Book Tour! Murder: It’s All in Your Head

Welcome to the book tour for supernatural thriller, Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston!

Murder: It’s All in Your Head

Publication Date: December 5, 2020

Genre: Supernatural Thriller/ Horror

Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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Excerpt

Cassie pedaled her bike faster to school as thoughts of staying home alone on senior prom night plagued her. A flash of light blinded her. She shielded her eyes. Horns blared and tires squealed, and the whole bike shook to a stop.

When she opened her eyes, a wall of old books stared back. She rubbed her eyes and blinked rapidly, taking in her surroundings. Gone was the familiar tree-lined street with rows of 40-year-old ranches and split-levels. Sunlight filtered in through parted drapes. Unlike her house, where dust danced in light beams, this room sat still.

Her sweaty hands clenched into fists at her sides, her nails digging into her palms. A chill jolted up her spine and extended down her arms, freezing her in place. She gazed across the room. Marble pillars flanked an archway to another room across the vast library.

A faint noise came from another part of the building. Curiosity claimed her caution as she took a step. Realizing her fingers were wet, she glanced down and nearly fell over. Blood covered her large hands all the way to her thick fingertips!

Cassie gasped. She reached for her throat. A sharp intake of breath.

“What?” she croaked in a foreign voice.blo

A dream. This must be a dream. Her voice rang through her mind, but when she opened her mouth to speak again…

“This can’t be happening.”

Cassie’s hands grasped her throat, in a failed attempt to excise the vocal cords responsible for this new voice. When her fingers grazed whiskers, she raked them over the jaw and cheeks.

“No. N-no.” What the hell?

She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a long, slow breath. Okay, okay. Calm down.

When her eyes opened yet again to this new reality, Cassie gave a shuddering gasp. She felt like she was doused with ice water, the burn throbbing through her body. She tried to step again, but she wavered in this oversized body that wore like a linebacker’s uniform. The large feet lumbered with a clumsiness contrary to her agile body. For a girl who had taken gymnastics since she could walk, the dragging, teetering movement of this form almost stopped her efforts. But Cassie willed herself to move. One step at a time.

Just do the best you can. Her mom’s words echoed through her mind.

Her steps were short-lived as her dad’s advice died. She halted. A trail of red on the spotless marble floor led to an archway. Her nerves fired in overtime, and her head spun. She followed the path and exited the elaborate room into a hallway.

The sound was louder now. The unmistakable sound of running water.

“What’s going on?” Cassie whispered. She tried to ignore the voice. Really tried.

Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to the right and landed on her reflection, only it wasn’t her face. A tall man of about thirty stared back. She ran her hands through the trim brown beard that contoured the strong jawline, confirming what she felt earlier. Liquid brown eyes under thick, wavy hair and a deep brow held confusion, panic. A sleek black business suit covered her well-built frame—fit for an executive who dined on caviar and champagne and rode in chauffeured limos. But against the black of her suit the blood extended, weaving an unknown horror story.

She shook her head. “This is impossible.” Yet the voice told a different story.

Her body trembled, and her whole being felt different. Cassie’s eyes fell on a picture frame below the mirror. Her fingers fumbled to pick it up. A younger version of the man in the mirror gazed out of the photo. He smiled, his face next to a gorgeous auburn-haired woman. The woman’s hazel eyes crinkled around the edges, her freckles standing out against her fair skin in the sunshine. It was a happy couple’s wedding photo.

Cassie returned the picture to its place, the frame now coated in blood. A drop of crimson marked the floor every few inches. This body must have come from the opposite direction through the house, for how else could she explain the blood everywhere? She rested a hand on the railing at the base of the stairway and gazed up the twisting steps. The running water came from upstairs. She took the first step and steadied herself. Something drew her toward the source of that sound.

Cassie reached the landing and glanced behind her. Her mark was on the railing, another path of blood. The tell-tale trail continued, decorating the floor in a macabre design, as she went down the hallway toward the sound. Her knees wobbled as a dizzy spell overtook her. She steadied herself with a hand to the wall and blanched at the red print she left.

Call the cops.

I don’t know what the hell’s going on.

She pushed herself from the wall and arrived at the bathroom. Water leaked under the door.

The knob slid under her slick hand. She used the end of her sleeve to grip it and pushed the door open enough to peek inside. Pink water flooded the marble floor. Her gaze traveled to the bathtub. Water spilled over the tub’s edge. A woman lay sprawled in the tub, her vacant eyes staring at the ceiling, her mouth open in a scream. Her head lay at an odd angle, her neck nearly cut in two. Blood ran from the gaping gash into the water.

Cassie tried to scream, but her stomach tightened. Bile rose and she vomited into the pooling water and blood. She slammed the door and collapsed against the outside, pulling her knees to her chest. Water soaked her pants, making the fabric stick to her clammy skin. The tall frame of the man’s body convulsed with the sobs of a teenage girl as she cried into her hands. Hands that weren’t hers.

“I want my mom.”

She couldn’t get the dead woman’s face out of her mind. As the scene replayed through her head, Cassie realized where she’d seen the woman before. In the photo. She had been this man’s wife.

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About the Author

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Cynthia Hilston | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Twitter: @cynthiahilston @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours1

IG: @authorcynthiahilston @shannon_rrbooktours #murderitsallinyourhead #rrbooktours

For a chance to win a paperback edition of the book, enter the giveaway below!

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New Book! The Demon of Yodok

I’m happy to share YA Dystopian novel, The Demon of Yodok! Read on for book details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition. Oh and for all of you book reviewers, you can request a copy of this exciting book from R&R Book Tours!

Demon of Yodok

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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Twitter: @AdriaCarmichael @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Giveaway: For a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of The Demon of Yodok, click the link below!

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Giveway will run from today until April 15th! (International)

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Book Review: Behind the Blue Elevator

Behind the Blue Elevator

Behind the Blue Elevator, by Felicia Baxley is so smartly amazing. As an avid reader of psychological thrillers, I am in awe of her storytelling and anxiously await more of her work.  

Ella is a college student finishing her education with an internship placement at an insane asylum. She is not looking forward to her first day, as she would prefer an internship she had actually wanted, but this would fulfill her obligations needed to graduate. Her first day was nothing she ever expected. How could a mental patient catch her eye like Lebannon did? Was she really going to be a trained professional if she was going to fall for her patients? Each patient Ella encounters is different, and she begins to look forward to testing out her diagnostic knowledge. Spending time with Lebannon teaches Ella more than any college course could have.  

I give this story 5 out of 5 stars. This was a fast-paced story that kept me engaged from page one to the end. There were quite a few typing errors that I hope an editor can notice, but they do not distract enough to take from the plot or characters. This is a must read for anyone who likes to feel twisted when reading a psychological plot more twisted than anything since Stephen King.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57311321-behind-the-blue-elevator

Sunday Writing Prompt – Lost – March 21st

Find the prompt here: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2021/03/21/sunday-writing-prompt-lost-march-21st/

Veva had seen that little dog before. She couldn’t forget him, with his black spotted face and brown belly! “What a silly little dog”, she remembers thinking the first time she saw him. This time he looked sad though. He seemed a little scraggly, like he had been out in the rain all night, maybe sleeping in a mud puddle! Poor baby.

“Come here sweet baby!” she called to the puppy. He looked over at her and started walking slowly in her direction.

She was a little fearful. What if he had some disease or if he was really nippy?

He was a little fearful. What if she tried catching him in one of those net things like the other people did?

With his little head down he walked up to where Veva was standing. He kept his head down, either to be patted or because he was afraid of her. She fell in love immediately with the sweet puppy. She bent down to pat his little spotted head. As soon as she lifted her hand away he looked up at her with the darkest, sweetest eyes. “Do you want to come home with me, little guy?” she asked. He wagged his tail. He didn’t know where he had come from but this was the first time that he felt like he knew where he was going; home!

©2021 CBialczak Fiction

First Line Friday: March 12, 2021

It is First Line Friday! Welcome and let’s get writing. https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/first-line-friday-march-12-2021/

Tamsin’s heart drummed frantically as she tore through her pack, her books, and the messy desk– where was it?! She knew she had put the folder on her desk prior to unpacking the rest of her stuff but it was nowhere to be found. How could a manila envelope that big just disappear?
This was just her luck. First, she finds out her great aunt Cindy died then finds out that she is the Executor to her estate! Why was she named the one in charge? She barely knew Aunt Cindy!
She only had about an hour to spare before the attorney’s office closed. She had to get the paperwork to the attorney so it could be filed with probate in the right amount of time. Luckily, she got that heads up from her cousin Billy. Billy had called looking to find out what Aunt Cindy had left him. Tamsin had no idea so she told Billy she would ask the attorney. That could happen if she only found what she was looking for. What would her relatives say if she said she lost Aunt Cindy’s Last Will and Testament? There had to be another copy somewhere but that would only take longer then to find it.

Tamsin dropped into her chair. Letting out a giant sigh she bowed her head knowing she had messed up. What would the attorneys do? Would they have another copy? Would this situation get better or worse? Out of the corner of her eye Tamsin noticed a small piece of manila envelope sticking out from behind the waste pail. The folder! She must have dropped it! She reached over; while thanking God, and grabbed the folder. She ran out of room and tore down the hall, knowing that if she flew down there now she would have plenty time to get things done. Maybe Aunt CIndy was up there taking care of it after all!

©2021 CBialczak Flashfiction

Gathering Dark: Book Review

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Gathering Dark by Candice Fox is a fast paced, keeps-you-guessing, suspense thriller featuring a main character who has been put into the worst scenario possible and who is now trying to deal with it and get her life back. Then the other main character is a cop who is also put in a bad situation, but her situation just keeps getting worse.  

Blair was going to be a new mother when she was convicted of murdering her neighbor.  
Jessica is the cop who put Blair away ten years ago for the murder. Now, Jessica is being questioned by her coworkers but also begins questioning herself in Blair’s murder case. Had she jumped for a conviction without really looking at the evidence? Is she just looking for false clues to make herself feel justified? There are many other players in both women’s lives and some of them are more powerful than others. With each new chapter you are brought closer to these women, but your understanding of the truth gets more skewed. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a slow read at the beginning trying to organize who is who, as the chapters alternate between Blair and Jessica. Although the plot seems somewhat predictable, the author has thrown in enough loops to make you question who is really at fault here. I would recommend this book to readers who like reading about the twists and turns of truth and suspense.   

FOWC with Fandango: retreat

Find it here: https://fivedotoh.com/2021/02/24/fowc-with-fandango-retreat/

Pulling up to the front door of the building we knew we were in for quite a weekend. Marble steps with gold railings leading up to a huge open foyer, all marble with a huge crystal chandelier in the center. A fountain splashed water of every color as the bulbs coursed through all the colors of the rainbow. We thought when we signed up for the Couples’ Retreat we would be in shoddy cabins with port-o-potties placed far enough away so as to not cause anyone discomfort. This was the exact opposite! Who would’ve ever thought the retreat would be held in such a beautiful location! This was something which would surely rekindle the flame between Marcus and I. I mean,how could it not? 

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: 2021: Week #08

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Find the challenge here: https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2021/02/24/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2021-week-08/

Debbie’s Day at the Beach

Debbie couldn’t understand why there was a “No Swimming” sign at a public beach. If you weren’t supposed to swim what were you supposed to do? Not only could she not understand the sign but she saw a few teenagers swimming not that far from the sign. This meant they either didn’t care what the sign said or they really didn’t see it. Debbie figured it was probably the first thought, that they just ignored it. 

Slowly she laid her towel and put her bag at the end for her headrest. It was hot and the water looked so inviting. Debbie didn’t know how long she would be able to sit here and not go into that refreshing water. 

Finally, Debbie decided that just putting her feet in wouldn’t hurt; that certainly  couldn’t be called swimming. She walked to the edge of the water and looked back over her shoulder to see if there was anyone around who would tell her to get out of the water. The beach was empty. Debbie stepped in and felt herself sinking into the sand. It was sucking her in. What was this? Quicksand? Oh why didn’t she just do what the sign said! 

©2021 CBialczak Flash Fiction

Tale Weaver – #315 – Mystery – The Bald Man.

Dexter’s Night

He woke up, feeling more groggy than he had ever felt, not sure why he would feel so poorly. He thought about the night before and realized he could recall showing up at Lindon’s Bistro and getting seated, but nothing else. His whole body was shaking; was there a draft in here? Dexter raised his hand to his head and realized for the first time that all of his hair was gone. What? Where was his hair? Who would shave his head and why? Standing up and slowly walking toward the mirror Dexter could barely recognize his own reflection. Never before had he been without his brown curls. Who did this?

©2021 CBialczak flash fiction

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

There is now a new writing challenge: https://carrotranch.com/2021/02/01/the-sue-vincent-rodeo-classic/

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Marcy’s Cabin

Marcy looked out over the trees feeling the morning air, crisp and clean, filling her nostrils. It had finally become a reality. Her dream to live in the mountains with only the earth and Dexter, her dog, to keep her busy was finally a reality. 

Marcy hadn’t realized the beauty that lay before her on her bedroom balcony. Leaning on the railing to look down into the valley, Marcy felt a wiggle and heard a short snap before falling to the ground below. Would someone find her? The world darkened around her.

©2021 CBialczak Flash Fiction