Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Romance Rewind… A Deceptive Match





Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look at the making of my sizzling contemporary romance, A Deceptive Match.

A Deceptive Match is a full length novel set in the world of professional wrestling. Wrestling has always been a part of my life, so it was only natural that one day I’d write a book with wrestling as the backdrop. But this book is different from all of my other books because the entire story came to me in a rather unusual way—in a dream.

One morning I woke up and said “Uh-oh!” and grabbed the pen and paper next to the bed. (I keep it there in case of inspiration.) I knew that if I didn’t immediately start writing down everything in my head, it would be lost forever. So I sat there, furiously scribbling the outline. At this point, it was just the bare bones of the plot and the characters, but I knew I was onto something.

Over the course of the day, more bits and pieces came through. Now I had a subplot, secondary characters, and knew more about what was happening in this wrestling romance that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I was fortunate enough to actually “see” the book in my head like a movie—some scenes were missing, but I had a clear picture to work from.

People who have read the book and know about my love of wrestling always ask me the same questions: Which wrestlers are the characters based on? How do you know all this stuff? How much of it is real?

It’s easier to answer the second question first. Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to be on friendly terms with a bunch of wrestlers. My husband and I would go to matches and hang out with the guys after the shows. (No, I wasn’t a ring rat.) I picked up a lot of terms and got a real feel for what they did and how they experienced life on the road.

At the time, the thought of being a writer never even crossed my mind, so I had no idea that one day I’d use what I learned in a book. When I got the idea for A Deceptive Match, I was able to incorporate much of what I knew into the plot through Danni’s point of view.

The male characters in the book (Vinnie, Ev, Thorn, and Nick) aren’t based on any one wrestler or any real person. I specifically made sure that Vinnie and the others aren’t linked to real wrestlers, because it would take away from the story. Like characters in any book, I invented whatever quirks, flaws, and backstory I needed to help move the plot along.

And how much of it is real? Well, anyone who knows anything about wrestling can tell you that it’s technically termed “sports entertainment” for a reason. But that doesn’t discredit all the training, hard work, and other sacrifices the wrestlers go through every day. A Deceptive Match touches on the subject of what’s “real” and what goes on behind the scenes that most fans are unaware of.

Here’s the book summary:

A Deceptive Match

Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash.

Disgruntled with her job as the office assistant for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.

Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.

Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie, and she unwittingly becomes a key player in his title match. Their mutual attraction grows, and late one night, they give in to the lustful feelings they’ve been fighting.

As their relationship deepens, Danni considers telling Vinnie her secret. But before she can confess the truth, Vinnie discovers she isn’t the reporter she claims to be. Her lie threatens to ruin everything between them. Will their relationship be destroyed by her deception or will their love win out?


***

I enjoyed creating the characters in this wrestling universe, and as I was writing, I fell in love with Everett, Vinnie’s best friend. I knew I had to tell Ev’s story and give him his own book, so I wrote A Secret Match. That book is all about Everett, but Danni and Vinnie play supporting roles in the storyline. Although the books are connected, they each stand alone as individual reads.

I hope romance fans and wrestling fans alike will check out A Deceptive Match and A Secret Match. They’re a good blend of action, drama, romance, humor, and spicy love scenes.

Happy Reading!
Kelli

Order your copy of A Deceptive Match here:




Don’t miss the follow-up book (of sorts) A Secret Match:






Saturday, December 3, 2016

Spotlight on… The Royal Desires Series






Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look back at the making of the Royal Desires Series. This trilogy of historical/fantasy romances is made up of A Most Unusual Princess, A Most Intriguing Temptation, and A Most Unfortunate Prince. Together, they are a fun series, but each story stands alone as a separate read. Why? Because when I wrote A Most Unusual Princess, I never knew I was writing a trilogy.

I’ve been asked how I plotted the series. Did I use note cards to keep track of each character’s description? Did I make an overall outline of the whole trilogy, and then write each book?

Nope. The truth is… I just wrote the story that was in my head. I didn’t intend to write a trilogy—it kinda happened on its own. (With a lot of typing on my part, of course!) I wrote each book by itself, with its own setting and theme, apart from the book that came before. So, although they share characters, each book can be read apart from the others.
 
A Most Unusual Princess is a sensual novella about unruly and willful Princess Elara, and Dalton, the handsome (and incredibly patient) guard tasked with protecting her while she searches for a suitable husband. The book is a unique blend of comedy, human drama, and romance. It’s also the first fantasy romance I ever wrote—and it was a lot of fun. 

I liked the idea of following a very headstrong and spoiled Princess Elara as she looked for a husband. From the outset, we learn that Elara is an opinionated young woman who is used to getting her own way. When Dalton innocently catches Elara doing something very unladylike, the Dalton-Elara love/hate/love relationship is born.

I enjoyed writing Dalton and Elara’s story and fell in love with them. I never expected I’d visit these characters again, but not long after completing A Most Unusual Princess, I knew Dalton needed his own book, so I wrote A Most Intriguing Temptation.

A Most Intriguing Temptation focuses on the theme of fidelity. Elara wants to test Dalton’s loyalty, so she masquerades as a sultry kharim girl in a pleasure palace. Naturally, she gets in over her head and into big trouble. I took Elara out of her element and gave her new challenges and experiences. We also got to see a different side to Dalton’s character and learned about his weaknesses and desires.

When I wrote A Most Intriguing Temptation, I introduced readers to Prince Allan. He’s basically the male version of his sister, Princess Elarahedonistic, selfish, and utterly wild at times. I had fun creating the character and enjoyed setting him free in a pleasure palace completely without limitations. I soon realized that Allan needed a book of his own, so I wrote A Most Unfortunate Prince. (Several readers also asked me if Allan’s story would be told, and I was happy to oblige!)

But before I wrote a word, I knew that Allan was going to have to face the music for his bad behavior. At the start of the book (yes, right there on page 1) Allan is banished for his actions stemming from A Most Intriguing Temptation. His father kicks him out into the real world alone and broke, and he’s forced to make his own way in life.

I decided to take this carefree, roguish prince and turn his world upside down. I asked myself: How bad can you make things for him? He has nothing: no food, no fancy clothes, certainly no job skills, and no real sense of identity. He had lived a pampered life where everything was handed to him on a silver platter (literally), and now was in for a rude awakening. I really put the screws to poor Allan, and at times left him broken, sad, and utterly miserable. 

Over the course of the book, Allan suffers life’s lessons at the hands of his evil employer and falls in love—twice. The story introduces us to Claudette, a sassy seamstress who fancies Allan and helps him adjust to the life of a commoner. Once a carefree womanizer, Allan discovers a secret side to himself, and through his relationship with Claudette, he learns what is truly important in life. And to round things out, a more settled Elara and Dalton also appear in the book and help wind up the series.
 
I enjoyed writing each of these books. It was fun to create the characters, give them unique adventures, and complicate their lives—all in the name of love. Although these are historical/fantasy romances, there’s enough spicy love scenes, adventure, drama, sadness, and humor to keep readers of all genres entertained and enthralled.

Read the Royal Desires Series from the start:
Book 1: A Most Unusual Princess

Book 2: A Most Intriguing Temptation:

Book 3: A Most Unfortunate Prince:

If you’ve read the trilogy, let me know what you think. What was your favorite book? Which scenes did you like best? Readers can contact me via the email address on the “News” page of my site or on social media. 

Happy Reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Autumn Issue







Kelli’s Quill

Autumn Issue


Hi everyone! 

I hope you all had a happy Halloween! This autumn issue of the Quill is stuffed with all kinds of goodies. I’m sharing news about my new Medallion Press historical western, a mini-interview, links to two new short romances, and writing advice. Let’s get started!


LIES, LOVE & REDEMPTION

Kelli’s third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September. This full-length novel is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877 and blends a steamy romance with mystery and danger. Here’s the summary:

Lies, Love & Redemption
Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.

As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?

Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.

Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth?
 
Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?

Order your copy of Lies, Love & Redemption here:


Learn more about the book and get links to other platforms here:

Read a guest blog about Lies, Love & Redemption. Post includes an exclusive excerpt! http://fallenoverbookreviews.blogspot.com/2016/09/guest-post-lies-love-redemption-by.html?zx=1755d8eb0f948b16


KELLI’S SHORT ROMANCES
Kelli’s romance “Seducing a Stranger” appears in the November issue of Romance Magazine. Order your copy here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/romance-magazine-fictionmagazinescom/1117503143?ean=2940146837741 Or http://www.fictionmagazines.com/
 
Her short romance, “Autumn Amour” was published in the October 2016 issue of Romance Magazine. Order your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Romance-Magazine-Vol-04-No/dp/B01M5IZSYD/


A MINI-Q & A WITH KELLI
Kelli answers a few questions about the making of Lies, Love & Redemption.

1. Is this the first time you’ve written about the Nebraska prairie? Did you dig deep into its past?
Yes, this is the first time I’ve written about Nebraska, or tackled a western, for that matter. Although I’ve written a lot of historical romances, the time periods are always different. I’ve used Medieval (A Most Unusual Princess), Scottish (The Viking’s Witch) and Colonial (Dangerous Indenture) settings.

I enjoy reading about history and exploring what life was like back then, so doing the research part of the book is interesting—and time consuming. I’m always scribbling notes about details I could use in the book. I never use them all, but adding realistic details helps draw the reader into the world of the characters, even though it might be very different from how we live now.

But no matter what the setting, I’m finding that the basic structure of a romance (two people in love overcoming obstacles to be together) remains universal, wherever (or whenever) the story takes place. And I always make sure my historical romances are anything but boring. I don’t include a lot of “info dumps” or have stuffy characters lecturing about historical events unless it’s critical to the story.

2. Having a woman as a business owner is an interesting challenge in this time period. Tell us about Cassie Wilcox. How did she come to own a general store? Why is she having trouble with the townspeople? Does she have any form of support?
Cassie has lived in Holloway all her life, and her father used to run the store. After a tragic incident, Cassie inherited the store and she is determined to keep it open, no matter what. Unfortunately, the town is dying out and the puritanical townspeople don’t approve of her headstrong and independent ways. They’d like nothing better than to drive her out.

Until Sam arrives, Cassie’s only form of support in town is Luke, the sheriff. He’s like a big brother to her and helps her out—whether she admits she needs help or not.

3. Was it a good idea for Cassie to hire Sam to work in her store?
Yes and no. From day one, Cassie keeps telling herself (and Luke) that as soon as Sam is healed, he has to leave. But the more she says it, the more you wonder: who is she trying to convince? Cassie does need help at the store, but she’s smart enough to realize she’s playing with fire when she hires Sam. He’s another complication she doesn’t need in her life—or so she thinks. Hiring Sam stirs up a whole bunch of new troubles (and emotions) for Cassie.

4. Any tips for writers that you can share?
I have a lot of writing tips! I posted 15 fun writing tips on my blog. The link is: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_15.html
And here are 3 quick writing tips:

1. If you’re writing a historical romance, do your homework and research the time period and setting. Find out what was invented when and check any facts you’re not sure of. (You don’t want your 1570 heroine struggling with a zipper or talking about events that haven’t happened yet!) Use details relevant to the era to add an extra dimension of believability to your scenes.

2. Don’t make your heroes and heroines too perfect. Each character must have a weakness he or she works to overcome. It could be anything: chronic lateness, unreliability, drinks too much, or refuses to make attachments. Use this weakness against your character in the story and show readers how he or she overcomes it.

3. Make life difficult for your characters. They should have challenges and obstacles to overcome in the story. Why not give them something from their pasts that comes back to haunt them? Perhaps a secret is revealed (or is threatened to be), an ex-lover returns, a love child appears at the worst moment, or a scandal threatens to destroy a prominent family member. This adds depth and believability to the characters and also moves the plot forward. What are the consequences of hiding the secret? What happens when it’s revealed?



THIS MONTH’S WRITING EXERCISE: EXCUSES!
In each issue of the Quill, I’ll leave you with writing advice, a prompt, or a short exercise. Use it for a freewriting warm-up, write a few paragraphs about it for fun, play the “what if” game, or just muse it over. This month, we’re focusing on excuses.

Whether it’s getting organized, cleaning out the garage, or exercising, everyone has creative reasons (excuses) about why they “just can’t” seem to do something. How often have you heard (or said): “I Want to Write, But…” or “One Day, I’ll…”

Let’s face it, the world is filled with people who like the “idea” of being a writer, but who don’t actually write anything. These people stare off into space and say, “One day I’ll write a book.” or “I’ll start writing when...” and they put the whole thing on hold, waiting for “someday” when they have more time, or when the kids are out of the house, or they’re retired, or (fill in the blank).

Most of these people never put a word on the page despite all their good intentions, or if they do start a project, they lose interest in it (it’s too hard, it was taking too long), and even fewer people see a project through from idea to published story. But they sure like to talk about it!

These excuses can also apply to published writers who are facing a block or a burnout. They may spend time talking about “getting back into writing” or finishing that half-written manuscript, but seem to lack the drive or motivation to sit in the chair and get to work. (And yes, writing is hard work!)

You know you want to write, so have you thought about what’s stopping you? What’s your excuse for not writing? No ideas? Not enough time? (This one is very common.) Not sure where or how to start? Afraid your friends or relatives won’t like what you write?

Whatever excuses you have, it’s time to address them and work through them—that is, if you really want to write. Here are two exercises and a helpful tip to help motivate you and get you writing!

EXERCISE 1: What are your excuses for not writing? List all the reasons why you can’t write. Then counter each one with a way you can write. For example: “I don’t have time.” becomes “I’ll skip watching TV and write from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.”

TIP: Set aside an hour a day to write. Not sure you have an hour? Consider writing on your lunch break or during a commute. Get up an hour earlier or schedule time after dinner. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it. You can also write in two blocks of 30 minute sessions.

EXERCISE 2: If you could only write one story in your life, what would it be? Write it down and describe it in three to five paragraphs. This is the story that will motivate you to write.

Writing is like anything else you do in life. Suppose you want to learn how to surf. You won’t learn by talking about it. At some point, you have to hit the water and get wet.


Want more words of wisdom? Writing tips and advice? Check out You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. This fun guide is filled with advice, tips all writers can use, and writing exercises designed to motivate you and get you writing. It’s available on Amazon and other platforms: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Really-Beginners-Guide-Writing-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00THWLFQU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1423749384&sr=1-1


I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Quill. Next month, I’ll be sharing a year-end wrap up (yes, you heard that right 2016 is nearly over!) news about upcoming releases and more.

Enjoy the season,

Kelli