Karen S. Bennett

From Fibs to Fiction

Karen’s first brush with fiction came in the form of fairytales, read to her and her sisters at bedtime. She dangerously floated her own first “fiction”—in the form of a fib about a horse named Prince—among her school friends; when the words “dishonesty” showed up on her report card, she grew up and covered her tracks by becoming a fiction writer.

Karen suffered insecurity about writing a book, but, knowing that a story must be told, she buckled down and attended night writing classes. She joined a writer’s group, swapped friends’ pages to edit, attended conferences both locally and afar, and was thrilled when her on-line fiction was published through a contest where strangers had voted for her. A first place in novel writing followed, as did publishing small pieces in local and national sites. Slowly, her impostor syndrome gave way to a newfound confidence.

Novels

Beautiful Horseflesh

Greed, lust, and lawlessness are the bedrock of this thrilling literary debut. When Bumble B, a speedy and capricious Thoroughbred, arrives at the Smitt family’s farm in Florida, she quickly becomes the subject of eager speculation. Black as satin, she is hailed by teen, Luis Smitt as, “a beautiful piece of horseflesh.” Perhaps this is the dark horse that will keep the struggling farm afloat. The horse’s sheen and enviable speed are only part of the story, however, as her handsome and flirtatious trainer, Bud, insists on strict privacy in preparation for the upcoming high-stakes race. What is he hiding? For good or ill, this fiery filly is about to change the Smitt’s lives forever.

Apprentice House Press  June 21, 2021

The Farewell Tour

In the autumn of 1998, Bev Schuler’s set of lucky numbers–2598–suddenly starts showing up with urgency on her bills and personal accounts. The wake-up call comes when 2598 was the number that won her close to three thousand M&Ms in her granddaughter’s scouts fundraiser. 

“It is as if the numbers are telling me something.” Bev contemplates her life and concludes the numbers 2, 5, 9, 8 are an upcoming date. Having completed all of life’s major milestones, the only thing left to do is to die. She’s a healthy fifty-seven-year-old widow, and doubts she would suddenly die on a date’s command, but maybe an accident awaits. She bravely decides she’ll go out with a bang in three months’ time. No more diets and watching the grass grow in her little, pokey, hometown. She’ll give them an obituary to remember. 

These recurring lucky digits force Bev to make life-altering decisions which often transpire into comical events.

Short Fiction & Essays

No specific theme seeps through the pages, other than that twins show up in two short stories and in a novel. Karen’s dad was an identical twin, the first to introduce a good joke, and to smuggle a kitten into the household. A good look at personal emotions pinned on the fictional character surfaces, along with O. Henry twists. Subjects bounce from a Soweto fifth-grade girl in a wheelchair visiting an elephant preserve, to brothers; aged seven to thirteen, dashing out on the first day of Spring Break to launch their small boat on the choppy, icy water of the Chesapeake Bay. An Ohio scion from a gentler time awaits his grandson’s first return from college. A first sexual experience is shared from counselor to client. Eating a whole pizza is glorified. Meeting Walt Disney is in there. Many trips to Alaska are sources for stories. Baked goods abound.   

Personal essays are through the eyes of a kid, a teen, a welfare mother, an embarrassed bride, a furious wife, a prison employee, a college student, and a woman who rushed out to get earrings for pierced ears.