July guest blog from Kelli A. Wilkins

Welcome to Mary's Garden. Before Kelli's post I have a garden tip on Safety from Hayden Homes.

Beat the Heat 
You need vitamin D, and being outside in the sun is the very best way to get it. And who doesn’t like
to soak in some rays on a gorgeous summer day? But, just like your plants, too much heat and sun can leave you feeling fried, dehydrated, and downright burnt. As such, knowing when enough is enough, and smart ways to beat the heat, is important.

In order to get all your gardening done in your new home’s yard, you’ll need to be outside. So here are some great summer gardening tips that are designed to help you provide your plants with the care they need, all while staying cool.

 1. Use a Sun Hat!
One of the best ways to keep the sun off of your face and neck while you’re in the garden (and look stylish while doing it) is to use a sun hat! Sun hats with a side brim that provide full coverage of your face, neck, and even chest are the best. Some hats are even made with UV-protective materials,  which may be a good option.

2. Don’t Forget Your Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is critical to feeling good and being safe when you’re outdoors, especially when temperatures are hot. Drink plenty of water before going outside, and sip frequently while working, too.

Check in next week for more tips. Now It's Kelli's turn. Welcome Kelli A. Wilkins.

Heating Up Summer Romances with Sizzling Details
By Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
Hello romance lovers!
Summer is officially here, and what better time to lose yourself in a romance? Today I’m sharing a few thoughts on how authors use details to spice up their summer romances.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the beach. The ocean waves are rolling into shore… you feel the sun on your skin and the warm, gritty sand beneath your toes… the air smells like salt water mixed with coconut-scented suntan lotion… You open your eyes and see a tanned hunk standing in front of you. A bead of sweat drips down his six-pack abs…

Did it feel like you were on the beach? Could you sense everything happening around you? Good, because conveying sensory details to readers is an excellent way to draw them into the book and make them part of the action.

More than anything, readers want to get inside the story, feel what the characters are feeling, and live vicariously in the world the author has created. When writing a summer romance (or any romance), authors should make the most of the five senses to bring the story alive. Exploring all the details of a scene gives the reader the experience of “being there.”

Here are a few examples of how authors bring everyday surroundings to life and enhance the sensory details in a story:
What’s the weather? How does the weather influence the action in a story? Is it too hot and humid to move? Does a sudden thunderstorm send everyone at the baseball game running for cover? Or is it a perfect breezy summer day? When does the scene take place? At an early morning sunrise? In the blazing afternoon heat? A cool summer night?

Liven it up with color!
Summer colors are usually bold and bright. Authors can use details to describe the heroine’s hot pink bathing suit, the hero’s cherry red convertible, or the vibrant turquoise beach towel they make love on…

Add some flavor:
The sense of taste is usually hard to work into a romance, but authors can get inventive. When the characters kiss, what do they taste? Zingy lemonade? Beer? Mint chip ice cream? Spicy BBQ sauce? Does the heroine taste like the fresh strawberries she’s just eaten?

The sounds of summer: Summer is a great time of year for main characters to be outside, so what do they hear in the background? People talking? Kids yelling and playing games? Splashing in a lake or a pool? Music from the ice cream truck? Carnival-ride sounds from a boardwalk? Sea gulls calling? Lawn mowers whirring?

Look around:
What do the characters see as they go through a scene? Fireflies? Bees buzzing around flowers? A tattoo peeking out from under a bathing suit? Her long legs? Are people watching them kiss on the beach?

Breathe deep: The sense of smell isn’t always crucial to a romance, but having a hero follow his nose to the scent of burgers cooking on a grill, or relaxing in the comforting smell of smoke from a campfire can enhance a scene. Maybe the heroine is turned on (or off!) when she smells suntan lotion. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Flowers are blooming all summer, and the heroine can be an avid gardener who loves the scent of roses, while the hero has allergies.

Reach out and touch: One way to pull readers into the action is to describe what the characters physically feel as they go through a scene. Authors can describe sweat trickling down the hero’s back, the brisk coolness of walking into an air conditioned room, jumping into a cold lake, rough sand under bare feet, or even what it feels like to touch the hero’s hot, sweaty skin…

I incorporated a lot of “summer” details into my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts. In this sizzling tale, Curtis and Sherrie fall in love over the course of a summer. I used the hot and sticky weather, cool summer drinks, and sultry summer nights to build heat between the two characters.

My summer paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, is set at the beach. (Yes, it’s quite an unusual setting for a vampire romance!) In this book, I used a variety of details to describe the hero’s obsession with the sun, sand, and surf (or as he put it: wax, water, and waves).
I contrasted all that with details of his nights spent with the vampire heroine (the moonlight reflecting off the ocean, making love on the deserted beach, and swimming at night). By enhancing the details, I showed how Brian and Anya lived in completely different worlds (literally, night and day) and still found summer love.

The next time you read a summer romance, pay closer attention to the little details the author has added. Notice how they draw you deeper into the world of the characters and the story. And don’t we all want to get swept away into another world for a while?
Whether you’re writing a summer romance, or losing yourself in one on a lazy afternoon, enjoy the summer!
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins

Here’s a look at Kelli’s summer romance, Trust with Hearts:

Trust with Hearts
After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.
Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.
Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever?

Order Trust with Hearts here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mgrK7R

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. 

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her NEW website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.


stanalei said…
Great tips! Thanks for sharing Kelli and Mary.

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