Posted On December 9, 2011 by Print This Post

Keri Stevens: Inheriting King Kong

Today we venture off the beaten path into the world of King Kong, as author KERI STEVENS talks about heirlooms, attitudes and the magic of writing. Keri, author of STONE KISSED is one of my critique partners, and I know firsthand about her story magic.

Long-time critique partners Gabriella Edwards, Keri Stevens and Becke Martin Davis

Keri, Twitter goddess extraordinaire, is currently working on the second book in her Stewardsville, Virginia series for Carina Press.





Do you see this?






Here. Let me get a little closer…


“What,” you may ask, “the heck is that? And why is it in your house?”

And thereby hangs the tale by which I am hung.

You see, my 90-year-old grandmother passed away, and I inherited her dining room suite. There were many other things I did not inherit. There were many things to which I said (gracefully), “Oh, Mom, that’s lovely but I couldn’t,” or “Don’t you think that would look better in cousin Mandy’s home?” One of the things which I (gracefully) refused was the plaster statuette of King Kong, which has sat atop the corner cabinet in Grandma’s dining room (you know—the cabinet that is now in my dining room) for the last 40 years.

But my momma did not listen to me. On a recent Girls’ Weekend out (visit here and here for the tales of our shenanigans) Momma snuck King Kong into my home and left him where he has always belonged. And there he shall stay.

Not because of his brawny handsomeness. Not because I like to decorate in Peter Jackson Inspirational, but because of a simple story, which both enchants and enchains me:

According to our family lore, when my grandfather was stationed in Egypt and India during WW2, he picked up Mr. Kong as a gag gift for Grandma.

The Culprit and His Victim Bride, coming soon to a Presents near you

With a tale like that, how dare I get rid of Mr. Kong? I daren’t. And so now, for the next 40 years, he will take pride of place in my dining room until one of my sons (probably the middle one. He’s got the sick sense of humor) inherits him. Before long, this cheap chunk of plaster and bad paint will be a bona fide antique. It’s already an heirloom.

When you worry that your writing is worthless, or that you’re engaging in frivolous time-wasting by putting your stories down—stop. Remember that stories have magic. They change attitudes, emotions and behaviors from generation to generation. You’re not a scribbler—you are a bard. Not only is this writing important, but it may well be the most important thing you do.

When you’re making those resolutions next month, put your writing plans first for 2012. I plan to work on my resolutions list in a few minutes…but first I have to hunt down a teeny Santa hat to put on King Kong.

My personal resolutions:

1. Fine-tune and adhere to the personal and household organizational system I’ve been developing (I take anal retention to an all-new level of…impaction?)

2. Pay down a specific amount of debt (and stop using credit and debt period).

3. Reestablish a daily workout habit (even if it’s only for ten minutes a day).

4. Publication of Water Rocked (working title)

5. Completion and submission of the final (?) two Stewardsville novels

Oh, Lordy. We all resist telling others our plans because it forces accountability, but it’s part of the process of resolution-making. You’re going to publish this on a super-public blog and I’m gonna be all, EVERYBODY KNOWS NOW!



Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2012? Care to share them with us?

On Monday, Emery Lee discusses Creative Ways to Find Your Readership. Join us!



Keri Stevens‘s debut novel, STONE KISSED, won the 2011 Golden Quill for Best First Book.

She has added “staring at the pretty award plaque” to her extensive list of procrastination techniques. Many of her other techniques involve keeping her northern Kentucky home, raising her three sons, contemplating walking her dog and wallowing in the melodramatic lives of her cats. Oh–and she’s writing three more sexy books set in the magical mountain town of Stewardsville, Virginia.

Visit Keri’s blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Keri & Becke at the 2010 Romantic Times conference


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45 Responses to “Keri Stevens: Inheriting King Kong”

  1. Keri – King Kong is priceless! I like your comparison of quirky heirlooms and stories that sometimes seem without value. I’m a big fan of Antiques Roadshow, so I can appreciate how values change. Toys that were once practically worthless now go for thousands, and ten cents comic books sell for millions.

    Hmmm…I wonder how my daughter will feel about inheriting a ton of Wizard of Oz related kitsch? Somehow I don’t think my son will want it.

    Okay, you’ve forced me to break tradition and come up with a few resolutions, for all the world to see.

    I resolve to:

    *Go back and finish/revise at least one of my older stories before starting anything new

    *Submit the above when it’s spit-shined and ready to go (I’ll apologize to my critique partners in advance – ALL of you!)

    *Spend more time on the treadmill and less on the computer

    *Read a few less books *sob* and use the time spent reading to either write or (gasp!) clean.

    *Pay off at least one credit card.

    *Lose weight.

    Geez. I feel pressured already – time for a cup of tea (fat free milk, Splenda) and oatmeal. *sigh* New Year’s isn’t that far away…

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | December 9, 2011, 7:35 am
  2. Morning Keri!

    Oh I’m really bad at resolutions. Really. I do well for about 2 weeks, then….I kinda casually forget they were there. But, I’ll give it a shot.

    I’ll finish the dang book. Any book. Take my pick.

    I’ll either clean or set fire to the living room.

    I’ll get my own personal websites in order.

    I’ll use the word ubiquitous in a real sentence.

    There. That’s not so bad…..=)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | December 9, 2011, 8:20 am
  3. OMG, Keri, I LOVED this post. And the picture of your grandparents was priceless. You look so much like your grandmother!

    And I agree with your mother….that King Kong statue BELONGS to you. I love that she sneaked it in your house and left it there.

    What a great tale this is…

    I don’t really have any New Year’s resolutions. No, I’m not “scared” to post them, I just don’t usually make them.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your upcoming series and many more in the future!

    Merry Christmas sweetie!

    Posted by Renee Vincent | December 9, 2011, 8:45 am
  4. Hi Keri,

    My New Year’s resolution is always the same: RELAX. It takes a few hours to break it, but I’m trying. We got an “heirloom” when we got engaged. A three foot statue of a man and woman, nude and entwined. Someone received it as an actual wedding gift. It was “accidently” thrown out before we moved. It would have looked great with Mr. Kong. Never thought to decorate it for Christmas.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | December 9, 2011, 8:55 am
  5. Hey doll!! Great post, and I’m glad your mom forced you into keeping King Kong. It might not fit the decor, but it’s the memories that it refreshes that’s important.

    As for resolutions…I’m not there yet, primarily because I’ve not finished the ones I started last month. I mean from Jan 1 to now, how did I lose all those other months.

    Have a proposal to finish before year’s end. Then as Scarlet would say…”I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow. “

    Posted by Monica Burns | December 9, 2011, 9:10 am
  6. Keri -

    Welcome to RU! What fun to have you here.

    I’ve been battling the heirloom issue lately because my husband and I inherited a ton of stuff from his family about 10 years ago. It sat it storage for over five years while we were overseas, and now we’re plowing through it all. Because we don’t envision living in one place for more than two or three years, we really want to free many of these things. So I’ve taken tons of pictures and would love to create a wiki where anyone in the family can see these items and think on the memories they evoke. Regardless, I cannot keep all this stuff in its physical form. Hard? Yes. But so necessary to my sanity.

    As for resolutions, I’m so glad to see your post today because it reminds me I need to think on my 2012 goals this month. Perhaps today. If so, I’ll come back and post later.

    Thanks so much for hanging out with us!

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | December 9, 2011, 9:31 am
    • Oooh, I can relate! My parents urged us to take a ton of things we didn’t really want when they moved to a smaller house. Now we’re considering moving to a condo – deciding what to keep is going to be a nightmare!

      Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | December 9, 2011, 9:52 am
      • Becke -

        Honestly, we’ve become very brutal about it. I’m assuaging any guilt I feel by donating the best items to my son’s school for their silent auction.


        Posted by Kelsey Browning | December 9, 2011, 11:04 am
        • It’s not brutal. It’s bright. An heirloom in storage is a heap of molecules. Passing on the items means it will become a part of someone else’s history and stories. And the stories are the important part: We have many “heirlooms” but no one knows who they belonged to or why. Without the tale, they are just stuff. Better to go on to another home and have the chance at a story, don’t you think?

          Posted by Keri Stevens | December 9, 2011, 11:28 am
  7. Hi Keri darlin’! So good to have you at RU today! King Kong is priceless – I have a “Las Vegas White Jumpsuit Elvis” decanter that became mine and I love it – so many memories in every tacky inch of it and it always starts a great convo!

    My resolutions are:

    1. Lose weight (although my 20 year college reunion wasn’t enough of a motivator last year)

    2. Write 4 books – I signed up for my RWA chapters Book-in-a-year group and I pledged $20 to the pot to complete all four . . .

    3. Get published!

    4. Spend more time with my family.


    Posted by Robin Covington | December 9, 2011, 9:43 am
  8. Keri – No, no – say it ain’t so!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | December 9, 2011, 12:33 pm
  9. Hi Keri!

    I might watch Antiques Roadshow too much, but Mr. Kong might be worth something, plus he’s got a fantastic backstory. :)

    Resolutions? Finish book 2. Torture CPs with book 2. Line linen closet with yellow checked gingham paper and scallop the edges. Get bedrooms painted/tell hubby the cost was half of actual. Lead a more elegant life, which means getting showered and dressed before 3 p.m.

    Thanks for being with us!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | December 9, 2011, 2:28 pm
  10. I do believe your King Kong should play a defining role in your next book!

    The ONLY New Year’s resolution I ever kept was to not make New Year’s resolutions! LOL :)

    Posted by Cynthia D'Alba (aka ArkansasCyndi) | December 9, 2011, 5:07 pm
  11. How could you not love that statue? Have you tried rubbing it? See if that garners anything. Anyway, you were very tricksy in asking this resolution question at dinner last week, but it’s made me want to adhere…RESOLVE…to what I uttered (funny how that works that way). I will edit, revise and submit the two completed manuscripts I’d shelved for no good reason and write the 3rd in that series. There, now I’ve gone public with it. It should happen, right? Wait, let me rub that King Kong.
    Hugs, lovey!

    Posted by Gabriella Edwards | December 9, 2011, 7:14 pm
  12. Keri – Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. It’s been a blast!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 9, 2011, 9:31 pm

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