Blog Tour: You Can Do Magic by R.L. Merrill

Blog Tour: You Can Do Magic by R.L. Merrill

October 1, 2023 Out now from other authors SBCM Sunday Update 0

I am so thrilled to be participating in my first blog tour for another author:

From the author of Foreword Indies Finalist Summer of Hush and BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist Brains and Brawn comes a new installment in the series, a contemporary gay romance with a side of time travel and magic.

Musical prodigy Kallos Alexandrou has played his calliope for countless visitors at Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, but his one-year residency has come to an end. Scars from a terrible tragedy in his past are the only explanation he has for his loss of speech and memory, but it’s time to move on, so when a music festival sets up next to the carnival, Mr. Ame sends him off with identification, a bottomless billfold, and a set of new clothes. Outside the carnival’s perimeter, Kal finds himself in an unfamiliar world surrounded by strange instruments and vibrant people like nothing he’s ever seen.


Ryan Wells is the troubled and celebrated lead singer of the metal band Backdrop Silhouette. He’s brought more than his share of baggage on the last cross-country Warped Tour, including harsh restrictions placed on him by his parole officer and the band’s label, but it’s the treatment from his bandmates that have him feeling unsettled. After a tough morning, he spots a strange young man playing carnival music on a keyboard backstage, and the sound takes him back to a particularly vulnerable time in his youth. Intrigued, Ryan asks the young man’s name, but he flees only to appear later as a replacement stagehand for the tour.


An invitation from the band Hush to ride on their bus gives Ryan and Kal a welcome distraction. They find the camaraderie and support they’ve both been craving…as well as a little magic and a fresh new romance. But the music business makes personal relationships difficult to maintain, and when the tour ends, Ryan and Kal will have to make a choice: move forward together on an uncertain path, or let fear keep them from trusting that sometimes you really can have everything you desire.


You Can Do Magic is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series. Each book stands alone, but each one includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains a Depression-era calliaphone, a Ouija board with a purpose, and tour bus hijinks that will warm your heart and make you gigglesnort. Reading Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn before this book will give you the full Warped Tour experience, but You Can Do Magic can be read as a standalone as well as the other books in the shared universe. Recommended 18+


Warnings: Mention of prior sexual abuse, off-page, no descriptions


From You Can Do Magic (and just for the Cocktails & Denim Lounge) a little taster:

Movement to my left caught my attention. The roadies for Just Like Love had set up their trailer next to ours and they were standing around having a cigarette while their gear was half unloaded. Probably why they were missing laptops. I was grateful that we had really responsible techs now. In the past we hadn’t been so lucky. Mo and Jimmy were likely supervising getting our shit over to the left foot stage since we were on so fucking early.

The roadies walked away leaving Just Like Love’s stuff unattended, which wasn’t unusual. Security was usually good about keeping folks out of the band areas, but shit still happened. Explained why their laptops went missing perhaps.

I packed up my equipment into the trunk Rick had gotten for me to keep it all organized when I heard…a keyboard being played?

I turned to find a big blond white kid bent over keyboardist Dane Mitchell’s equipment. I’d never seen this kid before, and I’d remember if I did. He looked like something out of an early Americana coffee table picture book. His short-sleeved shirt was buttoned up to his neck, and his nearly platinum hair was cut short and combed neatly back.

And what he was playing took me back.

“‘Buttons and Bows.’”

The kid looked up from what he was playing, and I discovered he was no kid. He was probably in his twenties, but dressed like a kid in a picture from a century ago. His innocent blue eyes were wide, though, and when he swallowed, my eyes tracked the movement of his throat. He was of strong build, and tall. He didn’t give off any sort of aggressive vibe. No. This man was a wallflower, he avoided the spotlight though his talent was unbelievable. And his beauty was off the charts.

“That song you were playing. It’s called ‘Buttons and Bows,’ right?” I’d listened to a ton of music while at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, Monterey County. I spent about three months strictly listening to Americana and the like and teaching myself how to play piano in the chapel when they’d let me. The songs were all stored in my mind like some sort of Rolodex. Everything about that time was.

The man nodded, then he looked down at his hands. He had the longest fingers I’d ever seen, the tips turned up slightly, and each hand had quite the wingspan. He ran his hands over the keyboard and then stood from the bench.

“No, sit,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

And time stopped.

No, that’s not right. It tilted, whirled, spun, and he grabbed onto my arm to avoid toppling over. He was close to my height; a tad taller and a smidge thicker. But his giant blue eyes held me mesmerized as I guided him back down to the bench.

“Play something else.”

He kept his gaze on me and his lips twitched as if he wanted to smile but had forgotten how. He turned his body toward the keys and let his fingertips hover above them. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then blew out a breath as he began to play another tune.

“I know this one.” I squished onto the bench next to him and began to play alongside his hands for a few bars, and then I cleared my throat. “It won’t be a happy marriage, I can’t afford a mortgage, but you’ll look sweet da da da da—”

The man hit an off note and I turned to see him looking at me strangely.

“Oh, yeah, I like to make up lyrics to these old tunes. Makes it more realistic. I mean, who buys a carriage anymore?”

He raised an eyebrow and launched into another tune, this one faster. It was “The Entertainer,” and I stumbled through it right along with him. I kept sneaking looks at him and he was grinning as I struggled.

“You play fast. I can’t keep up.”

He sped up even more until I bumped him with my shoulder, and then he started to hit random keys while laughing soundlessly.

“Hey, where’d you come from, man? I’ve never seen you before. You play beautifully.”

He glanced at me and stood so fast he almost knocked the bench backward. He shoved his hands in his pockets, and with curved shoulders, he walked away at a fast clip.

“Hey, wait up,” I called out, but then I heard my name being called.

“Ryan?” The Ricker was trotting over from our bus. “Hey, Ryan, Roxanne does want to talk to you. She wants to see if you can help with their set.”

I checked my watch and saw it was nearing ten o’clock in the morning. Gates would be opening soon.

“Yeah, I’ll help. Hey, you see that guy? You know who he is?”


Thanks for checking out You Can Do Magic: Carnival of Mysteries. I hope you enjoy! For more fun, check out the other stops on the blog tour and pick up the books in my adjacent series, Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn, both in KU for a limited time. And Stay Tuned for More…



Series Blurb:

Welcome, everyone, to the Carnival of Mysteries! In this shared element multiverse, we invite you to partake of an array of stories by an eclectic group of authors. You’ll find action, intrigue, mystery, danger, sweetness, and sorrow, but, above all, true love! So grab your ticket, indulge in some treats, experience a few thrills, maybe have your fortune read… there is something for everyone at the Carnival!

Photo of author R.L.Merrill leaning against a wall.

Author R.L.Merrill


Release Date: Wednesday, September 27 2023

Publishing Company: Celie Bay Publications LLC

Cover Artist: Lyrical Lines

Primary Plot Arc: Romance

Pairings (if a romance): MM

Genres: Paranormal, Romance

Story Type: Novel (>50k)

Word Count: 60000

LGBTQ+ Identities (if applicable): Bi, Gay

Keywords/Categories: Gay Romance, Rock Star, Time Travel, Divination, Witches

Tropes: Time Travel, Hurt/Comfort, Proximity, fantasy, paranormal, Rock ‘n Roll, new release, announcement, MM romance, MM, gay, giveaway


Is This Part of a Series?: Yes

Position (Number) in Series: Summer of Hush Book Three and it’s part of the Carnival of Mysteries Shared World

Necessary to Read Previous Books: No, But It Doesn’t Hurt

Series Title: Summer of Hush

Title for Other Book(s) in Series:

  1. Summer of Hush
  2. Brains and Brawn

Was This Book Published in An Earlier Edition?: No



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