The Seamless Web

My guest today is Joe Eliseon. He is looking at you over his glasses because he wants to make direct eye contact with you, dear readers, as he is about to share his interesting history with you.

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The well-seasoned old codger looked at me sideways, stroking his clean-shaven chin.  “You know, if we hire you, you’ll be the only lawyer in the firm with a beard.”

“What is it?” I asked. “Some sort of hormonal problem?”

Honest to God, I thought it was something in the water.

Times have changed since I was in law school, interviewing for jobs. I grew my beard back then, wanting to do something women couldn’t do, at least not well. Recruiters described a law firm as “casual” and “relaxed” if they allowed you to take off your suit coat on a hot day. The constant, staccato beat of secretaries’ typewriters told the partners they were making money. Big clients like insurance companies were pushing hourly billing as a cost-control measure.

Today, most law school graduates are women and scraggly beards pass unnoticed among the surviving but otherwise emasculated males. Suits and ties are reserved for court appearances, as if they were the wigs worn by British jurists. There are hardly any secretaries; lawyers do their own typing on keyboards that click quietly rather than clack loudly. Consultants and accountants tell you whether or not you’re making money. Big clients like insurance companies moan over the fact that hourly billing is bankrupting them.

And I don’t practice law any more. I write novels.

Why is that?

There’s no simple answer to the question. It’s like asking me why I became a lawyer in the first place. I’ve given simple answers to the latter question, but I find they change over time. The more I think about it, the more I remember little things that contributed to the decision. Some of them seem more important at one point, others at other points. They rattle around in my head and jostle for position. Figuring out your own motivations is damned difficult. It’s so much easier to figure out other people’s.

Maybe that’s why I write novels. Or I may just have stories to tell.

Let’s talk a little about my books.

I had written a number of short stories before I wrote my first novel, The Seamless Web: A Legal Comedy. In fact, SW started out as a short story about a young attorney who discovers how to manipulate the electronic records of legal cases and starts writing his own cases.  That’s the core of the novel, but the characters took over and ran off with the story. My protagonist, Pete Roselli, turned into the legal equivalent of Everyman, having to face the consequences of a little lie that keeps getting bigger and bigger. He finds that a lie, even a little one, leaves you at the mercy of all manner of liars.

My second novel is still a work-in-progress. It’s called D.P.W.: A Political Fantasy. It’s about politics as seen through the eyes of a low-level public employee, a snowplow driver in the Department of Public Works, who finds himself the target of a federal investigation into municipal corruption. Wondering why he has been singled out as a target for his pitiful nickel-and-dime graft, he consults his retired mentor in the Department. This mysterious character, who lives in a broken-down shack in the far reaches of the Department’s equipment yard, explains to him that he’s been targeted precisely because he is a small-timer. Our hero thereupon resolves to fight back by becoming the biggest crook he can be.

DPW’s almost done. I’m finishing up the third draft. I’ll need to do a fourth. But it will be ready for release by summer 2016. Of course, that’s what I said last year.

While you’re waiting, I really do recommend my short story collection: Five Minutes More and Other Stories,  in which I skip from haunted law firms to time-travel to ancient Sicilian legends to science fiction to gods new and old.

And visit my Google+ page, where you’ll find links to a baker’s dozen of free short stories that I ought to be charging for.

Full Edition FINAL

Visit Joe’s website:

http://joeeliseon.com/

There you will find all his book information, and if you click on “Contact” on the menu at the top, you can find all the links to his wonderful sites and podcasts.

 

 

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What Inspires Us?

My guest today is author Sharon Black. I’d like to tell you a little bit about her.

Sharon grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.
She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
Sharon had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
When she is not writing, she reads, walks, and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction, and good stand-up comedy.
She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

 

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Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Dublin newspapers.
It’s the story is of two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. Unknowingly, they fall in love with their bitter enemy: each other. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe, so as their relationship blossoms, each is blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
My inspiration for Going Against Type, was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. Hepburn played a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist, defending his beloved sport. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes upside down. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival.
That build up was fun to write, but very challenging. Charlotte and Derry’s columns had to be sharp. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their weekly banter in their columns – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.

 

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Excerpt:

‘I hope you like Mexican food,’ said Derry as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.
‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said, uncertainly.
‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned.
Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves.
She’d spend an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.
‘Why are you so nervous, Charlotte? It’s just a date!’
‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’
‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’
‘I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’
Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.
‘Don’t you dare run yourself down, Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing!’
‘What?’
‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’

*****

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Sophie’s Encore – by Nicky Wells

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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.

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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

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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.”

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

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.

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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.

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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

Humour in Writing – Sue Fortin

Sue Fortin

Whilst I don’t think I could write a rom com, I have noticed that humour finds its way into my writing without me realising it. It happens when the characters really take over and you find them saying things you hadn’t planned. It  comes in different forms, depending on the character.

 

 

In my novel, “Closing In,” I used humour to end a love scene and a chapter. It wasn’t planned; it just seemed to appear on the page. I’ve had several people comment on it and how it made them chuckle. Overtones of a ‘Carry On’ film, I feel.

 Excerpt from “Closing In”

 The come-down was slower; gentle waves lapping over her body, her breathing levelled, her heart rate dropped and the dizziness subsided. Donovan was spent, exhausted, and lying half on her and half on the chaise. He kissed her cheek and brushed a strand of hair from her face.

‘Much as I love this chaise, it wasn’t built for two,’ he said.

‘Where do you suggest instead?’ asked Ellen making sure the kiss she gave left him in no doubt what she had in mind.

‘It’s king sized,’ he said between kisses.

‘I know that.’ She grinned. ‘Now, show me what size your bed is.’

Also from “Closing In” : This is probably closer to sarcasm than humour, but it suits the character of Carla – a bit caustic.

Excerpt:

The clunk of the receiver being slammed back into its cradle made Ellen jump. She heard Carla’s chair wheels squeak as they rolled over the carpet and before Ellen had time to react, Carla was yanking open the door.

She looked startled to see Ellen there but was quick to regain her composure.

‘Is there something I can help you with, Ellen?’ Her voice was the epitome of politeness but her eyes told a different story.

Ellen gulped. ‘Do you know what time Donovan will be back?’

Carla appraised her for a moment. ‘No, I don’t. These networking meetings can run on for some time. Is there something urgent that I can help with?’

‘No, it’s fine.’

‘Good. Now, if you don’t mind I’ve got work to do and I’d rather you didn’t lurk outside my office door like some sort of spectre. I know it’s Halloween, but still.’

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“Closing In” is available at   Amazon UK and Amazon.com

*****

“United States of Love” – Again, this just suited my character. It’s exactly how he spoke and the sort of expression he would use.

Excerpt:

‘Let’s sit down.’ He gestured towards the seats. ‘That’s better. Look, I was just out for a drink. I forgot you said you’d be here, but when I saw you with your client, I was, well, hurt.’

‘Hurt?’

‘Yeah, like shocked. Jealous, I suppose.’

‘Jealous?’

‘Blimey, Anna, it’s like having a conversation with an echo.’ Mark let out a sigh. ‘You know how I feel about you, I told you the other night. You said you were going to think about things. Since then you’ve avoided me like a dose of the clap.’

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United States of Love is available at Amazon UK and Amazon.com