Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How Badly Do You Want It?

As a writer I’m sure when someone introduces you as a writer you’ve heard people say, “I could write a write book.”
But do they ever follow through? Maybe a first paragraph, but it’s a lot harder than people think.
Non-writers make excuses. Writers write.

When did you decide to write? How badly do you want it? What will you give up for it?
I always wrote starting in elementary school. I wrote paragraphs, descriptions, plots, you name it.
But while I’d jot down a scene I went into nursing, worked in nursing, married and started a family. I was still jotting down notes about characters, scenes, whatever. I went back to university, moved divorced and remarried. I still wasn’t a writer. I didn’t even know what I wanted to write.
When I finally made the decision, I loved the romantic suspense genre and I read writing romance was easy, so I decided to give it a try. I went to a Road to Romance conference in Calgary, attended work shops, learned about RWA and decided to be a writer. My first step was to buy a computer and learn to use it. (That’s another story)
I don’t plot a whole book, but I went through and sketched out the scenes in a few sentences. I read books on character development, goal motivation, conflict and scene and structure. Just to name a few. While I read, I wrote. I found a few other people in the area who were writing, and we would get together once a month and talk about our projects. I was a writer. I wrote every day and on weekends. I cut back on TV and read books. I cut back on gardening because I worked full-time and couldn’t fit it in with writing. I stayed focus, set goals and wrote. I finished that first book. (And it’s still hidden in a closet)
I started the next book. I found I had to write. Even if I didn’t sell, I had to write down all those thoughts and people in my head. I continued to write daily, (even if we went camping), reading, attending workshops and taking classes online. I really wanted to be a writer.
What about you? How badly do you want it?

Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Her Latest Book is Out - With Kelli A Wilkins

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 released 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 latest 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. She released 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.
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 www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Kelli: I write novels and short stories in a variety of genres. I mainly consider myself a romance and horror author. I know that’s an unusual blend, but I like to say that one half of my brain writes the romance and the other half writes the horror. (I’ve also branched out from horror into science fiction.)

I like writing in multiple genres because I get to explore different characters, plots and styles of writing in a romance that I couldn’t do in a horror story – and vice versa. However, I did blend the romance and horror genres into a few paranormal romances.
After writing a few romances I like to switch up and focus on horror or sci-fi for a while. My horror stories tend to be more psychological and creepy than bloody, and my sci-fi stories are about strange things that happen to ordinary people. I write in almost every romance genre: historical, fantasy, paranormal, gay, and contemporary. So I’m pretty comfortable switching genres as the characters and plots dictate.
I’ve also written several non-fiction pet guides and authored two online writing courses, so I pretty much write anything and everything.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Kelli: I read everything, so in a sense every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way. My bookshelves include mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels, romance, non-fiction, and horror.
My imagination combined with my love of horror inspired me to write my own stories. I credit Stephen King and Rod Serling as my two biggest influences – they know how to tell a good story. Without a doubt, Stephen King is my favorite author. He has been the main influence in my writing. My mother bought all of his books, and I read Night Shift when I was about nine years old. (I think it was the first “grown up” book I read.) The stories showed me how to plot, use details and descriptions, and give the story a voice. I think King’s On Writing book is a great way for anyone to get inside the mind of a writer and see how the process unfolds.
I also have to give credit to Rod Serling, because I learned about the mechanics of great storytelling, world-building, and character development from watching The Twilight Zone. After being exposed to these types of stories I was motivated to write my own.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Kelli: A great idea will always inspire me to grab a pen and paper and start writing! Sometimes I’ll see or hear something that sparks an idea and that will give me the basis for an entire book. Of course, once I’m writing a book, the characters and the story keep my creative juices flowing. Even though I plot out my books and have a good idea of what’s going to happen next, every once in a while my characters will surprise me and take things in a different direction.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Kelli: I like to watch cartoons because they help me laugh and relax. They’re a great stress-reducer. I mostly watch cartoons for children, like Octonauts, Peppa Pig, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But my all-time favorite character is Felix the Cat. Felix is my favorite because I love cats (especially black cats) and he was a wiseass troublemaker who always found a clever way out of his jams.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Kelli: It would be interesting to sit down with a panel of my favorite authors (Stephen King, John Sandford, Preston & Child) and talk about their books, characters, and their writing processes. I’d also like to meet several musicians and enjoy free concerts!
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Kelli: I’d spend the day doing something fun with my husband or friends. Maybe take a day trip somewhere or walk on the beach.
Beverley: You’re a busy person! You had two books published this summer. Tell us about your latest releases.
Kelli: In August I released Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-fi Stories. Here’s the blurb:

Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories
Are you ready to step into the unknown?

In these 18 sci-fi stories, you’ll encounter aliens of all shapes and sizes, curious (and sometimes unlucky) space explorers, and ordinary Earthlings having otherworldly experiences.
Some of the out-of-this-world tales in this short fiction anthology include:
“The Hoax” - A reporter learns that a creature from another planet is a dangerous thing to fool with.
“It Grows on You” - A strange kind of mold has invaded an office, and it’s the perfect tool for revenge
 “What Lurks Below” - Everyone knows there’s no life on Mars, but nobody thought about what might be lurking under the surface…
“The Con” - An alien becomes an unlikely ally to a down-on-his-luck petty crook
“Space Cowboy” - When a second-rate rodeo star is abducted by aliens, he makes the most of the situation
 “They Just Keep Eating” - A Nebraska farmer encounters a menace from space… and it’s hungry

This collection of speculative fiction will stimulate your imagination, unnerve you just a little, and make you wonder… “What if we’re not alone?”

Order it here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JVJ9e

Back in June, I released my historical romance, The Viking’s Witch. This full-length novel is set in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual love story with adventure and paranormal elements.

The Viking’s Witch
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 it here:
Link to all other platforms:  https://books2read.com/u/4EQe0o

What are your current projects?
I’m working on a re-release of my historical western romance, Lies, Love & Redemption. I’m also outlining two new romances (a contemporary gay novella and another historical romance) and revising a paranormal contemporary. Readers can learn more about all of my books on my site, sign up for my newsletter, or follow my blog and social media posts for updates on new releases.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts today. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors.
Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Teachable Online Writing Courses: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Barbara White Daille and her Latest The Rancher’s Family

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Barbara: Currently, I’m writing romance, one of my favorite genres to write and read.  Why?  Romance novels give us hope, show us how real and fictional people can deal with adversity, and come with a guaranteed happy ending.  More specifically, I write short contemporary romance on the sweeter or lower-sensuality side.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Barbara: I made that decision very early on, thanks to input from many people:
My mom, who gave me my love of reading.
Grade school, teachers who encouraged my attempts at writing.
And all the authors I read in those early days who wrote books starring characters I loved.  To name a few of my book best friends:  The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Barbara: So many random things, including incidents like seeing an interesting-looking stranger; overhearing a line of a conversation; getting bored watching a TV episode and creating new plot twists of my own.
Usually a character “speaks” to me first.  His or her situation or predicament or problem soon crops up, and from there character and plot go hand-in-hand.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Barbara: Hmm. . . this is tough.  We learn to love— and can learn a lot from—cartoon characters.  I’ll go with Walt Disney’s Goofy because he’s one of the earliest characters I remember watching and because he’s always good for a laugh.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Barbara: If this includes anyone from any time period, I’d choose Agatha Christie.  I’ve been reading her books since grade school and would love to pick her brain to see how she comes up with her plots!
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Barbara: Stock up on pizza, tea, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  Put my TBR pile next to the couch.  Get into my comfiest pajamas.  And read from morning and well into the night.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Barbara: I’m writing my next Harlequin Heartwarming, another book in the Hitching Post Hotel series.  This features Wes’s brother and a bride jilted at the Hitching Post’s altar.  I’m also working on the third Snowflake Valley story from Entangled Books.  The series is set in a small town that caters to tourists, and the heroine of this book is one of the “bad-luck Barnett” sisters.

Thanks to Beverley for inviting me here to celebrate the book birthday of The Rancher’s Family!  The story is part of The Hitching Post Hotel series and debuts on September 1st.

Book Blurb from The Rancher’s Family:
“Are you my new mommy?”
She certainly hopes so…
After a devastating loss, Cara Leonetti’s dreams of a husband and children are on hold. But Cowboy Creek’s local matchmaker thinks otherwise! And Cara finds

herself unexpectedly entangled in the day-to-day family chaos of widower Wes Daniels and his two small children. She’s falling hard, but the strong, silent rancher doesn’t trust in love. Can Cara put her own fears aside and show Wes that they’re stronger together?

Excerpt from The Rancher’s Family:
Cara looked at her car only a few yards away. Maybe she should get in it again and leave. Maybe Wes Daniels had decided he didn’t want help.
And after all, who was she to come here and disturb a stranger still so wrapped up in grief that he might wind up a hermit, as Jed had put it?
The door swung open. Her jaw almost dropped.
 man stood in the opening, silhouetted by the light from a lamp in the room behind him. Not Jed’s “old friend.” A much younger man, twenty something, with broad shoulders and sturdy arms and dark brown eyes beneath dark brows. A man she already…sort of…knew.
The unfriendly cowboy she had met that afternoon at the Big Dipper.
He looked just as surprised to see her. “Did you make a wrong turn on your way to somewhere else?”
“That might be impossible in Cowboy Creek.”
“Yeah. We’re not like the big city.”
A point in his favor—he’d remembered her telling him where she was from. He seemed more relaxed than he had earlier. Maybe he’d just been in a bad mood. Or—be honest—maybe her own stress had led her to misread the situation, and the awkwardness was all on her.
Then and now.

Buy Links for The Rancher’s Family:

Find Barbara and her books:
Website  https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cruising the Caribbean

What a fun topic this month. We’re asked to post an excerpt from one of our books dealing with travel and or vacation. Thanks, Rhobin.
I’ve chosen one of my back-list books, A Cruise to Remember. and it's still available on Amazon and Kobo. Since I write romantic suspense, I usually have murder and mystery in my books. So, even though my excerpt is based on a cruise through the Caribbean, it has t include mystery and suspense. It was a fun book to write and I wrote it just after we had taken a cruise through the Caribbean.
Short Blurb for A Cruise to Remember
Amnesia, a cruise ship, a jewel theft ring and attempted murder combine to make it a cruise to remember. Hallie Donald has been in an accident and has amnesia. She’s traveling on the cruise as a companion. And someone is trying to kill her.
She doesn’t remember anything but someone   Interpol agent Eric Norby searches for jewel thieves on a Caribbean cruise, but his main suspect is the woman he loves.

Excerpt from A Cruise to Remember
“Did we have a date, Dr. Peterson?” Hallie asked.
“No and call me Eric. I saw what he was doing. You didn’t appear to be enjoying it. My God, woman, don’t you have any idea how to handle a situation like that? And how the hell did you get yourself into that position in the first place? I didn’t take you for a stupid person.”
“I’m not stupid,” Hallie sniffed. “But you’re right. I feel pretty dumb right now. I don’t know how I got myself into that situation. Jack out maneuvered me. It didn’t matter what I did, he wouldn’t give up.”
Hallie trembled as they walked away. She couldn’t forget how Jack had treated her.
“I suggest you stay away from him in the future. I might not be around to save you next time. Are you sure you’re all right?” Eric stopped and looked down at her.
“Yes, I think so. Don’t worry. I don’t plan to let him anywhere near me again.”
“I kicked and scratched and even yelled at him to leave me alone. Nothing worked and no one paid any attention when I yelled. I-I think he was going to try and make love to me right here on the deck. Thank you for rescuing me.”
Out of the corner of her eye Hallie caught a glimpse of a tall attractive redhead watching them. The woman shot Hallie an angry look before she turned and stomped toward the bar.
“You looked terrified. I couldn’t believe you’d let him grope you like that.” Eric snapped.
“I couldn’t stop him. I did punch him. I even managed to draw blood at one point,” she said.
“You need to learn to throw a better punch than that if you want to do any damage.”
“Maybe you could teach me?”
Eric shook his head, “I don’t get it. I could see you had no idea how to handle him--so Eric to the rescue. By the way, he wanted sex, he didn’t want to make love to you, trust me. There is definitely a difference. Don’t you remember anything about relationships? Or appropriate behavior between men and women?”
“You can’t remember anything about how you reacted in the past?”
“How could I? I don’t remember my past. How would I know how I reacted? And maybe no one has ever tried to rape me before. I don’t know. Give me a break. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“Good. I hope so. You have no knowledge at all about what happens on a date?”
“No, not really; conversation, eating, doing some kind of activity I guess. I’m going to have to learn that process all over again, except, it’s going to be harder because when you’re an adult you’re supposed to know what it’s all about. People expect that you know the games and the rules. Jack certainly thought I did. I feel like a child trying to play grown up games.”
“I guess I am going to have to give you lessons.” Eric warmed her with his smile. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“You don’t have to. I’m fine now. Were you with someone when you noticed my difficulty?”
“Because I saw a lady standing a few feet from you when we walked away from Jack. She looked really mad, and I think those were daggers she shot in my direction.”
“The redhead?”
“That’s the one.”
“I was sort of with her. She cornered me on deck. I offered to buy her a drink. That’s all. I think she read more into it than I meant. So, in a way, maybe you saved me, too.”
“Somehow, I doubt that. She had a great figure.”
“I’d hardly noticed.”
   “You’re still shaking. Come on over here where it’s quiet.” Eric found a sheltered corner, away from most of the passengers. “Sit down, doctors’ orders. I’ll be right back with two drinks. You could use something to relax you. They have special sail-away drinks. You okay with that you?”
   He slipped his uniform jacket off and draped it around her shoulders, over her shawl.
   “Sounds great, but it’s not necessary.” She felt warmer in the jacket and his musky male scent enveloped her. It was pleasant and sexual. She knew didn’t react to all men’s scent this way. She looked up and noticed his lip curled slightly as he smiled.
   “Yeah, it is. Keep the jacket on to help warm you up. I’ll be right back.”
   Hallie sat on the edge of the chair. She forced herself to take deep, calming breaths. She relaxed slightly and leaned back. Eric’s jacket slipped from her shoulders to the deck. She bent to pick it up when she felt rather than heard a buzzing sound, something like a mosquito, past her left ear.
   She sat back up and twisted around to adjust Eric’s jacket. There was a hole in the back of the deck chair.
   Funny, I don’t remember it being there before I picked up the jacket.
   She ran her finger over the hole.
   “Here we go.” Eric carried a couple of tall, red, orange and yellowed colored drinks topped off with parasols.
   “What were you doing?” he asked.
   “I’m not sure. There was a funny sound, like a mosquito, and I think this hole just appeared.”
   “What the hell...?” Eric placed the drinks onto a nearby table. He ran his finger over the hole.
   “It’s a bloody bullet hole.”
   “A what? You’re kidding?”
   “No, I’m not. Where were you when it happened?” Eric looked at the hole. He squinted back in the direction it would have come from.
   “I guess that’s when I bent down to pick up your jacket.”
   “My God, you could have been killed.” Eric pulled Hallie into his arms and squeezed her against his chest. “You’re sure you’re all right?”
   “I think so. I mean, I wasn’t hit or anything. I can’t figure out what’s happening. This has to be one of the worst nights of my life.”

I’m off to read where my fellow authors have traveled.