Update | Camp NaNo

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

― Jodi Picoult


We’re back on track, people! Or…we’re trying to find the track LOL. I didn’t write anything in March. I’m not kidding. I think my word count for the entire month was around 420 words, which might be my worse month ever. On the other hand, I went through thirteen stories that will be republished soon. So I didn’t sit idle.  

But now I’m writing. April 1st was the start of Camp NaNo, and I decided that come hell or high water, on April 1st I would be writing. And I was. I’ve written 13k in six days, but now I’m gonna work the dreaded day job – is it hell or high water? – so there won’t be many more words this week, I’m afraid. 

My goal for NaNo is 15k, but I think I’m gonna change it. 20k should be doable. We’re only on the sixth today and while I’ll be working a lot the coming two and a half weeks, I should manage to get 7k down, don’t you think? I mean there is always the weekends. 

I’m keeping track of my words, and I’ve written 71.306 words so far during 2021 which is 28.52% of my yearly goal. I feel like I should be further along, but given the circumstances, I guess it’s okay. 

We’ll see how it goes. I need to start planning for holidays stories if I’m gonna write any. My publisher sent out a list of deadlines for the coming holidays, so I need to have a bit of a think on that. So many stories to write and so little time… 


Guest Post | Wake Him with a Kiss by Nell Iris


Hello again, Ofelia and Ofelia’s fabulous readers. It’s me. Nell. I’m visiting so often I should be awarded VIP status, don’t you agree? 😊 I’m immensely grateful to have friends as awesome as Ofelia who lend their space for me to promote my stories. Friends like that are the greatest!

Today I’m here to talk about my new short story Wake Him with a Kiss.

“He’s going to get his first tattoo. Write me a story.” That was the message I got from my dear friend Kris T. Bethke, followed by a link to this picture. I’d complained to her that I needed to write a short story for a thing but had no inspiration. And she’s great; I often turn to her when I need a listening ear or someone who understands, and this time was no different. And she delivered.

“He’s going to get his first tattoo.” Who is he? Why is he getting his first tattoo? Is there a particular reason, is he commemorating something? And how can I turn this into something romantic in less than 10K words? These were all questions swirling around in my head after receiving the message until I was struck by an idea. If I’d been a cartoon character, a light bulb would have gone off above my head.

A picture can be a great inspiration. My very first published story, Unconditionally, was inspired by an image. One day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and stopped on an amazing picture of a sad-looking man, sitting down, dressed only in a veil. Lots of questions popped up in my head. Who is he? Why is he sad? Why is he only wearing a bridal style veil and nothing else?

Questions, questions, questions are often the thing that inspires my stories. Whether it’s from a picture, a line in a song, or something I watch on TV. Sometimes it’s something I observe in real life. And I find it very interesting. Inspiration is an intriguing thing. Intriguing and weird and funny and awe-inspiring, and when it hits me, I grab it with both hands and don’t let go.

Where do you find your inspiration?



But whatever it is she’s referring to, it lessens Lo’s tension. He meets my gaze, and this time when he opens his mouth, words spill out. “I came out to my family. It’s ridiculous to wait until you’re thirty-four, but they’re very religious, and…I’ve heard them say things that led me to believe they wouldn’t accept me.”

My stomach drops. I can’t believe people are still bigoted assholes in this day and age. And it doesn’t help how many stories I’ve heard over the years; it never gets easier.

I lean closer. “How did they take it?”

Lo’s grimace says everything I need to know. “Not great. Not as horrible as I feared, but not good. They asked me to give them time and don’t come see them for a while. Despite that, I’m…relieved. Living a lie is fucking exhausting.”

I nod. “I know.”

He looks at me, taking all of me in. His gaze lingers at the pride tattoo on my left wrist and the rainbow bracelet on the other then finds its way up my body until he meets my eyes. Searching. Finding whatever answers he’s looking for if the barely noticeable nod is something to go by. “How did your family react? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t mind. It was a long time ago. I came out to my parents before going to university. Always the rebel, always at odds with them. They probably took it worse than your family. My mom never spoke to me again, but my dad reached out to me after she died. We’re trying to mend fences but it’s not easy.”

“I’m sorry,” he says.

“Thank you. But I’m fine. We weren’t close. I tested their limits at every turn, and they resented me for it. And anyway, a long time has passed since. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust my dad again, but it means something that he reached out, you know?”

His gaze on me is intense and I can feel it all the way in my stomach. “Yeah. But how do you forgive someone for rejecting you for who you are?”

His question makes me lean back in my chair. I’ve never thought about it. Just continued my life as I did before my father called me after twenty years of radio silence. As though I’m waiting for him to hurt me again. Never fully trusting his intentions or opening up to him.

“I don’t know,” I say.

Lo nods as if saying “yeah, that’s what I thought.” He has a point. But it’s also not who I want to be.

“But I can’t let that define me,” I say. “I refuse to be a tragic statistic. Maybe kids are unrealistic in thinking their parents will have their backs no matter what. It’s not like you become a great human being just because you created a new life; anyone with functioning equipment can do that. If you were shitty and bigoted before, becoming a parent won’t magically change that. Changing who you are take lots of work. So I guess I gave up hope on them and found my own family instead. Much like you’ve done.” I nod to Nina, who nods at my words.

Lo reaches out and tugs her ponytail again, and this time she lets him. “He’s right, Lo-Lo,” she says. Lo smiles at her, and nods. The look they share is private and I avert my eyes and let them have their moment.

“All right,” Nina says a few seconds later. “Let’s get this show on the road. I haven’t got all day.”

That breaks the intimacy of the moment and we all straighten our backs and go back to business. “Tell me what you’d like,” I say as I take out my portfolio for him to look through.

“I’m probably a walking cliché, but I’d like a rainbow. On my wrist.”

“Nah. Nothing cliché about it,” I say


Wake Him With A KissWhen Lo is dragged into the tattoo shop by his bossy cousin, he steals everyone’s attention. The big man is afraid of needles but wants a tattoo to celebrate an important moment in his life. And he wants Amos to do it.

Tattoo artist Amos is mesmerized by Lo from the moment he lays eyes on him. He’s huge but kind, strong but gentle, and his freckles…God, his freckles.

They hit it off immediately, but Lo grows nervous as the big moment approaches. Will Lo flee from the tattoo machine before they have time to get to know each other? Before they have the time to see if the sparks will turn into something more?

M/M Contemporary / 6926 words

Buy link:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

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:

Newsletter :: Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest :: Ko-Fi

Release Day | The Egg Hunt

Release-DayIt’s released day! Or re-release day. The Egg Hunt was once Once in a Forest. It was once a Nortown story, but now it’s an Up North story. It’ll all work out in the end, I’m sure 😀 

Happy Easter! It’s Easter in Nortown too. Jason is there to visit his friend, Aiden, only he never told them he’d bring his dog. There is some tumult and then Biscuit, the dog, runs off into the woods.  

In the woods, Tom is working on felling some trees. He doesn’t see the dog, but when Jason comes by, he takes him to the village. Tom doesn’t really understand how he ended up in the situation, but Jason is spending Easter in his house. 

Jason is a bit of an arse, but he likes Tom, and Nortown has a calming effect on him. When Tom isn’t threatening him with a doctor’s visit, that is. 



With Jason out of the kitchen, Tom took a deep breath and tried to relax. It shouldn’t be so hard. Sure, Jason was gorgeous in a city-pretty kind of way, but Tom could control himself. And all the teasing was just teasing. Jason didn’t know he was gay. Unclenching his fists, Tom opened another beer and started clearing the table. 

He’d go to bed soon; once he was sure Jason was all right, he’d retreat into his room. Tomorrow, he’d go to Aiden, say he only wanted a short massage, and then he’d swing by John’s and drop the leash in his letterbox. Then he’d come back home and not see a soul until Easter was over and Jason had gone home. 

With a sigh, he remembered he had to help Jen with the egg hunt. He actually liked helping, it was fun. The tiredness wanting to drag him under would pass, and Easter Sunday would be great. He wondered how much money had been donated this year, and how many eggs Jen had bought. The jar in the café filled up fast, because everyone in town was keen on keeping the tradition alive. The only downside was how long it took if Jen bought eggs with the full amount. Tom feared it would take hours. 


Now what? If he was naked in there, Tom would throw him out and he could sleep in his car. He strode towards the bathroom, not even hesitating to yank the door open. “What?” 

The growl died on his tongue as he realised Jason was already in the tub. He was naked, all right. The water was clear, and Tom fought to keep his eyes averted from the fine hair sprinkled over Jason’s chest, his clearly defined top abs… He snapped his gaze up to Jason’s face before the temptation to follow the string of hairs on his belly downwards became too great. The colour had drained from Jason’s face, and his eyes were once again wide. Tom forgot all about defined chests and bare bits. 

“I…erm…” Jason held up his right hand for Tom to see. The bandage was soaked in deep-red blood. 

“Shit. We need to get you to a doctor.” Tom reach for a towel, ready to help Jason out of the water. 

“No.” He shook his head in short, almost frantic movements. 

“Come on, Jason. If we can’t stop the bleeding, we need to let a doctor see it.” 

“No, I’m not going.” 

“Don’t be a baby. This is dangerous shit.” Tom hadn’t thought it possible, but Jason paled further. 

“I can’t.” The whisper was hardly audible, and something began to ache inside of Tom. 

“What are you afraid of?” 

“I’m not afraid!” The short puffs of air and the white-knuckled grip Jason had on the bathtub’s lip told him otherwise. 

“Is it blood?” 

“No one likes blood.” 

Tom shrugged. There were probably quite a few who did, but it was hardly a discussion he was getting into now. “Doctors?” 

“I’m not afraid of doctors!” 

“Great. Let’s go, then. I see an evening filled with blood and doctors, but since you aren’t afraid of either of those, we’ll be fine.” 

Jason still didn’t move. 

“Jason, I’m serious. We need to go see someone.” 

“I can’t.” Jason wouldn’t meet his eyes, and he didn’t move from the bathtub. 


“I just can’t, okay? No hospitals or health centres.” 

Tom tugged a little on his beard. He had to get Jason to a doctor. The wound had been bleeding for hours now. It needed stitching, or glueing, or whatever they did with wounds in the middle of the hand. 

“You’re on the run from someone?” 

“What? No!” 

“Then you have to give me a good reason for not carrying your naked arse out to the car right now.” 

“I…I…it’s the needles.” 

“We don’t even know if there will be any.” Though Tom was pretty certain there would be. “Maybe they’ll glue it.” 

The Egg Hunt in the JMS shop (20% off)




the egg huntJason 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 just not do relationships, he rarely does hook-ups, either, and never too close to home. Living on his own without attachments is 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 program. 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? Will Tom value their relationship higher than the town gossip?