Sneak Peek: Confessions of a Gamer Girl

I’m so excited to share Maggie and Gavin’s story with you! With release day just around the corner, I wanted to give you a sneak peek. Let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy! xoxo

Releases on June 28th!

CHAPTER ONE

One year ago…

“You’re gonna die! Don’t do it!” The shout echoes through the immaculate brownstone, followed by a chorus of disgruntled groans and several colorful metaphors my mother would disapprove of. Those words, those groans of agony, are etched upon my soul, and they lure me down the hallway.

They’re coming from a dark room where an eighty-inch television sits against the far wall, its glorious glow casting three men in flickering shadows. The two with controllers sit bickering like five-year-olds over the game flashing on the screen. The third lounges off to the side, his face hidden. Looks like the most recent Space Vendetta game. The one I haven’t had a chance to play yet but have been dying to buy because it allows both in-person and online player-versus-player battles.

“You found it! I didn’t hear you knock.” Lily appears at the end of the hall wearing her signature pinup-red lipstick and a vintage cream blouse paired with a black and white houndstooth print skirt. The Betty Boop apron tied around her waist makes me grin. This girl was born in the wrong decade.

“Hey, Lily. Sorry, I just let myself in.” My gaze drifts to the room where her three roommates sit in the semi-darkness glued to their video game. “No one answered when I knocked.”

“I told them to listen for the door.” Lily glares at the room before turning back to me. “I’m sorry. Jen and I had music playing in the kitchen. Come on. We’ll leave the boys to their game.”

“Aren’t we watching a movie tonight?” I follow her down the hall, though there’s part of me that wants to run back to the living room and watch them play. No. Fuck that. I want to take them on. I rarely get to challenge anyone in person. No one wants to play against me. Not face to face at least. Guys don’t like when girls kick their asses in a video game.

“Yeah, but I told them I was commandeering the living room at seven. They’ve had time to play their silly games.” She tosses her head back and her set curls bounce against her shoulder. I flinch at the way she says it. Her huge blue eyes fix on me and she bites her lip. “Sorry, I forgot.”

“It’s okay, Lily. I didn’t take it personally,” I lie. It stings to hear the condescending tone. Not that she meant to imply gaming was silly or a waste of time, but that’s typically the response I get when people uncover my secret passion. It shouldn’t have to be a secret, and I shouldn’t have to apologize for liking video games. I grit my teeth and force a smile.

Jen pops in from the other side of the kitchen. “Hey, I’m glad you came.” She smiles and hugs me. Her dark hair lays in a braid over her shoulder. The oversized sweater she’s wearing looks warm and comfortable. Paired with jeans, she resembles one of those cute heroines from a Hallmark movie right before she meets the town hunk. I shake my head. We are such a trio of oddballs.

“Yeah, well. I have to admit, these girls’ nights are becoming the highlight of my week.” I take a seat beside Jen at the island in the center of the kitchen.

“Mine too.” Lily pulls something steaming and delicious out of the oven. The scent makes my stomach growl like a rabid dog. I shouldn’t have skipped lunch. She sets the casserole on the stovetop to cool and bustles to the fridge. “Want a beer?”

“Got anything stronger?” I joke, but I’m half-serious.

“Of course.” She grins and pulls a bottle of vodka from the freezer. “Don’t tell Gavin.” She winks conspiratorially and pours me a double in a whiskey glass. “Want some, Jen?”

“I’ll stick with the beer, thanks.” Jen watches with wide eyes as I lift the glass to my lips and down it in one swallow.

The ice-cold vodka burns straight to my gut, ripping away the thoughts of the past week and my asinine bosses. I set the glass on the table and Lily gapes at me.

“Rough week?” Jen asks with a smile as she pops the top off her Yuengling.

“If your boss was anything like mine, you’d be drinking straight from the bottle as soon as you got home.” A stifled laugh breaks from my throat. “Those two think I’m a fucking miracle worker.”

“Mr. Roberts can be like that, right Jen?” Lily takes a sip of her beer. Her pale face pinkens at the mention of their boss, but before I can say anything, Jen cuts in.

“Yeah, though he’s reasonable most of the time, from what I’ve noticed. But I don’t know him all that well. He keeps to himself.” Jen takes a drink.

“Well, Mr. Sunshine and Major Grump think I have nothing better to do with my personal time than chase their fucking mistakes.” Lily and Jen chuckle at the nicknames I’ve bestowed upon my ungrateful bosses. “They’re lucky I know my way around that office blindfolded.”

“It has nothing to do with the fact you need that job and can’t afford to get a poor character reference because you cursed out your employer and burned down the building, right?” Lily smirks behind her frosted mug.

I shove away from the counter, rip open the freezer, and pour another double. She’s right. One hundred and fifty percent. I do need the job, and I can’t afford to have my reputation ruined for all eternity because I couldn’t hold my tongue.

“This is why I have friends.” I toast them, raising my glass high. “You catch the brunt of my rage so I can keep my pristine reputation and my job. Thank you for your sacrifice.” I pour the liquor down my throat and shiver at the intensity of it.

“Hear, hear.” Lily and Jen both drink to my pathetic admission.

“Is it movie time? I need to eat something and vegetate for a while.” I hedge around their concerned looks. They want to ask me what happened, I can tell, but I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to escape for a while. Normally I’d lose myself in a game from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, but since girls’ night became a weekly thing, it’s thrown off my me time. My fingers itch for the plastic comfort of the PlayStation controller.

“Yeah.” Lily sets her glass aside and prepares plates heaping with the gooey delicious casserole cooling on the stovetop. “Here.” She hands one to both Jen and me before taking up her own and retrieving her beer. “Let’s go kick the boys out. They can go find something else to do.”

“How the hell do you put up with having three guys for roommates, Lily?” Jen asks.

“I don’t know. They kinda grew on me I guess.” Lily beams as though it explains everything.

“Don’t they drive you crazy though?” I’m curious because I hate people and the thought of sharing my living space with another person, let alone three men, makes me want to rip the fabric of space and time apart with my bare hands. Although living in a vintage old brownstone like this might be worth the frustration.

“Sometimes. But they always help out when I ask and pay rent on time. Even though they can act like children, they’re really sweet.” Lily smirks. “Plus, they’re a great deterrent if there’s a guy who’s interested in me, but I’m not into him.”

“How do they feel about the ones you do like?” Jen’s question mirrors my thoughts exactly.

“I haven’t found one worth bringing home that I wanted to keep.” Lily half-heartedly defends herself.

“You have a kinky side, woman, I can see it.” I snatch a fork from the pile on the counter. “One of these days, you’ll share your dark secrets.”

Lily flounces from the room without a word, leading the way down the hall. She sets her glass down on the table beside the couch and flips on the light switch, flooding the living room with a brilliance that blinds her roommates.

Their loud groans melt into complaints as they shield their eyes behind their hands.

“Come on, Lils, ten more minutes.” The one winning complains with a pout, shoving aside the blond hair hanging in his eyes.

My gaze shifts between her roommates. The two engaged in the battle when I first arrived were still at it. They look similar, in a distant cousin kind of way. Both have lanky builds with sharply defined jaws and handsome features, but one sports slick, jet-black hair while the other rocks shaggy dirty blond hair.

“Please, Lily. I’ve nearly got him. One more, please?” The black-haired roommate inclines his head and pouts, batting impossibly long lashes in Lily’s direction.

“Tough. I said seven, and it’s five after. Get out.” No nonsense Lily shelves her hand on her hip. Pride wells up in my chest. She doesn’t bend easily to their demands. Good for her.

“But Gavin hasn’t had a chance to play yet.” The blond pleads. “Can’t you guys watch a movie upstairs?”

My attention shifts to the third roommate, the one who seems to favor the shadows, and my lady bits decide to take notice of absolutely everything and approve wholeheartedly. His soulful brown eyes, the scruff along his jaw, and the short, dark curls crowning his head. His gaze rests on Lily, and with his chiseled good looks, I can’t help but catch the passing resemblance to a young Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds. Hot damn. I resist the urge to fan myself because I do not fan myself in the presence of delicious men. No, I do not. When he meets my gaze, I stiffen as a slow smile curves his sinful lips. Bastard knows exactly what he does to women.

“Tell you what, Lily.” Gavin leans forward. “Let me play a round against your friend here, and we’ll leave you alone for the rest of the night.”

I swear he’s Shemar’s twin. That silken voice could seduce a whole convent of nuns into sinful abandon. I can almost hear him whisper the words baby girl, and I shiver. Then the implication of his words registers. Was he challenging me? I click my tongue about to form a response, but Lily interjects.

“One game?” Lily taps her chin, skepticism written all over her face. “With Maggie?” A satisfied smile curves her lips. “It’s a deal.”

“Wait, what?” I’ve never even played the game! I tend to stick with military-style first-person shooter games. This one looks similar to that, but I know nothing about it aside from the characters. I’m relatively confident the same tactics apply, but still—

“You got this.” Lily pats my shoulder. “I have faith in you.”

“Thanks.” I turn to Gavin, who seems amused by this whole exchange. Confidence oozes off him in waves. He underestimates me. They all do. I grin and all my uncertainty scatters. He’s going down. This cocky shit has no idea what he’s in for.

Surfer boy hands his controller to Gavin while Maybelline gives me his. I don’t actually know their names as they forgot all their manners and never introduced themselves. So nicknames it is. I scoff. Men. They both move from their seats, allowing Gavin and me to have the center stage. Our audience flanks us, Lily and Jen to the right, and the two guys on our left where Gavin had been sitting. I flex my hands as my challenger chooses the settings and battle mode.

We’re not touching, but his heat surrounds me. God, he smells good. Like Gucci and wintergreen gum. There’s something else lingering beneath it, a haunting scent I just can’t place. I lick my lips and focus on the screen. I won’t let him distract me. Damn him.

“Don’t worry, baby girl. I’ll take it easy on you.” He mutters under his breath.

Lord, he really is channeling Shemar. It takes the restraint of a nun not to react to that tempting purr and the deluge it releases inside me. I bite my tongue instead of unleashing my uncensored thoughts. “Thanks.”

The game starts. Immediately I jump into the zone. Everyone around us disappears into the background. I’m in the world on the screen. The controls are exactly like my favorite game, so I adapt quickly. Stumbling a few times, I miss a few obvious things, which makes my opponent chuckle. I curse under my breath and redouble my efforts.

Beside me, I feel Gavin’s presence, his focus. But he’s too relaxed. Too confident. Once I see my opening, I shift into action and steal into the position I need to ensure my victory. The moment I do, I feel the transition. He leans forward, his elbows resting on his knees. I hear him swear when I steal the health pack and weapons cache from under his nose.

A smirk plays on my lips as I sneak up behind him on the screen and put a bullet in his skull before he even realizes I’ve made it past his defenses. Game Over flashes on the screen in bright green lettering.

His jaw hangs open while the controller dangles between his hands. “What the actual fuck?”

I stand up and do a little victory dance. Drinking up the look of pure disbelief and rage on his face, I add a little more sizzle to my dance and drop it to the floor, ensuring he sees every twitch of my ass when I bring it back up.

“Thanks for taking it easy on me, sweet cheeks,” I murmur in his ear before handing my controller to Lily. “To the victor go the spoils.”

Surfer boy and Maybelline grumble as they gather their drinks and leave the room. Gavin slowly rises from his spot on the couch. He towers over me. The top of my head doesn’t even reach his shoulders. It hurts my neck to look up at him, and I take a step back.

“Good game.” I offer my hand in a truce.

With a dirty look, he pushes past me and leaves the room. I stand there with my hand hanging in midair. Disappointment crowds me. I shove it aside, rubbing my palms on my jeans.

“I knew you could do it, Mags.” Lily hugs me before sitting on the couch.

“You were amazing!” Jen settles down beside Lily.

I sit in the spot Gavin just vacated. His scent lingers and I close my eyes. The image of his handsome face skewed in shock and disgust fills my mind. Damn it. This is why I don’t challenge people in person. Losing is bad enough, but it’s almost like losing to a girl brands you with shame. Losing to me is a surefire way to end any possibility of a friendship or more. I curse my competitive nature and my love of gaming. Not that it matters. I don’t need a man. I’ve got a good thing going without one.

As for Gavin, he’ll get over it. They always do.

Are you in the Mood?

I need to talk about my new favorite thing. Okay, well, it’s not really a new concept, but it is to me.

Anyway…I’ve started making mood boards for each of my books. It helps me get a better picture of the story, the characters, and the overall vibe of the story itself. I started making them in 2020 when I wrote A Lockdown Love Affair, and I never stopped. At some point, I’d like to go back and make some for my previous historical romances, but I just don’t have the time to do that at the moment. Put it on my never ending list of things to do.

Here are my mood boards so far. Let me know if one catches your eye…

What do you think? Do they catch your attention? I know they help me stay focused on the story I’m writing. Just a disclaimer, I’m currently working on Can’t Fight This Feeling. The rest of the books in my 1985 series, She Gives Love a Bad Name, Owner of a Lonely Heart, and Just What I Needed will be releasing next year. So I hope you’re ready for some retro romance. It’s not historical and it’s not contemporary…it’s the 80s baby!

I hope you enjoyed this little visual trip into my writer’s brain. Careful, it’s easy to get lost in there. xoxo

Which mood board is your favorite? Tell me in the comments.

All my love,

Kirsten

Some Writing Meme Levity

I’m a meme/gif kind of girl. It’s the most effective way for me to communicate on social media. There’s a meme or a gif for every occasion. This week’s been a rough one for me, so I’m going to embrace the opportunity to post some funny writing memes I’ve created. Enjoy!

It’s the HEA/HFN life for me. ❤ I hope you have a great week.

Be kind to yourself and others.

xoxo, Kirsten.

Inspiration: A Tumblr Blog, The Trickster, and Wicked Whispers

Once upon a time, I had an unquenchable addiction to Tumblr and roleplaying fan fiction for multiple fandoms. Fortunately for my writing career, it was short-lived. But not before I stumbled across this gem of a blog.

Before you click that link, let me warn you. Some of those posts are highly NSFW and dark, which makes sense, considering they’re about our favorite trickster god, Loki. Proceed at your own risk. I’ve only included a tame one on my blog, but check them out later if you’re so inclined.

First, let me tell you how this blog inspired a trilogy.

There I was, minding my own business, when one of these whispers floated across my screen. I was already a fan of Tom Hiddleston and Loki, but this sparked something different in my mind.

I heard a voice speak to me. No, not speak, whisper. He convinced me to write a few of his whispers down, and from that evolved a full character: Prince Crispin Saville.

The more I explored his whispers and his character, the deeper it drew me into his world. I created Meradin, a small kingdom among the already established kingdoms of the era, placing it where Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland all converged. Crispin vowed to rule this land even though he was not the first born son of the king. He took on a life of his own complete with strong opinions and no moral compass to guide him.

I created Henry to provide him with an external conscience at the very least. But it was Ruby who gave him a reason to mature and grow.

Alas, he does neither of these things during the course of the first book. However, books two and three provide him with ample opportunity and motivation to examine the state of his soul and set his feet on the proper path. I shall give no spoilers, but I will provide a gentle reminder that while he may be brash, selfish, callous, and spoiled…he finds redemption for all his faults in the end. But they come at a cost.

Loki heavily influences Crispin’s character. If you’re a fan of Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the Norse god, then Crispin will charm you. But I will reiterate my warning. He is not a good man, nor is he a moral one. There are some scenes that will leave you with conflicting emotions and a thousand questions. Fear not, there will be resolution by the end of Book Three.

This trilogy was difficult for me to write because it’s different from the other books I’ve written. The tone and theme are darker. In the beginning, the hero is unlikable. The conflict woven throughout is heartbreaking. So, after writing the first book, I chose to publish it under my pen name, Jen Bradlee, for fear it would alienate my readers.

Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I could not write the subsequent two books until last year. I never intended for it to take this long to finish.

Determined to give this series the best possible success, I revisited the first book with fresh edits, a new title, and a few adjustments. I also had pretty new covers made for all three books. Once called, The Prince of Whispers, Book One is now His Wicked Whispers, and I’m releasing it on May 10th.

Seduction Most Wicked, Book Two, releases on July 12th, and Reign of Wicked Temptation, Book Three, will release on August 9th.

I kept the pen name as an homage to the author I was then. But Jen and Kirsten’s styles have morphed into something similar, so I no longer felt the compulsion to keep them separated any longer. Although I may not publish as Jen Bradlee with nearly the frequency I do as Kirsten in the future, there will be a few stories that fit Jen’s personality much more than my own. So, I’ll keep the possibility of publishing more stories as Jen Bradlee open for the time being.

It amazes me how one simple meme can ignite a story idea that transforms into something like this: A trilogy with characters who take on a life of their own in a world of my imagination. Inspiration can be a fascinating thing.

Now, go check out that Tumblr blog if your curiosity is gnawing away at you.

If you’re looking for a wicked hero to take you on an epic adventure, join us. The Prince of Whispers awaits your presence, and when he whispers, you will come.

Thanks for stopping by.

With love,

Jen Bradlee/Kirsten S. Blacketer

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 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? ❤ Please feel free to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

All my love,

Kirsten/Jen

Happy Birthday, Kirsten!

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Today I turn thirty-one. I feel old, but there are times when I forget I’m not in my twenties anymore. No longer am I able to stay up past midnight without feeling the effects in the morning…which vaguely resembles being slammed into repeatedly by a Mack Truck. I can no longer drink to get drunk (see the effects of staying up too late for the reasons why.) I have two young kids who grow faster than weeds, and while I love them dearly, they remind me daily that I’m not getting any younger.

So in honor of this day, which amazingly feels like every other day of the year, I wanted to share five random facts about myself. Ready…here you go:

  1. I fell in love with my husband at first sight. Everyone thought I was insane, but ten years later we’re still going strong. He had wranglers and a pickup truck…how could I say no. *wink*
  2. Not only do I write and read, but I’m also an amateur photographer and crafter. My children have inherited the “crafty” gene it seems. My son can make amazing sculptures out of Popsicle sticks and hot glue. My daughter, well, she has the most awesome marker tattoos ever.
  3. I use a lot of terms that make people go “what?” My family is predominantly Pennsylvania Deutsch (Pennsylvania German…think Amish/Mennonite, but not.) There are several terms my grandparents and parents used with me growing up that confound most everyone I meet. Terms like “rutsch” referring to not being able to sit still, squirming. “Stop your rutsching around!” Or “No schleck before dinner.” Schleck is the word used for junk food or sugared snacks. My favorite is when I call my daughter a Schnickelfritz…which means “troublemaker”. Brutzing and Gretzing are also frequently used in my house. They simply mean “whining or complaining”. Those are my favorites, but trust me, there are many others. Oh the things you learn from me.
  4. I have NO tattoos. Neither does my husband. I personally don’t find them attractive. Not bashing them at all; it’s just not my style. My brother on the other hand…well, he’s addicted to ink.
  5. I want to write a murder mystery. No romance at the center of the story…just a pure murder mystery with a lot of intrigue and suspense. My favorite board game is Clue (Cluedo for those of you in the UK). I’m damn good at that game. I love who-done-it TV shows, my favorite being the Ellery Queen Mysteries from the 1970s. I’ve read more Nancy Drew Mysteries than I can count. So yeah…it’s on my to-do list.

So…there are some useless tidbits about me. Now you can tease me incessantly. I know you will. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend a little time with Tom before my husband and children take me out for my birthday dinner. Ciao, darlings.

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Whatever you think is best, Thomas. I’ll be packed and ready in ten minutes.

What Inspires You?

One of the questions I always ask my fellow writers is: Where do you get your inspiration?

Every one of them answers that question differently. Me…well it really depends.

When I’m in a creative rut, I use writing prompts to get the word count going. My writer’s group, The Sarcastic Muse, has a page on Tumblr (click HERE for link) where we post daily word counts for anyone to use them. I find those come in handy when I’m stuck for a starting point or I don’t have a current project waiting for my attention. I’ve had several stories blossom from these writing prompts. I highly recommend trying it if you’re in desperate need for inspiration.

I also find I draw inspiration from watching movies or TV shows, sometimes a line or a scene or even a character can spark an idea that sets my creativity on fire and I find I NEED to write, to purge what’s in my head. Some people do this and create fan fiction, which is fantastic, I love fan fiction and there are some talented authors out there who write nothing but fan fic. So don’t think I’m knocking it…I’m not. What I’m saying is that I take that spark of inspiration one step further and let my mind morph the idea into something unique and fresh and completely mine.

That leads me to my ultimate source of inspiration. MEN…to be more specific, these life ruiners right here.

Tom Hiddleston

For those of you who don’t know, the term “Life Ruiner” is defined as:

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THEY inspire me. These men who spark fantasies and ideas through the characters they play and their interactions with their fans. They are the heroes of my stories, the cast I choose when selecting my next pirate, alpha male, prince, bounty hunter, street racer, bootlegger, assassin, etc. When they spark an idea, I listen and write.

If you’re curious, Joe Manganiello inspired my Shadow Guardian, Gerard Butler inspired my street racer in Full Throttle, and Richard Armitage is the inspiration for my bootlegger on the Mississippi River. My actor in the play I’m writing is a combination of Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and David Tennant.

Tom Hiddleston…well, he’s a different story all together.

So I’ll ask you all…what inspires you?

Thanks for stopping by today.

~Kirsten

New Release: Wolves and Warrants

Let’s give a warm welcome for the return of D.F. Krieger showcasing her New Release…

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You can purchase the book HERE now!

For this release, I’ve asked my guest author some tough questions. *wink*

Behind the Scenes Questions with Author D.F. Krieger:

1. Author who influences your writing the most?

No one. I’m an insanity all of my own making. But truly, I try really hard to be certain my voice is completely my own. It helps that I don’t get to read as much as I used to so I don’t risk my tone reflecting current authors. I have been told by a few authors when I was helping edit their work that I do a good job mimicking their voice when offering writing suggestions. Not sure if that’s good or bad…

2. Who was your inspiration for Detective Jake Markovich?

Jake was one side of what I desire in a man. Honest, loyal, and dependable. There was no particular influence, but I did manage to take a photo of him. Lookie!

3. Who was your inspiration for Veltis?

Ah, now Veltis is all the things I dream about in the darkness of the night. Dominating, powerful, seductive, and sarcastic. Sadly, he’s refusing to let me show off pictures of him just yet. Gimme time. I’ll find a way to come to an agreement with him.

4. Who was your inspiration for Zeara Faxfire?

I’m going to be honest here. Me, me, me. Crazy cat lady? Check. Psychotic amounts of animal knowledge? Check. Sarcastic sense of humor? *shifty eyes* That one…I don’t know where she got that from.

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5. Did your characters nag you when you weren’t writing their story?

One character in particular bitches the most. Zane the lab tech. I hear his voice more than anyone else’s, which is funny because he isn’t my main character, nor a love interest for Zeara. But he just won’t….shut…up.

6. How do you get into the writing groove?

I growl at my family, put some music on, crawl into bed, and tune the world out. Tea is always nearby, along with cats in a semi-circle, and occasionally I risk coming out of my nest to socially interact. If I’m writing a particularly emotional part of the story when I take a break to interact, in never bodes well for others. I’m am empathetic torturer.

7. What are the five requirements you HAVE to have to write? (example: I need coffee, music, no family interruptions, my ecig, and a friend on skype)

I suppose a computer with Word is a given? Let’s see, tea, as I said above. Cats for strategic creativity enhancement purposes. My husband for moments when I’m not sure if people can even bend that way. Angsty music to reflect my turmoil at inflicting so much torture on characters.

8. If you listen to music, can you give us a sampling of the songs on your writing playlist?

Heh heh heh. You’ll wish you’d never asked. I’ll give you bands, to make it easier. Depeche Mode, Julien-K, and Blaqk Audio.

9. Tell us one thing about one of your characters that we don’t know.

I know the truth behind Magic and you don’t. *Sticks tongue out* Karma knows too, but she’s not telling. Oh, so does Veltis. But no one else knows. Mwahahaha

10. Let’s say your book gets picked up to be made into a movie…Who would you cast in your movie?

You mean after I had a heart attack and needed to be revived? I have no bloody idea. I think I’d be too busy nit-picking every actor and actress to death. I could see myself now… “I said snarky and sexy, not bitchy and trampy!”

 

Thanks for having me, m’lady! It’s always a pleasure to be closely studied by one such as yourself.

~D.F. Krieger

You are very welcome.  Stop by again and keep us posted on your new projects!

 

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