If you’re not an Amazon Prime member and still want to buy cheap books, my fabulous publisher JMS Books has got you covered! They offer 50% off all ebooks today and tomorrow in their yearly anti-prime sale. All ebooks are included, even pre-orders, so hurry to click the link below to order a copy of Flowers Under My Pillow if you haven’t already! Or you know, any – or all – of my books really 😁
I found something fun on Twitter the other day that I thought I’d use for a Sunday Book Recommendation. Let me show you:
So here are 8 book recommendations spelling NELL IRIS. They are all five-star reads for me and get my warmest recommendations.
I hope you’ll find something you like. And I’d love it if you, too, spelled your name in LGBTQ+ books you love in the comments (or on your blog, Twitter or whatever).
Have a wonderful Sunday ❤️
It’s Monday again, and I hope you all had a good weekend. I did; I had a long weekend because I had Friday off from work. It was lovely and now I feel rested and ready to tackle the work week. All weeks should consist of four days of work and three days off, don’t you think? But in reality, I work seven days a week, because I have my writing mornings on weekends (highlight of my week!). A writer never has days off 😁
Anyway. What I’m here to talk about is my newsletter. More specifically, are you a subscriber? If yes, you have something to look forward to, because in the June 25 newsletter, you’ll get a deleted scene from my upcoming Midsummer romance Flowers Under My Pillow. It’ll only be available for newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? You don’t wanna miss it!
I rarely have deleted scenes from my stories, but before I had time to actually delete it completely from my manuscript, my friend Ally (A.L. Lester) stopped me. Don’t throw it away, she said. It’s perfect for your newsletter. I admit, I didn’t think of that, but that’s why we have friends, right? 😍
If you haven’t signed up because you’re not a fan of newsletters, I completely understand. But you’ll get a freebie when signing up: Love on the Balcony, a 7k newsletter exclusive, contemporary story about an established couple in their forties. It’s short, sweet, and emotional, like most of my stories. And like I said above: you’ll get the deleted scene from Flowers Under My Pillow in the June 25 newsletter.
That’s worth signing up for, don’t you agree? And cyber kisses to you if you’re already signed up. And since you like my stories (I’m assuming since you’re subscribing 😁), why not tell a friend to sign up, too? Clickety-click the button below.
And if you missed my post about Flowers Under My Pillow, here’s a reminder:
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.
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.
Today, I have a guest: Holly Day is here to talk about her latest release, Just to Breathe. Be extra nice to her this time, please, because I feel like I’m neglecting her (and the other lovely people of my morning writing crew) with my new day job, so let’s show her some love so she doesn’t think I’ve stopped loving her 😁
Just to Breathe is a friends-to-lovers story. I love friends-to-lovers stories. In fact, I wrote a guest post over at Holly’s about it if you’re interested, or is that too meta? 😁
Anyway. Welcome, Holly!!
Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by today. Hello everyone! Did you know that on June 8th, it was Best Friend Day? That’s a day worth celebrating, is it not? I believe it is, so I wrote a story…
Just to Breathe was released last week, and it’s about Nico and Matt who have been best friends since kindergarten. For years, Nico has been in love with Matt, but he won’t risk their friendship, so he’s sworn to never let Matt know. Things don’t always go as planned, though.
This is one of those stories that got crazier and crazier while I wrote it. I love those stories – light-hearted and a bit insane.
It all started with a song by Dori Freeman on Spotify while I was walking to work one morning, and then in the evening when I sat on the sofa and turned on the TV there was a documentary about Al Capone.
What do you get if you mix a modern-day singer-songwriter with bluegrass influences with a gangster from the Prohibition era? Just to Breathe – that’s what you get.
Nico is snatched off the street, taken to a warehouse where he’s roughed up some, and then he’s told he has twenty-four hours to bring his kidnappers the item they want. Nico has no idea what it is they want, so he turns to Matt who is a cop. Together they try to figure out who the people who took Nico are and what they want, all with the help of Matt’s family who also are cops – all of them.
One crazy thing leads to another, and soon Nico fears for his life.
Matt got out of the car. “You should stay inside.”
“I got worried. I tried to call you.”
Matt grabbed a bag from the backseat and walked toward him. “You shouldn’t use your phone. They might have it tapped.”
Nico sighed. “I’m not interesting enough to have my phone tapped.”
“I disagree.” He grinned. “Use mine if you want to call someone, okay?”
“You weren’t here, and your mom says you’re not to leave my side.”
Matt nodded. “Okay.”
“I have to do what Mom says, right?” He winked and went for the door. “Oh, it smells divine. Did you cook?”
“Some stuff.” He held out the bag for Nico to take.
Matt put two plates on the kitchen island and tested the temperature of the lasagna. “I think it’s still warm enough.”
Nico nodded, and they sat.
“Do you know anything?” He took a big bite of lasagna, not having realized how hungry he was until Matt got back.
“Nah. I found a man who’s recently moved to Halsworthy whose last name is Allegretto. He’s twenty-two, though.”
Matt rolled his eyes. “If they mistook you for him, they weren’t doing a good job. You might be young looking, but you’re not twenty-two, darling.”
“You’re saying I look old?”
Matt shook his head, a grin playing on his lips.
“And you’re older.” One year.
“I am and therefore wiser. The idiots grabbing you did a shit job.”
Nico guessed it all depended on what their purpose was, or maybe not considering they’d taken the wrong person.
“Did you talk to him?”
Matt chewed and swallowed. “Who?”
He shook his head. “No, but I sent Amber the information I found.”
“They haven’t found it?” What had they been doing all day?
Matt shrugged. “They probably have.”
“What do we do now?” Nico hated not having anything to do.
Matt took a folded paper out of his pocket and handed it to him. Putting his fork down, Nico unfolded it and read the information.
“An auction? In Walman?” Walman was a larger city about a hundred and thirty miles north from Halsworthy. The auction was held tomorrow night, starting at midnight. Nico shook his head. “Who starts an auction at midnight? That’s stupid.”
“Read at the bottom.” Matt reached over the island and tapped at the paper.
“There is a surprise item that won’t be shown until the end of the auction.” Nico frowned. “Why would anyone bid on a surprise item?” The items listed weren’t cheap. There were paintings and sculptures, and a diamond necklace. “Who has money to impulse buy something like this?”
Matt poked at what little food he had left on his plate with his fork. “They wouldn’t be impulse buying it. My guess is they can’t show it on the viewing because they don’t have it… yet.”
Nico gaped. “It’s the it!”
Matt shrugged. “It could be.”
It could be. Or… “It’s not it.” Nico deflated.
“What do you mean, it’s not?” A frown overtook Matt’s face.
“I guess it could be.” Maybe. “But it could also be they, Mr. Cheekbones and the goons, want to grab it before it’s sold.”
Matt nodded. “You’re too good for glitter glue.”
“Nothing and no one is too good for glitter glue.” Nico pushed his plate aside. “You want to go to the auction?”
“We need to survive tonight first.”
Nico frowned. “What do you mean?” Dusk was slowly falling, but it would be a long time before it got dark for real. They’d eaten and now when Matt was back, things were as they should be.
“It’s twenty-four hours soon.”
A chill crept into Nico’s chest. “But they don’t know where I am.”
Matt looked at him. “Perhaps it was stupid of me to go back to Halsworthy. It gave them an opportunity to follow me.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Matt!” Nico threw his hands in the air. “Do you think they did?”
He shook his head. “No, I didn’t see anyone, but I was in your apartment for about half an hour. They could have placed a tracker on my car.”
Nico stared at him. “They would?”
“I don’t know, Nico. Perhaps they’re too stupid to do something like that.”
Nico got up and turned off the light.
“What are you doing?”
“Making it look like we’re not here.”
A smile stretched Matt’s lips. “My car is outside.”
“Move it. Put it somewhere where it isn’t visible from the road.”
“If they have a—”
“Move it!” It wouldn’t matter if they’d put a tracker in it, but he wanted Matt to hide it anyway.
Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.
On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.
Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?
Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,392 words
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.
Yes, I know I said the audiobook experiment was concluded, but I have a short update I want to share with you, so bear with me 🙂
When I started my audiobook experiment, it was because I wanted something to entertain me while I mowed the lawn, which in reality meant gardening work in general. And now I’m moved into the new house (LOVE IT!) and have done some garden work (even if my plan isn’t to do too much this year, but weeding still needs to be done. Stinging nettles need to be eradicated!) and decided to test my theory.
Is gardening work more fun while listening to audiobooks?
I put on my headphones and started listening to Assimilation, Love, and other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala (because John Solo is my most recent audiobook narrator crush and because Liam and Ondry are fan-fucking-tastic) and went to work.
And let me tell you; battling the stinging nettles with my handheld trident gardening tool thingy (yes, that’s the official name of this thing) as Liam attacked the kawt (Rownt predator creature) with the reialet (Rownt club) was fun. I felt fierce as hell, and the more Liam fought, the more I attacked. Listening to a book while doing it gave me energy and stamina and I kept going for hours.
So I’d say that the experiment was a smashing success!
Also: something I didn’t know when I started the experiment was that I was going to apply for a job, get said job, and start commuting an hour in the morning and and an hour back in the evening Monday through Friday. And listening to audiobooks while on a train, makes the commute much more bearable. Especially considering I’m commuting at the same time as kids going to school, and the one morning I was forced to listen to four teenaged girls arguing about homework for 20 minutes straight taught me to always always bring my headphones on the train.
One more thing before I conclude the experiment again: I mentioned that I listened to Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities, which is the second book in Lyn Gala’s Claiming series. I also listened to the first book, Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts, which made me happy because the short prequel Prelude to Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (that I hadn’t read before) was included in the audio. I loved hearing how Liam and Ondry met the first time and traded.
I’ve read books 1 and 2 before, a long time ago, before book 3 was released, and I really loved them, so when I saw that John Solo was narrating them, I decided that a re-read (re-listen?) was in order. And gawd, John Solo does an amazing job; I love his voice for Ondry, I love how he infuses so much sensitivity into Liam, and I adore how he narrates the grandmothers.
If you haven’t read these books, you really should. They’re awesome. And I say this as someone who
- doesn’t read sci-fi
- doesn’t really like series
- definitely doesn’t like series that follow the same couple over several books
But Liam and Ondry are the exception to the rule, they’re just that fabulous…which is why I’m going to listen to book 3, Affiliations, Aliens, and Other Profitable Pursuits, too. It’s included in my Nextory subscription, but even if it wasn’t, I’d spend an Audible credit on it. That’s how much I like them.
And this is the conclusion to my audiobook experiment.
…I think 😁