Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Book!

At (long, long) last--Stone Kissed is here! So polish your Kindle, nook, KoBo, Sony Pocket and other eReaders and settle back for fun, sexy read.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Six Sentence Sunday: You see, Delia has this...thing.

It's another six sentence snippet from STONE KISSED. Reviews have been generally positive, and I'm looking forward to the release day on 12/27 (though of course, you can preorder on your Kindle, NookColor or other e-reader now). Be sure to visit the other authors at http://sixsunday.blogspot.com for their #SixSunday snippets. After all, there's nothing lonelier than an empty e-reader. Well, maybe something but...)

Delia stood before the thick oak doors of the Steward County General Hospital four and half hours later. Waiting won’t make it any better.

“Waiting won’t make it any better,” the statue of St. Francis said from his alcove to the right of the entrance. His speech had slowed and softened over the years so he sounded like the locals who rested on his bench before him.

“I know,” she mumbled between clenched teeth. “Give me a minute.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Five cups!


Coffee Time Romance gave Stone Kissed five coffee cups and Maura said she wanted to skip to the end (but she didn't!)

Between you and me, whenever I get a "Your book has been reviewed" notice I look at the message through my fingers. And according to authors with healthy backlists, the anxiety never really goes away.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here Comes Trouble... (Six Sunday post)

It's Six Sentence Sunday again! In the past month, you've met Delia, the heroine and Grant, the hero of Stone Kissed. Now meet...The Nemesis!  And if you enjoy brief excerpts, go visit some of the other Six Sunday writers.

 The sun had gilded him. The surf had seasoned him. Now Cecily ate him from the inside out, draining him on a kiss and a screw. The muscles in his back and shoulders melted beneath her palms as she sucked his life into hers. He was beautiful, this big, blond young god—an exchange student from Norway or Sweden or one of those countries with a stupid-sounding guttural accent. He tasted so good, so salty, golden and clean. She rolled with him down into the rising surf to feel the sun on her back even as he shriveled beneath her.

Hey--did you catch that? I gave you a bonus SEVENTH sentence.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meet Sophie and Brogan

In Stone Kissed, when Delia Forrest talks to statues...they talk back.

Sophie is an alabaster figurine who claims she owned Josephine Baker (as it happens, statues have a different concept of "ownership" than we squishy humans do.)  She's sassy and saucy and naughty--but like the legendary Ms. Baker, has a deep compassion for children.

Sophie is forced to share space with Brogan, who was excised under dubious circumstances from an abbey a millenium before. He's an irascible Green Man who doesn't think anyone is worthy of Delia.

And in case your wondering, both this garden version of Sophie and the wall fountain of "Brogan" are gifts from Dr. Stevens. I'm afraid he's going to populate our yard with ALL of the Stewardsville statuary now. In retrospect, perhaps I should have written "Diamond Kissed."

Friday, November 19, 2010

The first gift.

We met back when he had long hair and I didn't yet need underwire. He was a science geek, and I'd always been drawn to guys who knew more big words than I did.

We were (and are) opposites, at least superficially. I love to dance. He loves to not dance. I talk until I'm hoarse. He listens until I'm hoarse. I'm outgoing, he's reserved. I'm impulsive. He analyzes everything. I'm an optimist. He says it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

And the first gift he ever gave me was a gorgeous blown glass atomizer and bottle of Giorgio Red cologne (my favorite at the time. Do not judge me). He must have spent at least $100 for me on my first birthday as his girlfriend--which was serious cash for a college guy who lived on ramenghetti.

It was the most frivolous, whimsical, impractical, unnecessary gift I've ever received. His only goal was to delight me.

He did. He still does.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Six Sentence Sunday: When Delia sees Grant (from STONE KISSED)

The NetGalley advanced review copies (ARCs) of Stone Kissed are up this week. Readers, book bloggers, booksellers and librarians are reading the whole thing! On Six Sentence Sunday, you get a peek, yourself. For more fun, follow the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter and visit the official Six Sentence Sunday website.

He gave no hint he remembered the mousy little girl she’d been, back when he’d been kind to her on one of the best and worst days of her life. At fourteen she’d imagined him an angel, but he was more so now. Not a soft golden one—this Grant was strictly Old Testament, and his likeness guarded the dead in medieval churchyards throughout Europe. Even though his tailored gray suit was the height of civilized fashion, it was a lie.

This man wasn’t civilized. He was the embodied wrath of God.

She didn’t want him to remember.

(Want a little more? Visit for the beginning of Stone Kissed.)

Oh! Oh! And the first stop in my blog tour is up: Come see all the nosy questions Gabriella Edwards asks me at
last week's entry The Story of Ro!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Six Sunday - The First Six Sentences of Stone Kissed

Every Sunday, writers post six sentences from one of their works. I'm joining in the fun for the first time today. For more Six Sunday fun, follow the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter and visit the official Six Sentence Sunday website. And now, without further ado...

“Yes. Right there, again, please!” The marble satyr moaned his pleasure as Delia scraped away bits of lichen from the groove of his outer thigh.

“Just shut up.” She reached for her boar’s hair paintbrush. For the past two hours she’d been in Mrs. Hansdorf’s Bethesda, Maryland, garden maze cleaning the lewd little flirt, and he was relentless—as were most statues. This satyr was four feet tall and had been sculpted mid-leap, his arms outstretched for the nymph who stood on her own pedestal five yards farther around the turn.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What's STONE KISSED about?


When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.

After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he’ll allow her to oversee the restoration.

Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.

But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon, Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant’s love, but for both their lives…

(Author's note: Isn't this pretty? It's the official cover blurb of the book. My first cover blurb. So, so pretty. Almost as pretty as my ISBN number: 
978-14268-9101-4. Are those not the loveliest 13 digits you've ever seen? I sing them to a little tune. It's upbeat, lively, kinda country. I'm thinking Dolly could pull it off.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pillow Talk

(In bedroom. Keri Stevens takes fluffy feather pillow from under Dr. Stevens's head)

KS: Gimme that. I've had a long day.

Dr. S: You? What did you do?

KS: I dragged your son and his broken ankle to two different doctors, a radiology lab and two pharmacies to get crutches.

Dr. S: (snatches pillow back and shoves over thin, threadbare, lumpy foam pillow) Well, I worked on two review articles and spent three hours staring at the microscopy results.

KS: You need me to copyedit yet? (sticks thin pillow between her knees, rolls to side)

Dr. S: Not yet. But you're a writer. (yawns). Ghost for me.

KS: Sure. You at the third sex scene yet?

Dr. S: (spooning, freezes still) The what?

KS: The resolution sex. They've got it almost figured out now. Less conflict, more fire.

Dr. S: Um. Yeah. The mossy-fiber boutons have found their place in the hippocampus.

KS: (rolls onto back, elbows him away because the room is stuffy). Good. What about the grand gesture?

Dr. S: Huh?

KS: What sacrifice will the high-fiber buttons make to ensure the hippo campers lives happily ever after?

Dr. S (yawns, rolls away)...trek-bee...neuropeptide excitability...GABA...

KS: (sits up, excited) That's it! Gabba-Gabba-Hey! We'll use Ramones music as a thematic element. This'll be the best Neuron paper any scientist has ever published.

Dr. S: (snores)

KS: (Slowly tugs fluffy pillow out from under his head.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lookie who I found.


She's not in Stone Kissed - but she could be.

If she could talk, what do you think she would say?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It Works for Me

Most successful writers write every day. Every single day. They floss their teeth. They file their receipts. And they write.

I'm not that writer--at least not in the drafting phase. Maybe I will be when I grow up some day.

But I haven't yet mastered the balance between the voices in my head and the real-world demands. If the kids interrupt me, I snap at them. When the characters interrupt me, I find I've been standing at the sink for 15 minutes scrubbing out the same wine glass or that I've driven three exits further than I wanted to.

I have to pick which world I'll inhabit and stay there.

So, a few times a year, I draft. NaNoWriMo-style, I just push the words out. Some call it "pantsing," but for me, it's highly inefficient plotting. This first draft isn't a first draft, it's a "zero" draft or a "crapdraft." And it's a rush.

I do it for the rush. There's no rush in revision (except for the occasional shout of "Yeah! That's it!")

In the next two days I'll warn the family. I'll show the husband the fridge magnet with the pizza parlor's number again. I'll tell the kids, "If Mommy is talking to the laptop, don't enter the room." And then I'll ride the ride.

Maybe next year my method will change. But for now, this works for me.

What works for you? As a reader, do you read a little every day, or does life shut down while you stay up all night with your novel?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Drama and Trauma and Hail Mary passes...

Hi friends,

I know I've been neglectful of this blog (which, considering STONE KISSED is being published on 12/27/10, is ridiculous on my part).

For an idea of what I've been up to, however, visit Jeffe Kennedy's blog post on "the most depressing person on facebook." (Yes--it was I. But no longer!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chain Cow's Shenanigans at the Romantic Times 2010 Convention (and Contest!)

I warned her. I told her, "We're here to work. We're here to network, to pitch, to develop my credibility as a creative, productive writer of romance."


She heard: "Blah-blah-blah . . . romance!"


Chain Cow, our roomies and I arrived at the Hyatt-Regency Columbus bright and early. "I need to get to my workshop!" I told her. She, however, pointed out that Cait Miller, one of my favorite people from twitter, was hanging out in Club RT (the shopping gallery and room full of goody baskets.)


When we got there, however, I realized why she really wanted us to come: Cameron Murray, from Cait's book, Finding the Magic was there.



Chain Cow had come to hook up with Mac.


I whisked her out of there double-quick.


Maybe it was cruel of me. I did not take her to the Ellora's Cave Red party that night. I thought, "erom writers + red, hot Scot" and decided it was prudent to leave her in the room. She made me pay for it later, though.


On Thursday, Chain Cow was all business and professionalism. She kept quiet in my purse while I pitched. She sat peacefully in her chair during the writing workshops and publishers' spotlights. She folded her napkin in her lap and listened respectfully to the conversation at our luncheon for Mr. Romance 2009, Charles Paz, at Schmidt's Restaurant.


Most people hardly knew she was there. I should have known better.


I should have been worried when we went out for dinner with the Cherries, fellow fans of author Jenny Crusie. Chain Cow caught sight of this gal at Buca di Beppo.




Chain Cow was mesmerized. I didn't hear what Miss Magenta said to her, but I'm pretty sure in retrospect I wouldn't have approved.


The evidence? Miss Cow's behavior at the Fairy Ball.
I told her to stick to the white milk, but did she listen to me?


Sigh.


The less said the better . . .



She woke up (late) the next morning, rather surly (if you don't believe me, ask Becke Martin and Gabriella Edwards). Nevertheless, I thought we'd turned a corner, learned our lesson. She was quiet—never once mentioned the Bull she once loved or Mac.


She was cordial to author Sally MacKenzie, who's most recent book is The Naked Viscount.




And then the night fell--the night of the Vampire Ball.


I thought Chain Cow was watching Heather Graham's musicale. Chain Cow seemed focused, intent, enraptured by the stage before us, so I said, "I'm going to the bar for a drink. Will you be all right while I'm gone?"

She didn't even moo.


And when I came back?




I told her, "He doesn't love you. He just sees you as prey!"

"What kind of paranormal author are you?" she lowed back. "Everyone knows that cross-species love is sublime! And by the way," she added, "Stop telling everyone you follow them on twitter. It makes you look like a stalker-geek."


"Fat lot you know," I huffed, and rolled over. We slept with our backs to each other for the rest of the night.


Saturday was book signing day. I had a date with another twitter friend, avid reader and new book reviewer Anni Lute, so I left Chain Cow in the room. Anni and I bought a ton of books, got her totebag autographed (a smart way to do it instead of bringing your own books from home) and I told everyone, "I follow you on twitter."


I should have known better. No sooner is my back turned, then Chain Cow is raiding Gabriella Edwards swag stash of promotional items.




I caught her. We had words. By the time we were to leave on Sunday, Chain Cow and I were no longer speaking.


On our way to check out, however, she shouted, "I have seen a sign!"


"You what?"


"I have seen a sign! I think it's about forgiveness and redemption, Keri."


"You do?"


"I do."


And then I saw it. And I knew Chain Cow was right.


Tears came to my eyes. Milk came to her teats. The oxytocin flowed and we hugged in the embrace of hungover, sleep-deprived writer-sisters throughout the Hyatt. I forgave her for her shenanigans. She forgave me for my abandoning her in the hotel room and for separating her from the suitors of dubious intent.


We're going to try again, Chain Cow and I, and we hope you join us: Lori Foster, Dianne Castell and Barnes and Noble's Linda Keller are hosting a Reader-Author Get Together 6/4 though 6/6.

Chain Cow wants to give you a gift: Leave a comment on this blog before midnight, May 16, 2010, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a mailer full of RT convention swag—pens, bookmarks, notepads, clips, book thongs and more! (One U.S. entry per person, over age 18, please).



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chain Cow in Kentucky

Not long ago, my friend Cyndi said, "I've got someone you should meet. She's sweet, pretty, doesn't take up much space, and she's on a Grand Adventure." I'm a sucker for a Grand Adventure, so I said, "Sure. She can come stay awhile."


I expected someone petite, demure, perhaps with a soft Irish brogue, since she'd come by way of Susan in Ireland. Or even a Southern drawl, picked up during her time with Crystal in Alabama.


But no--Chain Cow was sullen, dirty and pouty. She had good reason, it turns out: She had a torn rotator cuff.


How, you might ask, does a cow tear her rotator cuff? I suspect it has to do with shenanigans she got up to with a bunch of soldiers in Texas. Julie Weathers would have you believe it was all wholesome, harmless fun, full of children and balloons and what-not.


But I have my doubts.


WARNING: NEXT PHOTOS ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!
Chain Cow in surgery.











Now, I'm not without pity, so I suggested Chain Cow soak in the hot tub for awhile. She took to that like a cow in a hot tub.











As soon as I turned my back, though, she got into my favorite Kentucky bourbon, Woodford Reserve. (Did you know Kentucky is the only state in the union allowed to call its whiskey "Bourbon"? It's true. Look it up!) Since I use the Woodford Reserve for medicinal purposes, however, I decided fair was fair.









But then it got ugly. She got maudlin, crying about some bull she met on Valentine's Day, and how there'd never be another one like him. Telling me she'd never felt "so free, so full of possibility" as she did under the snowy skies of Montana at Kari's place, or in the vast vistas at Carol's in Wyoming, where there were other cattle just like her, only smellier.


There was only one thing to do. I cut her off.











But it was too late. She got all loopy on me, tried to pull some Cirque du Soleil tricks. I'm worried about that rotator cuff.











Next week, she's coming to the Romantic Times Convention with me. We're going to meet some of my favorite authors and do a little pitching ourselves. I hope she doesn't embarrass me. This is a professional event full of serious writers working on perfecting our craft and focused readers wanting to connect with their favorite authors.


We'll have no time for shenanigans.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stone Kissed won . . .

. . . first place in the paranormal category in the Ohio Valley RWA chapter's 2010 Enchanted Words contest. Thank you to all of the preliminary judges and to the final round judge, Margo Lipschultz, of HQN.

Fancy a bit of story? Anya Davis posted an excerpt on her blog:

The sun had gilded him. The surf had seasoned him. Now Cecily ate him from the inside out, draining him on a kiss and a screw. The muscles in his back and shoulders melted beneath her palms as she sucked his life into hers.
He was beautiful, this big, blond young god—an exchange student [...]


Read Full Post »

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Excerpt from STONE KISSED

Frankly, I'm a bit superstitious about posting unpublished work online - it feels like putting cart before horse. But Anya Davis asked, so I did!

Come visit and meet my villain.

Keri Very Bloggy Hoppy

The incomparable Anya Davis is interviewing me at her blog today and tomorrow. She makes me sound like the shizzle. I think that's a good thing, right?

Anyway, come visit for pictures of my belly button (who can resist that?) Tomorrow she'll upload first-ever posting of an excerpt of mine.

Meet my succubus! You know you wanna.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stone Kissed is a finalist . . .

. . . in the Ohio Valley RWA's Enchanted Words contest. My BFFs Becke Martin and Gabriella Edwards are also finalists. I'm up against Joe Fraser and Crista McHugh, so competition will be stiff.

("Who are these people?" you're asking. Check my blogroll on the left. I'm telling you . . . my world is full of terrific writers.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There's no sex in "eczema."

When I read a recent tweet about an author's male/male Amish erotica story, I gasped,

"You can't do that!"

And then I corrected myself. I can't do that. She can do whatever she likes, and if she does it well, it should sell nicely on the e-market. It will be years before I see such a book on my to-be-read mountain of mass market paperback romance, but it may happen. I'm personally thrilled by the breadth of ideas romance novels now embrace and look forward to innovation in the genre.

I actually don't believe in bad ideas--only poor execution. Any writer of sufficient skill and creativity should be able to write a romance that works, regardless of premise. I, for once, contemplate rhinoceros-shifter erotica involving their incredible tentacular wangs, but I know I'm not skilled enough to pull it off.

(There's a pun in there, somewhere.)

And yet, certain topics NEVER appear on my bookshelf . . .

Eczema, or psoriasis or Herpes of any simplex. Heroes and heroines never have common skin conditions. In the 43 books I have ready to pass on to someone else, I've never once seen the word "suppuration" (though I admit to avoiding zombie romance). Author Connie Brockway has speculated on twitter that you could give a hero poison ivy in a romantic comedy, but otherwise agrees there's no bringing the sexy back after a rash.

Wheelchair erotica.
Although wheelchair users have active, creative sex lives too, they don't make it into mass market paperback. Sure, your protagonist may be temporarily "trapped" in a chair, but when it comes to saving the day and winning her heart, paraplegics need not apply. I believe there's market for novels that show people with disabilities experiencing glorious sex and life-long love. Write them, and the readers will come.

(Oh, wait . . . was that another pun?)

Abortion
. No heroine has one. No heroine ever has (not even in deep back story). No heroine contemplates one. I think have seen mirror characters hint vaguely at the possibility in "secret baby" plots, but no one uses the "A" word. I know romance writers of every political, religious and ideological stripe. Regardless of what our personal feelings and experiences have been, this topic is the biggest taboo of all (and one that won't be debated in my blog comments, by the way. I'm interested in why authors as a strategy shy away from the topic. Today I'll be moderating, so please keep it analytical and civil. If I can tell by your comment where you fall on the debate spectrum, it probably won't get through.)

(Huh. My choices here probably help answer my question, don't they?)


Hero in poverty. Historical ares the exception: I've seen a few "Baron Must Marry Money To Save the Estate Someone Else Impoverished" plots, but never in contemporaries. Alpha males have mega bucks. Their wealth is their manhood and the two are well-matched in size.

Inspirational erotica.
For some reason, inviting Jesus into the bedroom with the hero and heroine means I, the reader, must be locked out.

So tell me, where am I wrong? What good books have you read that break any of these taboos? What are some no-nos in romance I haven't yet mentioned? And can anyone remember who is working on the m/m Amish erotic novel?

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Husband, My Virgin


Well, not any more.

This week I had the novel experience of having my non-romance-reading husband read one of my works-in-progress (WIPs).

I resisted this, and so did he. But in the end, it was a smart move. Because he wasn't expecting any specific genre conventions, because he doesn't have any professional need to keep me happy, because he has a personal (and financial) investment in my success AND because he's a hyper-logical-critical-analytical sciency dude, he brought sharp eyes, a sharp mind and a new vision to the book.

"Why is she doing leaving the house to go to the graveyard?" he asks.

"Because the epic battle HAS to happen there," I explain.

"Yeah, but SHE doesn't know that."

And it goes on . . .

"Did you realize you left this typo on page 6? And this one on page 25? And this one on page 33?"

"Shut up," I reply, and get out the orange pen.

"Why does she get up in the hero's face about this painting?" he asks.

"I explain that later."

"Oh yeah? Well I'm confused right now."

And Mr. Smartypants is correct: If he is confused, if anything I write throws him out of the story, it's my problem and I need to correct it.

After all, someday soon, some gal's gonna be laying on a lawn chair with my book in one hand and a margarita in another. She'll have her eye on that volleyball game at the other end of the Lido Deck. If my words don't flow seamlessly from my page to her brain in the first (and probably only) read, she will put that paperback down (cracking the spine) and watch the game. She might pull it out again for the plane ride, or she might not.

One chance. That's all we really get until we're La Nora or La Christina or La Susan or La Jenny. These authors have a loyal (and more forgiving) fan base--as opposed to the Virgin Reader, who is much less tolerant of plot holes (even if she doesn't know the phrase), rambling prose, and who will lose respect for us as authors if we forget the "l" in public.

Until I achieve La-Hood, I do, at least, get to cuddle up with my Hawt Virgin. And my orange pen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Personal Nine of Oh-Nine

1. I wrote a paranormal romance novel.
2. I drafted and began revisions on a contemporary romance.
3. I mapped out five more contemporary romances.
4. I finalled in a contest.
5. I judged two dozen contest entries.
6. I attended a regional conference and made a live pitch.
7. I meandered through a wild fantasy draft, which I will now sit on for two years.
8. I learned that I'm a "project" person rather than a process person.
9. I found a coherent, organized, simple approach to editing. (Thank you, Todd Stone.)
10. I gained some basic insight into my own goal-setting processes (Thank you, Bob Mayer).

And I accepted that I suck at math.