Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the spotlight: Mia Kerick


One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.
Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.
Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.
Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.

With a foreword by C. Kennedy

Book Links:


Now, before I go any further in the direction of who I was before the change, I think maybe it’s time to mention something you may already consider to be a glaring oversight on my part in the recounting of this story. But, in my defense, when I was first informing you of the symptoms of my initial “Red Sheet Urge,” it hadn’t seemed so important to bring this up. As soon as the whole “what happened Saturday night with Scott?” thing came up, I admit, I probably should have mentioned it.
Yeah… you know what I’m talking about—the big “are you gay?” question.
So here it is, plain and simple… which accepting you are gay in high school is anything but. I like guys. No, not all guys. I wouldn’t touch Brandon Wilson with a ten-foot pole. That was a clever play on words, wasn’t it? I mean, the whole “pole” thing…. Whatever. Just keep this in mind: I wouldn’t touch Brandon with my pole, even if it was ten feet long.
Completely different story with Scott Beckett… and even though I’d apparently blocked him out of my mind since the change, as soon as I saw him sitting alone in the cafeteria on Monday, I’d recognized my attraction to him. Because Scott… well, he just did it for me. You know, he floated my boat, flew my flag, buttered my biscuit—go ahead, take your pick of idioms. I liked his overall smallness, his delicate features, his wispy blond hair, and his pale-blue eyes. I liked the way he wore his emotions on his face like a badge of honesty. I liked his tenor voice, his sharp tongue, his snarky attitude. Uh-huh, I was attracted to Scott on the outside, and by the time the Saturday night in question had occurred, I figure I must have completely fallen for him in every way, or I wouldn’t have been caught sucking face with him in a closet (which could be considered another play on words, but in this case we actually were inside a closet).
Which didn’t mean I was out and proud, or even closeted and considerate. Because from what Scott had told me about myself in the men’s room yesterday, and from what I’d read of his narrative, I was neither of those things. It appeared I simply wasn’t brave or courageous enough when it came to publicly coming out, or even just privately accepting who I was. Unfortunately, it seemed my strong feelings for Scott Beckett hadn’t changed me from behaving like the coward I was—the big jock who hid behind his mega size and his stellar athletic ability. So, you can go ahead and add one more personality trait to the list above of who I was before the change. Just add “ball-less wonder”; that should cover it fairly well.
You’re never going to believe me when I say this, but what the hell, it is my story, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it. So anyways, here goes nothing: I wasn’t scared of anything anymore. I didn’t give a shit who knew I was gay. I wasn’t put out by the thought of helping around the house. I wanted to smile at the teachers as I walked into their classrooms and have them smile right back because they knew that Bryan Dennison was putting forth all of his best. I wanted to sit at different lunch tables and get to know kids whose strengths did not show up only on a court or a diamond or a field.
But mostly, I want to make it right with Scott.
So, it turned out I was actually was scared of one thing. I was scared of screwing this up. That nagging voice in the back of my head, however, reminded me that I had to take it slowly, so my actions would seem genuine. To time it all right, so my words would be believed. It had taken me years to get to this point, where I had a hard time looking in the mirror and liking who I saw. I resolved to take the long and difficult road, if necessary, as I traveled back in the opposite direction, to the place where I was proud to be me.
I knew for a fact that someday I was going to tie my red sheet around my neck and walk around proudly in public with it blowing in the breeze behind me, because my need for a red sheet is what started all this.
I had just come to grips with the fact that I needed to start acting my age, not my shoe size. And although I wore a very large shoe size, it would still put me in middle school.

Guest Post:

Hi, thank you for inviting me over to your blog.

"Superman (It's Not Easy)"

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
I'm just out to find
The better part of me

I'm more than a bird,
I'm more than a plane
I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
It's not easy to be me

I wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
'Bout a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd but don't be naïve
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed but won’t you concede
Even Heroes have the right to dream
And it's not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me
Well, it's alright
You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy or anything

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me, inside of me [2x]

I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
I’m only a man looking for her dream
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
It's not easy.
It's not easy to be me.

I am extremely motivated by music. Always have been, and, I assume, I always will be.

When I was younger—high school-aged—music made me dream. (And mostly I dreamed of the musicians who made the music I was listening to.) #trueconfession- Hours upon hours were spent sitting on the living room couch, staring at an album cover of Peter Frampton’s face. In college, music motivated me to go out, to dance, and to mix with people. Real people, not just images on album covers. Much hair gel (to spike up my eighties bangs) and frosty-looking white lipstick was applied to the tune of The Bangles’ Manic Monday. And when I finally met my husband he would send me home from every date with tapes of songs that reminded him of me.

Choosing my wedding song was stress-inducing. Thus, I ended up choosing one that didn’t work for me, “What a Wonderful World” sung in Louie Armstrong’s raspy voice. Within a year of our marriage (thankfully, my husband still “worked for me” a brief year after matrimony) I changed it to another raspy-voiced singer’s ballad: Brian Adams’ “Die for You.” Yes, I could finally relax.

In my thirties I focused on raising children. I refer to these years, musically speaking, as “The Barney Years”. The only CD’s that found their way into my boom box had a purple dinosaur decorating the front side. I lost touch with pop music and, let me tell you, I was highly pleased when I discovered The Goo Goo Dolls in the early 2000’s.

Now, music serves to motivate me to write. On my blog, www.miakerick.com, I have placed a playlist of some of my most inspirational songs. What is it—the music or the lyrics—that move me? It is the unique combination of the rhythm, the vocal quality, the melody, and the lyrics that inspire me to create a character—usually a man with troubles and personal tragedies—and the story of the love he needs to save him.

The song “Superman” by Five for Fighting was my inspiration for The Red Sheet. Bryan Dennison wakes up one October morning with a strange urge to protect the innocent, to make the world a better place. He craves the feeling of a red sheet tied around his neck like a cape. Bryan knows he is not crazy; he simply wants to search inside himself to find his better parts.

And it is a painful journey of soul-searching.
“It’s not easy, It’s not easy to be me.”

About the Author:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

My themes I always write about:
Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes- only love can save them.

Author Links:

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  1. Great post. I use music always when I'm writing and when I'm plotting scenes in my head while at the gym or in the car, so I can very much relate to this post. Thanks, Mia, for sharing.