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Tag: Richard Gould

Opening Lines with Richard Gould: Mid Life Follies

After a break in January, Opening Lines is back!

Kicking off the first blog of the series for 2020 is Richard Gould, with his brand new novel, Mid Life Follies.

Over to you Richard…

Thank you, Jenny, for inviting me onto your blog.

Although I didn’t set out to be categorised as a Romantic Fiction novelist, that’s what I am. In case people haven’t noticed, there aren’t that many blokes writing (nor for that matter, reading) this genre, despite the fact that around 50% of those in relationships are likely to be men. I think the lack of male authors is a pity because a male take on romance can provide fresh insights into the ups and downs of starting, sustaining and ending relationships. I focus on second chance ones, using humour to describe tragi-heroic journeys in pursuit of love, while struggling to cope with cartloads of baggage.

Mid-life follies is well and truly about second chances. Following the early retirement of Hugh, the male protagonist, panic sets in for his wife, Liz. All the old clichés come to the fore – feeling trapped, needing space, fearing ageing – and she takes flight from the comfort of the family home.

My first thoughts about how to cover this theme were centred on the humour as the couple compete for who can have the most embarrassing mid-life crisis. Once I started writing, I recognised that there was considerable poignancy and home truths to add to the humour.

 Blurb

‘When you look in the mirror, do you see someone young and vibrant like you used to be,’ Liz asks her husband, ‘or old and decrepit like you’re going to be?’

This question is the trigger for Liz’s decision to leave the comfortable family home in Cambridge after twenty-three years of contented marriage. A brisk walk to clear her head of the feeling of being trapped doesn’t work. On a brief escape to the seaside, a wholly out of character one-night fling makes things worse.

A baffled Hugh is left to figure out why his wife has abandoned him. Is she suffering a mid-life crisis? Is he experiencing the same affliction?

A succession of twists and turns prevents a restoration to the normality that the couple increasingly crave as their children, parents and friends discover that immaturity is not solely the preserve of the young.

“This tale of self-doubt, adultery and forgiveness is shot through with humour and compassion. A most enjoyable read.” 

David Lister, The Independent 

***

First 500 words…

Soon after my fifty-ninth birthday, a lifelong interest in reading obituaries took a perverse turn for the worse. I began to ignore the parts about inspirational achievements and headed straight for statements about age of death. A vague insecurity arose if someone had passed away around the sixty mark. I would scrutinise the photo to assess whether, compared to me, they had been overweight, balding, wrinkled or showing any other sign that they hadn’t aged well. That all important sentence citing cause of death was of particular interest. I was content if a sixty-year-old had been hit by a bus or murdered by a jealous ex-lover. A long-standing debilitating disease was reasonable too, but what I didn’t want to see was reference to those sudden things that imperil older people, like a heart attack or a stroke. Because that could be my fate next year, next week or even tomorrow.

I was neither ill nor a hypochondriac, in fact a recent annual check-up had revealed that I was remarkably healthy for a fifty-nine year old. Instead, the cause of my anxiety was that a mid-life crisis had been activated. I use the word “activated” because I’m convinced I would never have suffered one had it not been for Liz’s conduct. Men can suffer them at a significantly younger age than my own, but quite simply I’d never seen the need because I’d been more than happy with life – my family, my job, my health, my friendships.

I know the exact date when it all started: 21st July.

The eighteenth of July had been the last day of the academic year and my farewell to teaching at Legends Academy – I was taking early retirement. I’d worked there for almost thirty years, just two since the daft new name had been selected by the governors following a poll to parents that had produced thirty-eight voters out of a school population of over a thousand. “Where Legends are Nurtured” became the school motto.

It would take a brave or even foolhardy person to challenge my opinion that the school had never nurtured a legend and was unlikely to ever do so. Our most successful ex-pupils achieved their fame through notoriety. Des Robins was the City trader who didn’t quite manage to bring down the bank where he worked, but it was a jolly close thing. Dino Stringer made his fortune drug dealing, his fleet of cars and lavish mansion the envy of many in the locality. It all came to an end with a car chase around the M25 and he’s still inside five years after the trial. Hazel Broad, aka Flightchick, had some success as a singer, but being smashed on stage diminished her popularity with promoters despite raising it for her audience. Those in the staff room with some interest in her well-being indicated that now she was spending her time opening supermarkets. I’d had high hopes for one of our lads, a promising footballer, but alas, Shane Hughes got no further…

Buy link

e-book             http://myBook.to/midlifefollies

Paperback     https://www.feedaread.com/books/Mid-life-follies-9781839451874.aspx

Bio

R J Gould is published by Endeavour Media and Headline Accent and is the author of four novels:  A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack & Jill Went Downhill and Mid-life follies. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people, all rewarding, but his passion is writing fiction. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Social Media

Website:          http://www.rjgould.info

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/RJGould_author

Email:              rjgould.author@gmail.com

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/richard.gould.14418 

Many thanks Richard.

Wishing you much success with your new novel.

Jenny x

Opening Lines with Richard Gould : Jack & Jill Went Down Hill

Opening Lines is with us once more.

This week I’m welcoming fellow romance writer, Richard Gould to my place to share the first 500 words from his novel,

Jack and Jill Went Down Hill.

 

Thank you, Jenny, for inviting me onto your blog. I write Romance. In case people haven’t noticed, there aren’t that many males writing (nor for that matter, reading) this genre. I didn’t set out to be a romantic fiction author, I just got placed there because I explore relationships, particularly second-chance ones. I use humour to describe my protagonists’ tragi-heroic journeys in pursuit of love, carrying cartloads of baggage as they struggle to balance the pressures of work, friends and families with the search for romance.

Jack & Jill went Downhill starts on Freshers Big Party Night at university. With Jack falling down and Jill tumbling after him, the choice of title became obvious. When they first met, the couple shared the joke that their names matched those of the nursery rhyme, but they fail to recognise that their lives are playing out the plot.

 

Blurb

When Jill terminates the call, she watches as Jack and Sophie walk off, holding hands just as they had done in what seems like a very distant past.

Jack and Jill had experienced fireworks on the night they met – their first night at University. Despite being raised with very different backgrounds, they seem to be the perfect couple. Mutual love can be seen by everyone around them. When they graduate and are thrust into the real world, the cracks start to show. Pressure from work reduces their time together. Family struggles test their loyalties. And inner demons become visible.

Jack is struggling to maintain his focus at work. Succumbing to peer pressure, the late night drinking with colleagues becomes a regular occurrence. Too regular in Jill’s opinion… Can Jill reignite the passion that seems to have withered? Or is Jack too far gone to be rescued? Should Jill walk away to save herself? Whilst dealing with her crumbling marriage, Jill’s own life begins to collapse. Despite the picture-perfect start to their relationship, it becomes clear that the cliché ‘happily ever after’ requires more than just love to make it everlasting.

First 500 words…

For Jack it is love at first sight.

For Jill it is love at first sight.

Freshers Big Party Night at university. The hall is jam-packed with several hundred first year students, alcohol-fuelled to obliterate apprehension. The pre-party big news is that predatory second and third year boys have been banned following the previous year’s behaviour which had been fully exposed in the local press. Britney blasts out of two giant speakers. A floodlit rotating silver ball, suspended from the ceiling, covers the dancers in a shower of white sparkle. Little pairing is yet apparent, this being the first evening. It’s mainly girls dancing with girls, with the boys leaning against walls or by the bar. Looking on, weighing up the talent.

Jill has come along with the girls she’s met on her corridor in the hall of residence. That afternoon they’d reached the kitchen within minutes of each other and had nattered and drunk tea for an hour or so, planning their itinerary for the weekend. The party is a must do and the four of them are now swaying as they karaoke to Craig David’s Fill Me In.

Jack has come alone, uncomfortable, weighing up whether it is the place he wants to be, the ‘it’ referring to the university as well as this event. Earlier that day, having unloaded his car, he’d remained in his room sorting his things, aware of the buzz in the nearby kitchen but unwilling to join his new housemates. That is, of course, assuming he stays.

Freshers Big Party Night is turning out to be a tacky affair. Standing by the bar, he looks down at his plastic beaker and swills the cloudy lukewarm lager before downing the remains and crushing the empty container. Commoners, that’s the unpleasant word he can’t help thinking of to describe the people around him. He watches as they jump up and down on the dance floor, dressed in tasteless cheap clothes. Probably from Primark or H&M or New Look.

Jack catches sight of Jill, who picks up his gaze and their eyes fix. There follows the type of chemistry that no scientist has ever been able to explain, the instant drawing together of a man and woman without having spoken a word.

Jill abandons her newfound friends and approaches Jack. Unsure whether he is her target, he remains slouched against the bar.

“Dance?” she mouths, never shy when it comes to talking to strangers.

“I don’t really,” Jack shouts in a vain effort to be heard above the volume of Pink’s Don’t Let Me Get Me.

“Come on,” she urges, extending her hand. Jack inadvertently presents her with the crumpled bit of plastic. He drops it to the floor then takes hold of her.

They dance and dance some more, bumping against a growing number of embryonic couples.

Their attempt to chat is futile.

“Something, something, something, something.”

“What?”

“Something, something, something, something.”

“Sorry, can’t hear you.”

“What?”

“LATER!” this yelled down Jack’s ear.

The absurdity…

***

Buy link

Amazon           mybook.to/JACKANDJILL

Bio

I should start with a confession – my name is Richard and I’m a coward. Since I’m usually placed in Romance or Contemporary Women’s Fiction genres, an agent suggested I use a female pseudonym to increase readership. “No way!” I declared with bold pride, “people are going to have to accept me for who I am.” That evening I considered Rebecca, Rosemary, Rachel and Rita before opting for the cowardly compromise of using R J instead of Richard.

​Following selection onto the New Writers programme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, two novels have been published by Accent Press – ‘A Street Café Named Desire’ (short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award) and ‘The Engagement Party’. ‘Jack & Jill went Downhill’ is my first novel published by Endeavour Media. ​I’ve worked in schools, universities and for a national educational charity and have been published in a wide range of educational journals, newspapers and magazines. Although I enjoy writing non-fiction, my true love is as an author of novels that make the reader reflect on the idiosyncrasies of everyday life.

Social Media

Website:          http://www.rjgould.info

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/RJGould_author

Email:              rjgould.author@gmail.com

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/richard.gould.14418

Many thanks for joining us today Richard,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

 

Blowing the Dust Off: Richard Gould’s A Street Cafe Named Desire

It’s Day 9 of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series of blogs. Today I’m welcoming the lovely Richard Gould to my place to talk about his romance, A Street Café Named Desire.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…

Why did I write this book?

Although on the surface not a philosophical question, there are in fact several deep levels of answer.

The starting point for the novel was a school reunion for ex-students from an international school I’d taught in. It had been a close community and like many other teachers, I’d kept in touch. I joined them for a weekend in Henley – and this is where the story begins.

It struck me that some of the participants were virtually unchanged over the twenty-five or so years since being at school – looks and personalities – while others were unrecognisable. I decided to feature two (entirely fictional, or are they?) protagonists who had not been part of the social set when young. What had their random journeys through life been like and what would happen now that they had met again?

I’m male, I guess the photo is a giveaway.

Being male, by the law of averages, I shouldn’t be writing Romance, but a fellow author persuaded me that my writing about relationships constituted Romance. She suggested I join the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I did as ordered and signed up for the New Writers’ Scheme. I’d already self-published with a fair bit of e-book success, (it was so much easier five or so years ago!), but the positive feedback I got from the NWS reviewer encouraged me to renew my search for a publisher. Accent Press took me on and A Street Café Named Desire was my first novel with them.

Is my novel within the Romance genre? I concede that it is, though I did have many distraught days and sleepless nights after it was put into a ‘Chick Lit Lovers Bundle’. As is the case for most of my writing, in A Street Café Named Desire I flip the ‘traditional’ Romance plot by having an insecure male seeking a relationship with an alpha female, his path fraught with all the difficulties typically thrust upon the female within this genre. Most of my readers are female and the feedback I’ve received indicates that a male take on relationships is both evident and refreshing.

Who am I? OK, so now we are getting mainstream philosophical. Several agents suggested I use a pseudonym. I’ve declined the offer, but by using ‘R J’ instead of ‘Richard’ in my author name I’m sort of concealing gender – it’s my cowardly compromise.

Didn’t someone famous once say something like what’s in a name? I thought long and hard about using A Street Café Named Desire for the title, as did my publisher. At the start of the novel, David, the male protagonist, is stuck in a dull accountancy job that he dislikes intensely. His dream is to open an arts café. His second dream is to have a relationship with Bridget, the alpha female. Café + Desire seemed to fit, as did paying homage to the steamy play.

The Amazon link to A Street Café Named Desire is here: http://Mybook.to/streetcafe and it’s priced at only £0.99/$0.99 during the week of Jenny’s ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ blog tour.

A Street Café Named Desire – the blurb

A man’s quest for two dreams – a relationship with the gorgeous Bridget and opening an arts café.
David meets Bridget at a twenty-five year school reunion and instantly develops a teenagesque passion for her. There’s a juggernaut-load of baggage to overcome ahead of having any chance of a relationship – a demanding soon to be ex-wife, a tyrannical new boss, an accountancy job he detests, stroppy teenage children, and encounters with the police. There’s a further distraction because his plan to quit his job and set up an arts café is proving to be rather more challenging than anticipated.

One of my favourite reviews:

“This is such a gentle and easy book to read, it is almost surprising the impact and resonance it has long after finishing it. The story is a familiar one, but it is told with humour, humility and humanity and at the end I was left feeling hopeful and satisfied.”

And one of my favourites about me:

“R.J. Gould’s voice is a unique one, not only because he is a man writing romance and contemporary fiction. This author offers readers a fantastic insight into the otherwise closed lives of families who make us laugh, groan, roll our eyes but ultimately, can relate to.”

A Street Café Named Desire – an extract

My dip into the novel is taken from the end of the first chapter when David first meets Bridget, having unenthusiastically mingled with other ex-schoolmates earlier that evening:

‘Well, look who we’ve got here.’ The voice of Bill Thatcher hadn’t changed.

‘It’s our little David,’ another unchanged voice, this was Ben Carpenter.

An overzealous slap landed on David’s back. ‘You buying the drinks, mate?’ Ben asked.

David realised he was no longer scared of them. How could you be, looking at the two pot-bellied, balding, greying men with sallow puffy faces? They had lost their menacing edge. Also, he was prepared to admit when he’d had time to reflect, he wasn’t scared because he didn’t much care what happened, not after what he had been subjected to over the past few weeks.

He eyed Ben. ‘Why don’t you get me one?’

Ben looked aghast. ‘What?’

‘I’ll have a bottle of Bud, thank you.’

‘Is little David acting tough?’ Bill enquired.

‘I think he is,’ added Ben.

‘It’s not a case of acting tough, it’s about growing up. And I seem to have made a better job of it than you two. I suppose keeping fit helps, the judo.’

‘You do judo?’ sneered Bill.

‘Yes. And not drinking as much beer as you has assisted.’ With that, David gave Bill a generous whack on his pot belly. When he analysed his action afterwards, readily admitting it had been a step too far, he wondered whether the annoying physical maltreatment by Helen might have been part of the reason for his own mild assault. But probably it all came down to his profound unhappiness – he couldn’t care less about the outcome of his actions. Not at that instant at any rate. But he did care a few nanoseconds later when Bill floored him with a right hook to the chin.

Bill looked down at him with contempt. ‘You gonna try your judo on me, little David?’

Of course there never had been any judo, only badminton which had kept him in reasonable shape but clearly hadn’t prepared him for fighting. David gazed up at a gathering of his ex-classmates in a circle around him, some with a look of concern, but most smiling. Helen and Sharon were in the smiling group, but at least Helen did have the decency to tell Bill and Ben to lay off as it was a festive occasion. The crowd dispersed and David stood gingerly. He made his way to a chair by the window. In the short interval between boredom and humiliation dusk had enveloped the trees. Now they stood as forlorn grey silhouettes. Despite there no longer being anything of interest to see, he chose to stare out the window rather than look inside the room at the alcohol-fuelled gathering.

‘One Bud coming up.’

He turned. The woman handed over the bottle and sat next to him, a glass of white wine in her other hand. ‘You OK?’

‘Just my pride hurt a bit. Well my chin, too.’

‘Poor you. Those two were appalling twenty-five years ago and they haven’t improved by the look of things.’

David recognised the voice, the engaging Scottish lilt from all those years ago.

‘I’m Titless,’ the woman added.

He glanced from her face to her upper body and saw shapely curves. When he looked up she was smiling and he reddened.

‘Not anymore, but I was then. I took a while to develop. Too long for Bill and Ben, so that was their nickname for me.’

‘I remember you. Bridget.’

‘Congratulations. You’re the first to know my name tonight, not that I’ve spoken to many.’

‘Well, you’ve changed beyond all recognition.’

Like every parent, David had told his children the story of the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful white swan, and while he appreciated the moral symbolism, he had never seen such a transformation in real life until now. Bridget had been an unsociable, awkward girl, liable to blush the instant someone addressed her. She had appeared friendless and was known as ‘Spotty Swot’ amongst his circle of friends. He hadn’t been aware of the ‘Titless’ nickname, not surprising as he kept well away from the gang. Her legs, he remembered, had looked too spindly to support her. He’d felt sorry for Bridget, a rather sad-looking loner, but he’d been too shy to do anything about it.

The woman by his side was divine – a goddess. Not in a garishly sexy way – just downright beautiful. Every facial feature of textbook perfection. A narrow face with high cheekbones; a little, upturned nose; pouting lips; soft, powder blue eyes. Eyes that were now smiling at him.

‘I feel like I’m being inspected. Do you approve?’

‘Yes, yes. You look lovely, if you don’t mind me saying.’

‘Thank you, I never say no to a compliment. I was wondering though – what on earth made you come along to this awful reunion?’

‘It’s a long story.’

‘It’s a long evening.’

 

R J Gould Website and social media links

Website:                      http://www.rjgould.info

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/RJGould_author

Email:                          rjgould.author@gmail.com

Facebook:                    https://www.facebook.com/RJGouldauthor/

Email:                          rjgould.author@gmail.com

 

About R J Gould

R J Gould writes contemporary fiction, using humour to describe past, present and sought after relationships. His characters, some highly eccentric and some plain ordinary, are trying to make the most of their lives while carrying heaps of baggage. They struggle to balance the pressures of work, friends and families as they search for second-chance romance. He is published by Accent Press and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. His first novel, ‘A Street Café Named Desire’ was released in December 2014 and short-listed for the 2016 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. ‘The Engagement Party’ was published in May 2015 and ‘Jack and Jill Went Downhill’ was released in June 2016. He lives in Cambridge and is a member of Cambridge Writers where he leads the Commercial Editing Group.

Many thanks Richard. Great extract!

Just one more day to go in this fabulous look back at some fellow authors writing archives. Come back tomorrow to see what Caroline Dunford has to share with us.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Guest Post from R J Gould: Men and Romance?

I’m thrilled to welcome the lovely R J Gould to my site today- a.k.a Richard Gould. This is an excellent blog, which asks a very important question.

Over to you Richard…

At the outset I should point out than I’m a male author writing romantic fiction – my photo is a giveaway. I’m not unique, but I am a rarity. Like Jenny, I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and I first met her at the 2015 annual conference when over 95% of participants were female. Also like Jenny, I’m published by Accent Press, my novels sit in the Contemporary Women’s Fiction category. I do sometimes wonder whether I should sign up to Male Romantics Anonymous on the assumption that the counselling might morph me into a crime or espionage writer.

But hang on a minute. Romance is about the creation and nurturing of relationships and more or less fifty percent of those involved in this activity are men. So surely there should be as many male writers and readers of romantic fiction as females. Traditionally, the romantic novel has featured a woman’s quest for a male along a pathway fraught with challenges due to inequality between the genders. In modern society women can be more powerful, more sexually and socially confident, and more successful than men. They can take the lead in starting, maintaining and ending relationships. My writing is as likely to feature insecure men and confident alpha females as the other way round, which does no more than reflect the real world.

The romance genre is a broad category and what I write perhaps sits on the fringes – I certainly don’t do starry-eyed fiction. My protagonists are often middle aged with juggernaut loads of baggage to offload ahead of starting a new relationship or strengthening a current one. Humour, often dark, is an important element in my novels. My readers are predominantly female; feedback indicates that they appreciate the insight provided by a male author writing from the male protagonist’s point of view. If you do read anything of mine, I’d be interested to discover whether you feel there’s a clear distinction between my writing and that of female authors.

The occasional male reader turns up, in fact my favourite ever review was written by a male, his comment including: “…the characters are recognisable in an East Enders meets F. Scott Fitzgerald sort of way, that twinning an art in itself.”

I think one aspect of my work that puts it in the romance category is that it’s character driven. Of course plot is essential, but for me the starting point, beyond a decision about the broad theme, is always character. My inspiration comes from observing people, followed by the make believe about their thoughts and actions. I get to know them as the story unfolds; they grow as the plot develops and frequently drive the narrative forward. When I start writing I have the beginning and end point of a novel and some mid-story events that I want to include, but I don’t plan in detail at this stage.

My two published novels – ‘A Street Café Named Desire’ and ‘The Engagement Party’ –emerged from ideas sparked by actual events which set me off on a fictitious journey with fictitious characters. Two further novels, due for release either in late 2015 or early 2016, don’t have that real life starting point. Nothing Man begins with our hero plotting suicide (yes, it is humorous), and Jack and Jill Went Downhill traces the ups and downs of a relationship that begins at university on Fresher’s Big Party Night.

The Engagement Party

The Engagement Party

Wayne and Clarissa are a young London couple whose immediate families are about to meet for the first time. Trying to create harmony is going to be challenging because there are eight parents, step-parents and partners to deal with. Wayne comes from a working class background and Clarissa, an upper-middle class one, a further potential cause of tension. They are deeply in love, but friction arising from the forthcoming gathering has created a rift, and it’s touch and go whether their relationship is strong enough to survive the event.

The start

‘I’m sure you’ll be very happy, dear,’ her mother had said when she’d broken the news of their engagement. It had been a statement of great craft in indicating the exact opposite of what the combination of words superficially suggested. It was accompanied by the look that Clarissa had been subjected to many times over the years – smile to smirk to frown to smirk to smile. She knew exactly what was implied; “you silly girl, you’ve made another wrong decision and I’ll be the one who has to pick up the pieces.”

‘Have you told your father yet?’ she then asked, all part of the post-divorce competition for attention and preferential treatment. Clarissa ignored the question, not wanting to give her mother the pleasure of knowing that her father had still to meet her fiancé. That evening she’d popped in to give him the news.

‘Where does he work?’ he’d asked, ahead of even knowing the man’s name.

‘He delivers sandwiches,’ she’d replied with mischievous deliberation. There followed a rare moment of paternal speechlessness. ‘His name is Wayne,’ she’d added. Her father had responded with a patronising nod, indicating that he thought the name highly appropriate to the trade.

Clarissa recognised that her father was a complete and utter snob and her mother was a close second. And if pushed she would happily admit that she was too – a product of her parents, enhanced by fourteen years at prestigious independent girls schools. She was well versed in the subtle nuances of dress, style, behaviour, and expectations that went with upper-middle class status. Her ‘you can have everything you want’ only-child upbringing was poles apart from Wayne’s experience of relative poverty, a broken home, bog standard comprehensive schooling, and a flight from education at sixteen. Although her parents had also separated, it wasn’t the same as for Wayne – for a start the split hadn’t brought on any money problems.

 A Street Cafe Named Desire

A Street Café Named Desire

When David meets Bridget at a school reunion, he unexpectedly finds himself falling for her. With problems at work and a failing marriage, David feels he’s going nowhere, and mysterious, enigmatic Bridget draws him out of his shell. He’s overjoyed when, against all odds, she returns his interest, but what is it in her past that makes her reluctant to reveal her true feelings? As their relationship progresses, David starts to think he may realise his dreams – but will he get everything he wants, or is it all too good to be true?

The start

He was forty-three. Autumn shouldn’t be such a surprise any more, but the annual explosion of colour never ceased to amaze him.

Here they were at their twenty-five year school reunion, crowded around the bar area of the upmarket Hotel Marlborough in Henley. Huge sash windows provided a magnificent view of a fast-flowing, grey River Thames. Rowers were flying downstream. Beyond the river was a steep bank with a dramatic display of early autumn trees.

‘David. You’re David!’

Turning, he was clamped in a bear hug by a woman whose strong grip took his breath away. A face with two scarlet lips came hurtling towards him. His desperate attempt to avoid impact failed and their lips collided.

‘Well, well. David. Incredible – just incredible.’

What did this ‘incredible’ mean? That he’d hardly changed? That he’d transformed beyond imagination? She stepped back and her vice-like grip transferred to his shoulders.

‘David, David.’

How long would this continue – wasn’t she going to advance the conversation? He knew he was David. Obviously she did too. Unfortunately he couldn’t assist because his natural response – hello Alice, hello Barbara, Clare, Diane, Elizabeth, Fiona, or whatever – was impossible. He had no idea who she was.

‘You do remember me, don’t you?’

‘Yes.’

****

Buy links-

USA The Engagement Party: http://www.amazon.com/Engagement-Party-R-J-Gould-ebook/dp/B00X7M8UKK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1438093546&sr=8-2&keywords=r+j+gould

UK The Engagement Party: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Engagement-Party-R-J-Gould-ebook/dp/B00X7M8UKK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438092772&sr=8-1&keywords=r+j+gould

USA: A Street Cafe Named Desire: http://www.amazon.com/Street-Cafe-Named-Desire/dp/1783752572/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1438093546&sr=8-5&keywords=r+j+gould

UK A Street Cafe Named Desire: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Street-Cafe-Named-Desire-ebook/dp/B00R1GSR42/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1438092772&sr=8-2&keywords=r+j+gould

richard gould photo

Contact info:

Website:         www.rjgould.info

Email:              rgould130@gmail.com

Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/RJGouldauthor

Twitter:           @rjgould_author

Bio:

Richard lives in Cambridge and works for a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of journals, newspapers and magazines on social mobility and educating able young people. His fiction, writing under the half-hearted pseudonym R J Gould, is contemporary, humorous, and loosely romantic. He joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists Association and soon afterwards, was taken on by publisher Accent Press. ‘A Street Café Named Desire’ was released in December 2014 and ‘The Engagement Party’ in May 2015.  R J Gould is a member of Cambridge Writers, where he leads the Commercial Editing Group. He was the organisation’s short story competition winner in 2010, awarded third place in 2015, and his writing was commended in 2012 and 2014.

***

Many thanks Richard.

I have never understood why more men don’t write romance, and why those that do often use female pen names. As you say, it takes two people to form a relationship. The problem is the same in erotic fiction. very few men write the genre, and those who do tend to use female names. A great shame.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

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