Guest Post and Giveaway: Lock Nut by J.L. Merrow

Today I am so pleased to welcome J.L. Merrow to Joyfully Jay. J.L. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Lock Nut (Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Crochet, Knit or Knot?

One of the characters in Lock Nut is very into knitting. She creates vintage-style mittens etc to sell as a sideline in her aunt’s antiques shop.

Now, while I’ve always been fond of macramé, I never really got into knitting when I was younger. My toy rabbit Fred waited in vain for the scarf I started knitting him to get longer than six inches. But a few years ago I fancied giving it another go, so I armed myself with a “For Dummies” type manual and a succession of YouTube tutorials, and actually managed to complete quite a few projects (although sadly, not Fred’s scarf).

Crochet HooksAdmittedly, they weren’t the sort of projects that require stitch counters and row counters and looking down at a pattern every other stitch. My sort of knitting is more the something-to-do-while-watching-telly variety. And equal parts the oops-dropped-a-stitch-better-unravel-several-rows variety. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to produce a number of scarves and simple fingerless gloves. Some with stitches more complicated than knit one, purl one, even!

The trouble with this sort of knitting is that eventually, you run out of people to give scarves and mittens to. And with the best will in the world, there are only so many you can wear yourself and not have people look at you funny.

So, flushed with success, I thought I’d try crochet next.

After all, there are so many lovely things you can make with crochet. Pretty lacy retro things. Cute little steampunk amigurumi. Calorie free cupcakes, even. I can knit (two needles) and I can do macramé (no needles). Crochet (one hook) should be somewhere in between the two. Easy, right?


I have a confession to make regarding the noble art of crochet: Reader, I suck at it.

I’ve tried, believe me. I have an assortment of hooks and how-to guides, not to mention a small mountain of yarn, bought in a sudden burst of enthusiasm. They languish, now, in the Discarded Projects Bag of Shame. I can manage the chain stitch—although the links tend to vary in size quite alarmingly—but any attempt to do anything more complicated is an utter and complete failure. Whilst I’m generally quite proficient in counting numbers up to five and even beyond, I can never seem to work out correctly which is the second, third or whatever chain from the hook.

So when I’m asked if I crochet, the answer is that no, I do knot.

Question: Do you crochet? (If so, can you recommend an idiot-proof way of learning – please?!) Or have you never felt the urge to become a hooker? 😉


Lock NutStill waters run deadly.

Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.


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.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

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

Connect with JL:


To celebrate the release of Lock Nut, JL Merrow is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 19, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.


  1. Purple Reader says:

    Congrats and thanks for the post. The book sounds great, but no, I do knot crochet or knit. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  2. Love this series, looking forward to the new release. I love crochet and needlework. Knitting is another story, I can knit one and purl one to make a scarf and that’s about it. Thank you for your post.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Sounds good! I don’t do any kind of needlework. I’m physically incapable now, but even when I could, I only tried it a little bit.
    jlshannon74 at

  4. Narelle Hunter says:

    I really looking forward to this book. Congrats on the release
    Is is available at Amazon yet? I haven’t checked for a couple of days, and last time i checked it only had the paperback version
    I don’t crochet. I like the idea of it, but i don’t really have the patience and prefer to read in my spare time 🙂
    Maybe i’ll learn later on 🙂
    rellyh75 [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. I marvel at what people can do with yarn, but somehow I just haven’t felt like taking up the hook…


  6. I love handwork … that’s done by other people. I do KNOT knit or crochet; I tried to learn once as a child and ended up with one long chain as I could KNOT figure out how to turn around to start a second row. Congratulations, J.L., on your new (KNEW?) book, and best wishes for its success.

  7. I don’t crochet but I’d love to learn. My aunt can make beautiful crocheted things. violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  8. Marilyn Treuil says:

    Congrats on the new release. I tried to learn to crochet many years ago. I quickly learned I’m not meant to crochet. Me

  9. I do crochet but I don’t know of any books. i just looked up youtube video for beginners because when i first tried to read instructions I was so confused. You can youtube single chain, double chain, slip stitch, magic circle and then look for beginner projects. You can actually make a scarf juust with the single chain and/or slip stitch. Learning the magic circle will help with making hats, socks, and arugami crochet.

    • humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    • Yeah, I think I may have to watch some videos. I’ve always preferred books for “how-to” instructions, but I suspect this may be one area they’re not going to cut it!

      “Magic circle” sounds like arcane knowledge man (or woman) was not meant to wot of…. 😉

  10. I don’t have the patience for needlework… but I used to knit when I was a kid.
    I’m at about 50 percent on Lock Nut, and it’s as good as the rest of the series. Tom’s adorable. 🙂

  11. Congratulations on the release, Jamie. I love Tom and Phil
    As for your question, I cannot crochet, even though I’ve tried, but I’m not good at it. I’m really good at embroidery, though. I see it as making a puzzle, but with different stuff. And I so love puzzles…

  12. Oh, I like that idea. Pulling an image together with different pieces.

    And thank you! 😀

  13. Thanks so much for the great post. I do crochet but prefer non-clothing items

  14. I really love this series. I’m reading this latest book now.
    kimandpete123 at gmail dot com

  15. Johanna J says:

    I don’t knit or crochet. My mom loved to crochet but I never was interested and she never volunteered to show me how. I do cross-stitch though it’s completely different but still crafty.

  16. Serena S. says:

    Congrats on the new release! And thanks for the post.

  17. nblibgirl says:

    I’ve always done some type of fiber art/craft but have never gotten into crochet. I have knitted (most recently several pink hats) but envy people who can sit and produce without seeming to think about it. Quilting is where I spend most of my fiber time these days. And audio books let me both read and work at the same time! Have downloaded the new book and plan to spend the rest of today getting reacquainted. nblibgirl at hotmail

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