Wednesday, March 21, 2018

You Gotta Read... Talks with Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone!

Today I’m sharing Part 1 of my interview with "You Gotta Read!" I answer a few background questions & share some writing advice…

Q. Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?
I was born in New Jersey, but I was raised in a small town in upstate New York. Voorheesville was very rural and there wasn’t a lot to do, so I became an avid reader at a young age. Our house was on the outskirts of town. We had a creek in the back yard, and my brother and I used to go wandering up into the mountains to explore. Living there helped fuel my imagination and inspired some of my short stories.

Q. How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
Growing up in rural NY (in the woods, as I sometimes say) helped me understand small town life, and get a great respect for nature. When I want to tap into the horror side of my imagination, I think about how it was to grow up in an environment where houses were far apart, there were no streetlights, and you could drive into really creepy and desolate areas and not see any people.  Most of my short horror fiction takes place in small towns (usually on or around Halloween). Autumn is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday!

Q. How do you come up with the titles for your books?
Titles are tricky! Sometimes I’ll know the title before I start writing the story. That happened with several books: Four Days with Jack, Beauty & the Bigfoot, Trust with Hearts, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Other times, I won’t know the title until I’m almost ready to send the book out! Usually I’ll have a few ideas for a title, based on the characters, the setting, or theme, then I take a survey of my writing friends and family to see which one they like best. My husband has come up with a few great titles.

Q. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
No matter what genre they write, I’d advise new writers to take writing classes (either online or in person) and learn all you can about crafting a story. Telling a story is the main focus of being a writer. You have to be able to think of an idea and write/revise a good story before you can do anything else. Reading “how-to” writing magazines and joining critique groups are also excellent ways to learn techniques and get feedback from readers and/or other writers.

I get asked this question all the time, so wrote You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.The book gives you practical advice on how to create a story, step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. It also includes fun writing exercises and tips all writers can use.

Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Coming up with ideas for my stories is the fun part of writing. The challenging part is sitting down and doing the work that comes next: the revising, editing, and proofreading of a manuscript. That part of the process isn’t hard, it’s just not creative. You have to turn off the imagination part of your brain and get to work on the technical aspects of writing.

Q. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
I enjoy traveling, gardening, reading, going to flea markets, hanging out with my husband, and visiting friends. I also like to explore creepy/haunted places.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts! I welcome questions and comments from readers, so feel free to drop me a line. Let me know which of my books is your favorite, and which characters you love best. I invite everyone to visit me on social media for book updates, excerpts, and more.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Behind the Scenes with... Dangerous Indenture

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture
As most readers know, I write romances in nearly every genre: contemporary, historical, fantasy, gay, and paranormal. When I write historical romances I never know where (or when) my story will take me. The Viking’s Witch is set in Scotland in 803, Lies, Love & Redemption is a western set in 1877 Nebraska, and 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 novel 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 timeframe 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 (Where did they come from? Why did they leave their home country?).

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

When I’m writing historical romances, I include details and descriptions that are integral to the story. I don’t bog down the plot with a step-by-step procedure for churning butter or how to saddle a horse, and I don’t go into an endless description of how to unfasten a corset (unless it’s befuddling a hero who is eager to remove it!)

Just because historical romances are set in time periods before cars, the Internet, and cell phones, that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make them boring. My historicals include plenty of action, adventure, intrigue, danger, comedy, and sensual love scenes.

When I wrote Dangerous Indenture, 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.

Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s known as the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He has a reputation as a drunkard and a womanizer, and tends to get himself into troubling situations. By giving Ashton all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.

Shauna has come to the Colonies to start over and make a new life for herself. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with anyone—and then she meets Ashton. Shauna is headstrong and independent, and not your typical heroine. She’s brash and opinionated and falls in love with Ashton despite all of his socially unacceptable flaws. Ashton gives her the strength and encouragement she needs to keep going when things look bleak, and he stands up for her at a critical plot point in the story.

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. Not everyone in Stewart House is as they seem, however, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book.

I love the characters and the fact that Dangerous Indenture is a romance blended with mystery. I had never written a romance set in Colonial times before, and combining all these elements into this Gothic-type story was a lot of fun.

I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s an excerpt from Dangerous Indenture:

Ashton rolled over and winced. His head ached as if a spike had been driven into his skull. He blinked a few times. Where the hell was he? The air smelled stale. The scent of sweat combined with rum and perfume made his stomach lurch. He looked at the woman sleeping next to him. He was naked in a bed but where? He couldn’t tell one place from another anymore.

Hazy memories from the previous night flashed back to him. He had gotten into a fight and lost the last of his money in a card game. This came on the heels of last week’s fight that had landed him three nights in jail. His father had used his influence to spare him a public flogging for drunken and indecent behavior, but then two days later, he had caused the incident at Mr. Campbell’s house.

He studied the fair-haired girl half covered with a green quilt. In the dim morning light, she appeared ordinary and featureless. Why had he been attracted to her? What was her name? He searched his fuzzy memory. Jane? Joan? It didn’t matter. He had nothing to pay her with.

Now what? He closed his eyes. The letter. Father’s scathing letter had arrived yesterday, ordering him to return to Stewart House at once, before he “disgraced the family’s reputation further.” He had no choice but to go back to the Stewart madhouse for a while. He would endure the torment for a month or two or perhaps the entire summer if he could stand it. Then what? Repeat the pattern again?

Last night he’d been tempted to go down to the docks and sign on to a ship leaving for England or Ireland. In his drunken state, he had reasoned that if he left the colonies, he could start over and begin a new life.

But all the liquor in Boston couldn’t help him take such a bold step. Eventually, he’d admitted the truth to himself. It was easier to crawl into a bottle and ignore the world than to face reality. Besides, what did he have to look forward to?

He sat up and grimaced as a sharp pain shot through his head. Who cared about the future? Right now, he needed food and headache powder. Everything else could wait. He pulled his rumpled breeches from a pile of clothing on the floor and dressed quickly.

As he buttoned his vest, he felt something hard tucked into an inside pocket. A coin! He fished it out and ran his thumb over the edge. It was enough to buy a morning meal.

He glanced at the still-sleeping girl and felt a tug at his heart. Lord knew she deserved it for what she put herself through every night. He placed the coin on the edge of the dresser and slipped from the room, ignoring the rumbling in his stomach...

Order your copy of Dangerous Indenture here:

I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Dangerous Indenture. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

And… FREE READS from all of my romances (all genres) are now on my Manic Readers page:

Happy Reading,

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dangerous Indenture - A Colonial Romance/Mystery

Hi everyone!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, so what better time to read a historical romance featuring an Irish heroine? Dangerous Indenture is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery.

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.

Here’s an Excerpt:

“You don’t wanna be goin’ to Stewart House. It’s got more haunts than the Tower of London.”

The carriage driver’s words echoed in Shauna’s mind as she stared at the two-story stone building. The house didn’t look haunted. Why had the driver tried to scare her with tales of murder and madness? She’d come to the colonies to do a job, and she wasn’t about to be put off by a batch of superstitious nonsense.

Shauna walked up the path to the front door, passing her trunk where the driver had dropped it in his haste to flee. She rapped with the brass knocker, waited a moment, then knocked again. There was no answer. Was anyone home? She didn’t fancy waiting outside all day.

She opened the front door and stepped into a tiled entryway. The scent of cherry tobacco filled her nostrils. “Hello? Anyone ’ere?”

Curious, she peeked into the parlor to her left. The room was decorated with a horsehair sofa, an assortment of chairs and tables, and a thick wool carpet. “Oh my,” she muttered. Was everyone in Pennsylvania Colony so well off?

Upon closer inspection, she noticed cobwebs dangling from the ceiling’s open beams, a gray tinge to the lace curtains, and stains on the light blue carpet. She frowned. The coach driver had been right about one thing—the house needed a servant. She recalled the rest of his strange story.

“The Stewarts can’t keep servants, ya know. They tried to hire local girls, but folks in town know better. Nobody stays at Stewart House after dark. Not after what happened to that Purdy girl.”

She hadn’t asked who “that Purdy girl” was, and she didn’t care. Besides, even if the house was haunted, she had no choice but to stay.

“Who are you and what the devil are you doing in my parlor?” a deep voice thundered.

She whirled around. A man with dark hair and a heavy beard towered over her.

“I asked you a question. Who are you?”

“I’m the new servant. Me name’s Shauna Farrow.”

“You were supposed to be here three days ago. Where the hell have you been? I paid the driver a good bit to fetch you. He’d better have done his duty,” the man snapped. “I am your master, Joshua Stewart. You are not allowed to use the front door without permission. You are a servant. Use the servants’ entrance.”

“Aye, but you see—”

“If you wish to speak, beg permission. I will not tolerate insolence. Address me as ‘sir’ or ‘Master Stewart.’ Understand? Do you have your papers?”

“Aye, sir. They’re outside in me trunk.”

“Get them.”

She darted into the foyer, then stopped. Was this a trick? She turned back. “Sir, pray I use the front door to fetch ’em? The driver—”

“Are you mocking me?”

She forced herself to sound meek. Joshua Stewart was a big bear of a man, and she didn’t want to make him angrier. “Nay, sir. I wanna be sure I’m doin’ the right thing. Me trunk’s at the edge of the walk.”

He waved her off. “Hurry.”

Shauna rushed outside and opened her battered brown trunk. Her indenture papers were stacked neatly on top of her clothes. She picked up the papers and paused. Having second thoughts now would do her no good; it was too late to turn back. As soon as she handed these documents over to Master Stewart, she would belong to him for five years. It already seemed like an eternity.

Part of her was tempted to march back inside and give her new “master” a piece of her mind, but she couldn’t. A fiery Irish temper and a loose tongue had caused her more problems than she could count. She didn’t need to start any new troubles here. As long as she lived at Stewart House, she would have to do as she was told. Besides, she had nowhere else to go.

Order your copy here:




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Next week I’ll share an inside look at the making of the book! Until then,

Happy Reading,


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Romance... Novels

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is all about celebrating love and romance and cherishing those you hold dear. What better way to do that than in a romance novel?

People read romances for different reasons: for great storylines, to live vicariously through the characters they care about, and to know that whatever obstacles these lovers face, they’ll overcome them together.

I write stories based around characters who find each other, fall deeply in love, and live happily ever after—but not without going through some emotional ups and downs. Although my characters love each other, everything isn’t always roses and sunshine. As they work through their challenges, they have to learn a few lessons about themselves, trust, honesty, or whatever their personal internal struggles are.

For example, Sherrie and Curtis, in my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts, have to work through painful issues in their pasts before they can open up and learn to trust again. In my historical fantasy, A Most Intriguing Temptation, Elara and Dalton learn important lessons about temptation and fidelity. 

And in my gay romance, A Secret Match, Everett struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and be open about who he really is. These trials and emotional hardships are realistic challenges that people face in their lives. But once the characters have learned what they need to, they can live happily-ever-after.

But sometimes love can be a surprise. In some of my books, the characters aren’t looking for love—it’s the furthest thing from their minds—but there it is. One morning, Cassie, from Lies, Love & Redemption had a handsome stranger collapse in her arms and nearly die in her store. Sam turned out to be her strongest advocate—and soul mate. Brian was taking in the waves when he found his true love on a deserted beach in Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Although these types of relationships are uncommon, the characters focus on commitment and “being there” for the other person for the long haul, no matter what. And that’s important in “real life” too!

Many of my characters find true love when they are willing to open their hearts and risk sharing their deepest emotions, darkest secrets, and intimate desires—and then discover that the other person loves them even more for it. David and Jack from Four Days with Jack are an excellent example of how opening up and risking rejection can lead to true love. Claudette, from A Most Unfortunate Prince, has a checkered past and is hesitant to confess her secret to Allan, but when she does, she finds true acceptance.

One of the things I like about writing romances is that I can make life miserable for the main characters and keep readers wondering: How are they going to live happily-ever-after? How will they get past this? And in real-world situations couples may be thinking the same thing about the challenges in their lives.

In my books, I make sure the characters get on each other’s nerves, and I add lots of conflict (external and internal) to pull them apart. (Haven’t we all been there?) The conflict can be anything that will destroy their happy world: maybe he won’t compromise; his parents don’t approve because she’s from a different ethnic background; the hero finds out the heroine has a secret; the man he loves cheated on him (or so he thinks); his beloved princess was kidnapped; or a blackmailer wants her dead.

In The Viking’s Witch, Odaria is nearly burned at the stake and is rescued by Rothgar, a brutish Norseman she can’t stand. Over the course of the book they fall in love, but at the same time they bicker, keep secrets from each other, people are trying to kill them, and it seems that Rothgar has betrayed her to her sworn enemy. Yet, under all that conflict and heartache, their love is a constant, and they learn important lessons as they fight to stay together.

Whether you read historicals, fantasy, gay, paranormal, or contemporary romances (or a combination) you’re always guaranteed a great story, troubled characters you can’t help but root for, some steamy love scenes, and a happy-ever-after ending.

Because in the end, love conquers all, and that’s how it should be.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re in a committed relationship or not, find someone you care about and tell him or her how much they mean to you! (And don’t forget to show your pets some extra love today, too!)

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Loving a Wild Stranger: A Q&A with the Author...

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from an interview with Gotta Write Network. I answer a few questions about my historical romance, Loving a Wild Stranger.

Q: In this historical, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York. Fate leaves her stranded in a small town in Michigan Territory. Why did she feel she had to leave her home? Was she looking for independence or freedom for what her family has planned for her?

A: Kathleen is running from an abusive fiancĂ© (although at first, readers aren’t sure why she’s running away). She’s an independent woman for the time period and never fit in with how she was “supposed to” behave. This caused a lot of problems between her and her parents. After witnessing something tragic, she finally saw the light and realized leaving was her only option.

Kathleen left home in a hurry, with no real destination, just “away”. As she traveled the country, she worked several jobs to earn stagecoach fare to keep running. When her money finally ran out, she ended up stranded in Michigan Territory.

Q: What solution does she arrive at to find escape from her past, shelter, food and safety?

A: In order to get herself out of a jam, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and impersonates a stranger’s mail order bride. The man, Luther, seems nice enough, and she tells herself that the arrangement is temporary until she can move on.

Q: What do Luther and Michelle have in common?

A: They’re both considered outsiders and are not accepted by their families. They had to fend for themselves at a young age and make their own way in life. This brings them closer together and they learn to rely on each other over the course of the novel.

As the story progresses, Kathleen learns a lot about herself, how to overcome the past, and how to live a completely different (rugged) life in the wilderness. Her eyes are opened to new cultures and she transforms herself into an entirely different person.

Q: What inspired you to write this novel?

A: The idea of a woman on the run impersonating a stranger’s wife came to me one day. I started thinking about possible plots and different characters. I wanted to tell a story about a young woman who struggles against her past, herself, and her surroundings, and still finds true happiness.

Q: How much research did you do about mail order brides before writing the book?

A: A lot! Believe it or not, mail order brides are not a thing of the past. A simple Internet search leads to dozens of sites for modern-day mail order brides from all over the world. In the 1800s, many of the brides were foreigners or widows. There wasn’t much of a screening process, so basically a man wasn’t sure who (or what) he’d be getting himself into—and neither did the wife. (Luther mentions this in passing in the book.) Michelle is young and pretty, and he considers her an excellent catch. Not all mail order bride situations had happy endings, however.

Q: What makes Loving a Wild Stranger different than the other historical romances you’ve written?

A: Loving a Wild Stranger is different for a few reasons. First, it has a very mild heat level. Most of my romances (historicals and contemporaries) are spicier, with more love scenes. It also takes place in a small cabin on a remote mountain and has a very woodsy feel. My other historicals are usually set in estate houses, castles, or other elegant settings. The characters are more down-to-earth and gritty, and I deal with several “not so nice” subjects not often found in a romance.

I’m happy to say the book has received several great reviews. 

Read more about this full-length romance novel and order your copy here:

Be sure to catch up on all of my romances on my website:

I have a page for my historical romances. Check it out here:

If you enjoy reading my blogs, why not sign up and follow along? Or, sign up for my newsletter, Kelli’s Quill. The link is:

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Kelli’s Quill - January 2018 Issue

Happy 2018 everyone! In this issue, we’re doing a flashback to my 2017 releases (all 7 of them) and flashing forward to a look at what’s on the horizon. I’ve also included new social media news & links, blogs, book reviews, plus answer a few FAQ in Kelli’s Corner. Here we go:

A Look Back
It’s hard to believe, but I released 7 romances in 2017. These titles were originally published by Amber Quill Press (in one form or another) and we all reedited and revised. Some even got excellent new covers. In case you missed any, here’s the list:

Beauty & the Bigfoot - paranormal comedy (September)
Trust with Hearts - contemporary romance (July)
Four Days with Jack - gay contemporary (June)
Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights - erotic historical/fantasy trilogy (Spring)
Loving a Wild Stranger - historical/pioneer romance (January) 

Read book summaries, excerpts, reviews, and more on my website: and blog:

Sharing New Reviews
Several of my books got great reviews! Here’s a sample…

The San Francisco Review of Books posted a great new review for my writing book You Can Write—Really! Here’s an excerpt: “If you’ve ever wanted to write fiction, then you will want to read this book. This book has tips and techniques that will help not only beginners, but more advanced writers as well. All aspects of the craft of writing are covered, in the order that they are needed. There are concrete and detailed descriptions in each chapter, information that would well serve writers from a variety of levels. And yet, the complete novice will not be overwhelmed.”

Ready to write? Order You Can Write—Really! here:

Coffetime Romance gave Beauty & the Bigfoot a 4 coffee cup rating! Here’s a snippet: “Tara and Kyani’s story is unusual but entertaining. There were a few times I laughed out loud at the path this love story took. The book is an unusual spin on paranormal but one worth reading. Give Beauty & the Bigfoot a read – you will not be disappointed.”

Read about Beauty & the Bigfoot here:

My contemporary romance novel, Trust with Hearts also got a great review. Here’s an excerpt: “There are family and friends, sorrow, loss, sadness, fear, anger, hurt, angst, tears, laughter, happiness, lots of loving and ultimately love. There is a nice flow to the story and I loved Curtis’ memories of growing up with his grandmother and what an important role she played in his life even now. Wilkins is a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of her books in the contemporary and historical romance genres – two that I especially love.”

Read about Trust with Hearts here:

New Stuff for the New Year
I'm now on Instagram!!! Follow my wacky posts:

I added my profile & books to Bookbub:

Check out my new look for Twitter & follow along:

Get FREE READS from all of my romances here:

Stay tuned for website & blog updates/refreshes as the year progresses!

And… I’m putting the finishing touches on a new historical romance. This full-length novel  has a Gothic feel and will be out sometime in 2018. After that, I have more ideas for a new gay romance (or two), another historical, and a paranormal contemporary romance. Be sure to follow me on social media for the latest updates & news.

Looking for something to read? Catch up on these guest blogs:
Need some motivation to reach your goals in 2018? Check out my latest writing blog!

If you love historical romances, don’t miss LOVING A WILD STRANGER. Read more about the book here:

Read an excerpt from my contemporary romance, A DECEPTIVE MATCH, in this book spotlight:

Like Vikings? Read about my historical romance, THE VIKING’S WITCH. Post includes an excerpt!

Kelli’s Corner
This month, I’m answering a few FAQ about my paranormal-comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot.

Q: Beauty & the Bigfoot is certainly an unusual romance with a blend of comedy and sensuality. Tell us more about it. 

I knew that a romance about Bigfoot would have to be a comedy – nobody would buy into the idea of a “serious” love story about Bigfoot. From there, the idea, characters, and back story about the legend grew and morphed into the book. It’s sort of a modern take on Beauty and the Beast – with plenty of humor and drama to draw readers into Tara’s crazy world.

When I was writing the story, I was concerned about two aspects: One was readers being turned off/freaked out by the idea of a woman being intimate with a “monster” (or an “animal”); the second thing that concerned me was that readers wouldn’t “get” the wacky humor and unusual characterization of Tara and her father, Charlie.

I made sure I gave the Sasquatch a name, (Joe), and humanistic traits so readers can see him as Tara does – as a really hairy guy. I’m happy to say that Beauty & the Bigfoot has received several excellent reviews, so the story and humor are connecting with readers.

Q: Beauty and the Bigfoot is a romantic comedy. Is a sense of fun something you try to incorporate in much of your writing?

Some of my books feature characters that have odd or strange senses of humor or are just plain witty. (Prince Allan’s character in A Most Intriguing Temptation was so adorable and clever that I gave him a book of his own, A Most Unfortunate Prince. Allan is able to cope with bad situations and maintains his smartass sense of humor even though the book is not a comedy. A Most Unusual Princess also has a lot of humor in it. However, Beauty & the Bigfoot was the first book that I set out to intentionally make funny. 

It’s one thing to sprinkle in some humor here and there, but to start out trying to be funny can be a bit daunting. I try to make my stories fun or lighthearted in some scenes, dramatic in others, and steamy when the romance heats up. I think giving the characters variety helps – not everyone is always clever or always serious.

Q: How much research do you do before writing your books?

That depends on the type of story I’m writing. If I’m writing a historical, once I have a time period for the story, I research details and/or ideas for setting, clothing, occupations, or even the food that people ate. I like to weave details into the stories and blend them in as naturally as possible. When I’m writing fantasy romance, I invent my own “world” and history, so that cuts down on a lot of research. I don’t do much research for the contemporary romances. But if I need to know specific details about a subject for the sake of the character, I’ll find out all I can to make the character or situation believable.

I actually did a great deal of research before I wrote Beauty & the Bigfoot. Although I know a lot about Bigfoot, I had to know everything about the history and mythology of the creature. To write the part of Charlie (Tara’s “Bigfoot-expert” father) I needed to be able to rattle off all kinds of details about the creatures that only an avid Bigfoot hunter would know (sort of like how a baseball fan can recite a favorite player’s stats).

I went to the library and took out all the Bigfoot books they had. (And yes, I got strange looks from the librarian.) I also watched Bigfoot shows on TV. While doing research, I came across Sasquatch accounts that dated from as far back at the 1500s, and sightings that referred to them as wild men who sometimes took human wives. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest have several names for the creatures and had their own legends, as well. All of that information got my imagination going, and the story took off from there.

A lot of the tiny details in the story are authentic – based on the research I did and the actual reported Bigfoot sightings. Knowing these details made it easier to understand the characters and write the story.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Quill. Please share it with your social media friends. I welcome feedback and questions from readers, so drop me a line with your comments.

Until next time…

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cold? Spend Four Days with Jack!

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at my gay romance, Four Days with Jack. In this contemporary novella, best friends David and Jack embark on a sexual relationship. David has always loved Jack and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

Four Days with Jack is set on a tropical island, and it’s a perfect read if you’re looking to heat up your winter nights!

Here’s the book summary and a mild excerpt:

Four Days with Jack
When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?

Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

The excerpt:
Jack finished brushing his teeth and studied his reflection in the mirror. He looked happy for a change, and for once, he felt content. How many years had he waited, prayed, for this night? He’d been hopelessly in love with David forever. Now they were together. But why? What had prompted David to make the leap?

Obviously breaking up with Allison had played a part in his sudden “conversion,” but what would happen when they got home? Would David come out to his parents and everyone else? Or keep living a lie?

He flicked off the bathroom light and went into the bedroom. David’s steady breathing told him he was asleep. It was no wonder that he was exhausted. They’d had a long day—flying in from Philly, sitting in the sun, drinking… and now this. He smiled. And they still had two more nights in their island paradise.

He walked to the veranda, slid the screen door open, and stepped outside. The night air was a bit chilly, yet the cool breeze felt refreshing. He gazed toward the ocean. A quarter moon reflected off the water. In the distance, he heard calypso music and people laughing. That was an interesting thing about the resort; although hundreds, maybe thousands of people were around, it felt like they were alone.

You have to tell him about Andre. It’s only fair.

He leaned against the railing and sighed. Eventually David would ask him how he could toss aside his live-in boyfriend of two years. He was too morally straight not to question if this was considered cheating.

Ironically, he had been dating Andre exactly as long as David had been with Allison. But Andre had kicked him out a week before David and Allison called it quits.

Despite what happened, part of him still loved Andre. But Andre had only been interested in getting hard and getting off. There was no romance between them, just whatever it took to come. David was different. When he was with him, it wasn’t about sex. They had a connection. They belonged together.

And besides, he couldn’t go back to Andre, not after what he did. It was one thing to have an argument and move out, but when the person you loved hit you—

“What are you doing?”

David’s sleepy-sounding voice broke him from his thoughts, and he cleared his throat. “Watching the water,” he said, then reentered the room. Thinking about the situation with Andre depressed him. Right now, he felt like curling up with David and telling him everything—but he didn’t want to burden him.

“Should I get a wake-up call?”

“Nah, let’s sleep in.” He stripped, then pulled the sheets back and climbed into bed. Instinctively, they rolled onto their sides and kissed.

“Thank you for tonight,” David said, nestling close. “What can I do for you?”

“Hold me, and don’t let go.”

Order your copy of Four Days with Jack here:

I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes! 

Happy Reading,