Vanessa Kelly

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Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida. When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Vanessa's Website


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Latest Books

JQ

Dear readers, today is my last regular post as a member of the Jaunty Quills (sob). I still remember when I was asked to join the blog—okay, it was only three years ago and my memory isn’t that bad—and I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of my writing career. To be asked to join such a fantastically talented group of women on one of the best romance blogs in the blogosphere…it doesn’t get much better than that.

Actually, it does get better, because I got to know the Jaunties as friends and colleagues. I can assure you that they are as lovely, warm, and witty in person as they are on the page. It has truly been a privilege to hang with them, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity.

But sometimes life sends you off in a different direction or starts making demands that can’t be ignored. When that happens, it’s time to regroup, streamline, or just pull in your horns until the dust settles. I’ll be regrouping, although I promise I won’t be disappearing! You’ll still be able to find me on my website and on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Many, many thanks to the Jaunties for asking me to join the conversation–I love you all. And I’m especially grateful to Shana Galen (and her wonderful assistant, Gayle), who talked me through panic attacks over the more technical aspects of the blog. And NATURALLY I’m exceedingly grateful to Mr. Jaunty P. Quills, who was always a source of inspiration and support (except when he wasn’t, which is an entirely different story).

But more than anything, I’m incredibly grateful to our readers. You share your stories, experiences, and support with us every day, and we’re so grateful for that. You are the best!

Since this is my last post as a JQ, I’d like to do a special giveaway. I’ll give away an Advanced Reading Copy of my next historical romance, MY FAIR PRINCESS (I’m really excited about this book, which kicks off my new series, The Improper Princesses). How do you handle difficult goodbyes? Tell me all about it for a chance to win the ARC.

My Fair Princess 2

Vanessa Kelly

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Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida. When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Vanessa's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

Claiming Her cover 2

I’m so pleased to welcome my pal Kris Kennedy to the Jaunty Quills. Kris writes amazing books – I mean, amazing. In fact, she’s one of my favorite historical romance writers. Her stories are sweeping, adventurous, and grounded in extraordinary historical events. If you love smart and sexy historical romance, these are the books for you.

Take it away, Kris!

Going Bigger, Hotter, Historical-er

Many thanks to my buddy Vanessa Kelly for asking me over to help spread the news about my newest book, CLAIMING HER.

I haven’t had an historical release for a few years, not since DECEPTION, which won RT’s K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Romance Hero of the Year in 2013. (And will be re-releasing next year.) But I think my NY publishing house had a hard time selling medievals, and I had a hard time making zero dollars, so I took a detour into contemporaries.

But I kept getting drawn back to historicals. They’re my first love, my heartbreak, my siren song. So, I came back.

My latest release, CLAIMING HER is set in Ireland, during the Elizabethan era, with an Irish warlord hero, and it’s really hot. Like, really hot.

I’ve been on the hunt for big, meaty, super-hot historicals. And I want medievals, or medieval-ish. I love Victorians & Regencies, but I want me some knights and warriors, too. I don’t necessarily want an erotic historical romance (well, wait, sure, sometimes I do…) But what I really want are stories of historical adventure, sweeping stories, immersive stories, steeped in history and character, but with the kind of no-holds-barred sensual heat you find in many contemporaries coming out today.

Ergo, my new collection, RENEGADES & OUTLAWS.

These are super-hot historicals with big bad alpha heroes and smart, capable heroines. Not erotic romance, but the sensual relationship is absolutely central to the characters’ arc, and the stories may push a few boundaries here and there (although I may have done that before (:eyes The Irish Warrior:))

The first in this collection is my novella THE KING’S OUTLAW, currently part of the USA Today® bestselling Captured by a Celtic Warrior anthology.

Which brings us to CLAIMING HER. It’s set in Ireland, 1589, with a dangerously handsome and ambitious Irish warrior hero, come home to claim the barony the Queen of England would not give him.

The heroine, he will discover, is not of a mind to be conquered.

Celtic Warrior

Want a little excerpt??

Aodh Mac Con (pronounced like you would the beginning of “Aidan’) has just taken over the lady’s castle, and they’re, um, discussing it.

…“I am Rardove, sir,” she said boldly, quietly, and foolishly. “And I hold for England.”

He tipped closer. “That has just become a matter for negotiation, my lady. From here on, let us say England shall have to earn Rardove’s loyalty.”

She stepped back, her lips parting. He’d shocked her. The realization caused a small, strange tinge of disappointment in him, that a woman who’d held an English castle beyond the Pale with only ten men would be shocked by such a thing. It seemed somehow…diminishing. But then, Aodh had a taste for rebellion today, and nothing but more of the same would serve.

Still.

A movement at the far end of the hall caught his attention. One of his captains, Cormac, poked his head through a door, caught his eye and nodded, then ducked back out. Good. They’d made it to the north side, which meant they’d secured the entire castle. Rardove was his.

And so where was the hot satisfaction of conquest? The rush of triumph? Where was…everything?

Lying at the bottom of the same cold pit that had marked his life for too many years to count, no doubt. Intrigues, battle, courtly maneuvers, it was all the same: naught.

Apparently even coups of castles did not rise to the level of interest anymore.

He turned his attention back to Katarina. “My lady, if you will—”

All he saw was a blur of green silk, then her small, bunched fist smashed into his face.

The impact, hard and square, landed directly on his jaw.

Caught utterly unaware—as he’d never been before, never, not even when his father had had his head cut off—Aodh reeled sideways. The retreat gave enough room for her to launch herself forward and slam her shoulder directly into his ribs so hard and fast, he grunted and stumbled backward and hit the ground, her on top, twisting like a hellcat.

She jammed a knee into his bollocks, and he doubled over protectively, at which point she grabbed one of his fingers and twisted it back almost to breaking, while her other hand—so sinuous and slender it was all but ungrippable—snaked between their writhing bodies and tugged his accursed dagger out of its sheath.

Disappointed, indeed.

With a roar, he lunged up off the ground, lifting her with him, and backed her to the wall. Predictably—dimly, he noted he was already predicting things about her—she wrestled like a firebrand. Whirling hair, arms, legs. Kicking, biting, punching, swiping with the knife.

First things first.

He caught hold of the feminine fist snaked around the hilt of his blade and slammed it to the wall above her head, gripping her wrist so hard she cried out, but she did not, of note, stop fighting. He finally had to pin her to the wall with his entire body, her toes dangling half a foot in the air, their faces pressed together, cheek to cheek, until he stilled everything that was writhing and flailing and kicking on her curving, rampant, berserker body.

Fire burned in his veins, urging him to smash and destroy. He reached over with his other hand and wrenched the blade out of her grip, then tossed it onto the ground behind him.

He inhaled slowly, forcing himself to calm. They stood like this for a moment, her body pinned between Aodh and the wall. He supposed she could still kick his shins, but she’d impact against his greaves, and it would hurt her far more than him.

She seemed to agree. At least, she didn’t move.

He pulled back a few inches, let her feet drop to the ground, and peered down at her. Breathing fast, she flung her head, spraying hair across her face. It was pale and beautiful, with slim, dark brows arcing over what appeared to be intelligent brown eyes. A shocking discovery.

“If you were a man, I would kill you right now,” he said in a low voice.

He waited for her response—everything now was a test, every moment a potential tipping point. Would she recoil? Be wise and retreat, apologize, surrender, run scared?

Would she be like everyone else?

She shifted the only thing he didn’t have restrained, her left hand, and laid what turned out to be the cold edge of a blade against the side of his throat.

“If I were a man, sir,” she whispered back, “you would already be dead.”

So, come on, ladies, give me some recommendations: what was the last big, sexy historical you read and loved?? One commentor wins a copy of the Captured by a Celtic Warrior anthology, which includes my story, THE KING’S OUTLAW!

 And if you like big, sexy historicals like I do, sign up for my newsletter to be alerted whenever there’s a new release!

Shivers, hard and pricking, like falling stars, night sky NO cover

 

Vanessa Kelly

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Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida. When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Vanessa's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

beer

Social media – love it or hate, but most of us are living it these days. Of the social media channels listed above, I currently have six (I think I also have a MySpace account floating around somewhere, which is kind of scary). Facebook seems like the best platform to connect with readers, and it’s also the handiest place to find all those awesome animal videos I waste so much time on. Best way to get me to procrastinate? Find me some goats screaming videos.

I enjoy Twitter, too. I follow lots of interesting authors, publishing industry types, and historians, and also the accounts of museums, newspapers, political sites, historic English estates, and even a sheep farmer in Northern England (awesome account, btw). I actually pull a fair amount of research from Twitter, following links and info posted by various experts in fields that interest me. Sometimes those links take me down a rabbit hole, but you never know when you’ll find an interesting little nugget to spark a story idea.

Pinterest–used to spend a LOT of time there, but it began to feel overwhelming. Now I just use it to store pictures I might want to refer back to at some point. Oh, I also have a zillion recipes which I NEVER look at, so that’s kind of pointless. Let’s just say that my Pinterest heyday passed a few years back.

And then there’s LinkedIn. This is how I feel about it:

LIam Neeson

Yeah, it’s a bit too scary. The murky minions at LinkedIn always want you to add more and more detail about your work life (and sometimes your personal life), which is then open to perusal by an incredibly large pool of strangers. Um, no thanks. I’m a pretty gregarious person, but my dad taught me long ago to fly under the radar. I know LinkedIn can help people get jobs, but I also think it must be a really swell venue for serial killers to began tracking down their next victims. So my LinkedIn profile is full of holes and I intend to keep it that way. Plus, it’s just weird that people you’ve never met get to decide that you’re an expert in something–like blogging, when my blog has been collecting dust for months.

I guess in some respects I’m not bad on social media. Between my Vanessa Kelly and VK Sykes facebook pages, I have almost 13,500 “friends.” Of course, the vast majority of those friends never see my posts, so there’s that. But, hey, it’s a fun place to hang out and catch up with readers, and also look for cute posts by my friends and those ever hilarious goats screaming videos. On Twitter, I have over 7,700 followers, although I’m not sure that really means anything. After all, I follow over 6,000 people myself, and I’m sure as heck not reading most if any of their tweets!

The truth is, I’m pretty inept when it comes to social media. Oh, I can do the basics, but I only figured out how to do gifs on Twitter just last week. Sad, I know. As for memes and graphics? Hopeless is my middle name. I can’t do up a meme to save my life.

Picard

Guess I need one of those tech nerds to do them for me – oh, wait. That’s exactly what I do – get someone to do them for me!

Social media can truly be a window into the wider world – other people’s worlds that I would never be able to glimpse (see: sheep farmer in Northern England). But I have to confess that I’m starting to get a bit weary of it all. It feels too intrusive, taking over bits and pieces of my life in ways I’m beginning to resent (as if it’s out of my control–which it is not, of course).

I suspect the American election might have something to do with that. You want social media cesspool, that’s a first class breeding ground right there. I try to insulate myself from it to a degree, but I do have family and friends on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and they like to post A LOT. I invariably get irritated and huffy and vow that I’m going to quit social media, but then hubby looks at me like this:

RDJ Jr.

Yeah, it never happens.

But I have cut my social media interaction by about half, I’d say. And what I’ve gained by that is more time to work on my books AND more time to tackle that monstrous TBR pile by my bed. You know what? I feel better for it–calmer, more focused, and not reacting like a hair-trigger six shooter to the latest social media outrage.

Even better, I’m reading a lot more. Social media can be fun, but books are just way more awesome.

There is, however, one social media element I refuse to quit–goats screaming videos. IMHO, you can never watch too many.

What’s your take on social media these days? Are there sites you avoid; do you set limits on your time spent on facebook? Or do you revel in the craziness of it all? Just leave a comment for a chance to win my latest VK Sykes contemporary romance, SEE YOU AT SUNSET.

seeyou 2

Vanessa Kelly

default-logo-200

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida. When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Vanessa's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

silver fox

I’ve never spent a lot of time on hair and makeup, for various reasons (like I’m bad at it). But when I started going grey in my thirties? Kitty bar the door, I was not ready for that. So I started getting my hair dyed, which went tickety-boo through my 40s with no problem. I really enjoyed experimenting with color, sometimes going red and other times going with lots of blonde highlights, just generally having a good time with it.

Then, several years ago, I came down with a WICKED flu that put me out of commission for three weeks. Shortly after I recovered, my stepmother treated me with a session at a high-end spa, which including getting my hair colored. Unfortunately, a few hours later, my head started to itch. And itch, and itch. By bedtime I was ready to rip my scalp off. Needless to say, I was diagnosed with a bad allergic reaction. I was also reacting to other things which had never bothered me before. Clearly, something in my body chemistry had changed, possibly (according to my doctor) as a result of that nasty flu.

Long story short and after a few more tries, I ended up switching to organic dyes and doing my own hair for the next several years. It was a PITA, but it did cover the grey and I also saved money doing it myself, so pretty much win/win.

And then several months ago I started reacting to the darn organic dye. ARGH!! At that point, I decided enough was enough and I started to let my hair grow out. Because who wouldn’t want to look like the silver fox in the picture above? Or like this wonderful lady?

Glenn Close

My hair, I was convinced, would come in silver and sleek and, since I wear it long, it would look totally cool and not make me look like my mother and her bubble hairdo from days of yore.

Well, not so much. It came in gnarly and steel-grey, and doesn’t really go with my olive-sallow complexion. Balance that, however, with itchy, rashy head and allergic breakouts.

So I forged on, growing out the grey and basically owning it just fine. Until a few weeks ago at a family reunion, when some of my female relatives told me that they would NEVER go grey, that it made women look unattractive and dull, and that the allergic reaction was just something you had to tolerate in order to not look like an old lady.

Yeah, it got a little judgy.

Anyway, I have to admit that I’m still on the fence about my grey hair–possibly because it’s not fully grown out yet. Some days I think it looks cool, and other days I’m convinced it makes me look older (and drab). Then I think, “what the heck is wrong with looking my age?!”

I will confess that I ran across a new, supposedly “natural” hair coloring product just the other day. It was on sale, so I did an impulse buy. I haven’t used it yet but you can bet that I will do a good patch test before I do.

And if it doesn’t work out? Well, apparently grey or silver hair is quite the fashion statement these days, even with young women.

young gray

Where do you stand on the whole grey debate? Do you color your hair or do you let nature take its course? One person who comments will win a digital copy of TALL, DARK, AND ROYAL, my historical romance that features an older heroine and a second chance at love.

Tall Dark Royal.ebook

Vanessa Kelly

default-logo-200

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida. When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Vanessa's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

Sharla Long and Karina Angeles. I’ll be in touch, ladies!

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