About Nell

Sometimes You Need a Break

Yesterday morning’s writing happened at the kitchen table. My computer was already downstairs from the evening before, and I was in dire need of an ocean of tea, so I decided that it was best if I was close to the kettle. I spent three lovely hours with my best writing buddies; Ally and Ofelia/Holly, and when we closed down the morning office in favor of breakfast, I said I’ll definitely write more today, I have a deadline.

But when I made breakfast, the hubby asked if I wanted him to light a fire, and I almost screamed yes. So we ate in the den, by the fire. And I made a pot of tea (seriously, I had so much tea yesterday that I expected to see Mrs. Potts staring back at me from the bathroom mirror), picked up my e-reader to only read a chapter on the book I started the day before…and never left the couch again for the rest of the day.

That’s obviously not true; I did leave the couch for necessities like going to the bathroom and making something to eat, like yummy gyoza (although, full disclosure, the picture above isn’t from yesterday but from the day I folded them and put them into the freezer. But we ate from this batch yesterday). But I couldn’t make myself do anything else. I opened my computer, even went upstairs to fetch my notebook, but no. No words wanted to come.

Instead, I stayed on the couch, feeding more wood into the fire while wrinkling my nose at the drab gray weather outside my window. It’s been raining and raining and raining, and yesterday was no exception, so I think my soul needed the warmth, the crackle, and the smell of a wood-burning fire.

After dinner, the hubby poured me a glass of red wine and I started another book, a re-read of a favorite, Beautiful Boy by Grace R. Duncan. So I spent the rest of the evening like I spent the day: on the couch, by the fire, with a book on my e-reader. And I couldn’t part from the fire, so I didn’t go to bed until midnight, which made getting up this morning a bit hard. But so, so worth it.

Because yes, I do have a deadline and I did feel a little guilty for not writing, for wasting an entire day, one of the few I have now that I work a day job, and then I thought No! Fuck it! Everyone deserves a break sometimes, a moment to recharge, and I clearly needed that yesterday.

It was a lovely day to spend a gray, rainy Saturday, and I don’t regret it. That being said; back to work. I have a deadline.

Yesterday’s playlist:

Prayers for Rain – The Cure
The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
La Guillotine de Magritte – Einstürzende Neubauten
House of Cards – Radiohead
My Thieving Heart – Sivert Høyem + Marie Munroe

All I See

All I’ll Ever See: cover and pre-order link

I have a cover for All I’ll Ever See! And a release day! And a pre-order link! Wohooo, lots of goodies all at once.

And if you have forgotten, All I’ll Ever See is what happened when I decided to write a prequel to my short freebie All I See and the prequel turned into an expanded version that’s close to 15000 words (instead of the 4633 words of the original story.)

It will be released on September 11…which also happens to be my birthday, so happy birthday to me! 🙂

Are you ready for the stunning cover??

The night Kieran bangs on Theo’s door and kisses him changes both their lives forever. Theo has never been in the closet, but Kieran isn’t out and risks losing everything—his inheritance, his relationship with his family—should his parents find out.

But their feelings for each other can’t be denied, and Theo agrees to keeping their budding relationship a secret. But can their love grow and flourish when hidden away in the dark? Or will it wilt and die before they have a chance to live happily ever after?

Remember to subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already because my publisher has promised an extra special discount code only for my subscribers. But if you don’t like newsletters and don’t want to sign up, JMS always offers 20% off all pre-orders, so you still don’t have to pay full price. Good, eh?

Sign up for my newsletter here.

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I love him.

Even after three years, saying so astounds me. Spoken. Written. Aloud. Shared. I love him, he loves me, and sometimes he rests a hand in my wolf’s fur while posed on the throne and every inch a ruler, and when in human shape I spoke my marriage-vows to him I thought I might shapeshift into a pool of gold out of sheer magical happiness.

Quote from Bisclavret by K.L. Noone

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I absolutely adore K.L. Noone’s writing (search her name on my blog and you’ll find many, many posts of me gushing about her books and her writing), and a couple weeks ago, I picked up a book of hers I’d bought a long time ago but never gotten around to reading. Bisclavret.

A very long time ago, in the very old forests of Brittany, a werewolf loved a king …

The Lord Bisclavret has a secret. A family enchantment. A wolf’s curse, transforming him when the moon is full. He hopes to be a good lord for his people, and he’s always been a loyal king’s man, even if the new king is inexperienced and scholarly. But one betrayal might leave him trapped in wolf-shape forever … unless his king can save him.

Andreas would rather be a University scholar than a king, and has no interest in a royal marriage — desire’s always come slowly, if at all. But he loves his kingdom, so he’ll try to protect it, even when rumors of a man-killing wolf spread across his land. He’ll pick up a sword and go out on a hunt, and hope to keep his people safe.

But the wolf has the eyes of a man, and the scholar-king’s knowledge of folklore and fairy-stories might break a werewolf’s curse … with the help of love.

Very loosely based on the twelfth-century story by Marie de France, Bisclavret features a bisexual werewolf lord, a demisexual king who’d rather be a scholar, some exasperated men-at-arms, and very important stolen clothing.

This book. My friends, this book! 😍 It’s poetic and beautiful and romantic and everything I love about stories. I don’t really know how to describe it other than Bisclavret became my new favorite K.L. Noone book, one of my favorite shifter books of all time (tied to first place with Shifting Silver by Brandon Witt), and definitely one of my top 10 reads of 2021.

If you’re only gonna buy one more book this year, I recommend this one. 10 stars ❤️

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Bear Claw by Holly Day

Today, my dear friend Holly Day is back on the blog with her newest release, Bear Claw. I’m scheduling this blog post during one of my early morning writing sessions, and the pictures made my mouth water and I’m craving a bear claw and macarons and pastry for breakfast. Maybe Holly should apologize for that, too?! 😁

Nah, just kidding. No need to apologize, but maybe since we only live a couple hours from each other, she should compensate me by sending me a box of pastries? Everyone in favor, say “aye!” 😁

Hi, Nell! Hello, Nell’s readers!

Holly Day here 😊. As some of you might know, I like to celebrate things, and tomorrow, it’s Be an Angel Day. *nods* Yup, it’s true. A day when you’re supposed to act like an angel. I won’t tell you if I will or not, but I wrote a story to celebrate the day, and it so just happens that it’s released today, yay! 🥳

I’ll be over at A.L. Lester’s blog in a couple of days, and I started that post by apologising because I’d written an alpha story – Ally dislikes those. I’m thinking I should do the same here because Nell dislikes stories where one of the characters ‘doesn’t want a boyfriend’. Sorry, Nell!  Shiro does not want a boyfriend. He really, truly doesn’t 😂.

I feel like, maybe, I’ll have to apologise to everyone I visit with this story LOL.

The thing is, The Bear Claw is an alternate universe story. All supernatural characters are either dominant or submissive – not in a BDSM kind of way but in a pack-structure kind of way – and Shiro is submissive. Every dominant he meets can order him to do things.

His first mate was an abusive arse, but since he died, Shiro has been free, or as free as a submissive can be in a society like the one he’s living in. He owns a bakery and while he’s unable to shift into an animal, he can put emotions into cookies and cakes. His employee and friend, Astra, has the ability to make coffee taste divine. If only one of them had been a dominant, they could’ve lived their lives as they saw fit.

When Pitch, a dominant werewolf, takes an interest in Shiro, he does his best to fake being a dominant. When that doesn’t work, he hides in the kitchen of his bakery and does his best to avoid Pitch altogether.

It’s not working very well.


Pitch kept his face blank despite wanting to frown. All he’d said was that Shiro needed someone to take care of him—all submissives needed someone to take care of them. He and Bernard were proof of it… or Bernard more than him.

Bernard came here after finishing his shift at the bar every day to walk Shiro and Astra to work. It should be enough for Shiro to understand he needed a dominant. He gave Shiro one last look before heading for the table where Astra had put two cups of coffee.

Bernard sat, took a sip, and smiled at Astra.

Pitch sat, took a sip, and almost spit it out. “Fecking shit!” He hadn’t meant to growl, and when Astra raised an eyebrow at him, he took a calming breath. “There is something wrong with my coffee, Astra.”

“No, I don’t think so. I told you it would taste like rat poison.”

“Unless I…” Left Shiro alone. He shook his head and set the cup aside. “I see.”

She straightened her back. “I know your kind.”


She rolled her eyes. “The kind who thinks that because you can order someone around, you have the right to. Shiro works ten times as hard as you do, and yet you think you have the right to harass him.”

“I wasn’t harassing him.”

Bernard’s gaze jumped between them.

“No? What did you say to make him panic so hard I could smell it?”

Pitch gritted his teeth. “Only that he needed someone to take care of him.”

Both she and Bernard snorted which made Pitch glare at Bernard. “He does. He’s working too hard, and you said it yourself, it’s not safe for him to walk the streets at night.”

“Because of stupid alphas.” Astra couldn’t meet his gaze, but she glared at his nose for several seconds. “It’s not Shiro’s fault people like you think they have the right to dictate his life.”

Pitch didn’t respond. He wasn’t dictating Shiro’s life. He could, but he wasn’t.

Bernard finished his coffee, a bit faster than could be considered normal. “I stink. I have to change shirt. Will you be okay without me for a few minutes?”

“Depends on if dickhead here is gonna stay civil or pull some stupid dominant shit.” Astra crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Pitch’s nose again. She had more spunk than he’d given her credit for.

“I’ll guard them with my life.” He’d meant to make his tone mocking, but it came out all serious. He could guard them. Crazy as it was, he didn’t want some drunken dominants to saunter in here and disturb Shiro while he was baking. He’d appeared contented while he was baking.

Bernard got up, and Astra took the coffee cups, both the empty and the full. As soon as Bernard had left, she put a fresh cup in front of him, and he cautiously took a sip. Divine. The best coffee he’d ever had.

He shrugged off his leather jacket and scratched one heavily tattooed arm before taking another sip. “Is it only coffee or can you change the taste of any food.”

“Only liquid.” She wiped away a drop she’d spilled on the table. “Shiro does baked goods.”

“All kinds of baked goods?”

She shrugged. “It’s not the same. My skill is that I can either make it the best you’ve ever had, bland, or terrible. Should Bernard have taken a sip of your coffee before he’d only taste coffee, nothing special. It’s limited to you, or you know the person I’m pouring it for. It’s a good skill when working in a place like this, but it doesn’t have a great impact on the world.”

Pitch frowned. “Don’t say that. You could have this place overflowing with customers. It could bring in a lot of money.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Money you’d take.”

“What?” He was too stunned to get angry. Did she think he’d steal from them?

“I see the way you’re watching Shiro. He doesn’t want a mate.”

“He needs—”

“Remember the taste of the coffee.”

Pitch scratched the stubble on his cheek. “He needs someone to take care of him.”

“No, he doesn’t. He needs to be allowed to live his life without dancing to the whims of his puppet master. He runs a business; he doesn’t need a dominant to sweep in and steal it from him.”

Steal it? It was better if dominants owned businesses since they couldn’t be manipulated.

Astra huffed. “You’re still not getting it.” With a shake of her head, she went behind the counter and started organizing the display shelf.

Get what?


In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.

Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.

Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?

Buy links:

 Gay Paranormal Romance / 46,763 words

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

About Holly

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Instagram

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: The Fog of War by A.L. Lester

Help me welcome the lovely and talented A.L. Lester, my morning writing friend and all-round wonderful human being to the blog today ❤️

The Fog of War: Lucille Hall-Bridges

Thank you so much to Nell for having me here today to talk about my new release, The Fog of War! The book is the first of a new trilogy in my Border Magic Universe. It’s a sapphic, historical, paranormal, romantic mystery set in rural England in 1920. I’m doing a bit of a blog-tour talking about the characters, settings and the history behind it and Nell is one of the stops. You’ll be able to find the other posts listed on my website as they come out this week. I’ve also had a Facebook Release Party in my group with drop-ins from similar genre authors, so please do pop over and see what giveaways and the like are still running!

Lucille Hall-Bridge (Lucy)

Born: 1895 at her family’s large country house Magenford, in Buckinghamshire, England.

Profession: None. Previously a volunteer nurse in France at the Royaumont Women’s Hospital between 1915-18.

Smokes: Anything anyone else has.

Drives: Like a demon.

Lives: At Magenford and then Bradfield, with Sylvia.

Appearance: Very smart, not quite a flapper but very chic. She has recently got her father’s barber to bob her brown hair short and it’s gone in to curls. Has a thing for hats.

Personality: Kind, quiet until she needs to speak up. Implacable at righting wrongs. Funny. Likes slapstick comedy at the flicks. Very bad at knitting.

Like Sylvia, Lucy wasn’t a difficult character to come up with. She’s a very straightforward sort of person and unlike Sylvia, she doesn’t really have mysterious hidden depths. Her depths are the quite usual ones of initially appearing very young and quiet but having the fortitude to step up and do what’s necessary.

That’s why she pushed to serve overseas in 1915. Red Cross VAD nurses (the Voluntary Aid Detachment)  were supposed to be twenty-three before they were assigned to overseas service and Lucy was only twenty. Lucy felt very strongly that France was where she was supposed to be and with the help of her mother, who knew a woman who knew a woman, she was sent to the Royaumont Women’s Hospital. She served there as an orderly for three years doing everything from scrubbing floors to emptying bedpans to holding men’s hands as they died.

It was a great shock when she arrived and she really thought she might have made a mistake. She’s a well brought up girl from a wealthy, old family and she’d never even made her own bed before she went to France. But she pulled herself together and got on with it and really felt she made a difference.

Now the war is over she doesn’t know what she wants to do with herself. She’s lucky her parents are a bit eccentric and open-minded and are simply happy if she’s happy.

Going to visit Sylvia seems like a good idea. Sylvia needs help sorting out her ramshackle house. And Lucy has time, she likes sorting things out and putting things straight and organising. She enjoys Sylvia’s company and after all, what else is there to do?

Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Editor: Lourenza Adlem
Release date: 14 Aug 2014
Word Count: 50,000 words
Genre: Sapphic, found-family, historical, paranormal romantic mystery set in 1920s England.
Content Warning: Mention of domestic violence.

The quiet village of Bradfield should offer Dr Sylvia Marks the refuge she seeks when she returns home from her time in a field hospital in France in 1918. However, she is still haunted by the disappearance of her ambulance-driver lover two years previously, and settling down as a village doctor is more difficult than she realised it would be after the excitement of front-line medicine. Then curious events at a local farm, mysterious lights and a hallucinating patient’s strange illness make her revisit her assessment of Anna’s death on the battlefield.

Lucille Hall-Bridges is at a loose end now her nursing work is finished. She felt useful as a nurse and now she really doesn’t know what to do with her life. She hopes going to stay with her friend Sylvia for a while will help her find a way forward. And if that involves staying at Bradfield with Sylvia…then that’s fine with her.

Will the arrival of Lucy at Bradfield be the catalyst that allows both women to lay their wartime stresses to rest? Can Sylvia move on from her love affair with Anna and find happiness with Lucy, or is she still too entwined in the unresolved endings of the past?

The first in the Bradfield trilogy, set in the Border Magic universe.

Buy::Buy from Publisher::Add on Goodreads::Find on author-website

About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, some hens and the duckettes. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

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It was a beautiful late August day when Sylvia motored down to Taunton to collect Lucy from the railway station. The sun shone through the trees as she followed the lane down the hill from the village and the sky above was a beautiful summer blue. She had left the all-weather hood of the Austin down and wore a scarf and gloves against the wind, topping her trouser outfit off with her new hat, which she pinned firmly to the neat coil of her long hair.

Walter had watched her fussing with her appearance in the hall mirror, stuffing his pipe. “Are you sweet on her?” he asked, somewhat acerbically.

“It’ll be cold with the hood down,” she said, crushingly.

“Yes, yes, so it will be.” He turned his attention back to his tobacco, face straight. “Be careful on the bends.”

“I will,” she said. “She’s a beast to drive, smooth on the straights and handles well on the corners, but I’ve no desire to end up in the ditch.”

She’d bought the big Austin coupe late last winter when she’d got fed up riding her motorcycle out to some of the more remote houses she was called to in the dreadful weather. It was huge, far bigger than she needed really, although the back seat was useful to transport a patient if she had to. She still preferred her ‘cycle, but it wasn’t exactly suitable as a doctor’s vehicle. Not very staid at all. The Austin wasn’t very staid either, in that it was huge and expensive; but one of the benefits of a private income was that she could afford it; and so why not be comfortable?

She pondered all this and more on the drive down to Taunton, mind floating along with no real purpose. She loved to drive and for some reason it calmed her thoughts and allowed them to drift.

It would be lovely to see Lucy again. As Walt had said, she was a sweet little thing. Although Sylvia didn’t want to revisit the grim minutiae of some of the worst times at Royaumont, it would be lovely to reminisce about some of their happier moments of camaraderie. It had been four years of extreme stress and grim terror lightened with moments of laughter and fun. Working with a team of competent women all pulling together for one purpose had been extraordinary. She’d never experienced anything like it before and she doubted she would again. She was delighted some of the staff had set up a regular newsletter so they could all  stay connected.

And so what if Lucy was sweet on her. Sylvia wasn’t interested in that kind of complication anymore. She didn’t want to cause gossip in the village for a start…although she supposed people wouldn’t make any assumptions about two women living together these days after so many men hadn’t come home from France. But anyway, even if it wouldn’t cause gossip, she didn’t think about Lucy like that. And she doubted Lucy thought about Sylvia like that, despite Walter’s teasing. He was stirring the pot a little to see what bubbled up, that was all.

Those musings took her to the station.

The train was on time and was just pulling in as she got out of the car. She walked out onto the platform as the smoke was clearing and through the clouds, she made out Lucy.

She was beside the guard’s van, directing the guard and porters to what seemed like an unnecessarily large pile of luggage. Despite the clement August weather, she was wearing an extremely smart velvet coat with a fur collar over a beautiful travelling suit that hung to mid calf, topped with an extraordinary confection of a hat.

She looked competent and sophisticated and exceptionally beautiful. Not at all the slightly scapegrace young person of 1916 who had persuaded the hospital powers-that-be she was a suitable candidate for France, although she’d been only twenty-one and inexperienced as a nurse.

Well. Gosh.