Join Me and Steena Holmes for a Live Author to Author Chat
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Steena Holmes is joining me for a FB Live author to author chat on Wednesday, October 23 at 4 pm PDT/5pm MDT/6 pm CDT/7 pm EDT. We’ll be streaming live to my Facebook Author page. I’d love to have you join us as we talk about life and books and answer reader questions—mark your calendar and save the link!

In the meantime, you can grab Steena’s new release, The Patient, here on Amazon or look for it wherever books are sold! And if you still need a copy of Everything You Are, here’s a handy Amazon link for that.

In other news, Whisper Me This is a Kindle Daily Deal on Monday the 22nd for just $1.99.

i hope you can make the author chat!

Happy Reading.

Kerry SchaferComment
Today is Release Day for Everything You Are!
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Today is release day! Finally!

Which means you can finally get your hands on your very own copy of Everything You Are even if you’re not a Prime Reads subscriber!

One of the things I love about being an author publishing with Lake Union is the live sales feed we have access to. I get to look and see how many books are being bought and, what is so much more fun, I get to see where people are buying them! I absolutely love knowing that people in Germany, Italy, and Mexico are reading Everything You Are!

I was trying to think of something that would be fun for all of us to celebrate launch week, and in addition to the Everything You Are Birthday Book Bash that I talked about yesterday, I came up with this:

Introducing the #loveeverythingyouare contest and giveaway

Introducing the #loveeverythingyouare contest and giveaway

The #loveeverythingyouare contest and giveaway

At the very center of Everything You Are lies the truth that we, as humans, are far from our best selves when we are not pursuing our talents, abilities, and passions. I want to celebrate the things that you most love along with celebrating the release of the book. So I came up with a fun little contest!

I'll draw the name of one participant to receive an Everything You Are original tote bag, and a $50 Amazon gift card to buy books to put in it!

Here's how to play:

1. Take a selfie of you doing something you love AND incorporate the cover of Everything You Are in the photo somewhere. (You can get somebody else to take the pic if you want. If you can’t get your hands on a copy, photoshop and canva are options)

2. Post on social media with the hashtag #loveeverythingyouare. One entry per post - multiple posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will win you the most entries!

3. Feel free to share here too so we can all see and celebrate YOU while we celebrate the book.

4. Contest closes at midnight PDT on October 7.

5. Winner will be announced IN MY NEWSLETTER so be sure you're signed up and check your email!

6. Disclaimers: Winner must contact me within 72 hours after email is sent, or another winner will be chosen. Must be 18 to enter. US and Canada only. (sorry, international people. I love you but the rules are complicated. Feel free to play for fun though!)

In order to play you’ll want a copy of the book.

#loveeverythingyouare

#loveeverythingyouare

This is my favorite entry so far! I know it’s not a selfie, but fur babies definitely count. Seriously. How cute is this?? The object is to have some fun with the book while sharing a little bit of what you love and are all about.

Happy reading!

Kerry SchaferComment
You're Invited to an Everything You Are Book Birthday Bash!
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Everything You Are officially releases tomorrow, October the 1st, and the Viking and I are totally celebrating!

But celebrating anything is always more fun with friends! Which is why I’ve put together a week long Book Birthday Bash extravaganza for Everything You Are so we can party together no matter where you live!

Sign up for the Facebook event to make sure you get in on all of the fun - including a #loveeverythingyouare contest, door prizes, a live reading, and more!

Ready to get your hands on your very own copy? Click here for convenient buy links.

Happy reading, and I hope to see you tomorrow!

Kerry Schafer Comments
Does Everything You Are Belong on Your TBR List? A Handy Guide
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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I totally understand the problem of towering TBR lists. Should you add Everything You Are to the stack? And if you do, where does it fit? Will you read it now, or after your current read, or later when the mood strikes?

I know how hard these decisions are, so I’ve put together a handy little guide to help you make an informed decision.

1.     Everything You Are addresses complex family dynamics, grief, post traumatic stress, and other difficult topics. It’s not a beach read, and while it has elements of dark humor it is definitely not lighthearted. I love this Instagram review from @one_more_paige

“If you’re anything like me, your reading mood is similar to your wardrobe and it’s been craving something a little more substantial as we enter into the cooler weather. This powerful read is one that will satisfy your need for substance and plot” ~

Another reader, Jennifer, wrote this:

“Everything You Are is a beautifully told story of utter despair versus hope, forgiveness, and redemption. I recommend it for those who enjoy powerful reads. 

So if you’re in the mood for something light and funny, this is not the book to read right now. Maybe later, when the mood shifts. But according to these reviewers, if you’re in the head and heart space for a powerful, moving read, Everything You Are might be exactly what you are looking for.

2.     An Emotional Rollercoaster. One of my early readers messaged me to let me know that she couldn’t stop crying as she read! Like all of my books, there is light at the end to make up for all of the darkness, but if you don’t want a book that will make you feel, and maybe even cry, then this is not the book for you! Here’s what early readers have to say:

“The author’s lyrical writing held me captivated—I read through my own tears, my heart in my throat, holding out hope for these wounded people to be healed and whole.” ~Susan Peterson

“This one pulled so tightly on my heartstrings and with such a novel written so beautifully and the characters well written and with the music theme weaving in and out of the story, I couldn’t recommend this one enough. A real powerful read!” ~Goodreads reviewer

3.     Language and thematic elements: Everything You Are does deal with dark themes of alcoholism, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress. Characters sometimes react with profanity. If four letter words in books are not your thing, then you’ll be much happier reading a different book. My mother would have totally agreed with you, by the way!

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4.     Apparently, the book is hard to put down and might interfere with life and sleep:  

I’ve heard from a number of early readers who said they were having a hard time tearing themselves away from the page:

“I will say this about the book, once you start reading you are not going to want to put it down so make sure that you don't have any plans.” ~ Mary Jackson

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So if you’re super busy and can’t afford to get immersed in a book right now, you might want to add it to the TBR for later.

5.     A touch of magic: Everything You Are brings a little bit of magic into the character’s every day world. The cello has some properties that are not exactly normal, and there is the question of a possible curse that needs to be broken. If you’re a totally straight up realism type of reader, this book is probably not for you. Here’s what the readers had to say:

“A magical and lyrical story about promises and forgiveness. Every thing you are by bestselling author @kerry_anne_king was everything I wanted it to be”  ~Stephani Beltran

“...a gripping and powerful read which weaves the characters around a musical promise given to family members that must be fulfilled. The plot is interesting & keeps the reader engaged until the very end with a twist of fate.”

6.     Music. Music is woven through every part of this novel and is an integral part of the journey for all three point of view characters. If you don’t care for musical themes or have a dislike for cellos, then you’ll probably be happier with a different book:

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“this story delves into the wonderful magic of music, the special relationship between a musician and their instrument, something non-musicians (like Bradley’s ex-wife) may not comprehend, and the complex psychology behind PTSD. A very interesting and original storyline, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it. ~Joanne Chase

“a book of resilience, love and forgiveness, beautifully written so that I could hear the cello playing as I read it.” ~texicali books

I hope that reading this has helped you gain some clarity on whether or not Everything You Are is a book you’ll want to read, as well as whether it’s a “now” or “later” read for you!

Whatever you decide, please know that I’m one hundred percent in favor of reading what you love. In fact, I’ve just up-ended my entire TBR list to read this lovely and much coveted ARC that arrived in the mail yesterday:

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Seriously. Life is short. Read what you love.

 

 

Kerry SchaferComment
The Problem of the Towering TBR List
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Okay, hands up if your To Be Read list is out of control!

Mine is getting increasingly precarious. On top of all of the books Amazon advertises to me ( and yes, they know what I like) and all of the amazing books I keep seeing pop up in the online groups I’m in, and the books my friends are writing, I also get books to read for authors I interview on my Podcast.

I love this. I’m eternally and constantly grateful that my life is built around reading and writing books. But there is a problem.

So many books, so little time, right? So many pesky little things get in the way of reading all of the books. Things like jobs, kids, partners, and pets. The need to, you know, actually eat food and clean the house and go to the store and move around from time to time.

Abundance of anything is a good problem to have, of course, books included.

The difficulty lies in choosing which book to read first!

I’m curious—what shifts a book up to the top of your TBR list?

For me, sometimes it’s a gorgeous cover. Often it’s the very first words written on that very first page that let me know I’m going to fall in love with a particular story. Sometimes it’s a recommendation from a friend, or having read and loved other books by an author.

If you’ve been debating whether to add my new book, Everything You Are to your book stack, or if you’ve already purchased it but don’t know where to put it in your reading schedule, decision making help is on the way!

Tomorrow’s post will be chock full of valuable information to help you decide where Everything You Are fits into your reading life.

Happy reading!

Kerry SchaferComment
Everything You Are Reader Fun and Freebies
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October 1st is almost here!

And that is exciting, why? It’s not Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s not even Black Friday. Most years the 1st of October wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but this year is different!

Everything You Are officially launches on October 1st!

I’m over-the-top excited because hey, I wrote this book, and now you all get to read it and that’s a huge cause for celebration! To make this week go faster I’ve got some fun things planned, including a chance to win an audio copy of Everything You Are, so now it’s your turn to get excited!

Also - if you’re on my inner circle newsletter list you are automatically entered every month for a $5 gift card drawing, so make sure you get in on that!

Join me and Melissa Webb Payne for a fun Facebook Live author chat on Thursday, September 26 at 4:30 pm PDT/5:30 pm MDT/6:30 CDT/7:30 EDT. Click here for time zone converter if needed. We’ll be talking about what is fun and exciting in our author lives, our new books, the roller coaster ride of being on First Reads, and wherever else our conversation takes us - plus answering reader questions!

Mark your calendar and check out the event here.

Audio Book Giveaway

Audio Book Giveaway

Hands Up if You Love Audio Books

I absolutely adore the narration for Everything You Are and can’t wait to share, so I’m giving away two audio copies - either CD or MP3 - to two audio book lovers who comment below and are on my inner circle newsletter list. To enter, comment with the title of the last audio book you listened to.

Contest closes September 30 at midnight PDT. Open to international readers. Must be 18 or older.

Stay tuned for more fun stuff next week!

Kerry Schafer Comments
Everything You Are is Hanging out with the Cool Kids in the Kindle Store
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I’m not much of a squealer and I’m at a conference in a hotel room, so screaming out loud is NOT a good idea right now. I am totally screaming inside, though, with excitement and joy and some serious disbelief.

If you’d told me a few years ago that any book of mine would be at the top of the Amazon charts, rubbing elbows with Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Patricia Cornwell — I would have laughed at you.

But today, this is totally a thing. Do you think maybe they saw my cover and know that I exist? Or are they above checking their placement in the rankings? I’m imagining Margaret Atwood having a look and saying, “Oh, what a pretty cover! I wonder who this Kerry Anne King might be?”

Hey, I’m a writer. I have a BIG imagination!

What awesome thing can you imagine for yourself and your life today?

Kerry SchaferComment
Everything You Are is a September First Reads Pick!
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Music, love, and forgiveness all make this book such a highly recommended read. I will say this about the book, once you start reading you are not going to want to put it down so make sure that you don’t have any plans.
— Reader Mary Jackson

Everything You Are officially releases on October 1st - but you can get it now on Kindle for free!

If you are a member of Amazon Prime Reads, you can download free on your Kindle now. And if you’re not a member, you can still grab it for $1.99!

And this month is extra awesome in First Reads World, because you get to pick TWO books for free, instead of the usual one.

Which ones will you choose? I think they all look fantastic.

Let me tell you a little bit about Everything You Are to help you decide whether it’s the one for you to choose.

First, the book trailer!

This is a novel that worked its way into my heart and soul utterly and completely....the rest of the world drifted away as I became immersed in the lives of Phee, Braden, and Allie. The author’s lyrical writing held me captivated—I read through my own tears, my heart in my throat, holding out hope for these wounded people to be healed and whole.
— Reader Susan Peterson

Next, let me introduce you to the characters

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PHEE: when Phee's luthier grandfather died and left her his luthier business, she thought she'd get to spend the rest of her life building and repairing violins and cellos, but the position came with a few interesting complications. Like a cello with a soul, and the responsibility to make sure its owner plays it and treats it right. She's never quite sure whether she REALLY believes in the curse that will fall if she fails, but she's rapidly getting convinced.

BRADEN: once a brilliant cellist, Braden is the owner and man responsible for Phee's special cello. But eleven years ago he injured his hands and has been unable to play. Everything has fallen apart for him since then. He's an alcoholic, estranged from his wife and two children and has nothing in his life worth living for. Until the accident that kills his wife and son, and the realization that his teenage daughter, Allie, needs him.

ALLIE: Allie feels like she was born with music running through her veins, but she blames the music -- and particularly the cello -- for the death of her mother and brother. Angry at her father for abandoning her, caught in a spiral of grief and guilt and rage, Allie is on a fast track to a disaster of her own.

THE CELLO: The cello wants to be played. She has a special and unbreakable bond with Braden. She is the link that brings Phee, Braden, and Allie together on a trajectory that could end either in disaster -- or in hope -- if only Braden can find his way back to the music.

And the back cover copy

From the bestselling author of Whisper Me This comes a haunting and lyrical novel about the promises we make and the forgiveness we need when we break them.

One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.

When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.

This beautifully written, lyrical novel is about music and family and forgiveness with a touch of magical realism. It’s one of those books that you want to get to the end to see how it ends but you find yourself reading slower because you don’t want it to end and you don’t want to say goodbye to the characters.
— ~ Reader Sue

If you choose to read Everything You Are I would love to hear your thoughts. And reviews are always welcome!

Everything You Are Goodreads Giveaway!
“ …a fresh, imaginative story about the power of dreams and our hunger to be who we really are.” ~Barbara O’Neal, bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids

…a fresh, imaginative story about the power of dreams and our hunger to be who we really are.” ~Barbara O’Neal, bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids

EVERYTHING YOU ARE is set to release October 1st - and as of today there are 100 kindle copies up for giveaway over on Goodreads! Before I give you the link to that, let me introduce you to the characters.

PHEE: when Phee's luthier grandfather died and left her his luthier business, she thought she'd get to spend the rest of her life building and repairing violins and cellos, but the position came with a few interesting complications. Like a cello with a soul, and the responsibility to make sure its owner plays it and treats it right. She's never quite sure whether she REALLY believes in the curse that will fall if she fails, but she's rapidly getting convinced.

BRADEN: once a brilliant cellist, Braden is the owner and man responsible for Phee's special cello. But eleven years ago he injured his hands and has been unable to play. Everything has fallen apart for him since then. He's an alcoholic, estranged from his wife and two children and has nothing in his life worth living for. Until the accident that kills his wife and son, and the realization that his teenage daughter, Allie, needs him.

ALLIE: Allie feels like she was born with music running through her veins, but she blames the music -- and particularly the cello -- for the death of her mother and brother. Angry at her father for abandoning her, caught in a spiral of grief and guilt and rage, Allie is on a fast track to a disaster of her own.

THE CELLO: The cello wants to be played. She has a special and unbreakable bond with Braden. She is the link that brings Phee, Braden, and Allie together on a trajectory that could end either in disaster -- or in hope -- if only Braden can find his way back to the music.

You can preorder here.

And you can enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

Author to Author Chat with Nicole Meier and Everything You Are Giveaway!
Join us for a fun conversation about writing and our new releases!

Join us for a fun conversation about writing and our new releases!

Want a chance to get your hands on a copy of Everything You Are before it’s even released?

How about an opportunity to hang out with Nicole Meier and me live?

You are so in luck, because you can do both things at once! Hey, I’m all about making life easy, fun, and filled with awesome books! So I love that I get to chat with Nicole Meier and with you. Plus, I love being able to give away books to good homes.

So clear your calendar, circle the date, and join us for a lively and fun Author to Author chat on Wednesday, August 28, at 11 am PT (noon MT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET) on my Kerry Anne King Facebook author page.

If you have to work, just sneak away to the bathroom or something. Or tell them you have a book emergency. This should totally be a thing, right? In my opinion, book emergencies of all kinds should be covered by medical plans everywhere. Reading is good for our health and highly medicinal!

Like the page now, so it’s easy to find, and make sure you set yourself a reminder alert so you don’t miss this!

Wait! There’s More!

Are you coming to my Inner Circle Coffee Party? Because I have a juicy secret about Everything You Are that I’m going to share first with my inner circle!

Join me next Sunday at 9 am PT (10 am MT, 11 am CT, noon ET) in a private zoom room to be first to get the news! And for another chance to win a signed copy of Everything You Are!

Want to know a secret about Everything You Are?

I love secrets.

At least, I love the moment when I actually get to share them! But the secret keeping part, where I know something super fun but I have to wait to tell people drives me crazy! I feel like a little kid doing the potty dance - you know how they bounce up and down trying to hold everything in? It’s like that!

When I got my very first book deal back in 2011, the publisher asked me to wait a few days to talk about it and I seriously thought I was going to explode. All I wanted to do back then was jump up and down and shout: “I’m actually getting a book published!”

And now I want to shout—

Wait. I’m not doing that.

But, if you join me for a Coffee Party on Sunday, September 1st, at 9 am PT, I will definitely tell you all about it. I also promise not to shout, so there’s no need to bring ear plugs!

We’ll meet in a zoom room where you can chat with me and other readers. I’ll spill my secret, and then we can all hang out for a bit and talk about books and life and cats before returning to our regularly scheduled weekend. Oh - be sure to bring your own coffee, or tea, or whatever beverage makes you happy.

AND I will give away a signed copy of Everything You Are to somebody who comes to play with me.

Sound like fun?

Awesome!

But here’s the thing: make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter, because only the inner-circle readers will get the password that will let you into the party! You can also sign up for the event here on Facebook, but it’s not required.

Watch for my email next week to make sure you have the link and the password and are all set to go, but mark your calendar now.

And join the inner circle before you forget!

Oh - one more thing! If you missed the Create a Story Live event it was super fun! You can read the story we created here. Who knew there would be vampires? That wasn’t me. I swear. Well, okay, it was a little bit me. You can also watch the replay here, but you might want to skip ahead about 15 minutes from the beginning.

Have a fantastic day, and I’ll be back with more soon. In the meantime, I do have to show you a pic of the box of author copies of Everything You Are that arrived at my house!

Let's create a story - together - on Facebook Live

I had this wild and crazy idea. Full emphasis on crazy.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a writer. And I also have this belief that all of us are creative, whether we believe we are or not.

As I was pondering the question of what might be a fun thing to do for readers - and for me, because I’m selfish like that - the crazy idea popped right into my head. I thought:

What if I invited everybody in my world to hop over to my Facebook author page for a live story building session? How fun would that be?

Now, if a lovely group of people shows up, then this idea is really fairly sane and has the potential to actually be a super fun time. There’s not much that makes me happier than brainstorming a new story, and I’d love to bring you into that particular writer play space with me.

The crazy part is that if nobody else thinks it sounds like a fun idea, I could easily end up talking to myself, which is really a normal part of my usual creative day, but with the added pressure of talking to myself LIVE on Facebook.

But hey, now that I had the idea it’s a happening thing!

Come on over and play with me on Friday August 16th at 11 am PT (noon MT, 1 pm CT, and 2 pm ET). Put it in your calendar now so you remember.

Let’s see what we can create together!

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Extra incentive

I have a copy of Fall of Poppies, signed by authors Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor, that I’ll give to somebody who really gets into this story creation process.

Author Hangout with Christine Nolfi

I had this idea that it would be super fun to get Christine in a zoom room and then stream our conversation life to Facebook. It was a brilliant idea (I still believe this.) But then Tech glitches happened. We were way late by the time zoom decided to stream. Some of our loyal and devoted fans never did get to join us, but Christine and I still had a blast with our Facebook Live author hang out, and now you can be in on it too, after the fact! I hope you enjoy! We got into some interesting territory around tapping into the collective unconscious, whether we manifest life events by what we write in books, and where ideas come from.

I’d love it if you’d share your reactions and tell us what you think!

Check out Christine’s new release - The Road She Left Behind.

Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him.  Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.

Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him.

Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.

Because I love readers...

If you are an avid reader, then I love you, whether you happen to have read my books or not!

Seriously. Where would writers be without people to read their books?

So, today I want to give you a gift. I can’t give all of you a book (well, maybe I could but it would get really expensive and I’m not feeling quite THAT generous) but I can give books to some of you!

Comment below sometime today (February 14, 2019) for a chance to win a Kindle copy of either Closer Home or I Wish You Happy. I’d love to make this international, but Amazon won’t let me share the Kindle with you, alas, so US only for this one.

Tell me something about your love of reading AND which book you would like to win!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Oh - and if you’re notified about winning, respond within a week in order to be eligible)

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Kerry Schafer Comments
Christmas Giveaway

Exclusive Giveaway for Newsletter Subscribers

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Thank you for being you, and for reading my emails every week! I’m excited to give away three paperback copies of Whisper Me This. Just comment on this post to enter. I’ll draw a winner at random on Christmas Eve and announce them in the next newsletter. So make sure you read to see if you won!

Merry Christmas, from me and the Viking.

Kerry

Kerry Schafer Comments
Listen to the Whisper Me This Original Song
Brandon Schafer and Keadrin Cain

Brandon Schafer and Keadrin Cain

I'm deeply happy to be able to share the recording of Whisper Me This with you.

This song was born of a creative collaboration between me, my son Brandon, a lovely cellist named Keadrin, and one of those magical moments I live for as a writer. You can read more about that here.

My thanks to Brandon Schafer, Keadrin Cain, Amplified Wax studios, and also to the lyrics of this song for showing up pretty much out of the blue.

Happy listening!

Copyright Kerry and Brandon Schafer. Lyrics, Kerry Schafer. Guitar and vocals, Brandon Schafer. Cello and backup vocals, Keadrin Cain. Recording by Amplified Wax

A Whisper of an Idea

Whisper Me This was born out of one of many conversations with my Viking about life, the universe, and everything.

We were soaking luxuriously in our hot tub (which is out on the back deck of our little house in the big woods) listening to the wind in the trees and reveling in the awesome life we are lucky to live up here.

And then the Viking started talking about this woman he knows who is not so lucky. She's trapped in a domestic violence situation--a bright, beautiful woman who struggles to see that there could be another way for her.

And then he asked this question:

"What does it take for a woman to get free of something like that? Or for anybody to make a total life change? Do you just wake up one morning and realize you've had enough? Is there one moment in time that changes everything, or is it a gradual process?"

And then he looked at me and said, "You should write about that."

So I did. 

This is a topic that resonates deeply with me. I am an extremely fortunate woman. I was raised without any shadow of fear by a father who was an awesome human being who respected women. My brother is the same kind of human being, and when I went out looking for relationships I found men who were like them.

But I've been a counselor and I've listened to so many of my clients, both women and men, trying to get past a legacy of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. I've heard my friends talk about the situations they are in, or have gotten free of. Not to mention what I see on the internet on a daily basis.

I have talked to humans who have been incredibly impacted by abuse and don't yet realize that what is happening to them is wrong. Their whole experience has been such that they believe these toxic relationships are normal. 

So in this story I delved into the stories of characters who have all been affected, one way or another, by domestic violence. And while I wrote I was always looking to answer that question - "What would it take to get free?"

And because this topic matters to me, deeply, I'm extraordinarily excited that this book has been chosen by my publisher as a Readers First pick this month on Amazon. I hope that it might make some small difference out there in the world, even if it just opens up some dialogue around this complex and pervasive issue.

And of course, being an author, I also hope readers love the characters and the story!

I Wish You Happy Celebration - Matchmaking for Beginners

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson is one of my favorite books this year so far. Here is the blurb I was lucky enough to write for it:

Matchmaking for Beginners walked straight into my heart, trailing a shower of golden sparkles. Dawson has created a magical world inhabited by characters so engaging and real it seems plausible they might drop by for a cup of coffee. By turns funny, wise, and poignant, this is a story about falling in love—with the painful, messy, joyful business of living.
— Kerry Anne King

And here's the copy from Amazon:

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.

When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.

And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

Enter! You definitely want to read this one.

I Wish You Happy Celebration - Week One Giveaway

I love this book - and I love it's author. Barbara Sissel is one of the kindest, most compassionate and lovely women you are ever going to meet. So I'm delighted to be offering a giveaway of What Lies Below. If you enter - be sure to check my newsletter to see if you won!