Rainbow Snippets wishes you a Happy Pi Day

In honour of March 14th, commonly known as Pi day, this week’s snippet involves (a) a maths teacher (Robert) and (b) some food (although not pie, I’m afraid!)

Here, near the start of Caught!, posh boy Robert and his down-to-earth friend/colleague Rose are sitting down to a takeaway. Robert, our narrator, speaks first:

“Is it supposed to be this oily?”

“Come on, it’s not that bad. Takeaways are always greasy. That’s part of the attraction.” She emptied out half the container of rice onto her plate and the rest onto mine.

“It is?”

“Well, yeah. Knowing you’re being a bit naughty is always fun. And hang on, are you telling me you’ve never had a takeaway before?”

My shoulders tensed. “Um, no? Why would I want to tell you something like that?”

“Oh my God. You haven’t, have you? What, did Nanny always cook your dinners right up until you left home?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I muttered, my cheeks burning. “I didn’t have a nanny.” Au pairs were an entirely different thing.

***

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Caught! – #1 in The Shamwell Tales

Caught-200x300

Bow ties are cool . . . but secrets, not so much

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

Available in ebook and paperback: Amazon Riptide 

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Rainbow Snippets is feeling Timey-Wimey

Apparently in some parts of the world, the clocks go back tonight (here in the UK, we have 3 more weeks to go) so it seemed appropriate to snippet from my tongue-in-chee time-travel short story, Back From the Future.

Our narrator Marty is house-sitting for his friend Bill, who has (perhaps unfortunately) warned him about the upstairs neighbour:

It wasn’t until the third day that I had an encounter with Bill’s neighbor upon the stairs. I was going up; so was he, but more slowly, being weighed down with a carrier bag that clinked loudly and enticingly.

Although the clothes, I was saddened to see, were somewhat tragic—he looked as though he’d been dressed by a mother with a penchant for particularly dimly lit Oxfam shops—he was, I would have to admit, not bad looking. Attractive, even, in a sort of fragile, androgynous, slightly tipsy way, if you like that sort of thing.  Which obviously, not everyone does.  It’s a matter of personal taste. I’ve even met people who claim not to like chocolate. Or martinis, or tiramisu, which is just criminal.

“You’re the weirdo?” I blurted, then clapped both hands to my mouth to stop any more little faux pas exploding out like farts in a parfumier’s.

***

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***

Back From the Future (short story)

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Ever since his one-night stand with big, butch, bisexual Bill, Marty’s been in the hopeless grip of a passionate, yet seemingly unrequited love.  House-sitting for the object of his affection, all he can do is cry on the scaly shoulders of Bill’s exotic fish—until he meets the tipsy time-traveller who lives upstairs.

Arthur Prefect (not his real name) is a refugee from a dystopian time, and he’s pining too, for the man he left back in the future. Over the course of a drunken evening, Marty dreams up a plan to reconnect the lonely young man with his lost love—but he’ll need to do more than dream to fix up his own future with Bill.

Available in ebook – JMS Books Amazon

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Rainbow Snippets is feeling convivial

As I was at a steampunk convivial yesterday (much fun and frivolity had by all), I thought I’d snippet today from Counter Culture, my novel featuring a romance between a steampunk – Archie – and a sales assistant (Robin, but he’s not in this snippet).

Here, Archie’s local steampunk group is brainstorming a suitable name for their esteemed organisation:

“Splendid Hitchworth Eccentrics and Explorers of the Paranormal?” the plague doctor suggested. “Although the acronym is perhaps somewhat lacking.”

Yeah, Archie didn’t reckon SHEEP really cut it, either. “Maybe if we added “Electric” at the start, to give us Electric SHEEP? No, hang on, that’d be cyberpunk. Ignore me.”

“How about Steampunks of Hitchworth, Including Time-travellers?” Bridge called out.

“I like that one!” That was River, who tonight was dressed down as David Tennant’s Doctor Who. They looked good in the sharp suit and overcoat, but Archie’s fave was their TARDIS outfit. It was epic, complete with flashing light on the top hat and woop-woop noises.

Somebody laughed, and River frowned. “Wait a minute . . .”

Perry had to call for order after the rest of them worked out that acronym and choked on their drinks.

***

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***

Customer service has never been this personal.

Robin Christopher, beleaguered retail worker, isn’t having an easy November. His boss is raising stress levels planning a Black Friday to end all Black Fridays, his family doesn’t understand him, and his best friend thinks his new crush is a hallucination brought on by watching too many episodes of Doctor Who.

Archie Levine dresses in Victorian style and divides his time between caring for his young son and creating weird and wacky steampunk gadgets from bits of old junk—when he’s not looking after his mum and trying to keep on good terms with his ex. The last thing he’s got time for is a relationship, but the flustered young man he met while disembowelling a fridge is proving very tempting.

When his mum’s social conscience is roused by a local store with a cavalier attitude to the homeless, former rough sleeper Archie shares her anger. Little does he know that Robin works for that same store. When Archie finds out he’s sleeping with the enemy, things could cut up very rough indeed.

Available in ebook and paperback: Riptide | Amazon

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Rainbow Snippets is coming out of print

I’ve asked for, and have been given, the rights back to my novels, novellas and short stories with Dreamspinner Press. It’s a sad decision, as they were one of the very first publishers I wrote for, way back in 2009.

So the following titles will no longer be on sale from some time after February 29th (allowing time for retailers to take them down):

Novels: Midnight in Berlin; Camwolf; Wight Mischief

Novellas: Snared; Poacher’s Fall; Keeper’s Pledge

Short stories: Hairy, Horny and Over Here; Stroke to His Cox; Becoming the Spoils

But the good news is: they will be back! The short stories will be re-released by JMS Books, and I’ll be self-publishing the novels and novellas and putting them into KU.

Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight – especially as with KU, I’ll need to be absolutely certain the books aren’t on sale anywhere before I can bring them out again.

So here’s a snippet from the soon-to-be-temporarily-out-of-print Becoming the Spoils (which will be getting a snappier title for the re-release – what do you think of Bloodlust and Bylines?):

Be careful what you wish for. That’s what they always say, isn’t it? Shame I never listened.

Look, it’s the story of the decade, right? Of the century, even. Vampires Are Real. Name a single journalist who wouldn’t give the body part of your choosing to scoop that one. Bit of a pity, then, that it looks like I’m going to have to go all the way. I mean, an arm, a leg—you can learn to live with that, can’t you? Or, rather, without it.

Every single drop of blood in your body? Not so much.

So it’s understandable that I’m just a little scared as they push me into the cellar. To meet Viktor. Viktor the Vampire. Who is, apparently, feeling a bit peckish tonight. And will, therefore, be extremely pleased to see me.

Lucky me.

***

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***

Frank’s a rising star in the world of journalism and he’ll do anything for the next big scoop. Getting locked in a cellar with a starving vampire wasn’t exactly on his career plan, though. It’s then that Frank realizes there are some things more important than a story—like staying alive, for instance. Luckily, his cellmate Victor turns out to be more than just a pretty face and a sharp set of fangs…

Available in ebook.

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Rainbow Snippets is celebrating Burns Night

25th January, as well as being my parents’ wedding anniversary (blimey – 62 years and counting!) is traditionally the day on which premier Scottish poet Robert Burns is celebrated. Happy birthday Rabbie – you’d have been 261 today! 🙂

So I thought it would be appropriate to share a snippet from an old story of mine set in Scotland, Snared. Here are the opening lines:

Martin used his elbow to ring the doorbell of the Callander B&B and did his best not to bleed on the paintwork.

“Good gracious!” The lady who opened the door blinked up at him like a startled lamb, the resemblance enhanced by her spry little figure and tightly curled white hair. She seemed at a loss for any further words. Martin didn’t blame her—after all, it wasn’t every day strange men turned up on your doorstep with their hands all covered in blood—at least, not in Martin’s experience, although maybe they did things differently in Scotland.

***

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***


When Martin Lowrie rescues a wildcat from a snare, he thinks a few scratches and a tetanus jab are the worst consequences he’ll have to face. But then he meets the enigmatic and strangely compelling Calum. He spends the night with the handsome, unsettling Irishman and discovers Calum’s secret: he’s the wildcat Martin rescued, in human form.

But Calum’s not the only werecat in the village, and the others aren’t so keen to risk Martin revealing their secret, no matter how much Calum wants to protect Martin from harm.

Available in ebook :  Dreamspinner | Amazon

And if you prefer mice to cats, you can read Burns’ poem on the subject here: https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/mouse/

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A Feminine Flirty Dozen – out now in ebook

I’m delighted to say that a collection of my f/f short fiction is now available in ebook – paperback due out next month.

And it’s on sale at JMS Books at 20% off – for a limited time only, so don’t delay!

A Feminine Flirty Dozen

Book cover of A Feminine Flirty Dozen by JL Merrow: features young lesbian couple embracing and wrapped in a blanket.

Together for the first time, twelve short stories of women loving women from award-winning author JL Merrow. Some are funny, some are sweet, some are steamy—and some are haunting, with genres ranging from steampunk through paranormal to fairy tale, and from contemporary erotic romance to historical.

Meet shapeshifters and spirits of the forest, enjoy a lovers’ reunion and watch friends become something more. Encounter strange creatures, automata, and women on both sides of the law. See two of Jane Austen’s minor characters find love together, and others find hope amid the ruins, as JL Merrow explores the feminine side of life—and love.

Contains the stories: London Lark; First Time; Nine Days and Seven Tears; Capture the Moon; A Particular Friend; Wild Flowers of Berlin; Trolling for Cupcakes; Little Bit of Ivory; Ice Maiden; Dance With Me; Belling the Kat; Blazing June

Available now in ebook: JMS Books Amazon

Due out in paperback February 2020

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Rainbow Snippets is better late than never

This week I’m snippeting again from the first Plumber’s Mate Mystery, Pressure Head, because why not? It’s still early days for Tom and Phil, in terms of forgiving and forgetting the past:

“You can’t just turn up after a dozen years, say oh, sorry, and expect us to be best mates all of a sudden,” I said, softening my tone a bit. “It doesn’t work like that.” I wished I knew how it bloody well did work.

“Want me to go down on my knees, do you?” Phil asked wearily, and all of a sudden I got a picture of just that. Him in his posh suit and all.

***

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***

Pressure Head – #1 in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series

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Runner-UpSM

Some things are better left hidden.

Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

Amazon | Riptide | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

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Rainbow Snippets is feeling nostalgic

I’m in the middle of writing the sixth Plumber’s Mate Mystery, which has a working title of Stop Cock, and is set in Italy while Tom and Phil are on honeymoon. So for this week’s snippet I’m going right back to the beginning, in Pressure Head, where they meet – brought together by a murder, of course – for the first time since their mutual schooldays, where they, ahem, didn’t exactly get on well. They’ve come a long way since then!

Morrison raised an eyebrow. “Oh? When did you join the force, Parrot—Paretski? Good thing for you they dropped the height restrictions.”

My jaw tensed. “I’m just here as a consultant.”

“Know a lot about hiding bodies, do you?” God, I’d forgotten just how much his snide tone got up my nose.

“Used to think about it all the time back in school,” I said pointedly.

***

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

***

Pressure Head – #1 in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery series

PressureHead_400x600.jpg
Runner-UpSM

Some things are better left hidden.

Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

Amazon | Riptide | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

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Rainbow Snippets is at the Sales

Like many retailers right now, Smashwords has a sale on, and all my eligible books are at 50% off!

You can find a full list here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JLMerrow

ETA: Sale ends January 1st, so you’ll need to be quick to snap up a bargain! 🙂

Here’s a seasonal snippet from just one of them: Caught!, the first of my Shamwell-set rom-coms, this one featuring a romance between a rat-catcher and an eccentric young teacher. Here, our narrator Robert is playing a game of Shag, Marry, or Shove Off a Cliff with his friend Rose, who speaks first:

“Right. Time for a tougher one. Pussy Galore, Solitaire, or Whatserface Onatopp?”

“Is run screaming from all of them an option?”

“Nope. Rules of the game. You’ve got to choose.”

“Well . . . wasn’t Solitaire the one with the tarot cards, who had to stay a virgin so she could keep her powers of prophecy? And Ms. Onatopp was the madwoman who killed men with her thighs?”

“Think so.”

“Then I’d enjoy a chaste marriage with Solitaire and hire a professional to shove Ms. Onatopp, ahem, off the top.” I sniggered. “So I suppose I’ll have to shag Pussy.”

There was a startled noise behind the sofa. “I’m sure that sounded entirely different in context,” Mother said, regaining her composure. “Now, I just came in to ask if you’d like any Christmas cake?”

***

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

***

Caught! – #1 in The Shamwell Tales

Caught-200x300

Bow ties are cool . . . but secrets, not so much

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

Available in ebook and paperback:

Amazon Riptide | Smashwords

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Rainbow Snippets is getting into the Christmas spirit

The first Christmas cards have arrived, I’m sitting here dressed in red and green and I’ve even managed to do a bit of present shopping, so here’s a snippet from my newly-released super-quick holiday read Just Like Santa.

Here, nursery worker Jason is doing his bit dressed as Santa for the kiddies’ Christmas party, while Alec is the single dad he’s fancied for ages (and it’s set in Britain, so “pants” don’t mean trousers!)

When Poppy’s turn for a present came, Alec led her up by the hand. She was bolder than all the rest and didn’t cry or hang back. I was so proud of her, standing there in her pink tutu skirt over her jeans—but instead of taking her gaily wrapped pack of felt tip pens, she turned to her dad and announced loudly, “Santa’s got funny pants on!”

I almost broke the no-swearing rule when I looked down and saw that my costume had split right along the inseam and up to the crotch, giving all the kids and their parents an elves’-eye view of just what Santa kept under his baggy red trousers.

***

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

***

Jason loves working at the Bright Eyes nursery, but he’s not so keen on what happens at the kids’ Christmas party. As if having to don an ancient, tacky Santa costume isn’t bad enough, he’s mortified when he suffers a costume malfunction. Especially as it happens right in front of the hot—and impeccably dressed—single dad, Alec, he’s fancied for ages.

But when Alec’s daughter Poppy invites Jason round for tea, he finds Alec was only too pleased to get a glimpse of Jason’s naff underwear. In fact, he’d like to see a whole lot more of it. A Christmas miracle? Maybe—but there’s one more embarrassment in store for Jason next morning.

This super-quick read first appeared in the I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus anthology

Available in ebook: JMS Books | Amazon

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