Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fan-Filled Mad Libs #2

Getting Ready For The Date
A Fan-Filled Mad Lib

The following love letter is the result of a wild crazy giveaway game played by the fans who are participating in the Kingsley Keeper PartyHere are the results of our most recent Mad Lib.

*****

"Goodness gracious!" she whispered. She couldn't believe she was sprinting on a date with Blaze. She'd been wanting to date him for twenty-two millenniums, and finally, he'd asked her to run. They were going to the Le Grand Vefour restaurant that had just opened up in Sydney, and she couldn't wait! Finished bewitching her hair, she put some makeup on her nose, and that was it; she was ready to go.

Hearing a sound at the door, she fried to the laundry room and took one last look at her appearance in the mirror before opening the door. There he stood, a smile on his toes and a cactus in his hands. He was just as beautiful and loud as ever and her arm swelled up with ecstasy. Winking, she took his knee and they were off.

*****

The winning word choosers for this mad lib are:
  • Alexandrea Ward (goodness gracious)
  • Dana Fetters (sprinting)
  • Jessica Ryba (Blaze)
  • Aileen Aroma (22)
  • Dana Fetters (millenniums)
  • Kathy Power (run)
  • Jenny Lynn Weyer (Le Grand Vefour)
  • Lauren Bearzatto (Sydney)
  • Lauren Bearzatto (bewitching)
  • Amanda Hervey (nose)
  • Jeanette Jeno (fried)
  • Dawn Froggy Saenz (laundry room)
  • Heidi Brubach Clusta (toes)
  • Jessica Ryba (cactus)
  • Raquel Perez (hands)
  • Mari Austin (beautiful)
  • Crissy Mackey (loud)
  • May Hay (arm)
  • Ikelia Francis (ecstasy)
  • Ginnie Hutto (knee)
  • Jeanette Jeno (winking)


Thanks to random.org, we also have our final Mad Lib winner, who will receive a Fat Chance bumper sticker! And that winner is .... Crissy Mackey!!! Congratulations, Crissy, and thanks to all of you for playing!

Stop(s) Number Four

Oh my goodness, y'all, today is a DOUBLE day of tour stops!!
Today, I have achieved something magical.
I am in two places AT ONCE!

Well, not really.

Just kinda.

See?
I'm over at
which gives a link to the Kingsley Party page on facebook, a great 4-out-of-5-stars review, and one of my favorite Fat Chance excerpts ever. This one gives you a glimpse at Cass's sass, which I loved seeing come out in her, self-conscious as she was. There's also a list of my top ten favorite things and a tour schedule, in case you haven't seen this one.
~*~and~*~
which gives you character profiles on Cass and Drew, a guest post from me about what it was like to write and "interact" with the cast of Fat Chance, and a five-star review of the book!

I woke up this morning, and like every other morning since the tour started, my first thought was "I wonder if the tour posts are up for me to see yet." I told myself that they probably wouldn't be, but I went ahead and pulled up the blogs anyway so that I could refresh them obsessively throughout the morning until the posts were up and I could squeal with glee. And fear. You know, because of the reviews. The scary reviews.

Ryan sat up beside me in our bed and he said, "What are you doing?"
And I said, "I'm getting ready for either a REALLY good, or a REALLY bad day."

He didn't really answer, waiting patiently (or perhaps fearfully) to see which way our Easter morning would begin. When I said, "aww" he kept waiting. When I said, "aww" again, he asked me what was up. When I started crying, he pulled over and asked again. And I said, "It's good. They're good."

There's nothing more fulfilling as a writer than to be told that you've gotten the message across in a way that impacts the readers. There's no feeling in the world like being told that your characters came alive for someone reading the book, that they became real for a little while.

And happy tears? Well, in my house, that's a good start to any day.

Thanks for reading.  

The Lily, 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.


Image courtesy of Susie B  Freedigitalphotos.net
The Lily
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy
*****
My youngest daughter has been a beautiful little terror all her life. I was so sick during my pregnancy that I thought she was killing me, and by the end I was starting to wish she'd just get it over with. We both struggled to find our health once she was born, and it took her a good three years to find a consistent sleep pattern. Fitting the new routines of a larger family into her personal needs was challenging, and watching out for health issues was nothing short of terrifying for me as her mother. And still, there has been no joy like her, watching her grow alongside her sister, watching her find herself as she leaves babyhood behind and welcomes the beginning of who she will someday be.
That's why we call her Lily.

*****
A lily is a precious thing
somehow sturdy
and yet fragile.

When closed, it lacks
the beauty and grace
that will overtake it as it opens.

Petals spread and widen,
revealing a mystery of color
the shape of wonder
individual to each bloom.

A perfume arises,
pollen rains down
and the lily mesmerizes
with it's fragile beauty.

All too soon,
the petals fall away,
the flower has lived,
it has served it's purpose.
And all too soon, it is
but a memory.
*****

We had a lot of moments where we thought we'd lose Eden, moments where she suddenly became ill, moments where a known illness was found to be worse than we'd thought. At just under four years old, she already has an impressive hospital record.

A combination of that record and my knowledge that she is my last child reminds me to appreciate every second with my children, to love watching them grow, to accept that they are here today but gone tomorrow, to love them all the more for their mortality because life is short.
Because someday, like flowers,
they'll be gone.


*****
*in memory of Katelyn Norman*
may her legacy live on to inspire us all
to better appreciation of life
and may the prayers of mothers everywhere
be with her family.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stop Number Three

Wow, stop number three on the Fat Chance book tour! Have you been following along? We still have over a week of stops to go on the tour and  I can't wait to see it all unfold!

The newest stop on the tour has the usual author spotlight/bio, but also features a review of the book.
You can find it over at Living In Your Own World, so go on and have a look. I promise it's worth your click ... I cried.

Curious now? Okay, go read it.
I'll wait here.

Back now?
What did you think?
I'd love to hear in the comments!

In the meantime, I'd really like to tell you what *I* think.
Because I've been thinking.

So far, I'm honestly still a little dazed. I like to think that things like this will never grow old to me, that I'll never truly get used to it. That I won't ever be jaded. And I intend to try as much as possible to sink into every new experience, to feel every bit of it and not let any of this dream-coming-true go to waste.

I've wanted to write since I was a child, growing up in a little house or apartment (we moved a bit) in a small town in Central Florida. The dream followed me into every drugstore (you know the paperback racks?), every bookstore, every library. Every computer I owned was a storage center for stories and poems, and when I didn't have one, I'd write the old way with paper and pen. (Well, if that doesn't sound aged ... "the old way!")

But you know that dream, that childhood dream. Every child has one, they each have some desire in their hearts and we encourage them even though we doubt they'll ever make it. We say, "Oh, sure honey, you're going to be the best rock star ever," or we smile down at little bouncing curls and we say, "That's right Sally, you will be President someday." But really, we don't mean it. We just think children are innocent, and no one wants to crush the innocence of a child (well, most of us don't, anyway). We can't bring ourselves to tell them that most of the time, a dream is just that, a dream, and that there isn't much chance of bringing a dream to life.

Then again ...

Every now and then, that happens. Every now and then, a little boy or girl who wants to be famous grows up to be famous. Every now and then, a child who wanted to be an astronaut really grows up and becomes an astronaut. Or a soldier/marine/airman/etc.

Sometimes, dreams can come true.

But what about a child who wants to be successful in the art field? A child who wants to be a sculptor, or a painter, a singer, or am actor?

Or a writer?

Those children have an entirely new destiny. They aren't just striving to make it in a field that requires adequate knowledge and expertise. They need something more. They need creativity, they need spunk, they need really thick skin. Why?

Because being an artist means you don't have a set rule of what's "good" and what's "bad." You have only the opinions of the public you're reaching out to, only the individual thoughts and feelings that meld together and create THE PUBLIC.

You're under review, every moment, every second, every day. Every move, and every opinion. As a writer, that means every word, from your facebook status to your twitter feed. And the reviews aren't always good. In the few short months I've been a published author, I've encountered good reviews and I've encountered bad. I've gotten things like:

"this is badly wrote"
(From a reviewer a while back, and may I say, that is one of my favorites to this day. Because the review was ... well, I like to think of it as "goodly wrote." If you know what I mean.)
and
"this isn't even worth copying"
(someone who apparently tried to right-click and copy one of my PicPrompts and couldn't because I've disabled that function. Because I won't make it easy for a THIEF to STEAL from me.)

But then there are the others, the good ones, the ones that encourage us as writers to keep typing when the words won't come, to keep thinking when the plot's all wrong, and chase a dream everyone might have deemed "impossible." There are the reviews that "get" the characters, who understand what the writer was saying, who relate and love an imperfect story with perfectly imperfect characters.

Those reviews? Those little "thank you's" from people who were touched by something I wrote, those people who take the time to tell me that my characters reached into their hearts and made an impact?

They touch me right back. They influence my next characters, my next stories. They inspire me to reach farther, to dig deeper, to try harder. They bring a little squeeze to my chest, they bring a smile to my face. They bring happy tears to my eyes.

And that? That's what keeps the stories coming.

So to anyone who has taken the time to thank me for telling them a story, let me just take a second to 

Thank You

for your support.
Thank you.

Express Yourself

The winner of the last mad lib giveaway is
Ikelia Francis
who suggested "ecstatic"
to fill the blank in our story!
Lots of people suggested that; I guess great minds really DO think alike!
I had to change it to "ecstasy" to make it fit the story though.

*anyway*
We have ONE blank left!!

So, express yourself.
Give me a facial expression.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Emotional!

Our last giveaway was a two-day giveaway with two winners!
Those winners are Mari Austin and Crissy Mackey
who suggested "beautiful" and "loud"
for our nearly-finished mad lib!

We only have two blanks to go!! And it makes me super excited to think that I'll soon be posting our second fan-filled mad lib! How does it make you feel? Give me an emotion below.

Stop Number Two

The second stop of the Fat Chance blog tour is now live!! Head on over to Confessions of the Paranormal to see an author spotlight (on me, oh my gosh!), a rerun excerpt from the book, and the video book trailer!!

And, don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't done that.
You'd be up for Fat Chance swag and maybe even a signed paperback!

Good Luck!

I still can't believe I'm on tour. I'm still waking up every morning thinking of my countdown-to-the-tour, reminding myself that the countdown is over. I'm on tour. Right here, in my home, on my couch, I'm on tour. I'm appearing all over the web in the next two weeks, for interviews and character spotlights and other things. I'm on tour. And it's for real.

I'm a writer now, in more ways than I ever thought possible.

And you know what? I love it. I love every little part of it.
To everyone who has helped or supported me, everyone who has made an effort to spread the word about me and my work, everyone who has purchased my books and read them, everyone who has reviewed my books, good or bad (but I prefer the good ones, thanks) ...

Thank you, so very much.
Your participation as a fan, however great or small, has been a part of making 
my lifelong dream
a reality.
Just know that I am eternally grateful.
Every single day.

*****

Find out more and check out the schedule 
on the Fat Chance Book Tour page.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stop Number One

The first stop on the Fat Chance book tour is now live!! Hop on over to the O'Raven Chronicles for an author spotlight and an excerpt from the book Fat Chance, and while you're there, you might want to enter the giveaway rafflecopter! You'll have a shot at a signed paperback and various other Fat Chance swag!

Good luck!!

The O'Raven Chronicles
you have to scroll down a bit but it's there

You know, it's an interesting feeling; sitting back and realizing that I'm doing a blog tour. My book is doing a blog tour. When I was younger, I almost always wanted to grow up and write, but I terrified myself out of it more times than I can count. I'd think about the idea of courting a publisher, and the entire idea was just horrifying to me.

Little me? Sending off letters to all these professionals who receive dozens, maybe hundreds, of the same letter every day. And they all boil down to the same thing: "I think I'm a writer. Actually, I think I'm a good writer. And I know I'm just one of so many with their hands in the air and their hearts on their sleeves, but I'm here. And I count, so pick me. Please pick me."

Could I write that? Knowing the risks? Knowing the sheer number of rejections that exist simply because every writer cannot succeed?

It's like American Idol. There are so many who enter that competition who can sing, men and women who feel their music with all of their hearts and may even have built up some sort of fan base. But they can't all make it. Only one can be number one. And only a few can hover close to that coveted place of fame and wealth and wonder.

I'm in the world, living in the same world as the greats. Right here in the US alone, we have writers like Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts. Danielle Steel. James Patterson. The rising Marie Force. Can I walk among them? Am I that good?

Maybe not. And so I said, yeah, but I'm okay. I'm better than okay. Writing is my craft, it's my thing. It always has been. I have to do it; I've never been able to go any length of time without writing something. It's a part of who I am. So if I'm scared of a publisher and all that that entails, with the risk of rejection, and heaven help me, all the risks of acceptance, then maybe what I need is an agent.

A liaison. A go-between. Someone who is on my side, who knows they will make their living from helping me to make a good living.

But they want the same thing, they all want that initial letter, that letter that is a piece of a writer's soul, sketched out a paper that may or may not be in the garbage with the rest by the end of the day. I couldn't do it. I don't have a fancy bio. I don't have a dozen rewards, and I'm not part of sixteen writer's guilds or groups or clubs. Maybe someday I will be, but right now I'm just a woman with a love for stories and a somewhat decent ability to craft my own ideas into something other people can read and feel and value.

And then there was one other thing that terrified me. The one real thing that stopped me from taking the risks I desperately wanted to take.

You see, I'm a mommy, too. And that's been my job now, for nine years. In that time, I've maybe missed tucking my oldest daughter in ... oh, something like 8 times, maybe ten. I've put them to bed nearly every single night of their lives, and I've woken up with them nearly every single morning since they've been born. I feed them (well, not literally, anymore), I bathe them (same story), and when they'll listen, I teach them. I clean scrapes and break up fights and I know that they are well because I am here to ensure it.

Someday they'll be grown and gone, and I'm trying to make the best of the time that I have, and so I really value my status as a stay-at-home mom.

But you know, traditional publishing might have held that back, some. There would have been book tours if my writing did well, and I have always been told that it would. There may at some point have been some sorts of signings or interviews and things of that nature, and I couldn't have expected all of that to be right here in the heart of Knoxville, like a nine-to-five that would still allow me to feed them breakfast and kiss them goodnight.

So I waited. I put it off, and I told myself it wasn't my time yet, but that maybe, just maybe it would be soon. Soon. Someday. Maybe.

Finally, I couldn't wait anymore, and in November of 2012, I got serious and wrote my first novel, To Love A Selkie. After that, I promptly jumped the gun before I could chicken out, and I put it right out there, self-published without even a whisper about part II, To Become A Selkie, coming along at some unknown date. But that experience, and the things that I have learned since then, have been an integral part of how Fat Chance and the Kingsley Series idea came about.

So follow me on my very first tour, one that is mostly on my terms, and every bit of it straight from a little couch in a little apartment in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, where I'm still raising my babies while teaching them that it is possible to chase, and catch, a dream.

Find out more and check out the schedule 
on the Fat Chance Book Tour page.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adjectives

Our mad lib is SO CLOSE to being finished!!
And once it is, I'll get to share the full story with all of you!
I cant wait!

In the meantime, our last giveaway's winner was
Jessica Ryba
who gave us "cactus."

Next up, we need two adjectives, so this time I'll be letting the giveaway run for two days,
and I'll be choosing TWO WINNERS!!
Good luck, my loves!

And Now, It Begins!!

Fat Chance is going on tour!!! 

I couldn't be more excited to tell you about my first tour! As the tour progresses, I will be blogging and facebooking the links to those posts for you to follow along and see where I've been, what's been said, and where the Kingsley series is going from here.

The dates of the tour are, March 28, 2013 to April 12, 2013.

The tour will include lots of reviews, other things like character interviews, personal interviews with me, the playlists that helped get the book outside of my head and into your hands, top ten lists, and a few "this or that" posts. So follow along, have a great time reading the different posts, and don't forget to enter the giveaways!

Want More Details?

*****
March 28th
The O'Raven Chronicles
Spotlight, Excerpt & Tour Schedule

*****
March 29th
Confessions Of The Paranormal
Spotlight & Excerpt

*****
March 30th
Living In Your Own World
Review & Spotlight

*****
March 31st
Book Addicts Not-So Anonymous
Review & Author Top 10
&
Fated Paranormals
Review & Guest Post

*****
April 1st
The Fantasy Junkie
Character Interview & Spotlight

*****
April 2nd
Cat's Reviews & More
Review & Spotlight

*****
April 3rd
Raven Reviews
Review & This or That
&
Girls *heart* Books
Spotlight & Author Interview

*****
April 4th
Fab, Fun & Tantalizing Reads
Review & Spotlight

*****
April 5th
Library at the END of the Universe
Review

*****
April 6th
Reading Is My Time Out
Review & This Or That

*****
April 7th
Karie Hendon Author Page
Spotlight
&
The Crafty Cauldron
Spotlight

*****
April 8th
Bookend 2 Bookend
Spotlight, Excerpt & Character Top 10

*****
April 9th
RomanceBookWorm's Reviews
Review & Author Interview

*****
April 10th
Bex n Books
Review & Spotlight

*****
April 11th
Naughty Bits' Book Reviews
Spotlight & Author Interview

*****
April 12th
Tam's Two Cents
Spotlight & Playlist



The links listed above are, at this point, to the main blog pages. Once the blog stop has been posted, I will change or add to the links to give you the actual posts pertaining to my tour for my book.

Thanks for following along, and to all those who've stepped up to participate in the tour. You are, of course, much appreciated, and very well-loved from right here in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee.


*****
In addition to the TTC&B2B Book Tour, I am set for a blog interview on
April 13th
with
Tracee Ford


*****
Immediately following the Fat Chance book tour ... the release process begins
for
Prescription For Love
book two of the Kingsley series!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Plant Type

Our mad lib is nearly complete, and I can't wait
to post the finished story and show you all what we've come up with!!

In the meantime, our most recent giveaway has chosen
Dawn Froggy Saenz, who suggested "laundry room" to fill in our
room-in-the-house blank!!

And now, we're on to the next giveaway, which asks you to tel me a
"plant type."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Which Room?

Our last mad lib giveaway has a winner!!
The winner is Jeanette Jeno, who suggested "fried."

And now, we need a "room in the house."
What've you got?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's In The Past

Our mad lib is coming along hilariously!!
We have a winner from yesterday; Amanda Hervey
suggested that we use "nose,"
so now we're on to the next blank in our fan-filled mad lib!!

The Rose, 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.


Image courtesy of Bill Perry | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Rose
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****
My oldest daughter’s
favorite flower is the rose. She loves the always-perfect form, the musky maturity of it’s perfume. Even as a child, she loves the simple beauty of the age-old classic.



*****

Like a seed planted in the ground,
She grows,
Ever more each day.

Soft as the petals of a rose,
She embodies innocence,
Even in the awkward stages of growth.

Thorny as the pointed stem,
She grows prickly
In her youth.

And yet as she leaves behind
The tiny baby bud she used to be,
She becomes something
Ever more beautiful
In the form of a young woman.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Facial

Our last giveaway has a winner!!
Lauren Bearzatto
suggested "Sydney" for our next fan-filled mad lib!

Next up, we're looking for a part of the face.

Friday, March 22, 2013

We Built This City ...

Our last giveaway has a winner!!
The winner is Jenny Lynn Weyer
who suggested "Le Grand Vefour" for our mad lib restaurant.

Next, we need a city!

I'd like to take a minute to thank everyone who has played, who has come back every night to play each new game in the hopes of winning, and I'd like to remind all of our previous round winners (for the mad lib) that you're up for a bumper sticker that'll look like this:


~*~ Good luck, everyone! ~*~

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hungry, Hungry, Hungry!

We have a winner for our last giveaway!!
The winner is Kathy Power
who suggested "run" for our fan-filled mad lib verb!!

And now, I'm hungry.
Are you hungry?
Let's have dinner.
Where do you want to go?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gotta Love That Verb!!

Our last giveaway winner was Dana Fetters,
who suggested "millenniums" for our mad lib!

Next Up?
Give me a verb!

The Tour Draws Near!

As the Fat Chance book tour draws close, I'm getting more and more excited! I've also finalized the release plan for Prescription For Love, the second book in the Kingsley Series, and as the editing draws to a close I'm taking steps toward the beginning of the third book in the Kingsley Series!!

***
Fat Chance focused on the story of Cass Keaton and Andrew Kingsley, a couple joined by sad circumstances, broken by the depressing power of human reaction to negative feedback. Cass is a fat girl, plain and simple. She's beautiful but she doesn't see it; she's funny and smart and sweet, but all she can see when she stares into her reflection is fat. It doesn't help that her negative self-image is fed by the force of someone else's bitterness.

Will Cass find her way out of the pit of depression
and into the arms of a good man?

***
Prescription For Love is the story of another Kingsley, Cameron. She's got a lot of reasons to run from relationships, a lot of reasons to be afraid to let go. But there's a man who wants to show her another way, another life. One that includes trust, love, and a few other things she definitely wasn't expecting.

Cameron has been living under the weight of her
troubled past for so long. Will she ever be able to move on?

***
Hahaha, you didn't think I was going to tell ALL my secrets yet, did you?? Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

Our mad lib is making progress!!

The winner of the last round was Aileen Aroma
who suggested "22."

And now? "Time Flies"
Give me a period of time in your entry.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Give Me Your Digits

Our last giveaway has chosen FOUR winners!
They are: Heidi Brubach Clusta, Raquel Perez, Mary Hay, and Ginnie Hutto
And their suggestions were: "toes," "hands," "arm" and "knee"

Next up, I need a number for our fan-filled mad lib.
So, Give Me Your Digits.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

From The Afterlife, 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.


© Simon Lawrence  Dreamstime.com

From The Afterlife
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****

I’d known that I would struggle.
I’d known that the diaries would be too much.
But still …

I had to open them, to flip through the pages. I had to read them. He’d been keeping them for as long as I’d known him, and I’d never once glanced between the covers of any of them, even when they came in the mail while he was out of town and he’d tell me to open the package and put the new book away.

For as long as I could remember, he’d kept his diary on the computer, putting line after line of his thoughts into the computer program he’d used all his life. Every year, he’d order the files printed, and he’d store the book away, saying that someday they might be needed. For what, I could never guess, but there I was reading them.

It had been weeks since his death, weeks since he’d been murdered in a cold convenience store robbery. Weeks since I’d lost him for the price of a six pack of Budweiser. Weeks since I’d been instructed through his will to open these old dusty volumes and read them.

Nineteen ninety-eight. The scripted letters tumbled over the front cover of the book, and I smiled to myself. He’d never used just simple numbers on the covers, always preferring to spell everything out. Nineteen ninety-eight was the year we met, the year I lost my heart to him. Running my fingertip through the thick dust on the cover of the book, I lifted the cover and flipped through the pages.

“She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he’d written. “I don’t even know how to tell her I like her yet. How do you walk up to a goddess and say that you’ve fallen in love with the way she drinks her coffee, that her painted toenails drive you mad, peeking out from those blasted impractical sandals she’s always wearing?”

My eyes flooded, but laughter bubbled up from somewhere inside me, spilling out, the sound alien to me in the silence of our big house. He’d always hated my sandals, telling me that I was better off barefoot than in the flimsy “blasted impractical wastes of materials.” I know now, why he wanted me to read these; he wanted me to remember in the face of his death what he had been to me in life.

Skipping a few pages, I read some more.

“She’s angry with me. I don’t know what to do to fix it; but it’s killing me. I hate it when she’s angry with me, when I can’t walk up and touch her face without her eyes glaring up at me. It’s like my fingers are dying, needing to touch her, to hold her and pull her to me.”

The sad thing now is that he didn’t mention what it was that I’d been angry about. I’d bet that if he were here, he could tell me, but he isn’t, and now I’m thinking of all the times I held a grudge, not realizing the depth of his fragility. It only took a knife, a simple kitchen knife shoved through the softness of his organs, and then he was gone. I shall never be angry with him again now. Swiping away the tears on my face before they could fall into the pages of the book, I moved on.

Two thousand one. The year we’d finally gotten married. Opening the cover, I flipped the pages until I found our wedding day, surprised to see that he’d added a wedding photo here, printed right into the book beside his entry.

“I’m finally doing it. I am marrying the woman of my dreams. We have these days where I feel that I don’t know her, or that she doesn’t know me, but then there are the good times, the days when I’m perfect and she’s perfect and everything is perfect because we’re together. Today is one of those days. In a few hours, I’ll watch her come to me, dressed in her finery like the fairy tale princess I’ve always believed her to be. And she’ll speak her vows, and I will speak mine. And we shall belong to each other always, after that.”

What a romantic he was! Sitting there with a tear-streaked face and dust on the legs of my sweatpants, a hole in the stomach of my t-shirt. His t-shirt, the one I’d been wearing every night to sleep in since he died. A fairy tale princess? I thought not. But I smiled to think that he saw that in me, that he looked into my average eyes and this average face and he saw royalty and beauty and worth.

Turning the pages, I settled into another entry. “She’s miscarried again,” he wrote, “and I’m helpless. I don’t know what to do. I can’t stop her tears, and no promise of ‘trying again’ eases her pain. She’s lost in her own grief now, and I don’t know how to get her back. Am I an animal then, to look into her eyes, sparkling with tears, and want to hold her close to me and take away her pain with the touch of my hands? Am I a horrible creature to see her flat beautiful stomach, and want to try again to swell it up with the seed of myself? She looks so lonely there, and I’m just barely within my power not to touch her, because if I do, I’m wrecking the doctor’s order to wait.”

Irresistible. He’d always told me that he found me irresistible, that he couldn’t keep his hands away from me. There were three more years of books to flip through, three more years of his thoughts and his inner life for me to look into. And still, I hadn’t read them all fully, deeply. I know that I will someday,, but today is not the day.

Our baby is due in a month, and I’m due to the doctor.

Setting the books aside, I brush at the legs of my pants, coughing in the dust as I awkwardly unfold my swollen body from the floor. His body may be gone from our house now, but his son will live on, and I have his diaries, his love letters from the afterlife.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Need A Body Part

But not from the black market. Just down below, in the rafflecopter.

Because it's for a mad lib.

And there will be FOUR WINNERS.

We just ended a giveaway too; the winner was Jessica Ryba, who suggested "Blaze". For this one though, we need a body part. It can be ANY body part. Arm, leg, face, fingers ... you know, anything. So have fun.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Who's The Man?

The winners of our last giveaway were ... Lauren Bearzatto and Dana Fetters! The winning answers were "bewitching" and "sprinting."

For the next round of our Fan-Filled Mad Lib, I have to ask you a question. Do you have a sexy man in your life? Husband, boyfriend, or just a crush? Is he a book boyfriend? A hot movie star? A singer? An athlete? Tell me his name - because for the next Mad Lib round, we need a "man's name."

Ready? Set? Go!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We're Verb+ing Now ...

Welcome to another round of our second Fan-Filled Mad Lib! This is the second part of what will eventually be the 2nd fan-filled Mad Lib! Enter your suggestion in the Rafflecopter below,and in 24 hours, we'll have TWO winners.

The winner of yesterday's giveaway was ... Alexandrea Ward - her "exclamation" was "Goodness gracious!"

Once the Mad Lib is full and all the blanks are finished, I'll post the fan-filled Mad Lib story here on the blog! There will be a list of all the round winners too - and each winner will be entered to win an additional Mad Lib prize!

Are You A GoodReader?

Hey there, book fans!

Lovers of Fat Chance, book one of the Kingsley Series, now's your chance to speak out about this great story in a way that could have a solid impact on the success of the book! All you need to do is follow this link and make sure your vote is one that moves Cass's story closer to #1!

(Update: This book is now easier than ever to get ahold of - it's FREE! Find out how you can get your copy here.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Exclaim Something Here!

The winner of yesterday's "Word Scramble" is Amanda Hervey! The answer was "encyclopedia."

Today's Kingsley Keeper Giveaway Game is part of what will eventually be the 2nd fan-filled Mad Lib! Enter your suggestion in the Rafflecopter below, and in 24 hours, we'll have a winner. Once the Mad Lib is full and all the blanks are finished, I'll post the Mad Lib story here on the blog, all finished and fan-filled! There will be a list of all the round winners, too, and each winner will be entered to win an additional Mad Lib prize!

Ready? Set? Go.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Word Scramble

Welcome to another Kingsley Keeper Party Giveaway! This party is meant to be fun, to be successful, to spread the word about the Kingsley Series, and to promote the upcoming second book! Prescription For Love will release in April 2013, and I'm so ready to see this story get into the hands of my readers!!

But did I mention the fun? Because we're having a blast - there are games to play and prizes to be won. So come on over and hang out with us!

The winner of yesterday's game was Mari Austin! The answer to the cross-guess was "option."

Today's Kingsley Keeper Party game is called "Word Scramble." Give it a try below!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cross-Guesser

Have you checked out the Kingsley Keeper Party? If not, you should, because we're having a blast with lots of games and giveaways - all you have to do to get in on the action is go click "join" at the Kingsley Keeper Party event page on Facebook.

The party is to help promote the coolness of Fat Chance, book one of the Kingsley Series, AND to promote the upcoming second book in the series, Prescription For Love, which will release in April 2013.

Come on over to play in the games and interact with other lovers of the Kingsley Series - and speaking of Kingsley series fans: The winner of yesterday's game was DANA FETTERS! The answer to "Name That Tune" was "Oh Mother" by Christina Aguilera.

Today's Kingsley Keeper Party game is called "Cross-Guesser" Give it a try below!

(rafflecopter link removed)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Road Alone, 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. Links to (and comments on) this post are always welcome.


© John Wollwerth  Dreamstime.com

The Road Alone
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy

*****

Some things cannot be undone. What you make a person feel in one single moment, if it's strong enough, will never EVER be forgotten. And turning your back on one who needs you? Well, you may as well walk away for good, because sometimes there's no fixing what's broken.

*****

I needed you -
I can't say how many times I cried
reaching out
for a broad back that was all I could see.

You live with a cold soul -
a bitter heart.
But I needed you to love and support
the little girl that was me.

And now, I go on -
I walk too often alone,
my fingers curling around a hand that is
no longer there.

Someday you'll be gone,
or I will -
and we shall meet someday again.
Or at least, that's my prayer.

And I will stand proud -
in belief of myself
as I never could before,
under the weight of your cold disapproval.

Because I am strong now
without you beside me,
without you to lean on -
finally free of your bitter perusal.

Edited to add: The Road Alone is an original poetic work by Brandi Kennedy, and is published here as a sneak peek into the heart and soul of what is now shared exclusively on Patreon. Supporters on the $2/month reward tier are exclusive viewers to two new poems a month - many of which are deeply emotional and of a highly personal nature. To view these works, please support my writing here. (July 2017)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fat Chance BOOK TRAILER!!!

I've been noticing a lot of book trailers lately, and wondering what all the hype was about. So I watched some. And then, after watching some, I got some of the books, simply because the minute-or-two video was cool. But I hadn't thought too much about doing one of my own, mostly because I wasn't sure I needed one - or wanted one.

And now? I've fallen into the craze. I'm one of those authors making movie trailers for books. But if I saw this? I'd TOTALLY wanna buy the book. And read it. And give it awesome reviews.

And, of course I'm not biased. Nope, not at all.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Cover Reveal!!

Fat Chance has a new cover!! I can't wait to show you all the rest of the designs ... so I'm not waiting!
They are up and you can see them, right now, in the photos I've uploaded over on Facebook.

* in the meantime, the kindle cover *

*and the paperback, of course *

Update: There has been another cover update for Fat Chance, as well as the rest of the Kingsley Books! See all the covers, blurbs, and purchase links for available books in the series here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prescription For Love, Excerpt! (Choice #1)

Thanks to all of you who worked hard to spread the word about me on Facebook and TwitterAlso, thanks to those of you who wanted to see this excerpt bad enough to vote for it! I hope you enjoy it, and that you'll keep watching for more news on the upcoming release of Prescription For Love, book two in the Kingsley Series.

Please remember that this writing is copyright protected as my own, and that no part of this or any other post may be reproduced in any way, at any time. Links to (and comments on) this post are, as always, welcome and appreciated.

*****
please bear in mind that this is a RAW excerpt, and has not yet been fully edited
*****

Congratulating herself on the great success of a party she’d been planning for months, Cameron Kingsley double-checked the wine stock in the kitchen to make sure everything was holding up to the number of guests.

"You've outdone yourself again, love," her mother, Eva, murmured. Sneaking up behind her daughter to tweak the dark curls that spilled from her simple ponytail, Eva wrapped an arm around Cameron's slender waist. She pressed a small plate of hors d'oeuvres into Cameron's hand with a grin and said, "Now get out of here; you've done your duty. Your father and I are very proud of what you've done here. And we are so thankful for all the work you put into this."

"I know, Mom," Cameron said, leaning into her mother's embrace and inhaling the ever-present scent of cherry blossoms. "I was glad to do it, really. It's just nice, for a change, to be planning an anniversary party like yours. You know, instead of planning someone else's fifth wedding."

"Oh, my jaded girl." Eva's green eyes fluttered closed, and she shook her head sadly. "How can you be so disbelieving? You spend every day surrounded by people in love, people giving commitment to each other. You were raised here, with Adam and I, and I can’t think of a more genuinely happy couple than we are. How can you be so turned off to love?"

"Mom, seriously? I’m not turned off to love. I want to be in love, real love. Last month I went to a wedding I had worked, and it was fabulous. It was deeply spiritual, and everyone cried the whole time, talking about how in love the bride and groom were. They couldn’t get enough of how beautiful they were as a couple, how perfect everything was, and how lovely they would be as little old people together."

Eva looked into her daughter's face, arching an eyebrow. "And this is bad?"

"Well, no, actually. That part really was nice," Cameron smiled as triumph flashed in her mother's eyes. Time to deliver the punch line. "You know, except for the fact that the groom has been married four different times, and I planned two of his previous weddings. Not to be outdone, his blushing bride, in all her virginal innocence, has been married something like six times, I think."

"Good God!" Eva exclaimed, her mouth dropping open in surprise. "Where did she find the time? And where did all the husbands go?"

"Oh you know. Casualties of divorce court, I guess. And mark my words, mom, that's not the last time I see that couple. They were both still so angry over their past marriages, and the bride was already hateful, envious of the wives that came before her. She kept asking me, through the entire planning process, if any of the other wives had chosen this food, or that color, or this flower. It was obscene, really. And he's had so many wives; I guess soon I'll be able to just start recycling old plans."

"That sounds lovely dear," Eva replied dryly. "I do suppose though, it could make things a lot easier on the new brides coming in. All the planning already done by the predecessors, you know?"

"Hey, you girls, come on in here!" Cameron's father, Adam, waved from the kitchen archway. He stepped forward to kiss his wife gently on the forehead, and Cameron couldn't hold back a grin as she watched her parents together. Adam took his wife's hand and tucked it into his elbow. "Drew and Cassaundra want you to come open their gift, dear," he said.

Cameron rolled her eyes, leaving her untouched plate on the counter as she followed her parents from the kitchen. "He's too good at gifts, the wretch. I bet he's outdone me again," she muttered, making her parents laugh.

"Well, Cameron," her father said, glancing back at her over his shoulder, his smile still as youthful as ever, somewhat miraculous in his aged face. "Your brother just doesn't have your talent for parties. He has to come up with other ideas."

"Besides," Eva laughed. "Look at him; he cheated. Cassaundra looks as nervous about that gift as Drew does. I'd say they picked it together, whatever it is. And if I know my son, they bought the gift months ago. You know how he likes to be prepared."

"Mom, Dad," Drew said, pulling a chair closer to the gift table and holding it steady for his mother to be seated. He winked at Eva as she lowered into the chair, his eyes as green as hers had been in her youth, his hair the same dark shade as Cameron's, but sprinkled throughout with the premature gray of their father, Adam.

Cameron smiled, watching the two couples together; her parents beside her younger brother and his new love. Adam took his place behind his wife, resting his hands easily on her shoulders, while Drew stepped back to drape an arm around Cass. She lowered her eyes somewhat shyly, holding out a giant gift bag.

"I hope we did well with these," Cass said, placing the bag carefully at Eva's feet. As she rose, she tucked a wild bit of glossy chocolate hair behind her ear.

"Oh, I'll bet the wife loves whatever you kids have stuffed in there," Adam laughed. "You know, as long as it's perfect." Laughter spread through the room, amusement at the idea of Eva being hard to please. None of her children had ever given her a gift that she didn’t love, and they all knew that she could have received nothing and still been joyful.

"Let's all hope they bought something lousy!" shouted Drew's youngest brother, Evan. As the youngest of the Kingsley children, he was a total clown, but they loved his liveliness. "That way my gift looks extra awesome!"

As the happy rumble of laughter flowed again through the small crowd, Cameron slapped her brother's muscled shoulder playfully. "No heckling," she said, ducking as Evan reached to flick the tip of her nose.

“Heckling,” he muttered. “As if I’d be that rude to our gifted gift-shopper of a brother. I got them a quote book, Cam; I bet whatever’s in that bag makes my gift look like a kick in the shins.”

“Let it go, you know they aren’t like that,” Cameron muttered back, watching her mother dig into the depths of the gift bag Cass had placed in front of her.

"Oh, wow!" Eva pulled a fluff of tissue paper from the gift bag, reaching inside to remove an oversized cluster of amethyst crystal. Jagged purple spikes rose up from a dark base, sparkling and shimmering in the light. Other crystals followed in shades of emerald and rose, each one a sparkling illusion of fragility in the bright light of the room.

"Drew thought you might like them, surrounded with mirrors for your fireplace. You know, for the reflections," Cass said, a bit nervously. She’d been dating Drew for a little less than a year, and it had taken her a long time to feel even a little comfortable in the Kingsley family setting. She still wasn’t all the way relaxed with the whole crowd yet.

Cameron loved Cass though; watching her grow and bloom as part of the family made her somehow more beautiful, her dark eyes shining up at Drew, her pretty round face brightened by her smile. Jaded as Cameron was on the subject of love, she found herself hoping in spite of herself, wishing that Cass and Drew might someday share the love she saw in her own parents, Adam and Eva Kingsley. It kept her from spending too much time wishing for that sort of love in her own life, getting her hopes up for something she didn’t believe she could find.

"I have something else to say," Drew said, smiling down at Eva. She looked up at him expectantly, reaching to place the last of the crystals on the table in front of her. Cameron drew a breath; she'd made a career of planning weddings, watching the secret talk between lovers. She’d caught the look between Drew and Cassaundra; she knew what Drew was going to say, and so did Evan.

"Oh, wow, he's gonna do it, isn't he? Tie the knot, I mean?" he said, reaching up behind Cameron to tweak her ponytail. Making a mental note to cut it off later so that people would stop tugging it, Cameron pulled her ponytail over her shoulder, allowing the curls to tumble over her breast and spill toward her flat, slender stomach.

"I think so," she said, elbowing the firm hard presence that was Evan. "Shhh."

"-- And I'm just so inspired," Drew was saying, "watching you and Dad. Ever since I was a kid, you struggled to show me how important it is to find love. But you taught me too, that just companionship isn’t enough. You taught me to find the right one, not to settle for just anyone. You always told me, Mom, to find my match, and I remember so many talks when I was younger, sitting with you and trying not to die of boredom while you taught me what it meant to find someone who fits me perfectly."

"And you survived it, and now you have found your love," Eva said, rising from the chair to wrap her arm around the broad shoulders of her middle child, her second son. Allowing her hand to slide down and rest on Drew's chest, she turned to Cass, reaching the other hand out to bring Cass into the fold.

"I have," Drew said, looking down into Cass's slightly embarrassed face. He winked, and the intensity of color in face grew stronger, eliciting more laughter from the family surrounding them.

"And I hope," Eva whispered, her chin trembling with emotion as she took Cass' hand in both of hers, "that you two will share what I have shared with Adam. I wish good things for you, and I give my blessing." She turned again, placing Cass' hands together in the center of Drew's chest.

"You take care of my son, you hear?" She said to Cass, and it was apparent to everyone in the room that, married or not, Cassaundra Keaton was now a member of the Kingsley family. No one in the family moved or committed to anything without the blessing of Eva Kingsley, and no one second-guessed her judgment.

"Thank you, Mrs. Kingsley," Cass said tearfully, touched by the obvious move that Eva had made. It felt like an old ritual, watching Eva as she touched her son and then moved away, urging Cass into her place. Cass didn’t know that it was an old ritual, handed down from Adam’s own parents when they entrusted their own son to Eva’s love.

"Now, boy, you'd better not be finished yet," Adam warned, breaking the tenderness of the moment with his gruff voice. Holding up one hand, he waggled his fingers, raising an eyebrow in challenge. He widened his dark eyes dramatically, making a silly face at Drew.

"Of course," Drew said, winking again at Cass as he made a show of stepping back. Digging his hand into the pocket of his jeans, he widened his eyes theatrically, mocking his father. Moving to the other pocket, he made a show of digging in there as well.

"Oh dear God," he muttered. "It must be here somewhere!" He leaned forward, making everyone laugh as he pretended to peek down the front of Cassaundra's dress. She held her hands to her cleavage, mortified, which made everyone laugh harder. Finally, Drew slapped himself on the forehead.

"Right!" he exclaimed. Slipping two fingers down the back pocket of his jeans, he finally withdrew the engagement ring he'd given to Cass, returning it to her finger. She'd been wearing it privately for some months already, as they had taken some time to keep the engagement to themselves. Still, the time had come to break the news and Drew had wanted to be dramatic for his mother's sake, and so he'd placed the ring carefully in his pocket just before he and Cass had entered the party.

"Oh, Drew," Eva whispered, watching her son take Cassaundra's hand and slide the ring home on her finger. She lifted a finger to swipe under her eye as Drew and Cass turned to face her, together. Smiling, she held her hands out, taking Cass in her arms.

"Welcome to my family, daughter," she said.

"And now I'll be even more busy," Cameron muttered to Evan, unable to hold back her smile.

"Nah, I bet I can get them to hire me instead," he laughed back, elbowing her in the ribs. "You may be the wedding planner in the family, but everyone knows I'm the best at everything. All these fine examples to follow. I bet I could rock a wedding party."

"Oh shut up, Ev," Cameron laughed back, watching her mother rip the paper excitedly from another gift.

Later, as the evening wound down and the party cleared out, Adam and Eva lounged on the couch in their living room. Surrounded by their children, they gave thanks for forty years of marriage.

"It's been so long," Adam said, his voice raspy with age but still deep and reassuring. Slipping his arm around his wife, he looked down into her face, his dark eyes meeting her faded green. "Who ever thought we'd make it this far?"

"I did," Eva laughed. "It might have been longer by now, if you hadn't been so slow about it." She slapped his cheek playfully, her wedding band flickering in the light of the room.

"But now, look at us," she continued. "Here we are, our children here with us, and a new marriage coming to extend our family." She looked in turn at each of her children, speaking to them individually. "Cameron, my first child, take heart. Love is real, I promise you, and one day soon, it will rear up and take you in, and it will be strong and solid; you will find it delicious and so very wonderful. Stop doubting, my girl, and open your heart." She waited while Cameron rolled her eyes, embarrassed, and then she laughed and turned to the first of her sons.

"Michael. You must know how very proud we are of you, too. Running your own business, right from scratch. I remember when you learned to change a tire, and now look at you, spending every day under the hood of a car, doing what you love."

Waiting until he nodded acknowledgement, Eva looked again to Cameron. "Just like a true Kingsley, willing to start small and crawl up through the ranks to become just who you were meant to be. Both of you, I'm so proud to share this moment with you."

She lowered her eyes to Drew, who’d stretched out on his favorite rug in the house, his ankles crossed, his head pillowed in Cass’s lap. “Andrew. Look at who you’ve become. You go out every day to a job we’re all so proud of, making a career for yourself in a way that means something beyond the borders of our home. And this woman you’ve brought home to us; I couldn’t imagine a finer choice, son.”

Turning, Eva eyed her youngest children sternly. "And you two. Harmony and Evan. You two stay away from the opposite sex, until you've decided what to do with your lives, you hear me?" Everyone laughed, taking in Evan's horrified look.

"Mom?" he asked, pretending to be in terrible pain. "I'm a teenager. Telling me something like that is just downright mean. I need women! I need cheerleaders! They make football go 'round!"

"And me," Harmony giggled, rounding her stomach and rubbing small circles around the surface of her tiny waist. "Here I am, pregnant by the tattoo-covered biker from the butch bar, and now you tell me to stay away from boys? It's too late to be careful now!"

Cameron couldn't help laughing. She couldn't deny that she hoped someday to find true love, a strong bond that lasted through the challenges of time. She wanted a house full of children and laughter, a life full of good night kisses and good morning sex. But in the meantime, she just kept telling herself that she was plenty happy, surrounded by the love of her family.