I am pleased to introduce today’s guest, Kimberly Keyes, a delightful new author friend, who is sharing the moments that changed her life and her latest release…
- The first pivotal moment that comes to mind, is when I met the man who would be my husband. I knew right away I’d met someone special. Sure enough, he turned out to be the love of my life. We married five short years later haha. I often likened my husband to a thoroughbred—beautiful, talented, and temperamental.
- My husband was part of a package deal, and the day we married, I became a step mom. Toughest job you’ll ever love? Oh yeah. My step-daughter blessed me in so many ways—and continues to do so now that she’s *grown*.
Love seems to be the theme here, doesn’t it?
- The next moment has to be when I found Frank on the side of the road in an industrial part of the city. Who is Frank, you ask? A Florida black dog. The president of the Black Dog Club. A pacifist. The leader of the Quakers. A pilot for Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force. Okay, you might be scratching your head now. Yes, I admit to creating wild tales surrounding my puppy boy while talking in a funny pretend puppy voice. Suffice it to say finding that seven week old mange-covered puppy 16 years ago was the best thing that ever happened to me.
- One thing hubby always did right (besides allowing me to adopt rescue puppies) was to support my dreams—like urging me to complete the masters degree I put on hold before I met him. Let’s call this moment the day I decided to finish my masters in history. Because writing my 200 page thesis not only grew my writing and research skills, I acquired the all important ability every author needs: sit-butt-in-chair-and-write.
- After graduating, I took a hiatus from reading all things non-fiction. Instead, I binged on romance novels. I’m not sure how many books I devoured before the thought struck: I wanted to write romance novels.
The desire wasn’t new. In high school I announced my desire to be a career romance novelist. People laughed and rolled their eyes. More dispiriting than that, I didn’t know anything about anything. How could I write an entire book? So I tucked my dream in a box and shoved it beneath my bed. But the time had come. I unearthed that dusty box and I decided to write a historical romance. I hadn’t finished drafting the first chapter before realizing I’d found what I was always meant to do. Writing is my calling. I cannot begin to express the joy it gives me.
- I entered my 100,000 word baby in a writing contest, and not only didn’t I win, I came in 50th out of 50 in my category! It hurt! I had a choice to make, keep writing and learn my craft or quit. The latter was an impossibility, so I forged on and got better. Of the last six contests I’ve entered, I’ve finaled in five. Yay me!
- Life was going along pretty well. And then…I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. IBC has a pretty high mortality rate, so the outcome looked grim. My new normal was going to chemo appointments, sleeping, and seeing family and friends whenever possible because, hey, if you’re going to die you have to make the time. Surgery followed six months of treatment, and radiation came after that. During the span of my treatment I had tons of support, family and friends who loved me, and a husband who did everything he could to be there for me, from going to every one of my doctor’s appointments to dying his hair pink to bring attention to the cause.
- I survived.
- Soon after my treatment ended and I was on the mend from the cure that is chemo, surgery, and radiation I faced my biggest challenge yet. The disease we’d fought so hard to beat had taken its toll on my husband. Something in him broke, is the best way to put it. Long story short? I got divorced. It was hands down the hardest thing in the world I have ever faced. But I never faced it alone. I had and have the unswerving love and support of my family, friends, and, of course, my black dog club headed up by Frank-Foo—and my faith.
- I put my head down and pushed on. I did not survive cancer to crumple up and die of a broken heart. It was time to start a new chapter. As Ms. Wolff says so well, “A woman must have money and a room of one’s own to write fiction.” So, I bought a house, set up my office in my nice little house, and equipped it with dog beds for the BDC. Within two years (after having written for over six years with the goal of publication) I signed not one but two contracts with The Wild Rose Press. Lover’s Leap, a contemporary romance, was my first published book, and The Trouble with Tigers, a Victorian romance came out next. I’m now a multi-published romance author and well on my way to being a best selling author! (According to me *grin*)
Oh my gosh, Kimberly. What a roller-coaster of pivotal moments. I love that you ended on such a positive note, and thank God you survived the breast cancer. Thank you for joining me today!
And now, please tell us about your latest release…
After finding her fiancé in bed with another woman, Candace, a twenty-something, up-and-coming romance novelist takes off for a friend’s vacation home in Tahoe. The good news? She’ll share the place with fellow house guest, Logan, her best friend Eric’s lover. Except…
Logan, the nearly-irresistible-to-women photographer, isn’t Eric’s lover. Not now, not ever. He’s in Tahoe licking his own personal wounds, and before he’s allowed near Candace, he’s sworn off of her. No problem. Except…
There’s something about Candace. She’s not simply beautiful and enticingly off-limits. It’s in the way she doesn’t flirt with him. In the way she treats him like he isn’t a shallow pleasure-seeker. In the way, somehow, she brings peace to his world-weary soul.
Too bad she thinks he’s gay. But even if he can clear that hurdle, can he really entrust Candace’s heart to his own haphazard keeping?
After a while she turned to gaze at Logan’s profile. One tanned forearm rested easily on the steering wheel, the other settled over the stick shift, just inches from her upper thigh. Her eyes drifted over his long, denim covered legs, stretched out in front of him in an almost leisurely sprawl. It struck her she couldn’t remember ever feeling so utterly feminine, and so totally safe, in a man’s presence. Being with Logan felt so…right.
The peace inside her snapped in the face of her inappropriate affection for a man she hardly knew. A man involved with one of her best friends–who also happened to be a man. She dragged her gaze away, pinching her eyes closed and fisting her hands in her lap. What in the world was wrong with her?
“Everything all right?” Logan asked, his words piercing the silence.
She shot him a look and saw his eyes flicking over her clenched hands. Did the man miss nothing?
She forced her hands to unfurl. “Just thinking.” Over thinking. So she enjoyed his company. That was no crime. Besides, it was already Wednesday and he’d be leaving some time this weekend. How much trouble could she possibly get herself into?
Barnes and Noble:
The Wild Rose Press:
Kimberly writes single title contemporary and Victorian era historical romance, and is in her happy place working on two books in the two different genres, simultaneously.
The bulk of her time she spends writing, and re-writing, plotting, and dreaming up ways to perplex the characters living inside her head (though she squeezes in a bit of Yoga practice and binge-watching episodes of Game of Thrones and Outlander).
She lives in sunny Florida where she enjoys the unswerving support of her family, and most especially her three faithful companions: Frank, a.k.a. “President of the Black Dog Club,” who she found wandering on the side of a busy road when he was about 7 weeks old, Pappillon, a twenty pound rescue puppy from Puerto Rico who looks like she could be from Who-ville, and Roxanne, a tiny bit of miniature dachshund wonderfulness she inherited from her mom. The three are constantly by her side offering love and encouragement, and occasionally demanding chewies.
Follow Alicia Dean On...