Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Writing Horror Fiction 101



Hi everyone,

It’s October, and my favorite time of year! It’s the perfect season to read, write, and think about horror stories…

As most people know, I divide my time between writing horror and romance. When it comes to horror, I’m always asked a lot of questions: How does a person write a horror story? What makes a great one? How can you make a convincing story about a monster if monsters aren’t real?

I answered all of these questions in my non-fiction writing guide, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. Here’s an excerpt from the section on writing horror:

First, it’s important to realize that horror can take many forms – gore-filled splatter-punk with buckets of blood… mysterious, cursed people living in isolated Gothic castles (or tropical islands)… psychological unsettling horror that makes you feel uneasy… or your ordinary “classic” monsters such as vampires, ghosts, zombies, and werewolves.

My horror stories tend to be based in psychological terrors rather than blood and gore. They’re set in a wide range of seasons and settings, and my characters run the gamut from small children (The Ape) to mentally fragile suburban housewives (Sometimes Monsters are Real).

Each kind of horror story has its fans, probably because different people are scared of different things (heights, monkeys, bridges, etc.). But whatever type of horror story you write (or read) there are a few universal elements that should go into any horror tale.

Horror readers want to be scared (or at least made to feel nervous), so start scaring people on page one. Use a clever hook, details, and setting to pull readers in. Start with a pool of blood on the floor or give us all the details of your haunted house. Let readers experience what it feels like to be chased across a field by a werewolf.

In horror, you can write almost anything and get away with it. Play on childhood fears and things people hate (or are afraid of). Here’s a short list: cats, clowns, creepy dolls, being buried alive, stuffed moose heads, basements, closets, the dark…

While you’re writing, keep the tension and suspense constant. Enhance anticipation and fear in layers. Your novel or short story needs twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and wondering, “What happens next?” Be sure to end scenes (and/or chapters) with a cliffhanger or another danger.

As with any story, the author has to establish a believable setting. Whether your tale takes place in a gritty, post-apocalyptic city or a foggy rural graveyard, you need to give your readers a concrete foundation of where the story is taking place.

Readers want to feel as if they are there, experiencing the events along with the main characters. Use lots of details (sights, smells, sounds) and props to make your descriptions come alive. My story, Kropsy’s Curse makes great use of setting. What’s better than a horror story set in a graveyard on Halloween?

Remember, your job as a writer is to get readers to suspend their (dis)belief and buy into your story. You don’t have to go into a lengthy explanation of how these strange things are possible, just give your readers a compelling reason, have your characters believe it, and move on. In my novella, Dead Til Dawn, the heroine finds herself transported back in time after walking through a mysterious fog. She doesn’t understand how or why it’s possible, but she’s forced to accept it… if she wants to survive.

If your antagonist is a monster (of the non-human variety) you must believe your monster is real (whether he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or a slimy sewer creature). If you don’t write the creature believably, readers won’t buy into it. Make your monster as real as any other human character and show him in action.

And because your monster is not human, it’s okay for readers to hate him. They should know he’s bad news from the start of the story, so make him awful. You don’t want readers (or other characters) sympathizing with your monster — you want them to fear him.

If your monster is human (serial killer), depict him at his worst. Don’t shy away from showing him doing really bad, socially unacceptable things. Horror stories are generally dark and explore themes and ideas that expose the bad side of people. If you’re not comfortable going to “the dark side” to write terrifying stuff, you may want to consider writing thrillers or suspense stories.

Your human “monster” needs to be fleshed out. Develop his character through details, give him a history, and show why he’s so warped. If your villain is a racist, show readers how nasty he is through his actions, dialogue, or vocabulary. Make readers hate him. Get readers emotionally involved so they can’t wait for him to get what he deserves in the end. (And he will!)

When creating a human monster, take cues from reality. Most predators are cunning, manipulative, without remorse or conscience, and have a sense of entitlement. They’re great at tricking people and identifying weak spots or vulnerabilities. They are practiced liars and good at covering their tracks to avoid detection. In general, people underestimate them. Many serial killers blend into society and nobody suspects a thing—now isn’t that scary?

And try to avoid clichés like the plague! Masked killers hunting campers in the woods, serial-killing cannibal families, miserable Goth vampires in period costume, and mindless zombie attacks have all been done to… well, death. And please don’t mix monsters. Only include one primary menace/monster in your story. Don’t have vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons attacking a cursed town during a full moon on Halloween. It’s overkill – and not in a good way.

When writing horror, don’t be afraid to break patterns, make your characters different, or have them go against stereotype. Give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view – it’ll make your work stand out. Why not set your werewolf story in Hawaii? My paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, takes place where you normally don’t find vampires... the beach!

We all know that October is “horror month” because of Halloween, but there are plenty of spooky things going on the rest of the year. Loyal readers and writers of horror fiction know that a good horror story is just as scary on a warm June day as it is at midnight on Halloween. Remember, JAWS took place in the summer, and a haunted house can be terrifying on a rainy March afternoon…

Remember, when writing horror, the only limit is your imagination!

Here are two writing exercises to motivate you to write a horror story of your own. How will you scare people?

EXERCISE 1: Take one of these first lines and write a few paragraphs about it. See what ideas come to you as you start writing.

Steve knew his house was haunted, but that didn’t bother him. He had bigger problems.

On a warm June day, the body of Ann Marie Duncan washed up on shore.

Mike got a strange call from Dave on Friday. After that, he never heard from him again.


EXERCISE 2: Here are some wild “what if” questions to get you thinking about story ideas. Pick a few and write three to five paragraphs about each. What if…

…your character inherited a haunted house and knew the ghosts?

…a killer picks his victims according to their birth sign?

…the weird Goth kid down the block really is a vampire?

…a woman finds a blood-soaked clown hiding in her garage?

Ready to write? Order your copy of You Can Write—Really! here:















Next week I'll be sharing a look at my favorite horror movies! Stay tuned to be scared!

Happy Haunting,

Kelli

Thursday, October 12, 2017

When Love Meets Monsters – Paranormal Romance!






Hi Everyone,

October is my favorite month, and I’m writing about what happens when horror meets romance –paranormal romance!

Although I create hot and spicy romances, I actually started out writing horror stories. For some, that might seem like an odd combination, but it works for me. One half of my brain writes the horror, and the other half writes the romance.

I like writing horror fiction because I get to explore different settings, plots, and characters that I couldn’t develop in romance. Sometimes after working on several romances, I’ll switch moods and write a horror story to give my writing muscles a change of pace.

My horror short stories are more psychological/spooky than gory, and it’s fun to add something scary (or strange!) to a romance. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a paranormal romance within bounds – you have to blend just enough horror elements into the love story without grossing out (or turning off) the heroine or hero… or readers!

Other times, the challenge to writing a good paranormal romance is creating a believable plot or finding a way to make a “monster” attractive, romantic, or sexy. If one of your characters is a monster (of the non-human variety) you must believe your creature is real, whether he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or something else entirely.

If you don’t write the creature believably, readers won’t buy into it, and there certainly won’t be any sparks flying in your romance. As a writer, you need to make your monster as real as any other human character and flesh him out completely with a backstory, goals, motivation, and conflicts. (What kind of monster is he? How did he get that way? What is life like for him?)

My contemporary paranormal, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover started out with the premise “What if a vampire went to the beach and fell in love with a surfer?” The book is extra “unique” in that it’s told in first person from the male character’s point of view.

I made Anya (the vampire) sympathetic and sexy, and not overtly terrifyingyet she still flexed her vampire muscles when she needed to. This story could have easily gone down the horror road and become a full-fledged vampire story, but I wanted to show a softer, kinder side to the Anya and embrace her once-human side.

My gay paranormal, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing is not your usual werewolf love story. Readers should know that Deke, the “werewolf” character, doesn’t actually turn into a “wolf-man” – he’s more of a shifter who transforms into a super-aggressive Alpha male during the full moon. As I say in the book, “It’s more Incredible Hulk than American Werewolf in London.”

I almost had a problem writing Killer in Wolf’s Clothing because I’m “old-school” when it comes to creatures of the night. I expect my werewolves to be violent and vicious, and anything but cuddly. In my opinion, if a person is going to turn into a werewolf/wolf-man, he should look like the werewolves in Dog Soldiers. (A horror movie I highly recommend.)

My latest paranormal, Beauty & the Bigfoot (yes, you read that right!) blends the world of paranormal romance with comedy. (Because, really, how can you not?) From page one, the book doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should readers. It’s called a paranormal comedy for a reason.

Beauty & the Bigfoot started out with the premise: “What if a cryptozoologist’s daughter fell in love with a captured Bigfoot?” I liked the idea, but I wasn’t sure where I could take it.

When I created the character of Bigfoot/Joe, I had to make sure he wasn’t too scary or too intimidating to Tara, the heroine. To her, he looked like a really hairy guy. She initially blames her attraction to him “on hormones or pheromones or the fact that she really needs a date” but later realizes that Joe is her soulmate. I humanized Joe in several scenes, letting readers see that he’s really not at all the monster everyone thinks he is – without giving too much away.

The book was a lot of fun to write and I had a great time creating the characters. Through Tara and her eccentric father, Charlie, I was able to turn up the camp level and add in many wacky references and asides.

The Viking’s Witch is a historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland. The heroine, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then – nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Odaria’s “magic” is the catalyst that sets the story in motion. When the book opens, Odaria is about to be burned alive for being a witch. She calls down a spell and curses the villagers while unknowingly invoking a Viking raid. Or so it seems…

Odaria uses her abilities for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her. Rothgar (the hero) doesn’t believe in her magic and thinks she’s merely pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after a highly-charged interaction with Brennan (the villain), Rothgar gets a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.

I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The scenes that included the “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write. I’ve always been interested in psychic phenomena and other New Age/paranormal subjects, so it was easy for me to incorporate what I know into Odaria’s character.

Vampires, shapeshifters, witches… no matter what subgenre of paranormal romance you write, readers need to be swept into the story and buy into the premise that you’ve created. Your job as a writer is to make the reader believe in the paranormal character and take the reader on a journey with the main characters as they fall in love. The situations in the story need to be plausible and told in a way that grips the reader, even if the premise seems a bit far-fetched (at first).

When writing paranormal romance, don’t be afraid to break patterns, make your characters different, or have them go against stereotype. Give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view – it’ll make your work stand out. 

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover takes place at the beach – and that’s not a place you expect to find a vampire.


Here are the book summaries and links to Beauty & the Bigfoot and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.

Beauty & the Bigfoot
Can true love exist between the species?

Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot – just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot – until the day her father brought him home.

She affectionately names her father’s prized catch ‘Joe’ and discovers there’s something oddly familiar – and erotic – about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe. 

When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who – or what – he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch – he’s her soul mate!

Order your copy of Beauty & the Bigfoot here:




Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover

The moment Brian spotted Anya sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Anya was the girl of his dreams. She didn’t mind that he spent the hot summer days riding the ocean waves, because once the sun set, he belonged to her—all night long!

Everything is perfect between them—until Brian discovers Anya’s shocking secret. Can Brian give up the sun, sand, and surf to be with the woman he loves?

Read Brian’s first-hand account of their unusual love story in… Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.



Order your copy of Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover here:



I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at paranormal romances. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Feel free to contact me via the email address on the News page of my site or on social media. 

Happy Haunting!

Kelli 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Have you ever read a Bigfoot romance?




Hi folks,

My latest release, Beauty & the Bigfoot (Yes, it’s a Bigfoot romance!) offers readers a quirky look at the legend of Bigfoot. When I told people I was writing a Bigfoot romance, they said, “You’re kidding, right?”

Nope! Maybe I watched too much In Search Of… as a child, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in “unexplained phenomena” (aka: the strange and unusual).

Beauty & the Bigfoot is my third paranormal romance. My first, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, is a more serious love story, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing takes the concept of werewolves in a very different direction.

Beauty & the Bigfoot started out with the premise: “What if a cryptozoologist’s daughter fell in love with a captured Bigfoot?” I liked the idea, but I wasn’t sure where I could take it.

Later, when I was doing research for the book, (Yes, there was a lot of research involved!), I came across several historical accounts dating back to the 1500s of huge, hairy “wild men” living in the woods. Native American tribes had several names for Bigfoot and they took the subject seriously. After reading these stories, my imagination took over. (Once you read the book, you’ll see how it all ties in together. If you think you know how the story ends, think again!)

The book was a lot of fun to write and I had a great time creating the characters. Through Tara and her eccentric father, Charlie, I was able to turn up the camp level and add in many wacky references and asides. They don’t exactly take the situation seriously, and neither should readers. It’s called a paranormal comedy for a reason.

So, is Bigfoot real? Is the Patterson film a hoax? Are there Sasquatches roaming the forests of the Pacific Northwest? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that the legend continues on – with a happy ending – in Beauty & the Bigfoot.

Here’s the synopsis:

Beauty & the Bigfoot
Can true love exist between the species?

Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot – just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot – until the day her father brought him home.

She affectionately names her father’s prized catch ‘Joe’ and discovers there’s something oddly familiar – and erotic – about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe. 

When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who – or what – he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch – he’s her soul mate!


A mild excerpt:

Tara shook her head and sighed as she entered the cluttered den. She adjusted the framed certificate from the Cryptozoological Society recognizing her father as a “Certified Bigfoot Investigator.” It hung on the wall in a place of esteemed honor—next to an 8-by-10 enlargement of frame 352 from the Patterson film. The infamous shot showed a female Bigfoot in mid-stride looking over her shoulder at the camera.

As much as she loved her dad, she had never understood his obsession with Bigfoot.
“Charlie MacAllister’s Bigfoot Museum” was her father’s pride and joy. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases were crammed with dusty paperbacks titled It Lurks in the Woods and Some Call it Sasquatch! 

Notebooks detailing his expeditions, sightings, and other “evidence” were stacked next to the loveseat. Scrapbooks filled with tabloid articles proclaiming I WAS BIGFOOT’S BRIDE and BIGFOOT SIGHTED IN UFO were strewn on the coffee table. Her mother’s antique china closet held plaster casts of Bigfoot tracks.

She opened the back door, letting in the fresh July air. The den needed to be aired out and cleaned, and she could only do that when her father went on a “field excursion.” If she was lucky, she would be able to vacuum and dust before—

“Tara! Where are you?” Her father raced into the den, then scowled as he spotted her. “What are you doing in here? Are you trying to clean again? What did I tell you about that?”

She stared at her father like he was from another planet. His medium-brown hair stuck up all over his head like horns, he hadn’t shaved in days, and his clothes were covered with dirt and brambles. It was no wonder why the whole town considered him a raving kook—among other things.

“Come on, come on! You’ve gotta come out and see it! I did it. I did it.”

“Now what?” she forced herself to ask. How many times had Dad rushed in with the “biggest discovery of the year” only to show her a photo of another Bigfoot track? She hated to dampen his enthusiasm, but she had been surrounded by Bigfoot paraphernalia for her entire life and she just wasn’t interested in it anymore.

“I got him. The big male. You know the one.” He gestured at a framed, grainy photo of something running through the woods. “Him.”

She rolled her eyes. Her father wasn’t like other Bigfoot researchers who wanted to catch any old Bigfoot—No, Charlie MacAllister was on a personal mission to catch one particular Bigfoot. One he claimed had been living within five miles of their house for years.

“Dad, if this is a bear cub, or a—”

“No. You’ll see. Now I’ll finally be able to prove that I’m not the nutcase everyone in town thinks I am.”

She let her father drag her into the backyard. “Oh my God! What is that?”

She ran to the flatbed trailer and stared at the unconscious creature. It lay stretched out on its back with its hairy arms and legs shackled to the metal trailer frame. Dad had captured something, all right. There was no mistaking what it was. She had seen enough photos of Bigfoot to know him anywhere.

“You did catch him.” She looked at her father. “But, but…” For once in her life, she was speechless.

Her father grinned and folded his arms across his chest. “Well, now do you believe me? I told you I caught Bigfoot. You should listen to your old man. He knows what he’s talking about.”

Her mind whirled. How was it possible? After twenty years of searching, her father had done it. He had actually captured Bigfoot.

***
Order your copy of Beauty & the Bigfoot here:









I hope you have as much fun reading the story as I did writing it! I welcome comments and questions from readers, so feel free to contact me via my website, blog, or social media.

AND...... my October newsletter just went out! It's filled with links to my paranormal romances and horror stories. Read it online here: http://mailchi.mp/5f95a4cbe380/kellis-quill-newsletter-new-issue?e=a49cf7ab1f


Happy Haunting!

Kelli


Thursday, September 21, 2017

New Release - Beauty & the Bigfoot





Hi everyone,

I'm pleased to announce the release of my paranormal comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot.

It's an unusual look at the legend of Bigfoot and blends the paranormal with humor, drama, and a few spicy love scenes. (If you think you know how it ends, think again!)


Beauty & the Bigfoot

Can true love exist between the species?

Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot – just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot – until the day her father brought him home.

She affectionately names her father’s prized catch ‘Joe’ and discovers there’s something oddly familiar – and erotic – about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe.

When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who – or what – he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch – he’s her soul mate!


Order your copy here:



Stay tuned for more about the book.... I'll be posting an excerpt & sharing a look at the making of this unusual story!

Happy Reading,
Kelli 



Friday, September 8, 2017

Four Days with Jack — What Will People Think?




Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my gay romance, Four Days with Jack. In this contemporary novella, best friends David and Jack embark on a sexual relationship. David has always loved Jack and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

Four Days with Jack is one of the few books I wrote without an outline. I think not having a pre-planned structure let the characters write their own story (so to speak), and took the book in new directions.

At first, I didn’t know what the story would be. All I had was a basic plot (straight guy comes out to his gay best friend), a title, and one pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom. (For those of you who have read the book, you know which scene I’m talking about – but I won’t give it away here.)

From there, I let my imagination wander and came up with the resort, the rest of the plot, and the unusual cast of characters that Jack and David encounter. As I wrote, David quickly revealed a major conflict—inner turmoil. Over four days, David and Jack learn a lot about themselves, each other, and what sacrifices they’ll make to stay together.

David has kept his true desires a secret from himself and everyone else. He’s afraid of what people will think about him if they know (or even suspect) that he’s gay. How will they react? Will they judge him? If so, how will his life change?

These aren’t the typical types of questions that my straight characters have to face in their romances. And this line of thinking really got me wondering about what it’s like for people to come out in real life. Will they be shunned by friends and family? Should they tell anyone? Live a lie? Move to a new state? What if they live in a state that’s more conservative and not gay-friendly? What will their coworkers think? Is their preference really anybody’s business?

I picked up on this theme of “What will people think?” and ran with it. In the book, David points out that Jack’s family disowned him when he came out, and David doesn’t want to go through the same type of heartache. Jack’s reply is pretty much: “So? They’ll get over it.”

As I was writing this story, I considered “what people would think” about this book. How can a woman write a gay romance? What will people think about the love scenes? Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it.

Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters and story take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated bedtime fables. And if a friend/relative/whoever has a problem with the subject matter, Jack’s right: they’ll get over it.

Or maybe not. One reader commented that she didn’t like the antagonist (Frank). As a writer, I’m glad to hear that! Frank is a blatant homophobic ass who says some pretty awful things to David and Jack, and he treats his own wife like crap.

So why is he in the story? For two reasons: 1. to show that not everyone accepts openly gay couples, and 2. to add a level of confrontation and intolerance that help band David and Jack together during a crisis moment. Is Frank an over-the-top stereotype? No, I don’t think so, because he’s a compilation of a few real people I’ve encountered.

Even in this day and age, some people are offended by gay romances and consider them “icky” or immoral. (Yes, I was actually told by a book reviewer that gay romances are icky!) My philosophy is pretty simple when it comes to that: it’s a free country, so read whatever you want —but don’t expect me to censor what I write because you have a problem with it.

This re-release is a bit different from the original version. I’ve given the story an overhaul and made a lot of changes. New scenes were added, others were completely revised, and a few were deleted. I was happy to make one significant change to this edition: when the book was originally published by Amber Quill Press, gay marriage wasn’t recognized. I’m pleased to report that I’ve included a line where “same-sex couples are getting married all over the country.”

Now more than ever, I’m just as proud of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.

And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life.


Here’s the book summary:

Four Days with Jack

When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?

Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?


Order your copy of Four Days with Jack here:









I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes...

Happy Reading,

Kelli

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kelli’s Quill - Late Summer Issue





Kelli’s Quill
Late Summer Issue

Hi everyone! It’s hard to believe that the summer season is winding down, and autumn is just around the corner. In this issue of the Quill, I’m announcing the release of my new romance, Trust with Hearts, sharing excellent reviews for Loving a Wild Stranger, links, and more! Let’s get started!

New Romance Release
My contemporary romance novel, Trust with Hearts is a steamy romance about a sexy country music singer. Here’s the book summary & links:


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 your copy here:








4 Stars for Loving a Wild Stranger…

My historical romance Loving a Wild Stranger got two excellent reviews.

Publisher’s Weekly says:
“Wilkins (Trust with Hearts) has created a wonderfully sweet romance. The fantastic tension between the two characters as they grapple with their sudden newlywed status and the awkwardness that comes with marrying a perfect stranger keeps this story emotional and realistic as they fall in love. The story flows nicely and does not rush the romance. Wilkins keeps readers interested with strong, complex characters. Fans of pioneer romances will enjoy this one.”


Long & Short Romances says:
4 Stars! This book has the potential to be made into a movie. This book took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, “Grizzly Adams” – one of my favorite childhood television shows.

Luther was very kind, gentle, sweet yet strong, dependable, honest, and brave. The chemistry between Luther and Michele was definitely tangible. The writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. The plot was really great. There was some suspense threaded throughout the book pertaining to Michele’s past that had a lot to do with me not being able to put the book down. It was clever how Ms. Wilkins incorporated many plot threads and weaved them all together.

I recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the story. I would love to switch places with Michele and spend the rest of my days with Luther if I could. I would recommend scheduling a camping vacation and reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake! - Long and Short Reviews


Order the book here:




Did you know? Kelli made genre-specific Facebook pages for her romances. She’s posting book blurbs, links to blogs, excerpts, and whatever else that comes to mind. Please like, forward, and share the pages with your social media friends!




Kelli’s been blogging like mad!
Catch up on her latest guest blogs & interviews here:




Don’t miss Kelli’s interview with Coffeetime Romance: http://coffeetimeromance.com/interviews/interview-with-author-kelli-a-wilkins/

Read about the making of Four Days with Jack. Post includes an exclusive excerpt: http://joyfullyjay.com/2017/06/cover-reveal-excerpt-guest-post-four-days-with-jack-by-kelli-a-wilkins/





Get ready for a hot summer romance with Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover:

Read about the making of A Deceptive Match - Kelli's sizzling summer romance set in the world of professional wrestling: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/2017/07/summer-romance-rewind-deceptive-match.html 


Kelli’s Corner
This month, I’m sharing a few writing-related Q & A.

What is the best thing about being a writer?
Being a writer is a lot of work, but one of the things I like best about it is the fact that I’ve created all of these characters and stories. These books and short stories came through me from out of nowhere and now readers can enjoy them. It’s strange to think about, but before I came along, none of these fictional people existed!

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?
Yes, lots of times! Every so often, when I’m really burned out from writing, revising, and promoting, I wonder why I bother. When that happens I know I need a break. I take a month off from writing and catch up on my reading, or just do nothing for a while and recharge. Before long, I have the urge to write something new or start working on an existing project again.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I don’t have a typical day. Each day varies depending on what I’m doing. If I’m writing a new book, I’ll devote most of my writing time to that, and maybe do a little social media promotions. Sometimes I’ll spend my writing time working on revisions or editing/proofreading a book, and other times I send out review requests, answer interview questions, post to social media, or write blogs.

Do you suffer from writer's block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
No. Occasionally I suffer from writer’s procrastination, though. Basically that’s when my brain says “enough!” and goes on strike when I’m supposed to be editing or revising a book. Usually this happens when I’m overloaded and trying to do too much. To counteract it, I take a break and let my mind recharge and rest. I go for walks, exercise, read something I didn’t write, or watch TV. After a day or so, I’m ready to get back to work.

Do you ever think of the next book while writing?
Yes. I’ve been known to have three books in my head at the same time. I’ve been in the middle of writing a new book, revising a draft, and then an entire new book came to me. When that happens, I stop what I’m doing, outline the new book (so I won’t forget anything about it) then continue on with what I was doing. I’m always thinking about/plotting a story, developing a character, or working out different ideas/scenarios. I don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike, because it’s already there.


I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Quill. Please share it with your social media friends. I welcome feedback and questions from readers, so drop me a line with your comments. 

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Enjoy the rest of summer! 

Kelli