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The Sirens of Suspense




While Kris Neri might not dress eccentrically, she does write to the beat of a unique and funny drummer. She writes the Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mystery series and the Tracy Eaton Mysteries, both of which received Lefty Award nominations for Best Humorous Mystery.

Find Kris on Twitter and Facebook.

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My latest Magical Mystery, MAGICAL ALIENATION, featuring fake psychic Samantha Brennan and Celtic goddess/FBI agent Annabelle Haggerty, was the most exciting book I’ve ever written. Here’s a little tease of the story to tell you what it’s about:

A spaceship crash in Roswell…a rumored alien…the mysterious Area 51…a harmonic convergence in Sedona. No connection, right? With its rock stars and shape shifters, gods and haunting militia leaders — MAGICAL ALIENATION will turn what you think you know upside down.

Fake psychic Samantha Brennan and Celtic goddess/FBI agent Annabelle Haggerty team up again. While the rock people twist the surface of the earth and Sedona heads into the darkest night the planet has ever seen, Samantha wonders which, if any of them, will survive it. But when Celtic gods are involved, nothing is ever as it appears.

It was also the most fun book I’ve ever written, due in some part to Samantha and her eccentric wardrobe. Samantha’s goal in life is to be a successful celebrity psychic, but she’s convinced that no one will take her seriously as a spiritual advisor if she doesn’t dress the part. Her take on how a successful spiritual advisor should dress is highly questionable, though.

Here’s how Samantha presented herself to me when she first introduced herself to me early in the planning stage of the first novel of the series, HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery:

“Man, what a sight I was! Long blonde hair curling wildly in every direction, crowned with a wreath of battered silk flowers held together with Christmas tree garland. Makeup by Crayola. And that dress I wore—half Renaissance ball gown in bright blue satin and lace, half soothsayer garb with its filmy organdy layers, half jester suit. Too many halves, I know, but it was quite a dress.”

That was exactly how I heard it in my head, and that’s also exactly how it appeared in the book. How could I, a mere writer, hope to top the appearance of such a determined fake psychic?

Throughout the rest of HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE, I’ll take credit for the increasingly dramatic clothes Samantha wore, which were so much fun to create. And useful—that, at one point in HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE, Samantha’s jewelry was actually partly responsible for saving her life. Loads of readers and reviewers seemed to enjoy Samantha’s dress just as much as I do, because many make note of that when they post their remarks online.

The trouble with setting the bar high, though, is that next time you have to top it. I’m happy to say that in MAGICAL ALIENATION, Samantha and I successfully did top her first appearance. Here’s how she’s dressed in one of her early appearances in MAGICAL ALIENATION:

“The dress I wore today was a medieval gown I’d bought from some touring attraction that had shut down. The floor-length gray silk dress had looked too simple for me, so I covered it with red and black graffiti; snotty jibes written in Middle English. I’d also placed my wimple properly on my head, but my long, curly blonde hair was so wild, it kept knocking that pointy hat askew. Now I probably looked more like some crazed lunatic who’d been mugged by the Middle Ages.”

And then there was this outfit:

“I wore a court jester suit today, with puffy jacket sleeves and short pants in magenta and gold. Under the pants I wore bright purple tights. A bell dangled from the jester hat perched at a rakish angle on my curly blonde hair. I’d chosen high-heeled gold lamé pumps in lieu of jester shoes. Normally, I preferred dresses, but since I was visiting a politician, I thought the occasion called for some whimsy.”

Samantha insists she dresses as she does so potential clients will take her seriously as a celebrity psychic, and yet she’s continually shocked when people regard her as a flake. I personally believe her taste in clothes simply reflects the inner girl, who’s definitely marching to the beat of a really offbeat drummer.

And here’s another little secret: What did I wear yesterday? Jeans and a t-shirt. The day before? Jeans and t-shirt. The day before that? Jeans and…well, you get it. I’m in a rut, and let’s face it, dull. I doubt I’d have the guts to dress as Samantha does, but a tiny part of me wishes I did.

The real reason why I have such fun clothing Samantha? She’s dressing for two.



TELL US YOUR (OR YOUR CHARACTER'S) MOST INTERESTING OUTFIT or ask Kris a question by commenting below or visit us and share your thoughts on our Facebook page and be entered to win a copy of MAGICAL ALIENATION!

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