I should start by telling you I’m not pregnant. We did wind up adopting a four-month-old kitten from a no-kill organization this week. Tucker is a Russian Blue. The little white spot on his neck is considered a breeder “defect” and may have been what landed him on an adoption list. I don’t care. I just tell him it’s where the angels kissed him when he was done percolating. 🙂


But this post isn’t about kittens. It’s about the impending delivery of my first book, STRIPPED DOWN. I feel like I’ve been “carrying” this book since October 2013, and it hasn’t been an easy term. There have been emotional highs and lows, struggles, nausea, fear, elation and more. Now? Well, now it’s time to let go and watch the book make its debut. The digital book is available September 1. The paperback? Well, that depends. If you’ve ordered it from Amazon, they’re advertising an August 19 release date. That would be Tuesday…as in next Tuesday.

paper bag with bottle inside over white backgroundSomeone hand me a paper bag.

Having been published before, I didn’t really think this would feel different, scarier, somehow bigger. But it does. STRIPPED DOWN is my first mass market paperback. With that comes this underlying knowledge that the book’s scope and reach will be much larger than anything I’ve done before. I might find my book in grocery stores or big box retailers or holding a regular spot on the bookstore’s bookshelf. It’s the idea that I have a Goodreads giveaway (here) for the book, and the number of entries has far surpassed my expectations. The number of people who have already read the book and rated it caught me off guard. That they like the book? I’m just a freakin’ happy mess over that particular fact.

Let me amend my earlier request. Someone hand me a paper bag with a bottle of wine inside.

I don’t know if this roller coaster of emotions will change as more of my books are published. I can only hope I’m lucky enough to find out.

CONTESTLeave a comment on on this blog entry and tell me what type of hero is your absolute favorite–stripper, cowboy, military man, cop, doctor, etc.–and what it is that makes him take top spot on your list. Three winners will be chosen at random to receive their choice of either a digital or paperback copy of STRIPPED DOWN. Winners will be chosen on Saturday, August 23, and contacted via email. Winners’ names will be posted on my next regular blog post (September 16, 2014). Good luck!

26 Responses to “Labor and Delivery? Imminent. Paper Bag Required. Kitten Optional.”
  1. Marcy Shuler says:

    Congrats on your first mass market paperback, Kelli! 🙂

    I love wounded warrior heroes. There’s just something about a tough guy that doesn’t feel he’s lovable that gets to me. He’s my M&M man – his hard candy shell is protecting his warm, melty center. *sigh*

    • Hi Marcy!

      Thank you! I’m seriously excited. 🙂

      I absolutely love the way you describe your favorite hero as an M&M man. That’s positively clever (and I wish *I* had thought of that particular expression!!!). Wounded warriors are amazing for the very reasons you list–tough, untouchable, fierce. But they also have honor, protectiveness and a power to love that makes them positively delicious. Not that I, uh, love them or anything. (sigh) What a lie. I love them so much. I have a wounded warrior urban fantasy that I hope makes it to print someday. Regardless, I’ll be writing some of these heroes into future stories.

      Good luck in the contest!

  2. Mary Preston says:

    Congratulations!! I can tell how much this means to you.

    I love them all. I’d have a different one each day of the month, but right now I seem to be have rounded up a few cowboys. They are all heart.

    • Good morning, Mary.

      Thank you for seeing how important this is to me. More than anything, I want to give readers books they want to re-read and characters that won’t let them go after they turn the last page.

      I have to agree with you that I’m passionate for heroes. Period. Doesn’t really matter what type, so long as they display heroic tendencies and love their heroines without compromise. After I finish edits on the third Pleasure Before Business book, I’ll be starting in on my next series. The heroes? COWBOYS! I hope you’ll enter the contests for those books. I’m madly in love with the stories and am chomping at the bit to get them out for readers.

      Good luck in the contest!

  3. Colleen says:

    Oh congrats! Wishing you the very best with this book! 😀
    Fav hero… I love the variety out there… so many different guys and personalities to meet between the pages of books. Choosing a fav is hard, but I do love the guys that feel that they are not lovable… that finally have someone come into their lives and show them they are!

    • Hi Colleen.

      Thank you for the warm wishes!

      I totally understand having a hard time picking a single hero profile. There are so many appealing things about the hero archetype. I happen to simply adore the hero who gets broadsided by love and can’t stop himself from falling. If he’s tough, wounded, alpha, quiet, bookish, smart, a cowboy–it’s all good for me, whether I’m reading about them or writing them. 😀

      Thanks for leaving a comment, and good luck in the contest!

  4. Jane says:

    Congrats on the new addition to the family and your debut release. You can now unleash cute kitten pics for all the world to see. I do enjoy reading about cop and other law enforcement heroes because they’re usually the brave and intelligent men we look for.

    • Hi Jane.

      Thank you for the congratulations on the baby and the book. I tried to post a picture of Tucker with this blog. Clearly, I failed. LOL I’ll get a good picture of him and pot it with my next blog. Maybe he’ll have stopped to catch his breath by then. At the moment? He’s exploring every nook and cranny in the house at about mach 3. 🙂

      I’ve read a few law enforcement stories that had great heroes. The absolute serve-and-protect attitude of those men gives me warm fuzzies. There’s a contemporary romance about an FBI agent living undercover next to the suspect’s ex who has gone into witness protection. They fall in love and beat all kinds of odds. It was an awesome story! Now ask me if I can remember the title… LOL If I can find it, I’ll post a second response to your blog entry.

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest!

      • Jane says:

        That plot sounds familiar. I do hope you remember the title so I can find out for sure if I’ve already come across this book.

  5. Laney4 says:

    If I were allowed alcohol, I’d have a toast to you right now. I’m raising my water glass instead. Congratulations!!! That must be a wonderful feeling. DO enjoy these special moments in life, and may you be blessed with many more….
    I’m partial to sheikhs, although I enjoy heroes from all walks of life. I think it is the powerfulness of a sheikh – he goes after what he wants, no holds barred (and he has the money with which to do that).
    Thanks for reminding me about sheikhs … and strong cowboys … and virile CEOs … and hunky carpenters … and thoughtful doctors … and and and the list goes on and on. Man, am I going to have sweet dreams tonight!

    • Hi Laney4!

      Seeing as I’m not really allowed alcohol either, I’ll raise my water bottle with you! Cheers! And many, many thanks for your kind wishes. I’m grateful.

      Ooooh, sheiks. I should have added them to my first list. (hangs head in shame) Sorry to have left them out. There’s something absolutely appealing about a man who has the strength of conviction as well as the means to go after what he wants without apology. I think it’s incredibly sexy when a hero–any type of hero–focuses on the heroine and refuses to let her get away. It’s amazing when it’s the hero who believes in love first. (happy wiggles)

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest.

      Sweet dreams! 😀

  6. Tammy Yenalavitch says:

    My vote would be a cowboy. Love their morals and ethics. They are hard workers and so sexy!

    • Hi Tammy.

      I’m with you on the appeal of cowboys. In fact, to be honest, I married one! I met my cowboy late in college years and have been together 19 years now. 🙂 When we first married, we lived on the family ranch for about 3 1/2 years before we made a few career changes. But no matter where we go and no matter what he does for a living, he’s always, first and foremost, a cowboy. I love that man…

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest!

  7. Kaelee says:

    I like heroes who are self made men. Confident that they can take on the world but not so full of themselves that they can’t show compassion. I don’t need my heroes to be super rich but I do like them to be hard working and honest. I love any profession but I’m partial to military doctors.

    • Kaelee says:

      Just read the blurb for Stripped Down. It sounds like a must read. I have heard of female strippers earning their way through college but a male Stripper payiny the bills puts a whole new twist on things.

      • Hi Kaelee!

        I have a total soft spot for a confident man who **knows** the difference between true confidence and unappealing arrogance. It’s a fine line to walk at times, but confidence is so much more appealing than arrogance — so, so much more.

        And thank you for checking out STRIPPED DOWN! I love every guy in this series because of their personal struggles and ethics and sheer determination to find their way through their personal stories and come out with a whole new view on success — one that includes the love of a good woman. 🙂

        Thank you for the comments, and good luck in the contest!

  8. Cathy W says:

    I like my heroes a bit…rugged. Cowboys are usually good. As is really anyone who does physical labor. Not to say that I’d turn down any of the other heroes, I enjoy any that make a good story, but there is something about the outdoor hero. Mmm mmm mmm!!

    • Hi Cathy.

      There IS something about a man who might hone his muscles in a gym but earns them outside, isn’t there? But I’m like you — doesn’t mean in ANY way I’m going to turn down a great hero. I just like the idea of a hard-working man, and that can come in many definitions.

      After my cowboys (2015), I have a proposal for my editor about some pretty rugged outdoor men that may just fit the bill. I’ll be sure to post here if it’s something my editor likes!

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest!

  9. Kimh says:

    Congrats on book, hot cover,
    I,like fireman and many more in uniform
    Thanks for contest

    • Thank you, Kimh!

      I’m an *incredible* fan of this particular cover. I wanted an abtastic cover and lo, the art department delivered in FINE fashion! LOL

      Men in uniform, particularly those in public service or the military, really are hot. No one will convince me otherwise. 🙂 Some of our local firemen definitely fit the bill. Maybe I’ll write a public service hero so I can go interview them… 😀

      You’re very welcome for the contest. Good luck in it!

  10. bn100 says:

    any kind of alpha- depends how they’re written

    • Hi bn100.

      The alpha male is a very hot creature, is he not! I love his take-charge attitude and determination in *everything.* Too delicious!

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest!


  11. Ocotilla says:

    gotta love a military man. I should know I married one.

    • Hi Ocotilla.

      There is something about military men that wrecks me. I mean **wrecks** me. I get weak in the knees and my breathing gets a little shallow.(Whew. Is it hot in here?) But put them in their dress blues and I’m done for. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the contest!


  12. katie says:

    professional type. I love a man in a hot suit. I married one, so I guess it’s fine!

  13. Hi Katie!

    A well-cut suit on a well-cut man? You’re talking total eye candy! It might sound like I’m agreeing with everyone, but here’s the thing: I really appreciate the wide variety of heroes out there and I’m not too picky in how they’re packaged. Sure, I have my favorites, but overall? A well-written hero is going to win my heart.

    And if you love men in suits, you just might enjoy STRIPPED DOWN. A suit happens to be the first thing the hero sheds. 🙂

    Thank you for leaving a comment, and good luck in the contest!


Cover Art Copyright @by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. BLAZE, HARLEQUIN and the JOEY design are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited, used with permission.
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