Friday, August 17, 2018

What Started You to Write?

I hope everyone is having a good summer. Rhobin has come up with another interesting topic for this month’s group blog. What started you to write?

I look forward to seeing what the other authors have to say and if any of us are similar.
I hope everyone is having a good summer. Rhobin has come up with another interesting topic for this month’s group blog. What started you to write?

I look forward to seeing what the other authors have to say and if any of us are similar. 

What started me to write? I honestly don’t remember. I think maybe I was born with a writing gene in my makeup. When I was four or five I used to make up stories about anything. In my teens I started to write plots. I loved the locked room murders and I would plot how someone could die in a locked room. It was great fun figuring it out. I had a folder filled with story ideas, chapters and plots.

Then I became a nurse, got married, had a family and kept thinking about stories. I’d see something or see a person and start thinking about what their story might be, but I didn’t write that book. No time.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and thought maybe someone was trying to give me a wake-up call. I bought my first computer and learned how to use it. I looked at the books I read and decided I’d write a romance. I started to write this lovely romance set in Vancouver, BC and then moved to San Francisco wine country. Somehow I found myself adding details on accidents and murder and mayhem. It turned into a romantic suspense. That book is hidden under the bed, but I kept writing romantic suspense books. Once I got my wake up call to start writing, I can’t stop.

Now I’m going to check out the other members of our group and see what started them to write. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Learn About Kelli Wilkins' and her Writing Process

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 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.

Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Her historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in June of 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.
Look for more romances, horror stories, and an online writing class coming later in 2018.

An Inside Look at… Redemption from a Dark Past
Hi everyone,
Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my latest historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past.

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.
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 job on the 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.

When I set about creating the mysterious Lord Adrik, I wanted to make him 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!

Over the course of the book, 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.”

Blurb from 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.
Excerpt from Redemption From a Dark Past
     Sebestyen winced as he propped his right leg on the padded footstool. He had a crackling fire before him, his belly was full, he’d drunk almost an entire bottle of wine, and yet he was not content.

Another girl had arrived. He had another chance to find happiness, but he didn’t dare get his hopes up. She would probably be another sour disappointment like all the others. Each failure drove a dagger deeper into his heart, and yet, he persisted.
But why? Why did he put himself through the pain, the hurt, and the humiliation of buying another companion? Perhaps it would be best if he accepted the fact that he was cursed. He’d never be happy, never know love again.
He watched the flames and sipped his red wine. The rumors about him had spread throughout the countryside. Lukacs was right when he’d told him that the villagers would not allow their daughters to come here, no matter what enticements he offered. He’d almost given up, but then Lukacs had written with the news that Katarina had volunteered to be his companion. Why? Surely she knew the stories about him.
Despite the tales circulating in the villages, he had never harmed any of the young ladies who came to the castle. If anything, he was generous. He bought them new clothes, fed them, and paid them well. He certainly wasn’t a rapist or a drinker of virgin blood as he was portrayed in the stories.
“But am I the monster they say I am?” he wondered aloud.
He stared at a painting on the far wall. Two boys in formal dress, one with light blond wavy hair, the other with black hair, posed with a black and white dog. He raised his glass in a silent toast to Tristan. The portrait was commissioned when he’d been, what? Ten? And Tristan was nearly fifteen. Those were good times, when life was easy.
Now he was all alone, trapped in this miserable castle and forced to suffer with the boring duties he had inherited from his despicable father. It wasn’t fair. He’d had different plans for his life, plans that included travelling, marrying a woman he loved, and being happy. Instead, he sat here every night drinking himself into a stupor, hating his life, hating his very existence.
He closed his eyes and leaned back in the leather chair. Perhaps Katarina could redeem him and lift his curse. If she did, she would earn riches beyond her wildest dreams. If not, he would suffer bitter disappointment yet again. “Why do I even try?” he whispered. “I’m doomed.”
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Top Selling Genres

I am editing my latest book, which is a little complex. So how should I list it? It could fall into more than one genre. I decided to check out what are the top selling genres.

The top selling adult genres in order are General Fiction, Romance, and Suspense Thrillers.

According to query Tracker the top ten requested genres by agents are:

1 Young Adult
2 Fantasy
3 Literary Fiction
4 Children's
5 Science Fiction
6 Thrillers/Suspense
7 Middle Grade
8 Romance
9 Historical
10 Women's Fiction

Which Genres Make the Most Money? 
Romance and Erotica are #1 in sales. That figure includes self-published romance as well. According to Bookstr, Crime and Mystery novels come in second, Inspirational and Religious books are third. Fantasy and Science Fiction come in at fourth and Horror fifth.
I gathered this information at Check out the whole article.

So romance is #8 requested by agents, suspense #6 and women’s fiction number 10. But romance sells best followed by crime and mystery (maybe that includes suspense). So I guess I’m eliminating women’s fiction and sticking with romantic suspense.
Any comments on where you place your books and how you decide?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Meet Barbara Monajem and The Redemption of the Shrew

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. Asparagus pudding proved to be pretty horrible, and she is too fumble-fingered to make socks. Now she just sticks with writing books. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Excerpt from The Redemption of the Shrew
A clandestine meeting, particularly where nakedness is involved, is best arranged for a moonless night.

Or so Gloriana Warren told herself, for her mother would never have uttered such a scandalous dictum. Unfortunately, it was tonight or never. Tomorrow, the man she had sworn to love forever would leave Lancashire and return to London—without her. They wouldn’t be able to marry for years because of his stupid scruples about money.

Men and their tedious pride! She and the Marquis de Bellechasse loved one another. They shared the same lofty ideals. She had a substantial dowry. Marrying now made sense. Not only that, her mother would die happy.

So Gloriana was taking matters into her own hands. She had planned the upcoming encounter in glorious detail—every word, every gesture. As she emerged from the summerhouse to greet him, he would stand and stare at her, transfixed by her beauty.

“Darling Philippe,” she would say, reaching for him, offering herself without reserve. “Love is eternal. It cannot, must not be denied!”

“Ah, ma belle,” he would respond, his hand on his heart, his voice throbbing with desire. “I adore you. What a fool I was to think we could wait for years. Even another minute is too long. Tonight, I shall make you mine!”

She would fling herself into his waiting arms, swept away on the tide of his passion.

She wasn’t sure exactly how it would go after that, apart from plenty of kissing, but judging by her previous experience of Philippe’s kisses, it would be the most thrilling experience of her life.

She sneaked out the French doors, arms full of blankets, and glanced back up at Garrison House. Not a glimmer of candlelight showed in the windows. She hurried through the rose garden and skirted the lawn, keeping to the bushes and out of the moonlight. In the secret room under the summerhouse, she and her darling Philippe would be safe. Tomorrow they would announce their engagement to Mama. They would send for a special license and be married within a week.

Ten minutes later, she had set up a makeshift bed under the summerhouse and removed all her clothes. Shivering more from excitement than from the chilly night air, she waited for Philippe to arrive.

Tonight would be the most perfect night of her life.
The Marquis de Bellechasse left his horse in a convenient copse and made his careful way forward, pausing at the edge of the trees. Garrison House was reassuringly dark, but moonlight reflected off the ripples on the lake. The summerhouse gleamed white on its little knoll, exposed on all sides. He paused, listening. No sound disturbed the darkness except a nightjar complaining from a nearby oak. He hoped and prayed no one else was up and about tonight. He couldn’t afford to get caught with Gloriana Warren, but nor could he bring himself to ignore her passionate plea to see him once more before they parted.

He loved her—to the point of folly, judging by his current behavior. He had already said farewell, and yet here he was, trespassing on her brother’s estate at midnight to say it again. He dreaded her inevitable tears.

The door to the summerhouse stood wide open, which meant Gloriana was here already. Fine. Best to get it over with now. He took a deep breath and set out across the lawn.

He had almost reached the doorway when she came into view, rising from out of nowhere, her face pale, her hair loose around her bare shoulders. He halted, staring, his heart thundering. She continued to rise, her breasts round and luscious in the light of the moon. His eyes slid helplessly down the curve of her hips to the darker patch at the apex of her thighs . . .

Mordieu. He shook his head and began to back away. “No, chérie. We must not do this.”

She set her feet on the floor—she must have emerged from a trapdoor—and beckoned with those sweet arms, smiled with those lush lips. “Philippe, my darling, please come to me. I love you so much.”

“No, ma belle, I cannot.”

“But love—” She faltered, then continued toward him, arms wide. “Love is eternal. It must not be denied.”

Sacrebleu, she was declaiming like a shoddy actress on the stage. The thought revolted him. Surely his idealistic Gloriana could not cheapen herself so. Anguished, he put up his hands to fend her off. “It is not possible, Gloriana. Not yet. It would not be right.”

She hurried forward, her breasts jiggling enticingly. “Truly, we mustn’t delay. My mother may not have long to live, and seeing me married well is her dearest wish.”

He didn’t care in the least about old Lady Garrison, who was the worst sort of snob. He shook his head. “No. To wait is best.”

“Philippe, I cannot wait. I need you now.” She reached for him, her nakedness inches away.

He gritted his teeth and took another step backwards. His imbecile cock was reacting to her, but he had long ago gained control over its demands. “I am sorry, but I must go.” He turned away.

She wailed, a sharp, keening sound, and immediately a shout came from nearby. Her brother? No, he was in London. A gamekeeper?

Whoever the man might be, he was lurking here on purpose. So much for love, Philippe thought. Gloriana was just another lust-crazed woman trying to trap him into marriage. He turned and ran. Pursued by shouts and then shots, he reached his horse and galloped away.

Buy Link for The Redemption of the Shrew
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You can find Barbra here:

Barbara has some wonderful prizes to giveaway during the tour. Please be sure to enter with the Rafflecopter below. There is an opportunity every day to enter for your chance to win one of the fabulous prizes. So join us for a fun blog tour journey and be sure to enter every day for your chance to win. You may find all the blog tour locations here.

Here are the links that are embedded just in case you have any trouble with them.
Blog Tour Schedule Here….
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Building Your Brand

First, I’d love to have you check out my website, It has an update on my News for August. Also, I’d love to have you sign up for my newsletter, which I’m hoping to start in the fall. It will only be sent out about four times a year.
Next I tend to be a bit of an eclectic person so I’m going to make Tuesday blogs a little more eclectic. My focus is still to find readers for my books and for other authors and their new books.  But I may through in a few food hints, crafts, book reviews, maybe even gardening tips, as well as writing hints and marketing tips. Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you.

And today I’m sharing a few tips on Branding from my conference. Hope they help if you’re working on your brand.

– Have a great book. Yes, everything always starts out with that one  

- Identify the unique message points about your book

- Be sure your book and message points evoke some emotional response. This one I hadn’t thought about.
- Build your brand equally across your whole platform
- Be consistent in your branding
- Deliver on the expectations your brand sets forth
- Continue evaluate and refine your brand

Check covers of some of your favorite authors and see how they brand.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Meet Nancy Lee Badger and Her New Book

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island. After attending Plymouth State in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in New Hampshire and when the children had left the nest, and shoveling show became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved with her husband to North Carolina, where she writes full-time.
Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers. She loves to travel and attend Scottish Highland Games and is never far from her laptop. She finds story ideas in the most unusual places. 
I am excited to announce my latest book, and the first one to take place in North Carolina, my adopted home. Beverly asked for me an interview of my heroine, Kenzie Mackintosh. Let the interview begin! 
Beverley: What’s your name?
Kenzie: Kenzie Mackintosh. Can you tell I am of Scottish descent? Mom was a Lindsay, the daughter of my Scottish grandmother, Maisie. I call her Grams.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Kenzie: In the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. After my parents died when I was eight, my grandmother’s cabin became my refuge. I love the ocean and visited my cousin’s beach house in Rodanthe, but those memories faded. Until recently.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place.
Kenzie: Everything happens in present-day North Carolina, but I meet a man who claims to be from 19th century Paris, France, and I can’t get rid of him!
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Kenzie: As I said, I had to grow up fast. I have always art and dabbled in painting as well as quilting. I turned this love into a profession. I am head curator at the Raleigh Museum of Art. I guess the author, also an artist, thought I would be a good ‘fit’.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Kenzie: Staying alive. Supposedly a demon wants to take over my body in order to rule the world.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Kenzie: My need to stay clear of a former lover and a demon as well as an untimely attraction to a naked Frenchman who appeared at my museum the night before the grand opening.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Kenzie: Hah! I am out of my element when faeries, demons, and naked Frenchmen arrive while I am trying to impress my boss that I have everything under control.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Kenzie: There is a secret about my heritage Henrí keeps assuming I know. I don’t and trying to stay alive proves harder as the demon closes in…on me!

Blurb for Heaven-sent Warrior
Henrí Chevalier's last memory, before stumbling naked into a museum’s moonlit garden, was Auguste Rodin and his dusty Paris studio in 1886. To escape his broken heart, Henrí volunteered to sleep inside a statue until needed. Expecting
to die, he discovers he must learn to use the unexpected powers Heaven has given him. Without them he will fail his mission against otherworldly creatures, such as demons and faeries.
Kenzie Mackintosh, a dedicated art museum's curator, spies a naked man hiding
among bronze statues. A quick glance ignites desire within her, but she is too tied-up in work to act on it. Unaware of her fae heritage, their relationship heats up as he disrupts her job. While Henrí tries to process modern buildings, cars, and a broken elevator, a demon attacks and forces Henrí and Kenzie to enlist
the aid of her powerful fae relatives. When the demon possesses the body of her ex-lover and threatens to kill him, then use her to take over the world, Henrí and Kenzie must learn to trust each other, even if Kenzie’s death might be the only answer to the world’s salvation.


Excerpt for Heaven-sent Warrior
Kenzie’s gaze flit toward the door, then back to him. “Are we safe?”
"The spells I neglected to use are now in place. Whatever fell down those stairs ran off. Tomorrow, I shall return to the museum and search for its human host.”
“You can do that?”
“I felt the warning as it approached. I have confidence I will feel it tomorrow, but my instincts are . . . unsettled.” Standing in front of her, Henrí cupped her cheek with one hand and placed the other on her waist.
“Um, was there something else?”
“Preparedness is best fashioned in solitude, but I do not want to say good-night.” Henrí’s eyes drew nearly shut as he leaned closer. “Lie with me.”
Is he serious?
Kenzie couldn’t get her mouth to work, but she knew the second he’d read her thoughts, because he nodded, then kissed her. She strove to be fearless and confident, but everything flew out the door when he slipped his tongue into her mouth. In the next two seconds, she’d either sink into his embrace and never stop kissing him back, or run.
“Stay with me tonight, mon ange,” he whispered.
He’d drawn his luscious mouth back a few inches, but his words sounded . . . familiar.
“It means my angel, since you have the look of the heavens in your lovely hair and exquisite eyes. You taste like ambrosia.”
“The mythical food of the gods?” she asked. She wanted to fan her face, but she’d locked her hands around Henrí’s neck.
“There is only one true God, mon ange.” 
Kenzie nodded as her fingers tangled in his hair and pulled his mouth back down to hers. Anything to keep from considering the circumstances.
She withdrew, sucking in a breath. Circumstances? She had her tongue down a stranger’s throat after someone, whom Henrí called a demon, had nearly broken into her home. The feelings, sweeping her better judgment away, were foreign.
Oui, I am French,” he whispered.
“Stop doing that.”
“You’re spooky.”
Actually, he’s too close, too enticing, too . . . male.
Henrí chuckled, then lifted her into his arms. At five feet ten inches, she was close to his height, but he didn’t so much as wheeze as he carried her to her bedroom. He lay down on the bed and snuggled up beside her, without taking his hands off her body.
What am I doing? This is wrong on so many levels.
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