Monday, September 30, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - Todd M Thiede - Time Killer

Tuesday morning 2 a.m.
Stephen Bjornson wakes up and tries to roll over towards his wife only to find he cannot move at all. His thinking feels slow and hazy as if he has been drugged. He opens his eyes slowly to see that the room is dark with only a small beam of light from the full moon breaking through the drapes. He had opened them earlier to make sure the front gate was shut. His son rarely remembers to shut the gate when he comes home for dinner from the neighbor’s house. He surveys his room and continues to fight the fog in his brain as he can feel something is very wrong.
He tries to stay calm, but his mind and heart are racing. He slowly tries to raise each arm and finds that he is tied down to the bed with duct tape across his chest, torso, and legs. With his arms pinned to his sides, all he can do is turn his head far enough to the left to see that his wife, Gwen, is still there, but she is also taped to the bed. Mr. Bjornson notices Gwen has tape over her mouth. Her brown eyes are wide and look very dark in the moonlit room. Her hair is splayed out and crowns her head like a halo. At first, Stephen thinks he must be dreaming. He can’t imagine why he would be tied to his bed and his angel, Gwen, tied next to him. Then, he shakes his head as nothing is making sense. He closes his eyes and reopens them. He focuses on Gwen and realizes that the halo was created by her messy blonde hair as she struggled to break free from the bonds. She keeps sweeping her gaze away from him to stare towards the foot of the bed and Stephen slowly focuses his gaze on the shape of a person behind the footboard. He is terrified at the thought of some stranger in their house. However, he is having a hard time maintaining focus on any one thought.
Stephen starts to remember the early days of their marriage when they fought over silly things like furniture. He and Gwen had spent three months shopping for bedroom sets, picking at each other’s tastes for traditional or modern furniture. The young couple had taken almost every Saturday to go shopping to fill their home. Giddy and in love, their fights never lasted long and often ended in the bed. In hindsight, maybe that was why they had been so careful in their choices. Stephen wishes their lives could be that easy now – just make love to end an argument. He is not able to remember the last time he and Gwen had made time for intimacy. He keeps thinking that now isn’t the time for memories – like having a daydream at work – but he can’t think about what is more important than remembering the good times with Gwen.
He feels a bouncing sensation next to him on the bed and wakes from his drug-induced reverie. Gwen is bouncing her head and moaning beneath the tape. She keeps staring at him and then throwing her head towards the foot of the bed. He remembers that there is a person standing over him and his wife, just staring across the bed at them, waiting for him to wake up. Stephen vaguely wonders how Gwen can be so awake when he is so tired.
He tries to swallow, but his tongue feels like lead. His mouth feels like it is full of cotton. After a few tries, he squeaks out, “Who are you? What do you want?” He is disappointed in the quiver of his voice so he tries again, hoping to sound more intimidating. “Who do you think you are, coming into my house? What do you want from us? We don’t keep large sums of cash in the house.”
The man just stands there, staring down at Stephen and Gwen, not saying a word. Stephen thinks that it must be a man based on the wide shoulders and body shape. Besides, there is no way a woman would do this, he thinks. This man is wearing a dark ski mask. He is also wearing black leather gloves, which particularly frightens Stephen. He has watched enough forensic shows to know that gloves can make identification of criminals much harder. As he begins to become more aware and able to focus, he sees that the man seems to be very well dressed, wearing an expensive suit, button-down shirt, and tie. The ski mask and leather gloves clash against the business attire and Stephen starts to wonder who would dress so nicely to commit a crime. He feels like he is going to drift off again so he shakes his head and tries to maintain focus on the intruder.
Just when it seems like an eternity has passed since he first tried to roll over in his own bed, he jumps as the man yells, “You wasted my time!”
The voice is so loud and deep, that Stephen believes he feels the rumble through the floor into the bed. He jumps and his eyes open wide. He instantly tries to put on a brave face again and stares the man down. After all, this man is threatening his family. Then, he starts to worry if his kids will be woken up by this man. He doesn’t want them to wake and see any of this. Writhing wildly against his bindings, they don’t give. Fear raises his neck hair. This isn’t a normal burglary.
He decides that he is getting nowhere and tries conversation, which is what he is best at anyways. “What are you talking about? Why are you doing this?” Mr. Bjornson says, his voice quivering. All he can do is lie there, thinking about his children just across the hall from him. He has no idea what this madman knows about his family and if he knows the kids are sleeping right across the hall. While he is very concerned for his and Gwen’s safety, he closes his eyes and quickly asks God to protect his children from harm.
It seems like hours that the suited man continues to stand over them, but only minutes pass. Stephen is scared to speak more, worried that any noise will arouse the kids. Just when the angst is going to force Stephen to say something again the stranger finally speaks again, “You wasted my time…Time is money!” Gwen had been fighting her restraints up until that second yell. She lays completely still except ratcheting her head towards Stephen. He looks back at her and can see the tears spilling from her eyes. The moonlight catches the tears just right that they remind him of his playtime with his daughter the other day when they blew bubbles in the backyard and the sunlight glistened off the bubbles in the air.
The man grabs a pen from the top of Stephen’s dresser. He starts pacing back and forth in front of the bed, clicking the pen over and over again. CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! The clicks echo through Stephen’s head and return him to the moment. The man continues to mumble, “You wasted my time…you wasted my time…you wasted my time.” Gwen, still staring at Stephen nods towards the man. He understands that she expects him to do something, but he is at a loss. He cannot free himself so he focuses on what he can do – continue to try to talk his way out of this.
As he is trying to come up with a plan, the man finally kneels down next to the bed, pen still in hand. He leans over and says, “Stephen, is it okay if I call you Stephen?” Stephen nods his head in reluctant approval. Stephen starts thinking, how does this man know my name? Have I met him before? What does he want from me?
“Stephen, I know you and your type. You don’t have a care in the world outside of you and your family’s own little bubble. You don’t think that your actions have any effect on other people’s lives. You see, Stephen,” he intones, “I once had a nice wife and a daughter just like you. We were happy, just like you; we had the perfect life, just like you. But you see, things are not always as they appear. Are they, Stephen?”
Stephen decides not to answer as he fears that the answer to the question is nothing that he wants to hear, particularly from some aggressive stranger. “Answer me!” the suited man shouts directly into Stephen’s ear. Stephen shakes his head no. “You see, Stephen, my wife packed up all her things one day and decided she was taking my daughter away from me. It seemed that she was leaving me for another man. She said I was wasting her time. I couldn’t provide her with what she needed. She needed financial stability and, even though I had a good job that kept us afloat, it wasn’t enough. Stephen, it wasn’t enough because, every so often, people like you waste my time and I don’t make any money. People like you cost me money and you cost me my family.” That comment was chilling. The man walks over to Gwen.
“Please don’t hurt us!” says Stephen whimpering now, his bravado completely gone. “I love you, Gwen,” he murmurs as he starts to sob. He turns his face away so that Gwen does not see him. He feels compelled to turn back as the man approaches his wife who, despite their distance, he loves dearly.
“Oh poor Stephen, poor, poor Stephen. You didn’t tell him, did you, Gwen? I can call you Gwen, can’t I?” Gwen nods her head reluctantly. She is between sobs because the bed is only shaking on Stephen’s side. She starts fighting at her restraints again, trying to push away from the approaching masked man with her feet, trying to dig her heels in. The tape keeps her from being able to arch her body high enough to move towards the head of the bed. Stephen is sick, watching her suffer this way and he starts to fight his restraints, too.
“You see, Stephen, ever since you and I met a month ago. I have been following you and your family, watching you and Gwen, little Billy and Sandy in your daily lives. Now, I haven’t been able to watch you every day because I have a job and time is money, you know. Nonetheless, I have been watching all of you. And what I have learned from watching you is that you enjoy wasting people’s time. Gwen here is not only wasting other people’s time, she is also wasting your time, Stephen. You see, Stephen, your precious little Gwen is having an affair,” he states matter of factly.
At those words, everyone in the room freezes. Stephen lays completely still, weighing whether there could be truth to the words of this madman. Gwen stops moving either because of his words or because the mask is now only inches from her face. She is staring into his eyes and cannot drop her gaze.
Stephen decides that whether it is true or not, this man is not their marriage counselor and has no right to intrude or reveal their issues like this. He musters up more courage and exclaims, “No, that’s not true. I know my Gwennie loves me and would never do that!” The suited man now leans over and whispers into Gwen’s ear, “Tell him, tell Stephen the truth! He deserves that at the very least. Tell him the truth now.” What had started as a whisper has turned into a menacing hiss in her ear. She flinches as he says truth so loud that her eardrum hurt. Stephen watches, helpless, as his wife pulls her head as far away from the man’s face as possible.
The masked man suddenly rips the duct tape from her mouth in one quick jerk. Gwen screams in pain and then throws her head towards Stephen. “It’s not true, Stephen! I love you with all my heart and would never do that to you or our family!” She is crying again and Stephen is not sure who to believe. Why would a man break into his house and lie about this to him?
“Lies, lies, lies…you are wasting my time again, Gwen. Now tell him the truth. Stop wasting my time. Stop it; stop it, stop it…time is money!” he shouts and hits the bed next to her. “Tell him now!” Stephen is feeling impatient about what this man wants and worries about why his children haven’t come in to see what is going on. He starts to fear the worst about their fate, but asking will only remind the man that they are close by.
Between sobs, Gwen begins to choke out her confession in a small pitiful wail. “Okay, it’s true, Stephen. I met someone else. But I love you and I love our kids! You have to believe me, Stephen, I do love you.” The silence hangs in the air, thick and palpable. Stephen feels a gulf widening between them – the woman he so desperately wanted to protect a minute ago has indeed betrayed him.
Stephen’s eyes widen and he struggles against the tape. A slow look of realization comes across his face. His tears stop and his eyes start to narrow to slits. “So that’s why you missed my work luncheon? Is that why you weren’t there that day to pick up Billy from soccer practice? Have you been busy sleeping around?” Stephen’s voice begins to roar, forgetting about anyone, but the two of them. “Who is it, Gwen? Who is he?” he yells, trying viciously to face her. He succeeds in partially turning his body towards her. The suited man steps back, folds his arms, and watches the argument as it progresses. A smile of accomplishment is visible in the mask’s mouth opening. He seems proud that he caused the two of them to fight.
Gwen continues to cry and shake the bed. “I have been seeing David, one of the dad’s from Sandy’s daycare. I never loved him, Stephen. I just needed more than you have been giving me.” With the last statement, her words sound hollow, as if she is wrung out and tired. Guilt creates an ugly mask of her face as she looks into Stephen’s eyes.
The masked man takes advantage of her pause. “See, Stephen, do you see how she is wasting your time? It’s just like you did to me last month when you wasted my time. Now, here’s the difference between you and me. I am here to help you, Stephen; I am going to rid you of your problem so you are no longer wasting time with Gwen.”
As soon as he finishes this statement, he begins clicking the pen again as if he is nervous. Stephen starts to fight his bonds again to stand between the masked man and his wife, who he knows he still loves. The masked man places his hand between Stephen and Gwen. Then he crawls on top of her, positioning himself so he is straddling Gwen and her body is between his legs. After the humiliation he has faced – being told by a total stranger that his wife is cheating – seeing him on top of her is too much for Stephen. He manages to get a leg free from the tape and starts kicking towards the man. However, the bed is wide and he just grazes his arm. He is waiting for the man to pull up her night gown and rape her, but that doesn’t happen.
The man looks back and forth between the two, savoring her fear and his anger. He then thrusts the pen directly into Gwen’s right eye. He jams it in so hard and so fast that she dies almost instantly from the pen penetrating the brain pan. Blood spatters everywhere and the suited man takes a few seconds to survey the results. Stephen can see the man’s teeth in the mouth hole of the mask. His smile is demonic and growing. Vice grips of trauma lock his body. He feels numb. It is a blessing.
“Just like I said, Stephen, I am here to help you. I’m here to stop you from wasting everyone’s time.” The man stands up from the bed and walks around to Mr. Bjornson’s side to sit next to him. He stops talking directly to Bjornson, but the husband can hear him mumbling, “You wasted my time, you wasted my time, time is money,” over and over again.
Stephen, still lying there in shock, wakes up as if from a dream and starts to scream, “No, No. No. Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this?”
“Okay, Stephen, here is the situation: I’m going to need you to pay me for the time you took from me. After all, time is money. So for the time you took away from me last month, I figure you owe me $633. That would make us even for the three hours of my time you wasted. Heck, I won’t even charge you for the time I just saved you by taking Gwen out of your life, consider that a gift from me to you,” he says in a very calm business-like voice.
Stephen thinks he must have fallen back into a dream because this cannot be real. Money for the time he took from the suited man? Three hours? This was all about three measly hours of time? Where did he meet this guy? How did he waste three hours of his time? he keeps thinking.
“Where is my money, Stephen? I am going to have to start adding to the bill if you don’t tell me where my $633 are. Time is money! You wouldn’t want to waste any more of my time would you, Stephen?” the suited man asks angrily. Stephen shakes his head slowly, still not understanding.
As the man starts rifling through their things, Stephen finally comprehends he is looking for his money. He proceeds to tell him that his wallet is on his dresser in the corner of the room and that there should be enough to cover it. The suited man walks over to the dresser and grabs his wallet, takes out the money and counts it. “You only have $450 here, Stephen. Where is the rest of it? Quit wasting my time!” he screams.
“My…my…wife may…have some money in her purse. It’s in the closet…probably on the floor,” Stephen says, his voice choked.
“You know what, Stephen, I kind of like you,” the man says calmly as he goes to the closet. “I liked you last month, too. Well, that is before you decided to waste my time. I like the fact that you want me to take the money from your wife’s purse. I mean, it isn’t like she needs it anymore anyhow and, after all; it is your money anyway. Am I right?” The man’s laugh is high pitched and evil. He reaches into the closet, pulls out the purse and takes out some money. “All she has in here, Stephen, is two 100 dollar bills.” With that, the masked man takes out his own personal wallet and puts $17 exactly on Stephen’s dresser. He puts the $650 into his wallet and proceeds to sit back down by Stephen. Stephen tries to take note of the wallet to tell the police later, but then he realizes that he may not be alive much longer either.
“Stephen,” he says, “like I told you earlier, I’ve been following you and your family for about a month and noticed that you like wasting people’s time. I mean, you went to the appliance store and talked to a salesman about a new television for almost an hour two weeks ago and didn’t buy it. Then you went into an open house just last week and walked around talking to the realtor about how you were considering buying a new home. You took about two hours of his time with no intention of buying the house or even calling him back. You were just there wasting his time! Like his trying to make a living is a joke to you and Gwen.”
“I was going to call him back, that isn’t true. I was very interested in that house!” Stephen spits out.
“Sorry, Stephen, I know better. You see, like I said, I was watching you closely and, the moment you walked out of the house, you threw the realtor’s card away, while you and your wife laughed. You both thought the house was disgusting and way overpriced. You discussed how you love your house right now and would never leave it. Now quit wasting my time with lies and accept the fact that I know you better than you think I do,” he says with some finality.
“I am going to do the rest of the world a favor here, Stephen. You are right handed, is that correct?” he asks. No sooner than Stephen nods his head, the man grabs the duct tape from the floor and duct tapes Stephen’s mouth shut. He then walks out of the bedroom only to return a few moments later with bolt cutters. He leans over Stephen and whispers into his ear, “I am going to cut off your thumb and index finger on your right hand.” Stephen blanches. The man continues, “So you can no longer fill out any paperwork or sign anything and waste anyone else’s time like you wasted mine, the realtor, and the appliance salesman.”
He then stands up and cuts off Mr. Bjornson’s thumb and finger. As Stephen lays there in unbearable pain, unable to scream with his mouth taped shut, his face blood red , his temple veins popping thick, the suited man leans back in and whispers, “Don’t worry. You won’t die from this. I want you to live and learn not to waste other people’s time anymore. I also want you tell anyone and everyone to stop wasting people’s time. Tell them all how time is important to you now that you have a second chance. Tell them that they need to be considerate of other people’s time and not just their own. You can do that for me, right, Stephen?” Stephen nods frantically as tears flow from his tortured eyes. He feels himself slipping in and out of consciousness as he feels his blood pumping out of his hand. The masked man tears more duct tape from the roll and wraps it around Stephen’s hand almost like a bandage. “We wouldn’t want you bleeding to death before you can get that message out, would we, Stephen?” Stephen shakes his head no.
The man now rips back the tape from Stephen’s mouth, taking part of his moustache off with it. He tastes blood. The tape has ripped off some skin. The man then picks up the phone next to the bed, lays the mouthpiece on the pillow next to Stephen’s mouth and proceeds to dial 911. He picks up Stephen’s bloody finger off the floor and uses it to write, “DON’T WASTE PEOPLE’S TIME” on the wall as the phone rings. He then calmly walks out of the room, whistling as if he has no care in the world. The song he is whistling is very familiar, but Stephen cannot place it. Stephen recognizes the sound of his back door opening and closing. The man is finally gone. As he starts to feel light-headed, he wonders if he is in a nightmare he cannot escape.
The tickle of the blood dripping down the side of his jaw brings him back to awareness. He hears the operator repeatedly asking if anyone is there. Stephen yells hoarsely into the phone as best as he can, “Please help me, there was a man here in my house! He killed my wife. He…..he hurt me. I’m bleeding and I’m tied up. Please hurry – I’ve lost a lot of…” As he drifts in and out of terrible dreams and thoughts, his mind keeps returning to his children. Did the man hurt them? Are they even alive? He prays that they will not find him like this. With tears now flowing along with the blood, he finally closes his eyes to the darkness of what has happened, his body numbing with the shock. Stephen passes out.
It takes almost ten minutes for the ambulance to arrive, followed shortly by the police. The police knock on the door at first, but hear nothing so they break down the door and rush into the house. They yell as they rush around the house, looking for the family, but no one responds.
The smell of copper from the bloody mess the murderer has left behind consumes them as they move up the stairs. With the medics behind them the police clear rooms one by one potentially destroying evidence. The master bedroom is the first room the paramedics enter upstairs as the door stands slightly ajar. There they find Stephen unconscious with blood dripping from the duct tape bandage on his right hand. His right cheek lies in a small pool of blood from his torn moustache. He is still duct taped to the bed and, next to him, lays his dead wife. The first officer in the room takes one look around and runs to the master bath and vomits up his lunch. Today is his first day, and the pen in her eye and the blood surrounding Stephen is just too much for him to handle.
The police officers go back into the hall to allow the medics to work on Stephen. James is fairly new to the force and has never seen such a violent crime. While he is upset that this happened to the family, he is also excited to be involved in what will likely be a big case for his station. His partner, Bob, is tired and waiting to retire soon. He is trying to pass on his knowledge to James, but feels that sometimes James lacks compassion for others.
James enters six year old Billy’s room. Above the red race car bed, Billy’s name is carved into a piece of driftwood. There are little green army men scattered around the floor as if it was the beaches of Normandy. James sees numerous trophies on his dresser top for various sports. James wonders how Billy could have slept through all the mayhem in his parents’ room. He doesn’t want to startle the boy as this is going to be a terrible night for him. The officer wants to take him out of the house before he can see anything that has happened to his parents just down the hall. He tries to lift the small boy up very carefully as not to wake him.
However, Billy isn’t ever going to wake up. Billy lays in James’ arms like a limp doll. The murderer had smothered him with his pillow and, after he was sure he was dead, he cut off his finger and thumb from his right hand. The lack of bruising around the cuts indicates Billy’s heart was not beating at the time. James says a silent prayer that his future children will never go through this and gently places the boy back down.
Written on the wall in blood, only visible after James turns on the car-shaped lamp, is, “LIKE FATHER LIKE SON”. James can only imagine what this monster has done to the little girl. Right then, he gets a huge lump in his throat as he sees Bob walk out shaking his head.
For some reason, James has to see this other room. Maybe by seeing the chaos, he can understand and control it. Sandy’s room is very upbeat. There are pink walls, a princess bedspread, and dozens of stuffed animals on her bed and dresser. He can feel her presence and happiness just by walking into her world. She is only three yet there she is having been smothered with her own pillow. Her finger and thumb are missing, and just like her brother, they were removed after she was murdered. Written in blood on the wall is, “WHORE JUST LIKE MOM”.
Bob drops to his knees and starts sobbing right there. He thinks of his grandchildren, who are about Sandy and Billy’s ages. What would he do if this ever happened to them? How could a human being do this to children? he thinks. James doesn’t know what to do except pat Bob on the shoulder. He is having the same thoughts, but isn’t as affected since his kids do not exist yet.
As James and Bob re-enter the master bedroom, they see Stephen being transferred to a gurney. He has an IV in his arm. He looks up at them and says in a hoarse voice, “Please check on my kids. They’re down the hall.” The officers exchange a quick knowing look. They assure Mr. Bjornson that they will take care of everything while he gets treated.
Stephen starts to feel woozy from the drugs that were given to him by the paramedics and finally closes his eyes into a deep sleep. As they push Stephen out into the hallway the paramedics ask the police officers if they need to help the children. Bob shakes his head no, putting one finger to his lips to indicate silence; He then puts his head down again to pray.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery / Thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Todd M. Thiede on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
7th October – Excerpt at Non-Stop Reads
14th October - Author Interview at Tangled in Pages
21st October – Guest Post & Book Feature at bit’s ‘n Bobs
28th October – Excerpt at Farm Girl Books

Friday, September 27, 2013

Forged in Dreams and Magick Giveaway

Title: Forged in Dreams and Magick (Highland Legends, #1)

Author: Kat Bastion

Release date: September 23, 2013

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Time Travel

Event organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Description:

Isobel MacInnes wakes up in present-day California, lunches in medieval Scotland,

and by ten days’ end, falls in love with a man and his country, only to lose them in

a heart-wrenching twist of fate . . .

    Found in the arms of her second soul mate . . .

    Forced to balance the delicate strands of time between two millennia . . .

    Shocked by revelations rewriting the very foundations of history . . . of everything.

Isobel, a rising-star archaeology student, is dropped into two ancient worlds

without warning . . . or her permission. Her fiery spirit resists the dependency

thrust upon her. Amid frustration at her lack of control, she helplessly falls in

love. Twice.


She struggles to adjust to the unimaginable demands of two leaders of men—

a laird in the thirteenth-century Highlands and a Pict chieftain in a more

ancient Scotland. Isobel transforms from an academic, hell-bent on obtaining

archaeological recognition, to a woman striving to care for those she loves, and

ultimately . . . into a fearless warrior risking everything to protect them.



About the Author

Kat Bastion is an award-winning paranormal romance writer, poetic warrior, and

eternal optimist who loves getting lost in the beauty of nature.

On a never-ending, wondrous path of self-discovery, Kat throws her characters

into incredible situations with the hope that readers join her in learning more

about the meaning of life and love.


Her first published work, Utterly Loved, was shared with the world to benefit

others. All proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of the proceeds of all her

other books, support charities who help those lost in this world.


Kat lives with her husband amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Visit her

blog at www.talktotheshoe.com, her website at www.katbastion.com, Facebook

at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Bastion/382546338470769, and her

Twitter account at https://twitter.com/KatBastion for more information.


Okay guys now here's the Giveaway:

(1) eBook copy of Forged in Dreams and Magick – gifted from

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords – International, void where prohibited.

Leave a comment below to enter. Giveaway ends September 30th.


Guest Post
The Paranormal World of Forged in Dreams and Magick

The story line of Forged in Dreams and Magick evolved from my secret desire to

travel back in time to both the medieval Highlands and the land of ancient Picts,

but the mysteries behind the world were revealed to me during the drafting

and editing process. A thrilling aspect of writing as a “pantster” is experiencing

the journey through the eyes of the reader, wind blowing across my face, heart

racing. The rollercoaster car ratchets up to the peak before the adventure twists

and turns, taking on a life of its own.

Of course, since an enigmatic box induced Isobel’s time travel, I wondered right

alongside our heroine about the artifact’s mythology. My wanderlust heart

needed to unearth the origin and reason behind a relic with such power. As I

wrote, the very walls of Brodie Castle came to life, spilling forth her secrets . . .

to a degree. {laughs} I suppose in my world, walls can talk, in a manner of

Skorpius’s scene, which appears about 70% into the story, and only materialized

during the first edit of the draft, became an elemental part of the Forged in

Dreams and Magick world. During subsequent editing, I enriched all the chapters

to incorporate the added complexity of angels in an alternate heaven-like

dimension, deepening the meaning and struggles of Isobel’s journey.

Recently, I was asked by a reviewer if the presence of angels will lead the

Highland Legends series toward a religious or Christian slant. The answer is no.

The story is purely a paranormal, Highlander, action-adventure romance with

emotionally charged erotic sex scenes. The closest any of the novels in the series

will come to touching on religion or Christianity is when the characters question why, like we all do.

@OBBookTours - The Things I Didn’t Expect When I Wrote a Memoir by Lori Stevic-Rust

The Things I Didn’t Expect When I Wrote a Memoir
by Lori Stevic-Rust
As a psychologist, I have spent the better part of my last twenty years maintaining my privacy. Early training clearly taught me that while the therapeutic relationship between a psychologist and a client is often critical to the change/healing process, personal information about me was not relevant. I never had pictures of my children in my office and took special care during waiting room chit chat to limit topics about me.
With years of experience of doing therapy, I have learned to strike the right balance between my early training of sharing nothing personal to the belief that some information is helpful in establishing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship. All of that said it is clear to see why writing a memoir for me was like mailing my diary (if I had one) to the world. The word vulnerable does not even begin to capture the feeling I experienced when I woke at 2:00am the day that the book was to be released thinking for the first time about the faces of those who would read my stories.
I worried about my neighbors and my father reading about my sex life. I worried that readers would not be interested in the stories. I worried about revealing information about my marriage but mostly I worried about the impact that the process of revealing would have on my professional life.
Since the release of the book just six weeks ago, I never expected that the book would inspire people in the way that it has or to have what some have called “synchronistic events” or others have called “spiritual guidance”. Either way they have all enriched me in ways I could never have expected when I started to write a memoir.
There was the story of a woman sitting on a plane reading on her kindle and my daughter Katie and her friend Kelli in the seats next to her reading, “Greedy for Life”. They struck up a conversation and the woman shared with them that she was traveling back home after just burying her mother two days ago. She inquired what the girls were reading. My daughter shared that it was a book her mother wrote about families and gratitude. She then offered the woman the book and suggested that she may find it helpful. While fighting back tears, the woman accepted the gift and said, “I think my mom had some hand in my good fortune of selecting the seat next to you.”
Of the 829 people who entered a book giveaway that I offered, one of the winners from Arizona shared the following, “I have struggled with the loss of my husband of 35-years and read book after book on grief and “going on” but haven’t come across one of “what comes next” your book gives me an answer I haven’t found elsewhere. And, my husband was an avid Cleveland Indians fan even up to his death of cancer so this was a little private gift. It made me smile.”
In my late night self-absorbed worries about what readers would think of me, it hadn’t occurred to me that the messages in the stories would resonate with so many. It is a reminder of how connected we all are to each other.
I have written three other clinical books designed to help and guide both professionals and the general public through issues of depression, heart disease and behavioral change, but none has had the impact that this little memoir has had for so many. I never expected the outpouring of hundreds of stories and experiences that have come to me over the last six weeks along with the numerous opportunities to give talks on the themes from the book. And, I clearly never expected that writing a memoir may turn out to be one of the most therapeutic and healing things I have done over the past twenty years.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Lori Stevic-Rust  on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, September 20, 2013

@OBBookTours - Interview with Jessica Kristie


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? My interest began when I was about ten and had to do a poetry assignment in class. I remember being shocked at how much I enjoyed it and how easily it came to me. From that moment I was hooked.
What inspired you to write your first book? After writing several poetry books I felt the need to grow into writing a novel. I wanted to challenge myself as well as felt the words already stirring.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Absolutely. I learned what I could do and what I could do better. It was a wonderful experience that continues to challenge and inspire.
How did you come up with the title? Barbed-Wire Butterflies felt somewhat poetic but also has a literal meaning. I will save the literal meaning for my readers but metaphorically it represents the beauty in these young girls who are also in a tough and ugly place. Beauty and pain wrapped together in one package.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? More of an education than a message. The issue of human trafficking is serious and a worldwide problem. I want this book to help begin the conversation in those that may have never thought to discuss it. This book is appropriate for all ages (with parental guidance) and a great way to encourage education and conversation.
How did you develop your plot and characters? I did a lot of research on human trafficking as well as read many survivor stories and connected with local non-profits. All of these aspects helped me shape and mold my characters and storyline.
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? The basic emotion and reaction is based on some personal experience, but the book is all fiction.
What are your current writing projects now? I have a psychological thriller that is now complete that I’m very excited about. I believe it really highlights my growth as a writer and allowed me to write in a genre I really enjoy reading. I hope to have it out early next year.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I believe I have, although it is not something I can easily pin-point myself. With poetry it is easy to see my style. I think some of that flows over into my novel writing which adds to my personal voice.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? It can be an overwhelmingly tedious process to keep characters and storyline straight while flowing it all together into a cohesive and exciting story. That is always the beginning challenge for a writer but also the most rewarding aspect once it is accomplished.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” – St. John of the Cross
This quote reminds me that when it comes to what is going on in my life, it is not about everyone else. There is no comparing or judging, we just do what we do to the best of our ability and move on from there.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Jessica Kristie on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
27th September – Excerpt & Book Feature at Imagination in Books

Thursday, September 19, 2013

@OBBookTours - Using Colour to Accentuate Theme by Jessica Bell

Using Colour to Accentuate Theme
by Jessica Bell
I like to use the symbolism of colour to strengthen a common theme(s) I want to explore in my writing. I am fascinated by symbolic references in the books I read too (even if they do not have anything to do with colour), and believe they bring a richness and depth to what we read, even if it is not immediately evident to us. So let me tell you a little bit about how I utilize the combination of colour and theme in my work.
For THE BOOK it was GREEN.
Green symbolizes self-respect, well-being, learning and harmony. It suggests safety and endurance, lack of experience, growth and hope. THE BOOK is about a little girl named Bonnie who is thought to have learning difficulties, but really is quite the genius. Her insights into the adult world are astounding, as she tries to “make logic” of the behaviour of her mother, father and step father regarding a journal (“the book”) that is turning their family upside down. Her constant attraction to the colour green was a way for me to explore her subconscious need for security, stability and her desire to learn.
Some examples of the way it is used:
Dr Wright: Do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?
Bonnie: No, I want to give medicine from a shop with a green cross.
Bonnie[shifts in seat, pushes hair from forehead] Well, my Ted isn’t very smart because I tolded him to fix it so all the greens could be on the same side and he sat with me on the flying carpet, and I made us go up in the air, so there could be magic around us, so he could fix it for all the greens to be on the same side.
“Now, if you have a little patience, my dear, I can show you how to make some green. Do you have a little patience?” I nod. But I can’t tell if this is a Daddy type question or a my Ted type question. But it doesn’t matter. If Mrs Haydon can make me some green, then I can paint some trees.
For STRING BRIDGE it was BLUE.
Blue is associated with freedom, strength and new beginnings, optimism and better opportunities, loyalty and faith, power and protection. No colour is better fitting for this story about a woman named Melody who has let her passion for music die for the sake of her family, but tries to bring it back into her life without it affecting those she loves. In String Bridge, blue things are always deteriorating, symbolizing the fact that Melody feels helpless, and that it’s going to be struggle to “start again”.
Some examples of the way it was used:
I stare at my bag’s wrinkly, flaking, blue-vinyl exterior. It looks how I feel. Old. Poorly constructed. Depressed. Cheap.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I say, scrubbing the stain from the only decent dress I own. Blue dye comes off on the sponge.
I have another novel that is not yet published, called BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, where I use the colour and flavour of orange to symbolize the bitterness, distrust and sexual desire my protagonists feel. Again, orange crops up in all sorts of shapes and forms such as rotting oranges falling from a tree, orange-flavoured lip gloss, an orange vinyl couch, an orange mohair sweater, photos tinged orange over time, and an orange scrub cap …
And my lastest work-in-progress, WHITE LADY, (which stands for the drug speed) I have already shown signs of utilizing the colour white to represent tainted purity and cold, sterile environments.
As you can see, there is quite a lot you can play around with in the colour department. If you check out this link, perhaps the meanings of different colours might inspire you too.
Do you like to use symbolism in your writing? Give me an example. Do you notice symbolism used in the books you read? 
Biography:
If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.
Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction / Writing Skills Reference
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Jessica Bell on Facebook &  Twitter

Follow the Tour
26th September – Author Interview at Just My Opinion

Release Event: The Thief Redeemer

Title: The Thief Redeemer

Author: Leigh Clary Abdou

Release date: September 9

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Event organized by: AToMR Tours

Goodreads 


Book Description:

Brandon Wilson is trouble.

As leader of the largest car theft ring in Atlanta, GA, life is coming at him faster

than he can handle. While the criminal world views him at the top of his game,

the truth is, he’s breaking apart, piece by piece. He’s not sure how much more he

can take before he completely shatters.

He’s able to manage this facade until he meets Claire Peters. As a part of a

kidnapping scheme gone bad, she’s literally delivered right to his warehouse door.

As his love for her grows, Brandon finds himself caught in an impossible dilemma.

With his lifestyle, he knows he can’t keep Claire, and yet, he can’t risk letting her

go, either. His men think he should make her disappear forever, but she’s his

angel who still believes in second chances.

Can someone be so lost they’re beyond saving? And if salvation is possible, how

does Claire show him the way?

Can a thief be redeemed?


About the Author

Leigh Clary Abdou is a graduate from the University of Georgia and wrote her first

book in the third grade. That story, along with a collection of poems and other

books, can still be found in their original location - a purple Trapper Keeper.

When Leigh isn’t writing, she’s reading or watching reruns of Friends and Sex and

the City.

She considers being a wife and mother her life’s greatest accomplishments.

The Thief Redeemer is her debut novel.


Author social media links:

•www.AuthorLCA.com

•www.facebook.com/AuthorLCA

•www.goodreads.com/AuthorLCA

•www.twitter.com/AuthorLCA


Giveaway:
 (2) eBook copies of The Thief Redeemer.
eBooks will be gifted from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords. For an additional entry, Please Like the author on Facebook. Please include your name and email as a comment as well as your Facebook name if you want that extra entry.

Estimated value of giveaway: $4.00 USD

Giveaway ends September 22nd.


Excerpt 

The two hours left of orientation pass quickly due to my fantasizing about Claire

Peters and before I know it, she’s announced it’s time for lunch. I stand and wait

for all the other interns to exit the room. I have no desire to make friends with

any of those twits. I focus on the one girl I really want to know.

She might be the one to help me find the files, I remind myself. Anyway, I

might as well have some fun while I’m here.

She’s sitting at the front of the room sorting papers when I stop at her

desk. I wait for her to look up and when she does, I offer my signature smile.

“So, tell me what I missed, Miss Claire,” I say, grabbing a seat and sitting

across from her.

“We were discussing some of the cases you’ll be representing this summer

and some of the extra-curricular activities that are expected of you outside the

office.”

I smile. “Sounds lovely.” And it does sound lovely since I won’t be here

longer than seven days. I think I’m having some sort of an effect on this woman,

although she’s a tough one to crack. She notices my flirting and she hasn’t totally

brushed me off, but she’s reserved. She’s going to be a challenge, but that’s okay.

I never back down from a challenge.

I have roughly a week to get this girl into my bed, and I’m prepared to pull

out all the stops to get her there. In fact, I’m going to up the ante and say I can

have her there in five.

Oh yeah, and I need to worry about those files. I scold myself for getting off

task so easily. Claire Peters is way too distracting.

“What time is this orientation over today?”

“Your schedule will be located in your packet, Thomas, but most days we

end at five pm.”

Five pm! Hell, my whole day has just been shot. I lay my head back on the

chair in exasperation, which results in Claire giving me a small giggle. I raise my

head and decide to up my game.

Before I can even begin, she beats me to the punch. “How come you don’t

look familiar? I interviewed all the interns, but I don’t remember you.”

Oh shit. What do I say? My brain goes a million miles an hour, but I don’t

panic. I’m used to the lies and deceit. “I remember you.”

A small blush creeps across her cheeks, and that’s when I know I have her.

This will be easier than I thought. I lean in and put my arm on her desk. It’s a risk

because this chick scares easily. I can’t get too cocky.

“So, Claire, I hear you’re the best intern teacher they’ve ever had at this

office.”

At that, Claire leans her head back and laughs. I love the sound of her

laughter and for a minute, I forget why I’m here and what I’m doing. I want to live

forever with her in this moment. She really might be an angel and for a second,

my guard slips away. Maybe she’s too good for me. Maybe I won’t get this girl

into my bed after all, because maybe she’s above that.

The moment quickly ends and the mask settles back on my face.

Claire stops laughing. “Well, whoever told you that only said it because I’m

the only intern teacher.”

“The only one?”

“That’s right. We just started this program about three years ago, and I’ve

been the teacher since the start. Mr. Birch put me in charge, and I’ve never

looked back.”

I admire her strength and drive. This girl is going to be something one day.

She’ll amount to a hell of a lot more than I have. My cocky fa├žade slips again and

the words slip involuntarily from my mouth. “Claire, you’re going to go far in life.”

She looks at me, and gratitude flows through her eyes. “Thanks, Thomas.

That means a lot.”

I shake my head and stand. I’ve got to get out of here. I can talk to her after

class about the files, but right now this girl is stripping me bare. I’m even

considering telling her my real name because I hate her calling me Thomas.

I need to remove myself and get some fresh air.

“I’m off to lunch,” I announce while I shove my hands in my pockets. “You

want anything?”

“No, I’m good. I brought something from home.”

I nod and start to walk out. When I reach the door she calls my name.

“Thomas!”

I turn and notice the blue of her eyes. I give her my complete attention.

“Be back here by one. I don’t want you to be late this time.”

My lips curve to a smile as I open the door. “Yes, drill sergeant,” I joke as

she gives me condescending smile.

“I’m not Lieutenant Dan, Thomas.” She’s teasing me and I see laughter play

across her eyes. At least she has a sense of humor. And really, who doesn’t love

Forrest Gump?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

@OBBookTours - Don’t Surrender the Fate of Your Books to Publishing Executives by Adele Park

Don’t Surrender the Fate of Your Books to Publishing Executives
by Adele Park 
Have you unconsciously surrendered the fate of your novel to the whimsical tastes of publishing executives?  Do you think your book can’t move forward without the financial blessing of others?  Agents and publishers can certainly boost our careers, but I’m not sure they can break them.  In all likelihood, our destiny lies in our own hands.  It took several years worth of groveling at the heels of those in the publishing industry for me to comprehend this.
Even though you’ve probably spent years visualizing the success of your book, how much time have you devoted to thinking about the specific things you want to achieve?  Perhaps you have a vague fantasy involving money and fame.  These things are definitely desirable, but chances are there’s more to it than that.  The act of creation ignites something within us, even if we can’t put our finger on it.  There’s a lot to be said for fully experiencing the moment we are in.
Many of us hold our own dreams hostage by assuming things have to play out in a specific manner.  In my case, I wrongly believed the only way to turn my manuscript into an audio book was to first have it published in hard back.  Under this scenario, I would have had to sell a barn full of books before anyone would ever consider producing it in audio form.
Once I understood I had control over my own dreams, I formed an LLC called Straight to Audio Productions and produced my first audio book.  I recorded and edited an 8.5 hour project using nothing but a mic, a mixer and a laptop.  Miraculously, I was able to get my project listed for sale as an mp3 download on Audible.com.  After that, I built an actual studio and went to work recordingJitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book.  That project went on to win a 2011 Audie from the Audio Publishers Association in the multi-voiced category.     
If you are having trouble getting through to the top brass in the publishing industry, try to find the courage to publish your book anyway.  E-books and desktop publishing companies make this process inexpensive and easy to do.  Don’t miss the chance to live your art just because things aren’t happening exactly the way you had envisioned.  Outcomes are over-rated anyway.  The biggest thrills come from fully experiencing the projects you’re passionate about.  Completing something you’ve been working on for a long time can be anti-climactic, so the trick is to enjoy the process.  Whatever you do, try not to get attached to the outcome.
When you run out of ideas, wing it.  I’ve met very few people who work in the audio book industry, so in my business I make everything up as I go.  Sure, I’ve taken a few wrong turns, but it’s definitely been an interesting journey.  This lack of an industry blueprint has left me free to dabble with different ways to tell a story.  Unlike most audio books which have one person doing the voices for all the characters, my audio books feature full cast of actors who tell their stories directly to the listener.  I’ve also taken the liberty of experimenting with different forms of narration.  Since the lead character in Jitters is a radio shock jock, I thought it would be interesting to narrate the story through a series of newscasts.  With Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book, I used a series of narration pieces called “Examine Our Navel.”  Like it or not, I probably couldn’t float this idea to any traditionalists in the audio book industry.
It might seem risky, but there are advantages to “going rogue.”  For one thing, you don’t have to follow any rules.  Don’t be afraid to explore the unknown.  Some of the best stuff comes from impromptu moments.
I’m sure we would all love to spend a few days in the Gucci shoes of the publishing industry elite, but let’s not assume this group has it better than we do.  Along with the perks comes more pressure.  Rather than focusing on what our project lacks, perhaps our energy would best be spent being grateful for what we already have.  Besides, there’s no telling where our books will end up – not knowing is half the fun!
Buy Now @ Audible
Genre – Comedy / Satire
Rating – R (language & theme)
More details about the book
Connect with Adele Park on Facebook

Follow the Tour
18th September – Author Interview at Reading Away Life
25th September – Book Feature at Need to Stop Reading
2nd October – Guest Post at Top Shelf Books
9th October – Author Interview at Author’s Going Places

Friday, September 6, 2013

@OBBookTours - What is a Symbolon? by Delia Colvin

What is a Symbolon?
by Delia Colvin
If you haven’t read Book One of my trilogy, The Sibylline Oracle, you are probably wondering what the heck is a Symbolon. Even Word’s spellcheck has no idea.
In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes, a comic playwright of Ancient Athens, presents the story of soul mates or as Aristophanes referred to them, “symbolons”.
Symbolons were created by the foul-tempered Zeus, who split these odd two-headed, eight-limbed characters in half, and condemned them to spend the rest of their lives searching for their other half to complete them. Did I mention that Aristophanes was a comic playwright?
The definition of the term symbolon is a bit ambiguous but it has come to mean two halves of a whole, neither one being complete until they are reunited.
In The Sibylline Trilogy, the story goes that Apollo gave the gift of divination (messages and visions from the gods) to the first Oracle, Myrdd. Apollo liked the effect, but realized that these immortals would need mates that could survive with them. So he blew into the heavens and fifty stars fell to earth. He blew again and the stars split in half creating 100 oracles, each with their perfect mate.
Throughout Book One, The Sibylline Oracle, there is a reference to a triangular tattoo on Alex’s hand. Each oracle bears a mark that helps them know their Symbolon.
Although, Alex and Valeria do have a very special connection beyond the obvious, in Book Two, their mark becomes particularly significant.
As I’ve said before, The Symbolon was my favorite book to write. However, I’m now in the rewrite stage of Book Three, The Last Oracle and I’m having a lot of fun with it as well. It should be released in June.
All three books are about the eternal love of Alex and Valeria and what they are willing to do so that the other can survive.
I hope you enjoy it!

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Paranormal
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Delia Colvin on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
13th September – Author Interview at Journey’s thru Books
20th September – Book Feature at Book Professor
27th September – Excerpt at Zoo of Books