Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Viking's Witch - recap & excellent reviews (and an excerpt!)




Hi again everyone!
Before I head off into October and the land of horror and paranormal romances, I wanted to share a quick recap of my Medallion Press historical romance, The Viking's Witch. The book was released in August and has received a bunch of really great reviews!

I blogged about the book in a previous 2-part blog, so I won't go into the book's details again, but I will share the summary, fantastic reviews, and a steamy excerpt.



About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.

 Great Reviews...
“5 stars! I enjoyed this book from the Viking era! A must read! Kelli’s writing is flawless and beautiful, her world building is amazing, and you can literally “see” this world as it was back in that era. This book was full of excitement and twist and turns that I did not see coming. Overall I loved this book, and highly recommend it.” - Michelle Lynn, ConciseReviews
“5 stars! Loved it! The Viking's Witch is a great read penned with strong characters. I was totally engrossed within the tale and cannot wait for her next book. A must read for all who love the paranormal, historical fantasy genre.” Susan P., My Cozie Corner Book Reviews

“5 stars! This was a really, really, really good book! Really enjoyed reading it, just sped right through it. Odaria and Rothgar were, from an outsider's perspective, really funny together, they kept riling each other up, accidentally, of course, but that caused some really major arguments, which really spiced the novel up. The Viking's Witch was a really good book; a fantastic read with wonderful characters, so you really should check it out! Read it!!!” - Louisa P., Words I Write Crazy
“4.50 stars! Reviewer Top Pick! The Viking’s Witch is a fantastic novel. It is extremely fast moving, and the story is beautiful and scary and all around wonderful. It’s not often that I can sit down and start a book of this length one night and finish it in its entirety the following day. This is a novel that I would recommend for anyone seeking a splendid adventure, or a scorching, heartwarming romance destined to set many hearts aflame. This is a truly fantastic book. Take a trip with a Viking and see what happens. It’s definitely worth the trip.” - Hitherandthee, Night Owl Romance Reviews

 “4.5 hearts! Ms. Wilkins crafted a wonderful story. I liked the combination of learning to love and trust each other between Rothgar and Odaria. I especially loved the berserkrs, specifically Nordskog who was their leader. This book kept me engrossed from start to finish, wondering what was going to happen and if Odaria's visions are really correct. What a great read!” -Teresa, The Romance Studio
“4 stars! I have never read a Viking era book before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found the world building and character behaviors very believable. I was curious to see how Kelli would develop a romance within this era. Let me say she did a fabulous job. It was a page-turner that had me cheering on the main characters. The world she describes is believable and so easy to visualize.” – Vickieann, TRB: Reviews
“4 stars! I think the author played it well, creating a chance circumstance that could build on the power of Odaria and Rothgar and the love that seems to bring them together. I enjoyed the book; it flowed really smoothly. I liked that they struggled for their love, it wasn’t one of those love at first sight ordeals. Lust on the other hand... I do suggest approaching this book with caution because there is plenty of steam ready to fog up your glasses when turning the pages of this book.” - PrincessPixistixx, WonderlandReviews
“Weaving in paranormal and thriller aspects and a zinger of an ending, Wilkins presents a violent, exciting, and steamy tale sure to please historical romance readers.”
~ Judy Murray,
Library Journal (August 3, 2012)
“The world she describes is believable and so easy to visualize, and the characters are all there. There is a hero and heroine, the horrid bad guy and all the secondary people to fill out the story.”
~ Vickie A. Sold,
Amazon review (August 21, 2012)
 
Eclectic writer Wilkins (e.g., A Midsummer Night’s Delights; Beauty & the Bigfoot) doesn’t disappoint with her latest historical romance title, set in ninth-century Scotland. Odaria is a Pict and self-proclaimed witch. Rothgar, a Norseman seeking his missing countryman, arrives just in time to interrupt the burning of Odaria as a witch. There is an instant attraction, and Rothgar becomes Odaria’s protector. Love blooms as violence and deceit swirl around them. Surrounded on all sides by enemies, our lovers must rely on each other, but can they trust each other? The inclusion of descriptions of daily life and such graphic details as the Vikings’ use of the Blood Eagle execution technique and the behavior of the Berserker Viking warriors adds interest.
Verdict Weaving in paranormal and thriller aspects and a zinger of an ending, Wilkins presents a violent, exciting, and steamy tale sure to please historical romance readers.—Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., MI
“Ms. Wilkins has written a fun escapist romantic fantasy novel.”
The Steamy Excerpt:

As Odaria rubbed her temples with her fingertips, the wool blanket slipped down, exposing her breasts. She tried to cover herself, but Rothgar held her wrists.


"Let me admire you." He pulled away from her and sat back on his heels.


Although she was a bit embarrassed, she felt no need to shield herself. She trusted Rothgar like no other. Before she knew what was happening, Rothgar’s warm mouth covered her left breast. A flash of desire coursed through her, and she groaned.


He suckled her gently, then twirled his tongue around her nipple. The sensation of his mouth working against her flesh sent her senses reeling, and she longed for more. A low moan escaped her throat as he increased the pressure on her breast.


She wrapped her arms around Rothgar’s head and held him to her, arching her back as he devoured her. Her lustful feelings from this morning resurfaced, and she willed him to ease her back onto the bed and make love to her.


After a few minutes, Rothgar moved away. "I thought that would make you feel better," he said with a wink.

She smiled. "Aye. I do. I’m tingling everywhere, but it isn’t enough."

 
Rothgar stroked her cheek with his forefinger. "Then lie back. I will make you feel things you’ve never dreamed of."

 
Odaria lay on the bed and closed her eyes. Her entire body felt prickly, and her heart thundered in her chest like a drum. What would Rothgar do next? Would they make love? He was the only man who had ever sparked these desires in her. It felt natural to give herself to him.

 
She felt a slight chill as Rothgar tugged the wool blanket away from her lower half, exposing her. A tremor of fear rippled through her. "What happens now? I dunno how to do this," she whispered.

 
"Fret not, my little witch. We will not make love now. I wish to save that pleasure for tonight." He chuckled. "But I know how to give you the same pleasures of lovemaking while leaving you intact."

 
"How could—?"

 
She gasped as Rothgar leaned over her and suckled her breast again. Her skin quivered as Rothgar trailed kisses down her ribs and stomach, inching lower with each kiss. His strong hands massaged her calves, sliding upward until he rubbed her knees, then her thighs. His kisses went lower, tickling her until he reached her lower belly. She moaned and squirmed on the bed. This delightful teasing and touching was something she’d never expected. How did Rothgar know how to make her feel so weak and vulnerable?

**
 
October is just around the corner! Be sure to check out the blog and read about my horror stories and paranormal romances!

Until next time,
Kelli

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Killer in Wolf's Clothing - recap and reviews!



Hi everyone!

With autumn just around the corner, I thought I'd share a look back at my two romances that were released this summer. Up this week is Killer in Wolf's Clothing.

This pararnormal gay romance is my second gay romance with the Amber Quill Press Amber Allure line. (My first gay romance was Four Days with Jack, released in May 2011.) I've shared inside looks at the book on the blog, so I won't rehash all that here and now - but I will share a few great reviews!


“4 Stars! Killer in Wolf's Clothing offers a different and very creative take on werewolves. I loved the whole concept. Two very different people sharing a body that changes too. Hot, sexy and a little kinky, this one tells a very engaging story. There's a good bit of violence but it fits the plot. Larry and Greg are great as a couple but Larry and Deke really smoulder. The transformation of Greg into Deke is detailed and the whole idea just pulls you in. Add a crazy serial killer and a werewolf sex club to the mix and you a wild ride. Great fun!”  - Emma, Night Owl Reviews

“4 Stars! Killer in Wolf's Clothing is a quick fun read that will hook you from the beginning. A bit different than I'm used to regarding werewolves, but I totally enjoyed the book. Recommended for all who like the horror genre with a twist of fun.” Susan, Sweet-n-Sassi.blogspot

“3 Stars! Killer in Wolf’s Clothing isn’t going to convert me to m/m romance – although to be fair, I’m not sure any book would be able to do so. But the book entertains; it made me laugh at times, made me raise by eyebrows several times, and made me snort out loud more than once. I can’t ask for more than that from a story.” Jennifer, Romance Novel News

“I liked it and it was definitely fun to read. Your reception to this story will depend on how seriously you take it. It is written with a bit of a laugh at itself, not to be taken too seriously. I could see that from the start, which is why I ultimately liked the story and was able to get into it right away. Larry is a bit of a slut, but that’s okay and all in keeping with the tone of the story. He’s simply begging for it, and also won’t be turned away from following Deke on his mission. [Killer in Wolf’s Clothing] is funny and sexy and playful. I liked it and it was definitely fun to read.” The Armchair Reader


Here's the summary and a fun teaser:



A super aggressive Alpha male, a serial killer, and a visit to a kinky sex club…What has Larry gotten himself into?

When Larry learns that his boyfriend Greg changes into another man during the full moon, he has a hard time accepting it—until he meets Deke, Greg’s alternate Alpha personality.

Deke doesn’t play nice and has no time for games. He only wants two things—to get laid and to get revenge against the arsonist who murdered his friends. Finally free from Greg’s restraints, Deke is ready for action, and Larry is more than willing to submit to Deke’s needs.

Together, Larry and Deke set out to find the killer. Their hunt takes them to an all-night Alpha sex club where things heat up for the two of them. But when Larry unwittingly falls into the clutches of the murderer, it’s up to Deke—and Greg—to save him before it’s too late.


“I don’t know how it happens, but during the phase of the full moon there’s a physical transformation. I get aggressive and bigger—”

“Bigger how exactly?” Larry teased.

He smiled. “Get your mind out of the gutter. I change, physically change.”

“Into what? A wolf with a tail and pointy ears?”

“No, it’s not like in the movies. I don’t turn into a monster. I become someone else.”

Larry dismissed him with a wave of his hand. “That’s impossible. Maybe you have an undiagnosed personality disorder. Have you seen a psychiatrist?”

“Three of them. They all told me I suffered from delusions.” Greg drank down more of his beer. “One woman said my Alpha persona was a manifestation of my true male sexuality fighting against the gay side of me.” He laughed. “I didn’t tell her that my Alpha self is gay, too.”

Larry sat up. “He is?”

“Oh yeah, definitely.”

“Wow, that’s good. I mean… Wait...you’re acting way too serious about this.”

“I am?” He arched an eyebrow and stared into Larry’s blue eyes. “Would you like to see the video?”

**
Of course, you can read a sizzling excerpt on the book's page at: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/KillerWolfsClothing.html

I hope you'll check out the book and let me know what you think!

Next week, I'll be sharing a recap of my Medallion Press book - The Viking's Witch.

And as always, the blog goes all horror/paranormal for the month of October! Stay tuned!

Kelli

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Inside Look at The Viking's Witch - Part 2




Hi everyone,

Welcome to Part Two of an “Inside Look” at TheViking’s Witch. As most of you may know, The Viking’s Witch is a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803.  The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then – nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer.

 In the last blog, I talked about how the book came about, the research involved, and the violence that takes place in the story. Now I’ll share some insight into the characters, Odaria’s magic “witch” powers, and leave you with a steamy excerpt!

First, here’s the plot summary:


About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.

 
Interviewers have asked me how I can create such interesting and diverse characters for all of my books. They want to know where Rothgar and Odaria came from. Well, there’s no real way to answer that other than, I just made them up. They’re not based on any particular person. (Although Chris Hemsworth from Thor is pretty much is what I envisioned Rothgar to look like.)

Odaria is a strong-willed “witch” who is tired of being abused and ridiculed by the people in her village. She swears she doesn’t need anyone’s help to get by. Rothgar was once a powerful warrior, but a personal tragedy has softened him and left him broken and unwilling to love anyone again. When they meet up, they each play off the others’ weaknesses. Odaria has no qualms about standing up to Rothgar and arguing with him, and he respects her willful and fearless behavior. Eventually they realize that they need (and want) to be with each other forever.

I like introducing secondary characters and subplots into all my books to flesh out the story. I’ve been asked about the secondary character, Nordskog. He’s not the type of “hero” one would typically find in a romance, but he serves an important role in the story. Where did he come from? Well…

I used to work with a woman whose last name was Nordskog and I told her that one day I’d use her name in a book, so I did! Nordskog is a violent, vicious berserkr and has a history with Rothgar dating from Rothgar’s old fighting days. Nordskog’s hatred of Karnik draws him closer to Rothgar’s side as the story develops. After Odaria helps heal his leg, Nordskog develops a fondness for her, as well. He’s an impulsive brute, but he’s not stupid. He knows that Rothgar is wealthy and will reward him for his services and loyalty.

But if readers thought Nordskog was bad, the antagonist, Brennan, is even worse.

Brennan has been described as “a perfectly evil villain” which was exactly my intention. I wanted to portray him as an arrogant, self-righteous SOB but not have his character be too over the top. Brennan is a lying, murdering, religious zealot and that makes him dangerous to Odaria and the other villagers. Most of the terrible things he’s done happen off page and we learn about them through Odaria. Each time I wrote a scene for, or about, Brennan, I made him a little more unstable and psychotic, so by the end of the book readers see that he needs to learn his lesson and pay for what he’s done.

Throughout the book, Odaria shows off her “witch powers” and uses them for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her. Rothgar doesn’t believe her and thinks she’s just pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after an interaction with Brennan, Rothgar got a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.

I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write! I’ve always been interested in psychic phenomena and other New Age subjects, so it was easy for me to incorporate what I know into Odaria’s character.

Now that you know all about the book and the characters, here’s a short (yet steamy) excerpt from The Viking’s Witch.

As Odaria rubbed her temples with her fingertips, the wool blanket slipped down, exposing her breasts. She tried to cover herself, but Rothgar held her wrists.

"Let me admire you." He pulled away from her and sat back on his heels.

Although she was a bit embarrassed, she felt no need to shield herself. She trusted Rothgar like no other. Before she knew what was happening, Rothgar’s warm mouth covered her left breast. A flash of desire coursed through her, and she groaned.

He suckled her gently, then twirled his tongue around her nipple. The sensation of his mouth working against her flesh sent her senses reeling, and she longed for more. A low moan escaped her throat as he increased the pressure on her breast.

She wrapped her arms around Rothgar’s head and held him to her, arching her back as he devoured her. Her lustful feelings from this morning resurfaced, and she willed him to ease her back onto the bed and make love to her.

After a few minutes, Rothgar moved away. "I thought that would make you feel better," he said with a wink.

She smiled. "Aye. I do. I’m tingling everywhere, but it isn’t enough."

Rothgar stroked her cheek with his forefinger. "Then lie back. I will make you feel things you’ve never dreamed of."

Odaria lay on the bed and closed her eyes. Her entire body felt prickly, and her heart thundered in her chest like a drum. What would Rothgar do next? Would they make love? He was the only man who had ever sparked these desires in her. It felt natural to give herself to him.

She felt a slight chill as Rothgar tugged the wool blanket away from her lower half, exposing her. A tremor of fear rippled through her. "What happens now? I dunno how to do this," she whispered.

"Fret not, my little witch. We will not make love now. I wish to save that pleasure for tonight." He chuckled. "But I know how to give you the same pleasures of lovemaking while leaving you intact."

"How could—?"
 
She gasped as Rothgar leaned over her and suckled her breast again. Her skin quivered as Rothgar trailed kisses down her ribs and stomach, inching lower with each kiss. His strong hands massaged her calves, sliding upward until he rubbed her knees, then her thighs. His kisses went lower, tickling her until he reached her lower belly. She moaned and squirmed on the bed. This delightful teasing and touching was something she’d never expected. How did Rothgar know how to make her feel so weak and vulnerable?

***

 You can order a copy of the book here: http://medallionmediagroup.com/books/the-vikings-witch/


If you've read the book, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment or drop me a line via the "Contact the Author" form on the News page of my site: www.KelliWilkins.com
 
Until next time,

Kelli

Monday, September 3, 2012

Inside Look at THE VIKING'S WITCH - Part 1




Hi everyone,

As most of you may know, my first Medallion Press novel, The Viking’s Witch was released in August. It’s a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803 A.D.  The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then – nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer.

In this blog, I’ll talk about how the book came about, the research involved, and the violence that takes place in the story. (Yes, even though it’s a romance, everything’s not all hearts and flowers.) In Part Two of the blog I’ll talk about the characters, Odaria’s magic ‘witch’ powers, and more!


First, here’s the plot summary:


About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.


Interviewers and readers have asked what my inspiration was when I was writing the book, and they are curious about how much research I had to do to create the characters and setting.

Like many of my books, the idea for the story just came to me. One day, the entire opening sequences popped into my head and I knew I had to start writing the book. At the time, I had the basic plot (Viking warrior falls in love with Celtic witch), but I wasn’t sure about most of the details, like the character names, their backstories, and the subplot. All of that came later, along with the secondary characters Brennan and Nordskog. (But I’ll talk more about them in Part Two of this blog!)

Scotland is a beautiful place and I’ve always wanted to set a book there. (I still may write another historical set in the Highlands.) Having the story take place on the remote Orkney Islands added a sense of urgency and tension to the plot. In a sense, Rothgar and Odaria are “trapped” on the island and are forced to deal with angry villagers and the other Norsemen. The action is condensed into a few days on a very small island, so there’s really nowhere for the characters to go. They’re forced to work together in order to get off the island – and survive.

Before I started writing a word of the book I had to do a lot research on where to set the story. I knew the book would take place in Scotland, where the Vikings traveled in their early years of exploration, but I didn’t want it to be a populated location. Once I decided on the Orkneys, I had to pick which island to set the story (there are 70 different islands, but today, only 20 are inhabited).

I also had to research what life was like at that time period for Odaria and Rothgar. (What kind of clothes they would wear? What food did they eat? How did Norsemen travel so far? What were their ships like?) Odaria and Rothgar come from different backgrounds and technically would have been speaking different languages, so I had to blend their two cultures together in a way that flowed with the book.

After I got a feel for what everyday life was like for each of them, I weaved the details into the story. For example, Rothgar’s Norse culture intrigues Odaria and she is curious about their clothes, customs, their food, how they travel, etc. Having Rothgar show her how he lived was a good way to introduce readers into the culture.

And of course, if you were living back in 803 with bands of Norsemen and crazy villagers, you can expect there was some measure of violence. Readers might think that there’s no place for violence in a romance, but I think that type of realism enhances the story.

In 803, life was completely different from how we live now – especially on a remote island. People got hurt, sick, and died. The Viking’s Witch is about a violent man (Brennan) and a group of Norsemen with violent reputations, so the violence in the story is necessary to move the plot along while also helping the reader get deeper into the minds and lives of the characters.

I didn’t cringe when I wrote the “gritty” scenes; I was happy to include them. I like history and it drives me crazy when people in 1500 or 1870 are perfectly clean and neat and look like they stepped out of a beauty salon. In The Viking’s Witch I included enough details to bring the story alive, yet showed how some degree of violence was necessary for Rothgar’s and Odaria’s survival.

I hope you enjoyed Part One of this “Inside Look” at The Viking’s Witch. Next week, I’ll delve into the characters and discuss Odaria’s magic!

You can order a copy of the book here: http://medallionmediagroup.com/books/the-vikings-witch/  


Until next time,

Kelli