Ofelia Gränd and Nell Iris are here this week in a tandem takeover!
As you know, Ofelia, Nell and I write together regularly, along with JM Snyder. They start at 6AM Swedish time, which is a horrific 5am for me and very late at night for JM, so I tend to come in to the chatroom late. They’re very tolerant of my unreliablity though, and have popped in today to talk about their respective new releases. The post alternates between the two of them, and I’ve given them each a different colour background! Take it away, Nell and Ofelia!
First of all, we’d like to express our eternal gratitude to the lovely Ally for lending us the blog so we can talk about our new releases. Thank you, you’re the best! 😘
Our new books #PictaBook (by Ofelia) and #SlidingIntoMyDMs (by Nell) are both a part of a multi-authored series released by JMS Books, our publisher. 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 #PictaBook and #SlidingIntoMyDMs.
We write together early most mornings (meeting in a chatroom for JMS’ authors, very fitting for the topic, don’t you think? 😊 ) and we both loved the idea and jumped to the chance of joining in. We spent last summer writing our #Love stories, but we chose different approaches. While Nell chose to set her story on an existing SM platform, Instagram, Ofelia took the other route of creating her own, PictaBook. And we’re here today to tell you about why.
#SlidingIntoMyDMs by Nell Iris
The inspiration for my story was a real-life Instagram DM from an old acquaintance of mine I haven’t seen in years (read more about it on Ofelia Gränd’s blog if you’re interested) so I already had the idea written down when the submission call landed in my inbox. So I picked up my favorite fountain pen and started to write, definitely thinking that Instagram should be my platform.
But Ofelia telling me she was making up a new SM platform for her story made me pause. Should I, too, come up with my own platform? There are some obvious advantages to it, the prime one being it won’t be so dated. If Instagram was to be taken down tomorrow, that can make the story feel old and less relevant, as though you today, in 2021, were to pick up a book about MySpace. On the other hand, current readers know Instagram. It’s a well-known phenomenon so it’s easy for people to visualize when reading.
After going a bit back and forth, I decided to stick with my original idea of having Eddy and Moss reconnect on Instagram since it was the thing that gave me the idea in the first place.
Or maybe I just wasn’t creative enough to come up with a completely new social media platform like Ofelia… whose PictaBook I’d sign up for in a heartbeat if it were real.
#PictaBook by Ofelia Gränd
The idea of #PictaBook came as soon as the call for #Love appeared in the inbox. I don’t know what it was, but the characters came to life in my mind. From the start, I knew my platform would be book-related, but Booklikes and LibraryThing never caught my interest, and I wanted my platform to be simpler than Goodreads. So that’s how PictaBook was born.
PictaBook is a hashtag and picture-based platform. Much like Goodreads’ shelves you can organize your books, but you’re using hashtags to do it. In the book, one of the characters describe it as Instagram but for books only. That’s what I was going for – no reviews, just a picture, and hashtags.
Part of the reason I didn’t want there to be long written reviews is that Phoenix, one of the main characters, is dyslexic, and I wanted him to discover books without facing more text than necessary. Also, wouldn’t it be nice to list the books you’ve read by using a few hashtags and a picture? I’d like a platform like that LOL.
So was I more creative than Nell by coming up with a platform of my own? Nah, it was pure and simple laziness. I wanted a platform that fit my story, and PictaBook does. Though, now I wish someone would build it 😀
#SlidingIntoMyDMs, Nell Iris
“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
#PictaBook, Ofelia Grand
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?
M/M Contemporary / 36559 words
Buy #PictaBook: JMS Books
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:
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
Find Ofelia on social media: