Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My Top 3 Writing-Related Frustrations...

Hi everyone!

Many people think that a writer’s life is glamorous and every day is filled with roses and sunshine. Well, that’s not always true. Over the years I’ve had my fair share of writing-related frustrations. Today I’m sharing my top three.

Editors Introducing Errors: I work really hard to submit a professional manuscript, whether it’s a 2,500-word horror story, or a full-length historical romance novel. I edit, revise, and proofread until the submission is as perfect as I can make it. So you can imagine my frustration when I see the final product and find errors the editor introduced into the story.

This can be anything from scrambling words in a sentence so it makes no sense, omitting words from sentences, swapping out a correct word for wrong one (one/once; sign/sigh; hours/horse), typos, and more. Recently I reviewed a galley and pointed out errors that need to be fixed. The editor had relied on the “track changes” function of Word to autocorrect things—and it didn’t. It added errors! She promised she’d make sure everything was right before the file went to the printer. But when I received my printed copy of the book, guess what? All the errors were still there. They took away from the final product and ruined the story.

What’s an author to do about this? Not much. Sigh and move on. (And reconsider ever submitting to that publication again.) It frustrates me because readers will naturally blame the author for any typo, misplaced comma, or wrong word in a book—even if it’s not our fault—and we suffer the consequences. 

This brings me to frustration #2 and all its hazards…

Poison Pen Reviewers: When authors submit their books for review they hope to get great 5-star reviews—not to be slaughtered in a public forum by a vengeful reviewer or blogger. Reviewers are supposed to be professional and actually read the book before they write an intelligent review.

If they didn’t like the book, fine. The review should tell readers what didn’t work: the characters needed more motivation, or the plot wasn’t exciting, etc. But to write the equivalent of: “I hate all books in this genre, so I’m not surprised that this book sucks. The author is terrible and can’t write, so nobody should read this or anything she ever writes again…” Not cool.

What makes this even more damaging is that the “reviewers” who write these scathing/snarky rants never let the author know about them ahead of time. They post the “review” to every social media platform, blog, and book site in the Universe, then sit back and congratulate themselves.

What can the author do to fix this? Nothing! There’s no reasoning with these unbalanced folks. Asking them to take the review down sparks flame wars, and commenting publicly or trying to defend yourself (or the book) only invokes a heap of trouble no author wants or needs.

We can handle a not-so-great review provided it’s done professionally, but not personal poisonous attacks. And it makes you wonder… If the reviewer hates a certain genre, why agree to read a book in that genre? It’s even more suspicious when the reviewer gets the plot wrong or uses the wrong character names in the caustic review. Did they read the whole book, skim it, or skip around to random pages?  

And I have to ask… What qualifies these “reviewers” to judge others? Do they have any credentials beyond writing book reports in high school? Have these “reviewers” ever written anything? Probably not. Do they care (or understand) how much time, energy, and effort an author puts into a book, only to have all that work destroyed by a review that was cranked out in five minutes? Nope. They do their damage and run.

Some review sites have a policy not to publish a review that’s less than three stars. That’s a professional policy I wish all reviewers/book sites would follow. There’s enough negative energy and nasty people in the world, we don’t need to add to it.

My third frustration is another one other authors have probably encountered. I call it…

Blogger Boo-Boos: Authors love doing guest blogs and interviews on writing sites, book-related blogs, and just about anywhere. We spend time working on our posts, trying to make them interesting (and maybe even humorous). We edit, revise, and proofread before submitting our blog. So when we see the live post and our name is misspelled, the title of the book is wrong, and our links don’t work (or worse, link to somewhere they shouldn’t) we’re not happy.

Where do these errors come from? Usually the blogger introduces them into the text when he or she writes an intro paragraph, a headline, or inserts links. I get it—we all make mistakes—but please proofread the blog before posting it. Or at least double-check anything you’ve typed that the author didn’t send.

My name has been changed to just about everything: Kellie, Kelly, Kelley, Kathy, Wilkens, Wilks, Wilkems, Willens, and I was once credited on a short story as Kathy Williams. Hello! My name is at the top of the blog, please use it.

So those are my top three writing-related frustrations. (Don’t get me started on the “everyday life” or job-related ones, or we’ll be here forever.) Unfortunately, I’m sure I’m not the only author who has encountered these issues. Maybe we should start a support group…

But no matter what challenges we face, we keep writing and submitting. Why? Because the stories need to be told, and we’re the ones telling them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I like hearing from readers and other authors. Feel free to contact me on my NEW website (same url, totally new look!)with questions, comments, or your frustrations. You can also follow me on social media for updates and other fun stuff.  All the links you need are on my new site:

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Visit with Lord Adrik - A Tortured Hero Speaks

Hello everyone!

Lord Sebestyen Adrik, the hero from my Gothic historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, is taking over the blog to share a few of his best and worst experiences.

Before he begins, I wanted to let everyone know that I have a new website! Same url, totally new look. Stop by when you have a chance and let me know what you think:

Until next time… Happy Reading,


Greetings, readers!

My author, Kelli A. Wilkins, has encouraged me to talk about a few of my personal best and worst moments in Redemption from a Dark Past. There were plenty, but I’ve chosen the most memorable ones to share today.

The “worst” moment for me occurred before the book even started, and it set the stage for everything that was to come. Lady Alzabeta Adrik and I didn’t have a happy or a romantic marriage. (I discovered that she was being unfaithful with one of my close friends, and she never really loved me.) We quarreled often, and during one of those infamous arguments, she died. I was accused of her murder.

Needless to say, my reputation (and my life in general) was ruined by the accusation. To compensate—and to punish myself—I withdrew from the world and lived with the guilt of what I had done for years. It was a very lonely, miserable time in my life. I was at my lowest point and had thought about giving up entirely.

But then a “best” moment happened. Katarina came to my castle and agreed to be my companion. She was a ray of sunshine in my gloomy existence. I have to give her credit for being persistent. When we first met, I was grouchy, difficult to talk to, moody, and not very good company to such a lovely young lady. But over the course of the book, she captured my heart and I learned to love and trust again.

Of course, Kelli had to add a few other “worst” or “troubling” events in the book. One of the “worst” moments for me happened toward the end of the story, when Katarina was taken from the castle by my sworn enemy. She was nearly killed—but not for something she had done. No. This fiend wanted to kill her to punish me and make me suffer.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but Katarina suffered greatly just by being associated with me. My reputation as a madman, murderer, and worse was known throughout the kingdom. It was disheartening to know that people hated her and judged her for being my companion. At one point, I told her that she should leave because she would be better off without me.

But Katarina refused to leave and stayed loyal to me throughout the book. When I realized that she didn’t care what people thought about me or her, I was thrilled. Those scenes were some of the best for me. She took me out of my dark despair and helped me heal.

So when I’m asked what the “best” thing about our story is, I have to say: “That I found the true love of my life in Katarina.” Yes, we had to go through some trials and troubles, but in the end she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. We overcame the “worst” together.
Kelli did a great job of creating a moody, Gothic atmosphere and blending mystery and suspense with our romance. 

Be sure to visit Kelli's new website to read excellent reviews for the book.

Best Regards,

Lord Adrik

Redemption from a Dark Past

Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?

Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.

As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Kelli’s Quill Newsletter - Spring 2019 Issue

Kelli’s Quill Newsletter
Spring 2019 Issue

Hi everyone! Spring is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to planting flowers in my garden. I hope you’ll get outside and enjoy the warm days and sunny weather!

This issue of the Quill has something for everyone. Readers: I’m taking a look at my latest romance novel, flashing back to my contemporary romance series, and sharing links to guest blogs. Writers: I’m sharing news about my new online writing mini-course. If you’ve ever wondered how (or where) writers get their ideas, or need help finding ideas for your stories, this course is perfect for you. 

Let’s get started!

Just Released… My Colonial romance, Dangerous Indenture, was released in early March. This novel blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.

Dangerous Indenture
Indentured for five years… how long can Shauna resist her master’s son?

Desperate 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 Shauna’s hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Ashton needs to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and earn the respect he has always longed for. Meeting Shauna turns his life around, and he sets out to win her heart. Torn between propriety and passion, Shauna struggles against her growing attraction to Ashton as long as she can.

But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants wanted to 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.
Shauna’s investigation leads her close to the truth, and yet, she’s not sure who she can trust. Events take a deadly turn when she confronts the murderer and discovers the mystery of the Stewart family.

Will Shauna be rescued before time runs out, or will she meet with the same fate as the other servants?

Order your copy here:

All other platforms:

Like historical romances? Follow my Facebook Historical Romance page:

Don’t Miss Cupid’s Schemes!
The second half of my flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, was published in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 1
A Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:
* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger

Order it here:

And don’t miss Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 2
Another Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 12 mini-romances…
* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in a supposedly abandoned ghost town
* new neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a long-lost love returns in an unexpected setting

Order Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 here:
All other platforms:

Catch up on my Guest Blogs…
I’ve been guest blogging all over the web. Here’s a quick list of where you can find my latest guest posts. 

Want some motivation & advice on how to get writing? Read my 6 simple writing tips for beginning writers in this blog:

I like tormenting my characters! Learn how I take them from a Rough Road to a Happy Ever After in this guest post. 

Read my new interview with Coffeetime Romance. I talk about books, the writing process, and more.

I was a guest food blogger. Get my recipe for yummy chocolate cookies here:

Find out what my top 3 writing-related frustrations are in this blog:

I did a “Tuesday Talk” and shared my thoughts on writing at Nessie’s Place:

Cupid’s Schemes got a 4 star reviews. Check them out here. Volume 1 review:  Volume 2 review:

New Online Writing Class - Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas
In February, I released a new online writing class - Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas. It’s perfect for anyone who needs help coming up with ideas for a novel or a short story.

One of the most common questions authors are always asked is: “Where do you get your ideas?” Well, this mini-course will show you where and how to find interesting ideas for your story, no matter what genre you write. Short writing exercises and helpful tips highlight the material and get you writing.

Learn more about the class and enroll here:

Want more writing help? Read about my full-length online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners, in this post:

Happy Reading & Writing,