Thursday, February 03, 2011

Welcome Guest Keri Stevens

Paula here. I "met" our guest blogger on Twitter the time she reluctantly became the midwife of a very pregnant stray cat. Keri was looking for help and guidance in her sudden predicament. Fortunately, Colleen Lindsay--whom I follow on Twitter--came through 'cause I sure didn't have a clue. Keri's cat adventure prompted me to follow her. Yay, social media! Keri, welcome to Working Stiffs!

Welcome to my Delusion
By Keri Stevens

If a book in the digital bookstore never gets downloaded, does a tree falling in the forest hear it?

In 2008 I was taking an Oriental dance week-long intensive workshop in Manhattan. At the end of six to eight hours of sweating through Tunisian folkloric classes, I'd trudge back to my tiny hotel in Chelsea, clean up, and go play all night. By the fourth day, I was beyond exhausted, so when I looked up at a carving of the North Wind above a shop doorway, I shouldn't have been surprised that he spoke to me.

"I wonder what you've seen in the last few centuries?" I asked him . He sent me back to the hotel garden to figure it out. Notebook in hand, I sat near the small statue of the Virgin Mary and said, "I bet if you could talk, you wouldn't be nearly as placid as you look."

"Oh, honey," she answered. "I could tell you stories." And from those notes, Stone Kissed was born.

Delia, the heroine, speaks to statues--and they talk back. The bust of Athena (which is mounted, of course, over her chamber door) bickers with the carved Roman matron in the corner of her living room. The dancer on her store shelf gives Delia advice about her love life. The Green Man hanging on the kitchen wall thinks no man is good enough for her.

In the process of creating my secondary characters, I visited museums and graveyards and poked around in the corners of other people's homes, whispering to alabaster pigeons and heroes on horseback in the town square.

But I didn't expect the conceit of the book to spill over into my readers' daily lives. My neighbor admitted to apologizing to her St. Francis lawn statue for the small crack running through his face. Another reader e-mailed me to say she'd begun chatting with other people's funerary figures when she visits her father's grave. Someone else turned a carving on her mantel around because she felt it was staring at her. and I laughed gleefully to hear it.

A book without a reader is a diary (and even then, most diarists imagine the future reader who will find them posthumously). I write so that I may be read (and in the digital age I'm pleased to save some trees). I want my fantasies to infiltrate yours, and share the faith that no matter how weird we think we are (or how weird we are), each of us can find lifelong love.

And I, like most authors and artists of every stripe, love to hear about it when my book connects you to me.

Has a book ever moved you so much that you've changed your behavior because of it? Have you ever felt compelled to contact the author and say, "See what you've done?"

Read a FREE excerpt of Stone Kissed now!

STONE KISSED ISBN: 978-14268-9101-4

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

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

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

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

KERI STEVENS was raised in southern Missouri and has lived in Germany, Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky. Along the way she acquired degrees in writing and German, a romance hero of her very own, three sons, two miracle cats and a mutt who licks her when she speaks German.

Her husband gave Keri her first romance novel to read, which unleashed a passion. Several years and a couple thousand novels later, Keri took up her laptop and began writing her own books.
By day, she is a mild-mannered yoga and Oriental dance instructor. By night she creates mayhem and magic in small-town paranormal romance novels like her award-winning debut, Stone Kissed.

Find Keri online at:
Main site and blog:
My Friends Yahoo group:


Joyce Tremel said...

Welcome Keri!

I'll admit I don't read much romance, but that may have to change. Your book sounds pretty cool.

So far, I haven't talked to the St. Anthony or the Mary statues in my yard, but that may have to change, too!

Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks for visiting, Keri! After reading your post, I realize we're sadly lacking in statues in our house. Think I'll have to go remedy that.

Keri Stevens said...

Joyce, once you start talking to them...

Jennie--thanks to the book, my husband's got gift ideas for the next few years. We've got a dancer figure in the front garden now and a Green Man wall fountain on order.

Miranda @ My Eclectic Bookshelf said...

Love it! I hate to admit I am one of those that talks to the other statues in the cemetery when I go visit my gram. The old cracked, moss covered ones. They need some love and attention too! I loved Stone Kissed, great guest post!

Gina said...

Welcome, Keri. This sounds like a great concept. I admit to sometimes speaking to inanimate objects of all types - not just statues - but I would be seriously creeped out if they started talking back!

Karen in Ohio said...

What a great idea for a series. Love that kind of whimsical idea, and wish you the best with the book.

Will look for it!

My grandfather was the sexton of the only Catholic cemetery in the half-Catholic town where I grew up. Between visiting my grandparents, and going to church six days a week, I spent a lot of my childhood surrounded by statues. They can be a comforting presence.

Keri Stevens said...

Of COURSE you should talk to them. And I'm so glad you enjoyed the book.
Gina--I don't blame you :)
Karen--people have been carving figures of ourselves in the most permanent substance available since prehistory. I thinking "comfort" is definitely a factor.

Working Stiffs said...

Hey, Keri, thanks for visiting! I hope y'all have read chapter one of Stone Kissed--the opening is incredible!

We have one statue--St. Francis and he watches over our yard and apparently all the critters who come around.


Kittie Howard said...

Keri, I totally love your idea for Stone Kissed (which could turn into a movie, actually) and will definitely read your book. Thanks!

Ramona said...

Keri, I concur--fabulous premise!

This past fall, I visited an antebellum home that had recently been vandalized. One of the statues had been toppled over and a restoration team from Dallas was brought in to repair it, at great expense. It's too bad that statue couldn't talk, and name the vandals.

Keri Stevens said...

WS--I guarantee that if you read Stone Kissed, you'll never see your St. Francis the same way again (he's very active in the book).

Kittie--will you come home with me? I want to be surrounded by these positive thoughts!

Ramona--vandalism...ugh. Don't get me started. Tagging the side of a building is one thing--I actually believe in graffiti art. But destruction for destruction's sake...makes Keri cranky.

Becke Davis said...

You realize I'm going to have to find that statue of the North Wind one of these days. I LOVE the story of how you got the idea for Stone Kissed!! Every time I see a statue now I think of you.