Sale

Labor Day Sale @ JMS Books

Happy weekend everyone, I hope you’re all well! I am…at least now, because I just poured myself a cup of tea, so all is well in my world 🙂

I’m popping in to tell you about the Labor Day Sale going on over at JMS Books: 40% off all ebooks thru Monday September 5. My books are of course included, so if there’s one (or ten 🙂 ) you’re missing from your e-library, now’s the time to go forth and browse the virtual bookshelves over at JMS Books.

Strike a Pose (naked shenanigans in the garden) :: It Rained All Night (online friends realizing they’re more than friends) :: Secrets on a Train (silent flirting in a train car) :: Always You (childhood BFFs-to-lovers)

But if you already own all my books and need something new to read, may I suggest either of the books in the rainbow of covers below? I’ve read and loved them all, and I give them my warmest recommendations.

One Night in London :: The Spice of Life :: The Twelfth Enchantment :: Cultivating Love :: Love in an Elevator :: Playing Chicken

And now, I’m heading over there to see if there’s something that catches my interest that I can buy. If you’ve got suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments!

Have a lovely weekend ❤️

About Nell

Goodbye August

Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn’s harvest ways,
With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys­
This is September.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

September is here and i’m so ready for it. Not because it’s my birthday month (because apparently we have those nowadays), but because I’m so ready for fall. I’ve been longing for sweater weather for ages. I want steaming tea and crackling fires and beautiful gold-orange-red leaves. I want the crisp air and the beautiful light. I’m done with summer, I’m done with August, especially August, because we barely got a single drop of rain and the leaves are falling off the trees prematurely because it’s so dry. August has also meant working too much at the Stupid Day Job ™️ and not having time to see my beloved grandbaby. That last thing bugs me the most.

So unfortunately there will be no pics of Little W this time. But hopefully you’ll stick around anyway.

We started re-arranging my office in August. First we turned the desk in the other direction which I like much better and which makes the room feel bigger. We’ve also bought new storage units for the desk, and we’re looking for bookshelves to buy so I finally can take my books out of storage and display them. Ideally, I’d like a classic manor library vibe with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a ladder so I can reach the top shelf…but since I don’t live in Jane Austen’s England, I guess I’ll have to settle for Ikea stuff 😁

The best part (so far) with the office upgrades, is the coffee/tea station (on the shelf against the wall). My darling daughter gifted us their coffee pod machine thingy that they never used and so we set it up upstairs in my office. It also provides me with warm water for my tea, so instead of having to trek downstairs to get my morning fix, I now have something like five paces to reach the machine. Shorter, if I feel like crawling under desk (spoiler alert: I don’t!) 😁

“Let’s have wine and cold cuts and cheese when you get off work today,” said the hubby on a lovely Friday. I said “LET’S!!” and this was the result. Everything was really yummy and it was a lovely evening, spent with my favorite person, listening to vinyl records, and sharing a bottle of superb red wine. All Fridays should be like this one.

Also, if someone told me I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life and nothing else, I’d probably pick parma ham. Or ramen. It’s a toss-up between the two.

One sunny afternoon when I was in a hurry to get home, there was a fire situation at the train station. Alarms were blaring and we weren’t allowed to go inside and the trains didn’t depart and I kept staring at my watch, desperate to go home. Luckily it was a false alarm and we were soon allowed inside…in time so I didn’t miss my train home. Yay!

One day when I worked from home, the hubby whisked me away and took me out to lunch. Granted, the reason was that we didn’t have any leftovers from the day before to eat, but it was really great nonetheless. There’s a nice restaurant only a few minutes away from my home, in a converted station building, who are only using local, in-season produce. It was a warm, lovely day so we sat outside, enjoyed each other’s company and the lovely food, and I even had a glass of wine to go with the pasta. Don’t you just love these little moments in life, the small breaks from mundanity? It’s the perfect way to recharge the batteries.

Speaking of restaurants, we tried another local “restaurant” or should I say stationary food truck. This is a Thai food place in the middle of nowhere (yes, that’s a barn behind it) and we were met with lovely smells and and a lady from Thailand when we arrived so we had high hopes for the food quality. Unfortunately, it wasn’t great, so we won’t be returning. Too bad, I like supporting the local businesses. And also, how great would it’ve been if this little food truck in the middle of nowhere had served excellent Thai food? 🙂

Speaking of supporting the local businesses; we went to a tiny hole-in-the-wall pottery shop in the nearest village where the hubby decided I needed a pretty tea mug for the upstairs coffee/tea station, and this beauty is what I picked. We also bought a few other things, and I intend to go back because I love that little shop. And the artist (who has a Stupid Day Job of her own at the local grocery store) is so friendly and nice so I definitely want to support her.

The story behind this picture is really boring (trying a new train route to work, blah-blah-blah) but this old station building from the late 1800s is so beautiful so I had to include it. I have thing for old brick buildings (or old buildings in general).

And speaking of old buildings (lots of “and speaking of” in today’s post 😁) we went to an even older building to have coffee. This is Alunbruket, the oldest coffee shop in my province. The coffee shop itself dates back to 1930, but the building is from the early 1700s. This was a five-star experience; the house, the garden, the fika (you know we Swedes are fika crazy!), the company (my brother and his partner were visiting), the fresh mint tea with mint from the garden…everything was perfect 😍 I’m definitely going back there; I want to bring my darling daughter and her family because I know they’d appreciate it.

Seriously. If you’re ever in the south of Sweden and want to have a fabulous cup of coffee in an amazing location, you need to visit this place!

The month ended with me voting in our upcoming election. Election day is on my 50th birthday (9/11), and I don’t feel like spending it by voting, so I voted early. One morning when I was on my way to work, I noticed that they’d set up a polling place at the train station, so the next day I brought my voting card (Swedes don’t have to register to vote; as soon as we’re eligible, we get a voting card sent to us and we need that card and our ID to be able to vote) and did my democratic duty.

It was a difficult decision this year; all parties (we have a multi party system in Sweden) are more or less terrible, and in the end, I went with the least awful party that still aligns with my values. Ugh, is that really how democracy is supposed to work?

Yes, I know that this is the eleventh picture, but I felt that the last pic ended on a negative note, so I thought a timeline cleanser was in order. Echinaceas are currently my second favorite flowers (second only to wood anemones), and I’m planning on planting lots of them in my garden next year. Aren’t they pretty?


Tell me something you did in August 🙂

Read Around the Rainbow Web Ring

Read Around the Rainbow: Top 3 Non-Romance Reads

Read Around the Rainbow is a blogging project featuring yours truly, A.L. Lester, Ofelia Gränd, Holly Day, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Addison Albright, Fiona Glass, Lilian Francis, and Ellie Thomas. Every month, we pick a topic and then we blog about it. Check the other blog posts by clicking the RAtR widget in the sidebar, or the links at the bottom of this post.

The RAtR topic for August is “What are your top three non-romance reads?”


First of all, I want to let you know I’m going to break the rules and pick five favorite non-romance reads. Because that’s the kind of person I am, a rule breaker. Also because picking only three favorite books is impossible. Even five was difficult; I almost made it six 🙂

We’ve picked non-romance so you’ll get to know us a little better, learn who we are more than romance readers and writers. Because all of us in this webring are book lovers…which I believe is a requirement for authors, wouldn’t you agree? 🙂

But without further ado, here are my top five picks (in no particular order, all of them are number ones!)

Ronja Rövardotter (Ronia the Robber’s Daughter) by Astrid Lindgren

On the night Ronia was born, a thunderstorm raged over the mountain, but in Matt’s castle and among his band of robbers there was only joy — for Matt now had a spirited little black-haired daughter. Soon Ronia learns to dance and yell with the robbers, but it is alone in the forest that she feels truly at home.

Then one day Ronia meets Birk, the son of Matt’s arch-enemy. Soon after Ronia and Birk become friends the worst quarrel ever between the rivals bands erupts, and Ronia and Birk are right in the middle.

As a Swedish person, I’ve grown up on a steady diet of Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking, who’s probably our most famous author. I’ve read most of her books, and while I love Pippi, I love Ronja more. This book was released when I was nine and can’t even guess how many times I’ve read it. I’ve read it as an adult, too, and I still love it.

Ronja is a fierce heroine. She befriends Birk, the son of her father’s arch enemy, she knows right from wrong and isn’t afraid to speak up when she learns that her father actually steals stuff for a living, and she doesn’t hesitate to stand up to him when push comes to shove. She stands up for what’s right, she sides with Birk when her father forces her hand, and she doesn’t give up. He’s the one who crumbles first, he’s the one who comes to her and asks her forgiveness, not the 12-ish year old girl.

If that isn’t the best kind of role model any young girl can have, I don’t know what is. And that’s why I’ll read this book to my darling grandbaby when she gets a little older.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

Just like Ronja Rövardotter, I’ve read Dracula so many times I’ve lost count. It was my favorite novel as a teenager, and it was the book that made awakened my love of epistolary novels. I don’t really know what it is about epistolary novels that fascinates me so much, but I absolutely adore a story told through letters and newspaper clips like this one. Or emails, DMs, text messages, and everything other modern day equivalent to the classic letter you can think of.

But Dracula is also responsible for awakening my love of horror stories and making me a fierce defender of the vampire as the best supernatural being ever (yes, me and the hubby has had long conversations which is best: vampires or zombies), and it’s the reason I devoured every vampire book in existence for years and years. These days, I don’t read a lot of paranormal books, but I’ll gladly make an exception for a good vampire story. But I’ve honestly never found a better one than Dracula.


The Poems of Catullus

Odi et amo. quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.

I studied Latin in high-school. It was one of my favorite subjects, taught by one of my favorite teachers ever. She loved Latin and old Roman history with a passion I envied as a teenager. She loved it so much that she made me love it, too. As someone who already read poetry at this age, I fell head over heels in love with classical Roman poetry. Especially Catullus.

The short poem above is my favorite and I can recite it in Latin. It’s about the woman he called Lesbia in his poems, who really was a married woman named Clodia, and the poems about her display a range of emotions from tender to sad to sarcastic as their relationship starts out happily then fizzles out and they fall out of love.

His poems are great. In fact, I think I’ll go find my copy and re-read them right now. Because what better way is there to spend a lazy Saturday (the day I’m writing this post) than with a good poetry book?


A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Tell me you love Shakespeare without telling me you love Shakespeare.

My daughter’s name is Ofelia. 😁

That being said, I prefer the comedies over the tragedies, so Hamlet is not my favorite Shakespeare play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is.

It’s probably because I was in an amateur acting group in my late teens/early twenties, and I played the part of Titania when we played AMND. And my now husband, then crush, played Nick Bottom who Titania falls in love with (albeit under the influence of a love potion, but still). That meant I didn’t have to try to play it cool and pretend I wasn’t desperately in love with him; I could live out my feelings. Very practical. 😁

Acting was so much fun and for a while, I dreamed of a career as an actor. Not for movies or television, but for the stage. Me and some of the other actors lived and breathed theatre and plays (and movie adaptations of Shakespeare plays; I’m looking at you, Much Ado About Nothing!) for years, but then life happened and my acting dreams fizzled out.

But my love for Shakespeare didn’t.


Aednan by Linnea Axelsson

Aednan is the newest book on my list (it was published in 2018). It’s a Swedish novel-in-verse that tells the story of two indigenous Sámi families. The nomadic Sámi traditionally make a living by herding reindeer over vast distances, across country borders. They live up north, in the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and even in Russia. As many other indigenous people, the Sámi has been abused, violated, experienced racism (still do to this day), and has been forced to change their way of life.

The people in this book get to experience all that and more. They’re humiliated, deprived of their identities, ridiculed. Aednan is 760 pages long, but never has such a long book with so few words on every page made me feel so much. I ached when I read it, both because of what they are forced to endure, but also because it’s stunningly beautiful.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I wish I could tell you all to go read it, but it’s not translated to English, except for a few short verses I’ve found that I’ll post below.

The Swede’s fingers
all inside my mouth

clothing strewn
across the floor

Me thinking
it was because of my
bad teeth

that the traveling doctor had come

With hard tools
he measured me

learned men
in every nook

With razor-sharp
scratching pens

they went
through me

I could tell that the
short one
was taking shape
on their papers

Using royal ink
to draw
the racial animal

The shackles
of our obedience

unfastened
my home-sewn belt

My breasts hung
their distaste blazed

I saw how they
wrinkled their
slender noses

laughing
all the while

My friend beside me
was quick to help me
on with my kolt

Then she quietly translated
their questions
about what we did
when menstruating

Over the doctor’s shoulder
the minister

And I heard him
say in Finnish:

The way their men drink
makes God cry
and the Devil laugh

And the shame

took root in me

because of my dark hair
and my
dark eyes


That’s it. That’s my top five non-romance books. But don’t forget to check out the other posts on the topic. It’s always so interesting to read what my fellow writers come up with and I love that the same topic creates so wildly different content. I can’t wait to read what they’ve written.

Ofelia Gränd :: K.L. Noone :: Amy Spector :: Addison Albright :: Fiona Glass :: Ellie Thomas :: Lillian Francis

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: One Summer Night by Ellie Thomas

Thank you so much for having me as your guest again, lovely Nell! I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical romance, and today I’ll be chatting about my new release, One Summer Night, written for JMS Book’s Night or Day story submission call.

When I chose to write about the option of Night in this story, I didn’t realise it would be such a contrast to my bright and breezy July story, Twelve Letters, written for JMs Books 12th Anniversary celebrations and concerned with the social life of the ton. Although these are both Regency stories, this one is centred around the political power base of London society. Martin, one of my main characters, is working as a clerk in Whitehall, and aristocratic Will, his love interest, is under the thumb of his wealthy and politically influential father.

Will is under so much pressure that something has to give, so it’s no surprise that his first meeting with Martin is no-holds-barred and passionate! These two first lay eyes on each other in an ordinary tavern (The Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, which is still a very popular pub). But when researching this story, I was fascinated to learn about numerous well-known meeting places for gay men in Regency London. As well as indoor locations such as bagnios (Turkish baths), certain coffee houses and Molly Houses, there were plenty of outdoor areas, such as Sodomites Walk on Upper Moorfield, where men could meet and hook up. Despite punitive laws, the Regency gay scene was thriving!

That public yet secret world informed so much of my story, with Martin and Will, unsure of the other’s feelings and intentions have to don a social mask in their everyday lives. This element of secrecy inevitably causes confusion until they have the opportunity to talk. Only then do they have the chance to transform a brief night of passion into the start of a true love affair.

In 1801, Martin Dunne spends his days as a hardworking clerk at the War Office in London’s Whitehall. One summer evening, after a drink in a Fleet Street tavern, he has an unexpected passionate encounter with a seducer who haunts his dreams.

But when they accidentally meet at a society function, the alluring stranger not only turns out to be the son of one of Martin’s superiors but also betrothed to a trusting young lady.

Martin’s hopes are dashed as he imagines the Hon. William Grant is a cynical rake of the worst kind. But has he misunderstood the situation? And might he allow Will to explain and give their fleeting connection a chance to develop into a fully-fledged romance?

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

Extract:

Feeling hot and tired by the end of the working day, Martin trudged home along Whitehall. Not having the luxury of a valet, once washed and shaved, he struggled into his evening clothes and combed down his thick dark hair. Then he practiced a smile in the spotted mirror, softening his serious expression, before setting forth on foot along the busy Strand towards Charing Cross. As he walked past his fellow citizens, the sticky evening made him uncomfortable in his constrictive evening clothes. At least it’s not raining, he thought, and he wouldn’t disgrace his superiors by arriving at a prestigious destination looking like a drowned rat.

Once at the palatial and newly renovated mansion, where no expense or extravagance had been spared, there was the usual endless queue on the stairs before the formality of announcements and resultant herding of guests into an already crowded reception room. Martin made small talk with some vaguely familiar faces from Whitehall who wouldn’t normally have deigned to notice him. He was anticipating when he might be able to escape when Sir Hervey was before him, smiling in gracious condescension.

“Enjoying yourself, Dunne?” He asked, and Martin replied with suitably muted enthusiasm.

“Met many people as yet?” The great man inquired, and as Martin demurred and started to say that he had been conversing with mutual acquaintances, his host turned to call someone forwards.

Martin felt a dull sense of obligation as Sir Hervey introduced a young lady in her early twenties, fragile and sweetly pretty in a simple white gown, the fashion for narrow skirts flattering her petite form. 

“Miss Imogen Ashley,” Sir Hervey intoned, as the young lady curtseyed, her eyes demurely downcast, “affianced to my son. I don’t think you’ve met my youngest, William, have you?”

Without waiting for an answer, he moved to one side to tap a young man on the shoulder. Martin’s first thought was that he was almost as fair and delicate as his intended, and then, as those all-too-familiar eyes met his, he realised with a jolt that this perfectly turned out pink of the ton, furnished with a dauntingly influential father and a winsome bride to be was the seductive stranger from the alleyway who filled his tumultuous dreams.

During the blur of introductions, that sultry gaze, so full of unspoken desire the night before, was blank, betraying no emotion after a flash of alarmed recognition. In such a crush, since neither of them reacted, no one noticed the sudden tension between them. Despite this, Miss Imogen moved a little closer to her betrothed, taking his arm as if sensitive to a change in his mood.

For the remainder of the reception, Martin could not have said who he spoke to or what he said, and as soon as he was able, he slipped away from the party unnoticed. On his way home, when he stopped off at a tavern for a tot of rum, all he could see in his mind’s eye was the shock in those speedwell-blue orbs. 

Bio:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/
Twitter: @e_thomas_author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I’ve been in a terrible reading slump lately. Nothing sounds good to me, not #Snarry fanfics on AO3, not re-reading old favorites, nothing. So I’ve been playing a stupid game on my phone, hating it but not knowing what to do when nothing sounds interesting.

So when I scheduled the New Release post on the blog for Holly Day’s July story, Love in an Elevator (this post if you missed it) and the blurb actually sounded interesting, I more or less begged Holly for an ARC. And since she’s one of the nicest people on earth, she gifted me one.

And I really liked it.

After that, I decided to start subscribing to Scribd again (we have an on-again-off-again relationship, me and Scribd) and stumbled over Twelve Letters by Ellie Thomas. And since I’m a sucker for epistolary stories, I made a fist bump and said “Hell yeah!”, and started reading it.

And I really liked it.

So today, I’m recommending two stories by fellow JMS authors, all around nice people, fabulous authors, and friends.

Hayden Perry moved to Landown two and a half weeks ago. He was excited to get the event planning job he’d applied for, but apart from bumping into a cute guy in the elevator, things don’t pan out the way he’d hoped. His boss is an ass and his co-workers are idiots, but as much as he dislikes them, he can’t afford to quit until he has another job lined up.

Corey Hope’s school years sucked. With a crippling stutter, he was easy prey, and despite being grown up, his bullies still haunt his nightmares. After he left school, he gave up on trying to talk, and communicates solely through sign language and written text. It works great even though he wished he could say something when Hayden flirts with him in the elevator.

Hayden does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and he thinks they might have something, but it all comes crashing down when Corey sees him having lunch with his colleagues. Corey might be drawn to Hayden, but seeing him with his school bullies has old memories washing over him. He won’t let them hurt him ever again, and he’d rather forget about Hayden than risk Hayden hurting him.

How will Hayden convince Corey he’s nothing like his colleagues when Corey refuses to see him?

This book was just so darned cute. I love a good story with some kind of disability so I was eager to read how flirting with someone who doesn’t talk would work. But Hayden stepped up; he was persistent, he never gave up. He was borderline stalkerish, and yet not; he was just adorable in his eagerness. I admit I saw the “twist” coming a mile away, but I didn’t mind, because the way Holly resolved it was very satisfactory. The way Hayden acted was very satisfactory. Has anyone figured out that Hayden was my favorite character yet, or do you need more clues? 😀

When I finished this story, I had a huge smile on my face and I’m so grateful to Holly who got me to read an actual book and delete the stupid game from my phone.

I give Love in an Elevator my warmest recommendations.

Amazon :: JMS Books

In Regency London, Jolyon Everett is determined to dissuade his irascible friend, Captain Ben Harding, from fighting a duel. However, before commencing on the pressing business of defusing Ben’s misplaced anger, Jo writes two notes — one to Percy Havilland, his very demanding paramour, and the other to his tailor, Daniel Walters. With those trifles out of the way, he can concentrate on persuading Ben to reprieve young Edward Stephens, a newly qualified doctor, who Jo suspects has a serious crush on Ben.

But the best-laid plans can go awry, as do the letters. As well as a furious Ben, Jo finds himself at the mercy of an outraged Percy and an amorous tailor. Can he convince Ben not to shoot Edward after all? Will he soothe Percy’s ruffled feathers? And might Jo realise true love can be found under the most unexpected conditions?

You probably know by now that I like Ellie Thomas. She writes short and researched and lovely, and Twelve Letters was no exception. Even though it opens with a misunderstanding – and you all know how much I hate those – it worked. I could see it coming, but I was in a generous mood so I was willing to see where it went, and Ellie made it work and it didn’t bother me at all. Another thing I normally don’t like is more than one couple in one book, but Ellie convinced me on this point, too. It was really well written, really intriguing, and I loved it.

And isn’t that the greatest thing, when an author takes two of your least favorite tropes/themes, and writes them well, and makes you adore the story? So how could I not recommend this fabulous book?

Amazon :: JMS Books