Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Drum Roll Please!
Every once in awhile, a book comes along that I, as the author, feel differently about. Some make me question my chosen vocation, but a few touch my heart in a special way.
So Much It Hurts is one of the latter. I love this book. When I started it November 1, 2016, the words just flowed. I felt the movement of it, the emotions and the words gripped me and ran. I hung on, typing as fast as I could, feeling inadequate to the task of telling the story. When I sat down to read it through in its entirety, I knew I hadn't let myself, or the characters down. It was that good.
Beta readers have told me that the characters hopped off the page, becoming very real. I was delighted to hear that, because the entire time, the voices filled my head, demanding to be heard.
Tomorrow, So Much It Hurts makes its debut. I'm delighted that it's being published exactly a year from its beginning. The book is on sale right now, and will continue for a week after publication, so get your copy for .99 cents NOW! The price won't last, but the book will. I hope it will touch your lives as much as it did mine.
Below, for your reading enjoyment, is an excerpt from So Much It Hurts by Dellani Oakes.
They heard the music before they saw anyone. The air was filled with guitar,
“Is that a harpsichord?”
“It is! And there’s a harp, double bass, a variety of woodwind and other
instruments. Only the finest quality. We’re allowed to use them—carefully.”
“Aren’t they worried someone will steal them?”
“No one will steal them. They appreciate the opportunity too much.”
The choice of music was a little surprising, given the instruments playing, but Pia
couldn’t ignore the lure of Harlem Nocturne. A longtime favorite, it was one of the
first pieces she’d learned on her own. Though she loved all kinds of music, there was
a big pull for her in jazz and blues. They walked quietly in and she marveled at the
sight. Seven musicians sat around playing various antique instruments, including a
gorgeous saxophone that glittered like silver, not brass. The sound was mellower,
making her gasp and clasp her hands together. Listening in awe, she could hardly
breathe until they were finished. When the song ended, she clapped and cheered.
Yancy whistled and clapped along with her.
“Fabulous! I love the slower tempo. And the saxophone, so sexy! The piano part
on the harpsichord, very cool!”
“You’ve got to be a musician,” the girl at the harpsichord said with a grin.
“This is Pia, new to the Ambassador Suite. Pia, meet Charles.”
The guy on the double bass waved.
“Elaine on harpsichord. Bama on sax; Amita you know, on guitar. Trumpet and
trombone, the Capone Twins. And finally, Dahlia on drums.”
“What do you play?” Elaine made room for her on the bench.
“Pretty much everything. Fully trained on woodwinds, piano, guitar, and drums.
I’m self-taught on brass. I need to tighten my embrasure.”
“Hard to switch up between woodwind and brass,” one of the Capones said.
“Yes, so I’m told. I play at it, I didn’t say I did it well.”
“You sing?” Bama asked.
“Prove it. Soprano or alto?”
“I’ve got a good range. Try me.”
“Hop in when you know it.” He picked up a guitar and started playing. The others
Pia grinned. “Give me something hard, why don’t ya?” She waited for the right
moment and started to sing I’d Rather Go Blind.
The other musicians joined in and sang harmony with her on the choruses. Pia
wailed and sailed all over the place, showing off her range. Impressed looks were
exchanged, but she didn’t see them. Instead, she had her eyes closed as she sang.
By the end of it, the women were in tears and even the men looked a little misty. No
one moved for a full minute as the song finished. Pia looked around, confused.
“Nailed it,” Bama said. “Dayam, baby. You’ve got some pipes!”
Everyone joined in to compliment her. She hadn’t noticed, but many of the other
residents, attracted by the song, had gathered for the impromptu concert. After
Bama spoke, the spell was broken and they applauded loudly.
“Thank you.” Pia blushed, embarrassed by their praise.
“Can’t leave us there!” Elaine said, booting Bama from the piano. She whispered
to him and he grinned. “See if you know this one.”
“We’re playing Name That Tune, huh? I think it’s only fair to warn you, I’ve never
been stumped. Has to be something known, can’t be something you wrote yourself.”
“Of course! That’d be cheating,” Amita said.
Elaine started playing the piano, with the guitar on heavy reverb joining her. Pia
“Oh, I got this.” Waiting patiently for her cue, she stood with her hand on the side
of the piano like a torch singer. The haunting notes of Bang Bang filled the air, and
the audience clapped softly.
Wondering where Pia and Yancy were, Flynn came back downstairs and walked
in as she got to the final chorus. When she saw him, Pia pointed at him, singing
“Bang Bang.” He staggered, catching himself before he fell. More loud applause
echoed in the enormous room.
Stepping forward, clapping, Flynn stood in front of her. “I have a request.”
“Okay, name it. If we know it, we’ll play it,” Elaine said, her fingers rippling over
“Except for Pia.” He winked at her.
“Hah! Rude!” She smacked his arm with the back of her hand.
Flynn whispered to the musicians and they nodded.
Elaine started to play the piano. “A little throwback to before we were born… By
Bama had picked up a violin and Charles went back to the bass. Pia smiled,
though she was fighting tears. How had he picked the one song that could make her
melt into a puddle? Vocalizing as she waited for her cue, she closed her eyes again.
To Flynn’s ears, Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore had never sounded so good. The
song held special meaning for him, that only Yancy knew. The second he had heard
Pia sing, he knew he had to listen to her do that song. He hadn’t counted on how it
would affect him. Tears welled in his eyes and he ducked his head so no one would
see. He felt Yancy walk over, nudging him with his elbow. Hands shoved in his
pockets, he started to hum and by the final chorus, he was harmonizing with Pia.
When the song was over, he picked her up, spinning her around. Lost in a moment
of their own, they didn’t even notice the applause.
“Where were you keeping that voice, Chancellor?”
“Under my hat, ma’am.”
“You’re not wearing a hat.”
“Nope. That was beautiful. Thank you.”
“You’re so welcome.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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