About Nell

Nell Around the Internet

I’ve been popping up around the internet again, lately, and I thought I’d share it with you if you’ve somehow missed it. I wrote a bunch of guest posts for Flowers Under My Pillow, and my friends so kindly hosted me on their blogs.

I visited Holly Day where I wrote about soul mates, because Frode and Viljar in Flowers Under My Pillow are soul mates. When I visited Ofelia Gränd, I wrote about how I sucked at picking seven kinds of flowers in my youth, at Addison Albright’s place I shared a dandelion wine recipe, and finally I wrote about old Swedish folklore and the magic surrounding Midsummer when I visited with A.L. Lester.

Aside from these places, I’ve visited numerous other blogs with the release blitz and I’m always so grateful to everyone who shares my book. Bloggers and readers and fellow authors, posting and sharing on social media, reviewing and talking about my books is invaluable and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart ❤️

Nell Iris has done it again with a gentle, lyrical love story.

Lilian Francis

About Nell

Re-Release Spotlight: Remember Us by Ofelia Gränd

Today, I welcome Ofelia Gränd to the blog. She’s here to talk about another of her re-releases, and this one is a doozy. I read it back when it was called Trapped and I cried my heart out (as evidenced by this blog post from 2018) and I re-read it when Ofelia started discussing potential new names for the story when she was going to re-release it with JMS Books and cried even more. Just reading her post below made me tear up again, so while I warmly recommend this book, I also warmly recommend Kleenex. Lots and lots of Kleenex.

But enough of that. Let’s welcome my guest, shall we?


Hello Nell, hello Nell’s readers *waves* Thank you so much for letting me drop by again. I’m still in the middle of rereleasing books, and today it’s time for one of my absolute favourites of the stories I’ve written, Remember Us.

Remember Us used to be called Trapped, but there already was a Trapped in the JMS Books catalogue, so to avoid confusion, we renamed it.

It’s funny because I really, really dislike writing in first person – hate, almost. Then every now and then, every third year or so, I convince myself I should give it another try. Most often I end up with a horror story when I do, because if there is one thing first person works for it’s writing psychopaths – an excellent tool to show off the crazy without it being visible on the surface – but this is not a horror story. This is a story about one of my biggest fears – forgetting my family.

Charlie and William have been married for forty-three years, so while I say this is a contemporary story, I guess it’s really a future story since marriage equality hasn’t been around for forty-three years yet. They’ve lived a good life. Charlie had everything he ever dreamed of, a husband he loves, a daughter, love and stability, until…

William doesn’t remember him anymore. Most often he remembers them, but not in present day. He remembers them from when they were young. Some days he remembers they have a daughter, but most often not. And that’s my fear. What if I forget my children?

I never want them to have to sit there and talk to me without me having a clue who they are. I don’t fear growing old, and I don’t fear death for my own sake. It’s what I leave behind.

I never want to leave them, I never want them to be forgotten, and I never want them to doubt how much I love them.

I never want to forget how much I love them.

Excerpt:

He sipped on his coffee and smiled at the trees. “Once, when Charlie and I were by the lake, we found a little trail. I say found…” He chuckled. “We were taking a different trail back to the car and got lost. When we’d walked for a while, we came across this little cabin with a view over the lake.”

I remembered the cabin. We’d been standing there looking at it for several minutes before we turned back to the lake and managed to pinpoint where we were going.

“I always figured we would buy it.” He frowned.

“You did?” It had never been for sale as far as I knew. Once we’d bought our house, I’d stopped looking at what was for sale in the area, though.

“Yeah. Charlie would’ve loved living there.”

“But you wouldn’t.”

He shrugged. “I like the city, but for Charlie, I would live in a place like that.”

I was glad we’d bought the house we did. William did like to live in the city; he liked to have people around him, to have lives brushing up next to his every day. I loved the quiet of the lake, nothing was more relaxing to me than not having to see a single person for days on end, but I didn’t want William to sacrifice anything for me. “You shouldn’t have to give up your hopes and dreams for him.”

“He is my hopes and dreams, and he’s doing it for me…all the time. It’s only fair I do it for him. If the cabin comes up for sale, I’ll buy it. Maybe we could have it as a get-away cottage.”

“It would’ve been nice.” I wondered what the cabin looked like now. We hadn’t been there for years. Time flies, and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to walk the trail anymore. We’d had a good life without a get-away cottage. We hadn’t been on many trips, even fewer once we got Ann. We’d made day trips, but we were both content to stay in our home, and while we’d never had to starve, money had been tight at times. We did the best we could, and I wasn’t complaining.

“It will be. He would be so surprised if I bought it for us.” William grinned and watched the few leaves still clinging to the twigs. “I should call him.”

“Who?” He started to get up, and I looked around to see if there were any personnel nearby.

“Charlie, of course. Who did you think I was gonna call?”

“I…erm…I don’t know.” I had to say something to take his mind off the phone call. I could already see the tightening of his lips and the way his eyes narrowed. If I couldn’t get him to think of something else, he’d throw a fit—throwing fits was an ability he’d never grown out of, no matter how old he became.

“There you are!” Ann came out through the door. “I looked in your room, but you weren’t there.”

“Ann?” I hoped I didn’t sound too surprised, but what was she doing here? On a Thursday? In the middle of the day? Her cheeks were rosy, and her eyes sparkled.

“This is nice.” She looked around the large balcony, her eyes lingering on the patio heaters and the blankets before landing on a pot with heather and some kind of cabbage. “Really nice. How come you haven’t been out here more?”

I shrugged. The patio heaters were new, but it was nice to sit here now, I wouldn’t argue with that. She squeezed my shoulder and sank down on the empty chair next to me. William’s face had turned into a blank mask, but at least he’d sat down again.

“Hello, Daddy.” Ann nodded to William, a faked pleasantness in her tone.

“Humph.” William turned to look at the trees.

“Not the best day,” I whispered, hoping against hope William would remember her, that she wouldn’t be hurt because she was a forgotten child, and that I wouldn’t have to talk about my husband as if he wasn’t there.

Ann nodded and patted my hand, not looking as hurt as she often did, and I dared a sigh in relief. “I’ve talked to the management, and it’s all decided now.”

I frowned at her. What’s decided?

She got to her feet. “I have to get back to work. I just wanted to tell you.” She kissed my cheek and turned to leave.

“What’s decided?”

It was her turn to frown. “I told you, Dad, don’t you remember? Yesterday?” Suspicion crept into her eyes, and I wanted to reassure her I wasn’t turning into William, but I couldn’t remember her telling me anything. Had we talked yesterday?

“About you moving in, too.”

“Oh…that fast?” The heron stretched its neck until its head bumped into my Adam’s apple.

“Yeah. I mean, you won’t be moving yet, but it’s decided.”

“When can I move?” Warmth spread in my chest. I would be with William again. I wouldn’t have to go back to that horrid flat every night.

Ann smiled. “As soon as a spot becomes available.”

Cold followed the warmth. “I have to wait for someone to die?”

Ann winced. “Don’t put it like that, Dad.”

“It’s the truth.”

“It’s not. Some people decide to move out, you know.”

“Sure, Princess.” I chuckled. What person who was too worn out to manage on their own thought moving home was a good idea? I didn’t care, though. To say I hoped someone kicked the bucket was harsh, but I wouldn’t mind if they hurried along to do it. There was no way of knowing how many days I had left, and I wanted to spend them with William.

“It’ll be soon, Dad. I’m sure of it.”

“Yeah? Tell us before you decide to tamper with the food, will you? I’m not sure I would recover from food poisoning.”

“Dad!” She slapped my shoulder then giggled. “You’re terrible.”

“I do my best.” I smiled at her. She appeared younger today.

“I love you.”

“And I you.” I squeezed her hand before she hurried away, blinking a few extra times when my eyes started to burn. We should’ve had another child. Being alone to care for two frail, old men couldn’t be easy.

“Was that your daughter?”

I started at William’s voice. “Yes, that’s Ann.”

“Ann.” He frowned as he said her name. “Annie.”

“Yeah…Annie.” That fucking burning was back in my eyes. He’d always called her Annie when she was a little girl.

“She seems nice.”

“She is. Her parents did pretty well bringing her up.”

William nodded. “They must have.”

“Yeah, they must have.” I patted his hand but stopped when he gave me a wide-eyed look. “Would you like some more coffee?”

“That would be nice, please.” He smiled as he watched a jackdaw land on the grass below.

Blurb:

Charlie Wilkins had everything he wanted—a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and Ann is now the one taking care of them.
 
There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care. He promised William they’d stay together till death did them part, and he meant it, but what was he to do when he no longer could take care of William?

Contemporary Gay Romance: 12,055 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/RememberUs

About Ofelia

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Find Ofelia on social media:

Blog :: Newsletter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

About Nell

Goodbye June

It’s time again, time to tell you about the past month of my life, seen through ten pictures. June went by so fast; I feel like I blinked and it was over. And yet, when I look back at the pictures, I feel like the beginning of the month happened ages ago. But if I allow myself to think about why for too long, I’ll go crazy, so let’s not.

Instead, let’s look at the pictures.

Things that happen when you live in a huge house in the countryside with its own well: things break and you need a well-repair person. He came and he actually climbed down the well to fix whatever was broken, and I told my husband that Winnie the Pooh would be a very bad well-repair stuffed animal because what if he ate too much hunny and got stuck? 😂 Anyway, not-Winnie-the-Pooh did an awesome job and now the well is in perfect working condition again.

We’ve been grilling a lot, and I mean, a lot!! This particular yumminess was grilled pork loin (marinated in oil and garlic and soy sauce… and tarragon and thyme I’d grown myself in the green house. We also threw corn and pineapple and onions on the grill and my mouth waters as I write this.

There’s a plant nursery not far from our house and I’ve been there a couple times. OMG, it’s like walking into paradise with a riot of colors and flowers and plants and I want to buy everything!! I’ve never been someone who’s loved flowers and stuff, but since I moved into the house I want to surround myself with beautiful things, and this is exactly the place to go to for that. Next time I visit, I’ll take a picture from inside so you’ll see what I’m talking about!

Before you ask, no, I haven’t become religious. This picture is from when I got my first covid vaccine shot; it was administered to me in a Pentecostal church…which is a weird venue for vaccinations if you ask me. So after getting the shot, I had to sit and wait for 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t get an allergic reaction to the shot (I didn’t), and stare at a big Jesus sign on the wall. But whatever my opinions on the venue, at least I’ve had my first shot and I’ll get my second early August. Yay.

We had a full week of a bone-melting heat wave that almost that made life pretty miserable. But Nell, didn’t you use to live in Malaysia, loving the heat? you ask, and yes. Yes, I did. But the difference is that Malaysian infrastructure is adapted to tropical heat. Sweden is far up north and our houses are built to keep heat inside and the winter chill outside; they’re not equipped with aircon or cooling features. Hence, a very miserable Nell Iris. So this is me…melting on the couch, after coming home from work one evening. I look melted, don’t I?😁

June is of course the month of Midsummer which is a cause for celebration and not only because of Midsummer itself, but also because it’s my wedding anniversary. The husband and I had a quiet celebration at home full of good food and drinks and music and relaxed atmosphere. But of course we had to drink snaps (if you don’t know what snaps is, read here) or it wouldn’t have been Midsummer. You sing a drinking song, take the shot, and yell SKÅL (cheers!) The hubby and I recorded an educational video and sent to the fabulous A.L. Lester. Fellow Swedish author Ofelia Gränd and I are trying to teach her about Swedish traditions, and Ally laughed so hard when she watched the clip, her family thought she had a seizure. Mission accomplished 😁

Another Midsummer necessity is strawberries. Here served with vanilla (soy) ice cream and it’s pure happiness in a bowl glass.

Speaking of strawberries: I’m growing my own. (The ones we ate on Midsummer was not from my garden unfortunately). I have two strawberry plants, and I’m saving the berries for my granddaughter who’ll come visit this weekend. She’s almost 10 months and she LOVES eating. Granted, she loves raspberries better than strawberries, but but she’s a fan of strawberries, too. So she’s the only one who’ll be allowed to eat the few strawberries on my plants…and yes, that includes me. 😁

And finally; two pictures from The Pool Project. Our new house has a small pool, but important stuff was broken when when we moved in and subsequently the water looked like something poisonous. And when you move into a house four times the size of your old apartment, there are projects that takes precedence over a pool. Like furniture for all rooms. So this has been the sad state of the pool the past couple months. And if the green water wasn’t icky enough, my husband found a dead mouse in there, too 🤮

But not anymore! The hubby rebuilt the pump-filter-cleaning system from the ground up this past weekend, and we’re working hard on cleaning up the water. With good success; it’s no longer green! It still needs fine tuning (the pH levels and whatnot needs adjusting) but it’s getting there. So it won’t be long until I’ll be able to jump into the pool and cool off if there’s another heat wave, or after a hard day at work. Or just because I feel like it, because I’m pretty sure I was a mermaid in a past life. I can’t wait.


And that, my friends, was the month of June. Tell me something you did in June! 🙂

About Nell, Flowers Under My Pillow

Happy Midsummer

In Sweden, Midsummer is a huge deal. It’s one of our biggest holiday, rivaled only by Christmas, and as with Christmas we celebrate on -Eve and not on -Day. So when you’re reading this, I’m probably busy celebrating Midsummer.

In a non-covid year, this is what the celebrations would look like:

I know I’ve posted it before, but it’s still funny and accurate. And it’s definitely worth re-watching 😂

This year’s celebration will include only me and the hubby. But there will still be food, and snaps, and maybe a drinking song or two. If you’re really lucky, I might post a picture or two over on Instagram.

And if you’re more curious about Swedish midsummer, make sure to pre-order my Midsummer romance, Flowers Under My Pillow that’ll be released tomorrow.

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.

“It’s you.”

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.

About Nell

Goodbye May

Oh May. May was the month I started working a Day Job again for the first time in years and years. It was cold and rainy, but also warm with a promise of summer. It was hectic and busy and tiring, but lovely. Sort of like life itself.

Here are ten pictures from my May. Tell me something good that happened to you in May!

May started with us browsing a flee market we found in a tiny village here in the new area where we live. We found a few plates and a bowl that we bought, and the hubby chatted up the other people who were there. It was fun.

On May 3, I got on a train and traveled to the city where I now work, Helsingborg. Every day when I step off the train, I can smell the ocean. I love the smell of the ocean in the morning 🙂

Speaking of trains; I’ve spent a lot of time waiting on trains and riding on trains. And found new ways to entertain myself on the train, as I told you in yesterday’s blog post.

I haven’t spent as much time in the garden as I’d liked, because it’s rained a lot. But I’ve made some progress when it comes to fighting the weeds we inherited when we bought the house. I feel like winning the War of the Weeds is going to take years, and not just this summer. But we shall see 🙂

But not everything in the garden is stinging nettles or thistles or other worthless, hostile plants that has no place in on my property. Most of the garden is nature showing itself from its most glorious side. I mean. Look at this picture. Isn’t it amazing and beautiful?

The Grilling Season has started. Swedes carry out their grills in May (or even earlier, in April) and grill 50% of the meals for the entire summer. At least if we happen to live in houses. And we’re no different, so you can expect a lot of pictures of food prepared on the grill in the upcoming months 🙂

One evening, we had an impromptu online party with a friend we haven’t seen for too long. So we had to play the Ultimate Party Song, an old Swedish favorite.

We put up a wild bee hotel. My husband named it The Bee-llagio. 😂

One day at work I was fueled by chocolate.

And speaking of grilling… When the sun is shining and summer is knocking on the door, the right thing to do is throw some hot dogs on the grill and pop open a bottle of bubbly. Trust me on this.

And that, my friends, was May. And as promised, not a single moving-related picture! 😂