Category Archives: Christmas

Mrs. Sutherland’s Eggnog Recipe – Redux

I posted this last Christmas, but I love the recipe, so I figured I’d post it again this year.

My story The Healing Power of Eggnog deals with a family torn apart by the mishandling of their son Will’s coming out, and their attempts to patch things up years later.  Will’s mother, Mrs. Sutherland, always does Christmas up big, with homemade cookies, cakes, pies, and everything else imaginable.  And of course, she always makes up a batch of quite potent eggnog.

eggnogAs much as she loves eggnog made with raw eggs, she really prefers it to be cooked.  We tend to associate cooked eggnog with the thick, syrupy eggnog bought in stores, but homemade eggnog isn’t nearly as heavy, and its sweetness can be controlled by the chef.  At it’s heart, it’s a custard, made from egg yolks, milk, and sugar—but drinkable!

You can cook this in a heavy saucepan directly on the burner, but I prefer a double boiler, or placing the saucepan in a slightly larger pan with inch or so of water in it.  This distributes the heat of the burner better, so you don’t have a hot spot where the nog starts to burn before it’s cooked.

Ingredients:

12 egg yolks
1 quart (4 cups) milk or 2 cups milk and 2 cups whipping cream
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar , depending on your sweet tooth
1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (2, as might be expected, gives it a strong vanilla flavor)
nutmeg.

Alcohol:

1/2 cup golden rum
1/2 cup bourbon (Southern Comfort)

Prepare a large pan or bowl of cold water you can set the pan you’re cooking into, when the eggnog is done on the stove.

Separate the egg yolks and place them in the double boiler, along with the sugar.  Whisk this together.  Then add 2 cups of the milk.  The tricky part about cooked eggnog is that it has to be stirred or whisked constantly while you bring the temperature up to the point where the hot custard coats the spoon, but not beyond.  This takes fifteen or twenty minutes, but you really just have to keep a close eye on it.  If you cook it too long, the egg starts to separate out of the liquid and this gives it a grainy feel.  It also works to use a cooking thermometer.  In that case, cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  If necessary, you can strain it to remove any large bits of cooked egg.

Immediately mix in the remaining milk or whipping cream, and then set the pan into the bowl of cold water. Continue stirring until the eggnog is cool.  Add the vanilla extract and sprinkle in nutmeg to taste.

Alcohol:  The alcohol mix is an art form.  A good basic mix is half rum and half bourbon (Southern Comfort), which produces a mellower mix than just plain rum.  Using Irish whiskey in place of the Southern Comfort is a little more harsh, and of course a good scotch adds a distinctive—and strong—flavor.  Mrs. Sutherland also likes to add a splash of cognac, but not a lot.  Overall, a cup of alcohol mixed into four cups of eggnog produces a mix with a bit of a bite, but not so much alcohol that the eggnog is overwhelmed by it.  But of course that’s a matter of taste.

900x1350_TheHealingPowerofEggnog-FSThe Healing Power of Eggnog

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Recipes, Romance

Thank you for a great blog tour!

Murder on the Mountain400x600The Murder on the Mountain Blog tour reached it’s final stop last week, and the last winner of an eBook was chosen!  And of course, I also drew the name of the winner of the $40 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate!

I tend to be the kind of person who doesn’t like to put other people’s names out on the Internet without permission (which is why I like to provide an email address people can mail me at as an alternative to putting their email info in a comment).  This is why I don’t make big announcements when a winner is chosen.  I just contact the winner privately.

But everybody who commented on any of the blog tour stops at any time during the past few weeks got their name in the “hat” — I went back and collected names before each drawing — and had a number assigned to them.  Then I used random.org as my drawing method.

So congratulations to the winners!  And thank you to everyone who commented or just read the posts!  It was a lot of fun, and I was pleased to see so much participation.

puddledock1901182.tifKyle and Jesse are already on their way to their next murder mystery adventure — a murder that occurs while Kyle is accompanying Jesse and his writer’s critique group on the annual Candlelight Stroll through the Strawbery Banke historical museum in Portsmouth, NH!

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Filed under Blog Tour, Christmas, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance, Work in Progress

Mrs. Sutherland’s recipe for eggnog

My story The Healing Power of Eggnog deals with a family torn apart by the mishandling of their son Will’s coming out, and their attempts to patch things up years later.  Will’s mother, Mrs. Sutherland, always does Christmas up big, with homemade cookies, cakes, pies, and everything else imaginable.  And of course, she always makes up a batch of quite potent eggnog.

eggnogAs much as she loves eggnog made with raw eggs, she really prefers it to be cooked.  We tend to associate cooked eggnog with the thick, syrupy eggnog bought in stores, but homemade eggnog isn’t nearly as heavy, and its sweetness can be controlled by the chef.  At it’s heart, it’s a custard, made from egg yolks, milk, and sugar—but drinkable!

You can cook this in a heavy saucepan directly on the burner, but I prefer a double boiler, or placing the saucepan in a slightly larger pan with inch or so of water in it.  This distributes the heat of the burner better, so you don’t have a hot spot where the nog starts to burn before it’s cooked.

Ingredients:

12 egg yolks
1 quart (4 cups) milk or 2 cups milk and 2 cups whipping cream
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar , depending on your sweet tooth
1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (2, as might be expected, gives it a strong vanilla flavor)
nutmeg

Alcohol:

1/2 cup golden rum
1/2 cup bourbon (Southern Comfort)

Prepare a large pan or bowl of cold water you can set the pan you’re cooking into, when the eggnog is done on the stove.

Separate the egg yolks and place them in the double boiler, along with the sugar.  Whisk this together.  Then add 2 cups of the milk.  The tricky part about cooked eggnog is that it has to be stirred or whisked constantly while you bring the temperature up to the point where the hot custard coats the spoon, but not beyond.  This takes fifteen or twenty minutes, but you really just have to keep a close eye on it.  If you cook it too long, the egg starts to separate out of the liquid and this gives it a grainy feel.  It also works to use a cooking thermometer.  In that case, cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  If necessary, you can strain it to remove any large bits of cooked egg.

Immediately mix in the remaining milk or whipping cream, and then set the pan into the bowl of cold water. Continue stirring until the eggnog is cool.  Add the vanilla extract and sprinkle in nutmeg to taste.

Alcohol:  The alcohol mix is an art form.  A good basic mix is half rum and half bourbon (Southern Comfort), which produces a mellower mix than just plain rum.  Using Irish whiskey in place of the Southern Comfort is a little more harsh, and of course a good scotch adds a distinctive—and strong—flavor.  Mrs. Sutherland also likes to add a splash of cognac, but not a lot.  Overall, a cup of alcohol mixed into four cups of eggnog produces a mix with a bit of a bite, but not so much alcohol that the eggnog is overwhelmed by it.  But of course that’s a matter of taste.

900x1350_TheHealingPowerofEggnog-FSThe Healing Power of Eggnog

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

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Filed under Christmas, Drama, gay, Recipes, Romance

“The Healing Power of Eggnog” is out!

900x1350_TheHealingPowerofEggnog-FSMy Christmas novella The Healing Power of Eggnog has been released today!

Here’s the blurb:

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

I set this story in Plainfield, VT, where my first boyfriend lived for a while, when he was attending Goddard College.  Though the title may sound like it’s a humorous story, it’s a bit more serious than that, dealing with a family trying to heal old wounds.

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Filed under Christmas, Drama, gay, New Release, Romance

Finalists in the Rainbow Awards!

FinalistSMBoth Billy’s Bones and By That Sin Fell the Angels are finalists in the Rainbow Awards this year!  My YA fantasy novel, Dreams, also made the cut!

Unfortunately, we won’t find out who won until December, and the competition is steep.  Click on the image to see the other finalists!  I’m honored to be included among them.

In other news, I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for my college romance Screw-Ups!

I’ve also submitted a steampunk novella called The Watchwork Man for an anthology, finished round two of edits on my Christmas story (The Healing Power of Eggnog) for the Dreamspinner 2013 Advent Calendar, and I have part three of the Dreams of Fire and Gods YA trilogy (Gods) coming out on October 17th!

It’s been a busy two weeks.

The Dogs of Cyberwar

The Dogs of Cyberwar

I now find myself without a deadline for the first time since the summer began.  So I’ll need to set some new ones.  I’ve been re-reading what I’ve written for A Mote in the Eye — part two of the B.A.L.O.R. Cycle, my cyberpunk trilogy which began with The Dogs of Cyberwar.  I’ve been promising to finish that forever, but other deadlines kept interfering.  I’m liking what I’m reading, so I’m setting myself a deadline of October 31st to have at least A Mote in the Eye finished and the third section started.  The story is, in my humble opinion, just too good to let it languish unread forever.

I’m also hoping to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.  I have a murder mystery in my head that takes place on Mount Washington.

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Filed under Christmas, Cyberpunk, Drama, Fantasy, gay, Historical, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Romance, SciFi, Victorian, Writing, Young Adult

The first draft of my Christmas submission is done!

christmas20wallpaper.jpgI finally finished the first draft of my submission for Dreamspinner’s 2013 Advent Calendar!  Tomorrow, I’ll polish it up, based on some criticism from Eli Easton, who was kind enough to beta read it when it wasn’t even quite done yet.

I think it’s a good story, though it’s a bit long for the submission requirements, and I doubt I’ll be able to trim it much.  Sometimes they’re willing to accept longer submissions, if they really like them.  We’ll see how that goes.

Another possibility is that they may like it enough to publish for Christmas, but not as part of the Advent Calendar.  This has good points and bad points.  Generally, the Advent Calendar gets more attention from readers and reviewers.  But on the other hand, a separate novella gets its own cover.

I have to pick out a title tomorrow.  Right now it’s called Christmas in Vermont, which is pretty dull.  Hopefully, I’ll come up with something better.

 

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Filed under Christmas, gay, Romance, Writing

New Cover Design for “By That Sin Fell the Angels”!

Cover art by Paul Richmond

I’ve just received the cover art for my new novel, By That Sin Fell the Angels (coming out at the end of August), and I think it’s absolutely beautiful!

The painting is by Paul Richmond, who also did the cover art for my first novella, The Christmas Wager.  He’s extremely talented.  He told me that this image was inspired by the scene in my novel where Daniel strips naked and stands on the railing of the bridge, looking down at the train barreling underneath him as he contemplates jumping.  I had been insistent about doing something with an angel motif (Duh!) and Paul found a way of working that in by suggesting the shape of a wing in the clouds.

I love it!

Incidentally, I had the privilege of spending an evening with Paul and two other cover artists, Catt Ford (who did the covers for We’re Both Straight, Right?, The Dogs of Cyberwar, and Saturn in Retrograde) and Shobana Appavu at the drag club, Lips, in NYC this spring.  We were with fellow authors Jonathan Treadway and M.D. Grimm.  (I think that was everybody.)  What an amazing night!

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Filed under Christmas, Drama, Religion, Victorian, Writing

EXCERPT – “The Meaning of Vengeance” by Jamie Fessenden

One of my lesser known holiday stories, The Meaning of Vengeance, was published by Dreamspinner last Christmas, and tells the story of two Vikings on opposite sides of a family feud which has claimed the lives of everyone in their families but them while looking for the Arizona rehab center. When Ari injures Geirr, rather than finish him off, he decides to nurse him back to health and suddenly the two young men find themselves falling in love with each other. But can they get past all the pain and hatred the feud has placed between them?

This isn’t strictly a “Christmas” story, since the heathen Icelander’s didn’t celebrate Christmas.  It takes place during their Yule season.

“The Meaning of Vengeance” by Jamie Fessenden

EXCERPT — “The Meaning of Vengeance” — M/M historical

It wasn’t until they returned to the bench that Geirr found the courage to ask, “Why didn’t you kill me?”

Ari looked uncomfortable as he lowered him down on the sheepskins. “I almost did. That blow to your head nearly finished you.”

“You could have left me there to die, or finished me off. Why bring me inside and tend to me?”

Ari sighed and retrieved the bowls of stew from the floor, then sat down beside Geirr again before answering. “You have gentle eyes.”

“What?” Geirr bristled. Olaf had often told him that his pale blue eyes were too pretty, like a girl’s. It had always irritated him.

But Ari ignored his flash of temper and continued, “When you looked at me, just before you charged, I could see that you didn’t have the eyes of a killer.”
Geirr wasn’t sure how to feel about that. It was true that he’d never killed anybody and he didn’t really want to. But Olaf had always told him that when his back was to the wall he’d be able to do it. Now someone he’d actually tried to kill was telling him that he never felt at all threatened. It was humiliating.

“I would have killed you, if I’d been able to,” Geirr said sullenly.

Ari gave him an infuriating smile and shook his head. “Olaf was a killer. You’ll never be.”

The mention of Olaf angered Geirr further. He snatched the bowl Ari was holding out for him and dug into it with a ravening hunger. But in the back of his mind, he knew Olaf’s death would hang over his head for the rest of his life, plaguing him. Geirr was now obligated to exact vengeance for the killing. If he didn’t, he would be labeled a coward by everyone on the island and Olaf’s spirit would never rest. Ari would probably kill him easily, if it came to a duel, but somehow or other, one of them would have to die.

* * *

GEIRR dreamt that he was alone on the tundra. Everywhere he looked, in all directions, he could see nothing but snow and ice and barren, black volcanic rock. He tried to determine where he was from the mountains off in the distance, but they were unfamiliar and seemed oddly far away.

He began walking, calling for Olaf. But in this strange wasteland, not even the echo of his own voice answered him. Fear began to overtake him—a terror that he was truly alone out here. That there was absolutely no one else. Desperately, he began to run, having no idea where he was going, his footsteps crunching forlornly in the snow. When Olaf’s name continued to draw no response, he found himself shouting, “Ari!”

He woke to a gentle touch on his forehead. “What is it?” Ari’s deep voice said softly. “I’m here.”

Ashamed but unable to stop himself, Geirr grabbed Ari’s hand. He desperately needed to feel the touch of another human being after that horrible cold emptiness. Ari allowed him to hold on. The man was naked again, having been roused from sleep, and he was squatting beside Geirr’s sleeping bench. He looked at the young man with eyes full of compassion and, when Geirr finally released his hand, Ari brought it up to stroke his dark chestnut hair, soothing him until he drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

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Pimping Two Earlier Holiday Novellas

Now that we’re into December, I feel compelled to point out that I wrote two holiday stories last year.  If you haven’t read them, you might consider giving them a go this holiday season!

"The Christmas Wager" by Jamie Fessenden

 

The Christmas Wager is a Christmas Victorian about a businessman, Andrew Nash, who convinces his best friend, Lord Thomas Barrington, to take him to Barrington Hall for the holidays, even though Thomas has been estranged from his father for years.

It was my first (and so far only) attempt at a Victorian novel and the historical accuracy is a bit dubious (apparently, one does not eat scones for breakfast), but the novella has received a lot of kudos for the romance in the story.  It’s a light, entertaining read.

 

"The Meaning of Vengeance" by Jamie Fessenden

 

The Meaning of Vengeance, on the other hand, explores how the Vikings celebrated Yule before Christianity came to Iceland and features the Norse god of sex and fertility, Frey, giving guidance to a young Icelander.  Geirr’s older brother is killed by Ari in a duel, and Geirr himself is injured, when he seeks vengeance.  But rather than kill him, Ari, chooses to nurse Geirr back to health.  Isolated in a remote farmhouse in the middle of a harsh Icelandic winter, the two young men slowly begin to trust one another…and perhaps even fall in love.

Of my published works, this one is the least well-known, though it received good reviews. Personally, I think it suffered from being part of an anthology with a cover that was wonderful and perfectly suited to the anthology, but completely inappropriate to this story.  I really hope more people discover it this Yule and give it a chance.

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Filed under Christmas, Romance, Viking

“Meet the Author” chat with Jamie Fessenden (me) at Goodreads on Saturday!

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 25th), I have a “Meet the Author” chat scheduled on Goodreads, from 1pm to 6pm EST.  Basically, I’ll be hanging out there, waiting to answer any questions people might have about my stories or life as a famous soon-to-be-fabulously-wealthy author. 

If you’d like to join me, follow this link and click on the chat with my name on it.  You’ll have to register with Goodreads, but it’s free and it’s not a bad site to have an account on, anyway, if you like to read.

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Filed under Christmas, Cyberpunk, Drama, Fantasy, Japanese, Mystery, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Victorian, Viking, Writing, Young Adult