UK Gay Romance blog post
I’d like to thank, Sue Brown for having me here. And to anyone who thinks it’s too early to talk Christmas, I’m sorry, but I’d just like to say there are houses round the corner from us, covered in Christmas lights up. This may only be happening in Essex, but I doubt it.
(You’re quite right, Liam, the lights have been twinkling for over a week in Surrey. Sue)
If people would like to be entered to receive a free ebook of Christmas Serendipity, please comment below this post with your email address. When do you put up your decorations? Sue will do some magic random picker thing (daughter picking out of the neon yellow bobble hat) at 6pm GMT, 8th December and I will send you the ebook.
Why do I like Christmas?
For me, Christmas is a time for a rest from work at the end of the year. A time to see friends and family, and to re-evaluate what you’re going to do next year. Last year we hosted Christmas and had 14 people either coming for a meal, or staying the night. Whether that was a rest or not is debatable, but we both really enjoy hosting, and it meant we enjoyed time with friends and family over the break. It felt like we were running a hotel, changing the bedding and towels. The BF had a meal plan for what we were cooking when, when our prepared meals had to be removed from the freezer. It was all organised with Cathy like precision. It was great fun.
Christmas 2011, we drove about 500 miles over 5 days to see family, so we thought we’d have a change from that in 2012.
What is my perfect Christmas?
I used to think my perfect Christmas would be what American Jewish people did in New York City: go to the cinema and have Chinese food. Or so my friend from uni told me. However, now I think I’m more traditional. It’s basically something approximating the time David, Tony, Cathy and Christian have in Christmas Serendipity. Also I don’t think Christmas is all about Christmas Day, because after all it’s only one day out of the whole year. For me, Christmas is the whole break from the office Christmas party, lunch in the pub, right through until you go back in January.
Opening presents in stockings with the BF, champagne cocktails and smoked salmon nibbles mid morning. A late Christmas meal, with Yorkshire pudding. Watching the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast, and then some favourite festive films. I like a good chat over the meal, and some more over cheese and crackers later that evening, but I’m not so into the games. One of my favourites is The Holiday, with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslett. I watch that every Christmas and every time it makes me cry. I also love, The Family Stone, which has Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton in it. They are both completely cheese on toast, but I love that in a Christmas film.
I do enjoy a bit of sales shopping too, in my perfect Christmas. Not Boxing Day, that’s still for friends and family, but the day after, that’s when we hit the shops. I normally have a list, which for those who know me, won’t surprise you at all. We would start at the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street, and work our way to the Tottenham Court Road end, via Covent Garden and Soho. Finally we’d collapse on a bus surrounded by bags, making our way home.
Why I wrote the novella?
My first novel was a large manuscript, which is being spilt into three novels – the Best Friends Perfect series, with Wilde City Press. At the start of 2013 I wrote another novel, And Then That Happened, and in a lull between that and my next idea I wanted to see if I could write something shorter, but still have fun, engaging characters which for me are so important. I’d never written a proper novella before, and I found I really enjoyed it.
The inspiration for Christmas Serendipity was when I saw the start of the story being played out by two female friends outside a pub in a market town in Cornwall, in summer 2013. As the woman who worked at the pub left saying she’d been sacked, I thought I wonder what they do now. And that was the start of the story, only with Tony and David.
The Cathy character started forming in my mind after meeting Charlie Cochrane’s daughter, Cathy at UK Meet 2013. It was the second time I’d met her and somehow she fell into the story as it needed someone to keep things on time, and smooth the way. I have told them about this, and as a thank you Cathy’s getting a copy of the ebook.
About Liam Livings
Three things about him – there are five more on the website, one is a lie.
1) He lives, with his partner and cats, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex.
2) He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears – olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.
3) He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day.
How to get in touch with Liam Livings
@LiamLivings on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/liam.livings He told me he’s new to facebook, so please be gentle with him.
Christmas Serendipity will be published by JMS on 8 December.
Just before the Christmas holiday, in a snowy small town in England, refugees of Christmas bad luck, handyman, plumber Christian and office worker David find themselves thrown together at miss Organiser, Cathy’s non-family Christmas.
Christian thinks the world has ended as his parents get used to him being gay, and disinvite him to their Christmas. David has just been fired from his waiting job, and is still getting used to the fact that he has dumped him. Although David’s ex was a useless cheating, money grabbing waste of space, he was at least, David’s useless, cheating, money grabbing waste of space. And now David doesn’t even have that. He’s not in the mood for a night out with his best friend, camp Tony, just before Christmas. Instead they retire to Cathy and Tony’s place, to find a quiet Christian.
With Cathy’s organizational skills and enthusiasm, these four spend a non-family Christmas together, making the best of it. Together they drink, eat and play their way through Christmas, surprising each other at how it turns out, and how well they all get to know one another during the short break.
Refugees of serendipity and luck, David and Christian realize that spending the holiday season together may be just what they both needed, when they both needed it. They find that apart from both just escaping from awful relationships, they also have much more in common.
We talked late into the night, moving onto Cathy’s special Christmas spirits. “Only to be drunk at this time of year,” she explained. She appeared with a tray of snowballs—yellow advocaat and lemonade, foaming with a little red cherry perched on top of each one. “This’ll send us to sleep,” she advised.
We took it in turns to throw more wood onto the fire, until we ran out. Cathy announced she was going to bed. She’d made up the spare room for Christian, and she pointed to the sofa in the corner for me.
I looked at her, feeling slightly light-headed from the alcohol, and started to ask if she’d show me how to make it up. Before I could say anything more, somehow she’d managed with just one hand, to turn it into a bed and cover it with perfect duvet and pillows.
“Thanks, Cathy. Night.” I stood up, a little unsteadily.
She kissed my cheek. “Night boys.” And she made her way up the stairs.
Tony followed, waving goodnight to us both.
And then there were two. I’ll admit I did consider, for a brief moment, just following Christian to his room. But I decided he wasn’t that sort of boy, and really, neither was I. So instead, I opted for an awkward goodnight hug/kiss, standing over the remains of the Indian takeaway in the middle of the floor. The gentle glow from the fire and a few candles around the room gave the only light. He kissed my cheek and I his, before lingering for a moment too long on his neck, holding the hug as long as I could manage without seeming creepy. I felt his breath on my neck and I felt myself responding in my boxer shorts. We both pulled back and stared into each other’s eyes, his warm breath mixing with mine as I breathed in and out. He smiled. I stared into his deep blue eyes and kissed him again, this time with our tongues exploring each other’s mouths. He gently bit my bottom lip and a jolt went to my groin. I felt his hand on my bum, trying to pull me towards him, despite our legs being a few feet apart, separated by the takeaway. We fell onto the sofa, his small frame landing gently on my muscly chest. He sat astride me, leaning down and continuing to kiss me. His hands caressed my pectoral muscles under my T-shirt, tweaking my nipples, harder and harder.
Maybe he was that sort of boy, and maybe I was too.