Tag Archives: Research

In the name of research… I’ll even eat oysters.

It’s no secret that I love sea food of almost all kinds. So do my leading ladies. Sophie is quite famous for her addiction to all things prawn and lobster. However, there was a gap in my seafood repertoire. Or my mollusc repertoire, to be precise. Oysters.

I’ve always fancied the idea of oysters, but I’d never gotten round to trying any. And then I started overthinking the whole thing and decided I could live quite well without. Until, that was, I put oysters into Alex and Casey’s mouths:

That’ll teach me not to try.’ Alex felt stupid for a moment, but then he succumbed to the funny side.

‘I haven’t had woman yet,’ he gulped. ‘Gosh, what must he be thinking?’

As if on cue, the waiter reappeared. He set down a large plate of fresh oysters on the table and smiled widely.

‘On the ‘ouse. For the ‘oney-mooners.’ He turned and spoke directly to Alex. ‘So you can ‘ave woman tonight.’ He placed air quotation marks around “‘ave”. Alex gaped at him open-mouthed while Casey snorted into her napkin once more.

Alex felt heat rising from the tips of his toes right up his body and into his head. His ears burned with embarrassment. It took him several seconds before he could speak.

‘Did he… Did he think… He didn’t think I was asking for an aphrodisiac, did he?’

Casey lifted her shoulders. She reached across the table to squeeze his hand. ‘I wouldn’t worry about it.’ She dropped her voice to a whisper. ‘Maybe you’ve inadvertently hit on the secret phrase to get free oysters in this place.’

Alex was still in shock. ‘But this is so… it’s so… it’s rude!’

‘Shh,’ Casey admonished him. ‘Now you’re being rude.’ She gave his hand a final stroke before she released her grip and sat back. Tentatively, she poked at one of the oysters with an index finger. The slimy centre of the mollusc quivered at her touch, and Casey yelped softly. ‘Eurgh! How can people eat these?’

From: 7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells.

Now I wrote that scene without ever having tasted oysters, and that didn’t sit well with me. How could I be sure that Alex and Casey would feel about these squidgy little things in the way I described? How could I even be sure that they are squidgy little things?

So during a recent family holiday to France, I bit the proverbial bullet and had a go. It helped that we found ourselves with some very good French friends in Arcachon, the very oyster capital of France. Here goes…

First, the shucking…

Okay, baby, I can do this.

Okay, baby, I can do this.

Careful now, that knife is sharp. Come on, give it up, you sucker.

Careful now, that knife is sharp. Come on, give it up, you sucker.

Nearly done.

Nearly done.

Next, the presentation.

Ta-da! (And no way I'm going to eat all of these!)

(And no way I’m going to eat all of these!)

Lastly, the eating.

The proof of the oyster is in the eating, yada yada. Ready, steady…

Right. So this goes in my mouth...

Right. So this goes in my mouth…



And swallow.

And swallow.

It's kinda...

It’s kinda…



...and watery, but not necessarily unpleasant...

…and watery, but not necessarily unpleasant…

I survived! I didn’t shuck-them-up. And I didn’t end up in hospital, contrary to hubs’ dire prediction.

Would I eat them again? Sure! Would they be my first choice? Err… no. And what did I really think? Well, I put those words straight in Casey’s mouth, so you can find out for yourself…

Have you ever tried oysters? What did you think?

CentreStage with Janice Horton ~ Visiting the City of the Dead

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might tell you about their lives, their writing, their favourite shoes or their workspaces. In short, about anything relevant to their inspiration and happiness. Today, it is my tremendous pleasure to welcome back the one and only Janice Horton!

Only last week, this blog took part in Janice’s Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party in honour of the launch of Janice’s latest work, How Do You Voodoo? And today, Janice has promised to let us in on some of the nitty-gritty of her research… Take it away, Janice!

Outstanding Bravery in the Name of Research: Get Ready to Be Spooked!

Hi Nicky and Happy Halloween – or should that be Spooky Halloween…?

Hi Janice, and a Happy Spooky Halloween to you to! It’s so exciting to have you back here today telling us all about your very daring research for How Do You Voodoo! Hats off to you, I don’t think I’d be this brave! (I’m easily spooked!)

*Janice laughs*  There is nothing better than a good spook, is there? I’ve popped along today to tell you about my romantic and humorous Halloween novella How Do You Voodoo? and to tell you about the spooky time I had writing it. You see, a central scene in the story takes place in a very spooky place, the Necropolis in Glasgow – a cemetery otherwise known as The City of the Dead!

Nicky says: Is this the bit where I get spooked?

The City of the Dead is the burial place of over five thousand people, mostly from the Victorian age.  In those days, when Glasgow was a very important and wealthy port, the rich merchants were basically trying to outdo each other in death as well as life, by commissioning hugely expensive and architecturally fancy mausoleums and monuments as their gravestones. Now, all these years later, they are mostly neglected, wonky, covered in lichen and in a bad state of disrepair. This of course, together with a hanging Scottish mist, all adds to the spook factor!

Nicky says: I bet it does. Did you say something about showing us for real?

*Janice whips out a stack of photos and slithers them nonchalantly across the table.* These are some of the photos I took there while researching a scene for How Do You Voodoo? See what I mean!

Nicky says: Goodness, I wouldn’t want to go there at night-time! But the photos look stunningly eery and haunting (not to say haunted), the perfect backdrop for your story. Fabulous, thanks for sharing. Now tell us more about How Do You Voodoo?…

About How Do You Voodoo?

How Do You Voodoo? is a humorous contemporary story about a loveless fashion model called Nola Nichols, who thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?

Nicky says: Awesome. I have this on my Kindle and can’t wait to get reading!

About Janice Horton

Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes contemporary romance with humour. Her novels ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ are both Amazon Kindle bestsellers. Her latest title ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is a romantic novella for Halloween and is out now for Kindle at just 77p or 99c!

Visit Janice’s Author  Blog; Follow her on Twitter @JaniceHorton; or Like  her Author Facebook Page

Janice is a Featured Author & Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com

Find her ebooks on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

So, dear reader: How Do YOU Voodoo? Has this totally captured your interest? Brilliant!

Have you considered writing a novella? And what excites you about reading them?