Today I am so pleased to welcome J.L. Merrow to Joyfully Jay. She has come to talk to us about her latest release, Blow Down (Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #4). J.L. has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


When Characters Are Wrong

Hi, I’m JL Merrow and I’m delighted to be here as part of the Blow Down blog tour.

*sigh* Some characters just don’t seem to get it, do they?

Take Tom Paretski, and the debate over which is better: rugby or football (for US readers, by “football” I mean the game played with a round ball that you will know as “soccer”.)

For a long time, in Britain, the question of whether you follow rugby or football was determined by social class. The working classes played (and supported) football; the upper classes, rugby:

Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians. – Oscar Wilde

Old Oscar wasn’t far wrong, at least when he wrote that. Rugby is a punishing, physical, contact sport, based on the idea of preventing your opponent scoring by, basically, flattening him. Injuries are common and can be serious. Football, on the other hand, you’re supposed to be able to play without getting hurt. It’s all in the footwork, not the brute strength. Apparently. I’d have to confess that while I find the raw athleticism of rugby enthralling, all the to-ing and fro-ing on the football field leaves me cold.

Public schools, such as Eton and Harrow, played rugby as the school sport. Indeed, rugby itself was, according to legend, born at a public school—Rugby, in Warwickshire—in 1823 when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a match. (Quite why he didn’t just get sent off has always been beyond me, but apparently handling the ball was already permitted; just not running with it. The upper classes: making their own rules since 1066.)

Football was what boys (and only boys) played at state schools. And for some working class lads, making it big in football was their only realistic shot at a way out of poverty.

In these days of increased social mobility and higher education for all (or at least, all who either come from money or can face going into crippling debt), the class distinction has blurred—and blow me if they’re not letting women play, too! #sarcasm Increasingly you’ll find young people enjoying both rugby and football.

Tom Paretski, narrator of my Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, on the other hand, is a die-hard football fan who basically just watches rugby for the eye candy. Philistine. (My personal idea of hell would involve a never-ending football match. At which they only serve tea.)

Which left me, as author, in a challenging position: writing a first person narrative from the point of view directly opposed to my own. Did I succeed? Judge for yourself:

See, the thing about football—proper football, I mean, played with a round ball like God intended—is, it’s like an art form. The clever footwork, with eleven men playing as a team, dodging and, all right, sometimes diving. Tactics. They call it the beautiful game for a reason, don’t they? It’s, well, it’s elegant. Poetic, even. The players are athletic, yeah, but it’s all about the skill too. Not just the brute force. Rugby, now… Well, it’s just a bunch of big bastards getting up close and personal with each other, innit?- Tom Paretski, Blow Down

*sigh* He likes cooking, too. Where did I go wrong? 😉

Question: Readers, what’s your sport of choice, either playing or watching? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! 😉


BlowDown72lgDeath is what happens when you’re making other plans.

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 fiance, 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 different 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.


JL Merrow is that rare beast, and 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 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, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at


J.L. has brought great tourwide giveaway. Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter. 

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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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