A Grateful Heart

This year I’m reminded how grateful I am to have such a loving and supportive romance community. Over the past year, I’ve made some wonderful connections both with fellow authors and voracious, delightful readers. Each and every one of you have made my journey a memorable one. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My goal for this year was to build and strengthen my romance community, and I believe I’ve done an admirable job of bringing together readers and authors who share a love of steamy, swoony, spicy, and sometimes sweary romance. I hope to continue to grow this fantastic network over the coming years.

As I celebrate all that I’ve accomplished over my author adventure, I want to thank all the readers who have taken the dive and devoured my books. I wouldn’t be where I am without you. The same goes for the romance authors I’ve met over the past ten years. Their kindness and unwavering encouragement have kept me going strong especially when I’ve felt like giving up.

Never underestimate the effect of a kind word.

Moving forward, I’ll be setting new goals and venturing deeper into my publishing journey. I hope you’ll join me. Together we can bask in the joyful radiance that is the romance genre where Happily Ever Afters are guaranteed.

Remember, if you love an author’s work, tell them. It means the world to hear how much our hard work is appreciated and treasured. And let them know how grateful you are to have a romantic escape from reality. I know I am!

Sending you all my love and gratitude. xoxo

Kirsten

Inspiration: Shemar Moore, the Duke of Hastings, and Video Games

This book was never supposed to exist, but this is true for most of my stories, so bear with me as I explain how Confessions of a Gamer Girl came into existence.

When I set out to write Confessions of a Fangirl, it was supposed to be a one and done kinda book. I had an idea for a story, and I wrote it. The end.

But when I wrote Maggie’s character in Fangirl, I knew she deserved to have her own story. The moment Lily’s roommate, Gavin, waltzed onto the page during game night, I knew I would write Maggie’s book next. Both Maggie and Gavin had strong personalities that lit up the scenes they were in. I couldn’t ignore the tension simmering between them.

Fortunately, when I plotted their book, their story flowed naturally. With both of them being avid gamers, their competitive natures brought a great source of contention between them. They were both successful and independent, but they grew to love and crave the benefits a partnership could bring.

Petite Maggie packs a punch. When I saw her in my mind while writing Fangirl, I had a clear vision of her style and personality even though I didn’t have a specific person I modeled her after. Gavin was a completely different creative process.

When Lily introduces her roommate during game night, the first person who came to mind was Shemar Moore. The handsome charmer became the inspiration for not only Gavin’s looks but his personality as well. I loved his portrayal of Derek Morgan in Criminal Minds, so I allowed it to inspire me. I mean, who wouldn’t want him to whisper baby girl in their ear? But he wasn’t the only one who inspired Gavin.

The Duke of Hastings certainly made an impression on me when I watched Bridgerton Season One. Rege Jean Page’s swoonworthy performance in season one held me captive. How could I not be inspired by such a dapper duke? I mean…look at him. *swoon* The combination of these two men served as the perfect amalgamation for Gavin in Confessions of a Gamer Girl.

Now, I’m not going to lie. I was insanely intimidated writing a POC hero. I’ve never written any characters who weren’t white, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Fortunately, my best friend and biggest supporter is also a person of color with a rich, vibrant cultural background. She helped me through the process and encouraged me every step of the way. For that, I am eternally grateful. Thanks, Niki.

Since I was a kid, video games have always fascinated me. Because I’m an 80s baby, I feel like video games and I share a lifetime. They evolved as I grew up. Even now, seeing how far we’ve come in gaming is amazing. Now, I’m not a gamer, but I have many friends who are avid gamers and I love watching others play. While Maggie’s obsession with gaming isn’t something I can relate to, I know many people who can.

I watched my brother take on the neighbor kids in Super Mario and battle on our first computer in Duke Nukem and Doom. My roommate in college spent many nights playing Counterstrike, where I’d fall asleep to the sound of gunfire and smack talk. Even my best friend in college was an avid gamer who had an obsession with Legend of Zelda and a tattoo of Link to prove it. And today, I love taking my kids to the local arcade for pinball and watching them play Battlefront and Assassin’s Creed on the PlayStation.

Video games have become an integrated part of our popular culture, and it felt natural to write a story centered on two peoples’ love of gaming. Especially after writing a book heavily focused on the struggles of being a fangirl. But in the same vein of Fangirl, I wanted Gamer Girl to showcase the struggle with finding balance and discovering what’s truly important in life.

Writing this book taught me to reach beyond my own comfortable bubble. I’m proud of Maggie and Gavin’s story. Their characters are dear to my heart. I’m excited to see if they pop up again in future books. One of my favorite things to do is tie in the characters from other book series I’ve written, like I did with Ben, Evan, and Andrew in Gamer Girl. (If you’d like to read their stories, you’ll find Ben’s in A Lockdown Love Affair, Evan’s in A Holiday Love Affair, and Andrew’s in Mistletoe and Mistakes.) You’ll definitely see Gavin, Maggie, Jen, and Shaun again in Lily’s story, Confessions of a Glamour Girl coming in September.

Thanks for all the support and love. Happy reading, my friends.

All my love,

Kirsten

Inspiration: Fangirls and The Hiddleston Obsession

Confessions of a Fangirl holds a very special place in my heart. Well, all of my books do, but this one especially. Ten years ago, I was a little obsessed with an actor who played a villainous role in a very prominent film franchise in 2012. Yup, you know who I’m talking about. Tom Hiddleston, life ruiner extraordinaire.

Now, allow me to clarify. I’ve been a fangirl for a lot longer than that term even existed. Granted, I never wrote fan fiction for Fifth Element, Willow, or Saved by the Bell. Hell, I didn’t even know that was a thing. But I had my celebrity crushes going back into the early 90s. Yes, the world before everyone had cell phones and internet access.

My celebrity crushing reached an all-time peak with Loki. Don’t ask me why? I wish I knew. Blame it on Tumblr, I guess. Having instant access to fan fiction, movie stills, interviews, etc. made fangirling so easy.

This is where the first idea for this book came into existence. Someone posted on Tumblr about the Stages of Fangirling, and my mind started spinning with ideas. What if there was a story that followed the evolution of a fangirl through the fangirling stages?

I made up my own stages reflecting my personal experience.

At first, this idea took on shape as a stage play. I thought the visuals would be more powerful in this format, but here’s the thing: I’m a novelist, not a playwright. So I ended up setting the project aside for a few years.

During that time, my fangirl obsession for Hiddles slowly waned. This is the natural progression for me. Find an actor, obsess, lose myself, find balance, and then have the cycle start all over again with a new actor. It did not surprise me when I picked up the project again to find I fit the profile of the main character perfectly. Jen bore a strong resemblance to me.

Knowing my strengths as an author, I morphed the project into a contemporary romance novel with rom com vibes. But I gave Jen her own life. Her own dreams and desires. Her own personality. The more I worked on outlining this story, the more I realized the depth of her character. Even though I used some of my personal experiences and emotions in this book, Jen dealt with them in her own unique way.

Now, I couldn’t very well use a real person in my book. So I made up an actor and a fandom. Nicholas Hughes became a conglomeration of several actors I’ve admired over the years, as well as his famous role as the villain, Captain Korbin Ransom, in the Space Vendetta Series. Here’s a little sneak peek at the document I used to create the actor of my dreams:

In the end, Hughes and Ransom became amalgamations of Tom Hiddleston and Adam Driver, both in their personal details and their famous roles. Choosing to create an actor and a fandom made the creative process so much more fun.

Jen’s journey doesn’t just follow her obsession with a famous actor. It showcases her relationships and reveals the toll her obsession takes on them, especially with her new boyfriend, Shaun. So while the story is a true blue contemporary rom com, it has deeper roots, revealing the importance of finding balance in our lives.

While you may not be a fangirl, there’s still meaning to be taken away from Confessions of a Fangirl and laughs galore. I’m just thankful I could make sense of my own obsessions and turn them into something positive, humorous, and entertaining. Fangirling can be stressful, but I choose to harness the emotions it creates and channel them into my stories. Thanks to all the actors who inspire us with their roles, you’ll keep me writing for years to come!

And the best part of Fangirl…it sparked a whole series. I couldn’t leave Lily and Maggie just hanging there. *wink* Their stories are coming soon. Maggie’s story, Confessions of a Gamer Girl, releases on June 28th, and Lily’s story, Confessions of a Glamour Girl, releases on September 27th. (New cover coming soon.)

Hope you enjoyed this adventure behind the scenes. Thanks for the support and the love.

xoxo,

Kirsten

Plotting My Torment, I mean Novel

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve met a vast variety of authors from all different genres. Yet there’s always that one detail, aside from genre, that divides us. A question really. A defining characteristic of our craft.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

When I first started writing, I was a pantser. One hundred percent. I had a vibe, some characters, and a general idea for a plot. That’s what I used to guide me through the manuscript. Well, that and the driving force of NaNoWriMo pushing me through my daily word count. The mission was to get words down, not worry about the quality of the story itself.

I wrote this way for five years. Slowly, my process evolved to include a more cohesive story from the very beginning. Short stories and novellas were easy enough to write without an outline, but novels were tricky beasts and I found myself spending countless hours on edits, rearranging and rewriting scenes that didn’t fit into the story.

I can’t remember the moment I realized I was creating more work for myself in the long run by writing without an outline. But I adapted quickly after that.

There was no guideline, no worksheet, no mentor guiding me. I learned through trial and error what worked for me as an author. I’ve long since learned I should never compare my writing or my writing process to someone else’s. We’re all individuals with our own quirks and motivations. You can take what works, leave what doesn’t, and figure out the best process for you. But if you’re struggling with the same issues over and over, then maybe you should try something different and see if it helps.

My process:

  1. The inspiration.

A lot of times I’ll get inspiration for a book from a quote, a prompt, or a scene from a TV show/movie/book. That single spark often ignites a whole series of what if questions in my mind. This is the point where I write it down. Scribble a few notes and set it aside to marinate.

2. The rabbit hole.

While the idea marinates, I don’t overanalyze it. Most of the time, my subconscious will fill in the blanks and start answering the questions surrounding the scenario that sparked the idea. This is where I take random notes. Then, when I have a few spare minutes, I’ll get out a notebook and just write flow of consciousness.

“What if this happens? Then this? But what’s his motivation here? Why is she doing this? Ooh, what if this happens?”

These questions are the bones of my story. They paint a larger picture of the characters, the setting, and their GMC (goals, motivations, conflict.) It’s from this moment I outline scene by scene.

3. The outline.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds, trust me. I typically write anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 words per scene in one POV. Again, this isn’t a rule, it’s just how my work flows. So if I write approximately 2,000 words per scene, I’ll need thirty to give me a 60,000 word novel. That number is my guide to outline.

If I’m writing a novella, I shoot for 20,000 to 30,000 words. This is about 10-15 scenes. Knowing my word count helps me balance the story arc for the outline.

Once I have these details, I’m ready to start my outline with the following general arc in mind.

  • Establish normalcy
  • Inciting incident
  • Rising action on the defence
  • Reversal
  • Rising action on the offense
  • Climax
  • Resolution

For every scene, I make note of the key elements. Who is in the scene? Who’s POV is it? Where is the scene taking place? When does this take place? What happens in this scene? Why does it need to happen? Does it push the story forward? Then, I add any details I want included in this scene, including any random ideas or images that pop into my head. Dialog notes can also be made if the characters start talking. Anything goes here as long as you answer those basic questions. It can be as simple or as complex as you want.

Then, move onto the next scene asking what if when you get stuck. I also find that having a brainstorming session with a reader or author friend can help you get unstuck if you hit that block. My editor once told me that if I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, write ten things (no matter how crazy) that COULD happen and see if it helps uncover the direction of the story.

Now, outline.

If you don’t think you can do it, why not try? The worst thing that happens is you don’t end up following the outline as you write because your mind takes you in a different direction. And that’s okay. It happens. My characters deviate from my outline all the time. Granted, they’re minor deviations, but they can be frustrating.

A lot of times when they deviate, it’s actually better for the story as a whole. It’s almost like my subconscious knew before my brain registered. So I don’t get too upset with their shenanigans because it works out in the end.

Plotting your book doesn’t have to be complicated or intricate, with color coded cards or pages of detailed notes for every character and images galore. If that’s your process, then good for you. I’m glad you found something that works. Sometimes just having a basic framework to follow keeps you grounded in the project and motivated.

When I was a pantser, I struggled to write daily because I didn’t know where the story was going that day for that specific scene. But with a general outline, I at least have a direction when I sit down to write. It helps keep me organized and focused on the task at hand.

The beauty of my outlines is that they’re structured, but it’s not too rigid that I can’t change things if I need to as I write. I also get those surprise revelations during the writing process that keep me engaged in the story. It’s a win-win for me, giving me the best of both plotting and pantsing without the hassle of major rewrites.

So tell me. Are you a plotter? A pantser? What’s your process?

If you try my process, let me know. I’m excited to hear your thoughts and experiences.

All my love,

Kirsten S. Blacketer

Why Contemporary Romance?

Even though my journey as a published author seems like it began with historical romance, it really didn’t. Around the same time I wrote An Irresistible Shadow, I wrote two other stories, both contemporary romance. They weren’t as complex as my medieval romance, and both had elements of romantic suspense. Yes, both were also published at the beginning of my career.

My first publication was a short story called “What The Darkness Proposes.” If this title looks familiar, it’s because I published it here on my website a week before I posted this. I originally wrote it for a short story competition hosted by Romantic Shorts, and it won second place. Unfortunately, Romantic Shorts will be closing their doors. So, I made a new home here on my website for the short stories they published.

Around the same time, I submitted a romantic suspense novelette to another small press. Full Throttle: Blood, Sweat, and Gears. It was very much inspired by Tara Janzen’s Crazy series featuring fast cars and a smoking hot hero. I absolutely loved writing it. But this story has also been taken down from the publisher and the rights returned. I am considering the idea of revising it as a fun treat for my subscribers.

I’ve learned a lot since these first publications. My writing has improved. My tastes have also become more specific. But the best lesson I learned was to follow my heart and write the stories I want to read. I’ll chase down whatever idea strikes me and pen a delightful romance with its inspiration.

But after six years of writing historical romance, why did I suddenly dive back into contemporary?

Well, as much as I love historical romance, there are limitations when I write it. Specifically the firm constraints of the time period which could be etiquette, technology, or other details that may inhibit the creative process. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be exhausting trying to be true to the time period.

In Spring of 2020, I was enjoying my time living in Italy…when Covid struck. I had plans. To travel. To grasp every possible opportunity living in Europe had to offer. And then we got locked down. HARD. I mean, I didn’t leave our one-acre property for three months. My husband did all the shopping when he went to work. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere, and all of our plans were canceled, including my trip to visit Samantha Holt in England! I was enraged. Furious. Disappointed. Crushed. I had nowhere to vent my frustrations.

Only, I did. I poured my heart and soul into A Lockdown Love Affair that spring. Then it sparked an idea for A Holiday Love Affair and Mistletoe and Mistakes. All three books are interconnected and the characters were born from an idea sparked during my time in lockdown.

I set a writing schedule and stuck to it. By January of 2021, I decided to challenge myself and focus on writing a book every two months while publishing one every quarter. I met this goal with ease, even in the midst of an intercontinental move.

I pulled ideas for stories I had set aside years ago and focused on writing them. Confessions of a Fangirl had been an idea for a screenplay, but I morphed it into a romantic comedy that sparked two more books. Thus, the Her Confessions Series was born. The best part of that is these books interconnect with the universe I created for my Sunshine Meets Grump Series (A Lockdown Love Affair, A Holiday Love Affair, and Mistletoe and Mistakes.)

All of my contemporary romances so far weave together in the same universe. That’s the only tidbit I’m going to tell you because I don’t want to spoil the Easter eggs I’ve placed in the books. But even my 1985 time travel romance, When I Found You, spawned its own series of five books, and there are characters within those stories who tie into my contemporary universe. I love when a plan comes together, especially when I didn’t really plan it at all! My subconscious is a terrifying place sometimes.

Honestly, why do I like writing contemporary romance? Because I’m a contemporary woman. For me, it’s the easiest era in which to write. It feels natural because I’m living it on a daily basis. I can tie in modern technology and conventions while putting my own fun spin on it with pop culture.

It also brings a much-needed reprieve from writing a bygone era. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing historical romance, but it can be overwhelming at times. I love the freedom that contemporary romance gives me to explore topics and plots I couldn’t utilize in a historical romance.

Fortunately, I read a lot of both genres, so I’m able to bounce back and forth with ease. There are just some days when you’re in a very specific mood. I like to be flexible with my reading, but even more so with my writing.

I’ll keep going as I have been, writing both steamy historical and contemporary romance. But at least now you know the reason why I’m all over the place. Thanks for tagging along for the ride!

Are you camp Contemporary or camp Historical? Tell me in the comments.

Always,

Kirsten S. Blacketer

Why Historical Romance?

A lot of people ask me why I write historical romance? I never really thought about it before because my love of historical romance came naturally. My writer’s voice seemed suited to the task, and I was excited to dive into the story! It was destiny!

When I first began my publishing journey, I gravitated toward writing historical romance. Why? Well, I wish I had an easy explanation, but I don’t.

I could say I was heavily influenced by the romance novels I was reading. They had a profound impact on me. Authors like Teresa Medeiros, Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Holt, Jo Beverley, and Elizabeth Elliot. These are only a small sampling of the authors I read who influenced my writing and inspired me to pursue my own dream of becoming a published author. There are many other historical romance authors whom I adore and aspire to emulate through my own writing.

But here’s the truth. I write the stories that come to me demanding to be told. It’s as simple as that.

My first novel was a medieval adventure set on the English/Scottish border, as was the second book. Both of them were written during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). My subsequent novels followed the same historical pattern, but I couldn’t remain bound to only the medieval era. I dabbled in Prohibition-era, late-Victorian, and even Victorian steampunk.

I became a time traveler of sorts, going where the stories led me. The challenge of exploring a new era and embracing the possibilities of the time period envigorated my love of writing. Had I remained bound to one era, I would have grown stagnant and frustrated with my craft.

This inevitably led me to write contemporary romance, as well as time travel and fairy tale fantasy romance. The possibilities are endless!

While I vacillate between subgenres and different eras, there is one constant component on which you can always rely when it comes to my writing. I write romance. Period. There may be elements of other genres in my work, but it will always focus on the relationship and have an emotionally satisfying ending.

No matter the era or the subgenre, I stand by the KSB guarantee: A steamy getaway and always an HEA!

If you’re a writer, why do you write in the genre you do? If you write romance, what subgenre do you write in and why?

If you’re a reader, what makes you pick up a book? Will you follow the author no matter what they write or are you devoted to one genre/subgenre?

I have questions. Let’s chat about it! Leave your comments below.

With love,

Kirsten S. Blacketer

The Grand Unmasking

Darling Readers,

Once upon a time, I was a baby author with big dreams. I knew nothing of the publishing industry or marketing. All I wanted to do was write my romantic adventures and bask in the glory of my success. Unfortunately, I’m still working on those big dreams, but I have learned quite a bit over the years. It’s been a growth process, that’s for sure. There have been many suggestions and recommendations from many in the industry. But there is one I embraced early in my career which I feel must be addressed now.

My pen names.

Yes, names, plural. I write under the name Kirsten S. Blacketer, but I also write similar romance under another name. Jen Bradlee.

At first, it seemed wise to have two names in order to better manage the two distinct types of stories I wanted to tell. But I quickly realized managing two names meant keeping up with two blogs, two sets of social media accounts, two emails…you get the picture. Poor Jen fell to the wayside as I poured all my focus into Kirsten over the past few years. This wasn’t the only evolution.

When I first started writing, my writer’s voice for Kirsten was much different than Jen’s. Kirsten embraced the lighter side of romance focusing on humorous banter and adventure, while Jen drifted toward the morally gray heroes, like villains and anti-heroes, focusing on their darker journey. Make no mistake, Kirsten and Jen are two halves of the same writer.

Over the past ten years, my two author voices have grown to sound quite similar. Both of them write steamy historical and contemporary romance. Both test the boundaries of expectation. And both have the desire to reach new readers, which is why I am making this announcement.

From this day forward, Kirsten S. Blacketer and Jen Bradlee will be a team, promoting each other’s work. Kirsten S. Blacketer writing as Jen Bradlee, to be specific. Kirsten existed first, but her desire to write daring, dastardly anti-heroes and redeem villains gave Jen Bradlee a voice and an outlet.

It must sound strange to hear an author speak about herself in such a manner. But trust me, I am completely sane. This is how authors are. If you’re lucky enough to have one in your life, you know. So trust me when I say, I am both writers simultaneously. I like to say Jen is the side of me you see when I’m comfortable around you. *wink* Take that as you will.

I’ll be closing Jen’s blog and posting all updates for both names under this website/blog.

If you’re curious how I chose the name Jen Bradlee, well my darlings, you’re going to have to wait for that blog post. It deserves to have its own headline and spotlight.

Why did I choose to continue publishing as Jen Bradlee instead of republishing it under my name? Well, I couldn’t stand to part with the pseudonym since it holds such a special place in my heart. I may be a sentimental fool, but it is a part of who I am.

Since I have unmasked my alter ego, I am free to announce the good news.

Jen will be releasing a medieval trilogy this summer. Crispin Saville, the famed Prince of Whispers, will be returning from his hiatus and finishing his adventure in grand style. If you’re prepared for a steamy, mysterious, romantic, and dramatic medieval adventure, then please…check it out. They’re available for pre-order now, click on the buttons for the descriptions.

As for those who follow Kirsten, well, you have four books coming this year. So there’s something for everyone! I look forward to sharing these stories with you and hearing your thoughts!

Were you shocked at my reveal? ÔŁĄ Please feel free to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

All my love,

Kirsten/Jen

My Favorite Part of Wyoming Living

I have lived in the wonderful state of Wyoming for the last six years. Aside from the 75 mph blinding winter wind and the summer thunderstorms that can produce quarter to baseball size hail and possible tornadoes, it’s a refreshing place to live. We lived in Cheyenne, which isn’t the prettiest part of Wyoming. In fact, some people would call it the “armpit” of Wyoming. But she has her beauty too in her historic landmarks and small-town atmosphere. Not to mention the yearly ten-day shindig of a rodeo aptly named Cheyenne Frontier Days. ­čÖé

We’re an 8-ish hour drive from Yellowstone National Park and approximately a 5-hour drive from Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, Deadwood, and the Badlands. But to the south is Denver, Colorado our closest major city at only an hour and a half drive. There’s not a whole lot for 50 miles in each direction. But that’s okay because I like the slower pace and the open western blue skies. You’ve never seen skies this blue in all your life.

But you know what my favorite part of living here has been? Seeing these gorgeous creatures outside my window every, single day.

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A photo I took of a Buck Pronghorn┬á┬ęKirstenSBlacketer┬á

The pronghorn, also called antelope, are a strange breed of creatures. They’re the fastest land animal in North America. Their hair is hollow (which isn’t great because it holds in the animal’s natural stinky odor), but it provides a great defense against predators because it comes out in clumps if you touch it. Mind you, it’s illegal to touch wildlife, but when they run into fences, you can see big puffs of hair fly on impact.

They have horns, not antlers, but unlike most horned animals, they shed their horns every year around Thanksgiving time. This makes for a funny spectacle because their skulls have two protrusions on top that hold the horns, so they look like they have little devil spikes. The horn is hollow so it slides right off come the end of November.

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Found on http://animaldiversity.org/collections/mammal_anatomy/horns_and_antlers/

The coolest part about their horns is…they’re made of hair. Yup. The horn’s texture is rough and you can see the fine hairs that make up the composition of the horn around the base of it. I’ve found the horn sheds on base. It’s the craziest thing.

Also, a side note, the females can grow horns too, although they don’t often get as big or impressive as the buck’s horns. The way you tell the males and females apart is by the dark patch on the jaw. Only bucks have the dark patch highlighting their jaw.

Out on the plains, the pronghorns will run as soon as you get within 500 yards of them. They’re skittish and jumpy and fast as hell. They have amazing eyesight, and if you even attempt to slow down to get a good look at them, they take off.

There’s only one place where you can get a good, up close and personal look at the pronghorns. F. E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It is the only place in the country to have a nearly domesticated pronghorn herd. I live on the base and see these crazy critters every single day.

In fact, one of my favorite hobbies in the late spring and summer time is to drive around the base and take pictures of the herds. The best time is the end of May, beginning of June when they start having their babies.

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They are the cutest little ball of fluffs you’ve ever seen. Pronghorn aren’t very big. Probably the size of a donkey. So these little lopiedopes, as my daughter likes to call them, are smaller than your average dog.

They should be having their babies any day now, and I’m so excited to photograph them one last time.

The bucks are so much fun to watch. Every one of them has unique horns. So it’s one of my games to see how many different bucks I can photograph. We compare their horns then. I like when they’re wide and tall, but there are many that have narrow horns. The curl is also a fun little quirk to notice between them all.

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Big Boy 1 ┬ęKirstenSBlacketer

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Big Boy 1 ┬ęKirstenSBlacketer

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Big Boy 2

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Big Boy 2

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I love showing off the fantastic images I’ve captured of these beautiful animals. When we finally leave Wyoming, I will miss them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little wildlife lesson and the photographs. I know it has nothing to do with writing. But it does tell you a lot about my love for photography, wildlife, and my appreciation for the wild Wyoming home I had the privilege to call home for the last six years.

Please feel free to leave a comment or a question if you have one. I look forward to hearing from you! ­čÖé

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

Ten Things About Me That Explain A LOT

Discovering a new author is like meeting someone new for the first time. Often when we pick up a book, it’s the story that calls to us first. But we often forget that the first book we read by a new-to-us author is their first impression. It can lead us to the next step in the reader/author relationship (which is devouring all of their backlist, if you’re like me) or moving on to the next book.

If you’re still here, that means I passed the first impression and you are curious to know more about me. Well, I must warn you…

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Jughead and I have something in common. 

Yes, I am a weirdo. In fact, I think we all are in our own little ways. And that’s okay. What I love about meeting new people is uncovering those little things that make us unique? Like finding out someone is a Riverdale fan. Even better when they tell me they love Jughead Jones. Or discovering that someone I just met reads romance! Oh. My. Gravy. That just makes my day ten million times better.

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This is me if you love romance or you’re in my fandom. Bonus points if you ship the same OTPs.

I love meeting readers and other authors. When that spark of common interest binds us, it’s like winning the lottery! Okay, maybe not that good, but you get the point.

I’ve decided to tell you ten little-known tidbits about me that will explain why I am the way I am…a crazy fangirl romance author.

  1. Romance is my Jam. When I find time to read, the only fiction I go for is romance. I’m obsessed with romance. Contemporary, historical, time travel, a dash of paranormal here and there. If it’s romance, I’m 100% game. Bring on that HEA/HFN, bonus points for steamy romance with my favorite tropes.
  2. I’m allergic to cats. A lot of authors I know are cat people. I used to be until I discovered I’m allergic to them. Not deathly allergic, but enough to be uncomfortable in a house with them. Although, I do love cats.
  3. I love food. My husband and I are foodies. We love to cook together. He normally enjoys coming up with recipes for dinner. I’m more of a dessert kind of girl. So I’m the baker. Tiramisu is my favorite dessert of all.
  4. I speak German. Not well, but I can muddle my way through it. In high school, I took four years of German, then in college, I had two semesters of German classes. I wish I had more opportunity to speak it. A lot of my family heritage is German, so I decided to pursue it as a way to keep ties to my heritage.
  5. This girl rarely wears makeup. Seriously, I hardly ever change out of my pajamas and put on a bra most days. So makeup is not something I indulge in. But when I do decide to get all dolled up, I like the 1940s Hollywood glam and 1950s pin-up looks.
  6. My husband may be Air Force and we may have lived in Alaska, Kentucky, Wyoming, and New Jersey, but I have never traveled internationally. I don’t include my five day drive out of Alaska on the Al-Can Highway through the Canadian wilderness. I can’t wait to get to Europe and do some more research on my family history and find awesome inspiration for my books.
  7. Tea and Coffee. I love both. Which I pick depends on my mood. Sometimes wine trumps both of these. And no, I don’t care if it’s nine in the morning. If you bring me a large iced caramel macchiato or a wine slushie, I will love you forever.
  8. Antelope and Jackrabbits are my favorite animals. Which if you combine them, you get the Jackalope, one of my favorite mythical American creatures second only to the Thunderbird. The last six years we lived in Wyoming and I fell in love with both the antelope and jackrabbits. Odd looking creatures they are.
  9. I. Love. Movies. I’m a film addict. Old black and white classics, modern blockbusters, romantic comedies, 80s comedies, action and adventure flicks, spaghetti westerns, the list goes on and on. I love watching movies. But one of my greatest pleasures is watching natural disaster/end of the world/huge monster demolishing a city movies. I can’t seem to get enough of those, not sure why. I also have a TV show addiction as well: Game of Thrones, Riverdale, Westworld, Murdoch Mysteries, etc. And of course, there’s my love for TV shows that never had a chance to really blossom, Firefly and Moonlight. May they rest in peace.
  10. Kissing scenes. I live for them. I also rate them on a scale of ice cold to meh to sizzling to hot damn, where’s the cold shower? I should really write an article on the best kissing scenes I’ve ever seen. There’s a thought for a future post.

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Tom Hiddleston can demonstrate some of his talent in person anytime. I volunteer as tribute. (Sorry, hubby. You know I love you.)

There you go, ten things about me that explain a little about me. I thought they may shed some light on why I am the way I am, but honestly, I don’t think anything could really explain that.

I’m a lovable ball of weirdo who has her quirks and enjoys the little things in life. Do you have anything in common with me? What do you love that makes you uniquely you? Let me know in the comments.

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

Finding The Bright Side

My husband must be a sage old man beneath his ruggedly charming exterior. We’re opposites in personality┬áand talent. Where I can write and organize, he can problem solve and fix broken things.

Tim and I

Most days I feel like I’m the broken thing that needs fixing. It probably stems from my pessimistic nature. I admit it. I’m a pessimist. While I really want to see the bright side, most days I just want to curl up into a ball and sleep. I hate conflict and everything feels like an uphill battle.

My sweet husband thinks it’s all in my head. He tries to motivate and support me in everything I do. But I feel like a lost cause most days. Those few days where I get a burst of inspired energy, it fizzles out by dark.

Again, he’s a problem solver, so his mission, in his mind, is to help me get back on track. I love him for that. But it also irritates me to no end. Why can’t I just stew for a bit?

He’s not an optimist. No, my hubby is 100% realist. That alone should make me feel better about his support. He wouldn’t support me if he didn’t believe that I could do it. A lot of days, life, let alone writing, just feels overwhelming.

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While I’m sitting over here bitching about the wind, which is completely apt because Wyoming is notoriously windy, my husband is adjusting the sails. Every damn time.

Problem solver extraordinaire. Even if he doesn’t know HOW to fix it, he offers sound solutions. He has a handful of sayings he keeps on the cuff when he sees me falling deeper into my pessimistic little dungeon.

“Life is good, babe. Life is good.”

“Don’t complain about something unless you’re willing to offer a solution.”

“Now, tell me three positive things that happened to you today.”

or

“Give me three positives for every negative.”

I’m a fortunate woman. I have a husband who not only supports my writing, but he tries his best to help me out of these awkward funks I find myself in.

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I wish I could understand why my brain works the way it does and work through these hurdles. But until I work through it, he will sit with me helping me find my way back to the bright side. Sometimes that’s all I need. Someone sitting by my side in the dark as we wait for the sun to rise on a new day.

One thing I can say for certain, spending time with my family is more important to me than anything else in my life. Writing is a part of who I am, but lately, I’ve lost the passion for it. Perhaps I need to recharge with my family before taking on another project.

We will be moving this summer to a new base in a new country. I’m terrified and excited in equal measures for this new adventure. But right now, my heart isn’t in my work. So, I hope you’ll forgive me. I had huge plans this year to up my writing game, but this new direction our lives are taking will dominate all my time and energy. Once we’re situated at our new location, I’m hoping the muse will return with a vengeance.

I know my husband will be there with his glass of bourbon ready to offer any encouragement and support he can. My family is my bright side. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

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Perhaps some time in the sun with my family is just what I need. And a big thank you to my husband who puts up with my doom and gloom and always brightens my day.

Do you find yourself sitting in the dark like I do? Are you a pessimist too? How do you cope with all the negativity swirling in your head? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment or two. *hugs*

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten