Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

December is I :::Heart::: the Holidays month at my blog. During these next twenty-two days, besides the usual blog posts, I’m featuring authors who write holiday romance. Today, I have Neil S. Plakcy in the interview chair. We’re discussing Christmas Shift. Be sure to check out the excerpt.


1. What draws you to writing holiday romance?

Neil:  I grew up in Pennsylvania and now live in Florida. The holidays are different down here, and I’m trying to both show life here, and recreate my childhood.

2. How many holiday romances have you written so far? And which one would you recommend for readers to try, besides the one you are featuring? Feel free to leave a link.

Neil:  I’ve written a series of romances set at holidays throughout the year, and collected them all in Catbird Seat: South Beach Romances.

3. What do you like most about writing holiday romance?

Neil:  The joy of the season.

4. What do you like least about writing holiday romance?

Neil:  Avoiding stereotypes. I wish I knew all those Inuit words for snow!

5. What inspired you to write your featured holiday story?

Neil:  A group project for MLR press, where we each wrote reindeer shifter stories.

6. If a reader asked you why they should read your holiday romance, what would you tell them?

Neil:  It’s a fun twist on the New England-Florida conundrum.

7. Lastly, how are you going to spend the holidays?

Neil:  Cuddled up with my two golden retrievers.


Title: Christmas Shift: A Reindeer Shifter Holiday MM Romance Novella
Series: N/A
Genre: Holiday Paranormal Romance
Length: 132 pages, 41,000 words
Heat Rating: 5 Flames
Publication Date: November 21, 2019
Publisher: Samwise Books

Love often means sacrifice—but what if you might have to give up a commitment to be one of Santa’s reindeer and deliver holiday toys to kids to be with the one you love?

Blurb:  Peter McGuire is an EMT with a secret: he’s a reindeer shifter, a Prancer on Santa’s team. His holiday obligations often require him to make excuses for his absences, and even downright lie. That makes it almost impossible to develop a real relationship.

But the secret isn’t his alone, and if he opens up to too many people, he could destroy Christmas.

Jonny Santos is a ski bum distancing himself from being the family caregiver. He knows that his mother’s MS is going to require him to devote himself to her someday, but in the meantime he’s sticking to the slopes and staying single.

Then a pre-Christmas hike goes wrong, and Peter is forced to shift into reindeer form in order to rescue Jonny from a wilderness trail. The sparks between them are real—but are they enough to overcome the obstacles that keep them apart?

Contains Prancers, Vixens and other reindeer, and smoking hot shifter sex!

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Jonny opened his eyes. “I had a dream,” he mumbled.

“I know, Jonny,” Peter said. “Close your eyes, go back to sleep.”

“Kiss me?”


“My friend Katie says I never ask for what I want,” he said. “In case I die out here, I want to change that behavior while I still have a chance. So I want you to kiss me.” He looked up. “I mean, if you’re straight, I understand and I’m sorry. But you’ve got a hard-on that’s poking against your pants, so I’m kind of hoping you’re gay.”

“I’m gay,” Peter said. “But we’ve got to get you out of here. We can think about kissing later.”

Jonny reached up and grabbed his arm. “No,” he said. “Now. Please.”

Jonny’s mouth looked so kissable that Peter couldn’t resist. He leaned down and kissed Jonny gently, his lips tingling at the contact. Jonny put an arm around Peter’s shoulder and pulled him down, deepening the kiss. Jonny’s lips were cold, but they warmed from the contact with Peter’s. Peter closed his eyes and let himself fall into the kiss, the way Jonny’s lips wrapped around his own, their tongues dueling.

It wasn’t an orgasm, Peter thought later. He hadn’t shot off in his pants. But his body was filled with the rush of endorphins from Jonny’s kiss, and he felt himself changing. He backed away from Jonny, leaving him with his eyes and mouth open, and all at once, he was back in reindeer form, the halter that connected him to the sled around his shoulders. He pawed the ground twice, then took off at a run down the trail.


I’ve been at this writing thing a long time– I first began writing stories when I was about sixteen. My 10th-grade English teacher, Mr. Norman Haider, assigned us the task of rewriting A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, from the point of view of Finny, the second character. Our teacher, Mr. Hayder, assigned us to “rewrite” the book from Finny’s point of view. Not only was this a great lesson in POV, it made a great emotional connection to me, and I began writing seriously after that. A community college course in creative writing followed, and by then the bug had bitten.

My first published novel was Mahu, about a gay homicide detective who’s dragged out of the closet while investigating a dangerous case. I’m grateful to Greg Herren, who accepted the book on behalf of Haworth Press and their Harrington Park Press imprint. Mahu went on to be reprinted by two more presses, Alyson Books and MLR Press, and now I publish it, and the rest of the series, myself. I have gone on to write and publish in a variety of genres, including cozy mystery, gay mystery, adventure, thriller, private eye, and gay romance and erotica. You can find information on all the books from the tabs on the home page.

Find Neil:  Web Site | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub

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