Better Late Than Never: the Last Day of Two Sales

You’d think that with two month long book sales going on for the entirety of July, I could’ve found a moment to tell you about them before the last day. But nope. I’ve been so busy, I’ve barely had time to breathe. It’s ridiculous, really, but what can you do?

So anyway. Two book sales. It’s the last day for both of them, but you still have time to go forth and shop.

Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale

The first of the sales is the yearly Smashwords Summer/Winter sale where all my solo-written books are 50% off! Shopping books at half price is great when you have a long TBR/wish list, so don’t miss this opportunity to splurge 😁

JMS Books 12 Year Anniversary Sale

The second sale is in celebration of my fabulous publisher JMS Books’ twelfth anniversary, and they offer 12% off all books. So if you don’t like shopping from Smashwords, or if you like supporting a small press, may I suggest you check out this sale?

JMS Books has also released a bunch of books on the theme twelve, also to celebrate this anniversary. I was going to write a story for this submission call, but I simply didn’t have the time, so instead, I’ve read a few of the other authors’ take on the theme. I warmly recommend all the books below.

The Twelfth Enchantment :: Twelve Letters :: Let Me Count the Flowers :: The 12th Witch


New Release Spotlight and Guestpost: Love in an Elevator by Holly Day

Today, I welcome my dear friend Holly Day back to the blog; she’s here to talk about her July story, Love in an Elevator (does anyone else hear Steven Tyler’s voice in their heads now, or is it just me?). And before I leave the floor to Holly, I feel the need to reassure her. No, I’m not an elevator talker. I promise to never speak a word to you should we end up in an elevator together 😁

Hello, everyone! Thank you, lovely Nell, for allowing me to swing by today 😘. We’ve reached the seventh story of the year, yay! It’s called Love in an Elevator, and I wrote it to celebrate Talk in an Elevator Day.

Are you an elevator talker? Please say no.

To celebrate Talk in an Elevator Day they suggest you talk to someone in the elevator (duh) but they go on, saying: The conversation doesn’t have to be something complicated or too intense. You can ask them about their day, hobbies, and/or work. (from

Any introverts out there?? I don’t know if it’s just me, but if a complete stranger started asking me about work or hobbies in an elevator, I’d try to claw myself out through the wall. I mean elevators are scary enough as they are being closed in with PEOPLE! To have said PEOPLE interact and expect me to be able to formulate coherent replies while panicking about being closed in with PEOPLE, that’s just cruel. Please don’t do that.

If you want to talk to me, send an email. I love emails. If you’re not an email kind of person, PM me on social. If you’re not a social media kind of person and have my phone number, send a text.  If none of the above applies, well, then I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends 😆

Luckily, Hayden and Corey in Love in an Elevator don’t have my aversion to elevator talk. If they’d had, the story would’ve been hard to write LOL

Corey doesn’t talk using his voice. He has a severe stutter and has given up on spoken language. Instead, he communicates through texts and sign language. Hayden talks. He talks so much it takes him a couple of elevator rides to realise Corey never replies.


Corey Hope’s school years sucked. With a crippling stutter, he was easy prey, and despite being grown up, his bullies still haunt his nightmares. After he left school, he gave up on trying to talk, and communicates solely through sign language and written text. It works great even though he wished he could say something when Hayden flirts with him in the elevator.

Hayden does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and he thinks they might have something, but it all comes crashing down when Corey sees him having lunch with his colleagues. Corey might be drawn to Hayden, but seeing him with his school bullies has old memories washing over him. He won’t let them hurt him ever again, and he’d rather forget about Hayden than risk Hayden hurting him.

How will Hayden convince Corey he’s nothing like his colleagues when Corey refuses to see him?

Contemporary gay romance / 17,560 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


For the third time, he took the stairs on the way down. Walking down four floors wasn’t too bad, and he got to pass Corey’s apartment. Or not pass, but he could see his door from the stairs, so he walked as slowly as he could and often stopped to check his phone and read a few news headlines.

He was ridiculous.

Corey had smiled at him, but he hadn’t said anything to indicate he wanted more to do with Hayden than bump into him in doorways, and even that might be more than he wanted. Come to think about it, Corey hadn’t spoken at all.

Hayden frowned. He had to have said something. Surely, Hayden hadn’t talked so much that Corey hadn’t gotten a single word in. He lingered right above Corey’s floor, wondering if taking a five-minute break half a flight down from his floor was illegal. Taking a break wasn’t illegal but taking it on the same step ten times a day wasn’t sane.

When the sound of a door opening reached him, Hayden almost jumped out of his skin. It was what he’d been waiting for, hoping for, but now guilt washed over him. He truly had turned into a stalker. Holding his breath, he listened for voices, but there weren’t any.

Striving for casual, he jogged down the last few steps until the corridor of doors on the third floor became visible. A young woman was exiting Corey’s apartment. Her long chocolate hair reached halfway down her back, and her hands flew through the air as she gestured. She didn’t make a single sound while Hayden stared at her.

Sign language.

The world came to a stop. Corey was deaf?

A second later, Corey followed her out. Hayden stood stock still, hoping they wouldn’t see him. If he didn’t move, they might not notice him.

Corey had his keys in one hand and closed the door but didn’t lock it. He must be planning on coming back shortly.

As they went into the elevator, Hayden ran. Could he beat the elevator to the bottom floor? Rushing down, he grinned when he spotted an old woman leaning on a red rollator waiting by the elevator door on the second floor, and hurried along.

He reached the bottom floor before the elevator and rushed toward the mailboxes. He sucked in a breath and held it to get his breathing under control. His heart drummed fast, but he adopted a casual mail-checking pose. Slowly, he unlocked his mailbox and grabbed the two envelopes that had been there since the day before.

When the elevator door opened, he hung back, watching first the old woman’s rollator come out, followed by the lady herself, then Corey’s friend—girlfriend?—exited. Corey followed shortly after. His hands were dancing in the air, and Hayden’s heart sank. How would he ever be able to communicate with Corey if he couldn’t hear him?

He’d understood Hayden, he’d smiled and nodded. Hayden hadn’t made it up, had he?

Corey turned so his back was to Hayden, and he could no longer see his hands. The woman was moving away, her hands moved as she scowled at Corey. It didn’t look like they were about to kiss goodbye.

Hayden held his breath as she neared the exit, and Corey stayed right outside the elevator. When she slipped out through the door, Hayden cleared his throat. Corey spun around, his eyes widening for a second, then he smiled.

Not deaf. He’d reacted to the sound, but… “Are you deaf?”

Corey frowned. A guarded look crept into his eyes, and the smile was gone. Fuck. “You’re signing.” Hayden gestured at the door where the woman had disappeared as if it would explain his lack of manners.

Corey gave a slow nod, then he turned to the mailboxes.

This day was turning to shit. “But you can hear me, right? Or are you reading my lips? I know you understand me.” He had to. Hayden had told him about his coffee incident and had asked him to come see Tara’s cups. Corey had heard or at least understood him. How hard would it be to learn sign language? Maybe he could learn it so he could understand Corey.

Corey gave him a blank stare, and Hayden couldn’t tell if he’d heard him or not. But he had heard him. Hayden was almost certain.

“You’re…” Dumb was offensive, right? “…mute?” He held his breath. Was mute offensive too? No, he’d read an article about selective mutism, if it was the term they used, it couldn’t be too bad, could it? Hayden forced himself to blow out the air in his lungs as he watched Corey. When he gave one short nod, Hayden slumped against the wall of mailboxes. “So you do hear me?”

Corey nodded again.

“Awesome. And the girl?”

When Corey frowned, Hayden grinned. “The woman leaving.”

Corey held up his index finger, moved it to his cheek near his ear and then to his chin. Hayden was sure it meant something.

“Is she your girlfriend?”

Corey shook his head.

“Is she deaf?”

Nodding, Corey repeated the motion with his index finger.

“Oh, it means deaf?” He tried to copy what Corey was doing which had him smiling and nodding. He could do this! He’d learned one word.

About Holly Day

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 with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Newsletter

Book Recommendations, Strike a Pose

Sunday Book Rec Special Edition: the Naked Gardeners

One of the things I was looking forward to the most while me and my fellow naked gardener authors was working on our stories, was reading the other books. I was dying to know how Ally, Holly, Amy, and Kristin would interpret the theme, what kinds of stories their brilliant minds would think up. So of course I had to read them all as soon as I was able, and I was not disappointed.

The result was a handful of very different stories only connected by the theme of being naked in the garden. I adore how different they all are, and not only how we approached the theme, but I love that we all took the theme and molded it to something that fit with our brand. And I loved all of the stories, and I want everyone to read them. So in today’s Sunday Book Recommendation blog post, I’m going to tell you about them. I started with The Death of Digby Catch, and read them in the order they follow below.

Solving a murder-mystery…at a naked gardening party

When August Catch arrives at the Arachne’s Loom estate to collect his late Uncle Digby’s things, he is thrown together with Theo Webb, the heir to the Webb family fortune. The attraction is instant. When Theo begins to suspect Digby may have been murdered, he and August will need to work together to discover the killer, and not let the thing growing between them be a distraction.

MM Contemporary // 19375 words

Admittedly, asking August to do naked yard word in front of his mother and what was easily forty strangers, was not the best start to a relationship. But then, what was?

Quote from The Death of Digby Catch by Amy Spector

There was a time in my life when all I read was murder-mysteries. In fact, I read so many, I grew tired of them, and have only read a handful the last 15 years or so. But naked gardening trumps over murder-mystery fatigue, so I started reading Amy’s book with interest.

And it sucked me right in from the first line. The rain had slowed the procession of cars winding their way to the gravesite to a mournful crawl. It was fitting. Not only because it was a funeral, but because the weather was as overly dramatic as Digby Catch had always been.

How great is that line? It definitely caught my attention, and then the book never let it go. The mystery was interesting, but it didn’t overshadow the romance, which was a definite plus for me.

I loved everything about the book, the setting, the characters, the romance. The relative lightheartedness considering it’s a mystery. It was the perfect book for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I give it my warm recommendations.

Neighbors feuding over what to plant in the garden…naked

Everything would’ve been perfect if Grayson hadn’t been forced to share his garden with Cam. Grayson wants to grow vegetables, and he has a plan for how to do it. Cam loves flowers in perfect rows, but Grayson is incapable of growing things in lines. Most days end in conflict, at least until Grayson realizes he can shut Cam up by kissing him. But will they ever be able to agree about the garden?

MM Contemporary // 16427 words

“Come on.” He got to his feet and tugged at Cam’s hand to get him to stand. “We’ll shower, then I’ll feed you.” He pulled him toward his house.

“Grayson! I’m naked. I can’t walk through the garden naked.”

Grayson raised his eyebrows at him. “Why not? There is no one here.”

Quote from Perfect Rows by Holly Day

Okay, I’m not gonna lie; Camden was a hard character to love, but maybe that’s because I identify more with Grayson. I’m not someone who wants straight rows and perfection, I love the wildness of nature, I love an untamed garden, and I love Grayson’s idea of planting stuff wherever there’s a free spot. So it took me a while to warm up to Camden, and for half the book I kept wishing Grayson would find someone else to fall in love with, someone wasn’t as condescending as Camden could be, someone who could appreciate Grayson for who he was. But Camden managed to win me over. Eventually. 😁

A fun fact: the story opens with Grayson rushing out of the shower into the garden because Cam pisses him off, accidentally drops his towel, and ends up naked in front of Cam. My initial idea was to have the same kind of opening to my Naked Gardener story, but I changed it (and before I knew what Holly was planning). It must be a sign that great minds think alike…don’t you agree?? 😁

If you love a good enemies-to-lovers story and hard-to-love heroes, I definitely recommend Perfect Rows.

Picking tomatoes…naked

Spring 1947. England has just come through the worst winter in living memory. Peter’s been drifting since he left the army a year ago. George is lonely, despite the busy horticultural nursery he owns. Peter’s decision to take a swim in the irrigation tank presents them both with the chance to reach out and help each other. Can two misfits find a way to fit together with someone after all?

MM Historical // 16294 words

His expression was positively wicked. “And I’ll race you. Strip off. Pick a row…properly, mind, no skimping…and then race you to the water tank.” He was skinning out of his clothes as he talked, rolling them up and shoving them into one of the empty buckets stacked against the wall of the house where George had dragged them earlier. His sidelong grin at George was evil. “Last one in the water cooks supper!”

Quote from Warning! Deep Water by A.L. Lester

I know I say this every time I recommend a book written by A.L. Lester, but I absolutely adore the way she writes regular guys and quiet, understated romance, and her naked gardeners are no exception. This is a story about kindness and compassion, and it warmed my heart.

I wish more people wrote like A.L. Lester. I don’t need grand gestures or wild sex up a wall. I want to read about real people, who have real-life problems, who meet and fall in love, and live happily ever after. Just like George and Peter. Oh, and extra bonus points if there’s tea, and there’s always tea in Ally’s stories. She’s British after all. 😍

Fairytale romance…and a magical naked gardener

Charlie’s ready to start a new job and life at Aldershill Manor. As a historian, he’s thrilled to dive into the archives. And he can run from a messy break-up. And explore lovely gardens, too. Lionel does not like tourists, conversations, or social niceties. But he loves his job: helping beauty grow. When he finds the new historian caught in a storm, he offers shelter, which might bloom into more.

MM Contemporary // 16581 words

“Nothing about this has been me. Or who I thought I was. I moved to a whole different country, I haven’t even technically started my new job, I went for a walk in the rain, and I fell into bed with a magical naked gardener.”

Quote from The Hermit of Aldershill Manor by K.L. Noone

You all know by now that K.L. Noone is one of my favorite authors in the whole wide world, and The Hermit of Aldershill Manor sailed right up to the top as one of my favorite books. It’s magical, it’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking, it’s everything. I was sucked right into the story and forgot anything else existed, I read it with a permanent smile on my face and highlighted so many passages I could just have highlighted the whole thing and be done with it.

It’s the kind of book that when you’ve read it, you want to go back to the first page and start over right away. Or that you want to read and re-read when you need something heartwarming in a harsh world. It’s the kind of book that will stay with you forever.

Oh…and it has nakedness and a lovely, lovely gardener. 😀

Five World Naked Gardening Day Stories

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Twelve Letters by Ellie Thomas

Thank you so much, lovely Nell, for having me as your guest again today! I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical Romance, and I’m here to chat about Twelve Letters, my new release for JMS Books.

Although my stories always have a historical setting, I try not to stick to a certain period so I don’t get stuck in a rut! With this in mind, so far this year I’ve set stories in Elizabethan and 20th-century London, and also 17th-century Oxfordshire.

But despite my best efforts, I have to admit that my writing comfort zone is the late 18th to early 19th century, around and about the Regency period. For some reason, (possibly reading far too much Georgette Heyer as a teenager) I feel at home there and, although I always need additional and specific research for each story, it somehow feels natural to place my characters in that specific late Georgian era.  If I can add a sprinkling of humour, that’s even better, and by adding an ensemble cast I’m in my element.

So when my story idea for JMS Books’ 12th Anniversary celebration ticked all those boxes, I was buzzing! In the plot for Twelve Letters, the characters and relationships of a group of men living in Regency London are intertwined, aided by all those letters passing between them. Although this is very much a romance, the catalyst for this comedy of errors is between two lifelong platonic friends.

At the start of the story, my main character, easygoing Jo Everett, is doing his best to stop the irascible Ben Harding from fighting a duel. If he wasn’t in such a rush to dissuade his friend from killing young Edward Stephens, then Jo would probably not have confused his notes written to his tailor and his impossibly spoiled current squeeze, Percy, and we would have had a very different story!

But as it is, Jo must placate Ben, and liaise with an apologetic Edward (who Jo correctly guesses has a huge crush on his friend). Then, once the letters mix-up comes to light, Jo has to knuckle down and sort out the confusion he has caused, with surprisingly romantic results. 


In Regency London, Jolyon Everett is determined to dissuade his irascible friend, Captain Ben Harding, from fighting a duel. However, before commencing on the pressing business of defusing Ben’s misplaced anger, Jo writes two letters, one to Percy Havilland, his very demanding paramour and the other to his tailor, Daniel Walters. With those trifles out of the way, he can concentrate on persuading Ben to reprieve young Edward Stephens, a newly qualified doctor, who Jo suspects has a serious crush on Ben.

But the best-laid plans can go awry, as do the letters and, as well as a furious Ben, Jo finds himself at the mercy of an outraged Percy and an amorous tailor. Can he convince Ben not to shoot Edward after all? Will he soothe Percy’s ruffled feathers? And might Jo realise that true love can be found under the most unexpected conditions?

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: UBL


Jolyon arrived at the Piccadilly quarters of one of his closest friends, Captain Ben Harding. Despite the early hour, he was unsurprised to see that gentleman ready for the day, his long trousers and gleaming Hessians hiding his missing foot, the result of an injury at Badajoz, and wearing a ferocious expression. With his smouldering dark eyes and wayward curls, he could be compared to the notorious poet, Lord Byron, but Jolyon knew better than to voice that opinion to avoid being skewered by the poker within reach on the hearth. 

“I know why you’re here, Jo,” Ben said to him, waving him into the other armchair at the side of the fireplace while he poured coffee for them both, “and you won’t coax me to soften my resolve.”

“I think this has all been a misunderstanding,” Jo replied patiently, as though he hadn’t spent hours of the previous evening, or rather early morning, trying to persuade an irascible Ben to pardon the unfortunate young man who had caused him such dire offence.

“That damned stripling belittled me,” Ben said, with a glare as hot and black as the scalding coffee.

“On the contrary, I don’t think that was his intention,” Jo corrected him gently. “The lad is quite new to town ways and was deeply in his cups. We’ve all been there,” he shrugged forgivingly.

Ben merely snorted his disagreement, and Jo wouldn’t have been surprised to see steam emanating from his nose. He had the mental image of Ben as a bull, a ring through his nose, pawing the ground in rage, raising a cloud of dust. He quickly stifled a smile.

“And anyway,” he continued stoically, “as you have appointed me as your second, I don’t need to point out how serious the consequences could be. Frankly, for a man of your military experience, this is no less than a deliberate execution.”

At that, Ben harrumphed but did not yell at him, which Jo felt was progress. Even hampered by his artificial foot, Ben was a dead shot and could still competently hold a sword. The poor young doctor was no match for him. The problem is, thought Jolyon, Ben’s spoiling for a fight, and this feckless young fellow simply blundered into his sights. 

Since the siege at Badajoz, Ben’s attitude had become increasingly sour. Jo couldn’t be more sympathetic at his friend’s long months of recuperation, slowly learning to walk again, coming to terms with the fact he was no longer physically whole. Ben was fiercely proud, and only a few of his intimates knew what a harsh struggle this had been. 

The other loss, that of his Lieutenant, his love, his faithful companion who had perished during the siege, was even more unbearable. After two years of grieving, rather than coming to terms with his bereavement, Ben seemed increasingly embittered and permanently angry. As he sipped his coffee, Jo reflected that although he loved Ben like a brother, even the most commonplace remark could set him off in a rage these days. 

“It will take more than your blandishments to change my mind,” Ben said. Jo reckoned this was a retreat from thirsting for blood and spitting fire. He prepared to press his advantage when they were interrupted by Ben’s serving-man, Cribbins, another veteran of the Peninsula Wars.

“Excuse me, Captain. A letter has arrived for you by hand. I was told it was urgent,” he said, passing over the note to Ben before picking up the empty coffee pot.

As Cribbins left the room, Ben unfolded the letter, scanned it briefly then handed it over to Jo. “Is this your doing?” he asked suspiciously.

The note was written in crabbed handwriting eminently suitable for an aspiring doctor, but once deciphered, Jo saw with some relief that the meaning in the short paragraph was genuine enough. 

If I have to face the consequences of my actions, I will do so as a gentleman, even if it causes my demise. I am writing not to abjure myself from bodily harm, but I bitterly regret offending someone who deserves only the greatest admiration and respect and so, whatever may happen, I apologise unreservedly.

“Nothing to do with me,” Jo said blandly as Ben stared into the fire, mulling over the letter, looking more than ever like a brooding Romantic poet. Jo observed Ben’s countenance with a glimmer of optimism. With those simple, heartfelt words, the lad had inadvertently appealed to Ben’s strong sense of fair play. Couldn’t have put it better myself, Jo thought with some satisfaction.


Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Twitter: @e_thomas_author


Book Sale (Number One)

Apparently July is The Big Book Sale Month™️, but since I’m mostly disconnected from my online life (too much to do, not enough time) I haven’t told you about any of them. So I’m going to do the rational thing, and start with the latest, and when this one is over, I’ll come back and tell you about the other two. Deal? 🙂

July 12-13: JMS Books Anti Prime Sale: all ebooks 50% off

For two days, my lovely publisher JMS Books offers 50% off all ebooks (and sells paperbacks for $8!!) so if you need some summer reading (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere), now’s the perfect time to stock up your library.

Clickety-click here to magically transported to my JMS Books author page.

For example: you can buy all the books below for only $3.50!

Strike A Pose :: It Rained All Night :: Secrets on a Train

Or if you’re in the mood for some naked gardening shenanigans, you can buy all five of the books written in celebration of World Naked Gardening day for only $1.50 each, or $7.50 for them all. That’s a lot of nakedness in gardens for under ten bucks!

Strike a Pose :: Perfect Rows :: Warning! Deep Water :: The Death of Digby Catch :: The Hermit of Aldershill Manor

What are you waiting for? Go forth and shop! 😀