April's Books

Thursday, November 26, 2015

FREE--Taste of Traditional Regency Sampler

I've talked before about the Bluestocking League, as we call ourselves. Now we've put out a sampler of excerpts from the books of 5 of our members:

Regina Scott 

April Kihlstrom 

Gail Eastwood 

Camille Elliot 

Vanessa Riley

We've dubbed our sampler A Taste of Traditional Regency Romances: Extended Excerpts of Regency Novels and it's free!

We hope you will enjoy the excerpts and maybe discover you'd like to read the full books. Maybe you will find an author you haven't read before whose work you realize you'd love.

You can find the excerpt for:   

iBooks    Kindle    Nook    Kobo    Smashwords

Sunday, October 04, 2015

FREE for October


Because it's both Literacy and Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, I'm making the e-book version of Sophy Goes To Doggy Camp free wherever I can--for the month of October only.

Most of my published books have been romance novels but a few years I got so frustrated trying to find books for my (now 38 yr old) son (who has Down Syndrome) to read that I decided to start creating books for him based on how I KNOW he processes pictures, language and emotions. Sophy Goes To Doggy Camp is the 2nd in the series of Sophy Books I am creating. In this book, Sophy has to go to doggy camp (respite care) when her mom goes on a trip.

As with all the Sophy books,  SGTDC is designed to appeal to all young children and anyone who loves dogs as well as to be accessible to special needs individuals like my son.

free versions for October:

Kindle version
Google Play

99 cents for October


Paperback version  $ 10.99

Monday, September 21, 2015

Brainstorming Class

Normally, at this time of year, I would offer my 6 week Book In A Week class. Instead, I'm going to offer a two week brainstorming class.


Class: Brainstorming (From the Inside Out)
Dates: October 4, 2015 to October 16, 2015
Cost: $40
Deadline to sign up: October 2, 2015 (though I may allow last minute additions if there is space in the class)
How it all works: All lessons, answers, etc. are sent via email so class members may read and respond at their convenience.
Class size is limited!

Are you ready to start a new project or stuck on a current one? Would you love to have help brainstorming? Would you love to think about things in a new way, with questions you may not have heard before?

This class is designed to help you get a jump start on things. It's designed to use the fluid way our brains naturally work. We may write linearly but our brains tend to brainstorm nonlinearly. Writing is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but first we have to create the jigsaw puzzle pieces--and this class is designed to help you do just that! The focus is on how you can create a book that satisfies both your creative soul and will also delight agents, editors and readers.

If interested, email me at: aprilkihlstrom@yahoo.com with the title of this class in the header and let me know whether you prefer to pay via check or Paypal. If you email me and do not get a response within 24 hours, please, please, please email me again because sometimes things do disappear into cyberspace.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

His Lordship Takes A Tumble

When I wrote the Langford series (The Reckless Barrister, The Wily Wastrel and The Sentimental Soldier), I told the stories of the 3 younger brothers in the Langford family but I always wanted to also tell the story of the oldest brother and his wife: Athenia and Lord Darton. Now I have the chance to do so in His Lordship Takes A Tumble--a traditional (sweet) Regency.

Kindle    Nook    iBooks    Kobo  Print

George, Lord Darton needs a bride of utter propriety. Athenia needs a husband because of her own folly. Circumstances throw them together and need drives this marriage of convenience. And yet, when it’s least expected, the two discover love isn’t so impossible, after all—and Lord Darton’s brothers discover how badly they’ve misjudged their eldest brother and his wife, all these years.

One could say it's propriety meets utter folly. Here is a taste of HLTT:

. . . Athenia looked at each of them in turn. “What I say must never leave this room. No one outside this group must ever know the truth. Everyone else must continue to believe George and I are the prim and priggish couple we are accounted to be. Do I have your word?”
Only when each of the brothers and their wives had given it did she go on. She had a faraway look in her eyes as she said, “Your brother, Lord Darton, believed the only way to retrieve the family reputation was to marry a young lady of unexceptionable background, breeding and behavior. It was the only way he could think to guarantee that as you grew older, each of you would be accepted and have a future among the ton. It’s why he has always been so strict about your behavior. He worried that otherwise you might be tarred with the same brush as your parents. The only solution, he felt, was to marry and marry well and marry as quickly as he could.”
She paused. Yes, they began to look properly chastened as her words sank in. With a tiny spark of satisfaction, she went on, her voice softening as she did so. 
“As you know, he meant to marry Lord Carrington’s daughter. Indeed, I think he was more than half in love with her. It was only when he asked for her hand in marriage that he found out how bad things really were. I do believe the harshness of that refusal sent him into a kind of shock. The rest of what followed was a result of my folly. Yes, folly. I know you find that difficult to believe, but it is precisely because I was so foolish, and because of what it cost both of us, that I understand why your brother has been so adamant, over the years, about how we must behave and the risk to all of you if he could not curb your follies! Looking back, I still cannot believe how foolish and naive I was and even a lifetime will not suffice for me to repay your brother’s kindness in rescuing me.”  
She paused, took a deep breath and said, “This is how it all began.” . . .

Friday, July 31, 2015

Pinterest has corrupted me

Yes, I have to face the truth--Pinterest has corrupted me.

It started innocently enough. I created a board with my book covers. That wasn't so bad. I even found inspirational quotes and stuff about books so I started adding those.

Then I found pictures of Regency clothing and images  and I made boards for those.

I made a board for my Sophy books and dogs. That was innocent fun, too.

Lots of inspirational stuff. It was obvious I needed one for regular inspiration and one for writing inspiration. This was still just innocent fun. Who knew what lay ahead?

And of course there were cool places to visit and even photos of what might be in a perfect  home.

I know where it started going wrong. It was when I discovered photos of cool and geeky stuff on Pinterest. I knew I was in trouble when I lusted over a photo of a Dr. Who police box refrigerator.

And then it happened. I discovered my inner snark. You know, that self inside one keeps squished down in polite company? The one that never listened when your mother told you to be nice? Yes, that one. I discovered mine was far bigger than I ever thought. My snark board is growing every day. At first it was photos I stumbled across. Then I started seeking them out. Not every day. Of course not! Except...my addiction started growing. I know, I just know, that one of these days, one of those sayings on my snark board is going to come right out of my mouth when I'm in public!

What can I say? Pinterest has corrupted me. And the worst thing is, I'm really starting to like it....

Friday, June 26, 2015

My bObi is a teenager...

I got a new vacuum this week. I think it's a teenager. 

The box from Groupon came the other day. 

It said my bObi is a newborn.

But I think it's a teenager.

In the reviews, many people noted their bObis had trouble finding the charging station when they were done. Not mine. I have a teenager. Any time it gets anywhere near it's "bed," it tries to take a nap! 

And it likes to tease Sophy. It tried to climb her paws a few times, grabbed at her tail and even tried to take her toy. Sophy told bObi to STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

BObi is always hungry and gets into things it shouldn't.

My bObi is a teenager--and I love it anyway!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Romance Novels and Feminism

I was reminded today how I feel about romance novels and feminism by hearing about a graduate student asking writers questions about this. So I dug out a presentation I gave circa 2000 on the subject. Here is a portion of it:
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Some people think romance and feminism couldn’t possibly go together. My reaction is that romance novels are some of the most feminist writing around and I’d like to tell you why I think that.

First of all, let me say that I really am a feminist. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and I remember watching shows like Bewitched. I always wanted to ask Samantha why on earth she was letting some guy tell her what she could do with her gifts and talents!

I grew up being told that women could not do mathematics. I didn’t listen—which is why my undergraduate degree is in honors math and my graduate degree is in operations research. I don’t listen well.

So when it came time to write—the year my husband and I were living in Paris, France--it seemed natural to look at what kind of books were on the market and what I wanted to write about. I knew how many women read romance. Heck, I was reading romance. But I wasn’t always happy with the images in those books. So I decided to try to write one where the characters were the same age and—surprise, surprise!—the heroine was a mathematician. To my utter astonishment, Avalon books wanted to publish my work. So I wrote a few more. During this time my son was born with down syndrome and I said I’d get a 9 to 5 job when he was a little older. That was 23 years ago and I’m still writing romance!

Why do I love writing romance? And why do I think romance novels are feminist? Because the best romances celebrate women learning to be true to themselves. They celebrate women overcoming obstacles and creating the lives they want to have. And they portray men and women coming together in ways that empower both of them—so that neither is diminished and each is greater than he or she would be alone. And to me that’s feminism—to celebrate the possibilities—for both women AND men!

Romance novels were the first to show women in careers such as lawyers, doctors, heads of companies. Women in romance novels no longer wait for a knight in shining armor to rescue them. They are just as likely to not only rescue themselves but help the guy out as well. In the best of situations the men and women help each other. And isn’t that what we would like in our own lives? Not to live in armed camps but to work together to create more than we could each accomplish alone?

Romance novels are about possibilities. About ways to rise above the obstacles we find in our lives. To overcome the tragedies and traumas and find a way to triumph. And I think that’s one of the most empowering messages anyone can hear.

Now I’ll grant you, I write Regencies. You won’t find female lawyers in my books. But you will find women living in a time of change—because the Regency era mirrors our own in that respect—trying to balance what they feel they owe their families and society with the need to be true to who they are. And isn’t that the challenge we all face in our own lives? My characters are, I hope, true to their time but that doesn’t mean they are pushovers.

In The Wily Wastrel, Juliet’s mother wanted a dainty Juliet. Juliet isn’t dainty—or classically feminine. She rather fix a carriage wheel than sew a seam. She gets matched up with a guy who has to pretend he wins his money gambling because it’s disreputable to earn money if you were a gentleman back then. So both have to deal with expectations and how to be true to themselves anyway.

In The Sentimental Soldier, Prudence doesn’t hesitate to masquerade as a Moroccan Prince or a male gypsy, and as a nun for good measure.

In Miss Tibbles Interferes, Mrs. Merriweather is a former governess. She has to deal not only with the expectations for women, but for former governesses as well—even though being married to a colonel now makes her a lady. And nothing ever stops her from doing anything she thinks needs to be done!

Probably my most feminist heroine is Penelope in An Outrageous Proposal. She was never going to get married because she was never going to let any guy tell her what to do—no way, no how, not ever! Well, the hero manages to change her mind, but not without changing a few of his own ideas along the way.

The point is that in romance novels—mine or most other writers these days, you will find strong women, taking charge of their lives, overcoming all sorts of obstacles to create the lives they want to have. And they find ways to do it without throwing away the ties to that people who matter to them. And that’s important. Because the most profound fear any of us has is that of being abandoned. Babies who are not loved literally die—it’s called failure to thrive. The message in these books is that you can be true to yourself and along the way maybe still find someone who shares your vision. And that may be enough to give all of us the courage to try. And what could be more feminist than that?