Well, it's the start of another week, and it hasn't begun too badly for me, although there's time for that to change yet, it's only Monday... you see, there's a prime example of my "glass half empty" attitude! Anyway, it hasn't begun too badly because I woke up today to a lovely surprise, another fantastic review of my epic, sexy contemporary romance No Matter What. Want to know what it said? Well, you can check it out here - No Matter What - latest review. The book's not doing too shabbily on Goodreads either - No Matter What on Goodreads.
But I'm not here to talk about No Matter What. No, I'm here to talk about another of my books, the book I'm now officially calling my "marmite" book, ie: people seem to either love it or hate it! It's the book that's gained the most diverse of comments and reviews; the book that's given me the most to think about because, a while back, when I went through a spate of getting less-than-sparkling reviews for this book that seemed to come one after the other, I honestly thought about pulling it off the market altogether. A case of throwing my pens out of the pencil case, if you like. But then, just as quickly as the dodgy reviews appeared, I got a spate of really great ones, people telling me how much they'd loved the book; people who "got" the story and clicked with the characters. People who enjoyed the edgier, sexier side of romance that this book explores.
Because this book is definitely not one for everyone. It's romance, yes, but if it's a nice Middle-England romance you're looking for then you're going to be bitterly disappointed, because Joanna Trollope it certainly ain't! So I know that there are going to be a fair few people who read this book and just don't take to the story or the characters, but it still hurts just a teensy bit when someone says something negative about it, or when, as what happened on Saturday morning, someone returns your book! Now, I have no idea what made someone want to return a $0.99 book, and it's their absolute right to do so, if they honestly thought it was that bad but, as much as you try not to dwell on these things, wondering just why somebody wanted to return the book kept me rather pre-occupied round Tesco's on Saturday, so much so that I forgot the beansprouts, so that's an unscheduled trip to the Co-Op I've got to make tomorrow otherwise the stir-fry suffers!
But, as someone who's more than learned this lesson, I know that you really cannot please all of the people all of the time, it's impossible. My husband told me that I've just got to toughen up, so toughen up I have. Sort of. And anyway, if I want to drag out the positive side of this and look at this another way, despite the fact that this book has got the most diverse ratings and reviews out of all of my books (1 - 5 stars - with the most dodgy reviews and ratings coming from US readers - don't ask me why!) doesn't that somehow make it all the more interesting? Isn't this book proof, there in black and white, that a book that can bring out so many different opinions... well, that just might - might - make others more intrigued to find out more for themselves. Mightn't it?
The thing is, if you want an edgy, sexy love story that doesn't always stick to the norm, then you might just like See You At The Show, but if you don't want to read about wild female rock roadies and sexy rock stars, and a love trianlge that might just surprise you - not to mention a handful of ranuchy sex scenes - then it's probably wise to steer clear.
But I'll always remember what one person told me (somebody who eventually read the book and loved it!) - she told me that it isn't a case of everybody liking the book, it's about the right people connecting with the story. And she was so right about that!
So, if you want to find out why some people have given it just the 1 star whilst others have raved about it and given it the full 5, read a small excerpt from the book here, and make your own mind up...
“Is that out of your system now then?” Johnny asked as Stevie threw herself down opposite him. She ignored him. “What Mark Cassidy wants, Mark Cassidy gets, huh?”
She looked at him. He was staring out of the bus window as it sped along the motorway, his mood
resembling something close to petulant. Or maybe he really was just tired, after all, wasn’t everybody?
“That’s not the way it works, Johnny, and you know that.”
He turned to look at her. “Have you ever been in love, Stevie?”
“Where the hell did that come from?”
He’d never once asked her anything like that before. It was a subject neither of them had ever felt the need
to talk about and God knows why he was bringing it up now.
Johnny watched her reaction closely. Something had changed in her eyes when he’d asked that question,
but whether it had anything to do with Mark he couldn’t quite work out.
“No. No, I haven’t been in love.” A lie. ”Can we change the subject now?”
She leaned over to grab a cigarette from the box lying on the table in front of a now sleeping Jack.
“Not even with Mark?”
She lit the cigarette, leaning back in her seat, forgetting that Ava was still in the vicinity. She suddenly just
really needed one.
“I’m not in love with Mark. I’ve never been in love with Mark.” She looked at him, pushing a hand
through her hair and away from her face. “Is this going anywhere, Johnny?”
He shook his head. “Maybe I just don’t understand you two as much as I thought I did.”
“What the...Johnny? Where are you going?”
“To grab some sleep before we get there. I’m shattered.”
Stevie watched him make his way to the bunks, throwing Mark a strange look as he arrived back out front.
“What’s up with him?” Mark asked, slipping into the seat next to Stevie.
“Beats me.” She smiled at him as he leaned in for a quick, hard kiss. “You feeling a bit calmer now?”
“When am I ever anything else?” he grinned, pulling her against him and going in for another kiss. “But
yeah, I’m feeling a lot calmer. However, if you’re offering to make me feel just that little bit more relaxed...”
She laughed, laying her legs over his as he ran his fingers up and down them, creeping up the bottom of her
denim shorts as their mouths met again in a slower, deeper kiss.
“You know what,” she said, gently stroking the back of his neck as they continued to kiss. “I reckon we
could both do with getting our heads down for a bit.”
“A bit of what though?” Jack smirked, waking up and stretching out.
“Sleep, Jack. Unlike you lot, when we get to the stadium me and the guys have got shitloads to do. You
just bugger off to your hotel, smoke joints and demand crates of lager while we’re working our arses off
setting everything up. You might be getting the day off today but the rest of us have got to start sorting things
out for tomorrow.”
“Is that what we do?” Jack said, winking at her. “Smoke joints and drink lager?”
“Pretty much, yeah,” Mark laughed.
“Jesus, why do I bother?” Stevie sighed, swinging her legs off of Marks and straightening her t-shirt.
“Hang on. Weren’t we going for a lie down?” Mark asked, grabbing Jack’s cigarettes before he put them back in his pocket, taking out two, putting one behind his ear.
“I’m not in the mood anymore.”
“I thought you were always in the mood?” Jack said, standing up and leaning back against the side of the
“Can you tell him to piss off, Mark? He’s really starting to wind me up today.”
Jack whistled, leaning forward to ruffle Stevie’s hair. She slapped his hands away, kneeling up on her seat
to get a better aim at him.
“Ok, kids, can we just try and play nicely now.” Dave Deacon emerged from the back of the bus, throwing
the video camera at Mark. “And I think this belongs to you, or I’m assuming it does seeing as you appear to
be starring in whatever’s on there.” He looked at Stevie as he walked past but she ignored him. He was really
starting to annoy her too. “And make sure that doesn’t get into the wrong hands. The last thing we fucking
need is a sex tape scandal in the middle of a tour.”
“Oh, yeah!” Jack grinned, snatching the camera from Mark. “New footage!”
“Hey, hang on, give that here, Jack!”
“Mark, it’s ok. It’s nothing he hasn’t seen before. If it keeps his tiny mind occupied for half an hour it’ll be
worth it.” She pushed Mark up out of his seat, taking his hand. “Come on. Let’s go get that lie down. I need
to get out of here.” She looked back at Jack, throwing him a sarcastic smile. “Oh, and enjoy the show,
Warner. But you watch that right hand of yours. I know you get off on watching me fuck but don’t work it too
hard, ok? You’re gonna need it tomorrow.”
She gave him the finger.
“Yeah, ladylike, Stevie. Very ladylike.”
“There’s nothing ladylike about me, Jack. And your front man’s about to find out just how unladylike I can
Daniel never tired of walking into the House of Commons. The grandeur and sheer scale of the building
made it a place he never tired of coming to. As a student he’d dreamed of one day walking in here as a
Member of Parliament, and now that part of his dream had been realised he was just waiting for the next stage
to take shape.
Andrew Mitchell still hadn’t yet tendered a formal resignation from his post as party leader, but the rumours
were getting stronger every day that it was nothing more than a formality. It was going to happen. It was just a
matter of waiting. Something Daniel was quite willing to do.
He walked along the corridor on his way to his office, smiling and saying hello to people he knew - fellow
MP’s, colleagues he worked closely with, and even those he didn’t. He was a very approachable man, much
liked and greatly admired. Which is why he already had the backing he needed to run for the leadership. As
soon as Andrew Mitchell stepped down.
He walked into the annexe to his office, smiling at Amy, his secretary.
“Good morning, Mr. Madison. Would you like your coffee now? I’ve put your newspapers on your desk
and left some messages by the telephone. Some of them may be fairly urgent. Here’s your post.”
He took the pile of envelopes from her and smiled again. “Thank you, Amy. I’d love a coffee now, if it’s
“None at all.” She got up from behind her large and extremely tidy desk and went over to the small
kitchenette in the corner of the room. “Did you have a good break?”
He sat on the edge of her desk, putting his briefcase down on the floor.
“I had a wonderful few days thank you, Amy. It was nice to be home for a while. Very restful.”
He started opening some of the letters Amy had given him.
“And Mrs. Madison? How is she after her holiday?”
“She had a lovely time. Tuscany was a joy to visit, as usual. It’s done her the power of good.”
Amy smiled, handing him his coffee. She’d worked for Daniel Madison for over two years now and he was
simply the nicest, kindest person she’d ever worked for. He was talkative, friendly and never spoke down to
her. She was very lucky, and she knew that.
“Would you like me to make any calls for you?” Amy asked. ”I can go through your e-mails if you like;
see if there’s anything that needs attending to.”
“That would be extremely helpful, Amy, thank you,” Daniel smiled, picking up his case and entering his
office, closing the door behind him.
He put his case down on the desk and walked over to the window, putting his hands in his pockets as he
looked out at the view. There was no place he’d rather be right now except, maybe, at home with Samantha.
He was more than aware that his wife would prefer him to spend more time with her, and that she also knew
this next stage of his career was only going to take him away from her even more, but it was what he needed to
do, and she knew that too. But she’d never stop him; she’d never stand in his way because she really was
the perfect wife. He was a very lucky man.
The sound of the telephone ringing made him turn around and he walked back over to his desk, pressing
the intercom, Amy’s voice coming loud and clear over the speaker.
“It’s Mr. Gordon on line three, Mr. Madison.”
“Thank you, Amy. Put him straight through.”
Angus Gordon was a fellow MP and a very close friend of Daniel’s. Thick set, grey-haired and in his
mid-50’s, with a gentle Scottish accent owed very much to his Outer Hebridian heritage, he was masterminding
Daniel’s forthcoming leadership campaign. He was a master of spin, and he knew more than anyone how
capable Daniel was of not only winning the Leadership Election, but of also winning the General Election.
He was the kind of person Daniel needed by his side as things moved forward, and Daniel was very much
aware of that.
“Angus, how are you?”
“Have you got the TV on, Daniel?” Angus’s voice was more than a little excited, and Daniel knew that he never got excited without good reason.
“Then switch it onto a news channel now, quickly!”
Daniel reached out and picked up the remote control that lay next to his laptop, pointing it at the large flat
screen TV on the wall. It leapt into life, already tuned to the rolling news channel he very rarely switched off.
“Are you watching?” Angus asked.
“Yes. I’m watching it now.” Daniel sat down on the edge of his desk, watching as Andrew Mitchell stood
outside his West London home in front of a sea of photographers and journalists, announcing the one thing
Daniel Madison had waited months to hear. That he was officially resigning as Leader of the Opposition with
immediate effect. He hoped the job of finding his replacement would be a quick affair and that his party
would be up and running with a new leader sooner rather than later, ready to head forward into the much
anticipated General Election.
“It’s going to be a quick campaign, Daniel,” Angus said as Daniel continued to watch Andrew Mitchell give
his final speech. “So, are we ready to move fast with this?”
“Yes. Yes, we are. Angus, how many other candidates are we looking at here?”
“Could be up to five I reckon. But we’ve got the strongest chance, Daniel; we’ve got the most support.
We’ll have the signatures and the backing we need before the week’s out. And you’ll walk any of the hustings,
I have no doubt about that.”
Daniel could feel his stomach turning with an excitement he hadn’t felt in a long time. This was it. It was
really happening. He couldn’t think of anything he wanted more than this. It was the beginning of his ultimate
dream, his goal, his life’s ambition. And it was starting to happen right now.
Angus’s voice broke into his thoughts. “So, we can announce you’re throwing your hat into the ring for the
leadership this afternoon then?”
Daniel stood up and went back over to the window, glancing out across the River Thames and the view he
never tired of.
“Yes. We can definitely announce that Angus. Let’s get the ball rolling as soon as possible.”
“Good man. We’re going to do this, Daniel. You’ve got it in the bag, I’m certain of it.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Nobody else comes close. We’ll talk over lunch, ok? Is 1.30 alright for you?”
“That’s fine. I’ll see you then, Angus, and thanks.”
Daniel hung up the ‘phone and turned round as Amy walked into the office carrying another pile of post.
“Is everything ok, Mr. Madison?”
A smile slowly spread across Daniel’s handsome face and she couldn’t help smiling too.
“Everything’s fine, Amy. Everything’s more than fine. Andrew Mitchell’s finally resigned! He’s done it,
and you know what that means don’t you?”
She couldn’t help laughing. His excitement was almost contagious. “I think I do, yes.”
He walked over to Amy, catching her in an unexpected, uncharacteristic, but not entirely unwanted hug.
“It means you could be looking at the new Leader of the Opposition, Amy. And maybe, just maybe, one
day, the Prime Minister himself!”
“You deserve this, Mr. Madison. You really do.”
Daniel let go of her, running back round behind his desk and sitting down, switching on his computer.
“Can you cancel any appointments I’ve got for this morning? And I’m going to have a few letters for you
to send out in an hour or so, is that alright?”
She nodded, placing the post down on his desk and picking up an empty coffee cup. He was already
typing away, concentrating hard. He had a lot to do and he wanted to get started as soon as possible.
“I’ll sort everything out, Mr. Madison. Don’t worry.”
He looked up and smiled. “Thank you, Amy.” He looked at his watch. 9.35. Samantha was due to
attend a parish council meeting this morning to discuss some charity functions, but she’d told him she wouldn’t
be leaving until at least 10am. If he called her now he could catch her before she left, because he really needed
to talk to her. For all Daniel was an ambitious and driven man, throughout it all, every step of the way,
Samantha had been by his side. She’d helped him by just being there and supporting him. She was his
beautiful wife and he loved her and he just wanted to tell her that. He needed her to know how much she
meant to him because he didn’t know if he could do what he was about to do if she wasn’t around. He only
hoped he never had to find out.
© Michelle Betham 2011
If this has made anyone in the least bit intrigued to find out more, the full book can be downloaded over on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Okay, now, I'd better get back to my latest book - which is so far away from See You At The Show, I have to say - because I'm in the middle of a major re-write and my head hurts already, and I need coffee... Have a great Monday!