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!


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!

Kelli’s romance “Seducing a Stranger” appears in the November issue of Romance Magazine. Order your copy here: Or
Her short romance, “Autumn Amour” was published in the October 2016 issue of Romance Magazine. Order your copy here:

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:
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?

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:

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,