Thursday, January 29, 2015

Romance Rewind - A Secret Match - Gay Wrestling Romance



Hi everyone!

Today I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of my latest gay romance, A Secret Match.
It’s a contemporary novella set in the world of professional wrestling.

Before we get started, let me answer the question lots of folks may be asking: “Why do you write gay romances? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.”

But seriously, I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other. This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.

So, how did A Secret Match come about? I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life and A Secret Match is a follow-up (of sorts) to my other wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. That book is about a straight couple (Vin and Danni) and Everett (the main character from A Secret Match) is a secondary character (and Vin’s best friend). 

I loved writing for Ev— he’s one of those characters who tries to run away with the book. I always thought “one day” I’ll give him a story of his own, but I didn’t have a clue as to what the plot would be. I put thoughts of him aside and wrote other books. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, he popped into my head with a four-line book summary. Within an hour, I had the whole story in my head and I started writing. 

A big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev’s longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in his “walk-in closet” and wants Ev to come out (at least to his friends and family) but Everett is concerned about losing his job. Will fans accept a gay wrestler? How will his boss react? Part of him wants to keep everything just as it is because that’s safe. But another part of him longs to stop hiding the truth. 

When I wrote the book, I focused on Ev’s anguish over being caught between two worlds: his job (where his wrestling persona is a horny womanizer) and his secret, private life with Josh. Everett can’t balance the two and worries about what the other wrestlers would think of him coming out.

As Ev tells Vin as they discuss the issue of gay athletes in sports: “Sure, gay athletes are out there, but a gay baseball player doesn’t have the type of physical contact with other guys like we do. Does he grab other men when he’s all sweaty and crawl on top of them to cover them for a pin? No. There are all sorts of issues—changing in the locker room, showering together… Can you imagine some of the things that would go through the guys’ heads when I tried to put a hold on them? You think they wouldn’t freak out when I touched them if they knew?”

Vin’s reply: “You won’t know if you never take the risk.”

And risk Ev does. After he comes out (twice, in fact—I loved writing those scenes!), he discovers a different side to himself, embraces who he is, and even faces down intolerant fans and homophobic coworkers. 

I enjoyed showing Everett on his journey of self-acceptance. He’s a bit of a cocky wise-ass, and definitely a fun character to write for. I was glad to give Ev and Josh the happy-ever-after ending they rightly deserve (and some hot love scenes!), because no matter what, love is love, and that’s all that matters.

I hope you’ll check it out. (I shared some excellent reviews below.) In the meantime, here’s the summary and links. (Read an excerpt on my site: www.KelliWilkins.com).

Happy Reading!
Kelli

A Secret Match
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.

After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.

One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems – both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a tag team out to destroy him. 

Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart? 



Some Kind Words from Reviewers:

A Night Owl Romance Top Pick! 4.5 Stars: “I found this book well written with an interesting plot. The ending is set in a way that leaves you with hope for Josh and Everett that while the road might not be easy they will tackle it together. I hope there is a sequel to see how Josh and Everett adjust to life now that everyone knows about them. The main characters and the secondary characters were fascinating and charming. Overall, I loved this book.”
http://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Reviews/Vrainey-reviews-A-Secret-Match-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins



5 Hearts! “I love the tone of how the book starts. I enjoyed the drama filled present with the far less dramatic and sweeter flashbacks of when Everett and Josh first met. The best part is the emotionally charged storyline just continues throughout the book and doesn’t just stop. Two thirds of the way through, once again I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief, but, no, I couldn’t. I know some people will be interested to know, there is some wrestling related kink too. This isn’t your average athlete-coming-out story and the use of wrestling probably helps that along. In short, this is an excellent read. Highly recommended to any fan of the MM genre.” 

https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/a-secret-match-by-kelli-a-wilkins/

 
The Book Vixen Gave it Four Frogs: “Very enjoyable romance of an established couple at a crossroads. The wrestling plot was interesting for this non-wrestling fan as well.” http://www.thebookvixen.com/2014/09/book-review-secret-match-by-kelli.html#.VCMK8FdXiB8   



Order your copies here:



 
http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2022-A-Secret-Match.aspx

Next week, I'll be sharing my January newsletter. If you want to read it now, click here:




Happy Reading,
Kelli

Monday, January 19, 2015

Romance Rewind - Dangerous Indenture







Hi everyone! 

Today I’m sharing a look back at my steamy 2014 historical romance, Dangerous Indenture. Dangerous Indenture is a spicy historical/mystery set in Pennsylvania Colony in the early 1700s. Here’s the summary:

Dangerous Indenture

Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony.

But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Shauna fights her growing attraction to Ashton, torn between propriety and acting on her emotions. But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants will work for the strange Stewart family.

Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.

When Shauna’s investigation leads her too close to the truth, it’s up to Ashton to save her before time runs out.

***
So, how did the book come about? Dangerous Indenture is one of those books that just jumped into my head. (Yes, every so often that happens to writers.) One day, I overheard the name Shawna Farrell, but I thought I’d heard Shauna Farrow. The name stuck with me and I wrote it down. A few minutes later, I knew all about her: she was an Irish indentured servant who came to Pennsylvania Colony and worked at a house where a previous servant was murdered. Once I knew that, I started outlining the book.

Before I wrote a word, I did a lot of research. I was starting from a good place with the book – I knew where I wanted to set the story and in approximately what time frame it should take place. From there, I spent time in the library going through history books, reading up on Colonial times (What life was like, What people wore, ate, etc.) and indentured servants in general (Where did they come from? Why did they leave their home country?). 

As I wrote the book, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the story a rich historical feel without going overboard with details that might bog down the book or be of no interest to readers.

I especially enjoyed creating the characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we’re told that Stewart House is haunted, and then we (and Shauna) meet the master of the house, Joshua Stewart, and his strange family. 

When I developed the secondary characters, I made sure to give them all interesting backstories and unusual quirks. Joshua comes off as a mean bear of a man, Minerva just might be crazy (and a murderer), Colin is… a villain in many senses of the word, and Lila thought she had everything going for her – for a while. 

Shauna and Ashton (our heroine and hero) are not entirely innocent and without flaws. They each have sordid pasts, wicked desires, and are not afraid to stand up for themselves – and each other. 

I love the characters, the setting, and the fact that Dangerous Indenture is a romance blended with mystery. I had never written a romance set in Colonial times before, and mixing romance with suspense/mystery to make a Gothic-type story was a lot of fun.

I hope you’ll check it out. Here’s a steamy mini-excerpt:

Excerpt:
Ashton wrapped his arms around her. “Come here. Let me hold you.”

She relaxed against him, and her worries drained away. A familiar heat built between her legs as Ashton leaned forward and kissed her. Ashton moaned, and she felt a hardness jutting out from the front of his breeches.

Her mind flashed back to Ashton in his robe. His chest, his flat stomach, the glimpse of a tiny trail of hairs leading lower... What would Ashton do if he knew how desperately she craved his touch?

She fought the urge to slide her hands to the front of his breeches and stroke him, make him ready. What would it feel like to make love to him? She ached to be crushed under his body as he entered her and—

Without warning, Ashton pulled away.

“Forgive me,” he said, releasing her. “I tend to lose control and let my urges take over. I’m not used to being around a decent woman.”

He thought she was decent? That was a joke. If he knew what wicked ideas were swirling through her head, he’d probably faint.
 
***
Dangerous Indenture is available from:

Medallion Press:



Next week, get the inside scoop on my other 2014 romance, A Secret Match!
Happy Reading!
Kelli

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Romance Rewind - Wilderness Bride - Inside Look & Excerpt




Hi everyone! Happy 2015!

Before we get started, I'd like to share some news. I'm now on Pinterest! I've been building boards and posting all kinds of reviews, interviews and more. Come check it out & follow along:



Today I’m sharing an inside look and an excerpt from my historical romance, Wilderness Bride. This full-length novel was released in April 2014. 
 
Wilderness Bride is a traditional historical that takes place in the wilds of the Michigan Territory in the early 1800s. It's a blend of tender romance and adventure.

Here’s the summary:

A woman running from her past…straight into the arms of a wild stranger

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and lacking a means of escape, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride. Kathleen calls herself Michelle and begins living a lie with her “husband,” Luther, in an isolated mountain cabin. She tells herself the arrangement is temporary until she can move on.

Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful blonde bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. She has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from. But Luther is harboring a secret about his background and fears Michelle will abandon him if she learns the truth about him—and his family.

The couple tries to maintain their rocky relationship as they work to fight brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When circumstances force Michelle to stay longer than she expected, she succumbs to her growing attraction and falls in love with Luther. But when they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past catches up with her, putting her and Luther in grave danger.

***
The idea for this book started with a simple premise: a woman on the run impersonates a mountain man’s mail-order bride and lives in his cabin in the woods. From there, I thought about the characters and how they would interact, learn to live with each other, and naturally fall in love. 

Before I started writing, I went to the library and did some research on the time period, what life was like back then, Native Americans, fur trapping and trading, and more. As I wrote the book, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the story a rich historical feel without going overboard with details that might bog down the book or be of no interest to readers.

I enjoyed creating the characters and all the conflicts between them! Michelle and Luther are very different peoplesort of like a city mouse and a country mouseand I played on their differences in lifestyles, clothing, expectations, etc. throughout the book. When Redfeather arrives, Michelle realizes how far she is out of her comfort zone and begins to see her situation (and Luther) in a new light.

As Luther and Michelle get to know each other (and fight for each other) they realize they have a lot more in common than they once thought. They both are on their own in a rough, unforgiving world, and both had to fend for themselves to survive, with little or no family support. All of that brings them closer together and makes their love stronger.

I enjoyed writing this book, and I hope readers will fall in love with the characters the way I did. Here’s a steamy mini-excerpt:

Excerpt:
Luther eased Michelle down and knelt over her. Her eyes were closed and a slight smile crossed her lips. His cock tingled and ached, wanting her, needing her. 

He propped himself on his elbows and nuzzled the side of Michelle’s throat below her ear. Her wet skin was cool from the lake, yet he felt her pulse hammering beneath his lips. 

Michelle lay still as he trailed his hands down the front of her body. He took his time caressing the outline of her breasts, then worked down to her hips. His head swam with desire as he glimpsed the dark triangle of hair through her chemise. God, he wanted her. He ached to touch her, yet was hesitant about pushing things too far, too fast. 

He kissed Michelle and moaned as she kissed him back. A soft mewing noise escaped her throat. He slid his hand to the top of her chemise and began unfastening the tiny white buttons. Halfway through, he paused and waited to see if Michelle would protest. When she didn’t, he kept going. 

He separated the material, freeing her pale breasts. She was beautiful. His mouth watered at the thought of sucking her. He broke the kiss and looked at Michelle. Her eyes were still closed, and she was breathing hard. 

“Can I touch you?” 

“Yes,” she whispered. 
***
Here’s a snipped from the book’s 5-Star Amazon review:
This is the first western romance I've read and it won't be the last. The descriptions were so detailed that I felt I was in that world. I was pulled in right away. Kathleen was such an interesting heroine. She's smart and resourceful and certainly a match for the brooding hero, Luther. It's one of those books where you can't wait to find out what happens once secrets are revealed, yet you want to keep the story going.

Wilderness Bride is available in ebook and paperback formats from:


Next week, we'll revisit another 2014 romance. Have you seen my new Facebook author page? Visit me here:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Happy Reading,
Kelli

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kelli’s Quill - Big End-of-Year Issue






 
Hi everyone!

I hope 2014 was a good year for everyone and you’re all enjoying the holiday season. This month in the Quill, I’m giving readers year-end recap of my romance novels, horror anthologies, and links to great stuff! Let’s get started…


This year, Kelli set a new record for herself and had three romance novels published. Here’s a bit about each, with links.

Wilderness Bride
A woman running from her past…straight into the arms of a wild stranger

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and lacking a means of escape, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride. Kathleen calls herself Michelle and begins living a lie with her “husband,” Luther, in an isolated mountain cabin…

Wilderness Bride is available in ebook and paperback formats from:




 
Dangerous Indenture
Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony. But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton. 

Shauna fights her growing attraction to Ashton, torn between propriety and acting on her emotions. But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants will work for the strange Stewart family.

Dangerous Indenture is available in ebook format from:






A Secret Match
A Secret Match is sort of a follow-up to my Amber Quill Press wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. This new book is all about Everett Kinkade, a secondary character (and the best friend of Vinnie Valentine) who was introduced in A Perfect Match.


Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.

After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.

One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems – both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a tag team out to destroy him. Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart? 

A Secret Match is available in ebook and paperback formats from:

The book has received several excellent reviews. (Check out the October  http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=22898315cc16de805e424f799&id=8f3ccbf57d&e=a49cf7ab1f
back issues of this newsletter to read them.)



Best of 2014…Links
Kelli did lots of guest blogs and interviews in 2014. Here are the “best” of the list. (Want to read more? Visit the News & Links section of her site: www.KelliWilkins.com)

First Chapter Friday: Read the first chapter of Wilderness Bride: http://www.lovelustandlipstickstains.com/2014/07/first-chapter-friday-wilderness-bride.html


Double book spotlight featuring excerpts from my historical romances DANGEROUS INDENTURE and WILDERNESS BRIDE: http://www.deepintheheartromance.com/2014/09/two-new-releases-from-historical.html


BlogTalk Radio Interview – I talked about the writing life, my new romance books, marketing, promotion & more: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coachdeb/2014/11/18/award-winning-romance-author-kelli-a-wilkins



Dangerous Indenture:  Love Lust & Lipstick Read of the Week: http://lovelustandlipstickstains.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/reads-of-week.html




HORROR STORIES

In 2014, Kelli had three horror stories published in anthologies. Here’s a recap:

Kelli’s ghost story, “Thursday Night Bingo” (originally titled “The Ghost in the Green Dress”) was published in Sekhmet Press’s Wrapped in White horror anthology. This collection of thirteen tales of spectres, ghosts, and spirits was released in March. Order your copy here:


Her seasonal story, “Home for Halloween” appears in the Moon Shadows horror anthology. This tale of two brothers reunited for Halloween showcases the best elements of this special holiday. Order your copy here: 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N232UEG

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moon-shadows-veronica-moore/1120220708?ean=2940046127171

Look for Kelli’s mystery story, “Diamonds” in issue #14 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. In this story, a sneaky thief gets more than he bargains for. Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Mystery-Magazine-14/dp/1479404195/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415032812&sr=1-1&keywords=sherlock+holmes+mystery+magazine+14


Wilkins on the Web
Kelli recently created a Facebook author page. Drop by & Like it. She posts excerpts, book summaries, links and more: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

And her site recently underwent a makeover. Same url: www.KelliWilkins.com great new look!



Peering into 2015
A lot of people have asked me what I’m working on and want to know what they can expect in 2015. Although I have nothing concrete finished, I am busy with several projects. 

Currently, I’m writing a book on… how to write. (Don’t worry, it won’t be a boring English-class-type book.) It will include a lighthearted approach to the basics of storytelling, creating characters, and plotting, plus writing tips, and fun exercises. 

After that, I’ll be revising a full-length historical romance (an untitled Western set in Nebraska). And I have several ideas for more contemporary, historical, and gay romances.

I’m also writing a few horror short stories– so I think I have my work cut out for me in 2015!


Have a comment or question? Want to make a suggestion for next year’s newsletter? Contact me via my site, blog, or Facebook page. 

Enjoy the rest of 2014. See you next year!
Kelli