Hi peeps, we have Julie Bozza stopping by today with her release The ‘True Love’ Solution, we have brilliant guest post from Julie where she chats about crime, we have a great excerpt , a brilliant giveaway and Lisa’s review, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! <3 ~Pixie~
The ‘True Love’ Solution
Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.
The ‘Dark Figure’ of Crime
My blog post title probably sounds a little more dramatic and exciting than it should. I am not talking about a comic book villain, or even Batman himself, but about under-reported crime. The amount of crime that goes unreported (the so-called ‘dark figure’) leaves the statistics skewed and the overall picture murky. I am sure we are all aware that rapes and sexual assaults are tragically under-reported – but so is fraud, and that fact was part of the inspiration for my novel The ‘True Love’ Solution.
It all began in Real Life, when I thought I was buying a marvellous piece of fannish memorabilia from my favourite television show – and of course the whole thing was too good to be true. I should have known better all along! I ended up defrauded of a significant chunk of money with nothing to show for it but chagrin.
I knew from my social science studies that a lot of crime goes unreported partly because the victim feels too embarrassed or humiliated to want to talk about it to anyone at all, let alone to the police and others in the criminal justice system. Another reason for under-reporting is that people tend to feel it’s useless, and probably nothing can be done to catch or punish the perpetrator, or recover their money or goods.
Well, I decided that I wouldn’t let a false pride get in my way. Not only had the perp hurt me, but there was a fair chance that other fans had been hurt as well, or would be in the future if I didn’t do my bit to stop this. I felt quite protective of my fellow fans, and didn’t like to see our enthusiasms taken advantage of.
I have since found that fraud isn’t considered a ‘sexy’ crime, and is supposedly not pursued by the police as often as it should be. Maybe luck was on my side here, or maybe the fact that I wasn’t the only victim of this particular perp counted in my favour, as the police were prompt and diligent in taking up my case. And it all ended well (for me at least), with a guilty plea and my money returned.
I am as wary of books with A Message as the next reader. But when I was sitting in the police station across from a nice young Constable, giving my statement, I thought about what excellent and rare research this could be! At that point, I had no idea of recovering my money or of me being left with anything other than a sense of being older and a little bit wiser. So, I thought, why not use this experience for a story instead, and see if I can’t earn some royalties?
The details of the crime story in The ‘True Love’ Solution are as near to the truth of such a situation as I could make them, though I never did end up in court as a witness. I hope the story is entertaining – that is the most important thing. But if I have also demystified the criminal justice system a little, or shown that it needn’t be a horrible process to endure, then that’s a good thing.
I didn’t find my True Love, as my main character Jules Madigan did. But I did gain some proper pride. And that’s no bad thing.
The best thing about working from home, Jules thought as he danced lightly down towards the front door, was … No, strike that. The best thing about working from home was spending all day in his pyjamas. Jules laughed under his breath, and detoured to scoop up Jem’s pashmina from her armchair. He slung it around his hips and fastened it with a loose knot while he sashayed through to the hall. A quick glance in the hall mirror reassured him that his quiff of thick red hair was looking rakishly mussed, and his pale face was unblemished by the remains of breakfast or random pen marks.
Presentable, or enough so.
The second best thing about working from home was – No, that wasn’t true either.
The third best thing, Jules amended as the doorbell rang once more, was that he could accept delivery of whatever little goodies might have found their way into his Amazon shopping cart that week.
And completely fluster the delivery guy while he was at it.
“Hellooooo!” Jules sang as he flung the door and his arms open wide.
Sure enough, his bright smile fell on poor old Bart, their regular. “Hello, Mr Madigan,” Bart said with only a hint of long-sufferingness. He handed over a large padded envelope that had DO NOT BEND stamps all over it. “Here we are, then.”
“Oooh, Bart … are you sure you don’t want to bend just a little?”
“You’ll need to sign for this one,” Bart said, his tone as stoic as ever. Meanwhile, he was frowning while jabbing a finger at the keyboard of his electronic device, as if he hadn’t been using it for three years already.
Jules took the thing, and scribbled something resembling his usual signature – remembering that he had to press hard on the device’s screen to make an impression. “You know, darling,” he confided to Bart, “you might enjoy getting in touch with your inner Alan Cumming …”
Bart sighed. “Maybe I would, if it meant I got to wear me jammies all day.”
“You would!” Jules bubbled over with laughter, he just couldn’t help it. “And you know what you get to wear on your birthday, right?”
“Reckon I can guess.”
“Well, do remember to drop by on Friday next week, so I can show you how it’s done.”
Bart let out a heavy breath, before pressing his mouth flat as if either suppressing a smile or making a mental note to take that day off. Probably both. “O’ course, Mr Madigan,” he said in completely unconvincing tones. “See you, then.”
“See you then!” Jules cheerfully replied, and he closed the door as Bart retreated in good order.
The second best thing about working from home was that Jules could make his coffee just the way he liked it. He always went into the office on
Wednesdays to catch up, and it was a pretty cool place, and he loved the people there – but even so, they didn’t offer anything better than drip-brewed coffee, which tasted burnt as often as not, and given he was only at the office one day a week they frowned a little on excursions to Jules’ favourite coffee shop.
Jules wasn’t in a position to indulge himself in bigticket items, but a flash espresso machine was one of his few Home Essentials, along with a couple of cafetières for when a whole pot was required. He was just admiring the crema on his black coffee in the glass-and-stainless-steel cup when he remembered.
His gaze snapped to it, sitting there on the kitchen table where he’d left it while distracted by the need for coffee. It was only now that he realised what it must be. He could hardly even voice the words to himself or see it in his mind’s eye, but excitement effervesced through him.
Jules carefully put the coffee down on the worktop – he wasn’t going to risk taking it near the envelope and what it contained – and stepped over to the table. After a moment, he stepped back again to fetch a sharp little knife from the kitchen drawers so he could carefully slice open the envelope and deal with any tape that had been used in the packaging. He could already feel that there was a stiff (ooh-er) piece of cardboard inside, keeping everything ship-shape.
Within moments, he was drawing out the contents, which were two bits of card wrapped in plastic. Jules carefully took them apart.
Sandwiched between the cardboard was a piece of A4 paper, quite ordinary except for the fact that it contained the typewritten last paragraphs of Jules’ favourite novel. He hardly dared touch it, but lifted the paper along with the cardboard in order to marvel at it. After a moment, he let reverential fingertips drift across the letters, feeling the light indentations that the typewriter keys had made, the slight change in texture between the black ink and the cream paper. Feeling yet again a surge of the magic and the emotion contained in the words.
Best of all was the annotation in blue ink, where the word ‘perfect’ had been crossed out, and ‘yare’ handwritten in the margin to the right. Jules stared hard at the lettering, and let out a wondering breath.
The man Himself, author Ewan Byge must have written that. Jules let a fingertip settle on the word, and gave serious thought to swooning.
Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with John Keats.
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Title: The “True Love” Solution
Author: Julie Bozza
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Length: Novella (130 Pages)
Publisher: Manifold Press (Feburary 1, 2016)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
Blurb: Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.
Review: This is a very strange and quirky little story that was interesting to a point. I am afraid that after the first chapter, the main character got on my nerves as did his family. It is a very slow paced story that seemed to just not really move anywhere. The tone was fun, but the story just seemed to be lacking something fantastic. It came off as a rushed story and didn’t really move me at all.
Jules is a thirty year old man who loves romance and is an accountant. He is way out there in life and is a bit of an amazon junkie. That is until he spends quite a bit of money on something not worth what he paid for it. In fact it was all a scam and now the police were involved. However he also gets to meet his favorite author, and well that’s two men to look at.
Ewan is an author but also a bit of a chicken and the sexy cop is Leonard. Leonard has been pushing him at Ewan even though he wants Jules to pick him. It was like a weird circle of moving from one to another. To top it off they describe their sexualities in the way noone would understand, or at least I didn’t get. There is no real heat to the story and the rest just felt like it was thrown in. The family was the only ones that a reader could connect with, because it sure wasn’t with the characters.
I hate to admit that this story was just on the boring side and couldn’t keep my attention the whole way. The ending was abrupt and felt off as much as the rest of the story. It had great potential but for me it failed. The humor was the only thing that kept it going to the point where it is at. Other than that, I hate to say that this book was definitely not for me.