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