WIP teaser and guest post

One of the new things here on the blog now that I’m trying to produce regular content, is a teaser from current WIP. I’ve mentioned it earlier here, and it’s the May/December project I’m teasing from. It’s still untitled and I haven’t written a lot more since I told you about it (I’m traveling and I’ve had to prioritize writing my chapters in the collab project I’m working on with Kris T. Bethke.)

If you need a reminder, the story is about two neighbors called Buck and Pippin. They’ve known each other since Pippin was six, but now that he’s all grown up, things are starting to happen. This is the (unedited) beginning of the story.

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I see him immediately as I turn my truck onto our street. Huddled up under a threadbare blanket, he’s curled into a ball at the top of the stairs leading up to the tiny, rundown house he shares with his mom. He has a paperback book open on his lap and he uses the flashlight on his cell phone so he can see to read since it’s still dark outside.

I frown and grip the steering wheel until my knuckles whiten. It’s too cold for him to sit there. It’s the second week of January, and even though we still haven’t gotten any snow—it was our first green Christmas in years—the temperature hovers in the low thirties. Even in the dim light, I can see him shiver.

With a huff, I park on my driveway, throw open the door, and step out. “Hey Pippin,” I holler, and his head shoots up. How he missed the rumble of my truck is a mystery, but he tends to shut out everything around him when he’s got his nose in a book.

His generous mouth stretches in a wide smile and he raises his hand in a wave.

“Get your butt over here,” I call.

He pulls the blanket tighter around his narrow shoulders. “I’m okay. You must be tired after your shift.”

I roll my eyes, not caring that he can’t see me. That guy! He doesn’t wanna be a bother but doesn’t realize that he never is. Not when I first moved back in with my ma to take care of her when she was sick—I was twenty-two and he was six the first time I found him on the stairs because his mother had a “gentleman caller” as Ma used to call them—and not now.

“Don’t make me come get ya, Pippin Olander. That’ll make me grumpy for sure.” I cross my arms over my chest and glare at him, but that only makes him laugh.


Just one thing before I go: today, I’m a guest over at Joyfully Jay where I talk about Awakenings & French Songs. I’m giving you an insight into a writer’s life and share an excerpt from the story exclusive for Joyfully Jay. There’s also a giveaway.

If this sounds like fun, clickety-click here to read the post.


Friday review

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37909611Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

A blurb containing the words “historian,” “hoards books,” “overflowing book collection,” and “neighborhood library” is bound to attract my attention. I’m a book hoarder, too, but most of my books are of the electronic kind, so I can’t make a cute little library with them. But when I settle down in a place where I’m going to spend the rest of my life, I’m going to hoard physical books too, and THEN I can do a library just like Elliott did and spread joy and books to my neighbors.

A book written by Kim Fielding is also bound to attract my attention. She’s one of my favorite authors, and this book didn’t disappoint. Elliott is a very intellectual guy and he analyzes every little detail in his head. For example when he goes on a “date that’s not a date” with a guy from his sister-in-law’s job:

Elliott analyzed that statement. Did it mean Kyle didn’t really care about the not-date, or was he trying to minimize its apparent important? And how about that handshake? Had it been too short or too long? Was the amount of eye contact sufficient? Had Kyle looked disappointed when he caught sight of Elliott?

Elliott kind of reminds me of myself; I also tend to over-analyze everything so I can relate. Maybe that’s why I love him so much.

Simon is a genuinely likable guy with a huge family. He has lots of insecurities, his body is one of them, and he fears coming out to his family. Both MCs are at a crossroads in their lives, and they’re trying to decide how to move forwards, and I love how that aspect was explored in this book. What do you do when your life suddenly takes a turn you didn’t expect? How do you live up to society’s expectations on you, or your own expectations on yourself for that matter?

It’s a quiet book. Nothing much happens, and at the same time lots of things happen. Elliott and Simon meet and like each other immediately and they have to decide what to do about it. It’s not that they don’t want to be together; on the contrary. But the circumstances make it difficult. Simon isn’t out, and Elliott doesn’t want to be a dirty secret; he had enough of that in his last relationship. Elliott is looking for a job and a history professor in a narrow field can’t be picky, so he applies for jobs all over the country. How can he make a relationship with Simon work if he gets a job in Nebraska?

But here’s the thing. Elliott and Simon handle those issues by talking about them. Like two responsible adults who refuse to sweep any problems they have under the rug. And OMG, talking is so sexy!! (Almost as sexy as consent!) I’m sick and tired of misunderstandings, of characters not communicating, and of assumptions made only on the basis of half the facts. And this book is the complete opposite of that.

This book does not have chest-pounding alpha males or big drama or excitement. But it’s quiet and thoughtful and intelligent and romantic, with two flawed characters who are doing their best to navigate life together. And that is just the kind of book I love.

Buy link: Amazon

Nell on social media

Last Monday, I told you about my plan for more regular content on the blog in 2019. That plan extends to being more active on other social media platforms as well, such as Twitter, Facebook (page and profile), and Instagram. Facebook is my least favorite platform, so to be perfectly honest, I mostly use it for promotion. If you want a little more personal content, I suggest following me on Twitter or Instagram.

I’m most active on Twitter, but Instagram is second. My goal is to post something every day. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

Here are my most liked Instagram pictures during 2018.

nell_iris-full best nine instagram 2018

As you can see there’s a little bit of promo there too, but not as much as on Facebook. I post lots of pictures of my notebooks and fountain pens, book related stuff, and tea and other food/drink pictures. You know, like every other instagrammer (except I don’t post cat pictures. I’m allergic)!

So if you like that kind of stuff, feel free to follow me over at Instagram.

What are your favorite social media accounts that you follow?


Awakenings & French Songs – available now

awakeningsAn existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?


add to goodreads


Do you remember Luca and Gus? Luca is my sweet boy who gets married in a veil, and Gus is wonderful and accepting and looks like Mr. Spock – at least according to Luca.

I thought we’d look back on my first published story today, Unconditionally. Scroll down for a blurb, a short excerpt, and a link to a bonus short I wrote a week after it was published.

It was part of a themed release at JMS Books, called Love Wins, celebrating the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriages legal in the entire United States. All the featured stories had the same cover.

(And if you’re interested in more Love Wins stories, I recently read September’s Always Gorgeous by Michael P. Thomas. Same cover but very different from mine on the inside. I recommend it.)

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Flamboyant book café owner Luca Moretti and geeky doctor Gus Hansen have been together for six years when the Supreme Court ruling makes same-sex marriage legal in all states. On June 26, 2015, Gus gets down on one knee and Luca screams yes.

On their wedding day, shortly before the ceremony, Luca’s mother explodes in anger, calling him a freak. The reason? He’s wearing a white veil, sprinkled with crystals.

Their relationship has been strained for a long time, and her words trigger traumatic memories. Instead of walking down the aisle, Luca runs.

Away from his mother. Away from Gus.

Gus counts down the minutes when Luca’s mother comes knocking. He realizes something’s wrong, but when he goes to talk to Luca, his husband-to-be is nowhere to be found.

Can Gus find Luca in time and manage to convince him to come back and get married?

Buy links/add to Goodreads:

JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | iBooks | Google Play |B&N



He stared at himself in the mirror, watched as tears trickled down his face but made no attempt to brush them away. The indecision made his heart ache, and a distraught sob escaped him.

Before he could think, he walked over to the door, opened it, and started running.

He ran through the hallway, down the stairs, and out on the street. He hesitated a second outside the entrance. Then he turned right and ran, the beautiful veil sparkling and billowing behind him.

Bonus short

Coming soon: Awakenings & French Songs

It’s only three more days until the release of Awakenings & French Songs. I thought we’d take a look at a couple of pre-release reviews if you need help to decide if this is something for you. 🙂

“Family and waiting was the theme here and there were such tender moments, I couldn’t help but fall for this story.” said Kristin at Gay Book Reviews and gave it 4 stars.

“This was a short and sweet read. Iggy and Ronan were such nice guys and I loved them as a couple. Although this was short, the story was well-written, felt complete and the characters were well-developed.” said Tracy from Bayou Book Junkie (on Goodreads) and gave it 4 stars.

awakenings blurb releasedatum



add to goodreads

Writing update

Hi everyone and happy Monday. I hope you’ve had a great weekend! I did; I spent Sunday watching movies with my husband, and it was great. But now it’s time to get back to work.

First of all: I have plans for the blog in 2019. I’ve decided I need to post more regularly, so I’ve made plans for what to write about and a schedule for when to post, and today is the first day of that new schedule. And that means a writing update 🙂


The first draft of the schedule. It looks nothing like this now, but this is where I started. 

The first project is Diving In, the second book in the Family Found series I co-write with Kris T. Bethke. It has a tentative release date (March 30, 2019), which means we have a deadline, which means we gotta hustle! We’re almost halfway done but I’m leaving for Sweden on Sunday to attend my daughter’s university graduation and I’m going to be away for two weeks. Gah!

But I work well with a deadline, so we’ll make it work. Hopefully! For everyone who loved our little created family in book one, I can tell you that this is Wade’s book. Are you excited?

The second project I’m working on is as yet unnamed. It’s a May/December story about two neighbors called Buck and Pippin. They’ve known each other since Pippin was six, but now that he’s all grown up (twenty-one, so no need to freak out on me!), things are starting to happen.

I’m currently at 15K words and they haven’t kissed yet, so this’ll be a little longer that my usual super short stories. The deadline is “as soon as possible” which works great with my planned trip! (*sarcasm warning*). But I’ll make it work. Somehow. I’ll keep you updated.

I’m a huge fan of the May/December trope so I’m really excited to write this story. Do you like the trope? What’s your favorite book you’ve read with an age difference between the characters? Let me know in the comments, I’m always on the lookout for new books to read!

Have a great week everyone!