Nell’s Top Five

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Nell’s Top Five

…Things I Miss About Not Eating Dairy

Last year, I went to the doctor because I’d had the flu for weeks and was coughing so much my husband threatened a divorce since he couldn’t sleep at night because of me. When I was there, she asked about other illnesses and I told her about my severe eczema, and she said to me to quit dairy.

So I went home and googled and yes, it seemed like a lot of people with eczema got better after quitting dairy, so I gave it a go. One year later, my skin is so healthy and smooth I can hardly believe it. I don’t have any problems with my eczema anymore, and I’m much happier.

So not eating dairy is totally worth it, I’m not going back. That being said, there are some things I really, really miss. (And I know there are substitutes for a lot of these things, but here in Malaysia the dairy-substitutes are rare. Malaysians don’t eat a lot of dairy, so they don’t really need substitutes. Back in Sweden though, it’s a totally different story.)

  1. Butter. Is there anything yummier than spreading butter on a warm, fresh-from-the-oven piece of bread, let it melt, and then gobble it down? I don’t think so.
  2. Blue cheese. I LOVE blue cheese, I’ve loved it since I was a little kid. Seriously, how many small children do you know who eat blue cheese? Well, I did.
  3. Pizza. Melted cheese is the best thing ever. I actually found a block of soy cheese in the grocery store a few months back, and I bought it and thought I’d make homemade pizza. So I did. Problem was, the darned thing didn’t melt. So I had a hard, sad crust and unmelted cheese. I’m not saying I cried…but I’m not saying I didn’t either 😀
  4. Any other Italian food. Yeah, I order the food that doesn’t contain cream or the mozzarella or any other dairy bombs. But I cry inside every time I ask them to leave the parmigiano off.
  5. Milk. A glass of ice cold milk and a hot cinnamon roll *sigh* (Swedes don’t eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We have them for fika. With nib sugar instead of icing.)

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What would you miss if you had to quit dairy?

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WIP teaser

Today, I’m sharing an unedited teaser from my current WIP, 9 Willow Street. It’s a longer version of my naughty bunny shifter story (I told you about it here) and this is the first chapter, pretty much the beginning, except for a page or so before this that sets the scene.

Hannes (the narrator in this teaser) has inherited a house from his beloved great grandmother, Nana Ellen, who died unexpectedly at age 109. Because of family drama he didn’t get access to it until now, ten months later.

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Ten months ago, when my father called me and told me Nana was dead, I thought he lied to me at first. I spoke to her on her birthday, sad and heartbroken that I couldn’t come and see her, bake her a cake and give her a present. All the flights were canceled because of a terrible storm and I had no way of getting to her, but she wasn’t upset.

“Pish-posh my dearest Hannes. You’ll be here when you can, I know it. Just text me a picture of your lovely face and I’ll be happy,” she said.

So I did. I took a selfie with my hands shaped as a heart, and before I texted it to her, I wrote Nana and Hannes forever, on it. That’s what she always used to say every time I was upset over being misunderstood by my family.

She sent me back a picture of herself with her head tilted back and the back of her hand against her forehead in a dramatic fake swoon and the ever-present twinkle in her eyes clearly visible. I promptly set the picture as a background on my phone.

So is it really so weird I didn’t believe Father when he called me and told me she had passed?

“Are you sure?” I asked, thinking that it couldn’t be true, considering the last time she’d even had a common cold was fifteen years ago when she was ninety-four.

“I am a real doctor…unlike some people,” Father replied. “Obviously I know what I’m talking about.”

Great. Even when he called me with terrible news, he still found the time to mock my career choice and remind me of my status as the family outsider. The herbalist quack in a family of real doctors. My father is a surgeon and my mother an oncologist, and my three older sisters and brothers are all doctors, too. Then there’s me. The black sheep of the family. The heathen in a family of scientists.

When we hung up, I called Nana’s phone, only to be met by Father’s disdain.

“I knew you wouldn’t take my word for it, Hannes.” He sighed, that put-upon sound everyone in my family excel at. “I wish you would grow up sometime. Are you happy now?”

I hung up without saying goodbye.

Are you happy now?

What kind of thing is that to say to someone who’s just gotten the most dreadful news of his life?

Nana and Hannes forever.

Not anymore.

 

St. Patrick’s Day sale and author takeover, and number 1!

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My fabulous publisher JMS Books has a St. Patrick’s Day sale today, all ebooks are 45% off. Clickety-click here to be magically transported to my author page so you can do some shopping.

As usual, pre-orders and new releases are included in the sale, so take this chance to buy my new super short release All I See – which by the way is number one on the Amazon charts as I write this!! – for only 54 cents. Number one, can you imagine?? 😀

all I see number one

Also, don’t forget that I’m going to be at Helena’s Book Haven over on Facebook today to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! 11PM EDT is my time slot. I can also recommend being there for Addison Albright’s takeover. She always has the best posts in takeovers like this. She’ll be there at 2PM EDT.

(Also: Addison’s books are also 45% off today, of course. If you haven’t read Cultivating Love, now’s the time to buy it!!)

helena stpatricksday

All I See – release day

All I see cover screenshot

Theo and Kieran have been together for five years. They’re very happy…behind closed doors. Theo accepted from the start that Kieran isn’t out to his conservative parents and has a lot to lose if they find out about his sexuality.

But a moment of sadness at a wedding changes things. Theo is faced with a decision: live the rest of his life in secret…or break it off.

Or is there a third alternative?

M/M contemporary, 4633 words

Buy-links / Add to Goodreads

JMS BOOKS | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&NGoogle Play

add to goodreads

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When he hooks his index finger with mine, I finally lose control over my threatening tears and say the words we both know are true, but have never been spoken out loud. “I want what Seamus has,” I whisper. “I want to get married, too.”

“I know, baby.” He laces his fingers with mine.

“Don’t!” I try to pull free, but he’s too strong and refuses to let go. “What if someone sees us?”

“I don’t care.”

I glare at him. “Of course, you do.”

He shakes his head and grabs my other hand, too. “Not anymore. I also want what Seamus has.” He lowers his head until his mouth is next to my ear. “I want to get married to the love of my life.”

More tears spill down my cheeks. “Don’t toy with me, Kieran. You heard your father. He wants you to find a wife. A wife. Not a flaming gay husband.”

I want a flaming gay husband.” He cups my cheeks. His hands are huge and cover most of my face, and with gentle thumbs, he brushes away the wetness under my eyes. “I want you.”

Friday review

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40627465Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.

Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.

Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.

Aubrey never expected to be happy.

Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.


If I was adrift and lost, and I certainly felt it some days, then he was my shining beacon, my tether and guide to something good and whole. My lighthouse.

This is not really a book review. This is just me gushing about a book, looking like a heart-eye emoji. This book has everything I love. Hurt/comfort. May/December. Lots of looking at stars and the ocean. And romance. Oh, the romance. *swoon*

Galaxies and Oceans is maybe the most romantic book I ever read. Full stop.

When I was in Sweden back in January, I had to go on a road trip I really didn’t want to do (family obligations). My husband and daughter took turns doing the driving, so I was cooped up in the back, reading this book. It was cold and snowy and foggy, so we could hardly see where we were going, and my family worried about the driving conditions.

But, not me. I was too busy reading. I read all the way to the destination, trying to keep my tears quiet so my family wouldn’t notice. When we arrived, I didn’t want to get out of the car and be social; I just wanted to finish reading. I continued on way back home, and when it ended halfway, I spent the rest of the car ride staring out the window at the stars (the fog had cleared by then), thinking that these were the same stars Aubrey was guided by…even though it wasn’t because they live close to Antarctica and I was pretty much as far away from there you can get without leaving Earth. I thought about Aubrey and Patrick, overflowing with love for these wonderful characters and this wonderful book.

It’s a slow and quiet book; character driven and focused entirely on the relationship. Aubrey and Patrick get to know each other: they look at the stars, have picnics, visit penguins, repair a washing machine, and do things that doesn’t sound very exciting. But it is. The excitement is in the stillness. There’s beauty is in the quiet. And it’s so, so beautiful, I have no words.

Sometimes you have to listen to the silences. When things aren’t said. That’s where the truth is.

Galaxies and Oceans promptly ended up on my feel good re-read list. And the cover is fabulous.

My warmest, swooniest recommendations. But I warn you: there’s a real risk you’ll suffer from severe book hangover after you finish it. I did 🙂

Buy link

 

Another author takeover

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I’ve signed up for another author takeover, this time it’s in Helena Stone’s Facebook group Helena’s Book Haven, and it’s a St. Patrick’s Day party. I’ll be there at 11PM EDT, and as you can see, I’ll be in good company.

I have to check my closet and see if I have something green to wear to this party. Will I see you there? 🙂

A to Z

a to z

26 things Nell Iris loves, from A to Z

All I Need – song by Radiohead
Bullet Journal
Coffee-flavored kisses
Darcy…as in Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberly
Elephants
Fanfiction #Snarry (Snape+Harry if you’re not familiar with the hashtag) ftw
Gili Air – a teeny tiny paradise island in Indonesia
Harry Potter, and children’s books in general
Introverts
Japanese ramen
Leonard Cohen
Kramar – means hugs in Swedish
Moulin Rouge – movie with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor
Notebooks, I’m a stationary addict
Orion and all the other constellations – I love the stars
Pens, especially fountain pens
Queen and Adam Lambert live in Bangkok 2016
Reading, or anything book related really
Star Trek
Tea, preferably green
Until Forever Comes, book by Cardeno C
Vinyl records
Wine, preferably sparkling
X-files
Yazoo, 80s synthpop band
Ziggy Stardust, song and persona by David Bowie

Tell me something you love 🙂