Happy happy Wednesday! I’m so excited to be on this blog tour because this is one of those books that started off with me wondering how the heck it was going to work and then ended with me so disappointed that there wasn’t more! So let’s dive right into it!
Title: Blinded by Lyz Kelley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 7th February 2017
A small town murder. A second chance at love.
Somebody killed Joey Gaccione’s brother. After a ten-year absence, the big city detective returns home to Colorado for the funeral knowing he will be pressured to find Sheriff Sam’s killer. Joey’s instincts say whoever murdered his brother is part of something more sinister than the Elkridge deputies can handle.
Mara Dijocomo’s dreams died the night a drunk driver killed her parents and sister, and left her permanently wounded. After months of therapy, she’s finally adjusting to her new reality while working to save her mother’s floral business. When the first boy she ever loved walks back into her life, she wonders if she and Joey are getting a second chance to find love.
As Joey and Mara’s love blooms, the evidence becomes clear the local deputies are either ill-equipped to comprehend what’s happening, or someone’s covering up a crime. Joey and Mara fight to balance between their careers, family, and their renewed love until the FBI contacts Joey ultimately tipping the scales.
If you like a steamy romance, deep emotional topics, a thread of mystery, and a cozy happy ending then BLINDED is for you. The first book in the ELKRIDGE SERIES debuts a quirky cast of characters and begins introducing evidence to solve Sheriff Sam murder.
BLINDED: Amazon Purchase Link: http://geni.us/LyzKelleyBLINDEDbnw
Once I picked up this book, I really couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those where you tell yourself that you’re going to read one more chapter, and then that chapter has a cliffhanger of an ending, so of course you have to read the next chapter, and then that leads to less and less sleep, and that’s okay, really. Luckily, I started it on a weekend and got cozy under a blanket, and I didn’t move for hours.
Mara is the best: determined to do things her own way, yet she doesn’t mind Joey – her crush since high school – occasionally helping her. She’s stubborn – something I can completely relate to – and she speaks her mind, never hesitating to tell people what’s right. Joey complements her perfectly, never pushing or pulling to help, but putting a suggestion of help out there and seeing if she takes it. Without her knowing it, he’s been in love with her since high school, too, but, sigh, big brothers often get in the way of these things. Trust me, I know this.
But their love, like most, is a rollercoaster, and they have to navigate the waters of dead family members, a town that seems more sinister than a town should be, inept local cops, long-distance love, and Mara’s condition. You’re cheering for them through the whole book, and each bump in the road sends you into near tears. Like I said before, the only downside of this book is that there’s an ending, when really you just want it to continue forever.
Meet the Author
Award-winning, contemporary romance author Lyz Kelley lives in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. Lyz writes about brave women who have faced extraordinary challenges, and the honorable men who have an enormous capacity to love, even if they may not know it.
A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy through her masterfully written stories.
To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Also visit LyzKelleysHeroes.com to join Kelley’s Heroes, Lyz’s VIP club. Members receive an exclusive copy of A Soldier’s Wife, learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.
Perpetual Giveaway Link: http://geni.us/LyzKelleyGiveaways
Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com
Kelley’s Heroes (VIP Club) Sign Up: www.LyzKelleysHeroes.com
Why would readers enjoy this book?
My Elkridge Series is a puzzle. In book 1, BLINDED, Sheriff Sam is murdered. It will take 6-books to solve the crime. Word of caution: There are some red herrings throughout the series. Solving the crime will not be easy, and you don’t have to wait long. All books will be launched in 2017. If you like sensual romances, with deep emotional topics, threads of suspense, and a happy-ever-after then BLINDED, a stand-alone love story in the Elkridge Series, is for you. Let the mystery begin. ~Lyz Kelley~
Frequently Asked Questions:
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? How old were you when you decided to pursue writing professionally?
When I was eight, I began writing a story, first in my head, and later in my diary. The world I dreamed about was big and complex; filled with interesting creatures. When I turned 40, I tried to translate the story I’d lived with all those years to the page…and couldn’t. So I sought help. Romance Writers of America was the only group that said, “Come on in. We’ll help.” So, I started exploring the craft of writing. One day, when I’ve learned enough to write such a complicated story, I will write about the world that exists in my head.
Why do you write about honorable men, brave women, and a healing love?
I used to think I wrote about strong men and women. After all, some of the men in my stories are modeled after my husband, a former military guy, and the strongest man I know. But then I realized I write about characters that are healed by love. The characters I write about aren’t just mentally or physically strong, but brave and honorable and willing to do what’s right, even if loving someone involves a sacrifice.
What is your writing process?
Over the years my writing process has changed. When I first started, I plotted and plotted, making massive spreadsheets of every little detail. I knew everything I could about my characters and story before I began, but my books turned out stiff and emotionless. Now, I write my first draft, focusing on story structure and let my characters do what is natural. After I get the bones of the book down, I review and edit to deepen the emotions and add flavor. Typically, I’ve done at least four passes of the book before it goes to an editor. After that, I work with a content editor, a line editor, and a proofreader to make sure I’m putting out the best book possible.
Have you won writing awards?
Yes, I’ve won several awards for three of my books: Blinded, Abandoned, and Shattered. There are four other books also sitting in the archives of my computer. These, I call my practice books, and will remain in a folder to be looked at when I need to reflect on how far I’ve come on this writing journey.
How do you develop your characters?
I start with what the character fears the most, and then move onto the false belief that character has created to cope with that fear. Then I start building a growth arc to help that character resolve their fear through a healing love. After that, secondary characters are used to entice main characters to reflect, either by mirroring bad behavior or “calling out,” essentially creating a catalyst for change.
How do you come up with character names?
Don’t laugh…I usually Google professional model names, or use an app called Name Dice. Name selection is difficult. In Orphaned, I had a Rachelle and a Michelle, but beta readers kept getting confused so I changed Michelle’s name to Caitlyn.
If you couldn’t read or write for a day, how would you spend your time?
I love spending time chatting with friends on Facebook or Twitter, or researching new words for my Word Wednesday posts. I also enjoy designing notes for my quotes and sharing them on Pinterest. If my husband isn’t traveling for his job, I like spending time with him, playing with my four-legged fur babies, or exercising. Several times a year, I like to get away to explore, usually to international destinations. I enjoy experiencing new cultures, visiting museums, or studying the city architecture or landscapes. My favorite trips so far have been to Machu Picchu and Prague.
How do I sign up to become a beta reader or one of your advanced readers?
You sign up on the website http://www.LyzKelleysHeroes.com. All the information is available. I’ve created a VIP Club for those special members who provide feedback or leave reviews. In return, this special group is the first to see my covers, hear release news, and receive freebies. If readers have additional questions, they can always email me. I enjoy hearing from readers.
If you wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?
I love one-word titles for my books, so I would believe the book title would be Determined. My husband says I’m the most determined person he’s ever met.
What do you find the hardest about writing?
I think it’s the mental anguish that goes into the writing process. Each word, each sentence is a struggle to get right. Every day I push, push, push to get better, and then I get edits back or read a review that rips my heart out. . Even so, I do appreciate feedback because it helps evolve my writing and I’ve developed a tougher skin. For me, no actor, singer, artist, photographer, or anyone who is brave enough to share their creation with the world, will get a negative thought from me. I know what it takes to put myself out there. It’s hard, but there’s something in all creative types that compel artists to keep reaching for their nirvana.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing or life?
The best advice I’ve received was from my great-grandmother. She said, “Set your goals high. If you don’t, you will never know what you might have been capable of achieving.” And boy, did I set my goals high. When I first started writing, I figured it would take me two, maybe three years to write my book. Ten years later, I have my first viable project. Most writers will tell you that publishing is a marathon, not a sprint—a very accurate description.
If you could go back and change one thing about your writing journey, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned from each mistake..
What advice do you wish someone would have given you before you started writing your first book?
Find your tribe. Find the people who will help you achieve your dream. Writing is a community effort. You need people who give you constructive feedback and help you figure out if the story in your head has translated well onto the page. You also need people who can make you laugh or who will pull you from the cliff’s when something happens. Friends provide the perspective and support you need to keep writing.
How would you describe your writing style?
I loved writing poems when I was young. I loved the struggle to find the right word that rhymed, and the beat of each line. Maybe, that’s why it takes me so long to write my novels. I still love using the English language to its fullest, and finding that perfect word to communicate exactly what the character is feeling. It’s what makes writing exciting, exhausting, and euphorically fun.
BLINDED: Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQ)
Why did you develop Elkridge, your small-town series?
Both my mom and dad grew up in small towns and I loved the idea of a microenvironment for the setting of my series. Since childhood, I heard many fun stories about small-town life. I lived in a fairly small town growing up, so I figured why not create a town in Colorado? Elkridge was pulled from many different elements of nearby mountain towns to create a unique place. Don’t go looking for Elkridge, it doesn’t exist, but have fun visiting through my new series.
You mention in your author notes working with an FBI Special Agent.
Yes, Special Agent Michael Bantner came to speak to our writing group when I lived in Philadelphia. Years later, when I started plotting the Elkridge series, he helped with the technical aspects of the plot. He loved my story idea, and said it was one of the most realistic plots he’d heard. I was very excited. To get some of the local details correct, I also interviewed one of my high school friends, who worked in the local sheriff’s department. I love research, so it was a lot of fun.
Are any characters in BLINDED based on real people in your life?
The character that is most real to me is Sam. My brother, Sam, was always going head first into life. Always wanting to be the hero, he often didn’t listen to other people’s advice. Don’t get me wrong—we were best friends, and I loved him dearly. When he died just before I graduated high school, I was devastated. I can relate to how both Mara and Joey feel about people they love being snatched from their lives. Those feelings are real, and even after all this time, I still can feel the chasm my brother’s absence has left on my heart.
When Joey first shows up in Elkridge, he has no intention of searching for his brother’s killer. Why?
My technical experts suggested a brother wanting to investigate his brother’s murder, in another jurisdiction, would not be feasible. Sure, romance books are based on fantasy, and there is nothing better than an alpha male charging in to save the day. However, I wanted to write a more emotional book. When my brother died, we were very close. While writing the book, I started asking myself , what if Joey wasn’t close with his brother? What if he had regrets? What if he could investigate the most horrific crimes, but couldn’t stomach investigating his brother’s homicide?
Mara is such an unusual heroine. How did you develop her character?
Mara was developed out of an exercise at a writing retreat. C.J. Lyons, a New York Times best-selling author, was giving a lecture on the use of senses in writing. Most authors use sight as the primary go-to sense, and we were exploring the use of other senses to add flavor to our writing. I really struggled with the exercise. Like anything, I knew that conquering a problem takes practice. So, I wrote a novella. Then a friend talked me into writing a full-length book—thus BLINDED was created.
Where did you get the idea for Kym’s quirky character?
Kym (WHO IS KYM?) was a lot of fun to write. Mara, the heroine, is so serious and a bit like me that I thought she needed someone who tilted her world a bit. There were times when writing Kym, I had to laugh. The humorous funeral scene actually happened to a friend of mine. She and her family were at a funeral and her uncle started cracking jokes to lighten the heaviness of the situation. Since I couldn’t find any way around excluding a funeral scene from the book, I decided to adopt the idea to make the scene a bit lighter.
There are so many fun characters in Elkridge. Are you planning to write more books?
Yes, book two is Kym’s book. It’s a 85-page novella. If you want a quick weekend or airplane read, SPURNED is a good book to pick up. The eBook will be available in March. ABANDONED is a full-length book that introduces new characters and includes characters you met in BLINDED, will be available in April. All books in the 6-book series should be out in 2017.