JL Merrow on Modern Explorers and her new release Wight Mischief (guest post and giveaway)

Wight Mischief by J.L. Merrow

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today talking about her new release Wight Mischief. Welcome, JL.



Modern Explorers

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wight Mischief, a romantic suspense novel set on the island I grew up on, the Isle of Wight.

We’re all familiar with tales of exploration from history. There’s (to name but a few) Leif Eriksson, who made it to America five centuries before Columbus; Gertrude Bell, who pioneered the novel idea of preserving relics of antiquity in their home locations; Marco Polo, whose 24-year travels were a 13th-century inspiration to explorers who came after him; Sacagawea, who was invaluable on the Lewis-Clark expeditions, despite being presumably somewhat inconvenienced by giving birth en route.

You might think the spirit of adventure and exploration has died out in modern times. Hasn’t everywhere already been mapped? But that spirit, that urge to discover and to document, lives on—and you can find it on the internet.

Some key scenes in Wight Mischief take place on or around a tunnel that leads down from Marcus’s fortress home through the cliffs to a staircase ending on the beach. Now, this fictional route is based on a real tunnel, constructed as a supply tunnel to a 19th-century Palmerston fort built to defend the island against French invasion. I can remember the excitement of making my way through this tunnel as a teenager, and the nervous drop from the rusted-off end of the staircase to the rocks below.

Of course, these days health and safety wouldn’t allow such perilous pursuits, and in any case, the land is now in private hands and fenced off. So I wasn’t, alas, able to refresh my decades-old memories by revisiting the site.

Other, however, have been bolder. There are forums online for these modern explorers to discuss, and to document, their visits to all kinds of off-the-beaten-track places which lie forgotten and falling into decay. They see this as an important preservation of our heritage. Some specialise in subterranean exploration. Others focus on the derelict in a race against time to document buildings and other structures before they are lost forever.

You may not agree with their methods—it’s fairly clear not all of them trouble to get the landowner’s permission before they strike out on their expeditions of discovery—but you have to admire their spirit of adventure.

Question: Another favourite playground of my youth was a tumbling-down fort on Culver Cliffs. Do you have fond memories of somewhere derelict or forgotten where you played as a child?

Giveaway: I’m offering a prize of a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate to one lucky commenter on the tour, who will be randomly chosen on Friday 15th June. Good luck!

Wight Mischief

A ghost of a chance at love.

Personal trainer Will Golding has been looking forward to a getaway with his best friend, Baz, a journalist researching a book on ghosts. But on the first day of their camping trip on the Isle of Wight, Will takes a walk on a secluded beach and spies a beautiful young man skinny-dipping by moonlight.  Ethereally pale, he’s too perfect to be real—or is he?

Lonely author Marcus Devereux is just as entranced by the tall athlete he encounters on the beach, but he’s spent the years since his parents’ violent death building a wall around his heart, and the thought of letting Will scale it is terrifying. Marcus’s albinism gives him his otherworldly appearance and leaves him reluctant to go out in daylight, his reclusiveness encouraged by his guardian—who warns him to stay away from Will and Baz.

The attraction between Will and Marcus can’t be denied—but neither can the danger of the secrets haunting Marcus’s past, as one “accident” after another strikes Will and Baz. If they don’t watch their step, they could end up added to the island’s ghostly population.

Available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner Press

Wight Mischief was previously published by Samhain, but has been completely re-edited and given a lovely new cover for this second edition by Dreamspinner Press.

Author Bio:

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.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) 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.

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

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. The place I used to explore as a child, digging crawfish and trying to stay away from alligators, is now filled in with sand and has loads of houses on it. Why anyone would have bought a house there, I’ll never know. Of course it floods in bad weather–duh! Hello from one islander to another and best wishes on the rerelease.


    1. Blankets are great fun! My brother and I used to “hibernate” under them, and used them as tails when we were crawling around pretending to be cats. 🙂


  2. Congrats and thanks for the post. The spirit of exploration has indeed not died, and we don’t all have to be Magellans. I was fortunate to have a creek in my back yard that we would explore and, yes, build forts and play soldier.


    1. Rivers/creeks are great. My kids had endless fun with them when they were little. I grew up by the sea, and didn’t have a lot to do with rivers, but I loved playing in rock pools.


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