Friday With Friends: Another Friday Night – Val Portelli

Another Friday night.

Friday 1.

Friday night. At last.

‘See you Monday everyone. Have a great weekend.’

Dash to the supermarket on the way home from work. Pile the bags into the car boot and head for home. Pour myself a drink while I put it away; the first in five days but I deserve it after slaving from nine to five, or rather eight to six for a demanding boss.

Check my phone to confirm where we’re meeting tonight – glad rags or casual?

8.30 in the pub for a quick bite and then on to the new club which has just opened. Smart casual it is then as I browse my wardrobe after the quickest bath in history. No time for wallowing tonight – people to see, dancing to be done and with a bit of luck, some flirting thrown in for good measure. The night is young and so am I. Bring it on.

Friday 2.

‘Hi Mum. In case you haven’t guessed, it’s your favourite daughter, Lisa, and yes, I am after something. How are you fixed for Friday night? Do you fancy a bit of babysitting with the monsters? – er, I mean your adorable grandchildren.

‘Great. Paul can pick you up about 7.30 if that’s OK. We won’t be back late, but it’s ages since we’ve had some time to ourselves and we wanted to try out the new restaurant that’s just opened. Perfect. Thanks, Mum. Love you.’

Friday 3.

‘Paul, what do you think about going out somewhere on Friday? We could try the cinema, or even splash out and go to a show. The kids are old enough to be left on their own and we’ve got to start trusting them sometime. I said Katie could have her friend for a sleep-over and John will be out with his mates.’

Friday 4

‘Anything interesting on TV tonight? It looks as if it’s all the usual repeats. Maybe we should sign up to one of those streaming programmes, or even buy some films on DVD. Do they still make them? I’ve out of touch with all this new technology. What do people do for entertainment these days?’

Friday 5

‘Hi Jen. It’s me, Lisa. I wanted to sound you out about this football bash on Friday. Are you going?

‘Yes, I wasn’t sure but let Paul talk me into it. You’ve been before. What are they like? Knowing that lot I imagine it’ll be a bit riotous.

‘Really? That’s sounds good. I’ll book a cab and then we won’t have to worry about driving. Great, we’ll see you there. If you can’t beat them, we’ll have to join them.’

Friday 6.

‘Nanny Lisa. Mummy says you’re coming on Friday to look after us while she and Daddy go for a Can-oo-doodle. Can you bring me some sweeties? And will you read me a story? And can we make some cakes like we did last time? That was fun. I promise I’ll be ever so good. Love you lots.’

Friday 7.

‘This lockdown is driving me crazy. Do you remember the times Friday night was party night? Funny how people always used to say Saturday was their big night out, but for us it was always Friday. Perhaps because that was the first time you asked me out, and Saturday you would be down the pub with your football mates. Now the highlight of my life is a trip to the supermarket. Which reminds me, Paul, we’re running short of pretty much everything so we need to stock up. I’d better make a list.’

Friday 8.

Same old, same old. Will it ever end? At least we’ve got our date for the jab. We’ve got to be at the health centre for 11 next Friday. I hope it’s not pouring with rain. Roll on the Spring.

Friday 9.

I’m beginning to lose the plot. If it wasn’t for the date on my laptop, I wouldn’t know whether it was today or tomorrow. It’s come to something when I’m reading the holiday ads, even if there’s no chance of getting away this summer if things continue as they are.

Friday 10.

Things are looking up. The news is more positive, the sun actually shone today, and I’ve just seen the first daffodils in the garden.

Friday 11.

I don’t believe it. My collection of short stories proved so popular I’ve already had people asking about my next one, even though it’s in a totally different genre. All that time making up stories to keep the grandchildren amused has paid off. I’m now officially a published author.

Friday 12.

I check my dairy for the zillionth time even though I know the venue and date off by heart. The cab is booked for next Friday. I’ve Googled the route for the posh West End hotel who are hosting the event in case the taxi gets lost. The new dress is hanging ready in the wardrobe, and the hairdresser is booked for 10 o’clock. Even if I don’t win, the publicity will ensure my name is known in all the best literary circles. My acceptance speech is prepared and I’ve rehearsed until I’m word perfect. What could possibly go wrong?

Friday 13.

Don’t you just love a cliff-hanger. 😁

© Val Portelli February 2021

To see Val’s previous interview on MTA, go here …

Meet the Authors: Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli

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Meet the Authors: Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli

Today we welcome Val Portelli as we travel to London. No, wait, Kent. No, London … Well, you get the idea. While there, we learn how unicorns, a freak accident, Elvis Presley, and a hot air balloon come together to create the magic that is Val’s writing world. Slip into your quirkiness and let’s get going ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

As well as having several books both traditionally and self-published, I’m a writer of short stories who gains inspiration from the most unlikely places, (which is author-speak for procrastinating on Facebook.) I act as referee between the characters currently living in files on my laptop, who demand their story be next, and the long-term residents of my 100,00-word book, who sulk because they have been neglected.

In between writing, I breed unicorns, (Twinkle insisted on coming along,) and we live in a very old house which has a London postcode, but comes under Kent, purely to confuse your pin map.

In which genre do you write?

I like to experiment so I’m gradually working my way through most of the fiction categories, especially with my short stories. Is there a genre called ‘Quirky?’

How many published books do you have?

Five and a bit. I have a short story included in an anthology, a book I co-wrote with another author, one which is being withdrawn as I’m in the course of republishing it, and three others which sort of makes six. Anyone got a calculator?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I had my first rejection letter aged nine when I naively submitted to a woman’s magazine. The editor took the time to send me a personal, hand-written encouraging letter, which with hindsight, was a lovely thing to do.

My authorish (a word my spell checker has been instructed to let me use) career really took off about seven years ago following a freak accident. Bed-bound and stir crazy I started writing seriously to ease the frustration, resulting in my first book being accepted for publication.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I tend to go to bed around 4.30 a.m. and find the peace and quiet of the early hours is a good time for writing. The only distraction is chatting on social media to the other side of the world who are just waking up. I turn back into a human around midday, but only after three or four coffees. Until then a grunt is my only vocabulary.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

You’d probably guess ‘Unicorn,’ and you’d be right. Perhaps because we share an affinity in being both shy and confident. A second choice would be a tiger; my father talked about seeing them when he was in Burma, and passed on his love of them to me.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A desk and comfortable chair on a veranda looking out to sea, with the background hush of waves undulating on the sand, warm sun, a gentle breeze and invisible minions auto-replenishing my every need. Sorry. I got carried away for a minute.

What are you currently reading?

I tend to read mostly Indie published books these days, including beta reading for fellow authors. The traditionally published one I’ve just finished had around sixty reviews, nearly all 5*, and nothing less than 4*. To me it scraped a 3* so it might be politic not to mention the title and author.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Write short stories. I love socialising but logistics make travelling difficult now, so I don’t get out as much as I’d like to.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Elvis Presley. I’d ask him where was the key to lock him in with me, and leave the rest to your imagination.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I’m actually quite good at it. Friends and family always said I was, but I’ve only just started to believe them. Marketing is another matter, but I knew that anyway from my earlier career.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I’ve kept a personal diary since I was very young. Some of the original entries were only a few words, ‘Went to school, raining, had math exam,’ but over the years they developed as I tried to make them more interesting. It was probably a good grounding for my books and stories, and I still keep one today. They are also useful for solving disagreements over which events happened at what time.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I was in a hot air balloon and listened carefully to all the safety instructions. Trying to take a picture of the sky I didn’t realise we were descending, and was standing with both hands on the camera when we literally came down to earth with a bump. Whoops.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I’ll tell you when I stop being one.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

‘Delivery for you lady. One chocolate bar and a new hat as ordered. Sorry it’s a bit late; the traffic between the South Pole and Mexico was horrendous.’

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I no longer have dogs, but I do have foxes visiting every day. I’d ask Chico if it was possible to bang on the dog flap a little more quietly at three in the morning when he’s demanding chicken.

I’d ask Rosie if Chico is faithful (I think he is.)

I’d ask them both if they could explain to the local supermarket that the fortune I spend on cheap chicken wings is actually for them, not me.

Chico and Raj 

Do you have any trailers for your books?

Pending republishing, ‘Changes,’ isn’t currently available, but this is the trailer.

Tell us about your most recent book.

At the moment, ‘Story of a County Boy’ is my latest release. Here’s the blurb:

The hard-hitting story of a naive young man’s journey as he escapes from a traditional, old-fashioned family life, and discovers the seedier side of London in the 1960s.

How much will he gamble to achieve his dream of becoming a major player in a very different environment?

With each re-telling, the legend evolves.

I made it 18+, not because of excessive sex or violence, but younger readers might find it hard to understand what was accepted as normal behaviour at that time.

Thank you Val for being a part of Meeting the Authors. It was loads of fun getting to know you and learning about your magical unicorn writer’s life. – Camilla

Where to Buy:

Amazon Kindle US:

Amazon Paperback US:

Amazon Kindle UK:

Amazon Paperback UK:

I post a short story every week on my Facebook author page which you can read here:

My blog is mainly short stories with occasional news, chat and writing related posts:

The publishing company web site is a showcase for the works of myself and other Indie authors, (as you can see these Unicorns get everywhere.) ?

All my books are listed on my Amazon author pages:

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