Guest Post | A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou by JL Merrow


Today, JL Merrow is here to talk about A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou, and make sure to read all the way down to the end *wink*

Christmas Magic

In this troubled year, I think we all need a touch of whimsy and of magic for Christmas, and my short story with a long title, A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou, has a little of both. Young punk Liam is a busker on London Underground, and he has a serious crush on the silver fox who tosses him some change every evening on his way home from work—although they’ve never spoken. But Liam’s unconventional family may just manage to work a little Christmas magic to bring him and Neil together!

There’s long been a connection between Christmas and the supernatural. Victorians loved to read ghost stories during the season, wrapped up warmly in front of a roaring fire. Charles Dickens, who is in many ways responsible for our ideal of a “proper” Christmas, had elements of the supernatural in his Christmas Books, the most famous of which is, of course, A Christmas Carol. My tale is rather more modern, but I hope it hits a similar balance in teasing the reader with a hint of magic, while still leaving deniability plausible!

Here’s a short excerpt from A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou:

I walked into the living room three days before Christmas to find the coven was in full swing.

In case you’re thinking that sounds a bit weird, I should maybe mention I was raised by witches. Three of them, which anyone who’s read their Macbeth (or their Pratchett, for that matter) will know is the only sensible, or even possible, number of witches. I grew up with my Mum, my Aunty Des and Aunty Mags, all of us living together in the little house in Camden that used to belong to my Granny, God rest her. I’m Liam, by the way. Pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’m the one solitary male in the household, unless you count the cats. And to be honest, they’re not as male as they used to be, poor things.

There is, in fact, a fourth sister, my Aunty Gerry. Rejected by the coven on the cruel grounds of numerical superfluity, she became an Anglican priest to spite them. Well, that’s how she tells it, anyway, although I can’t say I’ve noticed a great deal of spite in their relationships.

“I pray for their souls every night,” Aunty Gerry told me piously one evening not so long ago, before collapsing into very un-Reverend-like cackles and passing the gin.

A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou


What’s the best gift a young, single man could receive for Christmas? Mohawked punk Liam wouldn’t have picked the hideous collection of homemade knitwear he’s presented with by his well-meaning mum and aunties. He’d much rather have the gorgeous older man he sees every day while busking at King’s Cross station. Liam’s been doing his best to seduce the guy with his saxophone playing—the trouble is, with the holidays coming up, he’s beginning to despair of his message getting through.

But with a little Christmas magic in the air, maybe those garish garments will be just the thing for attracting the attention of a silver fox…

JMS Books | Amazon 


This story is also available as part of the Stocking Stuffers bundle, and in the Winter Warmers and A Flirty Dozen anthologies.You can read a FREE mini-coda to this story on my website

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes award-winning contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.

Find JL Merrow online at:, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at


And for those who’ve read this far: I’m offering a free e-copy of A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips, and Thou to a randomly chosen commenter on this post. All you have to do to be in with a chance is to answer this question: Ugly Christmas sweaters: yes or no?

I’ll make the draw around teatime on Sunday 6th December, so be quick!


Guest Post | The Sir by Marco May


Throughout December, I will have a few author friends drop by to tell you about their holiday books. First out is Marco May who is here to share an excerpt from his book The Sir – a May-December, BDSM, M/M (MMM+) story.

The Sir is part of the 2020 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology from JMS Books that will be published on December 30th


“Consider it at the very least. And don’t let me catch you staring at me like a horndog again, you hear me?”
I gave him a rushed nod. “Yes, Sir.” As soon as he loosened his grip, I was out in no time. I exited the gym and shivered my way toward my cheap car in the vast parking lot of the shopping plaza. My teeth chattered, and I couldn’t wait to get home.
I revved the engine until the car wouldn’t start. I tried again and again and again, and I slammed my fist on the steering wheel at the fear of my cheap-ass car dying on me again like last winter. “Fuck, not this shit again! Arghhh!” I rested my forehead against the wheel and blew a hard, visible breath. So much for trying my hardest to be independent. Why this all of a sudden? And why now? I just wanted to get home and go about my day as usual.
As soon as raindrops fell in thuds against the slightly cracked windshield, I knew now that my life grew a middle finger and waved it at me. Freezing rain. Of course this was happening. Of course, of course, of fucking course—
A hard knock on the driver’s window startled me.
I was taken aback to find Nicholas standing there with a large black umbrella over his head. He gestured for me to roll down my window, and I did. I let out a breath and tried to smile, but I wasn’t in the mood to give a detailed explanation. “My car just died again.”
“I see that. I take it you need a ride?”
I sniffled. “Please?” I didn’t care how tacky it was to take advantage of his offer so quickly. There was no way I was walking so many blocks home while the bus system wasn’t always reliable.
“Come on, Jacques.” He led the way.
I got out of my car and followed him without minding that I was getting rained on. Jacques, though? How had he known that? “Hey, how did you know my French name?”
“You made a big stink about it months ago at the front desk.”
Oh. That. It’d been the last time I’d made the request and had given up ever since. To be fair, my snobby coworkers had mocked me over it and assumed I was being pretentious. I might have gotten a bit defensive.
I sniffled and formed a stronger smile at Nicholas while hopping inside his warm luxury sedan, also in black. He called me Jacques, though. He called me that when he could’ve ignored it and called me Jack, instead. I sensed I’d never forget it for the rest of my life.
Nicholas revved the engine and remained quiet for a moment. He gave me his usual serious look. “Now, before I drive to where you live, would you like to see the job offer, or would you rather me take you straight home?”
“So…this job…you said it pays more?” I was intrigued and wondered if it was actually a good idea to check it out. I had nothing better to do than to hang out at home. Theresa would probably go out with her friends at some point.
“Much more.”
“But, like, how much?” I closed my legs just a tad to avoid showing my growing bulge. He drove me nuts so fast, it was unreal.
“What you make in a year, you could easily earn in a few paychecks.”
My eyebrows flew up, and I suddenly realized there was no way it could’ve involved cleaning or cooking. Yet he was still being rather obscure about this. “What’s the actual job, though?”
“You’ll know when you’re there, hence my question. I’m a very private person, so you’ll have to see for yourself.”
Nicholas was a regular at the gym and had even been offended by my treating him like a hot piece of meat. I imagined he was far safer and tamer than the jerks I’d met before.
I drew in a deep breath and blew gently. The idea of no longer having to work in cleaning for what could be a big chunk of my life was the most appealing part of the offer. I looked at him and offered a small smile. Always the type to let intrigue take control of my decisions, I gave him a nod. “Let’s see the job, then.”

the sirTwenty-year-old Jacques fantasizes about being with much older men. All the guys he’s been with around his own age just didn’t cut it, and the one man he’s been with who was older wasn’t old enough. He wants a true silver fox, and he’s more than willing to seek out one who attracts him the right way.

That’s when he meets Sir Nicholas, who might as well be a reimagined Santa stud. After an awkward encounter at the gym where Jacques works, Nicholas offers him a job that pays far more than his janitor position. He’s to be a kept sex slave to serve Nicholas — and whomever else the sexy Sir wants him to serve. Jacques eagerly accepts. After all, Nicholas is exactly the man he’s waited so long to find.

But the more he spends time with Nicholas, the more Jacques wants exclusivity. He’s determined to win his sexy silver fox over to monogamy. Will he manage to get what Nicholas doesn’t seem willing to give? Or will he be just another temporary toy?

About Marco:

Marco May has been a passionate writer since he was a teenager. Inspired by his past homoerotic drawings, he started writing erotica secretly not long after he’d started writing overall. He took a long hiatus to focus on his non-erotic works. He tried getting back into writing erotica, but he wasn’t inspired anymore. It wasn’t until 2017 when he wrote his first picfic, “Touchlessly Touched”, that drove him to continue writing erotica to a more dedicated level.

He started with Wattpad as a testing ground and did great there. He managed to write his biggest hit with The Hookups of Hickeyhook Hall, along with his second-biggest hit, Tamely Told. His third Wattpad release, an anthology of picfics titled Passionately Pictured, also did well. The stats of these works were what led him to believe he had a chance in the publishing world. He still writes non-erotic fiction, but he doesn’t mix them under the same pen name.

Aside from writing, Marco May also enjoys designing book and album covers, studying European languages, making electronic music, reading on his Kindle, and playing The Sims.

Cover Reveal | Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday by Nell Iris

Today, Nell Iris is joining us. Nell is a fellow JMS Books writer, and one of the lovely people showing up in my morning office every day – we write together every morning I’m not working. Today, we’re doing a show and tell, so I’ll step away and let Nell take it from here.

First, I’d like to thank my hostess, the lovely Ofelia Gränd, for having me on the blog today. I’m here today to reveal the cover of my upcoming holiday release, Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday. It’s a New Year’s Eve story, so it’s perfect if you like me (and Petter and Isak in my story) think that NYE is a stupid holiday that’s best spent in the comfort of your own home, with a good book and a glass of bubbly. Of course, that’s how I’d spend most of my holidays if I thought I could get away with it.

Anyway. Back to the reason I’m here. The cover. So get comfy, pop a bottle of bubbly for an extra festive effect…or you know, sparkling cider if it’s too early on a weekday for you to drink bubbly. Then take a deep breath and look at the beautiful cover. I love it so much I look like a heart-eye emoji every time I look at it.

Nell torn cover

It’s the perfect cover for the story: Isak and Petter meet by an ancient stone ship setting on New Year’s Eve when our history nerd Petter twists his ankle, and knight-in-shining-armor—eh, winter jacket, it’s mid-winter in the north after all—comes to his rescue. But before they return to civilization, the burn a few sparklers Petter brought, drink disgusting champagne that turns out to be non-alcoholic, and start falling in love. So this is Petter on the cover, wearing the sweater his grandmother knitted for him, making silly New Year’s resolutions while burning sparklers.

Nell RF cover

Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday is already available for pre-order on my publisher’s website. So why not head over there and pre-order this beauty? It will be available on December 30, so you’ll have it just in time for a quiet, bookish New Year’s Eve. I won’t even mind if you skip the champagne; Petter and Isak would have preferred hot chocolate and coffee anyway 😊

Nell text post


Two strangers, a twisted ankle, an ancient stone ship, and a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget

Petter sneaks out of the New Year’s party he didn’t want to go to and treks to an old burial site he’s dying to see. Alone. Without telling anyone on a freezing December night. Without cell service…a huge problem when he twists his ankle.

Someone passes by Isak’s house on the path leasing to the stone ship. When the person never returns, Isak worries and sets off to investigate. What he finds is Petter, a pack of sparklers, and an instant connection.

Under a starry sky, they learn they have a lot in common. Will the attraction burn hot and fizzle out like the fireworks going off over their heads when they return to the real world? Or will it deepen, grow, and turn into something real? Something everlasting like the stone ship?

M/M Contemporary / 20851 words

Buy link: