Saturday, February 28, 2015

GREATER EXPECTATIONS

Greater Expectations - Banner


BOOK INFORMATION
TITLE – Greater Expectations
AUTHOR – Alexander McCabe
GENRE – Romantic Comedy
PUBLICATION DATE – August 5th 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 257 pages / approx. 90,000 words
PUBLISHER – Self published ebook
COVER ARTIST – Kirsty C. Maclauchlan

BOOK SYNOPSIS
It is said that the course of true love never runs smooth - even for us men. Yet it has never been easier to find love than in this modern digital era where the mighty computer has all but rendered Cupid redundant. Love is now to be found, quite literally, at your fingertips. Although love also seems to have changed with the times. This new love is deceitful and manipulative, cunning and untrustworthy. Love has gotten ugly. Thankfully, not all the answers to life’s mysteries are to be found in the computer and Cupid - battered and bruised as he may be - proves that he still has some game and a few tricks up his sleeve…


Greater Expectations - Book Cover


BUY & TBR LINKS

EXCERPT
When first I met my now estranged wife during our Master’s year at university, I was seeing someone else too. In the main, this defines me as a “bastard”, although I preferred to think of myself as a “player”. Indeed I would argue that it falls under the guise of “sowing wild oats”. That’s the phrase that makes the practice somehow acceptable, and mothers the world over tell their sons that this is what they need to do before they settle down. The rite of passage into manhood as it were. At least, it’s what my mother told me. Women may argue this point - sorry, women will argue this point - but then they become mothers.
Naturally, they just don’t want those “wild oats” sown with their own daughters.
However, it is a fallacy to think that we men are completely heartless. I realised that I actually liked the girl that I eventually married so quickly ended all contact with the third party. In actual fact, she was a girl that I had been seeing first but only by a matter of a few weeks. I got the usual tirade of “bastard” texts, emails, and drunken voicemails. “I thought you were different” being the obligatory phrase that she just had to use during every one of these “opportunities”. In one particular instance, during which she also branded me a “coward”, I foolishly responded. I explained to her that I was merely being cruel to be kind as it was blatantly obvious to me that there we had no future together. Furthermore, after everything that had been said and done – more on her part now than mine - she would surely realise and accept that there was no going back as any trust and respect that had been built was now completely shattered.
I got the following reply:
“See, I knew you were different. That was lovely, you thinking of me and my feelings and us and our future. Why can’t we make this work? We can, you just have to trust yourself to trust me. Call me.”
It took another six weeks of ignoring and blocking her before she finally gave up. We had only been dating, if it could ever have been called that, for three weeks.
It takes true courage and bravery to finish any relationship. As my marital separation was only a week old, I understood that there may be some element of hope that we could fix it and move on. Yet I knew there was no way I could, or would, allow myself to stoop to such a level of indignity. My sense of pride has taken a pounding and is undoubtedly battered and bruised, but it is still there, standing tall and intact, however weakly. It is also getting stronger with every passing day.
All thanks to “Hope”.
“Hope” is a very strange feeling that displaces others such as “confidence”, “faith”, and “trust” and one that I have naturally gravitated towards my entire life. We are old friends, hope and I. Never have I dared to have “confidence” in my academic or sporting abilities, rather I always “hoped” that I would perform at my best as necessitated in any particular circumstance. When things had gone better than I had even dared “hope”, then I defaulted to the notion that is was merely my “good luck”, and vice versa. “Luck” has always provided me an excuse for all of life’s highs and lows and everything in between. Now I wanted to change all that. Now I wanted to control my existence.
Now I wanted to stir the stagnant pool that is my life proactively to feel like I am living again.
So that may well explain why I am now sat in only my boxer shorts in front of my computer, as the rain batters the window behind my curtains, and trying to focus on completing an online dating profile that includes a “personal statement” section. Apparently, its purpose is to allow me to describe myself in as broadly generic terms as possible in order to seem “normal” and “average” - and so maximising my appeal - whilst also trying to ensure that I am unique enough as to stand out. The logic of the concept is irrefutable and yet fantastically ridiculous.
It is also proving so challenging to the point of being quite impossible.
As a truck driver, I work most weekends and so this job commitment removes the more conventional ways of meeting women. Using a dating site makes far more sense in this new age of technology as it allows for an immediate connection without the need to wait for the weekend, or the demand of a decent chat up line. It cuts to the chase, so to speak. The site has posted a statistic that states over 28% of couples now “meet” online, so I am still happily in the minority.
However, it is utterly galling to me that I should ever try to be “normal” or “average” to anyone as I have never considered myself as such.
It seems to me to be morally fraudulent. 
Online dating. It really is quite an absurd concept yet totally in concert with the modern era where people are too busy with work and life to take the time and make the effort for actually dating. Yet where is the romance of it? You will never hear a love song that refers to such sites. Can you imagine Rod Stewart singing “The Algorithm of my Heart”, or some such like?
No? Me neither.

AUTHOR BIO
After graduating with a couple of useless degrees in law, I left my Scottish homeland and wandered nomadically around the globe to experience the rich diversity of culture that the world has to offer.
On my travels, I met my Canadian wife in New Zealand, we were married in Scotland and now live in Canada with our newborn son. Although we currently call Toronto home, this is not yet a permanent arrangement and, rather alarmingly, we are perfectly happy about that…

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – WEBSITE / BLOG – FACEBOOK – TWITTER

Author Interview


1. What is your writing process?

My writing process is wonderfully chaotic with no rhyme nor reason to it. I tend to let my ideas stew and then the words just seem to come to me, that is when I sit down at the computer and cannot type quickly enough. The stewing process may take a few hours or a few weeks but it’s a process that I have come to trust, happy in the knowledge that the words will come. When they do, I have been known to write three chapters at a single sitting.
The stewing process seems to organise my thoughts and lets them flow when it comes time to write. These are the fun parts of my writing process.
It's the editing that is painful.

2. Is the story based off of your own expectations?

Yes, and probably more than I would care to admit. Thankfully I am now married with a young son (5 months), so no longer looking for love.
It struck me that it has never been easier to connect with potential partners yet it seems that this only serves to make it more difficult to find the “one”. Of course, I took liberties with some of the stories and the experience of “Z” but they are, in essence, all rather true.
It seems that my book has struck a chord with some people though, and I have been contacted to tell me so. In one particular instance, a lovely lady emailed me to say that she had been having problems with her new partner. It seems that he had “baggage” from his previous relationship but couldn’t explain the problems and issues. She read my book and told me she now had a greater understanding of what he had gone through – and was going through - and so she could help him, and so their relationship.
Her email was the measure of success to me for my book and I am so grateful that she sent it.

3. Are you a fan of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I am a fan of all of Dickens work and I would hope that my title reflects that respect.

4. How do you stay motivated to write?

I didn’t start to write seriously until I turned 40 so I now find I have a lot to say - it’s more of a question of how do I stop writing!

5. What is your current WIP (Work In Progress)?

I am working on the sequel to “Greater Expectations”. This is more of a thriller than a romantic comedy and I hope to write it in such a way as to build upon the existing characters but also have it read as a stand alone book.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that the prelude for my second book can be seen on my website - www.aasmccabe.com/prelude

I’d also like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for having me. It has been really great fun for me and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Have a great day everyone!

Character Interview

Zacchaeus “Z” MacLeod



1. Would you recommend on-line dating?


Yes, definitely. Although it wasn’t really successful for me, I can certainly recognize it has a value and a purpose. People are busy these days and it does allow for looking at prospective partners without having to rely on the traditional methods – through friends and family, going out, etc… On-line dating allows for vetting of prospective partners and trying to find love is a scary prospect in a dangerous world.
Undoubtedly, this provides a safer alternative.



2. What is your pet peeve?


It is finding out that I am ‘normal’ or in any way resembling a ‘stereotype’. I love to be different and thrive on doing things my own way, and think its great when others do so too.

Another pet peeve is this idea of making ‘mistakes’. We all make ‘mistakes’ every single day and they offer the perfect opportunity to learn and grow.


3. What is the last song you listened to?


Odd that you should ask. Just as I got out of the car, the radio was started to play James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”. Ordinarily, I would have changed it as quickly as possible but now it seems to have a new meaning for me. I listened to the full song and found that I actually liked it.

Please don’t tell anyone or any semblance of street cred that I had will be lost forever.



4. What is the last book that you've read?


Inferno by Dan Brown. As usual, he didn’t disappoint and I really enjoyed how he spun the story. Robert Langdon is a great character and really believable. Through him, Dan Brown brings the lost art of symbols to life and demonstrates their importance in the modern era by basing much of his books in fact.



5. What is your astrological sign?


I was a test tube baby so my sign is Pyrex! I guess that is an old joke but it’s still a good one.

This or That

1. Coke or Pepsi


This is a particularly brilliant question for me as I now live in Canada. Here, I have noticed that whenever you order a Coke at a restaurant, there is always an apology when they tell you that they only serve Pepsi. Makes me chuckle every time!

So, for that reason, it’s Coke for me.




2. Chocolate or Vanilla


Oh, what a quandary. If it’s milk shake, it’s chocolate. If it’s ice-cream, it’s vanilla.


3. Paperback or Ereader

I have an affinity for both. However, if I were pushed, I would still prefer the paperback.



4. Texting or Talking


Talking, every time. It baffles me no end that people will spend so long writing texts back and forth when they can have the conversation over and done in seconds.

Also, talking is more immediate and straightforward.



5. Social Media or Social Gathering


Social gathering for me. I love meeting people and hearing their stories, it gives me ideas for writing.



6. Coffee or Tea


Depends on my mood. I will drink both over the course of the day.



7. Thin or Thick


Thick, simply because it implies strength to me.



8. Fantasy or Reality


I like my fantasy mixed with a little of reality – and vice versa!



9. Dogs or Cats


I am allergic to cats so, for that reason alone, it would have to be dogs for me.

However, that said, I lived in Harbin, China for a year and visited their tiger park. The largest of its kind in the world. It was awesome but also rather terrifying but they cats were beautiful, graceful and elegant.


10. Outdoors or Indoors


I love travelling and have been very fortunate to have lived and worked all over the world. I couldn’t have done that indoors so it would be outdoors for me.

Top 10 Books

I should stress that these are not in any semblance of order but I loved every one of these, but for very different reasons.



1. On Writing by Stephen King


A great and easy read from a master of the craft. This book gave me the confidence to just sit down and write.



2. The Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larrson


I finished this trilogy in 5 days and could not put them down. They were fast paced, intricate and wonderfully woven tales that wreaked havoc on my emotions. Brilliant books and so sad that he didn’t survive to enjoy their success. Sad for the reader too, that we will have no more works from him. RIP Steig.



3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown


This book was great although the film adaptation was disappointing in comparison.


4. The Marian Conspiracy by Graham Phillips

Probably the most controversial book to make my list but well worth it. I loved this book and, although some of the conclusions are a stretch to believe, it was well worth the reading for the historical facts alone.



5. Little Boss by James Mackay


I love biographies and this is one of my heroes – Andrew Carnegie. I also read his autobiography and, as you would expect, there are conflicts between the accounts. However, that said, Carnegie’s story is a genuine “rags to riches” effort and it is fascinating.


6. The Runaway Jury by John Grisham


Grisham at his very best, this had everything I look for in a thriller.


7. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham


Again, Grisham on top form and a genuine page turner.


8. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling


I loved that J.K. Rowling had kids queuing up to buy these books. It encouraged their reading whilst stimulating their imaginations. Just brilliant, and I actually thoroughly enjoyed reading them too.


9. In The Name Of The Father by A.J. Quinell


This is the first suspense thriller that was recommended to me and had me gripped from the very first page. As a teenager, it also fuelled my imagination and I felt like I was with the main character through the whole book. I have enjoyed this genre ever since.


10. Kane And Abel by Jeffrey Archer


I am not a huge fan of Archer as a man but, as an author, he is a master storyteller and this is the perfect example of him at his peak. A very clever story, written in a wonderfully engaging and thoroughly enjoyable style. A book you can read over and

Review

First I would like to state that this was a difficult read for me only because I have gone through horrendous break-ups and even a divorce. Originally I was eager to review the book because I thought it would be interesting to read through a male perspective for once. As an analytic female, we get stuck in our own thoughts and delusional thought patterns, that I thought it would be refreshing to read the opposite sex. While I am not holding this author to all male perspectives, naturally, I could relate with his heartache, but had difficulties in other aspects. I couldn't understand how someone would be "distraught" and yet "just fine" - it goes to show that we as human beings are complex creatures, to say the least.

From the first chapter I was already irritated. I had a hard time connecting to Z because I haven't been in a relationship where a man really cared, so I couldn't connect with this male perspective. However, I realized I needed to put my past behind me and read this work as fiction, or rather a look-see at different aspects of relationships. From what I've experienced in life and what I've read, I'll just take my single life and be happy with it, thank you. 

However, overall this is a great window in the minds of males during his journey through the relationship carousel that so many of us call life. Basically the book opens with the ending of a one week marriage, and what do we all do? We go and talk it out with our friends, or as the Scottish author implicates, we're all really just bastards (in the dating realm) grasping within our own realities. I did really like what the author wrote about "hope", he really hit it on target so many times, such as "people are too busy with work and life to take the time to make the effort for actually dating." As a person who went through a divorce after several years of marriage, I also could agree with the descriptive of "drawing the line" after a relationship is over, and referring to online "dating" to find that rebound, or that "line".

McCabe's ethnicity shines through with his Scottish charms and verbiage. Greater Expectations can be a little hard to follow at times, it skips from personal adages to other experiences often. If you haven't suffered through your own personal heartache, this is a great adage to the ups and downs of relationships written with the wisdom through experiences, and a reminder that our relationships are our own love stories, with all our imperfections that make us unique and distinguishable. "Existing isn't living", even though we go through these agonizing things, we're still living.

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