Christmasvaganza: Swedish Holiday traditions

christmasvaganza

By now, I’m usually pretty fed up with Christmas and everything associated with it and just want to eat a pizza and forget all about being jolly. So, I thought I’d finish off the Swedish holiday tradition part of Christmasvaganza with a little help from Will Ferrell (who knows about this stuff because he’s married to a Swede).

As you might understand, most of what he says is rubbish, but the thing about the akvavit and the drinking song is spot on. Enjoy 🙂

Advertisements

#Sale: 50% off my books at Smashwords

ni

Smashwords has an End-of-Year-Sale and you can buy my books for 50% off normal price. It’s an excellent opportunity to do some shopping if Santa didn’t give you what you wanted for Christmas this year, or, if you like me, ended up on the naughty list 😉

Here’s a link to my books: Nell Iris on Smashwords. Don’t forget to enter Smashwords’ coupon code at check out. You’ll find the code on the books’ pages. The sale runs until January 1st, so you still have a lot of time to shop.

If you already own all my books (in that case, did I tell you that I love you? 🙂 ) maybe you can shop for other books? Addison Albright’s books are also 50% off. So are Sarah Hadley Brook’s books published by JMS Books, and I’m gonna buy this one because I read a great review of it. Ruby Moone’s books are 25% off (have you read The Mistletoe Kiss yet? If not, buy it now, it’s an order 😉 ) Ballerina Dad by Amy Aislin is 50% off and Enchanted Love by Kris T Bethke is 25% off, both lovely books.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some book shopping to do 🙂

Christmasvaganza: Music Monday

christmasvaganzaMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! As a Swede, I did my main celebration yesterday at my parents’ house with lots and lots of food, but I have a large family so I’ll be celebrating today and tomorrow, too.

But first things first. Today is the final Music Monday in the Christmasvaganza, and I’ve saved the best for last. And really, what other song could I possibly choose today of all days, than Last Christmas by Wham?

Today is one year since George Michael passed away, and I’m still heartbroken. He was one of my biggest idols, and when I learned about his death last year I broke down crying. I still can’t listen to his music without tearing up.

So, without further ado, here’s George Michael and Wham ❤️

Christmasvaganza: Sunday Review

christmasvaganza

Happy Holidays everyone. Christmas Eve is when Swedes have their main celebration so as you read this, I’m probably stuffing myself full of my parents’ wonderful food, hugging my daughter, and enjoying the Christmas spirit. But if you want to curl up on the couch with a good book before your celebration starts, I have just the thing for you. This book gave me the warm and fuzzies and made me feel just the way you want to feel on Christmas. Like everything is right in this world. Read it. You won’t be sorry.

JollyHolidayDivider

Ballerina Dad by Amy Aislin

ballerina dadAttending his daughter’s holiday dance recital should be easy for pro hockey player Patrick Barnes. Showing up in a tutu, however, wasn’t exactly part of the plan. And yet the holidays get even more interesting when he bumps into Lee, the man he let get away years ago.

Ballet instructor Lee can’t believe who just walked into his studio. He also can’t believe how quickly the flare of attraction between he and Patrick resurfaces, despite the years that have gone by since they last spoke.

Once upon a time, they let opportunities get away. Is it possible they’ll now have the chance to pursue the spark that has come back to life after just one conversation?

Holidays are a time for giving, and neither Patrick nor Lee are about to take this particular gift for granted.

First time I ever heard about this book, I wanted to read it. Who can resist a big hockey player showing up at his daughter’s dance recital in a pink and purple tutu? I can’t, that’s for sure 🙂 Anyway, I pre-ordered it and when I got the email from Amazon that it had been delivered to my Kindle app, I jumped at it and started reading it at once.

And OH MY GOODNESS, I almost died of happiness.

But first things first and a fair warning: before I continue with the actual review, I’m gonna go off on a tangent: My (now 22-year old) daughter was a dancer when she was little. Ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, you name it. She danced in her room, she danced on her way to school, she danced all the time. And the best thing I knew, was going to dance recitals and watch 20 little girls or so doing their routine. How they always looked at the teacher to make sure they got their moves right. How cute they were in their tutus. How happy it made them. When I read this book, I was transported right back to that time. The opening scene with Pat in his tutu and his adorable daughter Jordan made me miss it. However. In my daughter’s dance classes, there weren’t any dads in tutus. Too bad, that would have been awesome.

Oh well. Back to reviewing. I loved the characters. Ballerina Dad himself, Pat, is a big guy, a pro hockey player who’ll do anything for his daughter, including dancing with her in a tutu and (accidental) glitter in his beard, even if he worries about pictures of him showing up on social media (he’s famous…pro hockey player, remember?)

“Fuck it. He was going to own this damn tutu. And when he did the group mother-daughter dance, he was going to rock it like he’d had more than two days to rehearse with Jordan. If his teammates gave him shit, so be it. A happy Jordan was a happy Patrick. So there.”

Lee is Jordan’s dance teacher and a big surprise to Pat. It turns out they know each other. They met in high school and had a thing for each other back then, but because of life and circumstances they never had a chance to date or be together.

Until now. When they meet after not having seen each other for ten years, the stars align in their favor. Their chemistry is still off the charts. They decide to go on a date and that first date was so adorable it could have melted the heart of the Grinch. Amy Aislin has done a fantastic job of showing their connection, how deep their emotions run, so even if the relationship moves at warp speed, it’s totally believable.

I mean:

“It was more than that: a belief, a knowing, that if they were ever to become more than friends, they’d have something incredibly special.”

…or:

“…this wasn’t about sex or lust. It was discovery and longing and the freedom of two souls finally in the right place at the right time.”

*happy sigh*

I felt connected to the MCs and love that they’re not stereotyped like they could have been. I loved Jordan and the rest of Pat’s family (and a non-villain ex-wife is SO refreshing… as is a guy who’s bisexual without anyone making a big deal of it!!) I loved every word and Amy Aislin’s writing style. She’s been on my reading radar for a while. I’ve even bought another book by her, but not gotten around to reading it. That will change now, though, because if this book is representative of who she is as a writer, she just rocketed up high on my list of favorite authors.

Five glorious, heart-melting, aww-inducing Christmas trees.

julgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetygjulgransbetyg

#RainbowSnippets

rainbow-snippets

Weekends means Rainbow Snippets-time here on the blog, since I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. According to their description, “it’s a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction—a WIP or a finished work of even 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).”

Don’t forget to like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I’d also be happy to become friends on Facebook if you’d like 😁

summer-divider-clipart-rainbow-bunting-hi-png-o1yiij-clipart

I’m continuing the snippeting from my third Christmas story, called Unexpected Christmas, released last week. When you read this, I’m back in Sweden for the Holidays, hopefully hugging my daughter and my mom.

She had caught up with me before I’d left—eyes full of disappointment with herself—and pleaded with me to stay. I couldn’t do it, even for her. I’d fought hard to keep the angry tears at bay and the last thing I wanted was for Bob to see how he’d gotten to me. How upset I’d been. I always tried to keep a brave face on, to pretend nothing ever affected me, as if I was enveloped in an invisible shield that bounced off all projectiles aimed at me.

But seeing my mom shrink with disillusionment at her brother’s behavior had made it impossible for me to be strong and stoic. Feeling like shit for abandoning her, I’d given her a quick hug before I’d slammed the door to underscore my rage.

summer-divider-clipart-rainbow-bunting-hi-png-o1yiij-clipart

Unexpected Christmas by Nell IrisAll alone, caught in a blizzard—without a coat—on Christmas Day. Would you accept a ride from a huge guy looking like a serial killer?

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on his turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into his car…hoping he won’t be ax murdered.

Axel Wilson—Ax for short, unfortunately—is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely, he’s not dangerous?

Thrown together by family drama, they spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient—and hot!—Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.

Right…?

Order Unexpected Christmas here now! It’s cute and fun and you won’t regret it.

Christmasvaganza: #SuperShort

christmasvaganza

A Snowy Surprise

It started snowing when I walked home from work. As if I hadn’t had enough shit this year already. I was fed up with the crazy workload at school, with my crappy job, my car breaking down, and unhelpful parents. Most of all I was sick and tired of goddamn Christmas. I’d put in my earbuds so I wouldn’t be exposed to another crappy rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.

I wasn’t normally the impersonation of the Grinch, but I didn’t feel very cheery this year. All semester, I’d been looking forward to finally seeing Grant at Christmas, and then my useless fucking car had to break down and I had to use the money I’d saved for the plane ticket for repairs. And of course, my parents wouldn’t lend me the money. Instead, they’d taken the opportunity to lecture me. Consider this an important life lesson, Braddock. We can’t always get what we want.

“Fuckers,” I muttered and kicked the snow on the ground for good measure.

Grant had been so disappointed when I’d broken the bad news to him. His usual bright smile had dimmed and it was as if someone had snuffed out his inner light. I was pretty miserable myself. We’d planned to spend his two days off cuddling and having wild monkey sex, and now those glorious plans were canceled.

It was a miracle he even had any days off. He went to medical school—he wanted to be a brain surgeon—and his schedule was even crazier than mine. There was no way I could ask him to spend half his free time on a plane to come and see me.

Which was why I would spend Christmas all by myself. Not getting my brains fucked out by my gorgeous boyfriend.

Falling in love with someone who lived on the other side of the country sucked hairy donkey balls. I couldn’t wait until I graduated this summer. We’d decided I’d pack my stuff and move to his part of the country. With a degree and my mad computer skills, I could get a job anywhere. He, on the other hand, still had a gazillion years to go before he became a real doctor.

Ah, well. At least I didn’t have to work tomorrow or on Christmas Day. Meant I could order some greasy Chinese food and stay in bed all day. Not being tortured by carols or stressed out holiday shoppers was a blessing. Maybe I could even talk Grant into a Skype sex session?

I turned onto my street and was hit by a gust of wind so intense it knocked me three feet backward. I fucking hated snow. Especially when it came down sideways. But I soldiered on and soon I could see my apartment building. My parents didn’t mind paying for a place of my own because they didn’t want me living on campus, but they couldn’t fork over enough cash for me to go see my boyfriend who I hadn’t seen IRL for months.

I clenched my teeth. No use in agonizing over that now. That would only give me heartburn and grumpy lines on my face.

Smacking my hand over my ear to protect it from invading snow, I walked the last few feet. I didn’t really look where I was going, so I almost slammed right into him.

“Heeeey, careful,” he said and grabbed my arms and I looked up and my breath hitched and I almost fainted.

“Grant?”

“Hi, Brad.” He smiled, showing off his perfect teeth.

I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again and he was still there. So he wasn’t a hallucination caused by snow-induced delirium. Good. Excellent. Now, talk. Say something, Brad.

“What are you doing here?” I sounded breathless as if I’d hiked a hundred miles without stopping even for a second. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. His blond hair with the bangs slanting over his forehead was windblown and adorable. His cheeks were red and his eyes were bright and I was so fucking happy to see him I was afraid I’d break down and cry.

“Surprise!” The twinge of uncertainty in his voice jolted me out of my shock and I flung myself at him.

He was cold as if he’d been waiting for a long time, but I didn’t care. I wound my arms around his shoulders and buried my freezing nose in the crook of his neck. He chuckled and pulled me close. “So you are happy to see me,” he said. “You had me worried there for a while.”

I slapped him on the shoulder for being an idiot, inhaled his scent, and then released my desperate grip on his neck. Instead, I grabbed his hand, fished out my key, and let us in. We took the stairs two steps at the time and soon we were inside my apartment. The heat felt divine against my cold skin, but all I cared about was Grant.

With stiff fingers, I fiddled with the buttons on his pea coat. “How come you’re here?” When his coat was off, I shrugged out of my own and kicked off my boots. “Shoes off,” I added and he complied.

“I managed to convince Rob to take my shift today in exchange for one of his next week. So, here I am.” Rob was one of the other interns and I was so grateful right now I would have kissed him if he’d been here.

“Mhm.” I fumbled with the button on his pants and clawed at the zipper.

“You seem happy to see me.”

“Fucking ecstatic. Get your clothes off!” I growled. He chuckled, batted away my hands, and shimmied out of his pants. I threw off my own clothes, not caring where they landed, and soon we huddled together under my blanket. He rested his icy feet on my shins and his cold hand on my stomach, making shivers race through my body. I wiggled my arm under his neck and hauled him closer, allowing him to steal every ounce of my body heat if he wanted.

I threw my leg over his thigh and he hummed happily. “I’ve missed you so much, Brad,” he whispered and everything was right in my world.

I was going to have a merry Christmas after all.

Screenshot_20171120-191127

Inspirational picture found on Instagram.

Release blitz and #giveaway: A Viking For Yule by Jamie Fessenden

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 56,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
A Cop For Christmas – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb

AFTER SAM’S GRANDFATHER nearly died in a blizzard one year ago, Sam has panic attacks in snow storms. So where does his friend Jackie propose they spend the holidays, as the last stop on their trip around the world?

Iceland. Of course.

But there’s more in Iceland than snow. When Arnar, a handsome Icelandic man, offers to escort Sam on a several-day tour of the beautiful countryside, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. But Arnar is firmly rooted in his native soil, and Sam has to return to the US in a week to care for his ailing grandfather.

Suddenly, yule can’t last nearly long enough.

NOTE: Though this novel includes characters from “A Cop for Christmas,” it is a standalone adventure. It isn’t necessary to read “A Cop for Christmas” first.


Author Bio

Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fantasy.

Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010. After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis.


Jamie recently left his “day job” as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions