Welcome to the book tour for genre-bending novel by Kristi Strong, Balloon Days. Read on for an exclusive excerpt!
Publication Date: January 25th, 2023
Genre: Psychological Fiction with Literary Bent
Let Your Perception Be Your Guide…
At the Manhattan-based Center of Balloon Days, you will find a psychotherapy unlike any that came before it. Imagine unlocking your desires and fears and manipulating them in an unparalleled lucid-dream-like state.
Bookish Elliott Bailey, a psychologist at the Center, struggles to prove the perfect life exists, all while helping others with their own troubles. Love-starved Howard Nor’s use of Balloon Days may be allowing him to live in a fantasy while his real life falls apart. Top lawyer, Orson Thatch, develops an obsession with Balloon Days-even if it puts his career and his relationship, with his young son, at risk. All three face a choice: Continue to live a life rooted in illusions or overcome the challenges of reality.
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“We ensure that all our patients who undergo Balloon Day therapy are ready. And you are ready. Your grief is fresh, your emotion is raw. It is the perfect time to work on your healing.”
Dr. Heller passed the tablet, consent form open, over to Orson. The limit was three Balloon Day sessions per week, ninety minutes maximum per experience. An in-person check-in session at least once a month was required or else the Center would suspend any further appointments. Scrolling down, he noted at the bottom, as Dr. Heller mentioned, the risks stopped when the patient wanted them to stop.
“I’m in full control then.”
Dr. Heller slowly nodded, smiling. “Precisely.”
Images of Madison overwhelmed him. It felt right, as if she was telling him to sign on the dotted line and go with it.
He thought of life without her. He thought of Ryder.
Dr. Heller nodded, taking the tablet back. “Your Elite Day Room, B107, is on floor ten. You will take the blue elevator. This will be yours to return to as you please for your scheduled Balloon Day sessions. In addition to the delightful perk of Elite Day Rooms being grander in size, we stagger the appointments, so you will not have to wait for anyone, but there is still a pre-room with the bathroom for you if need be.”
“Let your perception be your guide.” Dr. Heller smiled and shook Orson’s hand.
Orson’s waiting room, or the “pre-room” rather, was gleaming white and cozy. As he stepped into the restroom, he noticed an immaculate toilet and sink, complete with a beautiful brass waterfall faucet.
No mirror? Strange.
Although there wasn’t necessarily any reason why he would need to see himself at this moment, not having a mirror there gave him a feeling of invisibility; nothing to reflect his existence, no feedback for his mind. Maybe that was the point. Soon, as he was told, all sensory input would be stripped from him, allowing his brainwaves to shift into a blank canvas. Whatever the hell that meant.
He stepped back out. Slipped his Day Room card into the slot, selecting to use four out of his ten credits. Dr. Heller had suggested buying credits in bulk; Orson figured he would stick with the ten to see how things panned out.
The stunning blue, ice-like door slid open. Orson’s gaze fell to the floor first—the same thick white carpet as in Dr. Heller’s office. He took off his shoes and sunk his feet into the plush, delicate material. The softness against his silver socks, peppered with race cars for Ryder, put him at ease. The air smelled of mulled cider. Soothing sounds of a crackling fire filled the room. White angelic feathers covered all four walls. To his surprise, he suddenly wanted to create art, romantic, dreamy art, the art Madison had inspired. His Day Room was divine.
Scanning the sizable but quaint square room, everything was white save for the cobalt blue of the sky-like ceiling matching the pillows atop the velvety-looking sofa lining the back wall. The ethereal hammock in the middle of the room, hanging diagonally, the thin, clear wires of it barely noticeable, giving it a look of invisible suspension, was pure luxury.
Next, he discovered the control in a small white pocket hanging on the wall to the right of the door. He clutched it in his hand as the lights dimmed further, the white of the room now snow, in the dark.
The button glowed. His promise of refuge. He closed his eyes and envisioned his beautiful wife’s face, as he had remembered her long before she had become bedridden, mostly skin and bones. He pushed it. Instantly, he was as weightless as one of the feathers on the wall.
Opening his eyes, astounded and sitting on the edge of his bed inside his old college dorm, he recognized where he was immediately. The room Orson had during his second year—the year he met Madison. He hopped off the bed.
Everything was as it had been. His desk a mess of pens and papers from studying, political science textbooks opened to random chapters on the floor. A mirror hanging on his closet door showing his reflection, which startled him. Orson was his young and handsome nineteen-year-old self.
Hair darker and thicker, body less muscular in his green t-shirt and jeans—he had been scrawny in his youth. Minor wrinkles around his umber-brown eyes smoothed over. All in all, he was impressed at how little he had changed over the years.
Orson left his room and ambled down a path between the fellow residence halls. He didn’t feel quite in control of his actions. Not quite out of control either.
About the Author
Kristi Strong was born and raised in (or how we prefer to say it here: on) Long Island. She considers herself to be the human version of her dog—the exceptionally weird and affectionate Rat Terrier named Sophia. Kristi loves to wander the planet with her wonderful hubby as much as she loves being nestled in the same spot of her couch most evenings, curled up with a good book.
Kristi’s writing draws upon her professional experience as a trauma- informed mental health therapist. Highlighting the human condition and the power of resilience—whether it be through fiction or non-fiction—is Kristi’s calling and passion. She has the honor of witnessing all facets of what it means to be human, and she wrote her first novel Balloon Days to remind readers they are worthy and capable of change.
Book Tour Schedule
http://rrbooktours.com – Kick-Off
https://lshadowlynauthor.com/ – Review
https://breakevenbooks.com – Feature
https://christinebialczak.com/ – Feature
http://ramblingmads.com – Feature
http://readsandreels.com – Feature
Book Tour Organized By:
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I’m so excited to share my June TBR and all the LGBTQ+ books I will be reading for Pride month! Let me know what you will be reading in the comments below.
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