My Books

Kindle Unlimited Refill

If you remember, I told you back in August that a whole bunch of my books had become available in the Kindle Unlimited program. The good thing is that my fabulous publisher JMS Books has an agreement with an aggregator that makes it possible to make our books available through the KU program, while still publishing them wide. Best of both worlds, so to speak.

And now with the new year, I thought a refill was in order, so I asked JMS Books to enroll all my books published in 2020 into the KU program, and they agreed. Hence more Nell Iris books for you KU subscribers. Good, eh?

And if you don’t remember which books I published in 2020, don’t worry about it. Neither did I, so I had to check, and voilà, here they are!

Late Night Poetry, Always You, One More Chance, Regaining Trust, and Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday are now all available on Kindle Unlimited.

So if you’re in the mood for curling up on the couch with a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and a good book like I am (we have stormy winds here today, so it’s totally indoors weather), check out my Amazon author page above.

Happy reading, and have a lovely weekend!

Coming Soon, Secrets on a Train

Secrets on a Train – available for pre-order

Now that I have an Evil Day Job (it’s only evil because it steals writing time from me, other than that, it’s perfectly fine 🙂 ) I commute to work. My husband drives me to the train station, and I take the train from there to Helsingborg, where my office is located. I spend 35-ish minutes on the train, and most of the time, I sit here:

This four-seater is located in the silent compartment on the train, and most of the time, it’s free when I board the train, so I can snag it before everyone else climbs on board. I want to avoid listening to other people’s conversation that early in the morning; I just want peace and quiet.

And Valentin and Runar in Secrets on a Train are the same, so it’s in the silent compartment of the train they meet. And the four-seater in the picture above is where I imagine most of the story is taking place.

It’s a short (app 9900 words) flirty story with two strangers who meet in the silent car and converse by writing on paper, or in the notes app on the phone. I’m calling it a modern epistolary story since most of the MCs’ conversation is written, even if they’re sitting across from each other on a train.

Does that sound like something you’d be interested in? If yes, it’s now up for pre-order at JMS Books.

It’s the fountain pens that capture Valentin’s attention on the morning commute, not the perfectly imperfect man who spends his train rides using them. Not his pinstriped suits, his chin-length hair, or his perpetually raised eyebrow. But one morning when the man strikes up a written conversation, Valentin gives up all pretense. It’s not just the pens. It’s the man. Runar.

The conversations continue, and the men get to know each other better, sharing secrets they’ve never told another soul. The connection is powerful, growing stronger with every encounter, every scribbled conversation, every scorching look. But can secrets shared on a train be enough to build a forever?

M/M contemporary / 9889 words

Coming on February 5

About Nell

Sunday Book Recommendation

I barely read any holiday books last year unless you count a few holiday themed fanfic stories, because most of what I read in December was Snarry (Harry Potter + Severus Snape) fanfiction. When I’m sick, I want to read (or watch) something familiar, so I wasn’t ready for something new.

I still bought a few books, though, and one of them, Dreidels & Do-Overs by Kim Fielding, caught my attention a couple days back and I decided to try it. And I really loved it.

As Caleb took the book, their fingers brushed. That alone was nearly enough to bring him to his knees.

Quote from Dreidels & Do-Overs

Caleb Stern was the high school hotshot, but a bad attitude and poor decisions led to years of misery. Now he’s trying to do better, and a job on the cleaning crew at a holiday craft fair could be a new beginning. What he didn’t expect was that his new start might be tangled up with ties from long ago.

Jasper Adams left an unfulfilling career and unsupportive boyfriend to follow his dreams. His handmade journals are a big success at the craft fair, which is great, but the real holiday miracle turns out to be a blast from his past.

Hanukkah nears, and both men yearn for holiday happiness. But moving forward often means first making peace with where you’ve been.

Jasper moved close and took Caleb into his arms. His hug was even nicer without clothing between them. He was warm and strong and simply…there, in a way nobody had been before.

Quote from Dreidels & Do-Overs

Dreidels & Do-Overs is exactly the kind of book I love the most, it’s quiet and gentle, with imperfect, normal people as main characters. There are no over-the-top romantic gestures, no banging each other against a wall, but there are plenty of tender moments. Moments of openness and honesty, of understanding and acceptance. Of courage and hope. All the things that makes me look like a heart-eye emoji and melts my heart in my chest.

Do I wish that the middle part had been more fleshed out? Yes, I do. But everything else was perfection so I can overlook it.

Dreidels & Do-Overs is definitely on my Goodreads feelgood, re-reads list, and I give it my warmest recommendations.

About Nell

Playing Chicken: A St Dwynwen’s Day story

Today, my friend A.L. Lester is here to remind us that is’s soon St Dwynwen’s Day, and about her book, Playing Chicken, that’s inspired by this day. I’ve read it, it’s fabulous (short review here), so if you want something short and down-to-earth, with chickens and tea, and a quiet romance, I warmly recommend this book.

Thank you so much for having me here today to visit, Nell! Happy New Year to you and all your readers.

I am popping in to remind everyone I have a short gay romance inspired by St Dwynwen’s Day, the 25th of January. This is the first of the Celtic Myth retellings I wrote and it began as a bit of a joke to cheer myself up. It’s a meet-cute bit of fluff that I accidentally made as a distraction from Real Life ™ early last year. It’s a nine-thousands word contemporary story set in Wales.

I am a member of the UK Romantic Novelist’s Association and during the lockdown the Welsh chapter (called Cariad, Welsh for love) had online meetings. During the December one, there was a discussion about stories suitable for bringing to reader’s attention for St Dwynwen’s Day in January. Dwynwen is often talked about as ‘The Welsh St Valentine’, although her story is a bit grim–and there are various versions of it.

They all begin with Dwynwen being one of the twenty-four daughters of the fifth century King Brychan Brycheiniog, King of Brycheiniog or Brecknockshire/Breconshire. She fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, but her father wanted her to marry someone else.

In the most well-known version of the story, Maelon was so angry when she told him she couldn’t marry him that he raped her. She ran away to the woods, where she begged god to make her forget Maelon and when she fell asleep she was visited by an angel who gave her a potion to erase her memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

God also gave her three wishes:

  • Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed, which was very generous of her, considering.
  • Secondly she asked that god meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers. Again, generous after her own bad experience.
  • And thirdly she wished that she would never marry. I can get behind this.

All her wishes were granted and in thanks she devoted her life to god.

I loathe this version. I feel that if someone raped me and I had the good luck to get him frozen, I wouldn’t be immediately unfreezing him, however saintly I was. So I like to think this is the misogynistic version of the story I prefer—that they were in love and slept together, but when her father found out, Dwynwen panicked and said it had been without her consent before she ran away. Poor old Maelon still gets frozen, but it would explain why she unfreezes him so quickly.

There’s a bit of a fashion for modern fairy-tale retellings at the moment, but I really didn’t intend to make one. However, this is now is the first of four that I wrote over the course of last year once I realised how much I was enjoying myself. To begin with as I was writing, the story wasn’t tied to the myth at all; it was a meet-cute set on Christmas Eve. But it really wasn’t working for me and after a bit of a think it seemed that tying it to St Dwynwen’s Day was a natural fit. And I ended up making poor, frozen, unjustly accused Maelon one of my main characters, because he deserved a happy ending!

🐓 Playing Chicken 🐓

Obviously cock jokes were out. The telepathic chicken didn’t like it.

Quote from Playin Chicken by A.L. Lester

Marc returns home from London to his isolated Welsh cottage for good, having found his ex boyfriend shagging someone else in their bed. Who’s the thin, freezing cold man with the bruised face he finds in his barn? Will the tenuous connection between them grow, or fade away?

A 9,000 word short story to mark the Welsh St Valentine’s Day, St Dwynwen’s Day, the 25th of January. With chickens.

Buy from Amazon : Buy Everywhere Else

Excerpt from Playing Chicken – Rudimentary First Aid

His first aid kit was rudimentary but covered the basics. Antiseptics, dressings, butterfly strips. It should do the job. He hauled it out from under the driver’s seat, eyeing the squeezed-in boxes disfavourably. That was going to be today’s job, he supposed.

He was so taken up with his mission that he forgot there should have been a chicken in the porch until he turned back toward the house. He blinked in disbelief. She had a friend. Two friends. They were sat in a row on the back of the garden bench underneath the parlour window. As he watched, they jumped down, one by one and stood in a line, as if waiting for him. The two new ones were very clearly the same breed as Chicken Number One. Big, fluffy, orange. One had more exciting headgear than the other two and was a bit bigger, so he guessed that was a boy-chicken. Cockerel. Cock. He sniggered quietly and then stopped himself as the first chicken…he could tell it was the original one because it had a bit of black in its tail and the others didn’t…looked at him disapprovingly.

Obviously cock jokes were out. The telepathic chicken didn’t like it.

“Sorry,” he said. “I was just getting the first aid kit for Mal. I’ll stop.”

He performed a shuffling dance around them to get back indoors. “You’re like the Midwich Cuckoos,” he told them. “You are not coming into my house. Stay outside. It’s bad enough having a porch full of chicken shit.”

Mal was on his feet looking at him in alarm when he stepped through the parlour door, and the dog was standing beside him, hackles up.

“Who were you talking to?” he asked in a panicked voice. “Is someone out there?”

Marc shook his head. “Chickens,” he said. “I seem to have chickens living in the porch. It’s fine. He narrowed his eyes. “What makes you think there might be someone out there? Who hurt you?”

Mal sat down on the edge of the chair and ran his hands over his cheeks, pulling a face. The dog sat beside him and put her chin on his knee, staring up at him, and he absently began to pet her ears. Marc knelt beside him and opened the first-aid box.

“My ex’s dad,” he said, quietly, after a moment or two. We’d split up anyway. Ages ago. But he saw me in Welshpool a couple of days ago and wanted to drive the point home.’ He shivered. “I’d only gone down into town to pick up some food and bits.” He winced as Marc turned his face toward the light and began to wipe the cut against his hairline with antiseptic. “I’d left Anghared up here, else he wouldn’t have got near me.”

The dog gave a small woof as she heard her name.

“Would he, girl? Stupid man.”

“So how did you end up in my barn?” Marc said, gently fixing butterfly strips over the cut. It had come open again and was bleeding a bit, but it looked like it would be fine. “Come on, let’s look at your ribs too, while I’m at it.”

“They’re fine, honestly. Only bruised.” Mal pulled away and Marc just looked at him. Mal sighed. “All right, all right.” He began to unzip the big hoodie he was swamped in and winced again. Marc raised an eyebrow, silently asking for permission and then reached out to help when Mal nodded. There were a lot of layers to get through and it took a while to gently extract him. The cold was still coming off him in waves and he was shivering badly as he said, “I’ve been staying up in the woods. But I felt too bad to get home. Anghared found me, didn’t you girl? And we needed somewhere out of the cold. I’m freezing, still.”

He was shuddering, which was probably a good thing in retrospect, Marc thought. He hadn’t been shivering at all when he’d first come inside. Incipient hypothermia. He had a quick look and a gentle feel of the ribs. They were badly bruised but he couldn’t feel anything shifting around, so he’d call that good. Mal’s skin was icy cold under Marc’s fingers.

“Bath?” he said. “Or body-heat?”

“Ugh,” he screwed his face up. “Do I have to?”

“Yes,” said Marc firmly. “I don’t want you to die on my first day home for two and a half years. If that’s all right.”

Buy from Amazon : Buy Everywhere Else

About A. L. Lester

Ally Lester writes queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense and lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, three guineapigs, some hens and the duckettes.

She likes permaculture gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy these days. Not musical, doesn’t much like telly, likes to read. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has fibromyalgia and tedious fits.

Join my newsletter, for a free copy of the novella An Irregular Arrangement or find me on social media via my link-tree.

About Nell

New Release Spotlight; One Would Be Enough by Holly Day

Hello everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by again. (You’re always welcome, my friend. I’m reserving a spot for you every month this year. No pressure! 😀 )

I hope you’ve had a good start to the year. At the time of writing, we’re awaiting Covid test results for hubby, so not the greatest of starts to the year. By the time this post goes live, we’ll probably know, but there are delays in getting the results since so many are getting tested right now.

But I didn’t come here to talk about the plague. Today, One Would Be Enough is released. It’s a paranormal story I wrote for Make Your Dream Come True Day. And making your dream come true is a much better way to start the year than being sick, so I’m focusing on that.

Teo has finally achieved his dream – owning a house and having enough money so he doesn’t have to have a real day job. Too bad buying the house set off the local werewolf pack. They wanted the property, and when Teo refuses to sell to them, they kidnap him and lock him up in a basement.

Jerico is a werewolf who left the pack sixteen years ago. He refused to mate the female his father had picked for him. The problem is that she comes with a dowry the pack needs to be able to buy Teo’s land. So, when Jerico yet again rejects the female, they throw him in the basement together with Teo.

Normally, a lot is going on in my stories. That’s not the case in this one. Here they spend most of the time locked up in the dark with nothing to do but talk. It was a bit of a challenge to write, but fun too.

Teo has his dreams all figured out, he knows what he wants out of life, and when he sits in the dark with Jerico, he asks about his dreams. Jerico only has one dream – to have a pack. Somewhere to belong. It doesn’t have to be a big pack, just two or three people… even one would be enough, as long as he doesn’t have to go through life alone.

I often pick character names that mean something, and Teo comes from Theodor and means gift from God or divine gift. And to Jerico, he is a divine gift. Jerico doesn’t only feel lost in the endless blackness of the basement; he’s lost in life too. But then there is Teo speaking to him, and he clings to the soft babbling.

And for the fun of it, since Jerico is a werewolf, I named him Jerico, which means city of the moon. We can’t have a werewolf without a moon connection 😄


Teo Solace has worked hard to achieve his dream of owning a house. But he didn’t know he would become next-door neighbor to werewolves or that refusing the pack’s demand to sell the house to them would end with being kidnapped.

Jerico Franklin left his pack sixteen years ago, and he never planned to return. By refusing to mate with the female his father picked for him, he believed he was doomed to live the rest of his life as a lone wolf. He didn’t expect to wake up in a dark cellar with a human by his side. Jerico shouldn’t care about the human, but when he learns his former pack intends to kill Teo to take over his house, he knows he has to find a way to get them out of there before he loses control of his wolf.

Teo never believed he’d care for a wolf, but spending days in the dark with nothing but Jerico’s voice to cling to shifts his perspectives. Humans are a dime on a dozen. One more or less shouldn’t matter, but Jerico would’ve lost himself in the dark if it wasn’t for Teo. For how long will Jerico be able to keep Teo safe from the pack? For how long can he keep him safe from himself?

Gay Paranormal Romance: 17,039 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


Fear curled in Teo’s gut. This was so much worse than he’d first pictured. They’d either kill him to get to his house or they’d force him to sell. He’d worked so fucking hard to get here. It was his dream. All the hard work should have left him sitting in his house without a care in the world. It was the plan.

“What’s your dream?” He looked straight ahead. He believed Jerico was within reach. He’d moved around the chair when he’d growled, but if he reached out, he’d be able to touch him.

“My dream?” Jerico sounded confused.

“Yeah, what do you dream of? What are you working for?”

“To keep a roof over my head and food on the table.”

“That’s your dream, to have food and shelter?” It wasn’t a dream.

Jerico was quiet for several seconds. “To have a home, I guess.”

“You’re homeless?” That sucked.

“No, I’m renting an apartment in Hulton. It’s far enough from pack land and yet not so far south people haven’t seen shifters before.”

Teo nodded. Not wanting to live in the south made sense, he guessed. “So… they’re okay with shifters in Hulton?” He wasn’t exactly sure where Hulton was, but he’d heard the name before.

“Hell no, but should I slip up, they wouldn’t shoot me on sight. There would be time to get away.”

Teo took a moment to let the words sink in. “So… no one knows what you are there?”

An ache spread in Teo’s chest. He didn’t know what it would do to someone to hide what they were. He didn’t think being silent about his sexual orientation was comparable, and yet it was enough to leave him feeling trapped at times.

“No.” He was silent for a moment. “When Hugo appeared on my doorstep, I let him in despite knowing I shouldn’t. I wanted to believe he’d come there for… companionship. Two lone wolves shacking up together, like a miniature pack.”

“You want a miniature pack?” Couldn’t he get a dog? Maybe he had one already.

“I want a big pack, but I’ll never fit into one. One or two close people would be enough. One would be enough.” He made a frustrated sound and clanked the cuffs against the chair.

Once he stopped, silence spread, and Teo took a small step forward. The heat of Jerico’s bound arms radiated against his body. He wanted to lean against him to soak up the heat, but it was a bad idea. “Doesn’t it depend on the pack? If you’d fit in, I mean.”

Jerico shifted position again, a hiss sounding in the dark. Teo placed his hands on his shoulders. Warmth crept up his arms, and Jerico froze underneath his palms.

“There is no pack who’d take in a man like me.”

The tone told Teo Jerico believed it to be true. He clenched his teeth together to keep them from chattering. “So, you have a dream, but you’ve convinced yourself it’s unattainable?”

“You talk too much, human.”

Teo huffed and squeezed his trapezius, they were so tense he winced. “We should see if we could get you out of these cuffs. Can’t be good to be trussed up like this for too long.”

“They’re not gonna—”

“Hey! Are you out there?” Teo shouted as loudly as he could, and Jerico cursed under his breath which made Teo grin. It didn’t take many seconds before the door opened.

“Yes?” It was the woman. Teo recognized her voice.

“Yeah, my furry friend here needs to go to the bathroom.”

She remained silent for longer than Teo appreciated.

“He’s furry?”

“Of course not. It’s not a full moon tonight.” He had no idea if it was day or night.

“Dumbass.” Jerico spoke in a whispered tone, almost as if he didn’t want the woman to hear.

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.

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