Nick the Greek

Last time we met the story’s heroine Stefanie Petros, a neurotic yet hopeless romantic 23-year old flute prodigy.  Now it’s time to bring on the Bad Boy, Niko Spyro Fotos.

Remember that this is performance art.  You’re seeing raw first draft material… as it’s written, typos and all… with images from my handwritten notebook to prove it.  When the whole rough draft is done… I’ll walk you (and my story) right through the same editing steps I use and teach with authors in my publishing house and online classes at Year of the Book. The goals?  To inspire us both to a daily writing habit, and demonstrate how incremental progress adds up to exponential change!

Missed the beginning? Find it here:


Like all Greek boys, he takes his father’s name from for his middle name, and his father’s father’s name for his first name.  Fotos means “light,” but Nick is no stranger to the spotlight. His dad Spyro was a noteable bouzouki player who learned enough classical guitar to accompany his wife Eleni Fi Fi (short for Sofia) — a world-class singer — on tour throughout the Meditteranean region.

Nick learned bouzouki at his father’s side, and began studying guitar when Spyro died just a year ago. The instrument represented connection his dad, and Nick was determined to master at least one tune. It would be an aria, a love song, Spryro and Eleni Fi Fi used to perform as their encore.


He is 29 years old and a regular ladies man. [Okay, more extraordinary than regular!] Classic Greek looks: 5′ 11″, olive complected, dark wavy hair, just a little long enough to communicate “bad boy” and soulful brown eyes.

When Nick met your gaze, you’d be hypnotically captured. Then a slight head tilt to the right and a boyish grin. Completely disarmed. His eyes drop quickly to convince you he’s suddenly bashful, but they return immediately, accompanied by a single step toward you on his right foot.

A deft hand tucks loose hair behind his ear, and before the hand drops, his loosely curved fingertips airbrush the curve of your cheek. Not actual physical touch, but so close you feel his body heat radiating and smell a distinctly masculine scent of his cologne, mixed with salt from the air island air. The ocean is almost a natural part of his being because he sits on the shore with a old beater instrument and sings love songs to no one in particular.

Nick has muscular arms, and a lean torso. He helps the hotel restaurant out by waiting tables for the tourist dinner crowd. His English is very charming and imbued with enough flirtiness to keep the women from asking their husbands to take them into town to different restaurants.

Then as dinner dries up for the xenos (foreigners), a crew of locals stop by at Greek dinner time (ca. 9-10pm) and the musical entertainment begins.

Invariably, Nick brings applause with his love songs. He demonstrates skill, daring, and a certain sense of bravado as he manipulates the lyrics of his songs to call out to a lady in the crowd.

Much blushing and batting of eyelashes ensues, and Nick rarely ends the evening alone.

When Nick was a baby, he went on tour with his parents for two years, though he has no memory of time spent backstage in a Italian and Spanish concert halls. He does however remember a lullabye his mother sang to him, and even now when he’s feeling sick or sad, she will cradle him in her arms, head pressed o her ample bosom and sing gently in his ear while brushing combing tendrils of brown hair with her fingertips.

It’s happened twice since Spyro’s death, but now she has trouble finishing the song without tears. It breaks Nick’s heart to think of her living alone now, and he wonders how she will manage during this year’s music camp, the first without her beloved husband.

Just a month ago, Nick drover her to the port and across the ferry to Rafina outside of Athens. She boarded a flight to America to b visit Nick’s godfather, Yanni Eugenides. Yanni had been childhood friends with Spyro, but moved to Boston before Nick’s birth. Each year summer the talented musician came to Batsi on Andros Island where they held a seven-week camp and taught clarinet and flute to a predominantly English-speaking crew of students.

Nick looked forward to these visits, because Theio Yanni (Uncle John) would share stories about his parents’ younger days.

He also recklessly allowed Nick to drive his rental car when the boy was only 12, and taught him more than enough about using music to woo women.

vw bus

Nick has no nest egg, no plan for a future that’s any different from the status quo. He helps out here and there, and he’s remunerated. Tips from the restaurant, gas money from mom, a roof over his head, and doted upon by every female in five kilometers.

But this is not unusual Greek male behavior. Many men remain at home under mama’s care until married in their late 30’s or even early 40’s. Nick is merely fulfilling expectations.


Okay, wow.  It’s still hard to leave in the typos when I’m transcribing from my notebook! I want to just fix it and make it an easier read for you now, a better, more perfect read.  But then I KNOW it can’t be perfect now. In fact it never can. Even once you and I both know the story.

In today’s writing I made a name change for Nick’s mom.  For all the years I’ve wanted to write this story, his mother has been named Sofia in my head.  “Sofia” is wisdom. I envision her as wise and benevolent, charismatic and seductive. Elements of the famous Greek singer Nana Mouskouri:

But if my protagonist is named Stefanie, it’s bad mojo to have another female character’s name start with the same letter… especially Sofia also has the f/ph sound in the middle.

I had resigned myself to changing Sofia’s name entirely… until I met a Greek-American last week who used “Fi Fi” as a nickname for Sofia.  Fate?  Divine intervention that this person came into my life at just the right time?  Not sure… but I think I like it.  How about you?


I love to hear your comments, so let me know below!

Click HERE to read the next installment


3 thoughts on “Nick the Greek

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