#FlashbackFriday

“Beckett was cute and snuggly and huggable. Reminded me of an Ewok.”

Nobody Else's by Nell IrisMars enters Pisces, giving Beckett Cooper the opportunity to assert himself when it comes to a secret infatuation; his best friend’s younger brother Levi. But can Beckett trust what’s in front of him and be brave enough to take what he wants?

With Venus in Virgo, people usually become more reserved, but Levi Byrne always takes the opposite road of what’s expected of him. So, instead of pulling back, he reaches out for a man he’s been interested in for years; Beckett Cooper.

Is it the celestial bodies aligning to bring together two people destined for each other? Or is it a simple tale of boy meets boy, boy likes boy, and boy wants to kiss boy? Do Beckett and Levi even care, or are they too busy getting to know each other … and falling in love?

M/M Contemporary / 19 794 words

Buy links/Add to Goodreads

JMS Books | AmazonAmazon UK | KoboScribd | B&N | iTunes | Google Play | Smashwords

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“Levi was the quiet sibling. When all the other Byrne-kids spoke louder to make themselves heard in a sea of voices, Levi did the complete opposite. He grew silent.”

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“I really enjoy this,” I said instead. “I don’t go out a lot, so unless you’ve got somewhere to be, I’d like to stay a while longer.” I wanted to get him to relax; he seemed so tense around me in a way he never did when Matt was around.

“Yeah?”

“Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I’ll have another cup. Don’t tell her I told you this, but Mom makes awful coffee.”

The right corner of his mouth quirked up in half a smile. “She does?”

“Mhm. Her coffee is weak and pathetic. She believes that if she uses less grounds, the caffeine won’t be as bad.”

Beckett’s eyebrows shot up under his beanie. “No?”

I nodded and made a cross over my heart.

He snorted. “That’s so funny!”

“Tell me about it. I’m sure you understand why I prefer this,” I pointed at my cup, “over muddy water disguised as coffee.”

His gaze stopped wandering, and he finally looked right at me. “To tell you the truth, I’d rather drink the muddy water. I don’t like all that bitterness.”

“I’m not surprised,” I said with a grin.

“What do you mean?”

“That you’re far too sweet for something that dark and bitter.”

My comment made him fidget in his chair. His gaze flitted away from me and he cleared his throat.

Sierra-Hotel-India-Tango. Too much. Reign it in, Levi.

Luckily, the waitress came to my rescue. I accepted another refill and quirked my eyebrow at Beckett.

“I’d like, um, another hot chocolate, please.”

I gave him a wide, happy smile and we drank our beverages in silence and people-watched for a few minutes. Every now and then, he snuck a glance at me and lingered for a second or two before he looked away again. I pretended not to notice, but I was very aware. Every peek left a tingle in its wake, and I wanted him to look at me more.

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Writing update

Hi everyone! Time for another writing update.

In my last update, I told you about my current WIP, the story I’m writing for the JMS Books submission call, Autumn Love. I’m almost done, and by that I mean that yesterday I got the manuscript back from betas, and now I’ve got to do a final edit and then it’s done.

Can we just take a second and consider how freaking awesome my betas are?! I was in a time crunch, trying to finish the story on time for them to be able to read and comment on it before my deadline. I didn’t finish as early as I wanted, but my betas said they’d do it on time anyway, no problem. And they did. And this is the second time recently I’ve come to them in the 11th hour and asked for help. Methinks I’ll have to send them gifts to show my eternal gratitude 🙂

Anyway, it’s currently about 17500 words, and when I say I’m almost done, I mean that I have to come up with a name for the darned thing before I can submit it. The story is reluctant to be named, so don’t be surprised if a book named A Fabulous Short Story That Refused To Be Named by yours truly is released sometime this fall. Just take my word for it that it’s great and you’ll want to buy it, okay? 😀


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Another piece of news: regarding the Family Found series I co-write with Kris T. Bethke. After the release of our second book, Diving In, Kris and I had a conversation about things. Writing it was very difficult for me, because I’m a full-blown pantser, and if you’re two people writing a book, you need some kind of outline.

That’s why we agreed that Kris will write the remaining books in the series without me. So if you’re a fan of the boys at V Wilderness Adventures, don’t fear because their stories will be told, just not by me.

And it’s not because me and Kris had a falling out or anything (she’s one of the betas I’m lauding above), it’s just that plotting stories doesn’t work well with my creative process. I’ve also come to realize that I’m not a fan of writing series. When I finish a book, I mentally leave the characters and the place behind, with no intention of returning, so trying to get back into the spirit doesn’t work very well for me.

 

Release Day and Memorial Day Sale

It’s Memorial Day sale over at my publisher’s. 45% off all e-books, including new releases, so hurry on over to JMS Books, and buy my brand spanking new book!! 🙂

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Ashley Buchanan—Buck—moved back home to take care of his sick mother when he was 22. That was the first time he met Pippin, the neglected 6-year-old boy next door. Fifteen years later, Buck—a caretaker by nature—offers up his couch for Pippin, who needs a break from his mom and a quiet place to sleep.

Pippin Olander is a ray of sunshine despite his emotionally lacking upbringing and works hard to make a better life for himself. Even though he’s fiercely self-sufficient, he learns to accept help from Buck, his rock and only steady presence in his life.

Their friendship deepens and grows into something more as they spend more time together. But when other people try to throw a wrench in the works, when Pippin’s independence is triggered, can Buck and Pippin trust in the love they’ve found?

25605 words / M/M contemporary / May/December

Buy link: JMS Books

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Of course, if you want to buy it elsewhere, it’s also available here:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes | B&N | Google Play

Monday Book Talk

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Last year, I discovered fanfiction. It’s a little funny that I didn’t even know it was a thing until last year, considering so many of the authors in the M/M romance genre started out writing fanfiction, but I was oblivious. I’ve thought a lot about why; why didn’t I know of the phenomenon?

After some consideration, I thought it was because I’ve never really shipped characters, I didn’t even know what shipping was until recently. At first I thought that might be a Swede thing, that Swedish people don’t do shipping, but after a conversation with my daughter, I realized that was not it. She knew what it was, so I just wrote it off as an age thing and didn’t think about it again.

Until I remembered. There ARE two characters I ship. Two characters all of Sweden (more or less) ship. Wilfred of Ivanhoe and Rebecca of York.

You see, every year on New Year’s Day, Swedish television airs Ivanhoe, a British TV-movie from 1982 (based on the novel from 1819 by Sir Walter Scott), starring Anthony Andrews as Ivanhoe and Olivia Hussey as Rebecca. It’s tradition; it’s been going on for as long as I can remember, and a lot of people in Sweden re-watch that movie every year. The tradition is so widely known that Sam Neill, who plays the evil character Brian Guilbert, tweets about it every year (which is hilarious if you ask me!):

ivanhoe

If you’re not familiar with the story of Ivanhoe, here’s a summary:

Ivanhoe, the son of a Saxon nobleman, returns to England from the Crusades. Prince John is Regent in the absence of his brother, King Richard the Lionhearted who is imprisoned in Austria. Saxons have not accepted their Norman conquerors and there is much animosity between them. Ivanhoe arrives at court just as a jousting tournament begins and bests the three Norman noblemen who have agreed to take on all comers. Ivanhoe is seriously injured however and is cared for by Isaac of York and his beautiful daughter Rebecca. They are taken prisoner however, along with Ivanhoe’s father Cedric and his ward Rowena, by the three knights Ivanhoe bested in the tournament. With the assistance of Robin Hood, the mysterious Black Knight attacks the castle of Front-de-Boeuf where the captives are being held. It’s left to Ivanhoe to rescue to rescue Rebecca however when she is accused of being a witch.

That was the background, now to the point: Ivanhoe is Christian and Rebecca is Jewish. The story is set in the 12th century, when a Christian man and a Jewish woman weren’t allowed to marry. But as Rebecca cares for the injured Ivanhoe, they fall in love, and everyone in Sweden roots for Rebecca.

But, alas, their relationship can not be, and instead Ivanhoe ends up with the very beautiful, very blonde, and very Christian Lady Rowena. And every year, I’m equally disappointed. Why does he choose that boring woman instead of the lovely and intelligent Rebecca? Whyyyyyy??

So I thought, now that I’d discovered fanfiction, I would finally be able to read their happy ending. I opened AO3, searched for Ivanhoe, and found…

fanfic ivanhoe

one story about Ivanhoe and Rebecca. One measly story in a fanfiction archive that, as I write this, has almost 4,8 million stories.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I was counting on you, AO3! What do I have to do, write their happy ending myself?? 😁

Bah!

I guess I’ll just have to stick to Harry Potter fanfiction then 😁

Tell me: what characters – if any – do you ship? Which characters’ happy ending would you like to read?

His Steady Heart: one week until release and more pre-order links

HSH blurb releaseday

Ashley Buchanan—Buck—moved back home to take care of his sick mother when he was 22. That was the first time he met Pippin, the neglected 6-year-old boy next door. Fifteen years later, Buck—a caretaker by nature—offers up his couch for Pippin, who needs a break from his mom and a quiet place to sleep.

Pippin Olander is a ray of sunshine despite his emotionally lacking upbringing and works hard to make a better life for himself. Even though he’s fiercely self-sufficient, he learns to accept help from Buck, his rock and only steady presence in his life.

Their friendship deepens and grows into something more as they spend more time together. But when other people try to throw a wrench in the works, when Pippin’s independence is triggered, can Buck and Pippin trust in the love they’ve found?

25605 words / M/M contemporary / May/December

RELEASE DATE: MAY 25, 2019

Pre-order now:

JMS Books (20% off until May 31) | Amazon | Amazon UK  | Kobo  | iTunes  | B&N  | Google Play

Nell’s Top Five

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Nell’s Top Five

…Things I Don’t Understand

Here are five things I don’t really understand. They are not things I hate or detest…I just don’t get it.

Tell me about something that you don’t understand in the comments! 🙂

  1. Calendars starting with Sunday. Monday is the first day of the week, not Sunday. Why would you want your calendar to start with Sunday? That’s weird!
  2. Why do people go to the movies when they’re on a date? I understand doing it once you’re already in a relationship and know each other. But before you’re a couple? That’s just weird. The purpose of a date is getting to know each other better, and you can hardly do that the 2-3 hours you spend in a movie theater, since you’re not supposed to talk.
  3. Raisins. Or dried fruit in general, to be honest. I realize that back in the olden days when we couldn’t import/export fresh fruit, we had to preserve fruits to even get any vitamins in winter. But they’ve outlived their usefulness and they’re just weird. And not tasty.
  4. People live-tweeting to TV shows. If your followers don’t watch the show/movie along with you, reading it after is just plain weird. And even if I watch the same show, I watch it. Not scroll through my twitter feed. I don’t get it.
  5. Gossip. Don’t get me wrong, I read gossip too, and after I feel a little dirty. But why are we (humans) so obsessed with gossip? Why do we feel the need to know intimate details of our friends, neighbors, or celebrities we really have no business knowing?

 

Writing therapy

Two weeks ago today, Thursday May 2nd, I did a thing. Something personal weighed heavy on me, worried me and the night between Wednesday and Thursday, I couldn’t sleep. I always have trouble sleeping when I’ve got a lot on my mind. My brain worked through what I was worrying about and when I woke up on Thursday, I knew a way to tackle my fears: write.

So I sat down at my desk…and wrote an entire story from beginning to end. Granted, it’s short, around 5400 words, but it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and two characters I care deeply about.

The next day I edited it and talked to my betas. And since the story is short – and my betas are fast – I got it back within a day. I wrote a blurb (even that flowed out of me, no public moaning from me about how much I hate blurb writing), filled out all the necessary forms, and submitted it to my publisher.

So a week later – last week – I signed a contract. That’s gotta be some kind of record.

But what’s more important is that it was a great way of working through my worry, of focusing on something else for a few hours. I write because I love it. Because I have to. But also because it helps me.

Sometime in August, you’ll be able to read my little story that was born out of fear and worry. I hope you all will like it, because it’s very important to me.

Blurb is below.


Team Luker

What if this is the last time we lie like this?

Uncertainty is keeping Ellery Luker awake at night and robbing him of his appetite. It’s been five days since the love of his life and partner of twenty-five years, Jools, went to the doctor. Five days since the biopsy. Five days of going crazy with worry and what ifs?

What if Jools suffer from the same disease that stole Ellery’s mother when he was just eleven?

What if all Ellery’s worst fears come true?

What if…?