Find His Way Home

Somehow I’ll find my way home

I had a hard time coming up with a title for Find His Way Home. I wrote and wrote the story and I couldn’t come up with anything that I liked. It was called “untitled” for the longest time, and I hate untitled stories. It’s as if I would give birth to a child and not name them. Just call him or her baby. 

That’s just not okay.

So I googled. I typed “home song lyrics” in a search window and sifted through the results (because I love to find inspiration from songs).

And immediately I found the perfect song. I’m born in 1972, was a kid/teenager in the eighties, and love, love, LOVE eighties music. And when this song turned up in my search result— reminding me of its existence—I thought There’s gotta be something I can use in this song.

And I was right. I listened to it (I hadn’t heard it in decades) and instantly reconnected with it. And then I thought about it, tweaked it a little, and that’s how I’ll Find My Way Home became Find His Way Home.

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Today’s scheduled stop on the review tour: 
Keysmash

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

About Nell, Find His Way Home

Poor, coffee-deprived writer

This writer has cut down her coffee intake. A lot. *cue the sad, dramatic music*

All my life, I’ve had an ambivalent relationship with coffee (it’s bitter and smells much better than it tastes), and for the longest time I didn’t drink it at all. And that’s kind of a big deal for a Swede. Swedes drink a lot of coffee—we were on 6th place of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers last year (and I find it very interesting that all five of the Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland—are in the top six!)

And not only that. We take our coffee drinking very seriously in Sweden—it’s a way of life. It’s called “fika” and there’s not really a word for it in English. If you’re interested in knowing more, here’s an article about it. It’s interesting and explains a lot 🙂

Every time you visit with someone in Sweden, they will offer you coffee. If you don’t drink it, your host becomes anxious and tries to come up with a range of other beverages to offer you instead. Sometimes they’ll even offer to run to the store and buy something for you.

It was exhausting to have to explain every time why I didn’t drink coffee. And even people close to me forgot. Like my mother-in-law, who, by the way, is from Finland. (And did you happen to notice which country was at the top of that list I linked to earlier? 😉 ) I’ve been with my husband for well over 20 years, and even after knowing me for 10+ years, she forgot that I didn’t drink it.

So one day I thought Ah, fuck it! and started drinking the stuff.

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But here’s the thing. I don’t like it in the morning. I prefer to drink my coffee in the evenings. Especially when I write. So that’s what I’ve done. And for a long time, it wasn’t a problem. But lately, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep.

And, of course, I knew what the culprit was. My coffee. I did some research: I knew caffeine causes alertness, but as it turns out, it can disrupt the entire sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. If I drink coffee late this evening, it might affect my sleep for many nights to follow.

So, last week I decided to stop with my late night coffee. And since I don’t like to drink it early in the day, I’ve dramatically cut my intake.

And…I’m fine. I’ve not had any withdrawal problems and after a few days, I slept much better. The only thing is that I miss having a hot beverage to drink when I write. I solved that problem by buying rooibos tea, which does not contain caffeine.

One funny thing about coffee and fika: I’ve noticed that my Swedish fika-habits show up in my books. All my characters like to sit down with a book and a cup of coffee and fika for an hour or two. If that’s something you’ve noticed and found a little weird, well now you know why 🙂

Like in this excerpt from Find His Way Home. After spending a couple months by himself in the forest, Elliot wants human interactions and real coffee 😀 (Emma, mentioned in the quote, is the person from whom he rents the cabin)

On his way back to the car, he passed a cozy café, and the aroma of coffee wafting through the door as customers exited was strong and full. His feet carried him inside without him giving it a lot of thought, and he spent a few minutes trying figure out what he was in the mood for. After deciding on a frilly coffee drink with a big dollop of cream and lots of sugary syrup, accompanied by an enormous blueberry muffin, he found a table in a quiet corner. The second-hand armchair was as comfy as it looked, and he groaned with happiness as he sank down into it.

He swallowed a mouthful of his beverage and couldn’t help the pleased hum that escaped him. It tasted so much better than the stupid instant shit he had in the cabin. He should tell Emma they ought to buy a coffee maker for the kitchen—a French press would make a world of difference—and he’d be willing to pay extra for the luxury.

memorial day sale

My books are still on sale over at JMS Books for the remainder of the day if you still haven’t bough it. Links are listed below.

Here’s a list of today’s scheduled Release Blitz stops:
MM Good Book Reviews
Jim’s Reading Room

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

Find His Way Home, Unconditionally

Memorial Day Sale – 30% off

Yesterday, I released a book, and when I woke up this morning…this had happened!!

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Number four on the LGBT Kindle Short Reads list! How awesome is that? So awesome, I think I have to break out another bottle of champagne to celebrate today, too! 🙂

Meanwhile: there’s a Memorial Day Sale over at JMS Books, so if you haven’t bought my new book yet, now’s the time! 🙂

Here’s the link: Find His Way Home. Clickety-click and make a newbie author very happy! (You are, of course, allowed to buy my old book, too. I’m not discriminating my babies! 🙂 Here’s the link: Unconditionally).

All e-books are on sale, so why not browse around while you’re there. I did. I preordered Cultivating Love, written by Addison Albright. I’d also recommend you to check out the fabulous Amy Tasukada. I know May might be the wrong time for holiday cheer (unless you’re me and have spent months writing about Christmas!) but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, right? 🙂

Run over and click away. You know you want to 🙂

memorial day sale

Here’s a list of today’s scheduled Release Blitz stops:
Sarandipity Book Reviews
Diverse Reader
My Fiction Nook
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

Blog Tour, Find His Way Home, My Books

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.

 
TourGraphic
Today’s stops on the Review Tour:

Stops on the Release Blitz:
About Nell, Nell's WIP, Writing Update

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.