Rainbow Snippets is Coming Home

I may be mistaken, but I believe there’s something of some minor importance going on this weekend in the world of English (and European) football.

So this week’s snippet features Tom Paretski in Blow Down, #4 in my Plumber’s Mate Mystery series, waxing lyrical about his favourite sport. It was an interesting scene to write – the views expressed within are very definitely not those of the author! 😉

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?

Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors

Blow Down – #4 in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series

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Death is what happens while 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, but his heroism at a pub fire has made him a local celebrity, and now everyone knows about his psychic talents—and wants a piece of them.

Hired to recover a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, find themselves trying to unmask a killer. And there’s no shortage of suspects, including the local bishop.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they’re 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 baulk at killing again. If Tom and Phil don’t watch out, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Amazon paperback | Kindle Riptide 

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Rainbow Snippets is feeling the heat

Or at least, my characters are. Where I am right now it’s intermittently overcast and a little on the chilly side, at least if you’re not being active. Which for those of us who tend to wilt in the heat, is not necessarily a bad thing!

Today’s snippet, however, recalls sunnier days. Obviously, it’s not set in Britain! 😉 It’s taken from Stop Cock, #6 in my Plumber’s Mate Mystery series:

Naples was a little on the warm side. By which I mean, blisteringly, arse-roastingly hot. You could have used the pavement to fry your eggs on, not to mention any mad dogs and Englishmen who happened along. Like, for example, yours truly and his newly wedded husband. I couldn’t see a handy thermometer on any nearby buildings as we trundled our cases out of the airport, but forty Celsius probably wasn’t far off—that’s over a hundred in old money.

Rubbing the sweat off my brow, I turned back to Phil. He was looking annoyingly fresh, crisp, and tasty . . . Okay, so the annoyance might have turned into lust somewhere along the route. I sent him an appreciative smile that hopefully didn’t come off too soppy. “When they said see Naples and die, they meant from heatstroke, didn’t they?”

Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors

Cover of Stop Cock shows smiling Tom and Phil in Southern Italy holiday snap by a lemon tree, with background of ancient ruins.

A match made in heaven – but the honeymoon from hell

Plumber Tom Paretski and his newly-wedded husband, PI Phil Morrison, plan to enjoy their honeymoon in Italy to the full. It should be the start of a wonderful future together. But when Wayne—Phil’s ex best mate and Tom’s former bully—turns up unexpectedly at their hotel, issues from their schooldays threaten to derail the fun. Tom may not bear a grudge against Phil for past injuries any longer, but Wayne’s another matter—or is he?

Wayne now seems determined to make friends, but Tom’s struggling to forgive and forget. To add to his confusion, cryptic messages from home spark the question: Are he and Phil are really as in tune as he thought? Tom’s not the first man Phil ever made a commitment to, and that marriage turned sour sooner rather than later.

It shouldn’t surprise them when death explodes onto the scene in shocking fashion, and their honeymoon turns into a murder investigation. When the group of locals Wayne had been meeting with turn their attention to Tom’s psychic abilities, he and Phil will need to pull together to figure out what’s going on—or risk this trip being the last they’ll ever take.

Available in ebook and paperback: Riptide | Amazon

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Rainbow Snippets is back – and remembering Prides past

Blimey, it’s been a long time since I did one of these. Spoons have been in short supply of late, a feeling I’m sure you’re all familiar with in these interesting times. But I couldn’t let Pride month go by without a snippet. This one features Tom Paretski, slightly psychic plumber from my Plumber’s Mate Mystery series, and is set during London Pride:

It was like trying to run through custard. Which was actually kind of an appropriate thought, seeing as how most of the crowd was, in varying proportions, hot, colourful and downright tasty. Everyone and his puppy-play pal was out on the streets of Soho for Pride, and most of ’em were wandering down Old Compton Street in the wrong bloody direction.

The right direction being, obviously, the one in which I was trying to chase after a would-be murderer. He was dressed as an angel, in gold lamé shorts and matching wings, which you’d think would help him stand out in a crowd. Generally speaking, you’d be right.

In the middle of Pride? Not so much.

Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors

The snippet is taken from The Drag Queen Wore Red, a short story in the Capital Crimes anthology:

The Drag Queen Wore Red – #3.5 in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series

Capital Crimes no blurbs

‘A rich and varied assortment of dark minds and dark deeds. Deliciously disturbing.’ Peter James -2015 Voted by WH Smith readers The Best Crime Author Of All Time

“For anyone whose literary tastes run to the dark and the twisty, CAPITAL KILLS is a damn near perfect taster menu.” – Simon Toyne – international bestselling author of theSanctus trilogy

Contains my story The Drag Queen Wore Red, a short story in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series (set between Heat Trap and Blow Down)

Available on Amazon

And Tom and his spanking-new husband Phil feature in my new release, Stop Cock:

Stop Cock – #6 in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series

Cover of Stop Cock shows smiling Tom and Phil in Southern Italy holiday snap by a lemon tree, with background of ancient ruins.

A match made in heaven – but the honeymoon from hell

Plumber Tom Paretski and his newly-wedded husband, PI Phil Morrison, plan to enjoy their honeymoon in Italy to the full. It should be the start of a wonderful future together. But when Wayne—Phil’s ex best mate and Tom’s former bully—turns up unexpectedly at their hotel, issues from their schooldays threaten to derail the fun. Tom may not bear a grudge against Phil for past injuries any longer, but Wayne’s another matter—or is he?

Wayne now seems determined to make friends, but Tom’s struggling to forgive and forget. To add to his confusion, cryptic messages from home spark the question: Are he and Phil are really as in tune as he thought? Tom’s not the first man Phil ever made a commitment to, and that marriage turned sour sooner rather than later.

It shouldn’t surprise them when death explodes onto the scene in shocking fashion, and their honeymoon turns into a murder investigation. When the group of locals Wayne had been meeting with turn their attention to Tom’s psychic abilities, he and Phil will need to pull together to figure out what’s going on—or risk this trip being the last they’ll ever take.

Available in ebook and paperback: Riptide | Amazon

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Out Today: Stop Cock, Plumber’s Mate Mystery #6

Want to tag along on Tom and Phil’s honeymoon? Well, now’s your chance! It’s finally here: the new Plumber’s Mate Mystery, Stop Cock (And spoilers! The honeymoon doesn’t quite go to plan!)

Cover of Stop Cock shows smiling Tom and Phil in Southern Italy holiday snap by a lemon tree, with background of ancient ruins.

A match made in heaven – but the honeymoon from hell

Plumber Tom Paretski and his newly-wedded husband, PI Phil Morrison, plan to enjoy their honeymoon in Italy to the full. It should be the start of a wonderful future together. But when Wayne—Phil’s ex best mate and Tom’s former bully—turns up unexpectedly at their hotel, issues from their schooldays threaten to derail the fun. Tom may not bear a grudge against Phil for past injuries any longer, but Wayne’s another matter—or is he?

Wayne now seems determined to make friends, but Tom’s struggling to forgive and forget. To add to his confusion, cryptic messages from home spark the question: Are he and Phil are really as in tune as he thought? Tom’s not the first man Phil ever made a commitment to, and that marriage turned sour sooner rather than later.

It shouldn’t surprise them when death explodes onto the scene in shocking fashion, and their honeymoon turns into a murder investigation. When the group of locals Wayne had been meeting with turn their attention to Tom’s psychic abilities, he and Phil will need to pull together to figure out what’s going on—or risk this trip being the last they’ll ever take.

 

Available in ebook and paperback: Riptide | Amazon

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Once More with Audio Codes

I’m delighted to say that Heat Trap, #3 in my Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, is now available in audio.

So to celebrate, I’m giving away Audible codes! I have 3 US and 2 UK codes to give away.

Old flames can leave a nasty burn.

It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit by a shocking revelation about his family, and he’s been avoiding dealing with it ever since. His lover, PI Phil Morrison, wants Tom to dig deeper into his history and try to develop his psychic talent for finding things, but Tom’s not nearly so keen. Just as he decides to bite the bullet, though, worse problems crawl out of the woodwork.

Young Devil’s Dyke barmaid Marianne has an ex, Grant Carey, who won’t accept that things are over between them, and he’s ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets in his way.  When Carey threatens an old friend of theirs, Phil and Tom step in to help—but that makes them targets themselves.

What with his uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the uncovering of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, Tom’s not sure who he can trust—and the body he finds in the pub cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Amazon | Audible

To be in with a chance, just leave a comment on this post (wherever you see it) stating your email address and whether you’d prefer a US or UK code. I’ll make the draw around teatime on March 8th. Good luck!

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Plumber’s Mate Mysteries News – and a Giveaway

I’m delighted to say that the sixth Plumber’s Mate Mystery, Stop Cock, will be coming out from Riptide Publishing on 14th June 2021. Cover to be revealed soon – but meanwhile, here’s the blurb:

A match made in heaven – but the honeymoon from hell

Plumber Tom Paretski and his newly-wedded husband, PI Phil Morrison, plan to enjoy their honeymoon in Italy to the full. It should be the start of a wonderful future together. But when Wayne—Phil’s ex best mate and Tom’s former bully—turns up unexpectedly at their hotel, issues from their schooldays threaten to derail the fun. Tom may not bear a grudge against Phil for past injuries any longer, but Wayne’s another matter—or is he?

Wayne now seems determined to make friends, but Tom’s struggling to forgive and forget. To add to his confusion, cryptic messages from home spark the question: Are he and Phil are really as in tune as he thought? Tom’s not the first man Phil ever made a commitment to, and that marriage turned sour sooner rather than later.

It shouldn’t surprise them when death explodes onto the scene in shocking fashion, and their honeymoon turns into a murder investigation. When the group of locals Wayne had been meeting with turn their attention to Tom’s psychic abilities, he and Phil will need to pull together to figure out what’s going on—or risk this trip being the last they’ll ever take.

And book #2, Relief Valve, is now available in audiobook, and #3 and #4 are on their way!

To celebrate, I’ve got 3 US and 2 UK audible codes for Relief Valve to give away:

If you dig up the past, be prepared for some dirt to stick.

The relationship between Tom Paretski, a cheeky plumber with a gift for finding hidden things, and PI Phil Morrison may only be a few weeks old, but already it’s under attack. Tom’s friends and family are convinced the former bully isn’t good enough for him, and they’re not shy about saying so.

Then Tom’s prickly older sister, Cherry, is poisoned at her own engagement party. Tom’s left reeling and not knowing who to suspect. Could it be her new fiancé, Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and a taste for taxidermy? Or someone from her old writers’ circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister? Meanwhile, Tom’s honorary auntie’s left him a gag gift from beyond the grave that could be more significant than anyone knows.

Phil’s fighting against the clock to solve the case before somebody ends up dead. And with the poisoner hiding a dark secret, Phil’s terrified Tom could have been the target all along.

Amazon & Audible

To be in with a chance, just leave a comment on this post (wherever you see it) stating your email address and whether you’d prefer a US or UK code. I’ll make the draw around teatime on Valentine’s Day. Good luck!

ETA: The draw is now closed, and all winners have been contacted. Thanks to everyone who played! 🙂

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Bleak Midwinter Quiltbag Funfest

Blurred frosty scene in background; snowflake in foreground; text: Bleak Midwinter Quiltbag Funfest Dec 26 to Jan 6

Merry Midwinter greetings to you all!

A bunch of authors of queer historical fiction from the QUILTBAG Historicals FB group have got together to brighten this dark time with posts loosely (sometimes very loosely!) themed around the 12 days of Christmas. And there’s a truly fantastic giveaway, which you can enter here – just follow the link and sign up with your email or FB to be in with a chance.

The theme today is turtledoves, and as I’m sure everyone knows, they’re commonly considered a symbol of lovers—faithful lovers at that, as the birds are reputed to mate for life.

I was amused to discover recently that “turtledoves” is also Cockney rhyming slang for gloves, which influenced my choice of snippet for you. It’s from To Love a Traitor, my novel set in the shadow of the First World War. Here we see our two would-be turtledoves, George and Matthew, early on in their acquaintance, attempting to rescue a cat from a tree on a chilly December evening:

They came to a stop at the foot of a large sycamore tree, almost at the end of Marlbury Crescent. “He’s there—look!” Matthew pointed, and George could just make out a pair of bright green eyes in an area of black-on-black. “Oh, you silly animal! How am I going to get you out of there?”

“Maybe he’ll come down if you call him?”

“Don’t you think he’d have come down by now if he could?” Matthew’s voice was anxious.

“Well, it’s worth a try, isn’t it?” George said practically.

“Marmaduke! Marrrrrrmaduke! Din-dins!”

Both of them called for what seemed like hours, coaxing and wheedling and banging the tin for all they were worth, but Marmaduke merely yowled at them and refused to budge. Matthew looked around for a moment. “There’s nothing for it. George, would you give me a leg up?”

George stared at him in disbelief. “Have you lost your mind? It’s dark, and it’s icy, and in case you’ve forgotten, you’ve only got one arm. And you want to go climbing trees?”

“I can’t leave him there all night! He’ll freeze!”

“I wasn’t suggesting we leave him there. Come on, if you go down on one knee, I’ll use you as a ladder until I can reach the lower branches.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. Now, come on before we all freeze.”

His face tight with worry, Matthew did as he was bid.

Jamming his hat down firmly on his head, George clambered awkwardly up, instinctively attempting the impossible feat of standing on his friend’s leg and shoulder without actually putting his full weight on the man. It was doubtless a relief to both of them when he finally managed to swing himself up into the branches of the tree.

There was already a thin layer of frost limning the branches. George’s leather gloves slipped on the bark, so he pulled them off with his teeth and let them fall, only to discover that frozen fingers were little better. Nevertheless, he climbed grimly onwards, determined to reach his goal if only to prevent Matthew trying anything ridiculous. Marmaduke yowled encouragement, while a faint “Be careful!” warmed his heart from below. His hat was an early casualty, and twigs snagged George’s hair and caught on his woollen scarf, pulling out great loops of wool and impeding his progress. Still he struggled on.

It felt like an age before he was able to look up and see Marmaduke’s eyes, not three feet away. George inched along the branch, its protuberances digging painfully into his stomach, queasily aware he was now level with the second-story windows of the nearest house. As he got within a foot of his quarry, it suddenly occurred to him he had absolutely no idea how he was going to climb down with a cat in his arms.

Marmaduke solved that problem neatly by employing George as a sort of human ladder, gratefully digging his claws into George’s flesh as he went.

* * *

Book cover: To Love a Traitor by JL Merrow. Young man gazes out soulfully.

Wounds of the heart are the hardest to heal

Solicitor’s clerk George Johnson has a secret goal when he moves into a London boarding house in the winter of 1920: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, was the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother Hugh his life.

Yet the more he gets to know his quarry, the more George loses sight of his mission—and his heart. Blessed with boyish good looks and charm in abundance, ad man Matthew is irrepressibly cheerful despite having lost an arm in the Great War—and soon makes plain his attraction to George.

Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, and George tries to tell himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding secrets of his own—including who he really is.

But as George’s feelings for Matthew grow, so does his desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres.  Even if it means he’ll lose the man he’s come to love.

Available in ebook and paperback: JMS Books | Amazon

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Holiday Cheer guest post and giveaway

I’m a guest today on Ofelia Grand’s blog as part of her Holiday Cheer event, where I’m talking about Christmas Magic – and there’s a giveaway! Why not pop on over and leave a comment to be in with a chance to win?

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Rainbow Snippets will remember them

Usually on Remembrance Sunday, we go to the service at the war memorial in the village – there’s always a big turnout. However, this year we were all asked not to congregate there, so we observed the silence on our doorsteps instead, and a couple of the neighbours said a few words from the service.

It seems appropriate to post a snippet from my WW1 novel, To Love a Traitor.

George has taken a room in the same lodging house as Matthew, whom he suspects of having been a spy in the war and responsible for the death of his brother. However, George finds he’s becoming far too close to the man he’s investigating:

“Matthew,” George whispered, laying a hand on his shoulder. Matthew started violently. “It’s all right,” George reassured him. “It’s just a dream.”

George started to unwind the sheets from the sweating form. It seemed to help—as Matthew’s limbs were freed, the thrashing eased. “Hush,” George kept repeating. “It’s all right. Just a bad dream.”

“George?” Matthew’s voice was hoarse. “George, what are you doing here?”

“I heard you cry out. I think you had a nightmare.”

“God, George… I was back there in the dugout, when that wretched shell landed and it collapsed… Oh Lord—you don’t want to hear about this. I’m sorry, George. Just being a bit of an idiot. Sorry to have woken you.”

Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors

To Love a Traitor

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Wounds of the heart are the hardest to heal

Solicitor’s clerk George Johnson has a secret goal when he moves into a London boarding house in the winter of 1920: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, was the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother Hugh his life.

Yet the more he gets to know his quarry, the more George loses sight of his mission—and his heart. Blessed with boyish good looks and charm in abundance, ad man Matthew is irrepressibly cheerful despite having lost an arm in the Great War—and soon makes plain his attraction to George.

Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, and George tries to tell himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding secrets of his own—including who he really is.

But as George’s feelings for Matthew grow, so does his desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres.  Even if it means he’ll lose the man he’s come to love.

Available in ebook and paperback: JMS Books | Amazon

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Rainbow Snippets is feeling pun-tastic

Autumn is upon us, and it’s a favourite season of mine, so this week’s snippet is from the appropriately named Fall Hard (see what I did there?)

Here, our amnesiac hero Paul is reconnecting with a former colleague in Iceland:

“Did I like it here?” I asked, anxious to change the subject. “I mean, I think I must have, but…”

“Oh yes—at least I think so.” Mags hesitated. “Of course, I was never quite sure how much was Iceland and how much was Sven.”

“Did you know him well?” Did I love him very much? was what I really meant.

“I—well…” She fiddled with the rearview mirror. The plastic figure of a red-haired, grinning troll someone—I?—had hung from it swung crazily. “I really only knew him through you.”

She hadn’t liked him, I was suddenly sure. I frowned. “How did I meet him?”

“Through a mutual acquaintance. Egil Skallagrimsson.” I blinked. She’d just named a man who’d been dead for a thousand years.

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When you’ve already paid the price for falling, is it safe to trust again?

An accident at Iceland’s Gullfoss Falls robbed British academic Paul Ansell of his American lover—and his memories of all their time together. Eight months later, back in the volcanic land to resume his research on bloodthirsty Viking Egil Skallagrimsson, Paul is still struggling to get his life back together. But trying to deal with his growing feelings for enigmatic Icelander and jet-boat driver Viggo is even harder.

Is Paul’s explosive attraction to this tall, tattooed, modern-day Viking all physical—or sparked by hidden memories?  Paul’s drawn to the idea of a fresh start, but troubled by Viggo’s odd reluctance to talk about their friendship before the accident.

Meanwhile, Alex Winter, a Boston history professor on a working holiday, won’t stop asking disconcerting questions. Unsure whom to trust, and unable to trust himself, Paul begins to suspect the fall at Gullfoss was no accident—but he’s about to learn that some things are better off forgotten.

Available in ebook: Amazon | Kobo iTunes | B&N

Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors

And there’s still (just!) time to enter the Pressure Head Audiobook Giveaway

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