Thank you for having me on your blog, Delilah!
I first heard of the Coming Together charity anthologies in 2014. The idea of marrying erotica and doing good appealed to me, and I submitted to Coming Together: For the Holidays which benefited Stand Up for Kids, a youth homelessness organization. In the past two years, my stories have appeared in Coming Together: Among the Stars (benefitting International Still’s Disease Foundation), Coming Together: Strange Shifters (benefitting Bat World Sanctuary), and Coming Together: Keeping Warm (benefitting Operation Warm).
After participating in these anthologies I decided that one day, when I was ready, I would edit an anthology for CT. Earlier this year, Coming Together put out a call for volunteers to come up with/edit new anthologies for publication in 2016. I decided to take the plunge.
Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe is the result of that plunge. My anthology benefits Project Linus, who provide homemade blankets to children in crisis. “Through the donation of new, handmade blankets and afghans, we are able to bring a little comfort, a little warmth and love to a child in need. We can’t cure the disease, we can’t mend families, and we can’t undo the abuse. But we can help, in the way of a warm hug when it is most desperately needed. As of October 2016, Project Linus has donated over six million handmade security blankets to children across the USA.” If you are a crafty person, you can make blankets to donate to Project Linus and give it to your closest local chapter (there are over 300). If not, they also accept monetary donations.
My eldest daughter nearly died at the age of a week old on November 10, 2008. She received a blanket from Project Linus while in the ICU. It was a moment of warmth and kindness in a time of darkness. We didn’t know if she would survive, if her illness would leave long term health concerns, or what the future held. For nearly a month my husband and I barely left our daughter’s hospital rooms at Mass General Hospital in Boston. When we entered the hospital, Halloween candy was half off. The first day that my daughter wasn’t attached to IV’s and cords 24/7 was Thanksgiving. When we left the hospital on December 3, 2008, Christmas was in full swing everywhere we looked.
For me, Christmas isn’t a religious holiday. But December and Christmas represent the moment when we left the hospital and finally felt hope again. In that spirit, I decided to edit an anthology set during the month of December.
Under the Mistletoe is a celebration of December first through the thirty-first, from the North Pole to the Antarctic. You’ll meet couples changing up the meaning of spin the dreidel, deciding the fate of their marriage on Hogmanay, and finding new love in a dystopian future, among many more. The poets will make you laugh, and maybe even cry.
As for my daughter? We were incredibly lucky. My daughter lost a kidney to her illness, and needed a helmet and corrective brace when she learned to walk, but you would never imagine her history if you were to meet her. She just finished second grade at the local public school here in Singapore (we’ve been abroad since 2010) with straight A’s. She loves ballet, gymnastics, and Indian Dance. She alternates between being her younger sister’s best friend and worst enemy. She’s hoping Santa will bring her a bike this Christmas.
Rather than excerpt one of the erotic stories, today I’d like one of my favorite poems from the anthology with you.
By Corbin Grace
I awoke from a slumber but sleep’s fog prevailed
And stepped from the house to see what had been mailed
Awareness arose from the bite of the wind
For I wore naught but slippers, apart from a grin
My icicle dangled; my spirits dismayed
For the knob wouldn’t turn as the lock had engaged
To gaze out their windows the neighbors might swoon
From seeing before them, a wintry pale moon
I reached for my phone before palming my head
For he hasn’t pockets, who wears not a thread
December had blessed us with snow’s frosty falls
But my only concern ‘twas to warm my snowballs
I wished, for a second, my wife would come back
From visiting family while I’d had a nap
But pictured—all year—that she’d laugh to disclose
I’d been redder than Rudolph and not just my nose
And then on the driveway, her headlights appeared
On Flasher, you Vixen, caught like a reindeer
Back in the house, she wiped tears as she laughed
And as quick as a send, I appeared on snapchat
To make matters worse, came to mind a detail,
That today it was Christmas, there wouldn’t be mail
Men, let me warn you, that turkey’s fowl call
Can make a guy drowsy; Merry Christmas to all!
Under the Mistletoe is now ON SALE
Contest! I have 5 pdf copies of Under the Mistletoe to give away. Please share your favorite Christmas memory in comments. Please leave your email in the comments so that I can reach you.