Dreams Do Come True: I’m a Published Author

TheGreyCurse_200x300Guest blog by Krista Kelley, author of the Grey Curse

If anyone would have told me two and a half years ago that I would be a published author, I would have told them they were crazy. Back then, I didn’t think being an author was in my cards, despite my love of writing. I had just had my daughter and my mind was so preoccupied with diapers and late night feedings that writing was the last thing I thought of. It didn’t help that I felt that everything I had written up until then was mediocre at best. My confidence in my writing was non-existent.

As my daughter got older, I began to ache for the therapeutic feel of a pen in my hand as I poured my heart and soul onto paper. It wasn’t until I met a very dear friend of mine that I decided to write again. My friend had begun to follow her own dreams of being an author and it was her encouragement and support that led me to remember my own dreams. I watched her struggle and succeed and it gave me hope, seeing her push on and never give up. Those were often her words to me. “Never give up, Boo. You can do this. I know you can.”

So I did. At first, it was really hard. My mind struggled to come up with good content for stories and there were several moments when I wanted nothing more than to quit. Late October came and I was told of a little thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where during the entire month of November, you write. Your goal is to have 50,000 words by November 30th. After much debate, I decided to participate. I already had a story, but it had become stale and it no longer spoke to me. So, instead, I came up with something new.

During the month, I had to write just over 1,600 words per day. There were days where I quickly filled the pages of my notebook with words, while other days, it was a fight to get a paragraph. Several times I wanted to quit. I felt that I wouldn’t finish and that my story wasn’t good enough. November 28th, 2013 (two days before the ‘contest’ ended), I had my 50,000 words. I had finished and won NaNo.

The Grey Curse was the first book I had ever completely finished writing. Earlier in the month, Breathless Press held a critique session where you could send in five pages of your novel and they would tell you where it stood. I was reluctant on sending mine in because I felt that I didn’t need a professional editor to tell me what I thought I already knew; that my story was horrible. But, with much coercion, I sent it in. When I received the email back from the editor, I was apprehensive. Did I really want to open it? It was my husband who finally convinced me and was there for the giant bear hug I gave after reading the email. They had liked my story and wanted me to send the finished, revised manuscript to them. I was what they called “On the fast track.” It meant that I could bypass the usual submissions process and send my manuscript straight to the editor that had read it. To say I was excited is an understatement.

Now here I am, almost a year later, and my baby is going to be published. It’s a surreal feeling. My dream is finally coming true. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing support team, my family, friends, and all the people at Breathless Press for giving this Mama a chance.

So, what is your dream? And have you made the steps to fulfilling it?

Bio: Proud, sassy and immensely stubborn, Krista Kelley is a stay-at-home wife and mom who will fearlessly boogie to any song just to see her daughter smile. When not wrangling an energetic child, she can be found in her home office, pouring her heart into her writing while guzzling the sweet nectar known as Starbucks. She loves a good romance novel and would much rather spend her nights curled up on the couch with a book and her cat Thor than out on the town.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kristakelleywriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KristaKelley448

Blog: http://kristakelleywriter.blogspot.

Blurb: 

One inexperienced witch. One rogue vampire. Thrown together by fate, they must break her family’s curse before time runs out for them both.

For nearly two centuries, every female descendant of the witch Rebecca Grey has died mysteriously at the age of twenty-one. The last of her line, Selena Grey has done everything to live a normal life. That is until she learns of the curse placed on her family. Selena’s 21st birthday is coming soon and she has to find a way to break the curse and live.

Decan Colt wants more than anything to be normal again. For 160 years, he has walked the earth a blood-thirsty monster, a vampire. He was traded and trained at a young age to be his mother’s revenge on Rebecca Grey and her family. But when he sees his latest target, he falters. Something about Selena Grey reminds him of the humanity he thought he had lost so long ago.

When Decan refuses to kill Selena, his maker decides to take matters into his own hands. Together, they must break the curse or face the wrath of an older vampire bent on vengeance. Will they be the latest victims of the Grey Curse?

Excerpt:

“This one’s the last of her line. There are no others, Deke.” He held up a file and tossed it to Decan.

Catching it, he thumbed through the small stack of papers and moved back to his recliner. “Selena Michelle Grey, born October 31st, 1991. Hair, blonde. Eyes, blue. Only child to Thomas and Melissa Grey.” Decan closed the folder and leaned back in his chair. The last Grey. It meant his life’s purpose had almost been completed. What would he do when the time came when there were no more “missions?” There had been a time when it had seemed impossible. He had spent his exceedingly long life fulfilling his mother’s wishes. Running a hand through his hair, he gave it a tug before peering back up at his maker.

“After this one, I’ll be free?”

Nikolai’s lips turned up in a small smile. “You’ll be free. You know the drill. You have until her twenty-first birthday to do recon. Study her habits—where she goes, who she sees. October thirty-first, you strike.”

Before Decan could blink, the elder man disappeared. He glanced back down at the file in his hands and smirked. The last Grey. How would he deal with this one? A fire? Or maybe a drowning? It happened a lot with the Ohio River being so close. Whatever he did, he had to make sure it looked like an accident. They didn’t need people looking for a murderer. It was one of their rules. Always make it appear accidental. Decan couldn’t afford to be caught. After 100 years, he had gotten good at his job. First, with Violet Grey. Then Mary Sue and April Grey, Nancy Grey Callis and last had been Elizabeth Grey. Five women he’d killed, all in his mother’s name. But they had deserved it, they all did. And now this one would die and fulfill his mother’s curse.

Review: Unleashed (The Amoveo Legend, Book 1) by Sara Humphreys

Reviewed by Master Llama

Summary: After not making it as an artist in the city Samantha Logan decides to return to her childhood home, which has always been a haven, — but everything changed while she was away!

She has a mysterious new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shape shifting Amoveo clans…but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she’s one of them…

And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, who is hunting her down. With Malcolm’s help will she survive?

Review: I enjoyed reading this book, even though it wasn’t what I usually read. I liked the new twist on shape shifting, and most of the characters were very well written. However, sometimes everyone in the book seemed just a little to “perfect” on the outside. That said, it was an enjoyable book.

Likes:

  • Unleashed has a great plot. Don’t want to reveal too much!
  • The interesting take on shape shifting. Pretty cool.
  • Sara is very good at writing setting and imagery, you get absorbed in the reading once it gets going.

Dislikes:

  • As I said before, the characters seemed just a little too perfect. They’re all pretty, handsome or models. Of course this is a romance, so I guess it’s expected, but I was hoping for a little more.
  • The beginning was hard to get into which may deter some readers who can’t push through.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Unleashed (The Amoveo Legend)

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Review: Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is book two of the “Royal House of Shadows” series.

Main Characters:  Princess Breena of Elden.  She is a woman who can mind speak and dream talk.  Osborn is a warrior of Ursa.

We first meet Breena when in her dreams she meets a warrior.  But every time she starts to dream of her warrior, and things start to get intimate, Breena wakes up.  She also never sees his face.  She’s only ever seen his eyes.  Then a family crisis occurs.

We first meet Osborn as he faces a challenge that will turn him from a child into a man.  This is how the men of Ursa become a warrior.  And this is where Osborn will get his power from.  His first task, as a warrior, is to face the vampires that are out to kill his family and fellow villagers.  But just like Breena, he faces a family tragedy.

Breena, even though not a warrior, has a fight of her own.  She tries to use her magic but it fails her.  Then from somewhere she gets a feeling of strength.  As the story progresses we see what happens with her magic.

Our hero has a past that he isn’t proud of.  But isn’t that one thing that we love about our romance heroes?  Osborn also wages a war with himself about his wanting Breena.

Right from the beginning of the story, Jill starts building the suspense.  That and seeing what’s going to happen next is what keeps the reader turning the pages.  Jill sends Osborn in as a knight in shining armor (or in the case of this story – bear fur).  And Breena is our damsel in distress.  This gives our story a fairy tale feeling.

Jill also gives our main characters an instant connection.  Our hero also gets one of those stupid male moments.  He made Breena leave and then immediately regrets it.  Then, of course, he has to go and get her.  But Jill also makes him an honorable man.  He takes care of his two younger brothers.

As the story weaves through we concentrate on our two lovers.  Then a misunderstanding temporarily separates them.  But as in all good romances, lust wins out in the end.  And we all know how good romances end.

This is a book that you hate to put down.  Jill does a great job of building the anticipation as the story progresses – you can do nothing less than turn the page to see what happens next.  If you enjoyed reading book one of the “Royal House of Shadows” series, you will enjoy this one as well.

You could read it by itself, but some things might not make sense if you don’t read the series in order.  You will also find that the “resident evil” from book one shows up in book two.  I can’t wait to see what book three has in store.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of Rage (Harlequin Nocturne)

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Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Gena Showalter brings her readers a book that starts a new series titled “Royal House of Shadows”.  Hers is the first book of this series.

Our heroine’s name is Jane Parker.  The story starts with Jane receiving a mysterious package.  We see that she is unemployed, has no family, and has been injured.  She has also been having some very strange dreams.  She dreams of a vampire – Nicolai.  We find out that the mysterious package has a book in it and that the story matches her dreams.

As Gena tells you the story, the reader can feel the sensuality weave itself around Jane and Nicolai.  The story weaves itself so well you just have to find out what happens next.  It’s a story you don’t want to put down.

Jane’s life changes when she goes to sleep in one world and wakes up in another.  As Jane tries to figure out why she is where she is, she finds out that Nicolai is there too.

When we first meet Nicolai he seems to have amnesia.  The only thing he is sure of is that he’s a vampire.  When the two finally meet, Nicolai wants Jane very badly.  As you read on in the story you can feel the connection between the two characters.  We see how stubborn Jane can be and how this frustrates Nicolai.  Jane also tends to think too much.

Gena makes Jane a character that is both strong and intelligent – a woman who can take care of herself.  It’s great to see a woman character that can stand up to the “big guys” and almost hold her own.  You can also tell that this surprises Nicolai.  Nicolai acts just like a knight in shining armor – someone who will protect his lady-love at all costs.

One of the evil characters in the book is named Princess Laila and she is Jane’s sister.  The other evil character is Jane’s mother the Queen of Hearts.  We have to keep reading to see if good (Jane and Nicolai) can overcome evil (Laila and the Queen of Hearts).

As you continue reading this story you can feel the connection between Jane and Nicolai grow.  Gena creates great chemistry between the two.  It got so “hot” that I had to turn my fan on.  This story sizzles!

Every time you think that Jane and Nicolai are going to romantically connect, Laila and her mother seem to interrupt.  You would think this would slow the story down but it doesn’t.  It actually turns up the heat more.  I was drinking my ice tea at the time I was reading this story and was I glad.  This book turns the temperature up a notch!

In all good romances, our lovers are torn apart and then have to find their way back to each other.  Gena doesn’t disappoint her readers in developing this story.  She also knows how to make her evil characters really “bad”.  You really have to hate that they keep coming between Jane and Nicolai.

Gena also does a great job of putting a plot twist in.  You would think that it would ruin the story because it comes so close to the end of the story but Gena works it to perfection.  It keeps the reader’s attention because you want to know how it all ends.

This is the type of paranormal romance that I love to read.  It reels you in with the promise of something but that something just stays out of reach.  This forces the reader to turn the page.  You have to continue the story to see what happens.  Gena keeps the readers involved throughout the whole story by allowing them to use their imagination.

With this great book to start the “Royal House of Shadows” series, I can’t wait to see what the other authors do with their books.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of the Vampires (Harlequin Nocturne)

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Review: Dreamscape by Rose Anderson

by Carla F., guest reviewer

“He was part of my dream, of course – but then I was part of his dream too.” – Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

Summary: Jason Bowen was murdered over a hundred years ago by his wife and her lover. Ever since then he has haunted the house he lived and died in. Lanie O’Keefe buys the deserted house and moves in with plans to renovate it to its former Victorian beauty.

Jason is drawn immediately to Lanie’s looks and her mind. Unknown to her, he follows her through the day and lays with her in the bed at night. He starts having feelings and physical sensations that he hasn’t experienced since he died. Then he realizes that he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and surprisingly those dreams are about the day’s prior to his own murder.

Review: The whole book is like a dream itself. The reader flows almost seamlessly from dreams to happenings in the present day. You become part of the dream. Only occasionally did the shifting from the present to dream/past become confusing.

Jason is the kind of ghost that you would want to be haunting your bed. He is handsome, kind, considerate and focused on Lanie. She is beautiful, smart, and totally unfazed by the realization that her house is haunted. In one scene Jason decides to test Lanie’s reaction to a possible ghost by slowly opening a squeaky kitchen cabinet. She watches without a sound or any hint of fear. Then she calmly makes her tea, sits down to make her to-do list for the house renovation, and only occasionally look up to see if the cabinet moves again.

The main mystery of the book for me was not how Jason died, but how Lanie and he are going to get their HEA. The ending was a pleasant surprise for me.

Overall: This is a very clever story with a dream hero who will make you believe in ghosts and in the power of the mind.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Dreamscape (Siren Publishing Classic), Dreamscape (UK)

Review: A Tale of Two Goblins by H.P. Mallory

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

A Tale of Two Goblins is book #2 in the Dulcie O’Neil series.

H.P. Mallory has struck Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Gold!

She has combined mystery, romance, supernatural creatures, thrown in a heaping spoonful of humor and *3 big hunks of burning alpha male <G>. Put this all in a book and shake…you get a story that sings to me!

Let’s get the formalities out of the way…The story is told in the first person POV. Dulcie is a fun smart-mouth heroine and I don’t think I will ever get tired of being inside her head. All the secondary characters are quirky and well developed. The mystery and action are fast paced and clever. Mallory has done an excellent job of slowly revealing the main characters flaws and secrets. All the while, introducing us to a new and exciting world.

Now, onto the important things. We all read PNR (paranormal romance) for one reason, smexy men (okay, maybe I am generalizing, but let’s be honest ladies. ;)) Dulcie has not one, not two, but three incredibly sexy alpha males who care (i.e. want to get in her pants, as she puts it) for her.

  • The front runner is Knight. He is a loki (a type of shapeshifter), neither Dulcie or the reader really know what he is and what his powers are. He is a self-assured ass most of the time, but in a very mysterious and endearing way.
  • Bram is a very old and powerful vampire that walks that line between good and bad. He is also a self-assured ass that seems to have a weak spot for Dulcie.
  • Then there is Quillian. Her old boss and guess what? He is also a self-assured ass that has a soft spot for Dulcie (are you feeling sorry for poor Dulcie yet <G>). Quillian, for reasons we don’t know, is involved in illegal activities.

You don’t need to read the first in this series (To Kill A Warlock) to appreciate this book, but you would be missing a whole lot of goodness if you did.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: A Tale of Two Goblins, A Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy (Book 2 of the Dulcie O’Neil Series)

Notes from a Dreamed Life

by Emily Devenport, guest blogger and author of The Night Shifters

I had an Ah-Hah moment while I was sitting in a theater watching Inception, the movie about people who are trapped in endless loops and multiple levels in a dream. Up until that point, the story had been entertaining, engrossing, thought-provoking, and just plain fun. But then one of the characters mentioned that when you enter deeper levels in a dream, time is experienced differently. In the waking world, minutes may be passing. But in this dream sub-level, years seem to be going by.

This has happened to me. Perhaps ten times in my life, I’ve gone to bed and experienced lifetimes before I woke up. I can’t nail the number down exactly, because the sensation of having lived all those years fades within minutes upon waking. I’m left with snippets of memories from that dreamed life, lived in a dazzling universe full of wonders, terrors – and love. And I grieve for the loss, until even that sensation fades. If I’m lucky, I can salvage some of the images, events, characters, landscapes, mystical and emotional qualities, and weave them into one of my novels. So as I sat in that darkened theater, watching those characters dive deeper and deeper into a dream, I thought “Ah-hah!” This was why I became a writer. I’ve been trying to preserve what I can of those lost, dreamed lives.

Christopher Nolan, writer and director of Inception, may not have had the same experience with time dilation in a dream that I have, but he at least knows that such a thing is possible. I have no idea how many other people do. When I talk with others about their dreams, some common experiences come up. Some dreams seem to be meaningless jumbles of random images and sounds. Others seem like mystical conduits to the afterlife, where you can speak with loved ones who have passed away. Some dreams drive you like demons of anxiety, regret, guilt, and terror, until you feel grateful to wake up again, even though you’re exhausted. Anyone who has ever been to school has had the one about forgetting to go to class and suddenly being confronted with a final exam you’re not prepared to take. Not to mention the one about being naked or partially naked in public.

Both of my recent novels, The Night Shifters, and Spirits Of Glory, were inspired by dreams. Not all of those dreams were the sort that seemed to last years – many of them were fairly short. And my novels aren’t composed of 100% dream material – if they had a laundry label, it might read, 30% research, 20% brainstorming, 35% dream, 15% dumb luck. Every writer has a different experience with inspiration. But I wonder – how many writers have lived for years inside a dream, as I have? Is it a common experience, or rare? Or does it differ for every dreamer, just as inspiration does?

Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is haunted by the dream of his lost love in Inception. Whether or not the movie has a happy ending depends on whether or not you believe it does. It all depends on how you chose to look at it. And ultimately, that’s how I’ve come to terms with the loss of my dream lives. I lived them – the other choice is not to have known them at all. And who knows? Some day, when this current dream life is over, I may wake to find myself in another.

In the meantime, I’ll write down what I remember, and hope for the best.

Defined: Emotion and Passion, pt 1

iloveyouI sent out a query on Twitter to romance authors and readers if they’d be interested in answering two quick questions. These two questions are ones that I personally love to ask romance authors when I interview them because the answers are always different and unique even though both deal with emotion and passion. It’s inspiring really to see how they can be defined. Below are the questions and their responses; how would you answer them?

How do you define love?

Leigh Ellwood: I see love as the feeling in your heart, somewhere between softening and swelling, you experience when you are near your partner. No matter how they look, what they are wearing, or how long you’ve been together – you still get that tingle when you kiss and that itching desire to grab ‘em!

Carolyn Jewel: A deep and abiding respect and admiration (since I can’t use the word “love”). Two people who are aware of each other’s flaws and find it makes little to no difference.

Rai-mon Nemar: Love is – Thinking to yourself “if you just act on your dreams you’ll rule the world”, and yet you’re actions are consistently made with someone else’s well being in mind.

Love is – When you feel as though your personal and professional pursuits wouldn’t have had as much meaning without that someone who’s traveled the journey with you. They might even be worthless.

Love is – Not an emotion! It is a choice you make daily to stay the course and live your life with someone and know you’ll be better for it.

What makes a great bedroom scene?

Leigh Ellwood: I like a slow build-up, a painfully teasing undress and kisses that explore the skin like a roadmap. I like dialogue, too. Sex doesn’t have to be a mute activity. Where there is communication, it only ramps up the sex appeal.

Carolyn Jewel: There must be something at risk, something changed between them afterward. If your characters aren’t risking anything emotionally through their intimacy, then it’s just boring.  Every bedroom scene has to change the relationship between the characters. This can include making things seem even worse, by the way. Intimacy does not always equal happy ever after, especially early on in a relationship. It’s not only about who’s touching who where. The best bedroom scenes never, ever lose focus on the emotion, even when one of the characters thinks there isn’t any.

Rai-mon Nemar: I’d say it’s like it real life. It’s all about the foreplay and more importantly the anticipation. Then “learning” how the person reacts to the certain things you do. Kissed this (nothing), touched that (nothing) bit her fat (she sucked her teeth for almost a minute like bacon sizzling) hopefully you know what I mean.

To read other responses to these questions, check out Love Romance Passion’s additional author interviews.

If you are the owner of a review blog or are a romance author and are interested in participating in this survey please send your responses (and links) to Keira: loverompass@gmail.com.

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