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Rainbow Snippets is celebrating Shakespeare

Not only is it Will’s 400th deathday today, it’s also (probably) his 452nd birthday, so here’s a little excerpt from Played!, my novel of amateur dramatics centred on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Tristan being a tad cranky on being woken up in the morning by a knock on the door:

 


Tristan hurled back the blankets (Nanna Geary hadn’t agreed with new-fangled duvets), marched to the window and flung it open to shout down at the street below. “Whoreson, beetle-headed, flap-ear’d knave!”

Con’s face stared up at him, his brow creased in a frown. “What did you just call me?”

Tristan gulped. His wooing, it appeared, was not getting off to an auspicious start.

 

rainbow snippits scissors

You can read a longer excerpt from Played! in my post on the Simply Shakespeare Blog Hop.

And don’t forget to check out all the other snippets on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group.


Played!72webAll the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart

Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.

A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.

Warning: contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

 

 Amazon | ARe | Samhain

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

simplyShakespeare


Today may be the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death – but it’s also (widely regarded as) his 452nd birthday.


So to celebrate, I’m taking part in the Simply Shakespeare Blog Hop


It’s impossible to overestimate the influence this one man’s work has had on English language, literature and culture.  Not only has he given us a whole phrasebook of common sayings, his plays are still relevant – and open to reinterpretation for the needs of a modern audience – today.


This is all the more remarkable considering how the English language – and how it it spoken - has changed since Shakespeare’s time, leaving some of his cleverest (and dirtiest) puns to fall sadly flat to the modern ear – see:  http://www.vox.com/2015/4/23/8479871/shakespeare-dirty-jokes


Some things never change, though:


Titus Andronicus: Act 4, Scene 2


CHIRON
Thou hast undone our mother.
AARON
Villain, I have done thy mother.


Yep. It’s a “your mom” joke. From the fifteenth century. 


And that, I think, is one of the secrets of Shakespeare’s lasting appeal: he didn’t just create sweeping dramas, with lyrical language showcasing a wider vocabulary than any other writer ever; he also knew just how much we all, secretly, love a low-down dirty joke.


Played!72webI’ll leave you with an excerpt from Played!, my rather heavily Shakespeare-influenced novel of amateur dramatics. In this scene Tristan (a professional actor) is helping the object of his affections, Con, to rehearse a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Con is to be Bottom:


“I thought we’d go back to the scenes with Titania. How’s your singing?”


Con looked supremely uncomfortable. “Dunno. Never really done any.”


“Excellent. Just remember, this is supposed to sound bad.” Tristan took a moment to berate himself for his epic failure of nerve, then another to breathe in the character of Nick Bottom. A puffed-up idiot who utterly failed to live up to his own expectations.


No, that wouldn’t be too far a stretch of his abilities right now. Tristan began singing in a nasal monotone, clapping his hands to the beat.


“The ousel cock so black of hue,


With orange-tawny bill,


The throstle with his note so true,


The wren with little quill,”


He broke off for a moment, a thought striking. “You could go for the laughs with cock and little quill, but remember you’ll be in full ass’s regalia then, so any subtle expressions are likely to be lost.” Tristan frowned. He never had had that conversation with Heather over Bottom’s costume. “Do we know yet what you’re going to have in the way of headgear? We should find out sooner rather than later.”


“Yeah. It’s just gonna be this sort of hood thing—Hev reckoned it’d be funnier. And, well, cheaper, than a full ass’s head.”


Tristan nodded. “No, that’s good—we could work with either, but it does make a difference. How about a tail?”


Con blinked. “Dunno. Is that in the play? I thought it was just his head that got changed.”


“Oh, you mustn’t underestimate the efficacy of a tail. One can do all sorts of things with a tail.” Remembering his goal, Tristan smiled flirtatiously and added a little of a leer for good measure.


Con, predictably, flushed.


“Ah, well. Onwards and tupwards, as the saying goes.” Con was frowning, but Tristan ignored it. “You, dear boy, are about to be seduced by a fairy. Are you ready?”


“Uh…”


“I’ll be the fairy. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed. Tristan patted the sofa impatiently until Con sat, perching upon the edge like a very large, very nervous bird preparing to take flight. Beaming, Tristan continued with both words and actions. “While I thy amiable cheeks do coy, and stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head, and kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.


Con swallowed audibly. “Uh, that was my real ear you just kissed.”


Amazon | ARe | Samhain

Rainbow Snippets has an attack of nerves

This little snippet from Brass Rags comes a little later than last week’s:

 

Close proximity to Robert had only served to amplify his roguish charms in Algy’s eyes, and Algy had been struck with an attack of wholly unwonted—and heartily unwanted—nerves. Whilst the man had proved himself an able student in the matter of pressing shirts, there had been absolutely no progress towards the matter closest to Algy’s heart.

(In metaphorical terms, of course. In purely physical terms it was a good eighteen inches away. Lessening to ten, obviously, when aroused.)

 

rainbow snippits scissors

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

 

 

Brass_Rags_400x600

In early twentieth century England, a good valet can be damned hard to come by—at least, when one’s requirements are quite so specific as Lord Algernon Huffingham’s. Algy likes a man with a firm hand. Preferably work-calloused, and applied with vigour to Algy’s aristocratic buttocks. He’s beginning to despair of ever finding a man who can give him what he needs and still respect him in the morning.

Disgraced footman Robert likes a roll in the hay as much as the next man. Preferably with the next man. But he’s more accustomed to following orders than issuing them—and some of his lordship’s requirements are a bit more extreme than he’s used to! Robert may be easy on the eye and flexible in his morals, but will he be able to rise to Algy’s challenge?

 Amazon | JMS Books

Brass Rags is out today

 

Brass_Rags_400x600In early twentieth century England, a good valet can be damned hard to come by—at least, when one’s requirements are quite so specific as Lord Algernon Huffingham’s. Algy likes a man with a firm hand. Preferably work-calloused, and applied with vigour to Algy’s aristocratic buttocks. He’s beginning to despair of ever finding a man who can give him what he needs and still respect him in the morning.

Disgraced footman Robert likes a roll in the hay as much as the next man. Preferably with the next man. But he’s more accustomed to following orders than issuing them—and some of his lordship’s requirements are a bit more extreme than he’s used to! Robert may be easy on the eye and flexible in his morals, but will he be able to rise to Algy’s challenge?

 

This story first appeared in the Men of the Manor anthology, and is now available as a standalone ebook for the first time from JMS Books

Amazon | JMS Books | ARe

 

And for the first week it’ll be on sale at 20% off from JMS Books only. Get it while it’s cheap!

Unless you’ve already bought the anthology. In which case, you probably shouldn’t bother. Winking smile

Rainbow Snippets heads for the stables

My snippet this week is taken from my historical short story, Brass Rags, which will be coming out as a standalone e-book for the first time on Sunday 3rd April and is now available to pre-order. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek tale of a young gentleman with, ahem, unusual tastes looking for love—or at any rate, lust—in low places:

 

Buggered, Algy thought sadly to himself some time later, was the one thing he was not. He kicked moodily at a dandelion—or possibly a rhododendron; horticulture had never been his forte—as he strolled through the rather lovely grounds of Blithering Coombe, Cedric’s father’s estate. It was a damned shame it hadn’t worked out with Hibbert—in many ways, he’d been the ideal servant: discreet, reliable and a stevedore in the sack.

Where on God’s green earth was Algy going to find another man like that?

As so often when his thoughts turned to potential lovers, Algy found his feet had turned towards the stables. There were so many interesting things to be found there—whips, bridles, assorted arcane items of leather and brass, their purpose lost in the mists of time…Algy adjusted himself hastily in his trousers.

 


rainbow snippits scissors

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

 

 

Brass_Rags_400x600Brass Rags


In early twentieth century England, a good valet can be damned hard to come by—at least, when one’s requirements are quite so specific as Lord Algernon Huffingham’s. Algy likes a man with a firm hand. Preferably work-calloused, and applied with vigour to Algy’s aristocratic buttocks. He’s beginning to despair of ever finding a man who can give him what he needs and still respect him in the morning.


Disgraced footman Robert likes a roll in the hay as much as the next man. Preferably with the next man. But he’s more accustomed to following orders than issuing them—and some of his lordship’s requirements are a bit more extreme than he’s used to! Robert may be easy on the eye and flexible in his morals, but will he be able to rise to Algy’s challenge?


This story first appeared in the Men of the Manor anthology, and is due out as a standalone ebook for the first time from JMS Books 3rd April 2016


If you’ve got the anthology, this edition of the story is almost exactly the same as the one you have already.


Available to pre-order: Amazon | JMS Books

Brass Rags now available to pre-order

Brass_Rags_400x600

My historical short story, Brass Rags, which appeared in Rob Rosen’s Men of the Manor anthology, will be coming out as a standalone e-book for the first time on Sunday 3rd April and is now available to pre-order. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek tale of a young gentleman with, ahem, unusual tastes looking for love—or at any rate, lust—in low places. 

If you’ve got the anthology, this edition of the story is almost exactly the same as the one you have already. Smile

Brass Rags


In early twentieth century England, a good valet can be damned hard to come by—at least, when one’s requirements are quite so specific as Lord Algernon Huffingham’s. Algy likes a man with a firm hand. Preferably work-calloused, and applied with vigour to Algy’s aristocratic buttocks. He’s beginning to despair of ever finding a man who can give him what he needs and still respect him in the morning.

Disgraced footman Robert likes a roll in the hay as much as the next man. Preferably with the next man. But he’s more accustomed to following orders than issuing them—and some of his lordship’s requirements are a bit more extreme than he’s used to! Robert may be easy on the eye and flexible in his morals, but will he be able to rise to Algy’s challenge?

This story first appeared in the Men of the Manor anthology, and is due out as a standalone ebook for the first time from JMS Books 3rd April 2016

Available to pre-order: Amazon | JMS Books

Rainbow Snippets wishes you a Happy Easter

This week, I was going to post a snippet from my actual Easter Bunny flashfic, snappily titled “A Little Bit Like the Tooth Fairy (Only Not Quite)” but, uh, it’s a bit violent and might not be suitable for sensitive souls. Or anyone who likes bunnies. Plus, since the demise of online magazine Reflections Edge there’s nowhere I can direct you to read the rest of it (should anyone actually want to).

So instead, here’s a snippet from another bunny-themed short story of mine, Hairy, Horny and Over Here:

Note: no bunnies are harmed in the course of this story. I can’t say the same for the human characters, however!

 

"Be vewwy, vewwy quiet, we're hunting—" Ethan broke off as a shotgun, held in a pair of unusually beefy hands, swung toward him and took up position about 3 inches from his left nostril. "Joke, okay?" He swallowed, and tried to ignore the chill tap-dancing down his spine. "Sense of humour failure, much?"

His heavy black brows casting his dark eyes in even darker shadow, Logan very noticeably didn't move the gun away. "Joking like that is what gets guys killed, out in the bush."

 

rainbow snippits scissors

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

 

Photographer Ethan is pretty sure there’s no such thing as a jackalope—every bunny he’s ever seen has been a cute little furry thing, not a dangerous, horned beastie. But somehow he finds himself dragged into Parkhurst Forest to look for them by big, tough hunter Logan, who drives Ethan mad with continual comments about his “daintiness.”

When the jackalopes lure Logan away, however, Ethan is left to the mercies of an escaped convict from the local prison. Rescue comes from an unexpected source—and Ethan discovers the true reason for Logan’s personal remarks!

Available in ebook

Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy is out today!

BoyMeetsBoy_v1Out now: the 4th in the Mad About the Brit Boys series of mini-anthologies featuring stories by me and the very lovely Josephine Myles:

Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy

Good men come in threes!

Three’s definitely not a crowd in this trio of contemporary erotic male/male/male ménages with a very British flavour from gay romance favourites Josephine Myles and JL Merrow.

Let your fantasies run wild as you take in the fit bodies down at the gym, or enjoy a very special birthday present from a loving partner. And even a trip to the dentist can be enjoyable with the right sort of distraction!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology:

Kit Bag by JL Merrow

Working late at the gym one night, Kit’s delighted when two of his fantasies made flesh come in for a workout. The guys he’s dubbed Black Muscle Vest and Grey Sweats are tall, gorgeous and insanely built, and Kit can hardly take his eyes off their glistening, pumped-up muscles.

But he’s not the only one who’s been dreaming of a little hot and sweaty man-on-man-on-man action. Harry and Sven are only too happy to make Kit’s fantasy a reality in the changing room—and Kit’s going to get a workout of his own he’ll never forget!

Unwrapped: The Birthday Gift by Josephine Myles

All Dave wants for his birthday is a threesome, and his devoted boyfriend Mark is keen to oblige. Enter Pedro, the mysterious stranger they pick up from the pub. Taking him home with them promises a scorching encounter… if only Dave can deal with his nerves first!

Getting a Filling by JL Merrow

Ivo’s terrified of going to the dentist, even with his lover, Colin, there for moral support. But when the dentist turns out to be gorgeous—and gay—fear turns to flirtation. The next time Ivo ends up in the dentist’s chair it’s a lot more fun, as the support Colin and Ted give him is very immoral indeed!

Available exclusively on Kindle

Amber Quill & Lethe Press sales

PermanentlyLeglessSexLiesEdelweissMedAs many of you will already know, Amber Quill Press is shutting down at the end of March. So this is just a quick reminder that if there are any Amber titles you’ve had your eye on, now is the time to grab a copy if you don’t want to wait an indefinite amount of time for a new edition.

There are a whole host of m/m books by top authors there, and they’ve got a site-wide sale on right now, so don’t miss out!

I’ve just got two titles with Amber myself:

Permanently Legless will be re-issued fairly soon by JMS Books, but I don’t have any firm plans for Sex, Lies and Edelweiss yet, so this will be your last chance to buy it for a while.

 

And while I’m on the subject, don’t forget Lethe Press is currently having a sale on e-books – ALL titles are at the ridiculously low price of $1.50 until the end of March. My e-reader thinks it’s Christmas! Winking smile

Rainbow Snippets is feeling nostalgic

rainbow snippits scissors

Facebook reminded me that on this day in 2013 I posted about my romantic comedy Slam! (the first review was just in – always a nailbiting time chez Merrow!) so that seems as good an excuse as any to give you a snippet from it:

Here’s a bit from the beginning, where our hero Jude is talking with his best mate, Keisha:

 

 

“Keisha, my love,” I said in my fey-est, gayest drawl, “your bum doesn’t just look big, it is big. No, I take that back. It’s enormous. Planets feel inferior beside it. Lesser bums are drawn into orbit around it. Last time it went dark, everyone said, Oh, is it an eclipse? And I told them, ‘No, it’s Keisha’s bum blotting out the sun.’ I could compose odes to the size of your bum. In fact, I feel the muse stirring within me as we speak—”

“Nah, that’s just your dick ’cause of Karate Crumpet jogging past in his jim-jams.”

 

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

 

SLAM!72webLimericks, lies and puppy-dog eyes
Jude Biggerstaff is all the way out and loving it—mostly. The Anglo-Japanese university graduate is a carnivore working in a vegan café, an amateur poet with only one man in his life. His dog, Bubbles.

Then there’s “Karate Crumpet,” a man who regularly runs past the café with a martial arts class. Jude can only yearn from afar, until the object of his affection rescues him from muggers. And he learns that not only does this calm, competent hunk of muscle have a name—David—but that he’s gay.

Jude should have known the universe wouldn’t simply let love fall into place. First, David has only one foot out of the closet. Then there’s Jude’s mother, who lies about her age to the point Jude could be mistaken for jailbait.

With a maze of stories to keep straight, a potential stepfather in the picture, ex-boyfriends who keep spoiling his dates with David, and a friend with a dangerous secret, Jude is beginning to wonder if his and David’s lives will ever start to rhyme.

Warnings: contains a tangled web of little white lies, a smorgasbord of cheesy limericks, a violin called Vanessa, some boots that mean business, and the most adorable little dog ever. Poetry, it’s not…

WINNER of the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy

Available in ebook & paperback:                 Samhain | Amazon