Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of Bliss. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our writing process, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away a copy of the first novel we wrote together: King of Dublin!
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release — King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise!
On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!
They’re always happy.
Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.
So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
You can read an excerpt and purchase Bliss at Riptide Publishing.
About the Authors:
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape. She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly. She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Connect with Lisa:
Website • Goodreads • Facebook • Twitter
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms. When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop. She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.
Chat with her on Twitter using the handle @HeidiBelleau. Browse her website at HeidiBelleau.com or HeloiseBelleau.com. Check out her books on Goodreads. Follow her Facebook and Tumblr accounts. Or contact her using good old-fashioned email: email@example.com
Once again I’m left a little speechless after reading a Heidi Belleau book. This book is cowritten with Lisa Henry, of When All the World Sleeps fame. Bringing these two authors together was a perfect union. The results were an extremely messed-up dystopian society where rehabilitation through restitution isn’t as easy as it sounds but an actual nightmare.
Bliss has the perfect villain. Someone we can pin most of the problems of Beulah’s justice system on. Lowell understands, knows and exploits the fault in the chips implanted in criminals enrolled in the rehabilitation through restitution program. The chip my suppress the urge for violence, but it also leaves the criminal helpless. They cannot say no, or tap into right and wrong. A wall is basically built-in their brain to keep them away from their prior memories. All they want to do is serve. Service makes them happy. Not real happy but the after effects of service due to the chips programming.
Unfortunately, Lowell, the guards and the doctor inserting the chips all know how the chip works and an exploitable side effect that service makes the inductees sexually turned on. That factor in the hands of an evil, immoral man sets off a chain of events that will impact many people forever.
Rory is an immigrant from Tophet to Beulah. He’s happy to be out of crime addled Tophet and in the clean, happy, crime free Beulah. In Beulah he can have a house, nice job, garden, walk in the park, basically live a nice normal, low-key existence. It’s an opportunity he is looking forward. His job, working for Lowell, is full of potential. Too bad he is assaulted by Tate in the train station on his first day.
Tate is from Tophet, like Rory. He has reduced himself to petty crimes to help provide for his daughter. He just wants to get enough cash to move Emmy from Tophet and have food to fill her belly. He’s in Beulah to steal enough to cash in. He didn’t anticipate the cops opening his bags at the train station so a diversion in the form of punching Rory was his escape plan.
Rory and Tate could never imagine how that one event. That split second choice would change their lives forever. Tate is forced to be chipped and pay restitution to Rory, his sponsor. All is well, Rory wants to be a kind sponsor but he noticed Tate crying and he isn’t happy like all the other Rezzies are. Lowell begins to work Rory over, telling him Tate is happiest serving in any and all capacities. Still unsure, Rory is hesitant until Tate initiates more. Then it all goes to hell very quickly.
Lowell’s perversions do not settle well with Rory. When someone Rory knows is charged with a crime against Lowell, Rory just cannot believe it and questions everything he’s been told and has done. That is when the impact of Rory’s actions make him stand up and fight for what is right. Can anyone win in a situation controlled but the head of justice, cops and doctors all involved in the corrupt treatment of criminals?
It’s going to take a lot more than just Rory speaking out. It’s going to take Tate fighting through the pain and suffering his chip causes him to hold onto right and wrong. It’s going to take a group dedicated to exposing the failures the public doesn’t know about the chips. It’s going to take a villain falling, and hard for changes to happen. When it’s all said and done, can such inhumane treatment ever be forgiven. Can the recompense ever be enough? Will Rory and Tate ever know normal, can they ever forgive themselves and move forward or will they fall prey to being the victim the rest of their lives. Both victims, both is different ways.
Beulah and its dystopian society will really make you think about the underbelly of any society and its powerful people. Although it is a dark book to read, I think it was done well. Rory is harder on himself than anyone else is toward him, to include Tate. When someone truly knows right from wrong, they can be just as much a victim of circumstances as the actual victim.
Rory was Lowell’s puppet and he will live with that guilt for a long time. Luckily, Tate was able to find happiness with Rory in the easy times. When it was just them, relaxing and sharing. Take out the peer pressure and the controlling chips, those feeling were still real. That is the foundation they must now work off. A long road yet to forge.
Bliss is not a light read. It’s a very dark, rough book. There’s situational violence, slavery and non consensual sex. This book will not be for everyone so please read the disclosures on the publisher’s site (Riptide Publishing) explaining what to expect and possible triggers.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS (because only Heidi Belleau and Lisa Henry can write a book like this and still leave us with hope and goodness.)