Shadow Play: New Romance from Karen L. McKee

Shadow Play  

Karen L. McKee

When star investigative reporter Kaitlin ‘Seattle’ Blackwood arrives in Cambodia to look for her missing father, she drops right into the middle of the mystery her father left behind. To make matters worse, two strangers try to abduct her and the one man she had hoped never to see again rescues her. B.J. McCallum¾ ex-lover, ex-man of her dreams, ex-photojournalist¾ almost ruined her career when his exploded. He comes complete with his own heap of troubles: a murdered monk, stolen rubies and missing orphans, all might be linked to her father’s disappearance. Can Kaitlin and B.J. quit fighting long enough to solve the case and survive in a country where people have a habit of disappearing?

Once again, Karen L. McKee hits just the right note of humor as she leads readers on a romantic adventure, this time through the exotic, flooded landscapes of Cambodia during monsoon season. Shadow Play is a cross between Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fantastic romp with wonderful characters and an authentic setting.

Available as an e-book at: 

And coming February 2014 in print.

A BookBlast Sale!

Terra Incognita is being promoted through BookBlast today (Here) and is available for $0.99 on Amazon through this weekend.

Here’s the blurb:

Terra Vargas lives on an Earth shattered by climate change in a city threatened by fierce marauders—the deepee—who destroyed her family. When a young man, Ravi Sanghera, arrives with a destiny of his own—to rid the earth of the “Destroyer of World”, Terra learns she inherited powers she neither understands nor wants—powers that might contain the secret to preserving or destroying the only home she knows.

Now Ravi faces a terrible choice, follow his vision and kill Terra… Or abandon the reason he traveled halfway around the shattered planet, and help her stop the deepee.

The answer lies in their future, but first they must survive.

Happy reading!

AFTERSHOCK is finally here!

At long last I can announce the publication of book two in my American Geological Survey series!

Aftershock 

Karen L. Abrahamson

Aftershock returns readers to the world of Afterburn, where those with the Gift can rewrite the landscape with the stroke of a pen—literally.

Only the secret agents of the American Geological Survey preserve America from a massive Gift-induced quake that threatens the country’s heartland. But when problem-child agent Vallon Drake inherits the job, it can only mean trouble. In a tale as steamy as the sultry heat of the Mississippi Valley, can Vallon deal with the Gifted culprit and stop the destruction?

Readers looking for more of Vallon and her mysterious lover are going to love it!
Available as an e-book at: 

And coming this month in print.

 

 

A New Romantic Novel!

I’m thrilled to announce the latest Karen L. McKee equestrian-based romance novel, A Different Nightmusic.

For Oklahoma girl Trisha ‘Monty’ Montgomery, going to Lake Farm to escape her past and to breed a top jumping horse might be her one chance at a new life. But the shame of poverty and a past with men she isn’t proud of taints her attraction to the taciturn Jack Lake, the mysterious owner of Lake Farm.

When a flaming white horse gallops across her path and causes her to crash her truck, Monty ends up stranded at Lake Farm. Trapped as much by her pride as by lack of money, she soon finds herself entangled in mysterious goings-on: Is the flaming horse real? What is making the stable’s stallion go mad in the middle of the night?

And most of all, is Jack her enemy or her fate—the man who will send her stumbling back to a life of shame, or the man who will help her move on to a new life?

Available for sale on AmazonSmashwords and Kobo.

Inspiration and a new Short Story

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a romance novella called ‘The Rescue’. The story is based loosely on the fact that I broke my leg in January just like Amanda did in the story. The difference was, I fell on ice, not wet wood and I never had a handsome search and rescue man come and rescue me. Sigh.

I had to walk out.

I hope you enjoy the story. Here is the blurb:

The Rescue, by Karen L. McKee

Amanda Ripper escaped a controlling husband who convinced her that she was weak and an invalid. To convince herself that it wasn’t true, she fills her life with friends and hiking and refuses to become involved with anyone again. Then she falls and breaks her leg, reigniting the specter of her old life. Can a handsome man from search and rescue to give Amanda a chance at life again?

Available on Amazon, Smashwords and Kobo.

Two New Romance Short Stories

I’m thrilled that Twisted Root Publishing has just released two Karen L. McKee e-book romantic short stories at Amazon and other on-line retailers.

Happy reading!

 

 

Free Fiction – My Christmas Gift to Readers

As a gift to my readers, this short story is for free from now until January 1st. I’m thrilled to provide another wintry tale (maybe it’s because we just got our first good snowfall of the year and the entire city is shut down). This one takes us back to medieval times and a small clearing in a forest. And of course it’s a romance with horses.

Enjoy!

Click here. Sorry the Freebie has come down. Watch for a new one this month.

T’is the Season of Romance and Family

It must be the season but I’ve found myself writing romances and family stories over the past month. As a result a number of new Karen L. McKee stories have gone up on line.

In addition, Karen L. Abrahamson published two stories set in the far east. One involves romance gone wrong and the other focuses on growing up and family–in a not so nice situation.

Happy reading!

Great Expectations: Cats and Readers

Kayaking the west coast. (1996) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson

This past week I was supposed to be on the coast of Oregon with a group of writers learning about marketing books to bookstores. I was really looking forward to the trip and being with a group of great friends. I had everything packed and ready to be loaded into my car. My cats were primed and ready to for the trip. (They always travel with me, and the hotel where I stay at has known these boys since they were babies—it’s like a second home).

Then Ben, the larger of the two boys got sick and not just throwing up, but a total shut down. He quit eating (a VERY big thing for this guy) and drinking and became very quiet and cooperative. Now you have to know Ben. This is a cat that pulls paintings off walls and statues off shelves just to get your attention. When he took a downturn I ended up taking him to the emergency veterinarian. The next day more vets and more bills and at that point the I was still holding up hope that he might recover and I might still head to my course a day late.

Not to be.

Ben.

More tests, more bills and by this point I was administering subcutaneous fluids twice a day, force feeding three times and day and wrestling pills down his throat twice a day. It’s a wonder he’s still speaking to me. How do you spell stress?

The point I’m making here is that all my expectations were dashed and so I had to totally regroup and refocus myself from a week that I had booked off from work to a week working and caring for sick cats (yes, Ben’s brother got the same bug). It was jarring. It was unpleasant not least because I had a sick cat, but also because I wasn’t doing what my mind had expected. I raise this because it brought home something important writers need to think about, which is reader expectation.

Reader expectation is what the reader is expecting to experience in a book. For instance, if J.R.R. Tolkien had written a shoot-‘em-up Science Fiction book as a follow-up to the Lord of the Rings, think about how disappointed the Lord of the Rings fan would have been when they bought the book. Same goes for the reader who picks up a book that has a cover and blurb that looks like a suspense story, but when they get reading they find it’s women’s fiction. Or the reader whose book spends an immense amount of time early on lovingly describing the gun the hero owns, but by the end of the book the gun has never been used or even appeared in the story again. Each of these authors has violated reader expectations.

Shiva trying to catch a fly in Oregon.

A few days ago I was talking with a writer friend of mine. He was bummed out because his editor at a New York publisher had turned down book two of his two book contract and my friend couldn’t understand what that had happened. In discussion with the writer he advised that book one was a lavish fantasy involving the Jewish kabala. Book two was a comedic superhero novel. Anyone see a problem here? Apparently his editor did, because the publishing house had ‘bought’ my friend as an author of lavish Jewish fantasies, but his second novel failed to deliver this in every respect. The publishing house likely turned the book down out of concern for reader expectations. Basically my writer friend was asking to his readers to give up the expectations he had created through his first book and start all over again. I suggest that readers don’t like to do this anymore than I wanted to give up my week in Oregon.

In all of these cases the author failed to meet reader expectations and as a result the reader would have as dissatisfying an experience as I have had this week. Yes, the book(s) may still have been well written. My writer friends second book was undoubtedly wonderful (he’s a great writer), but it wasn’t what the publisher was banking on the reader wanting. He should have written another Jewish fantasy. He should have written under a different name for the superhero novel. Not that all our books have to be the same, but if we want to establish a career as a writer, we need to establish a brand. We might have several brands for different kinds of books written under different  names. For instance my romance novels are under Karen L. McKee, while my fantasy/SF is written under Karen L. Abrahamson. It helps reader know what they are getting and this helps meet reader expectation.

So as writers we need to make sure that we don’t put our readers through the experience I’ve had this week. With two sick cats, I definitely didn’t get what I’d thought I bought when I booked the week off.

(and in case you were interested, the boys are both on the mend.

The boys.

“A Good Traveler (or writer) has no Fixed Plans…”

Porter on the Camino Inca. (2011) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson

I purchased a lovely journal the other day. Though it’s not specifically a travel journal it certainly could be, because all of the quotes in the book relate to travelling, but when I read the complete quote by Lao-Tzu, all I could think of was its applicability to writing. The quote goes thus:

‘A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.’

As someone who loves to travel, this quote provides a cautionary tale, because it warns that if you focus always on the destination you miss a lot along the way. Personally, I prefer to meander from place to place because you never know when you are going to find some better place to go than the place you intended. If you are always focused on heading somewhere, you have a much greater chance of missing where you are. As the Buddhists suggest, mindfulness of where we are, rather than worrying about the future  (or where we are going) brings much more happiness than the rush, rush, rush of hurried travel. It’s for that reason that I don’t take bus tours. The tours point out what they think you want to know, not what you can really learn just by being there.

Yukon path, (2008) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson

But Lao-Tzu’s quote applies equally to writing. The writer who spends all his/her time solely focused on completing a project isn’t really giving themselves the opportunity to enjoy the project. I’m not saying that you should fool around and never finish, I’m suggesting that you should enjoy the process, no matter how difficult it is, and—just like the traveler who takes the time to meander you don’t need to be so end-driven that you can’t enjoy the little sidepaths that your muse sends you down.

I guess what I’m talking about is allowing the story to carry you along, just like the road can. You don’t have to know where you are going exactly, though you may have a vague idea that you would like things to end in a certain way. Some of my best days of writing are when I have allowed the story to carry me away from the story I had intended—those are the mornings I get up and rush to get writing again because I want to know what happens next. The funny thing is that if you allow the little digressions and flashes of insight to lead you, often the ending will turn out to be some place better than what you envisioned. Believe me, if the ending surprises you, it’s going to surprise and charm your reader, too.

So as a recovering ‘plotter’ of novels I think all novelist should allow themselves the freedom to step off the path they are following to explore the new world they’ve created. They might just find it’s bigger and better than they ever imagined.

Angkor Wat reflections. (2009) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson