Writers Not Writing tag

Happy Sunday everyone. I’ve been too busy writing this week to have time to read, so there won’t be a review today. Instead I borrowed a YouTube tag from my friend Amy and decided to answer the questions here on the blog. So if you’re interested in getting to know me a little better, now’s the time! 🙂

Oh, and click here if you want to watch Amy’s video on the topic and find out whether she likes tea or coffee better 🙂

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Do you have a day job?

No. I did back in Sweden, but I haven’t had one since we moved to Malaysia. I’m an expat wife, but I’m not a member of any expat organization, meeting other wives for lunch or cocktails or pilates. I spend my days reading and writing and talking to my writer friends and doing yoga and I love it.

Are you a reader?

Duh. Yes. I’ve been since I was very young. My mom taught me to read at a very early age because she was very sick when I was little and didn’t have the energy to be outdoors and play. So to keep me occupied, she taught me how to read and write, and that’s been my thing ever since.

Also, I don’t believe you can be a writer if you don’t read. I’m not one for giving writer advice because what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else…But this is the exception. If you want to be a writer you need to read. Period. My best – and only – advice 🙂

What are your other hobbies?

Music. I love listening to music and I do it all the time. Seriously, I can’t live without music. We also bought a piano this Friday, so now I’m going to learn how to play. Wish me luck 🙂

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Tea or coffee?

Tea. Green tea. I had to quit coffee because I’m super sensitive to caffeine and can’t sleep if I drink it. But I’ve always loved tea more, so it wasn’t really a hardship. Instead I buy expensive teas, fluttering my eyelashes at my husband if he’s grumbling over the price, saying, Since I can’t have coffee… and he caves 🙂

In the picture is one of my favorites: Sakura Sakura. Green tea with cherry blossom petals. Sooo yummy.

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What are you passionate about?

Equality. Equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. Nothing makes me as angry as inequality.

Do you have any pets?

No, I’m allergic. Unless you count the gecko that moved into my kitchen without my consent, but gets to stay because he eats bugs. He also poops all over my kitchen, but as long as he keeps eating the bugs I’ll look the other way 🙂

What was your dream job as a child/when you were younger?

As a very young child I wanted to be a cashier, because that’s what my mom did. When I grew a little older, I wanted to work as an air hostess because I thought it would be glamorous with all the traveling they get to do. (This was before I’d ever flown anywhere, now I know better!) After that I wanted to be a writer.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I’m originally from Sweden and now I live in Malaysia, so I’ve left my country behind already. When we leave Malaysia in the future, it will be for Europe. We’re not moving back to Sweden (it’s too cold), but I can see myself living in Italy, France or Germany. Most likely we’ll end up in Berlin, Germany because of reasons 🙂

Do you speak foreign languages?

My native tongue is Swedish, and this post is written in English, so yes. I can also manage (barely) in France, but most of the time the French people I try to speak to feel sorry for me and reply in English 🙂 I also took German in high school, but I’m very, very rusty. Maybe it’s time to start brushing up on my skills, if we plan to move to Germany?

What music would we find in your collection?

In the image below are a few of my favorite artists/records.

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From top left: Listen Without Prejudice by George Michael, Mosaic by Wovenhand, The King of Limbs by Radiohead.

From bottom left: Live from KCRW by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Harvest by Neil Young, and Den Morronen by Thåström.

I’ve loved George Michael since the early 80s when he was a member of Wham! My teenage heart beat hard for him and never stopped. I cried when he died, and I still can’t listen to his music without tearing  up.

Wovenhand is a fabulous band and I’ve seen them live several times. Them and their predecessors 16 Horsepower. Love the singer, he’s an amazing live performer and I love his voice.

Radiohead has been a favorite since the release of Creep in the early 90s and I love them more and more for every year. I’ve actually used the singer, Thom Yorke, as inspiration for one of my characters. Check out this image of him and tell me if you can figure out who 🙂

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is my favorite band in the whole wide world. (Or maybe it’s Radiohead…who knows?) and I’ve seen them live twice. I am, however, a bit disappointed with their latest album, but maybe it’ll pass 🙂

Harvest by Neil Young is one of the best albums in the whole world. I’m not a Neil Young super fan except for this record, but seriously. This one is a must in any record collection. Also, if you haven’t watched this live version of Heart of Gold from 1971, you really need to fix that oversight immediately. It’s fabulous.

Thåström is a Swedish artist who has been a huge part of the Swedish music scene for 40 years. He started out as a punk singer, but now he’s more of a singer-songwriter. I love him so much, but have never managed to catch him live. But my daughter has…and she bought me that signed album as consolation 🙂 If you’re curious what he sounds like, here’s a YouTube link to one of my favorite songs. He sings in Swedish, though.

 

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Writers are weird-tag

A couple days ago I watched a video on my friend Amy’s Youtube-channel with a fun writing tag that I thought I’d steal for the blog. I know, I know, it’s a #authortube tag and I have a blog – but I’m a rebel and walk to the beat of my own drum, so I won’t listen to any of your objections 🙂

Here are her answers, and if you don’t already follow her on Youtube, you really, really should.

Moving on. Here are my answers:

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Do you have bizarre internet searches? (if so, what’s the weirdest one?)
OMG, yes! But to be fair, I did long before I ever became a writer. I’m a curious person who doesn’t like unanswered questions so I google everything all the time and always joke about that I sincerely hope no one monitors my google searches. But maybe the weirdest one related to my writing was on glory hole etiquette. And yes, there is such a thing. 😉

Do you write people you know and dislike into your story as villains or dumb people to kill off?
Nah. But I don’t kill off people, so maybe that’s why. And my stories doesn’t contain a lot of villains either. But if they did, I would probably just pick a specific trait from the person I dislike and give it to the villain; I wouldn’t copy them entirely.

Does personal hygiene sometimes come second to writing?
No. I have eczema and not taking care of my skin is really, really bad, so it’s a health thing for me. But we’re talking a shower and moisturizing because I don’t use makeup and don’t particularly care about fashion, so it only takes me a few minutes to get ready. Besides, showers are nice. Why wouldn’t you wanna shower? 🙂

Do you go on baby name websites to help you name your characters?
Of course. Doesn’t everyone? 🙂

Do you have a list of actors and actresses that would play your characters if there was an adaptation made?
Nope. Probably because I hardly ever watch movies or TV-shows (it’s boring! I prefer reading!) I can’t say that I dream about having any of my books made into a movie, I don’t see what all the fuss are about. I’d love to become a bestselling author one day, but seeing my work on the silver screen? Nah, not important.

Have you ever stared at a stranger because they look like one of your characters?
No. But I’ve stared at a stranger because they’ve done something that fascinates me or said something that I want to remember and use in a story.

Do you talk to yourself to help work through scenes? (if so, where do you talk to yourself?)
Hmmm, I don’t think so, which is unexpected because I usually talk to myself a lot. Instead, I tend to stare unseeingly into space while I mull stuff over in my head.

While writing, do you make the expressions your characters are making?
No. But I often enact the physical stuff they’re doing to see if it’s possible (I’m not talking about sex! Mind out of the gutter, people!) More like “can he reach to put his hand there” or “how would I break free if someone had me pinned to a door”…stuff like that.

Do you ever practice answering interview questions in case you “make it big?”
Lol, no. And I don’t practice writing award show acceptance speeches either 🙂

Do you have a soundtrack and/or playlists for your book or scenes from your book?
Yes! Music is very important to me and all my books have playlists that have influenced them one way or another. I don’t listen to the songs in these playlists when I’m writing (I need instrumental music for that, lyrics distract me from my writing), but I listen to them before I start writing, or when I need to be inspired, or work through a scene.

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That’s it. So what do you think? Sufficiently weird for you? 🙂

There’s no place like home

I’m back home in Kuala Lumpur after almost two weeks in Sweden. Actually, I came back on January 4th, but I’ve spent my time since battling a severe case of jetlag and catching up, but I still feel really behind. My Christmas and New Year’s in Sweden was really nice, I hung out a lot with my darling daughter and my family and met a lot of old friends and it was fantastic. But it was also really busy and sometimes stressful. I didn’t have time to read, or hardly even to go online. Writing was out of the question, and if I hadn’t prepared all the Christmasvaganza posts before I left, the blog would have been a sad, empty place for the holidays.

I’m stressed because I haven’t caught up. I’m supposed to read and comment on a friend’s writing, but my brain is tired and unfocused so I haven’t been able to, and feel like a failure. I need to get back to writing. I need to catch up on the lovely reviews of my books that popped up when I was away. I need to get back into the loop.

So here’s to hoping this Monday brings a new, fresh start for me where I have time and energy to do all those things and more.

Wanna see some pictures from my holidays in Sweden while we wait for that to happen?

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The tree at my daughter’s place. The theme for this year (yes, we have themes!!) was red.

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Lussekatter (saffron-buns) baked by my mother-in-law. They’re delicious!!

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My dad’s meatballs, made from elk meat. Soooo yummy!!

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I warmed up by the fire at my brother-in-law’s place when we visited with him and his lovely family.

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We went on a road trip to visit a friend in Årjäng, close to the Norwegian border.

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And we spent New Year’s Eve celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday with rainbow bubbly.

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My darling daughter knows her mother really well, and gave me this for Christmas. Tea! In Pride packages!! Isn’t it fabulous? In the tin is a version of Earl Grey: Earl Gay. And the other tea tastes of rhubarb, cream, citrus, and strawberry.

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I gave myself these for Christmas. I use The Emotion Thesaurus all the time when I write and I have them both in ebook…but sometimes nothing beats thumbing through a print book 🙂

New release: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings

Today is the release day for my advent calendar story! Wohooo, yay! It feels like I’ve been working on it forever: I started writing it in March, submitted it in June, and spent the entire fall editing it.

But now it’s finally here!! *throws confetti* If you’ve ordered the entire advent calendar from Dreamspinner, it will be delivered sometime between today and Christmas…and that’s all I’m saying on the matter. 😁

But if you’re only interested in my book, there’s a link to the store down below. But let’s look at the cover and read the blurb first, shall we?? 😊🎅🏻🎄

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Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Available now at Dreamspinner Press. 

FREE Holiday Anthology: Make the Yuletide Gay

Happy release date to us!!

Who doesn’t like free books?? I know I do! So I’ve got a special treat for you: a fabulous FREE anthology that I wrote with four of my author friends that’s available now. It’s a perfect way to spend Black Friday if you’re still too full after eating far too much turkey yesterday, or if you just want a few moments of peace and quiet and cute, holiday romance. Links are at the bottom of the post.

Check out sexy Santa:

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Sleigh bells ring—are you listening?

It’s that time of year again, and we have the perfect way to get you in the mood: A free anthology! Five holiday stories that are guaranteed to warm your heart, heat up your cold nights, and most importantly: Make your yuletide gay.

A Christmas Party to Remember by Nicky Spencer
Last Christmas, Cory and Wes made a connection that left them both thanking Santa. But when Cory doesn’t show up for their first date, Wes swears he won’t make that mistake again. This year, can Santa’s magic find a way to bring them back together?

Let’s Not Go Crazy by Stephen Hoppa
The holidays are stressful enough without Ethan’s boyfriend Nate trying to kill him with Christmas cheer. But Nate’s found a whole new way to torture Ethan when he reveals that he wants kids. Will their conflicting desires tear their relationship apart, or will they find a way to ring in the new year stronger than ever?

Captain Jack and the Snack Attack by Addison Albright
Two men determined to win the same treasure at a charity silent auction, a wayward kitten, grumbling tummies, and a dilemma: what’s the correct gift-giving etiquette for a first date that’s mere days before Christmas, and what could possibly go awry with this merry combination?

The Christmas Day Date by Nell Iris
One rainbow Christmas tree in harm’s way and an afternoon spent eating far too many cookies, equals two men with changed holiday plans. But how does that translate into a date?

The Year of the Monkey by Amy Tasukada
The last thing Aoi wants to do for New Year’s is spend it with his boyfriend’s parents, who were far from thrilled when their son came out. Can Aoi warm their hearts making traditional mochi or will they end up in an even stickier situation?

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Two men. Changed Christmas plans. A gazillion cookies.

Lenny Painter’s idea of the perfect Christmas is sleeping the holiday away. He’s got nowhere to be, and the only item on his Santa wish list is to catch a glimpse of his cute neighbor, JJ.

Julius Jones’s carefully organized Christmas is canceled at the last minute. In a fit of rage, he rids his apartment of all holiday cheer, including the rainbow-decorated tree.

But Lenny rescues the beautiful tree from a sad demise and end up spending the afternoon with JJ. When JJ asks Lenny to celebrate Christmas Day with him, Lenny accepts.

But it isn’t a date. Or is it?

Available for free at:

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Scribd

NOTE: It’s also available at Amazon, but despite us working our behinds off for a week to get them to make it available for free, they still haven’t lowered the price (as I write this). So please, please, please, get it at any of the other stores. If you’re a die-hard Kindle fan, you can get a .mobi at Smashwords. You don’t even have to register for an account at Smashwords if you don’t already have one, just click the mobi-button and it will download automatically! For free, as we intended!

Ho-ho-hoooo, start your holiday reading now!

Two images

Here are two pictures from my (bookish and writerly) life:

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This tote caught my eye in the bookstore and I just had to buy it. It’s amazing! And you can’t have too many totes, can you? 🙂

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I was a cliché writer the other day, grabbed my laptop, and went to Starbucks to write. I’ve given up coffee (because I’m sensitive to caffeine), but at Starbucks I can order decaf, so I had a huge cappuccino. It was soooo good. I’ve missed my fancy coffee drinks!

I kind of felt like Carrie Bradshaw (but less glamorous and without boy troubles), but to be honest I couldn’t really concentrate on my writing. Instead, I ended up chatting online with my husband (who was on a business trip) and a writer friend of mine. So, I guess I’d better stay home next time I want to get some writing done.

Where’s your favorite place to write or read?

Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings

Dreamspinner Press’s advent calendar Stocking Stuffers—including my story Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings—is now available for preorder. In October, the pre-order price is $39.99, which is a great price for thirty-one stories. From December 1st, the stories will be available individually, if you just want to read about Casey and Ellis and not the other guys 🙂

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Blurb:
Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

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So hop on over and pre-order the advent calendar. Can you think of a better way to spend December, than reading 31 holiday-themed stories? I sure can’t 😁