Wednesday, June 26, 2013


My guest, romance author, Karen Kelley, says she was an ignorant farm girl when she started her writing journey. I have to say, I've rarely found farm/ranch girls stupid. A bit naive, as are many new writers, in the corporate world of publishing but that only means conquering a learning curve. 
Karen says, “Publishing can be a rocky road with lots of highs and lows but, oh, what a fun trip!” 
To enjoy the trip one does have to develop self confidence and a thick skin but, I’ll Karen tell you more about that.

When I first started writing I was told you need a tough skin. At the time, all I could think about was getting published, always reaching toward that one goal. I figured I already had a pretty tough skin just from growing up—I was wrong.

If you keep getting rejection after rejection you'll either end up with an alligator hide or you'll give up. After six very long years I finally reached my goal. It happened really fast. I mailed off the manuscript and I got an offer by the end of the week. I'd hoped and prayed I would get "the call", but I don't think I really expected it to happen. You know how it is when you want something so bad you can almost taste it? Whether it's a new job or a dream vacation. I learned that to reach a goal you not only need a plan of action, but you also have to stop dreaming at some point and start doing. If I want to lose 10 pounds I have to eat right and exercise. There are no shortcuts. Have surgery? I've seen people gain the weight right back. But isn't the journey part of the package? For all the nicks I've gotten I've also grown and matured. I've learned to look at life from a different prospective.

Getting published did happen, though. Editor Hilary Sares at Kensington called in the middle of the afternoon and I quickly became a babbling fool without a brain. I'm surprised she didn't retract the offer. After we hung up I think I just sat on the sofa and cried. My dream had come true. I had it made.

Well, not exactly.

The line I sold to went under. I floundered until finally signing with an agent. The agent had me tearing apart manuscripts and I blindly followed where she led. She was an agent. I was still just an ignorant farm girl. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I eventually learned most of my ignorance came from not believing in myself. How many doubts have you had in the course of your lifetime? Did they cripple you?

One day I entered a contest author Lori Foster sponsored. I didn't win but she enjoyed my writing so much she sent it to her editor, Kate Duffy. Kate Duffy offered me a contract—a really nice one J In six months I quit my job nursing and wrote full-time  For the next 4 years, I was lived my dream going to conferences, speaking to writers groups.... Kate always said as long as she was an editor, I'd have a contract.

I put all my eggs in her basket. Neither one of us could predict she would get cancer. I became a better writer and a better person because of her. She was funny, she was a friend, and a lot of the time she scared the hell out of me. Kate could be a little gruff. I went back into nursing when Kensington dropped me right after Kate passed.
Did I mention the tough hide, alligator skin???

Yeah, I thought so.

Sometimes it's a hell of a lot easier to walk away from writing. But I couldn't. After a year or so my agent (a different one) got me a contract with Sourcebooks. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough money to let me go back to writing full-time  but my books would be out there. I felt like a writer again. Stupid, I know. I don't need validation from anyone to tell me I'm a writer. I only need to write. 

Kate once told me, "Don't worry about the technical stuff so much, Karen, just have fun writing the story." She was right. I've won more awards from books where 'I just had fun' writing them. I really miss hearing her voice. She was a very special editor. 

My 23rd book, Smoking Hot, came out this month. It's a sexy, steamy paranormal. And after that? Well, I don't have an agent anymore, and I don't want one at this point in my career. I've decided to go independent the end of August. I think I'll just have fun writing. 

Source Books will be giving away a copy of Smoking Hot.  For a chance to win just leave a comment.


Karen Kelley

Everything She Wants...

Working the night shift at the sheriff's office has given deputy Raine McCandless more than enough time to fantasize about the kind of man she'd like to take prisoner, so when she arrives home to find a sexy intruder waiting for her, she's pretty sure she must be dreaming.

...Can and Will Be Held Against Her

But Dillon Taylor, with his stunning blue eyes and killer tan, is 100% real, just not 100% human. Half-man, half-angel, he'd love to answer every naughty prayer Raine has ever had. But Raine is in serious danger. And Dillon can only fulfill her every fantasy if he can keep her alive.


Currently Karen writes for Sourcebooks and the Brava Imprint with Kensington Publishing. Karen writes full-time, and collects junk which she fondly calls antiques. Her husband can still be talked into mailing her manuscripts and also helping with her publicity. She has two grown children, one son-in-law and four grandchildren and a very spoiled Pekinese. She loves sitting on the patio on a warm spring day and procrastinating about her approaching deadline. You can find Karen: Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Website.