Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Book Blitz & Review ~ Shoes on the Stairs by Jan Steele

Shoes on the Stairs
Jan Steele
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: July 27th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Inspired by the many frustrations of parenthood and the ever-present fear of failure, SHOES ON THE STAIRS centers around a mother’s struggle to accept what she has left behind after her death. She takes the reader on a journey of both laughter and tears while learning even the smallest of gestures can make a significant and lasting impact.
Claire Blackwell can’t find that damn white light. Thanks to a mishap at an intersection, she’s dead and stuck somewhere between Heaven and what seems like Hell as she is forced to watch her husband and children unravel without her. While she struggles to find answers for her limbo state, her family begins to see her, offering what she believes, is a gift of second chances.
As she navigates through this new, untouchable world and the challenges it creates, she is forced to face some sad and potentially dangerous truths. Determined, she works to mend her relationship with her family, but her stubborn teenage son refuses to acknowledge her, and when tensions escalate with his long-time bully, her inability to control the physical world around her leaves her fearing for her family’s safety. With her time running out, she must find a way to save them before the progress she has made is lost and she fades from this world forever.

Amazing tale and definitely deserving of 5 stars! I truly loved this story and really felt the pain and sorrow that Claire was going through. Really a unique look at the after-life and what might happen if one does not go on but hangs around, yet still can't truly touch their family; however, Claire soon does start interacting with them and although she knows she can't "Be" with them she is with them in a sense and it's phenomenal how the author gives us this angle. This is my first book by Ms. Steele and I must say I am now a true fan and will be definitely getting more of her books. I would highly recommend this book if you're looking for a really deep, feel-good book.

Back in the kitchen, Brad stood at the counter, amused by something on his phone while he sipped his coffee.
“Did you see this on Facebook?” He turned his phone screen in my direction.
“I haven’t been on Facebook in ages. Too busy for that time-suck.”
But truthfully, it wasn’t the time that kept me away as much as it was the lives of my “friends”, which always sounded monumentally better than my own, that stopped me from scrolling through the pages. The job promotions; the endless pictures of exotic vacations; the perfect children doing perfect things; the perfect, perfect lives everyone seemed to live. Everything and everyone were perfect on Facebook, and although deep down I knew no one lived the utopian life they portrayed on social media, the braggery still ate at me and left holes of inadequacy and unhappiness.
“Bridget Radcliff just published a novel. Isn’t she a friend of yours?”
“What?” I glanced at Brad’s phone. Bridget’s post made its way to his page from a friend of a friend of a friend in the small, claustrophobic world of fake-believe.
“Looks like it made it onto Amazon’s bestseller list.”
“Wow, fantabulous,” I said without an ounce of energy in my voice. “Another smut novel makes it onto the bestseller list. And if you must know, she’s an acquaintance, not a friend.”
I didn’t know if it was really a smut novel, but I assumed it was only because I couldn’t imagine Bridget writing anything else. But this, I admit, was one of my flaws. I assumed a lot about everything. I assumed I’d marry a prince and become a princess. I assumed I knew everything there was to know at fifteen. I assumed I’d want sex every day for the rest of my life and my marriage to Brad would be like living inside a rainbow every day. I assumed I wouldn’t miss my career when I stayed home to raise the kids. I assumed my children would be the best at everything because I assumed I would be the best mother there ever was. But now, even with all I knew about assumptions, about how they are idealistic dreams I refused to prove wrong, I still gave them weight in my life. Why would assuming Bridget wrote something scandalous be any different?
A little jealousy bounced within me. Even with Bridget being a divorced mother of two, she somehow found the time to write a best-selling novel. And that picture of her on Brad’s phone, all trim and sunshiny-beautiful holding her book, lit a fuse in me, or maybe it was already lit but had met the nitroglycerine.
In any case, I was ready to explode. I moved to the sink and gazed out the window, counting slowly to ten, fully aware of the emptiness growing within me. Each person’s success reminded me of my own career as a teacher I’d willingly given up for this.

Author Bio:
Jan Steele grew up in the burbs of Chicago and after thirty-two years of shoveling snow, moved to San Diego with her husband and children. She has taught everything from Kindergarten through high school but found her passion for writing years later while living as an expat in Asia for four years. She is a contributing author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Miracles and More (2018), an MFA student at UC Riverside, and shares a blog with her sister-in-law. In addition to writing, she loves to travel, volunteer, watch college basketball and sunsets.
Inspired by the many frustrations of parenthood and the ever-present fear of failure, SHOES ON THE STAIRS centers around a mother’s struggle to accept what she has left behind after her death. She takes the reader on a journey of both laughter and tears while learning even the smallest of gestures can make a significant and lasting impact.


Trailer Feature & Giveaway ~ General's Daughter Series

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in a Net
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lifestyler Breanna Hayse strives to give her readers truth and
reality of the BDSM/Age-Play/Total Power and Erotic Exchange

am I?
a native Californian gone 'wild', and had the opportunity to travel
the globe and discover the world through the eyes of both a Marine
Intelligence specialist and a BDSM lifestyler. I left the service to
go into hospice nursing and grief counseling, eventually working as a
marriage and family therapist for those involved in alternative
lifestyle development. This experience has allowed me to gain unique
inspiration for my books and offer realistic plots and relatable

2004, my husband, John, and I joined forces to work with both
submissives and dominants- teaching, training, listening and loving.
Our goal was to take the mystery and fear out of the lifestyle and
mentor people in safe, consensual and healthy relationships.

first book, The Game Plan, was published in 2012 and opened the door
to the now-booming world of Age-Play literature. Since that time,
I've devoted my 'spare' time to writing, researching, community
involvement, and private and group pro bono counseling in deviant
behavior, alternative lifestyle, and addiction recovery.

was formally 'dungeon trained' as a Domme before discovering my
submissive side when I joined the service. My scenarios are pulled
primarily from either personal experience or observation, including
spending time in BDSM clubs as the safety/medical officer. My
multi-faceted background allows me to glean from many avenues and
give a unique and intelligent literary experience through elements of
fantasy and fiction. I also discuss the questions and psychology of
the lifestyle in a manner that is fun and informative, and based on
'the real deal.'

live with my husband, musician, and fellow-author, John Hayse, and
two border collies in southern California. We practice a 24/7 D&S
relationship with speckles of AP (and many trips to Build-A-Bear),
and happily spend every moment together that we can. My hobbies
include my puppies, hiding my vanilla salt-water taffy where John
can't find it, exotic art, collecting inspirational trinkets, and
developing my own paddle line. You can also see me as a featured
author/instructor in professional conference settings and as a
Sexpert for

the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Book Tour Grand Finale ~ Love's Remains by Jacqueline Simon Gunn

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Love's Remains
By Jacqueline Simon Gunn

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops

you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope that readers will find something of themselves, something relatable within each character that will offer insight into their own relationships and choices and/or the possibility to think about their relationships differently. So many people find themselves in difficult relationships, holding on when it’s painful, staying when they want to go, being pulled toward the wrong people, not loving those who love them. The answers to these questions are complicated and not the same for everyone. That’s why I chose a fictional format as opposed to non-fiction. Instead of telling readers what they should do or advising, I wanted to give them the opportunity to see various relationship situations in action and then show “why,” show the motivation for the characters’ actions. I hoped by revealing the psychology through the characters, readers would find their own answers upon reflection. But the book is filled with drama and tension and like any other fiction writer, I hope my readers will enjoy the story.

underneath the covers - Guest Post

What does Alex learn from moving on?

Sometimes when we love we give so much of ourselves that when the relationship isn’t working it’s very hard to let go; our sense of self is invested and embedded in the relationship. We create illusions and hold on to them to make staying make sense. We create narratives to excuse behavior towards us that makes us feel bad. . .

E-Romance News - Excerpt

I pulled her against me as we walked. We had taken our shoes off and were strolling along the edge of the ocean, the water washing in and out splashing against our feet. She loved the ocean at night, same as I do.

“Let’s go in,” she said.

“We are a little overdressed.” I raised my brow. She was always full of surprises. As self-conscious as she said she felt, she did things that reflected her freedom or her desire for it. Just like me. It was intoxicating to be with a woman who I didn’t feel like I’d be tied down by. Someone I could want to be with all the time, not feel like I had to be with.

Colorimetry - Guest Post

Do we love people forever?

Since Love’s Remains explores what’s left between two people after the relationship is gone, people have written in and asked me if I think we ever truly get over someone. Love’s Remains addresses this theme in both romantic and non-romantic relationships. So, for example, Will has an estranged relationship with his father and new issues arise for him in the context of this relationship. The story shows that although he barely talks to his dad, there are ‘remains’ of that relationship within him that affect him in ways that he might not have even realized until he’s confronted with the unresolved emotions. . .

Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s), story or the idea for the novel?

Jacqueline : Before I even begin writing a book, I usually have a vague sense of the story and the underlying themes I’d like to explore. When I actually start pounding the keyboard, I begin with the development of my main characters, holding the story in the back of my mind, but letting the characters sort of take over the direction. It’s like being a passenger. I’m there, but I’m not driving once we get going.

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

Why do we love, love stories?

If you think about any movie or book, even those that aren’t in the romance genre, there’s often a subplot that involves a romance or teases us with the possibility of one. When people come into therapy, no matter what the presenting complaint is, relationships inevitably become a central topic. . .

Paulette's Papers - Guest Post

Why do you usually write from multiple points of view?

Most of my fiction books have at least three points of view. I do this because I want to understand what’s motivating each character, and I want my readers to see that choices do not happen in a vacuum. Every decision made has an impact on those close to us and then those close to them and so on. In this way, there are always webs between groups of people even when the connections are not obvious and/or the relationships are remote. . .

I'm All About Books - Guest Post

What does the relationship between Alex and Cecilia reveal?

The unfolding of the friendship between Alex and Cecilia was unexpected. At first, Cecilia was meant to be a secondary character, but the deeper I got into the story the more fascinated I became with her psychological make-up, her background and her decisions. Her unpredictability had me captivated. . .

“You’ve ruined my life.”

“I thought we were waaaay past this.”

“That’s easy for you to say. I didn’t hurt you over and over and over.”

“I hurt myself by hurting you.” His face wore a look of compassion. I hated that look, because it reminded me that he was a good person, that he had tried over and over to apologize. He unwittingly brought out the part of me that I hated, and I projected that hate onto him, because it was easier to hate someone else than to hate myself. Tears poured out of my eyes. And he wrapped his arms around me, holding me as wept.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven't already...

Love's Remains

(Where You'll Land #2)

By Jacqueline Simon Gunn

Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 250 Pages

June 4th 2019

The second year of graduate school started out as a new beginning. I felt stronger. My heart had stitched itself up. I had finally healed enough on the inside to let love flourish once again. But an ever-present ex-boyfriend made the unresolved emotions between us impossible to ignore.

Then new complications emerged: Said ex-boyfriend began dating Cecilia, who just happened to be the ex-girlfriend of my new love interest. I should have hated her. I wanted to hate her. But, I have to admit, I liked her.

As the semester progressed, the tangled web between us deepened in ways I never could have anticipated, and it spread to those closest to us. We had the same classes, the same friends, the same interests. Then, of course, there were all the secrets, some of which could ruin the love I believed I wanted, I deserved.

Once again, I got pulled into the dizzying vortex of all that remained unfinished. And doubt crept in. Had I really healed enough to make myself vulnerable again? Had I made the right choices?

But the big question is: Can we ever really leave past relationships behind?

This is the second book in the Where You'll Land series, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Other Books in the Series

Where You'll Land
(Where You'll Land #1)
By Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 408 Pages
January 8th 2019

After a bad breakup, I packed up my life and moved to Miami to study for my doctorate in psychology. I made one promise to myself: Do not get romantically involved while I was in school. I needed to heal. And then Will Easton came into my life. He was warm and sweet and intelligent. And he got me. What I didn’t know was that Will was running from a tragedy of his own.

When you try to escape your past without confronting your emotions, you repeat those same past patterns over and over. And that’s just what happened to Will and me, along with a few others who got swept up into the storm that was our relationship. Then came the awful secret. The one that changed everything.

Sometimes the most painful relationships are the ones that help us grow into who we are and to find the love we had been searching for all along.

Which begs the question: Can we choose who we love?

About the Author

Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and writer. She has authored two non-fiction books, and co-authored two others. She has published many articles, both scholarly and mainstream, and currently works as a freelance writer. With her academic and clinical experience in psychology, Gunn is now writing psychological fiction. Her Close Enough to Kill series, explores the delicate line between passion and obsession, love and hate, and offers readers an elaborate look into the mind of a murderer.

In addition to her clinical work and writing, Gunn is an avid runner and reader. She is currently working on multiple writing projects, including three romance novels.

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Copy of Where You'll Land
  • A Kindle Copy of Love's Remains
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Card
Open to Kindle users
Ends July 31, 2019

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Cover Reveal ~ Limbonian - Vessel of Lost Souls: Book Two by Mikki Noble

Freebie Book Blitz ~ Seeds of Eden - The Concilium Series by A. P. Watson

Title: Seeds of Eden
Author: A.P. Watson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba
Model: Christine Klein
Editors: Tamara Beard and Beth Williams
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Visions of decapitated corpses, pools of blood, and a masked executioner have haunted Evey’s dreams for as long as she can remember. Torn between life in the waking world and dreams of the dead, she discovers her normal existence is nothing more than an illusion. As time passes, she is led to question the confines of her own sanity. What sins could she possibly have committed to warrant such a curse?

The answers Evey has longed for surface with the sudden arrival of a familiar stranger. Conrad’s mystifying appearances in her nightmares only seems to draw her closer to him, and the attraction she feels for him is undeniable.

But when he confesses that their fates have been intertwined for centuries and the secrets of her past are revealed, Evey realizes that answers sometimes only lead to more complicated questions. Did one bite of forbidden fruit precipitate the Fall of Man? Or was a much more sinister force at work? Either way, the choices made in the Garden of Eden won’t go unpunished. If Evey and Conrad are to keep history from repeating itself, then the two of them must outrun a great darkness before it can claim their lives again.

A.P. Watson is a contemporary and paranormal romance author who discovered her love for reading at a very young age due to her rural upbringing. She enjoys a variety of genres and authors, from Jane Austen to Charlaine Harris. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves to dance. A.P. has been an avid pole dancer for several years and thoroughly enjoys the challenging nature of the sport and the thrill of performing onstage. Professionally, she has worked as a registered nurse for several years, and she graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2019. Her goal is to combine her love for aesthetics and skincare by utilizing her Family Nurse Practitioner certification in the field of dermatology. A.P. currently resides in Johnson City, Tennessee, with her adorable rescue pup, Elle. 
Author Links:

Chapter One: Awakening

“No! Please don’t,” I sobbed. Collapsing to my knees, I stole a glance at the man kneeling to my left. The sight of him, bound in chains, was agonizing, and my need to save him intensified with each passing moment. “I’m begging you to spare his life.” My heart felt as if it were being torn asunder. An enormous axe blocked the prisoner’s face from my view, its harsh blade stained with red.
“Who are you to beg anything from me?” A voice sneered at me from the shadows, mocking my very presence.The sound came from the direction of a grand throne looming in front of me, but his face was drenched in darkness.

“There was a time when you would do anything I asked of you,” I answered, my voice shaking.
A shrill laugh echoed off every surface of the great hall. I could see his hands clench  the arms of the throne as his nails gouged the gleaming wood. “Unfortunately for you, that time has come to an end.” He lifted his hand and beckoned the masked executioner to proceed.
“No!” I buckled forward, bracing myself with trembling hands. The stone was frigid, shocking. Breath caught in my throat—I was suffocating. The tips of my fingers clawed against the floor as I began scrambling toward the prisoner. If my pleas couldn't free him, my hands would.
“Hold her still!” the man from the shadows bellowed. Someone grabbed my arms from behind. I thrashed wildly, desperately trying to free myself, but the grip was too firm. “And pry her eyes open if you have to. I want her to see this.” His words oozed with triumph and satisfaction. Dread settled in the pit of my stomach, gnawing at my insides. The man kneeling next to me was about to die, his life snuffed out as easily as a candle, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. There was nothing I could do to save him.
“Please, no!” Panic coursed through every inch of me, causing my muscles to convulse violently with the need to act. I couldn’t help but focus on the axe. It lifted, and the man’s face became visible. Brown locks of hair offset the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen. I wanted nothing more than to stare into those eyes until the end of time, but even as I had the thought, the axe sliced through the air with a whoosh, severing the man’s head from his neck. “No!” I screamed with all the power I could muster, but my plea rang hollow with the finality of the scene in front of me.


I woke up clutching my hand to my chest, fingernails dug into my skin, dotting the area over my heart with tiny crescent moons. Sweat trickled down my arms and neck. “A dream,” I said to myself. “It was just a dream.” I glanced at the clock next to my bed. The bright red numbers glared at me. 6:07 a.m. It was almost time to get ready for school. I collapsed on my pillow in defeat. My dreams had gotten steadily worse over the summer. Every night, they became more detailed. Colors sharpened, smells grew more potent, and the nightmares began to feel more like reality than fantasy. An unrelenting sense of terror riddled my body. I couldn't shake it, couldn't explain it. What was happening to me? I was a normal girl. I should be picking out prom dresses and visiting colleges, not holding myself accountable for the imaginary execution of a mystery man.
Electric blue monarch butterflies fluttered in circles above my head. I exhaled deeply, causing the mobile to pick up speed. As it spun, it morphed into a blurry halo. The jarring sound of my phone’s ringtone cut through the silence of my room. I jumped, answering it quickly and pressed the phone to my ear.
“Hey Caroline,” I whispered.
“Morning! Did I wake you up? You sound out of breath.”
            “No,” I answered with a yawn. “I woke up like a minute or two before you called.” I wanted to talk to Caroline about my dream, but I couldn’t let these nightmares dictate my entire existence. At the end of last school year, I let them get the better of me. I started hanging out with my other friends less and less. Caroline stuck with me; she was the only one who knew about the things I saw when I closed my eyes at night. While I knew she was cool with just the two of us hanging out after work every night, I couldn’t make her forgo every social event. Senior year would be different, and I was going to make sure of it. Caroline was going to have enough exciting and amazing pictures to fill up her Instagram account for five years by the time we graduated. “The ridiculous ringtone you programmed into my phone for your contact disrupted the serenity of my room. It nearly gave me a heart attack.”
            “Disrupted the serenity of your room?” she asked with a laugh. “I love how you always sound like an SAT prep book when you talk. Seriously, Dr. Sawyer cried when she announced your perfect score on the state writing exam last year.”
            “I almost forgot about that!”
            “She was so proud,” she replied. “And she practically hugged me when I confessed to her that I’d added a thesaurus app on my phone just so I could look up some of the words you use. It’s like she knew you were a good influence on me.”
            “I guess I’m just weird.”
            “I like it! Remember the note you wrote me in third grade asking if I wanted to be your friend? In that note, you told me you appreciated my sassy disposition. We were nine then! You have a better vocabulary than most of the English teachers we’ve had. It’s just who you are.”
            “That was a killer note,” I agreed. Caroline and I had been best friends since my fateful note in the third grade. From then on, we'd been pretty much joined at the hip. Being an only child could get lonely at times, and she was the closest thing I had to a sister.“So, I’m guessing you called because you want to know what I’m going to wear to school today, huh?”
“It’s the first day of our senior year of high school. Honestly, would you expect anything less from me?”
“Not really, especially since you’ve called me every morning for the last four years to discuss clothes.”
“Wardrobe can make you or break you in high school, Evey!”
“But we don't care what people think,” I countered. I heaved myself out of bed and headed to the opposite side of my room. I needed to stare at my dream board for a minute. Looking at it always made me feel better, especially after having a nightmare. It was covered with pictures of Caroline and me among print-outs of famous monuments. Caroline and I dreamed of traveling the world. One day, we’d see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and the Colosseum. I added a picture of the famous Las Vegas sign to the collage. This small town wouldn’t be able to hold us for much longer.
“Of course we don’t.”
“So the point is to look fabulous while not caring?”
“My thoughts exactly,” she replied. “And what can I say? I’m a creature of habit.”
I shook my head and laughed. I walked away from my desk to stand in front of my closet. Any day now, it was sure to bust and spit out a mountain of clothes. Why was it that I could never bring myself to throw anything away? “I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t noticed. I think I’m going to wear some jeans and that new loose-fitting tank top I got at the mall last week with a pink cardigan.”
“Oh, that sounds cute! I’m going to wear jeans, too, but I think my green button-up shirt will look good with some sandals . . .  I'm so excited! I’ve been waiting for senior year for so long,” she said.
“Me too!”
“Just think, one more year and we'll be in college! Co-ed dorms, here we come!”
“Somehow I don't see my dad moving me into a co-ed dorm. The thought of us living ten feet away from college boys will probably make him have an aneurysm,” I said with a laugh. “When will you be here to pick me up?”
“Seven thirty. I want to get to school a little early since it’s the first day, and we'll have the dreaded opening assembly.”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Don’t remind me!”
“I know. Every time Principal Louden goes into his ‘Aim for the Stars’ speech, I have to fight the urge to hurl.”
“Tell me about it,” I replied. “Last year, I thought about performing a makeshift lobotomy on myself with a pen.”
“Let’s not rule that out this year. If the speech goes from awful to agonizing, it might be our only option,” Caroline added, her tone the epitome of seriousness.
“I’ll have my pens at the ready.”
“Okay, I’ll see you soon!”
I trudged from my closet to the bathroom, dragging my hand along the lavender-colored walls. Once I was by the shower, I turned the knob to hot and waited to step in until steam started to rise over the curtain. Warm drops pelted my neck, easing the tension away. As I soaked my hair, I replayed the execution again in my mind. The overwhelming sense of despair permeated my soul and tainted my every thought. I wanted to know the prisoner, wanted to know why he was being killed. His blood was on my hands. The king wanted me to suffer, and the man’s death was my punishment. No matter how many times I had this dream, there was always one thing that stood out in my mind: how utterly real it felt.
But it wasn’t real, I reminded myself. Maybe I had an overactive imagination, or maybe I was mentally insane. Regardless, there had to be a logical explanation for my nightmares. I wanted answers, wanted to know why I saw such things. But at the same time, the unknown held a certain advantage. How could I ever recover if I found out I was crazy? I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. Making it through my last year of high school was more important. I needed to focus on that before I could even start thinking about anything else. Except I did need to put some energy into dating. Caroline was always nagging me to give some of the guys at school a chance. I was definitely overdue for some kind of distraction.
Once my hair was dry and curled to perfection, I started on my makeup. As I finished getting ready, I began to feel more relaxed. Today was the first day of my senior year, and I couldn't let one nightmare ruin it. I was determined to stay optimistic. Throwing on my clothes, I ran my fingers through my tousled curls and headed down the hall for a quick bite to eat.
My feet made their regular route past the living room, curving around the corner into the kitchen. I walked over to mom and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Morning.”
“Good morning! How does it feel to officially be a senior?” She turned from the kitchen counter to pull me into a quick hug.
“Same as last year.” I shrugged. I stuck my head into the dining room and saw my dad sitting at the antique mahogany table reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in his hand. “Morning, Daddy,” I said, sitting in the chair beside him. His dark brown eyes looked at me over the square rims of his reading glasses. His black hair and beard were peppered with gray, while soft lines fanned out from the corners of his eyes. Just as I finished pouring myself a bowl of cereal, my mom handed me a piping cup of coffee.
“Good morning,” he said and smiled.
“What’s going on in the news today?” Dad read our town’s newspaper religiously, though Estill Springs didn’t register as more than a speck on a map of Tennessee. Even the dictionary made for a more fascinating read than the Springs Sentinel.
“A couple of kids spray-painted some stuff at the city park, but that’s about it,” he said with a shrug.
“Why do you even bother reading that? It's not like anything ever happens here.” Grabbing the sugar, I poured a teaspoon into my coffee mug. 
“And I like it that way,” he replied, smiling over his drink.
“Oh, Guy, can you believe it? After this year, she’ll be graduating and then she'll be leaving us to go to college.” My mother had her light brown hair pinned on the top of her head, and I could see her gold locket hanging around her neck. It had been a gift from my father when they first started dating. I knew it was her favorite piece of jewelry because she never took it off.   Her light green eyes sparkled, and I could just make out the faint lingering of tears in them.
“It seems like just yesterday I was carrying you around on my shoulders.”
“Both of you act as if I just grew up overnight,” I said, shaking my head at them.
“Well, for us, it feels that way,” she answered.
“The schools I'm looking at are still within driving distance. It's not like I'll be moving across the country after I graduate.”
“Wouldn't you rather go to Murfreesboro?” she asked.
“Yeah,” my father added. “You can stay here and go to school.”
“If I didn't know any better, I'd think the two of you were plotting against me.” I laughed. I loved my parents. They'd always been there for me and always would be. I knew a lot of people at school who either hated or barely talked to their parents, but that wasn't the way it was in my family. That thought made me ponder Caroline's suggestion from a few weeks ago. Lately, she’d been encouraging me to talk to my parents about my dreams. At first, I didn’t want to involve them in my drama-filled nightmares. But Caroline and I were at a loss for what was happening to me, and they may have more insight as to why I thought of such horrible things. Besides, didn’t they deserve to know if something was wrong with me?
            I could feel my confession forming with each breath I took, but as soon as the courage to tell them surfaced, I stopped myself. What if they blamed themselves for my condition? I could handle nightmares of executions and people being tortured, but I couldn’t bear the thought of causing my parents pain. “We wouldn't dream of it,” he replied with a wink. “Are you working after school today?”
“Yeah, Caroline and I have our regular school shift at Pat's. I should be back by ten though.”
            “Is Caroline going to join us for breakfast this morning?” 
“Not today,” I replied, answering mom’s question. “We have an assembly this morning so she wants to get there early.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want to miss that.”
I smiled at her, unable to rid myself of the thought that missing the assembly would be a blessing. “Not at all.” Breakfasts like this were what I needed. A few minutes ago, I’d been so close to confessing everything to my parents, I’d almost forgotten the promise I’d made to myself. I was determined to have a carefree senior year, and if ignoring my dreams would help me attain my goal, then that’s exactly what I’d do.
            Before we could continue our conversation, two honks sounded from the driveway. That was my signal that Caroline was ready to go. I headed for the kitchen to gather my things.
“Here you go, Evey.” Mom's arm was extended, holding my leather messenger bag. The brown exterior was faded from years of use. It had been my mom's, and like most of my other possessions, it was an antique. “Do you need money for lunch?”
“No, I have some. Love you!” I called to both of them over my shoulder and rushed out the door.
I waved to Caroline as I approached her car. A Chanel compact was perfectly poised in her hand as she applied a layer of lip gloss. Flashing me a grin, she flung the car door open. She drove a beat-up Nissan Sentra, but you couldn’t tell her that. She was one of those people who felt an emotional connection to her car, even if the majority of the white paint was peeling from the hood. Her motto was the car chooses the driver, though she'd inherited this pile of junk when her cousin got a new one for college. I plopped down in the seat, wedging my messenger bag in between my feet.
“Hey, you look so cute!” I told her.
“Thanks, you do too!”
“Can you believe this is our last year at Tulson? I've been freaking out all morning.”
“I couldn't be more excited! We're going to have so much fun in college.”
“I know! I can't wait!”
“This is such a good song. Let’s turn it up!” I reached forward and turned the volume dial on her radio as she backed her car out of my driveway.
            “Senior year, here we come!” she shouted. We continued singing along to the radio throughout the drive and, ten minutes later, found ourselves pulling into an empty space in the parking lot. When we got out, there was already a multitude of cars around us. It seemed that, like us, everyone else was ready to start the new school year.
 Walking through the side entrance, we filed in line with a mass of other students. Posters decorated the brick walls, advertising afternoon meetings for the French and Spanish clubs. Weaving through the sea of bodies, we headed to the assembly. 
A crowd of nervous freshmen hovered at the entrance to the gymnasium, and we squeezed through to find two open seats. The room was buzzing with conversation. Everyone was running around, saying hellos and giving out hugs to all the people they hadn’t seen during the summer. Kristen stood as we approached the bleachers, waving her arms at us. Caroline and I returned her wave, scanning for two empty seats, but every empty slot around her was filled.
“Find us after the assembly!” I shouted to her.
“Okay! I will!” she called out.
We made our way up to the only empty space, which was at the top of the bleachers, and sat with our backs against the gym wall.
            As Principal Louden walked to the center of the gym, Caroline and I pulled out our schedules to see which classes we had together. English IV, Economics, World History, and then Physics.
“We have every class together.” I nudged her shoulder.
“I can’t believe it! Which guidance aide did you sweet talk into doing that?” she asked me, looking both pleased and incredulous.
“Who me?” I asked as innocently as possible.
“Yes, now spill.”
“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” I replied with a smile.
“I love it when you’re diabolical!”
“Good morning, students!” Principal Louden bellowed from behind a small podium in the center of the basketball court. “How are all of you this morning?” He cupped his hand around his ear, gesturing his eagerness to hear our replies. His shining cheeks mirrored the majority of his head, which was almost entirely bald. “I'm so excited for the start of another school year here at Tulson High! I know we have the best students in the world, and all of you have the potential to do something great with your lives,” Principal Louden continued. “But you have to learn in order to earn that potential. You have to search for success within yourselves!”
“It's like watching a wreck; it's so terrible and yet I can't look away,” Caroline said.
“I guess we can count out getting nominated for ‘most school spirited’ in the senior superlatives,” I replied. When Principal Louden entered the fifth minute of his speech, I couldn’t take any more. “Can I talk to you about something?”
“What’s up?” Caroline asked, leaning in so we could whisper.
“I just wanted to say thanks for sticking with me after all the craziness last year. I know all my drama caused you to kinda stop hanging with our old group and I feel bad about it.”
“You don’t have to apologize for that! We’re besties, it’s what we do for each other.”
“Regardless, I wanted to say thanks and make you a promise that this year will be different. We’re gonna have an awesome senior year!”
“Really?” she asked. I nodded in answer to her question. “A year filled with hot boys and maybe an appearance or two at one of my cousin’s college parties?”
“Whatever you want, I’m down!”
She squealed with delight, wrapping her arms around my neck. “This is gonna be the best year ever, Evey!”
“Only if we can get the hell out of this assembly.”
            When Principal Louden finally dismissed the student body to go to their first period classes, everyone jumped out of their seats, rushing toward the gym doors in a mass exodus. “I guess this means we're free to go to English. Thank God!” Caroline shouted.
“Come on, let's go before Louden starts preaching again,” I added, laughing.
“Hey, Evey! Hey, Caroline!”
I turned in the direction of the voice. Kristen stood on the gymnasium floor, waving wildly. “Hey!” I called to her. “Wait for us!” We jumped down the remaining bleachers, catching up with her quickly.
“Did y’all have a good summer?” she asked.
“It was pretty good. We had a few interesting customers in the diner,” I answered. “We missed you!”
“I missed y’all too!”
“What about you?” Caroline asked.
“I know summer was only a couple months, but I felt like I spent an eternity in Maine. My grandmother insisted I spend my entire vacation with her,” Kristen groaned.
“That sucks,” I said.
“Tell me about it! Do either of you have Advanced French first period?”
“Nope, we’ve both got English,” Caroline replied.
“Boo.” Kristen pouted.
“We’ll walk with you to class though!” Caroline added.
As Kristen moved to loop her arm through mine, she hit the strap of my messenger bag, jerking it from my shoulder. The bag crashed against the floor, spitting out my belongings in every direction. Lip gloss, paper clips, hairpins, and a pack of mints scattered around me. “Y’all go on without me. I’ll catch up in a minute,” I said, dropping to my knees.
“You sure? I can stay and help,” Caroline replied.
“Nah, you go on. I’ll see you in a minute. Besides, aren’t you always telling me I carry around too much crap?”
“True.” She grabbed Kristen’s arm. “See you in a bit.”
I scrambled, frantically trying to gather my stuff as quickly as possible. Scooping up a final bobby pin, I was suddenly struck with the strange feeling that I was being watched. By now, I had to be the only soul left in the gym, but when I looked up, there was a stranger leaning against the far wall. His arms were crossed over his chest nonchalantly. My gaze slid upward, halting as his stare met mine. He had the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen. Blood coursed through my veins, causing my heart to pound. The prisoner from my nightmares stood before me, mere feet separating us. He seemed too real to be a wild hallucination. My hands grabbed my bag, swinging it over my shoulder so forcefully that I lost my balance. Turning around, I quickly regained a stable footing, but when I glanced back to where he’d been standing, he had disappeared. Sprinting into the hallway, I searched in both directions, but the man from my dreams wasn’t there. He was gone.

Book Blitz ~ A Divided Mind by M. Billiter

A Divided Mind
M. Billiter
Published by: Tangled Tree Publishing
Publication date: July 27th 2019
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller
Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.
What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.
For everyone’s concern about me hurting myself or someone, cutting into a frozen frog didn’t prompt any crazed thoughts. Now the kid next to me who kept tapping me on the shoulder like he had a nervous tick, he deserved a beatdown just for annoying me.
“Branson, help me out. What is this?” He pointed to a part of the frog.
“For the hundredth time, it’s the liver.”
“Oh, that makes sense.”
No shit.
I was identifying the other parts of Kermit’s anatomy when tick boy tapped me again on the shoulder.
“What?” I glared at him and he backed away. That sudden jolt of anger triggered the shadow people. I shook my head, but it was still there. I saw a shadow of a person pick up the scalpel and attack tick boy with exact precision, cutting him across the throat. The only color I could see was red.

Author Bio:
M. Billiter is the alter ego of contemporary, award-winning romance author, Mary Billliter.
After writing more than a dozen love stories, she is exploring the other side. Best known for her emotional honesty, Mary doesn't write about well-adjusted people, but rather the wounds in life.
M. Billiter writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart.


Blog Tour ~ A Monster of All Time by JT Hunter

A Monster Of All Time

by J.T. Hunter

on Tour July 1-31, 2019


A Monster Of All Time by J.T. Hunter

The True Story of Danny Rolling, The Gainesville Ripper

Ambitious, attractive, and full of potential, five young college students prepared for the new semester. They dreamed of beginning careers and starting families. They had a lifetime of experiences in front of them. But death came without warning in the dark of the night.

Brutally ending five promising lives, leaving behind three gruesome crime scenes, the Gainesville Ripper terrorized the University of Florida, casting an ominous shadow across a frightened college town.

What evil lurked inside him?

What demons drove him to kill?

What made him A Monster of All Time?

Book Details:

Genre: True Crime

Published by: RJ Parker Publishing

Publication Date: September 4th 2018

Number of Pages: 304

ISBN: 1987902521 (ISBN13: 9781987902525)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


January 1987

Parchman, Mississippi

The prisoner raged in his lonely cell.
"When they let me out of here," the prisoner swore to himself, "I’ll make them all pay."
Years of condemnation and contempt had taken its toll, breaking him down, eroding his spirit, destroying all sense of hope. Now only the anger remained.
Cast into the bowels of Parchman Prison, the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary, the prisoner had suffered daily torments during his confinement, each day falling deeper and deeper into despair. Raw sewage regularly seeped into his cell through the floor and flowed from a broken drain down the hall, flooding the cramped 8 x 10 feet concrete space with a revolting grey-brown liquid and an unrelenting stench.
Kept in this torturous isolation, his besieged brain had betrayed him, replaying the grievous moments of his life, all of the humiliations and feelings of helplessness, every piercing word, and every raw, painful memory. It was a constant reminder that the world had always been a hurtful place of violence, animosity, and aversion, never one of empathy or understanding.
Desperate to escape the unrelenting torment, he retreated ever deeper into the labyrinth of his own mind, creeping ever closer to madness. It was in that maze of insanity that he found himself. Or rather, something found him.
In the bleak, all-encompassing darkness, something whispered his name.
Faceless and formless, the voice seemed to emanate both from the impenetrable blackness surrounding him and from the shadowy depths of his own consciousness. The voice soothed and seduced him, its language both alien and familiar. It promised the strength to survive whatever nightmares awaited the remainder of his confinement. It offered the tools of revenge for his present condition, for all of the wrongs committed against him in the past, and for the scorn and mistreatment yet to come. Most of all, it promised the power to make others feel the suffering he had so long endured.
Then a name imprinted itself into his brain, uttered from an unseen shape in the darkness, or muttered from the murky depths of memory.
"Gemini," an eerie voice proclaimed. "I am Gemini."
At that moment, an infernal compact was crafted, a devil’s contract offering redemption for the damned, a demonic covenant accepted regardless of the terms. Caring nothing for the consequences, the prisoner embraced the assurance of vengeance, pledging revenge for the countless injuries inflicted upon him. Just as a cold, uncaring world had robbed him of his humanity and stolen years of his life, he would take the lives of others in an equal and equitable proportion. A new sense of purpose washed over him, bringing with it a rebirth, a recognition of what he needed to do.
And now he waited, marking the days with hidden malice, the bitter darkness of his cell matched only by the malevolence of his twisted, tainted soul.
Excerpt from A Monster Of All Time by J.T. Hunter. Copyright 2018 by J.T. Hunter. Reproduced with permission from J.T. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

J.T. Hunter
J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.
JT's bestselling true crime books include:

  • Devil in The Darkness: True Story of Serial Killer ISRAEL KEYES

  • The Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Serial Killer Cody Legebokoff

  • In Colder Blood: True Story of the Walker Family Murder as depicted in Truman Capote’s, In Cold Blood

  • Deadly Deception: True Story of Tampa Serial Killer, Bobby Joe Long

  • Death Row Romeo: The True Story of Serial Killer Oscar Ray Bolin

  • The Vampire Next Door: True Story of the Vampire Rapist and Serial Killer

  • Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On:, Goodreads, BookBub, & Facebook!

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