#GuestBlogger How Do You Write a Gay Romance? The Answer is Simple… by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi, my name is Kelli Wilkins, and I write gay (M/M) romances. I also write straight romances, historicals, paranormals, and just about any other romance genre you can think of. But I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romance. “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’m not a vampire.”

ASM

When my gay romance A Secret Match came out, a friend asked me: “How do you write a gay romance?” I replied: “The same way I wrote my historical Viking romance. I wrote the story that was in my head.”

And that’s how you write a gay romance. Just write the story. Let the characters tell you what happens and start typing. Writing a gay romance is really no different than writing a romance in any other genre, but some people get hung up on the idea of writing intimate love scenes, not understanding how the characters should act, or getting the story right—but that could happen when you’re writing any book, in any genre.

Let’s go back to English class for a minute. All good books (regardless of genre) need to have the same basic elements: a believable plot, interesting, fleshed-out characters the readers can root for (with histories and backstories), sensory details that pull the reader into the story, and good dialogue. These elements go into every romance (and everything else) I write, whether it’s an erotic historical/fantasy, straight paranormal, or gay contemporary. Once you get the basics down, you can just about write anything; mysteries, suspense, horror, and even children’s books.

But everyone has different comfort levels when writing (and reading) a romance. Some people are content with mild M/F romances, others like to spice things up and get a little wild with experimentation or ménage, and still others write straight, gay, ménage, or any combination. It’s probably safe to say that if you’re not comfortable reading M/M romances, you’re most likely not going to write one—and that’s fine. If writing a gay romance isn’t something you’re comfortable with and you can’t get inside your characters’ heads and write freely, you might want to stick to M/F romances.

The bottom line is: read and write whatever you want. I’ll do the same, and I’ll write whatever book comes to me, no matter what genre. My romances 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. That’s why I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I have no “control” over the characters who come to me, so I go where the story and the characters take me.

book coverIt’s interesting to note that some of my M/F romances (In Another World, A Deceptive Match, and Redemption from a Dark Past) include gay secondary characters. They’re important to the overall story and move the plot along, just like any other character—but they just happen to be gay.

As I’m writing, I focus on the story and tell it the way the characters live it. (It’s their story, after all!) I don’t worry about “what people might think” of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. People will think whatever they want. If readers are “turned off” to me as an author because I write gay romances… well, too bad, see ya.

When I wrote my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack, I considered “what people would think” about the book and me writing it—for about three seconds. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters Four Days with Jack coverand scenes that make up the book. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical mystery, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.

But what about the love scenes? Well, my “secret” to writing gay love scenes is: I approach a same-sex love scene the same way I would if I was writing about a hetero couple. When I write a straight romance, about half of the scenes are written from the male point of view. So I have experience thinking from a male perspective anyway. He thinks about the girl he loves, fantasizes about making love to her, they kiss and touch, and… there’s no difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t about the gender or the anatomy of the characters—it’s about creating a believable, intimate scene where two people express their love for each other.

So what’s the hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or love scene? The answer may surprise you—pronouns! (Yes, we’re back to English class again!) As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like “He ran his hand down his stomach and….” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own stomach? I have to pay extra close attention when revising/editing a M/M scene. Too many “his” references and we don’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Steve’s stomach and…”

I enjoyed writing all of my books, and I’m just as proud of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after.

Here’s the book summary and links to A Secret Match. It’s my favorite M/M romance and is a great blend of drama, humor, and hot love scenes.

 

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 manipulative boss and 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?

ASM

Order A Secret Match here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FERW65A

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/md6rZb

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-secret-match

Catch up on all my romances here: www.KelliWilkins.com

~~~

I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media. I made a page for my gay romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

Happy Pride Month everyone!

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#GuestBlogger The Making of… “In Another World – A Paranormal Mystery/Romance (Part 2)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

This is part two of my two-part blog about the making of my paranormal/mystery romance, In Another World. In my previous blog, I talked about the origins of the story idea and the overall theme of the book. In this blog, I’ll share some insights into the “cop stuff” I needed to know for the story, the paranormal elements of the book, and how I finally got the title.

Before I get started, here is the book summary and links:

guest blogger

IN ANOTHER WORLD

A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel

Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.

The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.

Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.

Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.

As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.

When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

~~~

In Another World is a mystery/romance, and although I’ve written dozens of romances, I never wrote a full-fledged mystery before. Some of my short stories and novels have mystery elements where an amateur sleuth investigates something, but this was different. The book borders on being a police procedural, and I knew I had to get the details of the “cop stuff” right. For that, I turned to an expert—Uncle Rich.

My uncle Rich was a retired police captain and had pretty much seen everything in his 20+ years on the force. Several years ago we were at a wedding and he asked me, “What’s new?” I told him, “I’ve got this idea for a story…”

From there, I gave him the rundown of the plot and started asking him lots of questions. When I told him I had “jurisdiction issues” about the location of Eddie’s body, he said, “Location, location, location. Jurisdiction follows the body; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or where you work. If you’re from Los Angeles and your body is found in Memphis, it’s a Memphis case.”

I asked Rich a million questions and I learned a lot. His advice was excellent and I incorporated some of our actual conversations into the book as dialogue, usually when Lou or Eddie explains something to Julie.

Rich also pointed out that Eddie and Lou wouldn’t have to explain how to solve a murder to each other. For them, it’s their job, it’s routine, something they do all the time. That made things a little easier, because I didn’t want to make the book too “police” heavy and bore the reader or bog down the story. I included just enough “cop” details to make Eddie and Lou’s investigation authentic while keeping the reader hooked.

It saddens me to report that Uncle Rich passed away unexpectedly several months before the book was finished. He never got to read the final version, but I’m sure he’s proud of the book, and me. Thanks again, Rich. I couldn’t have done it without you.

As much as I tried to be “real world” accurate with the police procedural aspects of the book, I let my imagination run wild with the paranormal parts, especially Julie and Eddie’s relationship.

I’ve met dozens of mediums, psychics, and intuitives over the years (at workshops, in classes, on ghost tours, etc.) and I always ask them questions about what they see, how they receive messages, and how they discovered they have these abilities.

The answers vary from person to person. Some mediums see the dead as clear as a living person, others see them in their mind’s eye or feel their energy and sense things about them. Several mediums I talked to were born with the ability to contact the dead, some learned how, and others only were able to communicate with the other side after a near-death experience. I used this information to explain why Julie can do what she does, and how she “sees” Eddie.

When I was writing the book, I knew I needed to make Eddie as “real” as possible for the sake of the story. I had him appear in full form (as a living person) to Julie, and gave them a clever (and easy) way to communicate. Eddie’s ability to connect to Julie helps him become a full-fledged character. He’s as “real” as any other hero in a romance—complete with a backstory, flaws, and other issues—but he just happens to be dead. Eddie’s and Julie’s relationship becomes so solid (in a sense), that readers forget Eddie isn’t alive.

In the book, Julie says their situation is unique and she’s not even 100% sure how this is all possible, but she goes with it, and so do readers. This bit of creative license with the paranormal worked for the story, although it’s not how mediums interact with spirits in the real world.

And speaking of the real world, the title was a bit of a challenge. I had been working on the book for years (see part one of the blog for more on that) and I never had a clue about the title. I just called it the “ghost cop” book. Well, when I was in the final proofreading stage, I figured I’d better start thinking about a title.

I wanted the title to convey the mystery/paranormal/romance aspects of the book. I spent hours brainstorming on the title. (As some readers may know, titles don’t come easy to me. I’ll be writing a separate blog about that soon). I played around with different combinations of words, annoyed everyone I knew for suggestions… And what did I get? Nothing. So I gave up for a while.

Then one day, my husband and I were driving to my friend’s house and listening to music when Dwight Yoakam’s song, “In Another World” came on. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, then I started listening to the lyrics with my book in mind, from Eddie’s and Julie’s point of view—and it clicked. I played the song again and then declared, “There’s the title!”

“In Another World” works on many levels: Julie is living part of her life in guest bloggeranother world/realm, Eddie takes Julie into/exists in another world of his own, and poor Lou is dropped into another world he never knew existed. Of course, Dwight’s song isn’t about psychics or spirits, but the lines; “Bound by love that never strays/In another world/We’ll be okay” really reminded me of Eddie and Julie at the end of the book.

And while I’m talking about the music in the book, I want to mention my use of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” toward the end. My mother LOVED Roy and I was raised on his music. It seemed only fitting that I borrow a few lines from Roy, as an homage to my mother. (She also passed away before the book was finished.)

 

When Lou is really down in the dumps, he hears the song and it connects him to Eddie. I’ve always loved the lines “In dreams/I walk with you/In dreams/I talk to you” —because as Julie says in the book (and this is a real quote from a psychic) the dead can (and do) communicate with the living in dreams. I believe that to be true, and maybe Roy knew it too, when he wrote the song.  (And yes, “Blue Angel” appearing in the book is no accident, either.)

This concludes my second blog about In Another World. I hope you’ll read the book and get drawn into this mysterious “other world” filled with drama, humor, and incredibly interesting characters

Until next time, happy reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#GuestBlogger Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Ashton Bailey from “Dangerous Indenture” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

Today we’re chatting with Ashton Bailey, the hero from Kelli’s historical mystery-romance, Dangerous Indenture. Let’s get to know him better…

Dangerous Indenture

Q: Greetings, Ashton. Before we get started, could you tell readers about the book?

Certainly. Dangerous Indenture is a historical romance novel set in Colonial Pennsylvania. It blends romance with mystery and suspense. The heroine (Shauna) is an Irish indentured servant, and the hero (me) is a dashing gentleman… with more than a few problems. Here’s the summary and important links (whatever those are):

 

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:

Dangerous Indenture

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/dangerous-indenture

Like historical romances? Follow Kelli’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

 

Q: Tell us about Dangerous Indenture. How does the story begin for you?
The book opens with our new servant, Shauna, arriving from Ireland and settling into the house. She has left everything behind to work for my father, Joshua Stewart. For me, the story begins when I meet Shauna. I’ve been sent home to Stewart House in disgrace and I’m at a pretty low point. I’m drinking too much, womanizing too much, and basically hating my life. I didn’t want to return to Stewart House, but I had no choice.

Anyway, as I sat down to dinner, Shauna came into the room. The moment I saw her, I was glad I’d been sent home, because that meant I could spend time with her. Shauna was having a rough time serving dinner; my father was constantly scolding her and my despicable half-brother Colin was making her drop things, just so she’d get in trouble. I felt bad for Shauna because she was trying so hard to do a good job.

Over the course of the next few days I got to know Shauna a little better. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, has a temper, and is pretty damn courageous for coming to the Colonies to start a new life. I fell in love with her, and I swore I’d protect her while she was living at Stewart House.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but the house has a bad reputation, and my father couldn’t hire any local servants to work for him. A previous servant named Sarah Purdy was murdered and nobody was certain who did it.

Q: What was your life like before Kelli started pulling your strings?

Where do I start? I’ve been described as “a bit of a rogue” by people: I’m opinioned, have a biting wit, tend to be sarcastic… and yet, I’m utterly charming… when I haven’t been drinking too much at the local tavern. (Laughs.) Of course, these “good qualities” have driven members of my stuffy family utterly mad. They referred to me as the “drunken whoremonger with no sense of responsibility”—but I had my reasons.

When Kelli was writing about me, she was kind enough to see past all of my so-called faults and realized that deep down I’m a sensitive, caring individual who needed to find my way in the world. Meeting Shauna changed me for the better.

Q: Dangerous Indenture features several interesting secondary characters. What can you tell us about them?

Although everyone’s family has issues, the Stewart clan is probably more dysfunctional than most. The house is always filled with conflict or some sort of drama. My father, Joshua, is rather stern and has high standards. We don’t get along very well, and he sees me as a failure. My half-brother, Colin, is a vile beast, and his long-suffering wife, Minerva, is a little off balance (to put it politely). Adding Lila (a new servant) to the mix really stirs up things around the house and sets people on edge. Kelli has created quite a unique group of individuals! (And one of them might be a killer.)

Q: Yes, this is a mystery-romance… tell us more about the mystery elements of the book.
After Shauna learned that Sarah had been murdered, she was extra cautious when she was alone with Colin and Minerva. Minerva is a troubled woman, has fits of rage, and can be quite violent. Colin is a horrid excuse for a human being and is condescending and abusive to everyone in the house, even my father. We’ve certainly had our fair share of arguments and brawls.

I warned Shauna to be careful and not to be alone with Minerva or Colin. I didn’t trust either one of them, and for all we knew, one of them could have killed Sarah. Things were fine in the house for a while, until Colin convinced my father to hire Lila. Lila was more trouble than she was worth and caused even more problems for Shauna.

One night during a storm, Shauna heard a racket downstairs. There was lots of yelling and fighting. Come morning, Lila was nowhere to be found. Minerva told Shauna that she dismissed Lila in the middle of the night. Shauna was suspicious and started investigating… She suspected Lila had been murdered. I’m ashamed to say that none of us believed her—until it was too late.

I won’t give away the ending of the book, but I can reveal that Kelli keeps everyone guessing about the identity of the murderer up until the end. Readers follow along and figure out the clues as Shauna does, and there are many twists and turns.

Q: You have a lot of emotional and physical struggles in the book. Kelli put you through the wringer at times. How do you feel about that?
Well, I realize Kelli knows what she’s doing when it comes to writing a good story, but really? I had my fair share of heartache, self-doubt, depression, lack of purpose, and a few thrashings over the course of the book.

All the emotional baggage forced me to take a long hard look at my life and my choices and decide I wanted something better. I wanted to have a happy life with Shauna. She was my main inspiration for turning my life around. I wanted to prove to her that I was decent, respectable, and I could make something of myself. I also had to redeem myself to my father. He had a very low opinion of me and thought I was a worthless failure.

I also got the hell beat out of me on a few occasions and suffered a near-fatal accident toward the end of the book. And I confronted the murderer when I was in less than peak health. So, Kelli really made me suffer! I understand it was all for the good of the story, but still…

Q: Kelli has written a lot of romances in all genres in all heat levels. How does she switch back and forth so easily?

I’ve been curious about this myself, so I asked some of her other characters. Basically, each book comes to her in a different form. Sometimes an entire story “jumps” into her head, and she’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (It happened with A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Loving a Wild Stranger, and Four Days with Jack.)

Other times, she gets bits of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, she’ll have a character come first and then the other pieces of the book fall into place, like a puzzle. (It happened with Redemption from a Dark Past, Trust with Hearts, and A Secret Match.)

Before Kelli starts a book, she says she needs to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. Then she outlines the scenes and starts writing. As Kelli writes, she explores things she hadn’t considered in her outline and might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure, and she never knows where the characters or stories will take her.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Kelli did an excellent job of blending romance, mystery, and even a bit of Redemption from a Dark Past coverhumor into this anything-but-boring historical romance novel. I’d recommend it to readers everywhere. I’ve also heard her other historical romances (such as Redemption from a Dark Past, Loving a Wild Stranger, and Love, Lies & Redemption just to mention a few), are excellent reads, as well. I’m looking forward to reading all of her romances. I want to see what other interesting characters she has created and follow their adventures.

 

Q: Tell us more about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

Kelli asked me to tell readers that she is an award-winning author who has guest bloggerpublished more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories. She released two mini-mysteries in 2021: More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel. Earlier in 2022 she published a full-length paranormal mystery-romance novel, In Another World.

Kelli says readers can visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

 

Thank you for letting me chat here today. I hope everyone reads Dangerous Indenture and falls in love with me as much as Shauna has. If you missed any blog in this series, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Cheers!

Ashton Bailey

#GuestBlogger Behind the Scenes: “Dangerous Indenture (A Historical Mystery-Romance)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,

Imagine this scenario: a young woman moves to a new town to work for a family. She is on her own and has to adjust to her employer’s rules while adapting to life in a new environment. After she arrives, she discovers the job isn’t exactly what she thought it would be and realizes she has gotten herself into a troubling situation. All seems lost until she meets a handsome young man…

This premise could be the basis of any number of romances: a Victorian-era story about a governess moving to a remote estate, a contemporary tale about a physical therapist or teacher relocating across the country, or, in the case of my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, an Irish indentured servant leaving everything behind to start a new life.

Dangerous Indenture

Dangerous Indenture is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Right from the start, readers (and the heroine, Shauna) are warned about Stewart House: “It’s got more haunts than the Tower of London.”

Here’s the book summary and links:

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?

 Available here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

***

When I wrote the book, I wanted to evoke a sense of danger and mystery around every corner. This wasn’t going to be a typical romance with the hero and heroine from different classes falling in love and having a forbidden affair. Nope.

The romance is almost a sub-plot of the book, and when the story begins, finding love is the last thing on Shauna’s mind. She’s more concerned about doing a good job than getting involved with Ashton (even if he is handsome).

I liked creating the incredibly dysfunctional members of the Stewart family. They all have secrets and practically have dual personalities. Joshua (the patriarch) is a big bear of a man who comes across as gruff and insensitive, yet at times can be caring. Colin (Joshua’s son) appears to be a respectable married businessman, but underneath his proper exterior lurks a dark and dangerous manipulator (among other things).

Colin’s beleaguered wife, Minerva, is mentally unstable and trapped in a terrible marriage. Readers and the other characters in the story aren’t sure if she’s truly mad or not. And she might be a murderess…

Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He drinks too much, womanizes too much, and has nearly given up on life. He’s a failure in his father’s eyes and wants to redeem himself, but isn’t sure how. Ashton knows that Stewart House is a terrible place and vows to protect Shauna while she’s working there.

This cast of characters and their interactions (fighting, name-calling, secrets, and lies) carry the plot. Everyone has an agenda, and readers learn that not everyone is telling the truth… or is exactly what they seem. Ashton wants to become respectable, Colin wants him disowned, Minerva wants Shauna gone, Shauna wants to stay out of trouble, and Joshua just wants some peace.

Writing the twists and turns of the mystery was a lot of fun. When the new servant, Lila, goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced someone in the house killed her. But who? Shauna is a clever amateur sleuth, and when she starts to solve the mystery, she realizes that she’s in danger.

The book has a “Dark Shadows” feel to it. A mysterious house, a strange family, everyone has secrets… In fact, several of the character names in the book (Colin, Joshua, and Minerva) appeared in the original “Dark Shadows” series.

Like many of my historical heroines, Shauna is ahead of her time. She’s intelligent, independent, has a strong sense of self, and is not afraid to start a new life on her own. But she wasn’t always this way.

The original version of the book was 120,000 words (more of a mini-series than a novel), and very different. The plot was drawn-out and had several backstories. Shauna was a virgin, less self-confident, and suffered harsh treatment at the hands of Joshua Stewart.

Ashton had even more emotional baggage and bad habits, and I explored his difficult relationship with Joshua. I even wrote a long backstory about Ashton’s mother, her paintings, and the garden.

I’m happy to say I changed all that. Major cutting, revising, and rewriting tightened the story and made it a much better book. Readers loved it, too. Here are a few kind words:

“5 stars! This novel will keep you riveted from start to finish! I was hooked from page one and did not put it down until I finished it. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this novel. If you love romance with mystery then pick up a copy of this one today and get lost in the story. I certainly did. It’s perfectly written to keep you turning page after page, and I promise, you won’t be able to guess the ending! If you’re looking for a great romance story with a whole lot of action, drama, and mystery then this is your book!!! Definitely a MUST READ!” – April P., Reviewer, My Book Addiction & More

“Combining mystery with romance, this novel keeps the pages turning. Shauna and Ashton are well-developed characters readers can root for. Overall, a great beach read.” – Emily Thompson, SUNY-Oswego, Library Journal

“Kelli A. Wilkins delivers a colonial-era mystery that will appeal to mystery and romance readers alike.” – Lisa Marie Wilkinson, author.

“4 stars! This book was a thrill a minute! No leisurely stroll through the gardens in this romance, but non-stop danger and drama. A flawed hero and heroine fight for their lives and their relationship to get to their HEA.” – Paula, Amazon Reviewer

I can’t add anything to that! I hope you enjoyed this 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. I also made a Facebook page for my historical romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in January 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~

#GuestBlogger #NewRelease “In Another World: A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

I’m sharing news about my new release, In Another World. This contemporary romance novel blends a murder mystery with the world of the paranormal. Here’s the book summary and links…

booktour

In Another World

A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel

Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.

The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.

Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.

Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.

As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.

When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.

Order your copy here:

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

I hope you enjoy the book. I’ll be sharing a “making of the book” blog and an excerpt in the next few weeks. You can catch up on all my titles here: www.kelliwilkins.com

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in January 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~

#GuestBlogger Start Something New in 2022! by Kelli A. Wilkins

Welcome to a new year! Many people are glad to say goodbye to 2021 and are looking forward to a fresh start this year. I’ve written three non-fiction books that can help you make the most of the next 12 months.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, worried or are just plain worn-out by the events of the last year (and who isn’t?), why not try journaling?

Book cover

Whether you are experienced in journaling or completely new to the process, Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing is designed to get you thinking about—and writing about—your life, relationships, patterns, goals, and some of your fondest memories. You’ll benefit from writing about these thought-provoking prompts and learn something about yourself along the way.

Journaling is a useful tool for self-discovery. In your journal, you can explore a wide range of subjects, themes, and ideas, revisit the past, and vent about anything (or anyone). In a way, you play counselor to yourself by digging deep into your innermost thoughts and emotions and writing about how you feel.

​This fun and innovative book is filled with hundreds of journaling prompts that cover your childhood, friendships, beliefs and values, your career, coping with grief, fears, forgiveness, your purpose, and much more.

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Journaling-Every-Week-Topics-Writing-ebook/dp/B08QH4HQPD

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/b5kBZA

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/journaling-every-week

coverI’m sure you noticed Valentine’s Day candy and gifts in stores already! Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. And if you’re looking for fun and easy ways to show a special someone how much you care, check out Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love.

Romance shouldn’t be reserved for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or an anniversary. Why should people wait for a special occasion to show someone they love that they care? Love can (and should) be expressed every chance you get.

Romance Every Weekend features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her. Why not try all 104 suggestions in 2022?

 

Get your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08124HBMS

All other Platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3npVVP

Are you an aspiring writer? Do you want to get published in 2022? If you’ve always wanted to write a short story or a novel but aren’t sure how to get started, don’t miss You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.

This easy-to-follow ebook takes you step-by-step through the writing process, covercovering the basics of plotting, editing, revising, and submitting. Each chapter explores ways to get your creativity flowing, explains where authors get ideas, and shows you how to create interesting characters for your story. Helpful tips all writers can use, plus creative writing exercises throughout the book get you motivated.

 

Once you have the basics down, you can write—really!

 

Ready to write? Order your copy here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Really-Beginners-Writing-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00THWLFQU

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4AqYN4

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/you-can-write-really

All three ebooks are available on Amazon and other platforms. I hope you’ll check them out and give the ideas and suggestions a try in the new year.

And if you’re looking for great fiction reads in romance, horror, or sci-fi, you can find my full title list on my site (www.KelliWilkins.com) or Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.-Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~

#GuestBlogger “Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Katarina from “Redemption from a Dark Past” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

Today we’re chatting with Katarina, the heroine in Redemption from a Dark Past, a Gothic historical romance from Kelli A. Wilkins. Let’s see what’s on her mind…

book cover

 What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?

Before the book started, my life was pretty miserable. I was working on a goat farm in a tiny village in Hungary, and I was terribly lonely. When I was a child, my “employers” took me out of an orphanage and brought me to work for them in exchange for food and shelter.

Unlike most of the young women in my village, I always wanted more for myself. I wanted to explore new places, have adventures, and fall in love. I’m happy to say that Kelli made all those wonderful things come true for me.

Describe yourself in four words.

Clever. Headstrong. Independent. Fearless.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’ve always liked the fact that I’m clever. I’ve been told that I “think like a man” and most other women always thought I was too smart for my own good. I’m proud of the fact that I can (and do) think for myself. I’m also brave and headstrong, which are also uncommon qualities in women from my village. All these traits came in handy once Kelli started writing about me and my adventures in Lord Adrik’s castle.

What do you like least about yourself?

I was always ashamed that I couldn’t read or write. Even though most people from the lower classes (men and women) can’t, I felt that I should know how. Being uneducated made me feel stupid, and I thought that I was missing out on a lot of things.

When I met Lord Adrik, I’d spend hours looking at the books in his library, wondering what stories and adventures were locked away inside them. Now I can read and write, and I even play three musical instruments.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?

Well… this is a bit personal, but in the book, Kelli wrote a scene where I was bathing and Lord Adrik came into the bath and… Let’s just say, he showed me the ecstasy a woman feels when making love. I thought it was strange at first, but after receiving Lord Adrik’s affections, I was quite pleased!

Kelli also wrote a few other strange happenings in the book. One night, I chased down the ghost haunting the castle, and on another night I followed Lord Adrik into a strange room and discovered one of his deepest secrets. Kelli says that Redemption from a Dark Past is a romance blended with mystery and suspense, and she’s right.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?

I don’t really argue much with her. After writing 20 romances, Kelli knows what she’s doing. Although I’ll admit, at times I was concerned with how the book would end and what would happen to me. The story has lots of twists and turns, but Lord Adrik and I trusted that Kelli would make everything work out just fine in the end.

What is your greatest fear?

I don’t have many fears, but I suppose I share one with just about everyone—I worry about losing the people I love. Life is very short and I think everyone should enjoy the time they have here with the people they love the most.

What makes you happy? What’s your favorite thing to do?
I love spending the day with Lord Adrik. We go riding, attend concerts, and take long walks. When we’re not together, I’m happy painting, playing music, tending to a garden, and reading.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?

I would rewrite the part of the story where Lord Adrik and I have to attend a meeting at Count Varady’s estate. That’s where I encountered a group of fancy noblewomen who were very nasty to me. Lord Adrik also had a lot of troubles there, and basically, everything fell apart. If I had my way, I’d change the book so that we never went there at all.

But as Kelli reminds me, all that bad stuff had to take place so the story could develop and other important things could happen. I know she’s right, because if I changed that scene, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bothers you the most? Why?

There were a few characters who bothered me. Mr. and Mrs. Gurka, the owners of the goat farm, were always mean to me. They also tried to arrange for me to marry a horrible man named Oleg. And then there was Baron Radych—he plotted against Lord Adrik and tried to kill me. I’m happy to say that Kelli made sure he didn’t bother anyone again.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

Kelli asked me to tell readers that she is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories. She just released two new mysteries: More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel.

She says readers can visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

I can’t wait to read all of her historical romances. I want to see what other interesting characters she has written about and follow their adventures.

Anything else you would like to add? What’s next for you?

Well, I don’t want to give away anything from the book, but Lord Adrik and I are expecting our first child soon. I’m very excited about that.

Thank you for letting me chat here today. I hope everyone reads Redemption from a Dark Past and all of Kelli’s other romances. If you missed any blog in this series, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Here is the book summary, an exclusive excerpt, and links.

 

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.

An exclusive excerpt:

He glanced at her. “What would you say if I told you the castle is haunted?”

He held his breath and scanned Katarina’s face to gauge her reaction. Why in heaven’s name of all the nights, did this have to happen? He was getting along perfectly with Katarina. They had been in the throes of a passionate embrace. Then this happened, shattering their mood. Of course, that’s why it happened now. He was kissing Katarina. And she had decided to ruin his enjoyment.

“Haunted? You don’t believe that, do you?”

“Yes.” He motioned for her to stand. There would be no more kissing tonight. There would be no more anything tonight.

“How do you know?” she asked as she stood. “Someone—a person—knocked on the door.”

“No, it was the ghost. It’s happened before.” He rose from the settee and picked up his cane.

“The same knocking?”

“Knocking? It was more like pounding, angry pounding. The castle is haunted. Doors slam in the middle of the night. Things move around on their own. If that’s not proof of the place being haunted, then what is?” He walked to the sideboard and poured himself a drink. “Care for one?”

“No thank you. I’d rather hear about this ghost. Who is it?”

He sipped his drink. “I don’t wish to discuss it.” He hated being sharp with her, but now was not the time to get into a long story. Katarina didn’t need to know that his dead wife was haunting him, trying to drive him mad and into his grave.

“Fine, then. I want to meet this ghost,” Katarina said as she crossed the room.

“What are you doing?” He dashed to the door and blocked her way. “Don’t open it.”

“Why not? What’s going to happen?”

“I don’t know, but you shouldn’t go out there. It’s not safe. Let’s sit here and have a drink.”

“Don’t you want to look? What if someone has broken into the castle? What if the front door is open, or—”

“It’s not. I locked it. I always check all the doors and windows in the castle, every night. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and check them to make certain they’re secure,” he said in a rush.

Too late, he realized how strange and panicked his words sounded. He walked back to the sideboard. As he picked up his glass, he noticed his hand was shaking. Why couldn’t anything ever work out for him? Now that Katarina knew the castle was haunted, she’d leave him, just like all the others.

Katarina bent down next to the keyhole.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Looking. There’s nothing out there.” She straightened up. “If there was a ghost, I wanted to see it.” She stepped to his side. “Why would a ghost knock? What does it want?”

“I don’t know,” he lied. “Can we please pretend it never happened? If we talk about it, it might come back.”

“It comes back?”

“Yes, sometimes.” He didn’t want to admit that on several occasions the ghost had banged on the door every ten minutes, until he was nearly driven out of his mind. On those nights, he drank until he passed out, too afraid to open the door and go upstairs. Who knew what horrors would await him?

Katarina frowned. “If it’s a ghost—”

If? You don’t believe in them?”

“No. Why should I? I’ve never seen one. I may be a simple peasant girl, but I don’t believe in superstitious nonsense. Until this ghost does something I can see, I refuse to be afraid of it.”

She was quiet for a second. “And if this is a ghost and it wants in, why doesn’t it turn into a fog or a mist and float in through the keyhole? Why would it knock if it could do that? A door can’t stop it if it truly is a spirit.”

A chill ran down his back. “Dear God, I never thought of that.” Now he’d never feel safe from it. “Don’t talk like that,” he admonished.

~~~

Redemption from a Dark Past cover

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DL1FXYW/

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3R1aYD

Read reviews here: kelliwilkins.com/redemption-from-a-dark-past

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In January 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#GuestBlogger Behind the Scenes: “Redemption from a Dark Past (A Gothic Historical Romance)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,

When I sit down to write an historical romance, I never know where (or when) my story will take me. I’ve written romances set in the Old West, the Minnesota wilderness, Colonial Pennsylvania, and Celtic Scotland. Redemption from a Dark Past takes place in another unique locale—the Kingdom of Hungary.

book cover

For me, the setting conjures up images of brooding castles perched on treacherous mountaintops, tiny villages, medieval stone cities, vampires, and Prince Vlad. Although the book does not take place in Transylvania specifically, this atypical location appealed to me. It seemed like the perfect place for a Gothic novel filled with secrets, danger, deception, and superstition.

I enjoyed creating the cast of unusual characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we meet Lord Sebestyen Adrik and learn that he’s a troubled hero who has hidden himself away in his isolated castle. He’s depressed, guilt-ridden, has an unsavory reputation, and is the subject of nasty rumors spread by superstitious villagers.

The heroine, Katarina, is feisty, clever, and anything but superstitious. She dismisses tales of evil spirits and ghosts, and doesn’t have time for old wives’ tales. She’s ambitious and wants to leave her pathetic existence on a goat farm for better things.

When she learns that she’s about to be forced into marriage to a much older man, she jumps at the chance to be Lord Adrik’s companion—despite all the terrifying stories she has been told. Katarina’s boldness and intelligence make her the perfect person to free Sebestyen from his dark past.

I wanted to make the mysterious Lord Adrik a flawed and sympathetic hero. He has two physical ailments (one most romance heroes never have) as well as several psychological scars. And as if they weren’t enough problems, he also has a reputation as a murderer (among other things). At the start of the book, he has just about given up on life and any hope of being happy. By giving Sebestyen all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.

As I wrote, I added layers of secrets, built suspense, and created numerous plot twists and turns. Readers follow Katarina’s adventures and are not sure what—or who—to believe. Can Magda the surly, gossiping cook be trusted? How did Lady Adrik die? Is the castle really haunted? What happened to Lord Adrik’s previous companions? Are the rumors about him true? Katarina is left alone with Sebestyen every night, should she fear for her safety? Everyone says she should…

In time, Katarina draws Sebestyen out of his shell, and just when she thought she knew him, she uncovers a disturbing secret he’s been hiding from her. Katarina tries to make sense of it all, while following her heart.

Not everyone in this story is exactly what (or who) they seem to be, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book. Combining all these elements into a sensual, Gothic romance was a lot of fun, and I hope readers will enjoy this trip into “the Dark Lord’s lair.”

Here’s the book summary and links.

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.

* * *

book cover

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DL1FXYW/

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3R1aYD

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/redemption-from-a-dark-past

I made a Facebook page for my historical romances. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

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

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

She released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing in early 2021. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

In 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.

 

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#GuestBlogger Behind the Scenes: The Viking’s Witch (A Historical Paranormal Romance) by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

cover

Today I’m blogging about one of my favorite historical romances, The Viking’s Witch. The book is set in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual love story with adventure and paranormal elements.

I loved everything about writing this book—the characters, the setting, the plot—and readers and reviewers loved it, too. When the book was originally published in 2012 by Medallion Press, it won an IPPY award for best historical romance e-book.

I’ve written a few detailed blogs about the characters, setting, research, the gritty details, conflicts, violence, and even the use of magic in the book. I won’t rehash all that here (you can read the other blogs in the blog section of my site: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog , but I will talk a bit about the origin of the book.

Like many of my romances, the idea for the story popped into my head one morning. I know it sounds strange, but the book came to me in a dream. It played out like I was watching a movie. When I woke up, I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down everything I remembered. It took me about two hours, and from there I created an outline and started writing.

I had to do a lot of research while I wrote the book. I knew the story took place in Scotland, but I wasn’t sure where—or when. I needed to set the book in a place where the Vikings traveled in their early years of exploration, but it had to be an isolated location. After much back-and-forth, I decided on the Orkney Islands, then I had to decide on which island to set the story. (There are 70 different islands, but only 20 are inhabited.)

After I knew the setting, I did more research to learn what life was like in thatcover time period for Odaria and Rothgar. I had to make the details realistic for the characters and the readers. Once I got a feel for what everyday life was like for each of them, I weaved the details into the story.

One way I did this was to have Odaria ask Rothgar questions (How did Norsemen travel so far across the ocean? What are their ships like?) and address the differences in their backgrounds. Rothgar also comments on how things are different on the island compared to his home and is proud to teach Odaria about his Nordic culture.

When writing, I also faced another big challenge: technically, Odaria and Rothgar would have been speaking different languages and would have trouble communicating. So I had to find a clever way for them to understand each other. In essence, I had to blend their two cultures together in a way that flowed with the story.

The opening scene is very powerful, and it was one of my favorites to write. When we first meet Odaria, she is about to be burned at the stake for being a witch. Her fellow villagers have turned against her, accused her of murder, and she’s been betrayed by everyone she knows. It’s a very dark time for her, and although deep down she is afraid, she doesn’t show it.

Instead, she calls down a curse on the villagers, and seconds later, screaming “demons” appear out of the darkness and capture most of her tormentors. Odaria is saved from the pyre—only to find herself facing another big problem—hordes of Norsemen have invaded the island.

coverIn the beginning of the story I deliberately kept the truth about Odaria’s “abilities” vague. Did she really conjure up the Viking warriors who unwittingly saved her from certain death? Or was it all a coincidence? I wanted readers to follow the story and wonder “does she have abilities or not?” Is Rothgar right when he suspects Odaria is using trickery and manipulating circumstances to scare people into thinking she’s a witch?

Over the course of the book, Odaria never denies being a witch. She warns Rothgar not to cross her or she’ll hex him. Rothgar laughs at her threat. He calls her “my little witch” and makes fun of her… For a while.

Later, Rothgar needs Odaria’s help and tells her to prove she has magic powers. Although reluctant, Odaria doesn’t disappoint. After a few highly charged scenes, readers and Rothgar learn the truth about Odaira’s abilities. I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The scenes that included the “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write.

Rothgar and Odaria are my favorite historical romance couple. Odaria is strong-willed and doesn’t take any nonsense from Rothgar. Although she’s tough and feisty, Rothgar uncovers a vulnerable, soft side to her. And while Rothgar appears gruff and violent on the outside, underneath he’s really a gentle and sensitive man. Together, they make a pretty good team. There’s lots of push/pull between them and plenty of hot love scenes.

If you love historical romances, paranormal romances, or romances filled with drama, emotional rollercoasters, and danger, you’ll want to read The Viking’s Witch. I’m happy to say readers and reviewers fell in love with Rothgar and Odaria as much as I did.

Here is the summary and book links:

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The Viking’s Witch

Scotland, 803 A.D.

 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 runs out.


Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/%20ebook/dp/B07T15MHSW

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4EQe0o

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/the-viking-s-witch

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this sensual historical romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In January 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

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#GuestBlog Behind the Scenes: Beauty & the Bigfoot (A Paranormal Romance) By Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

coverBeauty & the Bigfoot is a contemporary paranormal romance—and it’s one of the most controversial books I’ve written. Why? Because the heroine, Tara, falls in love with a creature commonly known as Bigfoot. (In the book, Tara names him Joe.) The story blends sensual love scenes with a healthy dose of offbeat humor. Readers aren’t supposed to take the story seriously, because the characters don’t take the story seriously.

However, when the book came out, several reviewers were appalled at the premise and had an issue with the love scenes. (Yes, Tara and Bigfoot/Joe consummate their relationship—several times.) Some ebook retailers wouldn’t sell the book because it was classified as “erotica” and a few readers reported the book to sellers, calling it “bestiality” (among other things).

Yeah, this little story certainly caused some controversy. What’s interesting is that in addition to everything else, the book could also be categorized as… (Spoiler Alert!) a shapeshifter romance. I never saw shapeshifter romances featuring werewolves, werebears, werepanthers, etc. called out for bestiality or labeled morally reprehensible, but then again, I don’t read too many reviews.

Maybe the negative reviewers of my book just hated the idea of a woman falling in love with a “Bigfoot”—although that’s not exactly who—or what—Joe is. Or maybe they never bothered to read the whole book and never learned Joe’s true identity at the end… who knows?

But I’m happy to say most reviewers and readers LOVED the book. They called it “a hoot” and understood the premise, the humor, and read all the way to the end to discover the “twist” ending that truly makes this a love story.

When I got the idea for the story, I knew I had to write it with tongue-in-cheek humor, otherwise the story wouldn’t work. Nobody would take a Bigfoot romance seriously. So right from the start, I incorporated humor into as many scenes as possible. When the book opens, Tara doesn’t believe Bigfoot exists and thinks her Bigfoot-hunter father is crazy. But she soon learns that things aren’t always what they seem…

I loved creating the wacky scenes between Tara and her oddball father. They were a lot of fun to write, and I just kept up the strangeness as the story unfolded. I added in zany secondary characters (the mob of people, the sheriff) to add more conflict and take the story to another level.

As I wrote the romantic scenes, I knew there had to be a reason Tara is attracted to Joe, and a reason Joe is in love with Tara. I won’t give away the plot twist here, but I can say that Tara and Joe have a long history together, and they knew each other before the story started.

Believe it or not, this book required a lot of research. Since Tara’s father is a Bigfoot expert, I had to become a Bigfoot expert to write his scenes. I went to the library and read a lot of books about Bigfoot before I started writing. (Yes, the librarian thought I was crazy, so I know how Charlie felt!) All the things Charlie says about Bigfoot (the historical legends, the size of his footprints, the nests, his hair, the Patterson film) are accurate.

Beauty & the Bigfoot is one of my favorite contemporary romances. It’s certainly got an unusual plot, interesting characters, and blends wacky humor with a love story. Here’s the summary and few of those positive reviews…

BEAUTY & THE BIGFOOT

Can true love exist between the species?

Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot—just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot—until the day her father brought him home.

She affectionately names her father’s prized catch ‘Joe’ and discovers there’s something oddly familiar—and erotic—about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe.

When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who—or what—he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch… he’s her soul mate!

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Order Beauty & the Bigfoot here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SL9WT2

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4Dog0Q

A few positive reviews…

“I could use a lot of words to describe Beauty & the Bigfoot, but if I had to narrow it down to just one word, it would be this: fun. I knew I was going to be in for a treat when I picked this novella up; there was just no way a story with a title such as this could take itself seriously. This story was a hoot and a half, and Ms. Wilkins has definitely been placed on my “authors to be watched” list because of it.” – Bobby, Reviewer, Bookwenches.com

“An erotic twist on the classic bigfoot tale! Beauty & the Bigfoot is a thoroughly entertaining read on a classic legend that I found enjoyable and sexy! Ms. Wilkins puts a twist on the Bigfoot myth that left me pleased with the ending. Beauty & the Bigfoot was a well thought out, erotic, and downright fun read to the end. If you are looking for an entertaining read, Ms. Wilkins delivers.” – Missy Brown, Reviewer, Paranormalromance.org

“4 Coffee Cups! I thought this story was going to take a weird and strange turn when I first started reading it… but I discovered it to be a regular love story with an odd twist. I enjoyed this book a lot. This is one story where you will laugh and sigh all in one reading.” – Kimberly, Reviewer, Coffee Time Romance & More

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this fun romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In January 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.