Family Found Series

Cover reveal and pre-order: Diving In (Family Found #2)

diving in

Preston and Sawyer Waters need a vacation in the worst way. Life stressors have gotten to be too much, and they need to reconnect. A month-long stay at a cabin in the woods is perfect to remember how to enjoy each other. But they never expect to meet the man who would fit with them so perfectly.

Wade Johansson loves his life. Running V Wilderness Adventures with his best friends, spending his life on the water, and being surrounded by nature is his dream come true. But he’s missing one key element: someone to love.

The three men find an instant connection and are quick to explore the attraction. It becomes clear immediately that they want a relationship lasting longer than just a vacation. But with Preston and Sawyer living in another town and Wade worried about how he fits, can they find the courage to dive in head first?

Pre-order now: JMS Books (20% off)

RELEASE DATE: MARCH 30, 2019

34 000 words/contemporary/MMM

Book Talk

Monday Book Talk

booktalk banner

Today, I thought we’d talk about bookish pet peeves, big and small. The things that drive you crazy and make you roll your eyes so hard, you fear they’ll roll right out of their sockets, or that make you want to throw your Kindle into the pool.

I have three bigger and three smaller things I want to complain about, and if you feel like joining in, please let me know your pet peeves in the comments! 🙂

Bigger peeves

The Big Misunderstanding: If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that this is my number one pet-peeve. For example: I hate it when MC1 listens to MC2’s side of a phone conversation, draws (wrong) conclusions and storms out. First of all: it’s overused and feels like a cheap way of creating drama to me. Also: don’t eavesdrop. And if you do and something seems strange, ASK about it. Talk to each other, fictional people! It’s not that difficult.

The Cliffhanger: This is the reason I read ALL THREE BOOKS of the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy even though I hated them: books 1 and 2 ended with a cliffhanger. And I’m a curious person and had to know how it all ended even though I really didn’t care. Now, years later, I ask myself why I just didn’t google a spoiler-filled review, read it and satisfied my curiosity that way instead of tormenting myself by reading all that crap. (If you like 50 Shades, I’m sorry for ranting about them. I really don’t, though!)

But I learned a valuable lesson from this: always read spoiler-filled reviews to know if the books end in a cliffhanger! If they do, I don’t read them.

Too Much Sex: And let’s be clear, I’m not talking about erotica here, because that’s a legit genre for that kind of thing. I’m also not talking about the sex scenes that move the plot forward. No, I’m talking about the book I read that was less than 80 pages and had 5 detailed sex scenes. Five. And no, it wasn’t labeled erotica. I know a lot of people like sex in their books, but I’m not one of them. For me, that’s something that’ll actually make me put down a book. And any time I see a review where stars are deducted because of not enough or no sex at all, I buy that book! 🙂


Smaller peeves

“‘You’re so sexy,’ he purred.” Purred!! UGH, unless “he” in this sentence is a cat-shifter, this is not okay! People don’t purr!! It squicks me out!

People having sex when they’re very sick or injured. Yes, I understand it’s to show that they were very worried to lose each other and now that the injured/sick person is on the mend, they’re relived and want to show each other they’re happy. But that person in the hospital bed with a broken bone who’s so drugged up on painkillers they can hardly remember their name, you think they wanna have sex? And if it’s a guy: you think he can have an erection in that state?

I mean: if my husband even looks at me with bedroom eyes when I have a simple cold, I’ll just hide under my covers and pretend I’m not there. If I was doped up in a hospital bed: forget about it. Kiss my forehead and squeeze my hand and tell me you’re so happy I’m okay, but don’t try to get into my pants! (I recommend To Love and To Cherish by Addison Albright, to read a realistic situation relating to a serious injury!)

Epithets. And if you’re not familiar with what it is, it’s “the red-head” in this sentence: “Harry bent down and kissed the red-head.” This can of course work if Harry doesn’t know the name of the red-head because it’s the first time they meet, but if the red-head in question is Harry’s husband Ron (yes, I read a lot of Harry Potter fanfic! Not much Harry/Ron though 🙂 ) and he knows the name…then it becomes annoying.

To be perfectly honest, I used to do it myself (Find His Way Home has so many “his lover” I cringed when I re-read it recently) until one of my editors pointed it out to me, saying that Harry in my example above probably wouldn’t think about his husband as “the red-head.” The way I don’t think about my husband as “the bearded guy.”

There are exceptions that work for me. For example: “Harry bent down and kissed his husband” would work. Or “Ron stole his brother’s broom,” because it’s not uncommon for people to think about their significant other as “my husband/wife” or sibling as “my brother/sister.”

Before I started writing, I never even thought about epithets. But now I can’t not notice them and they drive me crazy. I know pronouns are difficult when you write same-sex relationships and it’s hard to keep up with which “he” this particular “he” is referring to. And as a writer I think “I’ve written his name a gazillion times already, I have to change it up a little” and that’s why I ended up with too many “his lover” in FHWH. But seriously. A “he” or the name is so much less intrusive, so pretty please with sugar on top, use that instead! 🙂

 

Top 5

Nell’s Top Five

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Nell’s Top Five

…Things To Do To De-Stress

Because these last weeks have been really stressful for me, and because I’m very sensitive to stress because of stuff that’s happened to me in the past, I’ve made a long list of things that help me de-stress. I list five of them in this blog post.

Do you have any special tricks for when you’re too stressed? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

  1. Having a cup of tea. Nothing beats fixing your favorite tea in your favorite cup and sitting down in a nice comfy place to drink it.
    cof
  2. Disconnecting from Social Media. SM has a way of stressing me out, so if I’m already under a lot of pressure, I really need to put away my phone, turn off my computer, and pretend Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram don’t exist.
  3. Eating comfort food. For me, that’s a bowl of perfect Japanese ramen. It’s like eating a warm, loving hug.
    ramen
  4. Doing a slow, really mindful yoga practice. Even just sitting down on my mat and breathing is helpful. It’s as though my body recognizes that this is a space for relaxation and focusing on myself. Tuesday this week was my one-year yoga anniversary. How did I live so long without it?
  5. Doing something book-related. Like visiting a book store, re-reading a favorite, reading a couple poems, or buying books online. Whatever it is, as long as it’s book related, it helps lower my stress levels.
    sunflowers

Poem by Rupi Kaur

His Steady Heart, Nell's WIP

WIP teaser

Now that the second book in the collab project I write with Kris T. Bethke is submitted to our publisher, I’ve gone back to writing Buck and Pippin again. If you’re new to my blog and wonder who the heck are Buck and Pippin? click here to get some backstory.

Since I wrote about them four weeks ago, their story now has a title (His Steady Heart), I have a deadline (March 31), and the book has a tentative publishing date (sometime in May).

This snippet is still from chapter 1 of the WIP, but not directly following the first teaser.

wip teaser banner

“You should get some sleep. I’ll go.”

“No.” I straighten and rub my eyes again. Then I make a quick decision, pull out a drawer where I keep the extra key for the house, grab it, and put it on the bar in front of him. “Stay until you need to go work.”

I’ve meant to give it to him for a long time but getting him to accept stuff is a struggle, even little things. His pride’s got pride, so just getting to a point where he accepts a hot drink without me having to twist his arm has been an uphill battle.

His fingers twitch as though he wants to reach out and take it, but he just keeps looking at it. I put my index finger on the key and nudge it closer to him.

“I…” He lays a fingertip on the metal and frown.

“Pippin.” I soften my voice. “I worry when you’re sittin’ out there freezin’ your butt off, strainin’ your eyes tryin’ to read in the dark.”

“I’m all right,” he whispers.

“I know you are.” He’s more than all right. I don’t understand how he grew up to be such a great person considering his childhood. “Do it for me?”

“Why?” He looks up at me with wrinkled eyebrows.

Because someone needs to look out for you when your ma is too busy screwing her latest sugar daddy to be able to afford to warm up the house this winter. Because you’re so darned strong, working two crappy jobs and saving up what little you can spare for college. Because you’re too good for this shitty situation life dealt you.

 

Snowed In: Nen and Anani

Snowed In: Nen and Anani, release day!

Today is release day for my first ever fantasy story, Snowed In: Nen and Anani. I’m spending this release day in Singapore with my husband, sipping champagne, enjoying the view over the city, and celebrating my newest release. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do.

Happy weekend!


sinenandanani”It is time to go to my son.”

Nen waited to hear those words from the Vasilissa for fifteen rotations, since that time the snow wouldn’t stop falling. But now that he’s about to meet Anani, the love of his life, again, he’s afraid. What if Anani doesn’t feel the same anymore?

Anani, the guardian of the water element, was only seventeen when he was banished from his mother’s court. Heartbroken that he couldn’t be with the one he loved, he lost control over his emotions and his power. No matter what he tried, the snow wouldn’t stop and as a last resort he was sent away.

When they finally meet again, Anani is hopeful but disillusioned. The law that kept them apart hasn’t changed. How will they be able to find their happily ever after?

And what happens when the snow starts falling again?

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Excerpt:

A third knock hushes the forest even more. Not a single insect can be heard. Is the wildlife waiting for me to leave? Is he? Would he answer if I call out to him? Or will the sound of my voice make him even more resolved to stay behind the closed door?

Before I have time to come to a decision, the door is yanked open and he appears in the opening.

The Vasilieu.

Oh, great Spirit, still my heart!

He is magnificent!

He is willowy tall and has grown so much these last fifteen rotations, reaching me to my nose, standing over a head taller than any other member of his family. He’s dressed like a commoner in a tunic and pants even plainer than my own — where’s his kaftan? The clothes hug his body and reveal every long sinewy muscle in his legs and arms.

Hair as white as newly fallen snow is parted in the middle and hangs straight to his waist. His nose, slightly upturned, gives him a mischievous look. His pale lips, imperceptibly darker than his skin color, are pillowy but set in a severe line.

But it’s his eyes that draw my attention. Pale blue eyes staring at me as if he can’t believe what he’s seeing. After a few heartbeats, they widen, and he lets out a gasp.

A wave of emotions hit me square in the chest. What was muted just moments before grows into an avalanche as though he let them loose, or lost control of them. They overwhelm me; I physically feel them, poking and prodding my breast, invading my heart. I stagger a few steps backward and sink to my knees without hesitation. I don’t avert my gaze. “Vasilieu.”

He narrows his eyes. “Do not call me that. You know my name. Use it.”

The barrage of his emotions intensifies, making it hard to breathe but easy for me to identify them. Disbelief. Uncertainty. Hope.

… Happiness?

Yes, definitely happiness.

“Anani,” I whisper. Never before have I uttered his name, not even alone in the night. Saying it now is terrifying and freeing all at once. And it feels right, as though my lips are meant to say it. Whisper it in his ear as our limbs are entwined and sweaty.

He surges forward and throws himself on his knees before me. Cups my cheeks and lets his thumbs caress my beard. His gaze flits over my face as if though he’s trying to take in all the changes that have happened since we saw each other last. The crow’s feet by my eyes. The corners of my mouth that are downturned from the lack of smiling. The first gray at my temples in a sea of black, bristly hair.

I’m an older, more tired-looking version of the man who watched him walk away all those rotations ago, while he’s more breathtaking than ever.

“Vasilieu. Don’t kneel before me. It’s not proper.”

“Nen. Oh Nen. Is it really you?” he asks as if he didn’t hear my plea. His hands explore my face; the fingertips linger in my wrinkles and lines, sending sparkles through my body. He tugs lightly on my beard and gazes into my eyes. I wonder what he sees.

“Vasilieu. Anani.” The second time I use his name is even more momentous. “Stand, I beg you.”

He sits back on his heels. “What are you doing here?” His disbelief melts away. Clearly, he trusts his own eyes and what he can see before him. Confusion takes its place. With grace, he rises to his feet, bends down to grab my hands, and pulls me to standing with little help from me. Spirit, he is strong!

He doesn’t let go.