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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Matters of Convenience by Roy Pickering @authorofpatches

Matters of Convenience
by Roy Pickering

Happy to be spotlighting Matters of Convenience from Roy L. Pickering. 
While I haven't had a chance to read this yet, I'm very intrigued about a romance novel from a man's perspective.  Please continue below for a synopsis, about the author and an excerpt from this book!


Matters of Convenience is a story of a woman compelled to choose between the great love of her life and the convenience of a reliable marriage.  She feels that her ex is in the past, her friendship with Marshall is dependable, and the love of James unimpeachable.  Then a positive pregnancy test result shuffles their places in each other's lives.  Marshall is willing to be there for Audrey without judgment, to wait for friendship to blossom into passion from the steadiness of his presence, and to accept her spiteful decision not to inform James after changing her mind about having their baby.  Eventually secrets are revealed and commitments put to the test.  Matters of Convenience examines the repercussions of unpredictable timing and rash solutions, asking if happiness results from choice, fate or serendipity.

About the Author:

Roy Pickering was born on the idyllic island of St. Thomas, USVI and currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and daughter and their beloved dog, Shadow. His well received debut novel "Patches of Grey" earned a B.R.A.G Medallion Award. He is also the author of the novella "Feeding the Squirrels".  Anthologies that house Roy's fiction include Proverbs for the People, Role Call, The Game: Short Stories About the Life, Prose to be Read Aloud and Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation. 

Many of this prolific short story writer's tales can be found at his web site and featured at his blog - A Line a Day. Roy is currently working on a series of children's books being illustrated by his wife, along with trying to drum up some publicity for his latest novel - "Matters of Convenience". He does this primarily by remembering on occasion to tweet about it between other topics of interest from his @authorofpatches Twitter account. Roy has also recently grown fond in a hurry of Instagram.

Follow him here:  Amazon | Website | Facebook | Goodreads |Twitter | Instagram


Marshall’s hangover was not helping to fill the blank page in front of him.  Technically it was a blank computer screen, but the principle was the same.  Concentrating for more than ten seconds at a time required Herculean effort.  He could not even remember if the Knicks had won the game he’d attended the night before, much less will himself to type brilliant turns of phrase on his keyboard. Unfortunately, he did not have the option of neglecting his work.  He had a deadline to meet that was only a few hours away.  If he didn’t meet it he would not be compensated, plus he would lose out on future assignments.  Ordinarily he did not let projects go down to the wire like this.  He tended to be well ahead of schedule turning over articles.  But his volume of assignments had increased over the past year in direct relationship to his growing reputation for solid work.  He was writing three pieces simultaneously, and since the one due today was of least interest and pay, he had procrastinated getting started on it in favor of the other projects. 

He now recalled that he and Chase left the basketball game midway through the fourth quarter, being that it was a blow-out in the Lakers favor and Kobe was relaxing on the bench, his night’s work effectively done.  Relieved that he had not drunk himself into amnesia, he chugged what was left in his coffee mug.  It had been in his possession since college, and there were very few things he could say that about.  Once he completed his first novel he was half-seriously considering dedicating the book to his trusted mug.  It was rare to find such a durable and consistent ally.

“Come to me,” Marshall silently commanded the jumble of words locked in his brain.  He rubbed his temples to soothe insistent throbbing, then put his fingers back down on the keyboard.  Come to me.  His right index finger lifted and pressed down a key, placing a single letter on the screen.  It was followed milliseconds later by another and then another and so on and so on.  The headache was forgotten.  Marshall was doing what he did best.  He was on a roll.  He was at peace.

Three hours later he emailed the final draft to the awaiting editor. He then leaned back with hands clasped behind his head and smiled.  Completing a writing assignment was somewhat comparable to concluding the act of making love.  In both cases he would feel as if he had conquered something.  Not the woman nor the piece of prose, but something within himself that could only be vanquished by surrendering to a moment beyond control.  Euphoric afterglow had been experienced far more frequently of late in the presence of his computer terminal than in the embrace of a woman. 

He’d been handed an opportunity to rectify this the night before.  As usually was the case when he hung out with Chase, attractive women drew to the celebrated author as if sapped of their free will (the amazing power of name recognition).  While the prize pick typically went to him, sometimes one would be left over for Marshall to awkwardly tell that he was a writer as well, though not one she’d probably ever heard of.  He would then try to make up for what he lacked in fame with self-deprecating wit and mastery of puns.  His first impression of the most recent runner up was that Brooke had probably been an adorable child, the type seen on sitcoms with expansive eyes and cheeks that were irresistible to pinch.  He sensed that she had been expected to grow into a major heartbreaker, but despite early signs of promise, some people are meant to rise no higher on the scale than fairly cute.  The innocent roundness of her features had not been relinquished as womanhood took hold.  As result, her potential as unforgettable vision of sex appeal was not quite realized.  He found her to be attractive, but as he theorized about her history of unreachable dreams, he knew that she would be forgotten by him soon enough.

None of this substantially contributed to why he understood seconds after making her acquaintance that they were not a match.  There was no concrete reason, just a feeling that took hold with her first words to him and increased in grip as her mouth and the night rambled on.

He could not tell if the babbling Brooke was naturally as assertive as she was coming off, or if the glass of Courvoisier kept full by the bartender played a major part.  What he did recognize was that a night of carnal merriment was his for the asking.  The only requirement was to listen with minimal interruption as she spoke of herself.  He tolerated her loquaciousness not because he was waiting out the stream of words until they led to her bedroom, but because he knew most people believed the minutiae of their lives to be far more interesting than it actually was, and on occasion he was willing to indulge them.  After all, as a writer he was perpetually on the lookout for a new story.

She did not speak to it directly, but hinted of baby’s papa drama in her life.  He also concluded that the bank loan officer had risen from the ranks of the ghetto, which was certainly not an ascension he held against her, but he could not help noticing that she had retained several less than endearing tenement traits.  Some were subtly expressed and others were displayed blatantly.  There was the excessive detailing to her manicure, a few too many pieces of jewelry, how she sucked her teeth and snapped her neck when expressing derision.  Her top was cut low enough to provide a glimpse at the top of a rose tattoo as the headliner of her cleavage.  It was as tasteful as a tattoo above one’s breasts could be, he supposed.

With a wink and a smile Chase offered encouragement.  His own hands were filled almost literally with one of Brooke’s co-workers, a striking redhead who was certain the acting classes she’d taken years earlier would have led her straight to the top of the Hollywood heap had she only managed to make the right connections.  ‘Better late than never’ she obviously was thinking while fawning over every celebrity syllable Chase uttered. 

Marshall imbibed a series of Jack Daniels mixed with ginger ale, nodded or laughed or looked sympathetic in most of the right places, and watched Brooke’s bouncing flowery cleavage through glazed eyes.  All the while he thought about Audrey.  No doubt about it.  He was a fool, and no less of one because he was willing to acknowledge his folly.

To be polite he asked for Brooke’s number.  He was not interested in pursuing a relationship.  Their conversation had been fueled by them being novelties to each other.  In the short term it was easy to feign interest in subjects he knew little and cared even less about, such as the comparison of reality TV show contestants to other members of the show, members of other reality shows, and contestants from previous seasons.  References to a variety of songs by hip hop artists he was unfamiliar with and anecdotes about some of the odder reasons why people hoped to obtain bank loans rounded out her portion of the conversation.  He tried to spare her from excessive details of his own interests but caught her attention wandering enough times to realize he was not entirely successful.  Dating her was sure to be a short lived experiment, with the only uncertainty being which would tire of the other first.  Nevertheless she let him know upon request of contact information, ostensibly to take the courtship beyond bar stools, in a manner that was not crude but left little room for misinterpretation, that if desired he could obtain far more than her number.  Rather than accept the invitation to escort her home, he stuttered a lame excuse about work he needed to tend to first thing in the morning.  Neither the work nor his deadline was fabricated, but he knew his excuse for taking a pass was as weak as it sounded.  He appreciated her interest but his head was spinning, his heart aching with self-pity fueled by too much alcohol, and what he craved more than anything was a good night’s sleep.  Brooke would get over the disappointment soon enough.  This was verified as he was leaving and saw that she was already cozying up to his replacement.  It would have been nice if the longing he harbored could be as fickle, instead of remaining fixated on Audrey.  But Brooke’s choices no doubt resulted in her unique set of universal troubles, just as his led to his own private destiny of intertwined hope and hurt.

She would come to serve a useful purpose however, as did most people encountered by a writer.  Marshall moved aside the research for his latest article and put the manuscript for his novel in progress in its place.  He jotted down various characteristics and mannerisms of Brooke as best as his hangover allowed him to recall.  The traits would fit nicely on one of the characters in his book, making her a partially imagined and partially remembered creation. 

No matter what percentage fact and what percentage fiction his characters were comprised of, they all shared a crucial quality.  They acted as he willed them to.  They each fell into the arms of the lover he selected for them.  If only he could compel the real life woman he had chosen into his arms.  Like all writers, he held great fondness for the characters he gave birth to.  Coincidentally or not, the passion he felt for them was in one way equal to his feelings for Audrey.  It was irreparably unrequited.

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