About Nell

Nell Around the Internet

I’ve been popping up around the internet again, lately, and I thought I’d share it with you if you’ve somehow missed it. I wrote a bunch of guest posts for Flowers Under My Pillow, and my friends so kindly hosted me on their blogs.

I visited Holly Day where I wrote about soul mates, because Frode and Viljar in Flowers Under My Pillow are soul mates. When I visited Ofelia Gränd, I wrote about how I sucked at picking seven kinds of flowers in my youth, at Addison Albright’s place I shared a dandelion wine recipe, and finally I wrote about old Swedish folklore and the magic surrounding Midsummer when I visited with A.L. Lester.

Aside from these places, I’ve visited numerous other blogs with the release blitz and I’m always so grateful to everyone who shares my book. Bloggers and readers and fellow authors, posting and sharing on social media, reviewing and talking about my books is invaluable and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart ❤️

Nell Iris has done it again with a gentle, lyrical love story.

Lilian Francis

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Change of Plans by Addison Albright

Today, I welcome my dear friend Addison Albright and her new release Change of Plans to the blog. Wohoooo, finally the third book about my favorite princes Marcelo and Efren. I’ve waited and waited and now the day is finally here!! 🎉


Thank you so much, Nell, for having me here on your wonderful blog today! Hello, Nell’s fabulous readers! I’ve got a new release out—my first in over a year—and I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit about my story.

First of all, I should point out that this story completes a trilogy. I carefully inserted enough background information so that a random reader picking it up would not be completely lost, so the story can stand alone, but it is definitely not written as a standalone.

Since my new novella, Change of Plans, contains a few of my favorite tropes, I’ve written a trio of guest posts for fellow JMS Books writer-friend’s blogs, each highlighting one of those tropes. Today let’s discuss Hurt/Comfort.

First of all, what is Hurt/Comfort? It possibly means slightly different things to different readers and writers, but to me it involves one of the protagonists experiencing pain/distress and the other protagonist caring for them. Maybe it’s an injury that happens on page, or maybe it’s an old injury. Perhaps it’s an illness. It could be an emotional, rather than a physical, trauma. This pain/distress can be used to develop the protagonists’ relationship and/or showcase their characters/personalities to varying degrees as needed for the story.

Hurt/Comfort has always been one of my favorites, but I thought of it as a guilty pleasure because it felt wrong to enjoy someone’s pain (even if it is a fictional someone). But I’ve come to realize I appreciate the trope because of what goes with that pain—comfort from a loved one (or future loved one), and/or the character development—not the pain itself.

The Plans Trilogy is laced with bits of Hurt/Comfort throughout:

In The Contingency Plan, naïve young Prince Marcelo is overwhelmed with emotional distress when he’s unexpectedly chosen to replace his recently deceased twin sister in a marriage to Crown Prince Efren of Zioneven, his realm’s former enemy. In fact, he faints dead away when he hears the declaration. Although it was his nearby younger sister who caught him before he hit the floor, Marcelo is surprised (and moved) to later learn that it was Prince Efren who carried him upstairs to his bedchamber.

In The Best-Laid Plans, Prince Marcelo is again on the “hurt” side of the Hurt/Comfort trope when he is abducted on his and Efren’s journey to Zioneven. Efren and his security team are initially led astray on the hunt to save Marcelo, who must discover hidden depths of strength and ingenuity to save himself. Efren knows just how to pamper Marcelo as he recovers from his injuries/trauma.

In the opening scene of Change of Plans, the princes wake up one morning after both being dosed with a mind-wiping toxin. It is, of course, distressing to each of them when they discover they’ve lost a couple moon cycles of memory (taking them back to before the beginning of The Contingency Plan), but especially to Marcelo, who awakes in a strange land, naked, in bed with a stranger eager to “make the most of this glorious morning,” and is “rebooted” to the naïve man he’d been before his new life in Zioneven. Efren steps up to ease Marcelo’s re-assimilation to his new life. There might (😉) also be an injury scene closer to the end of the book presenting more Hurt/Comfort opportunity, but I wouldn’t want to get too spoilery about that 😁.

What are some of your favorite Hurt/Comfort stories? Why do you enjoy them?

Look for my upcoming discussion on the Arranged Marriage trope on A.L. Lester’s blog (https://allester.co.uk/blog-posts/) on August 9, and look for my upcoming discussion on the Memory Loss trope on Ofelia Grand’s blog (https://ofeliagrand.com/blog/) on August 13.

Excerpt

(From Chapter 8)

Marcelo, present day

Why, oh why, with all that was going on, was Marcelo finding it so difficult to focus on anything other than Efren’s fingers as he manipulated his utensils? And Efren’s mouth as he opened it to take bites then slowly chew?

Deliberately slowly chew his food, if Marcelo wasn’t mistaken.

Had Marcelo been obvious in his observations? Were Efren’s actions in response to Marcelo’s interest? Or had Efren purposely drawn Marcelo’s attention in the first place?

Or was Marcelo reading too much into Efren’s simple movements?

Marcelo swallowed a bite of his own and told himself the reason he was so distracted was because the royal family had ceased to talk about the drama going on in the castle since it was their policy not to discuss politics at the table, and there was nothing more to do other than baselessly speculate until they gained more intelligence from the people out making inquiries anyway. Attending to the everyday chitchat between Rolland, Merewina, and Tristan as they attempted to maintain a sense of normalcy didn’t take too much concentration.

Sure, that was all it was. Marcelo’s newfound obsession with another man’s hands and eating process had nothing at all to do with memory flashes of Efren’s unshaven skin rasping tantalizingly around Marcelo’s mouth when they’d kissed in the not-dream. Marcelo stilled his hand that had started toward his mouth to rub a phantom tingle and suppressed a self-depreciating snort.

“You are each enamored with the other.” Once again, Erich’s words echoed through Marcelo’s mind, and despite everyone’s assurances that Marcelo had previously conducted himself in some kind of brave, heroic manner, regret churned in his belly that he hadn’t had the courage to open his eyes during that kiss.

Or better, to have tossed caution to the wind and embraced the moment…and Efren.

But to be fair to himself, not being able to ascertain how he’d come to be in a stranger’s arms in an unknown place was what had been so terrifying, rather than the situation itself. Surely thinking one had somehow lost their mind would be spine-chilling to most.

When Merewina’s ill-disguised snicker broke his reverie, Marcelo’s fork slipped from his fingers and landed with a clink that seemed unnaturally loud.

“Really, Efren,” she said, “it’s all I can do not to break all semblance of decorum to toss a sticky bun at you.”

“Do I want to know why?” The deepening lines around Efren’s eyes answered his own question. If Marcelo was reading his husband correctly, he already knew why, yet had no objection to hearing his sister’s explanation.

Marcelo turned his gaze to Merewina.

Her eyes narrowed at her brother. “You are utterly merciless.”

Efren’s eyes widened theatrically. “Me?”

“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. You are shameless, teasing poor Marcelo like that.”

Marcelo’s face warmed. Yet a thrill coursed through his veins. He’d been right about Efren’s actions, and just as Erich had said, this handsome and powerful man was also drawn to him.

Efren’s lips quirked into a smile that curled Marcelo’s toes. “Dear sister, I assure you”—he winked at Marcelo—“I’m detecting no displeasure from my lovely young husband.”

Marcelo’s cheeks had to be flaming red, they felt so hot, but he held Efren’s gaze, and his own lips twitched into a sheepish grin.

Change of Plans

Fantasy Romance: novella / 32,026 words / 108 pages

Once upon a time, two handsome young princes fell in love, faced down adversity, and lived happily-ever-after … until one romantic evening, they unwittingly ate a confection laced with a mind-wiping toxin.

Crown Prince Efren of Zioneven blindsided Prince Marcelo of Sheburat when he used The Contingency Plan embedded in a peace treaty to marry the naïve young prince. Now, Marcelo is shocked again when he awakens in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar land, in the arms of a stranger who’s taking such liberties!

Will that ignominious new beginning to their relationship doom their chances at rekindling their love? Or will Efren’s giddiness and the less formal surroundings of Zioneven propel them toward a more teasingly fun rapport?

Marcelo and Efren have forgotten more than their love. On their journey home to Zioneven, their Best-Laid Plans went awry when Marcelo was abducted. Now, neither remembers the unexpected strength of character and ingenuity Marcelo manifested to survive his harrowing ordeal, or Efren’s frantic search for his new husband.

Were Marcelo and Efren specifically targeted for the Forget-Me-Not poisoning, or were they the victims of a random assault? Is this new attack related to Marcelo’s abduction and his sister’s death? Will Marcelo revert to his old mild-mannered, unassuming self, or will he step up to prove he’s the same brave man his new family claims he is amid the fresh danger swirling around them?

Buy Links

Book 3: Change of PlansPublisher :: Universal Link

Book 2: The Best-Laid PlansPublisher :: Universal Link

Book 1: The Contingency PlanPublisher :: Universal Link

About Addison

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a dash of drama/angst, and a sprinkle of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Website :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Twitter (@AddisonAlbright) :: BookBub :: Amazon

Book Recommendations, Book Talk

The Audiobook Experiment: addendum 2

I’m talking about audiobooks again! (Did anyone actually believe the last post about it was really the last post? Nah, didn’t think so 😁)

But today, I want to talk about Audible credits.

More specifically, how to decide what to spend the credits on. It’s harder than you’d first think…at least in my opinion. I’ve tried some different tactics:

  • Used credits to buy an old favorite book that I’ve eye-ball read several times. This has both worked and not worked. In one case, I didn’t like the narrator very much so I ended up deducting a star from the book because of it. In another case, the narration was good, and no stars needed to be deducted from my Goodreads rating.
  • Used credits to buy new-to-me books that I’ve neither eyeball-read or listened to before. This to with mixed results. Took my chances on a book that I ended up really liking, and another that I DNF:ed.
  • Used credits to buy books I’ve already listened to and know I loved. This works every time ofc, but at the same time it feels a little…boring. I want new fantabulous audiobook experiences, not rehashing the same ones over and over again.

So now I’m stuck in some kind of limbo and I don’t use my credits because I don’t know how to spend them. If you’re an audiobook listener with an audible membership, tell me how you go about spending your credits.

I much prefer a subscription model like Nextory or Storytel where I can listen to an unlimited amount of audiobooks each month. I take chances on books I otherwise wouldn’t have, because I can DNF it without having to resent that I threw away an expensive credit should I not like it. But a lot of books I’m interested in are only available through Audible which is why I’ve kept my membership so far. But what good does it do if I don’t spend my credits anyway?

So help a girl out, please. Tell me, how do you spend your Audible credits?

Four books I’ve listened to lately.

And before I go, here’s an audiobook update on a few books I’ve listened to lately.

One Giant Leap was a re-read (I’ve written about it here) and the narration by Greg Tremblay did the book justice. I listened to Soft Place to Fall (a new-to-me book) when I was in a B.A. Tortuga Mode, and John Solo did a fantastic job narrating it. Speaking of John Solo: he elevated Ranger (that I’d read before) from a good book to a fucking fantastic book, and I listened to it omw to work and walked into the office sobbing and had to hide in the bathroom until I’d calmed down. I’d read The Weight of it All before; Joel Leslie is a bit of a hit-or-miss for me and this one was good. Nothing spectacular, but didn’t really live up to the greatness of the book.

Sale

Smashwords’ Summer/Winter sale

The annual Smashwords Summer/Winter sale is happening as I write this, and is going on all July. Lots of authors participate, reducing prices on their books by at least 25%. JMS Books is participating of course, and we authors get to decide if we want to reduce the prices on our books even more than the 25%. And since I love cheap books, and know reading can be an expensive hobby, I wanted my books to be offered at 50% off.

Yay for buying books at half price, right? Remember to use the code SSW50 at checkout.

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Bring Him Back, Jack by Holly Day

Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me steal a spot on your blog today. Yesterday, Bring Him Back, Jack was released. I wrote it to celebrate Different Colored Eyes Day, so naturally, there is a character with heterochromia, and it’s significant to the story, but where do you all stand on vampires?

I had this idea one day. It was back in the winter, and I was in the sauna. I tend to stay away from the sauna in warmer weather, so I know it was winter LOL. I had a pen a notebook as I often do when I’m in the sauna. Ideas tend to come when I’m in the shower, out walking, or in the sauna. The only place I have something to write on is in the sauna.

Anyway, I had this idea of a world where vampires existed and were treated as second-class citizens, or you know, as slaves. To control them, their human owners attach a device to their chests ready to shoot a stake through their hearts at a push of a button.

I skipped just about everything you know about vampires – they’re not sensitive to sunlight, they don’t dislike garlic, they don’t sleep in coffins, they’re visible in mirrors, they can’t control you with their minds, they don’t need an invitation or enter a home, and they don’t sparkle. But I kept the staking thing.

Malik is a vampire, though his owner calls him Jack, and he has a stake the size of a chopstick attached to his chest. Luckily his stake is made of plastic, so it will only paralyze him, not kill him. When the story begins, he and Ivan have already worked together several times, but now they’re gonna steal a diamond.

To steal a diamond, you need to be stealthy, which is hard when you’re a big vampire not allowed to leave your cage without chains similar to those people wear on death row. Ivan, however, has a plan to get him out of these magically enhanced chains that can’t be removed and to remove the stake 😀

Excerpt:

Malik jumped as the front door opened. Before realizing what he was doing, he’d pushed Ivan into a corner and was ready to attack whoever was nearing them.

Raina frowned as she spotted him. “What’s going on? Where’s Ivan?”

“I’m here.” A hand gently touched Malik’s back, and then Ivan pushed past him. He gave Malik a look with raised eyebrows. “While I appreciate you trying to protect me, I’m capable of taking care of myself.”

Malik didn’t believe him. Ivan was small, even by human standards. Most people would be able to overpower him.

Ivan popped his hip. “I don’t like the look I’m seeing, Malik.”

“You’re small.”

Ivan huffed and stepped back so his back was against the wall, then he stepped back some more. Malik made a surprised sound as Ivan melted into the wall, disappearing. “Ivan? Ivan!”

He touched the wall where Ivan had disappeared and yelped as a hand caught his.

“Are we done playing?” Raina gave them both an unimpressed look while Malik tried to get his heart to slow down. Ivan had disappeared… into a wall.

“Can you walk in there?” If he could live in the walls, no one would ever be able to find him.

Ivan walked out of the wall, and, for a second, Malik believed it wouldn’t let him go. It was almost as if it stuck to him.

“Along it, yes, but I can’t get past corners or doorways, and I can’t go through walls. If I could, the necklace being in a vault wouldn’t be a problem.”

“I have a saw and some nuts, don’t know if they fit. Maybe we can glue them on if they don’t.”

“Glue?” Ivan waved a hand at her. “We can’t fucking glue his heart together.”

Raina rolled her eyes. “Not his heart, stupid. I meant if the nuts don’t fit, maybe we can glue them on instead of him having sharp metal things coming out of his chest.”

Malik suppressed a shudder. He lived in constant fear of triggering the stake by mistake or that Master would do it deliberately. Having someone try to saw the screws off wasn’t anything he was looking forward to.

Ivan met his gaze. “Ready?”

He shook his head. “Yes.”

Ivan’s laugh had heat climbing his cheeks.

“It’ll be fine.” The wince wasn’t convincing.

“Have you ever… removed stakes before?” Malik did his best to keep his voice from trembling.

“Can’t say I have.”

The chains rattled as Malik raised his hand to his heart. The wall behind Ivan was a soft yellow, and he looked at it for several seconds before nodding. Not having a stake ready to shoot through his chest would make life easier.

“I think the coffee table is sturdy enough.” Raina looked him up and down. “But perhaps not long enough.”

Ivan curled a hand around his arm above the cuff. “You can have your feet on the floor.” He turned to Raina. “A towel or a sheet or something so he doesn’t have to lie on the cold surface.”

She went to the same cabinet where Ivan had gotten him the towel.

“Did you manage to find him some clothes?”

“No.” Raina walked into the living room and spread a sheet over a low table, looking like a matchbox in dark wood. There were several tiny drawers on the sides. What did people put in so many drawers?

“I considered asking Zev, but he’s nosy. A hacksaw I could explain, needing a set of his clothes wouldn’t be as easy.”

Ivan grunted and guided Malik toward the table. “Looks like you’ll be naked.”

Malik stared at him, his pulse thudding in his ears as Raina held up a saw of some kind.

“It was a joke.” Ivan tilted his head as he studied Malik.

“I think he’s more concerned about you putting a saw to his chest than what to wear, to be frank. His sense of fashion isn’t as developed as his survival instinct.”

“It’ll be fine.” Ivan patted his arm. “Probably.”

Blurb:

Once every century, a shadow walker is born. Ivan Charna is that shadow walker, and he and his sister Raina are on the run from wizards who want to sacrifice their blood in some crazy rite. They never stay long in one place, and they do their best not to stand out. When Raina loses a bet, Ivan is forced to work off her debt, and they have to stay put. As long as no wizard figures out what they are, Ivan doesn’t mind all that much since he gets to work with his favorite vampire.

Malik lives in a cell in a basement. He’s never allowed to go anywhere without chains around his wrists and ankles, and there is a stake hovering over his heart at all times. Master can trigger the stake with a push of a button. He doesn’t even have to be in the same room to do it. Malik dreams of a different life, a life with Ivan, but he’s a vampire, and vampires have to do what their masters tell them.

Ivan only has to steal one last diamond, then the debt is paid, and he and Raina can leave town. It should be easy, but when Remington Redwood, the man Raina owes money, insists on having Malik shadow his every step, it complicates things. Malik might dream about making Ivan his, but getting him away from Master alive has to be enough. Ivan knows it’s a stupid risk to take, but if he’s stealing a diamond, what’s to say he can’t steal a giant vampire too?

Buy links:

Paranormal M/M Romance: 32,159 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/BringHimBackJack

About Holly:

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly @ https://lnk.bio/xpae or visit her website @ hollydaywrites.wordpress.com