About Nell

A Writer on the Train

Last week, I decided to try writing on the train ride to work. The ride is only about 35 minutes, but I figured it’s more than nothing, right? And I also decided to document my progress and make it into a blog post for you lovely people. So here it goes.

Monday

I didn’t even know if I’d be able to write on the train. Usually, I’m cooped up in my office with only the birds outside my window and the sound of my keyboard or the rasp of my fountain pen accompanying me. And trains means people, and people means noises. But it worked. On Monday, I wrote about 650 words in my WIP in the 30-ish minutes of writing I did before hopping off the train and going to work.

Tuesday

Tuesday was a little noisier, but I still managed about 600 words.

Wednesday

No, I’m not left-handed, I used my front-facing camera on my phone.

Another 650-ish words on Wednesday, despite face-mask foggy glasses.

Thursday

On Thursday, I didn’t wanna get out of bed when my alarm went off, and I was too tired to write. So I used an Audible credit to buy Ranger by Nora Phoenix and K.M. Neuhold and listened to it instead. I’ve read it before, and liked it. It was a solidly good book even if it didn’t wow me, but since John Solo narrates it, I decided to spend a credit on it. And OH MY GOD, the audio is FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC and John Solo made me cry in the the first chapters, and I was sobbing when I got into the office and had to sneak into the closest bathroom to wipe tears off my face.

Damn you, John Solo! 🙂

Friday

On Friday morning, I was back to my old self, but I couldn’t decide between writing, or listening to the book. I wish I could say I did the right thing and wrote, but…no. No writing. I couldn’t resist John Solo.

So there you have it. I wrote 3 days out of 5 which is a definite improvement compared to previous weeks. And I’m aiming for 4 days this week. Wish me luck! 🙂

Always You

1 year ago: Always You

My childhood BFFs-to-lovers story turn 1 year old today. Happy birthday, Always You! The little story that became so popular it was featured in the 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology published by JMS Books. A story about Thom, who’s been in love with his BFF for as long as he can remember, and Lee, Mr. Oblivious, who wouldn’t recognize love if it hit him in the face.

If you love short, friends-to-lovers stories, this is definitely for you.

Best Friends. Roommates. And now, maybe…more?

Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he’s willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.

Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life…no matter his current girlfriend’s opinion on the matter. But he’s never been known for being in contact with his emotions.

When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more…hopeful reason?

M/M Contemporary, approximately 11 000 words

Book Recommendations

Friday Book Recommendation

The weekend is here and everyone knows that weekends are for reading! So I thought I’d tell you about a book I’ve read recently and loved, if you need a recommendation, I mean.

Blurb:

It’s the summer of 1967 and the Sexual Offences Act has just decriminalized consensual gay sex in private between two men over twenty-one. Percy Wright and his friend Les Barker have both taken temporary jobs teaching English as a foreign language in London during their long summer break from teaching at a rural boarding school near Oxford.

Thirty-three year old Percy is keen to soak up some theatre, music and general culture, whilst the younger Les is also keen to experience the varied gay social scene. When Les picks up a man called Phil at the box office of the Albert Hall when he goes to buy tickets to a Promenade Concert, Percy inadvertently gets thrown together with Adrian Framlingham, Phil’s friend.

Adrian is all the things Percy likes in a man…funny, kind and steady. When Les gets hurt, Percy turns to Adrian for support, but as the end of the summer looms it seems as if their affair will come to a natural end.

What will happen when Percy goes back to his everyday life as a house-master? Will he and Adrian stay in touch? Does he even want a long-distance relationship when arranging to meet someone for sex is still illegal, even if the act itself is not?

A 20k novella that’s set five years before Taking Stock. Stand alone.

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that Taking Stock by the same author was one of my favorite books in 2020, so this book was an auto buy for me. And it didn’t disappoint! I devoured Eight Acts one Sunday afternoon accompanied with a cup of tea and it was lovely. It has the same feeling as Taking Stock, the feeling that made me fall head-over-heels for it. The quiet romance, the ordinary guys falling in love in a down-to-earth kind of manner. It has no grand gestures, no over-the-top moments. Just two men, meeting and falling in love, being there for each other, supporting each other when times get rough.

It’s honestly my favorite kind of romance.

Adrian emerged from the box with a triumphal expression, clutching a half-open pack of digestives. “Here! I knew I’d seen them!” he said.

“I think I’m in love with you,” Percy said, apropos of completely nothing.

Quote from Eight Acts.

So do yourself a favor and check out this book; it’s great. And if you still haven’t read Taking Stock (buy link), you definitely should. (Taking Stock and Eight Acts are only loosely connected and both can definitely be read as standalones.)

All the heartwarming stars from me. And Ally, if you read this: now I wanna read Les’s story! 😍

Coming Soon, Flowers Under My Pillow

Coming Soon: Flowers Under My Pillow

Cornflower, dandelion, forget-me-not, buttercup, daisy, cow parsley, and red clover: the seven different kinds of flowers that Frode picks every Midsummer.

Midsummer is a big deal in Sweden. It’s our second most popular holiday, after Christmas, and we have a lot of traditions surrounding it: maypoles and dancing, herring and boiled new potatoes, snaps (a small shot of spiced alcohol taken with a meal) and strawberry cream cake. (If you’re curious about hos Swedes celebrate Midsummer, check out the Swedish Midsummer for Dummies video here, it’s fun and accurate 😁) It’s the day of parties (in non-pandemic times) and weddings (me and the hubby got married on Midsummer) and worrying about the weather, because we want to celebrate it outside, but the June weather in Sweden is notoriously unreliable.

There’s also an old folklore belief saying that unmarried women who pick seven kinds of flowers and put them underneath their pillows, will dream of the man they’re going to marry.

And that folklore belief is what inspired my upcoming book, Flowers Under My Pillow.

I’ve tried to imbue the story with the magic of Midsummer while still keeping it contemporary. I wanted to capture the spirit of the holiday without including every little tradition. But most of all, I just wanted to tell a romantic story about two men meeting in an unusual way and throwing caution to the wind because they want to believe in True Love. I hope I’ve been successful in my endeavors.

Release day is June 26th, and today I’m sharing the blurb, the cover, and a pre-order link with you.

Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

For thirty years, Frode’s had the same dream. Every Midsummer’s Eve since he was a kid accompanying his sister to pick flowers to put under his pillow, he’s dreamed of the same man. A dream he never shares with anyone, that makes him wish for impossible things…like true love.

“It’s you.”

Then one Midsummer’s Eve, the man of Frode’s dreams stands before him in the flesh. Both men recognize each other despite never having met in real life. Both men are instantly drawn to each other and want to know more.

“Who are you, Viljar? Are you even real?”

Their questions are many but do the whys and the hows matter? Or should they allow the Midsummer magic that brought them together to lead the way into each other’s arms? Into each other’s hearts?

Traditional Swedish folklore tells you that if you pick seven kinds of flowers in silence and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, you’ll dream of the man you’ll marry.

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: 4 Small-Town Romances by Ofelia Gränd

Today, I welcome Ofelia Gränd to the blog, who’s here to talk about all her May releases, that are all small-town romances. I love small-town romances! I’ve never understood the big city romances where the big city is almost like a character in the story; I much prefer a small-town setting. Preferably paired with a lone wolf!

Before I leave give the floor over to Ofelia, can we just take a moment to admire the model on Aiden and Tristan? He’s too cute for words!! 😍


Hi! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by today.

I’m in the middle of moving all my books to JMS Books, which means I have a lot of re-releases, and May is the month of small-town romances.

I have a series called Up North. It’s a series of contemporary stand-alone M/M romance stories. They’re all taking place in the same area, in small towns scattered around the north.

This month, I have four releases in the Up North series, all of them re-releases, and all of them taking place in the same little town – Nortown. We have Pet Delivery (was called Once in the Underworld before) that’s a 30k story and was released on the 8th. Then we have The Empty Egg which is a 4.6k freebie about Aiden and Tristan that was released on the 19th. Today, Aiden and Tristan is released. It includes Once in a Snowstorm, The Empty Egg, Happy Endings, and Just Words, which adds up to 46k. And then on the 29th Once in May will be released, and it’s about 48k. It’s a lot of titles to keep track of LOL

Have you lived in a small town? I have, and where I live now you can’t even call a town. We have no shops, no public transportation, nothing. It’s a crossroad with about 150 inhabitants.

I’d say the biggest pro with living in a small place is the community. People are looking out for each other. The biggest con is that everyone knows what you’re up to. And the gossip, my God, the gossip LOL.

In Nortown, they have a grocery shop and a cafe. The cafe is the social hub. It’s where everyone meets up, where the gossip is spreading.

Aiden has lost his job and he only has a few days until he has to leave his apartment in the city. When the walls are closing in on him, he hops into his car and heads north. He’s on his way to his mother’s, in hopes of her taking him in despite not having spoken to him for years. He didn’t think the snowstorm would be as bad as it is.

Tristan lives in a cabin outside of Nortown. He’s your garden variety grumpy lumberjack LOL and he’s not pleased when he finds a guy face down in the snow without proper clothing for the weather. City people, ey? They don’t even know how to dress right. But Tristan can’t let the poor bastard freeze to death, so he takes him to his cabin.

That’s pretty much how Aiden and Tristan’s adventures start, and soon they’ll become part of the small-town everyday life. Once they’re no longer trapped by the snowstorm, Aiden gets many of his preconceptions concerning small towns confirmed, but he’s also welcomed into the community.

Excerpt:

“Og!” His call was answered by a bark nearby. “Come on, boy.”

The darn dog didn’t come. Tristan sighed, grabbed the yellow snow shovel standing by the door, and started trudging through the snow. Og had better be stuck, or Tristan would strangle the stupid mongrel with his bare hands.

Snowflakes clung to his beard, and as he touched the knitted cap on his head, he realised it was already covered with snow. A walk outside was not what he’d envisioned after his arduous journey into town. He’d only gone in on his snowmobile to make sure he’d have enough dog food at home—he was pretty sure they would be snowbound for days. He’d had a quick chat with Jennifer, and then he’d headed back home. Maybe he should’ve stayed in town.

Jen always worked too hard. Running the motorway café and taking care of Luke all by herself was tough, and Tristan always worried when he couldn’t be there.

“Og!” The dark and the snowflakes made it hard to see. Nothing but snow-covered tree trunks and not a dog to be found.

Another bark came from close by. Tristan squinted into the woods. Og’s bright eyes glowed in the dark. A white-spotted dog was not easy to locate when everything was white-spotted, but now when Tristan knew what he was looking at, he could see that Og was indeed trapped. A dark figure held on to his collar, not that Og appeared to be bothered, judging by the happy thump of his tail against the snow, creating a white cloud around both him and the person on the ground.

Tristan took a careful step closer. His grip on the shovel tightened. What kind of lunatic came into the woods in weather like this?

“Hello?” Tristan stopped a couple of metres away from the body—a man, he saw now—and waited for a response. Only a muffled groan came. Fuck!

Tristan dropped the shovel and hurried forward to the man and shook him lightly. “Hey. Come on, wake up.” The eyelids fluttered as the man tried to open his eyes. Tristan touched his forehead—icy cold. The man was almost completely covered in snow and his hair was wet—Tristan assumed his clothes were, too. Without thinking, he reached for the man’s hand, shook loose his fingers from Og’s collar, and started to pull him out of the snow.

He sighed as he took in the trendy jeans and sneakers. Why couldn’t people dress according to the weather? If Og hadn’t found him, he’d have frozen to death—he wouldn’t look so pretty in his designer clothes in a casket.

He hefted the man up in a fireman’s carry and started making his way towards the cabin. It was like carrying an ice block. He guessed he should be pleased about the man being short and small framed. His curly dark hair flopped around his face with each step Tristan took.

They weren’t far from the cabin, but ploughing through the snow with the extra weight of the man and Og running around his legs had Tristan sweating and out of breath in no time at all. He grunted as he sank knee-deep into the snow, mentally cursing the stupid man for walking into his forest.

He couldn’t stay angry, though. He worried about the man being injured. It would be impossible to get an ambulance out here, and Tristan only had a basic knowledge of first aid. First, he needed to get him out of his wet clothes, that much he knew. Hypothermia was no joke.

Blurb:

Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden Evans has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find that at his mother’s place, but it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.

Tristan Gardner is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.

Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?

Contains the stories “Once in a Snowstorm,” “The Empty Egg,” “Happy Endings,” and “Just Words.”

Buy links:

Contemporary M/M Romance:46,142 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/AidenandTristan

About Ofelia:

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

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