Saturday, 5 August 2017

#BlogTour Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael (@ALMichael_) @NeverlandBT #excerpt

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person… 

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams? 

See inside for a delicious cocktail recipe and book club questions!


I was 7 years old when I realized my mother was not a great person.
            I’d just had my birthday and I was still carrying around that deflated helium balloon everywhere I went. The roadies used to pat my hair and laugh, and say, ‘Hey Savvy, take care of that balloon babe, hey?’ and shake their heads.
            I’d been rehearsing what I wanted to say, pacing back and forth in our hotel room, explaining it all very clearly: Mama, I want to go to school. I want to play with other kids. I don’t want to do this any more.
            I had wished for it on every birthday cake, on every fallen star and penny on the ground. I had tried everything, tantrums and screaming fits, pretending I was sick, getting lost before a show.
            The problem was, I always felt bad.
            ‘Baby girl, don’t you want Mummy to be happy?’ she’d say, stroking back my hair, her fingertips at my temple, holding me just a little too close on her lap. ‘Don’t you want Mummy to live her dream and make all those people happy when she sings?’
            ‘Yes, but –’
            ‘Nuh-uh, ladybug,’ she’d shake her head, grinning, ‘there’s no buts. Either you want Mummy to be happy, or you want her to be sad.’
            And I’d sigh, and mumble that of course I wanted her to be happy, and she’d kiss my head and tell me she loved me, but that she had to go to soundcheck now, and I should go and play.
But not any more. I was 7 now, and I was tired of our pattern.
            So I dragged my sad silver balloon behind me, my toy cat Rumble under my arm, and I prepared to reason with my mother.
            She stood in the middle of the room, talking to the head sound guy, Frank. He’d given me a chocolate bar earlier that day, and I’d squirrelled it away in the lining of my Hello Kitty backpack. I’d been doing that for a while now, just in case.
            ‘Hey, you wanna test the mic?’ one of the sound guys smiled at me, kneeling down and holding the microphone to my mouth. ‘Say, “Testing, testing.”’
            I grasped it in my chubby little hand and whispered, ‘Testing, Mama, testing.’
            She looked up, briefly paused her conversation to wink at me, her blonde waves falling over her shoulders, her black eyeliner smudged artfully. She turned back to Frank.
            ‘TESTING,’ I said, more firmly, and the sound guy started, jerking back, trying to take the mic away.
            ‘TESTING!’ I yelled, holding on to the mic. ‘TESTING, I want to go to school! TESTING, I want to live in a house, with a garden, like normal people! I hate the bus and I want to live a normal life! I want to have a home, Mama! Please! TESTING, TESTING, TESTING!’
            I gripped the mic with both hands, watching as she blinked briefly and then smiled, shaking her head. ‘Don’t be silly baby, don’t you want Mummy to be hap–’
            She recoiled like I’d slapped her. Her face at that moment will stay with me forever. It wasn’t just disappointment. It was the look she had when she wrote a song, and she thought it was going to be a number one hit, but when they played it, the arrangement wasn’t quite right, or it just didn’t click. ‘Garbage,’ she’d say, ripping up the notes. ‘A waste of inspiration.’
            That was what I was in that moment. A waste of inspiration.
            ‘Just one year,’ I said into the mic, looking at her down there, finally having to listen to me, because I was on stage, and that was what happened when you were on stage, people had to listen. ‘One year off to be normal, and then we can come back. Please, I’ll do anything!’
And my mother smiled, and walked across the room with determination, jumping up on the stage and gathering me in her arms, holding me close. She always smelled like nag champa incense. Incense and cigarettes. ‘Okay, baby girl, okay. An ordinary life for you.’
            The next morning the tour bus stopped outside my Auntie Jen’s. A beautiful little house, with vines growing up the side, and a dog that wanted my attention. My mother smiled, and said to play with Buster for a little while. I threw a ball, and the little spaniel fell over himself to chase, bumbling to the end of the garden. Then he simply turned and sat by the ball, proud of himself, but refusing to fetch.
            I rolled my eyes, and walked over to him to pick up the ball.
            ‘You’re not very good at being a dog, are you?’
            But he was. He heard the rumble of the engine before I did. He ran faster than I did.
            By the time I got back to the house, running round the side gate to stare at the quiet, normal street, the tour bus was gone. My aunt hovered in the background, the dog sat at my feet and wheezed, and Rumble was sitting on top of my suitcase at the front door.
            She was never any good at goodbyes.


A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of nine novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, will start with Cocktails and Dreams, released 24th July 2017. She likes to write about sassy females who follow their dreams, and don't take no for an answer.

She is a Creative Therapeutic Facilitator, currently researching the power of creative writing to be helpful in recovering from eating disorders, and believes in the power of writing to heal.

You can find out more about A.L. Michael at (surprisingly) and on twitter @almichael_

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