I Love Book Research!

One of the most fun parts of my job as a novelist is going on a research trip to the city where a future book will be set. WHAT MATTERS MOST is the final release in the Texas Gold Collection. This story is set in AUSTIN, TEXAS and features a down-on-her-luck gal who finally lands her dream job, only to learn the public relations firm is a front for a political organization doing opposition research on the young candidate she’s falling in love with.

Let me share some of the REAL SETTINGS where this book takes place:


This is the seat of politics in the Lone Star State, the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin. Isn’t it beautiful?


The historic Driskill Hotel is the scene of an early encounter between the rival candidates, Governor Wyndall Holiday and his challenger, young and upcoming Senator Nathan Emerson.


This is the Governor’s Mansion where First Lady Amanda Joy plots to secure her husband’s political ambitions.


Central Market is a popular upscale grocery store and where protagonist Leta Breckenridge works as a floral assistant.


Leta supplements her meager income with a second job at The Hole in the Wall bar.  This is where she first suspects her work associate, Bernard Geisler, can’t be trusted.

Five Sixty inside

The restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower in Dallas is where Senator Emerson breaks off his relationship with Tiffany, a girl with her own ulterior motives.


Zilker Park is a popular place to gather for fun and is the setting of a political rally that turns the tide for Leta–both professionally and personally.


No tourist can miss seeing the bats take flight at dusk from the Congress Avenue Bridge. This eery scene is paramount to Operation Brainchild coming to a climactic head, leaving Leta with an impossible choice to make.

When things seem too good to be true, they often are!  A story of political intrigue and emotional romance collide in WHAT MATTERS MOST!

What Matters Most by Kellie Gilbert

Available NOW where all fine books are sold!

Behind the Scenes

My new book A REASON TO STAY released a few weeks ago. Since that time, I’ve been attending book events, book clubs and meeting with readers. It’s been so fun sharing some of the background of this story.

Faith Marin is a successful Houston news anchor. Our local NBC station allowed me to spend the day observing the internal operations so I could understand her job. They even let me “be” the anchor for a brief time!


Geary Marin is a bass fishing champ. My own men fish and compete in tournaments, but it was important for me to understand the big tournament environment. The organizers for the TEXAS BASS CLASSIC gave me a media pass and I learned the inside scoop!


An important aspect of any novel is the setting. This next photo is the marina at Lake Conroe, Texas. This is where the opening scene in the book is set . . . the place where Faith and Geary meet and Faith “falls” for him.  *wink wink*


Another key scene takes place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The marketing director took me on a special tour.  So fun!


If you haven’t yet read A REASON TO STAY what are you waiting for?  CLICK HERE TO BUY:   Amazon

RTS Available Now

Something’s Fishy With This Story

TBasslogo One of the absolute most fun things about my job as a novelist is when I go out to research for a new book. When the idea came for A Reason to Stay, I knew I needed to have two very different people fall in love and struggle to stay married. So I coupled an ambitious news anchor in Houston with a tournament bass fisherman from Lake Conroe. My own men fish in a few tournaments, and I’m fascinated by the whole thing.

After realizing I knew so little about that world, I knew I’d have to attend the big TEXAS BASS CLASSIC. Fortunately, the championship tournament was held at Lake Fork, Texas where we lease a spot for our motorhome and often go.

When I placed the call, the organizers of the event were so very gracious and surprised me with a media pass. On the day of the tournament, I arrived and parked. As instructed, I called the number given and within minutes a black town car showed up and drove me to the big media tent.

Over the next hours, I enjoyed a free concert, ate some of the best BBQ anywhere, watched the boats come in and the weigh-ins, I got access to backstage and watched media interviews and had access to the contestants. I talked with bass pros Mike Iaconelli, Cody Meyer, Gary Yamamoto, and their wives. Oh . . . this whole experience was a novelist’s dream! Thank you Steve Patnode and the Toyota Bass Classic!

So much of what I discovered that day ended up in A REASON TO STAY which releases next Tuesday. In fact, the opening chapter is all set at the Texas Bass Classic where Faith meets Geary and the romantic sparks start flying.

Here are some fun photos, and a video that really show the magic of this big tournament. I hope you enjoy a sneak peek into my research . . . and I hope you’ll buy a copy of the novel. 


Inside the media tent


Free concert before the weigh-ins


This BBQ truck is featured in the novel


Coming in for the weigh-in


Media interviews behind the stage


The finalists all hoping their fish will give them the big win!


Party Time!

RT1 Next week I’ll be packing up and moving into the Hyatt Regency for a week of FUN!  The party of the year for readers, authors, publishing industry folks, librarians and book sellers is coming to town and I can’t wait!

On Tuesday, Deeanne Gist and I will join Kathryn Falk (the owner of RT) and together we’ll host a bus load of readers on a tour out to Southfork Ranch, the filming location for the popular television series DALLAS. I thought it’d be fun to give y’all a preview:

100_2155 This is the iconic entrance to the Southfork Ranch. Do you remember seeing J.R. Ewing drive through that gate?

100_2156 This is the ranch house. I thought it was so strange that all the Ewings lived in that single house, especially given that they all seemed to hate one another. Besides, they were rich and could afford to build multiple houses, couldn’t they?

100_2133 This is Jock and Ellie Ewing’s bedroom.

100_2132 And, this is Bobby Ewing’s bedroom. Remember when he was run over and killed, then appeared alive in the shower at the beginning of the next season?  (that dream sequence was highly criticized!)

100_2151 The most famous scene was when J.R. was shot. So fun to see the actual prop used.

RT Conference Shareable graphic_pdf_001 Excited to join fellow Baker Publishing Group authors for a hosted Chocolate Festival for our readers. Hope to see you there!

RT2 On Saturday, nearly 750 authors will be signing books!  The event is open to the public, whether or not you attend the entire convention, so I hope you’ll plan to spend the day with us!

During the RT Booklover’s Convention, I’ll be tweeting and posting photos on Instagram and Facebook, so be watching!  That way, even if you can’t travel to Dallas, you can still be part of the big party!

(P.S. – Take a peek over at my CONTEST tab for a chance to win a complimentary one year digital subscription to RT Book Review magazine!)



relax_massage I am writing to meet a deadline these days, which means I often spend ten to twelve hours parked in front of my computer with my fingers on the keyboard. I’m not complaining. I adore my writing career and nothing is more fun than watching a story form and take off.

That said, the physical act of all those hours can wreak havoc on my body. Often, I have to ice my wrists and hands. My feet swell. My back aches. And that’s on a good day.

I’ve learned a trick though. When I’m in the thick of the manuscript, when my entire being begins to feel like a sack of mashed spuds (can you tell I grew up in Idaho?) I head for a massage. While expensive, the money is well spent. After a massage, I just feel better. The tension in my muscles is gone and I no longer hurt.

So . . . yesterday was one of those days. I’d hit my limit and decided to drag my poor muscles and joints off to get worked on.  But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what would happen over the next hours.

My regular massage therapist was unexpectedly out, with no replacement available. Upon recommendation, I went to a little shop nearby–one that smelled like a lotus flower as you walked in, where the proprietors smiled widely and waved you inside without speaking much English.  They answered my questions by nodding a lot.

Well, I have to say . . . the little woman who sat me in a reclining chair and soaked my feet in a tub of warm, fragrant water knew her stuff. In next to no time, I felt stress leave my body.

Soon, she moved me into a tiny room curtained off for the table portion of the session. Now, I’m a very private person . . . never remove my clothes.  I just don’t feel comfortable. Thankfully, she seemed absolutely fine with that.

Once settled, face down, I again came to appreciate the woman’s talents. And then . . . 

Relaxing_Massage_at_caring_hands_massages Is she climbing up on the table?

What is she doing?

Oh, my goodness . . . she can’t be. She isn’t!

Yup . . . I had a tiny Asian woman standing on my back!

Couldn’t help it. I giggled. And try as I might, I couldn’t stop. She nearly slipped off.

She stopped taking tiny steps and said, “Aye, aye, aye–no laughing!”

And of course, I couldn’t stop.

So, there you have it folks!  If you find a similar scene in some upcoming book, you’ll know where the idea came from. I hope you RELAX and ENJOY it!


A Fresh Start

New-year-image I love new beginnings! And there’s no better time to turn the page and start new than at the first of the year.

In 2014, I primarily blogged with several fellow authors over at Southern Belle View. It was so fun to get to know some of the best authors in the business and to connect with the readers there. But frankly, I often found myself missing posting here. So  going forward, this is where you’ll find me.

With a busy publishing year ahead, I elected to focus on some NEW things. We’ll be releasing two books this year:  WHERE RIVERS PART in February and A REASON TO STAY in October. I’ll be appearing at PULPWOOD QUEENS on an author panel later this month and co-hosting a special tour out to Southfork Ranch (film site of the Dallas television show) in conjunction with the big RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION in May.



On top of that, we’ve started something new and really fun . . . MONTHLY CONTESTS!  We wanted to do something that would get the word out about these books in a way that would include my readers and provide an opportunity for you to win some really neat prizes. I hope you enjoy this . . . and I think you do, because in the first week of the January contest, nearly 300 of you entered!  You can find out all about the SPA PACKAGE GIVE-AWAY by going to the CONTEST tab on this website.

I’m also going to be blogging here every Monday, often featuring other popular authors or people who I find interesting. I hope you’ll check back often. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletters (to the left of this post) because there will be some big announcements coming soon!

Thank you to each one of you who have purchased and read my books. Each time you do so, you send the message to my publisher that you want them to sign me for another book. I appreciate that, and all the supportive emails and Facebook messages you send, more than I can possibly express.

Here’s to 2015 and beyond!


Pioneer Storytellers

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”       ~Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

images Don’t you love that quote?

It’s true, isn’t it . . . that well-told stories define us? Much of who we are is formed by the stories we’ve read in books, watched on the big screen, or the ones we’ve listened to while sitting around a campfire.

When I was young, I read A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE by Barbara Bradford Taylor and decided I wanted my own life to matter. I read GO ASK ALICE and determined I would not entertain myself with drugs. I turned the pages of MR. AND MRS. BO JO JONES and learned that a few minutes of reckless pleasure could change your lifetime. These stories shaped me.

Stories matter.

So do storytellers.

Today, I want to highlight a few brave-spirited storytellers who made decisions to tell their stories on their own terms. These are “indy authors.”

In this volatile and ever-changing publishing environment, these brave authors released the tight grip on traditional publishing, instead stepping into that role and bringing their stories to readers solo. And, they are succeeding.

These authors have my admiration for their business acumen and pioneer spirits. I’m delighted to introduce each of these talented writing friends by sharing their answers to one single question:


Harris Barbara Harris, writing under the pen name Leann Harris (her website):

“I love being a novelist because I can tell stories I love, never put on make-up or drive any where, and do I job I know I was supposed to do.”




Deese Nicole Deese (her website):

“I love being a novelist because it gives me an outlet for all the crazy voices talking in my head.”





Buffaloe Lisa Buffaloe (her website):

“I love being a novelist because fiction opens doors beyond traditional non-fiction writing. Novels allow the reader to go on a journey. Readers are given opportunities to laugh, cry, and walk alongside characters, hopefully leaving with a good read and a story that touches their hearts.”



Matayo Amy Matayo (her website):

“The thing I love most about being a novelist is that I can wear yoga pants daily, shower only occasionally, remain make-up free if I wish, and readers will never know. I rarely do this, but it’s nice to know the option is always there.”




Stimpson Michelle Stimpson (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is that what I have to do and what I want to do are the same thing.”





Carroll Patricia “PacJac” Carroll (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is the joy of discovering story. The surprise twists and hidden secrets of the characters and how it comes together to entertain and encourage readers.  And me.”



Castle Jackie Castle (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is: I’ve never been much of a public speaker, or even outspoken. Writing offers me the chance to put a voice to my thoughts and beliefs.”




I hope you’ll check out these authors and their books! You can follow them on social media (follow links on their websites) and sign up for their newsletters.

Don’t forget to check out my recent release, A WOMAN OF FORTUNE (Baker/Revell)!




A Blog Hop!

A blog hop is like a giant game of tag to help readers discover authors who are new to them. For this hop, authors are answering 10 questions about what we’re working on now. This week, I’m it.

I was tagged by Christa Allen. Visit her blog to see who else she tagged. At the end of this post, I’ll tag more authors who will be joining the hop next week. Follow the hop long enough and you’re bound to find books you’ll love!

Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

I just signed a four-book contract with Baker Publishing Group and am in the middle of writing the first manuscript.  A little boring, but the working title is Book One. (smiles)

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who worked on many high profile cases, including the Jack-in-the-Box e-coli litigation in the mid-nineties and the largest cattle fraud case in the United States.  People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, giving me a unique perspective on the human psyche.  Early in my legal career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about women facing relationship fractures, betrayal, and loss and how we often exhibit strength and dignity in these journeys.

Each of the four books I’ve just contracted with have elements of these cases.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Women’s fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Before I start writing a word on a new story, I create a notebook with photos of my characters, houses, cities etc featured in my book. For my current manuscript, a photo of Sandra Bullock is the main character. I also included photos of Reece Witherspoon, Joan Rivers, and Ben Affleck.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I can’t disclose details yet, but let’s just say readers who watch the popular television show DALLAS will love this story!

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Revell/Baker Publishing Group is the publisher. I’m represented by MacGregor Literary.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m writing now.  Last night at about midnight, I closed the screen down, thinking “I love this story!”

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Any reader who loves Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult, Elin Hilderbrand will be drawn to my stories. I write poignant and emotionally-compelling stories about women in life changing circumstances.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I worked a court case for a couple of years that involved the largest cattle fraud in the nation, at that time. Certain elements from that case will serve as a backdrop to this next story.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers often say my debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, had them glued to the pages, not able to put the story down. I think readers will find this next story will keep them reading non-stop as well!

Below you will find the authors who will be joining the blog hop next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark them and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

Lisa Wingate

Lynne Gentry



A Special Thanksgiving

The calendar tells me more than a few weeks have passed since I last blogged.  I have a good excuse.  As many of you know, MOTHER OF PEARL debuted in September and I’ve been on book tour.

After our big launch party and events in Idaho, weeks of promotion followed with book signings, a book festival, an art show, guest appearances on over one hundred blogs, magazine features, newspaper articles . . . and the list goes on.

I’m pooped.

And happy.

And thankful.

This is where a brand new novelist gets a little teary-eyed.  I simply have no way to express how grateful I feel for all of you who supported this effort by purchasing MOTHER OF PEARL, and for the many readers who wrote and told me they fell in love with Barrie Graeber and cheered her on as she made her way to justice against incredible odds.  A few of you cried (as I did) when life-changing circumstances altered her world forever and left her heart broken.

I think Barrie said it best:  Mothering is not for cowards.

I’m happy to report we went to second printing in the first month. My publisher tells me they are happy. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for KELLIE’S READERS CLUB so you’ll get all my future book news, and notices of upcoming releases.

Before closing, let me wish all of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  I am thankful for many things . . . my readers are very high on the list!

Book Tour DuJour

Shhh…..I’m going to tell you a secret!

Publishing a book is every bit as much fun as they say.

MOTHER OF PEARL debuted on September 1, and I’ve been riding a whirlwind of events (and fun) over these past couple of weeks.  First, we went to Boise, Idaho for our big launch party.  The Adelmann Event center (only blocks south of the Idaho Capitol Building) was packed out that evening. Guests enjoyed bacon-wrapped chicken skewers, chorizo-stuffed mushrooms and loaded potato skins while I enjoyed meeting up with friends from college and places I’d worked, friends and family. I signed a ton of books. WHAT A NIGHT!

Earlier, I appeared with Carolyn Holly on KTVB-TV.  Carolyn was so gracious and made this television novice feel right at home.  She even had me sign a book for her. Despite my nervous stomach, I had a ball!

I also signed books at the Barnes & Noble stores in Boise and in Twin Falls, where a television crew showed up unexpectedly.  I’d like to say my second television experience did not make my palms sweat, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to having a camera pointed my way.  Thank you, store managers Shira and Debbie for making these events a success!

By far, the highlight of the week was speaking at my former high school.  My hometown is very small (I only had sixteen people in my graduating class) and the school hasn’t grown much since I left all those (ahem) years ago.

How can I possibly convey the surreal feeling of standing behind a podium in our gymnasium looking into the eyes of the English teacher who first taught me point of view and first person present?

He still teaches, by the way.  And when all those kids came up and told me what they were reading, and how some of them are trying their own hand at writing—I realized Mr. Mecham is still motivating students to embrace literature.  I’d also like to thank Lois Stocking for bringing me the tea towels, a gesture that warmed my heart and reminded me why the little town of Carey remains embedded so deeply within my soul.


The Idaho leg of my book tour ended with an appearance in Sun Valley. For those of you who have browsed my website, you’ll know I worked at the Sun Valley Lodge for a summer when I was a teenager and made Ted Kennedy’s bed!

Before heading home, I drove up Trail Creek to the Hemingway Memorial. I sat on a little bench listening to trickling water and my eyes welled with emotion.

Who would have ever dreamed a little girl from Carey, Idaho would publish a book?

Thank you to each and every person who has purchased a copy of MOTHER OF PEARL. I also extend immense gratitude to the reviewers, bloggers, Goodreads members and Amazon reviewers who have said such lovely things about my debut novel.

My publisher recently informed me we went to second printing.  Much of this success is because of all of you!  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Now, on to Nashville and then Portland, Oregon.  Another busy month ahead. See you there!