About Nell

Goodbye August

September is here. But even more importantly, fall is here. And last year, something happened to me that transformed me into a fall-loving person when my favorite season has always been spring before. So I’ve been longing for fall for weeks already; I’ve been craving lit candles and full red wines and hearty stews and warming soups and evenings spent reading in front of a sparkling fire. And now that time is finally here. Yay.

But before this blog goes into full-blown autumn-mode, let’s take a look at 10 pictures from August, shall we?

In case you’ve forgotten, when we said goodbye to July, I was in the middle of a vacation from work, something that continued for two weeks into August. Vacation was great; it started out with a visit from my grandbaby, daughter, and son-in-law, and continued with evenings like these; hubby and I on the porch, listening to a great playlist, having a glass of bubbly or three.

I also repotted some of my indoor plants: these are coleus that I grew from seed that needed to be put into individual pots. I also gave the Chinese Money Plant (to the right) a bigger pot. I’ve never had a green thumb before, but apparently I do now. 😁

Our friends told us about a ramen restaurant that opened in Malmö (where we used to live before we moved to the house in the country), and if you’ve followed my blog since I lived in Malaysia you probably know that ramen is my favorite food in the whole wide world. So the hubby and I jumped into the car and drove to the restaurant to try it out. It looked good, but sadly we were disappointed. They made the ramen with chicken broth instead of that deep flavorful pork broth that has simmered for hours and hours, and that gives the dish its complexity. This was a nice enough noodle soup, but it wasn’t a real ramen.

I had such high hopes. Do I have to return to Kuala Lumpur for a decent bowl of ramen?

The last week of our vacation, we jumped into the car and drove toward our old hometown: it was time to visit our families for the first time in over a year. On the way there, we stopped by Cliff Burton’s (Metallica’s bass player) memorial stone, that sits where he tragically died in a bus crash in 1986.

On our way to visit a friend, we stopped at Granbergsdals Hytta. It’s a smelting furnace built in 1642 even if it didn’t look like this back then. Hubby and I have a soft spot for this place; back in our youth (we’re talking early nineties) we were members of an amateur theatre company, and we acted in a couple plays here in this old, lovely building. Back in 1994, I played one of the gods in The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht. Wanna see a pic? The young girl in the middle of this picture is Nell as a 22-year-old aspiring actor. 😂

(Wanna see another pic? Again, the young girl in the middle is me, but here I’m playing a tree. A rowanberry tree to be exact, in a Swedish play called The Story of a Tree.)

Let me tell you: spending an entire summer in that old building with likeminded people was awesome.

This picture is filed under Things I Never Thought I’d See. After visiting a dear friend in his new house, he said Make sure you don’t miss the camels on your way back. Hubby and I said Huh? Camels? but kept our eyes open. And sure enough, there they were. Grazing peacefully in the Swedish countryside. Let’s just say that camels are not native to Sweden, so I really hadn’t expected that.

But all things must come to an end, and that goes for vacations and summers, too. So on August 16 I had to jump on the train and go back to work. It was a drab, rainy day, as though the weather commiserated with me.

One day, we woke up to new neighbors; a herd of cows in the field next to our house. The field has been mostly empty all summer, with the exception of a girl and her horse a few times, but I’m happy about the new neighbors. They’re very curious about us and stare at us when we take out the trash, or when we…

…decide to jump into the pool one particularly sunny weekend, because who knows if this might be the last chance? Our pool isn’t heated (that’s a project for next year) and the water temperature was 19C (that’s 66F for you heathens who refuse to use the superior Celsius scale 😆). I sat by the side of the pool for the longest time, fiddling with my phone, splashing my feet in the water while considering whether I should jump in or not.

After a while, I decided that yes, I was gonna do it, so I changed into my bathing suit and literally jumped into the pool. I was gonna use the ladder, but hubby shook his head and said I’d never go through with it if I did, so I handed him my glasses and jumped. And surfaced shrieking, because holy crap that was cold. My shrieks drew the cows’ attention; they came wandering to the part of the fence where they could see my pool shenanigans, and they stood there staring at me, as though they were thinking What’s that crazy human doing? When I rushed inside to put on something warm, hubby checked on the cows only to find that they’d wandered along. The shrieking seems to be over, let’s go eat some grass instead.

Just because my vacation was over, didn’t mean everyone’s was, so one weekend we got visitors. My brother and sister-in-law came to stay for a few days and it was lovely. While they were here, we engaged in a Great Swedish Tradition: the crayfish party. My SIL brought crayfish and shrimp, and we ate it with bread and a pecorino-basil pie, drank snaps and sang silly drinking songs as tradition demands. It was lovely.

(If you’re paying attention, you’ll know that this is actually the eleventh picture, but it’s my blog and I break the rules if I want to 😁)

And on one gray, rainy day at the end of August (the 27th to be precise), we had a huge pile of firewood delivered and I declared fall season officially opened. Bring on all the autumnal things!

How was your August? Tell me something that you did in the comments!

About Nell

Sometimes You Need a Break

Yesterday morning’s writing happened at the kitchen table. My computer was already downstairs from the evening before, and I was in dire need of an ocean of tea, so I decided that it was best if I was close to the kettle. I spent three lovely hours with my best writing buddies; Ally and Ofelia/Holly, and when we closed down the morning office in favor of breakfast, I said I’ll definitely write more today, I have a deadline.

But when I made breakfast, the hubby asked if I wanted him to light a fire, and I almost screamed yes. So we ate in the den, by the fire. And I made a pot of tea (seriously, I had so much tea yesterday that I expected to see Mrs. Potts staring back at me from the bathroom mirror), picked up my e-reader to only read a chapter on the book I started the day before…and never left the couch again for the rest of the day.

That’s obviously not true; I did leave the couch for necessities like going to the bathroom and making something to eat, like yummy gyoza (although, full disclosure, the picture above isn’t from yesterday but from the day I folded them and put them into the freezer. But we ate from this batch yesterday). But I couldn’t make myself do anything else. I opened my computer, even went upstairs to fetch my notebook, but no. No words wanted to come.

Instead, I stayed on the couch, feeding more wood into the fire while wrinkling my nose at the drab gray weather outside my window. It’s been raining and raining and raining, and yesterday was no exception, so I think my soul needed the warmth, the crackle, and the smell of a wood-burning fire.

After dinner, the hubby poured me a glass of red wine and I started another book, a re-read of a favorite, Beautiful Boy by Grace R. Duncan. So I spent the rest of the evening like I spent the day: on the couch, by the fire, with a book on my e-reader. And I couldn’t part from the fire, so I didn’t go to bed until midnight, which made getting up this morning a bit hard. But so, so worth it.

Because yes, I do have a deadline and I did feel a little guilty for not writing, for wasting an entire day, one of the few I have now that I work a day job, and then I thought No! Fuck it! Everyone deserves a break sometimes, a moment to recharge, and I clearly needed that yesterday.

It was a lovely day to spend a gray, rainy Saturday, and I don’t regret it. That being said; back to work. I have a deadline.

Yesterday’s playlist:

Prayers for Rain – The Cure
The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
La Guillotine de Magritte – Einstürzende Neubauten
House of Cards – Radiohead
My Thieving Heart – Sivert Høyem + Marie Munroe

All I See

All I’ll Ever See: cover and pre-order link

I have a cover for All I’ll Ever See! And a release day! And a pre-order link! Wohooo, lots of goodies all at once.

And if you have forgotten, All I’ll Ever See is what happened when I decided to write a prequel to my short freebie All I See and the prequel turned into an expanded version that’s close to 15000 words (instead of the 4633 words of the original story.)

It will be released on September 11…which also happens to be my birthday, so happy birthday to me! 🙂

Are you ready for the stunning cover??

The night Kieran bangs on Theo’s door and kisses him changes both their lives forever. Theo has never been in the closet, but Kieran isn’t out and risks losing everything—his inheritance, his relationship with his family—should his parents find out.

But their feelings for each other can’t be denied, and Theo agrees to keeping their budding relationship a secret. But can their love grow and flourish when hidden away in the dark? Or will it wilt and die before they have a chance to live happily ever after?

Remember to subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already because my publisher has promised an extra special discount code only for my subscribers. But if you don’t like newsletters and don’t want to sign up, JMS always offers 20% off all pre-orders, so you still don’t have to pay full price. Good, eh?

Sign up for my newsletter here.

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I love him.

Even after three years, saying so astounds me. Spoken. Written. Aloud. Shared. I love him, he loves me, and sometimes he rests a hand in my wolf’s fur while posed on the throne and every inch a ruler, and when in human shape I spoke my marriage-vows to him I thought I might shapeshift into a pool of gold out of sheer magical happiness.

Quote from Bisclavret by K.L. Noone

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I absolutely adore K.L. Noone’s writing (search her name on my blog and you’ll find many, many posts of me gushing about her books and her writing), and a couple weeks ago, I picked up a book of hers I’d bought a long time ago but never gotten around to reading. Bisclavret.

A very long time ago, in the very old forests of Brittany, a werewolf loved a king …

The Lord Bisclavret has a secret. A family enchantment. A wolf’s curse, transforming him when the moon is full. He hopes to be a good lord for his people, and he’s always been a loyal king’s man, even if the new king is inexperienced and scholarly. But one betrayal might leave him trapped in wolf-shape forever … unless his king can save him.

Andreas would rather be a University scholar than a king, and has no interest in a royal marriage — desire’s always come slowly, if at all. But he loves his kingdom, so he’ll try to protect it, even when rumors of a man-killing wolf spread across his land. He’ll pick up a sword and go out on a hunt, and hope to keep his people safe.

But the wolf has the eyes of a man, and the scholar-king’s knowledge of folklore and fairy-stories might break a werewolf’s curse … with the help of love.

Very loosely based on the twelfth-century story by Marie de France, Bisclavret features a bisexual werewolf lord, a demisexual king who’d rather be a scholar, some exasperated men-at-arms, and very important stolen clothing.

This book. My friends, this book! 😍 It’s poetic and beautiful and romantic and everything I love about stories. I don’t really know how to describe it other than Bisclavret became my new favorite K.L. Noone book, one of my favorite shifter books of all time (tied to first place with Shifting Silver by Brandon Witt), and definitely one of my top 10 reads of 2021.

If you’re only gonna buy one more book this year, I recommend this one. 10 stars ❤️

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Bear Claw by Holly Day

Today, my dear friend Holly Day is back on the blog with her newest release, Bear Claw. I’m scheduling this blog post during one of my early morning writing sessions, and the pictures made my mouth water and I’m craving a bear claw and macarons and pastry for breakfast. Maybe Holly should apologize for that, too?! 😁

Nah, just kidding. No need to apologize, but maybe since we only live a couple hours from each other, she should compensate me by sending me a box of pastries? Everyone in favor, say “aye!” 😁


Hi, Nell! Hello, Nell’s readers!

Holly Day here 😊. As some of you might know, I like to celebrate things, and tomorrow, it’s Be an Angel Day. *nods* Yup, it’s true. A day when you’re supposed to act like an angel. I won’t tell you if I will or not, but I wrote a story to celebrate the day, and it so just happens that it’s released today, yay! 🥳

I’ll be over at A.L. Lester’s blog in a couple of days, and I started that post by apologising because I’d written an alpha story – Ally dislikes those. I’m thinking I should do the same here because Nell dislikes stories where one of the characters ‘doesn’t want a boyfriend’. Sorry, Nell!  Shiro does not want a boyfriend. He really, truly doesn’t 😂.

I feel like, maybe, I’ll have to apologise to everyone I visit with this story LOL.

The thing is, The Bear Claw is an alternate universe story. All supernatural characters are either dominant or submissive – not in a BDSM kind of way but in a pack-structure kind of way – and Shiro is submissive. Every dominant he meets can order him to do things.

His first mate was an abusive arse, but since he died, Shiro has been free, or as free as a submissive can be in a society like the one he’s living in. He owns a bakery and while he’s unable to shift into an animal, he can put emotions into cookies and cakes. His employee and friend, Astra, has the ability to make coffee taste divine. If only one of them had been a dominant, they could’ve lived their lives as they saw fit.

When Pitch, a dominant werewolf, takes an interest in Shiro, he does his best to fake being a dominant. When that doesn’t work, he hides in the kitchen of his bakery and does his best to avoid Pitch altogether.

It’s not working very well.

Excerpt:

Pitch kept his face blank despite wanting to frown. All he’d said was that Shiro needed someone to take care of him—all submissives needed someone to take care of them. He and Bernard were proof of it… or Bernard more than him.

Bernard came here after finishing his shift at the bar every day to walk Shiro and Astra to work. It should be enough for Shiro to understand he needed a dominant. He gave Shiro one last look before heading for the table where Astra had put two cups of coffee.

Bernard sat, took a sip, and smiled at Astra.

Pitch sat, took a sip, and almost spit it out. “Fecking shit!” He hadn’t meant to growl, and when Astra raised an eyebrow at him, he took a calming breath. “There is something wrong with my coffee, Astra.”

“No, I don’t think so. I told you it would taste like rat poison.”

“Unless I…” Left Shiro alone. He shook his head and set the cup aside. “I see.”

She straightened her back. “I know your kind.”

“Wolves?”

She rolled her eyes. “The kind who thinks that because you can order someone around, you have the right to. Shiro works ten times as hard as you do, and yet you think you have the right to harass him.”

“I wasn’t harassing him.”

Bernard’s gaze jumped between them.

“No? What did you say to make him panic so hard I could smell it?”

Pitch gritted his teeth. “Only that he needed someone to take care of him.”

Both she and Bernard snorted which made Pitch glare at Bernard. “He does. He’s working too hard, and you said it yourself, it’s not safe for him to walk the streets at night.”

“Because of stupid alphas.” Astra couldn’t meet his gaze, but she glared at his nose for several seconds. “It’s not Shiro’s fault people like you think they have the right to dictate his life.”

Pitch didn’t respond. He wasn’t dictating Shiro’s life. He could, but he wasn’t.

Bernard finished his coffee, a bit faster than could be considered normal. “I stink. I have to change shirt. Will you be okay without me for a few minutes?”

“Depends on if dickhead here is gonna stay civil or pull some stupid dominant shit.” Astra crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Pitch’s nose again. She had more spunk than he’d given her credit for.

“I’ll guard them with my life.” He’d meant to make his tone mocking, but it came out all serious. He could guard them. Crazy as it was, he didn’t want some drunken dominants to saunter in here and disturb Shiro while he was baking. He’d appeared contented while he was baking.

Bernard got up, and Astra took the coffee cups, both the empty and the full. As soon as Bernard had left, she put a fresh cup in front of him, and he cautiously took a sip. Divine. The best coffee he’d ever had.

He shrugged off his leather jacket and scratched one heavily tattooed arm before taking another sip. “Is it only coffee or can you change the taste of any food.”

“Only liquid.” She wiped away a drop she’d spilled on the table. “Shiro does baked goods.”

“All kinds of baked goods?”

She shrugged. “It’s not the same. My skill is that I can either make it the best you’ve ever had, bland, or terrible. Should Bernard have taken a sip of your coffee before he’d only taste coffee, nothing special. It’s limited to you, or you know the person I’m pouring it for. It’s a good skill when working in a place like this, but it doesn’t have a great impact on the world.”

Pitch frowned. “Don’t say that. You could have this place overflowing with customers. It could bring in a lot of money.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Money you’d take.”

“What?” He was too stunned to get angry. Did she think he’d steal from them?

“I see the way you’re watching Shiro. He doesn’t want a mate.”

“He needs—”

“Remember the taste of the coffee.”

Pitch scratched the stubble on his cheek. “He needs someone to take care of him.”

“No, he doesn’t. He needs to be allowed to live his life without dancing to the whims of his puppet master. He runs a business; he doesn’t need a dominant to sweep in and steal it from him.”

Steal it? It was better if dominants owned businesses since they couldn’t be manipulated.

Astra huffed. “You’re still not getting it.” With a shake of her head, she went behind the counter and started organizing the display shelf.

Get what?

Blurb:

In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.

Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.

Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?

Buy links:

 Gay Paranormal Romance / 46,763 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheBearClaw

About Holly

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

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