Hello, Readers! Welcome to a series of stories about renewed love and/or love happening during the renewing times: mid-winter or spring. This week’s visitor is Whitley Grey.
Tell us about Midwinter Night’s Dream and how you came up with this idea.
This is the story of a man who gets lost in a blizzard and the man who saves him. Errol delivers singing telegrams to eke out a living, and takes one last job despite the forecast of heavy snow. Joe is a model and former fireman, returning to his family’s cabin in the woods to deal with the loss of his lover two Christmases ago.
My extended family had a cabin in the woods when I was growing up, and those memories served me in creating the setting.
How much research did you have to do about firemen before you created Joe’s character?
It wasn’t too bad. A couple of firemen answered questions about the types of fire and rescue described in the book. The culture of the firehouse and the pressure of belonging to a family of firemen took addition research.
This story sounds complicated and fun! Two broken men seeking redemption. Is it one character’s story more than the other? Or do they both grow equally? And how do they grow?
I think it’s pretty evenly distributed. I love Errol’s personality—he’s somewhat quirky, and a survivor. Joe’s paramedic background and how he saves Errol resonates with my medical background. They both grow—Errol learns to trust, and Joe learns to let go of the past.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write romance?
Learn the basics of writing. Online classes are an excellent way to do this. Get the fundamentals mastered and then build from there. Join a critique group—these people can help you see your manuscript’s blind spots. Last, READ. A lot. In whatever subgenre you want to write. I read about 200 M/M books before writing the first one.
Heat surrounded Errol’s body. The surface beneath him was soft, and he couldn’t perceive any light through his eyelids. His hands and feet hurt. He was exhausted and achy. Couldn’t open his eyes. A little more rest…
Something ticked out a muted rhythm, and every click made his head throb. During his nap someone had taken a ball-peen hammer to his head, and his tongue had become glued to the roof of his mouth. Felt like the hangover from hell.
Water. Water would be good. A hint of wood smoke filled Errol’s nose, mixed with a spicier smell—evergreen and clove, like Christmas. He must be dreaming.
The featherweight web of sleep persisted, and he rubbed at his eyes and opened them a crack. Wait a minute. Where was he?
Well, first of all, warm and cozy in an enormous bed. Not his; not by a long shot. The thing was heaped with sleeping bags and quilts, making the covers weighty. He squinted and peeked under the covers. Naked. The ache behind his eyes intensified as he absorbed his lack of clothing. Yikes.
A dozen feet away, there was a fireplace made of river rock, flanked by bookcases. Banked embers glowed in the hearth, outlining walls made of logs in faint rosy light. A clock ticked on the mantel, the source of the tapping irritating his ears. A sweep of muted plaid framed the dark windows, and snow hissed against the panes, seeking entry. Okay, naked, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar place. What the—
Something rustled next to him, and he rolled over. A tuft of dark curls stuck up from the covers. Nothing else of his bedmate showed. Holy shit, make that naked next to an unfamiliar body.
Oh, no. No, no, no. He couldn’t remember doing the sing-o-gram, but maybe he’d had a holiday drink and ended up sleeping with someone at the client’s house? Judging by the way his head felt, he had the mother of all hangovers, and if alcohol had been involved, who knew? Man, he’d be in such deep shit. Pour Vous had a strict no-sex-with-the-clients policy. If he’d broken the rules, Smitty would roast his chestnuts over an open fire and cut him loose. Without a job, he’d be out on the street in a week. He shivered.
Smitty didn’t have to know.
With a deep sigh, the bedmate rolled over, one arm pushing the covers down to the waist. Errol’s eyes widened. Whoops. Naked, muscular, and male. Dark curly hair, a shadow of beard covering his jaw, and a face like a model. Errol had never really understood the meaning of chiseled features before now, but this met the definition. Yowza.
Wait a minute. Smitty had said the telegram recipient was a blond woman. This was very definitely not her. So who the hell was this guy? Had Errol slept with him? Like wild-monkey-sex slept with him?
This had to be some crazy dream. Must be that convenience-store burrito he’d eaten for lunch. Guys like Errol didn’t wake up with guys like this. Errol pinched himself and blinked. The guy was still there.