Save The Frogs Day

Today it’s Save the Frogs Day!

You might not know this, but I have ranidaphobia (phobia of frogs). I get that people can’t understand how anyone can be afraid of them – what’s scary about frogs, right? I don’t know, I can’t really explain it.

frog in waterIt’s the legs, those folded creepy legs that at any second can unfold and make the freaky little thing jump farther than a kangaroo *shudder*.

People think I’m joking, and again I get that, because how can anyone be afraid of frogs? But I have nightmares about frogs. I very seldom have bad dreams, but if I do, you can bet your arse it’s filled with horrific little creatures jumping around.

In the morning when I’m walking to work, I often see frogs who have been run over by cars in the early morning hours, and my entire body tenses even before I can see if it truly is a frog. Just seeing something farther ahead on the road makes the hairs on my body stand on end. If it is a frog it doesn’t matter that it’s dead and I know it won’t jump, my heart starts banging as if I’m running for my life, and I sort of am because I have to stay as far away from the dead little monster as I can, traffic be damned. Luckily I live in the middle of nowhere so when I say traffic, we’re talking the occasional car.

When I’m out walking, I often have to take detours because a frog is blocking my way. Again, we live in the middle of nowhere so I’m often walking in the woods. Since I was born without a sense of direction, taking detours in the woods often makes for hours of walking LOL.

So you’d think I’d be all for killing the frogs, right? I’m not.

More than 30% of the species are at risk of extinction. Frogs are important both as prey and predators, tadpoles help regulate blooms and algal contamination, and grown frogs eat insects like mosquitoes and therefore help us with diseases like malaria, Dengue fever and Zika. They’re important! And since they absorb toxins, chemicals and bacteria through their skin, they’re powerless to withstand what we’re poisoning them with.

I’m not gonna bore you with more facts, but please, think of the frogs, offputting as they may be.

To celebrate this day I’ve re-read not one but two of my favourite books. First out is Frog by Mary Calmes. Frog has nothing to do with actual frogs but with a title like that it has to be included in a Save The Frogs Day post.

Weber is a bull rider, a little rough around edges, and in love with a neurosurgeon. He knows he’s not up to standard, and even less so when he has to give up his dream of being a professional bull rider after one too many injuries.

Cy, the neurosurgeon, has everything but the one thing he wants – Web. He doesn’t care if Web is a bull rider or a nanny, all he wants is to come home to his man, so when Web once again shows up at his doorstep, he intends to keep him forever.

I love this, it’s a little different from the other Calmes books, but still, very much a Calmes book if that makes sense, I know it doesn’t. Read it if you haven’t!

FrogWeber Yates’s dreams of stardom are about to be reduced to a ranch hand’s job in Texas, and his one relationship is with a guy so far out of his league he might as well be on the moon. Or at least in San Francisco, where Weber stops to see him one last time before settling down to the humble, lonely life he figures a frog like him has coming.

Cyrus Benning is a successful neurosurgeon, so details are never lost on him. He spotted the prince in a broken-down bull rider’s clothing from day one. But watching Weber walk out on him keeps getting harder, and he’s not sure how much more his heart can take. Now Cyrus has one last chance to prove to Weber that it’s not Weber’s job that makes him Cyrus’s perfect man, it’s Weber himself. With the help of his sister’s newly broken family, he’s ready to show Weber that the home the man’s been searching for has always been right there, with him. Cyrus might have laid down an ultimatum once, but now it’s turned into a vow-he’s never going to let Weber out of his life again.

Second out is Clear Water by Amy Lane. I was talking about this book a few weeks ago when I was talking about eco-warriors.

Patrick is a spaz, and he’s hooked up with the wrong guy. One night, his boyfriend slips him a roofie and drives his car into the river with Patrick passed out inside. Whiskey, a field biologist out for a late night walk, sees it happen and dives in to save Patrick. (While going through episodes of Mythbusters in his head LOL)

Patrick who doesn’t want to go home to his judgemental father stays on Whiskey’s houseboat with Fly Bait (the lovely Freya), Whiskey’s lab partner. Together they spend a summer studying two-headed frogs and try to find out what’s causing the anomalies in the bullfrog population.

This is another absolute favourite of mine. I just love Whiskey and Fly Bait, and despite ranidaphobia and a general dislike of insects and stuff this books has me thinking I should’ve become a biologist (though in reality, I’d make a terrible one).

I could read this book over and over, and I doubt I’d grow bored of it.

Clear WaterMeet Patrick Cleary; party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan; he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.

Patrick needs to get his life together and Whiskey wants to help but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see Clear Water.

There you have it. Now go out and do something to save the frogs!


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Throwback Thursday | Once in a Forest

Easter is approaching and I thought we’d prepare by having a look at Once in a Forest (Nortown #2).

The Nortown series was never supposed to be. I wrote Once in a Snowstorm (Nortown #1) as a one-off. I was doing NaNoWriMo and had finished the story I’d been working on but still had a couple of ks left until I hit the 50k you’re supposed to during one month, so I started writing Once in a Snowstorm….mostly as a joke – read about it here.

After I’d written Once in a Snowstorm I thought to myself ‘hey, that was fun. Perhaps I should do one story for each holiday’ and I starting writing about Easter.

Nortown didn’t turn into a series revolving around holidays, but the first two stories and The Empty Egg (Nortown #2.5) are holiday related. And Honey Baked (Nortown #5.5) too for that matter.

Writing stories about holiday can be really hard. At first, when you start, it’s easy because you know your holidays, right? You know that Easter is eating eggs and pickled herring and drinking påskmust, you know that it’s the Easter Rooster who lays the Easter eggs, you know that you light a bonfire on the Maundy Thursday (that’s today, people! Light up!) to scare off the witches so they’ll fly on their broomsticks to Blåkulla…or wait a minute, doesn’t other cultures have the Easter Bunny? And don’t some of you have Easter ham? And I’ve been in the UK during Easter, I’ve had Hot Cross Buns.

When I write a Nortown story, I mostly write it from a Swedish perspective. I take my inspiration from the nature around me, and since I’m living in a village (that’s not even allowed to be called a village) with less than 200 inhabitants in the ‘town centre’ and about 500 people in the entire parish it’s not hard. But, I don’t want it to be too alien to the reader, so I try to not make it too Swedish, and with holiday food and traditions that’s hard.

What’s your favourite thing about Easter?

In Once in a Forest Tom and Jason are going on an egg hunt. In Nortown the entire town gets together and search for Easter eggs hidden in the forest around them, it’s a tradition.

Jason had butterflies in his belly—not pleasant ones. He didn’t know how to celebrate Easter. What if the people of Nortown thought he was an idiot? What if he did something he wasn’t supposed to do? He didn’t even know how to tap eggs, though the word gave him a pretty good idea.

Biscuit was bouncing around in Jason’s lap, oblivious to the strained silence in the car. Tom had an almost desperate hold on the steering wheel, and Jason wondered what had made the happiness he’d seen during breakfast go away. He didn’t know why. He shouldn’t care, but he wanted Tom to smile again.

“You okay?”

Tom didn’t look at him, simply grunted, and turned off the main road towards the forest. “About last night…”

Jason’s gut tightened. Now what? “Yeah?”

“You can’t tell anyone.”

Oh… “You’re not out.” He didn’t make it a question; he already knew Tom wasn’t.

“Nortown isn’t like the city.” The defensive edge in his voice made Jason think before he opened his mouth.

“I won’t say anything, but—”

“No. I know you’re gonna say something about being true to myself, or for Tristan and Aiden’s sake, or something along those lines, but I was here when Tris came out, and I never want to go through that.”

Jason nodded. Why he was disappointed, he didn’t know. It was not his place to judge or even have an opinion. He didn’t know the people of Nortown, but he had a hard time thinking Jen or Marge and Monica would give a damn. “I won’t say anything.”

Tom’s shoulders slumped, and he eased his hold on the steering wheel. “Thanks.”

“So what should I expect at this egg hunt?”

Tom gave him a quick glance. “You know how egg hunts work, right? We’re here to help Jen prepare, hide eggs for people to find, and then in a couple of hours, everyone will show up. Kids, pets, adults—most of Nortown’s population will stroll into the woods and search for eggs.” Tom laughed. “Afterwards, everyone heads to Jen’s. There’ll be coffee, prizes, and lots and lots of gossip.”

Jason didn’t really know how an egg hunt worked, because he’d never been to one. He’d never celebrated holidays in any other way than to make sure he had a hot fuck at the end of the night. There wouldn’t be any sex happening tonight, unless… He pushed away the idea even as it sent a tingle of excitement down his spine. He was not going there, no matter how hot Tom was, or how considerate he appeared to be. Jason would not put himself in a situation where he could be used like that.

Once in the ForestJason has one rule when it comes to holidays – work his shift behind the bar and then find a willing body to distract himself with. One night is long enough to satisfy his needs and still walk away with his heart intact. It has worked out fine for most of his adult life, but this Easter, he’s trying something new. He’s leaving the city to visit his friend, Aiden, who recently moved in with his boyfriend in the middle of nowhere, but one unfortunate incident leaves Jason without a place to sleep.

Tom doesn’t do relationships, he rarely does hook-ups and never too close to home. Living on his own without attachments is far easier than having the whole town knowing about him. As the holiday approaches, his lonely house grows even quieter than normal – at least until his friend, Tristan, dumps an arrogant bartender in his lap.

As soon as Jason lays eyes on the gruff lumberjack whose home he’ll be sharing, he knows who’ll warm his bed for the weekend and help chase away any pending holiday gloom. Too bad Tom doesn’t want to get with the programme. As much as he wants to let Jason close, he won’t risk outing himself for a weekend fling. Will Jason trust Tom not to break his heart if he stays longer than a couple of days, and will Tom value their relationship higher than the town gossip?


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Us Again

I love short fiction, I’ve said that over and over again. Some days I fear I’ve lost my ability to tell a story in just a few pages – flash fiction used to be my favourite format – that’s not something Nell Iris suffers from, though. Us Again is a sweet short story told in about 30 pages.

Alex had everything he wanted in Sammy until one day when Sammy ended their relationship. Alex has no idea why. They loved each other, and even if they didn’t say the words it was all there in their actions.

Several months later, Sammy’s brother calls Alex and asks him to come to the hospital. Sammy collapsed at work due to not eating or drinking properly.

Alex is filled with worry and fear that Sammy will ask him to leave and never come back again, but what follows is an explanation to why Sammy told Alex to leave and why he hasn’t been taking care of himself since. It’s an emotional revelation that’ll tug at your heartstrings.

If you’re up for a cuddly, sweet read, you should check this one out! You’ll get yourself a reunited, hurt-comfort fix through a conversation in a hospital bed.

Us Again, a bench in an autumn landscapeWhen Alex gets a call in the middle of the night telling him his ex-boyfriend is in the hospital, he only hesitates for a second before rushing to Sammy’s side. But the Sammy in the hospital bed is fragile and not the same man who told Alex to leave seven months ago.

Alex wants to help Sammy get better and is desperate to find out what went wrong between them. Maybe he’ll even get a second chance with the man he hasn’t been able to get over.

But will Sammy let Alex back into his life?

* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.