Sleeping Beauty’s Not So Pretty
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, the first of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.
Back before I started writing Wake Up Call, I happened to click on a viral video. It had been made by a brave young woman with narcolepsy, who wanted to show the world what it was like living with such a devastating chronic illness.
Devastating, I hear you ask? Isn’t it just a matter of nodding off now and again?
If only it were. Sadly, on top of suffering the symptoms of their condition, many people with narcolepsy also have to suffer from a condition that’s well known to sufferers from all kinds of invisible illness/disability: Other people’s ignorance.
Yes, people with narcolepsy nod off now and again. But unlike for most of us, when nap attacks happen they’re incredibly hard to fight. Not only that, in one of the great ironies of the condition, sufferers have a chemical imbalance in their brains that means they never get a good night’s sleep. That’s why they fall asleep during the day. Narcoleptics, when they do sleep, plunge straight into REM sleep, which means sleep paralysis and nightmares.
Around 70% of narcoleptics also suffer from cataplexy, which is when their muscles suffer sudden weakness and they may collapse. Again with the irony: while they look like they’ve fainted, they may be fully awake and aware of what’s happening to them, although unable to move.
It’s a debilitating condition—which is why it can be very tough to find it treated as a joke. Remember Sleeping Beauty in Shrek? The character in Deuce Bigalow who falls asleep in her soup? Rowan Atkinson in Rat Race? All played for laughs. Somehow I feel the joke was lost on those it was intended to portray.
I hope I’ve been a little more sensitive in my characterisation of Kyle, a man struggling with narcolepsy. I was helped by a good friend who suffers from a (different) chronic illness, who was able to stop me falling into a few common pitfalls of the well-meaning well! All mistakes that remain are, of course, mine alone.
And to show that, while a diagnosis may be devastating, it may not be as bad as Kyle, at the start of the novel, fears, here are a few people who managed to achieve fame despite their narcolepsy: Harriet Tubman; Winston Churchill; Natassja Kinski; Curt Kobain; Louis Braille.
About Wake Up Call
South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
Now available from Riptide Publishing! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/wake-up-call
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
Check out Porthkennack! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack
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. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
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To celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, 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 April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!