Sunday, June 30, 2013

Words, A Poem

Please be aware that ALL of this writing is copyright protected as my own creative content, and NO PART of any post/story may be reproduced, copied or used in ANY WAY, ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME.
Photo courtesy of  akeeris  freedigitalphotos.net

Words
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy
*****
"As writers, we do write for ourselves, because we need to – because it's a burning desire inside us and we can't not write – but we also want to be recognized for our work, for our passion, for the journey of our imaginations. We all deserve the chance to step out into the world, where we will either succeed or fail. But at least people will have a chance to read what we've worked so hard to create." --Patti Davis


Words.

They flow like blood from a wound,
Vapors from the depth of a dream.
They ebb like the tides,
And flood with the violence of a storm.

They build;
Letter by letter they become the unexpected,
the unexplained, the simple magazines that we browse
the emotionally charged books that we devour.

Words.

We take them in,
we absorb them, grow by them,
we become what we are, because of what they are
developing like film under their power.

They make us weak, make us strong,
They freeze us, warm us.
They break us down, build us up.
They make or break the spirit.

Words.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Advantages Of Reading

Earlier this week, I had a little fun with Facebook; I held a little quote/lyric contest, promising to write about the quotes/lyrics that my winners submitted. And the winning quote is:

"The man who DOES NOT read has no advantage over the man who CANNOT read." -- Mark Twain

What an impactful statement about the way we as humans sometimes simply refuse to live up to our potential. What good is literacy - what good is the ability to read and absorb - if you choose not to do it? We live and dream, every one of us, and each of us has the inherent ability to reach out and take our dreams in our hands, to make them real and walk through them the way we walk through our homes.

But we don't do it.

The first romance novel I ever read was by Johanna Lindsey, a historic romance called Love Only Once - and I'm pretty sure if my father had known what was in that drugstore paperback, he'd never have agreed to buy it, but I think he was just proud that he'd offered to buy something for his only daughter and she chose a big ol' book. He didn't know that I'd sit on my butt all afternoon reading it, lost in the story of a wild womanizer tamed by an accidental romance. He didn't know that I'd sit up until the wee hours of the morning, reading in the closet with the light on because I simply COULD NOT go to bed without finishing the story.

He probably didn't know how HOT certain chapters of that book were, either. I still get red in the face when I remember reading those pages for the first time. So much of what's good about love, I learned in the characters of books that I read. I learned patience, I learned forgiveness, I learned to try again.

In books, I've learned crafts. On blogs, I've learned to build furniture - and to knit. I've found peace in books. I've found God in books. I've found acceptance for the harder aspects of my life in books. And yes, I've found great sex in books.

When I look back, I can't imagine my life without all the ways reading blessed me. I can't imagine myself without the impact that reading has had on me as a woman, as a Christian, as a mother. As a person.

But you know, that impact isn't simply because I can read. That growth that I have sought and found in books, blogs, magazines, and other sources ... it isn't there simply because I can read.

It's there because I choose to read. And if I chose not to, I might find myself as stagnant as an old forgotten bucket of lake water, not growing, not changing, not even stirring slightly to freshen myself in a breeze.

For those who are literate, those who have the treasured ability to read and don't use it, the quote is true. Those people who choose not to utilize such a powerful ability ... well, they miss out on so much of what they could be. And it's sad. It's such a waste.

And so I leave you with this call to action:

READ


NOTE: I often use affiliate links in my product mentions on this site. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that if you click my product links and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a small commission for referring you to the merchants and products I love best. This is, of course, at no extra cost to you - but my family and I appreciate your support! (To see a list of other companies I'm currently working with, click here.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Dark Deceit, by Lauren Dawes

Today, I'm reviewing Dark Deceit, the newest release by the amazing Lauren Dawes. Not only is this woman's mind fascinating, but her talent is on par as well. She spins a tale with this book that you can't help but be dragged into. Not only do I admire her professionalism and her tenacity as an author, I admire her greatly as a friend as well.


About the Book:
The time of the Aesir gods is over. Now they live among the humans in their bustling modern cities. Their brutal dominion over the gods and humans may have ended, but their actions have not been forgotten.

Korvain is feared like no other. His ruthlessness and cold heart are legendary, but when he is given the task of killing one of the most fabled goddesses of all time, he is left with an undeniable desire to make her his own. Failure in his task means only one thing: death. Will he follow his orders, or will he follow his heart?  

Bryn’s whole world crumbled when she left Odin’s service to protect the other Valkyries. Now living with the humans, she is the only thing standing between them and total destruction. But her beliefs are about to be shaken to the core when she meets Korvain—a completely irresistible Mare who threatens to take away more than just her innocence.


My Review of the Book:
I read Dark Deceit in two sittings. Literally. It took me around 24 hours to read, and I loved it. But let me give you a little back story first.

When I first read Lauren Dawes' work in 'Half Blood,' her writing style was different enough from my own that I had to adjust to it a little bit before I could really sink into the story. As a romance reader, Half Blood seemed a little dark to me and didn't have the overt romance factor. To be fair, Lauren Dawes is not a romance writer (generally). What she is instead is a fabulous author in the urban fantasy genre, with the ability to spin multiple characters and storylines into something that feels real and personal even if it isn't.

By the end of 'Half Blood,' I was moving beyond my original adjustment to Ms. Dawes style and was enough into the idea behind the story to want to read 'Half Truths.' I needed to know the rest of the story. Therefore, by the end of 'Half Life,' I was quite literally INFURIATED that it was ending. The books were being marketed (at that time) as a trilogy, meaning there were only plans for three books. The third book, 'Half Life,' leaves you with a very enticing cliff hanger, and at that point I was thoroughly hooked. I couldn't stand the idea of the series ending where it did. I needed more!! I can't even tell you how happy I am to know now that there will be more to the series, and that the Helheim Wolf Pack lives on. To that end, I will be writing full reviews of all three Helheim books just before the release of book number four! No dates yet, but I'm waiting anxiously so I'm sure I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, Lauren has been busily crafting yet another masterpiece. Quite a bit different from the 'Half Blood' series, 'Dark Deceit' is the first book in Lauren's new 'Dark Series.' In 'Dark Deceit,' Ms. Dawes gives us a modern peek into the world of the mostly-forgotten Aesir gods of ancient history. We're introduced to Odin, Loki, and Thor; we're introduced to a group of Valkyries, and we're introduced to Korvain (not necessarily in that order). The story that unfolds here is A-plus-MAZING, with a cast of characters that are the perfect mix of strong-enough-to-make-it and weak-enough-to-be-real. I can't rave enough about this book. It's got suspense, sex, violence, romance, betrayal ... it's got EVERYTHING.

Bryn is one tough chick, determined to need no one and to stand strong on her own, the leader of the Valkyries and the one they all know they can count on. Korvain is the dominant leader, the black night of destruction, hell-bent on doing his job and doing it well. Loki has been wronged and is seeking revenge, while Odin is scrambling to put his fallen existence back together again.

Who will come out on top of this mix? Well now, I can't tell you that ... but I can tell you that it's worth finding out.

You can try to guess on your own though,
because there's a book trailer!


About The Author:
Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Series and the Dark Series. You won’t find any friendly vampires in between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat.

And now that you know a little about her, go buy the book, read it ravenously, review it lovingly, and then stalk her shamelessly.

Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website
Amazon / Goodreads / Pinterest


NOTE: I often use affiliate links in my product mentions on this site. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that if you click my product links and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a small commission for referring you to the merchants and products I love best. This is, of course, at no extra cost to you - but my family and I appreciate your support! (To see a list of other companies I'm currently working with, click here.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Letters" Excerpt

Please be aware that ALL of this writing is copyright protected as my own creative content, and NO PART of any post/story may be reproduced, copied or used in 
ANY WAY, ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME.


Photo courtesy of  Simon Howden  freedigitalphotos.net
Letters
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****

I took it out and read it again, just as I had almost every day for fourteen years.

The pages of the letter were worn where I'd kept it folded, the ink somewhat faded with age, but it didn't matter. If the letter had disintegrated in my hands, I'd still be able to remember what it said. I'd still be able to remember the way he'd looked when he gave it to me, the way I'd felt when I was with him. And I could never forget the mixture of pain and hope that my memories had filled me with over the years.

Serious eyes; he always had such serious eyes. I'd catch him watching me sometimes, and his face would flush with embarrassment, plump kissable lips tightening against a grin as he turned his face away. But his eyes were always serious, always contemplative. Those eyes are burned forever into the backs of my eyelids, so that whenever I close my eyes he's looking at me again, his face soft and thoughtful, his throat working as he swallows nervously. I see him still, those eyes haunting me whenever I blink away the tears of losing him.

The letter even smells like him, fresh and clean as bottled sunshine, soapy and somehow manly all the same. The scent was strongest in the curve of his shoulder, when he'd hug me close and I'd press my face in under his chin.

Or maybe I just smell him in my heart.

What I miss the most is that perfect, soul-drenching sense of everything being right, the way his impeccable manners kept him from ever being offensive to me, the way he'd apologize if he slipped and said the most innocent of today's curse words. His humility, his honesty, and his inner sense of quiet drew me in, like a moth to a flame ...

*****
Edited to add: Letters has now been edited, revised, and extended. The above is only a small snippet of the full excerpt, the whole of which is now available exclusively to my Patreon supporters. To view this excerpt and others like it, please support my writing here. (October 2017)