Today I’m excited to share an excerpt from There Are No Men by Carol Maloney Scott, a new romantic comedy just in time to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, in addition to a fun little Q & A!
There Are No Men by Carol Maloney Scott
Publication Date: July 30, 2014
Divorced thirty-something Claire doesn’t know who’s in her dating pool—but she’s doing her best to avoid shark infested waters. Leaving her clueless and insensitive husband behind was a smart move after losing her fertility, but now she’s riding the wave of flying toupees, strange men in leather thongs and drunken nights in painfully impractical shoes. Claire desperately wanted to be a mother, but now she’ll settle for one middle aged man worthy of a second date.
After a long drought, men are flooding her shores and she’s drowning in choices. There’s Justin, the 25-year-old IT boy-genius with the GQ looks and cougar fetish, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. A woman would have to be a blind, lesbian nun not to fall for him, but he reminds Claire of her wasted youth. And then the charming but mysterious Dr. Nathan appears, but he’s cheating on her with his medical mistress—a demanding cardiology practice.
To further rock her boat, Claire’s ‘stable’ career in publishing has been tossed about by her floundering company’s launch of a new line of trendy, salacious books. Cookbooks aren’t selling these days, but erotica is flying off the shelves—and challenging Claire’s attitude about sex, work . . . and her tempestuous new life.
When her best friend convinces her to buddy up to the aspiring writer who just moved in across the street, Claire rejects the idea—he has already caught her in more than one embarrassing and scantily clad situation. Giving in to her friend’s nudging, she tries to ignore the details she discovers about him, including his hard rock night gig and his mesmerizing blue eyes, in the hopes his literary talents can pull her publishing house up from the bottom of the ocean.
Claire’s dilemma begs the question: Are there NO men or TOO MANY?
A Fun Little Q & A with Carol
1. What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I enjoy humor immensely. “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is an all-time standout. I also enjoy Laurie Notaro and David Sedaris. Laughing out loud is a great stress reliever.
On a more serious note, anything by Wally Lamb, and the debut novel of Carol Rifka Brunt, “Tell the Wolves I’m Home.” Powerful stuff.
2. Is there a message in TANM that you want readers to grasp?
I wanted to capture the pain of infertility and the fear of dating after divorce, with the hope of new love and learning that there are different ways to reach our goals. These messages are carefully hidden in the midst of crazy antics and hilarious misadventures. Just like in real life.
3. How much of your personality did you give to Claire?
Claire shares many of my personality traits, although I am not quite as emotional, and a bit more driven in my ability to get what I want. However, Claire and I both swear, have a history of bad decisions involving men, and second guess ourselves a bit too much. Claire is like my younger self, before I wised up and figured out that true love is worth waiting for, and it isn’t always the way you imagine it will be. Although I am blessed with motherhood, my maternal instinct is shared with Claire, as is my love of wiener dogs, rock music and ridiculously impractical shoes.
4. Who designed your cover?
My son, Nick Rissmeyer, designed my cover. He is a talented art student who started drawing things you can actually recognize at the age of two. I can’t wait to work with him on the cover for next book, Afraid of her Shadow.
5. What historical figure would you most like to have a discussion with?
Cleopatra. I am inspired by women of power, plus I would like to know how she kept her hair so perfect.
6. If you could buy one object to complete your home, what would it be?
An enormous Jacuzzi bathtub with an area for a computer and snack bar.
7. What one toy would you like to throw repeatedly at a brick wall? (Child’s toy or pet’s toy)
I am not really into toy murder, as they keep children and dogs out of my hair. However, I do believe that buying a small child a drum set is a way to punish parents you don’t like.
8. Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
I love answering questions because that means someone wants to hear what I have to say. And as a mother, that’s very gratifying.
9. If you were a super hero or super villain, what powers would you have?
I would be Wonder Woman. I don’t care what powers she has, or I would have. I just want to be her. She is my childhood idol. I write with a stuffed doll of her amazing beauty and toughness on my desk.
About the Author – Carol Maloney Scott
I grew up in the Hudson Valley area of New York, surrounded by “city folk,” like my Manhattanite mom and Bronx-native Dad, who taught me to be sweet on the outside, yet tough on the inside.
As a result, I’m often gifted sassy labels like “firecracker” or “feisty,” which I choose to take as a compliment, due to my Irish/Eastern European heritage.
My romantic history is as real (and complicated) as that of the heroines in my novels. I’ve been divorced, relocated, plunged fearlessly into the turbulent waters of online dating–only to retreat, yelping, at the occasionally shocking climate before bravely renewing my efforts–until finally, I grabbed hold of happiness and refused to let go.
While I did eventually find my “HEA” in the form of a real life relationship, I also fell in love with writing, and it’s a romance I can’t get enough of.
That’s why I can’t help chasing after that thrill of first love, of never-ending passion, of self-discovery, of romance–even if that chase leads me to (and sometimes over) the edge.
Book Excerpt #1:
I walk back into the house and go to the kitchen to give Dixie her treat. As I round the corner I catch a glimpse of Daniel sprawled out on the couch. Is there music playing? What happened to the lights? What the hell is he wearing? Or not wearing? I wish the double vision would merge into one image already.
Dixie runs off with her treat and I move into the living room. Daniel is drinking wine. Where did he get that? I see the corkscrew on the coffee table, and the open bottle, but what is even more bizarre is his change of clothes.
“I had some silk boxers in the car so I thought I would get more comfortable. You don’t mind, do you?” He pats the space on the couch beside him.
My brain is so fuzzy, and there are conflicting thoughts in my head. Drunk Claire still thinks he’s cute and Sober Claire is trying to scream that this is all wrong. Unfortunately, I don’t listen to her. She sounds pesky, like a mosquito. I eventually tell her to shut up, even though I have never known a man to bring silk boxers on a date. Or keep them in his car, like jumper cables or a spare tire. I guess if he gets stuck on the side of the road at least he can get comfortable.
“I opened some wine. Would you like some?” He must have brought that too.
“No, I should probably eat something.” I put my hands on my stomach.
“Why don’t you just sit a minute? You look so tired, and you must still be cold.”
In a moment, I am on the couch and he is all over me. It’s not entirely unpleasant, and isn’t this what I wanted? I need to get this out of the way and end all this frustration. Daniel is the first cute guy I have been out with in a long time, and so what if he isn’t relationship material? I am a modern woman and all the better that it’s casual. I watched Sex and the City. This will help prepare me for my next real prospect.
Now he has his shirt off and my reality has shifted. With clothes on, he is in decent shape. He isn’t pregnant, like some of the men at work, but he has the body of a hairless cat or a ten year old boy. He has absolutely no hair on his body. I am suddenly repulsed and want him off of me. His hands have multiplied and he now has lots of them, like an octopus, and they are attached to long gangly arms—isn’t there a super hero or a comic book villain like that? Rubber Band Man? My nose rubs against his neck and I almost gag. Do I smell a hint of bug spray in his hair?
Book Excerpt #2:
I don’t see Bianca, but I have no idea why I want to talk to her anymore. Right now I just want to get home and go to bed. Two problems with that. Really three. I need my shoes. I can’t possibly drive like this, AND Nathan is supposed to come over. It’s almost two o’clock, though. He can’t be planning on coming over now. Shit again. I think my phone was vibrating and I mistook it for the buzz of blasting speakers and blue drinks.
I stumble over to the shoe pile, which is like a mass grave of bad decisions, and start sifting through all the stilettos and platforms. I think I see mine. Yep, that’s one. Damn it, it’s a little smashed. I think I can fix that. Where the hell is the other one now? I think I’ve spotted it. I can’t reach it so I lean forward and end up laying on the pile. I did not fall! I simply placed myself in the cradle of leather and bling, which is not entirely uncomfortable. Maybe I could climb inside the pile and sleep awhile before the bouncers see me.
“Jesus, Claire. What the hell are you doing?”
Why does this man keep catching me doing stupid things?
I turn over and realize that my halter top has shifted and it is possible a boob has escaped. Not that it would be any great big flopping display, but there’s enough to identify it as an actual boob. As I try to adjust myself, Brandon looks away, shaking his head and offering me his hand.
“I can’t find my other shoe.” I stumble forward, unable to articulate any more words, like ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘the show was great’ or ‘your beard looks really good.’ It’s probably a good thing the stupid thoughts in my alcohol soaked brain can’t find their way out of my dry, disgusting mouth.
Brandon grabs a chair, seemingly from thin air, and pushes me down into it. He asks one of the guys to stop breaking down the equipment and watch me for a second. “Hey, man, could you just hold her in place for a second. I need to find her goddamned shoe.” The guy mumbles something I can’t make out. “No, she’s not my girlfriend. I’m not her type.” More mumbling. “Right, I know man…a handful…just want to get her home…thanks.”
I accept my indirect scolding and try hard to stay put in the chair. I want to check my phone but it’s in my pocket. My jeans are so tight, and my movements so unsteady, I’m afraid I’ll fall on the ground if I try to retrieve it, and Brandon will leave me here in a footwear tomb.
“I got it. Thanks, man.” The guy stops holding me and I immediately slump in the chair. I try to right myself and Brandon takes the other shoe out of my hand. He motions to put them on my feet, but examines them more closely and decides not to bother.
“Claire, I’m going to take you home now.” He holds my face in his hands. “You should have some water and aspirin. I’m going to take care of you, but I need you to walk to the car with me. I could carry you—I’m a little stronger than you think I am, but I think if you just lean on me I can manage.”
Even in my drunken stupor I am catching on to the subtle hints here. He heard me. Now I have to trust him to take me home. Hopefully he won’t dump me on my front porch or in the bushes.