Life and writing update, and Pride sale

Hi everyone. I thought it was time to update you on what’s going on in my life again. It’s been a month since the last one after all 🙂

First of all:

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My new writing space is done! In our new place, I don’t have my own office. Instead, my desk is located in the middle of the kitchen and living room. It’s an open floor plan, with no walls between the aforementioned rooms, so we set up my desk smack dab in the middle as sort of a room divider.

I love it here, more than my office in the previous place. The room I was in didn’t have any windows and was always pretty dark which wasn’t great. Here, I have huge windows in both directions and it’s bright and cheery which always makes me happier. I’m also located about two steps from the kettle, so making tea is much easier than when I was upstairs and the kitchen was downstairs and that’s a big plus in my book (yes, I’m lazy 😀 ).

And this has also increased my productivity. A lot.

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I’ve been up early several mornings and written. And I mean, early as f*ck: I’ve set my alarm for 5:40 am and had sprinting dates at 6am. Having company when writing helps so much and it’s difficult to find a time when I’m in a very different time zone from most people I know and sprint with, that’s why I’m willing to sacrifice lazy mornings in bed. But I like getting up early, making myself a cup of tea (or three) and writing with one or more people. I get shit done. Maybe I can make this into a habit, even for those mornings when my sprinting friends have other things to do and can’t join me. At least I’m going to try.

There’s also another thing:

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Pictured above: the stack of books I need for my courses (not including the kidlit fiction books) / me studing on the balcony / me studying at the desk with salty licorice to keep me going / me having a glass of wine and reading Swedish poems by poet Karin Boye for fun

I signed up for two online summer writing courses at university; poetry writing, and kidlit writing. So I’m spending lots of time studying and trying to write poetry/kidlit in Swedish…which is harder than you’d think considering my native tongue is Swedish. But I’ve done all my creative writing in English for years; not only my romance stories but my poetry writing, too. So switching gears to write in Swedish is more difficult than I expected, and I bitch about it to my friends and family a lot 😁

I’m enjoying the studying, though. Poetry more than kidlit, and to be honest I thought it would be the other way around. I’ve always wanted to write books for children, but with this course…stuff bugs me. I won’t go into it here, but it sort of takes away my enjoyment from the kidlit, so when I’ve finished this course, I won’t sign up for another.

Poetry though…I love it! I love learning about all the different meters and rules, I love immersing myself in the words, and I take every moment I can reading poetry, even on my free time 🙂

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I drink a lot of tea to get me through these busy times. And don’t you just love my new tea cups? I’ve always wanted Jane Austen-style cups. You know, the fancy ones with a saucer type, and my darling daughter found these for me in a second hand shop. I adore them so much.

So I spend my summer days in the new place guzzling down tea by the gallon, nose buried in text books, swearing over writing in Swedish, reading-reading-reading, and getting up early in the morning to write about Frankie and Lawrence. And I’m enjoying myself 🙂


Before I go: JMS Books have a Pride sale this week and offer 30% off all ebooks through June 30, including mine and including pre-orders (like for example A Decade of Gay Romance), so if you want to go wild and make sure you have books to last you through he summer, now’s the time 🙂

Useful links:

My JMS author page

A Decade of Gay Romance | Always You | Late Night Poetry | 9 Willow Street |

jms pride sale 2020

Also, check out my fellow JMS authors while you’re there. Maybe try one of these?

jms books

Another Chance for Love – I already pre-ordered it because I loved the other Ellie Thomas I read
Flesh and Kisses – also already pre-ordered because I love Vivien Dean
Elevator Pitch – I haven’t read it but you gotta love a book where the bear shifter is named Björn (Björn means bear in Swedish, AND it’s a legit name! 😁)
Cultivating Love – because older books need love, too
Of Starlit Balls and Starship Captains – I recently bought it but haven’t had time to read it yet, but I love K.L Noone, and that title? *swoon*
Not and Angel, But a Cupid – I haven’t read it, but would you look at that cover?? 😍
Henry & Jim – because sometimes you need a really good cry
Hero Worship – because Kris deserves everyone’s love


Happy shopping, and take care everyone!

Paperback

I’ll be honest with you: these days, I mostly read e-books. It’s so convenient: I can carry thousands of books with me everywhere I go and I can change font and size of the text (severe myopia in combination with age-related vision problems poses some interesting challenges). But my favorite thing about e-books is that it’s instant gratification. I don’t need to go to a physical bookstore to buy what I want, or wait for whatever I ordered online to be delivered. Instead all I need to do is one-click, and I have it in my possession to read!

That being said, I still buy lots of physical copies of books. I buy most of my poetry books in physical format because poetry needs paper. But I also buy books I’ve read and really loved, because there’s something special about holding a book in your hands, isn’t it? Somehow, it feels more real than just electronic scribbles on an electronic device.

Also: it’s good to have something to read should you run out of batteries 🙂

Which is why I’m happy to tell you that one of my stories are now available to buy in paperback!

imaa + ll v2 checkmark review quote also in paperback

The Trio collection Legendary Loves volume 2, featuring my story In My Arms Again and two other stories by the fabulous Addison Albright and Kassandra Lea, is now also available in paperback! That means 306 pages of romancey goodness that you can hold in your hands and smell, and you don’t have to worry about the battery running out.

You can also bring it with you and trek out to a lonely place in the forest, sit on the ground with your back against a tree, and maybe bring a flask of tea (hot or cold) to keep you hydrated. In that spot, you can forget about the real world for a while, and immerse yourself in our imaginary worlds. But beware. That sound you hear might be Vinge, the pegasus shifter who can’t shift, who’s out looking for…something. Or it might be Bigfoot up to shenanigans and causing trouble. Or if you don’t live near the forest (or don’t like being in it) and instead found yourself a lovely, secluded spot by a lake or the ocean, who knows what that splash out on the water you caught in the corner of your eye is…?

It’s also perfectly fine to read it curled up on the couch. Maybe next next to a chatty special someone who doesn’t understand loosing themselves in a book and just wants to talk when all you want to do is immerse yourself in the story for a while. In that case, I strongly recommend noise cancellation headphones! 😁


In My Arms Again by Nell Iris: Oxen is lonely, feeling like he’s waiting for something, and can’t focus. But when a very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes. The stranger, Vinge, is a Pegasus unable to transform. Both men feel an instant connection that swiftly grows deeper. The questions surrounding Vinge are many. Why is he so familiar? What will it take for the depth of their connection be revealed?

The Murky Depths by Kassandra Lea: Tired of the daily grind of his job, Keston heads out for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Kona Woods. Turns out he isn’t alone, though, as there are others lurking in the shadows. When a near-death experience brings Ness waltzing into his life, everything Keston thought he knew is turned upside down. Will facing what scares him bring to Keston’s life what it’s missing most?

Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright: There’s nothing about perky — twinky? — Oliver Hughes that would make Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think Bigfoot actually exists. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see. In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

JMS Books paperbackAmazon paperback

Memorial Day Sale

memorial day sale jms

JMS Books has a Memorial Day Sale and offers 40% off all e-books, including pre-orders. So hurry over there and pre-order my upcoming childhood friends-to-lovers story Always You if you haven’t already. Or if you’re in the mood for a second chance love story told in answering machine messages, Late Night Poetry is the book for you.

But all my books are on sale of course, so check out the links below 🙂

Always You | Late Night Poetry | My author page

Life update

Hi! I know I’m mostly absent from my blog these days, which sucks, but I hope I’ll be back to normal soon. The reason? Well, there are many, on top of the whole global pandemic thing, but first and foremost this one:

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But Nell, you say, didn’t you just move?

Why yes, yes I did, thanks for asking. We moved to this place in November, but because of Covid-19, our landlady decided out of the blue to sell the house, so we had to scramble to find a new place to stay. But we did find a place, and a nice place at that. It’s smaller than we have now, so I’ll be without an office again and my writing space will be in the living room, but I’m fine with that. On the plus side: the apartment is brand spanking new, as in no one has lived in it before us, so that’s nice.

However, moving is a hassle and messes with my routines, which is why I haven’t been around much. The move happens next Friday (May 29) and I hope everything goes back to normal after that.


Until then, don’t forget to pre-order Always You if you haven’t already:

always you promo rjscott

Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he’s willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.

Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life…no matter his current girlfriend’s opinion on the matter. But he’s never been known for being in contact with his emotions.

When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more…hopeful reason?

M/M Contemporary, app 11000 words

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

JMS BOOKS (20% OFF UNTIL JUNE 5) | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO

Autism Awareness Blog Hop

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There is no known scientific link currently between vaccines and autism.


I’m honored to take part in RJ Scott’s annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop. I adore anyone who uses their voice and platform to do good, so hats off to RJ Scott for doing this. I’m the last stop for this year, but click this link to see what all the other fabulous authors have contributed.

Also, check out RJ’s master post by clicking this link. By commenting on the post, you can win signed copies of her books with characters on the autism spectrum, among other things.

Also, if you have the opportunity: consider donating to an organization working with autistic people like Lindengate or any other organization you want to support.


Every year the blog hop has a theme, and this year it’s food, and I thought I’d tell you about my current food project: learning how to cook Asian .

Unless you’re very new to my blog (in that case, welcome!) you know I recently moved back to Sweden after living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for close to nine years. I loved living there even if not everything is great about Malaysia (like the fact that being LGBT is against the law) and the best part was the food. Kuala Lumpur is a very diverse city with every kind of cuisine – not just Asian – readily available. But I loved the different kind of Asian food the best.

I’d had some Asian food before I moved. Chinese, of course. Sushi. Really crappy Indian food from the only Indian place in my tiny home town. And Thai, which was my favorite. But moving to a place with so much new (to me) and interesting food was paradise.

I ate my way through all the different cuisines. Malaysian of course (Beef Rendang, yum). Great Indian food instead of the crappy one I’d tried before. Korean (I ADORE Korean BBQ), Vietnamese (pho!), middle eastern, Indonesian, and awesome Chinese, just to mention a few. But my absolute favorites are Thai and Japanese.

So now that I’ve moved to a place where I can’t find that kind of food on every street corner, I figured it was time to learn how to cook it myself. I started with Thai and my favorite dish Pad Krapow and did pretty well, if I’m allowed to say so myself (and my husband agreed, he even called it authentic-tasting). I’ve branched out since, and I’m slowly learning about the flavors. How to use fish sauce and oyster sauce. The difference between light and dark soy sauce. How something tangy/tart/sour enhances every dish. And I’ve also learned that I really, really love fresh ginger.

The dish I miss the most is real Japanese ramen. Before I moved to Malaysia, the only ramen I’d tried was the instant variety which is kind of gross. So imagine my surprise when the hubby took me out on a date to have real ramen, saying You’re gonna love this, trust me. And I did. The rich, cloudy broth that’s been boiled for at least 12 hours, lovely noodles, tender chashu, seaweed, mushrooms, and eggs…YUM!

To borrow a term from the romance world: it was insta-love…and our relationship is still going strong all these years later.

So now my plan is to learn how to cook ramen. I bought a seriously great cookbook and I’ve been reading through it several times. The recipe for the broth is deceptively simple: it calls for 12 liters of water, 4 onions, and 15 pig’s feet.

I visualize myself in the kitchen halving 15 pig’s feet and roasting them in the oven before boiling them in a big ass pot for up to 18 hours.

What can possibly go wrong? 😁

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A bowl of gorgeous tonkotsu ramen from my Ippudo, favorite ramen place in Kuala Lumpur.


Sully in my latest release Late Night Poetry, loves cooking and works in a kitchen. To win an ebook copy of this book, all you need to do is comment on this blog post. Tell me about your biggest kitchen adventure, or if you don’t like to cook, tell me about your favorite food in the whole wide world!

I will pick a winner on May 8.

graphic1 late night poetry nell iris

A love story told in answering machine messages.

Saying “I love you” to someone who says it first, isn’t supposed to lead to a break-up, but that’s what happens to Sully and Lou. Sully is out and proud while Lou is in the closet, so when their relationship deepens, Lou runs.

But then Lou starts leaving emotional messages of remorse on Sully’s answering machine. Sully is torn between his love for Lou and his attempts to get over him. With each message, Lou’s regrets deepen. With each message, it becomes more difficult for Sully to forget him. With each message, Sully finds it harder to want to move on.

Can old love poems and heartbreaking honesty help Sully and Lou find their way back to each other?

M/M Contemporary, approximately 10 000 words

Life update, blurb turnoffs, and a “bestseller”

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are all staying safe and taking care of yourselves and your loved ones! Everything is fine in the Iris household: my husband is working from home and I LOVE having him home. I’m not one of these people who’s like gaaaaah my spouse needs to go back to work or I’ll kill them! On the contrary, I told my husband this morning when we met in the kitchen for coffee/tea break that I’ll be sad when he has to go back and work at the office 🙂

I know I’ve been pretty silent here lately and it’s only been a bunch of promo posts, but I’ve had loots of big crap going on in my life (aside for the whole pandemic thing) so I’ve been really stressed out. Most of it is worked out now, though, so hopefully my life will go back to normal soon. Or at least as normal as it can currently be, of course.

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The weather has been lovely here for several weeks, so I’m spending a lot of time on my patio, enjoying the spring, the sunshine, and the warmth. Sometimes I’m writing (I won’t win Camp NaNoWriMo this year, that’s for sure!), but sometimes I’m just having a pot of tea and keeping in touch with friends and family. Out there, under the clear blue sky, with no social media or news sites open on any of my devices, life feels almost normal.


But no more lingering on the current world situation. Instead I thought I’d tell you about five things in a book blurb that will make me go “NOPE!” and put the book back on its virtual bookshelf and immediately forget about it. In no particular order:

  • “[Name] isn’t looking for love” – this means the character will blow hot and cold and I just want to have sex but no relationship, and there will be some drama around the 75% mark that will make me roll my eyes, and nope. Just nope. All I want is the romance and I want the guys to want the romance, so this is a big no-no for me.
  • The word “misunderstandings” – you know how I feel about misunderstandings by now, right? Talk to each other, people!!
  • “Super muscular alpha jock guy likes to work hard and play hard” – come OOOON! This is so done to death and I just want the shy guy or the chubby guy or the ordinary guy or the nerdy guy or the cute guy or the gamer guy or the femme guy or…you get it…to find love. Basically anything except a chest-pounding alpha male guy. (unless we’re talking shifters and he’s an ACTUAL alpha, then it’s fine! 🙂 )
  • When the blurb is five hundred words long – reading the blurb isn’t supposed to take ten minutes. Keep it short and simple, please!
  • Anything with time limits – and with that I mean vacation romances or the likes. I don’t like the “will their relationship be able to survive when they go back to their normal lives?”-aspect of this trope. I want the “ever after” in the HEA. It’s not called HUTVE (happily until the vacation ends) is it?? 😀

Tell me: what things in a blurb will make you go NOPE! 🙂


I also want to share something awesome with you. Since my publisher and I made All I See free, it’s been climbing the (free) charts at Amazon. Look at this:

all i see ranking

I mean…number 3 in Gay Romance and 432 in the entire free store?? That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?! These are all the free lists of course, but still!! YAAAY for Theo and Kieran.

all I see promo 2

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 

PERMANENTLY FREE!

DOWNLOAD LINKS

JMS BOOKS | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | SMASHWORDS | SCRIBD
 | GOOGLE PLAY |

World book day sale

Today is world book day. In my opinion, every day is book day, of course, but I’m glad the  rest of world is finally catching up with reality 😂

In celebration of this glorious event, my fabulous publisher JMS Books offers 40% off all ebooks today only! That’s right. Book sale on book day – isn’t that the best idea you’ve ever heard? 🙂

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My author page at JMS Books

All my books are 40% off (except All I See that’s FREE!) so clickety-click the link above to do some shopping!


As usual, pre-orders are included in the sale. At this time, I don’t have a pre-order, but that doesn’t mean other authors don’t. After a glance at the Coming Soon tab, I found these five books that interest me and that I’m considering buying. The only authors I’ve read before are Ofelia Gränd and W.S. Long. The other three are new-to-me authors, and what better time to try new authors than on sale day? 🙂

wbdpreorders

Black Bird | Ethel’s: A Lesbian Bar in NYC | Love Among Strangers | Pizza Delivery | Sleeping on a Bench

Permanently free book and pictures of the ocean

I’ve decided to make my very short story All I See permanently free, so if you haven’t read it, now’s the chance. And tell everyone you know that still haven’t read any of my books and don’t want to spend money on an unknown author: now’s their chance to try my writing without risking anything.

(If you encounter somewhere it isn’t permanently free, tell me and I’ll let my publisher know!)

all i see reveiw quote

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 

PERMANENTLY FREE!

DOWNLOAD LINKS

JMS BOOKS | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | SMASHWORDS | SCRIBD
 | GOOGLE PLAY |

Yesterday I was climbing the walls and feeling like a prisoner in my own home. Sweden isn’t on lockdown like many other countries, but most people are listening to the recommendations from the authorities and are staying home anyway. My husband has been working from home for weeks (I love having him home and told him the other day that I’ll miss him when he has to go back to working at the office again) and we don’t go anywhere that’s not necessary, like the grocery store.

But yesterday, I needed to get out of the house.

“Drive me to the ocean,” I said to my husband. “Okay,” he said, and we jumped into the car and drove the ten minutes to a nearby beach. It was windy and chilly and only a handfull other lost souls had the same thought as we; that they needed the breeze and the clear blue skies and the open water. We walked along the water and I took a lot of pictures, and when we returned home I was happy. Lighter. We followed up our walk with a Skype date with a couple of friends in Malaysia, and a glass of red wine in the sunshine on the patio after that. All in all, it ended up being a lovely Sunday afternoon, despite the state of the world.

How are you guys doing?

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The lone figure in the lower right corner is my beloved husband ❤️

How to keep busy when the apocalypse is nigh

If you’re practicing social distancing like I am (it sounds so much better and more altruistic than “I’m a boring introvert who doesn’t want to leave the house”) and don’t know how to pass the time, here’s a handy bullet point list of things to do 😁😆

  • Notice how dusty your house is when the sun shines for the first time in forever
  • Make a cup of tea and try to ignore the dust
  • When you realize the dust really is EVERYWHERE (gaaaaaaah!) make a playlist full of songs that makes it impossible for you to sit still (today’s playlist at the end of this post)
  • Turn up the volume on the stereo (preferably a portable one you can bring along with you around the house) and start the playlist
  • Tackle the dust

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(Why do I have to dust the whisky shelf? I don’t even drink whisky!)

  • Scrub the bathroom
  • Scrub the kitchen
  • Break for lunch
  • Sort papers, like old bills and stuff like that, and throw away whatever you don’t need to keep

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(Isn’t it great that we brought old bills from 2012 with us from Malaysia. Very necessary!)

  • Organize the papers you do need to keep
  • Organize the bookshelf and get rid of eyesores like this: photo_2020-03-16_17-08-09
  • Speak with your daughter on the phone for close to 2 hours
  • Plan your upcoming WIP

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  • Make dinner
  • Vacuum your office
  • Crash on the couch

Tomorrow is for book reading 😄

Stay safe ❤️

Here’s the playlist:

playlist 200316

 

Feelgood re-reads and sweetness

Hi everyone! I hope you are all well and staying safe, and I hope your loved ones are well and staying safe, too. I’m well, and my family is, too. I barely leave the house, but that’s nothing extraordinary for me: I’m an introvert homebody who’d prefer to never leave the house, and have to mentally prepare even for mundane stuff, like going out and getting groceries 😀

Yesterday, I was convinced I had contracted the virus (despite only going to the grocery store this week where I didn’t interact with anyone) because I had trouble breathing, which is a warning sign. And then I remembered that I have allergies, and that spring is coming. Malaysia doesn’t have spring, so I’ve forgotten what it feels like after 8 years in a tropical climate. So I popped a pill, talked myself down from the ledge, and this morning when I woke up, I felt perfectly fine again.

So, I decided I need to step away from all the frantic reporting. It’s not like I’m hiding or ignoring the news, but I need a breather. Besides, I trust my husband to inform me if the end is nigh and I need to find the nearest bunker.

So what do you do when you need a breather from the apocalypse? Read, of course!! So I went to my trusted “feelgood re-reads” list on Goodreads and picked a few books that always make me feel better. I thought I’d share them with you, if you also need to take your mind off things.

feelgood

A Second Harvest if you want age gap and slow burn. Cultivating Love if you want to read about an established couple’s deepening relationship. For A Reason if you want the MCs to meet early in the book and then read about how they make a life together. Galaxies and Oceans if you want to read the most romantic book on the planet and want a huge dose of hurt/comfort. Jesse’s Diner if you want to read about a guy who really doesn’t get when he’s being flirted with. And Let Your Heart Be Light if you want fluff.

Buy links:

A Second Harvest | Cultivating Love | For a Reason | Galaxies and Oceans | Jesse’s Diner | Let Your Heart Be Light


And if it’s sweetness you need, I’ve been known to write a sweet book or two.

cover blurb available now w review quote

Maybe a cute, fluffy, possessive bunny shifter?

Amazon | JMS Books

promo horoscope review quote

Or maybe a brother’s best friend story with corny horoscopes and a butterfly that sort of looks like BB8?

Amazon | JMS Books

Cover blurb review quote

Maybe you want to read about two guys in their late forties finding love? Also, there is an ex-wife in this story, but she’s NOT a shrill bitchy harpy – on the contrary 🙂

Amazon | JMS Books

all i see reveiw quote

Or if all you have is a few minutes to yourself: a shorty (just under 5K words) about an established couple and a dilemma?

Amazon | JMS Books

Or check out all my books over at JMS Books. Most of them are sweet and cute and fluffy.