About Nell

Goodbye April

April. The Month of Moving. Time flew past and snailed by at the same time, in a haze of packing and boxes and excitement over the new house and eagerness to finally get out of the apartment in the neighborhood we’ve come to intensely dislike. So, about 95% of my pictures in my phone is moving related, unsurprisingly, but I managed to find some pictures for you that aren’t of boxes 😁

Tell me, how was your April?

Who else except me eagerly awaits the day we can finally go to the store without wearing a mask?

The Easter brunch. I decided that Isolation Easter called for Mimosas and the hubby agreed. So tea, Mimosas, fresh croissants, eggs (because Easter, duh!), raspberries, blueberries and apple. All that yumminess plus a nice playlist on the stereo and the best company (hubby) made this Easter a very relaxed affair. I approve.

Then one day, everything was packed and ready to go.

Question: what’s the last thing you pack when you move? Answer: the charging station, of course!! Because you have seen the updated version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I hope? πŸ˜‚

On Friday the 16th, M Day was finally here. Moving day. The movers arrived in their huge truck bright and early and started carrying our stuff. What they finished in a few hours would have taken me and the hubby two weeks, lots of fighting, and threats of divorce, so that was money well spent πŸ˜‚

If the charging station is the last thing you pack, what’s the first thing you unpack? The tea of course!! Because how else will you find the energy to unpack five gazillion boxes?? πŸ˜‚

We were greeted in the new house by my favorite flower in the whole wide world, the wood anemone. They grow wild and abundant in Sweden, and it’s a sure sign spring is here. Going out picking wood anemones has always been one of my favorite things to do, and something I missed sorely while living in Malaysia, so my darling daughter and my friends always took pictures of them and sent them to me. And now they grow on my property. That makes me so happy. 😍

I unpacked every box marked “kitchen” on moving-in day. I wanted it set up immediately, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. When my energy started running out, my stubbornness took me the rest of the way, and the kitchen was organized when I went to bed that night. Yay me!

One week after we moved in, we received visitors: my darling daughter, her fiancΓ©, and my grandbaby. 😍 They stayed the weekend, and this is one of the reasons we’ve bought this big house; to be able to have our family visiting (our apartment was too small and we didn’t have a guest room). Now, we have so many rooms the grandbaby can have her own. And when they went back home, they left a bed and a high chair here for her. That makes me so happy.

And finally, I built a phone stand when I had several important meetings to attend. And since I was nervous and needed all the good luck I could get, I decided using my books and some notebooks to build it. And it seemed to have worked, because the important meetings were a job interview…and I got the job and start today! But don’t worry; that doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing. Nothing could come between me and my writing! 😊

And that’s hopefully the last you’ll ever have to see of moving boxes here on my blog; let’s hope for more interesting pictures in May πŸ™‚

About Nell, Miscellaneous

Three Days – Three Temporary Desks

Last weekend, I went to visit The World’s Cutest and Most Wonderful Grandbaby 😍 (and her parents of course), but a weekend away from home does not equal a vacation. A writer never rests! So I got up at my usual time, met up with my morning writing crew, and did what I was supposed to do: wrote! I was there for three mornings and tried three different writing spaces, so I thought I’d show you what it looks like when a writer (at least this writer) travels.

Morning 1: the kitchen table. Good table space, awful chair. My butt is spoiled with my ultra comfy office chair at home and did not approve of a hard kitchen chair.

Morning 2: couch/coffee table. My behind was happier this morning (very soft and comfy couch) but my back not so much. A low coffee table is not ideal despite excellent table space, and my back threatened to quit if I didn’t move. So I did. I don’t wanna be a spineless person after all πŸ˜‚

Morning 3: the couch+couch cushion desk. Again the couch is very comfy for my behind, but the cushion…well, it was at least moveable so I could lean back and put it on my lap. That was tolerable at least.

Verdict: I think morning 3 wins after all because the couch is comfier than the kitchen chair any day. But also: being awarded with sunny morning baby smiles and soft baby cuddles make everything worth it. I’d even sit on the kitchen chair by the coffee table if it meant I could start every morning with a happy baby smile πŸ™‚

About Nell

Goodbye January

Is it just me or did January last four thousand years this year? But we can finally put it behind us and enjoy February. I like February; it’s short and sweet, and both my husband and daughter have birthdays in February.

But before we do that, let’s look at my January. Don’t expect anything too exciting, though, considering I spend 98% of my time in my apartment πŸ˜€

Tell me, how was your January? Did you do something (under the circumstances) fun?

I continued my morning writing habits in January. I stumble out of bed before 6am and wrap myself in my warm, fluffy robe and spend 3 hours with my writing crew getting things done. I love it, even if it means getting out of bed at too-early-o’clock.

January has been mostly gray and rainy in my part of the world, so whenever the sun’s been out, I’ve done my best to soak up some light. Like having a cup of tea on the balcony.

At the beginning of the month, we had a bit of a drama moment in my building. There was a fire on the balcony of my neighbor’s neighbor. Something electrical. So we evacuated as the fire department arrived, but the fire was already put out when they got here, so we could return to our apartment pretty quickly.

On another sunny day, we decided to take the car and go to the ocean. We prepared vacuum flasks with tea (for me) and coffee (for the hubby) and went for a walk along the shore. It was cold and windy, but it was lovely. This bridge, Γ–resundsbron, connects Sweden to Denmark.

And since we’re talking about January in Sweden, we also had snow. Not a lot, so it disappeared as quickly as it came.

I miss the food from Malaysia, so I’m slowly learning to cook the things I miss the most. Like gyoza. It was the first time I tried making it, and they turned out great. The filling was made of all the things I love; pork, ginger, garlic, spring onions, sesame oil. And I made a yummy dipping sauce to go with it, too. I was very happy with the results and my mouth is watering when I look at this picture.

I hate face masks, but one good thing about them is that they keep my face warm when I’m outside and it’s freezing.

I photographed every pink sky I could find because I’m addicted to them.

I listened to these three albums a lot. They’re all great in their own way ❀️

And finally: even though I’ve complained a lot about January, something awesome happened. We bought a house! A huge house on a big piece of land in the countryside. That means no more noisy neighbors, no drunken people outside my window in the middle of the night, no train noises, no more living next to the Swedish Customs office (who tests the freaking sirens on their cars at all hours whenever they drive out). Just birds and the creek behind the house, and the (distant) neighbor’s cows. I can live with that! So come April, this fireplace will be mine. I’m so happy! πŸ’ƒπŸΎπŸ₯‚

About Nell

Wrapping up 2020

2020 started slow for me, writing wise. Moving across the world, making a home in a new city in Sweden where I’ve never lived before, finding new routines, took longer than I expected. I had a lovely office, but somehow it wasn’t right. And then the pandemic hit and gave us all anxiety and heartache, and that sure didn’t help. Because of the pandemic, I also had to move a second time; we had no choice because my landlady decided to sell the house. So after living only for six months in the house we moved to a small-ish apartment instead.

And here I found my stride. I don’t have an office; we have an open floor plan and my desk is sitting between the kitchen and the living room area, and I love it here. And at the end of June, I fount my morning writing crew and started getting up to write at 6am every day. As a result, the second half of 2020 has been very productive for me and I already have 4 books on JMS Books release schedule for 2021. But the slow start made this into a slow-ish year for me, book release wise. At least compared to 2019.

Let’s take a look:

I’ve released four new stories this year, five if you count the super-short freebie continuation to 9 Willow Street. I’ve released one box set containing previously released Cinnamon Eyes and Promise Me We’ll Be Okay. And two of my stories are featured in two anthologies released by JMS Books this year: Unexpected Christmas in A Decade of Gay Romance and Always You in 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance.

It hasn’t been a bad year, especially not when you take everything that’s happened into consideration. But when I compare myself to 2019 me, I’m a bit disappointed. Even if I wrote in my 2019 wrap-up that “And maybe, we can all agree that this many releases in one year is a bit…excessive?” It felt excessive then, but now…not so much. 😁

That being said, I’m happy that I’ve found a routine that works for me, especially after this weird and difficult year. I even managed to write a book about cheating (the big no-no topic of romance stories) that was mostly well received, so I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that πŸ™‚

Late Night Poetry | Always You | Regaining Trust | Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday | 9 Willow Street: And Then They Were Three | One More Chance | A Decade of Gay Romance | 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance
About Nell

Goals for 2021

I’m not the type who makes big over-reaching goals for myself; I usually just go with the flow, and seeing other people making goals for 1-2-3 years ahead makes me break out in hives because of stress. To each their own, and all that, but that’s not for me.

But since I want to take my author career more seriously, I decided to try this goals thing for 2021. Vague goals, but things that would be good for me. Even if not all of them are things I want to do. What do you mean, Nell? you ask.

I’ll tell you what I mean. It’s the last goal I’m not friends with. “Start a newsletter.”

Newsletters. I intensely dislike them. I don’t want my inbox spammed with unwelcome emails, and subsequently, I’ve resisted getting one of my own for several years now. Despite lots of my author friends telling me I need one because of lots of reasons that all sounds reasonable (duh!), but my personal dislike of the newsletter concept has made me stubbornly refuse. At one point, I even bought a book about newsletters, thinking it would help, but no. On the contrary, it scared me away for another year or so.

But I think I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re right. It is good for me for reasonable reasons (heh), so I grudgingly added it as one of my 2021 goals. And then I decided I’d start researching it right away, because if I procrastinate it, I’m going to come up with reasons why I shouldn’t do it, and suddenly it’s 2022 and Nell still has no newsletter.

So this morning, after my writing session, I googled some and found the following:

Yes, Katie Rose Guest Pryal author of the article, I completely agree. When am I supposed to write my actual books? I’ve already spent a godawful long time planning social media this year, and it’s only January 4! So I’m sorry, dear readers, but there’ll be no Nell Iris books this year (yeah, that’s a lie because one is already up for pre-order). I’ll be busy with social media and my newsletter…but at least I’ll have a newsletter! πŸ˜†

So that’s what I’ll be doing in January. Setting up a newsletter. And probably moaning and whining about it, too 😁

But if you want to help me out, you can tell me if you like newsletters? And if yes, what especially do you like with author newsletters (aside for the free book, ofc πŸ™‚ )?