Archives for posts with tag: sample

Hi all:

Tomorrow, the 15th of July, the second book in my YA trilogy, Angelic Business, ‘Shapes of Greg’ will be published.

Just last week, author and friend Hans Hirschi posted this amazing review of the whole trilogy. I have to thank him for his kindness and I’m pleased to see it made such an impact on him. Here is the link. Don’t miss it.

http://www.hirschi.se/blog/angelic-business-trilogy/

I shared the video last week, but putting it at the end of the post I think most people missed it. If you didn’t, I’m sorry, there it is again:

 

I leave you a longer sample, when Pink meets and old acquaintance, although she doesn’t quite realise it at first:

On Friday, I thought I saw a guy I’d never seen before standing opposite my house. When I came out he started walking towards me, I thought, but Seth went by driving his car and offered me a lift. I accepted. When I saw the same guy waiting at a distance when Sylvia, Lorna and I came out of school, I didn’t know what to think. I thought he’d disappear while we were at the library. And I didn’t see him when we came out or on the way to the bus stop. But as soon as the bus left, I saw him standing on the pavement on the other side of the road.

I was getting a bit freaked out by that guy. I hadn’t told Lorna and Sylvia because what could they do anyway? Sylvia would start talking about stalking, as usual, and Lorna would wonder if he might be relationship material. Or to be fair no, not, actually. He was tall, skinny, pale, Goth-like looking, dressed to not impress…No, not what Lorna would consider relationship material. And he must have been in his mid-twenties at least. Why was he following us? Or rather, why was he following me?

The mysterious stalker

The mysterious stalker

I don’t think I scare easy, but I started walking faster. It was getting dark and I still had a bit of a way to go before getting home, and although the neighbourhood was safe…He also accelerated. “Don’t panic. Don’t panic!” I kept telling myself. It didn’t quite work. I was seconds from running when the said guy called out:

“Pink…Pink!”

OK, now that was weird. How on earth did he know my name?

“Pink….” I had now stopped walking. He caught up with me. “It’s me.” I looked at him. Me…

“Who are you exactly?”

“I still like Lindt truffles.”

“G?”

Original G

Original G

He smiled and nodded.

“I thought you’d been called back…home? I didn’t realise they were just going to give you another body.”

He shrugged.

“Neither did I. No, they have given me another mission.”

“I see. Here again?”

He blushed, extremely noticeable as he was now so pale.

“Not exactly.”

“Where then?”

“Dallas.”

“What? That’s quite far. Are you off today, or is your charge around here, or what?”

“Off? We don’t get time off.”

“You have a rubbish contract then.”

He laughed and shrugged.

“Not so bad as contracts go with my boss,” he added. Now it was my turn to smile.

“So what are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see how you were.”

Don’t you all go… “Oh, that’s sweet,” because we’re talking about a demon here.

“I’m fine. Thanks.”

“Good. Is Dashiell taking good care of you?”

“You could ask him. I’ve never been clear about what your lot are trying to achieve following me around. You’ve given me so many versions of the story…And Dashiell…he is more strictly business than you were.”

He sighed. His new body gave him a more vulnerable appearance.

“I miss being connected to you.”

Now he was taking things too far.

“If you remember the said connection was severed a long time ago. I should be going. It’s getting late.”

“I’ll walk you home.”

It was a very weird sensation to have G walking next to me, but looking nothing like he used to. Weird.

“How are Lorna and Sylvia?”

“Fine. Well, sort of. Lorna has decided it’s time she finds her perfect man, and Sylvia went all out to try to design a computer programme to help with that. And it produced a profile and even a digital portrait kind-of-thing. And it looks a bit like Dashiell, so now Lorna thinks he might be her perfect man. And he hasn’t helped much.”

“What has he done?”

Dashiell

Dashiell

I told G about his idea of a cover to keep in touch with me by getting us all to work on his project.

“They shouldn’t have taken me off the case,” he complained.

“Oh, I’m sure she’ll be all right. Lorna is a tough cookie.”

“And Sylvia?”

“I’m not so sure about Sylvia. She’s acting quite out of character these days. She told us she might have met somebody but won’t talk about it in any detail. And she seems preoccupied. I think there’s something going on, but for some reason she does not want to talk about it. I’m a bit concerned, although she’s usually very down-to-earth.”

He rubbed his chin that in his current body was quite prominent.

“I’ll see if I can find something out.”

“I’m sure you must be busy with your mission, whatever that is. I don’t want you to get into trouble with your boss for not doing your job and messing up with humans.”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“My “boss” as you keep saying, likes trouble. It’s what he thrives on. He can always find an advantageous angle in anything that at first sight seems to have gone wrong.”

“Very entrepreneurial. He sounds like a spin doctor.”

“You can say that again!”

I smiled and looked at him closely. Yes, it felt very wrong, because although of course, the voice wasn’t his either, and even the accent was very different —a Southern drawl the previous G didn’t have —to me he sounded like himself. Or maybe it was my brain playing tricks on me.

“Is your mission not keeping you very busy then? I assume I’m not allowed to know.”

He cringed. I’d touched a raw nerve.

“It is a bore. I’m supposed to be babysitting this young boy, he’s 7 or 8, because one of our analysts has come up with the suggestion that he has the potential to become a very dangerous guy in the future, some deadly and crazed leader of masses, or a supervillain, or master criminal…Something like that. To tell you the truth, so far he’s a very boring young child, not even particularly bad or naughty. Maybe Sylvia should come and work for us. Her programmes might be more useful than our research methods. Going through stories, legends, ancient books, looking at the stars… Hocus-pocus if you ask me.”

I had to laugh.

“I wouldn’t have taken you for a sceptic, after all that passion about the prophecy I’m involved in.”

“Well, one can’t take chances. And it is a very well-known and accepted prophecy, not some paint-by-numbers style of analysis.”

I looked at him trying to get to the truth.

“But it doesn’t matter anyway, because it’s not really about me. Isn’t that right?”

“Of course.”

Did he blush? He seemed to, but I wasn’t sure how much the host-body would show a demon’s emotions. Did they really have emotions? I did not believe him. I wondered if I would ever believe him again.

“Of course I trust your discretion with regards to the mission.”

“I have no details anyway. And I can’t see myself going to kill the young boy just in case.”

“You’d be surprised what some people might do.”

“Not really,” I thought. Instead I decided to try a different line of conversation. I was also curious.

“What name do you go by now?” I asked him.

“Peter Pratt.” I don’t know what I must have looked like, because he added: “Hey, it wasn’t my choice.”

“I can’t get used to how you look now.”

He looked at himself.

“Again, not my choice. Although I guess humans don’t choose how they look either, other than very rich people with plastic surgery and things, but even with that there are limits.”

I nodded.

“I know you’ve told me it’s not like in the stories and paintings and all that, but what do you really look like? Not when you take up a human body but as…”

“We don’t have horns, or a tail and pitch-fork and we aren’t red. We don’t have a physical appearance as you’d understand it. We are spiritual energy. A bit like the glowing light performance that Azrael puts on. Although in their case it’s that kind of bright light. In ours…it’s a darkness, a bit like a black hole. It’s not really a black hole but it’s that void, an absence of light, I imagine if I had to explain it.”

We were both quiet. We were very close to my street. He stopped walking.

“I’d better go now. Take care. And don’t tell Dashiell. This is not an official visit and he might not appreciate my coming here.”

“Bye.”

He squeezed my right hand in both of his and then left. It had been a very strange visit. And it would not be the last.

Pink

Pink

Before I forget, I’ll better leave you the links to the book, just in case:

Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg

Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg

Amazon:

http://rxe.me/YHZ21O2

Apple:

http://apple.co/1AE2MQR

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/1eFYYVB

Nook:

http://bit.ly/1AGqNHn

And as I know you enjoy them, I thought I’d leave you a song with Angels. Probably the most popular song with angels of recent years:

Thanks for reading and watching, and you know, if you have enjoyed it, like, comment, share and of course, if you fancy it, CLICK! 

Hi all:

Yes! Today is really the day! Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters should be alive and kicking in Amazon and a few other places.

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters

To celebrate… yes, I’d like to have a party or something, but I have the other two books to get ready too, so not much time. But still, I thought we should celebrate somehow.

First, I’d given you a bit of the conversation between Pink and G before, in a chapter called ‘Liar, liar’, for good reason, but I thought I’d give you a bit more:

“OK. You know the angel thing?” I said.

“You mean the thing you’ve never believed despite all evidence I’ve showed you? What about it?”

“Somebody told me it’s not exactly true.”

“You’ve told somebody? After I had to make your friends forget all about it and then…I thought we had a deal.”

“Calm down. I didn’t tell anybody. Somebody came to me. We were coming out of Lorna’s house yesterday and this guy…”

“You stop to talk to somebody you’ve never met before?” he asked, serious.

“I couldn’t do much else. He performed your favourite trick. The time-out thing. You know what I mean. Everybody stopped but me and him. He told me…”

“Azrael…” G had stopped pacing but instead of looking at me he was looking at the floor.

“Yep. That’s him. So you know him.”

“We’re a relatively small community.”

“Anyway, he told me…you’re not really an angel. Or not any longer. You’re a fallen angel. Or, to put it in another way, a demon. You’ve ever so slightly misrepresented yourself. If that’s true that is.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Same difference.”

“Come on, now. You rebelled against God following Lucifer that as far as I understand was his favourite. If one is to believe the stories…You lost and were cast down to hell.”

G looked up now, directly into my eyes.

“Well, God likes these casting outs. After all, if we’re to believe the story of Adam and Eve, humans have also been cast out.”

“Lucifer had something to do with it…If we do believe the stories, that is..…” For some unknown reason to me I wanted to laugh. Instead of feeling angry I was starting to think it was all rather funny. And it probably was, from an observer’s point of view, but that was exactly how I felt. As if all of that had nothing whatsoever to do with me. As if I was watching it all from a distance. I couldn’t help myself. “Does that mean your boss is a snake?”

“What?…” G looked genuinely surprised, but finally caught on. “Oh, the Bible is just a fiction, maybe faction is a better word…or an interpretation of facts. If he wanted to attract a woman, a snake isn’t necessarily the best option.”

“No. Maybe a nice pair of shoes or a handbag.”

“Or Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp,” G added also getting into the same slightly jokey mood.

We both laughed. If nothing else, G seemed lighter, more humorous and less ponderous than Azrael.

“So, does that change anything?” G asked.

“I don’t know. For one it makes you not very trustworthy. And I don’t mean because you’re a demon, that might not help, but because you’re a liar.”

“I just don’t think one should put too much stock on that kind of stuff. I see myself more as an anti-hero. Or a morally ambiguous hero. Maybe.”

And a few couple of songs with angels on them…

Here, Erasure ‘Send Me an Angel’ (This is the funniest, I was thinking of Eurythmics and I wrote Erasure, and hop, they have a song with angels too that I didn’t remember. I think angels are at play here…)

Eurythmics ‘There Must Be an Angel’ (This is a super video!)

Antonio Machín. ‘Angelitos Negros’ (Antonio Machín was a singer from Cuba who lived and sang in Spain for many years and was very popular when I was a child. This song, that is one of his most famous, it’s called ‘Little Black Angels’ and in it, he basically is asking a painter why he never paints black angels when everybody knows they also go to heaven. He has a very personal style but it’s a wonderful song).


Here are the links to the book, before I forget:

Amazon:

http://rxe.me/YIHTW96

Apple:

http://apple.co/1Kuzdl8

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/1LU77jt

Nook:

http://bit.ly/1eLMTOG

Thanks so much for reading and you know… like, comment, share and if you fancy it, CLICK!

Hi all:

Apart from working on my WIP (currently I’m translating the third novel in the series to Spanish) and translating and editing some other books (I’ll tell you about my new translation next week) I’ve been looking at my older books. The Spanish version of my first novel The Man Who Never Was has undergone some revision and as I was thinking of the book, I wondered about the cover, that originally was my own effort. I’ve been talking to my friend Lourdes who has a very good hand with designs (she does interior design) and knows Photoshop in an out and I asked her to have a look at the original covers, with the idea of, at least, changing the text. But, at the time, not sure why now, other than because I liked the two images, I used a different image for each cover, the Spanish and the English one, and I wanted to ask  you which one do you prefer.

To add to the mix, originally I had found another image I really liked, but with my lack of skills I didn’t manage to make it work, but now that might be another possibility.

These are the images:

This is the one I used for the English version:

Man English

Man English

For the Spanish version I used this one:

Hombre

Hombre

And this is the other image, that I never used:

Model of businessman standing on leather shoe uid 1171195To help in the decision (or confuse matters more, who knows) I thought I’d leave you the description and the first chapter.

Description:

The Man Who Never Was

The protagonist, Jesús, is ugly. Extraordinarily ugly. He is so ugly that his friends and relatives are convinced that behind that ugliness there must be something else. A malefic power or possiblyr a momentous fate. The truth is that fairly special things happen wherever Jesús is. His biological father is a mystery. He only manages to discover that he seems to have fathered quite a few other extremely ugly boys like him during his career. His sister (half-sister) is a child-prodigy who excels at everything she does (writing, career in foreign relations, acting…), his mother becomes the president of the country, his own bank is successful, his best-friend Vero is a computer tycoon, his brother-in-law also makes it in politics…But for all the success and money around him he still feels unsettled. He tries sports, banking, cinema but nothing provides the answers he wants. Who was his father? This is a family saga where everything goes: from politics to retirement homes, from sport to cinema, from adultery to incest but nothing is taken too seriously.

If you enjoyed Isabel Allende’s ‘House of the Spirits’ and love ‘The West Wing’, combined with a touch of comedy, this is your book!

First Chapter:

1. Birth

Adelina (Adele for her posh friends) was the most beautiful girl in the village. Not only that, but she was the heiress of a very well-off and quasi-aristocratic family, and that increased her appeal for prospective beaux. She was beloved by the parents of all her friends; she was fashionable and popular with the girls; she was lusted after by men of a certain age. And she was considered hot-property by guys her own age. Adele was in everybody’s wish list, and her list of Romeos was nearly as long as the Yellow Pages. Some witty person had suggested that her family needed a system of traffic lights to avoid fatal crashes for the men in her life.

With all the comings and goings, her father, Don Severo, who was austere, serious, and not given to frivolities, didn’t have a clue of who the father might be. Because when Adelina started gaining weight, against all the rules and regulations of the fashion magazines and celebrities of the moment, it became quite evident that she was pregnant. Her always having been thin as a stick only accelerated matters, and what initially was gossip amongst the help soon became common knowledge of the best (and worst) of society. Even her father, Don Severo, who was always away, busy with business, and distant from his family and everyday life, finally realised what everybody had noticed ages before. He begged, he threatened, he tried and bribe his daughter, but all to no avail. She refused point blank to reveal the name of the father of the creature. And she didn’t even want to do the decent thing and have an abortion (legal maybe by pulling some strings, or a touristy one) like many of her friends. No, she didn’t care about the shame and embarrassment she might bring upon her parents. She wanted that child, and she’d have it. Nobody had ever said no to Adelina, and she wasn’t prepared to set a precedent in that occasion.

The birth was a big event. Adelina’s stubbornness had won again and she had refused to go to a hospital.

“You’re mad! Why won’t you go to hospital like everybody else?” Doña Remedios, her mother, asked for the millionth time, in desperation, as the birth got closer and closer. Doña Remedios, like her husband, was quite traditional and not trendy enough to understand concepts like natural birth or the importance of a friendly environment for the newborn. Birth might be natural, but she didn’t think it should be a pain for the mother or an inconvenience for the mother’s family. How friendly can it be for a baby to be born to her mother’s screaming her head off and everybody running around like lunatics?

“Precisely because that’s what everybody else would do. That won’t do for me. No.”

She wanted a home-birth. She had counted on their private medical care to provide in case of any problems, but not on how busy doctors were (especially as most of them worked both in the public and the private sector). By the time their physician turned up he was only able to examine the new born. He didn’t look particularly pretty or even wealthy. He was small, thin, very dark, and all covered in black hair, like a tiny werewolf. Doña Remedios was the first one to hold him in her arms. Immediately, the baby, who hadn’t even cried, opened his eyelids. His eyes, green with yellow sparks, and with elongated pupils like a cat’s, made his grandmother gasp and say: ‘Jesus! He has the devil’s eyes!’

That comment became part of the family’s lore and was always mentioned when discussing their choice of names, because Adelina, who was notably fresh and alert after giving birth, told her mother:

“Yes! Jesús! That’s it! Perfect name!”

Remedios looked at her daughter.

“Jesús? But…That’s not one of the traditional names in the family. And what about non-religious or Christian people? They might find it offensive.”

“But why? I’m not calling him God. And people have always used Biblical names, and names of prophets…Anyway, the world is full of Mohammeds, so why should I be that respectful?…Although God…has a ring to it…Or…Satan…Lucifer…”

“Jesús will be fine. Sure.” Remedios agreed to avoid even worse. And she reflected that maybe it would bring the child good luck and protect him from whatever fate those eyes seemed to announce. And unless his looks changed, he would need all the luck he could get. He wasn’t ugly, not in a conventional sense. He didn’t have a bent or big nose, and the eyes, despite their peculiar colour, weren’t either too small or too big, not too close to each other. His hair, that didn’t grow in his head until it fell off the rest of his body, was black, shiny, and growing straight, in spite of the best efforts of nannies, hairdressers, relatives and doctors.

Don Severo observed and waited to see if the boy would grow up to show any resemblance to anybody.

“What do you think, Reme? Don’t you think he looks a bit like that boy she went out with…Charlie? The garage guy?”

“You mean the guy with the noisy cars? No, he was blond. Real blond too.”

“I don’t know…Are you sure you can’t make her tell you?”

“You know Adelina. Nobody can make her do anything she doesn’t have a mind to.”

“You know? I’m not sure she even knows who the father is?”

“Seve…”

Adelina knew perfectly well who the father was, but she worked hard to forget it, and by the end of her life she would insist that Jesús was her child and hers only.

However fantastic or mysterious his origins, Jesús grew up, but annoyingly slow for his grandmother and his nanny, because her mother went back to her previous life. She read chick-lit, went for tea or coffee with her friends, and attended balls and parties. It was somewhat peculiar, as the village was quite old-fashioned and normally a scandal like that tainted individuals and families for ever. But Adelina, even after the birth, was still the prettiest of the place, her father was still the wealthiest, and all the inhabitants seemed to reach the conclusion that Jesús’s birth was the result of some evil conspiracy and it had nothing to do with Adelina who was an innocent victim of the situation. And Adelina abandoned her son in the same way she had previously abandoned toys, clothes and accessories when they weren’t fashionable anymore or she grew bored of them. Of course, there was always the matter of the child’s malevolent expression that made him very difficult to fit in or be accepted, as people didn’t want to look at his face for any longer than necessary.

Jesús grew up like any other child, walking and talking at the normal ages, and suffering all the usual illnesses, without demonstrating in any way the evil nature his grandmother had predicted. Because the child didn’t see any other man in the house but his grandfather, he assumed he must be his father. The first time he called him Dad, Don Severo didn’t hear him and nothing happened. On the second occasion, while his grandfather was reading the financial news, he pulled at his trousers. Don Severo looked down at him.

“What’s the matter?”

“Dad?”

Don Severo paled and slapped him twice on the cheeks before getting up and storming past him to the kitchen, saying:

“What the hell? I’m not your fucking father!”

Jesús could hear shouting from inside the kitchen. Don Severo was talking to his wife.

“That child called me Dad! Can you believe that! What on earth have people been saying?”

“There’s no need to get so angry. Nobody has been saying such a thing. He’s just confused. He must have noticed other children have a father and he thought…Poor thing.”

“Poor thing? I tell you, if he calls me that again…”

Luckily Jesús was too young to understand the full conversation, but he was old enough to understand that Don Severo wasn’t his father and that wasn’t the solution to the enigma of his birth. It seemed that, in contrast with the other boys, he didn’t have a father.

During the first years of his life, a legend had grown about him. Everybody knew what his grandmother had said when she had first seen him open his eyes, and the people who’d seen him whispered that he looked like the devil’s son indeed. The truth was they were exaggerating somewhat. There was no denying, though, that the child looked like a cartoon or old-Western baddie. Some optimistic people insisted that he could have a profitable career in a TV soap. That is, if he didn’t mind getting typecast.

When Jesús was five years old his mother came home one evening and entered the dining room, where her parents and her son were having tea. She smiled at them and said:

“I have some news! Great news! I’m getting married!”

Don Severo dropped his fork, Doña Remedios nearly chocked, but Jesús carried on playing with his food. He’d never really liked broccoli.

“Who is the lucky  one? Are you marrying his father?” Don Severo asked, looking at Jesús.

“His father? Are you mad? Of course not! Why would I want to do such a thing? No, I’m marrying Senén.”

“Who?” Don Severo had given up on trying to keep up with all the young men she was dating.

“Senén…The mayor’s son?” Doña Remedios, who’d always been better at gossip-related activities, asked. Quite a handsome boy. He’d taken after his mother, because the mayor wasn’t precisely a picture.

Adelina nodded.

“Well…That’s not too bad.” Don Severo said. The mayor, Don Raúl, was also quite rich and from a good family. Not as good as theirs, of course, but considering Adelina’s behaviour, it was quite a good match. Better than he would have dared to hope for.

“We’ll have to organise an engagement party and…” Doña Remedios said, getting up from the table ready to check her magazines.

“I don’t think we’ll have time for all that. What we need to organise, and rather quickly, is the wedding.” Adelina said, beaming, or should we say glowing? Because yes, she was pregnant again.

It was all a bit of a rush. Despite Doña Remedios’s bests efforts due to the notoriety of the two families things took a fair amount of organising, and by the time of the wedding there was no doubt that Adelina was pregnant again. She had the baby, this time in hospital, shortly after their return from the honeymoon. They had decided beforehand that the newlyweds would move in with the mayor, who had lost his wife a few years earlier and wanted some company. Also, Adelina wasn’t that keen on staying at her parents, and Don Raúl, Senén’s father, had a fantastic cook. And they had always kept his nanny, Felisa, in employment, so… The little girl was called Stephanie, because her mother loved women’s magazines and thought the name might bring her good luck. Jesús was really happy with all the events, as he believed Senén might be his father, as he hadn’t paid much attention to Adelina’s comment when she announced her wedding. He decided to ask Senén directly, as Adelina had always been vague in her replies as to his parenthood. One of the many afternoons when Adelina had gone shopping with friends and Senén was watching the Sports Channel Jesús decided to broach the subject. Due to his grandfather’s reaction he felt calling him dad wasn’t a good approach. He went for direct questioning.

“Senén? Are you my dad?”

“Me? Your dad? I never met your mother until after you were born. Quite a long time after, if you want the truth. And how can you imagine I could possibly have a child with a face like yours? Have you looked at me? And at your mother? She must have been very drunk that night. Either that or it was very dark. Mate, in all honesty, if I had a child with such a face I’d kill myself. But…if you want to call me Dad, that’s fine, as far as there’s no one around.”

Jesús understood that Senén was his sister’s father, not his, and that he might never have his own father. Regarding the offer to call him Dad, he decided to think about it. Anyway, father or no father Jesús adored his sister, who had been much luckier in the looks department. She was as pretty as her mother had been at her age, possibly even more, and everybody was saying that Adelina had now given birth to an angel, to balance things out.

Jesús, with his cruel and dangerous-looking face, had to bear jokes and taunts from children and grown-ups. Although he was by nature a pacifist and disliked fights and violence, due to all the persecution and bullying, he got involved in fights quite a few times, and got a reputation of violent and dangerous, although he believed he was only brave. He joined a gang of children from school, amongst the naughtiest and most troublesome, the only ones who accepted him, but he had to quit it, because with his face he was blamed for any misdeeds that happened. Even the ones he had nothing to do with.

In spite of all that, Jesús was an optimist and believed his future would be happy. Senén, whose father had always tried to guide him towards the world of politics, had had an idea. Or “an idea” as he’d say, finger twitching and all. He had decided that he should create a political party. He resolved to tell his father, who had always been his confidant in serious and manly things. He caught him at one of his usual after meals rest periods in the library that he insisted in calling reading, but mostly consisted of napping after some alcohol and smoking.

“It isn’t so complicated. And I think I have all the cards in my hand. I can’t fail. We have a comfortable financial situation.” Senén explained.

“Even better the sad day when your in-laws…are no longer.”

Senén nodded. That had also crossed his mind, although, of course, he really loved Don Severo and Doña Remedios.

“And Adelina, my wife, is beautiful, and has a sense of style, and all, men and women, adore her, and she’ll be a great asset. And Stephanie…she’s gorgeous, and clever, and so advanced for her age! And…I don’t want to talk about me, but…I’ve always been good with people, studied Law and Politics at a good university, and…”

“Yes, and women have always been after you because they find you irresistible. I know, I know. That’s all true. You aren’t wrong. But I think you’ve forgotten a couple of things.”

“What?”

“First: your politics. I mean, what is your political option? Any particular ideas you want to promote?”

Senén looked at his father, to see if he was joking. No, he was sitting at his favourite sofa, cigar in right hand, brandy on his left, looking terribly serious.

“Politics? Does it really matter? Whatever will get me where I want to be. I don’t think nowadays political ideas are that very important. I can’t myself see any difference between parties professing to be right or left wing. It’s people and personalities who win elections. The packaging is more important than the product in a consumerist society. With the right image I’m sure I’d make it whatever I decide my political tenets are. Liberal, eco-friendly, because green is very popular at the moment and you have to talk environment all the time, but supporting traditional values, although with respect for diversity. And an emphasis on health and education. Of course we’ll remain flexible. If things don’t work well we can always change our ideas mid-way if that will attract more voters.”

“Oh, I see. Wishy-washy. It will do. Flexibility and adaptability are good when there is neither honesty nor principles.”

Senén again looked at his father, perplexed. He’d never noticed his father’s honesty or integrity in business or politics in the past. And there were some ugly rumours about his personal life, but he’d never wanted to ask. Anyway, you can never trust the word of honour of a politician. Just then, Don Raúl started laughing.

“I’m pulling your leg, Senén. Of course you’re right. Your programme sounds great. I imagine you only want to be a senator. Or MEP…No, not that…Or…let’s not stop there. Why not President? If Reagan and Bush Jr. have been presidents in the USA, why not you? You are definitely far more attractive and younger, dynamic and in better health than Reagan ever was, and if you’d tried I’m sure you’d also have been a better actor. No sweat. And Bush…OK,  you aren’t a member of MENSA, but compared to Bush…Einstein ”

Senén laughed and his father did the same. But then he remembered his father had a second but.

“And second?”

“Second?” The mayor looked puzzled, but suddenly remembered. “Oh yes, second. Jesús.”

He’d forgotten Jesús. That was a bit more complicated. A wife with a child out of wedlock, however beautiful, wasn’t much of an ace in a political career, especially one at its very beginning. Particularly in their country that was still a bit…male-centred. Things had improved notably, but…If he’d had a secret son…that would have been different. It would have given him some cache. But Jesús…Maybe if they started a rumour that Jesús was the son of somebody famous, a bullfighter, or a famous singer, or an actor, women would go crazy. But, with such a face nobody would believe it. And, there was the little detail that he didn’t really have any idea whose child he was. Senén had been so taken by Adelina at first that he hadn’t insisted in her telling him who the father was. And now…he needed her and she had the upper hand and knew it. She’d never tell him now. Still…Leaving him with his grandparents at the village was an option, but Adelina would never accept. It wasn’t because of her concern about the child’s welfare. But she wanted to be present if and when his diabolical powers manifested. All mothers complain at some point of their children being little devils, but Adelina wanted full credit if her son was real evil. From the deepest of Senén’s intellectual recesses he extracted a possible solution. Charity. Charity was a good thing for a politician. It showed he had a heart. But one needed to get into the wagon in time, because people’s patience for grand gestures was wearing thin. They could say they had adopted Jesús when his parents, family friends, died. Sorting out the paperwork wouldn’t be that difficult. His father was the mayor after all, and that had some advantages. Of course people in the village knew the truth, but they wouldn’t be staying there once everything was sorted. And people could always be bought. Or silenced, if necessary. He decided to tell Adelina.

“Adelina! Adele!”

“Yes, darling!”

She was wearing one of her sexy numbers. Senén wondered, for a second or two, why she’d be wearing that in the middle of the afternoon, but then his hormones took over and he had problems keeping down to business.

“Adelina…I’ve had an idea.”

“Go on. Is it dirty?” She asked, putting her arms around his waist and wrapping herself around him dangerously close.

“Not that kind of idea.” He said, trying to disentangle himself. “I need something to do…Stop that. I’m trying to be serious. No, politics. I was talking to my father. Why not form a political party? We have money, we are the most attractive couple in town…”

“And we have no scruples. Yes, I see. You have a point.” She stopped her advances towards her husband and sat down on the sofa. “Yes, you have enough brains, not that one needs much on that department and…What did your father say?”

“He thinks it’s a good idea. We talked about politics.”

“Oh, that doesn’t matter much nowadays.”

Senén smiled. Adelina and he were in synch in more ways than one.

“But he mentioned Jesús. You wouldn’t want to leave him behind, would you?”

Adelina shook her head.

“You know my feelings on that. We’ve discussed it enough times. I want him near enough to keep watch on any developments.”

“You can’t really believe he’s going to be…special in any way, can you?”

Adelina smiled in a way that always made Senén feel like an idiot.

“OK. Fine. But I came up with an idea that might work and make us look good rather…”

“Than make me look like a slut. OK, shoot.”

“We could say his parents died, they were our friends, and we adopted him out of the kindness of our hearts.”

“But people here…Of course we wouldn’t stay here…Yes, it could work. Great idea! Travelling, meeting all famous people, TV…Must go shopping!”

“Do you think Jesús will mind?”

“Jesús? No. He’ll be happy to leave this place and have a bit of space. More people, more opportunities to go unnoticed in the looks department. And with that story at least he gets to have a father, even if it’s a dead one.”

Don Raúl smiled when Senén told him his idea about Jesús and said he’d sort the paperwork out. Maybe all the education hadn’t been completely wasted after all!

And he’d get rid of Jesús who gave him a chill every time he saw him. Of course he’d go back to being on his own, but it was a small price to pay to not see Jesús again. And he’d be supporting his son’s career. One had to be generous when it came to one’s family. At least that was his excuse.

Everything went notably smoothly and quickly. A morning about a month later they left with their mountains of luggage towards the big city, or, to be more precise, towards the capital. They were very impressed on arrival. They all had an opinion. How many votes! How chic! How many kids! Guaaaaa! That was the beginning of their great adventure in the city.
Thank  you all for reading, and please like (if you want), but especially, share, and comment. There are a number of posts I wrote including interviews with characters and all manner of things shortly after publication if you want to read more about it, and links to the book on the side, although a new cover might be coming soon. All feedback greatly appreciated! Ah, and suggestions for the choice of font will also be welcome! 

 

Hi all:

I’m not sure how many of you will remember that a few months back I was asking for suggestions of titles, images, names of characters, well, most of everything, for a romantic novel I was planning on writing. And recently I talked about it as part of a blog hop where writers were talking about his characters. Guess what! I’ve written it!

‘I Love Your Cupcakes’ (the blame for the title is all mine) is in the process of being edited, corrected, translated, polished and made-up. But I thought I’d leave you with the beginning (and the likely cover):

Prologue. Now

‘Camera, Action!’

Dulcinea (Dulce for her friends) was frozen in place. She could see the producer talking but her mind was on overdrive and nothing went in. “Oh my God! How did I ever get into this situation! What have I let myself into!” she thought. Adelfa’s elbow on her side made her wake up:

“Come on! We have 45 minutes to create the Killer Cupcake to end all Killer Cupcakes!”

“Well, if that’s what we have to do, let’s do it!”

 

 

Chapter 1. Beginnings (Three years ago)

Dulcinea loved her name. She had always felt it suited her to a T. So much so, that if she hadn’t been called that she was convinced she would have changed her name to Dulcinea. OK, it wasn’t the most typical name for an American girl, but her mother, Carmen, was Spanish and she always thought that the imaginary lady/love of Don Quijote deserved a second chance and a bigger role than she had ever been given. She also adored the fact that if it was shortened to Dulce, its meaning was ‘Sweet’ in Spanish. And if there was something her mother had loved was everything sweet. Carmen was the best amateur baker amongst all her friends’ mothers and she doubted that many professionals of baking and desserts could have competed with her. Her culinary skills got so popular and so many people asked her to give them their recipes or teach them how to bake that she ran a course on desserts and cooking at the local adult college until her death. It was only fair and fitting that even her daughter was Dulce.

“What do you say, then? You’ve been fighting against fate long enough. How many careers and jobs have you tried?” Adelfa, her best friend, had always been supportive of all her ideas, but was nothing if not opinionated. “Let me count…”

“…the ways?” Dulce joked.

“Don’t get Shakespearean on me.”

“Elizabeth Browning not Shakespeare.”

“See what I was saying? I know how much you love books, but…if you could do anything practical with it maybe, but as it is…So, back to what we were talking about before the literary interruption. Hairdressing…” Adelfa counted one with her fingers.

Now if this was a movie it would show a montage of a few less than graceful and chic haircuts, a burnt perm to the point of loss of clumps of hair, although Dulce’s crowning disaster had always been coloring. A full palette of unintentional bright oranges, greens, and even tri-color effects had come out of her hands and sealed her exit from hairdressing school.

“Air stewardess…” Two.

The movie would now show Dulce dropping the bags when trying to secure them in the overhead locker, pushing the trolley over somebody’s foot, dropping hot coffee on another passenger’s lap, and falling seated repeatedly on several passengers. She’d never been any good wearing heels and decided the continuous traveling didn’t suit her either. At least she wasn’t sick on anybody.

“Horticulture and ornamental gardening…” Three.

This could now get scary, especially if you’re fond of flowers and vegetables. Green fingers was something nobody could accuse Dulce of. Other than rock gardens with no plants, nothing survived her attempts at gardening. And her garden designs looked like something out of El Bosco. Adelfa used to joke that she might be OK if she specialized on gardens for Goths. Not that Goths liked fresh-air that much.

“Business Studies…” Four.

Actually, the studies had been OK. Although Dulce preferred fiction and literature, she didn’t mind numbers or studying in general. So the theoretical part had been fine. Once it came to applying it to real-life situations, she was too soft and not enough of a risk-taker, didn’t like cutthroat competition and wasn’t aggressive so she never made it. Although she considered teaching it, the most engaging teachers were always those who had plenty of personal anecdotes to tell. And she wanted something more hands on.

“Photography…” Five.

Now, wouldn’t you think that with digital cameras it is impossible to take a terrible picture? Well, if you knew Dulce and saw her pictures you’d know that’s wrong. Bad lights, bad angles, body parts instead of the whole. Not even a proper top model would look good in her hands.

“Child-minding…”

“OK, OK. If you’re just trying to make me feel better, you’re doing a great job. And nothing bad happened to any of the babies. I’m just not cut out for it. Not everybody is as lucky as you, Adelfa. You’ve always liked mixing things and analyzing things. You’re a born Chemist and have always known it.”

Adelfa had been good at Chemistry since she was very young and had awed teachers and later professors with her skills. When she finished university she had several of the biggest Pharmaceutical companies fighting for her, although she’d chosen to teach at the local university and work on her own research. But her professional success did not seem to be enough for her. And despite her looks (beautiful café-au-lait color, kissable mouth, curves in all the right places, and a bum Beyoncé would be happy to call her own) she was once again mourning another failed relationship.

“Yes, but I’m yet to find a formula that applied to men will make the idiots and losers fluorescent.”

Dulce could not help but visualize the results of such a preparation. It would be worth billions!

“Maybe you’d need to train in magic rather than Chemistry for that. From my very limited experience on the subject I’d say that science and the best minds have failed miserably when trying to find a formula for the perfect relationship.”

“It’s probably not the guys’ fault. It’s me. I can ruin the nicest guy it seems.”

Dulce hated seeing her friend that way. First she wasn’t right. Second, she was her friend and she’d back her up no matter what. And third, her latest boyfriend, Melvin, was not the nicest guy. She’d had worse, but Melvin was one of these guys who seemed to think collecting women was a worthy hobby and the better the women, the higher their value for him. He’d pursue them, use every trick in the romantic book, and then, once they were secured, move on to another, to the next challenge, to the next jewel in the collection.

“I’m sure if you wanted you could ruin somebody, but no, it isn’t your fault. You’re right; he was an idiot and a loser. And OK, you’re also right about me. Nothing I’ve done so far has worked out. And yes, it’s true, I’m good at baking, but how am I going to make a living out of that?” Dulce’s baking skills had been the subject of many conversations between the friends for many years, but recently Adelfa had been badgering Dulce more than usual about it.

“Let’s bake something and then we can talk. One of your mother’s recipes. What about that cake that had chocolate, toasted almonds, eggs, butter, milk, flour and baking powder?”

“Queen of Saba? But will we have all the ingredients around?” Dulce asked.

Adelfa laughed picking up the car keys.

“Let’s go shopping! We’ll need a few other things too!”

“Ice-cream, cream…”

“And some salty snacks too, to even things out. At least the wanker left me before we ever moved in together and I won’t have to spend any time moving stuff. Quickly! Let’s not waste any baking time!”

Once back at their apartment (in reality the ground floor of a house that had been converted to a couple of apartments, with the advantage that they had the patio and an old but still zesty lemon-tree all to themselves) they unpacked, put their aprons on and got on with their baking. Adelfa had also stocked on drinks and served herself a glass of red wine and lemonade for Dulce.

“One of these days we’ll have to get you drinking alcohol. It’s too prim and proper this non-alcohol stance of yours.”

“You know full well how I feel about alcohol, Adelfa. It’s not a religious thing, or even a moral thing, although I can’t say I like what it can do to people. It’s…”

“A taste thing. I know, I know.”

“And I don’t mind it for cooking. I must admit it does help with some recipes. A lot.”

“You know what I think about it. As the saying goes: I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food!”

Dulce shrugged and they both laughed and got on with the cooking. The two friends peeled almonds, mixed butter and sugar, mashed the almonds into tiny bits, separated the egg-yolks from the whites, melted the chocolate with a little bit of milk and then added all the ingredients (plus the flour and the baking powder). They put the mix in a baking mold in a warm oven and went out in the patio after washing the implements, to wait for the oven to do its magic. They had recently bought a double swing chair and they both jumped on it moving backwards and forwards at a slow pace.

“So…any ideas? How could we turn my baking skills into a business? Actually, I should say “our” baking skills, as you’re the one who can work out the right combination and amount of ingredients to make the cakes or pastry do what it should” Dulce said.

“OK, you’re the Goddess of Flavors and I’m the Queen of Chemistry and calculating measurements and oven temperature. I wasn’t planning on leaving my job, especially the research bit, although I could always work fewer hours, but we could experiment after my work and I could come up with precise instructions that could be followed by other staff who’d help with the baking” Adelfa said.

“Staff? Goodness! If we’re going to have detailed methodology and recipes, maybe I could write a cookery book. Or a baking and sweets book. They are always popular and I love books, although have never written anything long. However, I guess writing a recipe book isn’t quite like writing other kinds of books.”

Adelfa chewed her bottom-lip, a habit she’d had from childhood and she’d go back to when she was thinking, especially when alone.

“A Cookery book. It isn’t a bad idea, but as a business proposition…For what I’ve seen the books of that kind that sell well are usually either written by celebrities, people who are well-known chefs (because they have a program on the TV), or books associated with a famous restaurant or location. I think we should keep it in mind for when our bakery/coffee shop becomes a success. Then we can branch out and produce all kinds of marketable products, not only books, but maybe a range of cookery utensils, maybe join in with some organic flour and flavorings distributors and rubber-stamp our label on them, aprons, children’s cookery books, videos, TV programs…”

Dulce felt as she did at times of panic. She had the vivid sensation that her freckles were growing and taking over the whole of her face, her green eyes were about to be power-ejected from their orbits and her ginger (or strawberry blonde according to Adelfa) hair was standing on end. Surprisingly enough, at times such at this when she’d managed to get to a mirror, she only looked scared and pale, but she wasn’t truly convinced the mirror wasn’t just playing a trick on her. She knew what she felt.

“Breathe Adelfa! Breathe! Maybe we should start at the beginning. Are we talking about a bakery, a coffee shop, or…?”

“And why not a mix of the two?”

Yes, why not?

 

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret (cover by Lourdes Vidal)

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret (cover by Lourdes Vidal)

 Thanks for reading, and you know if you’ve enjoyed it, like it, share, and comment. I’ll keep you updated and make a big announcement when it is published, of course! (I hope it should be in a few weeks!) Any ideas to promote are welcome!

Ah, and as I told you, I’ve started reviewing books for BTS-e Magazine and one of my reviews is published in the current number. Check it out here! (And of course, check all the rest of the content)

http://issuu.com/btsemag/docs/sept-oct-2014/123?e=5491198/9147732

 

FNM

100 Books and Reviews for 2017

Ann Fields

Author of Quality Literature

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