BLINDED (Elkridge Series, Book 1)
by Lyz Kelley
Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense
The first book in the ELKRIDGE SERIES debuts a quirky cast of characters. Follow along in the series to gather evidence to solve Sheriff Sam murder. Book #1 starts off with a double-bang! Sheriff Sam is murdered. Joey returns to Elkridge. Does that mean Mara will get a second chance at love?
A FLORIST WHO REFUSES HELP…Mara 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 had a crush on walks back into her life, she wonders if she’s getting a second chance to find happiness.
A DETECTIVE WHO WANTS TO PROTECT…Somebody killed Joey’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. When Mara is stalked, Joey wonders if the mystery man is the killer.
BUT, WILL THEY LEARN TO COMPROMISE? Joey’s boss is pressuring him to return to Seattle. Mara refuses to leave Elkridge. Neither wants to be apart, but will they take the risk and make the necessary sacrifices to be with each other?
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Meet the Author
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Lyz loves to tell stories about strong women who have faced extraordinary challenges, then pair them with men who have an enormous capacity to love, even if they may not know it. Exploring these wounded and strong characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—takes Lyz on an incredible, and sometimes unexpected journey. Lyz’s books have received high accolades in numerous writing contests. Lyz loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.LyzKelley.com.
Brand: Honorable Men, Brave Women, and a Healing Love
Mission: To write about emotional subjects and help the world heal through the written word.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? How old were you when you decided to pursue writing professionally?
When I was 8, 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 writing and learning and 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 the right things, even if loving someone comes at a personal 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. My process has evolved into a story structure outline, which works much better. Now, I write my first draft and focus on story structure and let my characters do what is natural. After I get the bones of the book down, I start several edit passes to deepen the emotions and add flavor to the book. Normally, before the book goes to an editor, I’ve done at least 4, maybe 5 passes of the book. After that, I work with content editor, line editor, and a proofreader to make sure I’m putting out the best book possible.
Have you won any awards for your writing?
Yes, actually. During my journey to write the best book possible, I’ve won several awards for three of my books. There is one book that has won an award that I don’t intend to publish. 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?
Character development is the driving force in my writing process. 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.
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 little 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 you come up with character names?
Don’t laugh…I usually just Google professional model names, or use an iPhone app called, Name Dice. Name selection is always hard because each character in a book needs to start with a different letter. In fact, in the book, Orphaned, I had a Rachelle and a Michelle in the book and beta readers kept getting confused so I had to change Michelle’s name to Caitlyn.
If I wanted to be a Beta Reader or one of your Advanced Readers, how do I sign up?
That’s an easy question. 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 contact me. I am the human on the other end of that email, and will respond.
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 always 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 and the person on the other end of the keyboard has just ripped my heart out and crushed it without even knowing how much their words hurt. Even so, I do appreciate the feedback. Feedback helps me get better. Over the years, I’ve gotten a much tougher skin, but there are days that are hard. 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 been given 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 my stories down, 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 have been?
Nothing. Each mistake I’ve learned from. I wouldn’t change a thing.
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 to understand if the story in your head has translated well onto the page. You also need people who can make you laugh or pull you back from the edge of the cliff when something happens. There are so many things that can chip away at your confidence and create insecurities. Friends help provide the perspective you need to keep writing.
How would you describe your writing style?
When I was young, I used to love to write poems. 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 it’s fullest, and finding that perfect word to communicate exactly what the character is feeling. It’s what makes writing exciting, exhausting, and euphorically fun.
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