To celebrate that MY book is FINALLY being released (on May 7, ICYMI!!! SQUEE!!!), I’m launching my second FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY. Head on over to my Facebook page for more info, and to enter to win a print copy of Demon Lore (A Demon Huntress Novel) by Karilyn Bentley.

This giveaway closes at 8:59 PM PDT on MONDAY APRIL 2, but if you missed it, never fear — I have FOUR MORE giveaways planned:

  • 4/10-4/11: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell (Historical Romance – AUTOGRAPHED COPY)
  • 4/19-4/20: Dogged by J.L. Wilson (Romantic Mystery-Suspense – shrink-wrapped print copy)
  • 4/28-4/29: Life After Death by Sharon Saracino (Paranormal Romance – shrink-wrapped print copy)
  • 5/5-5/7: Debriefing the Dead by ME (SQUEE!!!) (Paranormal Adventure/Romance – TWO WINNERS – one AUTOGRAPHED print copy & one digital copy from the e-tailer of your choice!)

I hope this Easter/Passover/What-have-you season finds you well! Thanks for being here to celebrate with me!



DEBRIEFING THE DEAD will release on…

…May 7, 2018!

Yes — you read that right. MAY. SEVENTH. Remember when I thought I had LOTS of time to prepare for this exciting day?? Yeah, it’s in… (*checks countdown on own website*) …THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS. Squee!! I’m already up for pre-order on Amazon – squee again!!!

To celebrate, I’ll be hosting weekly giveaways on my Facebook page, so be sure to head on over and “Like” the page/follow me, so you don’t miss the fun. Also be sure to sign up for the VOML (Very Occasional Mailing List) — just by being an “existing” subscriber, you’ll automatically get TWO entries into each giveaway contest!

I have to get back to reading the final-Final-FINAL draft, one LAST time (eek!!) to make sure it’s perfect. But to tide you over until it’s out, would you like to read the excerpt?? I can do that!

Here it is.  🙂

To Anachronise Or Not, That Is The Question

So I’ve been writing my butt off (or rather, ON, given all the sitting I’ve been doing), getting up at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, just to have some quiet, focused time to myself. It’s amazing what I can do, when all the active extroverts I live with are still asleep.

But I digress. The point is, I am determined to finish ALOS, and I basically have (go me!). I really just have the post-climactic scene and the final wrap up chapter, and I’m DONE. Probably tomorrow, as we’re going to the coast today.

But one thing that’s been slowing me down is the need for historical accuracy, or better – authenticity. In particular, I hate reading a book where the language is too modern. But sometimes, it’s difficult to track down a word, and know if it was commonly used during the era I’m writing about.

Luckily, there are some great resources out there, especially the Online Etymology Dictionary, which is always my first go-to when I have any questions. But they aren’t as good for phrases, and even some words. Or they’ll give a word’s history, but it isn’t clear that it was commonly used at the time.

Even more luckily (for me, at least) my story is set in Oregon at the turn of the 20th century. And UofO has an AWESOME resource, of basically EVERY NEWSPAPER EVER PUBLISHED IN OREGON, from 1846 on. ALL DIGITIZED AND SEARCHABLE.


Apart from the general rabbit holes I can go down, reading about all the insane “cures” they used to recommend for various “female conditions,” I can type in a word phrase, choose my date range, and le voilà! If it was in common usage at the time, odds are good it will show up in one of the papers. If not, there’s my answer, and I’d better think of something else.

Neither resource is foolproof, and sometimes, what was common back then can’t be used today (for example, terms for non-whites of the time, which are clearly derogatory and unacceptable now). But less clear cut are the word choices, or sentence structures, that may have been the norm for the times, but which now only sound confusing. Or words that have changed meanings. Or concepts that didn’t exist in fully fledged form, but which require inclusion in the story for whatever reason.

So the sum of all this musing is that accuracy and authenticity are important. But sometimes, a single anachronistic word can save a paragraph of explanation.

What do you think? Do anachronisms make you blow a gasket? Or are they okay, if not overdone?

Wild Genius

As a busy author/teacher/mother/wife/trying-to-be-an-individual-also, I haven’t had much time to read of late. But I love listening to audiobooks, and I love the classics, and I especially love the classics when they’re written by women. #shepersisted

So having read Jane Eyre (by Charlotte) a long time ago, I got curious about the “other” Brontës, and decided to try Wuthering Heights by Emily, followed by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne.

I had tried to read WH once before, but didn’t get into it for some reason. Listening to the audiobook, however, was much better. Still, of the three, I have to say TOWH was the one that truly resonated with me, and struck me as ahead of its time in terms of feminism, yada-yada. It was just such an unusual book, and it made me curious about its author.

Which led me down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, and then down the library rabbit hole, and then I checked out this book (affiliate link):

Dude. It’s 1000 pages long, NOT counting indices, pix, bibliography, etc. I’m not even exaggerating. But OMG it’s fascinating!

Fortunately, it’s also available in e-book. My hands are very grateful, as the library version is of course a hardback, that I’ve been referring to as The Tome. I literally had trouble holding it up while trying to read last night.

But still. A thousand pages. Even on my Kindle, that’s a lot to wade through.

It will be worth it, though. What a fascinating bunch of women! It’s hard to imagine what they went through, purely for the sake of creating, and being taken seriously in a “man’s” world — to the point of using pseudonyms, just to get published.

On the other hand… Despite the #metoo movement, and all that’s been going on, no women directors were nominated for a Golden Globe this year.

In 2018.

Two hundred years post-Brontës.

WTH, world?


Who are the women who have inspired/are inspiring you? What makes you persist in the face of seemingly unsurmountable obstacles? Please share — I’d love to know!

Because Romance. And Besties.

Yep. Those are exactly what you think they are. Although DEAD is more of a “paranormal adventure,” I do also write romantic mystery/suspense. And when you write any kind of romance, people give you “interesting” cookie cutters. And by people, I mean my BFF, who I’ve known since we were 7&8, respectively, and who gave me the cookie cutters not because I write romances, but because, well, DUH.

They came with a pin that has Bobby from Supernatural on it, saying “Balls!” (Of course they did.) I don’t have the pin handy at the moment, so enjoy this pic instead:

Hope you all have a peaceful finish to the year. See you in 2018!

I have a book cover!

It’s officially-official — approved this morning and complete with back cover copy (click to open larger view):


The only thing Hyacinth wants is her life back. Literally. She and her sister were murdered by Demons, leaving her young nephew, Geordi, to his father’s family in the brutal Sicilian Mob. Then Archangel Michael offers her a deal: recapture a powerful rock the Demons stole, and she can live long enough to find Geordi a safe home. Refuse, and she’ll continue up (or down) to the Afterlife. So, slightly more alive than dead, she heads for Turkey and the Demons, taking Geordi, her mysterious neighbor Jason, and a sexy dead guy only she can see with her. But the hardest part won’t be battling Demons, meeting Satan, or dodging Middle Eastern customs—it will be later, when Geordi is settled, and Michael rips her away again. How can she abandon her nephew? Or can she outwit the angel of death himself, and stay with Geordi forever?

What do you think? Personally, I LOVE IT. But I may be slightly biased.  ;?)

Happy Holy-days!

No, this isn’t our house. But it’s the house I would aspire to if I had endless time for things like decorating. Hey — I feel good that I got everything dusted. Once. Two and a half weeks ago:


But today is the last day of school before break, so I finally feel like I might have time for something beyond school/work, and exercising. Like more decorating (what can I say — I have “eclectic” tastes):


Or family traditions, like the Tuba Christmas:


And even some writing — or rather, getting organized for book promo (90%) and maybe writing new words (10%). In that vein, I have updates:

I have a book cover!!! Squee!!!!

(Not quite official yet, but on it’s way to being approved — I’ll share it as soon as I possibly can. OBVIOUSLY.  ;?) )

Also, I have a tagline. This may not seem important to 99% of you, but in da Book World, is very Important:

Hyacinth Finch has one foot in the grave,
the other kicking ass.

What do you think? Does this make you want to read the book?  :?)

Whether it does or not, I hope your Holy days (whatever they comprise) are peaceful, rejuvenating, and, well, holy. If I don’t “see” you here before then, have a beautiful New Year!


Accidental Pie

So this happened:


Yes, I made four pies for Thanksgiving. FOUR.

I can already hear you saying, “Well, Kerry, that seems reasonable. When you have fifteen or twenty people for dinner, you need four pies.”

Maybe. But we only ever have five people. Yes, FIVE. That’s 0.8 pies PER PERSON (#mathteacher  ;)).

And the even more ironic part is that I only intended to make three pies. The fourth was an accident.


“Um, Kerry — how, exactly, does one accidentally make a pie? Did you drink ALL that mulled wine I see in those crockpots in the photo, all by yourself?”

No. But I do use a FABULOUS website to store/access all my recipes (*), and when I planned to make a single pumpkin pie, to round out the Apple and Marionberry pies, I forgot to change the quantity on the digital recipe. I bought the small can of pumpkin, but when I started making the filling, I blithely added four eggs, a whole teaspoon of cinnamon, etc., until I got to the pumpkin and realized it said I needed 3 cups instead of 1.5.

Oops. But I couldn’t throw out the filling and start over. I’m frugal — what can I say? Besides, I also happened to already have an extra pie crust dough ball in the fridge.


“Of course you did, Kerry. Who doesn’t keep extra pie crusts lying around in their fridge, for no apparent reason? Sheesh.”

Well, that one I can explain reasonably. I think. See, whenever I make pies, I like to make enough crust to have some extra, in case one tears, or I don’t have enough for the edge fluting, or whatever. So since I was making two double-crust pies and one (or so I thought) single-crust pie, I decided to make three double recipes of dough (enough for six crusts), to have plenty extra. But as it happened, the first five crusts needed no additional dough, so I had one entire dough ball left.


DH and DD wanted a little excursion anyway, so I sent them out to buy another can of pumpkin, and voilá — accidental pie was born.

And in case you’re wondering, we do all the other fixings, too, even though we’re a small group: turkey, cornbread stuffing, garlic smashed potatoes, pistachio-buttered green beans, lime jell-o with fruit cocktail, cranberry-pear chutney, jellied cranberries in the can (for ma mère), cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, and gravy. All of it gluten-free, homemade (except the canned berries), and delicious.

We’ll be eating leftovers for a week. Starting with stuffing-topped turkey pot pie, followed by biscuit-topped turkey pot pie. I love turkey pot pie, in case you’re wondering!

Oh yeah — we also have a spare turkey in the freezer downstairs, because yanno, if you spend enough at WinCo, they give you a turkey. And even though we already had one, I thought, why not? I can always find something to do with an extra turkey. (Har, har.)

How was your Thanksgiving? Peaceful and pleasant, I hope!

(* I love! Super easy meal planner, list maker, recipe clipper/storer/accesser. And this weekend is their annual half-price sale, so if you’re looking for something new to try, hop on over. And no, I get NOTHING extra if you do — I just really-really love them!  :))

Greek Polenta Lasagna

Wow – it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Funny thing about teaching full-time, going to grad school part-time, and being a wife, mother, writer, etc.: Time for blogging seems to drop to the bottom of the list, fast.

But some of you may remember that in a past life, I had a food blog. I have an abiding interest in eating well, being healthy, growing a low-maintenance/environmentally-friendly garden, and eating well. (Yes, it’s so important, I said it twice.)

So when my publisher (SQUEE!!! The thrill never wears off… ;)), The Wild Rose Press, announced they’re accepting entries for their annual holiday cookbook, The Garden Gourmet, it got me thinking. This year, they’re asking for “hacks,” rather than recipes. But it just so happens I have a hack that IS a recipe. (Of course I do. I’m the queen of multitasking/multi-purposing/and multi-genre-ing.  :))

Anyway, I thought I’d go ahead and post the full recipe here. If you like to cook, to try new things, maybe are gluten-free (or know someone who is), and/or just want to make some healthier substitutions in your life, this is a very easy, very awesome, crowd-pleasing recipe. Enjoy!

Serves 8-10

18 ounce Pre-made Polenta   the kind in the tube, or make your own!
16 ounce Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese   divided
1 Egg
10 ounce Frozen Chopped Spinach   thawed and squeezed to remove excess water
12 ounce Roasted Red Peppers in Water   drained and diced
34 cup Kalamata Olives   pitted, chopped & divided
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
12 teaspoon Salt
14 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
25 ounce Marinara Sauce   basically, a jar of your favorite red pasta sauce
8 ounce Mozarella Cheese   shredded (about 2 cups)


Cut the polenta crosswise into discs approximately 1/2″ thick. Or, if you made your own in a loaf pan, cut lengthwise into 8 slices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the ricotta, 3/4 cup feta, egg, spinach, roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup olives, oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Have an 8×12-inch pan ready. For easy assembly, have all components (polenta, ricotta mixture, sauce and mozzarella) arranged side-by-side on the kitchen counter or table.

Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay discs/slices of polenta in a single layer over the sauce. Add half the ricotta in dollops, then spread gently to distribute evenly. Add half of the remaining sauce, then half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers — add the remaining polenta, then the ricotta, then the sauce, then the cheese. Top evenly with 1/4 cup crumbled feta and 1/4 cup kalamata olives.

Bake until hot throughout and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown in spots, 40-50 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.


I had one official goal this summer (finish ALOS) and one unofficial goal (publish DEAD). Obviously, I’m good on the second one, but crazy as it sounds, since I was about 75% of the way done back in June, it looks like I will NOT be able to finish ALOS “this summer.”

Apart from the intrusion of grad school into my life, aided and abetted by a super fun but time-sucking Spanish class, and the two equally fun but time-consuming trips we took, I did a ton of revising on that first 75% before adding any new words. I’d say I’m around 85% done now, but school officially starts tomorrow, and within that context, I’m essentially starting a new position in a new hall, on a new team.

All GOOD things, but (as happens every year at this time….) I’m feeling very unprepared for the reality of students in my room in roughly 46 hours. About 100 new names, personalities, learning styles, needs, etc., to learn and manage. New curriculum, new room, new furniture/configuration, 100+ degree weather, second year in a row with central AC in our building that isn’t actually working, yada-yada, blah-blah-blah.

So what am I doing? Blogging about the crazy-busy-ness of my life, instead of doing something…not “more productive”…that’s the wrong term, since actually, writing about all this helps me feel calmer about it. And feeling calmer means I can do something, instead of being paralyzed with overwhelmed-ness.

That and the fact that the DD, while also being Very Busy, has learned how to make almond milk fruit smoothies. They are AMAZING, and very restorative. This is a terrible pic, because I’m feeling too lazy to get up and find a better background, but here it is nonetheless:


Okay, now that I’m feeling better, I really will go do something. Probably not finish ALOS, but maybe I’ll get at least a little more done on it after I finish a few more pressing items on my list. Like this smoothie….  😉

How about you? Is September a time for new beginnings and new-old goals? Or is it just another day in the life?