Tag Archives: Humour

But Can You Drink The Water?

Today I am interviewing Jan Hurst-Nicholson a British writer of fun books like But Can You Drink The Water. Here’s what she has to say.

But Can You Drink The Water? is probably your most popular book – can you tell us a bit about it?

It’s a light-hearted look at emigration and chronicles a naïve working-class family’s attempts to fit in after emigrating from Liverpool to South Africa. The story follows the upsets, hurt and changing family dynamics that emigration brings and has an underlying theme of: ‘Is home more than where the heart is?’

When Frank Turner informs his wife and teenage son they are moving to sunny South Africa he is unprepared for their hostile response. His defiant son makes his own silent protest, and his wife’s assertion that “we never shoulda come” is parroted at every minor calamity.

The story began as a stage script in the 1980s and progressed to a 13 part sitcom. A local film producer was interested, but when that came to naught I still had all the characters and situations buzzing in my head, so I turned the episodes into chapters of a novel. The title But Can You Drink The Water? is a familiar phrase to British readers who travel abroad.

Although the book had some positive responses from publishers, and even won an award, it was never taken up, but when it reached the semi-finals in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award the positive review from the Publishers Weekly judge, “with a droll, witty and utterly British voice…” prompted me to self-publish it as a Kindle e-book. The encouraging sales of the e-book persuaded me it was worth producing a paperback version.

What is the Turner family like? Are they based on any family in particular?

The characters are very much a product of my imagination, but I’d like to think they represent a typical ‘salt of the earth’ Scouse family of the 1970s who were somewhat unworldly and naïve (as many of us were) about anything that was foreign. I drew (very loosely – I was single when I arrived in SA and I married a South African) on my own experiences and those of fellow expats. I’ve been gratified by reviewers saying they ‘recognised’ the characters, with one reviewer commenting: “Every page related to EXACTLY what happened to ourselves as the author experienced, even down to when we returned to the UK on holiday. Both the wife and I shed tears of laughter.”

The Turner family emigrate from Liverpool to South Africa, this is set in the 1970s so what is it like for the family stepping into this foreign country?

There was no internet to do research in the 1970s so emigrants were very much setting off into the unknown, and the bewildered working-class Scousers are soon thrust into an alien world of servants, strange African customs, unintelligible accents, and unexpected wild life (‘crocodiles’ on the wall). Immersing into a new and very different culture can be traumatic, especially for the spouse left at home to cope on her own while the husband quickly adapts to a new working life. But the Turners each learn to cope in their own individual way. Mavis overcomes homesickness by hugging the knowledge that when Frank’s contract ends they can return home; Gerry’s sullen resentment gives way to love of the outdoor life, and Frank masks his own doubts with blustering optimism and bantering sarcasm. Having overcome culture shock, the arrival of Mavis’s parents introduces a divided loyalty when Gert and Walter’s National Health glasses and ill-fitting dentures are seen through the eyes of the Turner’s new South African friends. And when Mavis’s sister ‘our Treesa’ and her opinionated husband Clive visit, Mavis surprises herself by hotly defending SA.

But Can You Drink The Water? is a British comedy, what do you like about British humour?

It’s usually understated and subtle, with a good sprinkling of self-deprecation. Sarcasm also plays a part, and Frank is a master at sarcastic remarks. I like to think of British humour as ‘observational’ humour in that people recognize and laugh at themselves.

Can you share a passage or scene that really sums up But Can You Drink The Water?

It’s difficult to sum up the book with one scene, but I think the first few paragraphs set the tone for the book.

South Africa 1970s

As the 747 hiccupped through a pocket of turbulence Frank Turner’s white-knuckled fingers tightened round the armrests in the same vice-like grip he used on the dentist’s chair. The cigarette clamped between his teeth was the latest in the chain he’d begun eighteen hours earlier on Liverpool’s Lime Street station.

The cloudless blue sky abruptly turned to brown earth as the plane banked sharply for its final landing approach. Frank risked movement to turn round and peer impatiently down the aisle. The toilet door remained firmly closed. As his head swung back his cigarette narrowly escaped contact with the crotch of the brisk airhostess who was hurrying the passengers into their safety belts. “Please extinguish your cigarette and fasten your safety belt, sir,” she said, nimbly avoiding the glowing cigarette tip, her bright smile now of a lower wattage after fourteen hours in the air.

Frank smiled submissively, but sneaked a few last drags while she strapped in the florid-faced woman in front whose frequent trips to the toilet equated with her having walked the six thousand miles from England to South Africa.

He stubbed out his cigarette and fastened his safety belt. The landing was the part he didn’t care for. Fraught with tension, anxiety clenched his buttocks, jaw and fists. He cast further furious glances towards the toilet, willing the door to open. When it remained closed he addressed the figure slouched sulkily in the window seat.

“Trust your bloody mother. It would be just like her to be caught with her knickers down if we crash.”

There was no response from fifteen-year-old Gerry, except for the barely perceptible quiver of his Mohican haircut. He’d never wanted to come in the first place, and nothing less than the promise of a motorbike was going to bring him round.

Glaring at the silent form of his son, Frank forced down the anger that surged anew at the sight of his hair. Although, thanks to his mother’s vigorous washing, the once rainbow purple, green and yellow stripes were now a paler, muted hue, it had failed to return it to its original mouse. Nothing short of a wig could do anything for the lavatory-brush style.

“I’m talking to you, cloth ears,” Frank snapped, prodding Gerry in the ribs.

The only response was a scowl and muttered, “I ‘eard you.”

The row was about to develop into a shouting match when the toilet door finally swung open and Mavis Turner limped down the aisle, the agony of her swollen ankles reflected in her suffering face. She squeezed past Frank, wincing as her new shoes caught the bunion her mother had threatened her with since the winklepicker shoes of her teens. …

But Can You Drink The Water? is just one of your books, you’re a really prolific author, can you tell us about your favourite story?

My first novel was The Breadwinners (a family saga) , but it would be 25 years before I saw it in print. In the meantime I wrote children’s books and I’m very fond of Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs which was my first trad published book and allowed me to claim fame as an ‘author’. Something to Read on the Plane was the first book I self-published (in print in 2006) and is a compilation of my published humorous articles and short stories. It is still selling at airport bookshops and is special because it was the first book I was solely responsible for. But I had the most fun writing my latest book, With the Headmaster’s Approval because I wrote it for myself (and fell in love with the MC!). Knowing that I was going to self-publish it gave me the freedom to write without any publisher’s constraints, or the usual ‘rules’ sitting on my shoulder. It’s general fiction with a romance element, so it doesn’t easily slot into any particular genre – a bit of a nightmare for a publisher’s marketer. The story tells how one man changes the group dynamics when he joins an all-female community, which is something I’ve noticed on more than one occasion and wanted to explore further (women seem to have more fun when there are no men around!)

Restoring discipline at a girls’ academy should have been easy for a former US Naval Officer. It wasn’t, nor was it easy dealing with an all-female staff.

Intrigue, scandal, suspense, and romance peppered with humour tell how one man’s influence on a school of wayward girls and their teachers changes their lives in ways none of them would imagine – and eventually his own.

I set the book in the UK in the area where I went to school, and as our TV was showing re-runs of the original Hawaii 5-0 series starring Jack Lord I used him as a model for Adam Wild, the Headmaster. Having pictures of the main characters pinned above my computer helps to keep me focused.

Can you share a passage from this story?

This is how the story begins.

As Adam scanned the morning’s agenda Lisa could hear the chatter of the girls as they filed into assembly. The closed office door muted the sound, but she knew when they entered the hall it would be like the bird house in a zoo. She stood next to his neatly organised desk ready to fill in any details he was unsure of.

“So, Mrs Stannard is going to introduce me and give a brief explanation, and then I’ll take over?” he asked, looking up at her.

“Yes, we thought that would be best. It will give some sort of continuity.”

“And you’ll be ready to prompt me on the agenda,” he said, grinning.

“Yes, but I’m confident you won’t need me,” she replied with a reassuring smile.

He glanced at his watch, a slim classic that matched his gold cuff links, clipped his Montblanc pen into his pocket, picked up the file and rose briskly from his chair, his six foot-four frame towering over her. He fastened the middle button of his suit jacket, a dark blue that together with his pale blue shirt enhanced his fading tan. His broad shoulders filled the jacket to perfection and he could have stepped out of a clothing catalogue if it weren’t for the few stray locks of hair that fell over his brow despite him constantly finger-combing them back.

“Let’s go. Wish me luck,” he said.

“Good luck,” she said, wondering if he knew just how much he would need it.

And, finally, what are you currently working on?

I have several more Leon Chameleon PI stories in draft form, but they require expensive illustrations and are in abeyance at the moment, so I’m working on marketing what I’ve already

e-published and getting them all into print. I still need full covers for With the Headmaster’s Approval, my teen book Mystery at Ocean Drive and I Made These Up (short stories for the fireside). My trad published children’s books went out of print, but I was able to get reversal of copyright and convert them to e-books. Now I need to learn how to use the programme for converting them back into print. Gone are the days when all that was required of an author was to write a good story!

You can find lots more about Jan on the links below:

Jan’s website 

Jan’s Amazon author page 


But Can You Drink The Water? 

Mystery at Ocean Drive  

The Breadwinners (a family saga) 

Something to Read on the Plane 

Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs 

Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse 

With the Headmaster’s Approval 

I Made These Up (short stories for the fireside) 

The Race (an inspiring story for left-handers) 

Bheki and the Magic Light

The Bachelor

Today I’ve been interviewing Matthew Drzymala and talking about his novella The Bachelor. Here’s what he has to say.

Let’s start off talking about Bumpkinton Tales. What is Bumpkinton?


Bumpkinton is a curiosity. It doesn’t appear on any maps, nor have most people heard of it. In fact, if you were to look on a map all you would find is a blank space where the village should be. Unless you live there or live in the nearby village of Eppforth, it’s almost always stumbled upon by day-trippers looking for anywhere but Bumpkinton.


The village is made up of a colourful cast of characters, ranging from the everyday person like you and me, to the randomly bizarre like Amelia Goose and Artichoke Caruthers.



Is this placed based on anywhere in particular? As an English author (and English interviewer) I think most people this side of the water probably know or have driven through a similar village, but can you explain a bit more about it for our overseas audience?


Bumpkinton isn’t based on any place in particular. The story behind Bumpkinton is a fluke really. I attended two writing classes and wrote some pretty dark stories. I was writing about assassins and psychopathic killers most weeks. Bumpkinton came about because for the final piece of work I was mentally tired. I couldn’t write another dark thriller, so I just decided to write something fluffy and light and Bumpkinton grew from there.


I’d like to think Bumpkinton is accessible to readers from overseas too. The humour is quite British but they are a light read that I think could be picked up by a reader from abroad looking for a silly English tale with a colourful cast of characters. I’ve never lived in a village so I am not writing from experience and I hope that that opens it up to those who have never lived in or ever been to one. I also hope that people who do live in villages find moments that make them think “Oh, that happens at our village hall!”.



The Bachelor is the second book of this series. Can you tell us a little bit about the other books?


Of course. I have three stories in total, but I count The Bachelor as the second. This is because it is a novella. The first novella is called Bittersweet and charts the story of Venetia and Timothy Ashurst. They are outsiders with a connection to the village and when Venetia stumbles upon an old photograph of her Grandpa who lived in the village as a young man, it ignites her dream to move to Bumpkinton and re-open the shop that her family once owed.


However, this is met with fierce opposition by the village busybody, Amelia Goose who has her own particular set of issues and doesn’t take kindly to ‘Townies‘.


The other story is just a short story. I released Bittersweet on 21st December 2013 so I wrote a very short Christmas tie-in. I tend to count the novella’s as my main stories and the shorts just as tie ins. Hence that is why I count The Bachelor as the second story in the main Bumpkinton Tales.



The Bachelor focuses on Fenton a ladies man who is spoken for. He sounds like a bit of a bad guy – is he or is he just misunderstood?


Personally, I think he is just very misunderstood. I wanted the reader to dislike him for being a bit of a greasy letch, but I gave him some backstory as to why he is like he is. I wanted to give him some heart and I hope he isn’t too disliked. He is a handsome man and he knows it, which doesn’t make his womanising right, but deep down he’s a good man.


He’s a bit cheesy and hopefully I managed to make people laugh at him for being a bit of a fool, but a rather handsome fool.




Obviously being a ladies man Fenton must be meeting a lot of the opposite sex, are there any interesting women in particular?


There are a number of ladies who are desperate for Fenton to choose them at the Singles Night. Two teachers, Fiona Little and Tamara Copeland vie for his affections and aren’t afraid to show their dislike for each other while Henrietta Plonk, a girl who works in the grocers, firmly believes she’s the woman for him, albeit being far too young for him.

Fenton just laps up the attention, sneaking off to see his secret lady while having no problem with attending the singles night to indulge in his favourite hobby of flirting.



What about the other characters of the book? Who is your favourite?


I would have to say Father Whitworth O’Grady. He appears as a major character in every story. However, don’t worry if you’re not a religious person, the stories are not based around the church. He is just a pure joy to write and when I write his parts, the words just flow so easily. He tries so hard to bring the community together but most of the time things go wrong and the finger is firmly pointed at him.


I think he’s loosely based upon myself, or his sense of humour and lack of patience at times is anyway. There was a comedy show in the 1990’s called Father Ted about priests. I wanted to make sure that Father O’Grady was nothing like him. I try and make him funny and at times, un-priest-like but not to the extent where he is badmouthing the church.


He is a deeply religious man, but sometimes doesn’t have the patience to put up with his moaning parishioners.


There’s also Erica Templeton and Spencer Levine who also have their own little story-thread in The Bachelor. I liked writing them, especially Erica. She’s a sweetheart.



Are there going to be more Bumpkinton Tales?


There sure are. I have a third novella almost finished but I have since decided I *may* make this into a novel. I need to strip it back and restart it and see what I can do with it. It’s a storyline I like and has my favourite title of the series so far, however, that shall not be revealed for some time yet.



Do you have a favourite part of the book or a scene you would like to share with us?


My favourite part of The Bachelor is a random piece of babbling from Father O’Grady when he is challenged about why he has a photograph of himself in biking leathers and huge sideburns on the mantelpiece:

Fenton smirked as he noticed a photograph of his brother from when he had been going through his sideburn phase.

“Taking a peep at old Ma and Pa, are we?” said Whitworth as he entered the room.

“I’m more interested in the ones where you appear to have dead ferrets stuck to the side of your head.”

“Oh come now brother, I look brilliant in those.” Whitworth scowled. “That’s when I had the bike and the leathers. The Rebel Priest, they called me. I sent shockwaves through this sleepy hollow when I arrived. ‘Who’s that guy?’ they’d say. ‘That’s Father Whitworth O’Grady,’ they’d reply. ‘He’s a priest, but he’s different. He’s a rebel priest. He’ll absolve you of your sins then ride the devil’s highway on his afternoon off.’”


I just love that bit of dialogue between Fenton and Whitworth. It’s something that was written in the first draft and never changed through the numerous re-writes.


And finally what is next for Matthew Drzymala?


I have another Bumpkinton Christmas short story out on 12th December 2014 called Albert’s Christmas. This story centres around the village tramp Albert Scatterhorn. We’ve only seen random glimpses of him so far with no real explanation as to why he’s there. I delve into that a little with this years story, but not too much. I have a future story for Albert that reveals all, but he has a sad past, that’s for sure.


I’m also considering a collection of children’s short stories as well as working on next years main Bumpkinton Tale. Whether it will end up a novel or a novella, I won’t know for another 8 or 9 months yet.


You can find out more about Matthew and all his books here: http://matthewdrzymala.com/

Tim On Broadway

Today I have a great interview with Rick Bettencourt who is talking about his latest novel Tim On Broadway.


So Tim on Broadway is your new novel, can you tell us a bit about it?

I’d be happy to. First off, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. (You are most welcome).

Tim on Broadway: Season One is a funny yet emotional journey about an overweight, twenty-something, gay virgin who his obsessed with getting tickets to see his favorite performer. When the book opens, we learn Tim has been fired from his job at a grocery store for sexually harassing an employee. As we read on, we discover it takes two to tango.

Tim on Broadway is a journey of self-discovery. It’s about believing in yourself in order to succeed in both love and life.

I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope that comes across the page.

You originally released Tim on Broadway as a series, what made you want to do it this way and what was the response you got from your readers?

The story reminded me of a TV show—like maybe Glee or The Office but made for HBO. I thought what better way to compliment that than to release it in episodes. It’s now available as one volume/novel—thus the “full season” in the title. The episodes started in June of 2014. The first being completely free, and still is. The initial episode is about one-third of the story, much more than the typical ten percent a reader would get from downloading a novel’s sample on Amazon.

Each week I released a new episode. After the sixth and final episode, the entire novel came out in one full volume.

The response I got was excellent. People felt that getting a decent chunk of the book for free allowed them to test the waters before committing. It’s done fairly well. I’m pleased.

Since then, Tim on Broadway has been picked up by Beaten Track Publishing—a boutique publisher in Lancashire, England—and on September 15, 2014 the full season was released in paperback.

Tim, from your blurb, sounds a bit of a… well dare I say it loser. Can you tell us a bit more about him and why you decided to write a character that wasn’t tall dark and handsome?

I like my stories to have an element of truth to them. None of us are perfect. I find it hard to relate to flawless characters whose only issue is finding true love or buying the right shirt to compliment his bicep cleavage. Blah! Boring! We all have problems—whether we’re a bit overweight, shy or have a crooked nose—it makes us unique. We can relate! I don’t think Tim’s a loser at all. He’s loveable, fun, quirky and a romantic at heart. He’s just like you and me.

But have no fear. While Tim may not be the conventional hero, there’s still plenty of “eye candy” for readers to ogle over.

If you were trying to describe Tim on Broadway what books, or films, or TV shows would you compare it to?

A reader recently compared Tim on Broadway to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I love Maupin, so I took this as a huge compliment. In regard to film, I’m a Bette Midler fan. The creation of my character Carolyn Sohier was inspired by Bette and her film The Rose. There’s The 40-Year Old Virgin for obvious reasons. And, as I mentioned earlier, Glee or maybe The Office might be a good television show comparison.

The book is set in Broadway, following a theatre obsessed Tim, how much research did you have to do into the setting and into the theatre, or was this something that you have an interest in yourself.

I’m a former actor. I went to NYU for theatre and had a few bit parts here and there in the industry. Nothing huge. My biggest claim to fame was having a walk-on role in a TV show filmed in Seattle, which starred James Earl Jones. I was a thug in a police station. We used an old elementary school for the set. It was fun, but long hours.

I was also a big, purple pill in a pharmaceutical commercial. And my car got more airtime in a Massachusetts Lottery bit than I did.

I’ve always been fascinated by showbiz. But one important thing I discovered in struggling to make it as a performer was that I didn’t really like it! I know. Big lesson. But I learned that I was more comfortable behind the scenes and less in the spotlight. I would rather be at the canteen talking to the other actors and crew than to be in front of the camera. I also liked watching the actors interpret their lines. That’s how I turned to writing.

Your back catalogue mainly stays in the genre of gay romance, when you write are you intentionally targeting a gay audience or do you feel the books are accessible to a wider audience?

It’s funny you should mention that. While my books involve gay characters, most of my readers are self-described as straight. I write what I know. I am openly gay, but I like to cross genres and do so by being true to myself and realistic. I think that doing this is also being true to my readers.

One reviewer of Tim on Broadway said it best. “You don’t have to be a Broadway fan (or gay) to appreciate it.” We’re all passionate about something in our lives. And we can all relate to Tim’s plight.

As a writer of gay fiction this must be a really exciting time for you. I can’t think of a time when gay romance has been so popular, but also culturally there are some big steps being made in history for gay rights. What do you think work like yours contributes to our society and do you feel that there is a bigger, more open minded reader base ready to pick up your work?

I write because I believe stories involving gay characters need to be more in the public eye. How many bestsellers have you seen primarily involving an LGBT life? While the LGBT community has made great advances over the last few years, there are still children being disowned from their families because of who they are. That’s just wrong. I believe the more realistic our lives are portrayed, the more likely the acceptance. We’re really not all that different. It doesn’t matter who somebody can love.

I think every author has a character, or a scene, or something about their book that is there personal favourite. What is your favourite bit in Tim on Broadway?

Oh, it’s got to be the shower scene. About half way through the book, Tim finds out that other men shave their private parts and he never has. He figures that maybe doing some “manscaping” will help him get lucky. It’s a very funny scene.

So Tim on Broadway blog tour is happening now. Once it is done what is next for Rick Bettencourt?

Right now I’m writing the second season of Tim on Broadway. Plus I have a Christmas story coming out around Thanksgiving time. I also have the prequel to Tim on Broadway, which is about the diva who Tim is infatuated with in Season One. So, keep in touch. The best way to follow me is to get on my mailing list. I’m forever writing to my readers, getting their feedback and giving them little freebies here and there.


So you can read more about Rick Bettencourt and his work (and his dog) here: http://rickbettencourt.com/

And you can download Tim On Broadway now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5AYW3A?tag=writincom02-20

The Running Game

I’ve been promoting authors for the past three weeks and – well you might have already seen – I also write books. This week one of my own stories is reduced to $0.99/£0.99 so I thought today I would shove the other authors out of the way and bring you an extract of my book The Running Game and don’t forget your comments are encouraged and welcome.



Five past eleven. Rachel’s shift should have finished three hours ago. She slammed her time-card into the machine. Nothing. She gave it a kick, then another until it released, punching her card and signing her out for the night. The hospital locker room was unusually quiet. There was a nurse signing out for the night, two doctors signing in. Nobody spoke to each other – it wasn’t that kind of place. Grabbing her threadbare coat from her locker, she drew it over her scrubs – the only barrier between her and the unforgiving October night. She walked through the ER waiting room, eyes fixed on the exit. You had to ignore the desperation. Three hours over a twelve hour shift, you had no choice but to pretend like you didn’t care. Push past the mothers offering up their sick children like you could just lay your hands on them and everything would be better. Push past the factory workers bleeding out on the floor. Push that door open and get out. Get home. You had to. In six hours the whole thing would start again.

The first blast of cold air slapped the life into her aching body. The second blast nearly pushed her back inside. She tightened the coat around herself, for the good it would do. November was coming, and coming fast. She quickened her pace, trying to outrun the winter.

She hurried past the skeletal remains of another fallen bank, a relic of the days when there had been an economy. Now the abandoned building housed those left to the streets; the too old, the too young, the weak, the stupid. Cops would be coming soon, moving them on, pushing them from one shadow to another until dawn or death, whichever came first. But for now they sat, huddled around burning canisters, silently soaking in the heat as though they could carry that one flame through winter. They didn’t notice Rachel. Even the really bad men lurking in the doorways, waiting for helpless things to scurry past, overlooked the young doctor as she made her way home. Nobody ever saw her. At least they never used to.

Three – two – one. Right on cue. She felt someone watching her. It was always the same place, opposite the third window of the old bank. He was hidden, not in the bank but close. So close she could almost feel his breath on the back of her neck. She’d watched muggings before, these were desperate times and people took what they could when they could. There were rapes too, five this week, at least five that had needed medical care. It was a dangerous city and getting worse. But this was different. He – and for some reason she knew it was a he – did nothing. For a week he had been there, never betraying his position or his intentions, but she could feel him and the longer he waited the more he tormented her. He knew where she lived, where she worked, the route she took to the exchange store. And he escorted her home each night without ever showing himself. It made no sense. And that made it so much worse.

She wasn’t intimidated easily, doctors in St Mary’s couldn’t be. It didn’t matter that she was only five feet tall and looked like a strong wind would knock her down, she had to take care of herself. But the stalking had spooked her. The sleepless nights followed, wondering who he was, what he wanted, if he knew.

There was nowhere for her to go in the city, no place she could hide, no escape. If she wanted to eat she had to work and he would be waiting for her outside the hospital – watching, doing nothing. She was tired of it, tired of everything, but there was something she could do. She could make it stop, one way or another. Whatever he had planned, whatever he wanted to do to her, he would have to look her in the eye as he did it, because she was done running.

She stopped walking and turned.

The street was empty. But she could still feel him there. The buildings pressed their darkness into the street and the spattering of hissing lamplights did little to expose the nocturnal danger below. There was noise, there was always noise; voices, vehicles, the persistent buzzing of the electricity struggling to reach the edges of the city. So much going on, so little to see – a perfect place to hide.

“Okay you pervert,” she whispered to herself. “Where’re you hiding?”

The road stretched back into a tightrope. Gingerly, her feet edged back towards the ruined bank. She scanned the buildings around her, the upper windows, the ground level doorways, waiting for him to pounce. One step – two step. Look. Nothing. She retraced her steps to the next building. Then the next. He felt so close – why couldn’t she see him?

“You want me, well here I am, you freak. Come and get me!”

There was a shout from the bank. Someone running. A man. Her stomach clenched. She braced herself. He pushed by her, hurrying away. It wasn’t him.

She turned confused and warm breath touched the back of her neck.

“Get down!” The world went white.


You can download this book for $1.66/£0.99 for this week only


Have a Goode One

It’s time for a few laughs – have a look at this exclusive from  A J Goode’s Have a Goode One – enjoy!



His real name doesn’t matter. I’ll call him B. B was an aspiring writer too. We met through a writer’s group at the local library, but then realized that we had grown up in the same neighborhood. I dimly remembered him as one of the bigger kids who helped us little ones off the bus during fire drills, and he dimly remembered me as the kid sister of the very pretty girl he’d once had a crush on in French class.

We became critique partners, and he developed a crush on me. That sounds really vain, but there it is. And I am ashamed to say that I humored his crush even though I didn’t return his feelings. I’ve never been beautiful; the sensation of being “crushed on” was something new for me, and I reveled in it. Yes, I led him on. I flirted, pulled away, flirted some more. Anything to feed my ego.

In retrospect, I was really kind of a bitch about the whole thing.

We used to go to this amazing restaurant together, and sometimes we drank too much. One night, things went too far and ended up on a private moonlit beach, ready to strip off our clothes and go skinny-dipping in the cool September waters of Lake Michigan.

B promised not to look. He swore there was nothing sexual about our adventure, that it was just about being young and carefree and sharing an experience that we could write about someday. After all, he reasoned, we had both grown up this close to the Lake and had never been skinny-dipping. We just had to experience it, right? As friends. As nothing more than friends.

Naked, drunken friends on an isolated beach at midnight.

I really didn’t think that through.

We turned our backs to each other, and he got naked first. He let out a whoop as he ran into the water, and I turned.

Now, it’s important to note here that I have never been a slim person, and neither was B. He was a full-time grad student and a writer who rarely had time to be outside in the sunlight. I am the last person on earth to criticize anyone for being overweight or for being pale, but I am also the first to say that B’s bare white ass in the moonlight was quite possibly the most horrifying thing I have ever seen in my life.

It was huge. Massive. Of epic proportions. And it glowed. Robert Pattinson’s sparkly Twilit ass had nothing on the way B’s sunlight-deprived butt reflected the moonlight that night.

The night should have ended there, but I was drunk enough to be stupid. I shucked my clothes, waded in to the water up to my neck, and told him he could turn around. The water was calm that night, but there was enough of a current to make me a little unsteady. B suggested that we hold hands, just to be safe. At that moment, we moved close enough to each other that certain floating body parts touched other floating body parts and I knew it was time to get the hell out of the water.


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