Pages of Paige

“Write the best story that you can, and write it as straight as you can.” Ernest Hemingway

I kind of like Ernest Hemingway, so I take his advice as often as possible. That’s what I tried to do when I created Paige and the rest of her story in Dear Stephanie. I tried to write it as straight as I could. And I think I did.

If you’re in the mood for a read that will take you on a shockwave ride of emotions, get your copy today. It’s live, and I’m very proud, but don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what people are saying about my newly released debut novel:

LizziDear Stephanie is a tale of a woman’s battle against mental illness and her own efforts to self-sabotage her entire existence. In spite of her privileges and mind-games, Paige’s story is one of connection and relationship and self. It’s a tale of maybe true love and definitely true love, and loss, and hope, and wonder, and deep, indescribable pain.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me angry.

BethDear Stephanie breaks molds.

The realities of the main character – Paige Preston- and her struggles with mental illness and drug abuse are not prettied up, and no bush is beat around. You start out not really liking her, until you do, mostly because she starts to resemble you, with vulnerabilities and fragility. She is human. She is broken.

Castle handles this subject matter with realism and care, never glorifying or exaggerating, which I find admirable. I was genuinely swept away in the story. I laughed out loud, I teared up, I worried, and I felt. You really can’t ask for more than that.

HelenaI was moved to both laughter and tears by this book, which I read all at one sitting, never tiring of the wonderful prose — Castle’s character, Paige Preston, was a delightful narrator, speaking to her audience in a voice that was real and believable.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes character driven stories and appreciates good writing.

DanaFrom the first chapter, I was hit by the hot mess that is Paige. I often decide immediately whether I like a character, but Paige reveals herself over the course of the novel, and my investment in her grew as I read. She is real, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, and her story stayed with me for days after finishing the book. Even now, over a week after I read it, I am still thinking about it. For me, that is the sign of a good book. It seeps into your pores and settles in.

Chrissy: In my head, I was Stephanie. Paige was writing to me.

She’s confident. Demanding. Beautiful. Flawless. But NOT without flaw. Because no one is. Depression is real, and this character exudes everything and nothing all at once. 

So much happens in so few pages, that I can’t even begin to spoil this for you. I didn’t devour this novel, so much as I was consumed by this novel. I couldn’t put it down (even at work, I kept sneaking a page here and there – sorry boss!).

ReneePaige Preston is ALL THAT – just ask her.

She is every man’s wet dream.

She is also completely hollow and bitterly cold inside, or so it seems.

But sometimes you have to give people a chance to show you who they are.

LisaCastle creates a character who is so substantive, so engaging, that you can’t help but be drawn to her, despite her many flaws and violent demons. You will find yourself breathless several times throughout the tale, right up to the very last unbelievable word.

AndraDear Stephanie is a departure from my usual reading routine, an example of trying something new to shake up a reading rut. At first, I disliked Paige Preston so much I wanted to stop reading. I’m weary of books constructed around unlikeable, unreliable narrators. But Paige wove her spell. She is a well-crafted, deep and disturbed character, manipulative enough to charm even me. 🙂 You won’t be sorry you gave Paige a try.

Dear Stephanie Final eBook cover Laura

Paige 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.”

So, what are you waiting for? Read the book (click here for kindle or paper back), and then let’s have a book club discussion. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Oh, and if you want to win a signed paperback, comment here. If you want a double chance, share something on Social Media with the hashtag #DearStephanie. Thanks for playing!

Thank you to all of the people who have read my book and left reviews. I am forever in your debt, and I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of you.

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It’s Been a Long Day

People always say that you don’t get to pick your family. I disagree.

When I was six years old, a family with three little girls moved into the house next door. My mother was thrilled. Being the only girl with four older brothers, my hobbies had become making and eating mud pies, getting into fights on the playground (yes, in Kindergarten), and looking at trashy magazines with the boy across the street. My mother saw these three little girls hop out of their mom’s Vanagon and forced me (kicking and screaming) to go introduce myself.

She had no idea they would become my sisters, that I would fall so deeply in love with them, that their mother would become a second mother to me, that their father, one of my favorite people, would influence my sense of humor for the rest of my life. Nor did she ever imagine that the oldest of the three would turn out to be my soul mate, my person, my best friend of thirty years (and counting).

We were inseparable, the four girls on our block. We spent every weekend night together, staying up until ungodly hours playing dress up and rock stars and barbies when their dad would finally come in and in his deep gritty voice tell us to go the hell to bed. We learned life together. As we grew older, our friendships grew with us, and we held each other’s hands through shopping for our first bras, then first kisses, then teenage heartbreak. We applauded each other’s successes and cried together when things went wrong.

When we were seventeen, our world changed forever. On February 29, 1996, we had our first baby. As scared as we were for our sister to become a teenage mom, we had her back. We knew that together we could make this work, and we did. A little boy entered our lives and changed everything. He was all the things a first baby is. Confusing, adorable, funny, exhausting, and he was ours. He brought a new life into our world, a sense of wonder and excitement. We took turns babysitting him and watched as he grew from a chubby little brown eyed baby to a sweet little boy who at seven years old announced to us that he would one day become a paleontologist.  And we believed him.

We all grew up, went to college, moved to different towns, got married, etc. But we managed to get together as frequently as possible, and when we did/do, it was/is as if time never passed.

Then one day, our world changed again. Shattered for a minute. And an hour. And a lifetime.

Our baby was gone.

Just like that.

A car crash.

My pseudo baby sister lost her first born child a few months after he turned eighteen, just a few weeks prior to his high school graduation.

No words can help because they can’t bring him back. No flowers or cards or hugs or good thoughts make any kind of difference because he’s still gone, and my sweet friend who I love as if she shared my blood will never be the same again.

And there’s no word for her. There’s no widow or widower or orphan. She’s just a woman, a mother with a permanent hole in a heart that will never beat the same again. But she’s more than that to me. She’s my family, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her or him.

Please watch this video all the way to the end as a tribute to this amazing kid that was taken from us far too soon.

“Guys,one day we’re all gonna die, so have fun, and have fun the way YOU want to have fun. Don’t listen to anyone else. Word up.”  Thomas James Gomez-Reddish (February 29, 1996 – May 6, 2014)

Thomas