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? 😁

p1080039_5a0ea3dae087c3781b1ad859

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

Late Night Poetry release day

Happy release day to me, Lou and Sully! We haven’t forgotten that we have a release day, we’ve just been super busy with real life stuff today. Also, we attended a Facebook Party for the release of K.A. Merikan’s new book. But now I’m done with all real life stuff and now it’s time to celebrate the new release!

I really love how this book turned out, and Lou and Sully are very near and dear to my heart. The idea of it all was based on a real life thing: a gazillion years ago before my husband and I was a couple, he used to call me late at night and leave messages on my answering machine. But unlike Lou, he didn’t read me poetry. Instead, he used to play the guitar and sing my favorite song, and I loved coming home to my messages like that from him.

Can you blame me for marrying him and holding on to him with both hands? 🙂


“If you love romance, this story is a MUST read!!”

Xtreme Delusions

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

Buy links

JMS BOOKS (20% OFF UNTIL APRIL 3, 2020 | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | APPLE BOOKS | B&N


I thought you might like an excerpt? 🙂 

So I climb into the car and let them drive me to the apartment they’re sharing as roommates, and when Lyle pours wine all the way up to the rim on one of the glasses he bought “twelve for one dollar” at a garage sale, I take a deep breath and force myself to smile.

“Cheers,” I say and down the entire contents in a few huge gulps. A shudder racks my body when my glass is empty; red wine isn’t meant to be chugged like ice water on a hot summer’s day. But Lyle and Brian slap me on the back as though I’d just won Olympic gold and refill my glass.

More people show up after a while, and soon the place is packed from wall to wall. Everyone is drinking and dancing and laughing and I join them, pushing late-night poetry readings and heartfelt confessions and half-swallowed sobs to the back of my mind.

I drink too much and I laugh too loud, but no one seems to notice. Maybe they’re hiding something, too; maybe I’m not the only one nursing a broken heart. So instead of poking bleeding wounds with well-meaning but invasive questions, maybe people choose to look the other way. Any other day, it would have bothered me; I want to be seen, not ignored. But not today.

Today, I let Lyle pull me onto the sturdy coffee table— bought with their wild parties in mind— when someone plays “Kung Fu Fighting” on the stereo, and we sing along and perform our special Kung Fu-esque dance routine consisting of fake kicks and hand slashes complete with sound effects. The song bleeds into another and another, and caught up in the music, I unbutton the white shirt I wore at work, shrug it off and stuff it into my back pocket. Then I dance until I’m out of breath.

After jumping off the table, I scarf down pizza someone brought and guzzle down what feels like an entire French vineyard. Every sip is making me louder and my dancing more spastic and wild, and I smile and I smile and I smile until my face muscles hurt and my head spins.

I forget about Lou and my broken heart for a while. I forget about hungry kisses and roaming hands and a deep rumbly voice panting my name in my ear as he unloads his come in my ass. I just let myself be swept away in the crazy party and the carefree atmosphere and allow myself to be young and happy for a while.

So when a guy I’ve never met before crowds me against the fridge and runs his fingers up and down the tattoo on my forearm and scratches the measly beard I’m trying on for size with his other hand and says something about how an ass like mine should be against the law and how he’s wanted to kiss me since laying eyes on me when he entered the apartment, I let him. For a moment, I even enjoy myself. Having a hard body pressed against mine again, eager hands touching my bare skin, and a probing tongue licking along the seam of my mouth, begging to be let in, sends a shiver down my spine.

But his taste— cigarette smoke and warm beer— is all wrong and his tongue is too thick and insistent, and when I meet his gaze, his eyes are green, not blue. I grab his shoulders and push him away, ducking under his arm when he takes a step back.

 

Late Night Poetry pre-order links

Hi everyone! Lots of blog posts this week, but what’s a writer to do when lots of things are going on? 🙂

I just wanted to post more pre-order links for Late Night Poetry. It’s little over a week until release day, so if you order it now, you’ll have it on release day, Saturday 28.

graphic3 late night poetry nell iris for my blog

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

PRE-ORDER / Add to goodreads

JMS BOOKS (20% OFF UNTIL APRIL 3, 2020

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | APPLE BOOKS | B&N

add to goodreads


If you pre-order the story from JMS Books, don’t miss the 50+ books that are offered for free right now (LINK), including my own Cinnamon Eyes.

I “bought” one of the free books yesterday, and it was lovely. All the characters were genuinely lovely, even the ones who are a little troublesome. In fact, everyone was so lovely I was bummed when the book ended, because I wanted to spend more time with them.

So if you’re in the mood for a short, M/M historical with lovely characters, I warmly recommend this one:

49524861._SY475_England, 1820. Bachelor Jonathan Cavendish has become reclusive in the years following a failed romance with the love of his life. In the years following their split, he has thrown all his energy into restoring the small estate he inherited from a great uncle and has put aside any thoughts of romance.

Although he’d rather remain at home alone for the festive season, this year he’s accompanying his cousin Freddy to a Christmas country house party. Freddie seems to be constantly falling in love and, on this occasion, he is infatuated with a young lady called Belinda. Jonathan is asked by Freddy’s anxious mother to accompany him to the house party to keep an eye on the situation, in case the young lady turns out to be an unsuitable choice.

Despite this inauspicious beginning, Jonathan catches the eye of Nick, the handsome son of a local well-to-do farmer, who is a constant presence at the holiday entertainments. Nick is intrigued by Jonathan’s kindness and also by the sadness he hides from public view.

The initial attraction between the men seems to be mutual, but can Nick break through Jonathan’s defences and teach him to love again?

LINK to A Christmas Cotillion
LINK to all free books @JMS Books

St. Patrick’s Day sale @JMS Books

stpatricks v2

My fabulous publisher JMS Books has a St. Patrick’s Day sale today only and offers 45% off all e-books. As usual, it includes pre-orders, so this is the perfect time for you to buy my upcoming story Late Night Poetry for just over a dollar. But all my books are included in the sale, so now’s the time to go wild and buy all the titles you don’t already own.

So, wear something green, pour yourself a beer (or you know…tea!), and shop some books to help you get through the social distancing 🙂

My author page at JMS Books

 

lnp tagline releaseday poem quote

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

Release date: March 28

PRE-ORDER

 

 

Pre-order and Facebook party

I have two fun things today:

First, the pre-order link for Late Night Poetry is now up on JMS Books website (Amazon and the others always take a bit longer)

And it’s on sale: all pre-orders are always 20% off so cyber-run over there and pick it up for just $1.59!! Link up above, and also underneath this fancy picture 🙂

lnp tagline releaseday poem quote

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

Pre-order: JMS Books (20% off)


Second: on Wednesday February 26, I will attend a Facebook Party in Jackie Keswick‘s group Jackie’s Kitchen. Me and a bunch of other authors are celebrating the re-release of her The Power of Zero series, so why not come and hang out with us?

PARTY FB

My spot is 7PM GMT (8PM CET / 2PM EST) and I’ll be there for 20 minutes. I can pretty much guarantee giveaways and shenanigans – doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to do on a Wednesday? 🙂

Late Night Poetry and last day of sales

Since my last writing update, I’ve actually managed to finish Late Night Poetry! I’ve signed a contract for it and everything! Yay for me!! 🙂

It will be released on March 28, and below is the blurb. I will post pre-order links as soon as I have them.

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?

Late Night Poetry is a M/M contemporary story, approximately 10K words, set in 1990.


I also woke up to an email from my publisher this morning with the most amazing cover for Late Night Poetry, and I thought I’d show it to you. But first, here are three gifs showing exactly how I feel about it:

mr darcy

my precious

heart

Are you ready?

late night poetry

*happy sigh*


Don’t forget that today is the last day of the Valentine’s Day sale at my fabulous publisher JMS Books.

Here is the link to my author page where you can find all my stories published by JMS Books.

vday nell graphic


I also want to take a few seconds to promote an upcoming release by my dear friend Addison Albright. I beta read this story for her and it damned near broke my heart (I sent her “you’re evil” messages while I was reading it 😁) but I can promise you a HEA. The ending is very different (not about the HEA, I guarantee a HEA!!) and definitely not what I expected when I started reading the story. I can’t wait to read the finished, polished book!

Pre-order link When Are You?

way blurb

Late Night Poetry, excerpt

I’ve actually written since my last writing update, so I thought that you’d like to read an excerpt from my story Late Night Poetry. It’s still unedited, so forgive any mistakes.

The tagline for the story is A love story told in answering machine messages. Enjoy.


Monday October 22, 1990

“Hi Sully. It’s me. Um…Lou. But yeah, you can hear that of course. I…uh…know I shouldn’t call you, but…I just had to hear your voice, even if it’s just your answering machine message. I’m…”—deep sigh—“I’m so fucking sorry, you have no idea. I wish I was brave like you but I’m not. I’m so sorry for letting you down. So, so sorry.”—Sob. Long silence—“I…guess I should hang up. I just… I love you, you know? I guess I’m like that Donne fellow you told me about. Two kinds of fool? But instead of being in love and talking about it in a poem, I’m letting the one I love go. That’s gotta be worse, huh? Take care, Sully. I…uh…

My legs turn to jelly as I listen to the message, and I sink down on the chair and lean my forehead on the kitchen table with a loud groan. When the machine beeps, I rewind the tape and listen to the message again. And again.

I just love you, you know.

I bang my head against the table repeatedly as I listen to it a fourth time, my heart aching more and more for every repeat.

“Ouch,” I yelp after a too hard thump, and rub my sore forehead with fingertips still stiff after the outdoor chill. “And you just had to quote John Donne to me, you dickhead,” I mutter and shove my hands under my thighs so I won’t replay the message a fifth time.

I didn’t even know he paid that much attention to me when I read poetry around him. He’s the kind of person who prefers beer over books and paintball over poetry. He’s constantly in movement even when he’s sitting; legs jiggling or fingers drumming a tattoo on his leg, or he’s tossing and catching with his ever-present baseball.

So to hear that he actually listened to me when I read out loud around him—and poetry no less—prickles my heart. I always thought he was in his own world, not paying much attention to me. He never mentioned it after he caught me doing it the first time.

“You’re reading out loud.” He’d found me with my coffee, a lit candle, and whatever poetry book I’d checked out of the library, the first time he spent the night in my tiny apartment.

He startled me, but I nodded. “Yes. I like to hear the words out loud. Does it bother you?”

“Nah,” he said and kissed me on the mouth, morning breath and all since the sleepover was unplanned and he hadn’t brought a toothbrush.

After that, I continued reading the poems out loud around him, thinking he tuned me out and didn’t pay attention.

Seems I was wrong.

But it wasn’t the only time I was wrong. I also thought that when someone said “I love you,” it meant that they wanted to be with the other person, but that was obviously wrong, too. At least if the person saying the words were named Lou Hillman.

Abruptly, I stand and slam my hand on the delete button, strip out of my running clothes, and jump into the shower.


Mood board:

late night poetry picspiration v2