Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Right now, we’re in worldwide chaos, and therefore I think it’s important for all of us to find moments of peace, a place where we can breathe, half an hour when we can forget. Writing gives me an escape, reading used to, but I have to admit that I haven’t read nearly as much as I normally do since the pandemic hit. I can’t focus for long. But writing, writing allows me to create a world where I’m in control — almost, at least. It’s not always the characters behave as I want them to.

I write both contemporary and paranormal m/m romances, and this year — which I think is a reaction to the current world state — I’ve mostly written contemporary. Not contemporary about the pandemic, but about how it was when we could sit in a crowded café with our friends, when we went on dates, when we found love in the pasta aisle in a grocery store because we accidentally bumped into Prince Charming.

I’m from a small coastal city in Sweden, and when I was sixteen, I was in an emotional turmoil, so I moved away from home. I moved up north. Have you any idea of what northern Sweden is like?

It’s quiet.

I moved to a small town with 3.5k inhabitants, and for the first six months or so, I’d call my mom and tell her that there weren’t so much as a breeze (having grown up by the coast the lack of wind was fascinating) and that it was quiet.

I found peace there, lived there in the dark, and the snow, and the freezing cold for four years, and to this day, nothing is as calming to me as to picture the never-ending woods of the north.

So what have I been writing this year? I’ve written the Up North series. A series of standalone, contemporary, gay romances, taking place, not in the north of Sweden, but in a vague northern area born out of my imagination.

Today, When Skies Are Gray, the third installment of the series is released, and you can get it for 40% off! The discount is for all my books, today only, in the JMS shop *wink wink*

But, I thought I’d share a snippet from Banger Challenge, which is the fourth story in the Up North series and will be published on August 8th. So, buckle up, because we’re taking a ride with Zeppelin Cave who is in a junk car charity race.

EXCERPT FROM Banger Challenge

Zeppelin ‘Zen’ Cave pushed the old Opel Ascona to the max. Calling it a beauty would be a lie, but the engine purred, and it took the curves smooth as … something. If only he could find the right fucking road.

He had a little more than twenty-five hours to get to Minwall. It should be a piece of cake if he could only get out of these woods.

With one eye on the road, he tried reaching the map on the passenger seat.

He changed position, his foot pushed down on the gas pedal a little harder as he stretched his back. His black Master of Puppets T-shirt was clinging to his sweat-damp skin. This was a no-frills car; back in 1988, cars didn’t come with a proper AC, and July was extra hot this year.

The map almost slid off the seat as he took a turn a little too fast. Straightening it, he tried to find Whiteport. He’d been sure he was in Northfield, but the town he’d driven through a little while ago was too small to be Northfield, and now he had no idea where he was.

A sudden blare made him jump. When he looked up, a logging truck took up most of his visual field. His heart jumped to his throat as he slammed the breaks. The car skidded a little on the road, but Zen managed to get control of it. The truck drove past, all but licking the side of his tiny Opel.

Getting the car rolling again, Zen steered off to the side of the road to park. Fuck.

For a few seconds, he sat there staring out through the windshield. This was why most people participating in the race had a buddy with them. If he’d had a companion, he could’ve watched where he was driving while his buddy checked the map. Or, he could’ve done what most sane people would have done, and stopped the car before consulting the map.

The blare of that truck still rang in his ears as he drank the last of his water, cursing that he hadn’t brought more bottles. Being in the middle of nowhere, it could be hours until he came across a store, or a place where he could grab something to eat.

Staring at the map, he traced the road he believed he’d been driving on. Could he have missed Northfield and the town back there was Snowmelt? He hadn’t seen any ski-slopes, though. Snowmelt was big on skiing.

With shaking hands, he signaled a turn despite there being no traffic, and drove back the way he’d come. The nature was amazing — huge old trees with moss-covered trunks hugging the roadsides. Had he been a rich man, he would’ve bought a vacation home in the area. Riding his motorcycle on these roads would be great.

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