I’ve been asked about the exact timeline involved in my books. The stories all take place in roughly the order they were written, but I’ll try to sort it all out.
Promises starts in April of… well, it was probably about 2008, but let’s call it Year 0. It ends in January of the next year (Year 1). A to Z starts later that same spring. Zach and Angelo meet Matt and Jared at Folk Fest in August of Year 1. A to Z ends just before Christmas of that same year.
Here’s where it gets confusing: The Letter Z and The Promise sort of overlap. The Letter Z starts only a few weeks after the end of A to Z, on New Year’s Eve. But that’s only the first scene. The bulk of the story (the trip to Vegas) takes place in early March of that year (Year 2). The final scene takes place on Zach’s birthday, April 14th. The Promise starts shortly after the boys return from Vegas, and the final scene is the same day as the last day of TLZ (Zach’s bday).
Clear as mud?
While in Vegas (early March in Year 2) Jared tells Jonathan that he’ll have his friend in Phoenix look Jon up. Cole’s first phone call to Jon takes place on April 16 of that same year.
Putting Out Fires (short story about Matt and Jared, available only from Dreamspinner Press) takes place a year later, on Valentine’s Day of Year 3 (which is somewhere in the middle of SfD). Cole’s last email to Jared in Strawberries for Dessert is dated September 30th of Year 3.
Paris A to Z picks up in November of that same year, although the bulk of the story takes place early February of the following year, Year 4. Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding also picks up shortly after the end of Strawberries for Dessert and glosses over the wedding, but the bulk of the story spans the year that follows (Year 4 into Year 5).
Shotgun takes place in the fall of Year 5.
Even though the dog Scooby appears in Putting Out Fires, the short story Coda Scooby-Doo doesn’t really take place in the Coda world. It’s more like a random adventure in some goofy alternate reality. Or maybe it’s just a really strange dream that Jared had after eating cold pizza and pickles. Think of it as fanfic that just happens to be by the actual author. Whatever you do, please don’t take it seriously!