Welcome, Readers!

Synopsis: Against all odds, young Joey fights to hang on to his dream of becoming a musician. His father is dead set against this, tries to humiliate the boy, and finally resorts to cruelty to keep him from achieving his goal. As the boy grows, he learns the value of friendship and a mother’s devotion. He falls deeply in love with a beautiful girl in high school but marries another who is willing to support him financially as he pursues his music education. This triangle romance nearly destroys the lives of the two women who love him. Tears and Trombones is filled with music from Mozart to the Andrews Sisters, from Shostakovich to The Beach Boys. Tears and Trombones will take you to the San Francisco Symphony and to Johnny Cash performing with June Carter Cash at Folsom Prison.   It is an emotional story that will make you laugh and cry as you witness what Joey is willing to give up to achieve his dream.

Amazon rating: 4 1/2 stars. Genre: Fiction.

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Reader Reviews

Enthralling novel from start to finish. (5.0 out 5 Stars)


I loved this book! “Tears and Trombones” captivated me on page one. Even the title grabbed my attention, and I just couldn’t put it down. My definition of a great book is when I stay up until midnight or one am reading because I am so absorbed in it that I lose all track of time. This was the case with this book. It’s based on a true story, and it rings true from page one. I heard the author speak, and she said it was based upon stories that her husband told her. She did a great job of incorporating those stories into a work of fiction based on fact. There is so much meat to this novel that it is hard to classify. Is it about family dysfunction? Yes. Is it about a young man’s dream of becoming a musician? Yes. Is it a romance? Yes and no – sort of. All these things and more. I loved it because I love music, which is an added dimension to the book. I loved that the section breaks were delineated with music notes. Perfect… I learned a lot about what it’s like to play the trombone, and just how grueling the life of professional musicians is and what a toll it takes on their personal lives – the sacrifices they make for their music. Wow! What a wonderful book. A must read for music lovers and lovers of great fiction. Loved the era portrayed, and the setting.

Emotional, Strong and Powerful. (5.0 out 5 Stars)


Tears and Trombones is emotional story about strong-willed boy who wanted to pursue his dreams, regardless of the fact that this seemed far from possible.
Pursuing one’s dream is often very difficult task. There are many reasons why this is the case: either a person has some personal struggles and issues that she needs to deal with, but she does not want to do that or does not know how to do that, or there is something else. Tears and Trombones is a story about strong will and resilience. It is a story about unbreakable wish for success in something that means everything for a person. Many people break. For some reason many of us do not pursue our dreams. We freeze in time. We give up too soon. Joey is not like that. I like him. I like how the author presented the character of Joey as a young boy, full of life, hope and that inner strength that we all want to see, both in ourselves and in others. Music is medicine and Joey knows that. He knows and he feels that music will help him and cure him. Thus, he wants to climb to the top. He wants to beat the odds that are against him.
For me, this book is a masterpiece. I truly enjoyed reading it. I just want to say- well done Mrs. Lee-Woody.

Beautiful Story (5.0 out of 5 Stars)


This novel took me a while to finish because it is one of those books where you need to take it all in and savor it in order to truly appreciate its value and beauty. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, based around a main character who was given a few hurdles to jump over very early in life. With a little love and compassion though, he manages to fall in love and reach for his dreams.
I found the writing in this novel to be especially amazing as it really brings the story to life. The author strings heart break, humor, failure and success together to create a story that is certainly worth the read. I’d recommend this book to anyone, especially those who need to be shown that life can go as you want it to, but it does take a lot of time and effort. It was great seeing the main character grow before my eyes too. I hope to see more work like this from the author in the future.

It’s a great story, about a guy in love (5.0 out of 5 Stars)


This book got me into trouble several times. I was so engrossed in the story I forgot other people and was told to be polite and put it down. It’s a great story, about a guy in love. All this interesting music stuff is just the macguffin, what you think the story is about, what he seems to be going after, and that’s true about him as a character in a novel, but what is happening deep inside is his need for love, and unfortunately, his inability to understand himself. So when I kept on reading until somebody told me I’m not alone it was when he was struggling with his love life. If you think love is important in a captivating story, this is a novel for you.

Reminds me of D.H. Lawrence (5.0 out of 5 Stars)


Those who hear the muse’s song will frequently run into the expectations of others–tone-deaf demands that will kill the artist’s dream if given half a chance. Such is the dilemma in Tears and Trombones: Joey, an aspiring young musician, must contend with his father, a brutal heavy equipment operator with no sensitivity for Joey’s ambition to become a professional musician. Told in a tight gripping prose, Tears and Trombones traces Joey’s struggle to overcome a bleak environment, rise to the top of the music world, and salvage true love along the way. Its characters, gritty settings, and engaging plotlines are somewhat reminiscent of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers.

Tears And Trombones, Destined to be a Best Seller! (5.0 out of 5 Stars)


Many of today’s successful musicians are products of families with some degree of wealth and education. They are provided with the best schools, the best private teaching and the best instruments. Tears and Trombones is about the coming of age of a young trombonist, Joey, from a lower class family. His struggle to pursue his passion against the wishes of his hard drinking, heavy equipment operating father provides the backdrop for a segment of the boy’s life, that is so insensitive, and cruel, it is a miracle that Joey attains any degree of proficiency on his instrument. And, while he endeavors to become the best, he encounters romance along the way. The reader is tantalized by the tender, intimate moments that provide a refreshing break from the oppression of his father. Joey’s character becomes more defined and his life becomes more complicated as he has to deal with the choices of reaching the “impossible dream,” or settling for the “road most traveled.” This novel is a roller coaster of highs as the reader is shares Joey’s successes, and lows when his father keeps attempting to snuff the flame of his aspirations. Ms. Woody punctuates her tale with some very funny moments, most of which result in some retaliation, the nature of which is usually cruel.

Tears and Trombones is a very engaging story. The struggles endured by her star character are very accessible, and it is easy to get caught up in the life of this young prodigy. Her character development is thorough, giving the reader the opportunity to become a part of young Joey’s life, and one is always hungry to see what else life has in store for this valiant young man. This tale is very well conceived, well written, and promises to be a best seller.

A remarkable first novel… (5.0 out of 5 Stars)


Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody is a remarkable first novel, covering almost four decades of a dedicated, troubled, focused, talented musician—drawing the reader to the last page for the full story. One is reminded of Mr. Holland’s Opus, only with real grit and wrinkles in the story’s broad scope. Joey Woodman’s life unfolds, scene by scene, moment by moment, along a rough path. The first-person storytelling from Joey’s perspective is powered by effective dialogue, which is a key strength of this book. As Joey’s life builds, we see his skills and flaws, and all. We see the pursuit of excellence to achieve world-class status as a musician, and the personal cost and sacrifice this demands. We seemingly hear the music acting as his lifesaver, raising him up in his difficult life; literally his escape route. We live through his mom supporting him emotionally, his dysfunctional father trying to stand in the way. As this book’s pages rush by, we learn from the inside, details about music—classical, jazz, popular—and composers, and about the trombone instrument (models K2B and a Conn 88H, and more details). We see the nuance of playing a slide instrument, in engaging specifics. We are carried through performances and auditions. Again the strength of this storytelling is in the writer’s use of her characters’ dialogue! You feel it when Joey says, “I moved right into the fourth movement and when I finished the sonata, lowered my horn, my head still full of the music, the room was silent. After a pause, one person clapped, then another until the room was filled with applause. ‘Bravo. Bravo.’ The audience rose to its feet. The applause wasn’t just for Corelli. It was for me!”