Guest Post | #SlidingIntoMyDMs by Nell Iris


Today, we have Nell Iris on a visit! She’s here to talk about her new release #SlidingIntoMyDMs. It’s a #Love story, and I’m super excited about this multi-authored series from JMS Books, but I’ll let Nell tell you more about it. Welcome, Nell!

Thank you so much for having me, Ofelia. It’s always a pleasure to stop by for a visit, and you’re always so generous with your space. I’m proud of us for being such great role models of authors sticking together and lifting each other up 😊

I’m here today to talk about my new book, #SlidingIntoMyDMs, which’s a part of a multi-authored series released by my publisher JMS Books. Last summer, JMS Books sent out an in-house submission call for their authors, where the theme was “falling into love on social media.” We could either pick an existing SM platform where our MCs would meet and fall in love, or we could come up with a new one. The title for the submission call was #Love, and the title of our stories had to start with a hashtag. Hence #SlidingIntoMyDMs.

It all started

Do you ever wonder where authors get their inspiration from?

Last year, I got a DM on Instagram from M, an old acquaintance of mine who I haven’t seen in at least over a decade. He’d watched a video of Radiohead, my favorite band since I heard Creep, some time back in 1993, and thought of me. It was in the spring when the pandemic was relatively new in our lives and we were all fragile and needed cheering up. And then M, this nice, lovely person, saw something he thought I’d like and sent it to me.

He caught me on a particularly bad day so that video cheered me up more than he probably expected it would, and after watching it all the way through (it was an hour-long live show), I cried. I was moved by the music, and I was moved by his thoughtfulness, and after I felt happy.

His thoughtful gesture got me thinking. What if someone needed a pick-me-up just like me? What if his old acquaintance reached out to him via Instagram DM to cheer him up? What if they reconnected and it leads to something more. What if…?

So I scribbled down a few bullet points, the seeds of an idea, and as on cue, JMS Books put out a submission call a short while later and I thought Hmmm?, found my notes, and started writing what turned into Moss and Eddy’s story.

Blurb #SlidingIntoMyDMs:

Cover“Hi. I heard you’ve been sick.”

Eddy Pennington is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia when an old acquaintance, Moss, sends him a message on social media. They haven’t spoken in years, but Eddy is pleasantly surprised. He always liked Moss even if they were never close friends.

Moss Fanning has no ulterior motive with his message: all he wants is to wish Eddy a speedy recovery. He got over the crush he used to have on Eddy a long time ago.

They reconnect easily and have even more in common now. And when they meet in person, the attraction is instant. Will an innocent, well-meaning message on social media lead to something more? Something deeper? Something…everlasting?

M/M Contemporary / 21998 words

Buy links #SlidingIntoMyDMs

JMS Books :: Universal Buy Link


Excerpt #SlidingIntoMyDMs:

I sink back onto my pillow tower and groan out loud. He’s just fucking perfect, isn’t he? Adopting an abused dog, spending his life coddling him, making sure he has a nice life.

What’s the catch? No one can be that good, right?

Eddy: Now I feel like a jerk for wanting to see your niece riding your dog. I’ll give him a doggy treat and apologize when I meet him.

Moss. LOL. Weirdo. You’re fine.

I decide to throw caution to the wind, because why not? Seriously though. Are you perfect? This time his answer takes a while and I have time to start regretting my question but then I can see him start writing and soon a reply pops up on my screen.

Moss: Um, no? But I’m glad you seem to think so 😉

I lay my phone screen down on my chest. I need to think. I haven’t flirted in so long, haven’t had a real relationship in forever. Hookups on Grindr are so much easier, with no expectations other than tab A in slot B. But this…this is flirting. I’m not great at flirting IRL, and probably even worse at in my Instagram DMs.

But at the same time, I kind of like it. It feels…unpretentious. Like it’s okay if nothing comes of it because social media isn’t the real world. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

I don’t know. I’m too old for this shit. And that thought alone makes me feel even older. I’m forty-two, not one-hundred-and-two. I pick the phone back up.

Eddy: You gotta love a man taking care of poor abused dogs. It’s the rule.

Moss: It is? What rules are those? I need to read them, so I don’t break any of them inadvertently.

Eddy: They are ‘Eddy Pennington’s unwritten but very important rules of conduct and man-loving’ of course. Sadly, they only exist in my brain so I can’t lend them to you.

Moss: I’m laughing so hard I woke up Balderik.

Eddy: Are you laughing at me or with me?

Moss: With you of course.

Eddy: Good save.

Moss: Balderik told me not to fuck things up before he’s had the chance to go for a walk with you.

Eddy: He did? He sounds like a very smart dog.

Moss: Are we flirting on social media like two old farts?

I burst out laughing but clamp my mouth shut quickly, afraid of a coughing fit.

Eddy: I’m afraid so, yes. I’m pretty certain there are grandpas out there with better game than us.

Moss: I was afraid you’d say that.

Eddy: It’s all good. At least we play in the same league.

Moss: So I can tell Balderik not to worry?

Eddy: Yes, you can. Also, you’re not supposed to make me laugh. Coughing is bad for an old guy with pneumonia 😉

Moss: We definitely need to stop the old guy references.

Eddy: Agreed.

Moss: When can we take you for a walk?

Eddy: My sister already got dibs on tomorrow. But the day after that? Unless I take a turn for the worse?

Moss: Thursday it is! If you send me your address, I’ll pick you up. Balderik and I know a perfect walking spot.

Eddy: Sure. Can’t wait.

Moss: Me either.

After we say goodbye, I send him the address and then check my feed. He’s posted a new picture of himself and Balderik. They’re lying down on a leaf-covered lawn somewhere, Moss’s arm is slung around Balderik, and Balderik is kissing his face.

It’s so fucking adorable I can’t stand it.

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

#WhatToReadWednesday | White Covers

Where I’m at, we’ve had a few weeks with cold and snow. It’s white everywhere, so I figured I’d do a What-To-Read-Post with white (and grey) covers.

I’m on Pinterest, I love Pinterest, and I have a board there where I sort books according to the colour on the cover. Last month, I did blue covers, and there are sooo many good books with blue covers. Same with black, many many books with mostly black covers, but white?

Let’s see what we have.

The Mermaid Murders

The Mermaid Murders (The Art of Murder #1) by Josh Lanyon – is it white? White enough in my world LOL. I read this back in 2016 and I’ve been meaning to read the next in this series, but I haven’t. If you like mysteries give it a go. If you’re a Lanyon fan, you’ve probably read it already.

There is a serial killer, and we get to follow FBI agents Jason West and Sam Kennedy as they hunt him down.

the mermaid murdersBlurb:

Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

For The Huntsman is still out there… and the killing has begun again.

Cut & Run

Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1) by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – this whole series has white covers. I’ve read the first four, which is high praise since I often lose interest in series. We have FBI agents here too – Zane Garrett and Ty Grady. Each book is a case, and while both Ty and Zane have a few weaknesses there isn’t anything they’re unable to do. I liked the first books a lot, then Ty got a bit too much of a superhuman for me, but definitely worth a try if you haven’t read them.

If I’ve understood it correctly, there’s been some disagreement between the authors and the books are no longer available in the shops, but I’ve seen them in Libby (can’t check Hoopla since I’m not in America) so check your libraries if you haven’t read them but want to.

Cut and runBlurb:

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.

In the Middle of Somewhere

In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere #1) by Roan Parrish – I loved this! It’s been ages since I read it, but I remember being surprised by how much I liked it. Daniel applies for a job in Michigan to get away from his family and there he hooks up with Rex. Rex is a shy, gentle giant who sees through Daniel’s snark. Loved it!

In The Middle of SomewhereBlurb:

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

Watching Elijah Fall

Watching Elijah Fall (Short North #1) by Amy Spector – totally cheating on this one! Ms Spector changed the cover just the other week, it used to be mostly white LOL. This is the first story by Amy Spector. I read it before she was the friend she is to me today, and I loved it. Elijah is a widower and Jacob is still recovering from the breakup with his long-term boyfriend. It’s a gentle story about moving on. Lovely! (*clears throat* and free).


a Short North story

A simple story about moving past the terrible things that life throws at you and finding happiness on the other side.

Months after his breakup with a long-term boyfriend, Jacob Pierce is still more than a little fragile, he has withdrawn from life, his friends are concerned and even he knows that something needs to change. With the encouragement of his friends and a nudge from the newest member of Jacob’s small circle, he agrees to sign up for a film based photography class.

Elijah Fall, a widowed photography teacher, is exactly the man to bring Jacob back to life. But, while Jacob may have found the man of his dreams, will Elijah, someone who has lost everything once, be willing to risk his heart again?

The Reasons Why

The Reasons Why by J.M. Snyder. This is a hot flash, an in-house multi-author series from JMS books where the stories are 2-5k, so really, really short. The Reasons Why is a snapshot from a relationship but it left me smiling. Eliot works hard and comes home to find Ben lazying on the sofa. He loses his temper, but then he finds a note, and then another, and another. It’s sweet.

The Reasons WhyBlurb:

After a long day at the office, all Eliot Travers wants is a much needed nap before dinner. Which his husband Ben is supposed to make.

But when he gets home, Ben is playing a game on his phone and Eliot doesn’t smell anything cooking in the kitchen. As Eliot’s temper starts to rise, he wants to know what exactly Ben’s been doing all day long.

Ben tells him to look on the table by the stairs, where Eliot finds a note he missed when he came in. A note that reads The Reasons Why I Love YOU.

A second note on the steps leads upstairs. Then Eliot finds a third, and a fourth.

Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home (Love Can’t #1.5) by Kim Fielding – This is one of those stories I have no idea when or where I got, but one day I read it. I liked it a lot! And it wasn’t until later I realised it was part of a series. I haven’t read any other stories in the series, so you don’t have to read them to enjoy this one. It’s about two 50+ gentlemen finding love. It’s just a shorty and it can be downloaded on Kim Fielding’s website.

No Place like HomeThis short story is available now as a free download from the author’s website. If you’ve read Love Can’t Conquer, you might enjoy meeting Stephen Walker, a resident of Bailey Springs, Kansas. He was mentioned briefly in LCC.

This story originally appeared in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Snow on the Roof, but has been lightly edited.

Angel and Firebird

Angel and Firebird by Nell Iris – This is a gripping short story. Five years ago, Phoenix boyfriend was killed. He’s tried to move on, but he can’t, and on the anniversary of Gabriel’s death, Phoenix’s apartment building catches fire. Phoenix should leave, run out, save himself, but… It’s an ugly-cry kind of story.

Angel and FirebirdBlurb:

Five years ago, Phoenix lost his lover Gabriel, his angel, in a horrific hate crime. All he wanted was to follow him into death and he struggled a long time trying to get his life back together. All this time later he still hasn’t been able to put the past behind him and forget about the love of his life.

On the anniversary of Gabriel’s death—and 25th birthday—Phoenix’ apartment building catches fire. Will Phoenix do the reasonable thing, or will he rise from the ashes to reunite with his beloved angel?

The Snowflake

The snowflake – I’m gonna let my crazy show LOL. The Snowflake is mostly white… So this story is about Theo, an ice sculptor, who’s loved Dylan since they were in school together. I would say this is romance, serial killers fall in love too LOL. Okay, there are murders, and Theo is bat shit crazy, but he loves Theo, and if it takes a pile of corpses to show it, then so be it! It might not put me in a good light, but I love this story LOL

The SnowflakeBlurb:

Nothing inspires art like love.

Theophile Lekas has spent the last seventeen years trying to build a name for himself as an ice sculptor. Ice is his world, but he lives for Dylan Mincer.

But loving from afar isn’t enough, and if Theo wants to win Dylan’s heart, he’ll need to sweep him off his feet. And what better way to do it than with a sculpture that will leave Dylan breathless and the world in no doubt of Theo’s genius?

After an argument leads to murder, Theo is hit with true inspiration. And he has the perfect block to begin his project. For Dylan, Theo will create his masterpiece. And it will be as unique as a snowflake.

Great art requires the perfect muse.

Be Still, My Heart

Be Still, My Heart by Holly Day – if you’re looking for something a bit more romantic and a lot less bloody than Theo and Dylan’s story, then perhaps check out Be Still, My Heart. No one dies. Elian has been invited to speak at a Valentine dinner, but he needs a plus one, so he goes to a dating agency thinking he could rent a date for the night. There he meets Dimitri who tells them they’re not that kind of place.

bestillmyheartFour years ago, Dimitri Petrov had his leg blown off by a landmine while in military service. Suffering from PTSD, he doesn’t do crowds, and he doesn’t do people. If he had his way, he’d never leave his house at all. Dimitri’s sister, Irina, runs a dating agency, and despite that it would be better for business if they had a pretty woman working the front desk, Irina insists Dimitri’s the man for the job.

In a whirlwind of pink shirts, flapping hands, and outrageous flirting enters Elian Hubert. Elian needs a date. Invited to speak on love through time in fiction at a Valentine dinner, there is no way he’s showing up alone. When Dimitri tells him The Single Pursuit is unable to help on such short notice, Elian suggests Dimitri be his date.

Dimitri doesn’t do dates, and he doesn’t do dinners, but Elian’s made him happier in the last few minutes than anyone’s been able to do in years. He might not do Valentine’s, and he might not do gatherings, but maybe he can do Elian … a favor and accompany him to his presentation? If things go too badly, he can always hide behind a curtain and pretend he’s somewhere else.

I think I’ll stop there. There are more stories with mostly white covers I’d recommend, but many are Christmas stories, and I skipped those, and others are perhaps more toward brown than white-grey. I’ll save those for another day.

#PictaBook | Elevator Pitch

Pictabook logoIt’s #PictaBook time! In the excerpt I’m sharing today, Jules is talking about a bat shifter story he’s read. Now, I’m very fond of that particular bat shifter, and if you’d like to hear a snippet from it, Angel Martinez is reading from it here.

We’re further into the story now. Nix has been fixing up his bedroom and has asked Jules to help him carry his furniture back in. They’re not dating – Jules doesn’t do dates – and they’re not a couple, but things are progressing in the romance department.

Elevator Pitch


Nix threw the bedding on the couch, pulled out the bed from the wall, and grabbed the mattress to flip it off the frame. “If there are dust bunnies underneath, you are not allowed to judge me.”

He looked so serious Jules had to laugh. “Out loud.”

No, at all.”

But how will you know what’s going on in my head?” Jules gave him a wide-eyed look.

With a growl, Nix went to get the vacuum cleaner.

No.” Jules laughed, stopping him from plugging it in with a hand on his arm. “I was joking, Nix. I won’t judge. Booksy makes my windowsill all hairy.”

Yes, but he’s your pet and pets shed. I live on my own. All the filth is mine.”

Jules narrowed his eyes. “How long has it been since you vacuumed?”

You saw me vacuum.”

Underneath the bed? There won’t be a spider farm or mice having an extended family party, right?”

You don’t like spiders or mice?”

I prefer mice to not be indoors, and I guess the same goes for spiders. I’m more okay with spiders than mice.”

Nix nodded. “It’s been a week since I vacuumed underneath the bed, and I’ve never had a mouse indoors. Last fall, there was a bat, though.”

A bat?” Jules hadn’t meant to shout, but a bat was so much worse than a mouse. A bat had… wings.

Yeah.” Nix tilted his head to the side. “I don’t know how it got here, but I’d taken a few things down from the attic so I guess it must’ve been in there and gotten down.”

Jules shuddered. “What did you do with it?”

Nix widened his eyes. “Carried it outside. What should I have done?”

I don’t know!” Jules shuddered again, and Nix laughed.

Not a fan of bats?”

I read this adorable little short story about a bat shifter. I liked that bat a lot, but I think it’s my only bat-encounter I’ve enjoyed.”

Nix grinned and nodded at the foot end of the bed frame while he grabbed the headboard. “So a bat shifter?”

Yes, super cute. I don’t know if you would like it, though. It doesn’t have any sex.” He didn’t look at Nix. He was too occupied angling the bed frame through the door to the bedroom.

I don’t need sex.”

No?” Jules glanced at him.

I mean, I love sex. I’m a huge fan, but I don’t need it in everything I read.” Nix worked the headboard through the doorway, backing Jules into a corner so he could get closest to where the bed should be, and put it down.

Together, they pushed it into place, and Nix went to get the mattress, bedding, and fresh linens from the wardrobe. He made quick work of making the bed, and as Jules turned toward the door, thinking it was time for coffee, an arm snaked around his middle and pulled him down on the bed.

Hey!” Jules slapped the arm, but not hard. Nix chuckled and nuzzled his neck.

So tell me about the bat shifter.” Nix stretched out on his back, pulling Jules along with him. With a groan, Jules stretched out too. His muscles ached more than he’d realized.

It’s a short story, it wouldn’t take you more than an hour tops to listen to.”

And what’s it about.”

A bear and a bat walked into an elevator.” Jules widened his eyes, which had Nix laughing. This was great. Too bad Booksy was all alone at home.

#PictaBook in the JMS shop (20% off)

pictabook (small)Jules Rose leads a quiet life working as a librarian. He’s happy to spend his spare time reading books and talking to his homicidal cat. What more could he wish for? But when his cozy Friday night is shattered by a friend request on his book community app, politeness gives him little choice but to accept. Jules doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but he can’t be rude. Besides, if he had to talk about something, books is the topic he’d pick.

Phoenix Ford is dyslexic and avoids everything that has to do with the written word, but when the colleague he’s trying to impress calls him stupid, he decides to convince the other man, he’s mistaken. All he needs is the right book to make him look smart, a perfect balance between intelligent and short. And who better to ask for help than a guy who loves books so much, he labeled one boner-worthy on a book app?

When Jules finds out Phoenix never has read a book from start to finish, he’s on a mission. He will find the right book, the book that will make Phoenix fall in love — with reading. Phoenix’s plan might have been to listen to the book Jules picked for him to impress his colleague, but that was before he got to know him. Talking about books is a sure way to Jules’ heart, but is it enough for him to agree to go on a date?