About Nell

Goodbye May

Oh May. May was the month I started working a Day Job again for the first time in years and years. It was cold and rainy, but also warm with a promise of summer. It was hectic and busy and tiring, but lovely. Sort of like life itself.

Here are ten pictures from my May. Tell me something good that happened to you in May!

May started with us browsing a flee market we found in a tiny village here in the new area where we live. We found a few plates and a bowl that we bought, and the hubby chatted up the other people who were there. It was fun.

On May 3, I got on a train and traveled to the city where I now work, Helsingborg. Every day when I step off the train, I can smell the ocean. I love the smell of the ocean in the morning 🙂

Speaking of trains; I’ve spent a lot of time waiting on trains and riding on trains. And found new ways to entertain myself on the train, as I told you in yesterday’s blog post.

I haven’t spent as much time in the garden as I’d liked, because it’s rained a lot. But I’ve made some progress when it comes to fighting the weeds we inherited when we bought the house. I feel like winning the War of the Weeds is going to take years, and not just this summer. But we shall see 🙂

But not everything in the garden is stinging nettles or thistles or other worthless, hostile plants that has no place in on my property. Most of the garden is nature showing itself from its most glorious side. I mean. Look at this picture. Isn’t it amazing and beautiful?

The Grilling Season has started. Swedes carry out their grills in May (or even earlier, in April) and grill 50% of the meals for the entire summer. At least if we happen to live in houses. And we’re no different, so you can expect a lot of pictures of food prepared on the grill in the upcoming months 🙂

One evening, we had an impromptu online party with a friend we haven’t seen for too long. So we had to play the Ultimate Party Song, an old Swedish favorite.

We put up a wild bee hotel. My husband named it The Bee-llagio. 😂

One day at work I was fueled by chocolate.

And speaking of grilling… When the sun is shining and summer is knocking on the door, the right thing to do is throw some hot dogs on the grill and pop open a bottle of bubbly. Trust me on this.

And that, my friends, was May. And as promised, not a single moving-related picture! 😂

About Nell

A Writer on the Train

Last week, I decided to try writing on the train ride to work. The ride is only about 35 minutes, but I figured it’s more than nothing, right? And I also decided to document my progress and make it into a blog post for you lovely people. So here it goes.

Monday

I didn’t even know if I’d be able to write on the train. Usually, I’m cooped up in my office with only the birds outside my window and the sound of my keyboard or the rasp of my fountain pen accompanying me. And trains means people, and people means noises. But it worked. On Monday, I wrote about 650 words in my WIP in the 30-ish minutes of writing I did before hopping off the train and going to work.

Tuesday

Tuesday was a little noisier, but I still managed about 600 words.

Wednesday

No, I’m not left-handed, I used my front-facing camera on my phone.

Another 650-ish words on Wednesday, despite face-mask foggy glasses.

Thursday

On Thursday, I didn’t wanna get out of bed when my alarm went off, and I was too tired to write. So I used an Audible credit to buy Ranger by Nora Phoenix and K.M. Neuhold and listened to it instead. I’ve read it before, and liked it. It was a solidly good book even if it didn’t wow me, but since John Solo narrates it, I decided to spend a credit on it. And OH MY GOD, the audio is FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC and John Solo made me cry in the the first chapters, and I was sobbing when I got into the office and had to sneak into the closest bathroom to wipe tears off my face.

Damn you, John Solo! 🙂

Friday

On Friday morning, I was back to my old self, but I couldn’t decide between writing, or listening to the book. I wish I could say I did the right thing and wrote, but…no. No writing. I couldn’t resist John Solo.

So there you have it. I wrote 3 days out of 5 which is a definite improvement compared to previous weeks. And I’m aiming for 4 days this week. Wish me luck! 🙂

Always You

1 year ago: Always You

My childhood BFFs-to-lovers story turn 1 year old today. Happy birthday, Always You! The little story that became so popular it was featured in the 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology published by JMS Books. A story about Thom, who’s been in love with his BFF for as long as he can remember, and Lee, Mr. Oblivious, who wouldn’t recognize love if it hit him in the face.

If you love short, friends-to-lovers stories, this is definitely for you.

Best Friends. Roommates. And now, maybe…more?

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, approximately 11 000 words

Book Recommendations

Friday Book Recommendation

The weekend is here and everyone knows that weekends are for reading! So I thought I’d tell you about a book I’ve read recently and loved, if you need a recommendation, I mean.

Blurb:

It’s the summer of 1967 and the Sexual Offences Act has just decriminalized consensual gay sex in private between two men over twenty-one. Percy Wright and his friend Les Barker have both taken temporary jobs teaching English as a foreign language in London during their long summer break from teaching at a rural boarding school near Oxford.

Thirty-three year old Percy is keen to soak up some theatre, music and general culture, whilst the younger Les is also keen to experience the varied gay social scene. When Les picks up a man called Phil at the box office of the Albert Hall when he goes to buy tickets to a Promenade Concert, Percy inadvertently gets thrown together with Adrian Framlingham, Phil’s friend.

Adrian is all the things Percy likes in a man…funny, kind and steady. When Les gets hurt, Percy turns to Adrian for support, but as the end of the summer looms it seems as if their affair will come to a natural end.

What will happen when Percy goes back to his everyday life as a house-master? Will he and Adrian stay in touch? Does he even want a long-distance relationship when arranging to meet someone for sex is still illegal, even if the act itself is not?

A 20k novella that’s set five years before Taking Stock. Stand alone.

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that Taking Stock by the same author was one of my favorite books in 2020, so this book was an auto buy for me. And it didn’t disappoint! I devoured Eight Acts one Sunday afternoon accompanied with a cup of tea and it was lovely. It has the same feeling as Taking Stock, the feeling that made me fall head-over-heels for it. The quiet romance, the ordinary guys falling in love in a down-to-earth kind of manner. It has no grand gestures, no over-the-top moments. Just two men, meeting and falling in love, being there for each other, supporting each other when times get rough.

It’s honestly my favorite kind of romance.

Adrian emerged from the box with a triumphal expression, clutching a half-open pack of digestives. “Here! I knew I’d seen them!” he said.

“I think I’m in love with you,” Percy said, apropos of completely nothing.

Quote from Eight Acts.

So do yourself a favor and check out this book; it’s great. And if you still haven’t read Taking Stock (buy link), you definitely should. (Taking Stock and Eight Acts are only loosely connected and both can definitely be read as standalones.)

All the heartwarming stars from me. And Ally, if you read this: now I wanna read Les’s story! 😍

Coming Soon, Flowers Under My Pillow

Coming Soon: Flowers Under My Pillow

Cornflower, dandelion, forget-me-not, buttercup, daisy, cow parsley, and red clover: the seven different kinds of flowers that Frode picks every Midsummer.

Midsummer is a big deal in Sweden. It’s our second most popular holiday, after Christmas, and we have a lot of traditions surrounding it: maypoles and dancing, herring and boiled new potatoes, snaps (a small shot of spiced alcohol taken with a meal) and strawberry cream cake. (If you’re curious about hos Swedes celebrate Midsummer, check out the Swedish Midsummer for Dummies video here, it’s fun and accurate 😁) It’s the day of parties (in non-pandemic times) and weddings (me and the hubby got married on Midsummer) and worrying about the weather, because we want to celebrate it outside, but the June weather in Sweden is notoriously unreliable.

There’s also an old folklore belief saying that unmarried women who pick seven kinds of flowers and put them underneath their pillows, will dream of the man they’re going to marry.

And that folklore belief is what inspired my upcoming book, Flowers Under My Pillow.

I’ve tried to imbue the story with the magic of Midsummer while still keeping it contemporary. I wanted to capture the spirit of the holiday without including every little tradition. But most of all, I just wanted to tell a romantic story about two men meeting in an unusual way and throwing caution to the wind because they want to believe in True Love. I hope I’ve been successful in my endeavors.

Release day is June 26th, and today I’m sharing the blurb, the cover, and a pre-order link with you.

Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

For thirty years, Frode’s had the same dream. Every Midsummer’s Eve since he was a kid accompanying his sister to pick flowers to put under his pillow, he’s dreamed of the same man. A dream he never shares with anyone, that makes him wish for impossible things…like true love.

“It’s you.”

Then one Midsummer’s Eve, the man of Frode’s dreams stands before him in the flesh. Both men recognize each other despite never having met in real life. Both men are instantly drawn to each other and want to know more.

“Who are you, Viljar? Are you even real?”

Their questions are many but do the whys and the hows matter? Or should they allow the Midsummer magic that brought them together to lead the way into each other’s arms? Into each other’s hearts?

Traditional Swedish folklore tells you that if you pick seven kinds of flowers in silence and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, you’ll dream of the man you’ll marry.