J. Scott Coatsworth has a new gay post-zombie apocalypse Christmas book out:
And there’s a giveaway!
Zeke is a hermit in his late forties who lives a quiet life in a small cabin in the Western Montana mountains, a few miles outside of Thompson Falls. He’s gotten used to being alone since the end of the world, and has everything he needs. Everything but someone to talk to.
Nathan is a younger man on a cross-country trek, searching the country for someone… anyone still alive. Saddled with a ghost from his old life and a case of OCD, he stumbles upon Thompson Falls and a pack of rabid dogs.
Rescued by Zeke, he has to figure out how to be human again. And with Christmas just a week away, both men have to figure out if there’s something left to be hopeful for, and if they might have a future together.
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Out back, four makeshift wooden crosses marked the plots where he’d buried Redd Johnson, the owner, and the three others he’d found dead inside.
The checkout counters were covered in a heavy layer of dust he’d never bothered to clean. The plastic grocery sacks had hardened and flaked into little piles of white that swirled like snowflakes whenever the wind blew in from outside.
He picked up one of the faded cardboard boxes that used to hold Hershey bars. They were long gone. He had eaten a lot of chocolate in the first twelve months.
The store was out of most of the good stuff now, taken in the initial panic or used by Zeke. It was down to cans of the aforementioned Brussels sprouts and spinach, as well as green beans, canned tomatoes, and Dole fruit salad. Just another indication it was time to move on.
One corner of the ceiling had caved in since the last time he’d been there. He approached the pile of debris in the produce section of the store cautiously. The fruits and vegetables had long since rotted away.
He looked up at the new damage. The hole didn’t go all the way through to the roof, just through the interior ceiling. A couple boxes lay crumpled on the ground.
With a leery glance at the broken edges—must have been some kind of storage up there—he opened one of the boxes to see what was inside. It was a disassembled Christmas tree, probably for holiday displays.
Christmas. It had been a long time since he’d celebrated that holiday—or any of them, for that matter—not since his mother had passed away when he was ten. She had owned a tree just like this and had put it up every year. She’d been an environmentalist, not wanting to kill a living thing just to celebrate a man-made holiday.
Zeke glared at the tree and grunted. It wasn’t like he needed any more crap in his little cabin.
He closed his eyes, and he could still see her face, lit by the glow of the Christmas lights. “It’s the one time of the year when we all have to be nice to each other,” she’d whispered to him once, shooting a glance at his father, asleep in his easy chair. Zeke could still smell her sweet perfume. His father had been a rough man. Rough but fair.
“What the hell.” He hauled the box out to the ATV and transferred the metal branches into his sack.
He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
A Rainbow Award winning and runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, Liminal Fiction, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
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