A Call to Heaven by Jo Kessel

Excerpt:

Everyone’s looking at me. I’ve got the yellow telephone in my hands and I’m not sure

what to do with it. I take a seat at the end of the table and lay the phone down in front of me.

Beth is to my left, Ben is to my right. Daniel is opposite me. I look from one to the other and feel

color flood my cheeks. My gaze finishes on Daniel and stays there for a beat. He nods, his eyes

encouraging me. I return the nod, take a deep breath and count down from three to one in my

head.

“I’ve got to tell you all something.” My voice comes out as a thin squeak, but actually

I’m surprised I manage to articulate at all. I’m hot, so hot. I lift the hair off the back of my neck,

flapping it around to try to cool my sticky, clammy skin. I can’t breathe, I need air. I unlock the

patio doors, flinging them wide open. The inside of my mouth feels rough as sandpaper. I’m

desperate for a tall glass of water packed with ice-cubes but, when I turn to see six eyes staring at

me, I dare not leave to fetch one. I feel like an exhibit in a museum and in some ways I wish I

were. I could hide behind a Perspex box next to the yellow telephone with panel blurb doing the

explaining for me. I could be part of a new exhibition entitled ‘Incredible Discoveries’. I would

share the same hall as the dinosaurs and anything else which took aeons for people to believe

existed. I draw a deep breath and continue.

“You’re probably going to think I’m mad, but I’m going to tell you anyway.”

A breeze blows through the open patio doors.

“What I wanted to tell you is this.” My voice is soft as a whisper. I sense all their bodies

leaning closer towards mine, straining to hear. “I’ve recently started talking to my mother.”

There, I’ve said it.

I feel a great sense of relief, both that I’ve said it and that I no longer have to keep this to

myself. Beth relaxes in her chair with a sigh, leans across and takes my hand, patting it. She’s got

wavy brown hair and a kind, open face. She tilts her head sympathetically.

“Oh honey, you must have tried out that clairvoyant you mentioned. Please tell us all

about it.”

I should have seen that one coming.

“No, you don’t get it.” I lift up the yellow phone, as if to demonstrate how to use such a

contraption. In one hand I take the receiver, in the other the plug. “I don’t speak to her through a

medium. I speak to her on this telephone. I plug it into a socket in my bathroom and I’m allowed

to call heaven.”

There, I’ve said it now.

Nobody moves.

Not a muscle.

Their mouths all open, Daniel’s is the widest. I don’t think any of them even realize

they’re doing it. As feared, they are looking at me like I’m certifiably insane.

“I can see you all think I’m mad.” I actually manage to pull a small smile. Now that I’ve

started, I feel much calmer. “And, if I were in your position, I would think I’m crazy too. But one

night my mother came to me in a dream and told me I could use this phone to call her in heaven

and, bizarre though it must sound, it turns out she was right. That’s why I stopped coming to

Grief Support Group every week. I wasn’t grieving so much because my mother had come back

into my life.”

The three pairs of eyes grow wider and wider, as if I’m slowly sprouting four serpent

heads. I replace the receiver back into its cradle and drop the plug, holding out my hands in

submission.

“You can believe me or not. It doesn’t matter. But the reason I’ve gathered you all here is

because I’ve been asked to choose three other people to call to heaven.”

I sound like a fairy godmother or the good witch in the Wizard of Oz. I do not sound

normal. I pause. The effect is dramatic although it’s not intended to be.

“And I’ve picked you guys.”

I look at them one by one.

“Beth, I know how much it might mean to you to be able to speak to your daughter and

know that she is safe.”

Beth nods. Her gaze turns glassy.

“Ben, I’d do anything to be able to give you a chance to speak to your brother again.”

Ben nods, his mouth still formed in a perfect ‘O’.

Daniel is the hardest one for me to look at. He’s not nodding anymore and his eyes are no

longer urging me to continue. Instead he’s shaking his head, a slow, subtle movement, but I catch

it all the same. His full lips have now formed a thin line. He’s the only one who looks like he still

thinks I’m certifiably insane. Hell, he’s a doctor; perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Part

of me wonders whether I should abort this whole escapade and pretend it was all a joke. I’d do

anything to not have Daniel stare at me in this way. He looks ready to call the local sanatorium

and send them round with a straitjacket. But I can’t abort and I must continue. What happens

next is up to him.

“And Daniel, I thought that maybe you might like to speak to Katie.”

He opens his mouth as if he’s about to say something, but clamps it shut again without

speaking. Nobody else says anything either. They all shift in their seats, pretending to take sips

of coffee and look around the room. Perhaps they’re checking out the photos on the mantelpiece

above the fireplace, trying to work out if I look like a madwoman in any of them. I pick up the

knife. Now I probably do look mad or, at the very least, dangerous.

“Right, who’s for some more pie?”

 

 


A Call to Heaven
Jo Kessel
Genre: contemporary romance
with a paranormal twist
Publisher: J.K Publishing
Date of Publication: January 27, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1540490049 /
ISBN-10: 1540490041
ASIN: B01MQU65MT
Number of pages: 260 paperback /
320 kindle book
Word Count: 68k
Cover Artist: Ivan Cakic
Book Description:
“Everybody’s loved, everybody’s lost.
Grief strips you raw and makes you feel as if you’re sleepwalking through life, like the pain will never go away.
I’m Amy Tristan. I’m no different than anyone else. I’ve loved, I’ve lost and it sucks. I’ve got a five-year old son and an abusive husband. My mother died six months ago and I miss her like crazy.
I’m the biggest skeptic when it comes to other-worldly stuff, so when I’m told that I can pick up the phone and call my mum in Heaven, I should disbelieve it, right? Wrong. I pick up that phone, because there’s nothing I want more than to hear her voice trickle into the receiver.
And you know what? It works. I get to speak to my mother. It’s a miracle. If only it could stay this way, with those calls just for me, but someone up on high wants me to choose three other people to make a call to Heaven too. Who should I pick? How can I trust them to keep the phone secret? Making the choice is agonizing – if I get it wrong, my calls will stop. I wish I hadn’t told Daniel anything. He’s this hot doctor that I’ve come to know. But doctors are scientists, and scientists are bigger skeptics than even me. He didn’t believe in the phone. He thought I should be admitted to a sanatorium. Telling him was either the best decision of my life, or the worst. I’ll let you decide…”
About the Author:
Jo lives in London with her husband, three children and Jerald the cat. In addition to being a novelist she works as a TV and print journalist (Sunday Times, The Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express.) If she could change one thing about her life it would be to introduce the thirty hour day, because twenty-four hours just isn’t long enough to squeeze it all in! Many a late night has been spent with a glass of red wine (preferably French) at her desk trying to keep her eyes open long enough to write these stories which keep demanding to be written. If only her cat didn’t constantly jump onto the keyboard as she writes, this book might have been finished months earlier. She loves yoga, skiing, travelling and English custard – though not necessarily in that order.
Website/blog: www.jokessel.com

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Cover Reveal Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio

 

 

Kinglet

The Gemeta Stone
Book One
Donna Migliaccio
August 1, 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing
Book Description:
Kristan Gemeta has lost everything:  his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.
In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he’s known to the other outcasts as Kinglet.  As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.
But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan’s wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they’re oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go.  As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band’s possession.
With the Stone’s protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna.  He could regain his birthright and his honor.  But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left…his life.
About the Author:
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa and The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing. 

 

Cover Reveal: Allerleirauh by Chantal Gadoury

 

Allerleirauh

Chantal Gadoury
Genre: Historical Fantasy /
Fairy Tale Retelling
Publisher: Parliament House
Publishing
Pending Release Date: August 22, 2017
ISBN: 978-1542850889
Cover Artist:  Parliament House
Book Description:
Long ago in the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wife to remarry only a woman who possesses her same golden hair. With time, the wicked king finds his attentions are captured by his maturing daughter. With her father’s dastardly intentions at her door post, Princess Aurelia wards off his advances by requesting impossible gifts…. Dresses created by the sun, moon and stars and a coat made of a thousand furs.
By the hands of horrible magic, the king is successful and the dresses are delivered and Aurelia decides to sacrifice her privileged life. She escapes her kingdom, the only home she’s ever known, disguised with a cloak and a new name, “Allerleirauh.”
Aurelia enters the safe haven of the kingdom of Saarland der Licht, where she is taken under the care of the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus. Hoping to not be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Aurelia tries to remain hidden under her new false identity. Unexpected love is challenged between Aurelia and Prince Klaus with an approaching arranged marriage between the heir of Saarland der Licht and the neighboring ruler’s daughter. With danger and heartache hanging in the air, Aurelia must face the troubles of her past and her fears for the future in her journey of self-discovery.
Based on the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tale “Allerleirauh.”
Excerpt: 
“Have you
forgotten your mother’s last wish? I promised her I would marry someone as
beautiful as she. You’re the only one who has the same golden hair, the same
smile, the same beautiful eyes. You are the only one who will do, who I can
love. The only one worthy of my love, my power, my body. You will be my bride,”
he declared as he ran a finger through my hair.
My teeth
clenched at his touch. The only thing keeping me in the room was the new plan
wheeling through my mind. Perhaps it would be clever enough to save me from
this fate. I could not live this life with him. I would rather die.
            “If I am to marry you,” I began
softly, letting out a deep breath. “I have four simple requests.”
            My father grinned and nodded, “Go
on…anything.”
            It was clear he underestimated me
by way of his confident sneer. The way he stared down his nose at me, he
anticipated my requests to be silly and pedantic. I unclenched my white fingers
and licked my bottom lip.
“For our marriage to be arranged,
I will require new gowns. I request three. The first, made and spun from the
rays of sunbeams.  The second, silver and
made from the full moon’s light. And the third, woven from the star dust that
falls from the heavens.”
My father’s face contorted with
question and he puffed himself up, but continued to listen.
            “My last request,” I continued, “A
fur coat made from all the kingdom’s wild animals, so when the harsh winters
come, I can keep sickness and death at bay.”
I could feel my hands tremble
from my trepidation. I couldn’t believe I had actually made such ambitious
demands—things truly impossible. What would the people think once they heard of
the kind, my father, going to these magnificent lengths to marry me? Would they
think I was a harlot? Would they think I encouraged my father’s behavior? My
stomach knotted.
             “And this is all you request from
me?” he asked with his eyebrows lifted.
I could see the amusement light
up his face. As my throat constricted, I slowly nodded to him.
Maybe this would actually work.
Perhaps he would not see through my deceptiveness and agree. If he did, this
would grant me more time to collect my chattels, arrange an escape from the
palace, and move forward with my plans. I would never again be Princess
Aurelia, but I would avoid a future most grim and contemptible.

 

About the Author:
Chantal is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published three novels: “Seven Seeds of Summer” in March of 2014 with Waldorf Publishing, “The Songs in Our Hearts,” to be released in the Summer of 2017 with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh,” which is to be re-released in a new edition by Parliament House Publishing, August 2017.
Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true!
When she’s not writing a book, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Carmel Mocha Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.