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Welcome to my blog, where I ramble on about writing, my life, and sometimes post dirty pictures.

Regular posts:

Motivation Monday

Where I post about what I aim to get done this next week, along with a brief update on how I did with my aims for the previous week. Will include writing as well as craft related stuff, and will be functioning like a master “to do” list, and hopefully replacing the myriad scribblings on backs of envelopes currently covering my desk…

Throwback Thursday

I’m already posting old pics of myself once a week on Facebook, but I’ll start sharing them here too, you lucky people :P

Social Saturday

This will be the real life update part of what was formerly Update Monday. Expect cute Daisy pics on a regular basis. And please, come along and share what you’ve been up to. I love to hear what all my regular commenters are up to!

Vintage Smut Sunday

Because I adore vintage porn and have been collecting it wherever I can. I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite drawings or photographs each week. I can’t guarantee it will happen every week as it takes me ages to set up these posts, but I’ll do my best as it’s such fun!

Use the links below to navigate to all the posts in a particular category:

Unsexy Professions: a Caught! blog tour post by JL Merrow

Unsexy Professions

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m tickled pink to be visiting my good friend Jo Myles today as part of the Caught! blog tour.

Caught72webFallHard72webGiveaway: I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of my Icelandic-set romantic suspense novel Fall Hard (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 1st September, GMT. Good luck! :D

Some memories are better off lost in the mist… Fall Hard

“Every profession has its pitfalls. Doctors, for example, are always being asked for free medical advice, lawyers are asked for legal information, morticians are told how interesting a profession that must be and then people change the subject fast

-         Neil Gaiman

ratThere are a lot of books around, particularly in the romance genre, with heroes in sexy professions. Cowboys are a subgenre all by themselves, and the shelves are overflowing with books about firemen, soldiers, veterinarians and cops, to name but a few. People like these guys. They’re masculine as hell, and you know you can rely on them in a crisis.

So why did I choose to write about a rat catcher, possibly the least sexy profession you can imagine?

no soldiersWell, time to ‘fess up—actually, some of you will know this already: it was entirely down to a jokey Yahoo group discussion of unsexy professions. Someone—possibly even me—suggested rat catcher, and immediately the plot bunny had me by the throat.

You see, I like bucking trends, in a quiet, British sort of way. My characters are not, as a rule, big macho firefighters or armed-to-the-teeth military men—they’re more likely to be bumbling accountants, academics or engineers.

And I’m not the only one, of course: the lovely Jo herself has written about loo cleaners and professional declutterers.

After all, why shouldn’t the less overtly sexy professions have a bit of love, too?

***

Question: what’s the least sexy profession you can think of? (Fair warning: if the bunny bites I may write a book about it—if I haven’t already done so!)

***

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

***

Caught72lgYou can run from the past…but the past runs faster

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

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

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

Warning: contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Samhain

It’s a Blooming Marvellous bank holiday deal!

Blooming Marvellous coverHi peeps! As it’s the August bank holiday over here in the UK, I thought I’d celebrate by offering a 75% discount on my anthology of very British short stories, Blooming Marvellous.

Until the end of Monday, Blooming Marvellous will be available for the bargain sum of $0.99 on Amazon and Smashwords, and $1.00 on All Romance eBooks (their software wouldn’t let me discount it further for some unknown reason!). It’s also discounted by 75% in all the other Amazon territories.

Kindle US | Kindle UK | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords

Grab yourself a copy now and please share the news on your social networks if you think others might be interested in getting themselves a bargain. Here’s a couple of review excerpts to whet your appetite:

The Romance ReviewBursting with originality, humor, lashings of lovely rudeness as well as a few surprises… Throughout each story, I was struck about the range and depth of her ideas, as well as the great way she writes about sex… Do I recommend this anthology? Only to folk who love great writing, great characters, want a damned good laugh whilst getting slightly hot under the proverbial collar at the rude interludes. And yes, that does rhyme, which seems the perfect way to end this review on a writer’s work which veritably sings its creativity off the pages.
Robyn Elliot at The Romance Reviews

Perhaps Ms. Myles should have titled the book: Blooming Marvellous and Other Delights. This four-star anthology of short stories is diverse and delightful, with something for almost every taste… In addition to its diversity and variety, the collection is edgy, engaging, entertaining, well paced, and layered… I’m “all in” for Josephine Myle’s somewhat dark, yet consistently brilliant, collection. You should be, too.
Christopher Stone at Queer Town Abbey

Author/reader events: the good news and the bad

Okay, I have updates on two events scheduled this autumn. One I’ve sadly had to pull out of, and one new one I’ve yet to announce here.

First the bad news: I’m not going to be attending GRL again this year. So disappointing, but I’ve thought long and hard about it and I think it’s the right thing to do. I’ll be seven months pregnant at the time and within the time window when some airlines won’t let me fly at all, and others would only do so with a doctor’s letter. I don’t think I’ll be able to get one of those as I’m booked in for dental treatment in the week before which will increase my chances of deep vein thrombosis–already higher than normal because of being pregnant. Also, I’m just not sure how much I’d be able to enjoy the event at that stage of pregnancy. I had terrible jet lag at RT, and I’d hate to ruin my first GRL by being constantly exhausted (and not able to drink to take my mind off it!)

I apologise to anyone who was looking forward to meeting me. I’m so sad I won’t get that chance to meet online friends in person, and to make new friends. Maybe next year, though…

But there’s good news too! I’m going to be at the inaugural UK Gay Romance Book Signing event in London on September 6th. It’s a free event and everyone is welcome to attend. You can check out more details over on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/478879022255681/482223885254528/

You’ll also find a post there requesting any orders for paperbacks of mine, but you can also let me know here if you’d like me to bring anything for you. I’ll be selling them at cost, which works out about half the Amazon prices, but I’ll need to know in the next couple of weeks if I’m to order them in time.

I hope to get a chance to meet some of you there!

Jo x

Motivation Monday: Summer holidays are here!

So, how did I do with last week’s aims?

  • Write 11k of Scrap, bringing it up to 70k. - Yes!
  • Freecycle stuff from the garage - nope. But I did go through my non-fiction books and cleared a good half a shelf of them, so some decluttering did happen :)
  • Repot the houseplants that need it (and a few outside that need it too) – I did a couple, but still have plenty that need attention.
  • Sow rocket seed for summer salads - nope. Want to do this with Daisy, and we just never seemed to find the time.
  • Tidy up “Daisy corner” in the living room. It’s a total state! – I did tidy it a bit, but it still needs proper sorting and stuff getting rid of.
  • Make time to create a Vintage Smut Sunday post - Sorry. Had a really busy weekend. Took Daisy over to Bristol for a sleepover at the boyfriend’s house. Thought it was about time, seeing as how we’ll be going away with him next weekend.

This week I’ll have very little time for doing anything much as Daisy is around most days, and then we’ll be going off to Weymouth for a long weekend (Daisy’s first holiday with Andy-eek! At least she seems to really like him, so we should be okay)

Here, then, is a very modest list of aims for the week, which now that I think about it, is mostly last week’s aims carried forward:

  • Write 5k of Scrap, bringing it up to 75k in total.
  • Freecycle stuff from the garage
  • Repot the houseplants that need it (and a few outside that need it too)
  • Sow rocket seed for summer salads
  • Sort and declutter “Daisy corner” in the living room.
  • Make time to create at least one of my other supposedly regular blog posts.

How about the rest of you? How are you getting on with your goals? Got any new ones you want to share here?

Motivation Monday: will this heatwave ever end?

Okay, here were last week’s aims and how I did with them. Please bear in mind, it’s been exceedingly hot over here in the UK, and the heat has sapped a lot of my energy:

  • Write 13k of Scrap, bringing it up to 59k. – I’m counting this as a success. Actually, I was 730 words short, but considering how I kept getting my writing days interrupted and cut short, I’m amazed I managed to get that much done.
  • Tidy and sort the garage, freecycling all the stuff I no longer need. - sort of. I did tidy, but haven’t yet got around to freecycling. However, I took some cuttings and overseeded the lawn, so I’ve been busy in the garden instead.
  • Write up my account of the UK Meet – nope. I think I might have to give up on this idea. Maybe I’ll just post some pics with a commentary instead.
  • Make time to create a Vintage Smut Sunday post! – sadly, my Sunday morning was too busy with housework. Then Daisy and I went swimming with friends at Centre Parcs in the afternoon. Sorry!

And for this week… well, it’s the first week of the school summer holidays (starting on Wednesday), so I know I’m going to be busier than usual. However, I have Daisy going in to a really good kids’ club on two of the remaining days, and I’m going for a spa day on Wednesday with my mate Rach, so I’ll get some time to myself!

Here’s what I hope I can manage to get done this week:

  • Write 11k of Scrap, bringing it up to 70k.
  • Freecycle stuff from the garage
  • Repot the houseplants that need it (and a few outside that need it too)
  • Sow rocket seed for summer salads
  • Tidy up “Daisy corner” in the living room. It’s a total state!
  • Make time to create a Vintage Smut Sunday post

What about the rest of you? Anyone got any goals for their week they want to share? :)

Motivation Monday: over halfway through the WIP!

  • Write 14k of Scrap, bringing it to a grand total of 46,000 words (over halfway through!)
  • Finish the bloody long-sleeved t-shirt! – I tried, but was having problems dealing with a twin needle for the hemming. And then my sewing machine broke down… :(
  • Make some fresh pizza dough (never done this before) - Bloody gorgeous it was too!
  • Piece the backing fabric for at least one of my three unfinished quilts. - I made some headway on one of them.
  • Declutter the area around my computer. – nope, but I decluttered one side of the living room instead.
  • Write and post my account of the UK Meet. - erm, no…

So, for this week I have some extra help around the house and garden (another lovely Workawayer has come to stay), and I’ll be able to get more stuff done decluttering-wise.
Here, then, are this week’s aims:

  • Write 13k of Scrap, bringing it up to 59k.
  • Tidy and sort the garage, freecycling all the stuff I no longer need.
  • Write up my account of the UK Meet
  • Make time to create a Vintage Smut Sunday post!

What about the rest of you? Anyone got any goals for their week they want to share? :)

Motivation Monday: a third of the way through the WIP

So, how did I do with last week’s aims?

  • Write 14k of Scrap - Almost. I ended up taking Wednesday off as a recovery day after my traumatic dentist visit, so it was only 11k. However, I stayed on track for all the other days, so I’m counting it as done :)
  • Get the Stuff print galley checked, including review quotes for the beginning.
  • Put review quotes on the Stuff website page.
  • Declutter the area around my computer. - This did not happen.
  • Finish the long-sleeved t-shirt- I would have done, if it hadn’t been for suddenly realising that while I had twin needles, I didn’t have one designed for stretch fabrics. Then when that arrived, I realised I’d need an extra spool of thread. You live and learn!
  • Write and post my account of the UK Meet. – FAIL!

However, I did manage to tick off something that never got done on a list from a previous week:

  • Buy supplies for finishing two of the quilts I started years ago.

This week’s aims:

  • Write 14k of Scrap, bringing it to a grand total of 46,000 words (over halfway through!)
  • Finish the bloody long-sleeved t-shirt!
  • Make some fresh pizza dough (never done this before)
  • Piece the backing fabric for at least one of my three unfinished quilts.
  • Declutter the area around my computer.
  • Write and post my account of the UK Meet.

Anyone else got any aims for the week ahead they want to share here?

Social Saturday: dental trauma

This week has been pretty much psychologically dominated by my trip to the dentist–namely the private gum doctor my NHS dentist referred me to, as the NHS funded Bristol Dental Hospital wouldn’t accept her referring me, as they didn’t think the problem was severe enough yet.

Anyway, it turns out that I have advanced aggressive gum disease (not my fault–I look after my teeth really well, but some people’s gums are just more susceptible to the bacteria). I’ve lost a centimetre of bone already in some parts of my jaw, so some of my teeth are extremely vulnerable as they’re only anchored by a very short length of root. It was a shock to hear things are that bad–you really wouldn’t think there’s anything wrong to look in my mouth, and there’s no pain and only very occasional bleeding. However, the problem has gone deep.

Fortunately, non-surgical private treatment is available that should sort out the problem once and for all (provided I thereafter follow an absolutely scrupulous oral hygiene regime), but it sounds horrendous (pulling the gum away from the teeth and scraping away the top layer of the root) and is going to cost me the grand total of £1360, plus an extra couple of hundred to buy a fancy electric toothbrush and various dietary supplements to help support the healing process. However, I’m going to do it. I lost one tooth last time I pregnant (needed root canal work, which they won’t do when you’re preggers, so I had it pulled instead), and I don’t want to lose any more this time around. I have to wait till October, though, as they’re booked solid until then.

On the bright side, going to a private dentist was a wonderful experience. Worlds away from the NHS in terms of comfort and patient care. I have to look on the bright side–and be grateful it’s been caught at this stage before I’ve actually lost any teeth.

I don’t really remember much more than that from my week, but I know I’ve done some nice things, like taking Daisy swimming today, and doing some work on a quilt top I started years ago. Here it is–ready to be quilted now. Wonder how many more years that will take me?!

Yellow Brick Road quilt top

What’s everyone else been up to this week? Share your good news!