Waiting for me upon my return and adding to the joyousness were my beautiful contributor copies of This Wish Tonight, a holiday-themed anthology by the fine folks at Mischief Corner Books. Wish contains my novelette-length story of M/M love set during one troubled Christmas, in which a glass artist and a fireman meet, fall deeply in love, and ultimately solve a series of hate crimes in their fair New England town. The story came to me back in the summer of 2000, when I saw a neat magazine piece about a glass artist on TV's New Hampshire Chronicle (which would, years later in 2013, run a segment on my writing career.). At the end of last July, during a NaNoWriMo spell in which my pen was on fire, I dashed off the first draft of "Fear of Fire", a story I'd wanted to write for so long. It was accepted and appears with two other holiday-themed tales within the covers of an exceptional book. My fabulously talented co-authors shared the back-stories behind their stories in This Wish Tonight.
Wendy Rathbone on "Eve of the Great Frost": "My stories and novels often start with one image in my mind and go from there. Many of my stories come from phrases in my own poems. For this tale I was inspired by a December poem I wrote with images of a gothic castle made of ice, black carriages delivering party-goers and cloaked kings, and snow all around like rippled white satin. This was a seat-of-my-pants tale, meaning I had no outline, just an idea of a young man who has trained hard to become the perfect erotic holiday gift fit for a king. Because I love science fiction settings, I created a slice of alien culture with a ritual of giving people as holiday gifts to royalty. I set the story in the far distant future where the galaxy is human-colonized, and where starships and faster than light travel are taken for granted. Toss in the gothic images from my poem, mix them up with future technology, a grand party, and a male/male romance and everything started to come together. Many of my novels and poems are set in this future of mine which I call my Starshiptopia universe. It is not all that important to know that, though, when reading this story. It simply stands alone as a tale of a man who has high hopes and a single wish to become the king’s chosen on a perfect night of winter beauty and celebration…and then everything goes wrong. In spite of all that, he perseveres and ends up with a night to remember. A wish fulfilled."
J. Scott Coatsworth on "Wonderland": "I'd wanted to do a holiday story for this anthology since I saw the original call. But I didn't have time. Then the deadline was delayed a couple weeks, and suddenly I had a little space in my writing schedule. I tried (I really did) to make this a standard contemporary story, but it turns out I am just constitutionally incapable of writing a regular romance. So my story morphed into a post zombie apocalypse, midlife crisis, OCD romance. The OCD part necessitated a bit of research, so I ran the story by a few friends with OCD experience -- one therapist and two folks who have dealt with it in their own lives. I did learn an awful lot about it, too, including the fact that OCD can be brought on by a strep infection that goes to the patient's brain, a fact I used in the story. It has a cool name -- PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus). And of course, i set it in rural Montana, a place I've never been to. So I got to look for a little town that would suit my needs, and to research it down to the last gas station, drug store and (now empty) grocery store. I really enjoyed writing a character with OCD -- it was a stretch for me as a writer. And I also enjoyed writing a love story for characters in their forties. Love shouldn't be limited to twinks."