CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

VBTC Tour & Excerpt - C U @ 8 by Cindy Vine

Do your kids ever really leave?
Fenella Fisher and Suki Rabinowitz are middle-aged single mothers whose children have left home and started on their own lives and careers. But Suki’s son Josh is a cocaine-addict who supposedly fathered a baby on a visit to the UK; and Fenella’s daughter Kirsty has just been dumped and is feeling miserable. Fenella and Suki decide they need to step in to help their children and hatch a plan to sort out Josh’s mess and find Kirsty a suitable man, with some hilarious consequences. After interviewing prospective husbands for Kirsty at Waves Restaurant and Bar, they discover that a good man is hard to find.

Publisher:  Createspace
Release Date:  March 2012
Book Genre:  Chick Lit/Women’s Contemporary

Excerpts (2 min.)
Chapter 10

Fun-loving, creative free-spirited young woman looking for a life partner.  Travel, art and adventure are my middle names.  Conservative is out and not in my repertoire.  Control freak does not feature in my life dictionary.  Cheap and miserly are not welcome in my universe.  If you are intelligent with a sense of humour, a stable job and a six pack, then please contact me so I can get to know you.’
Suki had said short and sweet was better.  Men on dating sites couldn’t be bothered to read long diatribes; they were in too much of a hurry to meet their ideal woman.  So Fenella had complied.  With quite a bit of eye rolling and laughter, the two had bandied about words until they were satisfied.  “Leave it to stew for 24 hours before we check for any bites,” Suki had suggested and Fenella had done just that.  Twenty-four hours had passed.  Throughout the day Fenella had kept looking at the clock on the kitchen wall.  Since the invention of cell phones she had stopped wearing her watch.  In fact, she had no idea where it was or where she’d last seen it.  It had been a gift, she couldn’t even remember who’d given it to her.  It had been about a decade ago for a birthday, she thought.  Suki was late.  Before she left the day before she’d made Fenella promise not to open up Kirsty’s profile page and look at the replies.  She wanted to be a part of the action, which Fenella supposed was only fair seeing that this whole internet dating thing had been her idea.  Where the hell was Suki?  Fenella was just about to succumb to temptation and open up the webpage when the doorbell rang.
“976 replies!  I told you!”  Suki had an excited sparkle in her eyes.  She looked quite animated, Fenella thought, feeling less excited herself.  Well, maybe she was a little excited, but quite a bit apprehensive as well about the whole damn thing.  “So what we need to do first is delete the weirdoes and creeps.”
“I thought you said there weren’t weirdoes, creeps and psychopaths on this website!” exclaimed Fenella feeling rather naïve about that kind of stuff.
“Um, not really, well some but sort of.  They are far less weirdish and freakish on this site than on some of the other sites,” said Suki clicking on links and deleting emails at quite a pace.  “Yuck!  Yugh!  Ugggg!”
Fenella peeped over Suki’s shoulder only to see a picture of an erect penis filling her screen.  “And you were saying?”
“Some creepos still slip through, like that one.  So what we do is reduce these responses to our top few hundred.”
“Few hundred?  Few hundred!”  Fenella was in shock.  There was no way she was interviewing a few hundred young men.  “I’m not sure about this Suki.  I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  These interviews…I don’t think I can do it.”  Falling back onto her chair Fenella began to fan herself.  A panic attack seemed to be developing as the heat started from her head and seemed to spread down to her toes.  It was either that or a hot flush and the start of menopause.
Suki sat upright on the dining table chair glaring at Fenella with her hands on her hips.  “Do you or do you not want Kirsty to give you grandchildren and make you a granny?
For someone who wasn’t that tall Suki could be quite intimidating.  “I…er…do want Kirsty to have children one day.  But Suki, there has to be another way.  I can’t sit through a date with a few hundred men and interview them.  My school holiday doesn’t last forever and I don’t want to use it all up on…this!”  Fenella pointed at the computer screen.  If she didn’t go and fetch herself some ice water from the fridge she was going to self-combust.
Suki folded her arms and scowled.  “You may be right.  Logistically and time-wise to set up a few hundred dates is improbable.  You wouldn’t be giving each applicant the attention they deserve.  And if we do a rush job then we won’t get the best.  Let me think a minute.  We probably need more coffee,” said Suki draining the dregs from her mug.  Fenella had hardly touched hers.  Coffee was the last thing on her mind.  The last thing she felt like doing was pouring more heat into her already overheating body!
“You want that special blend again?”
“Yeah, that East African one again.  I love the taste, the aroma.  Can’t believe you never brought me back a bag!”  The truth was that Fenella had spent ages dithering about what to buy Suki.  It was so hard to buy a gift for a woman who had everything and was fussy to boot.  She often criticised Fenella’s style choices, although to be honest, baggy t-shirts and track pants were probably on the unflattering side.  After wandering around browsing for what seemed like hours, she’d settled for an ornately carved wooden box similar to the Swahili carved wooden doorways she’d fallen in love with.  It was always risky buying Suki jewellery as she tended to only wear pieces completely out of Fenella’s price range.  So a box it had been but in retrospect coffee would have been better.  Fenella hadn’t even thought about coffee as a gift.
With the coffee brewing and the machine making its happy sounds, Fenella joined Suki in front of her laptop at the dining room table.  “Any bright ideas yet?  Or should we just delete this profile?”
Glaring at Fenella Suki leaned forward to hug the keyboard protectively.  “No don’t touch!  No deleting, I have an idea as surprising as it may sound.”
Fenella gave an eye roll.  “Seriously Suki, covering up my keyboard like that.  How old are you?”
“Never trust a woman who tells you her age,” Suki countered.  “I know what we are going to do.  It’s perfect.  In fact so perfect, I think I should patent the idea.”
Fenella groaned.  This wasn’t sounding good.  It was building up to one of Suki’s hare-brained schemes she could tell.  “Okay, stop keeping me hanging in suspense.  What’s the idea?”
Suki gave a little shake of her shoulders and sat up straight.  “We,” she paused dramatically for effect, “Are going to set up a mass date.”
Groaning out loud Fenella held her head in her hands.  “Don’t tell me you are suggesting what I think you are suggesting.”
“We email our top few hundred, say something witty, hook them further.  A little saucy repartee.  Not all will reply, but many will and then we suggest a meeting.  We give all our short list the same date and time to be at a venue we pick.”
“A few hundred doesn’t sound like a short list to me!”
“Oh stop being negative,” Suki pouted.  “Then we casually wander among them and check them out.  We can take a notebook and make notes.  We might even strike up some idle chit-chat with some of them.”
“Are we going to introduce ourselves and tell them why they’re there?  Some of them might be pissed to find they’re part of a mass date.  I’m not sure about this.”  Fenella chewed on her lip.  Suki’s plan sounded very flawed to her ears.
“No silly of course not!  We’re not asking for trouble.  We check them out like we just coincidentally happened to be there at the same time.  They’ll think their date stood them up.  We can make up some excuse when we email the ones we liked later.  Do you think we might need a checklist for our prospects?”
Suki was on a roll and Fenella knew she would not be deterred.  This plan would go ahead even though Fenella had grave reservations about it.  “So where will we meet them?”
Suki threw her arms around Fenella, giving her a suffocating hug.  “I knew you’d come on board!  I was thinking that new restaurant/bar on the beachfront we’ve been going to.  Waves.  It’s quite big inside and should accommodate all our prospectives.  We should get the owner to give us commission as we’ll be increasing his business on a normally quiet week night.  Don’t look at me like that I’m just joking.  About the commission part, that is.” 
Fenella gave a thin smile.  She felt quite drained.  This reminded her of why she hated dating and was content to remain single.  It was just too much hard work and unnecessary stress.  No wonder people elected to stay in bad relationships.  “Let me pour that coffee.  You sure this will work?”  Suki nodded, grinning and humming to herself as she turned back to scroll through the responses to the ad on the dating site.  In a way Fenella was glad that finding Kirsty a man had made Suki’s other problem with that woman in Cornwall, take a back seat.  She felt bad keeping Kirsty’s news about Josh a secret from her friend.  But then again, she was sure that Suki had kept secrets from her about Kirsty she’d heard over the years.  Lying by omission.  It was something everybody did to protect those they cared about.

A teacher, writer, mother - Cindy Vine was born in Cape Town, South Africa and has lived and worked in many different countries around the world. She currently resides in Tanzania at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Cindy has three children, two of whom have already left home. Writing and reading has been a passion of hers since she was a young girl.

v Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?
Coffee is essential to kickstart the day, but not past 1pm otherwise I am up all night running to the bathroom.  Chai tea or Rooibos Tea are okay before bed, but often I’ll have Milo.  I find hot cocoa too sweet.
v Red, or white wine?
Red wine with a juicy steak but only at night.  White wine any other time, not necessarily with a meal.  I grew up in a big wine-producing area.  Wine has always been a part of my life.
v What is your favorite gadget?
I’m not sure if a Kindle qualifies as a gadget, but if it does it would definitely be that.  Otherwise I am not really a gadget person as I have no need for them where I live.
v Do you write in your PJ’s?
Truth Alarm here!  I don’t own any PJ’s!  But I’ll write in trackpants and a t-shirt.  Very boring and unimaginative, eh?
v What is your favorite type of pet?
I love dogs but I can’t handle them in the house, jumping on me, licking me or yapping.  It’s a bit like children should have been in the old days, seen but not heard.  I hate cats because I am so severely allergic to them.  Unfortunately cats go out of their way to jump on me and rub themselves against me.  In my teens I wanted to become a vet or study animal husbandry.  I had a pet pig, a herd of saanen milk goats, some cattle and a couple of horses.  As you can gather I grew up on a farm.
v What is your favorite place to travel?
I am addicted to travel and my favourite place would be all the places I haven’t visited yet.  A trip I really enjoyed was when I backpacked through Southeast Asia with my youngest two children who were teenagers at the time.  Goa, India was another great trip.  My bravest trip was driving with my teenage daughter from Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, down to Cape Town in South Africa and back again.  We managed to get ourselves arrested in Zimbabwe, but that’s another story.
v Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
I never thought I’d ever say this, but definitely ebooks.  I LOVE my Kindle and the fact that I can adjust the font size.  I find the font in many paperbacks difficult to read.  Since getting a Kindle I am reading far more than I ever did before.
v What is your favorite cereal?
Raisin Bran with yoghurt instead of milk.
v What is your favorite color?
A turquoise blue, the color of the ocean off the coast of Kenya or Thailand.
v What was your first date like?
A bit wild.  If I recall we were playing with the candles on the table in the restaurant and accidentally set the tablecloth on fire!
v Who is your favorite singer?
Without a doubt Annie Lennox from the Eurhythmics.
v What is your favorite thing to eat/snack on while writing?
I have to be honest.  I don’t think I have ever snacked while writing.  I usually do my writing early in the morning, so will only be filling myself up with coffee.
v Have you ever went to work and realized a piece of clothing was missing?
I climbed in my car to drive to work and realised I was still wearing my slippers.  Luckily I have always managed to get to work fully-clothed.
v What is your most embarrassing moment?
I have probably had more than my share of embarrassing moments.  My most recent one was when I stopped at traffic lights just before the apartment block I was staying in and picked up the remote for the gates and tried to change the traffic lights with it.  It was all done unconsciously, I don’t know what I was thinking at the time, but my daughter with me found it extremely hilarious and hasn’t let me forget it yet.
v Do you prefer snow or rain?
Definitely rain.  Coming from Africa I was always excited about the possibility of one day seeing snow, until the day I did.  It wasn’t this pretty white powdery stuff it looked on postcards, but icy cold and very wet.  Definitely unpleasant.  I am not a fan of cold.  There are different kinds of rain though.  Endless drizzle can become miserable.  A torrential downpour which breaks the heat and settles the dust can be refreshing.
v What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Looking back on my life I have done so many crazy things, it depends on what you mean by crazy.  Like setting off on a road trip through a sparsely populated area with not enough money for fuel might be deemed by some to be a little crazy.  Smuggling rabbits into Botswana in the back of a landrover might be seen as crazy. Or stuffing a sanitary towel full of dollars and wearing it to smuggle money out of Angola might be seen as crazy.  Then it could be breaking into a hotel at night to go skinny dipping with friends in the baby pool, or driving through the front window of a KFC because they didn’t have a drive-thru.  I suppose I have had more than my fair share of crazy.  But what is crazy really?
v What is your favorite theme park?
I have only gone to 4 theme parks in my life.  One in Auckland, New Zealand; one in Seoul, South Korea; one at the Gold Coast in Australia and one in Cape Town, South Africa.  Each one was so different it’s difficult to compare.
v Roller Coasters or Water Rides?
Water Rides.  I have a fear of heights so definitely not Roller Coasters.
v What is your favorite food to snack on while writing?
No snacks during writing.
v Do you have any hobbies?
I go through phases.  I used to like knitting intricate fair isle jerseys for everybody, then I was into making teddy bears.  Fabric painting, painting little boxes with Ndebele designs, water colour painting, acrylics.  I was always doing something arty or crafty.  But since I started writing all that has gone by the wayside.  I just don’t have enough time.  Reading has always been my number one hobby since very young.  Cooking and baking probably a close second.  Oh and then I used to make all my own sausages.  I’m pretty into photography as well, it ties in well with all the traveling I do.
v What are you scared of? Bugs, Snakes?
I’m not really scared of bugs if I have a can of DOOM in my hand.  I think if they jump on me I might be scared but if they are just sitting there looking at me it wouldn’t bother me.  I’m not scared of snakes at all.

August 10 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
August 14 - Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
August 16 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Books, Books, and More Books
August 18 - Interviewed at Mass Musings

August 20 - Guest Blogging at Cafe' Creations
August 22 - Guest Blogging at SheWrites Blog
August 24 - Interview & Giveaway at The Bunny's Review
August 28 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
August 30 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.

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