Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Tim On Broadway" by Rick Bettencourt

Tim On Broadway:
Season One
(The Full Season)
by Rick Bettencourt

Tim On Broadway: Season One, previously published as five separate episodes, is now available in one complete volume. If you want to give it a try, you can download Episode 1 FREE (if it's not free for you on Amazon, try iTunes, Kobo, or Smashwords).

Tim On Broadway is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Carolyn Sohier, the Greta Garbo of divas, is giving a once in a lifetime concert that Tim can’t afford to attend. Tim - an overweight, twenty-something virgin - regrets lending the hunky bag boy at the grocery store money that could have bought him a ticket. Tim needs to call in his debts, but money isn’t the only thing holding him back.
The first time Tim met Javier, he was blown away by the attention. He didn't often - actually ever - get a guy, let alone a hot one, pay attention to him. The problem, Javier is straight; yet he gives Tim mixed messages. Tim can’t get Javier off his mind, unless he is pursuing his love for theater - or talking with his best friend, Julia, about the "unattainable" crushes they share on some of the guys back home.
With the Carolyn Sohier concert fasting approaching, Tim struggles to get tickets. If he hadn't lent Javier the money to, well, have his way with him in the beer cooler at the store they worked at together, maybe Tim wouldn't have lost his job, and would be able to see Carolyn perform. But Tim’s learned his lesson from all this … or so he thinks.

Chapter 1: America’s Got Divas
I put down my doughnut, picked up my iced coffee and took a sip. The extra-extra cream and extra-extra sugar gave me a nice little rush. It wasn’t quite as good as Starbucks’ but being unemployed I had to make the best of my homebrewed pot.
I had my cell phone cradled in the crook of my shoulder, talking to my best friend Julia. “With my Kindle,” I said, “I can read them without people staring at me on the subway.”
“I still can’t believe you like girly romance books,” Julia said. I could hear her slurping her own coffee, probably an iced Double Mocha Grande, being that she was at our old Starbucks in Salem. “You’re the only guy I know who has every Chippendale Publishing book ever released.”
I didn’t really but I didn’t want to quibble over details. “Oh my God,” I said, as a bit of powdered sugar sprayed from my mouth and landed on the blanket I had covered over me. I was getting ready to watch TV. “I almost forgot to tell you.”
She slurped some more of her coffee. “What?”
“Guess who’s doing a comeback concert?” I brushed the sugar dust off the blanket.
“Who, Cher?”
“No,” I said, raising my voice.
“I don’t know. You got me,” she said, and from her muffled speech, I could tell she was eating, probably a slice of carrot cake or a blueberry scone. I know what Julia likes. When she eats desserts, she usually goes for something that has a vegetable in it or some antioxidant fruit, because, of course, they’re healthier than my powdered doughnuts.
I pulled the blanket closer to me. “Carolyn Sohier,” I said. “She’s finally coming out of seclusion and doing a concert.”
“Carolyn, who?” I heard the clinking of the fork against the plate. Carrot cake, I bet.
“Carolyn Sohier― you know, the singer who was in Witches of Salem, that movie we saw the night I slipped on the ice in Danvers? And she was also on Broadway in―”
“Oh, her. That movie was terrible.” I could practically hear her nose wrinkle in disgust. Julia was brutally honest.Well, I liked it,” I said. “She’s an amazing singer.”
“She didn’t even sing in that movie,” she said, with her voice trailing off at the end.
“Well, it wasn’t a musical. But she did sing the theme song. Remember, we saw her on last year’s America’s Got Divas. She was the guest judge.”
“I suppose you’ll want me to go with you,” she said.
I clicked the remote control. “We’ll see. Tickets are expensive. She’s decided to come out of seclusion, out from her Greta Garbo cocoon. It’s a one-night only performance up in Bar Harbor.”
“Maine? Who the fuck gives a comeback performance in Maine? Bar Harbor, nonetheless. What, is she going to come out on stage riding a moose?” She laughed.
My neck was beginning to ache. I rubbed it. “I guess that’s where she lives. It’s a benefit of sorts.”
“So are you going to take the train or bus your ass up here to see her?”
By here Julia was referring to New England, where we had both grown up.
“You wanna go?” I asked.
“You mean will I go?” Julia wasn’t a huge fan of divas like I was, but she knew I had no one else to go with and wouldn’t travel alone.
“C’mon, you like her,” I said. “You even said her rendition of that Barry Manilow song was better than his.”
“Is that the song she sang when she shit herself on stage?”
“Whatever,” I said and tossed the remote onto the seat cushion next to me. Julia was referring, of course, to Carolyn’s fairly well-publicized stage fright. Carolyn had suffered a particularly bad spell several years back and, well, embarrassed herself on live television. It was pretty sad. Julia thought it was funny.
I turned as an ambulance’s siren rang out from the street below, followed by a blare from its horn. I hated the sound of ambulances. I got up to shut the window as it took a turn down Charleston Place.
“Five floors up and it sounds like the cops are right next door,” she said. “I don’t know how you can stand living in New York City.”
“It was an ambulance and I’m in Brooklyn.”
I looked at the wall clock, a gift I bought myself. It had logos from nearly all the big Broadway shows over the past two years. “Shit. It’s almost time for America’s Got Divas and I haven’t even set the DVR.”
“Alright, I’ll let you go. Besides, I should check the dryer.” She was at our old Starbucks across from the Laundromat. “Oh and how are you going to come up with the money to buy tickets for this reclusive diva? Didn’t you just get done telling me you’ve already spent this week’s and next week’s unemployment check?”
I didn’t want to get into it. “Javier,” I said. “This week, he’s finally going to pay me the money he owes me.”
“Oh, God. Not Javier.” I knew her well enough to know that she was probably rolling her eyes as she said it.
“Shut up,” I said, with no real force behind it. Julia could be such a bitch. She was always reminding me of the things I did wrong, which were plenty, and the things I should be doing to better myself, which, quite honestly, were spilling out of my inbox.
I didn’t want to be reminded of the humiliating experience I had had with Javier, the bagger at the Good Barn, my former place of employment. In short, he got me fired. “He’s getting money from his student loan,” I said. “He is going to pay me back on Wednesday.”
“We’ll see about that. Didn’t I tell you not to give him that money? Didn’t I tell you you’d probably never see it again? But no,” she said, holding onto the vowel a bit longer than necessary. “You still went off and gave it to him after giving him a BJ in the beer cooler behind Produce. He’s going to ruin your wholesome, good-natured reputation.”

Featured Review
This is a beautiful story - well written, really funny at times and very touching, in every way. Get the complete first season version and enjoy yourself as you accompany Tim on his journey - it seems less a romance than a romantic tale of someone's self discovery. You don't have to be a Broadway fan (or gay) to appreciate this work, though it might help you understand some of the main character's motivations and moods. Rick Bettencourt deserves a lot of praise for having written this; it should be read by as wide a range of readers as possible - in the so-called gay genre it's among the best that I've read in a while, and what a nice reward for those of us who spend a lot of time searching for something worthwhile. Highly recommended - grab this one and get ready to be really pleased by your choice.

Interview With the Author
Hi Rick, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Tim On Broadway.
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. I’m happy to be here.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Tim On Broadway appeals most to those in their twenties and then some. It has adult topics. It fits well into the New Adult genre.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I wanted to write about a character outside the traditional good-looking male lead. Tim is overweight but attractive nonetheless. I also love music and am forever being inspired by song. This book contains a lot of references to Bette Midler. She was a big inspiration.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For this book, the main character, Timothy Benton, came first. That’s not always the case with my writing. Often times I’ll hear a song and it’ll fire off a whole word onto itself. But Tim On Broadway is about Tim’s passion for life, theater and love.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I can’t think any particular part that was harder than another. However, editing anything - after completing the final draft - I always find the hardest part. During the initial phase, things just flow. Afterward, when you have to cut and tweak, that’s the heavy lifting.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
One of the reasons I write is to make people realize they can make significant change in their lives. Just because you may be overweight or are in a difficult situation, doesn’t mean you can’t transform.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote the first draft in about a month. Subsequently it went through many changes as my beta readers got ahold of it, and ultimately it underwent several rounds of editing in the final stages. All together it took about four months.
What is your writing routine?
My day usually starts fairly early, sometimes as early as five a.m. My dog, a twelve year old terrier, doesn’t often let me sleep in. After taking care of him, I usually meditate for about twenty minutes. I find this helps center me, and connects me to my true purpose. Depending on the day, I may write most of the morning, only stopping to take the dog back out. Other times, I may spend the majority of the day marketing and promoting.
How did you get your book published?
I published the ebook through my own publishing company. But, when it came to the paperback, Beaten Track Publishing stepped up to the plate with a very good deal.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Don’t worry about getting it right. Get it written.
So often we spend time dwelling on the perfect scene, the right line, the ideal character. I find it best just to write what comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind, then write whatever you’re thinking until something does. Thank God for word processors. There’s always a place for editing, but not at the beginning.
Great advice. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time with my dog. I also have a fabulous husband. We both love theater (big surprise!) and just being in the moment, experiencing the now.
What does your family think of your writing?
Some think I write porn. Just because most of my characters are gay and some of my books have had lewd sex scenes doesn’t mean I’m just an erotic writer. Tim On Broadway, for instance, has very little sex on the page.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up north of Boston. It will always be home to me. In fact, all my stories are either set in Massachusetts’ North Shore or have a strong connection to the area. In Tim On Broadway, he was born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts. My childhood was a good one. I had two, fabulous devoted parents. They were working class and loved family. They’ve both passed on, my mother just a few months back. I’ll always be grateful for the good morals and strong work ethic they instilled in me
Sorry for your loss, Rick. Did you like reading when you were a child?
Oh my God, yes! I checked out nearly every Judy Blume book at the Salem Public Library. I also loved Roald Dahl and E. B. White. Charlotte’s Web is still one of my favorite books.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote as child - haven’t we all? But, I guess I didn’t think of it as something one would do for a living till much later. After college, I turned to acting. It was at that time I realized I didn’t care so much for being in front of the camera or on stage. I turned to words and wrote a screenplay then turned that into a book, and I haven’t stopped since.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Of course. Growing up gay back in the seventies and eighties, when things were much different for the LGBT community, has had a profound impact on me.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I mentioned some of them earlier, from my childhood. But also Armistead Maupin has been a big influence. I also love John Irving. His book The World According to Garp is a classic. I also love Anne Tyler and Wally Lamb.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
All the time. I have a newsletter a lot of my readers subscribe to and I communicate with them often. I’m also very active on social media. I love hearing from people who have read my books, as well as those who may be looking to write their own. Through my readers, I’ve found I’ve been able to make a positive impact. That means a lot to me.
That's great, Rick. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
This November, I have a Christmas story called One Nightstand coming out. You can find more about it from my publisher, Beaten Track. I’m also working on the prequel to Tim On Broadway as well as the second season.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Rick. Best of luck with your future projects.
Well, thank you. It’s been a pleasure!

About the Author
Rick Bettencourt is the author of Tim On Broadway, Painting With Wine, and Not Sure Boys. He lives with his husband and their little dog, Bandit, in the Sarasota area of Florida. Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore where he learned to speak without pronouncing the letter "r" - and say things like "tonic" when he wanted a Coke, or "bubbler" when getting a drink from the park’s water fountain.

A few years ago, Rick was adopted by a Cairn Terrier named Bandit. Recently, Bandit moved Rick, and his husband of several years, to Florida to escape the New England winters and avoid being engulfed by snow drifts when going about their business.

When Rick is not being walked around the block by Bandit, he might be found working on a story about an underdog character triumphing over adversity. Or you might catch Rick watching The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, reading something like Running with Scissors or some personal development book, or writing to a group of folks on his mailing list.

In addition, Rick enjoys theater, art, old postcards, and amusement parks. He also loves to hear from his readers.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Tim On Broadway: Season One (The Complete Season) by Rick Bettencourt.