Nell Iris' Christmas, Sale

Advent Calendar Season Is Upon Us

Advent Calendar Season is upon us, and I’m here today to tell you about two advent calendars and one calendar-ish event I’m participating in this year. There will be a lot of giveaways of free books, so make sure you have space on your e-reading device!!

Are you ready?

(Also, make sure to keep reading to the end and I’ll tell you about another sale if you missed the Black Friday one)

JMS Books

You’ll find the first advent calendar over at my publisher, JMS Books. Every day during advent calendar season, they will give away one free book. One of my books will be included of course, and books written by my favorite JMS authors and author friends. Make sure to bookmark the link below and check back every day, starting on December 1st!

JMS Books Advent Calendar

M/M Euro Book Banter (Facebook group)

Are you a member of the M/M Euro Book Banter on Facebook? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a group created to discuss and recommend M/M romance books set in Europe or written by European authors. And since I’m both a European author and mostly set my books in Sweden, I have to participate, right? 🙂

There are a lot of great people who’ll take over the group and run giveaways as you can see in the graphic above, so make sure to bookmark this FB group, too.

M/M Euro Book Banter

12 Tropes of Christmas

This is the “calendar-ish” event I was writing about above, and it’s taking place in the Small But Mighty M/M Romance group on Facebook. The group members voted on the 12 most popular tropes and the author members have signed up their books for the different tropes and will be doing giveaways. The books aren’t necessarily holiday themed, but I thought it was a really fun idea so I signed up.

Want to know which day? 🙂

So make sure to join this group if you’re not already a member, and check out the 12 Tropes of Christmas. I’ll be there as a reader, too, and you can be sure to find me in the comments on friends-to-lovers day, and also on the seventeenth and eighteenth.

Small But Mighty Facebook Group

Also make sure to stop by the Small But Mighty group on December 4 when the author members will post about their holiday stories. There will be giveaways of course! 🤶

Cyber Monday Sale @ JMS Books

If you missed the fabulous Black Friday sale over at JMS Books, you still have a chance to buy discounted books. All ebooks are 40% off today and tomorrow, so clickety-click the links below to go book shopping.

After Marcus :: Eight Months Without You
Naked Gardening Day Box :: Author Page

After Marcus, Sale, Top Ten Anthology

After Marcus, 2022 Top Ten, and a Black Friday Sale

I have three things to tell you about today, so let’s get right to it, shall we?

After Marcus

I have a new book coming out on December 10. It’s called After Marcus and it’s a short, second chances, very emotional story about a widower and his neighbor/best friend/rock. It’s available for pre-order at JMS Books and if you like the sound of it, I recommend you pre-order it today because it’s 60% off in their Black Friday sale. But more about that later, let’s look at the cover and blurb first, shall we? I love the cover so much 😍

Ossian’s heart shattered when his husband Marcus died unexpectantly. He shut down, put his life on hold, and would’ve wasted away had it not been for his neighbor, Joar.

Joar was there when Ossian needed him, offered a friendly shoulder to cry on, convinced him to eat, and helped coax him back to the living.

Three years after the life altering event, Ossian starts seeing Joar in a different light, awakening feelings he thought was dead forever. But is Ossian ready to take the leap and open his heart to someone new? And does Joar feel the same?

M/M Contemporary / 11370 words

Pre-order at JMS Books


2022 Top Ten Gay Romance

The second thing I want to tell you about is that Secrets on a Train, my very flirty, meet cute, (sort of) epistolary story has made it into the 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology that will be released by JMS Books on December 31.

Let’s pause and throw some confetti 🎉

I’m so happy that you loved Valentin and Runar’s story so much, even though there’s actually no on-page kiss in the book. I was sure you were all going to hate it, and me for committing the crime of not having a kiss in a romance book, but I guess the excessive flirting helped 😁

The cover of the anthology is lovely, and the lineup of the other featured authors are even better. And as the icing on the cake, it’s also included in the Black Friday sale.

Pre-order at JMS Books


Black Friday (and Saturday) Sale @ JMS Books

And the third thing I’m going to talk about, which I’ve already hinted at twice, is of course the Black Friday sale going on over at JMS Books. All ebooks are 60% off, which means you can pre-order After Marcus for only 80 cents, and 2022 Top Ten for $2.40.

After Marcus :: 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance :: Author Page

So if you’ve planned on buying som discounted books in the Black Friday sale, may I suggest that you check out JMS Books. And if you’re in the mood for paperbacks for your physical library, the paperbacks are only $8 in the sale.

Read Around the Rainbow Web Ring

Read Around the Rainbow: Writing Advice I Take With a Grain of Salt

Read Around the Rainbow is a blogging project featuring yours truly, A.L. Lester, Ofelia Gränd, Holly Day, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Addison Albright, Fiona Glass, Lilian Francis, and Ellie Thomas. Every month, we pick a topic and then we blog about it. Check the other blog posts by clicking the RAtR widget in the sidebar, or the links at the bottom of this post.


The RAtR topic for November is Writing advice that I take with a grain of salt.

Don’t get me started. LOL.

First when I decided to try to write a story and publish it, I devoured all the writing advice I could find, but even as a complete newbie some of the advice irked me. For example; these days I’m a morning person, but for the longest time of my life, I was a night owl. I always had a hard time getting started in the morning at the day job, I never really got into my groove until after lunch, and I was always my most creative in the evenings, or even at night. So when I first started writing, I was writing late at night, until 2 or 3 am. So “always write in the mornings” didn’t sit well with me because my brain wasn’t working that way. Yes, these days I write in the mornings, but I became a morning person first…because of age. (I’m fifty now, and being awake all night long is for young people…she said and went to bed at 9pm 😆) So while my preferred writing time nowadays is before the rooster wakes up o’clock, it’s because I started waking up at that hour and had nothing else to do.

So the truth is that I take all writing advice with a grain (or a scoop) of salt, because all writers are different people, in different places in their lives. Also, something that works for you for a while, might change later (see my morning person story above), so there’s no universal writing truth that works for everyone.

Not even Thou Shalt Always Outline. (No thank you, if I outline, my brain thinks the story is done and refuses to work with it anymore).

But my biggest writing advice pet peeve is neither always write in the mornings nor if you don’t plot, your story will suck for the rest of time!

No, it’s write first, edit later.

It’s one of the cornerstones of NaNoWriMo, well-meaning people of the internet tells us not to, and John Steinbeck told us not to as you can see in the quote above, that must mean it’s true?

No.

I’m a discovery writer, a pantser, someone who doesn’t plot before I write. I start with a vague idea and let the characters lead the way. That means sometimes things change during the writing process, that a character goes off in a different direction than I first thought it would, that I get an epiphany “oh, I should do this, so that can happen.” Basically, if something I wrote doesn’t correspond to something that happened earlier in the manuscript, I don’t make a note to go back and change it later, I go back and change it right away. I also go through my manuscript to make everything is in line with this new development.

John Steinbeck must be so disappointed in me.

Maybe that approach doesn’t work for someone who writes 500-page novels because it would take forever to go through that kind of story every time something changes, but it works for me. And that’s the whole idea of my blog post. Do what feels right and ignore what doesn’t work for you.

There’s one exception, there’s one piece of writing advice I think is universally important and true: if you want to write, you need to read. And I’m not budging on that one 😁


Don’t forget to check out my fellow RatR authors to see what their writing advice pet peeves are. I can’t wait to find out!

K.L. Noone :: Amy Spector :: Ellie Thomas :: A.L. Lester :: Holly Day :: Ofelia Gränd :: Addison Albright

Guestpost

New Release Spotlight: Coming of Age by Ellie Thomas

Thank you so much, lovely Nell, for having me as your guest again. I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical Romance, and I’m here today to chat about Coming of Age, my November release for JMS Books.

In my first book in this series, Twelve Letters, my ensemble cast was relatively footloose and fancy-free. The established relationship at the start of the story was the platonic friendship between Jo Everett and Captain Ben Harding, who are as close as brothers. Their long-term rapport is the attraction of opposites, as Jo is infinitely easygoing. Even before his life-changing injury during the Napoleonic Wars, Ben was more of an outspoken and fiery character. During Twelve Letters, it takes all of Jo’s tact and careful handling to open Ben’s mind to the possibility of falling in love with Doctor Edward Stephens rather than shooting him.

During Twelve Letters and its sequel Queer Relations, our ensemble has consolidated and romantic relationships are forged, so it’s not surprising the storylines of Coming of Age encompass family and found family.

This small group of gay men is very much a found family, protective of each other at a period when gay relationships were illegal and punished severely by law. Although they are a diverse group, they are supportive of each other and can relax and be themselves when they meet once a week in a private upper room at The Golden Lion pub in St. James’ where no one amongst them raises an eyebrow at a show of public affection.

However, families can be less understanding. Edward’s father is convinced that Ben is holding back his son’s promising career in medicine as an over-demanding exclusive patient, which puts both Edward and Ben under strain.

Surprisingly, it’s Percy (Jo’s eminently selfish ex-lover from book 1) who suffers the most family woes. Due to a spectacular family scandal, Percy underwent social disgrace in Queer Relations. In doing so, he recognised the value of his relationship with Nathan as he started to mature and consider other people for a change, especially his younger sisters.

In Coming of Age, Percy’s heartstrings are pulled as he realises his protective and caring capacity goes far beyond what he ever expected and makes a life-changing decision regarding his three sisters. Of course, being Percy there is a great deal of heel-dragging, drama and snapping, mainly at the invariably understanding Nathan. So, in this third tale, the emotional storylines develop and relationships of all kinds intensify.

Blurb:

After the London Season of 1815, having guided his younger sister Eustacia through her come out despite the social impact of a disastrous family scandal, Percy Havilland is at a loose end. Accustomed to being spoiled and generally admired, although still wealthy, he is shunned by most of the ton. Also, he discovers that he misses looking after his sister now she’s returned to the family estate in Sussex. Taking his frustrations out on Nathaniel Brooks, his long-suffering lover, only makes Percy more uncertain about his future.

Also, Percy’s good friend Jo Everett is having his own problems, thwarted in his dearest wish to share a home with the love of his life, Daniel Walters, a hardworking Bond Street tailor. And the final couple in the ensemble, Captain Ben Harding and Dr Edward Stephens realises the course of true love doesn’t always run smoothly.

Can this society of gentlemen solve their romantic dilemmas to their satisfaction? And might Percy, with a birthday looming, surprise himself by opening up to love?

Book links:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Universal Book Link

Extract:

In between dances with his hostess’ daughters, Jo could not help but witness a complementary series of moves around the edge of the ballroom as the night progressed. 

He had arranged to arrive with Percy, well aware that despite Percy’s formal invitation and the good graces of a favoured guest in Mrs. Dalrymple, walking into a crowded salon alone could be an isolating experience where those who wished to be disparaging would take full advantage. Jo’s presence was a welcome buffer, and it was no hardship for him to ensure a cordial start to the evening.

Naturally, the two men separated as the music commenced, with both of them engaged on the dance floor. Mrs. Southerby was not only financially generous towards the soldiers’ charity that Jo oversaw, but also showed great interest in helping in several practical ways, so Jo felt duty bound to demonstrate his gratitude by squiring her numerous female relatives for the remainder of the soirée.

Without such pressing obligations, Percy could afford to pause from dancing and bow out for a set or two. Halfway through the evening, from his position in the centre of the ballroom, Jo noticed Nathan’s entrance during one such refreshment break. Uh-oh, he thought as Nathan perceived Percy immediately, his rough-hewn features hardening into a scowl.

Percy, with his back to the door where Nathan had entered, was engaged in a lengthy conversation with the amiable Mrs. Dalrymple, his great supporter, who enjoyed nothing so much as an extensive and harmless flirtation with a gorgeous young man in a public setting. Jo was too occupied with guiding a somewhat wayward and chatty dance partner through her steps to gather the precise moment when Percy became aware that his disgruntled lover was present.

To an unpractised eye, it would seem as though Percy was entirely oblivious of Nathan for a full quarter-hour, but Jo had been at the receiving end of Percy’s games sufficiently to recognise some small but telling signs. In the old days, before Percy became involved with Nathan, Jo surmised as he twirled yet another young lady, Percy would have openly played the coquet with several of his most avid admirers to arouse jealousy or ardour in the breast of his current paramour.

Although Percy’s coterie had diminished somewhat with his family’s fall from grace, he would still be able to gather a circle of potential suitors had he so wished, but genuine attachment had modified his strategies. So Percy alternated between squiring ladies onto the dance floor before returning to exchange a few more words with his hostess or Mrs. Dalrymple. Nathan, who was not disposed to dance, and was much vaunted for his financial and business prowess, was talking in a quiet corner with other serious-minded gentlemen. 

Jo could not help but notice how, apparently artlessly, Percy orbited closer, casually selecting dance partners in ever-decreasing circles to Nathan’s proximity. Once they were within touching distance, instead of confrontation or apology, there was a teasing glance, just a flash of those glorious blue eyes directed at Nathan. The next occasion warranted a delicate half-smile revealing a hint of a dimple. 

Depending on the prowess of his current dance partner, Jo watched this progress with fascination as Nathan’s forbidding expression subtly softened at each circuit until Percy’s careful choreography drew them together. By the time Jo consumed a well-deserved glass of punch and discreetly mopped his brow with his handkerchief, the previously warring duo was standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Percy tilted his golden head winningly as he uttered a bon mot that made Nathan smile in genuine amusement, all annoyance forgotten.

Jo was unsure whether to be impressed or appalled at Percy’s scheming ways and his ability to manipulate the most clear-thinking and hard-headed fellow from a state of severe exasperation to pliable putty. 

He wasn’t remotely surprised when shortly afterwards, Percy prettily made his excuses to his hostess, with Nathan taking his leave after a decent interval of a full five minutes. So neither of them will suffer a lonely night, Jo thought with a grin. All’s well that ends well. That is, until the next spat.

Bio:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/
Twitter: @e_thomas_author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Guestpost

New Release Spotlight: Second Wind by A.L. Lester

Second Wind: Meet Gethin Jones!

Hello everyone! Thanks so much to Nell for letting me drop by today to tell you all about Second Wind, my new release.

Second Wind is a new story in my Theatr Fach universe. Theatr Fach (or ‘little theatre’) is the community theatre in the small Welsh seaside town of Llanbarac. The stories focus around the staff and their friends and family. The first story, Out of Focus, came out in the summer and Second Wind is the second. You can read them in any order though.

I’ve dropped in today to tell you a bit about one of the MC’s, Gethin.

Gethin is thirty four. He’s joined the orchestra because his sister told him he needed a hobby rather than sitting at home brooding about his divorce. Ten years of marriage and Marion ran off with his best friend last summer, leaving him a note telling him he was boring. What’s that all about? He’s been busy working to keep them both clothed and fed while she stayed at home and carried on with his best friend behind his back, the two of them playing him for a fool.

He’d have liked kids, but Marion didn’t and that was that. He’s not looking for another relationship so soon. And it all seems to be online these days anyway. The idea of putting his details on Tinder and letting the whole town know he wants a relationship is excruciating.

Gethin is a bit like me to be honest. He’s happy being an introvert and is starting to get a bit pissed off with well-meaning family—mainly his sister—try to jolly him along and get him out doing things. He’s happy with who he is and he’s vaguely hurt that his sister doesn’t seem to think he’s enough.

When he meets Martin and realises how much he likes him, he’s taken by surprise. He knows he’s bi, he’s been out with men before, he’s not in the closet or anything. It’s just that he didn’t expect it.

The way Gethin’s confidence in himself grows during the story is one of my favourite things about it; and I hope you like him as much as I do.

What do a shy French-horn-playing accountant and a single-dad trans trumpet player have in common other than both being members of the community orchestra at Theatr Fach in the little town of Llanbaruc?

Gethin’s been more or less hiding from life since his marriage broke up a couple of years ago. He’s joined the orchestra because his sister told him he needed a hobby rather than sitting at home brooding about his divorce.

Martin is careful who he dates because of his gender and his teenage daughter. He came to Llanbaruc as a stage manager for the Theatr Fach twelve years ago. He’s got a good set of friends here. Shannon’s a good kid. They’re a team.

Martin and Gethin hit it off. Will their mutual baggage prove too much to sustain a relationship?

A gentle m/transm romance in the Theatr Fach universe.

Buy Links

Amazon US : Amazon UK : JMS Books : Everywhere Else

Excerpt

“Martin!” Julie, the lead violin, waved him over. “This is Gethin,” she said, her hand on the arm of a tall, thin man nervously clutching a French horn and peering out from behind a thick pair of glasses. He resembled a nervous heron. “He’s new,” she added unnecessarily. “Can you take him under your wing a bit?”

Martin shot her a look. She was a very competent, friendly woman with no tact at all.

“Of course,” he said. “Pleased to meet you, Gethin,” he held out a hand and Gethin took it. “I’m Martin. Trumpet.”

“Gethin Jones,” the thin man said, shaking his hand a little too hard. His palm was warm and firm and he was clearly apprehensive. “Erm. French horn.” He waved his instrument vaguely at Martin. “As you can see.”

Martin smiled. “Come on,” he said. “Brass is over here. Let me introduce you around.” They started picking their way through the chairs. The brass section was made up of Martin and Alan on trumpet, Tim and Lucy on trombone, and Portia, a ten year old who played a tuba almost as large as she was. They were setting up music and gossiping about their week when Martin and Gethin reached them.

“Hullo hullo,” Martin said. This is Gethin Jones.” He waved vaguely at Gethin beside him. “Gethin, this is Tim, Lucy, Alan and Portia.” Everyone made noises of greeting. The room was beginning to echo with the sound of instruments being tuned and scales being played. It was a familiar cacophony.

“Are you Marion’s Gethin?” Lucy asked suddenly, leaning toward them to be heard over the cat-like screech of a young violinist and a burp from Portia’s tuba.

Beside him, Gethin tensed. “Not any more,” Gethin said brusquely, nodding. “But yes. I used to be.”

Lucy nodded, blushing. “Sorry,” she said. “My sister is Penny Wright. They went to school together. Penny told me what happened.”

Gethin nodded again. “Pleased to meet you,” he said, again. He didn’t add anything else. He seemed almost paralytically shy. But then, Martin would be reticent if he knew everyone was talking about his private business.

“I’ll go and get you some music,” Martin said, forestalling any more awkwardness. “Here, stick your horn down on the seat and grab yourself a music stand from the stack in there”. He gestured at the open door of the cupboard behind them.

The spare sheet music was on the table at the front. He made his way across the room, wending around chairs and people offering greetings until he could pick up a sheaf.

Julie met him there. “Is he all right?” she hissed at Martin, glancing past him over his shoulder at Gethin, an anxious expression on her face.

“Yes? Why shouldn’t he be?” Martin asked, frowning at her, puzzled.

“He’s Posey Morgan’s brother,” Julie hissed some more. “You know. Posey the health visitor?”

Martin shook his head. “Not my area,” he said apologetically. “Never met her.” He couldn’t remember who Shannon’s health visitor had been. An older woman though, no-one who could have been the sister of someone Gethin’s age.

Julie scowled at him, apparently blaming him for his lack of knowledge. “Well, she said he needed to get out of the house,” she continued, still hissing. “His wife left him two years ago and he’s become a recluse, she told me. I suggested he come along here to help take him out of himself.”

Martin bit his lip. As a gentle first step back in to a social life, he had his doubts about the suitability of the orchestra. One of its other activities was going to the pub after practice on a Friday and drinking steadily ‘til closing time. And there was a country-dancing-for-exercise sub-set of members he tried to avoid … they’d invited him along to one of the sessions and he’d been crippled for days afterwards.

“So?” he said. “He seems perfectly normal.”

“The wife took off with his best friend,” Julie told him, shooting another guilty look over his shoulder at the brass section, who were settling the newcomer in their midst like a chicken in a nest of ferrets. Martin stopped himself turning properly to look at them, watching out of the corner of his vision.

“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Martin promised. “Does he actually play?”

“He brought it in to the shop to have it serviced,” she said. “He seemed to know what he was doing. And Posey said he played at school. But I don’t think he’s done much of anything for a while.” She pulled a face. “He’s an accountant.”

Buy Links: Amazon US : Amazon UK : JMS Books : Everywhere Else

About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, some poultry. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

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