#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.

~~~

#GuestPost Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Luther from “Loving a Wild Stranger” 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.
Loving a Wild Stranger

Please give a warm welcome to Luther Dubois from Loving a Wild Stranger, a historical romance by Kelli A. Wilkins. Today we sit down and see what makes Luther tick.

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

Well, as readers may know, I live in a cabin in the Michigan Territory. Up until I met Michelle, my world was pretty much centered on tending to my daily chores, hunting, trapping, and staying alive. The lifestyle I lead isn’t easy, and my greatest challenges include what most modern, civilized folks take for granted: food, water, and shelter.

I lived alone for several years and learned to adapt to the harsh conditions. When Michelle became my wife, she had a hard time adjusting. She’s from a very wealthy family in New York and was used to a fancy house with lots of luxuries. When she came out west, she wasn’t prepared for life in the wilderness and had to learn a whole new way of living.

Please tell us about your first-meet with Michelle.

I thought she was pretty, and vulnerable. I felt sorry for her because she was all alone in a strange place, and she seemed lost. I was thrilled when she told me she was my mail order bride. I’d been waiting for one for so long, that I couldn’t believe she had finally arrived.

Michelle is a beautiful lady and I was honored that she’d be coming home with me. Of course, once we got back to my cabin, things didn’t go the way I had imagined… Michelle wasn’t expecting to live in a secluded cabin in the woods with a stranger and that made her nervous and a bit annoyed… We got into an argument and I wasn’t sure things would ever work out between us.

We really got off to a bad start… If you’ve read the book, you know we had our ups and downs, and it took a while for us to learn how to get along.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m reliable. I take my responsibilities seriously, and I know how important it is to be prepared for anything. But I also have a good sense of humor and like to have fun.

What do you like least about yourself?

Sometimes I’m very stubborn, and that’s gotten me into a few bad situations.

What are some of your favorite things to do to pass the time?

I enjoy being outside as much as possible, so my favorite things are hiking in the woods, swimming in the lake, or admiring a spectacular sunrise. I’m part Ojibwa, and I have a great respect for nature and the environment.

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

How many can I choose? (Laughs.) Michelle has been making me crazy from the minute I met her and brought her to my cabin.

At first, it wasn’t always ‘crazy’ in the good way, but I’ve come to love her, quirks and all. She’s stubborn and opinionated and likes to do things her own way—until someone can explain ‘why’ she shouldn’t. Although at times that makes me crazy, I admire her.

She’s a strong woman who has overcome a lot of obstacles, and yet she also has a very passionate, feminine side that drives me crazy in a very good, but very naughty, way!

Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer for the things she makes you do?

On one hand, yes, absolutely! My life would be so much easier and less complicated if Kelli hadn’t dropped one bad thing after another on me. I’ve had troubles with the local townspeople, I’ve been in jail, gotten into fights, nearly lost Michelle twice, had conflicts with my family, and I was almost killed by a bear and a raging psycho. Thanks, Kelli!

Although Kelli always gets me out of these messes, it would be nice if things were easy once in a while. However, I have to thank her. If it weren’t for Kelli bringing Michelle and me together, my life would be very lonely.

Favorite food?
I’d say venison (or rabbit) with wild rice. Living in the wilderness doesn’t offer a lot of exotic food choices.

Describe yourself in four words.

Loyal, honest, passionate, and caring.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a trapper and trader, and I make my living selling pelts and skins. I also make furniture and do wood carvings.

What do you fear the most?

One of my biggest fears is losing Michelle. I already nearly lost her twice and she’s very precious to me. I also sometimes fear that something could happen to me—and then I wonder, what would happen to Michelle? But now that I’ve reconnected with my family, I have their support, and I know that Michelle and I are going to be just fine for many years to come.

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, 5 horror ebooks, and 7 non-fiction books. She just released two new mysteries: More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel.

She says readers can visit her website www.KelliWilkins.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.

Thank you for letting me chat here today. I hope everyone reads Loving a Wild Stranger 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’s the book summary and links…

Loving a Wild Stranger

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride.

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.

Loving a Wild Stranger

Order Loving a Wild Stranger here:

 Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6M551H 

 All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4N1DGN

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/loving-a-wild-stranger

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

~~~

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.

#GuestPost Behind the Scenes: “Loving a Wild Stranger (A 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,

Loving a Wild Stranger is one of my favorite romance novels… it’s also the first romance novel I ever wrote. A long time ago when I was taking writing classes, I told my instructor that an idea for a story had popped into my head, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was writing short horror fiction at the time, and the idea wasn’t a horror story.

The premise seemed simple: a young woman runs away from home and impersonates a stranger’s mail order bride. My writing teacher said, “That’s a romance. Write it and see what happens.”

So I wrote the book… and discovered I liked writing romances (and I was pretty good at it). From there, other romance ideas came to me, and I wrote those books, too. That’s how my romance-writing career began. All from one idea.

Loving a Wild Stranger

One of the things that inspired me to write Loving a Wild Stranger was the interaction between the characters, Luther and Michelle. They come from very different backgrounds and at first don’t get along at all. Michelle is an independent, outspoken young woman used to getting her way in the “civilized” world, and Luther is a lonely “mountain man” looking for love.

As you can imagine, they clash over the course of the story and have several major blowups. When Michelle agrees to the “marriage” arrangement for a month, it raises a lot of questions: Does she truly care for Luther? Can she live in the wilderness? Will she stay after the month is over? How long can she keep up her charade?

Deception and trust are two main themes in the book. Michelle is lying to Luther about her past, her true identity, why she’s on the run… and Luther is keeping his own secrets from Michelle. When these bombshells are revealed, it nearly tears them apart. Can they ever trust each other completely?

When I wrote the book, I did a lot of research on the setting and what life was like back then (how people lived, what they ate, how they dressed) to contrast Michelle’s “city” way of life with Luther’s rugged existence.

I also researched trappers, fur traders, and Native American culture of the time and region to build authentic details into Luther’s lifestyle. I wanted to pull readers into Luther’s world, so they could experience the story and events as Michelle sees them.

And I’m proud to say that I succeeded! One reviewer had this to say:

“This book has the potential to be made into a movie. It took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. Sigh…Luther, what a dreamy hero. I envied the heroine, Michelle. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, Grizzly Adams – one of my favorite childhood television shows.

I recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the story. I would love to switch places with Michele and spend the rest of my days with Luther if I could. I would recommend reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake!”

That “Grizzly Adams” feel was exactly what I was going for!

I love Luther and Michelle. They’re my “first couple” and no matter how many romances I write, their love story will always have a special place in my heart.

I hope you’ll fall in love with them and their story as much as I did. Loving a Wild Stranger is a fun blend of love and adventure in the wilderness.

 

Here’s the summary:

Loving a Wild Stranger

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride.

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.

***

Loving a Wild Stranger

Order Loving a Wild Stranger here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6M551H

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4N1DGN

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

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/loving-a-wild-stranger

 

I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Loving a Wild Stranger. 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 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 “Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Katarina from “Redemption from a Dark Past” by Kelli A. Wilkins

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

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

book cover

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

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

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

Describe yourself in four words.

Clever. Headstrong. Independent. Fearless.

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

What do you like least about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your greatest fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Redemption from a Dark Past

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

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

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

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

An exclusive excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The same knocking?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Why not? What’s going to happen?”

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

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

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

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

Katarina bent down next to the keyhole.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

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

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

“It comes back?”

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

Katarina frowned. “If it’s a ghost—”

If? You don’t believe in them?”

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

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

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

~~~

Redemption from a Dark Past cover

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

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

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

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

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi everyone,

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

book cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the book summary and links.

Redemption from a Dark Past

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

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

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

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

* * *

book cover

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the summary and book links:

cover

The Viking’s Witch

Scotland, 803 A.D.

 About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time runs out.


Order your copy here:

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

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

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

 

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

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#GuestBlog Writing Across the Genre Spectrum By Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone!

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer. Usually their next question is: “What do you write?” My answer? “Everything.”

I write fiction in various genres and levels of intensity. I can give romance readers a tender love story or a spicy erotic novella. Fans of speculative fiction can be terrorized by my horror stories or whisked away into an alternate reality in my sci-fi tales. I’ve also written several non-fiction books. Looking to take care of a cat or a hermit crab? I’ve got those covered. And if you’re ready to write your own fiction, well, I wrote the book on how to get started.

 

I’m often asked a lot of questions about how (and why) I write across the genre spectrum. Here are four FAQ:

How did you get started writing in so many different genres?

I never set out to be such a multi-faceted writer; it was something that happened gradually. I started out writing short horror fiction, and always dreamed of “someday” having my work included in an anthology. (I’m happy to say my horror stories have appeared in several anthologies, both online and in print.)

Then one day I came across a “10-minute love story” in a magazine and thought, “I could write one of those.” So I did. The story was accepted and I became a regular romance author for the publication. A year or so later they asked me if I could write sci-fi. I said, “Sure!” and I did.

From that point on, I realized I didn’t have to “just” write horror, or romance, or sci fi… I could branch out into any genre or type of writing I wanted. I figured, why limit yourself? If I have an idea for a story (regardless of genre), why not write it? Eventually I started writing romance novels and horror novellas.

Within the romance genre, you write contemporary, gay, paranormal, fantasy, and historical stories. Why do you vary so much in one genre?

A Most Unsual PrincessI get inspired from a multitude of ideas, so I basically go wherever the story takes me. My fantasy romance, A Most Unusual Princess came about because I wanted to write about a headstrong princess looking for a husband. The idea of a gayASM wrestler forced to come out sparked A Secret Match, and a mysterious stranger collapsing into the arms of an 1877 storekeeper became my historical Final coverromance novel, Love, Lies & Redemption.

The plot and characters dictate the genre, setting, and heat level in my books. So I may write a hot contemporary romance one month, and then two months later I’m writing a mild historical. I don’t mind switching up genres because it gives me leeway to create unique characters and plots each time I write. I never know where the next story will take me.

Within the historical category my books range from mild to super-spicy and take place in different time periods (Old West, Colonial, Pioneer, Celtic). I don’t stick to writing “all” Westerns or “all” Colonials. Once I have the time period for the story, I do research for details and/or ideas for clothing, occupations, etc. I like to weave authentic details into the books and blend them in as naturally as possible. When I’m writing fantasy romance, I try to make the details believable, even if I’m making them up.

How do you balance writing romance and horror? Which one do you like best?

My horror stories are more psychologically spooky rather than gory, and usually after I finish writing a few romances I switch up and write a horror tale or two. I use different “writing muscles” when I tell a horror story, and I can develop different plots, characters, and have an overall darker tone in my horror fiction than I can in a romance.

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover coverI like both genres, so it was only a matter of time before I blended the two… into paranormal romance. When I write paranormal romances I have to make sure I don’t cross over too far into the horror world. You don’t want to create a paranormal hero/heroine that’s too frightening and/or violent in the story. Romance lovers don’t want to read about a full-fledged monster. The character has to be likeable and loveable with all the traits of a romance hero/heroine – even if he or she is a vampire who needs to feed. (This was the basis for my paranormal, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)

Lately I’ve been scaling back on my romances and focusing on speculative fiction. These short stories aren’t exactly classic “horror” tales designed to scare readers, but they do include paranormal elements. For example, my new release More than I Bargained For is an offbeat mini-mystery about a woman who can talk to the dead.

One of my favorite horror stories is Nightmare in the North. It’s a novella Nightmare in the North coverabout a man stranded with strangers in a blizzard. It was a lot of fun to write and after reading it, my husband called it “disturbing.” I love writing horror stories (or mainstream stories with speculative elements) and plan on releasing a few more of them this year. I’ve got lots of ideas, and I’m working on two new stories now.

You wrote the non-fiction book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. What made you decide to write a book about writing?

Every time I do an interview, I’m often asked the same batch of questions: Where do you get your ideas? How do I get published? How do you write a book? What advice do you have for writers who are starting out? Do you have any writing tips?

coverI’ve answered these questions many times in interviews and addressed them in blogs, but I always wanted to say more. One day, I started thinking about everything I’ve learned over the years, and inspiration hit me: Why not write a book on how to write? The result? You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.

This fun and practical book walks you through the story-creating process step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. It covers the basics of storytelling—regardless of what genre you write.

Each easy-to-read chapter is based on my years of hands-on experience as a writer, advice I’ve received, and the technical “know-how” I’ve gained in writing classes and professional writing workshops. Basically, it’s practical advice on how to get started, almost like a Writing 101 workshop. Any writer can use the tips and writing exercises for an extra boost of motivation or just for fun.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Writers shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. Yes, it might be “easier” or “better” to find a genre or a niche and stay there for your entire writing career. You could build a solid brand, get a large fan base, and become a household name in that genre. That may work for most writers, but for me, it would become tiresome after a while (like having the same thing for dinner every night). I like to explore something new and different each time I write.

For me, writing across the genre spectrum is what I do. Some days, I venture down a dark and mysterious pathway into a haunted cemetery… Other days, I’ll lose myself in the romantic adventures of a feisty historical heroine… But no matter what I write, I enjoy creating the characters, plots, and settings that bring the story to life for readers—and I hope they enjoy the journey as much as I do.

Here’s the summary and links to my latest release, More Than I Bargained For:

cover

 

More Than I Bargained For: A Paranormal Mini-Mystery

Katie doesn’t like going to estate sales. Why? Because she sees dead people.

When Katie reluctantly attends an estate sale with her friend Diane, she gets more than she bargained for. The deceased former owner of the house, Grace, realizes that Katie can communicate with her, and she has a lot to say.

As Katie pretends to shop, Grace tells her the story of how she was murdered—and reveals that her killer is still in the house.

It’s up to Katie to uncover the murder weapon and get it to the police… before time runs out.

Order your copy here:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CG4J8B2

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/me9jzl

Visit the page on my site: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/more-than-i-bargained-for

~~~

 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.

~~~