Today marks the release date of one of the thickest books and – in mho – the best buy for the year.

Boughs of Evergreen – A Holiday Anthology, by Beaten Track Publishing is released to the public today. The 23 individual stories that make up the book’s two (!) volumes, all share a common theme: holidays, from Christmas to Hanukah, Eid, and Midwinter solstice to name a few.

I was asked earlier this fall if I wanted to contribute and since I had written a Christmas short a long time ago, I donated that story to the anthology. 
Donated, yes, because we, the authors, don’t make any money off of this story. Neither does the publisher. All proceeds go directly to the Trevor Project, and I’m very proud to be a part of this anthology, not just because I’m glad that “A Christmas Tale” is finally meeting a wider audience (more about that later), but also because we get to help some of the most vulnerable people out there: LGBT kids & youths. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
If you’ve read my recent post on the number of homeless children in the USA, you know the ultimate consequence for many of these children if they dare to come out (or even if they’re suspected to be LGBT), and the Trevor Project helps and can step in to prevent those kids from harming themselves. I am very proud to be a part of this endeavor!
We’ve already had our first review out, so if you don’t want to buy the cat in the bag, have a look at Timmy’s reviews of the book and each individual story.
I wrote my contribution, “A Christmas Tale” a long time ago, in 1991 to be exact. I was working on a special project, aka Christmas present for friends and family, and created a book with black & white photography, poetry and a short story at the beginning of the book. 
Needless to say, it was not a big hit with my family. I had just come out for the second time, and the last thing my parents wanted to read was “angsty” YA gay poetry (although not all poems were explicit, and none were sexually “explicit”.) 
My parents just didn’t want to deal with the fact that their miserable gay son had feelings in the first place, let alone romantic ones, god forbid for other men. So the book disappeared unnoticed into the darkest corners of people’s book shelves, and the only person to ever thank me for it was my grandmother. Another reason why she was my big hero!
This is where “A Christmas Tale” was first published in
1991, in German.
The short story in “Momente” (moments, the name of the book) was “A Christmas Tale“, and it told the story of a young man who is forced to celebrate Christmas on his own. He’s recently relocated and has to work the Holidays. The story is – obviously – inspired by my own background, I had left my parent’s house after graduating and lived in a different city. Being gay was difficult back then. We were tolerated, sure, but those years were also the most difficult ones for many of us, given the AIDS hysteria. The story is really short, but sweet and hopeful, inspired by the way we celebrated Christmas in Switzerland when I was young, which, despite the superficial similarities to the way the US celebrate Christmas, is quite different.
I am really proud of the work my friend Debbie McGowan, the publisher and one of the editors of this anthology, has put into this two-volume book, and I’m proud of each and every one of the twenty two other authors who contributed. So here’s the deal: 
I am giving away TEN copies of the e-book version of my short story and ONE copy of the entire print version (both volumes) of the anthology, and – as a bonus – five personally signed copies of the original book “Momente” from 1991 (!) for the best comments to this post. 
I do this to give a bit more money to the Trevor Project (god knows they need all the money they can get), and as an early Christmas gift to you, my dear readers.
All you need to do to be eligible is to comment on this post and tell me how you plan on helping someone in need this coming holiday season. Remember, the real joy of Christmas isn’t receiving… it’s giving!
Happy Holidays and comment away! The winners will be announced on December 13th (Saint Lucia here in Sweden) in a separate blog post. Please make sure I know how to reach you. If you comment is anonymous, you’ll have to send me an e-mail telling me that it was you. And no cheating please! 🙂
Have a great weekend!
Hans
PS: Want to contribute directly to the Trevor Project? Consider Beaten Track Publishing’s fundraiser.

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