Welcome to the Tutus and Tinsel blog tour with author Rhys Ford! I’ve got something super special to share with you today, not only the ficlet and its author but the very personal respect and love I have for the person behind the books as well. Rhys made a fan of me from the opening paragraphs of Dirty Kiss all those years ago, but more than that, she gathered me into her sphere and made a sister of the heart of me too. More enduring than words on a page is the bond that I’ll share with her for the rest of my days.
We have Cole, Jae, Bobby and Ichi to share with you today, and also be sure to check out the giveaway details below to enter for the chance to win a $25 gift card.
Enjoy and good luck!
A Note from Rhys
Ah the holidays.
The time for family and loved ones.
I want to take a bit of time to talk about my beloved hanai sister / didi, Lisa Horan
See, a long time ago or maybe it was yesterday, I released a book called Dirty Kiss. Dreamspinner gracefully published this chaotic, rambling mystery featuring a haphazard white knight of an investigator named Cole McGinnis and the Korean photographer he falls in love with. It went out into the world and well, I figured I did my best and I hoped people would like it.
Then I got an email from Lisa Horan who’d read Dirty Kiss and said; I had to write to the author who put a leather-wearing dominatrix grandmother in the opening sequence of a murder mystery.
Well, the rest is history. You see, I found a sister. An Alice to my Cheshire Cat. A very odd coupling if you see us together but if you know us, it makes sense. We have been through a lot since that first email. Triumphs and tragedies alike. But through it all, I have always had her friendship and love.
And she has had mine. Unconditionally.
Even though I had to do some serious talking to get her to stop for gummy bears.
When Lisa told me she was putting The Novel Approach on pause, my heart clenched but then I thought; oh the adventures that await her. Because sometimes, you need to take a breather and immerse yourself in new craziness and experiences.
So, to the Alice of Alices, to my sister in coffee and spicy food, to the woman who eye-fucked Con and accepted peanut M&M bribes from Kane, I wish you the bestest of adventures and I will forever be your navigator. IF YOU WOULD JUST STOP RAISING THE HEAT ON THE SEAT WARMERS!
Dude, stop cooking my butt! Heh.
I love you. Very much. And I still need to drag you to the Hang Ah Tearoom.
To the fantastic readers of this wonderful blog, since I’m rolling out Tutus and Tinsel (a holiday short story where I take you back to Half Moon Bay and see what Deacon, Lang and Zig are up to), I wanted to also stop in on a few of my favourite couples on this tour. So, I invite you to join me as we catch up with Rook and Dante, Miki and Kane, Kai and Ryder as well as Cole and Jae over the next few days.
Because it wouldn’t be the holiday season without a gift, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to the online store of the winner’s choice at EACH stop.
So sit back, grab some hot chocolate, tea or coffee and let’s catch up with some of our guys.
Much love and I hope you all have a great holiday…and be sure to stop by and see how Zig learns what family really means in Tutus and Tinsel. Release Day is December 21st and brought to you by Dreamspinner Press
About Tutus and Tinsel
Zig Reid-Harris has everything an eleven-year-old girl could ever want: a great home, two fantastic fathers named Deacon Reid and Lang Harris, and all the books she could possible read.
When a school assignment about holiday traditions unexpectedly broadsides her, she discovers burying the past isn’t as easy as it looks, and the stark reality of her life before her adoption sinks in. Ashamed of the bleakness and poverty she came from, Zig struggles with the assignment until an epiphany strikes the whole family—it’s time to start their own traditions.
Zig and her fathers plunge into the insanity of holiday joy, exploring everything the season has to offer and learning how precious family truly is along the way.
Cole and Jae
Having been raised in Chicago for a good portion of my formative years, I can see the experience left me with two lifelong convictions; a fanatic, overwhelming love for the Cubs and an intense, soul deep hatred for snow. That’s why I loved Los Angeles. There was a significant lack of snow, and I could still catch a Cubs game on television.
It’s also where I met and then married the love of my life, Kim Jae-Min.
I married him despite knowing he didn’t share my love of the Cubs, mostly because he wasn’t into baseball, but he did agree with me that snow was highly overrated. Those are small things in the scheme of life but when falling in love, it’s often the unexpected similarities between two people that make a marriage go smoothly.
Unfortunately for Jae, we had one significant wrinkle in our relationship. He didn’t like people to shoot at me, and I couldn’t seem to avoid it. Despite this minor setback, he still loved me and was always there waiting for me when I got home with a first aid kit in one hand and an I-told-you-so on the tip of his tongue.
So when most young, vibrant newlywed couples were spending their Saturday nights in expensive restaurants or at a club, I was sitting bare-chested on the apothecary chest we used for coffee table while Jae used a pair of long nosed tweezers to pick glass nodules out of my already screwed up shoulder.
“I believe the two of you got into a gunfight with a pair of nuns,” Jae growled at me. I’d like to say the glass was difficult for him to find and that’s why he was twisting the tweezers deep into my flesh, but I could have been wrong. “Ichi, how could you let this happen? If it was Bobby, I’d understand but you?”
“Hey, I went to Catholic school,” Bobby protested from his sprawl across one of the recliners on the far side of the couch. “I know better than to get into it with nuns. They’ll fuck your shit up.”
Despite being an only child for most of his life and only discovering he had two older siblings a few years ago, my half brother Ichiro was a master at throwing me under the bus. He continued this trend by smiling innocently limping across the living room of our old two-story Craftsman house, murmuring as he walked, “I told him not to do it. But you know how he is. I couldn’t just leave him there.”
He didn’t have that fucking limp when we were running for our lives towards my Rover, and he sure as hell was fine when he burst out of the pub’s front door to help me up off the sidewalk after Brunhilda the Great and Terrible picked me up and threw me through the front window. I didn’t realize the Catholic Church was recruiting from the German women’s shotput team, but I seemed to have found their star player.
Just in time for Christmas.
I don’t know if getting attacked by two Brides of Jesus Christ automatically put me into the naughty list and I could expect a stocking full of coal tomorrow morning, but I’d say yes. Another dig into an old scar nearly had me crawling up the walls to the ceiling, but I held firm, gripping the edge of the chest and willing myself not to cry. There’s nothing more humiliating than crying in front of your dog and since Neko was sitting a few feet away, I didn’t want to give the cat the satisfaction of hearing me whimper.
“Come here,” Bobby said to my younger brother, patting his thigh. “Santa’s got a lap you can sit on.”
“Okay, that just went someplace weird I didn’t want to go,” I said through clenched teeth. “It’s bad enough that you married him, can’t I just go on pretending he’s still a virgin on a very long sleepover?”
“I’ve got videos that could prove you wrong on that, Princess,” Bobby sneered, helping Ichi ease down onto his lap with a strong guiding hand along my brother’s back. “I can email them to you when I get home.”
“We do not have any videos,” Ichiro corrected him with a sharp voice. “And we’re not making any.”
“I just like seen him squirm,” my alleged best friend laughed. “You’ve got to remember, babe, I’ve been jerking Cole’s chain long before you met him. It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”
“Well I can tell you this isn’t one of mine,” Jae muttered, coming up with another piece of glass. “We’re all supposed to go over to Mike and Maddy’s tomorrow, remember? And I still haven’t picked up the ham I ordered.”
“We can go do that for you.” Ichi volunteered, probably wanting to score more brownie points with Jae, firmly putting me on my husband’s bad side. “I already grabbed the pies this morning, so Bobby and I can pick up the ham.”
“We can grab some pizza and beer on the way back,” Bobby offered. “That way we can take care of dinner tonight and then we’ll go home so Cole’s got room on the couch to sleep.”
They were gone before I could protest them leaving me with my interrogator and that the jaunty wave Bobby gave me as he closed the front door didn’t help. I don’t know where Jae got our medical supplies from but from the burning sting covering my shoulder and back as he swabbed away specks of blood and grit told me he probably shopped at one of the outer circles of hell.
“You’re getting too old for this, McGinnis,” Jae murmured, taking time off from scolding the skin from my flesh to stroke his thumb over my lower lip. “When are you ever going to learn to stop jousting windmills?”
This was our first Christmas together as husbands, but we’d had a few holidays under our belts. For some reason, it felt different. The tree was in the same spot as it had been the year before and our decorations were still a mixture of classic and kitsch, a sparkling array of beautiful Italian spun glass orbs scattered about to keep my Firefly ornaments company. We had a disagreement about lights when we first got together. I liked old-fashioned colored bulbous things and Jae preferred twinkling white fairy lights.
So we compromised and got twinkling white fairy lights.
Love is often about compromise and considering I tended to live my life on the edge of disaster, I gave in a lot. Truthfully, a lot of those things didn’t really matter, and they were important to Jae. This was the first place he called home. I was and forever will be the only man he will ever love. The color of lights on our Christmas tree were only important because they made him smile and nothing made a kiss taste better than Jae’s smile.
“Saranghae-yo, agi,” I murmured into his ear, pulling him close.
“Korean people overhear you calling me that and they think you’re crazy,” he said, letting himself get wrapped up in my arms. “I love you too.”
“This is the best Christmas ever,” I said, nibbling on his lower lip.
“You said that last year,” Jae reminded me, laughing when I ran my tongue along his teeth, tickling him.
“And every year it gets better,” I replied, tightening my arms around his waist. “I can’t wait to see what life brings us and I can’t wait to live it with you.”
“You’re not to be living very long if you keep getting yourself thrown out of pub windows,” my husband scolded me, reaching up to tug at the end of my nose. “Please try to live long enough to help me take down the lights on the outside of the house.”
“I’ll do better than that, baby.” I lowered my mouth down onto his, ready to kiss him senseless to thank him for patching me up once again. “I’ll promise to live forever if you promise to be here for me to come home to.”
About the Author
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and is a two-time LAMBDA finalist with her Murder and Mayhem novels. She is also a 2017 Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Awards for her novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Harley, a grey tuxedo with a flower on her face, Badger, a disgruntled alley cat who isn’t sure living inside is a step up the social ladder as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
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