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

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How Steamy Do You Like It?

With a new release coming on May 10th, I wanted to tackle a topic that often comes up between readers and authors. It is an article of debate for some, but for me, it comes down to preference. Heat Ratings.

For the record, I write steamy, sensual, smoldering historical romance. There, now you know my secret.

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As if you didn’t know already.

 

How hot do you like your romance?

If you’re an avid romance reader, like I am, then you have a preference when it comes to the heat rating and choosing a romance novel. We all do. Do you like sweet romance with no sex? Do you like a scene or two? Do you prefer closed door? Or are you an erotica fan?

I’m a middle of the road kind of girl, myself. I love sexual tension and slow burn romance, but I prefer to see the union come to fruition on the pages. Some would prefer to have these written as closed-door, where the union is implied, but not described. I am not one of those. As the reader, I am emotionally invested in the character’s relationship. I’ve put myself in the heroine’s shoes. So I personally find these scenes to be emotionally fulfilling as I experience the relationship developing between the hero and heroine.

Now, the scene doesn’t have to be graphic and take up ten pages of the book. I’ve read books where the love scene is a page long and it served its purpose.

Sex can be an important component of the story’s progression and the character’s development depending on the story. And yes, there are times when it is completely unnecessary. I dislike when authors try to force the scene or add a sex scene just for titillation. Yes, there is such thing as too much sex in a book. I get bored of it. There’s a balance, and I know from personal experience in my own writing that balance is hard to maintain. When it’s done right, the story should flow perfectly.

I have had readers tell me they would have liked my stories better without the sex. They told me that sex was not a spectator sport and that I should write something better with a closed door. Not going to lie, that stung.

I don’t put sex scenes into the story on a whim. I put them there because they progress the story and/or help the characters evolve. Sometimes it’s there to heighten the tension or punctuate something that comes after their consummation. There is a reason for it.

I dislike the terms “dirty” and “clean” romance. I abhor these terms. Sex is neither dirty nor shameful. Some topics may be distasteful for some readers. I understand. This is why I include a small author’s note at the end of each blurb on Amazon (and other retailers.)

I don’t write sweet romance. My books are steamy but not erotic. If you don’t care for the sex scenes, then feel free to skip over them. I won’t have hurt feelings if you skip that part. But I will be hurt if you blast my book for being “too hot” when I put the disclaimer right beneath the blurb that you read before purchasing the book. So, please take note, if sex makes you uncomfortable, then you shouldn’t read my books.

I wish retailers would have a heat rating scale similar to Audible’s amazing rating scale. I’m not a fan of audiobooks. I prefer to read the book and most of the narrators get on my nerves after a while. But I was searching through the collection and was pleasantly surprised by the rating system they have for the romance novels. It makes my life so much easier. I know exactly what heat level I’m getting.

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The link explaining their rating system is https://www.audible.com/ep/Romance-Books-With-Steamy-Score. You should definitely check it out.

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I think they should use this system for the whole romance genre on all the other platforms. It’s a great visual for the reader to see what they’re purchasing and if it’s what they’re looking for in a book.

Until they do this, I’ll continue to put my little author’s note at the bottom of every blurb. No worries. 🙂

And remember, never feel like you have to justify your love of romance, be it sweet or steamy or erotic. Life’s too short not to read what you love and what brings you joy.

 

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Steamy or not. Just a friendly reminder. ❤

 

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

All my love,

Kirsten

 

 

My Strange Reading Habits

I love to read. More specifically, I love to read romance. If you’re here, then you understand why I love it with such desperation and devotion. Because you do too.

In a world of chaos and uncertainty, I can always count on a romance novel to give me one thing reality can never guarantee. A happy or at least emotionally satisfying ending. It also allows me to take the romance journey over and over. The meet-cute, the first kiss, the overcoming of conflict and obstacles in order to secure the relationship between the hero and heroine. These are the stories I long to lose myself in.

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I have had many people scorn, ridicule, and outright shame me for my passion for romance. And honestly, I couldn’t care less about their opinions. I make it a rule never to shame or scorn someone for the books they read and enjoy. If that is how they choose to spend their time and energy, then more power to them. They know what they like.

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To that same end, I know what I like. When I do get time to read, my genre of choice is always romance. People often assume that because I write historical romance, that it’s the only subgenre I enjoy. Well, they’re partially accurate.

I read quite a bit of historical romance. Most of the time, it’s because the premise of the story caught my attention. However, as I have been writing more historical, I find myself comparing my work to other authors. This can be both a blessing and a curse. So I limit my intake of historical romance if only to keep me honest and refrain from being discouraged. Because that happens too. Authors can often be their own worst critics.

Honestly, I find myself gravitating toward solid contemporary stories with unique premises or specific tropes. I have a soft spot for mistaken identity or hidden identity, forbidden romance, masked, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, close proximity romances, and retold fairy tales. In contemporary romance, some of these are a bit harder to come by. So I indulge by changing it up. My latest discovery is the technology mixup trope. It has become one of my new favorites.

You know what I mean. The stories where the hero and heroine meet because one sent a text to the wrong number and mistakenly initiated a conversation with a complete stranger, who ended up being the one. Or the stories like You’ve Got Mail, where they dislike each other in person but have a connection online.

Here are two I picked up last month. I’m still reading Wait with Me, but it’s really good so far. Accidental Tryst was fun and heartwarming.

I also love a good taboo romance or the popular boss/employee trope. Sometimes a dark romance is just what I need to get my brain moving again when I hit the brick wall of writer’s block.

Earlier this year, I picked up Midnight Hunter on a whim. I devoured it in hours. I wasn’t sure how the author would redeem the hero, but she did. And I loved this book.

Heartless is the third book of Winter Renshaw’s that I read. I loved all three of them. The other two were Absinthe (a forbidden romance) and Country Nights.

Mr. Rochester is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre by Marian Tee. I love her work. She writes engaging characters and stories with depth. Drawn was the first book I read by her, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I love strong heroines and heroes with a strong drive and a bit of a chip on their shoulders. I love heroes and heroines who are in their thirties and forties.

Often times, historical heroines are in their late teens or early twenties, per the norm for a woman of marriageable age prior to the twentieth century. I find it more difficult to relate to these heroines because of my age. Although I do enjoy writing them, after a while, I crave more connection with the heroine.

Historical adventures and romance can be fun, but the restrictions sometimes prove frustrating for the reader. Not to mention being an author of that era. I know I personally get overwhelmed by the amount of proper etiquette required for a specific era. Sometimes I need a change of pace in order to be able to connect with my own characters in a historical.

Strangely enough, I don’t gravitate toward romantic comedies when it comes to film. I still love a good romantic subplot, but I’m an action/adventure junkie through and through. Bonus points if there are natural or manmade disasters and giant creatures wreaking havoc on some major cities. I’m weird, I know.

But I also enjoy Korean TV Dramas and period films like Timothy Dalton’s Jane Eyre and all the Pride and Prejudice variations. Then, just to shake it up, I watch Star Trek: TNG, HBO’s Westworld, and Game of Thrones. So I have an eclectic taste, as you can tell.

I don’t fit a mold when it comes to my tastes in entertainment. Strong characters, solid stories, passion and adventure, and always a bit of romance. These are what draw me into a fictional world.

So I never rule out other types of fiction when it comes to reading, but I prefer romance. It’s that happily ever after/happily for now that seals the deal for me there. I love diving into a story knowing that at the end of it all, the hero and heroine will be together and ready to start a new life together.

Contemporary romance gives me a reprieve from the historical worlds I write in.

Contemporary romance suggestions

Feel free to post your contemporary romance suggestions in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. I think I’m going to go read a bit now. Thanks for stopping by. *blows kiss*

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

All my love,

Kirsten

Shifting Gears and Finding My Voice

I have been MIA for the past two weeks, and for that, I apologize. If you aren’t aware, I am married to a military man. Which means, our lives revolve around his career. I embrace the life of a military spouse proudly. But the uncertainty that comes with it can be nerve-wracking on the best days.

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We had orders to a new base a few weeks ago. Then my husband made rank. Bonus! A promotion, a pay raise, and a new base. But it won’t be the one we had orders for, unfortunately. So we are in limbo at the moment, waiting to see where the powers-that-be will send us next.

My days have been spent sorting through my house, organizing and purging, preparing for the move I know is coming. So, I put aside my weekly posts until I found something worth sharing with you. I mean, really, sometimes I wonder if posting a weekly blog is even worth spending the time and energy.

Then I realized. If you’re a reader like me, then you just want to feel a connection with the author. I love hearing behind-the-scenes stories and snippets from an author’s daily life. I also enjoy when authors share their likes and dislikes. It makes them more relatable and human. Not that I think the authors I love are aliens or robots or anything so ridiculous. But, we do sometimes forget that authors have a life, a family, a home, friends, a social life, struggles, hopes, and fears. We forget there is a person behind the brand.

I adore the human connection. I long for the relationship between reader and author.

So, my wish is to do that here. I want to share bits of me with my readers. My question is, what do I share with you?

Well, it will not be my views on politics or religion. Sorry, while I hold my beliefs quite seriously, these are two topics that you will not see me talk about from this platform.

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Earlier, I found a post on another page that had Questions to Ask an Author. I liked the idea, and I may run with some of those since each question could easily provide us with some conversation starters.

Next week, I’ll post a response to one of the questions on the site. Hopefully, I will have some questions from my awesome readers to answer.

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Do you have any questions to ask me?

Or do you have any suggestions for posts you’d like to see from me? Feel free to contact me using the form or send a message on Facebook or Twitter.

You are more than welcome to comment on this post with your ideas as well.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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

All my love,

Kirsten

The Lost Art of Victorian Flirtation

Hello, darlings.

We all remember that tingle in the pit of our stomachs when the butterflies take flight at the thought of someone special. Especially when they enter the room. You’ve had your eye on them for weeks. They have been on your mind constantly and you cannot wait to see them again. They give you a feeling of elation unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in your life. But they don’t know how you feel.

What do you do?

Flirt, baby. Flirt like it’s the end of the world and this is your last chance to confess all those emotions you’ve kept bottled inside.

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The art of flirtation is a delicate tightrope to walk just as much now as it was in the Victorian era. However, the methods have changed significantly.

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While the prospect of leather-bound books and the scent of rich mahogany is appealing, the art of flirting wasn’t always so straightforward. The strict social etiquette of the Victorian era often limited the interaction between an unmarried woman and a prospective suitor. In fact, sometimes I think the possibility of being discovered was half the excitement of engaging in a flirtation.

Here are a few guides I found that provide ways of conveying your sentiments and flirting without ever using words. I thought you might find them interesting. I certainly did.

Honestly, I would be terrified that I would inadvertently send the wrong message. *gasp* How could you possibly undo that damage?

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I would love to see these moves in action. Wouldn’t you?

But what about gentleman?

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Or perhaps you require another method to show your affections. Well, here are some signaling possibilities to take into consideration. Again, I would be extremely concerned about accidentally sending the wrong message. Or worse, sending one when I had not intended a message at all!

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Oh, sweet mercy, I’m exhausted. How could anyone keep up with all of this? Not only the etiquette but the flirtations!

And don’t even get me started on the American Escort Cards. Here’s a humorous look at their role in American Victorian history. CLICK HERE for article.

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Of course, one cannot forget to send flowers. But be aware, each flower holds a special meaning. It would be wise to choose flowers with care. Even the colors could represent a different emotion. Roses often came in a variety of colors and meanings.

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*collapses in a heap* I’m overwhelmed. I thought flirting today was difficult.

There is something to be said for the allure and romantic nature of such a flirtation. I’m not sure I appreciate the modern technique of flirting. It seems too impersonal and focused solely on instant gratification. I love the slow burn of a simmering attraction.

I think we should bring some of these techniques back. Not all of them, mind you, but I think it could be fun, even if I’m only flirting with my husband.

What do you think of Victorian flirtation? Do you prefer modern methods better? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Also, do you think I should make a video attempting to demonstrate some of these flirting techniques? If so, leave me a comment with your choice of flirtation to demonstrate. This should be fun.

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

All my love,

Kirsten

How to Write a Love Letter

This week, I’ve recorded a little video for you. Enjoy!

So, what are your thoughts? Are you going to write a love letter this year? Have you ever written one before? Share your experiences, suggestions, and thoughts in the comments below.

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

All my love,

Kirsten

Love Romance? Love Movies? Check this out.

My family loves movies. But none of them loves them the way I do. While I’m a huge sucker for romance novels, I’m very picky about the romantic movies I watch. Especially if the chemistry between the love interests is non-existent or forced.

There are some films I saw as a kid that stuck with me. These are still on my keeper shelf. Most of these have distinct elements of romance in them that held my fascination well into adulthood.

I would love to share a few of those with you.

Gone with the Wind (1939) – It just. It’s a hot mess of volatile emotions, but it painted such a vivid picture in my young mind. I never sympathized with Rhett until I was older. Scarlett never deserved him.

 

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Yes, please.

 

The Mummy (1999) – Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell. *swoon* What can I say, I love the action, the adventure, and the smoulder. The attraction between Rick and Evey keeps perfect pace with the film. I love this film so much. Why do you think I named my daughter, Evelyn. *wink*

 

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We totally understand why you’re flustered, Evey.

 

The Saint (1997) with Val Kilmer – What can I say, I love Val Kilmer. My dad recommended I watch this one when I was in high school. I fell in love with it. Not technically a romance, but the love story within the plot is memorable to me.

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The Saint.

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Don’t even tell me that’s not a romance at its core, cause it is. That injured Indy kiss toward the end screamed it loud and clear. Indiana Jones and Marian had wicked hot chemistry.

 

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He’s milking this for all it’s worth. Smart man.

 

Persuasion (1995) with Ciarán Hinds – This adaptation of Jane Austen’s book by the same title will always have a special place in my heart. I picked up a copy of it on a whim when I was sixteen. I have loved it ever since. The slow burn chemistry in this one just has my inner romantic squealing with delight.

 

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This scene though, it hits me right in the feels.

 

Oh, and how could I possibly forget to mention this little gem:

 

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Madmartigan for the win.

 

Willow (1988) with Val Kilmer (again) – You see the trend yet? I love movies with action and adventure, but my favorites are the ones with well-placed, simmering, and believable romance bubbling on the back burner. This one still makes me laugh and swoon every time I watch it.

 

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“You are my sun, my moon, my starlit sky, without you I dwell in darkness…”

 

 

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Me. Totally me.

 

Sorry, got a bit distracted there. *clears throat*

These films influenced the blossoming writer inside of me. They made me long to be like the independent heroines, full of sass and wit and fire. I fell in love with the snarky, dominant heroes who craved adventure and caved to the woman who enchanted them.

They helped mould the stories I wanted to write.

I’ve compiled a list of other films with strong romantic elements that have made an impact on me both personally and as an author of romance.

I realize that not everyone will enjoy the same movies I do. We’re not all wired to enjoy the same things. Recommendations for books or movies are tricky because of this. Still, I would love to share my personal favorites with you.

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So, I would love to hear from you. What movies would you recommend that aren’t on my list? Please post your suggestions in the comments.

Or, if you’d like to comment on my recommendations, I would love to hear what you have to say.

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

All my love,

Kirsten