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Audiobooks Book launch book promo

NEW #Audiobook ESCAPING PSYCHIATRY 2. THE CASE OF THE SWAPPED BODIES narrated by Kathy James. Come and take a peek!

Hi all:

I don’t normally blog on Sundays, but this being a long weekend (at least here in the UK) and with a few posts already programmed for next week (and a few more reviews making their way), I thought I might try.

I haven’t been talking about my books much because… Well, marketing is not my thing, and because I read so many great books that I know what the offer is like and putting my hand up and saying “Me, me, me” is not me. I keep thinking some day I’ll come up with some clever and original idea to promote my books, but so far it has not happened. In the meantime, I’m keeping busy with other things (not a lot of writing, although some, some projects that are waiting on feedback, others that are battling for attention, some that need more research…), including the teaching (waiting to hear about next term), translations, tidying up the place (I want to sell my house and leave), and reading and reviewing. Plenty of that.

But I did post the second book (well, the third if we count the prequel) of the Escaping Psychiatry series on ACX and wonderful narrator Kathy James showed an interest. And now, the audiobook is ready. It is a bit of a departure, as for some reason the other two books in the series had been narrated by male narrators. This time I thought that as the main character is a woman, and women do play a very important part in this particular story, I’d ask for a female narrator, and I’m very happy with the results. So, here it is:

 

Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies. Narrated by Kathy James
Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies. Narrated by Kathy James

Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies Audiobook narrated by Kathy James

A woman shot dead. No enemies, no motive, only a story about how she swapped bodies with another woman found on her computer. The other woman in the story, the owner of the swapped body, goes into labour and won’t talk.

When FBI Agent Dave Dean asks psychiatrist/writer Mary Miller for her assistance, she doesn’t know that The Case of the Swapped Bodies is not the only mystery in Port Haven. A hit and run, an armed robbery gone wrong and questions about family traditions, priorities and legacies come into play and complicate matters. The line between fact and fiction is more tenuous than anybody realised and suspense is on the menu.

This is the third book in the Escaping Psychiatry series and it poses new challenges for Mary Miller. And not all the challenges are professional ones. How do you carry on when you’ve survived the unthinkable?

Available in Audible.com Audible.co.uk Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk iTunes

Listen to a sample via Sound Cloud:

Or if you prefer a video, here on You Tube:

If you are into audiobooks, or know somebody who is, some of my other books are also available in that format. You can check here.

As this is the third book in the series, in case you are intrigued but don’t want to start there, the prequel of the series is available FREE. I leave you a reminder.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret

How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.

Dr Mary Miller is a young psychiatrist suffering a crisis of vocation. Her friend Phil, a criminalist lawyer working in New York, invites her to visit him and consult on the case of a writer accused of a serious assault. His victim had been harassing him and accusing him of stealing his story, which he’d transformed into a best-selling book. The author denies the allegation and claims it was self-defense. When the victim dies, things get complicated. The threshold between truth and fiction becomes blurred and secrets and lies unfold.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is the prequel to Escaping Psychiatry a volume collecting three stories where Mary and her psychiatric expertise are called to help in a variety of cases, from religious and race affairs to the murder of a policeman, and in the last case, she gets closer than ever to a serial killer.

If you enjoy this novella, don’t forget to check Mary’s further adventures. And there are more to come.

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The book is also available in many other online stores, including Google (although they change their prices at will, that is why I haven’t included the link in case it is not free there), so do check wherever you get your e-books as it’s likely to be there.

And, as I’ve talked about the other two books in the series, well, I had to mention the first one (yes, this was written before the prequel and the first story, ‘Cannon Fodder’ is over twenty years old).

Escaping Psychiatry cover by Ernesto Valdés

Escaping Psychiatry

‘Escaping Psychiatry’ is a collection of three stories in the psychological thriller genre with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist, and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry.

In ‘Cannon Fodder’ Mary has to assess Cain, an African-American man accused of inciting a religious riot when he claimed that he could hear God and God was black. He might not be mad, but Mary is sure he’s hiding something.

‘Teamwork’ sees Mary hoodwinked into offering therapy to Justin, a policeman feeling guilty after his partner and ersatz father was killed on-duty. Before Mary can extricate herself from the case, things get personal.

In ‘Memory’ Mary goes missing after an incident with Phil, who is manic as he hasn’t been taking his medication. When she is found, she has been the victim of a horrific crime, but they soon discover she was luckier than they had realised.

The epilogue revisits Mary at the point of the trial of her abductor and sees what changes have taken place in her life. Will she finally manage to Escape Psychiatry?

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Thanks very much for being there, for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and REVIEW any books you read. And enjoy a wonderful weekend! Ah, and if you’ve never used Audible, you can get a free audio with your trial (and the lucky author whose audiobook you choose gets a bonus too). Have fun!

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Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings FREE Writing samples

#FREE Chapter 5 of Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings #TuesdayBookBlog

Hi all:
I hope to share the link to the published novella by next post (and if everything goes well it might be free already by then) but in the meantime, here is chapter 5.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés

5.     The Weekend

Mary enjoyed the leisurely week where she completely changed the usual rhythm of her life. She threw herself enthusiastically into the task of exploring the city, visiting exhibitions, looking for the perfect clothes shop and bookshop, and walking for miles. By Thursday afternoon she was exhausted and decided to stay at Phil’s apartment and finish reading The Darkest Night. Phil arrived shortly after eight p.m. and found her cooking pasta.

“Hi, Phil.”

“Hi, Mary. It smells lovely.”

She smiled and looked at him. “Well, you know my culinary skills are limited. I’ve never been truly domesticated. If anything, a househusband could come in handy.”

Phil smiled and pressed her arm. “I’ll go and get out of this suit. Did you have a good day?” he asked her as he walked out.

“I came back early. I was tired and wanted to finish reading the novel,” she replied, talking loud enough for her voice to carry to Phil’s room.

He came back a couple of minutes later. “Which novel?”

The Darkest Night.”

“Fenton’s book? Isn’t it supposed to be a true story, or rather, based on a true story?”

“Yes. It’s supposed to be based on a true story. But there’s something that doesn’t ring true to me.”

“What? Is it a lack of psychological truth? Perhaps it’s due to the changes he made to disguise the identity of the main character.”

“Could be. But if I understood him correctly, he said that he had changed the details to hide his real identity, but the story was still his story. And to me, it doesn’t work. I’ve heard many things, and I’ve read psychiatric reports, and believe me, most of them would never get confused with a Pulitzer Prize winner, but they still ring true. This doesn’t. And there’s something about him…Fenton, I mean. He says he manned a telephone helpline offering advice and counselling. If that’s the case he’d be more understanding and have some empathy, one would hope. He’s too cold… But ignore me. It’s probably a defence mechanism. His behaviour, I mean.”

Phil shrugged. “Oh, you know what my opinion about the man is. I’m happy it’s Lance and not me handling the case, even if that might bring him a lot of attention.”

Mary turned off the hob. “This is ready. Will you set the table?”

“Sure. I’ll get some wine. Yes, and water for you. I know you don’t drink.”

While they were eating, Mary asked, “Shall I check and see if I can find tickets for a play tomorrow?”

“Oh, I nearly forgot. Mr Wright—Percy—has invited us to his house in the Hamptons this weekend. It seems his wife is having some kind of reception, and he’s decided we should be there too. I told Ryan we’d pick him up on the way. Wright has decided that tomorrow we’ll only work in the morning to make sure we get there at a reasonable time. I understand dinner will be a pretty ‘intimate’ affair. That probably means no more than twenty five people.”

Mary looked at Phil, cocking her head. “Are you serious?”

“Oh yes, of course. Wait until you meet Mrs Wright. You’ve probably seen her in posh magazines. I’m not surprised he wants big cases. She’s very high maintenance.”

“What do you mean ‘Wait until you meet Mrs Wright’? And you also said ‘we’ would pick Ryan up? Am I invited too?”

Phil laughed. “Oh yes. Percy insisted I make sure you come. He wanted to show you his hospitality. And I think he’s determined to secure your services for future cases. He must have decided it gives him some advantage over the rest. You must come. Don’t abandon Ryan and me. It will be interesting. Plenty of material for your stories.”

“You’re right on that. But I must be back to work on Monday. I phoned them today.”

“No problem. We’ll leave after breakfast on Sunday. So, have you decided psychiatry is your future, then?”

Mary sighed. “I’m not sure. But at the moment it feels unfinished. I must see it through. Complete the training. Then I’ll decide.”

The ride to Mr Wright’s house, in Phil’s Jeep the next day, was very comfortable.

“I never knew you liked this type of car, Phil. I’ve always known you with more sporty models,” Mary said.

“It seems to be the fashion, at the moment—at least among the elite,” Ryan replied. “And one of our clients has a dealership and always offers a very good discount to the firm’s staff.”

“Ah…”

The house was impressive. A valet came to collect the keys from Phil to park the car. Mary tried to hide her shock. “It’s a mansion. I didn’t expect it to be this huge and posh. I’m sure quite a few European royalty members live much more modestly,” she said.

“Well, this is America. Modesty has never been in fashion here,” Ryan whispered in her ear.

Mrs Wright was younger than Mary had expected, although when Phil introduced her and they shook hands, Mary realised that perhaps nature had had some help.

“My husband told me you had been very helpful with the writer’s case. What a terrible thing, the death of that man, isn’t it? Oh, Wilma, darling—”

Before Mary had a chance to reply or say anything, Mrs Wright had already moved on and was chatting to a woman wearing an elegant black dress.

“Pierre Balmain, methinks,” Ryan said.

Mary looked at him surprised. He smiled. “All this shopping and looking at magazines with my sister has evidently had an effect on me.”

The evening was extravagant. The ‘intimate’ dinner ended up being a formal affair with nearly fifty people in attendance. Thankfully, Mary sat next to Ryan. The woman sitting to her left was a newlywed and seemed only interested in her husband. Mary chatted to Ryan and he entertained her with gossip about the people he recognised.

On Saturday, the ladies had a visit to the Spa organised, and that seemed to take up the whole day, between sauna, exercise classes, yoga, massage, hairdressing, lunch, make-up… Mary quickly became bored and, in the afternoon, she decided to escape and take a bus that left her a couple of miles from the house. She fancied a walk and the afternoon was beautiful. The place was extravagant and properties there were exorbitantly priced, but it wasn’t difficult to see why they’d choose to live there. Or to have a second home there. As she was approaching the house, she heard somebody running behind her. She turned to find Lance, sweating buckets. He was wearing shorts and a very light running top, but judging by his state he must have been running for a long time. He slowed down slightly to say hello.

“I’ll see you later. I don’t dare to stop. I’m not sure I’d manage to get going again.”

“OK.”

He carried on running. If anything, he seemed to speed up after leaving her. Mary had only seen him from a distance the previous evening, as he had been sitting at the other end of the table, on Percy’s right. She remembered Phil had made a sarcastic remark. “He’s seated at the right hand of our version of God, of course.” Mary had told him off for being jealous but had not paid Lance any attention after that, and she hadn’t bumped into him later either.

That evening was much more formal and grand. Mary felt terribly underdressed. She looked at her long black dress and her flat black ballerinas and sighed. She’d never managed high heels, and she hadn’t expected anything like that when she had packed her suitcase to spend a few days with Phil. She grabbed a black mantilla embroidered with flowers and wrapped it around her shoulders. Straightening up, she pushed out of the room, feeling like a gladiator jumping into the arena. The lions awaited her.

She met Phil and Ryan, who seemed to have been waiting for her at the top of the stairs. There were a lot of people in the reception area and wave after wave of rich and elegant people seemed to be streaming through the front door.

“Couldn’t we just escape through the back door? I’m sure nobody would notice we weren’t here,” Mary said.

Ryan smiled. “I think it’s too late, although I’m sympathetic to your idea. Don’t worry. You’re right, nobody will notice us, and we’ll be forgotten in a few seconds. There are too many important people here.”

They were briefly greeted by Mrs Wright and then directed towards a larger room, where people were distributed in small groups, being offered drinks and fed canapes. Percy waved at them from one of the groups, which consisted of men of a certain age, very smartly dressed and looking self-important.

“You don’t want to get on the wrong side of any of those guys,” Ryan warned Mary. She nodded.

A string quartet played by one of the doors to the terrace and after listening to them for a while, Mrs Wright announced that it was time for dinner. She guided her guests to a different room to the one they had dined in the previous night. This one was much larger and she called it the ‘banqueting hall’. Ryan and Phil found their name places very soon after they entered the room. Ryan waved goodbye to Mary with a sad expression. Her place was well past the centre of the table.

She didn’t know the man to her left, a Mr Winston who, after introducing himself, wasted no time before returning to his conversation with a stunning blonde woman sitting next to him. The man opposite her told her he was called Peter Matthews and was an old friend of the family. He seemed mostly interested in his food. The woman sitting next to him, Stella Roberts, lost interest when she discovered that Mary wasn’t married and had no kids. Mary turned to the door and saw Lance come in. He sat on her right. That wasn’t his assigned place, as Mary had noticed that the name written there, Mr Blake, was unfamiliar to her.

“Won’t you get into trouble?” she whispered.

“Oh, nobody will dare to make a fuss. And I know Mr Blake. He definitely won’t say anything.”

He was right. A middle-aged man arrived and walked to the only space left, near the top of the table, not far from the hosts. He looked at the name-card, lifted an eyebrow, looked at Lance, who replied with a smile and a nod, and then shrugged and sat down.

“You were right,” Mary whispered.

Lance only nodded. The meal started and Mrs Roberts seemed to find Lance much more interesting than Mary, trying to engage him in several topics of conversation. He was polite but didn’t expand upon or appreciate her efforts, whilst he chatted amiably with Mary. As they were finishing the main course, the woman tried again. “So, I hear you are working with Percy in the case against that famous writer…Fenton? What a terrible thing, to be harassed just because you’ve become famous. It must be dreadful.”

Mary couldn’t help herself. “Dying is quite terrible too.”

“Greed always gets punished,” Mrs Roberts stated.

“What do you mean?” Mary asked. She had no idea what Mrs Roberts meant.

“Well, surely that man was trying to blackmail the author, insisting that he’d stolen his story to make him pay for it. All these people are so used to getting paid off to avoid a scandal… Good for Fenton for not putting up with it!”

Mary noticed Lance was visibly shaking and remembered his reaction when Percy had told them Miles Green had died. The lawyer’s face was pale but his neck was red and a vein pulsated on his brow.

“How dare you presume to know what happened? What makes you think you have a right to talk ill of the dead? Your arrogance knows no bounds. Shut up before I forget you’re supposed to be a lady,” he blurted out.

Mrs Roberts looked at him, her eyes open wide and her mouth agape too. Lance folded his napkin, mumbled an apology and stood up, leaving the napkin on the chair as he walked out of the room.

“What was that about? I’d heard such nice things about him from Percy,” Mrs Roberts said. Mary knew the question was not addressed at her and avoided her gaze. After the dessert, they were all invited to the terrace to see the firework display. Mary saw Phil and Ryan walking towards her, but felt curious and rushed to get out of the hall before anybody caught up with her. She walked around the building and finally found Lance sitting on a stone bench, at the back of the house, alone. The floor in that area was covered in tiny stones and the noise of her steps made Lance lift his head.

“Sorry. I didn’t want to disturb you but I wondered if you were OK.”

He smiled, with a sad expression in his big blue eyes. He moved to one end of the bench, making room for her.

“Thanks.”

They sat in silence for a while. Finally, Mary said, “I know this is none of my business, and feel free to tell me to get lost if you want, but…I noticed your reaction to the news of Miles Green’s death the other day, at the firm.”

He slowly lifted his gaze and fixed it on hers.

“I don’t work for Mr Wright, and I have nothing to do with the case, as Fenton refused the assessment. I just couldn’t help but notice and wonder. You seemed more worried about the alleged victim than about your defendant. I’m not going to tell you to trust me because I’m a doctor. I’m just a curious bystander, forever intrigued by human nature.”

He visibly let go, as if crumpling in front of Mary’s eyes. “It’s all…a mess, really. And it’s my mess. You see, Mr Wright has this fantasy in his head about me being a sleek type, a fantastic lawyer and a rough diamond. Well, rough is right. I come from a little town in Minnesota. Don’t ask. Only people within a thirty mile radius even know where it is. My parents worked hard all their lives to give my sister and me a good education. My sister is now a primary school teacher, very happy. And I… I studied hard, and I watched every movie, every TV series, and read every novel with lawyers on it. Successful lawyers. Even before I knew the law, I knew how to play the part. I was only interested in flashy cases, in tagging along with the big names when they were working, and in doing things that would give me the reputation I needed to make it to the top. But I had to do pro-bono work too. I tried my hardest to shift it to the other lawyers and to trainees, but I couldn’t avoid it completely.

“And then, a couple of years ago, I had to represent Miles Green. He’d tried to bring a case against his abusers. He was the first one who dared to speak, although he wasn’t the only victim. Once he had the guts to talk, plenty of others followed suit. He was a very shy and insecure man, despite having been in the army, but he felt better for pursuing it. And then, as the hearing approached, I had a chance to assist in a case that was sure to get media attention and left Green’s case to a very junior colleague who had to take it to court. Not only that, but I accidentally misplaced some of the evidence. If I had been there it wouldn’t have mattered, as I would have realised and sorted it, but my colleague didn’t know, and I hadn’t even briefed him properly.

“The judge threw out the case, due to lack of evidence, and Green’s abusers went free. I never owned up to my mistake, and as a result my junior colleague didn’t finish his placement and quit law. And Green…I’m sure that if his abusers had gone to prison and the pressure and harassment had stopped, he wouldn’t have gone after Fenton, and he would still be alive. The news of his death the other day brought it all back. And then Wright makes me defend that man…”

“You can’t blame yourself for Green’s death. You didn’t kill him.”

“But I’m defending his killer! And it was my fault that his abusers went free!”

“Blaming yourself is not going to help him or his family. Perhaps there might be something practical you can do to help…”

His eyes opened wide and his lips curved slightly. “You’re right. And I know just the thing.”

The noise of the fireworks intensified and he stood up, offering her his hand and pulling her up. He took her arm and directed her towards the terrace at the back of the big hall where everybody was watching the fireworks. Phil and Ryan joined them.

Phil had to speak quite loudly to make himself heard with all the noise around them. “Where were you hiding?”

“I just needed a walk and a bit of fresh-air, and I met Lance at the back of the house.”

“Look at that!” Ryan pointed at a big purple cascade of light illuminating the whole sky, and that was the end of the conversation.

The next morning, while they were having breakfast—a much more informal affair:  people ate whenever they got ready and went downstairs, rather than having a set time, and only the overnight guests attended—Ryan said, “I bumped into Lance this morning. I woke up early and decided to go for a walk, and as I was coming back, Lance was putting his suitcase in the trunk of his car. I asked him what he was doing, leaving so early, and he told me he had to go, that there was something very important he had to do. Ah, and he said to say goodbye to you guys.”

“The big case must have gone to his head,” Phil said.

“I think you might be mistaken,” Mary said.

Phil looked at her and tutted. “I’m disappointed in you, Mary. I would never have thought you’d fall for his performance.”

Mary smiled. “He might surprise you yet.”

In case you need to catch up with the previous chapters, you can do it here:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

If you’re intrigued and you haven’t caught up with the three others stories I’ve published featuring Mary and Phil, I just wanted to remind you that Escaping Psychiatry is available for only $0.99. Rather than give you the description, you can have a look a read and preview it directly from here:

And a few links:

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Thanks so much for reading and you know… Like, share, comment and of course CLICK!

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Writing samples

'I Love Your Cupcakes' My new romantic and sweet novel is coming out soon. And here is the beginning

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

 

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