Posted in fiction, FYI

When Three Million’s A Crowd…

Second Chances are important to me, especially as the people I’m giving them to don’t often realise it. I can’t tell you the number of times I wanted to slap someone with a wet fish and yell at them, “This is your second chance, you great galumph!”
Fortunately, I can make things a lot easier (and less fishy) for my characters…though sadly, not for me:-)

You see, in my latest story, Vivian and Munro aren’t as good at tip-toeing around issues like me, and as for subtlety…

Truth be told, not many of the characters in Three Million’s A Crowd do have subtlety, after all, most of the story does happen during the filming of a reality TV show similar to the Amazing Race. Which once again raised a very important question for me as a writer (and possibly for most contestants of similar shows) namely: how do you address sensitive and vital issues with the evil-eyed lenses of TV cameras daring you to make a fool of yourself?

Seriously, how would you? And can you think of anything more scary?

Would you:

Avoid that talk all together?
Wait until the cameraman is on a break?
Break the camera or the cameraman…? (OK, that’s mean. Like really mean!)
Duck away from the cameras and have that little talk?

Or is there something I’m missing here? Something I’ve been getting wrong all my life and would have saved me some metaphorical fish? Is there a way to subtly address the vital matter at hand without revealing to an audience of strangers some very private matters? I mean, do you want John and Jane Doe (with their last breaths) telling you what you should have said to win back your beloved in this week’s episode?

My solution as a logical person?
Don’t address vital do or die matters while on a popular reality TV show.

My solution as a writer?
Let the characters lead the way. Let the characters have their say.
Far from subtle…but less messy and much more lucrative for Viv and Munro:-D

Three Million’s A Crowd is a novella available only in the Second Chances – A Love Anthology. You can read an excerpt here, and the first part of the first chapter here.

Posted in fiction

Karaoke Cool

My apologies for not being around the blogosphere much recently. I’m doing two free courses concurrently with FutureLearn. Together with the revision on a novel of mine, time’s been flying by. I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through Feb. And with Valentine’s Day knocking on the door already! So I’ve decided to share the 500 word or so love-themed story I wrote for class.

Be warned. There’s some Karaoke 🙂 I’ve links to the songs further down in case you aren’t familiar with them. Enjoy!

Karaoke Cool

Sweat glistened on Julian’s face.“Sing!” Lex had insisted, pushing him up onto the stage and shoving a mic into his lax hands. Curious faces looked up at him. Melinda nodded gentle encouragement. Reaching her, Lex smiled a crooked smile, his hand hovering closer to her shoulders.

Polite coughs from the floor brought a fresh onslaught of sweat, joining into potential rivulets, further panicking Julian.

The selection of songs scrolled leisurely across the screen without a care in the world. Lex smirked, his hand on Melinda’s bare shoulder. Melinda frowned a little at Lex, but didn’t move away. She turned back to Julian with another encouraging nod.

Snickers and whispers grew in volume. Others were awaiting their Karaoke moment.
Desperately, Julian looked at the scrolling selection—something with few lyrics and more music. Or something which sounded fine no matter how badly you sang it.

Definitely not Mariah Carey then, or Wham, or…

Julian’s mind hit pause.

Someone from the floor yelled something indistinct. The tone said it all–patience was running out.

And there it was, Uncle Harold’s favourite song! Julian selected it. He even knew most of the lyrics! And those he didn’t know he could just mumble.

Julian shut his eyes, imagining he was back in Uncle Harold’s garage. “Born in the USA!” roared Julian.

Shocked into silence, the audience stared at the tall, bony man; his face contorting with the words like a Scream mask.

As so often happened when Julian was around, shock and horror turned into gentle amusement. People started clapping time and stamping their feet.
Julian didn’t open his eyes until the end. Then he staggered off the stage.


Melinda met him with a glass of something cool and a large smile. Lex hovered behind her.

“That was very brave of you! Well done, Jules–” began Melinda.

“Yeah, well done. Could’ve picked a better song, my man.” Lex thumped him hard enough on the shoulder, sending him an involuntary step back. “That one was kind of lame.”

“Oh, come on, Lex,” grinned Melinda. “It was fun! It’s my Uncle Steve’s favourite. Especially at weddings…though I don’t know why!”

Julian smiled in relief and wonder. “I know! It’s the same with my Uncle Harold!”

“No, you lie!” Melinda looked delighted.

“No, you lie!” mimicked Lex as Melinda took Julian’s arm and led him to their table, talking a mile a minute.

Lex would not be out-done. He never was. Plan B’s time had come. Brushing past a matron, he snatched up the mic and scanned the selection. What would impress Melinda the most, and blow Julian out of the water? So, she liked American Rock, huh? Here it was — Dire Straits; just the thing to leave Julian in.

Calling Elvis, anybody home?”

Lex looked over to Julian and Melinda. They were talking and laughing.

He refreshed his memory of the lyrics as he sang, then looked back to his targets, singing, “Love Me Tender.

They were kissing.

Heartbreak Hotel.


For the music videos, see below. Graphic by Pixabay.comemoji-773998

Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen

Calling Elvis by Dire Straits