Meet the Characters: Harvey – Daphne’s dog in Secrets of a Wolf

I thought you might enjoy meeting some of the characters of my books. Particularly the four-legged ones.

Meet Harvey…

The Yorkshire TerrierHarvey belongs to Dr. Daphne Valentine, the heroine in Secrets of a Wolf. Daphne has a special ability. She can communicate with animals. They send her visions of their thoughts. The first time we meet Harvey, her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, she is moving to Spirit Rock for the first time.

Harvey is a fun loving pooch who doesn’t trust easily. You find out why later in the story, but he adds humor, fun and love to Daphne’s life.

Here’ s a short scene to introduce you to Harvey from Book 1 – the Guardians of Spirit Rock Series- Secrets of a Wolf.

“Let’s get the rest of our stuff, Harvey. I have a broom, dust pan, and vacuum in the car. That should go a long way to cleaning up allergy city.”

She stepped onto the porch and surveyed the landscape surrounding her. In the distance stood the beautiful Black Hills. “The Land of the Sioux,” she told Harvey.

The little dog chuffed, left the porch, and peed.

Daphne laughed. “Obviously you’re not impressed.”

She approached her car and opened the trunk. In the process of placing her bags on the dusty two-wheeled path her car had taken to the cabin. Harvey barked and snarled. He’s seen a rabbit. Poor thing, he’ll see more than one strange thing out here.

The barking grew frantic. She peered around the trunk lid. “What is it?”

The Yorkie immediately sent her visions of a very large black wolf. Surprised, she joined the hysterical dog. Wolves, in this part of the country? And a black one. Surely, he’s mistaken. She glanced in the direction he barked, shielding her eyes from the midday sun. Sure enough, at the edge of the forest stood a very large black wolf.

“Holy crap, that’s a big wolf.”

Harvey gazed up, giving her his I told you so expression.

She reached out with her senses to see if she could communicate with the creature, but it stood too far away. She treasured her special talent to communicate with animals—until last month in Seattle when said gift had ruined her career as a K-9 handler/vet for the Seattle Police Department, and taken from her the one man she loved with all her being. Not all animals could be trusted, a lesson she’d learned the hard way. Her partner and fiancé lost his life, and she’d lost her job. Now, her ability didn’t seem like much of a gift. She shivered. Pushing the pain from her mind, she reached out to the wolf a second time.

After a moment, she blew out a breath. “Too far, Harvey.”

Taking a few steps in the direction of the majestic animal, she tried to guess its weight. Twice as large as any German Shepherd, it had to weigh close to a hundred pounds. She couldn’t determine eye color, but his coat was solid black, with the exception of a distinctive small patch of white fur atop its massive head. “What a beauty.”

Harvey stared at her.

She reached down and picked up the trembling dog. “It’s okay, boy. I’m not going to let it hurt you.”

The small dog licked her face, sending her a feeling of trust and love. She smiled.

“Here, I’ll put you back in the cabin while I get the rest of the stuff.”

Harvey growled and sneezed.

“Well, it’s either out here with the big bad wolf, or its inside with the dust. Which will it be?”

The little dog whined, but sent her a picture of the inside of the cabin.

“Okay. Cabin it is.”

As the book progresses, Harvey becomes a key character in helping Daphne solve a serious problem of the heart.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Harvey. If you’d like to read more Or Listen to the Audio version visit the Secrets of a Wolf Page.

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Where Do I Start?


A new writer asked, “Where do I start if I want to be a writer?”

My response? By writing.

Here are a few tips to help clarify my meaning of “by writing”.

  1. Write something every day. It could be a journal entry, a paragraph, a few lines for a story idea, a blog article…anything. Just write.
  2. Write what you know. If you are beginning a novel start with ideas, situations, people, places that you are familiar with. This increases your confidence as you begin to experiment with all the other aspects of the craft.
  3. Research your craft. Find good books about writing. If you’re a Fiction writer, I recommend the Write Great Fiction Series. Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott is also a good book for beginning writers.
  4. Don’t start by asking the question, “How much money can I make?” Write because it makes you happy. Study your craft to become the best writer you can be. The money will take care of itself.
  5. Study basic grammar and sentence structure. Know where to put commas and quotation marks at a bare minimum. Knowing basic story structure will help you so much in the long run. The Little Brown Handbook is an excellent reference.
  6. Approach critique groups with caution. If these are run correctly they can be a great support to a budding writer, if not, it can discourage you forever. Find a writing mentor you can trust who will encourage you, not tear you down.
  7. Stay away from social media groups for a while. You can become totally overwhelmed by all the information thrown at you. Again, find a writing mentor you can trust.

Speaking of becoming overwhelmed! That’s probably enough to chew on for now. I’ll leave the floor open to comments and thoughts from others.

Write On!


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New RELEASE! Secrets of A Wolf Is Now An Audio Book.

I am so excited about this. Just in time for the holidays, the first book in The Guardians of Spirit Rock Series, Secrets of a Wolf is now available as an audio book!

Working with Dawn Kingheart and Andrew Bearden was a delightful experience. I love how the narration moves from female to male as the characters change. I’m honored they’ve agreed to do the entire series!



A tragic event ruins Daphne Valentine’s career as a K-9 cop and department veterinarian in Seattle. Devastated, she escapes to Spirit Rock, South Dakota, to start over as the vet for an animal wildlife rescue park. When she arrives, nothing goes quite as planned — especially when she meets her new boss for the first time and she’s almost stark naked. Not the greatest first impression…. Or is it?

A confirmed bachelor, Cameron Gray is shocked at his instant attraction to his new employee. He soon learns she carries quite a bit of extra baggage, but even so, his desire to possess the sexy vet ignites him with a need he and his wolf can’t ignore. But all is not what it seems…. What exactly drove Daphne to leave her successful career and move to Seattle?

When dangerous poachers bring the two together in the line of duty, Daphne discovers Cameron’s secret, forcing her to question every decision she’s made since arriving in Spirit Rock. Will the tender new love they’ve found be enough to hold them together or drive them apart forever?

Join the Gray brothers in Spirit Rock, South Dakota. Gifted with the power to shift into their own unique spirit animal, they have been bestowed with the enormous responsibility of watching over their ancestral canyon. Their strength and conviction will be tested…as will the depth and breadth of their heart and soul.

Listen for Free on Now! 

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Be True To Your Character

While reading a writing sample by an aspiring writer, I noticed something that I’d like to share.  It was clear this writer hadn’t taken the time to get to know her characters very well. When formulating your characters you need to know them better than you know the person you are closest to in life, a partner, spouse, child, etc. Easy right? Not necessarily. If you haven’t given enough time to getting to know your character, your reader will notice.

Building a character profile is only half the battle. Once you do that, you have to refer to it. Not only for physical characteristics, but personality characteristics as well. Here are a few tips to keep you true to your characters:

  • If you give them a “quirk”, be consistent with it. If they are jumpy, don’t mention steady hands
  • Avoid cliches and stereotypes. Keep your characters unique
  • Think about each scene and analyze how the personality characteristics you gave your character come into play. For example, if the character is meek, they’d run rather than fight when confronted by a threat
  • Apply a character’s personality traits to their dialogue. A lawyer raised in privilege will speak differently from a seventy-year-old with a third grade education
  • As your hero or heroine develops throughout your story be sure to keep those growth characteristics throughout the rest of the story. A near death experience will change the way a person behaves.
  • Avoid flat characters. Give them a reason to change.

That’s probably enough to digest for now. Scroll through my other blog entries for more writing tips.

Good luck to all you NANOWRIMO writers. I wish you the best.

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Christmas Novella – An Online Angel

Hi Readers,

Just wanted to let you know my Christmas Novella, An Online Angel is now up for Pre-order on Amazon. It’s a Sweet Romance and just in time for the Holidays.  Only 99 Cents so grab while its on sale! Launches 12/1/2017.

An innocent trip to an online store to buy her three year old son a Christmas gift turns into a living nightmare for Cheryl. Mark, her poker obsessed husband has just cleaned out their entire savings account for a high stakes poker tournament three weeks before Christmas. On top of that he’s decided to leave her and the son he never wanted because Cheryl “doesn’t get him”. Devastated, scared, and confused Cheryl must find a way to keep her struggling law practice alive and provide some kind of Christmas for Robbie.

Cheryl had her doubts about marrying Mark in the first place, and she should have listened to her instincts. Letting go of her first love, Kevin, was something she regretted even more now. At the time he wasn’t good enough for her, or so her parents tried to convince her. When Kevin contacts her out of the blue right before Christmas, is Cheryl due a Christmas miracle? Can one innocent message on Facebook rewind the past?

Online Angel Cover copy

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Upcoming Evening With Kelly Abell

Just a quick shout out for my upcoming author event in Riverview Florida. On Monday, November 6, 2017 at 6:30 I’ll be at the Riverview Branch Library in Riverview, Florida talking about my writing and publishing journey. I’m super excited to share with you writing tips and do’s and don’ts as you move into November and NANOWRIMO.

I’ll share things like:

Avoiding Pitfalls When Choosing a Publishing House or Agent

Why Planning a Novel Is Better Than Writing By The Seat Of Your Pants

What’s It Like Being A Hybrid Author

And Much More…

There will be a reading and signing afterward as well.

Can’t wait to see you there.

Facebook Link with all the details


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Why Attend a Book Event?

Attending book events may seem too troublesome or expensive to some authors, but I think they are important. Not only do you meet new readers, which is the most important reason for me to go, but depending on the event I can learn so much.

I recently attended Indie Book Fest 2017 in Orlando, a wonderfully organized annual event. It was my third time around and I had a blast. There were informative panels on Industry Day. I attended panels on How to Write a Realistic Fight Scene – wicked fun and taught by author L.E. Perez. I learned about how to better build my brand as an author. Look for more information on that in the days to come.  AND I learned more about marketing than I can fit into my wee brain. Which is why I took gobs of notes.

I loved meeting new author friends and new readers and re-connecting with friends I’d already made. It recharges me as an author to be around those who write. It’s how I build those characters with passion, power and purpose! We sit around in the lobby of the hotel on the off hours and share so much information that it can make your head spin. Or was that the margaritas??

There are tons of events going on all over the place, some in your own neighborhood. Do some Google searches and search on Facebook. I know they seem expensive and if you avoid going because you won’t make your money back, go anyway. You won’t make your money back in most cases, but the other fringe benefits are very worth it.

Do research the event first. You do want to gauge if it is going to have enough attendees to get the above benefits, but usually if the event has happened multiple times it has gathered a following of fans.

Check some out and go have fun!

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