Narcosis Room Excerpt

NARCOSIS ROOM

Author: Louise Cypress

Pub. Date: February 19, 2019

Publisher: Owl Hollow Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 318

About the Book

Total Recall meets Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.

Sleep for three months and make your problems go away.

Ellie Savage is used to promises. Her dermatologist dad and her psychiatrist mom run the Narcosis Clinic, a medical facility famous for ultimate makeovers, where disturbing issues are resolved while patients are beautified. Clients like pop star Dean Mathews are grateful to narcosis for healing their deepest wounds. Ellie is her parents’ most ardent supporter until her dreams become a nightmare. Ellie discovers that her true self has been shredded to bits by the scalpel and the only way for Ellie to remember is to forget everything she thinks she knows.

“The relationship between Cole and Ellie is absorbing (it’s indisputably a mutual affection) while the twins’ dynamic–they’re supportive but playfully combative–is likewise effective. The plot eventually spins into thriller territory but shrewdly incorporates themes of parenting and self-confidence. Cypress’ prose throughout is colorful: a crowd getting into ‘a ginormous frenzy’ and Ellie walking ‘in a fog of convoluted memories and migraine medicine.’ Well-defined characters in a zigzagging medical tale rife with surprises.” —Kirkus

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CHAPTER ONE: ELLIE

3:09 p.m. | JUNE 3RD

The little girl looked like someone had taken her to the butcher shop and ground her face into hamburger. One of her pigtails was crooked, making her scars appear even less symmetrical. She looked up at me from where she was coloring in a book on the coffee table. Her crayon broke.

“That’s quite a grip you’ve got there.” I crouched down and gazed into her dark brown eyes. “Could I color too?” She hesitated. “Please?”

When she pushed the box of crayons over, I gave her my electric smile.

“Ellie.” Mom’s voice had the professional tone she always used around prospective clients. “I’m so glad you’re volunteering in the clinic today because I’d like you to meet Katie.”

“Nice to meet you.” With a contented sigh, I plopped my butt on the floor right next to Katie, and the little girl giggled. I selected a brown crayon the same shade as her skin. “Maybe you could give me some pointers?” I inspected Katie’s depiction of a princess attacking a dragon. “You look like you know what you’re doing.”

Katie smiled at the compliment, but her parents didn’t notice. They both sat in wooden chairs in front of Mom and Dad’s double-wide desk on the other side of the room from where Katie and I colored. Katie’s father clutched a brochure with an iron grip. His wife stared at the wall of diplomas and medical degrees that dominated the room.

Mom smoothed her French twist. Her red hair was the same color as mine. “Ellie’s highly trained at counseling new patients and making them feel at home.”

“She’s the Narcosis Clinic’s version of a candy striper,” Dad added. “Aren’t you, sweetheart?”

“Yeah, except you never let me eat candy.” I pretended to scowl and leaned against Katie. “Does your dad let you eat sugar?” Katie froze at the contact. I rushed on. “My dad’s a dermatologist. That means a skin doctor. He thinks ice cream and candy are bad for my complexion.” I sat up straighter and did my best Dad impersonation. “‘Modern medical miracles are no substitute for proper nutrition.’”

My parents both chuckled, and then Katie’s parents laughed too—with the wheezing sound of people who had held their breath too long.

I chose a green crayon from the box. “You have no idea how many vegetables they make me eat.”

“I don’t have to eat vegetables,” Katie whispered. “I used to, before the raccoon, but now I can eat anything I want. Even ice cream for breakfast.”

The adults stopped laughing, eyes trained on Katie.

I turned my body to shield her from view. “Ice cream for breakfast sounds delicious.” I shaded in the tail of her dragon. “If you come here, you won’t need to worry about breakfast for three months.”

“That’s what they told me.” Katie set her crayon down, forehead furrowed. “But I still don’t understand.”

“Want me to show you?” I glanced up to Mom, seeking her approval.

“That would be excellent.” Mom leaned back in her chair. “Ellie can show Katie what a narcosis room looks like while we go over the paperwork.”

“Come on, Katie.” I held out my hand. “Let’s go.”

Katie’s tiny fingers sweated in my palm as I led her into the hall, through the locked doors, down the glass staircase, and into the heart of the public lobby. Since the Narcosis Clinic was only a few blocks from the Space Needle, we often got tourists who wandered over from the Seattle Center curious to take a peek at the medical facility famous for making dreams come true.

A seven-minute documentary played on repeat in the foyer. “Narcosis rooms have been around since the 1960s when Dr. William Sargant first used them in London to treat depressed housewives. Despite the dutiful attention of Nightingale nurses, Dr. Sargant’s early experiments in narcosis sometimes caused death and insanity. Thanks to the pioneering work of Doctors Belinda and Warren Savage, narcosis is now safe. If you struggle with any of a variety of health issues, the Narcosis Clinic can help. Patients wake up three months later thinner, happier, and with smoother skin. And they don’t remember a single painful surgery.” I’d heard the spiel so many times it was seared into my mind. “Sleep for three months and make your problems go away. At the Narcosis Clinic, dreams really do come true.

“We don’t need to watch that,” I told Katie, hurrying her through the metal doors into the staged narcosis room that tourists viewed. “I’ve got something better to show you.” The scent of lavender greeted us, and light filtered in through clouded windows.

“It’s beautiful!” Katie skipped over to the brass bed piled high with silk cushions. When she turned to look at me, her maimed face gouged my heart. “Can I jump on the bed?”

“Of course you can; just let me move these sensors out of the way first.” I slid some tubing aside and made sure the machines housed in stainless steel boxes behind the bed were disconnected. It was real equipment even though it was just for show. “Go for it!”

Katie leaped into the center of the pillow-top mattress and vaulted herself like it was a trampoline. Squealing, she bounced up and down until the comforter tangled and all of the pillows fell onto the floor. When she finally collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, I pulled over one steel container with a small monitor sticking out the top.

“See this computer?” I flicked a switch on the side of the box and the monitor turned white. “It monitors patients while they sleep.” I pointed to a smaller box next to it that had headphones attached. “And that’s the computer for psychic-driving.”

Katie sat back up so she could see. “Like driving a car?”

“More like driving a brain. If a person comes in here feeling sad, my mom plays a psychic-driving tape that says, ‘I love my life. I am happy all the time.’ Or something like that. Then, when the patient wakes up, she’s all better.”

Katie wrinkled her scarred forehead. “What will the tape say for me?”

“I don’t know. What do you think it will say?”

Katie looked down at her hands. I hadn’t noticed before, but a chunk of flesh was missing from her left elbow. Mom could heal that too. In addition to being a psychiatrist, she was a plastic surgeon.

“Maybe the tapes would say something about the raccoon,” Katie whispered. “About how not all of them are bad and I don’t need to be afraid all the time.”

I swallowed hard. “Hold on a sec. Your pigtails are crooked.” I reached over and adjusted the offending hairdo. If only everything were so easy to fix. “Much better.” Katie’s smile made me glow inside. “Do you have nightmares?”

Katie nodded. “It’s hard to sleep. The other doctors said the only thing they could give me was medicine.”

“Well, those doctors don’t know everything. My parents are brilliant.”

“Really?” Katie looked up at me under a fringe of long eyelashes.

“I promise you and your beautiful eyes that you’ve come to the right place.”

Another smile burst across Katie’s face even as her brown eyes welled with tears. “Nobody says that word about me anymore.”

My eyes became wet too, especially after I kissed Katie on her hamburger cheek. “Don’t worry, Princess Katie. Three months from now, everyone will say that you’re beautiful.”

A couple of hours later, my parents and I were upstairs in our residence making an early dinner. “You’re remarkable,” Mom said to me as she stood at the kitchen counter grating carrots for a salad. She’d traded her heels for slippers and wore an apron that said “Surgeons know how to slice.” “You’re so poised and helpful. Every day you make your father and me proud.”

I flushed at the praise and took down some plates so that I could set the table.

“No, really.” Mom dumped the veggies into a bowl. “The way you handled that patient today was exceptional. By the time you brought Katie back into the room, she was begging her parents to sign the papers.”

“I can’t believe they were nervous in the first place.” Dad adjusted the burner, where he pan-fried salmon. “If Katie were my daughter, there’d be no way I’d let her live like that. Ninety days of treatment will fix everything.”

“Now, Warren, let’s not judge.” Mom rinsed lettuce over the sink. “Subjecting your child to elective surgery is scary.”

I shook out the placemats. “I don’t think reconstructing Katie’s face counts as elective.”

Dad nodded in agreement.

“And I hope they killed that raccoon.”

“Ellie!” Mom chided me.

“You can’t honestly hope the raccoon is still alive?” I set three plates on the kitchen table then sat in my usual chair.

“The only thing we can control is what happens inside the clinic.”

“Always the objective scientist.” Dad kissed Mom on the top of her head on his way to bringing the salmon to the table.

“I can’t help what I can’t help.” Mom took off her apron and hung it on her chair before sitting down. “So I don’t bother worrying about what’s beyond my control.” She picked up her napkin and placed it on her lap. “Speaking of which…”

I stared at my empty plate. “I’m not sure what I want to do.”

“We could still send you to camp this summer like you told your friends you’d be doing.” Dad broke off a piece of fillet and slid it on my dish before serving Mom and himself.

“Archery and canoeing sound like a blast,” I said sarcastically.

Dad shrugged. “Starting another round of narcosis is entirely your decision.”

“I’d psychic-drive all the AP prep directly into your head,” Mom said with a tempting tone. “Wouldn’t that make senior year easy? But there’s nothing wrong with studying the old-fashioned way too. We could send you to camp with flashcards instead.”

“The school bit would be a nice bonus, but that’s not the reason I would do narcosis.”

Dad set down his wine glass. “Your nightmares might go away with time.”

“I’ll find you a new therapist,” Mom offered, “to help you with your phobia.”

“But what about my lost memories?” I accidentally dropped my fork, and it clattered to the table. “How would I get those back?”

“Even with narcosis, there’s no guarantee,” said Mom. “Retrograde amnesia is hard to cure.”

“But you said if my brain can rest and feel safe for three months, there’s a good chance my memories will come back on their own.”

“Maybe.” Dad twisted his napkin. “We never should have sent you to boarding school. I wish I knew what happened that is making your brain forget.”

“At least I came back speaking French.”

“Not worth it.” Mom’s voice shook. “I’ll never forgive myself.

“Me either,” said Dad.

I hated when they beat themselves up like that. “Guys, it wasn’t your fault. Dad didn’t go wacko when he went to Remington Prep.”

“Don’t say that!” Mom slapped the table. “Not only is it politically incorrect, you’re doing great now. When your brain is ready to remember, it will. Another summer of narcosis might help you remember faster, but I can’t make any promises. That’s why this is your decision.” Mom took my hand in hers.

“Thanks, Mom.” I squeezed her hand. “I think I want to go for it, but I’ll let you know in the morning for sure.” I looked at Dad. “Okay?”

He reached for my other hand. “Absolutely.”

Chapter originally posted on Owl Hollow Press’s Website

About the Author

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. You can find Jennifer on her website: http://JenniferBardsley.net or on her Facebook page: The YA Gal. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives in Edmonds, WA with her husband and two children.

Click here to subscribe to The YA Gal’s newsletter.

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Giveaway

2 lucky winners will win a finished copy of NARCOISIS ROOM, US Only.

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

2/18/2019- The Page Unbound– Excerpt

2/19/2019- Simply Daniel Radcliffe– Review

2/20/2019- K.L. Knovitzke – Author– Excerpt

2/21/2019- What A Nerd Girl Says– Review

2/22/2019- Lauren is Reading– Review

Week Two:

2/25/2019- Novel Novice– Excerpt

2/26/2019- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

2/27/2019- Kelly P’s Blog– Excerpt

2/28/2019- Character Madness and Musings– Spotlight

3/1/2019- BookHounds YA– Excerpt

Birth

Birth
By Donna Russo Morin
(Once, Upon a New Time, #1)
Publication date: February 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis

New worlds don’t appear. They are born from the labor of those who envision them.

Count Witon has grown weary of the constant war between the races. Together with his wife Belamay, and Persky – first of a rare Human / Elf breed – Witon plans to create a new society: a utopia for anyone who longs for peaceful coexistence.

They recruit pilgrims from every city and species; most to success, some to failure. Together, they set off to a small, yet promising island, found by chance in the middle of the churning ocean.

But the journey there is fraught with challenges, and none of them is as dire as the one they face once they reach their destination. Will they have the strength and determination to give Birth to this New Time?

Once, Upon A New Time is a medieval fantasy with a double-edged sword: one of blood, the other of lust.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43697032-birth?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase
Amazon

Excerpt

The explosion screeched through his ears and he brought his cupped hands up to shield them. His hands quivered against the cold flesh of his skull. He cracked open sleep-swollen eyes but saw no cabin, no floor or walls. He saw instead only chaos, a battlefield where creatures of every sort ran hither and yon, heedless of any purposeful direction. His nostrils flared against the stench of burning flesh, fur, and hair. Shrieking, sobbing, and the twang of launching arrows filled the hollows between cannon blasts. He turned and there, a decapitated Troll… a screaming, legless Goblin… an eviscerated Elf.

Witon squeezed his eyelids shut, rubbing them with balled fists. He brought his hands down, unfurling them, staring at the sticky, moist blood staining them dark and ruddy brown.

“No.” He shook his muddled head, mumbling to himself. “No. The wars are over for me.”

The bloodstain marks faded and vanished, an unwanted, unbidden phantom of his previous life.

The second explosion burst upon his ears at the same moment he tumbled from his hammock, a hammock designed to sway with the rolling of the ship. Witon smashed his head on the floor just as he heard the cry of his name from someone up on deck, the panic clear in the strained voice. He sat up, trying to shake some sense into his befuddled and bruised brain. The blinding whiteness of lightning stung his eyes as the crash of deafening thunder plundered his ears.

“Storm.” He spoke aloud the accursed word.

Witon jumped up, almost cracking his head once more on the low ceiling. He rushed from the cabin, tripping on the scattered items tossed to the floor, but gained his balance before he fell again.

The hallway was short and the stairs few, but it felt like miles before he reached the upper deck. Witon’s body flayed back and forth against the passageway’s close walls. Between blasts of thunder, desperate shouts of the crew mingled with the passenger’s fearful cries.

Witon’s head poked above deck, his skin immediately stung by the brutal, wind-driven rain, his eyes almost closing against the onslaught. His brother and Persky besieged him.

“It came upon us in a flash! We couldn’t prepare!” Mitren screamed over the roar of thunder and the blasting wind.

“We’re taking on water. The crew can’t seem to keep up with it!” Persky cried, choking on the deluge of rain rushing into his open mouth. His pale green eyes bulged from his small head and his ashen green skin had turned a sickly yellow.

Witon scanned the terrifying scene. It was morning, he knew it for a certainty. If the sun showed its face, it would be over the horizon, but it hid behind a veil of darkness, a dark beyond dark. Black clouds filled the entire sky, turning it to a low-hanging, ominous roof. The rain poured out, the water hanging from the bottom of the clouds, a wall of liquid crashing down upon them. All around him, every manner of creature held fast to whatever they could grasp. The boat rocked tumultuously. It took every ounce of strength not to topple over and out of the vessel.

Witon looked up. The crew had managed to pull in the sails but couldn’t batten them down. They flapped in the wind from the bottom of the masts like white ghosts hovering just above the deck of the ship.

Witon looked to the side and sucked in his breath—as well as the water streaming down his face—so fast, he spluttered and coughed.

The ocean came to life, alive and angry. The waves rushed at them, one right after the other, many feet above the ship’s ten-foot sides from waterline to railing. The raging, surging sea pummeled every being on board, again and again, as it crashed over the sides.

“What do we do, Witon, what do we do?” Mitren screamed.

Witon looked at his brother and saw his own stark fear reflected in the familiar eyes.

“Stay alive.”

About the Author

Donna Russo Morin is an award-winning historical fiction author. Donna has dabbled as a model and actor, working on Showtime’s Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Branching out with her storytelling skills, Donna is now a screenwriter. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Donna lives on the south shore of Rhode Island close to the ocean she loves so very much. She is the proud mother of two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Heart of the Oak: Review and Giveaway


HEART OF THE OAK
by
J.L. NOVINSKY

Genre: Children’s / Nature / Life Cycle Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 36 pages

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Heart of the Oak is a sweet story of the life of an old oak tree.   He’s old and weathered; his skin is rough and knotty.  But he has memories of joy, of love, and of tragedy.  He has endured many years and felt the sorrow of so much loss.  But his greatest joy is just ahead!  
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Praise for HEART OF THE OAK from Amazon reviewers!
“Such a great book with a heartfelt story!”
“My children and I LOVE this book. We had a wonderful and insightful conversation after we read it.”

Heart of the Oak is such a sweet story. As a special ed teacher, I’m always looking for good books that can be used for a wide range of teaching. This book has so much I could use. I love it because it tells the life cycle of a tree. It’s also a book about friendship and love, nurturing, and caring. The tree loves the boy that comes to see him, and remembers the moments they shared together. The tree also vows to protect the man and the boy. 

I love it because we don’t really think about all the years trees have. They live such a long time and so much can happen to them in those years. I love how the book is about the life of a tree, of his memories, and the pain and joy he had felt. 

I love the word usage in the book. It’s definitely a book that’s for families, for children and adults. The vocabulary in this is a little advance for children, but it can definitely be a good book to teach children new words!

What a heart warming story and a great one to share with others!


J.L. (Joan) Novinsky was born just outside of Chicago, but she got to Texas as fast as she could! Joan started college at age 55, and while taking a Creative Writing class, she wrote her first story, Heart of the Oak. Joan has now written a second children’s book, Horace and Giselle, available for on-line purchase January 2019. She was married to Bob in 1992, had a son, Stephen, in 1998, then in 2001, she and her husband took on the challenge and excitement of adopting a boy from St. Petersburg, Russia. Andrei joined the family in 2002, and the family resides just north of Dallas with their various and numerous pets.

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
1/3/19
Book Trailer
1/4/19
Review
1/5/19
Review
1/6/19
Guest Post
1/7/19
Review
1/8/19
Sneak Peek
1/9/19
Character Interview
1/10/19
Review
1/11/19
Notable Quotable
1/12/19
Review

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Paper Bag Mask Review

Rating:
Paper Bag Mask

By Brock Heasley

Publisher Pen Name Publishing

Published October 23rd

Pages 252



At the same moment he catches his teacher giving illegal drugs to a student, Redmond Fairweather loses his friggin’ mind and steals Mr. Street’s prized possession—a stupid wooden sword with round edges that will never, ever cut through anything—“The Whomper.”

Redmond has no idea why he stole the Whomper. He guesses his extreme dislike (okay, hate… so much hate) of the school’s most popular teacher probably has something to do with it. To his surprise and delight, the hottest girl in school, Elodia Cruz, hates him too.

Soon, Redmond’s small band of misfit friends joins up with Elodia and the most popular kids on campus to hold the Whomper for ransom, pull off an elaborate, broad daylight heist to steal something even bigger from Mr. Street, and expose their teacher for the scumbag he really is.

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Review

There’s so many things that go into a book to make it special. The characters. The plotline. The meaning. As a reader, I always want to somehow predict the outcome. It can be frustrating, especially if I’m right. I wasn’t in this case which just made the experience better. Paper Bag Mask has this sense of ‘chaotic good’ energy that can make a reader, such as myself, stay up to early hours of the morning reading because it honestly can’t be put down.

There’s just so much to say about this book. I’ll try to not create a jumbled mess of a review for you readers. First and foremost, I wanted to somehow reach into the virtual pages of this book and smack Redmond over the head. Not in a vicious way. It’s much like watching a puppy destroy your prized sneakers. It’s cute? But also, whyyyyyyy puppy?! Redmond is the puppy if that wasn’t super clear.

The adults in this book had me so frustrated and confused. Mainly by their odd and somewhat illegal behavior (for future readers, it’ll be what happens to Deep). However this book is so clever in it’s writing. While I won’t claim to be the expert, it has a series of internal and external voices that emerge throughout the plot. Redmond is our main character, driven by motivations that he doesn’t quite realize or won’t admit. However, throughout the book, other voices emerge such as the popular Elodia, Alice, and Mr. Street. Then you have your narrator, which can sound eerily similar to Redmond, perhaps an older version that is telling us the story. Or perhaps an altered version of the Author. Either way, the narrator can be unreliable at times and will purposely mislead you. Or maybe it was just me. The point being is you’ll be able to read the lines between the lines and discover subtle stories that the reader can and will discover. (The sentence makes more sense in my head.) Even the often hilarious asterisks placed throughout the story add an extra mixture to this memorable book. Not to mention the great art! I can easily see why this book has become so popular. Brock Heasley has a great sense of humor that can be lighthearted and dark without bringing the pacing down. It reminded me a bit of Rick Riordan’s talent of writing humor into intense scenes.

So I’ve mentioned the clever writing. Let’s talk about the characters. Each of them are interesting, are flawed, and unbearably realistic teenagers. I wasn’t too keen on teenagers even when I was one. Mainly because they can be mean, erratic, and easily say harsh things without the repercussions. Actually, that’s a complete lie and generalization that doesn’t pertain to an age group. Instead, we have Elodia, who is a popular girl and completely aware of her status and how it affects others. We also have ‘actual’ Elodia, who despite being popular, considers herself to only have one friend. She’s smart and stands up for people. She sees Red’s potential for more and is forgiving despite many things going wrong.

Alice, a girl that immediately recognized the kindness in Redmond but also the flaws. She’s creative and confident in who she is. Except when she isn’t. She’s loyal, even if that means not always standing by her friends. In short, Heasley does a great job writing characters. I was never waiting to get through a scene or to the next chapter. It was great just reading in the moment and having a laugh.

I tend to perceive an overall meaning in a book. It helps tie up my thoughts about it and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. What I took from Paper Bag Mask was forgiveness. Not just forgiveness from people that apologize but the ones that don’t. The people or events that just happen and there’s really no way to make it the way it was. Everything and everyone changes and we can get lost in the shuffle. We can feel we’re alone or invisible. Redmond calls himself invisible in the very beginning and I easily have felt that way as well. It’s forgiving the little things that get to us and can build up over time. Mistakes that we make and are made against us. Maybe not everything has to have a meaning. Not every book. But I enjoyed what Paper Bag Mask offered and I know many other readers will too.



Brock Heasley is a writer and artist who, to the shock of absolutely no one visiting this site, was a member of such prestigious high school organizations as “The Nerd Herd,” “Last Picked for Teams,” and “They Who Eat Alone.” He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, the creator of the online comic The SuperFogeys, and the award-winning filmmaker behind The Shift.

Brock lives with his wife and three daughters in California where they enjoy Pixar movies, dancing in the living room, and eating breakfast for dinner.

  




12/17 YA/NA Book Divas Excerpt
12/17 Just Books Guest Post
12/18 The Page Unbound Review
12/19 All the Ups and Downs Interview
12/19 Blunt Book Blog Review/Excerpt
12/20 Unbound Book Tours Interview
12/20 Rebecca R. Cahill Guest Post
12/21 Oh Hey! Books. Guest Post


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Covey Jencks: Excerpt and Giveaway

COVEY JENCKS
by
SHELTON L. WILLIAMS
Narrated by Kathy James
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Publisher: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229 pages
Audio Book Length: 6 hours, 38 minutesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey, and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 
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PRAISE FOR COVEY JENCKS:
 
Williams seamlessly braids a murder mystery with a love story and a drama about the pervasiveness of racism in the South… The author’s prose is buoyantly eccentric, both insightful and self-effacingly humorous. And the clues Covey and JayJay track down are meted out to readers with impressive judiciousness: The author never prematurely surrenders so much information that the conclusion is rendered foregone while the tale’s swift pace prevents it from becoming tedious. An engrossing crime drama that’s both entertaining and provocative. — Kirkus Indie

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 68 OF
COVEY JENCKS
BY SHELTON WILLIAMS

(JayJay speaking)

Freddie said it best. “Men always leave.” They die. They take off for younger women. They get run out of town. They turn to drink. Best to stay away, keep uninvolved. Black or white, it doesn’t matter. At an early age, I made a pledge to myself: Never again will I get married. Never again will I depend on a man.

So, how did this happen? How did I end up not only loving this guy but trusting his judgment about life and death? All my instincts say to be cautious, protect myself, but all my thoughts turn to how to protect us against killers and racists. “The course of true love never did run smooth,” Shakespeare said. If we die, maybe our story will inspire a play or at least a country and western song.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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My first part time job while I was in high school was announcing at the local radio station, and I had fun being “on the air” and using my sarcastic sense of humor.  I worked in the radio business for more than twenty years. My favorite pastimes are teaching figure skating, getting lost in a great book, and watching movies.  I narrate and produce audio books in my home studio, and I truly enjoy bringing an author’s characters to life with an audio book. I currently reside in Minnesota with my slightly overweight cat and two childlike golden retrievers.  
 
 
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(U.S. Only)
 
 
 
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
11/27/18
Review
11/27/18
Excerpt
11/28/18
Audio Review
11/29/18
Guest Post
11/29/18
Playlist
11/30/18
Audio Review
12/1/18
Author Interview
12/1/18
Character Interview
12/2/18
Review
12/2/18
Scrapbook Page
12/3/18
Review
12/4/18
Audio Review
12/5/18
Excerpt
12/6/18
Audio Review
12/6/18
Review
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Story Bends Review

 
Story Bends
Published October 9th
 
What if your only escape from death was to meet it half way?

 

If the voices called on YOU…

 

Needed YOU…

 

 

Brought YOU in between the Bends of time where all faith is lost to those who wait. Your etchings hold the secrets to guide them on their way. Yet, there will be no safe passage if evil finds you first and you have no toll to pay.

 

 

Soul Bends is one of the most explorative books I’ve read. It reaches beyond normal writing with poetic descriptions that can leave you dizzy. Frequently I would get lost in this book. Not only by the story but by the writing style. It was interesting in many ways. At times, it read like pure poetry. Even the day to day events of Edward were filtered with unusual and quirky words to enjoy.

It follows Edward Story, a boy that is living his second life. That is to say, when unfortunate circumstances as a child meant crossing over, he got a second chance. Except remembering and comprehending are different things. Where Edward drifts between the wakeful and dreaming, consciousness is a mystery. He struggles with the in between, The Bend, that once claimed him. There he meets others lost and trapped in their circumstance, not much different from him. Except he is. He can move from there to here; and with his journal no less. Maybe he is their answer. Maybe they are his.

 

Truly this is a wonderful journey into self discovery and coping with our own broken parts. It is an inspiring read that challenges not just your own perspective but sense of usual reading. This book will frustrate you, delight you, and give you a unique reading experience. Most definitely recommend it to all.

Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book!

 

I began making my first connections to story in the early days of my childhood. Raised by my mother who ran an in-home daycare was where my imagination could run free and unencumbered. It was a safe zone and I learned from that experience the power of unconditional love.But my story wasn’t always filled with happy ever afters, and I came to understand that there are some sorrows and trauma that are part of all of us. As love and joy are universal, so is pain and suffering. Through the magic and alchemy of story, we can reach farther and heal our wounds.

I started my teaching career nearly 20 years ago and knew from the moment I began that this was my true calling. Teaching was in my bones and so, naturally was the little nip of my conscience for storytelling. I work to build strong, long-lasting relationships with my students. In fact, I began on this path toward a writing career because of the imprint they’ve had on my spirit. What I didn’t know was what the Muse had in store for me as the children I still come into contact with today continue to inspire the stories I write.
My greatest loves are exploring nature and spending time with family and friends. Whether I’m splashing it up on the local reservoirs, rafting down the Poudre River with my husband, two boys, and our dog Sophie, or shaping young minds in my classroom, I consider myself lucky to call Fort Collins, Colorado my home.

 

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11/12 . A Striking Viper, Caught in a Web Interview
11/12 Book Inspector Guest Post
11/13 . Just Books Excerpt
11/13 . All the Ups and Downs . Interview
11/14 . YA/NA Book Divas . Excerpt
11/14 . Blunt Book Blog . Review
11/15 . The Faerie Review . Audio Excerpt
11/15 . The Page Unbound Review
11/16 . Rebecca Cahill . Guest Post
11/16 . Jennifer Reads . Review
11/16 . The World of My Imagination . Review

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Toxic

Toxic

By Lydia Kang

Genre: YA Scifi

Release date: November 6th 2018

Entangled Teen

Book Summary

Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned—one girl has been left behind.

Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.

When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive—unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.

 

Purchase links available HERE!

 

About the Author

Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

Author Links 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

A signed copy of TOXIC plus a swag bag, including enamel pin, signed print of a hand painted TOXIC artwork, bookmarks, and signed book plates. Open in US only (a $20 Amazon e-gift card will be substituted for an international winner)

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The Big Inch Review

THE BIG INCH

Misfits and Millionaires #1

By KIMBERLY FISH

Narrated by Sydney Young

Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance / WWII Spies 

Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing

Date of Publication: August 1, 2018

Length: 10 hours, 22 minutes

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Fans of Pam Jenoff, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Kate Quinn will want to read the first book in a sparkling WWII historical fiction series, The Big Inch. Lane Mercer is a spy recovering from a disastrous mission in France when she’s assigned to protect the interests of the new federal project sending American oil to the Allies. Thrown into the high-stakes world of Texas oilmen, she’s inventing maneuvers on the fly to outwit would be counter-intelligence and Fascist sympathizers. Complicating her mission is a handsome con-artist who manages to be under her feet at the most inopportune times. Trapped between trusting her gut or trusting her informers, Lane has to learn to navigate a town that is laced with more intrigue than she’d ever have guessed, and she soon discovers that the life she might have to save. . .is her own.

Kimberly Fish’s well-researched writing drops readers into the colorful world of the American home front known so well to those who lived alongside the Greatest Generation. Buy The Big Inch today to begin this exciting first novel in a WWII series set in Texas.

PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH: 

“Narrator Makes Book Exciting!” 

 5 Stars Review on Audible

“Kimberly Fish’s writing style snatched me out of my easy chair.” 

— Vickie Phelps, author of Moved, Left No Address

“Kimberly Fish has a gift for combining conflict, emotion, and characterization to create a compelling story.” 

— Louis Gouge, author of Love Inspired Historical Four Star Ranch series

CLICK TO PURCHASE

 Amazon  Audible 

The Big Inch packs a wallop of brilliant lines and inspiring women.

“You think you’re the only one who knows failure? For every three steps we take forward, two are covered in shit. If you can’t handle the unpredictable nature of this work, maybe you don’t need to be in Theo’s agency after all.” – Tesco to Lane

Kimberly Fish broaches upon so many wonderful emotions and topics throughout this book, all while giving us an intricate puzzle of mysteries Lane must enfold. Lane is driven by her guilt, frustration, and dreams she hasn’t fully discovered for herself. The pure and unashamed brilliance of her characters are amazing. I can’t help but think from a writers perspective and how massive this book is. Not all in pages, don’t worry readers. It’s in the mystery, in all of the individual and distinct characters. How their backstory and motivations can shine through in the first bits of dialogue.

The narrator, Sydney Young, helps with this too. Lane’s wit flies off the ‘pages’, especially combined with the narrators exuberant characteristic imagination. She captures each voice with it’s own distinct flavor. Showing us her versatility in the sometimes comically energized characters to the stubborn business men. I have to give her props for bouncing between the twang, the drawl, and the high pitched voice of Minnie all in a span of a few minutes at times.

The skips and breaks moved the story along at an even pace that kept me interested. As both a reader and listener of audiobooks, I connect mainly in the internal struggle of the characters. It’s what has always inspired me to write as well. Lane has plenty of external forces forcing her out of a comfort zone she’s strategically created and putting her in danger a time or two. Inside, she’s a mess. To put it bluntly. It seems like tragedy has become a pervasive shadow that follows her. With the harsh history of her mother, the loss of a husband, and the traumatic events in Paris; Lane is one of the most complicated and interesting characters I’ve read. Her interactions with every character are intriguing and very well written. I’ve mentioned the differences of characters but it really is something I enjoyed. It wasn’t overwhelming to me but simply more and more fascinating to hear from Young’s narration. Suffice to say, I’ve kept this vague as to not spoil the several big and small surprises in this book. I personally couldn’t guess most of them correctly. Which was aggravating because I’m usually very good at that…

The Big Inch had a cinematic quality as well. Lets get going Hulu or Netflix. Chop Chop. I’d like my ‘strong women spy/romance thriller’ yesterday please and thank you.

There’s not many downsides to this book. Especially to a reader that enjoys this genre. While it’s not my first choice, I obviously enjoyed it quite a bit. It had a great sense of balanced writing to keep you entertained. Young also is very talented in narrating and I could hear her potential for improving as well. The only thing that was an issue were the pauses she tended to take. At some points, it was to create tension or the meaning, but others seemed random at times. Still, after a few chapters, it was easy to acclimate to it. This book can be enjoyed in different ways. When I wasn’t able to use headphones, I tended to simply grab the book and start reading. This made it more intriguing as I was able to picture the characters in new ways and also read the action scenes how I like. Young’s narration also brings you steadily through the beginning of the book, which starts a bit slow before picking up. By being able to listen to it, it was easy to remain interested throughout the introductions and buildup.

All in all, this was some well-research and impressive writing. I’d recommend it to those that love mysteries, period dramas, strong women characters, and historical fiction. Or just anyone that likes reading. You know who you are.

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for almost 30 years. In the course of research for the Longview Chamber of Commerce 100-year compilation, she stumbled across a 1940s federal works project that was too good, too war-winning, not to be retold to modern audience. In 2017, she released The Big Inch, her first WWII spy thriller detailing the crazy, big pipeline project that fueled the Allies to a win in Europe. The Big Inch has also been released as an audio download on Audible. That eye-opening novel was so consumed by readers, she quickly followed it with a second WWII spy thriller set in Longview, Harmon General. Both of these novels will be helpful to her work with the City of Longview’s 150th birthday celebrations which begin in January of 2020. Comfort Plans, a contemporary novel also set in Texas, continues her love of history by weaving old letters into the renovation of an iconic Hill Country farmhouse. 

Kimberly enjoys speaking on the value of weaving history and nostalgia into our plans as we grow our communities for the future. 

 ║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter ║ Instagram║ Goodreads ║

║ Pinterest ║ Amazon Author Page ║  

Sydney Young is a lawyer, award-winning writer and audio book narrator from the Lone Star State. Her next theatrical project will be directing “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE,” for the Paris Community Theatre stage (Feb. 2019), while her novel “I AM HOUSTON,” is being submitted for publication by the Loiacono Literary Agency. Sydney has long been a reading advocate, including with her readings to an adopted second grade class each year. She loved voicing THE BIG INCH for all of its authentic Texas voices and true characters, all while she learned the history of the East Texas oil effort for World War II.  Visit Sydney’s website for more information on her writings, theatre, and audio books.

║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Instagram ║ Twitter ║



————————————-
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ONE WINNER!
Choice of Audio or Signed Print Copy of The Big Inch
+ $25 Amazon Gift Card + a WWII Themed Surprise Gift!
NOVEMBER 5-12, 2018
(U.S. Only)

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/5/18

Joint Guest Post

Nerd Narration

11/6/18

Audio Book Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

11/7/18

Audio Book Review

Tangled in Text

11/8/18

Narrator Interview

StoreyBook Reviews

11/9/18

Audio Book Review

The Book Review

11/10/18

Audio Book Review

The Page Unbound

11/11/18

Guest Post

Momma on the Rocks

11/12/18

Audio Book Review

Kelly Well Read

11/12/18

Audio Book Review

Forgotten Winds

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Painless Promo

Painless
Marty Thornley
Publication date: January 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Horror, Psychological Thriller

 

About the Book

The debut psychological-horror novel from author Marty Thornley is a page-turning ride, a front row seat to a clinical trial gone horribly wrong.

For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.

Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life’s obsession.

What readers are saying…

“…most definitely a recommended read, though it’s probably not the best choice for those with a weak stomach.”

Gruesome and twisted. Awesome!!!”

“OMG this book. Holy heck the gruesome descriptions of blood and gore and guts was SO RAD. I found myself cringing and fidgeting and yes, even feeling a bit nauseous in some spots – but totally in a GOOD WAY! Painless was exactly what I wanted in a super-unique, creepy, shocking horror-thriller.”

Goodreads / Amazon

Excerpt

Streams of smoke and steam rise into the sky from the burnt underside of a car, wrecked and resting on its roof. The heat of the engine and exhaust distorts the air above, and the metal crackles as it cools in the breeze of early morning.

1965 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. Black. It still has that new-car shine. Even with the wreckage of the crash, it is evident the car was cleaned and cared for. The tires, still spinning, slowly come to a stop.

A small hand reaches from the broken back window. A boy drags himself carefully out of the twisted, broken door. Blood drips from his scalp, down his face and onto his suit—disheveled from the crash but cleaned and ironed just a couple of hours ago.

He stands and, though only seven-years-old, stumbles and braces himself against the car like a drunk who just pulled himself out of his own wreck. For a moment he looks out into the distance.

It is quiet here.

The pine trees lining this lonely stretch of road are swayed by an almost silent wind. Behind the seemingly endless forest, snow-capped mountains stand indifferently.

A woman moans in pain.

The boy moves forward, making his way around the back of the car, bracing himself on the tail light, the license plate, the bumper. He rounds the corner to the driver’s side. A woman’s head and arms hang out of the driver’s window. A pool of blood spreads around her.

“Mama?”

She tries to smile. Blood drips from her lips.

“Does it hurt?”

She reaches for the back of her neck. “I can’t… get it…” Her fingers grasp a shard of metal that has pierced her spine. “Agh!”

The boy moves aside her hair, exposing an angled fragment of chrome window trim—embedded deep in her neck, its bent and twisted length shooting through a ragged and bleeding gash of skin. As his fingers brush against the shiny protrusion, she closes her eyes and clamps her mouth shut—refusing the pain and stifling a scream.

“I… need… you to… pull it…”

The boy tugs. The metal moves.

“AHHHHHHHH!”

The boy hesitates.

“PULL IT!”

He tugs again. The chrome spike slides out of her neck. Blood splashes off the end and splatters his face.

A serene calm washes over Mama’s face.

“Thank you, baby. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

“It doesn’t?”

Mama smiles. Her hand reaches up, wiping the blood from her son’s face with her thumb.

The boy smiles back.

Mama’s hand goes limp and drops away. Mama’s eyes gloss over.

“Mama?”

Mama is dead.

A drop of crimson pools at the tip of the sharp and twisted chrome, still held tightly in his fingers, finally building the critical mass to drip down into the dirt between his feet.

The boy stares down. Cold and calculating.

About the Author

Marty started writing short stories as a teenager, inspired as much by favorite books and movies as the environment and characters that define the South Shore of Massachusetts. The pull of the movies dragged him first to film school and finally to Los Angeles, where he poked at the outskirts of the industry with screenplays and short films.

As his interest in a film career fizzled, he rebuilt himself bit-by-bit as a programmer. He spent the next decade building websites, finally realizing that something had been lost. His stories were collecting dust in the back of his brain while he sat through conference calls and code reviews.

So he returned to the woods of New England and the calming darkness under the trees. He returned to find the things that crawl in the undergrowth and turn them into words on the page. He dusted off one of his screenplays and turned it into his first novel. In the process, a dormant storyteller was awakened and is now seeking the next blank page to fill.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Lake Effect Review

Lake Effect
By Nicole Tone

Publisher Pen Name Publishing
Published September 25th
Pages 308

After the death of her fiance, Sophie Daniels is struggling to keep herself together. Painting is the only way she’s able to clear her head and stay grounded. For her art isn’t a hobby — it’s her religion. With a semester away from finishing graduate school, she knows that, despite her loss, things are going to get better. In fact, her thesis advisor has even taken a special interest in her. Sophie’s convinced that she’s found the mentor that she’s been looking for. When he shows he’s interested in her in more than just a student/teacher way, she obliges him. Until his wife leaves him.
 
Sophie learns the hard way what happens when a man cannot take responsibility for his own actions.
 
Now she’s back to square one in pulling herself back together. She hasn’t just lost her fiancé anymore: she’s lost parts of herself she’s not sure she’ll ever get back.
 
Like her ability to create.
Lake Effect is a raw exploration of human emotion and what it takes to save your own life.
 

Purchase through Amazon

 

Lake Effect was like a concentrated ball of heavy emotion that I couldn’t put down. I may be different from Sophie in many ways but our similarities hit close to home several times. Life is complicated enough getting by in our responsibilities but the struggle of friendship, relationships, money, grief…seems all consuming to the point where time flies by. Similarly, Lake Effect moves quickly through Sophie’s life and her grief. It’s the expectations that weigh on her. The ones from her worrying friend, blunt co-worker, obsessive professor. Herself. When is she expected to move on? How? Why does she need to?

A phone call changed her life and now causes her instant trepidation when she hears the phone ring and like that call, she ignores it until she can face it later. With these actions in life, she has to face the same painful realizations that she can no longer ignore.

I’m keeping this vague for a reason because Lake Effect is all about emotion. About the abstract. Beneath the written lines and twisted throughout her story, are meanings that I’m sure will unfold for everyone differently. That’s the point and why I enjoyed Lake Effect so much. As a writer and artist, I was truly blown away and truly enjoyed this book. With a story that reaches so many sensitive topics, I had thought I’d be angry with the character and her choices, already waiting for the end result. However, that’s not the point. Sophie very well shows us herself. Once thinking only of the end result. Of a marriage. Of a happily ever after. It’s about how those sudden and unpredictable changes that turn our life around can’t be ignored. Can’t be rushed. But finding herself again, her voice, her own muse is a journey that can’t be followed. It must be lead on your own.

Nicole Tone has always had a passion for writing. She has her BA in Creative Writing and Literature and an MFA in Writing. Nicole is a freelance writer and editor with pieces in Heels Down Magazine, Hello Giggles, Femsplain, and more. She is also the editor-in-chief of Pen Name Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she likes to dabble in photography, horseback riding, and traveling. She has a deep love for herbal tea, craft beer, and good coffee.
Nicole lives in Buffalo, NY, with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs.

10/22 A Striking Viper Author Interview

10/22 Unbound Book Tours Promo

10/23 Where Genres Collide Excerpt

10/23 Rebecca R. Cahill Promo

10/24 The Faerie Review Review

10/24 The Page Unbound Review

10/25 All the Ups and Downs Excerpt

10/25 Hall Ways Blog Author Interview

10/26 Rebecca R. Cahill Review

10/26 Books4Jessica Excerpt

One Signed Copy of Lake Effect +
A specialty Lake Effect candle made by Novelly Yours!

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