Category Archives: Christmas

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.



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.



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!

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Romance, Viking

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.


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.

Leave a comment

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

The Ax Has Fallen

And by “ax,” I mean Erastes, an author of gay historical romances, who also reviews said romances on her blog, Speak Its Name.  I’ve read her novel, Standish, and it was clear from it that Erastes has far more knowledge of the culture and time period than I ever could.  She does, in fact, live in the UK, whereas I haven’t yet had the chance to even visit it. 

So, it was with much trepidation that I learned The Christmas Wager was in the queue to be reviewed on Speak Its Name.  I’d written the novella as a fun little Christmas Romance, in imitation of the numerous Christmas Regencies I’ve read.  Many of these were not terribly well written, though the authors may have had the advantage of actually living in England.  I could, of course, have set my novella in America, where I’ve lived all my life, but I wanted to use the standard tropes of the genre — the English manor; the wealthy lord, whose excesses have left him a bit jaded; snow on Christmas (even though that’s a rarity in England, it always snows in the Christmas Regencies); etc.

I knew she wouldn’t pull her punches, and she didn’t.  She immediately saw through my ignorance of the culture, which simply can’t be remedied by a bunch of reference books.  She credited me for doing my research, which I appreciate, because I certainly did, but points out a number of anachronisms and inaccuracies that I missed:  balsam not growing in England (who knew? Well, I guess the English…); no scones for breakfast (i.e., I thought they would have them, but apparently they do not); apparently, it’s not called a fifth of scotch?  And many others I’m still puzzling over, because I don’t know the culture as well as I should.

But I’m not unhappy with the review.  Erastes was not at all mean-spirited and had some very nice things to say about the characters and the story itself.  She took a couple jabs at my editors, which might not have been completely fair.  One thing, in particular, that annoyed her was my use of epithets, such as “the blond” or “the handsome blond,” and my editor (as well as Erich and my friend Claire) did point out that I overused those.  Ultimately, I’m responsible for the lack of historical accuracy. 

Punctuation…well, I spent what seems like days going back and forth with my editors over comma usage, so I’m not sure where the fault lies, on that one.  But I have to say, I always thought I was good at that, until I started proofing my galleys.  Then suddenly, it became clear just how fuzzy my knowledge of correct usage really was.

What stung the most, was the line “So taken aside the things that knocked this from being a really good read to an annoying one –”

Ouch.  It went from “really good” all the way to “annoying.”  Do not pass Go; do not collect $500.  But at least she then goes on to finish the sentence with “I did like this book, and would probably recommend it to those who like big country house stories.” 

Overall, I expected to be raked over the coals for dipping my toes into a time period and culture I’m familiar with only through category romances and a few reference books.  And I was.  But I consider it a big win that she enjoyed the story, despite its flaws.

(NOTE:  I’ve been informed by other writers at Dreamspinner that a 3-star rating at Speak Its Name is far from being “raked over the coals,” so maybe I’m exaggerating just a wee bit.)

Now, ask me how panicked I’m going to be if Seidhman gets published and reviewed by somebody living in Iceland….

Read all of Erastes’ review here.


Filed under Christmas, Romance, Victorian, Writing