Saturday, November 16, 2013


Day 16: Off to Victoria today to visit with Rebecca Berto and check out her 5 Quick Things and her book Pulling Me Under and a couple of excerpts.

Welcome Rebecca.


Rebecca Berto writes stories about love and relationships. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her books, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She's strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction. 

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy. 

5 Quick Things:

A quote that means something to you. 

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

A song that describes you.

SOMEDAY by Nickelback -- not saying that it describes my current relationship but it's one of the songs of which my play count runs into the hundreds. Love the meaning in the lyrics and never get sick of hearing it.

 Who is your book boyfriend?

Remy from REAL because I still miss him!! <3 div="">

Who is your book girlfriend? 

Lisbeth Salander from The Millennium Trilogy
 -- you do NOT mess with her! She's so fierce. Love.

Author that inspired you and why? 

Jodi Picoult.
 I love sucking in her skills and style when reading her books.

 Will you be attending the Indie Author Down Under Gold Coast event 22nd March 2014?

Facebook Link

Hell yes! :D

Title of Book : Pulling Me Under
Author: Rebecca Berto

State: Victoria
Series Title: Pulling Me Under (book #1)
Date Released/Releasing : October 11, 2013
Genre : Women's Fiction / Suspense
Book Cover Designer : Berto Designs (

Paul was Katie’s rock for thirteen years, but then she watched him die.

By day, she is left with her daughter Ella’s questions about where Daddy went, and at night she's consumed with nightmares of the moment he died. It isn’t long before Katie’s mother hints that her volatile lifestyle and developing drinking habits are no way to raise a little girl.

Through it all, her and Paul’s best friend, Liam is there. Grieving the death of both husband and friend, the time they spend together seems more intimate these days, and Katie soon stumbles into taboo territory: Liam might be in love with her.

Torn between Liam’s feelings and losing Ella, one night Katie runs.

Air. Space. Thinking time. That's what she thinks she's getting when she stumbles upon that party. In the morning, in a strange bed, she can’t remember the night before.

Pulling Me Under is raw in its brutality of love and pain, with slow-building suspense to a heart-stopping conclusion.


Ella’s school-dress buttons and collar change color. They’re business-shirt blue and only three buttons are done up because Paul was lifeless, gone, by the time I got to him but Paul’s not really here and maybe Ella is. Maybe I’m not here, either.

I dig my nails into the laminate until I want to scream from the pressure of my bending nails. Okay, so I’m still here.

“What did I do?” Ella’s voice breaks, and it sounds as if she chokes on her last word.

Ella deserves a mother who will pull her into her chest at times like this and cry about how sad they both are. I haven’t cried since before Paul’s death.

At twenty-nine, I shouldn’t be waking up every day to this. I’d once thought widows only existed when people were old. Sure, I still have the brown hair with some type of wave to it, but I’m a shell with rotting insides.

Paul’s bloody body, dotted with partially digested chunks of his breakfast is suddenly in front of me. Then his dead body multiplies, replicating behind me, to my left, right. He is a cage. I am the prisoner. His blood stains the floor red, causing my breath to stagger. My head spins seeing the sickening chunks and lifeless body of the man I would have given my life for.

My daughter’s sobs fade, as if I’m being sucked away into a tunnel. The gray walls churn as if I’m in a kaleidoscope. Fire truck red and kryptonite green color blurs together to a spot in the distance. The end of the house is gone, replaced with a tunnel sucking me out of the kitchen. The choking, sobbing sound across the counter fades further.

Suddenly, the kitchen fades to an image of my closet. Last night, I found Ella there, her fingers skimming along the circle she made of Paul’s ties. For minutes, I stood behind her in the doorway of my closet. It had been the first time in my master bedroom in months.

Ella bopped on her knees, her feet tucked away under her bum. She’d laid out all of her favorite colors. One with Disney’s Tasmanian Devil printed on it, another in Cadbury purple. Ten or more lay around the circle. Her favorite tie had a pink and blue swirl twisting down its length, right in front of her knees.

She stroked each tie once, her voice a steady hum. When she brushed the swirly tie, her hum reached a staccato and stopped. She picked it up in the same manner as she would her favorite doll and stroked it against her chest.

Outside, the Melbourne rain had climaxed from gentle taps on the windows to angry thumps, making me jump.

“Oh, Daddy,” Ella mumbled. “Can I really have it?”

A flash of me from months ago rushed to her side, knowing to fold her legs and prop her in my lap as we sat together. That version of me plucked all her fingers, and Ella chuckled and snorted simultaneously.

Instead? I said, “No. Ella. Out.”

Ella spun around at the same time as a clap of lighting shook the carpet under our feet. She squealed and clamped her arms by her side, her back ramrod straight. “I want the swirly one. M—my doll needs it.”

I held myself up on the doorjamb of the closet, my arm against the wall easily blocking out the bed and the far side of the room where no one had scrubbed out the stain. “No more. You’re not allowed in here. No one is.” My lip shook almost too much to choke out words. “How could you . . . do this? You know how naughty . . . it is to . . . to come here.”

Even I couldn’t go in the master bedroom. Haven’t since what happened until now.

The crumpled sheets can’t be moved. I leave the stains. Everything must remain the same. I don’t straighten my hair anymore, or sleep with a pile of pillows, or wear my comfortable jeans. No one can be in here so nothing will change.

What if Ella found the box under the bed? If she went through it?

Not yet. Maybe not ever. I promised myself that I wouldn’t look under the bed. There’s too much finality in looking through that box.

Shaking my mind back to present-time I think, I know too much.

I hate.

I hate Paul for leaving me to fend against Mom when he knows I can’t do it by myself.

I hate him for being selfish and thinking that I can live without him.

Most of all, I hate me for hating him, since it’s my fault he isn’t here now.

Ella? She wants to know. Something. Will he come back? Does he love her?

My mom used to say things like, “It’s your fault, Katie. You hear me, Katie? You ruined my tummy, Katie.” Then she would come close enough to smell the fear coating my skin. Always, I’d gasp and try to run away. She’d grab me and yank me back by my flimsy wrist. Her voice was low and steady. Low so I wouldn’t get lost in her hysteria; steady so my mind would store this information forever.

“You killed your brothers and sisters. They didn’t make it out of my belly because you jinxed me. You know that, right?”

Now, in this kitchen, Ella smells a lot like that fear.


I wake up in my bathtub.

Liam is by my side. His arms are tense from holding his weight over the rim. When he exhales, I suck in warm air. His air.

He sees me wake and falls back against the tiled wall behind him, lacing his fingers as a barrier between the wall and his head. Crunch. He doesn’t react when he hits the wall, as if his hands haven’t protected his skull. Not even a flinch.

Thankfully, his eyes are closed, which makes me feel less self-conscious. I mean, I don’t remember a period of time without him—my kinder years, primary, secondary school—but it’s easier to think without scrutiny.

I’m not sure how long it takes, but soon enough I see he’s wearing the blue hoodie. Did he really leave it here or did he put it on . . . to rub something in? His jeans are the worn ones, the ones where his knee pokes through one pant leg. Smirking, I notice he’s still wearing Ella’s Mickey Mouse watch. The one she insisted he use.

I try to form a memory but all I see are lined-up red plastic cups and me smashing them along a line with the ball of my heel. That’s all that comes to me. As I hit this memory, Liam opens his eyes. He’s breathing heavily, but what worries me are those blue eyes because they seem too wide. Those eyes have seen too much.

“Wha—” I clear my throat and taste something acidic, half-digested that makes my voice sound like a gurgle. I rinse out two cupfuls of water before I gulp down another two cupfuls. It’s only after the eagerness to wash out the vomit that I realize I have my boy shorts on and one of Paul’s business shirts.

And that’s it.

“What happened?” I say to Liam anyway, because I can’t very well ask “Why am I half-naked?” I’m lucky my body is thin enough to hide in this shirt. It would have been a different story otherwise.

He sits up and searches my face for a long time. His gaze is so still that a shiver runs down my spine. “Seems you had a party, you did.”

I’m suddenly self-conscious about my gaping shirt. I pull my ankles by my side and the ends of my shirt as tight around my chest as they will go. “Was this your idea?”

Liam points to my shirt—Paul’s shirt—and suppresses a scoff. “Nah, man. I came here at, ooh,” he checks his watch and clucks, “twelve-forty.”

“And I was . . . ”

“Well and truly partied out. I missed it all. I believe you were passed out and curled up with an empty Johnny Walker bottle.” He points over there. To Ella’s bed. Just as I guessed.

I allow myself to see through the bathroom door, trying to push through the pounding in my head. Ella’s bedroom has her ponies strewn everywhere, in a way she never leaves her precious toys.

The “why” of Liam’s presence occurs after I’ve looked away. I don’t want him seeing me look back to him. I’ve had enough shame for one day.

In Ella’s bedroom there’s the suspect Johnny Walker bottle on the floor. I clench my teeth, pushing away memories, pushing, pushing, until all I think about is running.

Looking at Paul in that picture with cascading curls is worse, though, so I refuse to look at the particular section of the wall. I can’t see happy. I took away happy and I want nothing to do with it now.

I concentrate on keeping my features blank so Liam can’t read any weaknesses. He’s about to suggest I hand Ella over to someone else to for a little while—I can sense it.

I remember that things changed about a week after what happened with Paul. The first week after a sudden, terrible death is open to all sorts of reactions, but for me there’s been a disconnect. The first week, I would stare right at something as plain as a glass, and thinking back now, I can recall from my fixture on that glass I didn’t even know I was doing it. I’d get asked what I was doing that morning and I’d think it was afternoon because, surely, I couldn’t feel that tired and ready to quit the day before midday. I didn’t even know I skipped meals because hours slipped away like soap in a shower, yet my body had never felt heavier to lug around than it did then, during the first week.

The first week has never ended for me.

There are “comforting” lines, like the Do you want to chat about it, Kates? that people repeat.

Well, what do I say to that? I don’t want to talk about it. Okay?

Then I can’t remember much.

What day is it?

What am I doing in my car?

Who am I?

I shouldn’t be surprised. I transformed from a kid, dependent on my mom and dad to being “Paul and Kates”.

Never have I been just me.

Goodreads Link: 

Social Media Links:

Blog/Website: Novel Girl


Amazon US | Amazon Int’l | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Later today I am visiting the outback with author Ann B. Harrison.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We love hearing from you, your comments mean a lot to us.