Dev Bentham Talks Holiday Romances – Oy (Giveaway)

Holiday Romances. Oy.

This past year I’ve been writing a series of stories with Jewish holiday themes. In fact, to my knowledge, I am the author of the only m/m Passover and Rosh Hashanah holiday erotic romance novels. Nothing says Passover like reading a sensuous novel while you munch that tasty matzo, eh? The series is called Tarnished Souls. AlthoughLearning From Isaac - Dev Bentham the characters wander in and out of each other’s stories, each novel tells a different love story so that they can be read in any order.

They couldn’t, however, have been written in any order. I’d never written a holiday story before I started the Tarnished Souls series, so how was I to know that the calendar was a narrative minefield? It started innocently enough. In Learning from Isaac, my characters go home for Passover. It also contains references to the Passover theme of freedom from bondage. Coincidentally, the timing was perfect for it to be published in the spring. Easy Peasey.

And then the clock started ticking.

Fields of Gold Dev BenthamInternal timing wasn’t terribly awkward for my Rosh Hashanah story, Fields of Gold. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a fall holiday so as long as the story ended in October everything was fine. External timing – my editorial deadlines– were a bit trickier and I almost didn’t make them. But I powered through because I love the theme of the fall holidays. They’re all about forgiveness, repentance and making peace with the people in our lives. Rich fodder for a story teller.

Everything got more complicated with my Hanukkah story, Sacred Hearts, which comes out this week. In addition to a tight editorial schedule, the internal time problem with writing a Hanukkah story is that Jewish holidays move around in the calendar. Some years Hanukkah starts in early December (next year it will actually begin right after Thanksgiving!) and other years it overlaps with Christmas. It’s pretty difficult to write a Hanukkah story that ignores Christmas, especially if you set it in Mexico. So the first thing I had to do was figure out how Christmas and Hanukkah timed out in the story. Eventually I decided to go with this year’s dates so that I could mark a calendar and plot the scenes. Then I had these time anchors – the first night of Hanukkah (12/8) and Christmas (12/25). I’d already written a first draft in which Christmas events seemed to happen in January, so I had to wrestle the story back onto the timeline. It made me wonder if I wanted to play this particular game of twister again. But the thematic feast of the Sacred Hearts Dev Benthamwinter holidays, which I interpret as the return of light after a long darkness, made me fall in love with the story. I hope you do too.

So what do I hate about writing holiday stories? Time. It’s a killer. I’m sure anyone stressed out by the race from Thanksgiving to Christmas can sympathize with that.

What do I love about holiday stories? Any holiday tradition, whether religious or secular, is an idea treasure trove.  Hundreds or thousands of years of emotional gold and garbage are encapsulated in each and every holiday. As a writer, tapping into that vein of meaning offers me an enormous amount.

What’s your favorite holiday and what does it mean to you? 

—Dev Bentham

Where you can find Dev:

Email Dev at
Twitter: @DevBentham

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  1. EvelynS says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s great spending time with family and reflecting on everything we have to be thankful for.

  2. Rebe says

    As much as I love seeing the family at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I think Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays, mainly because school is out (I’m a prof) and there are no expectations of family visits and the weather’s usually nice. Right now no expectations and warm weather sound really great, lol.

    • says

      I live in a resort town so the bookend summer holidays – Memorial and Labor Day – are big ones in our community. I’m also a prof – so I understand that one of the beauties of Memorial day is it’s the beginning of a long break. And that’s definitely a reason to celebrate.

  3. Erika says

    Christmas is my favourtie. I love the decorating, the food, the fun, the hopes for peace. The excitement in children’s eyes, and the belief in good.

  4. Urb says

    Halloween is my favorite holiday. Although I enjoy Christmas, the mindless consumerism is distasteful. Halloween is more about wearing costumes, eating candy, and being morbidly silly. I still enjoy Christmas. I just don’t shop! 😀

    • says

      I like the Jewish version of Halloween – Purim, which is in February and March. You get to wear costumes and there’s a rule where you have to drink enough so you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong.

  5. Jane says

    My favorite is Thanksgiving. It signals the start of the holiday season and I love getting to share the big meal with family and friends.

  6. Sandypo says

    My favorite Jewish holiday is Passover because I love the food — gefilte fish, horseradish (I make my own) matzoh ball soup, charoseth and I don’t mind eating matzoh for eight days at all. My favorite secular holiday is Thanksgiving, also because I love the food. And I do the cooking for both holidays (in fact, all holidays) at my house.

  7. says

    There’s nothing like homemade horseradish. And around that time of year I too start craving hard boiled eggs, charoseth and even matzah. Food is such a memory trigger, isn’t it?

  8. Jordan says

    My favorite is Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years because in my family we celebrate a season of holidays! I love the weather that time of year and all the cooking and baking that we get to do.

  9. Seiran says

    I love Christmas/New Years because I get to spend it with my family, and my kids are home from college. We all get to sit around and talk and catch up, I love it.

  10. Leni says

    I love celebrating New Year’s Day because it’s a nice way to reflect and gear up for new adventures. It sets a nice mood and gets us thinking about past and present and what the future can bring.

  11. elaing8 says

    I love Christmas. Its when all the family gets together. I love seeing the kids all excited. And decorating and making all the holiday goodies. :)

  12. JenM says

    I will definitely have to check these books out. It’s pretty rare to find any romances featuring Jewish holidays. As for favorites, I love Thanksgiving, mainly because there is no more perfect meal than turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes.

  13. Penumbra says

    My favorite holiday is Christmas. It’s not one specific thing that makes me like it the most, but everything that makes it up.


  14. June M. says

    Pretty much any holiday that is family oriented is a fave for me. I do love Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, & 4th of July the best though :)

  15. Sherry S. says

    I love Thanksgiving because you have all of the food and don’t have to worry about getting gifts for people.

  16. Juliana says

    I always think holidays that involve gifts are too stressful. so I am all for New Year’s, no gifts, time with friends, good food, and you can drink til your silly and not feel bad!

  17. says

    My favourite holidays are Christmas and Halloween. I LOVE all the prepartions: the gift shoppinga nd wrapping, decorating the house, baking cookies, singing Christmas songs. It is a time for family and relaxatioon and that wonderful ambiancefull of love, just love it!

  18. Judi P says

    My favorite holidays are I think Halloween cuz… who doesn’t LOVE dressing up? lol.. and Christmas! lol.. not only for the presents though of course they’re a + lol… but because it’s really the one and only time in the whole year that the whole family is together. :)
    If i’m not too late please count me in! :)


  19. says

    oooh Halloween lovers! Since no one comes out this far to trick or treat, I dress my pup up in a costume every year and take him to town to get petted by all the cuties.

  20. says

    I’d have to vote for Christmas. I love the sparkling decorations, the food, the baking and the magical expression in my children’s eyes when they were little. It used to be that I would give them their own two foot tree for their bedrooms and have them decorate it whichever way they wanted. Yes, magical.
    Happy Holidays!


  21. Krista says

    I love Christmas. My family isn’t really big on celebrating other holidays. Christmas is really the only one they go all out for.

  22. says

    One of the things that always fascinates me about holidays is the way families are different. Even within a religious tradition there’s so much variability in how holidays get celebrated. It’s heartwarming that you love your family traditions.