Today I am delighted to welcome author J.L. Merrow back to the blog.  J.L. is here to talk to us about her new releases, Poacher’s Fall and Keeper’s Pledge, both of which I am reviewing this week. She is also offering up a great prize from her back list, so be sure to read the giveaway details to enter.

So please join me in giving J.L. a big welcome!

Please Feed the Authors

No, I’m not begging you to chuck us the odd sandwich or two (although if you’re feeling inclined, I’m rather partial to smoked salmon and cream cheese on granary). I’m not even asking for your money, even though book sales are my meat and drink.

I’m talking about getting in touch. Dropping us a line. One big difference between writing fanfic and writing professionally is the amount of feedback you get from readers. Popular fandom authors typically get hundreds of comments on a story; profic authors get a handful of reviews and, if they’re lucky, emails.

Which, let me tell you, makes each email received pretty darn special. It’s incredibly heartening when someone takes the time to write a few lines about how they enjoyed a book. Writers often feel they’re shouting into a black hole; it’s fantastic when someone actually answers.

Case in point: back in March last year, I got an email from Germany. The writer, Inge, was enquiring about out-of-print titles, and at the end, expressed the hope I’d be writing the sequel to Pleasures with Rough Strife soon, as it was a favourite of hers.

Ah. Well. Confession time: a couple of thousand words in, I’d pretty much decided to shelve the project indefinitely. The plot I’d had vaguely in mind had proved impossibly unwieldy, and I’d already stripped out part of it and used it for a free flashfic, Daylily (which you can find on my website). As you can imagine, I felt a bit bad about admitting this to my German correspondent. So I thought maybe I’d just have another look at the thing…

And guess what? It worked better without the complications. Suddenly I could see where I was going with this story, and what the themes were. Not quite so suddenly, I found myself with a novella twice the length of the original story. This prompted another look at Pleasures with Rough Strife, which has now been re-issued in an expanded version under the title of Poacher’s Fall, with a fabulous new custom-made cover.

I was delighted to be able to send a copy of Poacher’s Fall and its sequel, Keeper’s Pledge, to Inge. I hope she enjoys them.

So if you’ve got a favourite author who seems to be dragging their feet on a story you’re interested in, why not drop them a line?

You never know, your email might just be the impetus the author needs to get that story written. And you may even end up with a dedication and a free ebook. 🙂



Giveaway Question: Have you ever received a letter, a call or an email (or any other new-fangled method of messaging) that’s had far more impact than your correspondent ever imagined? Have you ever sent one?

Alternatively, which famous author (living or dead) would you most like to write to, and why?

I’m offering a free ebook of winner’s choice from my backlist to one lucky commenter on this post. I’ll be making the draw around lunchtime on Monday 4th Feb, GMT. Good luck! 😀



Poacher’s Fall

One snowy night just before Christmas, 1922, poacher Danny Costessey rounds off a night trapping rabbits by climbing a tree to fetch some mistletoe for his mother—only to fall and break his leg. Taken to the manor house to recover from his injuries, Danny meets the reclusive owner, Philip Luccombe. Village gossip has it Luccombe went mad during the war, but Danny soon realizes he’s simply still mourning his late lover. As friendship grows between them, Danny starts to fall for handsome, shy Philip.

Danny’s lively nature, roguish good looks, and ready laughter enchant Philip, and he finds himself being drawn out of his shell whether he will it or not. But when Danny tries to move beyond friendship, Philip panics—and his rejection threatens not only their happiness, but Danny’s health.
This is a revised and expanded version of the story previously published under the title of Pleasures with Rough Strife.  Everyone who has purchased a stand-alone copy ofPleasures with Rough Strife from the Dreamspinner website (ie not as part of the Mistletoe Madness set) will be able to download Poacher’s Fall free! 🙂

Available in mulit-format ebook from Dreamspinner Press

Keeper’s Pledge

A sequel to Poacher’s Fall, set four years later, in 1926.

Landowner Philip Luccombe has been enjoying a passionate relationship with young poacher turned gamekeeper Danny Costessey for four years now. Danny’s love has brought him out of the shell he retreated into when his first lover died after the Great War. But this Christmas, visitors to the manor threaten their happiness.

Philip’s young cousin Matthew is artistic, vivacious, and flirtatious: just the sort to remind him of his long-dead first love—and to emphasise the social gulf between Philip and Danny.

But the worst danger comes from much nearer home. An old flame of Danny’s is discovered in incriminating circumstances, forcing the lovers to keep their distance for fear of being tarred with the same brush. Meanwhile, Danny’s younger brother, Toby, has grown to resent the connection between his brother and the lord of the manor. Danny wants to do the right thing—but that could divide the lovers forever.

Available in mulit-format ebook from Dreamspinner Press

Trick of Time 

A lover from another time

When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it’s all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…

What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.

But Ted doesn’t understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it’s too late…

Carina Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK



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 the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist.

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

Find JL Merrow online at:, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at

FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post