Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, author D.S. Dehel is guesting.  She’s here to talk about her latest serial release Past Imperfect, a contemporary romance.  Don’t forget to check the excerpt.


Random paragraph from me. For those that aren’t familiar with Kindle Vella, it works a bit like WattPad, but the first 3 chapters are free, and then a reader may choose to purchase tokens to read further chapters. This platform intrigued me because I love the serialization aspect of it as a reader, and as a writer, it changes the structure of chapters. The end of one needs to really pull a reader on in ways that a completed book does not.

How my characters spend Valentine’s Day:  This is actually in the story. Bastian and Eve attend a charity ball, and things don’t go so well for the two of them, as tends to happen whenever they go into public, in part because of Bastian is an up and coming movie star. In this case, it’s his best friend Tom who causes much of the problem. There is, however, an epic Tango scene, which was both fun and difficult to write. Dance is particularly challenging because I either become too technical or too detailed. I don’t want to give too much away, but it is an important turn in the relationship between Bastian and Eve.

How NaNoWriMo inspired me to write Past Imperfect:  I wrote the very first draft of this story in the fall of 2015. That semester, I had to teach Creative Writing for the first time. I’d heard of NaNo. I’d even tried and failed one or two times before. As a teacher, I became involved with their Youth Writing Project—which is a fantastic site filled with amazing resources. Thus, I spent all of October getting the kids prepared to write their own novels. As part of the process, I needed teaching models, so I began filling out the forms that are part of YWP’s handbook. This wasn’t unusual because I always wrote when the kids did and shared my writing for critique. Learning is a team effort, and they often had huge insights into my work.

At some point in October, I decided that I would write my novel as the kids wrote theirs. To be more precise, I would write at home, but I would hold myself to the same timelines, though I aimed for 50,000 words while their goals were smaller and individualized.

As November started, the goal for the kids was to beat my word count for the week, which was verified by the YWP site, and I let them see it. Whenever a student beat my word count or % increase for the week, I made a HUGE deal of it.

As a teacher, I loved watching kids learn to fly as writers. As a writer myself, the floodgates were burst. I hit 50,000 words in 21 days…and I kept going. This story—now called Past Imperfect—had been kicking around in my head for years. I just didn’t have the time or head space to write down the words.

NaNo forced me to focus on writing, and at the same time, taught me how to prioritize writing in my life. I still had 3 other preps (different classes) that I had to keep up with. I still had to plan and teach and grade, so writing became my refuge…and my kids ate too much fast food for a month because all of the wife, mother, daughter responsibilities remained.

Most of all, NaNo reminded me how much I loved writing, how joyous creating worlds can be. After Past Imperfect’s first draft was completed, I went on to write another 150,000 word book in 4 months. And to be honest, I haven’t really stopped since. There are those that disparage NaNoWriMo for valuing quantity over quality, but there’s a time for both (and Camp NaNo focuses on that). To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be a published writer if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

Why I took took the plunge to become a published author:  After NaNo in 2015, I’d considered pursuing publishing, but I was working full-time, and I knew that not only did my draft need work, I needed to learn more about the industry as a whole. Most people think writing goes like this: Write a book>a publisher loves it> book sells a million copies when it is far, far from that. Fortunately, I knew that and didn’t toss my freshly written draft at an agent. Instead, I wrote and revised and researched.

And if I’m completely candid, I was scared. Rejection hurts. It was a friend who told me that my stories needed a wider audience. She celebrated with me after I pressed send on my first submission package, and she consoled me when I was rejected. Everyone who wishes to be a published writer needs this type of cheerleader in their life.  It’s even better if said cheerleader is honest, steadfast, and a critical friend. If it weren’t for Tanya, I would not be writing this guest post.


Title: Past Imperfect
Series: N/A
Author: D.S. Dehel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 3 out of 5
Book Length: 167,00 words, 430 pages
Publisher: Kindle Vella
Publication Date: February 7, 2022

A sexy celebrity could be her salvation–or the next step in her downfall.

Blurb:  Eve Tate’s past romances have been imperfect, to say the least, and her recent—and very public–humiliating breakup has her swearing off men, but when sexy movie star Bastian Cahill wanders into her bedroom, she begins to rethink her vow. The problem is, her past is hot on her heels and could derail her future with Bastian. She must decide to stand and fight the ex who stalks her or risk losing the man she loves.

Goodreads | Amazon

The knob turned soundlessly and the hinges equally so. She held her breath as the door opened. Why am I acting like this? Everyone is downstairs. She shoved the surprisingly heavy door open. Rose colored walls. Yes! I can’t believe I left the light on. Yikes. Electricity is so expensive. Oh well. Time to take off these shoes. And bra. That’s gotta go.

But instead of sitting, she flopped down on the bed hard enough to bounce, making the springs squeak. Noisy bed. Good to know. Not that it’s an issue. Might be for Cami and Will. The thought caused a giggle to escape her. I hope it’s an issue for them.

She sighed and closed her eyes against the slightly spinning room. John may have been an ass, but oh, the things he could do with his tongue. That I do miss.

The gurgling of water seeped into her consciousness, and her eyes popped open. Oh God. Did I leave the sink running? The image of water overflowing the sink and onto the floor, damaging the rooms below filled her with horror, but that horror became eclipsed by another thought. I didn’t use the sink.

The distinct sound of a tap being turned off made her sit bolt upright. There’s someone in my bathroom.  She jumped to her feet, unsure if she should run or ream the stranger out. “Hello? Who’s there?”

The bathroom door flew open. And there stood an absolute vision of a man wearing nothing but a burgundy bath towel.  Tall, slim, maybe too slim. The sight stole her voice for a moment, but he frowned at her, and she found it. How dare he frown at me? “What are you doing in my bathroom?”

One elegant eyebrow drew into an arch. “Your bathroom?” Disdain dripped from his voice.

Oh good, here’s another asshole. She drew herself up and snapped into teacher mode. “I may have a funny accent, sir, but I did not stutter. Would you care to explain why you are using my bathroom?”

The stranger took half a step back. Teacher voice had that effect on people, even if she was swaying slightly.

Then he did the damnedest thing: he smiled. But it was a patronizing one.  “No, what are you doing in my room in my bed?”

“Your room?” She hated to be patronized, so she made her scoff as condescending as possible.  It couldn’t be his room. There was the rose chair where she’d tossed her robe. Wait. No robe. I must have left it in the bathroom.

His smile became a scowl. “Yes, my room.”

He may be scowling, but the rest of him is unbelievable. His biceps. And will you look at that V. That towel doesn’t look too tight. But his words finally made it through the fog in her brain. “Your bed?”

“Yes, mine.” He sounded so certain.

But he was wrong, and she’d try to be patient with the handsome stranger. Good looking men tended to not be very bright. “No. Cami put me in this room.” Keep your eyes on his. Are they gray?

“William’s valet put me in this room,” Tall, dark, and very handsome told her.

“Then William’s valet was incorrect. I arrived here early today and know for a fact that the Rose room was set aside for me.” So pretty, but so confused. Hang on. Where’s my novel? She’d left it face down on the bedside table.

Her stomach dropped, and it wasn’t just the alcohol and receding adrenaline making her nauseated.


D.S. Dehel is a lover of words, wine, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not immersed in a book, she is a mom to her four kids and her spoiled feline Mr. Darcy or two pampered pooches: Piper and Jaime. Having “retired” she spends her days dreaming up new plot lines and word smiting for hours on end. She adores literary allusions, hot sex scenes, and British men. Her husband is still convinced she writes children’s books. Please don’t enlighten him.

Find D.S.:  Web Site | Facebook Page | Facebook Profile | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon

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