4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night by Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night (Mad About the Brit Boys: Book Two)

Author: Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 84 Pages

At a Glance: Short stories and the supernatural and this pair of authors combine to make for some really good reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When boy meets (supernatural) boy

Buckle up as two queens of British gay romance take you on a whistlestop tour of all things paranormal. Vampires, genies, ghosts, magicians and shifters all get their chance for a bit of boy on boy action, in five erotic stories that span the range from the humorous to the sublime.

Will you seek to make your fortune with magic and ritual, or pin your hopes on a genie’s power to grant wishes? Discover a shifty young man on a Scottish shoreline, meet a hapless garlic farmer who’s been turned into one of the undead–and if you dare to venture into the cellar, gird your loins for a horny ghost!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Dividers

Review: Some authors you read no matter what: don’t care about the blurb, don’t care about the sub-genre, you just read them. Josephine Myles and JL Merrow happen to be two such authors for me. Combine this with my love of short stories, and Boys Who Go Bump in the Night was pretty much a guaranteed win.

Several of the stories in this anthology are short enough I might even call them flash fiction, but the common theme (besides the fact they’re all previously published) is that they share a paranormal/fantasy element, and some of them are just purely erotic and don’t play at being otherwise. JL Merrow starts the collection with Leeches and Layabouts, and the first thing that stands out is that the story is told with the author’s trademark sense of humor and gift for taking a fairly mundane human woe and turning it into a clever boy-meets-vampire story. A vampire who grows garlic? Yep. A human who loves living off of government assistance just a little too well. Yep. It’s the perfect marriage of need and want when Art interviews for a job with Crispin, who loves his garlic but can no longer eat it because, well…vampire. But ingenuity abounds, and Crispin gets both his man and his garlic fix.

A horny incubus in Something Queer, blood magic and stone circles in Sacrifice add to the mix of supernatural offered in this anthology, leading to the final two tales. JL Merrow’s Et in Orcadia is my absolute favorite of the five in the collection. It’s a story that blends the tragedy of lost love, the romanticism of man’s call to the sea, and a mysterious stranger who knows that call better than any human. But he also knows the allure of the land and the desire to comfort a man in his grief. A grief they both share. I loved the emotional intimacy of Runi and David’s story, brief though it was. It did a fantastic job of plucking at my sentimental heartstrings.

Finally, bookending the lighthearted beginning of Boys Who Go Bump in the Night is Josephine Myles’ One Last Wish, a fun and sweet little story about a poor genie who’s just tired of being imprisoned in his lamp for the past two hundred years. Scott is the lucky human to rub Xavier’s lamp just the right way—three wishes are his—but Scott ends up surprising Xavier with the way he chooses to use them. And then, well, they end up rubbing each other just the right way.

If you love one of these authors, or both of them, and love a good short story, I don’t think you can go wrong with this collection.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy Boys Who Go Bump in the Night here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon DE

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

Standard
Giveaways, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles

Guest Post and Giveaway: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night by Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Genie Lamp

photo credit: CIMG3470 via photopin (license)

 

If you were granted three wishes, what would you spend them on?

Today JL Merrow and Josephine Myles are here talking all things magic, in celebration of of their latest paranormal anthology, Boys Who Go Bump in the Night. The last story in the anthology features the classic genie in the lamp trope, so we wondered what three wishes the authors would choose, should they ever be surprised by a genie when polishing a lamp.

Jo: I think this is highly unlikely as I hate using Brasso, but let’s just imagine a genie might respond to my cursory occasional use of a feather duster…

Hmm, wishes are tricky things. They have a way of backfiring and being taken too literally–a lesson I learned through reading Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story pretty much every year during my childhood. So what I’d need to come up with is a set of wishes that are bulletproof. I’m going to have to ponder some more. What do you reckon, Jamie?

Jamie: You’ve made me think, there. I was going to wish for all my novels to magically plot themselves as I write them, but now I’m thinking of all the ways that could go horribly wrong. I could end up writing in an entirely different genre!

But wishing to win the lottery jackpot would probably be safe, right?

Right?

*imagines self mugged for ticket/murdered for money/suffering fatal heart attack when numbers come up*

Jo: I think wishing for long term health and happiness for you and your loved ones has got to be a safe wish, right? That’s my first. For me and my loved, ones, obviously. You can do your own wish, Jamie!

Jamie: Maybe it’s just me, but even with that I can see a possible twist–you could, say, be kept alive indefinitely on life support and your system flooded with mood enhancing drugs, which might technically qualify, mightn’t it? Then again, in the stories it’s usually the “greedy” wishes that get punished, not the relatively modest and benign ones like this, so maybe you’re safe!

Jo: I hope so! Okay, second wish: a five bedroom detached country house with a large garden and swimming pool. I’m not going so ridiculously large that I lose the family in there, but big enough to have a “me” room I can escape into and keep all my sewing stuff there. I have a lot of sewing stuff. Oh, and it has to be within ten miles of my current address. I’m not having that pesky genie dump me down in deepest, darkest Wales, thank you very much. (the author would like to point out that she loves Wales. She just doesn’t want to live there!)

Jamie: Living as I do near St Albans, where a massive sinkhole recently opened up and narrowly missed swallowing a family home, maybe it’s my inner cynic but I’m not sure I’d trust any house a genie chose to put me in!  Maybe one of my wishes ought to be for a map of underground mines in the local area. ;)

Third and last wish, Jo?

Jo: Umm, it’s a toss up between having my own personal time machine or a household robot that would do all the chores for me. Actually, what am I saying? The robot would win every time. Just imagine never having to mow the lawn or clean the toilet! I’m afraid my wishes are all rather domestic. I must be getting old!

What’s your last wish? Maybe it should be world peace or something altruistic…

Jamie: *looks shifty* So probably not the endless supply of red wine and chocolate I was thinking of, then? ;)

Readers: We’d love to hear what your wishes would be. Can’t promise to grant ‘em, mind! ;)

Dividers

Giveaway: one lucky commenter will win a book of their choice from both Jo and Jamie’s backlists!

Contest closes at midnight Pacific time on Saturday, November 28, 2015.

Good luck!

Dividers

Boys Who Go Bump in the NightBoys Who Go Bump in the Night

A Mad About the Brit Boys collection

When boy meets (supernatural) boy

Buckle up as two queens of British gay romance take you on a whistlestop tour of all things paranormal. Vampires, genies, ghosts, magicians and shifters all get their chance for a bit of boy on boy action, in five erotic stories that span the range from the humorous to the sublime.

Will you seek to make your fortune with magic and ritual, or pin your hopes on a genie’s power to grant wishes? Discover a shifty young man on a Scottish shoreline, meet a hapless garlic farmer who’s been turned into one of the undead–and if you dare to venture into the cellar, gird your loins for a horny ghost!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Available now from Amazon for a  bargain $0.99/£0.99!

Dividers

JL MerrowAuthor bios:

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

Dividers

Josephine MylesEnglish through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and now has over ten novels and novellas under her belt. Her novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the ebook creation process to someone else. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and a soon-to-be toddler.

Website and blog || Facebook || Twitter: @JosephineMyles

Dividers

The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

Standard
Giveaways, JL Merrow

Guest Post and Giveaway: The To Love a Traitor Blog Tour with JL Merrow

To Love a Traitor Banner

Keeping it Stiff

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and it’s great to be here as part of the To Love a Traitor blog tour!

Today I’d like to talk about keeping it stiff.

I’m talking, of course, about a young man’s upper lip. Why, what were you thinking of? ;)

Keep a stiff upper lip.

Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanIt’s a phrase that’s come to embody a certain, very British, kind of spirit. The blitz spirit. Courage under adversity. The sort of quiet, capable stoicism that keeps its head while all around are losing theirs (and blaming it on you).  But where on earth does it come from?

According to The Free Dictionary, “This expression presumably alludes to the trembling lips that precede bursting into tears. [Early 1800s]”

Which is all very well, but why is one only supposed to keep the upper lip stiff? Are we to conclude that a modicum of manly chin-wobble would be acceptable?

Perhaps that was what EM Forster was thinking of when he complained of British public (ie posh private) schoolboys that

They go forth [into the world] with well-developed bodies, fairly developed minds and undeveloped hearts. An undeveloped heart – not a cold one. The difference is important.

In other words: just because one does not allow others to see what one feels does not mean the emotion is not there underneath. Forster would have liked the British male to be allowed to show his emotions, but in this area as in others he was swimming against the tide.

In Victorian and Edwardian Britain, there was a strong movement, fuelled by Darwinism and Imperialism, against overt sentiment of the sort that was in previous centuries perfectly acceptable. To weep copiously was now the sign of the so-called savage, or at the very least of a continental European (which was almost as bad). Generations were taught that public emotion, particularly if displayed by a male, was un-British and worthy only of ridicule and censure.

Luckily for all our psyches the tide is now on the turn and has been for a few decades: you only have to look at the tremendous outpouring of public grief displayed on the death of Princess Diana to see how far we’ve come, although there’s still a long way to go.

However, despite the association with British public schools, cold showers and games for ruffians played by gentlemen, the origins of the phrase stiff upper lip are—brace yourselves—actually American:

Self-esteem…is indicated by a short muscle which acts upon the upper lip, causing generally a fullness and stiffness in the middle…one who has it large can “carry a stiff upper lip”.

Outlines of a New System of Physiognomy published in New York in 1849

Dividers

Question: Keep a stiff upper lip—or let it all hang out? You choose. ;)

Giveaway: I’m offering a free ebook from my backlist to a randomly chosen commenter on each blog post.

And there’s a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of To Love a Traitor for one lucky commenter on the tour. I’m happy to ship internationally, and the more blog posts you comment on, the more chances you get!

I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Monday 28th September, GMT. Good luck! :D

Dividers

JL MerrowJL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

Dividers

To Love a TraitorWounds of the heart take the longest to heal.

When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.

As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.

But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.

Warning: Contains larks in the snow, stiff upper lips, shadows of the Great War, and one man working undercover while another tries to lure him under the covers.

Available in ebook and paperback: Samhain Amazon US | Amazon UK | ARe

Dividers

The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify

*No residency restrictions apply

*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)

*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

Standard
4 Stars, Historical Romance, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Lisa, Samhain Publishing

Review: To Love a Traitor by JL Merrow

Title: To Love a Traitor

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: I think fans of historical romance will find plenty to love about To Love a Traitor.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.

When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.

As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.

But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.

Warning: Contains larks in the snow, stiff upper lips, shadows of the Great War, and one man working undercover while another tries to lure him under the covers.

Dividers

Review: JL Merrow and a Historical Romance are an irresistible combination for me. Not only do I love her characters, but I love her writing voice—which probably goes a long way towards explaining why I love her characters.

In To Love a Traitor we get two of the better examples of this author’s gift for creating men who immediately endear themselves to us. George Johnson is on an undercover mission, assuming an alternate identity in order to find the traitor who’d betrayed his brother and cost Hugh his life in 1917. It’s effortless to feel compassion for George’s need to get answers to the questions that haunt him, as the loss of his brother only serves to underscore the overall consequences of him standing by his decisions during the war.

Meanwhile, Matthew Connaught is the man suspected of treason—of giving up England’s secrets to the Germans while Matthew himself avoided being sent on the mission that ended in the ambush where his fellow officers perished. Guilty? Well, JL Merrow makes it all but impossible for us to believe it from the moment Matthew makes his first appearance on the page, which creates a nice contrast to our empathy for George. As the story progresses, though, the question remains in the back of our minds whether Matthew’s charm is all smoke and mirrors, or, if he’s really just that lovely a man?

As the author lays out George and Matthew’s story for the reader, we want George to both succeed and fail—to succeed in his goal of finding closure for himself and Hugh’s fiancé, Mabel, but also to fail in proving that Matthew is the man who would commit such a foul and underhanded deed against his country and his fellow countrymen. Why? Because Matthew is one of the most charming and luminous characters this author has ever created. Matthew shines in every scene, our veteran who came back from the war physically less than whole, and because of this, we can’t help but root against George even as we watch the man fall victim himself to Matthew’s many charms.

To Love a Traitor is a sweet romance tempered by George’s subterfuge, his secrets and motives, and the story’s 1920’s setting, which, in itself, adds the built-in challenge of two men beginning a relationship and finding love in a less than accepting time. George and Matthew and the simple pleasures they find in spending time together elevate this story from one that might have offered us a standard-fare historical romance into a love story that speaks to the optimist in us all, and that hopeful part of us that wants to believe love truly does overcome every obstacle, while this novel’s climactic moment does nothing but reinforce what is felt from the beginning—that Matthew is utterly irresistible and that George never stood a chance against him. And, in the end, the only traitor in this story would have been the man who would betray what his heart knew long before his head.

I think fans of historical romance will find plenty to love about To Love a Traitor.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy To Love a Traitor here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed By Carrie, Short Story

Review: Love Found on Lindisfarne by JL Merrow

Small Gems

Title: Love Found on Lindisfarne

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 35 Pages

At a Glance: Who wouldn’t like a lovable dad, a precocious almost-teen, and a Viking?

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When single father Chris meets a Viking re-enactor on Lindisfarne, he thinks it’s the perfect recipe for a holiday fling — and nothing more. Ian, or Ulf, as he’s known when in character as a Viking berserker, is a dreadlocked nomad who never stays in one place for long.

Chris had a relationship with a free spirit like Ian before, and it didn’t end well for him or for his bright but troubled daughter Kelis. He’s determined not to risk the stability of her home environment for Ian, no matter how well she gets on with him — and no matter how much Chris is drawn to the man.

But Chris hasn’t reckoned with the Viking way of taking all you’re willing to give — and coming back for more.

Dividers

Review: Love Found on Lindisfarne is a short story that hooks you in from the first paragraph.

“It was a hot summer’s day on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The lanes were dusty underfoot, the languid breeze heavy with the scent of the North Sea, and a Viking had just offered to buy my daughter.”

Chris is a single father with regrets, and Kelis is his twelve year old daughter. Together they travel to Lindisfarne on holiday, in their quest to accomplish a castle a day – and meet Ulf, or Ian. Ian is a Viking reenactor who is really too great a guy to be a berserker.

This is a feel good story. If you have an extra hour and want a little pick me up, then grab this book. You will read it with a smile on your face that won’t fade once the last page is read. It will leave you with a little warmth in your heart. The story is also well written for being so short, something that is not that easy to accomplish. Sometimes you just want a lovely romantic short, and this fits the bill nicely.

TNA_Signature_Carrie







 

You can buy Love Found on Lindisfarne here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Jules, Samhain Publishing

Review: Played! by JL Merrow

Title: Played! (The Shamwell Tales: Book Two)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 216 Pages

At a Glance: There was a little section at about three-quarters of the way through where I felt like it was dragging a bit. These guys danced around each other for sooo long. But, for the most part, the burn was good, as was their chemistry all along.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: All the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart.

Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.

A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.

Warning: Contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

Dividers

Review: All the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart. – J.L. Merrow

I realize it’s only the second book in the series, but I do so love some Shamwell Tales. With Played!, JL Merrow has given us another bit of light, sassy, English fun. The formula here is basically the same as that in Caught!, once again pairing a working class fellow with a somewhat upper-crust, more educated one, but it works. I enjoy that dynamic, especially when the working class guy blows stereotypes and expectations out of the water, as Sean did in the first book, and Con does fantastically in this one.

The characters in Played! are once again fun, quirky, and sweet. Tristan, a talented stage actor, is adorably fabulous. Wordy and pretentious, I can see that he would be off-putting to some, but I found him funny and charming as hell. Here are a couple of my favorite moments that describe Tristan’s character:

He beamed at the stranger and barely restrained himself from a ‘hel-looo gorgeous.’ “You must be Sean.” The man’s face twisted, and he rubbed the back of his neck, displaying some nicely honed triceps and a tuft of armpit hair. Tristan’s inner princess swooned dramatically.

And:

Yes, that should do it: respectably covered, but with a hint of debauchery. And, nobody did debauchery like Tristan. He blew his reflection a saucy kiss and hurtled downstairs to open the door.

Con, the village handyman, is stoic and sexy and strong. And smart – even though he feels he isn’t. His friends recognize his talent for voices, and memorizing the material from all of the audiobooks he listens to, and encourage him to take a shot at a part in the local village production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tristan offers to help coach him, which feels like both a blessing and a curse to Con, who is trying desperately to thwart Tristan’s flirtatious advances.

I loved that it felt like I was reading a play within a play throughout much of the book. The parallels between Con and Tristan and their A Midsummers Night’s Dream counterparts, Bottom and Puck, were fantastic. Very clever stuff. And I loved all of the Shakespeare, both within the ShamDrams production, and otherwise scattered throughout the story. At times it even felt like I was reading and Auntie Mame style romp. So fabulous.

There was a little section at about three-quarters of the way through where I felt like it was dragging a bit. These guys danced around each other for sooo long. But, for the most part, the burn was good, as was their chemistry all along, and when they finally got it together, it was fabulous! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it. I have a couple of guesses, but can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next from Shamwell!

TNA_Signature_Jules







 

You can buy Played! here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

Review: Heat Trap by JL Merrow

Title: Heat Trap (The Plumber’s Mate: Book Three)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 255 Pages

At a Glance: I think fans will be pleased with this one, despite a few glitches here and there.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.

Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.

With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.

The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Dividers

Review: Fans of JL Merrow’s Plumber’s Mate series will be both gnashing their teeth at this installment and deliriously happy at the outcome simultaneously. Many loose ends are tied up in this third novel, and a few secrets that threaten to tear Phil and Tom apart are uncovered as well. It’s a challenge to create a synopsis for this one due to the fact that there are so many relationship-changing events taking place. Suffice it to say that while trying to dig up dirt on an unsavory boyfriend from the barmaid’s Marianne’s past, a devastating secret comes to light that is almost the undoing of Tom’s fragile trust in Phil.

All the old regulars are present in this one. Gary and Darren are married and continue to provide some real comic relief throughout the story. The news about Tom’s real father is finally discussed between Tom and his Mum, after an awkward attempt by Greg to force the family to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Mayhem and physical injury are once more part and parcel of the latest mystery, and Tom lands in the hospital once again. All in all, some pieces of the book were formulaic but so comfortable—so witty and sweet and just darn fun.

However, I felt there were some threads introduced that never really went anywhere—Phil’s desire to see Tom develop his abilities, for instance. It was the source of an argument between them, and then left fallow till almost the end of the novel when a strange, brief incident scared Tom and lay to rest any further exploration of his gift. All in all, it was underdeveloped and too easily tied up.

Also, there were a few new side characters introduced who had some devastating interaction with the bad guy, Grant Carey. I really didn’t understand why they were a part of the story since there was never any resolution to their problems. I understood that the couple’s stress and obvious marital discord would feed into a bigger issue between Tom and Phil, but again, I’m not sure those scenes did much to further the plot line.

Heat Trap is definitely not a standalone story. Reading the first two books is important to understand the dynamics between this motley crew, and their easy repartee. I think fans will be pleased with this one, despite a few glitches here and there. Tom and Phil come full circle in this novel and those who have been waiting for the two men to finally commit to some sort of future will not be disappointed.

TNA_Signature_Sammy







 

You can buy Heat Trap here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
Giveaways, JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Played! Blog Tour With JL Merrow

Banner

The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author JL Merrow today on the Played! blog tour. Enjoy JL’s guest post, then be sure to follow the instructions for your chance to win some great prizes.

Good luck!

Dividers

A Dream of a Play

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Played! blog tour.

1024px-Edwin_Landseer_-_Scene_from_A_Midsummer_Night's_Dream._Titania_and_Bottom_-_Google_Art_Project

Is A Midsummer Night’s Dream the most performed play in Shakespeare’s opus?

Wait a minute. I’ll check that out.

Right, I’m back. Well, no, apparently Hamlet has that honour, but Dream is certainly one that comes around time and time again. It’s particularly suited to open-air performances, which are regularly scheduled in the UK summer months in total defiance of our traditionally dismal weather and general mild pessimism about the same. It’s a good introduction to the Bard, with its lovers’ shenanigans and broad comedy that’s stood the test of time, which is sadly not the case for all of Shakespeare’s “comic relief” sections. Dream’s feminist themes are still relevant today, and much more palatable to modern audiences than The Taming of the Shrew.

When I was writing Played!, my gay romantic comedy centred around amateur dramatics, it was an obvious choice to feature, with a character called Bottom who gets turned into an ass!

In the excellent gay musical fantasy film Were the World Mine (2008), the focus is on the love potion element of the plot. As Played! is not a fantasy and the use of rohypnol is generally not to be encouraged, there are no love potions in my story. Rather, I chose to focus on the amateur theatre group generally known as the rude mechanicals.

For anyone not familiar with the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (because there must be someone out there who isn’t, surely?) there are several main storylines which twist and turn around each other like randy snakes on Viagra. The first concerns four young Athenian lovers. The second concerns the rude mechanicals who are preparing a play to entertain the local Duke and his new bride at their wedding. The third plotline concerns the king and queen of the fairies fighting over a boy (didn’t I say it was ideal for a gay romantic comedy?)

In Played!, visiting professional actor Tristan takes the part of the mischievous fairy, Puck, who causes all kinds of problems with the afore-mentioned love potions and also turns the head of lead rude mechanical Nick Bottom into that of an ass. Bottom is of course played by reluctant first-time actor Con, whom Tristan is coaching—and whose head he sets out to turn in a very different sense!

Dividers Question: I’ve seen Dream several times, and it’s definitely a favourite of mine because of the magical atmosphere and daft shenanigans. What’s your favourite stage play, Shakespearian or otherwise? Why?

***

Caught72webPrizes! I’m offering a prize of an ebook of the winner’s choice from my backlist to one lucky commenter at EVERY stop on the tour, plus a grand prize of a signed copy of Caught!, the first Shamwell Tale, which comes out in paperback on 4th August. I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well. :)

Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win. 

I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Friday 10th July, GMT.

Good luck! :D

DividersJL MerrowJL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

DividersPlayed!72webAll the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart

Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.

A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.

Warning: contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | ARe | Samhain

 

Standard
3 Stars, Historical Romance, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Jack in the Green by JL Merrow

Title: Jack in the Green

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 24 Pages

At a Glance: While slightly confusing at times, this is an interesting story with a couple of surprising twists.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: In 1920s England, class distinctions still hold sway, and the old pagan traditions are far from forgotten. Can shy young Arthur, stranded in a country village, come to terms with his attraction to the handsome mechanic fixing his car? And are the May Day celebrations more than just a simple country fete?

Dividers

Review: Jack in the Green is a very short historical story (1920s) about a young man who has been on a journey home, and his car has broken down in a rural village in the English countryside. Luckily there is a mechanic, appropriately named Goodman, who will be able to fix his car, but he won’t be able to travel on until the part arrives and the work is done. He is able to fine accommodation at the local inn, and it just so happens that he that he will be there for the May Day fete. It seems that the mechanic is to portray Jack in the Green, and the daughter of the owners of the inn/pub, the May Day Queen. However, it’s not the queen that the mechanic would be interested in, and this is apparently common knowledge, but nobody seems bothered by it. There seems to be some sort of supernatural element to this village, and its residents as well – it’s like they know more about Arthur than they should – including the rector – and it’s a bit unsettling. But when the May Day celebration night and the second procession begins, Arthur is in for quite a surprise, and maybe his car has given out in this place for a reason.

I’ll admit, I was a little bit lost at times during this story. I think maybe because we don’t really have anything like a traditional May Day celebration in the US, I was unaware of the UK tradition of the Jack in the Green and May Day celebrations. I actually did a bit of looking up of the traditions after I read the story, so I got a better handle on what was going on in the story. :) It was interesting and I’m always happy to learn something new.







 

You can buy Jack in the Green here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
Giveaways, JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Heat Trap Blog Tour With JL Merrow

11022631_10200211734934069_8349662816742973017_nSeries Business

PressureHead72webHi, I’m JL Merrow and it’s great to be here at The Novel Approach as part of the Heat Trap blog tour. Today I’m going to be talking about the pains and pleasures of writing a trequel.

What’s a trequel? I hear you ask. Well, it’s what comes after a sequel. *frowns* Isn’t it? ;)

By the time you come to write the third book about the same main couple, getting into the characters’ voices is much like putting on an old pair of jeans that have worn soft with time and given in all the right places.

On the other hand, and in an attempt to test to destruction the tensile strength of this particular metaphor…well, those jeans really are only suitable for certain occasions, aren’t they? If you’re determined to wear the jeans, then you have to face facts: you probably can’t turn up at a Buckingham Palace garden party and expect to be let in. And there’s no point even trying to team them with your pearls.

ReliefValve72webWhen a writer starts a book with all new characters, the possibilities are endless. Need to introduce a close family member with a tragic secret in chapter fifteen? No problem. Just bung ’em in, and you can always go back and change chapter two where you made your hero an orphaned foundling with neither kith nor kin. But by the time you’re on book 3, your earlier choices are set—well, not in stone, but certainly in electrons, and probably in ink and paper too.

Choices you made lightly at the time of book #1 can assume much more momentous proportions later on. Particularly if you’ve boxed yourself in with something like nationality or accent—having made barmaid Marianne a West Country lass in Relief Valve, where she had hardly any lines, I found myself having to keep up her manner of speaking for Heat Trap, where she has considerably more to say. Luckily I had the lovely Josephine Myles, who lives in Somerset, to bother for dialect coaching! ;)

HeatTrap72webStill, at least I’m not alone in sometimes making choices in writing that I then have to learn to live with:

“Why a Finn when I know nothing about Finland? Why a vegetarian? Why all the idiotic mannerisms he’s got? These things just happen” – fictional mystery writer Ariadne Oliver in Agatha Christie’s Mrs McGinty’s Dead, channelling, one can’t help but feel, the author. ;)

Although I suspect she was just letting off steam. For all writers may complain about having painted themselves into a corner with previous books in a series, we know it’s something of a “first world” writer’s problem, and we count ourselves lucky to have found readers who are willing to come with us on a multi-book journey.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: yes, I do plan to write a fourth book about Tom and Phil. And no, I’m not calling it a fourquel. That would be silly. ;)

Dividers

Giveaway question: I love books that come in a series—reading the latest book about the same characters is like dropping in to see old friends. But what do you think? Do you like to follow the same couple through the ups and downs of life, or would you rather meet new main characters each time?

Dividers

ReliefValve72webGiveaway: I’m offering a free ebook from my backlist (including Heat Trap) to a randomly chosen commenter on this post. rainbow_mitts

And there’s a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of book #2 in my Plumber’s Mate series, the EPIC award finalist Relief Valve, plus a pair of rainbow-coloured merino wool blend wrist-warmers, hand-knitted by the author, for one lucky commenter on the tour.

I’m happy to ship internationally, and the more blog posts you comment on, the more chances you get! 

Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win. 

I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Wednesday 1st April, GMT (no joke!) 

Good luck! :D

Dividers

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

Dividers

HeatTrap72webThe wrong secret could flush their love down the drain

It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.

Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.

With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.

The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Warning: Contains British slang, a very un-British heat wave, and a plumber with a psychic gift who may not be as British as he thinks he is.

Available in ebook and paperback:   Samhain |   Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | ARe

Standard
3.5 Stars, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Short Story

Review: Trick or Treat by JL Merrow

Title: Trick or Treat

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 22 Pages

At a Glance: A good read if your into quickies (no pun intended)

Blurb: The memory of this party could haunt him forever …

Dragged along to a haunted house by his mates, Sam’s at the Halloween party from hell — the guy he fancied has turned out to be a bigot, and Sam has just outed himself to his whole football team.

Escaping to the garden, he meets James, an enigmatic stranger with a mischievous smile, and the evening soon takes a turn for the better. The night may be chilly but the heat between Sam and James is hotter than Hades.

But James has a role to play in the evening’s ghostly entertainment, and it’s a story with a deadly ending. Unless Sam can change the script and stop history repeating itself, “till death do us part” will come sooner than he thinks.

Dividers

Review: JL Merrow’s Trick or Treat starts off, interestingly enough, with Sam talking to a certain body part as he’s outside watering the vegetation. As Sam is zipping up his pants, an unexpected voice speaks to him from out of nowhere and scares the bejeezus out of him. Turns out it’s another young man, James, who’s out and about before the big ghostly show that’s suppose to happen at this particular haunted house.

Sam and James get to talking as they share a bottle of vodka, and before you know it… they’re bumping against each other. After they’ve finished having their fun, Sam is about to ask James if he’d care to see him again, when James suddenly turns to run off into the trees…

Now, at this point, Trick or Treat starts to pick up when Sam goes back into the house to meet up with the friends he showed up with, hoping that James is among the group of people that have gathered to watch the spook show. And… I have to stop right here so as to not spoil Trick or Treat’s surprising ending.

It’s a very short story, about 22 pages, and it did hold my interest throughout the reading, but I really would have liked to have found out more about Sam and James. Especially James and the situation he found himself in!

It’s a good read if your into quickies (no pun intended). Not particularly scary, but still a good Halloween read, or any other time, for that matter, when one feels in the mood for a paranormal story. Would I reread it again? That would depend on if JL Merrow wrote a sequel, because the ending was interesting.






You can buy Trick or Treat here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: Raising the Rent by JL Merrow

The Oldest Profession

RaisingTheRent72web

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Raising the Rent blog tour!

Giveaway: I’m offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See HERE for a full list of the blogs I’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any) 

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday, 27th October, GMT. Good luck! :D

Never fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling – Raising the Rent

§§§§

 Prostitution. It’s well known to be the oldest profession (actually, I hear midwives dispute this, although it sounds a bit chicken-and-egg to me!). But just how old is it? Specifically, when did the first rent boy loiter on a street corner, plying his trade?

Continue reading

Standard
A.J. Truman, Aleksandr Voinov, Bey Deckard, CJane Elliott, Coastal Magic Convention, DH Starr, GayRomLit, JL Merrow, K.A. Merikan, Kevin Klehr, Morticia Knight, Sneak Peek, Tere Michaels

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a fantastic weekend. We’re gearing up for a great week ahead here at The Novel Approach.

In case you’ve missed them, we still have two outstanding giveaways open to close out our Countdown to GRL Celebrations: Sherrie Henry, Gift Basket Seven, and our Grand Prize giveaway, so be sure to check those out before they expire.

Now, here’s what we have coming up in the week ahead.


divider1

Monday – Kicking off the week, we’ll be hosting Aleksandr Voinov on the A Taste for Poison Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Wilde City Press author Kevin Klehr joins us today to talk a bit about his books Drama Queens With Love Scenes and Drama Queens and Adult Themes

TuesdayJL Merrow drops in to visit today on the Raising the Rent Blog Tour, with a giveaway

A.J. Truman also joins us today with a giveaway on his Out in the Open Blog Tour

WednesdayTere Michaels is here today to answer a few questions on the Countdown to Coastal Magic Convention Blog Tour

We’ll also have CJane Elliott with us on the Aidan’s Journey Blog Tour, with a giveaway

ThursdayDH Starr joins us today on the Meant for Him Blog Tour, with a giveaway

K.A. Merikan also stops by on the Guns n’ Boys Blog Tour

FridayMorticia Knight is our guest today on the All Fired Up Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Bey Deckard also drops in on his Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires Blog Tour, with a giveaway

divider1

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

Standard
4.5 Stars, Comedy, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Jules, Romantic Comedy, Samhain Publishing

A Man Can’t Outrun His Past In JL Merrow’s “Caught!”

“Love is the absence of judgement.” – Dalai Lama


Title: Caught! (The Shamwell Tales: Book One)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 276 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils. Continue reading

Standard
Brandon Witt, Charley Descoteaux, Cover Reveal, EM Lynley, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, JL Merrow, Melissa Collins, Merry Farmer, Scott Alexander Hess, Sneak Peek, Viki Lyn

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Welcome back, everyone! Thanks for dropping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week.

We’ve got some pretty amazing guests, featured posts and interviews, a cover reveal, giveaways, and a little GRL celebrating to do, on top of a week full of reviews.

Speaking of GayRomLit, on Saturday, August 30, the tables are turning just a bit, and I’ll be blogging on RJ Scott’s website. I’ve got a very special and exclusive to The Novel Approach set of giveaways coming up from the authors who’ve participated with me in the tour, and to get the party started, I’ll be offering a little giveaway of my own, so be sure to watch for it.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up!

MondayMickie B. Ashling kicks off the week on her Cutting Cords Series Blog Tour, with a giveaway

EM Lynley also helps us get the week started off right with a little taste of her new novel Spaghetti Western, and she’s also offering a giveaway

TuesdayCharley Descoteaux is our guest today on the The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds Blog Tour and giveaway

JL Merrow also stops by on the Caught Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway

WednesdayScott Alexander Hess, author of Bergdorf Boys and Diary of a Sex Addict will be with us today, with an interview and giveaway

ThursdayBrandon Witt joins us with a cover reveal of his upcoming novel Then the Stars Fall and an interview

FridayEthan Day takes a break from all his GayRomLit organizing duties today to join us with a Countdown to GRL Celebration Blog Tour Guest Post

SaturdayMerry Farmer is our guest today on the Somebody to Love Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

Viki Lyn also visits on the Blue Skye Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

Sunday – Finally, to close out our week, Melissa Collins winds things down on the Let Love Live Blog Tour, with a giveaway

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

Standard
5 Stars, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

JL Merrow Tugs At Your Heatstrings In “Raising the Rent”


“This thing about you that you think is your flaw – it’s the reason I’m falling in love with you.” – Colleen Hoover


Title: Raising the Rent

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 88 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Rent boy rule number one: Never fall in love with a customer.

Life as a rent boy is not a long-term career goal for Nathan, who’s determined to get an education. But when he turns up for his first day at college he’s horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice for his educated, honeyed tones. Continue reading

Standard
JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

This Is No Joke, We’ve Got JL Merrow With Us Today, And There’s A Giveaway


Ever Decreasing Circles


Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the Relief Valve blog tour.

Giveaway: I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of 2013 Rainbow Award winning romantic comedy Slam! (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 7th April, GMT. Good luck! :D

Writers’ circles, or writers’ groups. For the uninitiated, these are organizations where writers can go for mutual support, friendly criticism, and advice.

Well, that’s the theory, anyway. The trouble is, and despite all indications to the contrary, writers are people. Human beings, with their infinite capacity for clique-iness, spite, jealousy and petty bickering.

I was very lucky, when I joined my current writers’ circle, to find a group who really are supportive, broadminded and constructive.

A big part of the activities of a writers’ circle, for the uninitiated, is giving criticism on members’ writing. Some groups do it by handing out printed copies. But there are advantages to having the writer read their work out aloud. For one thing, it makes any impossibly long sentences or unintentional alliteration glaringly obvious. For another, it’s a lot harder to kid yourself that a piece is “good enough” to be submitted to a publisher if you find yourself shying away from taking it along to read out on manuscripts night.

The first time a writer—probably, at this point, not yet published—gets up and reads his or her work in front of a group of expectant strangers can be incredibly nerve-wracking.

Which is why it’s so important to find a group that’s right for you. All circles are not created equal; one writer I know reported having been asked to leave the first writers’ group she tried because her proudly read-out work included swear words!

Phil, in Relief Valve, has one or two preconceptions about writers’ circles:

“just a bunch of old women sitting around drinking tea and writing stories about their cats.”

and

“You don’t go to these things to write. You go there to talk crap about writing.” He smirked. “So like I said, you’ll be a natural.”

“What, at talking crap? Love you too, you bastard.” – Relief Valve

Unfortunately for Tom, when he attends a meeting of the Lea Valley Literati to try to find out if any of them are responsible for poisoning his sister, he finds they’re even worse!

Or as LVL member Hannah puts it:

“sometimes I think we get just a little bit pretentious here.”

She’s not wrong. Fortunately for me, the writers’ circle I attend is nothing at all like the ones described in the book.*

*Well, except the bit about the gavel. That’s totally true! ;)

***

Question: I’ve been lucky with my writers’ group. I wasn’t so lucky with a support group I attended in university that was supposed to help us reduce our stress levels around exam time—with a bunch of highly competitive personalities thrown together, it ended up having the opposite effect to that intended!

Do you have experience of any sort of support group? Were they, in fact, supportive—or totally counterproductive?

***

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: http://www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

***

If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom’s dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn’t helped Tom’s uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.

But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom’s head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiancé Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers’ circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?

Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead—and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom’s sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back…

Warning: Contains a strong, silent, macho PI; a cheeky, chirpy, cat-owning plumber; and a gag gift from beyond the grave that’ll put the cat firmly among the pigeons.

Now available in ebook: Samhain Publishing | Amazon.com |Amazon.co.uk

Standard
JL Merrow, Reviewed by Lisa, Samhain Publishing

JL Merrow’s “Relief Valve” Is A Ripping Good Sequel In The Plumber’s Mate Series


“The sweetest smiles hold the darkest secrets…” ― Sara Shepard


Title: Relief Valve (The Plumber’s Mate: Book Two)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 357 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty.
Continue reading

Standard
A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.J. Corza, Abigail Roux, Anyta Sunday, Chris Cox, Chris O'Guinn, Cover Reveal, GotYouCovrd, Jaime Reese, JC Wallace, JL Merrow, Joy Lynn Fielding, Julie Lynn Hayes, LE Franks, RainbowCon, RJ Scott, Therese Woodson

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week



Greetings, everyone, we hope you’ve had a quiet and relaxing weekend. We’ve got another great week ahead, filled with author visits, interviews, giveaways, and reviews, so go ahead and take a gander at what’s on tap!

MondayAbigail Roux is our guest today on the Ball & Chain Blog Tour. She’s answered a few interview questions about herself, Ty, Zane, and the gang, so be sure to check it out

TuesdayJL Merrow arrives on the Relief Valve Blog Tour, and she’s bringing along a giveaway

Jaime Reese also pops in with a Cover Reveal of, and excerpt from, her upcoming release A Hunted Man, Book Two in The Men of Halfway House series

Wednesday – Author Chris O’Guinn’s arrival is imminent on his Hybrids: Arrival Blog Tour. We’ve got an Interview and Giveaway for his visit

Anyta Sunday is also our guest today on her Liam Davis and the Raven Blog Tour and Giveaway

And, A.J. Corza’s back with another great installment of Got You Covered

ThursdayJoy Lynn Fielding is our guest on her Shifting Sands Blog Tour, and we’ve got a great interview lined up for you

FridayChris Cox drops by on the When Sean Loves Rusty Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

Therese Woodson will also be our guest on the Clockwork Horizon Blog Tour, which includes a giveaway of an e-copy of the book

SaturdayLE Franks is our guest as we continue on with the RainbowCon Celebration fun

Julie Lynn Hayes will also be along with a guest post on her Yes, He’s My Ex Blog Tour

Sunday – Finally, last but certainly not least, JC Wallace stops by on the Curiosity Killed Shaney Blog Tour

The Novel Approach is also participating in author RJ Scott’s Autism Awareness Blog Hop today, and we’ll have a giveaway to go along with it

And that does it for a very full week of fun. Until next week, happy reading!

Standard
JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing

JL Merrow Interviews Jez From “It’s All Geek to Me” – And There’s A Giveaway!



Hi, I’m JL (Jamie) Merrow, and I’m here today as part of the It’s All Geek to Me blog tour.

Thanks for having me here on The Novel Approach. :-)

Giveaway: all commenters on the blog tour will be entered into a draw to win an ebook of their choice from my backlist, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate. A winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, 17th February, 2014. Good luck! :-)

Today, I’m interviewing Jez, hero and narrator of It’s All Geek to Me.

020814_2344_JLMerrowsIn1.pngJez walks into the room, looking around curiously. He’s better looking than I expected, based on how he describes himself—I don’t remember him mentioning the broad shoulders, and although his waist may not be male-model trim, he’s definitely solid and chunky, rather than chubby. It’s a rugby player’s build, not a runner’s, that’s all. And his features are classically good-looking, with maybe a slight squareness about the jaw.

But it’s his smile that really draws your eye. Warm and honest, with just a hint of shyness.

JL: Come in, sit down. Would you like a coffee?

Jez: (sitting) Cheers. Um, I could murder a cup of tea, if that’s all right?

Clearly he hasn’t heard of my hard-line stance against the demon leaf. But he’s the guest, so…

JL: No problem. Milk? Sugar?

Jez: Yeah, please. Plenty of milk, two sugars. And give the bag a good squeeze, I like it strong.

Suppressing a shudder, I make the drinks. I use the term “drinks” loosely. If there’s anything worse than a cup of tea, it’s strong, milky, sweet tea. My hand hesitates over the chocolate Hobnobs, but I decide to get out the second-best biscuits. This man clearly has no sense of taste.

I smooth out my frown as I hand him his cup.

Jez: Cheers, love. Um. Sorry. Didn’t mean to sound sexist.

His brow creases, and I can sense he’s genuinely worried he might have upset me.
(He should have considered that before asking me to make him an abomination in a cup.)

JL: That’s fine. Now, tell me about Rhys.

Jez: (face softening) Rhys…Yeah. He’s, well. He’s Rhys, in’t he? (His eyes go misty)

JL: Is he much like your ex, Darrell?

Jez: God, no. I mean… No. Really. No. (His brow furrows adorably.) Well, Darrell was tall, too. Is, I mean. I didn’t murder him or anything. (Jez laughs)

JL: You go for tall men?

Jez: Well, yeah. I mean, who doesn’t? (He pauses.) Well, short people, I s’pose, ‘cos it’d give you a crick in your neck when you had a snog. And lesbians, probably. Yeah. Short lesbians. (Nods)

I decide not to ask him why he thinks a lesbian might be snogging a tall man in the first place.

JL: So it was his height that first attracted you to him?

Jez: (Looking uncomfortable.) Well, you know. Not just his height. It’s the whole package, innit? (He catches himself.) That’s not… I don’t mean, you know, his package. Although don’t get me wrong, no complaints there… (Jez blushes.) I mean, it’s all of him. You know. Personality, and all that guff.

JL: But you can’t have known what his personality was like right from the word go. Can you?

Jez: Well, yeah. I mean, no. I mean, look at me, right? I’m just your average bloke. You don’t have to be Sherlock Bloody Holmes to see that. But Rhys, well. He’s got personality. In his looks, I mean. You know, with the hair, and the earrings, and all that. You can tell he’s a cut above. (He smiles. There’s something very sweet about it.)

JL: If you’re so average, what do you think attracted him to you?

Jez: (Laughs.) Buggered if I know! Nah, we just hit it off. Sometimes you do, yeah?

JL: I guess you do.

Should I try and make him see he’s every bit as attractive as Rhys, in his own way? But it looks like it would take a while, and there’s one question I really need to ask.

JL: Tell me, how important do you think honesty is in a relationship? Particularly at the start?

Jez: (looks at watch; does exaggerated double-take) Bugger me, is that the time? Sorry, gotta go.

Meeting Rhys for a, um. Yeah. Cheers for the tea. I’ll see you, all right?

He flashes me a smile and leaves, not forgetting even in his haste to take his teacup out and put it by the sink.

I smile back. I might have known I wasn’t going to get an answer to that one.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow


It’s All Geek to Me

Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the temple of geekdom itself, the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London, Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress Rhys, but lacking in confidence after a bad break-up, so he bluffs his way through the comic book jargon—then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception—and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with Fake Geek Guy?

You can read an excerpt/purchase It’s All Geek to Me at: Riptide Publishing.

Standard
Jayson James, Jena Wade, JL Merrow, Keira Andrews, Nikka Michaels, Sid Love, Sneak Peek, Stevie Gonzalez

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week



Welcome back, everyone, I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. We’ve got lots of great guests, giveaways, and reviews coming up in the week ahead and hope you’ll all stop in to see what each of our special guests has in store.

Here’s what’s on deck in the week ahead!

MondayJL Merrow drops in today on Riptide Publishing’s It’s All Geek to Me Blog Tour, and there’ll be a giveaway, too.

TuesdayJena Wade is here to talk a little bit about her new book Lumber & Law, and she’ll be giving away an e-copy of the book.

WednesdayKeira Andrews skates through on her Cold War Blog Tour to talk about the sport of figure skating, as well as offering a giveaway of the e-book.

ThursdayStevie Gonzalez stops in with exclusive excerpts from his series The Adventures of Astropilots Stern and Moreno, and he’s also offering an e-book giveaway of the first book, Framed on Titan.

FridaySid Love isn’t only a blog owner, but he’s also a published author now, and he’ll be our guest at TNA today to promote his Valentine’s Day romance, Holding on to Hope.

SaturdayNikka Michaels is back to promote her new release Room Service, so stay tuned for her visit.

SundayJayson James rounds out the week with a guest post about his newest book Drifting, and he’s also giving away an e-copy of the book.

Until next week, happy reading!

Standard
JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing

JL Merrow Serves Up A Funny, Sexy Tale That Gives Geek A Whole New Look


“You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?” ― Dr. Seuss



Title: It’s All Geek to Me

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 57 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.
Continue reading

Standard
All Romance Ebooks, Chrissy Munder, Clare London, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Lou Harper, Pink Squirrel Press

Get Some “Summer Lovin'” To Warm Up Your Autumn Nights




In the immortal words from Grease, with a little tweak:

“Summer loving had me a blast
Summer loving happened so fast
I met a boy crazy for me
Met a boy cute as can be
Summer days drifting away
To, oh, oh, the summer nights”


This Summer Lovin’ is truly a blast! A hot and sweet confection good enough on a cold winter’s night! “Lovin’” is an anthology worth reading. The main theme is summer romances that turn into something more when the weather turns colder. The stories fell into two categories: vacation flings and summer jobs. Mostly they are told from one point of view, and in just a short amount of words, the stories drew you in and held you there. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I cared for these characters and wanted them to have their happy endings. And yes, the sex was pretty satisfying but that all depends on the caliber of the authors.

The quality of the writing was exceptional. All of the writers know how to weave words in such a manner to keep the reader, me, in the story. I didn’t want these stories to end. But as summer turns into fall, the book had to end too. :(

Summer Lovin’ is a must read on a cold night. It’ll warm your body and heart.








You can buy Summer Lovin'” here:

Standard
JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

If You Aren’t Careful, You Might “Fall Hard” For JL Merrow



“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” ― Marie Antoinette



Some people have things in their past they’re happy to remember. Some people have things in their past they’d prefer to forget. If you’re Dr. Paul Ansell, there are things in your past you can’t remember. If you’re Dr. Paul Ansell, the forgetting is at the heart of the story JL Merrow has penned of your life, and the remembering of a missing year is at the heart of the mysterious death of your lover in an accident that nearly killed you as well.
Continue reading

Standard