We’re so pleased to welcome author B. Snow to The Novel Approach today to chat with us a bit about her new holiday novella, Have a Hygge Holiday. Enjoy her guest post, the excerpt from the book she’s sharing, and also be sure to check out the details on the giveaway.
The Holidays: Hot Drinks, Good Food, Getting Drunk and Overstepping Boundaries
Hi, all, I’m B. Snow, and thank you very much to The Novel Approach Reviews for letting me talk about my new release, Have a Hygge Holiday.
Before I talk about the story, I’d like to talk about hygge, which at least one of my fb friends had heard about before I mentioned it, because she’s from Denmark. Hi, Meraki! :D
I first heard about hygge a few years ago, when the spousal unit read a very interesting article about it. A lot of people get horribly depressed during the winter, especially around the holidays, right? Seasonal affective disorder from lack of sunlight*, dragging through cold and snow and slush – it doesn’t sound very fun. So you’d think Scandinavians would all be horribly depressed for months, having such long, dark, cold winters. And yet they’re not, and a big reason for that is hygge.
Hygge (pronounced kind of like “hyoogah” is a Danish word that has no English equivalent, but the closest definition might be “coziness”. This video has some examples of hygge, which is really the only way to explain it. Imagine a lit fireplace, candles on the mantel, hot drinks, good food, and being with the people you love. Have a Hygge Holiday is about all those things.
It’s also about awful relatives, tacky holiday decorations, getting drunk, overstepping boundaries, excessive Physical Displays of Affection, and Guilt, which keeps up a running commentary through most of the story.
But it’s also about Niall and Josh, who get along great. Maybe a little too great, in Niall’s opinion. Josh’s constant agreement is starting become a red flag for Niall, whose mom wants him to stay with the family for the holidays, and whose Guilt wants him to break up before Josh gets hurt. But surely Niall and Josh can get things sorted out when they spend a week together, just the two of them?
And then the doorbell rings.
Here’s an excerpt from Have a Hygge Holiday
“Niall, what’s up? You can tell me, whatever it is.”
Shit. Niall’s mind was a blank. “Um….”
That’s pretty straightforward. Indicative of a spine, if you ask me.
No one’s asking you.
Before Niall could reply, his phone rang. He gave Josh an apologetic look and went over to the phone. “It’s my mom.”
“You should answer it.”
As much as he welcomed the interruption, he couldn’t deal with her drama just then. “I’ll call her back.” He set it on the coffee table. It rang two more times, then stopped.
“Okay. What were we talking about?”
“You think it’s a bad idea to have sex while you’re staying here.” Josh’s eyes went wide, and he got up off the sofa. “Oh. Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Yes, I mean no, we don’t have to do anything.”
It worked. Josh had come up with an explanation for Niall’s stupid, stupid excuse… but he looked almost horrified. Whatever conclusion Josh had jumped to, it was way worse than what Niall had intended. “Wait, I think—”
“I just want you to be comfortable here.”
“I know. I am.”
“I didn’t mean to pressure you. I don’t want you to think I’m the kind of person who would make you—I mean, I invited you. I’m glad you’re here. I want you to think of this as your home too, for as long as you’re here. Seriously.”
Niall was lost for a second. When he figured it out, he wanted to bang his head against the table. Or maybe a kick in the nads would be more appropriate. Josh had filled in the blanks in Niall’s stupid excuse and cast himself as a creeper who wanted Niall to pay for his stay with sex.
“I do. I’m not—I am totally comfortable here. Look, I’ll take my pants off like I do at home.” His hands scrabbled at his belt buckle.
“You don’t wear pants at home?”
Niall froze. “Um.”
His phone rang again. “Shit! Hang on, okay?” He snatched it off the coffee table and blew out a breath. “Mom again.”
“You’d better answer it. It might be important.”
Niall hesitated. The phone continued to ring, and then he and Josh both jumped a little when the doorbell rang.
Josh frowned. “Take the call while I go see who’s at the door.” He touched Niall’s shoulder, then snatched his hand away and hurried past him as the doorbell rang again.
Niall swore again and hit the Talk button. “Hi, Mom.”
“Sweetie, answer the door.”
“Niall, sweetie, I could hear your phone ringing, I know you’re there. Let us in.”
“Wait, what? Where are you?”
“Outside your friend’s apartment. Oh! Hello! You must be Josh!”
It was disorienting to hear the same voice speaking the same words but a fraction of a second apart. Niall shoved the phone into his pocket and ran toward the disaster that was brewing at the front door.
About the Book
Niall is having second thoughts about spending the holidays with Josh. If Josh’s sweet nature masks the fact that he’s a spineless pushover, Niall doesn’t want a long-term relationship with him. Guilt—an annoying voice in his head—agrees, telling him to end it before Josh gets hurt. But then Niall sees how Josh has turned his apartment into a cozy, inviting nest for winter, based on the Scandinavian tradition of hygge: curling up with good food, candles, music, hot drinks, family, and friends.
Niall decides to stay, telling himself he’ll discover the real Josh when the two of them are together for a week, but two become four when Niall’s Christmas-crazy parents show up on Josh’s doorstep, and four become five when Josh’s father arrives to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah. The two sets of parents clash over decorations, food, and public displays of affection. Their bickering drives Niall crazy, as does Josh’s calm acceptance. If something doesn’t change, Niall will walk away from all of it, including his future with Josh.
To celebrate the release of Have a Hygge Holiday, I’ll be giving away a $10 gift certificate from Amazon. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below, telling me about the hygge you do every year, or the hygge you’d like to do sometime in the future. I’m especially interested in ways you can do hygge without much money. For example, pinecones and mistletoe that falls from trees, tea candles in bargain packs at the dollar store**, seven-bean soup mix, hand-knitted socks made from leftover yarn, cinnamon and orange peel in an uncovered pot of simmering water, potlucks with friends coming over to watch a movie or play games.
For myself, I would love to have our house look like Josh’s apartment in all its hygge-ness (which is described in the story), but first I’d need to clean and unclutter***. So it’s going to be a long road. :)
In your comment, please make sure to include the email address so I can get the gift certificate to you. The drawing will take place 72 hours [or whenever TNA usually does the drawing] after this post goes up.
You can find me using one of these methods:
Thanks for reading!
* I grew up in Seattle and was one of those kids who played indoors a lot, so while sunny days are very cheering, cloudy ones don’t bother me so much. :)
** PLEASE take care with lit candles – they’re beautiful, but nothing says “bummer” like having to spend the end of the year in a hotel because your living room caught on fire.
*** For help uncluttering, I recommend Unfuck Your Habitat. If I went to that tumblr every day, my house might be hygge-ready by Halloween.