Just A Little Update...

Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged...anything!  I thought, since I've gotten a few questions in real life, asking 'When's book 2 coming?', that I should provide a little update; letcha know what's going on in this head of mine. First, my nephew was born a week ago today.  Man, time flies!  He's such a little cutsie pie!  Check this out:

I am one happy auntie...

Second, I just sent off my newest WiP, with a working title of Soul Avenged, to my beta readers.  This is book 1 of the Sons of Wrath series...clearly a distraction for me, but one that I couldn't let slip past without writing it down.  Here's what happens:  I'm this walking, open vessel for ideas.  It's a curse, really.  I can't get over how many silly things manage to inspire a story.  I hear a song...BOOM, a story pops in my head.  I rifle through pictures of a recent trip...BOOM, a story pops in my head.  I read someone's brilliant poetic words...BOOM, a story pops in my head.  I don't even know where Soul Avenged came from, what of the million little inspirational gems I've been exposed to since last October, might've given rise to these voices and scenes.  But they did and I went with the flow.  In the end, I wrote a 100K novel that I'm hoping is being torn to shreds by my betas at this very minute.

So my nephew is born...my distraction is sated (sort of)...what happens next?

I've already begun the prequel novella to Halos.  You want answers and I'm going to start giving you some.  But I think you know me well enough by now, to realize you're not getting everything...hehe.  Well, because I like to torment.  That's just how I roll.  So I'll sneak a few answers in to hold you over until book 2 comes out.

When is the prequel expected to arrive?

Because it's just a novella, I am going to shoot for completion at the end of summer.  It will go through the same process - beta readers, editor, cover reveal etc.  AND BOOK 2?!  You ask, with your hands on your hips and that unyielding expression on your face.  Book 2 will be out shortly after the prequel.  So hold tight...but don't worry.  Distractions are a natural part of my genetic make up.  They don't mean I've off and left y'all hangin' like a dangling chunk of tuna bait over shark infested waters.  Uh...sharks being your overwhelming curiosity...

I'm hoping to give you more to devour.  Soon.

Just want to tell you how much I love your continued interest in the trilogy.  The emails, the comments on my FB pages, the conversations in person...all so humbling.  Thank you for being such awesome readers.

In the meantime, check back this Friday...I'll be posting another flash story based on some characters from Soul Avenged!

The Baby Shower

For the last couple of weeks, my sisters, mother and I have been planning my sister, Lisa’s, baby shower.  Not only was I immersed in an assembly line for invitations, a distinguished member of decorations committee, and wannabe sommelier for the secret pre-party meetings, but I helped make arrangements for the cake and bravely experimented with some candy making (yes, I actually gave this a shot and it turns out, I’m not THAT bad at it).  Check this out:


My sister and brother-in-law, Glenn, are having a boy (which explains all the blue and brown) and after months of tossing around names, they finally agreed on Niko.  We wanted to do something special for the arrival of baby Niko.  So I gathered up the family one afternoon and bought a bunch of river rocks that we painted blue (with baby’s name) for guests to take home and place in their gardens.

The only decent-looking ones are those that I didn’t paint.  In fact, my 3 year old did a better job.  Somehow, in a family full of artists, I got the crappy end of the paintbrush.  I can do stick figures…somewhat.  But I cannot pull off brushstrokes, balance and all those inherent little things that artists seem to know.

Since this wasn’t exactly my forte, I didn’t feel like I’d done something truly special for my soon-to-arrive nephew.  I wanted to do something Aunt Keri-ish.  So I decided to write him a story to go with the rocks.  A poem, of sorts.

I have to tell you, I’ve written poetry since I was a teenager.  But the stuff I write is typically dark, brief and almost never rhymes, unless by freak accident.  My poetry is not something I often share, as it’s a bit more personal than my usual writing.  I had to crawl out of my skin a little to write this.  And since I didn’t want to give my nephew-to-be a lifetime of nightmares, I dropped the dark and added a little whimsical.  I was sort of going for a Dr. Seuss kind of story.  And at the end I added instructions for the party guests, describing what to do with the rocks.

Here is the story that I wrote for baby Niko to go with the blue painted rocks (sorry there is a major spacing issue that I just could not figure out for the life of me):

The Rock and the Tree

The rock from afar, holds no special sight.

It sits on the ground, and never takes flight.

And yet, its uses are many, you see.

The rock helped establish the river and tree.

Don’t believe me?

Well, listen, I’ll tell you a story.

Bout a seed in the ground and a rock from the quarry.

How the two came to be special friends over time.

It starts years ago with a cute little rhyme.

Niko the seed lay adrift on the soil.

Alongside the riverbank, where he started to toil.

He thirsted for water and shade from the sun.

But all of his efforts, resulted in none.

As a seed he was stuck and could not move around.

Instead he glanced longingly at the sprouts in the ground.

The water had found them and nourished them so.

It helped them take root and allowed them to grow.

Niko the seed sat helpless and cried.

Fearing, without water, that soon he’d be dried.

In the sun he lay thinking, ‘Oh what can I do?

The answer came hurling in a rock colored blue.

It scared him at first, landing hard with a thud.

Beside the little seed where it lodged in the mud.

Mud?’  wondered Niko, ‘How can this be?

Well that rock changed the course of the river, you see.

Diverted its path toward the dry little seed.

It helped Niko burrow in the soil to feed.

It gave him the shade from the sun that he’d need.

And Niko was grateful, so grateful indeed.

“From where do you come?”  asked the seed to the stone.

“A quarry,” he answered, “where I sat so alone.

‘Til a boy picked me up and took me to his home.

The bright blue caught his eye while he aimlessly roamed.

In his pocket he kept me, day after day.

Then skipped me across the river in play.

Now here I lay, I suppose, for a bit.

Do you mind if I share the mud where you sit?”

“Not at all!” cried Niko, “I’d love you to stay!

To hold conversation and help pass the day.”

“Oh joy!” Said the rock, “and let this be known,

I vow to protect you in this place you’ve been sown.

I’ll provide you with water, friendship and shade,

I hope you will find this a reasonable trade.”

So there the rock sat, giving comfort and shelter.

From the dry summer sun and all of its swelter.

And soon autumn came, then winter and spring.

There sat the rock, still doing it’s thing.

Year after year seemed to pass in a blur.

And that little sapling grew to a large Fir.

The rock sits beside it, though now it’s quite small.

Compared to the tree standing noble and tall.

So the next time you see a small rock on the ground

Perhaps there’s a seed lying somewhere around.

Still don’t believe that a rock can change courses?

Mold a new path and influence the forces

That block us from that which we need to get by?

Then here is something I wish you to try:

A baby is coming, and soon you will see

The manner in which a rock you can be.

His future, unwritten.

His path, open wide.

Be the rock by the river

Be the shade at his side.

Help nourish him now

And guide him along

For he too is destined to grow noble and strong.

Lay this rock in your garden or beside a new tree,

Think of the baby and the man he’ll soon be.

Know in his journey, you helped him become

The tall tree that now shades the small rock from the sun.


Instructions:  Place this rock somewhere special – in a garden, a flower pot, your windowsill, near a small or large tree – wherever you’d like.  Write your name on a small white scrap of paper and set it beside the rock.  Take a picture of the rock and paper along with the object by which you set the rock (can be with a phone camera) and send to Lisa.  The pictures will be placed in Niko’s baby book as the ‘rocks’ in his life.

Here are just a couple examples, including mine:

I received a very nice surprise from one of my writer friends, the very lovely J. A. Belfield, who read the story and expressed how much she enjoyed it in an email.  She attached a recording of herself, reading the story aloud.  I have to say, not only do I adore her accent, but I think she did such a wonderful job reading it, that I had to share it with you.  I forwarded her recording along to my sister as a little audiostory for baby Niko.

The Rock & the Tree

What are some creative ways that you’ve welcomed a new baby into your family?

Sexiest Couple Award!!

The 2nd Annual Boogity Boo Awards are going on now through the month of April over at I Smell Sheep blog. COLTON AND ALLIE ARE UP FOR SEXIEST COUPLE!!! 

Please stop by and vote!

Phew!  The competition is tough.  I’m truly humbled by the nomination.

The best part…

A sheep will be donated in the winning authors’ names to a third-world family through the organization, World Vision.  How cool is that?!?!

And…. If you leave a comment on the site, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $20 giftcard to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or the Book Depository.  More books!

Go go go!!!  CLICK HERE

What's Goin' On?!

Wow, it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  So you might be wondering, what the hell is going on?!

I’ve asked myself that a number of times in the last couple of weeks.  It started on January 27th of this year.  I was on my way to my nephew’s basketball game, about an hour from where we live.  So…there was a whole lotta staring out the window thinking about nothing in particular.

I’ll back up a few months ago when I began hearing her voice.  Whose voice?  Her voice.  I knew exactly who she was.  And I’d chosen to ignore her for a very long time.  No way was I going to commit to what she was asking of me.  I couldn’t even if I wanted to.  I didn’t have the time or the energy.  Better to just pretend like she didn’t exist.

Well that lasted a couple of months.  And I think she got pissed off at me during that time.

So now let’s go back to January 27th when I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my car watching the Michigan landscape fly by me.  I was suddenly struck by some invisible force (and I mean HARD) that resulted in all these thoughts pooling in my mind like a hemorrhage; as if someone took a baseball bat to my brain and started beating the ideas right out of me.  I squeezed my eyes shut and willed them away.  I got on Twitter.  I counted the cars that passed; thought of the lyrics to different songs; ANYTHING to keep me distracted.  And when nothing worked, I finally gave in, pulled out my trusty iPhone notes app and started jotting away.

I wasn’t really going to take it serious.  Oh no.  Definitely NOT.  Ok, maybe a flash story.  A short story.  But nothing more than that.  I knew it was her voice again, vying for attention.  Ho ho!  I’ll be damned if within that hour drive, she suddenly had a face, a name, and a reason for existing in my thoughts.

So by now you're probably wondering, who is she?

'She' is the protagonist to a storyline that's been rattling the bars, hellbent to be unleashed from it's imprisonment in the back of my head.  The same story I've done my best to smother the last few months because I'm in the thick of my Halos trilogy.  I just needed to take a couple of notes so that once I'm finished with Halos, I could switch gears and start something new.

Well that sneaky little…

I ended up writing 10K words that weekend.  By week’s end, I had about 40K.  The week after that, another 20K.  Here I am, just over a month after I’d first sat down and I’m FINISHED with the novel’s first draft at 96K.  No.  Kidding.  This isn’t the sequel to Halos.  This wasn’t even meant to be.  So WTF?!

Good question.  I’ve been trying to tease that out for the last month.  It turns out, my MC wasn't the only one looking for attention - apparently she told her friends.  Because in addition to this one little book that I was supposed to simply humor for a few minutes, I now have about 8 storylines bouncing around in my head - one for each of the brothers in this handsome brood of wrath demons.  That’s right, wrath demons.  Sons of Wrath.  Can you guess what their specialty is?

My favorite topic of all time – vengeance.

I’ve been dying to write a story a bit closer to home.  As many of you know, Somnium is set in Kittery, Maine.  If you’ve read any of my interviews or guests posts then you know that one of my favorite movies in the world is The Crow, set in a very gothic Detroit.  Oh yes, I fell in love instantly when this movie first came out and not just because of Brandon Lee (RIP) or the kickass soundtrack that accompanied it.  There was an instant connection that I felt.  Perhaps because it was something cool that seemed close to home for me.

So I decided it’s time I write something of my own.  This new series is set in gothic Detroit.

I tossed around whether or not to do anything with it.  It’s a different style of writing for me.  But I guess that’s why it came so easily.  It was new and…well, different.  One of those things – did I write this for myself?  Was it just an exercise to keep writer’s block at bay?  I don’t know.  But I think the storyline turned out pretty decent for a fast written draft.  So I’m going to keep toiling away on my obsessive edits and see what I have when I’m finished.

I’m pretty excited about it!  For those who’ve become fans of Somnium, I’ll just warn you that this book is edgier.  There’ll be more violence, action, strong language and the love scenes are bit steamier than before, methinks.

Once this book is finished, I’ll be back to Requiem, book 2 of the Halos trilogy.  But it would have been irresponsible of me not to take advantage of the creative flood that burst through the gates and seized my attention.  And I can’t wait to introduce you to Ayden…the feisty female who acted as the catalyst behind all of this madness.

Turns out, she’s one badass chica that I’ve come to know and really hate to love.

Have you ever been struck with an idea that you simply could not ignore no matter how desperately you tried?




The Last Day of 2011

Weeelllll, I know there's a lot of these reflective posts going around, but hey, a lot's happened this year for some of us...monumental events that we'll never forget as long as we live (unless we end up suffering from some medical affliction that makes us forget and in that case, better to have written it down somewhere).  Besides, I'm a writer.  I love to ramble on paper. But I'll try to keep this post short and sweet.

There were some pretty huge events that occurred in my personal life.  I won't go into that since I try to keep personal stuff to myself as much as possible.  But just know that 2011 will go down as a heart-warming year for the simple fact that I got to spend more of it with the most important people in my life.

There was, however, one big thing in my not-so-personal life:

I published a friggin book.

A year ago, had you Googled my name, you'd find NOTHING.  That's right.  Nothing.  How do I know?  I did it many times to make sure there was nothing.  Because at one time, I was a hermit who wanted nothing to do with the internet.

I finished a novel and I needed beta readers.  And NO ONE knew I'd written a book.  Well, except for my mom.  And my best friend.

So I joined an online writing workshop called Scribophile.  I was shy, in fact, I didn't even use my real name at first.  Every time I posted something, I was so nervous I could hardly type without backspacing all over the place.  I met three pretty amazing people who helped me learn how to take criticism for my work.  To post something without the nervous jitters.  They pulled me out of my shell and encouraged me to get my writing out there.

From there, came the blog.  And I had NO IDEA what the hell to blog about.  I struggled for the first few weeks trying to figure it out.

Next was Twitter and I panicked, thinking I'd NEVER learn this 'Facebook on crack' social network.  But I did and I met some fantastic people that I now call friends.  Then came the FB page, the website, four fabulous beta readers, the decision to self-publish, a kickass editor, the book trailer, the cover art, bookmarks and....just over two weeks ago, my first published book.

I know other writer buds who've also had an outstanding year.  Writing a book takes dedication, perseverance and mental conditioning.  There are times a writer wants to toss the WIP and start over, but instead stays the course.  I've had some pretty wonderful words of encouragement along the way.  From my hubby, my daughters, my parents, siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors...

Here are three of my favorite from 2011:

"I would shovel shit the rest of my life, just so you could write the rest of yours"  ~ My all-time favorite from my awesome hubby (also the dedication for my book)

"Mommy, I'm going to publish a book someday, just like you"    ~ My oldest daughter

"Keri, you have busted your ass for this and will soon be inducted into the very exclusive group of people who became published authors within their lifetime.  Your literature will carry forward through generations of human existence well beyond your years, making you literally immortal.  Congratulations big sis!!!  I'm rooting for you front and center. "    ~ My brother, just before the book launched.

And so, one of my New Year's Goals for 2012:  Publish another book

What was the highlight of your 2011?

Flash Fiction- Savior

I was going to post this as a Flash Friday, but I've got another post scheduled that day...so I'm going to post this now.  I absolutely love Florence and the Machine.  When I heard this song, a story instantly formed in my head.

 What the Water Gave Me


She broke through the surface, falling deeper into the abysmal blackness.  Her hands were bound at her back; rocks tied to her ankles; the pockets of her dress filled with stones.  Fire claimed her lungs as she struggled not to breathe.  Convulsions wracked her body with an urgency to swallow the first sip of death.  The bastards hadn’t even given her warning.

Wriggling her upper body, Ginny fought to free her hands.  Numbness blanketed her limbs and she could hardly sense her fingertips.  Winter’s frost had finally stretched beyond the river bank.  Muscles in her legs burned with the dull ache of exertion as she kicked her heavy feet.  A scream rattled in her brain.  And then suddenly fell silent.

This is where I will die.  Ginny looked up at the surface above her; out of reach and drifting farther away.  An unexpected calmness swept through her body, warm and merciful, as liquor through her veins.  Deeper she fell; keeping her eyes on what little light from the moon reached down to her and slowly dimmed.  A dark and lonely casket awaited her below. 

Her descent came to an end at the bottom of the river.  She closed her eyes; her lips parting while the fluids seeped through with the fervor of taking new life.  The first breath beckoned her lungs.    

Something hooked beneath her arm.  Ginny’s lids flew open.  Up she rose. 

Panic swelled inside of her while the last bubbles of oxygen expelled from her like a hydraulic blast that trailed below her.  Spasms shot through muscles, begging for air while she dangled from the arm of her savior.  He stopped, peering down at her through the waters.  She frantically shook her head and squinted her eyes; the promise of rescue still so far away.  No please! 

With a jerk of her arm, he pulled her in to his bare chest.  The stranger held her suspended a few feet beneath the surface.  She squirmed in a desperate bid to save herself.  He tipped her twitching head back and pressed his lips to hers.  She stilled.  The sweet breath of life filled her lungs.  An intense craving to suck every last drop of air in his body consumed her.  Tightening her knees around his waist, she held close; hungry for more of him.  He willingly gave her what she needed, never resisting.  Her chest swelled with enough breath to carry her to the surface.

Ginny opened her eyes.  Captivating orbs of violet stared back at her through the murky darkness.  She peeled herself away from the stranger; her body now sated with oxygen.  He continued his ascent, dragging her through the waters beneath him. 

They broke the surface and the bitter cold of winter stung her face.  Ginny gasped and coughed, kicking with heavy legs to stay afloat.  Ice seeped into her bones and she shivered, trying to keep herself from sinking again.  Light from the full moon danced off the caps of the agitated waters.  The stranger pulled her to him.  She wriggled from his grasp and kicked away.  White puffs of frosty air rose with each heaving exhale; not a single vapor emerged from his mouth, as if the cold had no effect on him.  His violet eyes studied her and he tipped his head, as if curious.  It was then that she noticed his unearthly beauty: a square jaw and wet strands of black hair that hung over his eyes.  Divine.  Rivulets trickled down the ridges of his chest muscles.  He’d just saved her life.  But why?  The weight tugged at her, pulling her head below the water.  In spite of her protest, he reached for her.  She emerged once more in a choking fit. 

“No!”  She rasped; her voice weakened by the crushing wall of icy fluid closing in around her.  But he pulled her to him.  His body radiated warmth and Ginny’s writhing gave way to the overwhelming comfort of being wrapped in his arms.  She calmed and rested her head against his shoulder.  “Who are you?”

He stroked her long auburn locks of hair that clung to her drenched clothing, peeling the stiff and frozen strands from her face.  “I am Nic.”

Nic.  An odd desire settled over her; sudden and out of place in her current state.  Ginny lifted her head; her eyes riveted by his soft lips only inches from her face.  How badly I want to kiss them. 

“Then I will kiss you,” he said.

Her parted lips welcomed his.  With one arm firm around her waist, he grabbed her hair, gently tipping her head to expose her throat.  Ginny closed her eyes while his opened mouth explored her neck; his hot breath falling against her skin.  Mmmmm.  His moan rumbled.  “The taste of human flesh is exquisite.”

Her lids grew heavy.  “What are you?”  she whispered, delirious.

Voices rose in the distance.  As if the world had silenced and sounded again.  She snapped her head forward, looking past Nic to the shoreline.  There stood the men with torches.  The same men who threw her into the waters to drown.  “They’ve come,” she said.

“Then go, love.  Let them see that you are pure.”  Nic released her from his grasp; the warmth dissipated into the frigid waters.  He gave one final kiss to her cheek.  “I shall see you again.” 

Ginny felt the gravely bank of the river beneath her feet and smiled.  Flush with the heat from Nic's body, she stumbled toward the men.  They stood lined at the slope, the flames of their torches flickering against the black sky.  She lumbered onto solid ground; hands still bound behind her and stones bulging in her pockets.  The rocks tied to her ankles dragged behind and her wet stockings slipped against the frost.  Sopping fabric from her dress clung to her body.  Ginny stood upright, facing the men. 

An elder with grey hair stepped forward and rested his hand on her shoulder.  His mouth formed a hard line.  Shadows from the flames danced across his face.  “Witch!”    

Ginny's eyes grew wide.  Shaking her head violently, she backed away.  The men rushed toward her, clutching flailing limbs as she fought them off.  “No!  I lived!  I lived!”

“It’s not your soul that lives, child,” said the elder, “you rose from the waters with breath in your body and warmth on your skin.  Only a witch is capable of such magic.”

Tears spilled onto her cheeks.  “I was saved!  Someone saved me.”

“Your sins will burn along with your body.”

Ginny craned her neck, looking back toward the river as the men carried her away.  Standing in the shallows, the stranger with his violet eyes watched; a wicked grin stretched across his face.  His voice carried on the chilly air, “I’ll wait for you, love.”

“He’s there!  Do you not see him?!”  Her struggle was futile.  A thick wooden post impaled the ground, already garnished with kindling.  The men held her against it, winding rope that bit into her skin. 

“Please!  I was saved!”  She sobbed.

The elder stood before her.  “You will never be saved, child,” he said, and tossed the torch at her feet. 




Post Release

It's been a couple of days now since I released Somnium.  Some folks are waiting on copies while others have already received them and begun reading.  And here I sit...waiting for the reviews to roll in.  I had the pleasure of spending time with family over the weekend at a Christmas party.  Many times I was asked, "How does it feel to be published?" How does it feel? 

Of all the words swirling in my head, only one comes to mind:  humbling.

I've managed to distract myself with preparations for the holidays, but there is a looming thought in the back of my head:  what are people going to think about it?  Isn't this what all writers agonize over, after tossing a nice juicy t-bone out there?

So I decided to study some reviews, to get an idea of what kinds of things people say about books that they love or hate.  I perused quite a few reviews on Goodreads from best-selling traditional to Indie work.  Contrary to what I originally assumed, there doesn't seem to be a distinction for rating a self-published work over traditionally pubbed.  People voice their thoughts without much regard for the manner in which a book comes into being.  Of the books I checked out, I didn't get a sense that the reviewers were thinking, that was crappy, but it was self-pubbed, so I'll cut them some slack.  And they shouldn't.  If I'm bold enough to put my self-pubbed work out there, I should be equally prepared to take the criticism that goes with it.

I won't say which title, but I've read one book that I so wanted to fall in love with based on its concept, and simply could not.  In fact, I reread certain parts of this book, just in case I missed something that could overshadow my distaste for it.  In my mind, there were too many things wrong with the storyline.  This is a NYT bestselling series with quite a following.  I scrolled through the many many reviews, noting quite a few 5* ratings with some exuberant commentary to go with it.  There are some people out in this world, a lot actually, who LOVE this book.  But I also came across some 1* ratings with rude and tactless remarks.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion, no doubt (I think it does a disservice to the author if every rating is glowing with stars).  But come on, have some consideration that this is a public forum - particularly if you're another writer who'll be jonesin' for some positive feedback soon.

The problem with Goodreads is the black hole that one can get sucked into while reading these things.  You can't help but check out other books these people have rated to see how they rate books in general.  This leads to a neverending maze and before you know it, you're off in some other galaxy wondering how in the hell you got there.  Eventually, I had to stop looking at them.  But one thing occurred to me...books are not necessarily categorized into good and bad as I originally thought in my narrow-minded head.  It all comes down to taste.  Genres exist for a reason - people have preferences.  And even within those preferences are more preferences.  The parts that I cringe about in my book might be golden to someone else who reads it (let's hope).  Even the worst self-pubbed books, pursued without much thought or regard for the industry and loathed by the majority, can garner some fandom (a horrifying thought).

It's not even been 3 whole days since my release and I can't get over how much I've learned already.  I don't even have the reviews back yet to guide this level of understanding, so I can't say for certain where it comes from.  Maybe just the frightening and humbling experience of exposing myself to the world.  I now have a pretty good idea what I'm going to do for book 2.  It's not just the publication and marketing piece that will be easier.  It's the writing.  For weeks, months, I've tried to tease out what had to be fixed with the manuscript, what didn't sound right to me.  It's not that I thought it was perfect by any means, but just that I couldn't SEE what another reader might look at as a negative.  Like a black cloud in front of my eyes the whole time that suddenly gave way to sunlight.  What moved it?  I'll go back to - the power of publication is profound.

I know for certain, with the second book, I'll take advantage of the editors and the many brilliant writers found on writing workshops.  I did this for part of book 1 and it helped tremendously.  It's kind of funny, when I first started writing and allowing people to read my stuff, I was so paranoid.  Like a true amateur, I would add the little copyright to the bottom of my MS whenever I sent it out.  And I had this really foolish idea that I shouldn't send my work to other writers in the event they take the storyline and run.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!!!!  *cough*  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!   If I could draw worth a damn, I would come up with the expression on a writer's face when another writer asks them to beta read something.  A cross between, 'I'd love to' and 'wait, you mean right now?'

I've always loved science.  There's a reason - the courses in college always came with a lab.  Sure I could study microbes in a book, but it wasn't until I had gone through the experience of seeing these invisible organisms through the microscope (following the painstaking trouble of incubating them and producing pure cultures), that I could really grasp a full understanding of them.  I guess I'm more of a hands-on kinda gal.  So it makes sense that the lightbulb would go on now versus prior to publication.  I'm writing book 2 now with less clutter in my brain.  With each book I write, I'm hoping to sharpen my skills and better organize my thoughts.  I'm finding the writing is faster this time around; the thoughts forming easier.  Perhaps I would have learned this with time.  A long time maybe.  But regardless, I'm glad I did it.  It's been a great experience.

RELEASE DAY: Somnium (Halos)

I had this crazy notion a few years back:  to write a book.  I'd written enough of the small stuff (flash, poetry, short stories) for a while.  It was time for a REAL commitment.  It's so easy to find resolution by the end of a short story, but attempt that in a novel, and well, that requires a bit more than just a few minutes jotting down a storyline.  I'd written chapters, scrapped them, saved some on floppy disks somewhere.  Is there a computer in the world that can read a floppy nowadays?  This was going to be it for me.  My novel.  The one I'd publish. So I sat and wrote every chance I could steal:  before work, in my car at lunch, after work, on the weekends.  I even wrote on Christmas morning before my kids got up.  And we all know how early kids get up on Christmas morning.  Yes, I loved writing that much.

I attempted to send out a few query letters.  The truth is, I had no idea what I was doing.  In fact, I don't even know if I sent them to approrpriate agents.  I got the impersonal stamped rejection letters, did a little research, sent out a few more and had a couple of nice handwritten letters come back.  Rejected of course, but kind.  Not realizing that this was all part of the process for writers, I gave up on the project and figured perhaps I wasn't meant to write a book.

Then a new idea hit me...

The second book was an urban fantasy and I was so incredibly excited about the storyline, I found even MORE cracks in my day to write.  I'd keep notecards next to me on my desk at work and jot ideas while I was waiting for reports to generate.  I would steal moments in the elevator, by myself, daydreaming of a scene to write.  There were times I'd be reading a patient chart and be struck by dialogue that I'd have to quickly scribble on a scrap of paper tucked somewhere in my labcoat.

Same routine.  I wrote up, what I considered, a very spiffy query letter.  Researched a list of agents.  This time, I was much more organized about it.  I had contact names and even used red font to strikethrough them when my query came back rejected.  What am I doing wrong?  Is my writing that horrible?  Well, maybe it wasn't my best, but I still hadn't learned anything about the slush pile.  Whoa!  I know what you're thinking...how did you even get that far?

So for kicks, I stopped writing for a bit and studied the publishing industry.  I bought books on the topic and familiarized myself with some bestselling authors.  I had always liked reading, but I never paid attention to what was really popular.

My sister called me out of the blue one afternoon.  Now, for those who know nothing about my sister...phone calls with her can be incredibly entertaining.  As a matter of fact, I just recently had a phone call that I was pretty sure would land me in the ER, I was choking from laughing so hard.  Some of her stories are not even intentionally funny - just her naivete.  Don't get me wrong, the girl's a bit genius (she's the engineer that Allie, in Somnium, is based off of), but she has her moments.  Going back to the phone conversation, in a matter of minutes, she detailed her interactions with some of the men she worked with and the military guard on base that she was sort of crushing on.  I cracked up at some of the thoughts that would go through her head when she saw this guy.  And then we hung up.

I don't even know when it happened, but sometime in the night, Colton materialized in my head and began speaking to me in that smooth and sexy tone.  I realized, he was the guard at the gate.  Sure military guys are cute, but I never really fantasized about one...until now.  For a moment, I felt that familiar spark of excitement as he whispered sweet nothings in my ear.  I fought against it.  Criminy, I have to get up in the morning.  I am NOT starting another book.  But he persisted.  Okay.  But just a short story.  That's it.  So I woke up the next morning and began to write.  And I wrote during lunch.  Then when I came home that evening I wrote some more.  Dammit.  I'm writing another novel.  If you can believe it, I managed to squeeze even more time out of my day.  In meetings, I could hardly concentrate...which landed me in some pretty embarrassing moments.  Picture a love scene playing out in your head at about the same time the CMO asks a direct question.  "Uh.  What?"  Sorry, I was licking a tattoo on a nice juicy bicep a second ago.

I decided not to bother much with agents.  I wrote out a query letter and sent to a couple of agencies.  But I STILL haven't heard back from them.  Pretty sure that was a year ago now.  I joined a writing group and met some great people that I now call friends.  A blog followed soon after that and I sat, hands trembling, writing my first blog post.  This is going to be out in the public!  The public, Keri!  People will see this!  I agonized all the while.  I joined Twitter and found myself scared shitless.  How the hell am I going to read all of these tweets everyday??  There's thousands of them!  And more just keep popping up!  *clears throat*  A Facebook account and fan page came after and I sat for hours trying to figure out what the heck to call myself.  Author?  No.  Writer?  I guess...but, what's the difference between author and writer?

Then came telling friends and family I wrote a book.  Here's how that went:

Me:  Um.  So I uh...wrote a story.  Well, not really a story.  It's longer than a story.  It's actually.  Well, I guess you'd call it a novel.

F&F:  Awesome Keri!  What kind of novel is it?

Me:  Uh.  Romance.  *voice suddenly cracks* Paranormal romance

F&F:  So is it like people having sex with ghosts?

Me:  Well.  *lightbulb*  Maybe at some point.  But this one has angels and demons

It's been one thing after another since then.  Blogposts that became easier over time.  Chats on Twitter.  Postings of my writing.  Interviews, giveaways and now...publication.

Such a strange little path with odd twists and turns along the way.  But it's been fun and I can't wait to see where the next bend in the road leads.

'What If' Game! #2 #whatifgame

It's that time again!  As I detailed in the last 'What If' post, I’m going to give you a brief scenario.  You imagine that you are the character in the scene and write what you would do as the MC of the story. You do NOT have to be a writer to participate! 

So come on and give it a shot.  It’s simple and fun!

 Here’s your scenario:   

 The blaring of car alarms yanks you from sleep.  Your eyes open.  The room is dark, aside from beams of light crawling along the ceiling from the traffic outside your window.  A glance over at the clock reveals it’s still much too early to be awake – just after three.  The alarms continue to make a racket from below.  That’s Detroit for ya.  You cover your ears with a pillow and squeeze your eyes shut in hopes of miraculously falling back to sleep.  Problem is, you’re a writer.  You know that once you’re awake, there’s no going back. 

After a few minutes and a good effort, you kick your feet against the mattress in frustration then sit up.  Curses from two men arguing outside echo through the skinny side street and compete against those obnoxious horns and sirens.  Not again.  You don’t bother to peek out because the last time you did, you were met with a glare and a threat.  And since you’re single, living alone, there’s no point in making every night a sleepless one by stepping in to save the day.  The dueling alarms and the bickering have at it while you saunter toward the kitchen. 

With a yawn, you flip on the light, rub your eyes then reach for the coffee tin to make a pot.  The ideas are already swirling in your mind; the dialogue of your characters battling the noise outside.  “Better make it extra strong,” you murmur.  Coffee’s percolating as you make your way to the living room.  Would someone please turn off the damn alarms?!  It’s hard to believe they’re still going.  The culprit who set them off must be long gone by now.  You flip on the TV, not bothering to watch the news report.  It’s only meant to be background noise to hopefully drown out the incessant ruckus in the streets. 

Grabbing your iPod, you plop into your desk chair and power up the computer.  When the screen flickers bright, you plug in the earbuds, pull up the Word doc and prepare to go to town.  A series of thuds, like bowling balls falling onto the ceiling can be heard through the percussion solo of the White Rabbits.  You look up and frown.  Friggin vampires. 

They haven’t been part of society long.  Only in the last few years has anyone actually seen one.  They’re night hunters, feeding mostly on the blood of animals.  A ruling of the courts recently made it possible for them to integrate into society.  Warmies, they call you, of course referring to your blood.  This social acceptance of them bothers you for some reason.

For the most part, the vampires are quiet.  They keep to themselves.  But there’s something odd about the noises you hear upstairs.  Naturally they happen at night, and usually you’re asleep.  But sometimes they’re so loud they rip you from your dreams.  If you had to compare the noises to something, they sound like bodies being dragged across the floor. 

You pull your earbuds out.  The alarms have silenced.  The men have stopped bickering.  Only the chatter of the news remains.

Then the sound of a yelp sends you flipping out of your chair. 

You crash to the floor, momentarily dumbstruck, and look around for the source.   Your eyes settle on the TV screen across the room.  The news report.  A banner flashes across the screen.  In large block letters, a bold contrast to the fearful expression on the news reporter’s face, it reads:  VAMPIRE REBELLION.

The small screen floating to the right of the reporter’s head broadcasts a grisly scene.  Vampires attacking Warmies in the streets of Los Angeles.  Rebellion?  You rise to your feet and glance back in the direction of your bedroom window.  Swallowing a gulp, you turn and tiptoe toward it.  Will the bickering men be dead; lying in a pool of half-sopped blood?  Worse, yet...will there be a brood of vampires feeding on them?  Your ears strain to listen for sounds from above.  Halfway there, a pounding at the door freezes you in your tracks. 

Your hand flies up to your mouth and a scream dies in your throat.  Thump, thump, thump. Your pulse is racing.  You pivot on your heel and glide against the hardwood floors, sneaking toward the door to look through the peephole.  Thump thump thump.  With your nose pressed against the door, you squint one eye and peer through the hole with the other.  Oh no…       



Okay…so every time I think I’m going to post one of my flash stories, there’s a new development with my book!  And this one has been very difficult to sit on because I’ve been dying to show you the cover.  Somnium is going to be available in paperback and e-book.  The wraparound cover for the paperback is pretty darn awesome too!  I had two designers on this that did one kick ass job:  my brother, Ryan, and Nick from Everything Indie.  If you haven’t yet checked out Nick’s site, you must: 



And here is my lovely (which is a little bit difficult to see against the background of the website): 

For a better look, go to my Facebook page:  http://on.fb.me/jdf0ia



And the book blurb:


A work assignment in Kittery, Maine should be routine for Allie Lynch; nothing more than to prove herself as a brilliant engineer. Instead she finds herself torn between two men: a gorgeous military guard, Colton Briggs, and her devilishly handsome colleague, Drew Costa. To resist temptation, Allie does the only thing she can: she throws herself into her work.

But fate has other plans for Allie. Women are going missing all around her, Allie is struck with a series of life-threatening mishaps, and she becomes the obsession of a local deranged psychopath.

Thrust into a dark world that she can hardly fathom, Allie must fight for her very survival, open her mind to new realities – and open her heart to the possibility of love. Because both of these men are trouble – but one is a greater danger than she could ever imagine …


So excited I could combust right here, right now!!! 

And as I mentioned in my last post HALOS: Somnium comes out DECEMBER 16, 2011.  Continue to check back for more details and giveaways!

I Have an Announcement...


December 16, 2011. 

What’s so special about this date??

Is it my birthday? 


My wedding anniversary?


A due date?

Yep.  Wait.  WHAT?!?!!!!!!!!!


Settle down.  I’m not expecting another mini-me on this date.  No, no.  This is something that took much longer than nine months to produce.  And I’m hoping the delivery is far less painful…

It is the date that I’ll be releasing my debut novel.  The first in the HALOS Series, titled Somnium.

That’s right.  You’ll soon be able to purchase your very own copy!  Whoooohoooo!!!!  Mark your calendars!  Keep an eye on the blog!  In the next few weeks, I’ll be revealing cover art and giving away some goodies. 

Spread the word.  Tell your family.  Tell your friends.


DECEMBER 16TH, 2011.



'What If' Game! #1 #whatifgame

Well, after having participated in two ‘What If’ games found on the lovely J.A. Belfield’s blog, I decided to follow suit and host one of my own.  So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to give you a brief scenario and RESIST the urge to finish it myself. 

You imagine that you are the character in the scene and write what you would do as the MC of the story.

You do NOT have to be a writer to participate! 

So come on and give it a shot :)  It’s simple and fun…and I’m dying to see what y’all come up with as an ending. 

Here’s your scenario:   


Your eyes fly open.  Darkness has fallen.  Twisted curls of branches loom above you against the blackness of the night.  What happened?  As you sit up, a throbbing ache in your skull forces you to wince.  Clutching the back of your head, you attempt to scour your brain for some recollection of how you wound up lying on the leafy forest bed.  A pleasant evening walk through the State park.  There was a chase.  Your eyes dart in all directions, looking for whatever had been after you.  But the only movement is the light shudder of leaves through the treetops. 

While studying your surroundings, your eyes finally settle on the large object before you; a rather peculiar-looking tree.  How odd.  It’s much larger than the others, with corkscrew boughs and dark black bark.  Snarled roots protrude from the earth at its base.  It doesn’t belong in this forest of maples, birch and oak trees.  In fact, it looks like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie. 

The snap of twigs echoes from behind.  Your head whips back; you grimace at the abrupt movement.  As you scramble to turn your body, a sharp stab of pain shoots through your ankle.  You’ve sprained it. 

A shadow moves on the edge of moonlight shining down into the forest.  Your breath hitches and your heart begins to pound a steady gallop toward frantic.  Swallowing a gulp, you back up against the tree, nestling into the crook of a thick exposed root.  Something tickles your palm and you gasp.  With recoil, you tuck your hand under the opposite arm and strain in the darkness to see what it is.  A piece of fabric is lodged half in and out of the bark, as though a permanent part of the tree.  How?  The strangeness of it manages to divert your attention from whatever lurks in the shadows. 

You tug on the fabric and it pulls easily from the trunk; a ragged scrap of burlap.  With a trembling hand, your fingertips graze the rough bark and move beyond it, disappearing into the ridges of the tree.  Amazing.  Like a…portal.  You allow your wrist, forearm and elbow to vanish into the trunk, then quickly withdraw and examine your limb; completely intact. 

Another crackle.  This one closer than the one before it.  A scan of the forest reveals nothing.

You look back at the mysterious tree.  Reaching inside the bark, you pat around.  Is there something on the other side?  Nothing but open air.  A low, guttural sound rumbles just beyond the clearing behind you.  Your eyes slowly trail back in the direction of the noise.  Silver glowing orbs move closer.  You cautiously scoot over the large root and lean back, allowing your shoulder and chest to merge with the bark. 

The erratic drumming of your heart makes it difficult to breathe evenly.  There is a numbness affecting half of your body; frightening.  But as you consider removing your arm from the tree, you catch sight of a gaping maw housing rows of sharp teeth.  The beast edges toward you.  Glistening strings of saliva dangle from its jaws.  Another growl, more ferocious than the first, has your pulse racing.  The creature lowers its upper body, raising its haunches, as if to pounce.  Your eyes widen.  You take a deep breath and…