#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.

~~~

Writing Gay Romances: 4 FAQ (Part 2) by Kelli A Wilkins

Hi everyone,

My name is Kelli A. Wilkins and I write romances in every genre and heat level from mild to super-spicy. When people learn that I write gay romances they usually ask a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write them.

To celebrate Pride month, I’m sharing four FAQ about writing m/m romances. (In the first part of this blog, I shared four different questions from readers and authors.)

 

#1: You’ve written three contemporary gay romances (A Secret Match, Four Days with Jack, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing), which one is your favorite and why?

I love all of my romances, in all genres, but my favorite gay romance is A KIWCSecret Match. I love the setting (professional wrestling) and the characters, especially the hero, Everett. He’s a bit of a wiseass and has a crazy sense of humor, but he uses those as a defense to mask his pain. Right from the start of the book Ev is given an ultimatum: come out and be honest about who he really is, or risk losing his longtime lover, Josh.

I also love the book because of the way I wrote it. It’s not told in a traditional manner. Ev is on the road and apart from Josh for almost half the book, and we experience his relationship with Josh through flashbacks and voicemail messages. We see and feel Ev’s isolation and conflicting emotions. We also see Josh getting advice from his friends regarding his “secret” boyfriend. I won’t give away more than that, but the book is an emotional roller coaster ride blended with steamy love scenes and an inside look at the world of professional wrestling.

 

#2: Most of your straight romances have historical settings. Do you see yourself writing a historical gay romance? Could a gay romance “work” in a historical setting?

Midsummer coverCertainly! A gay romance could work in almost any historical setting. Granted, depending on where and when the story is set, the male characters might have to keep their relationship a secret, or at least be surrounded by other characters who are open minded about a same-sex romance.

Several of my straight historical romances have included gay or bisexual characters, or the characters have explored same-sex fantasies. For example, when I wrote Midsummer Night’s Delights, I didn’t know that Julian or his wife had same-sex fantasies until I started writing. (Characters sometimes like to surprise us writers!) I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. (That book has plenty of m/m and ménage scenes, and I wrote two sequels that are even hotter, Midwinter Night’s Delights and Ultimate Night’s Delights.)

Two of my other historical romances, A Most Unfortunate Prince and AMUP LrgRedemption from a Dark Past also feature very important gay characters. So, as you can see, I’ve already incorporated m/m romance into historical settings. As of right now, I don’t have plans to write a full-length gay historical romance, but you never know when inspiration will strike!

 

#3: What are some basic elements that go into writing a good gay romance? Are they harder to write than a straight romance?

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 horror story) I write, whether it’s an erotic historical/fantasy, straight paranormal, or gay contemporary. Once you get the basics down, you can write just about anything; mysteries, suspense, spy novels, and even children’s books.

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. My advice is: Just write the story. Let the characters tell you what happens and start typing.

 

#4: Are you going to write more gay romances? What’s in the works for you?
Yes, I’m currently working on the outline for a new contemporary gay romance. The story will take place over a summer holiday weekend and deal with issues of self-acceptance, recovery, and coming to terms with your past. As of now, I think it’ll be a mild, heat level 1 story. But I never know how things will turn out until I start writing! The book will probably come out in early 2021. Of course, if I get great ideas for other gay romances (historical or contemporary), I’ll write those too!

I hope you enjoyed this FAQ blog. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up on the blog section of my site: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Here’s the book summary for A Secret Match. I bet you’ll fall in love with the characters as much as I have. And if you want more of Ev, check out his character interview on my blog: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/post/celebrate-pride-month-with-a-chat-with-everett-from-a-secret-match

Enjoy & Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ASM

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

 

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than Kelli A Wilkins100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

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

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in 2019. The book 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.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

Kelli posts on her main Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and she created a Facebook page for her Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

Follow her on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor and visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.

Writing Gay Romances: 4 FAQ (Part 1) by Kelli A Wilkins

Hi everyone,

My name is Kelli A. Wilkins and I write romances in every genre and heat level from mild to super-spicy. When people learn that I write gay romances they usually ask “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.”

I generally respond with “Why shouldn’t I write gay romances? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.” (That quiets them down for a while.)

I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romances. To celebrate Pride month, I’m sharing four FAQ about writing m/m romances. In the second part of this blog, I’ll share four more questions from readers and authors.

~~~

#1: You’ve written lots of straight romances. Why write gay romances?

Why not? I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with one another.

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. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.

When I wrote Four Days with Jack, A Secret Match, and Killer in Wolf’s ASMClothing I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. Although all three books are contemporary gay romances, they’re very different.

In A Secret Match, a big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality, and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev has been in a committed relationship for years and is afraid that if he doesn’t come out, he’ll lose the love of his life. He’s also worried about his career. How will the world view a gay wrestler? Will there be backlash if he comes out?

David from Four Days with Jack has never come to terms with his sexuality. He’s been lying to himself for years about his orientation and hiding his true desires. David has always loved his gay best friend (Jack) and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

KIWCThe main characters in Killer in Wolf’s Clothing are comfortable with their sexuality, but have other issues to deal with (like shapeshifting and a serial killer). This erotic paranormal is a fun look at the werewolf legend and blends romance, mystery, danger, humor, and sizzling love scenes.

 

#2: How do you write the gay love scenes in your books?

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 a male point of view, so I’m used to writing in (and thinking in) a male “voice” anyway.

There’s not much difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t only 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.

Each character in each book is unique, so the love scenes are always approached from different directions. In Four Days with Jack, David is introduced to a world of new experiences. Everett and Josh’s first kiss in A Secret Match is a tender and sweet moment; and the first time readers meet Deke from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing they realize he’s anything but shy.

 

#3: What’s the hardest part about writing a gay romance?

The answer to this might be surprising, and no, it has nothing to do with bedroom activities. The hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or m/m love scene is pronouns.

As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like: “He ran his hand down his chest and…” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own chest? No… I have to pay extra close attention when revising or editing a same-sex scene. Too many “his” references and the reader doesn’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Kevin’s chest and…”

 

#4: Are you concerned about what people will think about you writing gay romances?

Not in the least. People will think whatever they want. I realize that not everyone wants to read the same type of romance. Some readers love historicals, others only read contemporaries or paranormals, and that’s fine. But if readers are turned off to me as an author just because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya.

When I wrote my first gay romance, 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 and scenes that make up the book.

I don’t worry about what people might think of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. As a writer, I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical Viking tale, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.

Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters (and the story) take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated fables.

Now more than ever, I’m just as proud/PRIDEful 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 with whatever partner they choose.

And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life. Here’s the book summary to my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack. I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of hot love scenes!

I hope you enjoyed this FAQ blog. Stay tuned for Part 2, and don’t forget, you can catch up on all of my blogs on the blog section of my site: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Enjoy & Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

FDWJ

FOUR DAYS WITH JACK

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

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

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

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

Order Four Days with Jack here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FTMWHL        

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bo6Rap

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/four-days-with-jack

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than Kelli A Wilkins100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

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

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in 2019. The book 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.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

Kelli posts on her main Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and she created a Facebook page for her Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

Follow her on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor and visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.

How Has Publishing Changed Over the Years? It’s a Different Animal!

By Kelli A. Wilkins

www.KelliWilkins.com

««««««»»»»»»

Hi everyone!Kelli A Wilkins

Recently, someone asked me how publishing has changed since I started writing. Well, where do I start? How hasn’t it changed? Here are a few things that came to mind right away.

When I started writing…

  • There was no such thing as an e-book, an e-reader, or electronic publishing
  • Many of today’s independent publishers didn’t exist
  • Nobody self-published
  • Submitting queries or manuscripts required a trip to the post office
  • Promotion? You had to buy an ad in a print magazine
  • Erotica? What’s that? Sorry, we don’t publish “those kinds” of stories

Publishing has come a long way since I submitted my first short stories and full-length romances (approximately) fifteen years ago. If you wanted to submit a story, you couldn’t just look a publisher up online (some/most didn’t have websites), you had to find their listing in a huge book called the Writer’s Market. After I found a few markets (that weren’t closed to unagented authors), the real process of submitting began.

To submit to traditional (paperback) publishers, you had to snail mail a query and/or synopsis with a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope), wait for a reply, and then (if you were lucky enough to be asked) submit a hard copy of a full manuscript. Sounds like an agonizingly slow process, huh? Well, it was!

Most places insisted the font be Courier 12 point so everything looked like it was typed on an old-school typewriter with exactly 25 lines per page. If the manuscript wasn’t submitted exactly this way, it was tossed into the trash. Needless to say, all this was a time-consuming and costly process. Today’s authors can research multiple markets online in minutes and upload a query, synopsis, or a full manuscript without leaving their chairs.

Back then, electronic publishing was a novel idea, and traditional publishers publicly scoffed at the notion of an “e-book.” Nobody would want to read a book on a computer. Paper and print were the only way to go because that’s how it was always done.

Well, times have changed. Independent e-publishers were born overnight and took advantage of the lower overhead required to produce an e-book. Many new publishers built up their title lists by signing authors who were just starting out, didn’t have agents, or were told they weren’t “the right fit” for the big, traditional print publishers. (I won’t tell you which one I was!) Soon, e-readers and e-books were everywhere, and the traditional publishers were left scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to get on the bandwagon. And how to make money.

Promotional opportunities for authors also underwent a radical change. In the past, you had to buy an ad in a print magazine, send out a press release, or mail postcards to spread the word about your new book. Now you can upload banner ads and covers on websites and blogs, do video trailers, create virtual blog tours that include guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, online contests, and just about anything else you can think of. Oh, and now we have this thing called “social media” that was just a crazy dream back then.

The definition of romance has changed, too. Erotica was a dirty word (if it existed at all) and was equated with “porn” by anyone and everyone. If you wrote spicy, sexually explicit love scenes between a hero and a heroine, you might be told to tame them down and to avoid using certain “dirty” words. Scenes involving risqué things like bondage, toys, and (gasp!) multiple partners were out of the question.

And if you wanted to write a gay romance, or include a bisexual character (or one who was questioning his or her orientation) forget it. Writers were told that nobody (especially women) would read “that sort” of book.

Labeling a m/m love story as a “romance” was also called into question. A major romance writer’s association surveyed authors asking if the definition of “romance” should be limited to a man and a woman only—and questioned if a “romance” could even take place between same-sex characters. Really? (I quit that romance writer’s group after the survey came out and told them exactly why I refused to be associated with them.) Thankfully, most people have stopped asking such ridiculous questions and many publishers have expanded the romance genre to include everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference.

And in this day and age, you don’t even need a publisher. You can self-publish whatever you want! This is great for authors who write shorter romances, because in the past you couldn’t find publishers to look at a collection of short stories, novellas, or even novels under 60,000 words. One of the best parts of self-publishing is that you have no restrictions. Your story can include risqué characters or unusual situations that a traditional romance publisher would reject because it didn’t fit into a “cookie cutter” format.

Self-publishing is also great for established authors whose publishers have folded or dropped certain lines. When my publishers closed, I re-released my romances on my own. I still loved the stories and wanted to share them with the world. I re-edited the books, gave them new covers, and reintroduced them to a new batch of readers.

So where is publishing heading? What will the future hold for print books? Will they go the way of the dinosaurs for a while and then have a resurgence like vinyl albums? Nobody knows. We can’t predict if shifters and vampires will be hot sellers, or if erotic historicals will become the latest trend.

But, no matter what happens, I’ll keep writing. And I’ll go where my plotlines and characters take me—into the future.

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

Here’s a look at A Most Unusual Princess, the first romance I self-published! This fun and sexy story is the first book in my Royal Desires trilogy. The other two books are A Most Intriguing Temptation and A Most Unfortunate Prince. Although the stories are connected, each stands alone as an individual read.

A Most Unsual Princess

A Most Unusual Princess

Princess Elara needs to find a royal husband, but claims that no man can satisfy her. Her father hires Dalton, a special guard, to watch over her while she’s courting suitors. Dalton finds her unusual behaviors charming—and enthralling.

Dalton’s aloof manner intrigues Elara, and despite their differences, they share tender moments and intimate nighttime encounters. Elara is heartbroken when her father chooses a “proper” husband for her—until she meets the mystery man.

Bonus! This e-book includes a sneak peek at the second book in the “Royal Desires” series: A Most Intriguing Temptation.

Order A Most Unusual Princess here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CBX43D8

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/me00L9

Read all about the trilogy on my blog: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/post/spotlight-on-the-royal-desires-series

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

LLR

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

cover

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in November 2019. The book 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.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

vikings witch

Earlier in 2019 she released The Viking’s Witch, a paranormal/historical romance, and Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania.

 

Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

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 to learn more about all of her writings.

Get Ready for Valentine’s Day with…

Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 – Another Collection of Sweet Romances

By Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at my contemporary romance series, Cupid’s Schemes: Volumes 1 & 2. As many readers know, I write romances in all genres (historical, fantasy, gay, paranormal, and contemporary) at all heat levels, but these novellas are something new for me. Instead of full-length romances, each book is a collection of flash-fiction stories.

Both volumes contain a dozen or more sweet romances where the characters meet under unusual circumstances and develop an intense connection. And that’s where I leave them—at the start of their relationship. Why?

I wanted to show how two people meet, feel a spark of romance, and then leave the rest of the story up to the reader’s imagination. What happens next is up to you. I end each story with the characters in good places and the potential to have a happy-ever-after ending with their new love interest. These feel-good stories are perfect for a boost of romance whenever or wherever you need it.

The settings vary from New Year’s Eve parties to snowstorms, summer picnics, and even a haunted corn maze. I grouped the stories by season, so as you read through each book, you’ll be following the calendar year. And believe it or not, some of these settings and “first meets” were inspired by true stories people have told me over the years.

Here are the summaries and links to each book — plus a bonus Valentine’s Day treat!

 

Schemes 2

Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 – A Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 12 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:

* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in an abandoned ghost town
* two friends discover romance in a spooky setting
* a long-lost love returns from out of the blue

These lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Order Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MFR25KF

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

 

And don’t miss…

Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 1

Schemes 1 cover
A Collection of Sweet Romances

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

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:

* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B07JM9K1BB

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/boZxkZ

 

And if you want to add a spark of romance to your weekends, check out my non-fiction guide to romance:

Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love

coverWhether you’re just starting out dating, in a committed relationship, newlyweds, or you’ve been married for twenty years, Romance Every Weekend will show you how you can strengthen the bond between you and your loved one and deepen your relationship.

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.

Romance Every Weekend makes a great gift for you – or for your sweetie! Why not order it now and try all 104 suggestions in 2020?

Get your copy here:

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

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

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I hope you enjoy these collections of sweet romances — and romantic suggestions. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Contact me via my site, blog, or social media pages.

Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHORKelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

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

 

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in November 2019. The book 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.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Earlier in 2019 she released The Viking’s Witch, a paranormal/historical romance, and

Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania.

 

Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

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 to learn more about all of her writings.

Spark Some Romance with… “Cupid’s Schemes – A Collection of Sweet Romances”

Hi everyone,

I know we’re in the middle of winter, but believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. (In fact, I saw Valentine’s Day candy and cards for sale the day after Christmas!) Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love and romance, so why not get in the mood now?

Vol 1 CoverIf you love sweet “first meet” romances, you don’t want to miss my contemporary romance anthology, Cupid’s Schemes. In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

And that’s where I leave them—at the start of their relationship. Why?

I wanted to show how two people meet, feel a spark of romance, and then leave the rest of the story up to the reader’s imagination. What happens next is up to you. I end each story with the characters in good places and the potential to have a happy-ever-after ending with their new love interest. These feel-good stories are perfect for a boost of romance whenever or wherever you need it.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:

* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady

* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it

* a mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger

These lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Here’s an excerpt from Skating Sweethearts, the first story in this collection:

Skating Sweethearts

“Turn! No, Jules! Not that way,” Cheryl cried out.

Julie yelped as she whisked along on the ice, barreling out of control and barely keeping her balance. Her ice skates seemed to have a mind of their own.

What should she do? If she tried to stop, she might trip and go flying head over heels. If she turned, she’d probably fall onto her side. Either way, she was doomed. God only knew what she’d break if she landed on the cold, unforgiving ice.

This was a bad idea. A very bad idea. Why did she let Cheryl talk her into coming here today? How is this supposed to be fun? She zoomed along, praying she wouldn’t crash into anyone. Thankfully, the outdoor rink wasn’t very crowded.

“Watch out,” she warned as she skidded past a teenaged couple holding hands. All of a sudden she spotted a man in a red ski coat right in front of her. Uh-oh.

Before she could stop herself, she plowed into the back of the tall man. To her surprise, he whirled around, caught her, and twirled them in a circle.

She closed her eyes as the world spun. Then, everything stopped.

“I’ve got you. Are you okay?” the man asked.

Julie relaxed in his grip. It took a second to realize that his strong arm was coiled around her midsection. Her gloved hand rested on his shoulder. Strong, stable, nice.

***

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B07JM9K1BB

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/boZxkZ

I hope you’ll check out this collection of sweet romances. If you want even more flash fiction romance, don’t miss Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 – Another Collection of Sweet Romances.

Vol 2 Cover

Order it here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MFR25KF

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

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHORKelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

In November 2019, she released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance. The book 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.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Her historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania.

Kelli released a Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She also authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

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

Visit her website/blog http://www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.

#GuestBlog “Six Simple Writing Tips” by Kelli A. Wilkins

fiction writing screenshot

By Author Kelli A. Wilkins

 Hi everyone!

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I do an interview is, “Do you have any writing tips or advice for beginning writers?” Well, I sure do! These six practical tips are based on advice I received in my writing classes when I was just starting out and discoveries I made as I wrote. Enjoy!

Take Writing Classes: I took my first writing class at a local community college “for something to do” and was hooked. Writing classes are an excellent way to learn the basic mechanics of writing, to understand storytelling techniques, and to explore different genres. However, they’re not for people who “think about wanting to write” but never do. Homework and class participation are required.

In most cases, the instructor gives you an assignment (to write a short story or an opening chapter of a novel) and has you share it with the class. This may sound easy, but over the years I saw dozens of people drop out of writing classes because they actually had to write!

Writing classes help you overcome a fear or shyness about sharing your work with others and different readers give you feedback (and critiques) on what you’ve written. Before I took a writing class I never shared my work with anyone, but I quickly learned to move past a personal attachment to the work and be open-minded when it came to suggestions and comments.

Connections you make with other writers can also continue once class has ended—you may form your own writing group or get together to critique each other’s stories. If there are no “in person” writing classes available in your area, consider taking online classes or attending workshops at writing conferences.

Avoid “Bad” Words: Make a list of words you find yourself repeating (or over-using) in your writing. If you belong to a writing group or have a critique partner, ask them to identify words you use too often. (They may be more obvious to an outside reader.) After you’ve finished a story, do a search for each word and either delete it (if it’s not needed) or change it to a different word.

Some of my “bad” words are: glanced, looked, laughed, that, even, just, once, would, could, felt, shook his head, somehow, started to, although, even though, suddenly, a minute later, a few minutes later, after a few minutes…

It’s also a good idea to search for similarly-spelled words and make sure you’re not accidentally using the wrong word. Spellcheck won’t know you meant to say “tried” instead of “tired.” Some to look out for include: gaps/gasp, gong/going, from/form, though/thought/through.

Rejection Really is Subjective: Got rejected? Join the club. Everyone (and I mean everyone) gets rejected. Rejection is probably the only 100% guarantee in writing. If you send your story (or query) out to five people, you’ll get five different responses. Rejection is hard to deal with, but as a writer you have to understand that the editor is rejecting the story, not you.

All editors are not created the same, and sometimes you’ll never know why your story didn’t make the cut. You might get a form letter that tells you nothing, or get no response at all. Other times you might get a cryptic line about “not what we’re looking for” and sometimes you’ll get a paragraph with some explanation (weak plot, characters are not interesting, etc.).

Several years ago I received two rejections in the same day for the same book. Editor A said she loved the story and the characters were fantastic but didn’t see a market for “that type” of romance. Editor B said she despised the characters and hated the clothes the heroine wore, but would consider re-reading it if I changed the entire plot and made the heroine into a perky sexpot.

Who was “right?” Neither of them. I considered their rejections a perfect example of “everyone has his/her own opinion” and moved on. The important thing to remember after you’ve been rejected is to keep going. If the editor made suggestions (change the ending, add more dialogue, make the heroine a blonde with four kids) consider the comments and either make the changes or don’t. No matter what, it’s your story. But keep writing and submitting, because you never know when you’ll get an acceptance.

What’s Where?: Keep a list of when and where you submit your writing. Note the title of the piece (or query subject), date, and publication. This way, you’ll know what’s where and how long ago you sent it. This is handy in case you need to follow up on a wayward query or submission. I also make a list of places to submit to next, (just in case of rejection!) so I’ll know where the story is headed.

Reading Everything is Fundamental!: Writers are usually doing one of two things: reading or writing. Read anything and everything—in your genre and out of your genre—to expand your horizons. The more you read, the more you’re exposed to different styles of writing, tone, voice, and characterization. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, writing magazines, and the back of cereal boxes. You’ll see how other writers (even famous authors) create setting, mood, and how they tell a great story. (And why not learn from the best?)

Give Yourself Time to Rest: No, this doesn’t mean get lazy and slack off when you don’t feel like writing. A day (or a few hours) off can be a reward for finishing a long project, for completing all the work on your writing “to do” list for the week, or for celebrating a sale. Go for a walk and stretch after sitting in front of the computer and let your mind recharge. Give yourself some freedom and “play” time—you’ve earned it! Taking a mini-break from writing is also helpful if you need to break out of writer’s block. Think about something else besides your story, and in most cases, an idea or a great plot twist will pop into your head when you least expect it.

If you want even more writing advice, why not check out my online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners?

 Fiction Writing for Beginners is designed for anyone who is interested in writing and needs practical advice on how to get started, plus motivation and encouragement to keep writing.

Thirteen easy-to-follow classes cover the writing process from start to finish. You’ll learn where writers get ideas, how to create characters, get expert tips on writing your story, and find out how to submit it for publication. Everything you need to know to start writing is wrapped up in this comprehensive and fun course.

Each class is self-contained and self-directed. This way, you can learn about a specific topic at your own pace, and not worry about completing the class by a certain deadline. Short writing exercises at the end of each class highlight the subject matter and get you writing.

If you’ve always wanted to write, Fiction Writing for Beginners will get you started. Visit the course page to learn more and enroll: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

 I hope you enjoyed these tips. I welcome comments and questions from readers. You can contact me via the address on the News page of my site, or on social media.

Happy Writing,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

Kelli Wilkins ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

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

Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

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CATCH UP WITH KELLI

 Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.

Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com

Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

FREE READS: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelliwilkins2/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelli-a-wilkins

Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins

iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Teachable Online Writing Courses: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

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