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 |

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

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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!

Winner, writing plans, and author takeover

First, some awesome news:

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I won Camp NaNoWriMo!! Yay. I wrote 20000 words in 23 days, and let’s face it, if it hadn’t been for Easter, I would have finished sooner (because we had guests on Saturday and I was a little tired and uninspired on Easter Sunday…maybe because of too much champagne the day before?) But never mind that. I’m really happy that I made it and I’m proud of myself.

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Look at this spread, all filled out, like I hoped when I started

I’ve also been thinking: having a monthly word goal has been really beneficial for me so I’m actually considering making this a regular thing. Setting 20K words as a monthly goal for myself is clearly doable, and I wouldn’t mind being more productive.

I studied my word counts for the last five months before April and it looks like this:

word count

I can definitely do better than an average of less than 12K words every month, and it would almost have doubled my word count for these five months.

And maybe, to challenge myself, I can set a goal of 30K words next Camp NaNoWriMo.

I haven’t made up my mind 100% yet, but it’s likely.

Whaddaya think? Do you want more Nell-books? 😁


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Also, I just wanted to mention that I’ll be in Vicki’s Vixens on Sunday, taking over VL Locey’s group for half an hour at 10:30AM EDT to celebrate her new release. I have some fun stuff planned and a couple giveaways, so why not come join me and the other authors? 🙂

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend.

Camp NaNoWriMo – Writing Tag

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I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April, and I found a tag on Youtube that I stole (as usual) and thought I’d answer, because tags are fun! 🙂

1. What are you working on for this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo?

I actually work on two projects. The first is the collaboration with Kris T. Bethke. Just sent her chapter 6, and guys, we’re almost half way done!! Wohoo. We’re having so much fun. The second project is something new for me: it’s a fantasy story. Still gay romance of course, but I usually do contemporary so this is different. I enjoy it so far. And I’m in love with my idea, which is always a great place to start, right?

2. How many Camp NaNoWriMos have you participated in?

This is my third. Did April and July in 2017. I probably won’t be able to participate in July’s Camp, because if all goes as planned, my darling daughter will come for a visit in July and I can’t very well abandon her and say Shush, Mom has to write. Go to your room can I? 😀

3. How will you be tracking your progress?

I have a very fancy Excel document where I enter the word count of the day. I need to write 667 words/day to finish, which up until yesterday meant I had to write 2000 words to be on track. And I’m currently at 4400, so I’m in great shape.

4. “What’s in your bag?” What are your writing must-haves?

I need something to drink. Tea or water – both works. And I need my notebooks and pens, because lately I’m doing most of my writing by hand. That’s it.

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5. What kind of cabin are you in? How did you choose your cabin? (And if you don’t have a cabin, why not?)

I’m in a cabin with several writers from my publisher JMS Books. I love it. It has been the best part of Camp the previous two times.

6. “Camp NaNoWriMo vs. NaNoWriMo” What do you do differently? Which do you prefer?

I prefer Camp, because I can set my own word goal. Committing to writing 50K words in one month is too much for me, so I only do Camp. And this time my goal is 20K. Maybe, I’ll up it, but we’ll see. There’s still time.

Follow-up

On day 23 of the #30DayWritingChallenge I wrote a letter to myself, containing a plan on how to stop procrastinating and get my writing going again. I decided to follow up after 30 days to see how it worked, and now it’s time. (I realize it hasn’t been a full month since I wrote the blog post, but it was scheduled, so I wrote the letter and started my plan a few days before.)

It’s actually been 30 days, and here’s the evaluation:

Make a to-do list every day:
I realized quickly that every day didn’t work for me, so I tweaked it to a weekly to-do list. And that works like a charm. I can pick and chose what I feel like every day, so even though I have a to-do list, I still have the freedom to let my mood decide. Freedom of choice is super important for my creativity.

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Here’s the last two week’s to-do lists. And yes, I’m old fashioned, I have a calendar made out of actual paper 🙂 

Write 500 words on WIP every day:
I tweaked this to write or edit 500 words every day, and it works really great. Even if I’m tired and grumpy, I feel like I can manage 500 words. And when I sit down and write, I often do a lot more, but if I don’t feel like exceeding 500 words, I don’t have to. Perfect!

Write/edit in blocks of 30 minutes: 
This worked in the beginning of the 30 days, when I had a hard time getting back into my writing after Christmas. You can do 30 minutes, Nell, I told myself. It’s nothing. And I could. I wrote 30 minutes, took a break, and started over. But as I got my flow back, I became irritated when the alarm told me it was time for a break if I was in the middle of something. So I scrapped this point rather quickly. I will, however, use it as a kick-starter if I ever find myself in a funk like that again, because it helped get me going.

The verdict:
I actually procrastinate less, so I’d have to call the plan a success. At least the tweaked version of it. Yay! 🙂

Day 30 #30DayWritingChallenge

This is the final day of the writing challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have, and now you know a little a lot more about me. I hope you still want to be friends 🙂 

Your highs and lows for the month

My month started on a low, writer wise. After spending a couple weeks in Sweden for Christmas and suffering from a bad case of jet lag after I got home, I had a really hard time to get back to my writing. That’s why I decided to do this challenge: to find my writing flow.

At first it didn’t work. I wrote the daily challenge and enjoyed it, but it didn’t encourage my “real” writing. After finishing the topic of the day, my brain said That’s it, you’re done. That was the task of the day, now you can go back to watching videos on Youtube. Not very helpful, let me assure you.

But when I wrote about how the challenge wasn’t helping, a trusted writer friend offered me some great advice. She suggested I write all the topics in one or two days, that would probably kickstart my writing properly. So I tried. I sat down and wrote 12 challenges in one day, and the next day I opened my WIP and wrote words. Actual words.

After that, I’ve finished said WIP (well, except for the fact there will be editing, and editing, and editing…), written the rest of the challenges, critiqued a writer friend’s WIP, edited and prepared Unconditionally for release, and gotten a great start—finally!—to the editing of The Locked Room, which had started to feel like a herculean task.

So a month later, I’m ending this challenge on a high note. I’m happy to say it worked, even if I had to tweak the concept along the way. And now it’s up to me to keep it up. And to figure out a plan for my next trip to Sweden so that this doesn’t happen again.

Day 29 #30DayWritingChallenge

What are your goals for the next 30 days

I don’t really set goals for myself like that, I prefer to take it as it comes. I almost burned myself out completely when I worked at my soul-crushing job back in Sweden, and it has taken me a long time to come to this place in time. For the longest time I felt panic if I had too many thing planned in one week, even if they were fun things. So I try to go easy on myself because I have a tendency to expect too much of myself.

I hope one day I’ll be able to do a detailed plan for the coming year, or even a month. Now is not that day.

That being said: I do have a few goals

Finish my short story Find His Way Home

I’ve sent Find his way home to my trusted betas and I await their comments and opinion. Edit: I scheduled this post the other day and had planned on sending it yesterday, but I was busy with Unconditionally so I didn’t have time. I will send it today though. As soon as I get the feedback, I’ll edit/revise and finish it so I can submit it. I need to be done by February 28th.

Plan fun stuff for the blog

I want to have fun content to publish when Unconditionally is released, so potential readers will think it’s fun to hang out with me. What do you like to read about, do you have any fun suggestions? 🙂

Decide on my next project

I have a couple of things. I’ve already started a story that’s currently on hold and I’ve had an idea for a new one for a while now. I have to decide which one to work on next. I know one thing: it’s going to be a short story. I love them, and I think I’ll devote this entire year to writing them. If nothing unforeseen happens.

Edit The Locked Room

I want to continue the editing process on TLR. It’s been put on hold the last week because I had to finish Find His Way Home. But now I’ve made room for it in my schedule.

Personal goals

Celebrate my husband’s 45th birthday and my daughter’s 22nd. Hang out with a visiting friend from Sweden. Plan a fun vacation on a nice beach somewhere.

And that’s it. Do you set goals for yourself? If yes, tell me about your goals for the next 30 days! 🙂 

Day 28 #30DayWritingChallenge

Post five things that make you laugh-out-loud

This was a hard challenge for me, I’m picky with comedy. But after racking my brain for a long time, I came up with five things:

The laughing version of Are you lonesome tonight by Elvis Presley
His laughter is incredibly infectious and I can’t help but laugh along with him. It works every time. See for yourself:

My husband’s corny jokes
He’s a master at making me laugh with private jokes that only he and I can understand.

John Inman
John Inman is a MM Romance author that has written two of the funniest books I’ve ever read: Shy and Loving Hector. One of them almost made me choke to death on toothpaste (brought my e-reader to the bathroom when I brushed my teeth, shouldn’t have done that) and I tried to read the other next to my sleeping husband. You know how it is when you’re not allowed to laugh? How the laughter explodes out of you, louder than ever? And how if you laugh in a bed, the entire bed sort of bobs? Those two things combined woke up my husband, who gave me the evil eye and suggested I take my book out to the couch 🙂

They don’t know that we know they know we know
Friends episode The One Where Everybody Finds Out (season 5, episode 14) was the first episode of Friends I ever saw. I was home from work, I was 25 and had caught chicken pox from my daughter, so I was watching TV and feeling miserable. And this episode came on. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of the couch, and after this episode I watched the entire series from the start. I still laugh every time I see it. Here’s a summary:

“Yellow,” he thought
The first chapter of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It’s hilarious, but this is my favorite part.

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Tell me about something that makes you laugh! 🙂

Day 27 #30DayWritingChallenge

Conversely, write about something that’s kicking ass right now

Hmmm, I’ve stared at this prompt for the longest time, trying to understand it. Is it good kicking ass, or bad? I even googled the challenge to see if I could decipher it by looking at what others had written, and I wasn’t the only one who was confused. Then I decided it doesn’t matter. It’s not like this challenge is life or death so just write what the heck you want, Nell! 

So, here it goes.

I kick ass. I’m amazing, because I’ve written a lot of words on my WIP, finally started editing/rewriting The Locked Room, and I’ve edited and worked towards the release of Unconditionally. That’s a lot of writer work for someone who had a crappy start to the year, writer wise. 

And this year I will be a published author. How amazing is that?

Day 26 #30DayWritingChallenge

Write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve

I want to learn how to stop procrastinating.

I’ve always been a procrastinator, for as long as I remember. I always wait until the very last minute with my projects and I wish I didn’t. On the other hand, I’m at my most creative when I have a short deadline and I work like a fiend, hammering my keyboard so hard it almost catches fire. And my projects mostly turn out fine, great even, so it’s hard to convince myself to change method.

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But I would prefer to be organized. To write a schedule and stick to it, not look at it and think Nah, I’ll do that tomorrow. 

I just don’t know how. Got any tricks up your sleeve?

Day 25 #30DayWritingChallenge

Think on any word. Search it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image

Search results for my word: special. And here’s the 11th image, and the haiku I wrote inspired by it.

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You’re the only one
that ever looked at me like
I’m someone special