Tag Archives: historical romance

Guest Post: Writing Lies, Love & Redemption by Kelli A. Wilkins

12 Nov

Writing Lies, Love & Redemption… A Steamy Western Romance

By Kelli A. Wilkins

www.KelliWilkins.com

Hi everyone,

One day, I was thinking about nothing in particular when this popped into my mind:

A man limping along the prairie. He’s been shot and left for dead. He’s bleeding and hurt bad. And thirsty. So thirsty. It’s hot and he wants to rest, but he knows he has to push on. If he collapses again, he’s not going to get up and he’ll die here. But maybe he’s already dead and this is hell. Or maybe not…

That was my introduction to Sam, the hero from my historical western, Lies, Love & Redemption. That was also how I introduced readers to Sam—lost and hurt and wandering along the prairie.

 

Here’s the book summary that came from that initial idea:

Lies, Love & Redemption

Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.

As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?

Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.

Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth?

Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?

***

 

Believe it or not, that first scene came to me several years ago. When I got the idea for the book, I did all the initial research and wrote a very rough draft. Then the manuscript just sat around. I’m not exactly sure why so many other book projects came ahead of it, but they did. The story was always there, but I guess I wasn’t ready to revise and edit it.

When I started working on the book again I found that although the basic premise still resonated with me, I wanted (and needed) to make a lot of changes. I always had the opening scene of Sam walking across the prairie in my mind. I knew where he was going (to Cassie’s store), and I had the general idea of how the story would play out and who the characters were, but I didn’t have the specifics of each scene.

As I got further into revising the book, the details became more solidified. I added new scenes, deleted others, and generally gave it a complete makeover. Now it’s a much stronger (and better) book than it was originally.

But before I started writing, I did a lot of research. First, I had to decide when and where the book would take place. I knew it would be on the prairie somewhere (Kansas? Nebraska? Iowa?) and set after the Civil War. Once I picked a time period and a place I researched everything I could about it: what was going on in the country at that time, how people traveled, what their occupations were, what they ate, how a general store was set up…

I enjoy reading about history and exploring what life was like in different time periods, so doing the research part of a historical romance is interesting—but time consuming. I was always scribbling notes about details I could use in the book. I never used them all, but adding realistic details helps draw readers into the world of the characters, even though it might be very different from how we live now.

Although I have written a lot of historical romances, the time periods are always different. I’ve used Medieval (A Most Unusual Princess), Scottish (The Viking’s Witch) and Colonial (Dangerous Indenture) settings. When I’m writing a historical romance, I never know when (or where) the characters will take me. Lies, Love & Redemption is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877 and blends a steamy romance with mystery and danger.

 

Here’s a mild excerpt:

Cassie dusted off a can of apricots and restacked it on the shelf. “Why do I even bother?” she muttered as she picked up the next can.

Another week had come and gone, but her days were always the same. Get up at dawn, sweep out the store, dust off the cans, and . . . wait. Her few customers strolled in on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to buy odds and ends, but nearly everyone bought their bulk goods at the general store in Baxter. Townsfolk came here only when they wanted something quick—or on credit.

The bell above the door jangled, but she didn’t bother to turn around. “That you, Luke? You’re up early. I bet you haven’t seen this side of ten o’clock in—”

She glanced over her shoulder and shrieked. The can of apricots slipped from her hand and rolled across the floor.

A stranger covered in blood leaned against the doorjamb.

She rushed to his side. “Who are you? What happened?”

The man locked his blue eyes onto hers. “Help me.”

He held a battered leather satchel out to her. “Hide this,” he said, then collapsed forward.

Cassie caught him around the waist and eased him to the plank floor. Was he dead? She felt the side of his sweaty neck. His heart was beating, but he looked like hell. His clothes were coated in blood and dirt, and his face had a sickly white hue to it. He was lucky to be alive. Someone had shot him full of holes.

Where had he come from? Holloway was in the middle of nowhere with no railroad connection, and it wasn’t on the stagecoach line. She hadn’t heard a horse out front, and he couldn’t have walked here from Baxter, could he? That would be suicide.

Wild ideas raced through her mind as she stared down at him. Maybe he was a fugitive or a bank robber. Decent people didn’t get themselves shot for no reason. Whoever shot him could’ve been following him, looking to finish him off.

Her gaze settled on the satchel. What was in it? Money? Gold? The deed to a silver mine? Why did he want her to hide it?

Cassie brushed her hair away from her face and frowned. What the hell was she supposed to do with him? Why had he wandered into her store, of all places? The last thing she needed was a half-dead stranger complicating her life. His being here would only stir up trouble—and she already had more than she needed.

Maybe she could— With a start, she realized he hadn’t moved. She shook his bloodied left shoulder.  The man remained motionless. “Damn it to hell.” She yanked the satchel from his grip, then ran behind the counter and stuffed it in the bottom drawer. There wasn’t time to look inside and see what the stranger was hiding. Whoever he was, he needed help—fast.

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Order your copy of Lies, Love & Redemption here:

Amazon  *  B&N  *  Other Platforms

 

 

***
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Lies, Love & Redemption. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

All through November, I’ll be highlighting my Medallion Press historical romances on my blog and Facebook pages. These full-length romance novels are available on several ebook platforms and all are just $2.99. If you haven’t read any of them, why not give them a try?

 And… FREE READS from all of my romances (all genres) are now on my Manic Readers page: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/
Happy Reading,

Kelli Continue reading

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New Release & Giveaway: Outsider by Natasha S. Brown

30 Aug

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NEW RELEASE…

On the western highlands of Scotland, a springtime storm pummels the coast while Kristie’s brother is out fishing. When he fails to return home, Kristie turns away from her list of chores to search the loch in an effort to ease her pregnant sister-in-law’s fears. Instead of finding Domnall, she discovers a naked and battered man washed up on shore and worries he could be a thieving reiver or worse–an Englishman.

When the handsome outsider wakes, he is unable to remember who he is or how he came to be there. Although the feisty and melancholy Kristie isn’t keen on him remaining, her young neighbor, Jock, takes to the playful stranger and names Creag after the rocky crags where the loch meets the sea. Not long after the lad speaks of selkies, magical seals who shed their skins to live as humans, Creag dreams he is swimming deep beneath the waves.

Kristie is desperate to keep the farm running for her missing brother while Creag’s sleep is filled with strange visions–glimpses that may reveal secrets to his past, but he may soon wish they were only a dream.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

TIME OF MYTHS
Shapeshifter Sagas {Western European Myths from the Middle Ages}

Widow {13thc. | Black Shuck | England}
Scars {10thc. | Fenrir | Iceland}
Tides {10thc. | Kraken | Great Britain/Ireland}
Outsider {14thc. | Selkie | Scotland}

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Paperback

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the first book I’ve read in Shapeshifter Sagas. I hadn’t heard of a selkie before so I was a little intrigued.

Poor Kristie has had a rough life. She’s been living with her brother and sister-in-law ever since her husband was killed in a war. She had a baby but the girl died when she was only 6 months old. Now her brother is missing after going out to sea to fish with a neighbor. She and her pregnant sister-in-law, Jean, are scared but hopeful that they’ll find their way home.

Then a naked man, an outsider, shows up on the beach near their home. Kristie wants to just leave him but Jean insists that they bring him home and give him some food and clothing and a place to recover if he survives.

The relationship between Kristie and the outsider is a fun one to read about. She has no intention of ever getting married again but she’s attracted to him. I enjoyed how he likes to get her riled up by making sarcastic remarks. 

I like the author’s writing style. It flows well and draws a vivid picture of the surroundings. She also captures to an extent what it would have been like living back then, such as leaving a person’s body in the home while neighbors come to give their respects (and the smell of that body after a day or two) or how much hard work was involved in just surviving.

I definitely recommend Outsider if you enjoy historical romance, especially if you like a touch of fantasy.

 

 

Also Available

Widow (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 1)

Lady Rayne has few options as a young widow. Either her father will marry her off to a wealthy nobleman–no matter how old and disagreeable he may be, or she will become a nun like her aunt at Grimsford Abbey. The choice is easy: her interest in writing is not supported in the dark halls of her father’s home. Rayne eagerly anticipates becoming a scribe and learning the art of illumination and book making. But first she must travel along the treacherous roads of East Anglia.

Far from the confines of Norwich, Rayne hears fables of an enormous ghostly hound called the Black Shuck. She tries to ignore them until she finds herself staring into its expressive brown eyes. With every heartbeat, her chances of reaching Grimsford Abbey disappear. If only she could live to tell the tale.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   iBooks   GPlay   

Download the novella, Widow, FREE when you subscribe to the author’s newsletter- Download the novella, Widow, FREE when you subscribe to the author’s newsletter- 

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Guest Post: An Inside Look at Loving a Wild Stranger by Kelli A. Wilkins

12 Jan

An Inside Look at Loving a Wild Stranger

By Kelli A. Wilkins
www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

 

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look and an excerpt from my latest historical romance, Loving a Wild Stranger. This full-length pioneer-wilderness romance is set in the Michigan Territory and blends adventure with a sensual love story.

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Here’s the summary:

lovingwildstranger

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.

 

***

 

The idea for this book started with a simple premise: a woman on the run impersonates a mountain man’s mail-order bride and lives in his cabin in the woods. From there, I thought about the characters and how they would interact, learn to live with each other, and naturally, fall in love. 

 

But before I started writing, I went to the library and did a lot of research. First, I had to decide on the time period. When and where I set my story would determine all the necessary details that bring the characters to life—and also influence the plot.

 

Once the time period was finalized, I needed to learn about mail-order brides, fur trapping and trading, Native Americans, and get an overall feel for what life was like back then. As I wrote the book, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the story a rich historical feel without going overboard with details that might bog down the book or bore readers.

 

I enjoyed creating the characters and all the conflicts that take place between them. Michelle and Luther are very different people—sort of like a city mouse and a country mouse—and I played on their differences in lifestyles, clothing, expectations, etc. throughout the book. When Luther’s friend Redfeather arrives, Michelle realizes how far she is out of her comfort zone and begins to see her situation (and Luther) in a new light.

 

As Luther and Michelle get to know each other (and fight for each other) they realize they have a lot more in common than they once thought. They both had to fend for themselves to survive in a rough world, with little or no family support. This brings them closer together and makes their love stronger.

 

I enjoyed writing this book, and I hope readers will fall in love with the characters the way I did.

 

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Book Review: The Siren by Ulla Beattie

24 Sep

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Young Norma marries a rich older man but the union is shattered by his premature death. A recurring theme of disaster comes through her second husband’s jealous younger brother who will stop at nothing to protect his own inheritance.
Further difficulties come through her third marriage where her husband leaves her to enter into another, bigamous marriage. After his death, his bigamously married wife is left penniless. Her brother wants to find the woman who deprived his sister of her pension. In the process, he becomes fascinated by the Siren who has outlived all her husbands.

Available on Amazon.

 

My Review

I received a free copy of this book and was not compensated for my review.

The Siren is the story of the life of Norma who is a cobbler’s daughter. She and her widowed mother are barely able to make ends meet by running a haberdashery. Because of this, Norma’s mother can’t wait for her to marry a man who can take care of them. The problem is that Norma wants to marry a man she loves, not for money or status. 

Norma does find love with a man who is much older than her. They are very happy and this would be her happily ever after, but he unexpectedly dies. Norma’s next two marriages are mistakes, but Norma eventually learns from her mistakes. 

Norma’s character is complex. She is independent from the beginning but, as she gets older, she continues to learn and grow. Her interactions with men are intriguing and, as smart as she is, it takes her a long time to figure out that a marriage must have both love and passion to work. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance or historical fiction.

 

About the Author

71cs3y0koxl-_ux250_Ulla Marita Beattie was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1945, which explains why many of her stories have a Nordic flavour.

She has travelled widely and has lived in Austria, Russia, Cyprus, Belgium and Switzerland.Since 1997 she has been based in London, with frequent visits to France.

She is married and has two daughters, now grown up. She has had a lifelong interest in children’s stories, particularly those read to her own and other people’s children.

You can read more about Ulla and her books at http://www.ullabeattie.co.uk.

 

 

Book Review: The Heart’s Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

15 Apr

18965690Title: The Heart’s Pursuit

Author: Robin Lee Hatcher

Genre: Historical Romance, Western

Publication Date: May 13, 2014

About the Book

(from Goodreads)

A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.

Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.

The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?

 

My Review

This is my kind of romance! I enjoy historical fiction and this is not only full of the Old West but there’s more action than romance. What romance there is, is clean. 

Robin Lee Hatcher’s writing flows well and is very easy to read. I read this book in one day and I’m not the fastest reader. 

I liked the main characters. Jared is a bounty hunter who views himself as a bad person but it’s obvious to Silver pretty quickly that he’s a good guy. Silver is a headstrong young lady who would fit better into today’s world but it a good match for Jared. My favorite character was Dean, a boy they picked up along the way while trying to find the man who stole her family’s money. He’s a brave boy and Silver couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you enjoy a clean historical romance.

 

About the Author

62524(from Goodreads)

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writer of America and the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and numerous other awards and recognitions, Robin is the author of over 70 novels/novellas. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, and Chinese (to name a few).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She and her husband make their home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon and Pinky the feline terror. Join her on her Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher) and/or Twitter and/or her website & blog.

Book Review: Shenandoah Dreams by Lisa Belcastro

13 Apr

22403155Title: Shenandoah Dreams

Author: Lisa Belcastro

Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel, Inspirational Romance

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

About the Book

(from Goodreads)

What if she met the man of her dreams…in another century? Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard. It s just a dream, Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They’re sailing the waters around the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century. He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she’s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn’t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home…to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay?

 

My Review

Shenandoah Dreams is the third book in the Wind of Change series. I didn’t read the first two books but this one does stand on its own. There were characters mentioned at the end who I’m sure were in the previous books.

I like the idea of time travel and I was excited to read about how Melissa ended up in Colonial America. It was obvious that Lisa Belcastro did her homework about the Shenandoah and Colonial America before writing this novel because it was full of how they lived. It also shows how important it is to follow God’s will no matter when we live.

The characters, while described well, were hard for me to relate to for some reason. I haven’t figured out why since the writing flowed well and the book was interesting overall.

Amazon     Sleepygirl’s Used Books

 

 

About the author

7156872(from Goodreads)

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.
In addition to writing Shenandoah Nights and the soon-to-be-released Shenandoah Crossings, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.
When she’s not at her desk working on Shenandoah Dreams, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

Book Review: The Widow’s Suitor by Rose Ross Zediker

12 Apr

18338420Title: The Widow’s Suitor

Author: Rose Ross Zediker

Genre: Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance

Publication Date: February 4, 2104

Book Description

(from Goodreads)

CORA ANDERSON ISN’T LOOKING FOR LOVE.

The young widow is just trying to make a life on the prairie for herself and her newborn son. When handsome newcomer Luke Dow shows up at her cabin door, she soon relies on the man’s help with her homestead and dares to dream of the future.

Luke came to the small South Dakota town to build a hotel and make his fortune. But he never expected to care for anyone, let alone the beautiful Cora and her baby boy. When Cora’s land claim is challenged by a neighbor, Luke will do all he can to protect her and her home and claim her heart.

 

My Review

Cora Anderson is a young widow and new mother living with her deceased husband’s mother, Bertha. When Luke Dow shows up to have his laundry done, Cora is in labor and he stays with her until Bertha returns. That is the start of a close friendship and, eventually, Luke feels like Cora and her son are his family even though she’s still a grieving widow. He’s very protective when her neighbor makes unwanted advances and threatens to take her land when she won’t marry him.

The Widow’s Suitor is an easy, quick read that not only has sweet romance but suspense and drama and is full of people with strong faith.  The characters are described well and even though I read this book in a day, I felt I knew them and I cried at the end (that’s a good sign when an author can make me cry). 

I definitely recommend The Widow’s Suitor to anyone who likes inspirational romance.

 

About the author

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Rose Ross Zediker writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances for Harlequin and Barbour books.

Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and writes during the evening or weekends.

Besides writing inspirational romance novels, Rose has many publishing credits in the Christian children’s genre. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writer’s of America.

Book Review: The Copper Witch by Jessica Dall

13 Mar

3-12-2014 9-50-24 PMTitle: The Copper Witch

Author: Jessica Dall

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: Today!

Description (from jessicadall.com):

Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

Review:

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

The Copper Witch is about Adela, a beautiful young lady who easily gets what she wants because of her beauty and charm. At 16 years old, she’s already a sly seductress even though she grew up in a secluded area of the country.

The story takes you from Adele’s original home with her grandmother to the city of her fiance to the court where she meets the prince. It seems that all men are enamored with the beautiful young woman.

By the end of the novel, Adela is only 17 years old but has had a lot of loss in her life as well as her share of lovers. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into her (as did her closest servant) but she does have some endearing qualities. The other characters in the story are more sensible than Adele but those poor men just seemed to fall under her spell. 

I liked how the book ended and I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store for Adela and Antony. If you like historical romance, I definitely recommend The Copper Witch.

Purchase on Amazon.

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