For the Love of Chequered Shirts

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t see myself as a romance author. I’m fully aware of writing romance. It isn’t that I sit down and write about to two people falling in love thinking I’m writing a thriller – I’m not that delusional…yet. But, if someone asks me what I write I usually say that I’m mostly writing speculative fiction, horror and weird and that my format of choice is flash fiction.

NortownTherefore it’s really funny that my most read stories are about lumberjacks who live in a fictive village in the middle of nowhere. Nortown is where they fall in love, most often with other lumberjacks.  And don’t get me wrong, I love writing these stories, but I do so with a giggle.

It all started during NaNoWriMo 2015. I wrote Once in a Snowstorm during the first half of November, cramming as many tropes and cliches into one single story as I possibly could. Debbie McGowan, my editor/publisher, then waved her magic wand, and in December Aiden and Tristan saw the light of day.

I never meant for it to be more than that. I didn’t have any plans of making it into series, but something about Nortown stayed with me, and not long after I started writing Once in a Forest.

Since Once in a Snowstorm, I’ve concentrated on a few tropes for each story instead of trying to get as many as possible in there, at least if we’re talking theme tropes. All those other about looks, top vs bottom etc are still there. But what we have so far is:

  • Once in a Snowstorm: A mishmash of every possible trope ever found, but with stranded (trapped in a snowstorm) being the main trope.
  • Once in a Forest: Out for You, Bottom for You.
  • Once in May: The Healing Power of Sperm.

And between them, we have Aiden and Tristan shorts, and they’re just about one thing really. The Empty Egg and Happy Endings are more about moans and groans than plot.

Tomorrow, it’s time for two new men to see the world. Chris, we’ve already met in the previous books, he is the guy standing by the checkout counter in Nortown’s only shop and then we have Gabe who was born simply to become the main character in Once in the Underworld. Gabe is in witness protection and is being hidden in Nortown. So to add tropes to the list:

  • Once in the Underworld: Fish out of Water, Beautiful all along (or ugly duckling or whatever you want to call it)

And of course, there’s a little short Aiden and Tristan following. Just Words is smut in the woods where only the birds will hear you moan LOL.

Both Once in the Underworld and Just words are up fro pre-order, though tomorrow they’ll be up for real. You find them here:

Once in the Underworld:

Just Words:


Nortown Release!

Cover Once in May

Once in May…and then again at some other time.


Today John, Zachary, Tristan and Aiden are let out of their cabins!

There is this strange place called Nortown. Where it is no one really knows. I look out my window and write what I see (yes, I’m practically run down by lumberjacks every day) but so far I haven’t come across a real Nortown in Sweden. Though I lived up north for a few years in a small village where the meeting point is a café almost like Jen’s. During winter there are snowmobiles everywhere, by the bicycle stands outside the shop the kicksleds are lined up, and, I kid you not, they spread sand on half the pavement. The unsanded half is for the kicksleds. First snow comes in October, you hardly see the sun during winter (but it never gets dark during summer), and it’s cold enough for your eyelashes to freeze together.

But, back to Nortown! You’ll know you’re there if you see lots of bearded men in chequered shirts, wayward dogs, and gossiping women knitting and sipping on coffees.Happy Endings Cover

It’s about time to get a cat or two in there, is it not? And now, writing this, I think I need to get a kicksled in there too.

By the time we released Once in a Forest I already knew I would write Once in May. John was there, wanting to be let out of his cabin. His and Zachary’s story is not as fluffy and bright as Aiden and Tristan’s or even Tom and Jason’s but everything will be fine in the end, I promise.

Happy Endings is a Tristan and Aiden story, just a short little massage fun in Aiden’s studio. Og the dog even makes an appearance, not in the massage studio but in the story.

The big question now is what do I write next??


Some Easter Fun

Once in a Forest

Are you looking for some Easter fun?

I might or might not have gone a bit overboard with the lumberjacks. Today one novella and one short story are published in the Nortown series, turning it into a series in fact. I’ve had so much fun writing these stories, though I admit the thought of anyone reading The Empty Egg makes me blush…and giggle.

The Empty EggOnce in a Forest is about Tom and Jason. Jason is a friend of Aiden’s who is visiting Nortown over Easter. Unfortunately, things get a little out of hand and Jason ends up with a dog on the run and without a place to stay. While searching for his dog he comes across Tom who is working in the woods. Tom is instantly attracted to Jason but he has no intentions of acting on it, and that would’ve been easy if it wasn’t for the fact that Jason ends up staying with him.

The Empty Egg is a short story and I’m afraid it’s pure filth. It’s about Aiden, Tristan, and an Easter egg containing some silky satin. So for all of you out there who like a little lingerie with your men…

As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now there are quite a few tropes in these stories, maybe not as many as in Once in a Snowstorm, but trust me when I say they are there. In Once in a Forest you’ll find some Out for You and Bottom for You along with some city boy/country boy, or rather lumberjack, conflicts.

Og the dog

Og the dog
Ove the German Shorthaired Pointer

Do you see the handsome fellow in the picture? It’s my dog Ove. He is a nine-month-old German Shorthaired Pointer. We got him earlier this year and as always when you get a new pet the biggest problem is what to name the little creature. In our case it was fairly easy. In Swedish ‘vovve’ is ‘dog’, or rather ‘vovve’ is ‘doggie’ and my two-year-old said “ove”—she still does whenever she sees a dog. Ove is a male name in Sweden, though not a very common one, but it seemed fitting for the dog. So Ove it was and Ove this is.

When I was emailing with my friend, Jonathan Penn, he asked what the dog was called. I told him what I wrote above. So it would be as if I named a dog Og, he asked. And it would.

When I came to write Once in a Snowstorm I figured our lonely lumberjack needed a dog to keep him company in his secluded cabin, and remembering what Jonathan had written back in the summer I named him Og. In the first draft, I did say that Og was a German Shorthaired Pointer, but I think that paragraph got deleted sometime during the process because when I went back to check now I couldn’t find it. In my head Og still is a German Shorthaired Pointer, but I guess you can make him whatever breed you see fit.

Og’s first appearance in Once in a Snowstorm:

Book Cover Once in a Snowstorm
Book Cover Once in a Snowstorm

Soft approaching footfalls interrupted his slumber, or were they footfalls, or…? They were closing in rapidly, and they didn’t sound…human. Aiden didn’t have the energy to open his eyes and look. It was probably all in his imagination anyway.

But he couldn’t ignore when something wet and cold touched his face.

Aiden grunted and turned away, squinting in exhaustion at his would-be attacker. Through the blur of icy lashes, he saw a brown face and honey-coloured eyes watching him with interest. The light-brown snout came towards him again, but Aiden managed to put up an arm before the wet whiskers made contact with his skin. What is a dog doing in the middle of the forest?

The bark startled him.

“Og! Get back here!” That’s a human voice. Aiden tried to speak, but not a sound passed his lips. The last of his energy seeped out in the snow. He reached up and grabbed a hold of the dog’s collar, not wanting it to leave him. Then he closed his eyes.

What makes you roll your eyes?


If you read a lot of M/M Romance I bet there are things you come across more often than you’d want to in your books. Things that will make you sigh, or roll your eyes, or maybe you put away the book for good. Or are you one of those who read all the tropes and clichés with a smile on your lips?

A little while ago I came across a thread in the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads where readers, and writers for that matter, listed tropes recurring in the romance books we read. I had a laugh reading it and went to search for more—yes, I researched tropes and clichés in M/M Romance. I found one thread in The Backlot Gay Forum, also on Goodreads, and I found a blog post written by Harry K. Malone about names on the main characters he never again wanted to see in M/M Romance.

So what I did was to put together a list over the things I found and then I wrote a story including as many of them as I could possibly piece together. Yesterday Once in a Snowstorm was published! Not nearly all tropes I could find are included but if you read it I promise you you’ll find quite a few. Not all are included in the list below either, but this is the list I had lying next to my laptop while writing:

Tropes and clichés in M/M Romance

The main characters:

•    Occupation: Gay comes with the uniform—Cop, Fireman, Paramedic, Doctor, Soldier. But let’s not forget the Bartenders, Bookstore owners, Lawyers, Actors, and Cowboys. (And the bottom can be a nurse if he wants to.)
•    Eyes: There is either one character with green eyes or one with specks of gold in his. There will also be ridiculously long lashes (that any girl would kill for.)
•    Smell: He smells of cinnamon, or he smells of musk, man, and sometimes he even smells of himself.


•    He doesn’t have much body hair, if any.
•    He listens to pop music (often ABBA).
•    He has a bubble butt and slender hips.
•    He’s short and quite often a nerd.
•    He has a long, slender, pink dick.
•    He has soft curly hair.
•    He will die without coffee in the morning.


•    He has a lot of body hair.
•    He listens to classic rock.
•    He’s tall, at a minimum 6 feet, but often 6’3.
•    He’s a real man so he drinks beer.
•    He has broad shoulders, tiny waist, and long legs.
•    He has a thick, veiny cock

Secondary characters:

•    A red-haired female BFF, either wispy thin or curvy.
•    A female friend or relative who will explain to the MC that he’s in love (Men are apparently too stupid to know for themselves.)

What they do:

•    Watch Die Hard.
•    On a first date, at least, one of the MCs dress in khaki trousers and a button down shirt.
•    They eat Chinese take-out.
•    In a D/s relationship, the Dom tells the sub “not to swear.”

Sex scenes:

•    Suddenly magically skilled in bed: The virgin performs every sex act he tries perfectly.
•    The life-altering prostate stimulation: the MC somewhat reluctantly is the “receiver” and gets his prostate stimulated. Then he never ever want to have any other kind of sex ever again.
•    First time bottoming: “Oh, it hurts, I think I’m gonna die” and then there’s one brush over the prostate, pain turns into pleasure, and all he wants is more, more, more!


•    “Creamed my pants ‘cause you’re so hot.” When the giver comes from giving head, only.

Penetration scene:

•    Scrambling for lube and condom in the bedside table drawer or under the mattress.
•    Applies lube, and presses through the “ring of muscles” or “pucker.”
•    Dick “hard as a diamond”, “hard enough to pound nails”, or maybe it can “cut glass”.
•    The one, two, three fingers, followed by cock.
•    “You’re so tight” or if you’d rather “So hot, so tight.”
•    He thrust one, two, three more times…
•    Then comes “the ropes of cum” or the “hot cum” (that you’ll feel the hotness of through the condom).


•    Molten lava: “Anger burning like molten lava.” “Heated gaze like molten lava.”
•    “Oh so responsive” (about the bottom)
•    Being a “Boy Scout” when lube and condom are readily produced.


•    Gay for You
•    Insta-Dad needs boyfriend: When a guy becomes orphaned and has to take care of younger siblings, or when a man becomes a widower (often merged with GFY).
•    Fuck buddies become boyfriends.
•    BDSM cures All: OCD, ADD, and extreme shyness can be cured by finding a Dom who tells you how to act.
•    The Healing Power of Sperm: Characters is broken/devastated (often raped), but as soon as he comes into contact with the love interest’s sperm all his fears and problems are cured.
•    Smartass twinks and dumb tops who finds them funny.
•    The alpha male who sweeps us off our feet (and rescues the bottom.)
•    Story takes place on a deserted island, or somewhere where the characters are snowbound or trapped in an isolated place.

Is there anything you think I need to add to the list?

Book Cover Once in a SnowstormDaring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find all that at his mother’s place, but at least it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.

Tristan is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.

Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?

You’ll find Once in a Snowstorm here:

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Once in a Snowstorm

photo credit: smoking leather via photopin (license)

Book Cover Once in a Snowstorm by Ofelia Gränd