If all you have is a few minutes…

If you’ve followed me for a while, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I LOVE short stories, I have ever since I read Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew in my early teens. There was especially one story in that collection that stuck with me, called Survivor Type. It isn’t long, but in just a few pages Stephen King managed to scare me and gross me out, and I’ve never forgotten it, never forgotten how much punch it packed while still being so short.

That’s why I love writing and reading short stories. I love reading about a slice of life in the characters’ lives. I love being dropped into the thick of things, not knowing what happened before, but learning enough in the short read to be able to enjoy the story.

So, needless to say, I read a lot of short stories. And a lazy Sunday a couple weeks ago, I had a short story marathon, and thought I’d recommend three of them.

The Reasons Why is a wonderful story about an established couple where Eliot is annoyed when he gets home, but Ben reminds him why Eliot loves him so darned much. Chicken Soup is a story about loneliness, but also hope, and the ultimate proof that it only takes 3348 well-written words to make me cry. Honey, I’m Home is another established couple where Gabe realizes he’ll do anything to keep the lovely Ruben.

All three are under 5000 words (like all stories in the JMS Books “Hot Flash” series) so if you only have a few minutes to spare but want to read something great – pick one of these!

hot flash

Buy links: The Reasons Why | Chicken Soup | Honey, I’m Home


The Reasons Why by J.M. Snyder

After a long day at the office, all Eliot Travers wants is a much needed nap before dinner. Which his husband Ben is supposed to make.

But when he gets home, Ben is playing a game on his phone and Eliot doesn’t smell anything cooking in the kitchen. As Eliot’s temper starts to rise, he wants to know what exactly Ben’s been doing all day long.

Ben tells him to look on the table by the stairs, where Eliot finds a note he missed when he came in. A note that reads The Reasons Why I Love YOU.

A second note on the steps leads upstairs. Then Eliot finds a third, and a fourth.


Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa

Though Jimmy’s ill and isn’t getting any better, he hopes to have a bit of fun during Pride weekend. When he meets Nolan, a young dancer in the parade, Jimmy takes a chance on making himself vulnerable for the first time in years.

What Jimmy doesn’t expect is how strong Nolan will make him feel with a simple gesture of support.


Honey, I’m Home by Michael P. Thomas

Loving Ruben Pacheco is easy. He’s sweet, he’s supportive, he keeps the bills paid and plenty of food on the table. Loving living with Ruben’s parents presents more of a challenge. They’re critical, overbearing, and openly rooting for Gabe to go home so Ruben might crawl back into the closet.

Gabe’s in love, but he’s getting annoyed — Ruben’s great and all, but is he worth all the hassle?


I’ve also written one story for the Hot Flash line and since this is my blog, Imma go ahead and do some shameless self promotion. (Since it’s the same cover as the ones above, I’m choosing another graphic instead) 😀

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

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Short Story Sunday

Is there a better way to spend a Sunday than lazying around, having a cup of tea, and reading a good book? If there is, I sure haven’t found it.

So if that’s how you plan on spending your day, I thought I’d help you. And since I’ve made it my life’s mission to spread the word of how great short stories are, here are some of my favorites. I’ve read all of them more than once, and I adore them. One–or all–of them are perfect for a slow, lazy day.

So make a cup/glass of your favorite hot or cold beverage, check out these gems, and relax! You deserve it! ❤️


war paintWar Paint by Sarah Black

There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

26610 words / MM Contemporary

Buy link (Dreamspinner Press)


peachesPeaches & the Shadow by K.L. Noone

At twenty-four, Ethan Aur has a lot to prove. He’s the youngest member of his family, the academic one, and the latest heir to the tradition of supernatural quests and spells and enchanted swords. The family’s always protected him and worried about him, and his older brother keeps calling to check in.

But this particular quest is Ethan’s quest, and this ghost is his problem. He’s going to solve it on his own. By any means necessary. Even if that ghost is a very handsome man, charming and confident and dominant and kind.

Jake O’Malley took one look at the newly arrived Knight and that magical Sword and those determined eyes, and now he’s aware he’s in trouble — as if he didn’t have enough problems, being the trapped and ghostly version of his 19th Century brothel-keeper bastard self. But the Knight who’s come to help is everything Jake could’ve ever wanted: brave and generous and sweet, vowing to find a way to solve Jake’s stuck-between-worlds predicament, no matter what it takes.

Even if that involves a mutually pleasurable ritual involving sexual magic.

7023 words / MM fantasy

Buy Link (JMS Books)


permanently leglessPermanently Legless by JL Merrow

Only half the man he used to be — but maybe that’s enough

The Taliban may have taken both Chris’s legs, but he came back from Afghanistan with his sense of humour and his lust for life firmly intact. The one thing that can shake his confidence is meeting Josh, the one-night stand from before his tour of duty he hasn’t been able to forget.

It turns out Josh hasn’t forgotten Chris, either. He spent the time they were apart fearing the worst every time a soldier was reported killed in action — and wishing Chris would use the number Josh gave him, and call.

Josh’s delight on seeing Chris again quickly turns to shock on seeing his injuries. With Chris such a changed man, can they still have a future?

7015 words / MM Contemporary

Buy Link (JMS Books)


paint it blackPaint It, Black by J.D. Walker

Engelbert Trentworthy — dear God, call him Trent — is a bit of a slut. Most people don’t take him seriously, and really, neither does he. Trent keeps things simple and doesn’t allow others to get close for reasons he never shares with anyone. Then he meets photographer Elias Lane at the customer service desk where he works.

Elias is captivated by Trent’s appearance and asks him to be part of a photo shoot. Unfortunately, Trent’s image ends up in a shop window near his job and causes all kinds of havoc. To make it up to him, Elias buys Trent dinner. But when Elias tries to push for more, Trent backs away.

Somehow, between the coworker who’s harassing Trent for sex and the specter of Trent’s black past, Elias is determined to get Trent to give him a chance, in every possible way.

13244 words / MM Contemporary

Buy link (JMS Books)


of rats and catsOf Rats and Cats by Addison Albright

All he wanted to do was retrieve his newspaper, but Raymond is panic-stricken when a rat dashes through his open apartment door. No worries, though. Pandy is on the job! Except Kevin doesn’t want Raymond’s cat to eat his beloved pet…mouse.

Can Kevin rescue Corky before Pandy gets to her? Will Raymond’s upturned box of…um… personal toys and videos drive Kevin away, or will the pile of filigree undies Corky has burrowed into turn Kevin on?

5822 words / MM Contemporary

Buy link: JMS Books

Now available on Kindle Unlimited, too, if your book budget is as strained as mine. And after you’ve read this fabulous story, you should immediately run over to Addison’s blog and check out the bonus content. The beginning of the story written in Kevin’s POV is almost funnier than the original 😀

Superbowl Sunday Sale

superbowl sale

For me, books always trumps sports, any kind of sports. If I haven’t told you, I don’t watch any sports. I don’t have a favorite team. Sports bore me to tears.

Books, on the other hand, do not 🙂

Which is why I’ll slink off and take advantage of the sale. Then I’m going to spend my Sunday with a cup of tea and a good book.

How about you? Are you a sports fan? Will you watch Super Bowl?


As usual, pre-orders are on sale, too. So this is the perfect time to buy Snowed In: Nen and Anani. Or my (very) short story that’s coming out in March, All I See. It’s just shy of 5000 words, but priced at ¢50 it’s still worth it, right?

Or if you want great value for money, Finding The One is only $3 on the sale. Three bucks for four stories, that’s a steal, right? If you need convincing, just read this wonderful review from Goodreads:

“I loved all the stories here. The author has a great way of writing conversations and dates that are interesting, reveal something about the characters, and are like real people getting to know one another. Nobody is mean, no big misunderstandings, just adults finding love.”

Those words filled my heart with joy and warmth and I’m going to save them and look at them when I need a pick-me-up.

Of course, all my ebooks are on sale. Here is the link to my JMS author page.


And since I believe in spreading the love, here are a few favorites of mine I really recommend if you need something awesome to read today:

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many, many great stories, but this is a good start. Happy shopping. And for any sports fan out there: may your favorite team win!

Whatever you do today, happy Sunday! ❤️

Monday Book Talk

Another new thing here on the blog, is Monday Book Talk. It’s not reviews, it’s not promo for my own books. It’s just me, talking about books I read and liked. There may be a specific theme or trope, or there may be something else connecting them. There aren’t really any rules, just book talk. Because what’s better than talking about books?

booktalk banner

When I traveled to Sweden (I’m back home in Malaysia now, YAY!), I downloaded books to my e-reader I’d read before. It’s perfect to re-read old favorites when spending 14 hours on a plane. I picked two books on the same theme: a main character receiving a wrong-number text and love ensues.

textual

Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood:

Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by dinner with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?


Textual Attraction by K-lee Klein:

Lewis has spent most of his adult life looking after his aging parents, and he recently ended a relationship with a domineering guy who’d been nothing but bad for him. Despite his less-than-stellar track record with men, he’s still hopeful there’s someone out there for him, but he’s learned to be careful with his heart. So he can’t figure out why a cryptic, gruff, drunken voice mail from a stranger named Jerry doesn’t make him hit the DELETE button. It’s clear the man’s got the wrong number. But when Jerry begins to text, Lewis finally responds, saying he’s not the guy Jerry wants. Jerry, however, is nothing if not persistent, and he keeps texting and teasing Lewis, even after he knows the truth.

Lewis is surprised when something sparks between them. Jerry turns out to be charming and witty, and they develop an odd friendship through text messages. When Jerry suggests they finally meet in person, Lewis is apprehensive, yet curious. Can he take the big step to meet Jerry face-to-face? More importantly, can he maybe even trust Jerry with his heart?


Even though they have the same main theme, the books are very different. Henry in Textual Relations is the world’s most clueless person (in an adorable way) who doesn’t realize he’s on a date with a man. Lewis in Textual Attraction is super annoyed by Jerry’s texts at first: Jerry doesn’t believe in punctuation and uses lots of emojis which irritates Lewis to no end.

Lewis and Jerry keep texting for quite some time before they finally meet, while Henry and Asher meet the same evening Asher sent the text to the wrong person. Lewis is burned by a previous relationship, while Henry doesn’t even know he’s gay, or at least bi.

What the books have in common is that they’re adorable, low angst, feel-good stories that both ended up on my re-read shelf over at Goodreads the first time I read them. And I really love the idea of two people meeting like that: by a text message meant for someone else.

Have you read any books with a theme like that? If yes, tell me. I’d love to read them!

(Apparently Textual Attraction isn’t available for purchase any longer because it was published by Amber and I can’t see that it’s been re-released anywhere else. But Textual Relations is available on Amazon.)

Top 9 books 2018

Since 2018 is almost over, I thought I’d share my favorite reads from this last year with you. According to my Goodreads challenge, I’ve read 253 books this year, but that’s not really true; I’ve read more. I’ve read A LOT of fanfiction this year, mostly Harry Potter, but some Star Trek, too, and most of those stories aren’t on Goodreads. So I think at least another 50 isn’t an exaggeration.

I love reading, can you tell? 🙂

But enough about that. Here are my favorite nine books I read in 2018. They’re not all published this year, but it’s the first time I read them (so re-reads of old favorites doesn’t count).

best9 2018

Beau and the Beast by Rick R. Reed
Henry & Jim by J.M. Snyder
Hero Worship by Kris T. Bethke
The Little Library by Kim Fielding
Of Rats and Cats by Addison Albright
The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
Up! by Al Stewart and Claire Davis
War Paint by Sarah Black
Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay

You can expect reviews of The Little Library and The Remaking of Corbin Wale here on the blog next year. Henry & Jim is a beautiful, heartbreaking story. It’s total opposite is Of Rats and Cats which is cute and short and hilarious. (Also check out the alternative POV chapters at Addison Albright’s blog, they’re even funnier than the ones in the book). Sarah Black is an old favorite of mine (Marathon Cowboys is a fabulous book) and I was happy when she released a new book this year. Al Stewart and Claire Davis became new favorites last year after I read Dear Mona Lisa…(whoa, what a book!) and when I saw their new release I one-clicked it faster than you can say Up!. 🙂 I already gushed about Watermelon Kisses in the advent calendar, but if you missed it, click here. Kris T. Bethke is a favorite of mine, you know this by now, and I loved Hero Worship. And finally, Beau and the Beast is a fabulous retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Over all, it’s been a very good reading year.

Which was the best book you read in 2018?

Cover reveal and Valentine’s Day Sale!

Today is Valentine’s Day. We don’t celebrate, me and the husband, because we’re quite romantic on a daily basis…even after close to 25 years together. It might not be very traditional, but that’s the way I like it. Anyone can buy a bunch of roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolate and be considered romantic, but I much prefer my husband’s particular brand of romance. He knows me. He sees me. And he does and says things he knows I’ll appreciate. And that’s why he’s the love of my life.

Ah well. Enough mushiness. I have two important things for you today: one cover reveal and one V-day sale. But let’s start with my number one priority:

Cover reveal for Promise Me We’ll Be Okay!!

It will be released on March 3rd and I’m super excited to show you the cover because I love it so much. Promise Me is a second-chance romance that exist in the same universe as Cinnamon Eyes, so there might be a couple characters that’s familiar if you’ve read it.

Ready? Drumroll, please 🙂

promiseme

What do you do when your past comes knocking?

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

hearts border

Isn’t it pretty?? *happy sigh* And wanna know something else that’s amazing? You can now pre-order it, and if you do it today you will get 30% off because JMS Books have a Valentine’s Day sale!! Yay for booksales.

Here’s the pre-order link for Promise Me We’ll Be Okay at JMS Books. What are you waiting for, run over there and clickety-click!! If you haven’t read Cinnamon Eyes and wanna catch up before reading my new book, here’s the link to that.

Eh, you know what? Here’s a super handy link to my author page at JMS Books so you can check them all out if you’re interested! 🙂

Promise Me We’ll Be Okay | Nell Iris Author Page at JMS

hearts border

v-day

All the other e-books at JMS Books are also 30% off, of course, so after I’m done writing this post, I’m heading over there to do some shopping. I think you should, too. If you need suggestions, here are a few great books I warmly recommend:

Closets Are for Clothes by Addison Albright. Won’t be released until February 24th, but I was fortunate enough to beta read it, so I know it’s awesome.

Hero Worship by Kris T. Bethke. And when you’ve read the book, I strongly suggest you head over to her webpage and download the five #FlashFiction stories, because you will want to read more about Alex and Matt, I promise.

Officer Charming and the Prince Who Wooed Him by Sarah Hadley Brook, because who can resist that title? (And the book is awesome too!) Seriously, Sarah is so creative when it comes to naming books I’m a little bit jealous 🙂

Regency Rogues Box Set by Ruby Moone, because who doesn’t wanna read four books about Regency Rogues?? I know I do!! 🙂

Angel Wings and Bullets by E.F. Mulder. Unexpectedly delightful, and by that I mean I hadn’t heard of the author before I found this gem.

All About the Cowboy Box Set by J.D. Walker. Granted, I haven’t read this particular box set, but I’ve been on a J.D. Walker reading spree lately and need to refill my dwindling supply of short, romantic stories 🙂

collage

Happy shopping everyone!!

Best Books 2017

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a great first week of January and started the year as you want to continue and all that…you know what I mean 🙂

There won’t be a review this Sunday. Instead, I thought I list the 9 best books I read last year, my 2017 favorites.  They weren’t necessarily published last year, but I read them in 2017 – that’s the criteria.

Drum roll, please.

top9

2017 was a good year for holiday stories as you can tell. And for short stories, since pretty much all of them are shorts, except Freckles (170 pages according to Goodreads.) And Snapshots, but that’s a collection of shorts. It was also a year for new discoveries: I hadn’t read Amy Aislin, Clare Davis & Al Stewart, Ruby Moone, or EF Mulder before.

This was my bookish year according to Goodreads:

goodreads year

Compared to 2016, I slacked off this year and only read 149 books (to last year’s 246). Average for 2016 was 3.3 stars, so this year was an improvement. The average length was 86 pages compared 134 in 2016. So, I’ve read shorter and fewer books…but better. I can live with that 🙂

What were your favorites from last year?