeling you'll get to know a couple of biggies in there. Who knows, it might even get a little steamy...with any luck!

 a novella of 33,000 words
December 15th, 2014

Hiding Behind The Couch Series 
in full and in chronological order:

Beginnings (novella)
Crying in the Rain (short novel)
First Christmas (novella)
Breaking Waves (novella)
A Midnight Clear (novella)
Two By Two (season 6 - 2015)

Thank you for reading - have a great Christmas!


  1. I love First Christmas' new cover as well!!

    Happy Holidays Deb!

    1. Thank you! :)

      And to you, lovely. x


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