This story started as a prequel for The Tendire Gate. I’m serious, that’s what I was trying to write. But that story, a worthy one that needs to get written at some point, went through three or four versions before I finally had to set it aside, and start writing something else. It was November, and I was stressed and frustrated with the world, and yeah, part of that frustration was holiday candy. I ended up taking a bit of that frustration and bits and pieces of several people I know, and the heart of a building I know very well, and building this story instead, about a custodian over the holidays.
It’s a Christmas Story
Even if it doesn't seem like it at first, the story is a Christmas story. It just didn’t work to start it at Christmas, for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that our protagonist, Carl Gibson, hates Christmas!
Why does he hate Christmas so much? Well, that’s his story to tell. It still makes me cry, and that’s a good thing. It should! This is a tear-jerking story that still manages to be a feel good story, and honestly? I’m rather proud of it, because that’s not an easy mix to manage.
The story starts just before Halloween, with Carl raving about how the stores have already swapped out the Halloween candy for Christmas candy. I think a lot of us who love Halloween can relate to that. Why Halloween is so special to Carl is something we only hint at in the story. But what we do see is a crucial connection, one that’s simmered for a long time that finally gets made. I love this because I think it’s something we all see in our lives, but not so much in romance where so very often it’s the tall, dark, and handsome stranger.
What we’re left with in the end is a sweet and heartbreaking story. A holiday story. A romantic story. One I hope will resonate.
A Christmas Vision | COMING SOON
by Ashavan Doyon—THERE’S NO GLORY in custodial work. That never bothered campus janitor Carl Gibson any. He worked hard—had to. His love life was a tragedy best not reopened and his only hope for the happiness he broadcast to the world was in two things: Halloween and the shrill, ever-demanding bark of his darling Lilah. But Halloween decorations were being displaced by Christmas already, and his precious pug? He could only hope she’d hold on a bit longer.
Austin Edwards had failed his little boy. The most junior dining manager at the college, when everyone called out on Halloween, he got called in. The house lights were all dark. except one. A sparkling hope of legend at the college. For his boy’s sake, he hoped Carl was as crazy about Halloween as the stories said. When Carl filled his son’s empty bag with candy, Austin couldn’t help but wonder why such a wonderful man was so alone. He had to find out.
With Christmas fast approaching, Carl and Austin tip-toe into dating. But they both have ghosts and memories to contend with. Can Austin be Carl’s Christmas vision? Or will Carl retreat, as he always has?