S.A. Ozment is here on my humble blog today with information on her new book, “Tangled Web”, and a give away of her prior novel, “Illusions”. Comment below for a chance to win.
Monday Meets: S.A. Ozment
Thank you to Brynn for allowing me to introduce my new novella, “Tangled Web” through her blog.
In this novella, we meet Ashley Stevens, an ER nurse who loves to promote his favorite actor on the web. The subject of his adoration is “Sebastian Gray”, an up and coming actor. Ashley is ecstatic when Sebastian contacts him one night to thank him for all the hard work Ashley has done on his behalf. The conversation continues and things are going great until Ashley discovers that Sebastian thinks he is a girl! Then the tangled web begins.
“Tangled Web” started off as a submission for the Starstruck anthology for DSP which is why it is a short story. Had I known that I would go over the word number limit, I would have made it a full novel because I loved writing the story and connected with the characters on a personal level.
“Tangled Web” is available at all the usual spots. Please let me know if you pick up a copy and what you think about it. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saozment
By day Ashley Stevens is a dedicated nurse; by night he runs multiple social media sites for his crush and all-time favorite actor, Sebastian Gray. After a particularly grueling day at work, Ashley drinks away his misery while dreaming about being with Sebastian—only to realize it’s no dream when Sebastian actually contacts him.
Sebastian asks him to officially run his sites and Ashley is thrilled—right up until Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Ashley is a girl. And maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s a fear that if Sebastian knew the truth, he wouldn’t want him, but Ashley never sets him straight. But keeping the secret becomes a nightmare as Ashley and Sebastian talk online night after night, forging a true connection. And the longer Ashley waits to tell the truth, the more tangled the lies become.
A plane ticket from Sebastian along with an invitation to meet in New York City for a fan event brings it all to a head. Ashley must face Sebastian and tell all, but he might not be the only one keeping secrets.
I was now on my third glass of wine, and I continued to drink as I told Patricia about the little girl, how the bullet had lodged in her stomach, and how I had flipped out completely. After a short while, I began to feel dizzier, and I was giggling nonstop like an idiot. Glancing over at the bottle, I could see it was almost empty. Shit! I must have been more upset than I thought. I couldn’t remember ever drinking an entire bottle of wine by myself.
As I chatted with Patricia, I saw a Facebook message fly down the left side of the page, stating I had a new friend request. I instantly popped over to my Add a Friend page and saw the name Imsebastiangray.
Sure you are, buddy, I thought as I sloshed my last little bit of wine around in my glass. Leaning back in my chair, I hesitated a moment as I thought about whether to accept it or not. It always ticked me off when someone created a screen name using a celebrity’s name, as if they’re hiding their own name. But what the heck, I was feeling good tonight, so Ba Boom, I clicked Confirm and minimized the page.
I continued typing to Patricia,
Ashley: Anyway, needless to say, it was one hell of a day….
A few minutes later, another instant messenger screen popped up beside my chat with Patricia. Becoming a little frustrated over the second interruption, I typed in Patricia’s box.
Ashley: Hold on a second, sweetie. I have an annoying person instant messaging me who wants me to think he’s Sebastian.
I clicked out of the chat with Patricia and read the message from Imsebastiangray.
Imsebastiangray: Hi, Ashley, This is Sebastian Gray. My manager told me you had several social media accounts set up on my behalf, and I’ve spent the last thirty minutes looking at them. First, I want to say thank you and that I appreciate all your hard work. Secondly, I wanted to say that it was fine with me if you wanted to make them official.
My heart skipped a beat while I reread his message. Then I laughed. Out. Loud. Seriously? I lifted my eyebrows in disbelief. Did this dude really think I would believe him?
Ashley: Who is this? Gabby is this you? After the day I’ve had, I’m not in the mood for your nonsense. The last thing I needed was my coworker playing another one of her pranks on me.
After a few seconds went by, this Sebastian wannabe responded.
Imsebastiangray: It’s me, really, I’m Sebastian Gray.
Ashley: And I’m Julia Roberts! Stop it Gabby!
Now I was becoming annoyed. My head was spinning from the wine, my wits had still not been collected from today’s events, and now one of my not-so-funny friends was getting on my nerves.
Imsebastiangray: Okay, I see you’re not going to believe me. What can I do to prove it’s me?
I thought about it for a second. First of all, my Sebastian would never pick such a stupid screen name. I mean… really? I am Sebastian Gray? He might as well announce it all over Google. But okay, I can play along. I started snickering as I typed.
Ashley: Take off your shirt, and send me a picture holding a sign with my name on it. I’ll know that eight-pack anywhere.
A few more minutes passed, and I was beginning to think I had scared him away when I received a response.
Imsebastiangray: I’m not going to do that… but I will take a photo with my shirt on if you like.
Testy, aren’t we? I thought to myself. Then my heart started this strange fluttering sensation. Shit! What if it is him? Maybe Sebastian’s manager had passed on my information. But would Sebastian himself write me? He never had before, and my love for him had been plastered all over the Internet for years. But crap… maybe. My head began to spin as I typed the following:
Okay prove it, then. And just so you know if I find out that this is you, Gabby, I am never going to forgive you.
Everything went silent, all except the buzzing that continued to whoosh through my brain. I glanced down and saw that Patricia was waiting patiently on me to finish with my mystery man. Clicking over into her instant message box, I typed, OMG! Patricia! This person is saying he’s really Sebastian Gray, and he is going to prove it by sending me a photo of himself holding a sign with my name! Holy Shit! What should I do if it’s really him? I was scaring myself. I hadn’t been the nicest of nice when typing to him just now.
Patricia: What?? Wow Ashley! I don’t know, but you have to tell me immediately if it’s him.
Ding! My heart skipped two beats at that sound. Slowly, I flipped back to the imposter’s instant message box. Silently holding my breath, I clicked it open, and the entire bottle of wine felt like it hit my brain and exploded. Feeling extremely dizzy, I’m sure I would’ve fainted had I not been sitting down. I blinked my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Sure enough, right there on my computer screen was Sebastian Gray holding a piece of notebook paper with Ashley written on it. My first thought was how in the hell did Gabby Photoshop a picture of Sebastian holding my name in just one minute, but then I realized…. OMG! It really is Sebastian Gray! Running my fingers though my hair, I was at a loss for words. I must have hesitated too long because Sebastian sent another message.
Imsebastiangray: Ashley, did you get the picture?
Holy hell, did I ever! I looked closely at the photo of Sebastian. There he stood, in black sweats and a tight black T-shirt, his abs poking out as if they were waving at me. Every nerve in my body was standing on edge as I struggled to think of something to say. The alcohol in my system wasn’t helping—in fact all it was doing was muddling my brain. Making myself take a deep breath, I tried to focus again. He was waiting for a response, so I needed to be careful what I wrote. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself… yet.
Ashley: I did… and can I just apologize now for not believing you and for anything that I may say from this moment forward?
Imsebastiangray: LOL. It’s fine. I’m sure you won’t say anything I haven’t heard before.
Ashley: Don’t count on that! You’ve only just met me.
Imsebastiangray: Ha-ha! You’re pretty funny Ashley.
I grabbed my forehead in an attempt to get myself under control. Yeah, I’m a regular riot. Why the hell did I drink tonight of all nights? My first contact with the man of my dreams and I accuse him of being a liar. Ugh, I thought as I glanced over at the empty wine bottle. Realizing I hadn’t answered, I quickly typed:
I don’t know what to say. Well I know what I want to say, but I know I had better not say it, so I’ll just say nothing unless you want me to say it….
Shit! The wine was making me a rambling fool. Zip it, Ashley, zip it, I told myself.
Imsebastiangray: You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted to thank you for all the promotional work you’ve done on my behalf for—what has it been? Three years?
Ashley: Actually three and a half if you count the time I spent running MySpace for you. That was around the time you were dating that bitch from the same television show… what was her name? Melody something. The second I hit Send, I was mortified by what I had written. Quickly I tried to rectify the situation.
Ashley: Shit! I mean shoot! I mean crap…. OMG, I’m sorry. I’m sure if I looked in a mirror, the word loser would be stamped across my forehead.
Imsebastiangray: Ha-ha! Don’t worry, between you and me, she was a bitch. 🙂
I wasn’t sure what to say next. I only knew that I wanted to keep him talking. Now that I had him this close, I didn’t want him to leave. Scrambling for something to write, I typed, So, it’s really okay to make the sites official?
Imsebastiangray: Absolutely! And if you like, I can send you new information and a few pics that I don’t think you have.
More contact! Score! At this point I was becoming giddy. I wasn’t sure how much of the giddiness was due to Sebastian or the wine, but whatever it was, it was working for me.
Ashley: That would be cool!
Imsebastiangray: How about I send you some tomorrow? Would that work?
Tomorrow, tonight, next week, in person…. Anything you want, baby, I thought as I struggled to think of something clever to say. But all I could think about was the fact that I was on the freakin’ Internet talking to freakin’ Sebastian Gray! Looking down at my keyboard, I forced myself to type carefully.
Ashley: Yes, that would be great. Do you have my e-mail address?
Imsebastiangray: Is it Nurseash2565@gmail.com?
Ashley: That’s the one. Nurse by day, promotional guru by night.
Seriously, did I just say that? I sound like an infomercial.
Imsebastiangray: So Nurseash, what do you do for fun when you’re not helping me out?
I immediately stopped typing. Shit! Okay, now was my chance to say something cool and impress him. I couldn’t have him thinking I was some loser who lived on the Internet worshiping his favorite celebrity—even though I was. Okay, what sounded good? What did he like? Finally a thought came to me.
Ashley: Well… I go to the gym every day to work out and jog at night.
I couldn’t believe I had just lied like a dog to him. What was wrong with me? It was like my fingers suddenly had a mind of their own.
Imsebastiangray: That sounds pretty intense. But why jog at night? Is it safe to jog alone, or do you jog with a partner?
Ashley: Alone… but it’s okay, I’m not scared. WhyWhy?
Imsebastiangray: Oh no reason. It’s just that I wouldn’t think it’s too safe for a girl to go jogging by herself at night.
Girl? I sat straight up in my chair, almost sobering at this word. Girl? He thinks I’m a girl? What the hell? Oh shit, never mind. It’s that damn name of mine that my crazy mother stuck on me. Crap! Now what do I say? I guess I should tell him the truth. But what if he only contacted me because he thought I was a girl? He obviously likes knowing that he’s chatting with a girl! Fucking straight guy! Think, Ash, think….
Imsebastiangray: Ashley, are you still there?
Ashley: Yeah, I’m here. I spilled my drink.
And the lies keep flowing…. Who knew I could lie like a sailor without blinking an eye? First I tell him I’m working out when in actuality the last time I saw a gym was at my nephew’s basketball game—in middle school! And secondly, I tell him I jog? Jog? Ha! I only jog to the nearest Krispy Kreme, and that’s only when they have their Hot-Now sign on. Crap! Should I tell him the truth and risk that he won’t talk to me anymore?
Tapping my fingers on the keyboard, my muddled brain refused to give in. Do I really want to lose this little connection I have with him? What does it matter if he thinks I’m a girl? After all, what are the chances I’ll ever meet him?
So as a hundred red flags flew up all around me, with a little help from the bottle of wine, I decided to lie—as in lie-my-ass-off. Clicking on my Facebook messenger, I typed the words that would seal my fate.
Ashley: You’re absolutely right. It’s not safe for girls to jog alone. Next time I’ll ask my friend to come along with me.
I would love to give away my only other book, “Illusions” that was released last year. To win just tell me who your favorite celebrity crush is and what you would have done in Ashley’s situation. I’ll pick a name at random. Thank you!!