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.

 

 

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.

 

Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 500

 

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!’

*****

amazon.com

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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:          

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.’

United_States_of_Love  High Res

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

That’s Funny – Sheryl Browne

Sheryl and dogs 2Hi Anneli,

Thanks so much for having me on your super ‘That’s Funny’ feature. Love it! So, why do I think humour is important in a book? For me, it’s because I want to write about real people, dealing with real life events, someone the reader identifies with and wants to get to know.  A ‘boy meets girl, boy gets girl, despite all obstacles’ story portraying characters readers can relate to and hopefully laugh with as they fall over life’s little ‘obstacles’, because the reader is empathising with the character, because they’ve been there. I think when we laugh at characters in a rom com, we’re actually laughing at ourselves, because it’s a familiar, comedic or embarrassing situation we could find ourselves in – or maybe already have.

And here is my Excerpt from WARRANT FOR LOVE.

Lee tugged her vest top over her shorts… jimjams grass-stained she’d discovered… and perched herself on the edge of her bed.

She tried not to listen to Paul move around in his room. Clunk his wristwatch onto the bedside table. His shoes onto the floor. Unzip… Ahem.

Lee couldn’t fall into a relationship with him. It would be madness with her emotions flying all over the place and, anyway, Paul had obviously changed his mind.

But, oh, it was torture, knowing he was just the other side of that wall. Reassuring, too, but she couldn’t help wishing there was no wall at all.

She had a quick gulp of water as her errant mind conjured up his handcuffs, then travelled slowly around front and attempted to tiptoe below belt level.

Blooming frustrating, it was.

Ah, well. She kicked off her flip-flops, and would have snuggled under the duvet, had not a great fat spider sat down beside her.

Lee squeaked, terrified, and leapt fast for a flip-flop. It was huge. A house spider as big as the house, with huge, hunched… scurrying…

‘Aaaaargh!’

She hit it.

It dropped to the floor. Lee sprang on the bed.

‘Help!!’ she screamed, woman of substance nowhere in evidence.

In an instant, Paul banged through the door, wearing boxers and not much else. ‘What? What’s wrong?!’

‘I’ve got no shoes on,’ Lee said feebly.

Paul scratched his head. ‘You’ve got no clothes on.’

‘There’s a spider!’ Lee squealed as it scurried towards him.

‘Christ, Lee…’ He ran his hand over his neck. ‘I thought there was someone… ‘Oh, blimey.’ Paul backed off. ‘It is a bit big, isn’t it?’

‘Get it!’ Lee danced on the duvet.

‘Lee, just calm down.’ Paul skirted around the intruder as it came to rest in the corner. ‘It won’t hurt you.’

‘It’s huge!’

‘Lee…’ Paul laughed. ‘It’s just a spider. It’s probably more scared than…’

‘It’s not! I’m arachnophobic! And don’t laugh at me. I can’t help it. I’m sick of apologising for my shortcom… Oh, my God, it’s moving.

Get it!’ Lee clutched a pillow and a useless flip-flop to her breast and backed up on the bed.

‘Okay. Okay.’ Paul said, his voice calm, his face serious. She was petrified, he realised. Pretty in the shorts and vest, but petrified.

He actually wasn’t far off petrified, himself. He hated spiders. ‘Just stay calm and stay where you are. I’ll get it.’ He headed for the landing.

‘Where are you going?’ Lee almost climbed up the wall.

‘To get a glass.’

‘No-o-o. It’ll be gone when you get back. And it’ll creep out again while I’m sleeping. Please get it.’

‘I’ll get it. I’ll get it. I promise. Just stay calm.’ Paul tried to reassure her. ‘Flip flop,’ he said, surgeon-like as he turned to face his own worst nightmare. Under-stair cupboards were crawling with the bloody things. Or that’s how it seemed, if you were four years old, and locked in there with them.

He braced himself, flicked it out of the corner, and flattened it. Felt like a murderer, but flattened it anyway.

Felt pretty good actually. He smiled as Lee flung her arms around him.

‘I feel really stupid.’ She sniffled into his shoulder.

‘Don’t.’ Paul stroked her hair. ‘We all have our private demons.’

‘It bounced off the bed.’

‘Bounced?’ Paul chuckled. ‘Did it test the springs first?’

‘You’re laughing at me.’ Lee pulled away.

‘I’m not, Lee.’ Paul pulled her back. ‘I’m laughing at me. I’m terrified of the buggers.’

Lee blinked up at him. ‘You are?’

‘Yep.’ Paul smiled. ‘Almost as terrified as I am when I meet some psycho on the streets, but I guess it’s easier to face it than admit it, if you’re supposed to be macho-man.’

Lee scanned his eyes and must have realised he was telling the truth.

‘Sorry,’ she said, her face nestled back in his shoulder. ‘I’d get them myself, if only they’d stand still long enough. They only ever seem to come out when it’s dark, don’t they? When you’re alone.’

‘I know.’ Paul pulled her closer, recalling how alone he’d felt in the dark. ‘Tell you what,’ he said, his mouth close to her ear, his hand tracing the curve of her back, ‘we’ll get one of those sonic insect repellent things. Innovations sell them, I think.’

‘Do they work?’

‘Dunno. It’s worth a try though.’ Paul brushed his cheek against her hair. Lee lifted her head, and…

‘Hello, Mumsie-wumsie,’ Drew said, from right outside Lee’s door on the landing.

Paul and Lee hastily disengaged.

‘Shoot.’ Paul hurriedly left, thinking that more prudent than hiding under the bed. ‘I, er… ‘ He raked his hand through his hair as he met Drew’s eyes. ‘Spider,’ he offered, by way of explanation.

‘Ye-es.’ Drew looked him up and down. ‘So, where’s the white charger? Parked next to the Mondeo?’

‘Sorry?’

‘Word of advice, Paul. Knights don’t do it naked.’

Paul nodded soberly, arms folded over his nakedness. ‘I guess I’d better go and get dressed. Undressed. Go to bed.’ He coughed and stepped past Drew.

‘Good idea.’ Drew clumped onwards. ‘Oh, incidentally, that’s the airing cupboard.’

‘You don’t say.’ Paul closed the door to the linens within.

 

For interest, this is Paul:

Policemen

Thanks for reading everyone! Keep safe. XX

WfL cover

Warrant for Love – BUY Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon Com

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, a little Ohhhh la la! and thrills! Sheryl Browne brings you poignant, witty, modern romance. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl now has six books published with Safkhet Publishing.

Author LINKS:

 

Sheryl’s Website  / Safkhet Publishing  / Amazon.co.uk  / Amazon.com

Author Facebook  / Romantic Novelists’ Association

Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor.  Twitter: @sherylbrowne

 

Humour in Writing – Anneli Purchase

Anneli Purchase

It is human nature to enjoy happiness, and although humour in books is not the enduring kind of happiness,   it can bring us snippets of it. Only the most serious of books would not benefit from a little humour woven into the text. My novel, “Julia’s Violinist” is a fairly serious story of a postwar love triangle. I’d like to share with you an excerpt from this novel to show that everything need not be dour at all times, even in a setting like that of Julia’s story, where love still thrives among the ruins of war.

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist:

He stood in the doorway holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand. “For the lady of the house,” he said. A wave of his blondish hair fell forward as he inclined his head in a quick bow to Brigitte. Julia took a deep breath as Brigitte motioned for her to come closer.

“This is my sister, Julia Feldmann. Our new friend, Karl Werner.” Karl gave the second bouquet to Julia and shook her hand.

“So happy to meet you, Julia. I hope you like flowers too.”

“I love flowers. Very nice to meet you, Karl.” He was charming. No doubt about that.

“Mutti, Mutti!” Steffie ran into the house, gasping for breath. “I saw a man picking the neighbours’ flowers.”

“Psh-sh-t! Steffie!” Julia said.

“That’s him!” She pointed, mouth agape, and hid behind her mother.

“They were being wasted over there and I knew there were two lovely ladies in this house who needed them. Now, Steffie—is that your name? What a pretty name. You won’t tell on me, will you?”

“No.” Steffie peeked at Karl from behind Julia’s dress.

Julia watched the smile playing around Karl’s lips as he wooed Steffie into becoming an accomplice in his crime.

“Let’s get these lovely flowers into water so they haven’t been picked in vain,” Brigitte said. “Why don’t we sit in the living room? Steffie you can go on back out and play.”

“Don’t forget to keep our secret,” Karl called after her.

“I won’t,” she said, skipping out the door. “Sofie! Guess what!” they heard her call.

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Julia’s Violinist is available for only 99 cents from now to the end of July through amazon.com and smashwords.com.

 

Turning Points – Carol E. Wyer

Meet today’s guest, author Carol E. Wyer.Headandshoulders

Carol writes light-hearted humorous fiction and non-fiction aimed at those who wish to grow old disgracefully. Recent books caught the attention of the media and with the release of Grumpy Old Menopause, she appeared on BBC Breakfast television, over thirty radio shows, and now makes regular appearances on BBC Radio Derby as a Loud Mouth. (I can’t imagine why!)

Carol says:

My novels are full of twists and turns so it’s difficult to say they have one turning point. In reality there will be several moments where the reader will raise his eyebrows in surprise (I hope). Just Add Spice is one of those. It’s about Dawn, a middle-aged woman, who joins a writer’s group full of eccentric characters-and a young man who has a keen interest in her- in order to learn how to best write her first novel. She is advised to make her character as credible as possible by thinking and behaving like them. That’s fine, except her character, Cinnamon Knight, is an avenging Lara Croft type, out to exact revenge on every badly behaved male she encounters and who will happily murder them if necessary. Gradually, Cinnamon Knight begins to take over her creator, or has she always been there lurking in the depths of Dawns’ soul?

Through writing, Dawn discovers her own true identity and soon realises that she has been blinkered to the truth behind her own marriage. The complexity of relationships, love, marriage, danger, lust and confusion are all within the pages of the novel which might make you wonder if you should inject some spice into your own life.

Here’s an extract:

It was very late when she went to bed having completed the latest chapter. Jim was fast asleep and didn’t hear her slip quietly between the sheets. He was making that puffing sound he usually made, just before he burst into rhythmical snores that would increase in decibels until Dawn felt like screaming. She was tired now. Her eyes were sore from staring at the screen and she needed some rest before Jim decided that it was time for them both to wake up.

He was one of those, “early to bed and early to rise” people. About five o’clock he would start to become restless in bed which would inevitably waken Dawn. He would then yawn noisily several times and huff as if he didn’t fancy another day on the planet. Some short time after that, he would throw back the covers and tumble out of bed, clumping about the bedroom, opening wardrobe doors noisily and then running the bathroom tap for ages and flushing the toilet several times, oblivious to Dawn who was still bleary-eyed from tiredness.

Age was creeping up on him. She glanced at him. Light cast from the digital alarm clock glowed blue across his face. His mouth was open and he was dribbling slightly. She prodded him gently in the side to encourage him to move off his back and onto his side, where he might not make that irritating puffing sound.

Dawn pulled the covers up to her chin and nestled into the warm of the duvet. The puffs turned into gentle rumbles. Dawn burrowed further under the duvet. The rumbles became louder. Dawn gave him a prod. The rumbles stopped. Dawn sighed and covered her head with the duvet. Sleep wasn’t far away. She edged towards it relaxing and welcoming the night which would envelop her and leave her refreshed. She began to drift, floating towards that comfortable oblivion.

She was woken from the almost dream-like state by an almighty snore. Jim was at full volume. She shook him gently. Nothing. He continued to snore. She tried to move him. No way. He was out for the count. She hid her head under the duvet and fumed. She needed some sleep for goodness sake. It was 3 a.m. She needed those two precious hours.

Cinnamon suddenly appeared from nowhere. She was in Dawn’s mind whispering to her. Cinnamon wouldn’t listen to this holy row. She’d give him a sharp kick. As soon as the thought entered her mind, Dawn’s leg shot out involuntarily and caught Jim’s sharply on the tender portion of his calf muscle. The snoring stopped instantly. Cinnamon winked at Dawn. Dawn snuggled down again. A few minutes later the rumbling began once more. Cinnamon leapt up and grabbed the Tempur pillow from under Dawn’s head. It was weighty and sank in the middle. Straddling Jim with her long strong legs, she placed the pillow over his head and prepared to hold it over his face. Dawn shook her head. Too much Cinnamon. He’ll suffocate. Cinnamon blew a strand of hair away from her nose, nodded and got off Jim. Dawn leant across and instead pinched Jim’s nostrils together until he started spluttering. As soon as he started coughing, she feigned sleep. Jim coughed some more, then rose to get a drink of water. When he got back to bed he turned over onto his side and dozed back off.

Dawn smiled quietly in the dark and held her thumb up to Cinnamon who disappeared again into the recesses.

Just Add Spice

 

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What Love Means

Bonnie Trachtenberg loves cats. For this reason and many others, she’s always welcome on my blog. Here she is sharing her views on love for our Valentine’s Day countdown.

Me sitting on rock at beach

What love means to me…

My husband has never bought me flowers. He knows the cats will eat them and throw up. He doesn’t buy me candy—until I take him once a year to Godiva so I can pick out all the chocolates I like, and not waste calories on the others. He has never planned a surprise event for me, whether on my birthday or at any other time, or picked out jewelry to gift me with. He knows I have specific tastes and he doesn’t want to disappoint me. I make the social plans, the dinner reservations, and happily pick out my own gems, sometimes with him by my side.

But let me tell you a few of the things he has done…

My husband built a house in our yard for our stray cats with insulation, cat doors, windows, window seats, cozy beds, and heat, so I don’t worry about them all winter. When he thought his son was extremely allergic to my indoor cat, he built us a beautiful addition to our home so that my cat and I could have a luxurious, spacious place to be when his son came over. He gave me one of my favorite gifts of all time: a portable back scratcher that fits in my purse, for those annoying, hard-to-reach itches I always seem to get. He is appreciative if I simply heat up a frozen dinner for him and will joke, “You outdid yourself.” He has learned to watch old black and white movies with me and even enjoy them. My husband knows my idiosyncrasies and loves me in spite of them. He hugs me and tells me he loves me every day. He is my best friend, my greatest admirer, my biggest fan, and the only man who ever really “got” me—and I wouldn’t trade him for all the flowers and candy in the world.

Bonnie is the author of the bestselling, multi-award winning romantic comedies Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours. She is also the author of the humor/satire book The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats, and a dog.

Wedlocked-a-Novel-by-Bonnie-Trachtenberg-160x190Neurotically_Yours_Cover_JPEGdelusional-thinking-FINAL-Amazon

Learn much more about Bonnie at her website: www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com