#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

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

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at the making of 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…

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 link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

In Another World has been a labor of love for many years. I’m thrilled that I finally finished the book, and now readers can enjoy the story and meet these very unusual characters I’ve created.

The book opens with Detective Eddie Mahoney, an undercover police officer, in a jam. His cover has been blown and he’s in the middle of nowhere with two criminals. Things don’t end well for Eddie, and although he doesn’t make it out of his predicament alive, his role in the book is just beginning.

Yes, you read that right. I killed off my main character—and the hero of the book—in the first few pages. Why? Because this isn’t your typical romance.

Eddie is dead right from the start, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fall in love.

Next, readers are introduced to a headstrong woman named Julie Kershaw.

She’s arguing with an unscrupulous used car dealer named Big Al. He sells her a car for cheap, and Julie is suspicious. Naturally, she wonders if there’s a catch, and there is. The car is haunted by… you guessed it—Eddie.

Eddie has been trying to communicate with the car’s previous owners, but never had any luck until Julie bought the car. At first, Eddie doesn’t realize that Julie is a psychic medium and can communicate with spirits. Once he knows she can see and hear him, Eddie uses his charms and persuades her to help him find his killer.

And so begins this unusual romance.

Most people would think this is a bit absurd. And maybe some readers will. But once you get drawn into the story and see that Eddie is pretty much like any other romantic hero (he just happens to be dead), the story flows along.
Eddie and Julie visit Eddie’s former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to persuade him to reopen Eddie’s case. Lou thinks Julie is crazy and can’t possibly be talking to Eddie. When Julie tells Lou things only Eddie knows, Lou is convinced Julie is telling the truth. Lou and Eddie start working the case just like old times.

(Sorta.)

Lou is a great guy, and I loved writing for him. On the outside he appears to be a tough, no-nonsense detective who takes his job seriously. When he first meets (and interrogates) Julie, he acts like a typical “bad cop” and is very rough with her.

Lou doesn’t believe in ghosts and thinks all psychics are fakes. He’s also taken Eddie’s death personally. He feels like a failure because he couldn’t find his partner’s killer, and he is still working through his grief. Once Lou starts investigating with Eddie and Julie, his true personality comes out, and he’s more determined than ever to catch Eddie’s killer.

When I wrote the book, I had to make sure readers were able to follow the investigation along with Lou, even when Julie and Eddie weren’t present. I’ve never written a full-fledged mystery or detective story before, but I’ve watched enough mysteries and police dramas, so I think I got it right. (LOL) I also had the good fortune to be related to a police captain and was able to ask his advice on the “police stuff” in the story. The book is a hybrid of romance and mystery. Sometimes it takes on more of a police procedural/mystery feel than a romance, and then in other scenes with Eddie and Julie, it’s a traditional romance.

I hope mystery, romance, and paranormal readers will enjoy this unique novel. It’s got something for everyone: danger, humor, love, ghosts, and quirky characters. I had fun writing this book and stepping into another world, blending the living and the dead.

Stay tuned to future blogs to learn more about the book (where the original idea came from, my take on ghosts, psychics, and the paranormal, plus the overall theme of the book) and to read an exclusive excerpt.

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 #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 Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Everett Kinkade from “A Secret Match” 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.

A Secret Match cover

Hello romance lovers! Today we’re chatting with Everett Kinkade, the hero from A Secret Match by Kelli A. Wilkins. Let’s see what’s on Everett’s mind…

Greetings, Everett. A Secret Match is a contemporary gay romance set in the world of professional wrestling. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

Absolutely, and please, call me Ev. Kelli got the idea for this story while she was writing A Deceptive Match, her straight romance that also takes place in the wrestling world. I was a secondary character in that book. I helped the hero (Vin) and the heroine (Danni) get together. Vin is my best friend, so I acted as a soundboard/matchmaker for him and Danni.

While Kelli was writing A Deceptive Match, she knew I needed my own book, but she wasn’t exactly sure what the storyline would be. Then one day on the way to work, the majority of the plot popped into her head, and she was off and writing. She says I’m one of those characters who tries to take over a book. (Laughs) And why not? I’m charming, and witty, and handsome. Who wouldn’t want to read about my life?

A big part of the novel centers around me dealing (or rather, not dealing) with my sexuality and my (un)willingness to be open about who I really am. My longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in my “walk-in closet” and wants me to come out (at least to friends and family) but I’m concerned about losing my job. (Will fans accept a gay wrestler?) Part of me wanted to keep everything just as it was because that’s safe. But another part of me longed to stop pretending and hiding the truth. 

Do you sometimes want to strangle Kelli? What sort of upsetting things did Kelli do to you in the book?

At times, yes! The book starts off great, but within the first two scenes, all hell breaks loose. Josh tells me he’s tired of being my little secret, and wants me to come out. That caught me off guard and it was something I was not at all comfortable with. (Kelli loves jumping right into conflict!) So, Josh gave me an ultimatum. (Sighs) Things didn’t go well for us, and I was devastated. Only one person knew about Josh, so I turned to my best friend, Vin, for help and advice.

Over the course of the book I had to come to terms with accepting myself for who I am, what I am, and how I’m perceived by the wrestling fans, my coworkers, and everyone else. Being an openly gay wrestler was something I didn’t sign up for, and Kelli threw me into a lion’s den! I did eventually come out—not once, but twice!—on live TV. That changed everything and took the story in a whole new direction.

Looking back, I realize it was for the best and Kelli knew exactly what she was doing, but at the time, I was physically hurt, emotionally wrecked, confused, and pretty pissed. Vin and Danni helped me through all the turmoil, and Josh stood by me when I needed him most.

What is it about Josh that makes you crazy in a good way?

He likes to drive me nuts on purpose. He enjoys teasing me and pushing my buttons and my boundaries. But it’s always in a positive way, for my own good. He’ll deliberately force me to come out of my shell and open up to new people and new experiences. And I love him dearly for it.

Was there an instant attraction between you?

Yes and no. I met Josh at the gym—but it wasn’t a gym hookup. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye and thought he was cute, but I was so deep in the closet I didn’t dare approach him. Josh asked me for training advice and we got to know each other in a casual way. Then one night he asked me if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and the rest is… in the book! (Laughs)

Kelli did an excellent job of working my first meeting (and first kiss) with Josh into the book. They are some of the most sensual, tender scenes she’s ever written. I was incredibly nervous and unsure of myself, and Josh was there to put me at ease.

Tell us a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges?

I’m on the road wrestling about 300 days a year, so one of my greatest challenges is maintaining my relationship with Josh. We don’t see each other all the time, but we’re constantly talking on the phone and sharing photos. When Josh has time off from work he comes on the road with me and we hang out before my matches. It’s not easy (okay, it’s almost impossible) to have a “normal” home life, but we do the best we can—and we make the most of the time we have together.

Describe yourself in four words.

Sensitive, strong, sexy, wiseass.

Do readers need to be wresting fans to enjoy A Secret Match?
Nope! Wrestling is the setting or backdrop to the main romance. Kelli wrote the story in a way to help non-wrestling fans understand the moves, terminology, and action. So they won’t be confused or lost.

Kelli says the only difference between A Secret Match and other contemporary gay romances is that the story is about wrestlers instead of more “traditional” characters, like police officers, Navy SEALs, FBI agents etc. She could have written a similar gay romance about another sport (like hockey or basketball) but she chose wrestling because she’s been a life-long wrestling fan, and it’s what she knows and loves.

Okay, tell us the truth. Are the characters in the book based on real wrestlers?

Nope. Kelli gets asked this all the time, and I’m here to say emphatically none of the characters in the book are based 100% on any one wrestler. Kelli drew upon her years of wrestling knowledge and took bits and pieces of different wrestlers to create the people in the story. I’m drawn from at least five different guys. Even Nick August isn’t completely based on a famous “billionaire” wrestling promoter and owner. He’s close, but even he’s not 100%.

What do you and Kelli think of wrestling’s popularity these days?

We’re loving it! The wrestling world is getting lots of exposure and is certainly part of popular culture. There has been a recent wave of wrestler biographies, crossover shows featuring wrestlers, and wrestlers guest-starring on reality shows. Maybe we started a trend, because now people want to see behind-the-scenes shows of what goes on in the ring, out of the ring, and what happens backstage that fans never know. It’s an interesting business, for sure.

Anything else you want to add?

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone. I’m grateful to Kelli for sharing my story with the world. And I’m pleased to help her promote it during Pride month. A Secret Match isn’t just a “wrestling story” or a typical romance loaded with sex scenes, it’s a sensitive, coming out story that resonates with all types of romance readers; straight, gay, or whatever.

A Secret Match is a fantastic story, and it’s Kelli’s favorite gay romance. Anyone who likes a good love story/romance should read the book. And you don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy the book. But you might become one after you read it! (Laughs)

If gay romances aren’t your thing, I urge you to check out the book that introduced me to readers, A Deceptive Match. It’s a hot romance and a fun behind-the-scenes look into the world of professional wrestling.

Kelli has written romances in all genres—historical, paranormal, contemporary, gay, and straight—but they all have two things in common—they’re all unique stories, and they’re anything but boring! I hope you’ll check them out. I plan on reading her other two gay romances, Four Days with Jack and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing.

I invite readers to catch up on all of Kelli’s romances and visit her on social media. If you missed a blog, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

~~~

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?

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

 

Don’t miss the book that introduced Ev to fans… A Deceptive Match:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F18X3XQ

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3RB96j

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

 ~~~

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: “A Secret Match (A Gay Wrestling 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.

A Secret Match is my contemporary gay romance set in the world of professional wrestling. It’s a follow-up book (of sorts) to my M/F wrestling romance, A Deceptive Match. Technically, the book isn’t a sequel because it’s a gay romance and falls into a different romance genre… But it’s closely connected because it focuses on Everett Kinkade, a secondary character I introduced in A Deceptive Match.

A Secret Match cover

In that book Ev is the best friend of wrestling champ Vinnie Valentine. They’ve been together for years as tag-team champs, confidantes, and are as close as brothers. I fell in love with Ev so much while writing A Deceptive Match I knew he needed his own book. And I knew it wouldn’t be an easy one.

Ev is a gay professional wrestler who has lots of insecurities and personal issues to overcome. Although he’s been in a long-term relationship with his boyfriend, Josh, he’s kept their involvement a secret. Aside from Josh nobody except Vinnie (and Danni, the heroine from A Deceptive Match) know he’s gay. He has a hard enough time dealing with his sexuality on a personal level, and on a professional level—forget it.

So naturally I put the screws to Ev—right in the first scene. When the book opens, Josh and Ev are having “going away” sex, and all seems well—until they have a major argument. Josh is tired of being hidden away like a “dirty secret” and wants Ev to come out or at least acknowledge their relationship to someone in their life.

Ev refuses for several reasons. His wrestling persona is a heartthrob that women fantasize about, and he needs to maintain his image if he wants to keep his job. Obviously, coming out would threaten his livelihood. He’s also afraid of what people will think about him if they know he’s gay. After a heated exchange, Josh gives him an ultimatum and walks out.

Ev is distraught and turns to his best friend and fellow wrestler, Vinnie for advice. Danni and Vinnie play a crucial role in Ev’s story—both in his personal journey—and in the ring.

The head of the wrestling organization, Nick August, tells Ev he has to go along with a “steal my woman” angle involving Vinnie and Danni. As part of the storyline, Ev has to kiss Danni in front of a live audience. This is the turning point in the book. Ev is torn between living a lie and being true to himself—and in the spur of the moment, he comes out on live TV.

From there, all hell breaks loose.

Ev instantly regrets what he’s done and is afraid he’s just tanked his career, some of the other wrestlers aren’t thrilled with the news, and Nick August is beyond furious. But in true wrestling fashion, the fans think it’s all a work—until Ev comes out again. This time, he’s out and proud.

When I wrote the book I knew Ev and Josh would be apart for about a third of the story, but I wanted to give readers a peek into their lives before the break-up. I decided the best way to do that was through flashbacks. Over the course of the book readers learn how Ev and Josh met, see their first kiss, and more. When Josh and Ev reconnect, readers know all about them and realize they’re meant to be together.

A Secret Match is my favorite gay romance. I loved revisiting the wrestling universe I created in A Deceptive Match, and I love Ev as a character. On one hand, he’s funny, sharp-witted, sexy, and a wiseass. And on the other hand, he’s an emotionally fragile, wounded warrior who is torn between living two lives.

A Secret Match has everything a good wrestling storyline needs: action, heroes, heels, drama, humor, sexy wrestlers—and in this case, some pretty hot love scenes. It takes readers (and the characters) on an emotional roller coaster ride. And it’s not just for wrestling fans. The wrestling world is merely a backdrop for a tender romance and a look inside Ev’s mind.

A Secret Match isn’t a sequel to A Deceptive Match per se, but it takes place in the same world of pro wrestling and many of the characters from A Deceptive Match appear in A Secret Match. You don’t have to read the books together or in any particular order, and each book stands alone as an individual read.

I realize not all M/F romance lovers will want to read a gay romance and not all gay romance lovers will want to read a M/F romance, but each book has excellent characters to root for, interesting plots, and lots of wrestling action that appeals to readers of all genres.

I hope you’ll check it out. If you love wrestling, if you love romance, and if you loved A Deceptive Match, you’ll love this book too.

~~~

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?

 

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

 

Don’t miss the book that introduced Ev to fans… A Deceptive Match:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F18X3XQ

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3RB96j

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

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this hot gay 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 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.

~~~