Shopping at the Used Man Store
THIS IS NOT A NOVEL.
If you’re enjoying my autobiographical oversharing on the blog, you’ll probably enjoy this one. I dined out on my excruciating tales of computer dating for years. With apologies to my friends, who have heard most of this before, my first foray into nonfiction collects my Used Man Store adventures with a few essays on various relationship adventures. Available in paperback here: SHOPPING AT THE USED MAN STORE and Kindle (including Kindle Unlimited!) here: SHOPPING AT THE USED MAN STORE
The Gentry Books
These books are a ten-year+ labor of love. In them, I explore family bonds, the realities of the American class system (and we do have one), and the particular ways in which humans harm and heal each other. I guarantee they will make you laugh. I also guarantee they will make you cry. I have five finished, and about 60K words of stuff that didn’t fit into any of the other books. One day I will figure out what to do with all that stuff. My beautiful covers are by a local graphic designer named Andrea Capp.
The Temptation of Gentry
Its 1996 when Gentry arrives like a scruffy prophet to usher in the era of the Internet at a small high school on the Oregon coast. He’s a good teacher, but away from the classroom he’s quiet and aloof, preferring to live without a past or a name. He rents a small guest house, where he and his dog Bosco hope to enjoy an incredible view, some fishing and a lot of one-sided conversation. Is that so much to ask? His landlady Kathryn and her two daughters have other plans. Who is this beautiful Catholic stranger who has disrupted their all-female household with his strange, solitary ways? Is he a wolf at their door, or just a lost dog who needs feeding? Their need to unravel his mysteries is as strong as Gentry’s need to preserve them. As he fights a losing battle against loneliness, desire, memory and guilt, it is Gentry himself who unravels.
The Confession of Gentry
After his spectacular failure and the damage left behind in Oregon, Gentry flees south to Oklahoma, hoping to find refuge with old friends. He’s planning to lick his wounds and rest up, but it’s hard to find safety from his own worst instincts. His path out of celibacy is alternately hilarious and disturbing, and he finds himself in a relationship that tears away his defenses against his buried past. His sins stack up and his heart is breaking. When his life slides into financial chaos on top of everything else, he must ask for help from a very unlikely quarter. The humor of his present contrasts with the growing nightmare of his recent past, and through it all he longs for Oregon. Can he forgive himself enough to go back?
The Reconciliation of Gentry
It’s a broken and humbled Gentry who finds his way back to Oregon, where it seems that everything and everyone has changed. Even the house is different, but he takes refuge there anyway, though he resents the hell out of all these changes. Life is calm; setting up another computer lab at the high school, taking walks, fishing with Lorrie and hoping Gretchen wants to visit on the weekends. But when Gentry makes a shocking discovery about his own life, it changes everything, he has to make a sacrifice of the highest order. To help the people he loves most, he must bring himself to reveal his deepest secrets, his worst acts, and the dark truth of his childhood. His struggle with the process of revelation is sometimes hilarious and often tragic, but Gretchen needs him. He has no choice.
The Devotion of Tristan
You finally have everything you’ve ever wanted…What do you do when it all starts to fall apart?After the turmoil of his early years, Gentry approaches forty in a comfortable place. He’s married, a father, and living in the house that’s always meant home to him. Days are filled with raising kids and teaching at the high school. Saturdays on the water give him time with his unlikely mentor, Lorrie Gilroy. On Sundays, Gentry and his family fill a pew at the little wooden church. It’s all going smoothly…until it isn’t.When one of the most important people in his world delivers crushing news, the fault lines in this new life start to shift. Resentments grow stronger, and bonds chafe, then loosen. A cataclysmic upheaval tests Gentry’s faith, marriage, and belief that he deserves the life he’s built.
The Instruction of Gentry
Gentry’s past has been faced, his secrets shared, but one mystery remains: his mother.Who is Gentry’s mother? He hasn’t seen her since he was four years old, and barely remembers her; quick and small, with long dark hair and a loud laugh. He’s kept a name he hates in case she ever wants to find him. But he long ago gave up hope that she would. Where did she come from, and where did she go? The story of Francisca Marie Gentry begins with her childhood on a Montana ranch, and on to her hardscrabble years as a young mother in a working-class Chicago neighborhood. When her life is shattered by headstrong choices, retreat is her only option. When she ventures out into a changed world after years in seclusion, the story of Francisca begins again…but first, she must find and face her long-lost son.
Other Novels by Karen G. Berry
These are standalone books, but they relate to each other and (surprising no one) they tangentially relate to the Gentry books. Will they always be standalones? We will see. I love a long story.
Iris has a transgender character, and I have a strong urge to return to that story. I always intended to write more Francie June murder mysteries, but that book was optioned by a producer so I held off in case they had an idea of where it should go next. Well, the option expired! So I can take it anywhere I want to. We will see if I return…
The Iris Files: Notes from a Desperate Housewife
Each day, Iris Bourne runs a gauntlet in the California suburbs: dealing out meals with the ease of a professional card shark, scaling mountains of laundry, acting as judge and jury for sibling battles, negotiating bedtime with the skill of a career diplomat.
Iris has time for exactly one hobby—entering contests—and she’s just won a trip for two to Hawaii. She’s ready for a taste of Paradise, but her husband, Hart, keeps spoiling the mood by asking her if she’s happy. Happy? Iris has no time to be happy. When Hart announces that he is not, her life becomes even more complicated…
Available at AMAZON.
Welcome to the Francie June Memorial Trailer Park, just outside Ochre Water, California. The annual talent show is imminent and the residents are restless. On a night when tempers keep rising and the wind won’t settle, a body is found face-down by Space 48. Who killed the Right Reverend Henry Heaven? County Sheriff Memphis LaCour is determined to find out. As he makes his methodical way through the decaying doublewides, he uncovers secrets that might break apart his community, his family, and his own sober heart.
The Chameleon Chronicles
A cozy mystery series set on beautiful Orcas island, co-written with Shannon Page under the nom de plume Laura Gayle
Orcas Intrigue: Book One of the Chameleon Chronicles
CAMILLE TATE has always run away…but vanishing whenever life gets too frightening has never solved anything. When a broken heart sends Cam to remote Orcas Island to try her hand at caretaking and writing a screenplay, she finds quiet beaches and cozy bookstores, plus a host of intriguing folks, including a rugged boat-builder, a glamorous neighbor, and a reassuring sheriff’s deputy.
But an escalating nest of mysteries and the haunting sense of being watched soon leave Cam wondering if she can believe her own perceptions. As intrigue turns to danger, she must decide whether there is anyone she can trust, or if it’s time for her to vanish yet again.
Available at AMAZON: ORCAS INTRIGUE
Orcas Intruder: Book Two of the Chameleon Chronicles
CAMILLE TATE always tells herself to calm down, but her instincts always warn her to disappear.
After the fright of her first weeks on Orcas Island, Cam wants a quiet Thanksgiving with her family and a few friends. She’s hoping that time with her foster parents will help her recover from the horror of witnessing a shooting and being kidnapped.
But her employers, the Brixtons, are arriving, along with a few unexpected visitors from Cam’s past. Her peaceful holiday is nowhere to be found. When her neighbor’s home is burglarized and ransacked, Cam’s world is threatened, too. As mysterious intruders haunt her island life, Cam realizes that the intrigue is far from over.
Available at AMAZON: ORCAS INTRUDER
Orcas Investigation: Book Three of the Chameleon Chronicles
CAMILLE TATE has found the spot she would like to call home……but staying in one place has dangers for a woman who always fades away.
When winter comes to Orcas, ice strands Cam indoors. It’s time to work on her script, do some caretaking, and recover from the danger of her early time on the island. But Cam is grieving her friends, lost to betrayal, travel, and whatever called Lisa Cannon away with barely a word.
What will break Cam’s loneliness? JoJo, the rakish son of her boss, offers a charming distraction from all the things Cam should be doing. With him at her side, Cam is swept into a new investigation. Against a backdrop of hilarious island politics and eccentric neighbors, the secrets of Cam’s childhood—and her mysterious gift—begin to surface.
Available at AMAZON: ORCAS INVESTIGATION
Orcas Illusion: Book Four of the Chameleon Chronicles
CAMILLE TATE HAS FINALLY FOUND HER STRIDE…but is it all an illusion? Life should be settling down, but a new set of challenges might knock Cam off balance once more.
Lisa Cannon is Cam’s friend—and now, her employer. Cam is nervous and excited for Lisa’s return to Orcas Island; nervous to have her read the play that Cam’s been writing all winter, and excited to finally start her new role as Lisa’s personal assistant. But Lisa’s return brings trouble.
First, there’s JoJo. That charming rascal wants Cam’s forgiveness, and is determined to win it with his usual measure of humor, insouciance, and charm. Then, there’s Colin, who has had just about enough of the friend zone. Pets and raccoons and play revisions…this is all troubling enough. When a stranger comes prowling, a friend falls ill, and Cam is once again embroiled in Orcas intrigue.
She and Jen decide to dig in deep to find out what’s behind all these mysteries. But the law…as well as other, more shadowy figures…would rather these “amateurs” stay out of their business entirely. And they will do whatever it takes to keep Cam from the truth.
Available at AMAZON: ORCAS ILLUSION
NEW! Orcas Intermission: Book Five of the Chameleon Chronicles
It’s here, the fifth and final chapter in the Chameleon Chronicles.
Camille Tate is ready to be seen…but is her world ready to see her?
Camille is working both sides, now, and she’s stunned by the avalanche of secrets she’s uncovering. Old mysteries are unlocked as new puzzles emerge. Is anyone who they seem to be on Orcas Island? One revelation leads to another, and it becomes more and more impossible for Cam to concentrate on her newest assignment: steering her play through the process of casting, rehearsal, and staging.
As she digs deeply into the mysteries that have surrounded her since she arrived, Cam learns the truth about her closest friends and most feared enemies. It all comes together on an unforgettable opening night…and Cam finally understands everything, including herself.
Preorder the ebook here: ORCAS INTERMISSION
POETRY IN PRINT ONLINE
Travel poem about one of the perfect places in the world, the Tempietto Longobardi in Northern Italy. Direction to the Six Virgins
A coming-of-age poem written about my time on the (since renamed, thankfully) Squaw Creek Ranger Station outside Gallatin Gateway, Montana. Love that they used the author photo they did. Spire Rock
Happy this one found a home, as I am obsessed with the Helga paintings and this is about one of them: In The Ekphrastic Review, a response to Wyeth’s study for Barracoon.
Because as they grow up, they occasionally slip back, and we are oh-so-lucky to catch them in our arms at those moments: In Mothers Always Write, a poem called Seventeen
I would preface or explain this poem but every women who reads it knows someone it’s about: new in Subprimal, a journal of poetry and art, Our Dark Angel, Endlessly Falling
I’m extremely proud to be three-times-published by the extraordinary journal of the fantastic (in the fantasy sense), GOBLIN FRUIT:
- Ariel – a retelling of the Little Mermaid
- Penelope’s Bed – as in the wife of Odysseus
- Ceres (included in the Dwarf Star poetry prize anthology: 2011 Dwarf Star Prize) – a daughter’s grief
A work in the Indiana Voice Journal about what it takes, and what it takes out of me to get to the day job each morning: Working in Old Town
In Novocaine and Napalm, a bitter screed about divorce: Disassembly Required
POETRY IN PRINT BETWEEN PAPER COVERS
(just a few, there are more)