About Nell

Goodbye November

We’ve finally reached the end of November, the longest dreariest month of a long dreary year. I’m happy to be entering the holiday season; it’ll be a little brighter and lighter, even if it’s only due to all the Christmas lights. I love Christmas lights, so I really don’t mind!

But before that, here are 10 pictures from my November.

What took up most of my time in November was of course NaNoWriMo and I questioned my sanity many, many times during the month for signing up. But on November 27, I crossed the 50K word threshold and I was so happy I could cry. I could never have done it without my morning writing crew, so here are a bunch of cyber kisses for Ofelia Gränd, A.L. Lester, and J.M. Snyder. 😘

I’ve always found the darkness this far up north the hardest thing to cope with during the winter season. I can dress for cold weather, but I can’t magically make more daylight. So I’m trying to find things that cheer me up in the darkness. Like a candles everywhere (as in my writing pictures above). Or homemade chai syrup for the soul-soothing chai lattes I love to drink when it’s cold outside.

I met a pony huge dog, a great Dane, in November. He loves me, all animals do since I’m allergic and can’t cuddle them, and he’s still just an over-enthusiastic puppy who thinks he’s a lap dog and wants to sit on my lap. So I barricaded myself behind a chair so he wouldn’t get the opportunity, and look at how sad that made him. Those sad eyes!! 😭 Why don’t you love me, human?

I’m happy to be back in Sweden, but I have to admit I miss Malaysia sometimes. Especially when it’s dark and cold like November has been. On those days, I cook something that will remind me of Malaysia, like Hainanese chicken rice, which is a Malaysian culinary staple and so tasty. It’s ginger and spring onion and garlic and all the things I love.

Every day the sun was shining, I went out for a walk to soak up some light. One day, I stumbled upon a street where I want to live. Skrivaregatan. Means Writer’s Street. Perfect, don’t you think?

What do you do when you can’t see your BFFs IRL because of a stupid pandemic? Have Skype parties, of course. These are my dearest friends who graciously allowed me to post their picture on my blog. So say hello to Eva and Johanna everyone!! They’re awesome people and we’ve known each other for a long time. ❤️

One day, I made a frittata for dinner. I used a mitten to take the frying pan out of the oven and put it on the counter. Then it was in the way when I was going to do something, so I grabbed the handle, forgetting I’d literally just taken the pan out of a 200C (400F) oven. It hurt like a bitch, let me tell you. But I soaked my hand in cold water for five minutes, then I constantly applied aloe vera gel to it, and when I woke up the next day it didn’t hurt at all. That was pretty fucking lucky, if you ask me. “Lucky it wasn’t your writing hand,” my husband said, and yes. I wholeheartedly agree 🙂

We started the holiday season early with glögg and saffron buns. Adventsfika is not to be trifled with, but my husband and I didn’t want to wait for actual advent so we may have started a bit early. I regret nothing!

Speaking of Christmas lights: I put up ours, too, of course. I love this new star I bought, and I just wish you could see how glittery it is IRL.

And today, on the last day of November I woke up to snow. And everyone knows that when life gives you snow, you make a (teeny-tiny) snowman. This is Frosty the Mini Snowman, complete with peppercorns for eyes, and a tiny tip of a carrot sculpted into a nose. Unfortunately, as I write this, Frosty the Mini Snowman is already melting, and my balcony is now a sad tragic place. Can I please have a moment of silence for Frosty? 😁

Nell Iris' Christmas

Holidays at Nell’s

Tomorrow is December 1st, and that means I’ve prepared some holiday shenanigans for the blog. Every day during December, I’ll post a holiday themed book recommendation. Not a full review, just a short rec of a book I’ve read and loved. Most of them will be Christmas themed, but I’ve tried my hardest to find some other winterish holidays, too, so you can expect a bit of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and even Lunar New Year.

My own holiday stories will be featured, of course. I have four Christmas stories, and one New Year’s Eve story, Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday, that will be released on December 30. I’ve sprinkled my books between the others through the month. All the other featured books are written by someone else.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve read and loved all these books, so these are heartfelt recommendations from me to you. I hope you’ll enjoy. 🙂

Nell Iris' Christmas

Black Friday Sale @JMS Books

I know today is Saturday, and Black Friday was yesterday, but since I was lazy I didn’t promo the sale much yesterday. But lucky for me, the sale lasts through today, too. So here I am, telling you about this fabulous sale my publisher offers. Better late than never and all that 😀

Super Black Friday Sale at JMS Books

60% off all ebooks? Paperbacks for only 8 bucks? Yes, you read that right! Now’s the time to go splurge on books. So why not pre-order my upcoming NYE story Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday? Why not stock up on holiday books for your December needs? Or if you’re Scrooge/Grinch, check out non-holiday books? Whatever your need, JMS got you covered! 🙂

I did my shopping yesterday, but I might make another turn today. Will I see you there? 😉

Buy links

Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday | My author page

And if you want to splurge and buy even more books, here are some recommendations from me to you.

8 book recommendations for you if you want to take advantage of the sale

Gingerbread Dreams | 24 Dates | Chad vs the Holiday Hoopla | Gingerbread and Good Tidings | 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance | Summerweek | Taking Stock | The Bake Sale

Coming Soon, Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday

Cover reveal

My holiday story for this year is not a Christmas story, but takes place on New Year’s Eve. (I’ve told you about it before here, click the link if you’re curious about the mood board for the story.) And today’s the day for the cover reveal!

*insert majestic fanfare here*

I really love the cover you’re about to see; it’s perfect for the story. It’s the perfect amount of festive for two characters who think New Year’s Eve is a stupid, arbitrary holiday. But what starts out with a twisted ankle (Petter) and a heroic rescue mission (Isak), continues with sparklers and stolen non-alcoholic utterly disgusting bubbly, and ends up being the best New Year’s Eve of their lives. All under the watchful eye of the moon, the rolling ocean waves, and an ancient stone ship on the edge of Sweden.

And just to keep you on the edge of your seat a bit longer, I’ll post the blurb before you get to see the cover, because that’s the kind of person I am. 😀

Two strangers, a twisted ankle, an ancient stone ship, and a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget.

Petter sneaks out of the New Year’s party he didn’t want to go to and treks to an old burial site he’s dying to see. Alone. Without telling anyone on a freezing December night. Without cell service…a huge problem when he twists his ankle.

Someone passes by Isak’s house on the path leasing to the stone ship. When the person never returns, Isak worries and sets off to investigate. What he finds is Petter, a pack of sparklers, and an instant connection.

Under a starry sky, they learn they have a lot in common. Will the attraction burn hot and fizzle out like the fireworks going off over their heads when they return to the real world? Or will it deepen, grow, and turn into something real? Something everlasting like the stone ship?

Blurb for Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday

Soooo…are you ready?

Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday

Isn’t it beautiful and gorgeous and wonderful?? 😍😍😍 And do you know what the best part is? It’s already available for pre-order at JMS Books. So clickety-click the link below and order your copy now (although here’s an insider tip: wait until Friday *wink-wink*). The release day is December 30, so you’ll have it for your own New Year’s Celebration this year. Perfect, don’t you think?

pre-order at jms books

Short excerpt from Resolution for an Arbitrary Holiday

About Nell

Absorbing sunshine

It’s been soooo gray and dreary and rainy here in the south of Sweden for so long, so when the sun was shining brightly from the sky on Friday after my morning writing session was over, I hurried outside to recharge in the daylight. There’s a teeny-tiny park near where I live, mostly meant for kids, but there’s a wooden path and a few trees, and I love hanging out there. I bought a cup of mint tea and went for a walk while listening to my current favorite album on Spotify.

I returned from my walk with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. The thing I miss most from Malaysia is the proximity to the equator and the resulting 12 hours of daylight every day, all year long (give or take half an hour). The constant darkness makes me tired and feeling down, but I’m trying my best to find things that cheer me up. Like my morning writing sessions, home made chai syrup, walks in the sunlight, and a good album.

What do you do to keep your spirits up during the cold and dark season?

Nell on a walk
My favorite song from my current favorite album: The Neon by Erasure ❤️