Tag Archives: Woodcutter sisters

Finding My Joy

Norton Nominated PrincessI finished a new novel yesterday.

I didn’t write the words “THE END” because I was running late for a dinner party. I sent the last chapter to my mom (she reads chapter by chapter) and the whole thing to my editor and went off to watch the sunset at Cocoa Beach (technically, the Banana River).

I don’t think I was much fun at the dinner party. Which was okay–it meant I got to sit around and soak up other people’s stories for a while. And it allowed me to process some things.

Because I had just finished the first book I’m ever going to self publish.

I know what you must be thinking right now: “I get it. She got dumped by her publisher because she’s a terrible writer. Ugh. I don’t have to listen to this.” I know this is going through some people’s minds because it’s what went through my mind many, many times in those first days.

Yes, I did get dumped by my publisher last year. I also got dumped by my boyfriend. Turns out, sometimes in a failing relationship you accidentally find a door marked EXIT. Sometimes even in the same 24 hours.

I’m here to tell you to take it.

Here’s what I heard happened with the publisher: Somebody new came in. Somebody higher up. For whatever reason, everyone I knew and loved at my publisher started leaving. The head of Digital. The head of Marketing. My own beloved editor. Turns out, my publishing contract was just one of the first casualties of this event. You know, no hard feelings.

I had spent years forming these relationships. If they hadn’t dropped me like a hot potato, I would have been forced to start fresh with all new people…even if I didn’t like them. As it was, I was going to have to work with all of these new people for my last book there. They pushed back the release date, sent it through several more rounds of copyedits even after the final pages were done, and declined the change we had decided to make on the cover. One of the new people, I fell in love with. One of the new people I didn’t care for at all.

And yet, like that terrible boyfriend, if they had asked me back in those first few months I probably would have said yes.

There have been other times like this in the past when the Universe has saved me from myself. This is why, when I look up at the stars at night and don’t have a wish on the tip of my tongue, I say, “Thank you.”

I finished a book last night. My editor will look at it today, because her only client is me. I have full approval on the cover art. And the title. Barnes and Noble will not be swooping in to change anything at the last minute. My author photo will be on the back (or jacket flap). I have a copyeditor lined up, and proofreaders, and I have to get back to the layout people.

This book could be out in a month.

Beyond that: New York would never have let me write this book in the first place. There are already two parallel novels in the Woodcutter Sisters Series — this is a third. It’s a spinoff series, like starting Angel in the middle of Buffy. If Dearest is Book 3 of the Woodcutter Series, this is Book 2.5. Also, the entire novel’s worth of adventure bumps right up against 40,000 words. New York pretty much has no idea what to do with that.

But you know what? My fans know what to do with it. Mom read the last chapter this morning over her coffee, gave it two thumbs up, and yelled, “ENCORE!”

I am thankful that the romance writing community has embraced self-publishing in such a vigorous way, when other genres still look down their noses at it. You know what? I think every published author should try self-publishing a novel, in the same way I think everyone in America should have to work a retail job through the Christmas season. Short stories don’t count. I’ve self-pubbed those too. It’s not the same. You have to spend months–YEARS–invested in a title and then realize that, if your ducks are in a row, it will be in the hands of fans around the world in one month. Not a year, not two years, but ONE MONTH.

That is where the joy is. JOY. That is the strange feeling I contemplated in silence as I watched the dolphins frolic in the twilight.

Would I like to continue publishing with traditional New York publishers? Yes. Specifically, I would like to work with my beloved editor again at her new publisher. But I will be finishing the Woodcutter Series on my own, with no fear.

The paperback of Dearest will hit stores next February. My goal now is to see how many books I can get out into the world before then.

What are your goals for 2015? It’s not too late. It’s never too late!

Mermaid Takeover – Kerri Bumps Alethea

Here at the Mermaid Lagoon, we each get at least one day a month to blog. Today is Alethea’s day. Or was… [Insert ominous laugh]

That’s right, I’m stealing Alethea’s day! But before you get your fins in a bunch, don’t worry. It’s all to talk about our lovely, amazing, sparkly, Princess, massively talented, beautiful Mermaid Alethea. And bonus, she has a new book out today called Dearest, the 3rd book in the Woodcutter series, and it’s amazeballs! I’m not just saying that because she was my crazy-fun roommate in San Antonio who encouraged me to put whipped cream in my coffee every morning or make waffles in the shape of Texas.

So read on to learn more about our very own Alethea, what she’d make me for dinner, how she’s taking my dog to Hawaii, and which noise she really, really hates. (It’s a good one!) Go Alethea! Dearest


When I think of fairy tales, I generally think of the Disney version of said fairy tale, which may or may not be an accurate depiction of the original story. What Disney adaptation of a fairy tale is your favorite?

Everyone always expects me to say Beauty & the Beast because I look like Belle…and act like Belle…but my answer to this question has to be The Little Mermaid. I loved this Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale so much as a child. I would read it…and cry…and then read it again. When I found out Disney was adapting “The Little Mermaid,” my eyes were like saucers. I mean…SHE DIES. Can they do that?!? But Disney gave that mermaid what we’d all been wishing for her for 150 years: a happy ending.

It’s a random Sunday night and I show up at your house. What are you making me for dinner?

If you caught me at the last minute, I’d make you Greek Chicken & Potatoes. It’s a staple of the Kontis house–a favorite, and easy to make. If I had all the ingredients and all the time, I’d make you my mother’s moussaka. Because it’s possibly my favorite dish ever. And if you don’t care for eggplant, I’ll do the Thea Ana variation that’s made with only potatoes.

You travel. A lot! What one place surprised you the most? And in what way?

There was this one place, at my horrid ex-fiance’s mother’s house in Newcastle, England. The ex was horrid but his mother was lovely, as was her husband (the ex’s stepfather) who, in his retirement, did things like climb mountains and grow things. There was a stone wall beside their house, and through the archway I found the most amazing garden. I walked among the flowers and plants, barefoot in the thick grass. Standing there on the top of that hill, with the wind in my hair, I had a moment of complete serenity. It occurred to me that this was the most beautiful place I had ever been to on the planet.

And then the ex called me inside and ordered me to wipe my feet off so I didn’t get grass stains on his mother’s white carpet.

Speaking of traveling… I’m very busy reading Dearest and my dog Harry needs to go for a walk so you’re going to have to help me out. He loves beaches. Where in the world are you taking him?

Let’s go to Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go, and I have some friends there I’d love to visit!

Give me one Easter Egg from Dearest.

All the Kates in Dearest are named after my dear friend (and award-winning voice actress) Kate Baker, because I was writing that scene on her birthday.

As always, I have to go here. I love the ten questions that James Lipton asks at the end of every episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Your turn.

  1. What is your favorite word? — syzygy
  2. What is your least favorite word? — failure
  3. What turns you on? — intelligence
  4. What turns you off? — people who don’t read
  5. What sound or noise do you love? — dried leaves skittering down the street in the Fall
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? — When people say “blech” at food without tasting it
  7. What is your favorite curse word? — Joy. As in, “Oh, JOY.”
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? — Marine Chemist. It’s what I studied in college. I miss being a genius.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? — anything involving a cubicle. *shudder*
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Alethea! Lovely to see you. Here’s the photo album you requested.”

I have always said that when I die, I wish to see a photo album of all the pictures where I appear somewhere in the background. Families on vacation, strangers at conventions, random folks on the street. I’ve always been curious to know just how many people I might have known…how many lives I might have touched but for some twist of fate.

Alethea & Kerri, Selfies at RWA 2014

Alethea teaching Keri how to take a selfie at RWA 2014.


Who is your favorite Mermaid sister? [Evil grin]

(You may deliver the truck of glitter to my new house in Florida. But only if you come too!)




Okay, I will alter that question because I’m not completely evil. [Shut up, peanut gallery!] Hollywood comes a-calling. Cast your Mermaid sisters in Enchanted, Hero, and Dearest.

Ooh…tough one!

Carlene — Sunday Woodcutter (without a doubt)

Denny — Aunt Joy (omg she is SO Aunt Joy!)

Kerri — Friday Woodcutter (big heart, big adventure)

Susan — Henry Humbug (silly but knows EVERYTHING)

Masha — Monday Woodcutter (beautiful, serene, dark, & powerful)

Dana — Thursday Woodcutter (only because Dana is too short to be Saturday Woodcutter)

Pintip — Yarlitza Mitella (exotic and fashionable, with a colorful history involving the Duke of Cauchemar)

Loni — Aunt Rose Red, The Abbess of Rose Abbey

Kimberly — Mama Woodcutter (because Kim has like 18 kids…)


BEST INTERVIEW EVER! I should totally steal Alethea’s day more often. While I ponder doing that, make sure you check out Dearest, out today in hardcover and digital versions. Seriously, check it out. Do it! Or I’m sending you one of those exploding glitter boxes!

For more about Alethea, check out her website here. And to really stalk her, click the icons below.

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