Friday, May 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: 'Born Of Fire' by Amy Erstad

So, there's this book coming out.
I'm not sure when, but I've chatted a bit with Ms. Amy Erstad,
and I can say, "You don't want to miss this."
So when's it coming out???

I can't tell you yet, but I can give you a little tease.
The release date is still undecided, but I've got a cover for you.

And?
I have an excerpt!!!
And??
I can tell you where to find two others!!!

Ready??


Is this cover spectacular, or what!?!
Born Of Fire
Humans are losing their devotion to the God. After everything the humans put themselves and others through; faith is still not high on their priority list. Even the Gods would think such things as wars would lead the humans back to them, but it is only a temporary fix. Their devotion still waivers. Other than Ra, no one seems to notice, or they just don't care. They keep telling him it will get batter with time, only it doesn't. Worse yet, they keep denying his request for an earthly presence. He is sick of watching and waiting, and sick of being denied. He is not going to just stand by and let them keep denying him, he has his own plans. Plans put in place centuries ago, secretly. Now they shall all see what happens when he is forsaken.

While Re is making plans of his own, Kenna, on the earthly realm, is figuring out that the people she loves and trusts are keeping secrets from her. She wants to know what those secrets are, and she knows they have something to do with her nightmares, but no one is giving up any information. She is not too worried though. She has Keyara, her best friend, right there beside her. Together they work to try to unravel the mystery that her life has become. Together they stand when Kenna's life is turned upside down by some handsome stranger. One that is familiar, yet unknown to Kenna. Together they will continue to stand, when the secrets are revealed, and both girls find they have destinies they never would have dreamed of.

I'm not too shy to say that I am DYING to read this. Sounds awesome right?
Awesome enough to want a sneak peek??


Excerpt:
Kenna is sitting on her bed looking at me with a look of bewilderment on her face, and a little laugh in her voice. “Sounds like you were up to eaves-dropping again. How did the covert operation go?  Learn anything new?”
“No, no nothing new tonight,” I quickly spit out, not wanting her to know that her parents know where she got the necklace. While I still hate the lying, I know I just need a little bit more time, and a few more pieces to start putting everything together.
Kenna gives me the eye, looking at me suspiciously. “Well you sure were gone long enough for no new information, and you were awful quick to spit that out.”
“Yeah well, just because we have an undercover mission going doesn’t mean I don’t ever have to drain the lily pad once in a while.” Truthfully I hate keeping this secret from Kenna, but I don’t want to let on to the fact that I think they are keeping secrets, and that I think it is something big. I want to wait until I have something concrete to bring her, so I don’t worry her any more than she already is. As it is, my poor best friend has hardly had a good night’s sleep in months and the less stress she has on her, the better off she will be. Knowing there is a secret out there about her isn’t exactly going to help her, but it is better than knowing just how serious I believe it may be, without being able to produce any proof.

Love the excerpt?
Want more??
There are
not one,
but two
more excerpts for you to read!!
Be sure to check them out!


I cannot even tell you how much I am looking forward to reading this book!!

Author Bio:
Amy has been married for 16 years and shares two beautiful daughters with her husband. After being a stay at home mother for many years, she went back to school and graduated with her Associates Degree in Business Administration in 2009. When she is not working, she loves being able to travel whenever she can and has had the opportunity to visit several different countries with her family, and has even been able to live in some of them.
While it was never her dream to become a writer, she now loves every minute of her time spent in the writing world, as it gives her the opportunity to live in a world made out of imagination and sometimes dreams. She loves reading paranormal and fantasy books. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love Best

So there's this blog that I LOVE to stalk read.
They participate in this little thing called Top ten Tuesdays, which is just where you list your top ten of something. Generally, there is a set topic that all participants use, but this week the topic is "freebie," so today seems like a great time for me to jump in and get my list on.

You know, it's hard for me, sometimes, to think of a Top Ten anything. When I did the Fat Chance tour with TTC&B2B Book Tours back in the end of March/beginning of April, one of the bloggers involved asked me for a Top Ten list, and I was in total panic mode for a week.

It should have been easy, you know? Like, okay, Top Ten Foods? Nah, a chunky author who wrote a book about a depressed plus-size woman CAN NOT write about food, right? Okay ... Top Ten ... uh, Favorite Colors? Um, no. Boring. Top Ten Songs?? Yes! I love music!!! But wait, another blogger wants a playlist which is basically the same thing. Hmm. What to do? I did finally figure it out, by simplifying the concept and giving a regular Top Ten of my favorite things in general, spanning different topics because I really couldn't think of one topic where I had ten solid favorites.

Maybe I'm a little ADHD.
Or maybe I'm just REALLY varied in the things that I like.
But, there are certain topics that I love more than others,
and there are things that I definitely love at least ten of.

Like books.
I love books.

So, here they are, my Top Ten Favorite Books.
Or series', because it'd be silly to have a Top Ten that's mostly made up of one series.
Duh. In no particular order ...

*****
DIANA GABALDON's Outlander Series is first up on the list, both because they are the first books I thought of and because they are the first books I always think of. Thick and heavy, both with pages and well-written plot, these books have been my go-to favorites for years and I've read the entire series so many times that I've lost count.

They are an intriguing mix of sex, medicine, past and future, war and peace, love and hate. They fascinate me, they teach me. They've sucked me in and still haven't let me go yet. I love them.

Each book is a heavy, time-consuming commitment that took me at least a month (each book) to read because of the thickness of the book. I swear there isn't a book in the series that's less than about 800 pages, and I LOVE that. I do enjoy the shorter, more quickly pleasurable read ... but Diana's Outlander books have such meat on them, so much to absorb and take in, so many characters that are so easy to love, or to hate. They aren't thrown in all at once, either, but are instead introduced in bits, and there are even some that we get to watch grow up through the pages of the series, from childhood right on up to adulthood where they deal with their own issues and experience their own loves. The premise behind these books is a woman from 1946 who is accidentally thrown through a sort of hole in the stretch of time, and she finds herself suddenly two hundred years in the past, deep in the highlands of Scotland. Understandably, things are rather different there than what she is accustomed to, and poor Claire is forced to adjust pretty quickly. She does well though, and her journey makes readers maybe begin to crave a simpler time when people were (generally) more honest and life itself was more (typically) routine. Not to mention, rough and tough but sweet and loyal Jamie Fraser?? Yum, yum. Granted there are odd things about him that I had some trouble with, but a simple reminder that he's from somewhere around 1745 generally helps me to regain my sympathy for his old-old-old-fashioned and sometimes downright primitive ways. He's sweet, and his loving way of always providing for Claire, always looking out for her just wins me over, every time.

Thus far, the series consists of 'Outlander,' 'Dragonfly in Amber,' 'Voyager,' 'Drums of Autumn,' 'The Fiery Cross,' 'A Breath of Snow and Ashes,' and 'An Echo in the Bone.' 'Written in my Own Heart's Blood' is expected to release in the fall of 2013, and let me tell you, the wait is almost literally killing me. I read other books mostly because that one isn't out yet, to tell the truth.

*****
The LEFT BEHIND series is next, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. These books are almost entirely responsible for my salvation as a Christian. Now, I won't go too far into that right now, but I'll say this, I read these books (at first, at least) as a non-Christian and that didn't stop them from being fabulous. From a non-Christian perspective, they've got it all: action, adventure, good guys, bad guys, love, life, and learning. It's the long-awaited apocalypse and the bad guys are taking over. Through the series, you follow a little group of the good guys, just trying to get by in a world that is entirely new to them, albeit familiar in many ways to the way it used to be.

From the Christian side of it, these books help to explain the book of Revelation and the End Times prophecies in a way that a lot of "regular" people just don't understand. They bring reality to the end books of the Bible is a terrifyingly real way, bringing home the horrors predicted in the book of Revelation. These books take the prophecies in a literal way (which I love), showing us what the world will be like when the prophecies come into play and Revelation takes hold of the world. They tell us (Christians) why it's so important to minister to others, to our loved ones. Because as Christians, we aren't afraid of the apocalypse, we aren't afraid of the wars and the ... whatever. Because we won't be there. We believe it all starts with "the Rapture," when Jesus calls believers to Heaven, and then there will be the final battle between good and evil, God and Satan vying for the hearts and souls of those left behind.

And none of us want our loved ones to be here for that.

But anyway, Christian and non-Christian alike, these books are AWESOME, even if you're only reading them for the story.

*****
My, my, this post has grown long, hasn't it?
Better get on with this, huh?

A few other favorites of mine, still in no particular order are:

* The Bible *
(of course)
* The Malory Family Series *
(historical romance series by Johanna Lindsey)
* The Twilight Series *
(Stephanie Meyer's books may be different, but they're brave and I love the love story)
* Anything by Nicholas Sparks *
(I have never read ANYTHING from him that I didn't love)
* The Half-Blood Series *
(Lauren Dawes brings back Anne Rice's old style, but with a twist)

And Some Old-School Favorites:
* A Little Princess *
(oldie but goodie from Frances Hodgson Burnett)
* Island of the Blue Dolphins *
(I loved being assigned to read this Scott O'Dell classic in school)

... and ...

* Hatchet *
(This series by Gary Paulsen is my all-time favorite YA read. The survivalist theme caught me right up, fascinated from the beginning.)

And there you have it! My Top "Ten" Books!

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Have A Secret.

This is no little secret. It's not little at all. In fact, it's huge.

But I can't tell you yet.
... all I can tell you is that it has to do with ...
well, I can't tell you that, either, really.

Is it killing you?
It's killing me. Like seriously, I am DYING to tell you all what I have going on.

But I'm holding onto my giant crazy huge secret for now.
Why? Because I'm giving it to the readers of my newsletter first, along with a sneak peek, newsletter-exclusive excerpt from Selkie. Believe me, you want in on this.

Sign up here; I promise it's quick and easy.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's Your Pleasure?

I've spent a lot of time thinking about swag throughout my short (so far) career.

There's the obvious option for any person in any sort of business: the business card. I've got some, nothing fancy, and they don't match the red theme I seem to have fallen comfortably into. They're actually purple and white, and they come from such an early point in my career that they only list this blog, my facebook fan page, and my amazon author page, which lists my books and allows you to purchase them. Not very up to date, I suppose, but they do have the most relevant information, since anyone who knows of this site can find any of my others from here.

After that, because I'm a novelist, there's bookmarks. I've done both regular (2x6 inches) and large (4x8 inches, technically a "rack card"), and I prefer the large. They look so much nicer, they're easier to design because of the larger space, and they fit nicely into my 6x9 paperbacks. Plus, there's plenty of room to leave a little blank place for signing.

That's really the extent of the things that I've tried, but it's come to my attention that there might be people out there who want more. There are bookplates/stickers, buttons, postcards, so many different options!!

So here's my question to you, fans, and I'd 
REALLY REALLY
love for you to comment here and tell me what you think:

If I decide to set up a sort of swag store or something like that, would you be into the idea?
And what would you most like to see available??

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm Like a Bird

Lately I've been having a bit of a twitter-fest.
Is it a twitter-fest? Or is it a tweet-fest?
Whatever.
I'm tweeting.

Twittering?

No, tweeting.
I like tweeting.
Makes me sound like a bird.

Anyway. Those of you that read here regularly will know that I've been learning the ins and outs of twitter over the past few months, and you'll also know that it didn't take long before I got interested in the list of "trending" topics and hashtags. I kept thinking it'd be fun to see how many of those I can relate to or write about, and for a while there really weren't any.

But every now and then I see something listed there that makes me get excited in a silly way. Some topic or other will appear that touches me personally, and I'll get a little thrill. And I'll sort of quietly shout, "Ooh, I can use that one!"

The first time, I just tweeted what I had to say on the subject and then went about my business, but since then I've been looking through the hashtag thread for whatever topic it is that I'm loving in that moment. I tweet my tweet, then I read the thread and generally find lots of other tweets that have me thinking, "Now, why did I think of that?!"

Here are the ones from this morning:

For #MomentsOfWonder, I wrote, "The births of my children and the quiet moments when I'm writing something totally unexpected are my #momentsofwonder."

And they really are. Those first moments when I held my daughters in my hands are the most meaningful moments of my life, and nothing comes close to the first time I held my fragile and tiny Josephine in my arms, tickling her rosebud lips while she slept because it made her pucker up and make faces in her sleep. She was hilarious, peaceful, precious. Perfect. Much like the first time I held her sister, Eden, gleefully unwrapping the blankets so that I could examine her fat little arms and legs, marveling over her chubby little fingers, her giant blue eyes and her eager personality.

The only thing that comes close to that sense of wonder is my writing. When I sit down and create some sort of story or poem, it's akin to creating something as much mine as my children, though less perfect and with sometimes far greater effort. Pregnancy was never easy for me, but it didn't take all of my will to create the children who are now playing together down the hall in celebration of Josephine's summer break from school. Sometimes, writing is as effortless as pregnancy, and I sit quietly, my fingers flying over the keys as if without command, barely keeping up with the thoughts as the story forms in my mind. Other times, writing is maybe more like birth, where I fight for every word and agonize over whether I've written this conversation or that transition correctly. Still there's that one moment in the end, that moment when the project is finished, when the child is born, and I can hold in my hands that little thing that I've created (sometimes with help, sometimes not), and those truly are my moments of wonder.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Because 140 Characters Is Too Short.

I've been having a ton of fun looking for writing prompts and random thoughts on the little Twitter list of trends. I've found some really funny things on there, some really stupid things on there, and some really shocking things on there. I've also found tons of places where I had to sit back and say to myself,

"Well, that is just SO me."

Today, I did a little trend tweet. I tweeted for #iCanAdmit, where I said, "Because it's trending and so me: #iCanAdmit that I'm just a regular girl with worries/insecurities ... and I still think about 'what if.'"

Which is absolutely, one hundred thousand percent true. Want some proof??

I also tweeted for #WorstCarIEverHad, where I said, "The #WorstCarIEverHad? A Buick Century that leaked through the door gasket and was 89 shades of gray."

That car was horrible. And the thing is, it didn't just leak through the door gasket. Something in the frame of the car was a bit bent, I think, and there was literally a gap between the door and the frame of the car, over on the driver's side of the windshield. You could pass a cheeseburger through the gap, so we couldn't take the car through a car wash, and heaven forbid if you had to drive it in the rain. We kept a towel in the car, and if it rained, you had to take the towel and stuff it in the gap over the door to keep the water from pooling at your feet while you drove!

The car was 89 shades of gray long before it was even cool to be "shades of gray," and it never worked for very long. The brakes were always bad, there was a horrible leak somewhere in the coolant system so eventually we just stopped pouring antifreeze in and just used water. The interior was wrecked, and the windows didn't roll up and down the right way. The front passenger window would roll up totally crooked because it was off track, so if you wanted it down, you had to roll it down with one hand and guide push it down with the other. And you'd better never roll it all the way down, because to get it back up you had to roll it up with one hand while pulling/lifting it with the other.

And that was the car I drove Josephine around in as a newborn.

But, hey, I was young. And at least I had a car right??
Tell me about yours in the comments.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Getting Close

The race is still on, and growing more fierce by the day!

When the race began, Selkie had a major word count advantage because To Love A Selkie had already been written and released as my first publication. All that remained was a little bit or reorganization and the writing/addition of part two, To Become A Selkie. The other half of the story, you know.

But then.

To Become A Selkie has become quite a story of it's own, and as it grows I'm expecting this to be quite a book! I love the twists and turns, the unexpected changes, the major surprises. To Become A Selkie definitely has a good number of boasting points, and I can't wait to strap these two stories together and release them for you as "Selkie."

Soon, my friends, soon.

In the meantime, Fighting For Freedom was a bit of the underdog here, which is completely fitting, considering the story behind this story. Christine is a woman who doesn't know her own strength until she's faced with a really tough situation, with a really tough solution. This book was starting from the ground without any head start at all, but Christine wants to meet you all. The writing is nearing a halfway point, and the cover wrap for this book is as finished as it can be without a final page count. Let me tell you I am DYING to show it to you!

But I'll wait, because we still don't know which book is going to win. We still don't know which story will finish first, and there is still no date to anticipate.

But I've cooked up a little something to keep you hungry while you're waiting.
Cast your vote today for which book you'd like to see win the race, and when the race is over, the rafflecopter will choose a lucky winner from those who voted in favor of the winning book.

Will it be you?
Only one way to find out ...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review & Spotlight, 'Shattered Illusions' by Leigh Hershkovich

Today I'm reviewing 'Shattered Illusions', a book that really caught my attention from the get-go because the blurb sort of gave me the feel/expectation of a psychological thriller. I knew from the beginning that I'd love this book, but let me hold off on some of that until I tell you a bit more about the book in general.
Blurb, anyone??

*****
Unique cover, isn't it?
About The Book:
When Sam, a proprietor of a local cafe is shot dead on the street, four strangers become the unwitting witnesses to a seemingly accidental crime. As the investigation progresses, this quartet of accidental onlookers find themselves not only haunted by the homicide, but pursued by their own pasts.
The deeper into the death they plunge, each is forced to face to face that the loss of Sam is far from their most devastating. Inner anguish reaches a climax point for Ella, Marco, Sarah and Danny as the answers they want continue to elude them, and the evidence they want to escape refuses to retreat.​​​

Interesting, right? Makes you curious? It certainly made me curious, so when I was invited to participate in the tour, I knew right away that I'd be reviewing this one. It kept me company between visits with my mom, it kept me busy when I wasn't writing, & it kept me up late more than a few times too!

*****
My Review of the Book:
This is one of the more unusual books that I've read in that it jumps, sometimes a bit abruptly, from one character to another in perspective. However, it was easy to keep track of and the individual stories of the characters were well-planned, well-thought, and well-written. From the very beginning, I was impressed with Leigh Hershkovich, from her easy style to her conversational speech, right down to the way she respectfully writes "G-d" instead of "God," staying true to her own beliefs and not letting her own values down in her writing. I respect that level of self-respect in a great way, not to mention, the writing itself is top notch. Other than the few expected errors which generally cannot be escaped, this book shows off the talent of the author spectacularly.

This story begins with the murder of a man, and follows bits and pieces of the police investigation of the death. Throughout the story, we meet and get to know four witnesses to the murder. We learn to relate to them, even if they are vastly different than we are. We learn to feel for them, all of them.

We do learn who is the murderer. We watch the witnesses together figure out who the murderer is, and in the end we watch them stand up and seek justice, but not in the way you might expect.

This book is full of twists and turns, unexpected little things, and the simple emotion of four very different people thrown unexpectedly together in a crisis. It is an undeniably amazing read, one which I have already recommended to several friends.

Ms. Hershkovich? You should be very proud of yourself.
You've done an amazing job!

*****

More About Leigh Hershkovich:
Leigh Hershkovich’s writing career began almost at infancy. Born and raised in The City by the Bay, Leigh was never seen without a pen and paper by her side, and was never without a story to share. With her vivid imagination and sharp writing tactics, she has taken the world by storm twice over. Now, with her debut novel Shattered Illusions, readers will get a first time glimpse into her first full fiction attempt.
An avid reader, accomplished pianist, passionate scholar of the language and the arts, Leigh currently resides in New York with her imagination.

*****
Wanna stalk her all over the web, watching anxiously for your chance to read Shattered Illusions? I've got the inside scoop.
You can find her on:


And as if that wasn't cool enough,
there's a giveaway!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Vase, A PicPrompt


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  anankkml  freedigitalphotos.net
The Vase
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****
It took me half the night to finish dusting the last of the artifacts, and putting the broken vase back together had nearly killed me with the force of the headache. I was proud though, when I stood back and looked over what I had done. It wasn't complete; there were still pieces missing, but I'd done well with the pieces we'd been able to find.

It had been a long, weary night, dusting and sneezing, dusting and placing pieces of the vase, dusting and sneezing some more. I was exhausted and for the first time, the idea occurred to me to simply find a corner in the back of the cave and sleep the night away peacefully until the crew came back in the morning.

That's when I heard it: a clatter at the mouth of the cave room I'd been working in. I settled the vase as safely as possible, leaving my dusting brush on the table beside it. Standing, I dusted myself too, running my palms briskly over my clothes to loosen the bits of cave dirt that clung to my jeans and faded yellow tank top.

"Is someone there?" I asked, my voice echoing in the vastness of the cave, rattling out to sound again and again in the tunnel that led to the outside world. I heard scrambling in the tunnel; looking one last time to be sure the vase was secure, I followed the sound into the tunnel, acutely aware that I was trapped below the ground. There was no 'back way' out of the caves, the only way out was to follow the tunnel, which now held something -- or someone -- suspicious.

The only thing that gave me reassurance was the radio attached to my hip, the one thing that connected me with the outside world. My captain knew that I'd stayed behind, and if I radioed him with trouble, he'd send the guards down for me.

But first, I needed to know what was lurking in the tunnel. I couldn't request the guards, risking exposing them to our discoveries, only to watch them die if our research had unleash something horrible. And I certainly couldn't be the scaredy-girl who called for guards if the skittering were only caused by some animal that had become trapped in the tunnel and couldn't get out.

"Hello?" I called, carefully trying to control the tremor in my voice.

"Why are you here?"

The voice was male for sure, though it was rather disembodied, echoing through the tunnel. I sucked in a breath. "Just a prank, it's just a prank. One of the guys messing with the new girl," I muttered.

"You don't belong here, weak human. Woman."

"Oh, I get it," I replied testily. "You guys don't want me here because I'm not a guy. Right, no man-parts. Shame on me, growing boobs like I did. Being a girl, what a crime. But I'm the best archaeologist your team could find, so I guess I'm woman enough for the job."

"You are insolent, woman."

"Uh huh," I muttered. "Insolent. What I am, sir, is busy. So go back to wherever you came from. I have work to do."

He laughed, the sound bouncing chaotically around the tunnel and caves. "Come," he said, and I felt an unspeakable pull. My mind went blank and my feet began moving without my permission. "Come, insolent woman."

I walked slowly down the tunnel, turning in a direction I'd never been before. The tunnel was well-lit, bulbs floating as if by magic along a cord that followed the wall on one side of the tunnel. It occurred to me that I should stop walking, but my feet moved faster. Fear bloomed in my chest, filling my throat, strangling me, and I reached for the radio on my hip.

"Uh-uh-uh," he said. "That is not needed here."

I watched in shock as my mind fought the urge to obey, and yet my hand turned the power knob on the radio, tossing it gently to the floor of the tunnel as I walked on. Opening my mouth, I took a breath and cleared my throat. Finding that I was still capable of vocal noise, I spoke again to him. "Where am I going?" I asked.

"Come."

Grinning like a fool, I realized the irony in his command. My body was obeying his wishes now, not mine. I would walk wherever he wished, and we both knew it. I rounded the corner, and there he was, black hair shining in the meager light of the tunnel, his face stark and angular against full pouting lips. He looked into my eyes and I stepped closer, suddenly remembering the fearful tales about the man who'd filled my job before I'd been hired. He'd left the post unexpectedly, raving that the vase could not be rebuilt, that it was impossible and that 'no force could hold it back.' I'd been hired to do what he would not.

Apparently, then, I'd succeeded well enough with the rebuilding of the vase.

"I have been trapped for so long, broken like the shards of that vessel you useless humans have been digging for."

"Apparently not too useless," I retorted, smirking before I felt the cold around my throat. He never moved, only lowered his brows in anger, but the cold was there, unmistakable. Suddenly, I was choking, dangling by my throat, panicked. I clawed against the barrier around my throat, but there was nothing tangible there to remove, only the sense of cold and the very real sensation of strangulation.

"And stupid, too," he continued, drawing me closer somehow, drawing my nose flush against the tip of his. "Insolent. Stubborn. But maybe not useless. I have been locked here by the forces of ancient magick for far too long. And now I am free. But first, I find myself hungry."

He stared into my eyes again, and I was filled with love, though I still fought for air. My head clouded but my heart filled, my skin tingling, my body wishing to edge closer to his. He smiled, his eyes crinkling slightly in the corners as I smiled idiotically back at him. As he pulled my closer still, he curled the tip of his tongue around one sharpened fang, tilting his head to bury his nose in my throat. The cold grew more intense even as my body heated to what it must have known was coming. He nudged my chin with the tip of his nose, urging me to tip my head back, exposing the length of my throat.

He licked the pulse in the side of my throat and I moaned helplessly, barely aware of the sting as his fangs pierced me. Flashes of his life flickered on and off like a damaged movie in my mind, slowing and growing more steady as my blood slowed. He clutched me tightly against him, one hand pressing me closer as the other cradled my head. He moaned softly, the vibrations of the sound tickling against the pierced flesh of my throat.

I filled with ecstasy at the sound of his pleasure, moaning back, my hands finding their way helplessly into his hair as he drained me of life, pleasing me mercifully as he murdered me. And then, he was done, and as he lay me gently on the floor of the tunnel to breath my last, I saw one final image in my mind.

Somehow, the vase was now complete.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Twitter Trending. Because It's Funny.

Lately, whenever I'm on twitter, it's become my personal challenge to check the trending tweet list for a hashtag I can say something about. Yesterday I found one.

It was #iGetAnnoyedWhenPeople. And I said, "Because it's trending and funny #iGetAnnoyedWhenPeople talk to me while I'm on the phone. 'If I'm not on the phone with you, wait your turn.'"

Today I found another, which was #IfYouKnowMeYouKnowThat. And I said, "#IfYouKnowMeYouKnowThat I am a loving person but one who becomes fierce in an instant to protect my loved ones."

But then, because I was on the phone with my cousin Dana who inspires my inner insanity to come out, I thought it would be fun to go and check what other people had to say, and see how many I could find that I could relate to. And boy did I find some.

@SinglesDaNewBlk said, "#IfYouKnowMeYouKnowThat I will verbally assault you like you would never expect from a white girl."
and
@_bitchchxo said, "#IfYouKnowMeYouKnowThat it's hard to piss me off but when you finally push that last button, I seriously explode."

These both fit me perfectly because ...

As stated in my own tweet, I tend to be a very nice person to everyone. I prefer it that way. It's just nice to be nice. But then ... when I'm run over more times than I can handle and I reach the end of my tolerance for being someone's doormat ... that's when I say all those things I've been wanting to say for a long time. And I say them all at once. Viciously, and with near perfect timing. When I'm angry or in a fight, I have never needed a weapon. I've never needed to possess more physical strength than the other guy, and I've never needed any knowledge of technical fight skills (though I do have some). All I've ever needed is to open my mouth and unleash the power of words, in a way that no one would ever expect until they've had the unfortunate chance to encounter the force of my verbal rage. And I think the worst part of it is that in order to get close enough to hurt me enough to make me let it fly, you'll get to know me enough in the process to know that I don't just say vicious things in anger. It's just that I no longer care enough to protect my victim from the truth of my secret thoughts.

But like I said, I prefer to be nice.

@KaitlynWendell said, "#ifyouknowmeyouknowthat I'm that person who's still laughin 5 mins after the joke was told."

A while back, Dana and I were having one of our crazy conversations (not that there's a pattern of this of this or anything), and I don't even remember the course of the conversation. But at some point, someone made a joke about sending annoying people away to "stupid people island". That happened to be a day when I was particularly annoyed with Ryan, and since he's a really really tall guy, we were saying we'd need a huge box for him. But since Dana and I are both plus-sized women, somehow we got into talking about what size it would take to ship our big asses anywhere. And someone, probably me, said something dumb about a big giant box, and without missing a beat, Dana fired back, "Are you callin' me big, you bitch?!"

It was a joke, months ago, and it's still something that randomly pops into our conversations now, because it made us dissolve into helpless snorting laughter that day.

It has done that many times since, because I really am that person who's still laughing 5 minutes, or days, or months after the joke was told.

Leave a comment here on this post, and tell me your version of
#ifyouknowmeyouknowthat

I can't wait to see!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bi-Weekly E-zine!

I'm all over the internet these days. I blog here whenever I feel that I've got something to say, and I guest post monthly (every 26th) over at Fab, Fun & Tantalizing Reads. You can check out the first guest post here, and then keep watching for the next one, coming up in just a few more days.

I'm also still learning my way around Twitter, using it here and there. It's a little rough for me though, because I'm wordy and 160 characters (or whatever) isn't very many. But I'm learning. Slowly.

In the meantime, I'm using Facebook pretty regularly.
I'm on there at least once a day, but there's a problem.

Did you know that if you don't regularly interact with the pages you "like" on Facebook, they stop showing up in your news feeds? On the bright side, it means you don't get bombarded with posts from pages you're no longer interested in. But for me and other page admins like me, it means that we're spending our time trying to reach people who don't even remember that we're there. We're posting statuses and updates that aren't being seen, or liked, or commented on. And we aren't sure if we're having any impact at all.

What's the answer?

Well, for me, it means that I keep posting for the sake of the people who are looking. I keep using twitter when I can for the sake of the people who are interested on there. And I blog, because it gives me the freedom to say what I want to say, knowing that it's there for anyone who wants to see.

But there's another idea that's come to my attention lately.
Newsletters.

I thought for a while that I probably wouldn't do anything like that.
"Who will sign up?" I asked myself.
"Will it be too much for me to handle?"
"How often should I do it?"
"How the heck do I even begin?"

But then?
I figured it out.

So now, the first issue of my brand new bi-weekly update newsletter is ready and scheduled to go. The first issue will be delivered to subscribers on Friday May 17, and will include a few update articles for you to check out. There are also links to my favorite posts from here, follow links to facebook and twitter, and a few other things for subscribers only. I've also included an email address you can use to send in article/topic suggestions for future newsletters, and I'd love for you to use that! Send me song lyrics, quotes, questions, whatever you like. If your suggestion is chosen, I'll be sure to include your name when I write the article.

But just reading about it and thinking it's neat isn't quite enough.
If you're even mildly interested, don't forget to register/subscribe.
What've you got to lose?

It's quick and simple, just check the upper right corner of the sidebar for the subscription form and fill in those three little boxes. Click the button, confirm your subscription and you're in!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Still Catching Up.

Another thing I hadn't mentioned in all the chaos lately
is that I have had an interview
with the awesome RaeBeth over at


Go on and check it out! It was a lot of fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Catching Up

This last week, I've been basically on vacation.
Not because I wanted to be.

I didn't go to France, England, Australia, Italy or any other awesome tourist spot that would have marked me immediately as an American by my wide grin and wildly unchecked excitement.

Instead, I spent the week walking a million miles, back and forth from a waiting room to a hospital intensive care unit. On Monday morning, exactly seven days ago, my grandmother called me. My family isn't one of those wildly close, talking-every-few-minutes kinds of families. We probably take each other for granted most of the time, not feeling the need to call or talk often because we just each know that the others are there. My cousin and I talk all day, almost every day, and we have very few secrets from each other, but the closeness sort of stops there.

All that, just to say that my grandmother and I don't talk often, though I love her to pieces and admire her greatly. For such a short, tiny little woman, she's amazingly strong and there isn't one person in the younger generation of my family who can imagine a time in the future where she might not be around. It's hard to watch her approach her 80's, and maybe that's why we don't talk often. We're both realists and neither of us much like the idea that she's getting older.
I call her occasionally, though rarely.

She only calls me with bad news. I hear the phone ring and I look; her face is there on the screen and I immediately fill up with thick and heavy dread. My chest tightens, my breath quickens.

She always calls with bad news about my mom, who has been in ill health for most of my life.
Sometimes it's just, "Have you talked to your mom? I can't get her on the phone," because my mom and my grandmother are like a future version of Dana (my cousin) and I. They talk all day, almost every day. Other times, most usually within the last few years, it's more like, "Your mom's sick again and in the hospital." They live close together -- about fifteen minutes apart from each other whereas I'm maybe an hour away -- so when my mom is sick, it's generally her mother, my grandmother, that she calls first.

(last) Monday morning.
The phone rings.
And there's my grandmother's face.

"Hello?" I answer.
There's a pause, a horrible, terrifying pause.
"Brandi?" she asks, and my heart drops to the floor.
She sounds old, her voice is shaky, and I think she sounds ... tearful.
Panic fills me as I try to remember a tearful vision of my grandmother and I can't.
There simply isn't such a memory inside me.
Or, well, there wasn't, until this past week.

I don't remember seeing her cry when her mother died, though I'm sure she did, privately. I don't remember seeing her cry when her husband died after many years of illness, though I'm sure she did, privately. I don't remember seeing her cry. Ever. She's strong, she's untouchable. She's immortal.

She's tearful.
And I'm terrified.

The conversation goes on, and to protect my family's privacy I won't tell you everything, but I can tell you this was maybe the longest week of my life. This coming week will likely be just as long; we're still all running back and forth to the hospital to visit with my mom, but it seems that the worst is over ... for now. And with my mom's health, "for now" is all any of us are really asking for.

I haven't written much of anything. The other day I sat down and opened Selkie, trying to work through a new scene with Annie and Brenna, but I read it about three times and nothing made sense. I sighed, closed it out, and moved on with my day. Fighting For Freedom is still in my mind in a big way too, and now Harmony Kingsley is beginning to push herself to the forefront of my thoughts. She's trying to cheer me, distract me.

It isn't working.

But things are looking up and I am back to writing this week.
And that's got to count for something.
Doesn't it?

*sigh*

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother, A Picprompt

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 imagerymajestic
freedigitalphotos.net

Mother
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****
We all have one.
Some of us love her beyond measure.
Some of us despise her, resent her.

But she's always there.
She's inside our hearts, because we are inside hers.

Formed within the womb of the mother, we are birthed into the world, guided in our journeys, shaped and sculpted by her influence. Sometimes, we look back and remember good things we didn't see before, and other times we look back, desperately seeking something good that simply wasn't there.

There are those of us who grow up without knowing what it's like to have a mother's guidance. There are those of us who grew up without having someone pet their hair back from their fevered foreheads, those of us who don't remember the gentle touch of a mother's hand.

Of those, many are now mothers themselves, now facing the choice of what they will become as mothers to their own children. Will they be gentle, loving guides who take their children by the hand and show them the safety of a mother's protection? Or are they ruled by the influence of the past, unable to rise and become:

THE MOTHER.

She swells slowly,
quietly creating life
over days, months.

Her belly grows,
and with the gentle beat of a new heart
her life changes forever.

Her own heart becomes
something that it wasn't before: full,
basking in the life and the promise of the unborn.

Birth comes upon her,
 the life within her womb stretching,
reaching out for the adventure of life in the world.

And she holds her baby
her pink, soft offspring curled perfectly
held for a time within the safe confines of her arms.

But the birth of the child,
brings the birth of another creature:
The mother.

She becomes something entirely new
someone all-important, someone she never knew she could be awakens inside her heart.
She becomes necessary, everything that matters to a helpless soul swaddled in diapers.

She watches, listens,
teaches, guides,
firmly, gently persistent.

She is nurse, counsel,
taxi, chef,
doctor, healer, love.

Each new year on the face of the child
brings indescribable wisdom to the mother
and she grows with her child, learning, changing.

She becomes the willing sacrifice,
she goes without her deepest desires, she contentedly takes last place.
And it is in love that she is able to give so much of herself.

Someday she will face
quiet mornings, no more bedtimes
no more diapers, children gone.

And yet they will call, they will return, to need her, to love her, and they will continue to learn
because wherever they may be, whoever they might become,
she is, and will remain:

THE MOTHER.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Close To Home

Today I want to get a little personal.

I have my public profile on facebook, my author profile that I use to reach out to my fans. It's the way I communicate most often (and in the most timely manner) with the people who read my books and reach out to me for one reason or another. It's the way I keep people updated on what's coming next, my writing progress on current projects, and I hope to someday post photos from signings and other events like that.

But I keep a personal profile too. I generally ignore friend requests on it unless I actually know the person, because that personal facebook page is like a daily newsletter into who I am. I post songs that I've listened to that touch me in whatever place my life has taken me. I post bible verses or quotes that inspire me. I post my personal thoughts, movies I'm watching, news about my daughters and my family.

But it serves a second purpose, too, that personal profile. It's my personal newspaper. I follow my local news channel, my local police department, and several blogs that I've been reading for years and years. One of them is the "It's Almost Naptime" blog, which is the facebook page for the popular blog of the same name. The blog is written by a funny Christian mom just trying to do her best every day, something that I as a Christian mom can relate to.

But then she touched my writing. I woke up this morning and was browsing around when I saw that Missy (the aforementioned fabulous mom-blogger) had posted a link to an article about the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch. She said, "I don't let my kids wear Abercrombie & Fitch. Why? Because they pretty much defy all I stand for."

It made me curious because I have read this woman's blog literally from the beginning. Not since the beginning of the blog, but because when I first found it years ago, I literally went back through the archives and read them all, slowly falling in love with the honesty of this mom and her efforts to show both her successes and her miserable mom-fails to the world. She became a sort of role model, and her family's journey through Ethiopian adoption has been incredibly inspiring, wildly touching, and amazingly, astonishingly beautiful.

Not to mention, the newly adopted addition to the family is. Just. Absolutely. Charming.

But what does that have to do with me or my writing? 

I read the article, in which the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch is quoted in several arrogant and obnoxious instances, describing how the overweight population of the world is not good enough, or "hot" enough, or "cool" enough to wear the Abercrombie & Fitch brand. Wow.

As a teenager, I was overweight. Due to health issues and some other personal issues with my mother, I led a slow life and spent a lot of time at home. Tack on hormonal changes and personal life issues and you've got an overweight, self-conscious teenaged girl who doesn't need help not feeling good enough for anything. Two kids later, the confidence is better but the body issues are permanent. Things just don't look the way they did before.

Now I have two daughters, two little girls growing up in a world that will
pressure them mercilessly to be thinner, smarter, prettier. Skankier. Sluttier.

The older they grow, and the more exposed they are to the world outside of our home and the safe confines of our extended family, the more battered they will be.

This is Josephine.
My oldest daughter is nine years old and thin as a rail. She was born at exactly 20 inches long and weighed exactly 8 pounds. She's average height for a girl her age, but she's thin. She's so thin her bones'll poke you if you aren't careful, and her weight is monitored closely in her pediatrician's office. She's really really thin. Really thin. 

Abercrombie would approve, though my oldest daughter eats like a horse. She has a cousin only a few short months younger than she is, and he's an athletic boy with a stocky build and a healthy energy. He's rough and tough and never leaves the house without his Superman complex; he's charming and funny and sweet. But my daughter can sit down to dinner with him and out eat him any day, all day long. She's that classic example of a wild and fast metabolism ... We're convinced that she could live on cake and still be thin.

Which she wouldn't mind, but since diabetes runs in our family she lives on meat and veggies and noodles like everyone else.

In the meantime, I have a second daughter.
Eden is a chubby little whirlwind that'll be four in less than two weeks. She was born larger, taken early by c-section and still weighing in just short of ten pounds. For those of you who don't have children, you should know that those two pounds? They make a difference.

My youngest daughter was covered in those classic fat little baby rolls; she was like the little segments of an earthworm all smashed together, or maybe one of those little marshmallow figures you can make with toothpicks ... if you use way too many marshmallows. She's outgrown a lot of that "baby fat," but my youngest daughter will likely never know what it's like to be truly thin.

She's got a little round belly, and she got her mama's ghetto booty. She's got chubby little fingers and she's easier to snuggle with because her bones don't stick out. I'm sure Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO would be outright disgusted. Aren't you? I mean really, those chubby cheeks? Someday she'll be a woman with hips and breasts and curves and everything. Isn't that revolting?

I don't think it is. I think she's beautiful. They both are. I mean, those eyes? Come on, people.

But they are already being told they aren't good enough unless they live up to a standard decided by the bullies of today's corporate world. My daughter Josephine is already being told that she's okay as long as she does whatever is necessary to stay "thin" enough, even if that means excluding, rejecting, or outright bullying her own chubby little sister. She's being told that if she has to starve herself, she should. If she needs to puke herself half to death, she should. And if she ruins her health forever? Who cares, because in remaining "thin enough," she can be "cool enough" to wear an overpriced shirt that doesn't look any better and isn't made any better than a reject shirt in a thrift shop.

I don't think so.

At the same time, my daughter Eden is already being told by the photos in magazines and advertisements that she's not cool enough. She's not pretty enough. She's not good enough. Why? Because she's not thin enough.

Right from the beginning. It means that she never had a chance. It doesn't matter that she's sweet, that she's hilarious, that she's charming. It doesn't matter that she's busy and energetic, talkative and bright. Because she's not thin enough.

This is part of the message behind Fat Chance, part of the message behind Cass Keaton and her story, a story about an emotionally battered woman driven to the brink of suicide by a society who cares more about the number on the tag in her jeans than the character that oozes from her heart. It's about her inner strength and her ability to carry on; it's about her willingness to accept herself, no matter what pigs like Mike Jeffries would say.

Fat Chance is about taking a stand against the commonly accepted viewpoint that "fat" means "ugly," "unhealthy," lazy," "smelly," "uncool," or "subpar." Because every now and then? "Thin" gets into someone's brain like cancer, and it eats at them until there is nothing left inside them but a "small(minded)," "shallow(personality)," "ugly," "arrogant," "selfish," "high-handed" "loser."

It's disgusting, really. People like Mike Jeffries and his anti-fat campaign are why we need organizations like the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center, the WWE Be A Star program, and others that help fight the permanent emotional damage inflicted by shallow appearance-based exclusivity. He and others like him are why there are books out there like Fat Chance, he's why we need this message trickling through the inner workings of our hearts. Because I've said before and I'll say it again:

Fat or thin, short or tall, large or small, rich or poor,
we're all just people. And no one person has the right to tell the rest
how to look
what to wear
what to weigh
what to eat
or how to exist.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: 'Comfort Food' by Kitty Thomas

It's funny sometimes, what you find yourself reading. I wouldn't normally have picked this book up at all because it's WAY outside my general reading genres. I'm not into hardcore erotica, and I'm definitely not a BDSM fan.

Ask anyone who knows me; I'm sure they'd all testify to how much of a prude I am, what a private person I am, and how much the romance in sex is important to me. I just can't get into all that kinky stuff.

But you know, even though that's such a main focus in this book that the author has actually included a disclaimer, I didn't notice it too terribly much after the first few instances.

What I did notice instead, and in a huge way, was how well-written the work was. I loved how Ms. Thomas developed her characters, I loved how she gave depth to both the heroine (submissive) and the hero/villain, and I really really loved the courage that it must have taken to explore such a hot topic in this way.

The book introduces us to our heroine, who has been kidnapped and is being slowly conditioned in the ways of Stockholm Syndrome. She falls victim to the conditioning in spite of her own psychological training and her absolute awareness of what is happening to her. The psychological exploration makes the entire book for me, and I really loved how real the narrative felt in this story. I will likely read it again one day as well, as I found the honesty to be intriguing and rather fascinating despite the taboos.

In the end, you have to feel for the heroine. You can't help it, and you're sorry for what she's been through while admiring her inner personal honesty. She knows what she wants, and she goes for it, consequences be damned. But the thing that will surprise you most is that you might even find yourself feeling for the hero/villain, too, once you have a chance to look inside his mind and his heart.

He may be doing something terribly wrong, and poor Emily might be terribly terribly broken
but they have their own reasons for the choices that they make throughout the book.

I LOVED IT.

Wanna love it too? Check it out here, available on Amazon.
You can also learn a little more about Ms. Kitty Thomas (the author) by checking out her:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What Might Have Been, A PicPrompt

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.


© Dan Tataru  Dreamstime.com

What Might Have Been
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****
We all have those moments, the ones where we sit back and think about where our life is, the ones where we get lost in what we once desired more than anything.

We all have lost moments, lost people, 
haunting memories of lost opportunity.


We are all haunted, at times, by "what might have been."

*****

I thought it would pass away,
that it would be swept away like the silt
from the depths of the river.

I thought it would pass away,
that it would fade like the heat
of a raging fever.

I thought it would pass away,
that it would burn out someday like the fires
of love's passion.

I thought it would pass away,
that it would die quietly like the bodies
of the aged.

I thought the dream would leave me,
that the house I never walked through
would cease to haunt me.

I thought the dream would leave me,
that the ring I never wore
would fade away from my heart's memory.

I thought the dream would never leave me,
Paris and the lover's bridge
the windsor knot and your arms forever.

I thought the dream would never leave me,
the words you spoke, the way you understood,
and the romance of mutual need.

And now, you echo as if you'd never gone,
your face unfading, your kiss still tingling,
even as your words become only precious memories.

You chime like a bell that cannot be un-rung
a song that cannot be un-sung.
a sweetness that cannot be untasted.

And all of that love, all of that effort,
all that it meant, so much potential
nothing but wasted.

A lifetime of "possible"
lost in the sad and broken loneliness of
"what might have been."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cover Reveal For Lauren Dawes' "Dark Deceit"

Dark Deceit.

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.

Dark Deceit Excerpt/Teaser: 
          Stepping past one of the only humans she actually liked, Bryn opened up her office door and stopped dead when all the air came rushing out of her lungs.
          Korvain was sitting on the edge of her desk, his black eyes glittering in the overhead lights. Although he was sitting down, she could tell he was taller than her by more than just a few inches. His skull-trimmed hair was black, matching his eyes and the dark slashes of his eyebrows.
          He was bigger than any other male she had ever seen. His arms were as big as her thighs, crossed tightly across a stomach so well defined the muscles of his abdominals threw their own shadows from under the material of his shirt.
          Her eyes took in the breadth of his shoulders, the size of his chest. Bryn swayed suddenly, her hand shooting out to catch the door jamb to keep her balance. Gods, the scent of the male was intoxicating. She had a sudden vision of having his body on hers, pressing into her. She gasped to hide the groan that wanted to push its way free from her throat.
          She watched as his eyes seemed to grow darker, his luscious mouth parting in the most seductive way. Bryn shook her head and cleared her throat.
          ‘Korvain?’
          After a long, hot, lingering look, he nodded.
          Her eyes slid shut as another flash of them touching intimately assaulted her. Letting out a breath, she pinned him with a look that usually sent most men into hiding. ‘Mind getting your ass off my desk?’ she snapped, stalking past him to sit in her huge leather chair.


With the release date set for July 1st, be sure to enter the giveaway below to get yourself in the running for some awesome Dark Deceit swag!

Check this out: a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Lauren:
Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Trilogy. 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.

Wanna Stalk Her?

In other news, today is Lauren's birthday!!
Make sure you show her some love today!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thanks For Reviewing!

For the past few months, I've had a little giveaway going on. Releasing my books and realizing my dream has meant so very much to me, and I've been so strongly impacted by the things people have said to me in their reviews of books.

In honor of those people, and to thank you all for your reviews, I'm giving away SIGNED copies of both Fat Chance and Prescription For Love to TWO winners!!! Two winners will each be receiving signed copies of both books within the next few weeks!
And the winners are ...
REAL CHARACTERS. HONEST LOVE. BRANDI KENNEDY BOOKS.