Sophie’s Encore – by Nicky Wells

Portrait6

Nicky Wells

A novel need not be a comedy to have content that gives you a smile or a chuckle. So it is with the novels of UK author Nicky Wells. You may remember Nicky from her other novels in the series on Sophie as she takes us through the lives and loves of her rock star friends.

Excerpt from “Sophie’s Encore

“Mummy,” he started, “I learned something today.”

“Did you,” I responded on autopilot, shooting Dan a meaningful look. As he knew only too well, this kind of announcement was often the opening gambit in a roundabout negotiation for a new toy. Not so today, however.

“You know snails?”

Did I ever? I suppressed a snort as I recalled my erstwhile fiancé, Tim, exterminating slugs on a rainy summer’s night by the light of a miner’s lamp. The neighbors had called out the police, and recounting the interlude to Rachel had cemented her intense dislike for my then boyfriend. Evidently, I had shared the story with Dan, too, because he muttered “exterminator” under his breath. I kicked his shin under the table.

“Yes, Josh, I know snails.” I encouraged my son to continue.

“Well, Mummy, did you know their eyes aren’t in their heads like yours and mine?”

I had never given this much thought before, but I nodded my agreement.

“How did you find that out?” Dan was genuinely interested.

“On the telly,” Josh explained, keen to get back to the key piece of information he was itching to impart. “But do you know where they keep their eyes?”

“Where do they keep their eyes?” Dan and I asked as one.

“Snails,” Josh started, jiggling excitedly on his seat. “Snails keep their eyes at the end of their testicles.”

Dan spat his mouthful of wine across the table, but hastily disguised his amusement in a severe coughing fit. I could feel my mouth twitch with urgent laughter, but I couldn’t allow myself to explode. Josh would be crushed. Slapping Dan’s back to maintain the coughing charade, I addressed my adorable offspring.

“Do they really keep their eyes at the end of their tentacles?” I voiced.

“Yes, mummy, they do, they keep them at the end of their—”

Tentacles,” I prompted, and “tentacles” Josh repeated carefully.

“Ten-ta-cles” Emily chimed in, never keen to be left out, and Dan stroked her hair.

“That’s right, my sweet,” he praised her. He raised his glass to me. “To your very excellent parenting,” he proposed, and I giggled.

RomanceRockBanner_NickyWells

 

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World! 

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

 

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy and Me

Caroline James head shot low res

Just for fun, Caroline James, my guest today, will add a bit of light humour to your day.

Caroline lives in the UK. Her novels have an element of restaurant and food preparation woven into the storyline.

Here is an excerpt from Coffee, Tea, the Gyspy and Me.

Jo hurried to reception and collided with Hattie who came out of the kitchen with a plate of canapés.

  “Look out!  Shite I nearly lost them!” Hattie cursed.

  “You’ve got pastry on your mouth,” Jo snapped.  She was reeling from the degrees of warmth and hostility she’d just encountered.

  “She’s a sour cow eh?” Hattie nodded at the beautiful silver fox fur coat piled on the office chair.

  “Don’t you think you should hang that up?”  Jo began but stared with horror at the coat.  Two of the canapés were face down on the silk lining. Oily pesto oozed over the fabric creating a dark stain. “Hell! Jinny will kill us if she sees that.  For God’s sake, Hattie, do something!”

  “Well I’m not licking it off.  It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with warm soapy water.” Hattie disappeared to the kitchen as Jo stared with dismay at the expensive coat.

  “How’s it going, babe?” A man’s voice whispered.

  Jo spun round and in an effort to hide the damage, plonked herself on the coat.  Pete Parks placed his hands on the counter and leaned over.  Jo felt trapped.  She also felt a warm oily mess penetrate the back of her dress.

  “Oh, hello there…”  Jo said nervously.  “Did you want something?”  God he’s got incredibly blue eyes!

  “You know what I want babe.”

  Jo felt like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Cornered with no where to go. The door to reception flew open and caught Pete on the forehead. He reeled back from the blow.  Oblivious, Hattie hurried through with a dishcloth in her hand.

  “What in God’s name are you sitting there for?  You’ll look like you’ve shit yourself!” Hattie tugged the coat from under Jo.

  “Oh hello, Pete, can we help you?” Hattie saw Pete steady himself. Dazed, he held his hand to his brow.

  “Have you tumbled?” Hattie asked “Not used to the champagne eh?”

  “Hattie!” Jo hissed, “Mr Parks was looking for the lavatory.”

  Hattie rolled her eyes heavenward.  She threw the dishcloth at Jo then guided Pete away.

  “Well the lav is on the left, you’ll not find it in here.”

 CTTGM_CarolineJames_cover JPEG

SYTYACC_cover jpeg

 To buy Caroline’s books, go to the amazon links below:          

Lightening Up a Serious Novel

I’ve invited British author Clare Flynn to show us how she has lightened up her  novel, A Greater World. Here is Clare to tell us about it:

My novel, A Greater World, is anything but humorous – my main character, Elizabeth Morton goes through all kinds of trials and tribulations as the story develops – but even the most serious of situations can be leavened with a little lightness of touch or a turn of phrase. This scene below takes place between Elizabeth, newly arrived in Sydney, and her landlady Peggy Little. Elizabeth is in an intolerable situation – having crossed the oceans only to find her father died a few days before she arrived and that now she is being pushed into an unwanted marriage with a man she barely knows. Elizabeth is bereaved and desperate – but Peggy’s earthy humor provides a counterpoint.

 Excerpt from “A Greater World”:

‘Peggy. Please. No woman should be expected to marry a man she doesn’t love.’

 ‘Love?’ Peggy sighed. ‘That doesn’t last long. They’re all the same really, men – farting, belching and snoring and taking up most of the bed. Sleep, food and their conjugals – that’s all they want. A wife’s just there to wash, cook, clean and service his needs in bed. Never mind her own needs! Yes there may be many as is more handsome than Jack Kidd, but there’s few as well off as him – and believe me Elizabeth – you won’t see what he looks like when the light’s out!’ She laughed. ‘We women have a lot to put up with young lady – and the sooner you realise that the better. At least in your case you’ll never have to worry where your next crust of bread’s coming from. The first two years I was married I never knew from one day to the next if I was going to be able to put a meal on the table. We were in love I suppose – but that doesn’t help when you’re hungry. By the time my Fred was making decent money we’d both forgotten all our romantic notions. But you settle into a steady old pattern. Get used to each other. Put up with all the shortcomings – and then there’s children to keep you busy and to care for. Jack Kidd may not be the man you dreamed of, but then the man you dreamed of wouldn’t be that for long either. At least if you’ve no high expectations, you won’t ever be disappointed.’

 Elizabeth rubbed at her eyes with her handkerchief – then saw that she held in her hand the rough-spun confection that Michael Winterbourne had given her the previous afternoon. She breathed through the coarse cotton and tried to recapture the scent of him – a mix of hay and warm tweed and the outdoors. Her stomach lurched as she remembered that she had arranged to meet him that afternoon. He may never want to see her again when he knew her story, but she had to take that risk. The clock showed it was already almost 3 o’clock and it would take her a good half hour to get there.

 She jumped to her feet, grabbed her coat and bade an astonished Mrs Little goodbye.

 ‘Where are you off to in such a hurry, Elizabeth?’

 ‘I promised to meet a friend I met on the voyage. I’m already late.’

 ‘I hope you’re not thinking of doing anything foolish my love?’ But Elizabeth was already out of the door and running along the street.

A Greater World Cover LARGE EBOOK

A Greater World is available on Kindle UK 

and USA

 

Clare Flynn

Clare Flynn lives in the UK in West London, where she combines novel writing with running a successful management consultancy. “A Greater World” is her first novel – and nearly didn’t make it when a burglar ran off with her laptop containing 80,000 un-backedup words- and she had to start it all over again. Her second novel, Kurinji Flowers will be published later this year.

More about Clare and her novels at www.clareflynn.co.uk

Neurotically Yours -Bonnie Trachtenberg

Bonnie

My guest is author Bonnie Trachtenberg. Here she is to introduce her contribution to the Humour in Writing series.

“I love things that make me laugh, so it’s only natural that my books would include comedy. In fact, I find humor sneaking into things that I write that aren’t even supposed to be funny. It sure takes the sting out of the toughness in life! This is an excerpt from my second romantic comedy, Neurotically Yours.”

 

 

 

EXCERPT FROM NEUROTICALLY YOURS:

“You wanted to see me?” she asked.

“Yes. Please close the door and have a seat.”

Something in his formal tone told her this had nothing to do with outdated dairy products. She waited for him to open his mouth and breathe some fire her way, but instead, he opened a folder that sat waiting on his desk and shuffled through the stack of papers inside. It didn’t take long for Dara to realize the folder contained a collection of her printed columns.

He pursed his flaky lips and narrowed his eyes as he looked at her.

“I’ve read over your columns, Dara, and I’m very concerned.”

“Really? Why would they concern you?”

“I’ve never seen an advice columnist let loose on her readers the way you do. You’ve been writing this column for, what, almost eight years?”

Dara nodded slowly.

“I understand that a column will progress along with the columnist over a period of time. It’s only natural—but in your case…”

“Yes?”

“Well, I find the progression quite disturbing.”

“Disturbing?” she echoed with surprise.

 “Well,” he said, mustering professionalism, “early on, your column was more like a pep talk, more hopeful. That’s good. That’s what people want to hear, but lately…”

The Beast tapped his bony fingers on his desk while sighing.

“You can get to the point, Bob,” she said with some irreverence. The change in tone brought out the editor she was starting to know and hate.

“Telling people they’re better off on their own is not the best romantic advice.”

“It is if they’re dating a creep.”

“Last month you suggested that a forty-eight-year-old woman,” he shuffled through the file so he could quote her accurately, “‘would be better off with goldfish for company than the pathetic stream of misfits polluting her dating waters.’”

“Well, it’s true,” Dara defended matter-of-factly.

He pulled out another page with a huff and started reading. “And from March, you told Stymied in Santa Monica that, and I quote again, ‘Couples therapy would be a waste of time considering your fiancé’s obvious obsession with killing small, defenseless animals.’”

Bob looked sternly at Dara. “So he’s a hunter,” he said with annoyance. “Lots of people are hunters. That doesn’t disqualify such a person from couples therapy—or good relationships.”

“It does when the person does it every weekend instead of paying some modicum of attention to his fiancée. My God, they’re not even married yet, and he’s totally ignoring her, not to mention murdering innocent wildlife.”

“Well,” Bob added as he pulled Exhibit C from the pile, “at least you’re an equal opportunity offender. You told this man that his girlfriend was ‘clearly a narcissist who will play nice until she sinks her claws deep enough into your skin to hold you down and eat you alive.’ Then you quoted lyrics from a Hall and Oates song, ‘Maneater.’”

“Yes,” Dara commented coolly, “I’ve seen it happen many times with women like that.”

“You told him to ‘get over his hard-on for bitches unless he wants a life of pain and misery.’”

She nodded with assuredness. “Sound advice.”

The Beast huffed at her again and began to raise his voice, “First of all, you can’t diagnose someone with a personality disorder when you’ve never even met her.”

“Oh, come on, it’s so obvious though—” she started.

“And, second, if he breaks up with her after reading this, we could have a lawsuit on our hands!”

“We have a disclaimer, remember? This is only for entertainment purposes, blah, blah, blah—”

“That doesn’t mean someone won’t start trouble anyway! We live in a very litigious state.”

The Beast tried to calm himself with a deep breath.

“Dara, your column is way too… depressing.”

 Neurotically_Yours_Cover_JPEG

 

Buy Neurotically Yours

Amazon: http://amzn.to/HY4PyF

Amazon UK: http://is.gd/e14qU0

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/KumteQ

 

 

 

Girls on Retreat

My sisters get away for a girls’ weekend now and then. They call themselves “The Tiara Club.” Often they rent a beach cottage and have fun cooking together. They have a few drinks going, laugh and tell funny stories, go for walks on the beach and just generally relax and enjoy their weekend.

My guest today is Patricia Sands, author of The Bridge Club and  The Promise of Provence. In The Bridge Club, a group of eight friends meet and have getaways just as my sisters’ Tiara Club does. Here is Patricia Sands with an excerpt from her novel The Bridge Club. 

_DSF0005

Patricia Sands

Excerpt:

Draped over the arms of the comfy, softly-plumped chairs, sinking into down-filled sofas or lazily stretched out on the carpet, they passed the basket from one to another with the fire roaring inside and storm raging outside.

Another whoop of laughter filled the room as Dee fanned the air wildly with the photo in her hand, barely managing to get her words out. “Without question the award-winning group shot from the ski weekend at the Alton Spa, when my farmhouse was being renovated.”

“What a weekend that was!”

“We know without looking exactly which one it is! In the restaurant Marti had been rather over-served, as our kids like to say, and when we went back to our cottage on the grounds we partied on.”

“To put it mildly. Remember Lynn sitting in the veggie dip?”

“She insisted it was okay for her to do that because she had brought it.”

“Trust me. You both have portraits in the Hangover Hall of Fame after that night!”

Tears were rolling down cheeks as they relived so many good times and recalled frequent silly behavior that does everyone a lot of good every once in a while no matter what age. Particularly when you’re with people you trust, who won’t judge you.

Lynn rolled her eyes and nodded. “How can I forget those youthful hangovers? It’s amazing how having kids gets you right out of that habit!”

“Or having to be on call for clients 24/7. Running the shelter certainly put an end to those days for me—although in a perverted way I kind of miss that bad behavior,” Marti finished with a sigh and a giggle.

“Marti, you still manage to encourage us all into bad behavior from time to time. We’ve simply become adept at not needing booze to fuel it.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Danielle was rummaging through the basket. “There’s one more shot from that weekend that I must find.”

Waving the photo triumphantly, she passed it around to more peals of laughter at the image of them unloading all the gear for skating on the pond and cross-country skiing from the car. “I love this. We had such plans for that Saturday. Unpacked all of our equipment only to pack it all up again unused. Nobody could move after our party that first night except to go out to the hot tub … or play bridge.”

“And I brought all those outfits for nothing,” moaned Cass, who always managed to have some wild costume in her bag to make any event special.

“Yup! No question though, your day at the races with the polka dot skirt and matching tulle hat with the brim no one could see around still is the prize-winning couture moment.“

“Yuh think?”

They laughed until their sides ached recounting other stories. If one of them did not get the details exactly right, someone else did. Their forty years had been too full for one person to remember everything although Dee was the acknowledged master retainer of detail. They had not called her “Steel Trap” for nothing.

However these days it definitely took a group effort, which was one of the reasons it was so much fun reminiscing.

La recherche du temps perdu,“ sighed Danielle, rubbing her eyes and yawning. “Such great times.”

Agreeing it was time to call it a night, Pam set the camera timer as they organized themselves in a disorganized fashion in front of the fireplace. Complaining, joking, and mugging were part of the process and she always insisted on more than one shot. Everyone knew, but no one said out loud, these would be the last group photos with eight of them.

1.IMG_4368_3

Patricia’s real life “Bridge Club” (her version of The Tiara Club)

TBC Kindle cover-2

 

Click on the link to Patricia’s media page for more info on her novels:

http://patriciasandsauthor.com/media-page/

Humour in Writing – Darlene Jones

Humour can be different things to different people. It can be anything from a belly laugh and the giggles to a chuckle or a smile. As long as it makes us happy to some degree, humour is doing its job. Author Darlene Jones will share an excerpt from her novel “Empowered” to give us an example of humour in a book that is not meant to be a comedy.

Darlene Jones

Excerpt from “EMPOWERED”

Victor grabbed Jasmine’s arm and dragged her to his office. “Don’t you guys all have something to do?” he said over his shoulder, but none of the men moved. He saw Jasmine look back at them and wink.

“You tell her, Vic,” one of the guys hollered just as he slammed the door.

“Woman, what were you thinking when you came here? It’s not safe and you stand out like a sore thumb.” Victor glared at her. “Please, tell me you’re not that dumb.”

“Belize, I think.”

“What?”

“Belize for our honeymoon.”

“Honeymoon!” He heard the guys hooting on the other side of the door and imagined a whole lot of high-fives taking place out there.

“Yes, good snorkeling. We’ll have to have a society wedding of course. But we can keep it small and limit the photographers.”

“You’re totally nuts.” Victor shook his head in disbelief.

“We’ll make beautiful babies,” she cooed smiling up at him.

“Babies?  Babies!” Victor screeched. “Get this straight. We. Are. Not. Getting. Married. We. Are. Not. Making. Babies.” What did it take to make her understand?

“We are,” she said in a matter of fact way that enraged him even more. “We have to.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Victor, I love you. I can feel you in every atom of my body. My bones feel like jelly when I’m with you. Can’t you—?”

“You don’t even know me,” he yelled as he yanked the door open. The guys scrambled out of the way. With one hand on Jasmine’s arm and the other on the small of her back, he propelled her out the door to the waiting men. Jasmine stopped abruptly and Victor’s forward momentum caused him to press against her. He jerked back as if scalded. Jasmine turned to the audience in the doorway and mouthed, “I’ll be back.” Five thumbs turned up.

“No, you won’t!” Vic deposited her with her bodyguards and stomped back to his office. “Jesus H. Christ! Miss Jasmine Wade Berdin you are one hundred percent certifiably insane,” he said to no one in particular as he sagged heavily into his chair. His bones felt like jelly.

Empower jpeg

www.emandyves.com

Quiz Show Fun – Mandy Baggot

Humour in writing doesn’t have to be a series of one-liners. It can be a subtle view of the lighter side of an otherwise serious scene. Authors who weave this kind of “humour” into their writing usually capture the reader’s interest more than if they had stuck to the dry sequence of events they had planned in their storyline. The use of this kind of light humour also makes the scenes more real. How many times have you been in a serious situation and said, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” THAT is one of the kinds of humour I’m talking about in this series.

MandyBaggot

 

My guest today is Mandy Baggot of the UK. She writes romantic novels that often have a funny side to them. Her sense of humour makes these “love stories” fun to read. Find out about all Mandy’s novels at her amazon.co.uk link here.

Here is an excerpt from Mandy Baggot’s novel, “Knowing Me, Knowing You.

‘I don’t think you should have any more of those,’ Joel said, putting the glass back down on the bar.

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realise I was paying you to do impersonations of my mother,’ Kate snapped.

‘I just think it might be better if you didn’t have too much more, that’s all.’ He took hold of the glass as Kate reached for it.

‘Give me my drink back!’

‘No.’

‘Give it to me!’ She made a lunge for the glass.

Joel dodged out of the way and Kate fell, bashing her elbow hard on the bar.

She hurriedly stood upright, straightening her dress.

Joel spoke. ‘All we have to do is answer a few questions. It’s no big deal. It’ll keep your client sweet and it will backfire on Miranda, who obviously nominated you to make you feel uncomfortable.’

‘She spends her life finding new ways to make me feel uncomfortable,’ Kate mumbled in reply.

‘So show her you don’t mind stepping into the breach and entering the contest. Rise above her.’

‘There are bloody TV cameras out there!’ Kate exclaimed, still looking longingly at the drink Joel was shielding.

‘I don’t see the problem. It’s one little quiz. You must have done quizzes before.’

‘Yes. In pubs. With friends. About music and films not about someone I’ve only just met! We know nothing about each other! How is that going to look?!’ Kate shrieked.

‘You’re overreacting. Come on, we’re going back in.’ Joel took hold of Kate’s arm and led her towards the door of the function room.

‘This is madness! And what sort of escort agency do you work for? You’re bullying me and you’re hurting my arm,’ Kate hissed as he propelled her through the doors and back towards the table.

‘It will be over in an hour or so. We’ll probably only be on stage for ten minutes. Think how many brownie points this will earn you with Frank,’ Joel whispered as Miranda approached.

‘They said the questions were intimate. What side of the bed do you sleep on? What underwear do you prefer?’ Kate asked.

‘Kate, we don’t have to win.’

‘No, but they have to at least believe we’re a couple.’

Knowing Me Knowing You