Nell Iris


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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?

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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 😁


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More love for Cinnamon Eyes

A month ago I posted a review roundup for Cinnamon Eyes. I’ve since gotten more fantastic reviews and I wanted to share them with you. The kind words and love for Cory and Asher makes me incredibly happy ❤️

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Jules at The Novel Approach gave it 4 out of 5 stars

“Cinnamon Eyes is full of emotion, and features two main characters whose love absolutely jumps off the page. Friends-to-lovers stories are my jam, so I’m picky about them, but this one was well-done and heart-warming.”

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Melanie M at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words gave it 4,5 out of 5 stars

“The author’s writing is smooth, her storytelling is wildly romantic while still being real, and the ending is everything you will want it to be.”

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Kirsty at Joyfully Jay gave it 5 out of 5 stars

“I was particularly impressed by Nell Iris’ understanding of Cory’s depression. I am a firm believer of characters’ experiences being a close to real life as possible and as someone who has struggled with depression for much of my life, I could really identify with Cory. From the outset of the story, Iris makes her reader conscious of the fact that Cory’s positive mood is not a lasting one and that his recovery journey is not complete. I think it is really important that Iris recognizes that individuals attempting to get well have different ways of coping when their emotions become overwhelming.”

“Cinnamon Eyes is a romance that will melt readers’ hearts, without being saccharin sweet because of the real-life issues that Iris handles with such sensitivity. This may be the first book I have read by Iris, but it won’t be the last! A full five-star recommendation.”

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NeRdyWYRM at Gay Book Reviews gave it 4 out of 5 stars

“I think Nell Iris may have succeeded in accomplishing something I once thought was impossible. This read has reversed my usual (and usually complete) loathing for short stories.”

“The connection between these two sweethearts was epic.”

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Buy links: 
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


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Back home and advertising

Hi everyone. I’m finally back home after almost three weeks away in Sweden, hanging out with friends and family, hugging the stuffing out of my daughter, and attending my oldest friend’s wedding. It’s been great, but I’ve had no time for writing and I’ve really missed it. I need to find a way to figure out how to be still be a writer when I visit family.

But now my head is full of ideas and my fingers itch to get started, so hopefully I’ll be banging away on my keyboard soon. The stupid jetlag just has to release its hold of me first.

Now for something completely different: wanna see something pretty?

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Would you look at that! I bought advertising space on the Diverse Reader blog, so for the entire month of September, the pretty cover of Cinnamon Eyes will adorn the front page. Isn’t that awesome? Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it generates lots of clicks and sales! Because Cory and Asher deserve it.

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Buy links: 
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


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Going on a trip

I’m going to Sweden today. I’m gonna hug my daughter, hug my mother (and father and brother and other family), hang out with friends, and eat Swedish food. And I’m going to my BFF’s wedding. So if I seem absent, you know why 🙂

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I love my pastel-y suitcase with the rainbow luggage tag. Easy to spot on the belt in the airport 🙂

While I’m away: buy my book!! You’ll love it. I promise 🙂

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Buy links: 
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


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Five confessions

I’m terribly behind in this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo because I’ve spent most of July being sick with a sore throat, fever, and the most stubborn cough you can imagine.

I may or may not have eaten an entire pint of Ben&Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream the other day when I read and critiqued my friend’s WIP. But everyone knows ice cream is the best medicine for a sore throat, right?

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I hate promoting myself. I am NOT a sales person: if I needed to take a job in sales I would starve to death and be thrown out on the street because I couldn’t sell water to a dehydrated person in the Sahara Desert if my life depended on it. Putting myself out there, saying Buy my books, they’re great! is really, really hard for me. I mean, there’s a reason I want to be a writer: I can stay indoors all day and work in my underwear and not have to meet anyone except for my husband. Introverts make sucky salespeople. And because I don’t know how to sell stuff—especially myself—I don’t have any great promo ideas. What can I do to promote my books? Got any great ideas? Except for becoming filthy rich so I can hire someone to do the promo for me?

I’m in a blogging funk and have no idea what to write about. Not just here, but in my private blog that I’ve loved and maintained for 11 years. It got to the point where my mom gave me the stink eye because I wasn’t updating it: Your poor mother has NO IDEA what’s going on in your life anymore since you don’t UPDATE YOUR BLOG. Ouch. For this blog, I’m trying to figure out some kind of schedule so I have a plan to stick to. Themes for the different days. Like on Mondays I post X, Wednesdays Y, and Fridays Z. Now I just gotta figure out what XYZ are. What do you like to read about on author blogs?

I’m in a funk in general and feel like I suck as a writer. And I’m not writing this to get pats on the back or assurances that I don’t suck, but just to be honest and since I’m apparently in the business of confessing this Sunday. Why should I write, when there are so many writers out there so much better than me? Do my stories matter to anyone but me? Would anyone even care if I didn’t write anymore? Why should I finish my current WIP, it’s not like I’m gonna know how to promote it properly anyway?

See? A terrible funk. I don’t know how to pull myself out of it. I need to figure out how to stop comparing myself to others, have some faith in myself, and remember that I write because I love it. Sounds easy enough, don’t you think? (<- irony)

Wasn’t this a happy and uplifting blog post? I’ll stop whining now, make myself a cup of coffee and do a 15-minute writing sprint on my NaNo project. I got words to write and bootstraps to pull myself up by.

Have a great Sunday.


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Poor, coffee-deprived writer

This writer has cut down her coffee intake. A lot. *cue the sad, dramatic music*

All my life, I’ve had an ambivalent relationship with coffee (it’s bitter and smells much better than it tastes), and for the longest time I didn’t drink it at all. And that’s kind of a big deal for a Swede. Swedes drink a lot of coffee—we were on 6th place of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers last year (and I find it very interesting that all five of the Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland—are in the top six!)

And not only that. We take our coffee drinking very seriously in Sweden—it’s a way of life. It’s called “fika” and there’s not really a word for it in English. If you’re interested in knowing more, here’s an article about it. It’s interesting and explains a lot 🙂

Every time you visit with someone in Sweden, they will offer you coffee. If you don’t drink it, your host becomes anxious and tries to come up with a range of other beverages to offer you instead. Sometimes they’ll even offer to run to the store and buy something for you.

It was exhausting to have to explain every time why I didn’t drink coffee. And even people close to me forgot. Like my mother-in-law, who, by the way, is from Finland. (And did you happen to notice which country was at the top of that list I linked to earlier? 😉 ) I’ve been with my husband for well over 20 years, and even after knowing me for 10+ years, she forgot that I didn’t drink it.

So one day I thought Ah, fuck it! and started drinking the stuff.

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But here’s the thing. I don’t like it in the morning. I prefer to drink my coffee in the evenings. Especially when I write. So that’s what I’ve done. And for a long time, it wasn’t a problem. But lately, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep.

And, of course, I knew what the culprit was. My coffee. I did some research: I knew caffeine causes alertness, but as it turns out, it can disrupt the entire sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. If I drink coffee late this evening, it might affect my sleep for many nights to follow.

So, last week I decided to stop with my late night coffee. And since I don’t like to drink it early in the day, I’ve dramatically cut my intake.

And…I’m fine. I’ve not had any withdrawal problems and after a few days, I slept much better. The only thing is that I miss having a hot beverage to drink when I write. I solved that problem by buying rooibos tea, which does not contain caffeine.

One funny thing about coffee and fika: I’ve noticed that my Swedish fika-habits show up in my books. All my characters like to sit down with a book and a cup of coffee and fika for an hour or two. If that’s something you’ve noticed and found a little weird, well now you know why 🙂

Like in this excerpt from Find His Way Home. After spending a couple months by himself in the forest, Elliot wants human interactions and real coffee 😀 (Emma, mentioned in the quote, is the person from whom he rents the cabin)

On his way back to the car, he passed a cozy café, and the aroma of coffee wafting through the door as customers exited was strong and full. His feet carried him inside without him giving it a lot of thought, and he spent a few minutes trying figure out what he was in the mood for. After deciding on a frilly coffee drink with a big dollop of cream and lots of sugary syrup, accompanied by an enormous blueberry muffin, he found a table in a quiet corner. The second-hand armchair was as comfy as it looked, and he groaned with happiness as he sank down into it.

He swallowed a mouthful of his beverage and couldn’t help the pleased hum that escaped him. It tasted so much better than the stupid instant shit he had in the cabin. He should tell Emma they ought to buy a coffee maker for the kitchen—a French press would make a world of difference—and he’d be willing to pay extra for the luxury.

memorial day sale

My books are still on sale over at JMS Books for the remainder of the day if you still haven’t bough it. Links are listed below.

Here’s a list of today’s scheduled Release Blitz stops:
MM Good Book Reviews
Jim’s Reading Room

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N