Nell Iris' Christmas

Unexpected Christmas on KU

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas books? Yes?

Not for me; I’m currently trying to write one so I’m doing my best to get into the holiday spirit. Christmas music in August? Welcome to my life! 🙂

Maybe you’re one of those people who thinks it’s never too early for Christmas? If you are, here are some great news for you: Unexpected Christmas is now available on Kindle Unlimited!

So if you have a KU subscription and haven’t read my story about Danny and Ax yet, now’s your chance to do it without having to pay extra! 🙂

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Amazon | JMS Books (if you want to buy it and own it 🙂 )

Excerpt:

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.

I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.

He was huge and couldn’t hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears — at least an inch and a half wide — and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o’clock shadow more than an actual haircut.

“You need a ride?” he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.

“I’m not riding with a serial killer!” The words slipped out of my mouth and I groaned. I couldn’t have kept my mouth shut for five fucking seconds to avoid being chopped up and thrown to the wolves?

He threw his head back and let out a thunderous laugh.

“What’s so goddamned funny?” I glared at him, but he didn’t seem to care.

“I’m no serial killer.”

“And I’m just supposed to take your fucking word for it?” I raised an eyebrow. I knew I was being combative and taking out my frustration on this stranger, but I couldn’t stop myself.

“You could call my ma for references.”

“Ha ha. Very funny.” With a deep sigh, I resigned to my fate and started walking again. No way was I getting into a car with that mammoth of a man.

“Where you goin’?” he called after me. When I didn’t bother to answer, he eased off the break and let his truck crawl after me.

I swirled around. “Stop following me, you creep,” I hissed.

He let go of the steering wheel with one hand and held it up as if he surrendered. “Look, man. It’s freezin’. You’re wet and miserable. Get in the truck and lemme take you wherever you’re goin’.” His deep voice was surprisingly gentle. Non-threatening, as if he’d come to expect reactions like mine.

“I’m really not a bad guy.” He stuck out his lower lip in a pout that would have made a five-year-old girl green with envy and I had to bite my lip to stop a smile from erupting.

“Really?” I tried to hang on to my mistrust, but he made it hard. His appearance screamed RUN AND HIDE, but there was something soft in his eyes that told a different story.

He shot me a crooked smile. “It was worth a try. It works on my niece every time.”

The fucker knew all the right words to say to disarm me. “And how old is she?”

“Four.”

I huffed out a reluctant chuckle. “Well, you know how it is. Everyone always says how they couldn’t believe their neighbor was a serial killer because he seemed like such a nice guy.”

His eyes grew big and round. “You’re sayin’ you don’t trust my niece as a character witness?” He sounded as I’d just delivered the biggest insult of his life, but the amused glint in his eyes told me it was all for show.

“Can you blame me?”

“I guess not.” He sighed and grew serious. “Please. I couldn’t live with myself if I left you here to freeze to death.”

My body screamed at me to take him up on his offer. The ice pellets were relentless and I was soaked and gloomy and was starting to feel like maybe being ax murdered wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to me right now.

The openness in his posture and honesty in his eyes had me on the verge of caving. “You promise you won’t kill me?” I sounded like a scared little kid even to my own ears.

Coming Soon, Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings

Cover reveal

I have the cover for my upcoming story, Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings. Wanna see it? Isn’t it lovely? 🙂 I will update with pre-order links as soon as I have them.

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Sometimes love finds you even when you’re not looking for it.

At 47, Oren Walker isn’t looking for love. When he knocks on Pete Higgins’ door, all he wants is to thank him for helping his mom after she broke her femur. He never expected that one look at the man would make his knees weak and heart flutter.

Pete is happy—albeit a bit lonely—after divorcing his wife of 20 years and isn’t looking to replace her. But when Oren shows up, all grateful and handsome and in that fancy suit, the longing for the deep connection of a relationship flares up inside him.

As the leaves turn yellow, Oren and Pete spend a lot of time in honest conversations. Their attraction grows. Will the two men recognize the promise of new beginnings, and take the chance to find the happiness they both deserve?

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

All I See, Book Recommendations

If all you have is a few minutes…

If you’ve followed me for a while, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I LOVE short stories, I have ever since I read Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew in my early teens. There was especially one story in that collection that stuck with me, called Survivor Type. It isn’t long, but in just a few pages Stephen King managed to scare me and gross me out, and I’ve never forgotten it, never forgotten how much punch it packed while still being so short.

That’s why I love writing and reading short stories. I love reading about a slice of life in the characters’ lives. I love being dropped into the thick of things, not knowing what happened before, but learning enough in the short read to be able to enjoy the story.

So, needless to say, I read a lot of short stories. And a lazy Sunday a couple weeks ago, I had a short story marathon, and thought I’d recommend three of them.

The Reasons Why is a wonderful story about an established couple where Eliot is annoyed when he gets home, but Ben reminds him why Eliot loves him so darned much. Chicken Soup is a story about loneliness, but also hope, and the ultimate proof that it only takes 3348 well-written words to make me cry. Honey, I’m Home is another established couple where Gabe realizes he’ll do anything to keep the lovely Ruben.

All three are under 5000 words (like all stories in the JMS Books “Hot Flash” series) so if you only have a few minutes to spare but want to read something great – pick one of these!

hot flash

Buy links: The Reasons Why | Chicken Soup | Honey, I’m Home


The Reasons Why by J.M. Snyder

After a long day at the office, all Eliot Travers wants is a much needed nap before dinner. Which his husband Ben is supposed to make.

But when he gets home, Ben is playing a game on his phone and Eliot doesn’t smell anything cooking in the kitchen. As Eliot’s temper starts to rise, he wants to know what exactly Ben’s been doing all day long.

Ben tells him to look on the table by the stairs, where Eliot finds a note he missed when he came in. A note that reads The Reasons Why I Love YOU.

A second note on the steps leads upstairs. Then Eliot finds a third, and a fourth.


Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa

Though Jimmy’s ill and isn’t getting any better, he hopes to have a bit of fun during Pride weekend. When he meets Nolan, a young dancer in the parade, Jimmy takes a chance on making himself vulnerable for the first time in years.

What Jimmy doesn’t expect is how strong Nolan will make him feel with a simple gesture of support.


Honey, I’m Home by Michael P. Thomas

Loving Ruben Pacheco is easy. He’s sweet, he’s supportive, he keeps the bills paid and plenty of food on the table. Loving living with Ruben’s parents presents more of a challenge. They’re critical, overbearing, and openly rooting for Gabe to go home so Ruben might crawl back into the closet.

Gabe’s in love, but he’s getting annoyed — Ruben’s great and all, but is he worth all the hassle?


I’ve also written one story for the Hot Flash line and since this is my blog, Imma go ahead and do some shameless self promotion. (Since it’s the same cover as the ones above, I’m choosing another graphic instead) 😀

all I see promo 2

Theo and Kieran have been together for five years. They’re very happy…behind closed doors. Theo accepted from the start that Kieran isn’t out to his conservative parents and has a lot to lose if they find out about his sexuality.

But a moment of sadness at a wedding changes things. Theo is faced with a decision: live the rest of his life in secret…or break it off.

Or is there a third alternative?

M/M Contemporary / 4633 words

 BUY LINKS:

JMS BOOKS | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | SMASHWORDS | SCRIBD
 | GOOGLE PLAY |

 

Book Talk

Monday Book Talk

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One day, I want to write children’s books. I adore children’s books, especially middle grade stories when kids are developed enough to understand complex story lines, but before all the teenage drama that eventually will ensue. I also love coming-of-age stories, and they are common for that age. Not to mention: the covers are so colorful and beautiful and happy.

So currently, I’m reading a lot of children’s books, because while I don’t listen and adhere to many of the traditional “writing advices” other writers share so generously, there is one piece of advice I do follow:

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I can’t write if I don’t read, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? And I need to read more before I can attempt to write any myself.

So while doing that, I stumbled on an absolutely fantastic book: Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby.


hurricane seasonFig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.


(Look at that pretty cover, which is extra pretty when you’ve read the book and know that Fig, the MC is obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh – look at that swirly sky!!)

This is an absolutely fantastic book and everyone should read it, whether you’re a middle grader or a soon-to-be forty-seven year old woman like yours truly. It also has LGBT representation which is why I’m writing about it here on the blog. If we ever are to rid ourselves of bigotry of any kind, we need to educate our kids. And what better way to do that than normalize it by telling inclusive stories?

The LGBT aspect is handled beautifully in this book. When Fig (who’s a wonderful character) realizes she likes girls instead of boys and tells her dad Tim, his reaction is great. He listens to her and accepts her truth without questioning it. Without showing the slightest bit of hesitation.

But also, if this had been a M/M romance book, it would be labeled as a double-GFY (and I know the GFY label is problematic and I agree with the arguments why we shouldn’t call it that, but this story is told from Fig’s POV so we don’t get any insight to whether either of the grown up men have liked other men before) because it turns out that Fig’s dad falls in love with their new neighbor Mark. Both men have only had relationships with women before, but when Mark helps Fig with her dad, they connect.

And as a M/M writer, I watched their relationship unfold through Fig’s eyes. She didn’t understand it the way I did, and when she found out by accident she was angry. But not because her father likes another man, but because he kept it a secret from her, and because when she told him her truth, he didn’t reciprocate. Valid reasons to be angry, if you ask me.

Also, the M/M reader in me screams for Tim and Mark’s story from a romance POV. Watching their relationship unfold through the eyes of the eleven-year-old protagonist was interesting and fabulous, but I want more. I want their points-of-view. Their backgrounds, their feelings, their deepening connection. Is that too much to ask?? 🙂

Anyway. Buy this book for any middle grader in your life. Or for anyone who loves books ,really. It kept me up all night reading it, and I sobbed for an hour straight, that’s how good it is! 🙂

 

 

 

Top 5

Nell’s Top Five

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Nell’s Top Five

…Poems I’ve Printscreened From Instagram

Recently I’ve been cleaning up my social media accounts; getting rid of stuff that doesn’t make me happy and instead replacing it with stuff that does. So there are lots of poetry and books and music in my Instagram feed at the moment, things that are important to me and that makes me happy instead of irritated.

One thing I do love about Instagram is all the poets popping up. I feel like poetry has been a dying art form, that no one except me cares about any longer (yes, that’s an exaggeration ofc, but it felt like it) and I’ve been sad to learn that some bookstores doesn’t even carry poetry books anymore. Now, however, it’s on the rise because of Instagram. And since I don’t like the loooooong poems that go on forever and ever (anything longer than a sonnet needs to be really freaking good for me to read it), Instagram is perfect. There’s only so many lines you can fit in a small square space 🙂

So today, I’m giving you the top five poems I’ve printscreened in my phone (since May this year when I bought a new phone). I hope you enjoy!

  1. (@rupikaur_)
    rupikaur
  2. (@atticuspoetry)
    atticus
  3. (@perrypoetry)
    perrypoetry
  4. (@beautaplin)
    beautaplin
  5. (@mazadohta)
    photo_2019-08-05_13-05-17 (3)