Today I am so pleased to welcome R.L. Merrill to Joyfully Jay. Ro has come to talk to us about her latest release, You Can Do Magic. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Why I Love Shared World Projects

Greetings! I’m Ro and I am a firm believer that two or more heads are better than one when it comes to creating fascinating worlds! Not that I don’t love getting lost in my own world and writing the creepiest and kookiest love stories I can come up with, but I’ve had several opportunities to work with other folks on themed anthologies as well as standalone novels and novellas and I absolutely love it. 

You may have noticed that projects like the Carnival of Mysteries—a series of stories inspired by a world created by Rachel Langella—are more common these days and as both an author and reader, I absolutely love it! As a reader it exposes me to new authors I might not read otherwise, and as an author, I totally love the challenge.

When I was invited to take part in the Carnival project, I was stupid excited about it. Immediately I was picturing calliopes, carousels, and cotton candy. And corn dogs. OMG so excited. Music is always the first thing that inspires a story and I had a few songs on my playlist including “To The Shock of Miss Louise” by Thomas Newman from The Lost Boys soundtrack, which features one of my favorite carousels in the world at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk…but I digress. The carnival setting was so fun to explore, but it also fit nicely with my other series set during a traveling music festival, the Summer of Hush series. Combining the two made for a compelling story in You Can Do Magic, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. 

Once the books started coming out, I loved how different they all were and yet they incorporated unique parts of the carnival world. So far I’ve read Crow’s Fate by Kim Fielding, Go For The Company by Ander C. Lark and Magic Burning by Kaje Harper and all have a completely different tone and yet I loved them all. I can’t wait to read more!

I’ve had the honor of creating a shared world (The Banes of Lake’s Crossing), joining a long-running series (Magic and Mayhem Universe), and plotting stories for a new project next year as well as a second book in the Carnival of Mysteries series. I’m also a member of the Happily Ever After Collective on Patreon, which gives subscribers up to four novellas each month based on the same trope. Last year I had two books in the season, and this year I’ve got one set to release next year. I can’t tell you the trope yet, but it will be a story to warm the hearts of queer romance lovers everywhere! I hope to join more projects in the future once I’ve finished a few of my long-running series. I love a good challenge!

What are some of your favorite shared world series? I’d love to see your recs! You can send them to me at

Thanks for checking out You Can Do Magic: Carnival of Mysteries. I hope you enjoy! For more fun, check out the other stops on the blog tour and pick up the books in my adjacent series, Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn, both in KU for a limited time. And Stay Tuned for More…


you can do magic coverFrom the author of Foreword Indies Finalist Summer of Hush and BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist Brains and Brawn comes a new installment in the series, a contemporary gay romance with a side of time travel and magic.

Musical prodigy Kallos Alexandrou has played his calliope for countless visitors at Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, but his one-year residency has come to an end. Scars from a terrible tragedy in his past are the only explanation he has for his loss of speech and memory, but it’s time to move on, so when a music festival sets up next to the carnival, Mr. Ame sends him off with identification, a bottomless billfold, and a set of new clothes. Outside the carnival’s perimeter, Kal finds himself in an unfamiliar world surrounded by strange instruments and vibrant people like nothing he’s ever seen.

Ryan Wells is the troubled and celebrated lead singer of the metal band Backdrop Silhouette. He’s brought more than his share of baggage on the last cross-country Warped Tour, including harsh restrictions placed on him by his parole officer and the band’s label, but it’s the treatment from his bandmates that have him feeling unsettled. After a tough morning, he spots a strange young man playing carnival music on a keyboard backstage, and the sound takes him back to a particularly vulnerable time in his youth. Intrigued, Ryan asks the young man’s name, but he flees only to appear later as a replacement stagehand for the tour.

An invitation from the band Hush to ride on their bus gives Ryan and Kal a welcome distraction. They find the camaraderie and support they’ve both been craving…as well as a little magic and a fresh new romance. But the music business makes personal relationships difficult to maintain, and when the tour ends, Ryan and Kal will have to make a choice: move forward together on an uncertain path, or let fear keep them from trusting that sometimes you really can have everything you desire.

You Can Do Magic is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series. Each book stands alone, but each one includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains a Depression-era calliaphone, a Ouija board with a purpose, and tour bus hijinks that will warm your heart and make you gigglesnort. Reading Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn before this book will give you the full Warped Tour experience, but You Can Do Magic can be read as a standalone as well as the other books in the shared universe. Recommended 18+

Warnings: Mention of prior sexual abuse, off-page, no descriptions

Series Blurb:

Welcome, everyone, to the Carnival of Mysteries! In this shared element multiverse, we invite you to partake of an array of stories by an eclectic group of authors. You’ll find action, intrigue, mystery, danger, sweetness, and sorrow, but, above all, true love! So grab your ticket, indulge in some treats, experience a few thrills, maybe have your fortune read… there is something for everyone at the Carnival!

Buy Link:


rl merrill bio photoWhether she’s writing swoon-worthy contemporary romance featuring quirky, queer, and relatable characters or diving deep into the supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after closing the book. Ro writes inclusive romance for the Happily Ever After collective, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired tales and music reviews for A mom, wife, daughter, and former educator, you can find her rocking out in her Bronco with Great Dane pup Velma, being terrorized by feline twins Dracula and Frankenstein, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more…


R.L. is giving away a $30 Spotify gift card with this tour:

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