Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Featured Guest Author: JL Merrow talks about Sparta! Includes Giveaway

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We're overjoyed to have JL Merrow with us today on the release day of the third book in the Shamwell Tales series OUT! Find out what the Spartans have to do with a quaint English village and don't forget the giveaway for your chance to win a either any book from JL Merrow's backlist or a signed paperback of CAUGHT! The second book in the Shamwell Tales series.

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This is Sparta!

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Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m tickled pink to be here as part of the Out! blog tour.

Today I’d like to talk to you about Sparta.

Wait, what? What on earth has a contemporary romantic comedy set in an English village got to do with ancient Greece?

Well, it’s like this. When I started writing Out!, I decided that our hero Mark would meet his hero Patrick at his first meeting of a village charity organisation. I’m sure this sort of thing is universal: young (and not-so-young) men meeting up for a beer or six, to have a laugh and raise some money for charity. You see them shaking a bucket at every village carnival, usually dressed in really, really bad drag. Come Christmas time one of them will don a Santa suit and hand out pressies to the kiddies, accompanied by the rest of them in elf gear.

Round my way this is the job of the local Round Table organisation, which is open to men aged 18-45. I did a bit of research and decided, yes, this was just the sort of organisation I wanted my boys to belong to. However, I didn’t want to just call it the Shamwell Round Table. That’d be boring.

Which is how, in a happy bit of brainstorming (Round Table – Knights – Warriors – Spartans!) the Shamwell Spartans Fun and Fundraising Foundation was born.

My, I had a lot of fun with this. J

First, the onerous research: obtain a copy of 300. Now, this 2006 film starring Gerard Butler has been described as basically gay porn, which is not entirely accurate. I’m fairly sure actual gay porn usually involves a bit more man-on-man sex. Or, you know, some. Muscle-bound, scantily clad, ultra-macho hunks, though, there are a-plenty. Add in the traditional associations of “Greek love” and bonded warriors... It’s gay romance writer heaven! ;)

And of course, it’s not just a name—Mark’s horrified to find his induction into the group involves a pub night dressed as a Spartan warrior. Fortunately for Mark, his camp, flirtatious ex PA, David, turns up to help him get ready.

Unfortunately for Mark, however, Patrick walks in right at the wrong moment, leaving Mark with a lot of explaining to do! ;)

Question: Have you ever done anything daft for charity? Willing to share?

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OUT! (Shamwell Tales #3) by J L Merrow

outTitle: OUT

Author: J L Merrow

Publisher: Samhain

Release: 19th January 2016

Genre: M/M (contemporary)

Rating:

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Synopsis

When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.

His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.

Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.

Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.

Warning: Contains historically inaccurate Spartan costumes, mangled movie quotes, dubious mathematical logic and a three-legged pub crawl.

Series Reading Order and Purchase Links

Shamwell Tales #1

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Mark: “I just so loved the multi-facetted side to this story. Robs past, Sean taking care of his nephews, Sean’s sister fighting cancer, Rosie playing matchmaker although with issues of her own, a class of kids that would drive anyone nuts, but you just can’t stop loving them, all with their own stories too. I was left smiling for days.”

::: MARK'S FULL REVIEW :::

SAMHAIN | AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

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Shamwell Tales #2

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Mark: “Totally loved it, and with these two characters there are seriously laugh out loud moments. Well, at least it struck a chord with my sense of humour. The relationship is the main focus in this book so it’s rather light on the sex, but that’s fine with me if the story and plot keep me interested and to say the least, very amused.”

::: MARK'S FULL REVIEW :::

SAMHAIN | AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

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Shamwell Tales #3

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::: MARK'S FULL REVIEW :::

SAMHAIN | AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

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Meet JL Merrow

waterhouse_a_mermaid-hiresJL Merrow is a very English writer of (mainly) m/m fiction who finds writing the only way to stay sane, except of course when a plot is driving her crazy. Having grown up on an island, she can’t remember a time before she could swim and prefers to remain close to water at all times. Luckily, the weather in her native land being as it generally is, this is not difficult.

I’m that rare beast; an English person who refuses to drink tea. I’m a writer of (mainly) m/m or f/f romance, mostly contemporary or paranormal, but with a fickle muse that occasionally ambushes me in dark alleyways and drags me off, cackling, to write historical or science fiction.

Some might call all this pillar-to-posting tragic evidence of a short attention span; I couldn’t possibly….er, what were we talking about, again?

I enjoy reading, martial arts, and surprising people who judge a book by its cover.

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

Contact The Author

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Giveaway

Prizes! 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 paperback copy of Played!, the second Shamwell Tale, which was the first one to feature Patrick from Out! I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well. J

Good luck!

Question: Have you ever done anything daft for charity? Willing to share?

44 comments:

  1. I have never done anything daft for charity... I volunteer for the animal shelter in my area, but we normally look after the dogs and cats, and walk them around with "Please, adopt me" vests. I wouldn't mind do something daft for a good cause, though!
    susanaperez7140(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great work!
      Have you ever had anyone come up and try to adopt you? ;)

      Delete
    2. LOL! that's happened a couple of times, actually.

      Delete
  2. I can't think of anything particularly crazy that I've done. Probably the hardest thing is to ask complete strangers to buy things when I was in school. I think some of the things people do for charity are pretty interesting, actually. I saw something once where people dress up like zombies. :) Congrats on the release!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've collected door-to-door on several occasions, and I find that hard. Some people have no qualms about being rude!
      The zombie thing sounds fun, though!
      And thanks!

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry to say I don't have a funny or even original story to share. I only participated in bake sales or collected food for the food bank...
    But I'd really like to read more about Mark's experience as a toga-wearing spartan warrior ;-)
    foebz (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you're way ahead of me. I can't see people being willing to pay for anything I might manage to bake! ;)

      Delete
  4. Years ago, I phoned on behalf of my university's fund one weekend as a favor to a friend, but had a horrible time working up the nerve to call strangers. To make matters worse, I didn't realize that it was the last NFL playoff game before the Super Bowl, and the semi-local team was involved. People were very kind and patient, considering...

    --Trix, vitajex(At)aol(Dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'd hate to have to do that! Mind you, I did have a very interesting conversation with the last student who called on behalf of my old college! :)

      Delete
  5. i havent done anything daft but did sing on stage with some mommys for my kids school show
    jmarinich33 at aol dot come

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your kids were properly proud of you! :)

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  6. I once made phone calls for a charity, which was daft for me since I hate talking on the phone.

    Thanks for the post and review. I enjoy this series. :-)

    jen(dot)f(at)mac(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loathe the telephone, so I don't envy you that one!
      And thank you! :D

      Delete
  7. I don't think I've ever done anything daft for charity. There were events at school where we had to ask people to sponsor us for walks but other than that nothing too out there.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, I remember school sponsored walks - and the resigned look on my friends' mums' faces when I turned up at the door with the form! ;)

      Delete
  8. I haven't done anything daft for charity. We mostly contributed by making cakes for school rallies or such, so not many chances for that. :)

    I absolutely loved Out! and Mark, especially! <3

    anamaribelcardenas@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They also serve, who only stand and bake...
      And thank you! :D

      Delete
  9. I haven't done anything crazy to raise money for a charity. I did work one day in a call center asking for money for a police officer's fund. I absolutely hated calling people on the phone so no more of that for me. I loved the first 2 Shamwell Tales books and can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!
    tkronenw1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd hate to have to cold call people for money - no matter how good the cause, I'm sure there are always some people who are going to react badly. :(
      And thank you! :D

      Delete
  10. No. We went "can gooding" on Halloween once when I was a kid (for the food bank), but I
    don't think I've done anything daft.

    I'm reading "Out" right now, and so far I love it. :-)

    aelnova@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that like trick or treating, but you ask for canned goods to donate? (And presumably don't egg their house if they fail to deliver?)

      And I'm glad you're enjoying Out! :D

      Delete
  11. I can't think of any charity that I've actually been required to do anything other than offer a donation. These are all on my TBR list, but I haven't gotten to read any of them yet. I'm looking forward to reading these. Thanks for a chance in the giveaway.
    flutterfli01 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the donation is the ultimate aim for most charities! :)
      And you're welcome!

      Delete
  12. I can't think of anything too crazy that I did for charity. I used to volunteer and once dressed up as a clown to visit a nursing home, but that's about it.
    jczlapin@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A clown? Hadn't those poor people suffered enough..?
      Ahem. I mean, great work! ;)

      Delete
  13. I can't think of anything crazy I've had to do for charity. I had to go door to door a few times which I hated. Something daft might have been preferable!
    Toni violet817(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *nods* After you've knocked on 30 or so doors, that bath full of baked beans begins to look strangely appealing... ;)

      Delete
  14. nothing daft from me...

    leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nothing too daft, just dressed up and went on a 'fun run'.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it went better than Mark's experience in Out! ;)

      Delete
  16. I can't say I've ever done anything daft for charity but I've given to the toys for tots, though.
    Congratulations on your third in the series and much success!
    taina1959 @ yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. No, haven't done anything daft for charity - just the usual selling lottery tickets etc. But in the right mood, it would never be daft - just massive fun! :D

    neeneiv (at) gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I once spent a month ripping the front off of donated Christmas cards for a company that recycles them somehow. But only the covers. Somehow.

    allesonl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, I used to do that so my kids could recycle them into "home-made" Christmas cards!

      Delete
  19. The only slightly daft thing I did for charity was be the person who sat waiting for someone with good aim or just plain lucky to hit a target to drop me into a tank of water! Luckily, no one was able to hit the target while I was there. However, as soon as I switched out, the baseball team walked up en mass and the person who took my place spent almost the entire time in the water or climbing out of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant! I bet you were so glad you took the earlier shift! :D

      Delete
    2. Hi Ree, congratulations. You're our lucky winner of our blogtour stop for JL Merrow. An email will be on it's way to you :-)

      Delete
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  21. Donations only-- nothing crazy. Never read a JL Merrow book and really looking forward to this series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you'll enjoy the Shamwell Tales! :)

      Delete
  22. Donations only-- nothing crazy. Never read a JL Merrow book and really looking forward to this series.

    ReplyDelete