The Boyfriend Rule
Release Date: December 11
Billy Lawson hates Christmas. The carols, the gaudy decorations, and the crowds seem to be even worse this year. To make matters worse, it looks like Billy’s father, Jimmy, will be stuck in the hospital over the holiday season due to his illness. Billy thinks he’s fine, but when Nate wants to go to yet another holiday party, Billy ditches the cookies he’s making and the party. Just when Billy thinks he’ll be alone on Christmas, Nate reminds him that there are certain rules boyfriends must abide by.
Message From Francis
Hello! A big thank you to N.J for hosting me on her lovely blog. I'm Francis Gideon and today I want to talk about my story The Boyfriend Rule, which acts as a holiday sequel to How To Make A Carrot Cake (August 2014, MLR Books). These stories are both contemporary m/m erotic romances, focusing on the relationship between Nate Reid and Billy Lawson. The sequel has the couple in an already established relationship, past the honeymoon stage and already worked through one of their bigger issues from the first book. Now the main conflict is the holiday season itself, which stresses Billy out. When a co-worker explains to Billy that there is a "boyfriend rule" that involves Billy sticking it out with Nate as he goes to family functions and holiday parties, Billy's not too sure if he can handle it. In fact, he's pretty sure he can't. While Billy prepares to bail, Nate has his own plans—and his own rule to follow—to ensure that everyone is happy this holiday season.
During a party scene in the middle of the story, Nate makes a reference to his friend Evan who covers Christmas songs by punk bands. This isn't touched on again in the story, but I have to mention it now: punk covers of Christmas songs are my favourite thing about the holiday. I'm a lot like Billy's character, especially around the season; everything stresses me out and while my partner drags me to a million functions, I really wish I was at home baking while watching Christmas episodes of Bob's Burgers, or listening to the Ramones "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight)."
Music is a large part of my writing process (the first book has its own playlist on my 8tracks account under FrancisGideon), and while I need to write in absolute silence, I usually edit with something on in the background. My perfect playlist for The Boyfriend Rule involves The Ramones, Fall Out Boy, and Rancid, along with these other atypical Christmas songs.
- Forget December—Something Corporate
- Xmas Eve—Rancid
- Alone This Holiday—The Used
- Xmas Sux—Frank Iero
- I Won't Be Home For Christmas—Blink 182
- Yule Shoot Your Heart Out—Fall Out Boy
- Christmas In Ohio—Brandston
- Xmas Cake—Rilo Kiley
- Joey Had A Smoke—Meg & Dia
- Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight)—Ramones
What do you think? A lot of these may seem too crass for Christmas, but like Billy, Nate, and Evan (the guy who has the band), I'm still pretty young. Maybe I'll grow into the classics, but for now, like Billy, I like where I am.
What's your favourite Christmas song? Comment with your favourite (punk cover or otherwise) and your email for a chance to win both How to Make a Carrot Cake and The Boyfriend Rule. Happy Holidays!
After a moment, Nate adds, “Have I ever told you much about Evan?”
Billy shakes his head. “I thought we were headed to John’s party?”
“We are. But John is particular. He’s like the older brother of the crew, so it makes him seem far more advanced. He’s the one getting married.”
“Ah. And kids?”
“Probably soon.” Nate’s face flashes with anxiety, as if he’s also as unnerved by the sudden maturity of his friends. “But Evan is actually in a punk band. I’m pretty sure they’re playing a concert right before the party. It’s all punk rock Christmas covers, but still, pretty cool, right?”
“Yeah, actually,” Billy admits. “That is cool.”
“He also doesn’t drink, and probably wants to go vegetarian, so your goodies will be appreciated.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” Billy says. He adds another spice to the cart, and tries to remember the recipe. “I think I’m good. Are you?”
Nate scans the items in his cart before nodding. “Definitely.”
As they shuffle to the front of the store, Billy realizes how congested it’s already gotten. The annoying grind of Christmas music spills over the speakers, making Billy grate his teeth and wish for the punk rock covers and not Mariah Carey. Red and green colors from Christmas decorations seem to pulsate along with the music, until they finally reach the cashier. She’s perky and far too cheery, but thankfully, doesn’t wish them Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas by the time they cash out.
“All right. Anymore stops?” Nate asks after they put the groceries in the backseat of Marlee’s car.
“No, I’m okay.”
“Good. Because I think I was gonna kill Rudolph if I heard another song.”
Billy laughs. “Me too, me too.”
When Nate turns the radio to something that’s playing 1980s hits instead of Christmas music, Billy starts to believe that he’ll make it through the night.
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal.
Find Francis Here