Nell Iris


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Find His Way Home – Now Available

My new book Find His Way Home is out today and I’m so excited. I loved writing Elliot and Mick’s story, and I hope you will enjoy reading about them.

Signal Boost Promotion has arranged a Review Tour and Release Blitz for me and the first stops are today. Make sure to stop by (today’s planned stops are listed below) and enter the giveaway, where you can win a copy of my first book Unconditionally

I look forward to visit all the fabulous blogs and sites. I might have to pinch myself in the arm to make sure I’m not dreaming—I’m still new to this book release business and seeing my book featured on book sites feels more like a wonderful dream than reality.

Purchase links are listed below. (And both Find His Way Home and Unconditionally are also available on Kindle Unlimited).

Now I’m going to celebrate this fabulous event with a glass of champagne. Happy weekend, everyone! ❤

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Length: 19,884 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Blurb

Shakespeare-loving teacher Elliot Dunn has been unhappy living in the big city for a long time. He yearns for fresh air, visible stars, and stillness, but his relationship with divorce lawyer Mick Hudson keeps him from moving away.

When a dramatic event occurs in Elliot’s class, he’s shaken to his core and suddenly can’t stay anymore. He leaves his partner of two years behind and returns to the tiny town in the mountains where he grew up.

Living in a rented cabin in the woods, with only an owl for company, Elliot slowly regains his peace of mind. But being away from Mick is agonizing, and when a ghost from Elliot’s past pays him a visit, everything comes to a head.

Elliot is faced with a hard decision. Should he stay on the stress-free mountainside alone, or return to the hustle of the city and try to make a life with Mick?

 
Excerpt

He spent the rest of the afternoon pacing his living room with Lady Gaga blasting from the speakers. He heard his phone ring at some point, but ignored it and kept pacing, rubbing his palms on his head, tousling his short hair. The phone rang several more times, but Elliot walked and walked, until the front door flung open and a wild-eyed Mick stood there, glaring at him.

Mick’s gaze roved over him, making sure he was okay, and then he marched over to the stereo and cut off Gaga in the middle of a rah-rah. “What the hell, Elliot?”

The curse stopped Elliot’s pacing, and he stared at his lover with wide eyes. His well-spoken, hot-shot lawyer partner never used profanities. During their time together, Elliot had heard him swear maybe once or twice, and him doing it now knocked the wind out of Elliot’s fury. He groaned, grabbed his lover’s hand, and hauled him over to the couch where he sank down, pulling Mick with him.

“I’m sorry. But I’m angry.”

“I can tell. What happened?”

“I let them buy me, that’s what happened.” Elliot spat out the words.

“What?” The question was so loud Elliot flinched. Mick sighed, stood and shook off his coat, unbuttoned his suit jacket, and kicked off his shoes. Then he sat back down, turned to Elliot, and wrinkled his nose when he saw the state of his hair. “It looks like you’ve tried to pull it out,” he muttered, and ran his fingers through Elliot’s locks, trying in vain to tame it. “Tell me what happened.”

When Elliot had recounted the afternoon’s events, Mick grabbed his hands and drew him closer, and he followed willingly. He ended up straddling Mick’s lap, arms around his neck, and his forehead leaning on his lover’s shoulder.

“I’m so sorry,” Mick mumbled and rubbed his stubble against Elliot’s temple.

“I shouldn’t have taken the money,” Elliot grunted. “I’m so stupid.”

“You’re not stupid. You had no other choice.”

“There’s always another choice.”

“What else could you have done?”

“I could have told them to go fuck themselves,” he gritted out. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down. “Or I could quit.”

It was several minutes before Mick asked, “And do what?”

Elliot held his breath for a moment before whispering, “I could go back home.” Mick stiffened. “I hate it here.”

“I know.” The thickness of Mick’s voice hit Elliot like a freight train, but he didn’t take back his words. He couldn’t.

“I have to go home. At least for a while. I need silence.” He caught his lower lip between his teeth to stop it from quivering. “This was the last drop, you know?”

Mick nodded and tightened his arms around Elliot until they felt like bands of steel surrounding him. “What about us?”

“I don’t know.” He hesitated. “You could come,” he whispered, knowing what the answer would be.

He heard Mick inhale a shuddering breath, and a drop of wetness landed on Elliot’s cheek. “I wish I could.” Mick voice trembled.

“I can’t stay. Even for you, honey.” Elliot was crying now too, big hot tears wetting Mick’s expensive wool suit jacket.

“I know.”

When their tears finally dried, they spent the rest of the night making desperate love, saying nothing, letting their bodies do all the talking.

Two days later Elliot was back home, enjoying the peace and quiet in a freezing cabin in the mountains. Trying to stifle the disillusionment he felt with the world and himself, while hoping he would have time to get over it before it was time to go back to work.

 
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Today’s stops on the Review Tour:

Stops on the Release Blitz:


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Music of my youth

These past couple days, I’ve completely immersed myself in music. It’s been research…if one can call music one’s been listening to a million times research. But it’s for one of my current WIPs (I’ve got two going right now), the one I mentioned in my Monday update when I was trying to write lyrics.

Music will have a very prominent part in that story, and I’ve spent hours on Youtube watching videos with the music that’s important to the MCs. Music that’s also been incredibly important in my life.

And that got me thinking.

Do you remember when you were a teenager and discovered something you loved? How that thing consumed you completely, and you loved it with your entire being? A book, a movie, a boy (or girl – not discriminating)?

Or in my case: music. Music has always been an essential part of my life. And while it’s still as important to me as ever, I miss the way I listened to music when I was younger. How I fell in love with new songs or bands or artists. How I scribbled their names in my text books in school (hooligan!) and wallpapered my room with posters of my favorite bands.

How I would lie on the floor and listen to my favorite album and cry because it moved me so much. Touched me to my very core.

When did I lose that? When did I become this practical grown up, who still loves music desperately, but not like before? Sure, I still buy the records. I listen to Spotify and check out videos on Youtube. But when was the last time I laid on the floor in complete darkness and listened to my favorite record so loudly my mother would have exploded with anger if she’d been home?

It’s been decades.

Why do we become so hard to impress when we grow up? When do we lose that enthusiasm and overwhelming love for something we feel in the teenage years? Why do we lose that passion?

Let me paint you a picture: one of my favorite albums when I was a teenager was Mind Bomb by a British band called The The. (I was an alternative girl. I didn’t listen to mainstream music (there were exceptions, of course, but mostly not)). I bought it on vinyl (I’m that old!) in the local record store in the tiny town where I lived, and I listened to it again and again.

Printed on the inner sleeve of the record was the following “instruction” from the band: To obtain maximum pleasure & effect from this album, please play VERY LOUD!, VERY LATE, VERY ALONE…& with the lights turned VERY LOW!

I followed those instructions to a T. Lying on the floor with only the display on my stereo illuminating my room, I listened to the record loudly in my headphones (to avoid disturbing my parents and my brother). I immersed myself in the songs, learned the lyrics by heart, and sang along (or mouthed along, if I had to be quiet). And I felt like he was singing about me.

You were the girl I wanted to cry with
You were the girl I wanted to die with

I wanted so desperately to be that girl for someone.

Or this song, originally by The Smiths, but performed live by the singer (Morrissey) in this version. The boy I was desperately in love with when I was fifteen was also a big fan of this band. And I would lie on the floor, listen to this song, think about him, and cry because he didn’t love me back.

Last night I dreamt
That somebody loved me
No hope – but no harm
Just another false alarm

I like that I’m older and wiser now than when I was fifteen, but why did I have to become so cynical and hard to impress?

I want that innocent enthusiasm back. I want to be able to lie down on the floor and listen to my favorite album without feeling silly (or fearing I won’t get up again because I’m too old). I miss how my heart started to race when I heard the first notes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

***

The MCs in WIP#2 (working title Cinnamon) were best friends when they grew up, but were separated when they were fifteen, because the narrator moved away. My story starts when they meet again, sixteen years later. They have inherited that love of music from me, and Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (the song in the second video in this post) is a part of the story.

Here’s an excerpt. Bear in mind that it’s fresh of the presses and completely unedited. And the “it” that they used to lie on the floor and listen to, was Strangeways, Here We Comethe record that song was featured on.

We’d used to lie on the floor and listen to it. Learning the lyrics by heart and singing along, happy we hadn’t been as miserable as the singer seemed to be.

“I can play it now, you know.”

I jerked at the sound of his voice, not having heard him come back upstairs.

“What?” I asked as I looked up at him where he towered over me. All the tension from before was gone, and the corners of his mouth were turned up in a fond smile.

“Your favorite song,” he said and tipped his head down at the record. “If it still is your favorite, that is.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Asher fetched an acoustic guitar from somewhere I couldn’t see—one even more beat up than the one he’d played downstairs—and sat cross-legged in front of me. He plucked the strings, and twisted the tuning pegs a little at the time until all six strings were in tune.

He went from plucking to strumming the first chords, and I smiled as I recognized them. But then he started singing, and every hair on my body stood straight up, and my mouth fell open.

His raspy voice was perfect for the sad lyrics. It was impossibly intimate to sit this close to him and listen to him as he poured his soul into the song. And when he came to my absolute favorite part and sang about how he’d felt real arms around him last night, hot tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, leaving burning trails in their wake.


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Good morning, said the fire alarm

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See that little thing there on the wall, next to the air con unit?

I’m angry with it. Very, very angry.

A while back we replaced our regular smoke detectors with a fancy new smoke alarm: Nest. Not only does it detect smoke, but it also detects carbon monoxide. It’s connected to a smart phone app, meaning we can check it even when we’re not home. We even get a monthly status overview via email.

And it gives me a heads up before it goes off. A nice female voice says Heads-up, there’s smoke in the hallway. I know this, because one day when I was cooking, I’d forgotten to turn on the kitchen fan and smoke seeped out into the apartment, and she was nice enough to warn me about it, instead of just blaring off the siren.

It’s all very high tech and we feel much safer than before.

It also performs self-checks to see that the system is up to date. At middle-of-the-night-o’clock in the morning, apparently!

Hence, the anger.

I was up really late because I was in a writing flow, and since I’ve been in a slump lately, I wanted to take advantage of it. After I decided enough was enough, it took me an hour or so to unwind, before I finally fell asleep.

Only to be woken up TWO HOURS LATER by the beeping fire alarm, who also blinked its lights as if it didn’t have a care in the world.

I had no idea what was going on, it didn’t sound like a regular THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE-warning, so I woke up my husband (who didn’t wake up because he’s deaf on one ear and if he sleeps on his hearing ear, he can pretty much sleep through anything. But don’t worry—he won’t sleep through the real thing!) and told him about the beeping.

After a few minutes’ detective work, he realized it was just the check up. Everything is fine, he said and went back to sleep like nothing had happened.

I—on the other hand—could not sleep. Waking up from the fire alarm got my heart pumping and adrenaline rushing through my body. I tossed and turned and tossed a little more, but it was no use. After a couple hours, I gave up. Instead, I got up to help a writer friend with a thing, thinking a little work would tire me out, and maybe I’d be able to go back to sleep for an hour or two at least.

After I was done, I crawled back into bed. And that was when the husband decided he wanted to cuddle and scooted really close. I mean close like I only had the tiniest strip of bed left for me to sleep on. Not that I’m complaining: I love cuddling, but all I wanted to do right then was go back to sleep, so an inch or two of space wouldn’t have hurt.

Just as I felt myself starting to drift away…my husband’s alarm went off!! It was time for him to wake up for work. And since he was still sleeping on his hearing ear—guess who had to listen to the alarm and poke him when he didn’t wake up?

You guessed it. Me!

And it wasn’t like he jumped out of bed and started his day. Oh no, he’s a snoozer (so am I, btw) so exactly nine minutes later we repeated the process.

That was when I gave up.

So, here I am. Mrs Grumpy Writer, who got exactly two hours of sleep last night. And while I’m very grateful that I clearly wake up when the fire alarm goes off, I’m going to put in a request with the husband that he reprogram the time for the self checks.

Say, like for two in the afternoon, instead of seven in the freaking morning?

And now I’m gonna take a nap on the couch. Do not disturb.

dnd


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Monday update

Hi everyone. I know I’ve been a little silent lately, but I’ve been feeling really off. I’ve hardly written anything for two weeks, I’ve felt like all the words have run out.

I think I need to watch less news. It upsets me and screws with my creativity. But on the other hand, it’s difficult stop watching, considering the current climate. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?

However: I feel a little better today. It might have something to do with the fact that I wrote 2K words yesterday.

I also wrote some lyrics. One of my MCs (in WIP#2 I’m currently working on) is a songwriter and he’s written a very special song for someone very special.

Do you know how freaking difficult it is to write lyrics? Luckily the MC isn’t a big star or anything, so the lyrics don’t need to be Billboard material. But it took me four hours or something for 171 words. Adding to that was equally many hours the other day when I came up with the structure and the concept.

So eight hours in total for 171 words. Not even 21,5 words/hour. Songwriting is hard. And I’ll probably rewrite it, but it’s a start.

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Writing lyrics requires pen and paper.

Other than that I’m done with the editing for the Christmas story. I’ve had it out for three rounds of beta-reading, had an intense discussion about loose ends, and edited, edited, edited. But I’m happy with the result now, and all I have left to do is write a blurb and a summary and then it’s ready for submission.

So maybe not so lazy after all?

Have a great week.

Oh, I almost forgot. Five more days until Find His Way Home!! I’m excited!

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Preorder links for Find His Way Home:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N


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One week until Find His Way Home

teaser preorder

Just one week until Find His Way Home is released and I’m excited. Excited and nervous, because I’ve sent out ARC’s for reviews, and what if no one likes my new book? It’s very scary.

And just like last time, I’ve asked Signal Boost Promotions to help me promote it, and signed up for a Release Blitz and a Review tour. So if you’re a blogger and want to feature me on the blog, click here to sign up. And know you’ll get my undying, eternal love if you do! 🙂

I’ve also joined Facebook. Well, you already know I had a page before, but I signed up for a profile too, so I won’t have to use my legal name in groups and to interact with people. So if you want to be my friend, click here 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!

Buy Links for Find His Way Home:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N


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Release Blitz: Better Than Suicide by Amy Tasukada

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 86,000 words
The Yakuza Path Series
Blood Stained Tea (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb
A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

Buy Better Than Suicide to start the race against the clock today!

This book can be read as a standalone. 



Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

https://www.amytasukada.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
https://twitter.com/@amytasukada

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