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Review – The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz

At the remote Marshall School, Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the job—and the man—of her dreams. Stern, enigmatic Edwin Yorke with a heat Gwen longs to unleash. But Edwin knows all too well that forbidden love can end in tragedy….

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Tiffany Reisz’s newest novella, The Headmaster, is a joy to read from beginning to end. It’s different from her Original Sinners series, no doubt, but it still contains wonderful sensuality, incredible chemistry between all the characters, and Reisz’s trademark one-liners. Reisz is a masterful storyteller, so don’t let the fact that the Unholy Trinity doesn’t make an appearance scare you away from this solid standalone. As I said in a recent Twitter chat with the author herself, it’s as if, instead of giving her audience a 100 piece orchestral concerto, she gave us a haunting, bittersweet aria filled with all sorts of soaring notes and sweeping melodies. Such is the work of one of the most versatile authors working today. (Just in the last year, she’s given us a sexy rom-com, a dark, brilliant origin story, a male/male erotica short and a fun Navy SEAL serial. Talk about range!)

I began this book at eleven o’clock at night. It was a quick read, barely taking me ninety minutes. But I stayed awake for a long time after, not only because her book was such an adrenaline shock (I know that sounds like hyperbole. It’s not.) but because the ending…that ending…left my heart aching. But since this is a no spoilers site, you’ll just have to read the story and find out what I mean. :)

All in all, The Headmaster is a great story to fill the cooling days and chilly nights. It’s a great reminder at how tremendously crazy and brilliant Tiffany Reisz’s imagination is (and her work ethic.). Not that we ever forgot in the first place.

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Deleted Scenes #6 and #7 – Safe Haven and Final Word

*A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!

SAFE HAVEN

The immune system is, for all intents and purposes, a shield.  It provides our body with protection from diseases, whether that disease be a common cold, the flu, or something more severe.  It is a complex series of cells and chemicals and processes in which things called lymphocytes react to and eliminate antigens.  The immune system develops during the third month of pregnancy and matures several weeks after a person’s birth and continues to function right up until their death.

So you see?  Even after you’ve given up, there are things still willing to fight for you.

 

 FINAL WORD

There are so many things that can go wrong with the human body, it’s almost incomprehensible. One little thing wrong can throw the entire thing off.  People are always so surprised when they get sick.  They’re always shocked by the diagnosis.  But think about it.  Think about how many things have to be exactly right to be healthy.  Think of it, and you’ll see it’s more shocking to not be sick than it is to be sick. But you know what?  For all I know, for all I’m continuing to learn, here’s what I know better than anything.  The human body is miraculous.  It can stand up against lots of devastation. It can be loved, and it can love back.

And yes, while it can be broken, it can also be healed.

That’s what I think of, those are the words I remember, whenever I miss her most.

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Deleted Scene #5 – Twist and Tear

*A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!

 

TWIST AND TEAR

Ligamentous Sprain.  It’s when a joint is twisted or wrenched so violently, so suddenly, that  the ligaments – hence the name – or fibers, will stretch or tear completely.  Blood vessels will rupture and hemorrhage into tissue.  These sprains occur most in ankles, knees, fingers and wrists, and while it is not gender specific, these sprains seem to happen to adults more often then children.  Children, you see, are more flexible; they’ll fracture, not tear.  Adults are unbending.  They’ll split clean in two.

There are three types of a ligamentous sprain: Grade One, Grade Two, and Grade Three.

Grade One is the least serious, where one third of the fibers are torn.  There’s pain, but you can still walk on the ankle, you can still move the wrist.

In Grade Two, two-thirds of the fibers are torn.  There is visible swelling, skin discoloration, and more pain.  Definite decrease in mobility, too.

Finally, there is Grade Three, the most serious of them all.  It is a complete disconnect, a total tear in the ligament.  The swelling and skin discoloration and pain and instability are even more pronounced.  The symptoms of a Grade Three tear are severe, and the long term effects of it can be dire.

When I first learned about ligamentous sprains, what surprised me most was the fact that an x-ray would not reveal these problems.   You’d think you’d be able to see a tear that complete, but, no.  This is the kind of injury that you can only feel, way deep inside you.  It’s the kind of injury that doctors can do little to help you with.  Casts, splints, maybe even surgery…but really, they only go so far.

You see, when you tear something, how you heal really depends on how strong you are to begin with.  The more whole you are, the more unblemished and unhurt, the better your chances to mend.  But for those who have been broken before, who have experienced similar wounds and tears, they may never fully recover.  They’ll always experience some pain, and they’ll always remember how it got there.

So you see. There’s only so much a body can take, any body, before it breaks.

“This book will keep you up until 3am

Deleted Scenes #3 and #4 – Breakable You and Coming to Terms

*A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!

 

BREAKABLE YOU

When you break a whole thing, you end up with pieces.

It’s very easy to literally see how the human body can break.  Ribs break.  Wrists break.  Tail bones break.  Clavicles break.  Ankles break, toes break, fingers break.

But what about things that aren’t connected by blood and tissue?  The unquantifiable stuff?  The things that make me me and you you.  Pride, love, honor, integrity? What happens when those break?.How do you possibly mend shattered faith?  Fading hope? How do you possibly fix what you can’t begin to describe?

And what happens when you don’t even want to?

 

 COMING TO TERMS

Cardiomyoplasty.

Some words, you never want to say.  They look scary, they sound scary, their meanings are terrifying.  But then other words…they’ll surprise you.

Cardio.  Heart.

Myo.  Muscle.

Plasty.  To mold or shape.

I know this answer like I know my name.  I put my pencil to paper and fill in the blank.

Cardiomyoplasty.  A procedure that gives hope to those who have none.

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Deleted Scene #2 – Heart Beat

*A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!

HEART BEAT

A cardiac cycle is is the alternating contractions and relaxations of the heart chambers and it takes about one second to occur.  Most people don’t actually use the words cardiac cycle though.  Most people just say heart beat.

During a healthy, normal heart beat, a pair of chambers called the atria contract, while another pair of chambers called ventricles relax.  Blood flows into a ventricle or through an artery.  Valves open and shut.  A lot of things go on during the cardiac cycle, and it all can be clearly heard.

But here’s the thing.  You don’t need to put a stethoscope to your chest to hear someone’s heart; bits and pieces of it sound off all the time.  Sometimes, they’ll stick to the raw sound of a cry, or twine tightly around a piercing keen, or insulate a hopeless moan.  You hear these things, and you know instantly.

Someone’s heart has broken.

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Deleted Scene #1 – Inspiration

*A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!

 INSPIRATION

The word inspiration brings with it all sorts of images: a painter who suddenly sees a beautiful woman and must immediately capture the image; a dancer who hears extraordinary music and starts to move; a composer who sees a sunset and is struck by a melody.

Inspiration is so often linked with the arts and creativity that it’s easy to forget it’s also a medical term, too.  The very act of breathing is called inspiration, or at least, the first part of breathing.  When the chest expands and the air moves into the lungs, that’s inspiration.  When the chest relaxes and the air moves out, that’s expiration.

During inspiration, the major muscles involved are the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles.  During expiration, the major muscles involved are the internal oblique, external oblique, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominus.

Forget paint brushes and pointe shoes, right?

Now, the whole process of inspiration and expiration is a largely passive one.  The muscles contract then relax, contract then relax.  However, there are times this pattern is interrupted.  Coughing, sneezing, sighing, yawning, laughing, hiccupping.  Crying will do it, too.  After all, inspiration can’t occur when you feel like your life is over.

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Deleted Content

Hey Guys!

As I’m sure most of you know by now, especially if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, is that I have two new book releases coming out very shortly! The first, due October 21, is a short story collection called Songs Before Breaking. The second, due November 25, is called A Dance Before Dying. They are both part of the Last Kiss series. Actually, they’re the last books in the series, period. I was asked the other day if I’ll ever write more books featuring Derek, Sabrina and Jace and the answer: probably not. I’ve been living with these characters so long that I’m very happy with where they’re going to end up and how the series will wrap up. Plus, I have two more series coming down the pipeline for you guys and I’m so excited to get those all finished and ready for you. It occurred to me the other day, in fact, that by this time next year, if all goes according to plan, I will have 15 books out. Insane. I started this indie publishing journey just last December and it’s been such a ride. I’m still buckled in, to be sure, but I’m ready to really ramp things up.

In honor of the last two books of the Last Kiss series coming out this year, I’m going to be releasing all sorts of deleted scenes of the first two books and teasers from the last two. So every day this week, I’ll be focusing on the deleted content. And as a quick little preface:

A Kiss Before Lying was a MUCH different book when I first wrote it. Totally different. I was aiming to write another Revolutionary Road. (I know…so lofty.) Suffice to say, I did not end up writing another Revolutionary Road. Instead, I wrote a 150,000 word mess with a few nice turns of phrases in it. But still…a mess. As the years went on, I revised and revised (which means I deleted and deleted) until I finally came up with what you can now currently buy at Amazon. But one of the things I actually did really like in my hot mess of a book were these little one-page section breaks, as told by the main character. (His name is Derek in the final draft, but for a long time, it was Leo. So you’ll see that name a lot. Know that it’s not a new character, but just Derek still.)  He’s a medical student, so each of these chapter breaks had something to do with medical terminology. I loved those! I wish I could’ve kept them in the final draft, but after much thought and some great advice by my awesome critique partner and editor extraordinaire, Caitlin McNulty, we decided that they affected the pacing too much to stay.

However, those medical scenes were never deleted permanently! They have been living quietly on my hard drive…until now. Now, they’re here, unedited, though dying to be read. :)

Enjoy!