Vanessa Kelly
Vanessa Kelly


Jaunty News, Vanessa Kelly

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It’s that time of year–where people are ready to end it all by jumping into the nearest snowbank. Or escape south to sunnier climes, where the days AND nights are warm and the Mai Tais ever-flowing. At this point, escape feels more like a necessity than a luxury!

Well, I might not be able to buy you a plane ticket south, but I can give you a little escape to the beach. That’s because I have a new book out under my VK Sykes pen name! It’s called MEET ME AT THE BEACH, and it’s set on a pretty little island off the coast of Maine. In the summer–I promise! It’s bright sunshine, warm sand, delicious lobster, and a whole lot of love.

Meet Me at the Beach cover

Don’t you feel better just looking at the cover?! This book is very close to my heart for a few reasons. First, I wrote it with my hubby, which was a lot of fun. Second, the little town of Seashell Bay, where our story takes place, is modelled on a real place–the Calendar Islands of Casco Bay, Maine. My dad and stepmother have a cottage on one of those islands, and it’s just the loveliest, most peaceful place you could imagine, with a truly welcoming feel. That’s the vibe we set out to create with this book and our new Seashell Bay Series.

Here’s the blurb:


When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he’s more handsome than ever. If Aiden’s in town, the rumors must be true about his family’s plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.

Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.

For an excerpt and buy links, please visit my VK Sykes website. And dream of the beach!

Readers, I’ll give away one print copy of MEET ME AT THE BEACH to someone who comments today. Just tell me where you’d like to escape the winter blahs for a chance to win!


Years ago I began aseries titled Misadvantures in Matrimony. It was about four girls who formed a Spinster’s Club because they wanted adventures, not marriage. It was to be a 4-book series, and the third book was my favorite because it featured two of the girls and was based on the real-life story of an anvil priest in Gretna Green who mistakenly married the wrong couples to each other.

Here’s my Jaunty post about Blackthorne’s Bride, which ended up being nominated for a Rita award.

I always intended to write the fourth book, and I even began it, but I ended up changing publishers, and my new publisher wasn’t too keen on publishing the fourth book in a series they didn’t begin. So I put Nick and Ashley’s story away.

The Pirate Takes a Bride

Readers, however, did not forget. Blackthorne’s Bride came out in 2007, and not a month (okay, maybe there have been a few months) has gone by since then that I haven’t received a reader email or question via facebook or twitter as to when Nick and Ashley’s story was coming. So today I’m thrilled to announce that the 4th book is out!

The Pirate Takes a Bride is Nick and Ashley’s story, and it picks up right where Blackthorne’s Bride left off.  I can’t tell you how fun it was to finish this series–except the whole ship thing.


I love pirates, but I wish they didn’t spend so much time on ships. I had to ask my trusty dad to help me with the research again, and you know that means hours of me listening to lectures about wind gage and French versus British naval warfare tactics.

Pirate Porcupine

And, of course, Jaunty won’t be happy with me because there’s no porcupine. I tried to sneak one in, but they didn’t live off the coast of Gibraltar, where much of this book takes place.

But the upside of all of this? Pirates! Pirates are pretty sexy, and I think Nick is one of the sexiest of all. He’s just such a bad boy. He and Ashley have a past, and we finally get to find out what he did to make her so angry. Not that she’s without secrets of her own.

Pick up a copy of the book if you feel like a fun, adventurous read. It’s only $2.99 in ebook. Do you love pirates? Why or why not? Comment below to win a copy of the book (digital or print–your choice)! Randomly chosen winner announced Sunday, May 18.

Read the first 3 chapters free on my website.

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iTunes  |  Kobo


Ashley Brittany is living a nightmare. She’s been mistakenly married to the one man she despises. Months ago, Lord Nicholas took her virtue then scorned her. Now, Ashley will do anything to have her revenge . . . anything but expose her ugly secret.

Nick Martingale has a secret, too: he’s Captain Robin Hood, a pirate with a fearsome reputation. But when Nick learns his archenemy, the Barbary pirate Yussef, attacked innocents Nick has sworn to protect, he can think of nothing but vengeance.

Only one person stands in his way.

His wife.

Shana Galen
Shana Galen

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Jaunty News

The blog is having some maintenance done this weekend, so we won’t have a new post on Saturday, and winners will be announced in the wee hours of Monday morning, as opposed to our usual Sunday. So scroll down, comment on Lily’s blog, and we’ll see you Monday.

Humphry Bogart

Every so often, the publishing industry seems to have a hissy-fit over a particular genre, declaring it dead or, at the very least, on life support.  Lately, the talk has been about the death of historical romance–which is balderdash, IMHO–but a few years back to was all about the tragic demise of romantic suspense.  Despite the popularity of a genre that has great crossover appeal with its ability to pull in mystery and thriller readers, there was no-way, no-how you could sell a romantic suspense novel to a traditional publishing house unless you were already a successful author in that genre.  And, unfortunately, sometimes not even then–or at least that was the accepted wisdom.

But that carved-in-granite proclamation–that readers were bored with romantic suspense–never rang true for me.  On TV, for instance, cop and detective shows always rank right at the top, with programs like Castle and Bones (both containing strong romantic elements) pulling in huge audiences.  In books, Harlequin’s suspense lines keep steaming along, and historical mysteries written by authors like Deanna Raybourn and Elizabeth Peters (again, strong romantic elements) are very popular.


Personally, I think readers never stopped reading romantic suspense, as a perusal of bestseller lists seems to bear out.  Readers simply found their way around industry roadblocks to find the publishers or indie authors who could give them their suspense fix.

And thank goodness for that because I just published my first romantic suspense novel this week.  It’s called Lethal Confessions, and I co-wrote it with my hubby under our V.K. Sykes pen name.  This book was a real labor of love for us and we had a great time writing it–although I will admit that the serial killer-villain scared the heck out of me.  It’s an action-packed thriller with a strong detective-heroine and a really sexy hero, a former pro baseball player who’s key to hunting the killer down.  Good, creepy fun!

So, what about you?  Do you agree with the pundits who insist that romantic suspense is deader than a doornail?  If not, who are some of your favorite romantic suspense or mystery authors?  One person who comments will win a copy of Lethal Confessions!


Lethal Confessions is available now!




Contrary to scurrilous rumors circulating around the internet (I’m looking at you, Jaunty), I can assure you that the JQs in attendance at the Romance Writers of America conference are hard at work.  With workshops and meetings to attend, not to mention the very serious business of networking–okay, some of that does take place in the bar–it’ll be a miracle if we’re not all worn to the bone by the end of the conference.

So in order to keep ourselves in top trim, the JQs decided to start the day off right with a healthy breakfast.

Here are Jesse and Mia before their first cup of coffee.

Jesse & Mia

Yeah, things were looking a little grim for a moment there.  But then Mia’s sausages arrived.

Mia and sausage

Unfortunately, on the other side of the table, the caffeine had not yet kicked in for Kristan and Shana.

Shana G

If the photo looks a little murky, it’s because I was so shocked by what I was seeing that I almost dropped my phone.  Fortunately, Robyn calmly took charge and got everyone sorted out.



In fact, after several cups of coffee and lots of protein, we were able to get ourselves organized for this:

Jaunty Quills at breakfast

Well, you know what they say–breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for hungry Quills!

How do you start your day?  Do you drag yourself out of bed, growling at the world until you get that first cup of coffee?  Or do you leap up, ready and raring to go?

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