Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Blow Down (The Plumber’s Mate #4) by JL Merrow. Includes Guest Post & Giveaway.

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We are delighted to welcome the lovely JL Merrow to Sinfully today as she celebrates the release of Blow Down, book #4 in the Plumber’s Mate series. 

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Jingle My Bells

by JL Merrow

Hi, I’m JL Merrow. I’m delighted to be here as part of the Blow Down blog tour, and today I’d like to talk to you about Morris dancing.

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There’s something quintessentially English about Morris dancers, heralds of what passes on this sceptered isle for a summer. And who wouldn’t warm to the sight of a troop of dancers clad in white, ribbons flying as they leap around in the (rare) sunshine, waving their (non-coded) hankies and cracking their staves together to the accompaniment of bells a-jingle?

Well, actually, quite a few of us, apparently. Morris dancing has a rather unfair reputation for being deeply uncool. Perhaps it’s because of the outfits, and because it’s often seen as the preserve of white, middle-aged men with beards as big as their beer guts. Too, the tradition of “blacking up” in some sides is problematic to modern eyes, although it was originally done to disguise identity (from unsympathetic authorities, not out of embarrassment) rather than to impersonate or mock people of another race.

One person who’s helped to increase the cool factor of Morris dancing is the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett:

The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse. It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of the soil and under bare stars because it's springtime and with any luck the carbon dioxide will unfreeze again. The imperative is felt by deep-sea beings who have never seen the sun and urban humans whose only connection with the cycles of nature is that their Volvo once ran over a sheep.

It is danced innocently by raggedy-bearded young mathematicians to an inexpert accordion rendering of "Mrs Widgery's Lodger" and ruthlessly by such as the Ninja Morris Men of New Ankh, who can do strange and terrible things with a simple handkerchief and a bell.

- Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett

Pratchett’s entirely made-up Morris tradition, the Dark Morris, is now actually danced by some genuine Morris sides—it’s folk dance meets sci fi/fantasy cosplay, and the stuff you get to wear is way cooler:

The dancers trade their bright white beribboned costumes for black shrouds and perform in darkness and silence without bells, sticks or swords (or better, with bells of octiron that create a lacy counter-tinkle of silences}. This is the Dark Morris, without which winter may not arrive

Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett

The murder, in Blow Down, takes place at the St Leonard’s Harvest Fayre, so of course I had to have Morris dancing in there. And yes, a regular cast member is involved. Who? Well, you’ll have to read the book. :)

I’ll leave the last word to Tom:

“It’s a very manly pursuit, Morris dancing. Some of ’em have really big sticks.” –

Tom Paretski, Blow Down

Question: Readers, what do you think of Morris dancing: delightful rural tradition, or just plain dodgy? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Blow Down

The Plumber’s Mate #4

JL Merrow

Copy of BlowDown72lgPublisher ~ Samhain Publishing

Published ~ 12th July 2016

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance

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Synopsis

Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.

The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, Book 4

The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.

Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancĂ©, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.

Purchase Links

SAMHAIN | AMAZON GLOBAL LINK | ARe 

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Series Reading Order

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Book #1: Pressure Head
AMAZON | REVIEW

Book #2: Relief Valve
AMAZON | REVIEW

Book #3: Heat Trap
AMAZON | REVIEW

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Meet JL Merrow


Waterhouse_a_mermaid hires
JL 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.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Giveaway

Prizes! I’m offering a prize of a signed paperback copy of winner’s choice from the first three Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, plus a $10 gift certificate. I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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54 comments:

  1. I'm from the UK so I do think "Morris dancing: delightful rural tradition" I've never seen it performed live though.

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    1. Never? Hie thee to a summer fete immediately! ;)

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  2. I've never seen Morris dancing live, but it sounds like a fun rural tradition.

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    1. I've seen and done square dancing here in the U.S. which is probably the closest thing we have to it, though it's not very close.

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    2. I imagine square dancing is sort of a cross between the country dancing I used to do at primary school, and what I've done at a barn dance rather more recently? I remember it as a lot of fun. :)

      But those are designed for couples, rather than a team of (traditionally) all men, as Morris dancing is - although the troop I saw the other week had, I was pleased to see, a female member (who was dressed the same as the men).

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  3. i have never heard of morris dancing

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    1. I am aghast! Have a link to a cool modern side: http://witchmen.com/

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  4. I'd never heard of Morris dancing outside of this post, it's actually pretty intriguing though. Sounds like it would be entertaining to be a witness to as well :)

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    1. I love watching Morris dancing, although all the sides I've seen have been traditional ones. I'd love to see a dark Morris! :)

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  5. Sir Terry Pratchett is as always right. We have some traditional Bulgarian dances that look similar : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV9pxk31lgs. And no, not all Bulgarians can dance like that :), most of us can't.

    JL thank you for the book, it was awesome. I'll be rereading the previous books this weekend.

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    1. Oh, that's great! Yes, the macho quality and the thigh-slapping definitely look familiar! Thanks for the link. :D

      And I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Especially as a fellow Pratchett fan. :D

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  6. Never heard of Morris Dancing before but it sounds like delightful rural tradition, it's not hurting anyone so more power to the dancers.

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    1. And from what I hear, there tends to be a fair amount of beer involved, so it's good for local industry too! ;)

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  7. I've never actually heard of Morris dancing but I am definitely intrigued. I love dancing of any kind. (I did ballet for a lot of years!) lol

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    1. I've done ballet, tap, latin american, ballroom and rock'n'roll - little known Merrow fact: I jived for Cambridge University!

      Dancing is great fun - and it's great to see a revival of traditional forms, such as Morris and Irish dancing. :)

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  8. This is the first time I've heard of Morris Dancing; I think it sounds like a great rural tradition.

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    1. The Industrial Revolution nearly killed it off, but it's been growing in popularity again since the early twentieth century. :)

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  9. I've only seen Morris dancing in video clips, but it seems like fun and I am sure I would watch it live if I ever had the opportunity (especially if there were big sticks involved ;-).

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    1. Sometimes they just wave hankies, but the stick dances are definitely more fun to watch - particularly if a hobby gets involved! :)

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  10. Have never heard of this dancing but would love to learn more about it.

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    1. A lot of Morris "facts" are open to dispute - try this link for a flavour: http://www.rattlejagmorris.org.uk/history-of-morris-dancing

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  11. Morris dancing seems like delightful tradition, I read the book and laughed along throughout reading. Never heard of this sort of dance on British book I read before and this awesome post bring it to light. Love this! :)

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    1. Ooh, you must read Alex Beecroft's Blue Eyed Stranger (http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/blue-eyed-stranger), then: that features a Morris dancer as one of the MCs, and the author is a Morris dancer herself, so knows her stuff. :)

      And so glad you enjoyed Blow Down! :D

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    2. Oh great! Thank you for the recommendation - I'll look the book up. :)

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  12. I think it's a delightful rural tradition BECAUSE people think it's dodgy!

    --Trix

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  13. This is the first time I've heard of Morris dancing.

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    1. I'm completely gobsmacked how many people are saying they've never heard of Morris dancing - has it never featured in any of the TV programmes we export? I must write a stern letter to the BBC! ;)

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  14. I'm not sure but I think I'll go with plain dodgy. I'm about halfway through Blow Down and Tom's description made me giggle. :-)

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    1. I'm sure you just haven't seen the right Morris side yet. ;)

      Try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EFil5KOzsQ

      Glad you're enjoying Blow Down! :)

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  15. I have never heard of them before and I think they are wonderful.

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  16. Most definitely a lovely rural tradition. Only seen on TV though.

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    1. TV tends to feature the more traditional sort. If you want to see some variation, google "youtube dark morris" ;)

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  17. Thumbs up! It's the original pole dance!

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    1. LOL! Slightly different costumes, however! ;P

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  18. to be honest I've never seen Morris dancing (sorry...I must lead a sheltered life down under!!)

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    1. I thought there must be Aussie Morris sides... Here's proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-cdcfCP7d0

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  19. I've never heard of it either! Unfortunately, I've never traveled outside of the US so that might be why :). Great post!

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    1. You don't have to leave the country. There are Morris dancers everywhere! http://rgoldman.org/morris/mayday/2016/

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  20. I'm from the US so I think Morris dancing is a delightful tradition! I wish we could see it live here! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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    1. Apparently you can - well, as long as you live in a coastal state. Or Colorado for some reason! http://rgoldman.org/morris/mayday/2016/

      And you're welcome! :)

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  21. I'm an immigrant to the UK (and a peeved one this past month, grrr Brexit) and I'd never heard of Morris dancing ( or Morris minors) till I got here.

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    1. Okay, so now I want to write Darren starting his own Morris troup and calling it The Morris Minors!

      And I echo your grrr over Brexit. Not happy at all. The worst thing is that I'm convinced many who voted to leave only did so because they thought it would never happen. :(

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  22. I vote for it looking interesting and a great tradition.

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  23. First time I ever heard about Morris dance, never saw anything like it in UK TV shows or movies (or mentioned in books...). Thanks for the trip you just offered me/us.
    I'd love to see a live performance. It may be a little dodgy but it's mostly really interesting and kind of impressive too.

    foebz (AT) hotmail (DOT) com

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    1. Never let it be said mm romance isn't educational! ;)

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  24. I would truly love to see Terry Pratchett's version of the Morris Dancers , much more exciting than the real thing I imagine.

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  25. If not for reading this post I would have no idea what Morris dancing is. I this it would be a great tradition and one of those things that would be amazing to be able to see live!

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  26. I had never heard of Morris Dancing before so I cannot call it dodgy. I CAN say, as someone who is from the southern US, that it could not be more dodgy than line dancing!

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