Book Tour & Author Post: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by L.A. Merrill

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch Author L.A. Merrill Talks Summer Reading Challenges and Her New Novella

I grew up in a small town in the American Midwest, where there were about four things to do every summer: go to the pool, dodge tornadoes, be eaten alive by mosquitoes the size of small birds, or read. Since I never learned to swim, I chose Option D—Read. Occasionally I combined reading with Options C and/or B, but for the most part I just spent every waking hour reading books.

This was not entirely altruistic on my part. The local library ran a Summer Reading Program for children and teens. The goals varied from year to year—sometimes you read a set number of books, sometimes for a set number of minutes, some years you set your own goals—but always, at the end of a completed list of books or a filled-in time chart, you were presented with The Cart of Books. The Cart of Books was an almost mystical object for us book-obsessed kids. Three shelves of shiny, shiny new paperbacks, and over the course of the summer, you could earn up to FIVE to keep for your very own. (Keep in mind that most of us did not have an allowance that stretched to any kind of book that wasn’t off the ten-cent rack at the thrift store. New books were an If-You’re-Lucky birthday gift, and it was always a strange sort of familial-projection lottery, often resulting in books your second cousin would have liked when she was your age [back in 1897])

Those Summer Reading years provided me with some of my favorite books—Terry Pratchett’s The Truth, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes—and while sometimes you picked a dud, that just meant you had something to trade in the long hot last few weeks of August, after the reading program was over and before school started up again.

Every year, as soon as the weather starts to turn hot, the air conditioners kick on, and the drone-like mosquitoes start to hover, I get an irresistible urge to head to the library and check out an enormous pile of books. I usually don’t resist very hard. This year I decided to renew some of the old magic and challenge myself to read fifty books in four months. I will definitely be checking out some of the new LGBT romance fiction that comes out in the summer months, and I hope you’ll be intrigued enough by my new novella (blurb below) to add it to your summer read list.

What are your goals for the next few months, book-related or otherwise? Leave a comment below!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

By L.A. Merrill

David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too.

Forty years ago, Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive.

The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is available now from Dreamspinner Press! Follow the link to buy it today, and be sure to look at the L.A. Merrill’s other stories and check out the rest of the States of Love series! 

About the Author

L.A. Merrill is a tiny blonde woman who loves a good story. She has worked as a tour guide and an assistant stage director, and spent one memorable summer as a camp counselor. After five years in vocal performance, production work, and arts education, she now writes full-time. Her work has appeared in Kansas City Voices magazine, on the YouTube series The Blank Scene, and online. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is L.A.’s fourth story with Dreamspinner Press, and her first published novella. (There’s an unpublished novella, about murderous husbands and Scottish ghosts, written when she was thirteen, that is sitting in a file at home. It will likely never see the light of day.)

An avid knitter, she has yet to follow a pattern and has made some interestingly shaped hats as a result. L.A. makes handknit and crocheted blankets and hats for local charities, as well as leading a LGBT+ writers group in her hometown. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she can usually be found reading, writing, and making things up as she goes along. Follow her on Twitter for feminism and fangirling at @la_mer92

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