Jeff & Will celebrate the podcast’s sixth anniversary and announce the Big Gay Fiction Fest, a virtual online reader event taking place Saturday, December 4 that will celebrate gay holiday romances.
The guys have a ton of book recommendations as they look at books releasing in November. First up it’s holiday-themed releases from E.J. Russell, H.L. Day, Leta Blake, Annabelle Greene, Garrett Leigh, Annabeth Albert, Lucy Lennox, Ali Ryecart, Penelope Peters, and Ashlynn Mills. Next the focus turns to more romances coming this month, including titles by Megan Slayer, Lisa Henry, Saxon James, Joe Satoria, Jenn Burke, Louisa Masters, E.M. Lindsey, Jeris Jean, Sierra Simone, Adriana Herrera, Kris Ripper and Winter Blackthorne.
Will also reviews the contemporary romance If Only for Today by Gabbi Grey, and the historical holiday short The Longest Night by EE Ottoman.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Top 5 Podcast Episodes for Season 6
- Episode 281 – Sarina Bowen Introduces “Roommate” and a New Series on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Roommate by Sarina Bowen on Amazon | Kobo
- Episode 288 – Roommates to Lovers with Garrett Leigh on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Vino and Veritas series by various authors on Amazon | Libro.fm
- Episode 329 – Hockey Players in Love with Rachel Reid on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Game Changers series by Rachel Reid on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Episode 328 – Stories of Strength, Hope and Kindness with TJ Klune on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Flash Fire by TJ Klune on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Episode 323 – Bookseller, Disgraced Aristocrat & An Emotional Support Knife with Author KJ Charles on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Will Darling Adventures series by KJ Charles on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Big Gay Fiction Fest website
- The Lights on Knockbridge Lane by Roan Parrish on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Episode 338 – Christmas Lights and Halloween Scares with Author Roan Parrish on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Holiday Romances
- Christmas Kisses by E.J. Russell on Amazon
- No So Silent Night by H.L. Day on Amazon
- Mr. Jingle Bells by Leta Blake on Amazon
- Mr. Frosty Pants by Leta Blake on Amazon
- Big Gay Fiction Book Club July 2020: “Mr. Frosty Pants” by Leta Blake on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- A Winter’s Earl by Annabelle Greene on Amazon | Kobo
- Christmas Mountain by Garrett Leigh on Amazon
- The Geek Who Saved Christmas by Annabeth Albert on Amazon
- Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Out of Character by Annabeth Albert on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Forever Wilde in Aster Valley by Lucy Lennox on Amazon
- Wilde Love by Lucy Lennox on Amazon
- His Perfect Christmas Gift by Ali Ryecart on Amazon
- Hands on Hanukkah by Penelope Peters on Amazon | Kobo
- Ben’s Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle by Penelope Peters on Amazon | Kobo
- Want Me Santa by Ashlynn Mills on Amazon
- November Releases
- Rogue Royal by Megan Slayer on Amazon | Kobo
- Rosavia Royals series by various authors on Amazon
- Not Until Noah by Lisa Henry on Amazon
- Frat Wars by Saxon James on Amazon
- Jocks vs Nerds series by Eli Easton and Tara Lain on Amazon
- His Precious Bear by Joe Satoria on Amazon
- House on Fire by Jenn Burke on Amazon | Kobo
- Ashes and Dust series by Jenn Burke on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- The Professor’s Dragon by Louisa Masters on Amazon
- Who We Were by E.M. Lindsey on Amazon
- Romantic Hero by Jeris Jean on Amazon
- Hollywood Hopefuls series by Jeris Jean on Amazon
- Episode 335 – Big Gay Fiction Book Club September 2021: “Running Lines” by Jeris Jean on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Rake I’d Like to F… by various authors on Amazon | Kobo
- The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Criminal Seduction by Winter Blackthorne on Amazon
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Coming up on this episode, it’s the podcast birthday and we celebrate with a special announcement and a whole lot of book talk.
Will: Welcome to episode 343 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Will and with me as always is my co-host and husband Jeff.
Jeff: Hello, rainbow romance readers. It is great to have you here as we celebrate a birthday this week.
As always, the podcast is brought to you in part by our remarkable community on Patreon. If you’d like more information about the bonus content we offer our patrons go to patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Happy podcast anniversary to you, sir.
Will: Right back at ya.
Jeff: Can you believe it’s been 343 episodes. And actually many, many more than that, because there are some back there that are not numbered in sequence.
Oh my goodness. It was six years ago this week on November 2nd, 2015, that the very first four episodes of the show premiered. And this past year we released the most episodes ever with 78 regular episodes, as well as 11 exclusive Patreon bonus episodes.
Will: How many times can we say episode?
Jeff: That could be the drinking game for this…
Will: The magic word.
Jeff: The magic word for this episode.
Oh, see what I did there.
Will: Or we just laugh every time we say it. How about that?
Jeff: That’ll work too.
Anyway, all those episodes mean that we brought you more than 50 hours of content this past year, which to me is just staggering to think about.
Will: That is a whole lot.
Jeff: You could listen to us for like somewhere between two and three days all the way through.
That’d be a lot of us in your ears. We don’t recommend that necessarily.
Let’s look at what our top five episodes were this past year. Number five is episode 281 with Sarina Bowen from January 9th, 2021, where we kicked off the year talking about her amazing book, “Roommate.” Then just a month later, we’ve got the fourth most popular episode with episode 288 when Garrett Leigh was actually here talking about her book that was in Sarina Bowen’s shared universe of “Vino and Veritas.”
Then we jump into August. Episode 329 is in the number three slot when Rachel Reid was here talking about her “Game Changers” series. In the second slot for the year, episode 328 with TJ Klune from August 16th when he was here talking about “Under the Whispering Door” and Flash Fire.”
And in the number one slot for this year… Do you have a drum roll for me?
Jeff: The number one most popular episode this year was episode 323 with KJ Charles from July 19th.
I want to give a big thanks to all of our listeners who hang out with us week after week and to all the authors who talked to us and written such amazing books for us to read. It’s been a really wonderful year, I think.
Big Gay Fiction Fest Announcement
Jeff: Now, as we begin our seventh year, we’ve got a big announcement to make, and we’ll see if in this announcement if Will says the magic word anymore.
Will: Well, you don’t need me to tell you that 2021 was a thing.
So to help end the year on a high note, we have created the Big Gay Fiction Fest as an end of year party. It’s a way to say thank you to all of you listening and to readers like you and me, really it’s just for all of us.
Big Gay Fiction Fest will be happening on Saturday, December 4th. And it is a free online reader event created, especially for fans of gay romance fiction. And in the spirit of the season, we’ll be concentrating on the latest holiday romance reads.
This virtual book festival is 100% online. So you can enjoy hearing from your favorite authors, talking about their newest releases, all from the comfort of your own home. Jeff and I will be there serving as hosts and authors joining us will be Lucy Lennox, Annabeth Albert, Garrett Leigh, and Charlie Novak. Other special guests will be announced later.
We hope that you’ll join us for all the fun on Saturday, December 4th, as we deck the halls and jingle those bells, because I think this might just be the jolliest and gayest book themed holiday party ever. To reserve your free spot ,go to biggayfictionfest.com.
Jeff: I can’t wait for the Fest. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve already been talking to some of the authors who are participating. So many good Christmas stories are coming this year, we’re actually going to talk about some of those in just a few minutes. I think it will be a good time to be had by all. So definitely go over to biggayfictionfest.com and get your spot so you can join us on Saturday, December 4th.
Big Gay Fiction Book Club November Selection
Jeff: And speaking of holiday, it’s the first of the month and that means we need to tell people about the Big Gay Fiction Book Club.
Will: Yeah. For those of you who missed our earlier book club announcement a couple of episodes ago, I am pleased to say that the Big Gay Fiction Book Club pick for the month of November is “The Lights on Knockbridge Lane” by Roan Parrish.
It’s about a single dad named Adam who wants to make his holiday extra special for his young daughter. And if that means accepting the help of their handsome next door neighbor so be it. So they deck the halls, the twinkling glow of Christmas lights brings them closer together in this story that is definitely magical, merry and bright.
We think you’re going to swoon just as hard as we did for this amazingly sweet holiday story that just so happens to be the first gay romance featured in Harlequin’s Special Edition line. We talked about breaking that particular boundary with author Roan Parrish during our interview in episode 338. So, if you haven’t listened yet, be sure and check that out.
The book club episode, featuring our discussion of “Lights on Knockbridge Lane” will be available as a preview for our Patreon subscribers in the coming days. So Patreon on peeps, be sure and keep an eye out for that. And the book club episode will drop into the regular podcast feed on Thursday, November 25th. So we hope that you’ll give this book a try and join us at the end of the month.
Jeff: It could be the perfect chaser to your Thanksgiving Day festivities is to listen to the book club episode for “The Lights on Knockbridge Lane.” Everybody, that book is so good. I tell you, I could just read that all the time becasue Roan has spun, just a lovely, warm holiday tale there.
November Holiday Romances
Jeff: Shall we talk about some more of the holiday books coming out this month?
Will: Yeah. November is a virtual cornucopia of amazing new reads.
First off, I want to mention “Christmas Kisses,” a gay holiday story romance collection by E.J. Russell. It features the stories “The Probability of Mistletoe,” “An Everyday Hero,” and “A Swants Soiree.” Now I’ve talked about these stories individually in past episodes of the podcast so I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say I loved every single one of them. And, I am so very happy that they are all together in one collection right now. And I highly recommend you check out “Christmas Kisses” that is coming up on November 1st, the day, this episode drops.
Jeff: You can go pick that up right now.
Will: Also available on the first is “Not So Silent Night” by H.L. Day. After fracturing his pelvis on a skiing trip, Xander isn’t exactly full of holiday cheer. Ferris, his live in nurse, is far too flirty, far too attractive and far too into Christmas. As the banter and sparring between them turns into more, both men could be in for a fresh start to the new year.
Jeff: This is one of my favorite sort of holiday tropes to play with is the person who’s really anti Christmas and the person who is so into Christmas. The person is so into Christmas, always wins in these books. And I just love that if somebody gets to have the holiday magic sweep over them and bring them their happily ever after and bring them a more sunny disposition. So, this one’s on my list to read because of that very trope in play.
Will: Yeah. If you’re interested in grumpy, sunshine or hurt, comfort, “Not so Silent Night” is coming out on November 1st.
Also coming out on the very same day is “Mr. Jingle Bells,” the latest from author Leta Blake. In this one, circumstances forced Ashton to stay with his button-down business partner over the holidays. And he starts to see a whole new side of Walker, a surprisingly attractive side. When he asks Ashton to be his date to a sister’s Christmas themed wedding, he agrees. But what happens when a little fake relationship fun begins to feel all too real?
Jeff: I love Leta Blake. “Mr. Frosty Pants,” of course, we read for the Big Gay Fiction Book Club last year, I am really excited to see what she does in this year’s installment, essentially, in that series
Will: Yep. Fake relationships are probably the most fun you can possibly have during the holidays.
Jeff: You gotta bring somebody to all those parties.
Will: And this is just going to be the first of many that we’re going to see this holiday season.
Up next it’s enemies-to-lovers for the two heroes of this festive new regency romance, “A Winter’s Earl” by Annabelle Greene. In this story, Sherborne finds a baby on his doorstep and the only person he trusts with the situation is his former lover Richard, who agrees to help transport the bound link to London if it means reading himself of Sherborne for good. But when a snow storm leaves them stranded, they’re forced to confront the past and deal with the love that’s still all to present.
Jeff: Leave it to a baby to bring you together over the holidays. Clearly Sherborne still feels something for this man. If you think that this man can help you and take care of a baby okay, clearly the guy’s kind of okay. Anyway, cause you’re just going to give him a baby. So, a nice little second chance moment here, even though its enemies-to-lovers, I say, bring it on.
Will: “Winter’s Earl” is releasing on November 9th.
Also releasing the same day is “Christmas Mountain” by Garrett Leigh, who, of course, as we just mentioned, is one of the featured authors who will be helping us with the Big Gay Fiction Fest. In this story, our relationship once thought lost is found again when Rami and Fen are snowed in together, atop Christmas Mountain. This emotional holiday read features, friends-to-lovers, heartwarming found family, a swoony second chance at love with a little bit of hurt comfort and a tasty helping of mince pies and cinnamon spice donuts.
Jeff: Yes, it does. I’ve already talked to Garrett about “Christmas Mountain.” Bring your sweet tooth along because there are many lovely British treats within this book. The whole idea of Christmas up on this mountain and the way that Garrett talks about it is so, just wrap yourself in a warm blanket lovely. I can’t wait to read this story cause talking to her about it was really awesome.
Will: Next we want to talk about the two heroes in their forties, who find their sexily ever after in this is new, low angst holiday romance. It’s “The Geek Who Saved Christmas” by Annabeth Albert. Gideon’s last name isn’t Holiday for nothing. When his grumpy neighbor Paul finally asks for help decking the halls, he’s happy to oblige. But, falling for the silver Fox is not part of his color coded Christmas checklist.
Jeff: I’m all for anybody who has a color-coded checklist, of course. I love Annabeth’s geek books. “Conventionally Yours” and “Out of Character” are two of my very favorite books. And while this is not in that universe, the fact that there’s a geek here really just speaks to me. And of course it comes back to that trope that I mentioned, that sunshine versus grumpy and spreading some holiday cheer.
This book has my name written all over it. I can’t wait to dig into it. There’s too many books I want. It’s always the case that there’s too many books, but especially these holiday books this year, every one of them is just like, oh, read me right now. Can we just take two months off and just read the holiday books?
The face he’s giving me right now. If you could see it. It’s kind of awesome.
Will: Let’s just take our well-charged Kindle to a desert island.
Jeff: Hmmm-mmmm. No. Snowy mountain. Snowed in. Forced proximity.
Will: “The Geek Who Saved Christmas” is coming out on November 9th.
And another story by one of our Big Gay Fiction Fest author friends, it’s “Forever Wilde in Aster Valley” by Lucy Lennox releasing on November 16th. While on winter vacation in Colorado with his extended family, Miller goes in search of a little peace and quiet. On an early morning walk, he spies Darius through the front window of a local bakery kneading dough, and the attraction is instant. Can two strangers find true love amongst their meddling matchmaking relatives in the quaint chaos of a small town Christmas.
Jeff: So here’s a little sneak peak of what Lucy and I talked about for the Fiction Fest. She has never intended her metaverse to grow quite like this, that the Marians would connect to the Wildes and that the Marians and the Wildes would end up connected to Aster Valley. These things just kind of keep happening in the world of Lucy Lennox and hearing her talk about how all of these things kind of clicked together and how this became a Christmas story that really draws her three biggest universes together is really awesome.
And everybody should just like take a moment to think about Michael Dean who has to now voice all of these characters who she’s bringing together at one place. It’s not quite like the scene at the end of “Wilde Love,” but it’s still pretty crazy.
Will: Coming out on November 19th is “His Perfect Christmas Gift” by Ali Ryecart. When his plans to lay low at a luxury hotel are thwarted by a snowstorm, Felix is forced to seek shelter in a tiny village pub. The cute young bar man will help keep him occupied. For Gabriel, home is where the heart is, but it would be so much better with the right man by his side. Felix intrigues him like no other, but he’s a city boy through and through. When the snow melts, Felix will be gone and he might just take Gabriel’s heart with him.
Jeff: I suspect Felix, won’t be going anywhere. Just a guess. City boy coming to the small town, stuck in the inn slash pub slash whatever. That’s another one of my favorites of a Christmas type story to tell because it’s just going to end in so much swoony goodness.
Will: Yeah. I’m a big fan of Ali Ryecart’s writing, especially her Christmas stories. “His Perfect Christmas Gift” will be coming out on November 19th.
And just a few days later on November 23rd, “Hands on Hanukkah” by Penelope Peters will be releasing. When Tim’s ballet career is almost sidelined right before the biggest performance of his life, his ex-boyfriend’s therapeutic know-how might be the only way Tim can get back to center stage. David isn’t as much of a Grinch, as everyone says. Can Tim save David and keep his heart from breaking a second time?
Jeff: So a couple of years ago, I read Penelope’s story “Ben’s Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle,” and really loved it. I am so looking forward to reading another one of Penelope’s Hanukkah books, but also we’ve got the ballet dancer in here, which of course I love dance. So from a character point of view, you know, that’s almost like putting a hockey player there for me. So I am very much looking forward to reading this latest holiday story from her.
Will: Yeah. If holiday second chances are your thing, get “Hands on Hanukkah” by Penelope Peters.
And one last holiday story on our Christmas wish list, it’s “Want Me Santa” by Ashlynn Mills releasing on November 28th. It’s a forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers, office romance for Michael who never expected his need for approval to go beyond the office and into the bedroom. When he receives a Christmas gift meant for someone else, one thing becomes very clear. He can’t go back to how things were before, especially not after seeing his Grinch of a boss in nothing but lace panties and a Santa hat.
Jeff: That sounds like an HR problem.
Will: No, it doesn’t. It’s a recipe for Christmas love.
Jeff: Well, if it’s not Christmas love, it will be an HR problem.
That sounds like a very trope-tastic romance. I mean, you just listed off three right there at the beginning that you get into that can make a great holiday romance. So I’m sure that’s going to be lots of fun with no HR issues to crop up at all.
Romances for November
Jeff: That’s a look at some of the holiday reads coming your way in November. Let’s look at some of the other books that are coming out, because there are so many choices of books that you can read this month. What’ve you got for us?
Will: Well, first up on the list is “Rogue Royal” by Megan Slayer coming up on November 2nd. King Charles of Lysianna needs a husband and he’s running out of time. Throwing a royal ball to find a suitable man seems like the only option. But, dating isn’t on the radar for single dad, Nathan, until he sees Charles in the castle solarium and his heart goes out to the sad looking man. Once they meet, he starts to think love might be possible, but can he handle the glare of the spotlight or will the notoriety that comes with dating a royal be too much?
Jeff: I do love a royal story. And it’s been a while. I was thinking after seeing this book come up in the list that I really haven’t read royalty this year, since I read the “Rosavia Royals” series back at the beginning of the year. I think I’ll have to pick this one up because. I don’t know. Royalty’s just one of those things that I enjoy reading, especially when you kind of strip away the royalty and you just get to look at the common person that’s inside of the royal. I think this’ll be a nice add to the November read list.
Will: Coming out a few days after “Rogue Royal,” on November 5th, it’s “Not Until Noah,” the start of a brand new series from author Lisa Henry. Noah has a plan. Work as a nanny for six months, make some extra cash and move on. He doesn’t expect his new boss to be a Hollywood star and he certainly isn’t prepared to fall for the guy. They both agree. It can be nothing more than a fling, but when their feelings continue to grow into something deeper, Carter has a decision to make. Would he rather carry on living a lie or risk it all to stand in his truth?
Jeff: I feel that there’s going to be a lot going on in that story. And it sounds like it’s going to be a kind of a wonderful journey of somebody, as you said there, to like be able to come and stand in their truth. I think that’s going to be a really good read.
Will: Yeah, just like royalty, I think Hollywood stars scratch a particular trope itch for some people. I’m definitely one of them. So I’m looking forward to “Not Until Noah.”
Coming out on November 8th is “Frat Wars” by Saxon James.
Every time I see that title, I want to be like frat wars!
Two bros from opposing frat houses fall for one another. It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but without all the dying, Chad is the VP of his fraternity and Bailey is a legacy at his. They should hate each other. But after meeting at a party, rivalry becomes a secret romance and it’s only a matter of time before the bros will need to choose between the brotherhood or love that defies tradition.
Jeff: This has been a year that I’ve been really into the frat romances because of Eli Easton and Tara Lain’s “Nerds vs. Jocks” series. So I’m inclined to go pick this one up because I’ve enjoyed that kind of particular theme and trope this year. So looking forward to putting that one on my list.
Will: This new title from Saxon James, “Frat Wars,” will be coming out on November 8th.
Jeff: I’m so glad you figured out how to get that said again.
Will: Following on November 10th is the new title from Joe Satoria “His Precious Bear.” Nice guy. Santo is looking for someone special and that someone just might be muscle bear Logan. Santo knows he’s worth more than a one night stand and Logan hasn’t been tied down in over five years. Is it possible for them to ignore the spark or will it combust in this sexy start to a brand new series?
Jeff: There’s going to be some awesome combustion going on there.
Will: That’s my combustion sound.
Jeff: Where was the drum roll? When I asked for it earlier?
Coming out on November 16th is “House on Fire” by Jenn Burke. It’s the continuation of the faded mates “Ashes and Dust” series. Vampire private investigator Evan is eager to explore his connection with Colin. There new bond makes it dangerous for them to be a part, but he must investigate the latest in a series of murders. If he doesn’t find the killer soon, the paranormal community will seek retribution on all humans. As tensions escalate, Evan and Colin find solace in each other, but love might not be enough to keep them safe.
Jeff: I recently read the first book of “Ashes and Dust” and love it so much. Jenn Burke’s work has been recommended to me a few times and I finally kind of took the leap. So I’m really excited for this book.
And I could let everybody know too that Jenn’s actually going to join us on the show on November 15th. So right before this book comes out, we’ll talk all about the series as well as the series that it actually spun off from. So you won’t want to miss that.
Will: “House on Fire,” as Jeff just mentioned, is releasing on November 16th and coming out on the same day is the newest title from Louisa Masters. It’s “The Professor’s Dragon.” When a 4,000 year old dragon from another dimension decides to clean up his act, the answer is college. He just has to keep from falling for his irresistibly straight-laced professor. But when professor and dragon wind up at the same party, it suddenly seems that love’s not completely out of reach. Except, the adorable flirt nobody wants to rely on, must convince him that he’s changed dragon and that they should be together. Good thing he is up to the challenge.
Jeff: I’m wildly intrigued by this book. Every now and then a shifter book comes along that just kind of makes me say, Hmm, I might want to read that. This is one of them, because the idea of the 4,000 year old dragon going back to college and then meeting up with this professor, something about it just like, was like just tickled my brain. It was like, pick me up, pick me up.
Will: Well, it’s obviously checking off some internal boxes for you.
Jeff: What are those boxes exactly?
Yes. I was a bit of a geek back in the day and played my share of Dungeons and Dragons. So maybe the dragon thing does have a certain thing because I have read more than one dragon shifter book. I don’t know. We’ll see if I’ve actually picked this up, but I do have it marked as a want to read book because that blurb just worked for me.
Will: Next up on our list is a title that’s coming out on November 22nd. It’s “Who We Were” by E.M. Lindsey. When an awkwardly revealing video is posted on social media, Aden is forced to lay low until it all blows over. His next door neighbor, Noah is nothing short of perfect in Aden’s eyes. And he starting to wonder if maybe giving up a celebrity life might just be the solution to all of his problems. He just has to convince the former professor that, in spite of the mess that comes with this past, Aden’s love is worth it.
Jeff: Another celebrity finds their way into the list, and interestingly, another professor finds their way into this list too. It’s like all of a sudden professor books are in. We’ve had two back to back here with professor characters and even another one that has frats in it. So it’s like all of a sudden here in November, professor and college are all kind of coalescing. Weirdly on your list, there’s no sports books in November. It’s like it’s shifted over to higher learning for some reason.
Will: Well, if professor character archetypes are your favorite, don’t worry. I’ve got another one on the list. “Romantic Hero” by Jeris Jean is coming out on November 25th and it’s sexy professor versus hottie librarian in the first book of the new “Coleridge Cliffs” series.
Calum has done his best to avoid the object of his affection ever since they’re bold make-out session in the stacks. But, as faculty advisor for a student project, the meetings will be held in the library. He can no longer avoid Theo, and it’s a fight to remain professional when all they really want to do is explore their primal passion that they most definitely share.
Jeff: That’s exactly what the stacks are for so head right over there.
Will: No, there for books and for learning, not for boning away.
Jeff: I am looking forward to this series. We became, of course, big fans of Jeris with the “Hollywood Hopefuls” series, which book one was a Big Gay Fiction Book Club selection. This summer Jeris is actually going to be on the show on November 25th to talk about this brand new series. So yeah, looking forward to digging into that with her.
Will: And coming out just a few days after “Romantic Hero” is a brand new anthology called “Rake I’d Like to Fuck.” And just to quickly clarify it, doesn’t actually say fuck on the cover of the book. It rather coyly just says “Rake I’d like to F…”
Jeff: Just call it what it is.
Will: If you go searching for it online, that’s how you do it.
This new romance anthology includes two m/m stories that will definitely fan the flames of passion for any historical fan. Sierra Simone spins a tale in which a revenge driven highwayman gets more than he bargained for when he kidnaps and attempts to ransom the handsome son of his greatest enemy. And author Adriana Herrera story concerns, an artist looking for inspiration, which he finds at a masked ball. Will falling for the elusive X prove to be his undoing or his greatest masterpiece.
Jeff: As you can imagine by the title, these stories are super spicy. I’ve heard Adriana talk about these anthologies before, because this is the second anthology that she’s been in with these super spicy stories. I’m looking forward to reading both hers and Sierra’s, just to get a little m/m regency spice to put into the month of November.
Will: “Rake I’d Like to Mmmmm” comes out on November 30th and on the same day “The Life Revamp” by Kris Ripper is also releasing. This one is about Mason, who is looking for his happily ever after and thinks he may have found it with fashion designer Diego. There’s just one thing. Diego is already married and in an open relationship. Mason thought he knew what would make him happy, but it turns out the traditional life he’d expected has some surprises in store.
Jeff: I’ve been wanting to pick up Kris’s series that this is part of. And this book in particular might be the one that I pick up first, even though it’s the third book in the series. This plot and how these characters are going to come together sounds really interesting to me.
Will: Yeah, this has definitely piqued my interest too. In the official blurb, they actually don’t call out Diego’s husband by name. So I don’t think this is going to be a ménage or polyamory situation. I’m really interested to see how Kris Ripper navigates this open relationship scenario in a romantic context. That’s something I’ve definitely never seen before. So I’m looking forward to “The Life Revamp.”
And also coming out at the end of the month on November 30th is a “Criminal Seduction” by Winter Blackthorne. Johnnie has been reporting on bootleggers for five years. Falling into bed with a mob boss may be the worst idea he has ever had. As a rival mobster makes increasingly unveiled threats, Johnnie knows he needs to untangle himself from his criminal kingpin lover, but giving up Vincent is proving to be excruciatingly difficult. If he’s going to survive this, the one thing he can’t afford to lose is his heart.
Jeff: There’s just something immediately seductive about the cover that really goes along with the title. So the cover drew me in. The reporter drew me in, drawing close to their subject. This is a new to me author as well. So, I’m looking forward to digging into this and seeing what this is about.
Will: Yeah. I put this particular title on this list because the historical romance genre is typically filled with lords and ladies and balls and all this stuff that we love when it comes to historical romance. But this particular period, you know, America in the twenties and thirties during prohibition. It’s kind of unique. Contemporary mob boss stories tend to fall into the dark romance category. So those aren’t really my thing. But this particular historical has really caught my interest and I’m interested in giving it a try.
Jeff: Yeah. And I do like the clues on the cover of the kind of art deco elements in the cover that kind of give you that twenties vibe too. The whole package just sounds wonderful. So thank you Winter for adding to my reading list that was already too big, but looking forward to checking your book out.
We’ve just told you about a whole bunch of wonderful books that you may want to add to your TBR for the month. Of course, we’ve got all of that information collected in one easy place so that you can just go and click your heart away to get to all these books. And of course, that is the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com. All the information you need on how to get these books is sitting right there, waiting for you.
And to wrap things up, you’ve actually got some reviews for us as well so we can just keep adding to the books that people need to go out and pick up.
If Only for Today by Gabbi Grey
Will: Yeah. The first book I’m going to talk about is “If Only for Today” by Gabbi Grey.
God, I love that alliteration.
Jeff: There is nothing better than good alliteration.
Will: In this story, Jared, desk clerk at the Dearborn Inn, can’t believe that ridiculously handsome and world-renowned photo journalist Xander has checked into his quaint Vermont Inn. During his extended stay, Xander we’ll work on a memoir about his adventures across the globe.
He asks Jared to dinner and conversation during their meal goes well enough though, as dates go, would hardly be considered a home run. To make up for it, Xander asks Jared out again, and that evening they attend a recital at a local music academy. Jared gets emotional during the performance and Xander holds his hands. He’s really starting to like this sensitive small town guy.
On the walk back to the inn, they talk about Jared’s love of musicals among other things. And when they kiss, it’s magic. Though he would like to do more, Xander ends the evening. Jared definitely deserves a guy who can promise him more than one night, something Xander can’t do.
Nevertheless, he joins Jared the next morning to visit a local animal shelter. Jared is looking to adopt again and has found a friendly dog and cat. But, on the drive home, Xander has a minor health scare and after a doctor’s visit will be staying with Jared for the night so Jared can keep an eye on him, of course.
They have dinner, watch a movie, share an achingly sexy kiss. It’s like a second date as they get to know each other better. When an overbooking situation arises at the inn, Xander offers up his room. He can just stay with Jared at his place, in his spare room, of course.
That night as they eat, the conversation turns to their less than ideal childhood. Xander’s difficult upbringing and striking out on his own to become a photographer. Jared’s pain of losing his kid sister to cancer and his half-hearted attempt to make it as a performer on Broadway.
It’s then that a call from Xander’s doctor prompts him to finally come clean to Jared about the seriousness of his illness. An earlier diagnosis is the reason he’s doing a book chronicling his life and career. That night he sleeps in Jared’s caring arms and the next morning he leaves for a doctor’s appointment in Boston.
But deciding that there was too much left unsaid, Jared follows and in the doctor’s waiting room, they confess their love, discuss the inevitable and how they will find a way to make use of what little time they have left together, which may be more than they first realized. When comparing Xander’s most recent tests to previous results, the prognosis may not be as grim as once thought. While there are no certainties with a complex diagnosis like Xander’s, he and Jared are optimistic enough to make plans for the future.
In an adorable epilogue, we see that they’re happily living together with Marshmallow the cat and Lady. The Husky. Cute furry additions to their little family. And Jared is pursuing his acting dreams in a local production of “West Side Story.”
You guys, “If Only for Today” is a delightful, quick read romance. One of the main things that struck me about it is how the author manages to balance the lightness of a fluffy, low angst story with the realities of Xander’s illness and the troubled past of the two heroes.
These issues I thought were handled deftly with a light touch, taking them seriously, but avoiding maudlin, angsty wallowing. There are some difficult things these characters must deal with to be sure, but the story focuses on the developing relationship and the sweet chemistry Xander and Jared have together.
And I really should mention the performance of Michael Ferraiuolo on the audio book. He does a really wonderful job bringing to life the sweet and sexy story of Jared and Xander’s occasionally bumpy road to happily ever after.
The Longest Night by EE Ottoman
Now, one other story I want to quickly mention before we wrap things up for this episode is “The Longest Night” by EE Ottoman. And in this holiday story about two trans men at the turn of the last century, it’s an irresistibly romantic look at the power of friendship, attraction, and the enduring appeal of a day spent reading a good book.
As the story opens, Richard has been corresponding with Tobias for years. His friend’s letters are full of warmth and kindness, and just a hint of flirtation. When it is announced that the upscale New York hotel where Richard works will be closing, Tobias insists he come stay with him for the holidays in his cottage, upstate.
When Richard arrives and meets Tobias in person for the first time, his friend is welcoming, but he wonders if staying with a virtual stranger in the middle of nowhere is a good idea. Their days are quiet in the little house on the edge of the woods, they read and decorate the home with pine boughs and holly.
As it turns out, spending time away from his life in the city is restorative in ways Richard never could have predicted. His friendship with Tobias means so much, but they would both like just a little bit more. Initial romantic interactions are chaste, a gentle, but meaningful kiss. Tentative exploration soon turns hot and needy, and they are quite pleased to find that they are very sexually compatible.
And Richard finds himself pleasantly satisfied at the thought that in years past, his holidays were spent dealing with the problems of hotel guests and the Christmas Eve ball. Now he is warm and cozy in front of a fire with good food, good books, and the love of a good man in a place that he can now think of as home.
I really loved “The Longest Night.” It’s a short story that wears its heart on his sleeve. Tobias and Richard’s friends-to-lovers journey is so sweet, and sexy, and full of warm holiday charm
Jeff: Any Christmas book that can also wrap in a love of reading and books. Just sign me up for that, because that’s just like the next level of things when you can throw the love of good books in there.
Jeff: This episode’s transcript is brought to you in part by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read our conversation and the reviews for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com. And of course, don’t forget, those show notes have links to everything that we talked about in this episode. And boy, was it a lot?
Will: Yeah, I think that’ll do it for this episode. Now coming up on Thursday and episode 344, we continue our anniversary week celebration with part one of our mega crossover event with Sarah and Amanda from “Smart Podcast, Trashy Books.”
Jeff: We’ve talked about and actually had sound effects a few times in this episode. And it’s here that I think I’ve shirked my duties as producer, by not having something big and important about mega crossover episode. Still very excited to bring everyone our super fun conversation with Sarah and Amanda, as we talk about all kinds of things and answer some questions from our Patreon community.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself, we want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kind of stories that we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Production assistance by Tyson Greenan. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.