We’re so pleased to have author JL Merrow dropping in today on the tour for her new release, Love at First Hate, a brand new addition to the Porthkennack -verse. JL is chatting about names today and has also brought along a giveaway to share with all of you, so be sure to check out those details as well.
Give a Dog a Bad Name
Today I’m musing on monikers, exploring epithets, and cogitating on cognomens.
There are some names which, even if you know nothing else whatsoever about their holder, spark your interest in them. Take Brochwel the Fanged; Ivar the Boneless; the Queen of Bees, or the First Lady of Soul.
Or, as in Love at First Hate, the Black Prince. He’s the subject of an exhibition being organised by our warring lovers, Sam and Bran.
During his life, this 14th-century son of Edward III was more properly known as Edward of Woodstock (his birthplace), the Duke of Cornwall or the Prince of Wales. But at some point, the prince had bestowed upon him the epithet “black.” And nobody knows why.
One theory is that it relates to his armour—he may have worn black armour at his first battle, which he fought in Crécy, commanding an army at the tender age of 16. Other reports suggest that a black cuirass was presented to him after the battle by his proud father.
Or it could have been down to the black background on his coat of arms. Although the Black Prince’s official coat of arms was elaborately royal in red, blue and gold, he also used an alternative design: sable (ie black), three ostrich feathers argent.
A less pleasant theory is related to an incident that took place during a battle campaign of the prince’s, the Siege of Limoges. Angered by the treachery of a once-dear friend, the Bishop of Limoges, the prince is reported, upon recapturing the city, to have ordered a massacre of every man, woman and child within its walls—some 3,000 souls. Afterwards, it was said, he was called the Black Prince in reference to the evil in his soul.
However, note that I said “reported”. Fake news was apparently just as much of a thing in the fourteenth century as it is today, and the medieval reporter, Froissart, was notoriously unreliable. Most modern historians take the view that the number of casualties was more like 300, and they were all combatants.
Nevertheless, to the harried French, the Black Prince was nothing if not a bête noire—could it be they, after all, who gave him his most popular name?
Much like the Black Prince, Bran from Love at First Hate has got himself something of a bad reputation. But is it, in Bran’s case, justified? Judge for yourself! ;)
Question: Actually, although for simplicity I’ve called it a name above, the Black Prince is really more of an epithet. Vikings were very fond of epithets, and they certainly add descriptive colour to the sagas (see Ivar above, not to mention Ragnar Hairy-britches). So are superheroes (eg the Scarlet Witch, or the Merc with a Mouth). What’s your favourite epithet? Or is there one that makes you wince for the poor person, such as Charles the Simple, or William the Bastard?
About Love at First Hate
First impressions can doom second chances.
Bran Roscarrock has been living in the closet all his life. As heir to an expansive family legacy in the town of Porthkennack, old-fashioned ideals of respectability and duty were drummed into him since childhood, and he’s never dared to live—or love—openly.
Sam Ferreira, an old friend of Bran’s brother, Jory, is a disgraced academic desperate to leave his dead-end job. When Jory asks him to take over as curator of a planned exhibition on Edward of Woodstock, the fourteenth-century Black Prince, Sam leaps at the chance to do what he loves and make a fresh start.
But Bran’s funding the exhibition, and though sparks fly between the two men, they’re not all happy ones. Bran idolises Prince Edward as a hero, while Sam’s determined to present a balanced picture. With neither of them prepared to give ground, a hundred years of war seems all too possible. And if Bran finds out about Sam’s past, his future may not be bright, and their budding romance may be lost to history.
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. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum.
The Porthkennack novels are standalone stories; release order and era are:
- A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers (historical)
- Wake Up Call by JL Merrow (contemporary)
- Broke Deep by Charlie Cochrane (contemporary)
- House of Cards by Garrett Leigh (contemporary)
- Foxglove Copse by Alex Beecroft (contemporary)
- Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane (historical)
- Junkyard Heart by Garrett Leigh (contemporary)
- Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers (contemporary)
- One Under by JL Merrow (contemporary)
- Contraband Hearts by Alex Beecroft (historical)
- Love at First Hate by JL Merrow (contemporary)
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. 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.
To celebrate the release of Love at First Hate, JL is giving away a $10 Amazon credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 8, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!