Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Spun!, the fourth of my contemporary MM romantic comedies in the Shamwell Tales series.
With friends like these . . .
An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.
Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?
Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.
Spun! is now available from Riptide Publishing.
About the Shamwell Tales
Welcome to Shamwell! A sleepy rural village in Hertfordshire, England, it’s the perfect place to move to for a little peace and quiet—or at least, you’d think so. But as a succession of newcomers to the village find, there’s more going on in these idyllic surroundings than cricket matches on the common and pints of ale in the local pubs.
As a place where everyone’s connected to everyone else, Shamwell’s rife with mishaps, mayhem, and misunderstandings—and the path of true love is no smoother than the ancient stone walls of the parish church.
Each contemporary romantic comedy in this series stands alone, but all feature a cast of characters drawn from Shamwell and its surroundings.
Check out the Shamwell Tales, available from Riptide Publishing!
In Praise of the Postie
You might be forgiven for thinking that, in this age of instant communication over the internet, there’s less of a role for the humble postman, plodding from door to door to deliver the mail.
But you’d be wrong: in fact, the internet itself contributes greatly to the postman’s load, with the exponential rise of internet shopping in recent years. Amazon’s drone deliveries are in their infancy—and only open to those select few who have large gardens and live close to a depot, not to mention dependent upon low weight loads, daylight, and that most fickle of variables in Britain at least, the weather. The fruits of our online shopping are still brought to us, in the main, by the postman.
And that’s not the only role he* undertakes. With the drastic decline of daily door-to-door deliveries of milk, the postman is, for some, the only person who comes to their door every day.
In 1984 the Earl of Kinnoull, speaking in the House of Lords, described milkmen as ‘unsung heroes who offer a vital service to our communities. They are inevitably cheerful, helpful people, who work very unsocial hours and are often very kind to the elderly. Along with postmen, they have a very special place in our society.’
With the milkman now as past his sell-by date as last month’s clotted cream, it’s the postman who’ll, as often as not, spare a few words for someone who hardly sees another person all day, or notice if the mail hasn’t been taken in by an elderly householder, a warning of possible illness or injury. The postman’s deliveries can be a literal lifeline for the housebound, and he’s a recognised, friendly face in the community. He’ll probably know quite a lot about what’s going on in the community, too: for example, the customer who has a bank account they doesn’t want their partner to know about, so gets the statements delivered two doors down.
I knew I wanted Rory in Spun! to work in some kind of caring profession, although nothing so overt as, say, working in a hospice or care home. Like Rory himself, the profession of postman has hidden depths.
Perhaps sadly for the British postie he hasn’t, as far as I know, taken on the milkman’s other age-old cultural role—that of suburban Lothario. I’ve yet to see a postman version of this joke:
Man to his wife: I’ve heard the milkman has slept with every woman in this street but one.
Her: God, I bet it’s that stuck up bitch from number 20!
I blame the overthrow of traditional gender roles. ;) Which has itself led to this jolly jape:
Man: I don’t mind this role-reversal business at all. I am happy to stay at home when my wife goes out to work. I am happy to do the dishes and the rest of the housework - and, besides, our milkman is fantastic in bed.
Ah, don’t you just love cultural stereotypes? (Don’t answer that.)
Do answer this one though: I’m indebted to my own local postman, a real village character, for filling in the gaps of my mail-related knowledge when writing Spun! Have you got a favourite story of a postman/other tradesman who went above and beyond? I’d love to hear it!
*Or she, of course, but as recently as 2013, it was found that almost 90% of British postal workers were men, a statistic unchanged for decades, unlike in the US and Canada where the gender divide is much more even. I have no idea why this should be, although the Financial Times blames the unions.
About JL Merrow
JL 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. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, 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:
- Website: www.jlmerrow.com
- Twitter: @jlmerrow
- Facebook: facebook.com/jl.merrow
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/.J_L_Merrow
To celebrate the release of Spun!, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!