reading

You simply must meet her. Paige is mystifying. Infuriating. Bewildering. She’s also the protagonist in Mandi Castle’s debut novel, Dear Stephanie. You’ll want to resist her allure. You’ll want to hate her. But be warned, your resistance is futile. Prepare to be seduced.

How often have you looked at someone in envy. Someone who seems to “have it all.” Their life seems to be a seamless string of perfection. Maybe it’s the celebrity who’s gorgeous and talented. Maybe it’s the person you see in your day to day life, the one who’s always smiling their mega-watt smile and effortlessly gliding through their day.

Maybe you even know one of these people, on a personal level. They keep you at an arms length, beguiling you with their wit. But there’s never that moment. You know, the moment where you relate. Where you see the human behind the face.

So you go on thinking they have it all together. And that’s what they want. Because pain and suffering and depression and mental illness like to lurk in the dark. That’s where those beasts grow and flourish. Hidden and cloaked in shame, they only show you what you want to see. What’s acceptable. Comfortable. Because light exposes weakness and exposing weakness means admitting and dealing with and confronting. And if you are weighted down by depression that’s the last thing you’re looking to do.

And so it begins with Paige. She has it all and she doesn’t mind telling you so. She flaunts her perfection. She revels in the distant adulation. She goes to great pains to make you think that there is no crack in the foundation. That her world is flawless. She will distract you with steamy and heated scenarios. She will have you breathing heavy and sweating. She will lure you with her innuendo. She will be blunt. She will ensnare you. In spite of yourself. Because she represents shallow and vain, and those aren’t attractive qualities. But she will prevail. You are now enthralled.

And this is when it gets real.

Layer by layer she is revealed to you. So subtly you barely realize it’s happening. You come-to from your reader’s trance and realize that you have connected with this character that you started out loathing. When did that happen? How was I duped?

Don’t bother questioning it. You’ve been seduced.

You find yourself deeper into the psyche of this mysterious character. Only to realize there’s so much more. You begin to relate. You start to see the hows and the whys and the who’s. And it all makes sense. It’s all so tragic.

And it’s all so brilliant.

Because this book takes you on the journey, the arc that so many who come across a Paige in their real life, know all too well. The facade. The seduction. The bravado. But then, once a tiny fracture appears, the real. The pain. The sorrow. The suffering. The hidden truths that lie within a broken person.

And once you get past the lure of the glamour and the hedonism, you start to see the things that make up this person. And that’s when you really become invested.

That is when Dear Stephanie takes hold and grips you. That’s when you find yourself sucking in air and trying to control you emotions and waving off anyone who dares interrupt your immersion into Paige’s world. That’s when you find your emotions churning and rising and falling with each turn of the page. That’s when you begin reading furiously, devouring the last few chapters, eager for answers.

And as abruptly as it started, the seduction is over. But isn’t that the way with an enticing frolic? The allure pulls you in and before you know it you’re left looking around trying to figure out what just happened.

And so it ends with Dear Stephanie.

Dear Stephanie is available on Amazon now! Click here to buy/download.

 

 

DearStephaniePaige Preston wants to end her life. After an unsuccessful attempt, she lands herself in mandatory therapy with a sexy psychiatrist. When he and an even more alluring friend begin to help her break down the walls she’s spent a lifetime building, Paige begins to see something bigger than herself. Is it enough to pull her out of her dark world and help her finally feel like a human? Or will letting someone in be the final step toward her demise? 

Dear Stephanie is a sinfully addictive walk through a world of beauty, affluence, and incidental love that effortlessly moves the reader between laughter, tears, heartache, and hope with the turn of every “Paige.”

 

Author PicMandi Castle is a daydreaming stay at home mom of two who spends most her time reading and writing. She loves watching football, is obsessed with music, and has a serious addiction to smart funny people. She can often be caught having dance parties in her kitchen in Dallas, Texas. To connect more visit her at mandicastle.com

 

 

 

“All your life you’ve never seen
woman, taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?” 

-Fleetwood Mac, Rhiannon

There are two things that get me so excited I can barely contain myself. Well, three, but this isn’t that kind of blog now is it? I’m talking about discovering new music and new books. Music and books are (almost) everything. Both can touch your soul, transport you, intoxicate you.

That’s why I’m so incredibly lucky to know Helena. Because Helena is words and music. She lives them, breathes them and (thank god) writes them.

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Yes, that Helena. Dilettante, author, music aficionado. Helena who introduced me to Jessica (who still haunts my darkest dreams), Helena who wrote the amazing Memoirs Of A Dilettante (which I gobbled up like a bag of white cheddar popcorn), Helena who is a virtual walking encyclopedia of music (good music that is- we’ve had wonderful Facebook chats where she’s introduced me to some kick ass music.)

Today Helena is announcing her forthcoming Memoirs Of A Dilettante, Volume Two.

Eeeekkk!!!  I know! It’s so damn exciting!

Coming Spring 2015.

Helena Cover Boa 4

 

Cover art by the supremely talented writer/ artist/ poet Hastywords.

And to whet your appetite and hold you off ’til Spring, here’s a little somethin’ somethin’ about the book:

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is the second collection of reminiscences, following Helena Hann-Basquiat, a self-proclaimed dilettante who will try anything just to say that she has, and her twenty-something niece, who she has dubbed the Countess Penelope of Arcadia. 

Speaking of Arcadia, this volume delves into Helena’s childhood, as she revisits what she calls the Arcadia of the mind — that place that keeps us trapped and holds us back from our potential. Some of her most personal stories are included here, interspersed with hilarious stories of misadventure. It’s not a novel, really, and it’s not a memoir, by the strictest definition. But most of what follows, as they say, is true. Sort of. Almost. From a certain point of view.

Discover Helena’s tales for the first time or all over again, with new notes and annotations for the culturally impaired — or for those who just need to know what the hell was going through her mind at the time!

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Helena is going to be running a crowdfunding/pre-order campaign at Pubslush, a community focused solely on indie writers, and has set up a profile there to launch Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two.

For more information, and to follow the progress, Become a Fan at http://HelenaHB.pubslush.com

And in case you’re not yet familiar with Ms. Helena… 

The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.

She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

In 2014, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, several e-books which now make up Volume Two, as well as a multimedia collaborative piece of meta-fictional horror entitled JESSICA.

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell.

Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or http://whoisjessica.com or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat.

Check it out, check her out (her blog, I mean) and let me know what you think! All praise and thanks may be left right here in Comments….