Announcing: “Christmas Is”

Mischief and Merriment in Manhattan

Available now at Amazon, BN.com, iTunes, and for Roku.

I’m thrilled to announce my new book, Christmas Is: Mischief and Merriment in Manhattan (Constant Rose Publishing, 2017). My fourth book and first foray into fiction is a comedic, madcap love letter to New York, its inhabitants, and the city’s holiday traditions. The story drops the reader in the middle of the Big Apple just as the Christmas season kicks off and carries him/her on to Christmas Day.

In this Christmas comedy, a failed Wall Street banker who hates actors inherits his father’s talent agency — and sells it to a rival agent. When he realizes he’s made a huge mistake, he must confront his resentment before he can figure out how to save the actors’ jobs in the Broadway extravaganza, Christmas Is.

Christmas Is is Elfmeets It’s A Wonderful Lifemeets The Lion King, but with People of Color and no singing animals. (Don’t worry, I can write that because I’m a Person of Color.) More broad comedy than slapstick, it’s a fast and hilarious read with an uplifting ending that’ll leave everyone full of Christmas cheer.

The story is inspired by my six years of performing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well as six years performing in national touring companies of the same show. (Chronologically, the road shows came before I was invited to the big dance in New York.) Christmas Is will take you on a rollicking, one horse open sleigh ride through classic holiday imagery and themes that give a nod to Christmas stories we’ve come to know and love. From jocular predicaments to a romantic subplot to a much needed reality check from a celestial being, the novel heralds all the nostalgic feels of Christmases past while pointing a merry way to the future. And in the spirit of the season, the novel will gift you with messages of hope, love, giving, and second chances.

Those of you who are familiar with my writing on Medium with its focus on race relations in America are probably wondering why in the world is he writing about this? There’s several reasons.

The germ for the story has been on my hard drive in different forms for a long time (translation: years). And now was the perfect time to share it with you. I enjoy the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas in New York. If you’ve ever been there in December, you know the sights, the sounds, and the energy I’m referring to. Add to that the fact that people are dealing with a lot of — how shall I say it? — crap. I wrote Christmas Is as pure entertainment, a comic confection, a guilty pleasure in which readers can lose themselves for a few moments and escape from the worries of their day. And finally, my hope is that when readers reach the end of Christmas Is, with its eclectic cast of characters as diverse and exciting as New York itself, they’ll better understand a truth best summarized in a line from Maya Angelou’s poem Human Family, “…we are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike.”

I have to laud my editor, the uber-gifted and insightful Ré Harris, for her innumerable contributions to the book. If you’ve read her work here on Medium you’re already familiar with the way she effortlessly creates a scene, sets mood, and populates it with believable, rich, three-dimensional characters. You’d better believe I was thrilled when she accepted in invitation to help me with my manuscript. The way she turned my wooden manuscript into a book with fully developed moments and living, breathing characters is nothing short of a miracle. If you enjoy the book, it’s because of Ré’s kind and generous heart and her extensive knowledge of the art of fiction. And if you don’t, well … it’s all on me.

So there you are. I said all of that to say: I have a new book that’ll be available on October 3 in print on Amazon, and also for Kindle, Nook, and iPad. I hope you’ll purchase many, many, many copies and tell all your friends to do the same.

Thanks for your time, 
Clay