Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breaking Through Writer’s Block... Is Easier Than You Think


A few blogs ago, I wrote about where writers get their ideas and discussed how to take everyday occurrences and transform them into a story. Ideas are everywhere and story ideas often come from observing something or by playing the “what if” game.

But ideas are like butterflies…the more you chase after them, the faster they seem to flutter away from you. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to find a good story idea or the plot twist you’ve been searching for. This is what most people call “writers block” or getting “stuck” on a story. It’s a common ailment that happens to (almost) every writer, no matter what his or her experience or career level. So, how do you fight this blockage and move on with your story? That’s easy! You don’t.

Although this may sound contrary to getting your writing completed, every once in a while you have to let ideas come to you. Trying to “force” a story idea or plot element is counterproductive to the creative process. In most cases it will leave you frustrated and banging your head against your desk. So instead of trying to hunt down the creative muse and wrestle with it until it gives you what you’re looking for, let go and let the muse come to you.

How? Stop writing and do something else. Go for a walk, do yoga, meditate, take a nap, or listen to soothing music. (If you’re very motivated, you can do housework.) Basically, you want to stop thinking about your writing. By giving your brain a rest and doing something else, you’re allowing your subconscious to mull over the problem. Usually within a few hours (or sometimes overnight) the creative side of your mind will come up with the solution to your writing issue. Sometimes your answer will come to you in a dream. (If it does, be sure to write it down right away!)

Giving yourself a break allows your “writing mind” to relax. Once the pressure’s off and you’ve had some down time, you’ll feel more energized, motivated, and inspired. Yes, I speak from experience! The Pauper Prince was a book that I got stuck on. It had no subplot and needed one. When I let go of trying to force ideas to come to me, I got inspired by a comment someone made that had nothing to do with writing and the whole thing clicked into place.

A great way to bring ideas to you is to practice free writing. Get a piece of paper (or open a blank computer document) and just start writing whatever pops into your head. It can be groups of words, your stream of consciousness, or random thoughts. (You can even write a letter to your muse explaining the writing problem and ask for results.)

Practice free writing for five minutes at a time (or longer, if you enjoy it). Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to write—you’re not trying to be creative or coherent, you’re just trying to let your mind relax. (Yes, you can spend the five minutes writing “nothing, nothing, nothing” on the paper until something else comes along. I’ve done it, and it works!) If you get stuck, try these prompts:

“Today is… (day of the week) and I am… (wherever you are) free writing.”

“Yesterday I… (fill in with what you did, where you went, or what you ate).”

“I really like…(let your mind wander and write whatever you feel like).”

Remember, there are no right or wrong ways to let ideas come to you. No matter what you’re writing, or how you go about finding ideas for your stories, you can’t force inspiration to appear—you have to allow it to gently flow to you.

Until next time!

Kelli


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Midwinter Night's Delights review & a new interview!


Hi everyone!

Today, I'm sharing some news and a great review for my 2010 historical-fantasy novella, A MIDWINTER NIGHT'S DELIGHTS.

I was recently interviewed about my books and the writing life by Seriously Reviewed – here’s the link:

http://seriouslyinterviewed.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-with-kelli-wilkins-amber.html

And, Romance at Heart just reviewed A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S DELIGHTS. Here's an excerpt:

"Kelli A Wilkins is an author who brings a huge amount of joyful imagination to her writing, an equal part of enthusiasm, and a lot of talent as well. Her love for her characters shines through in her words, their plights so wonderfully explained, and the resolution of the problems so innovative and erotic. A Midwinter Night’s Delights is no exception. With Julian and Annabelle, she has stretched her boundaries with care, chosen the settings that suited each encounter, then meshes them with the story in a way that draws the reader in and allows them to again live their experiences.


In Julian and Annabelle she has taken the pair who came into a marriage as virgins, and used the Midwinter's party held by Vincent and Sabrina to again bring this naive couple farther into the world created at the celebrations. In the beginning, Julian's well meaning parents only did one thing right, they sent the couple to Vincent and Sabrina, and now the two of them are back to explore even more of what they hadn’t known, and found there are many paths to love.


For those of you who delight in the erotic romances, A Midwinter Night’s Delights by Kelli A Wilkins is a book you won’t want to miss. Julian and Annabelle are again ushered into a discovery of self, and relationship as their foray into the world of BDSM and a mid-winter orgy finds them expanding their trust issues and discovering how much they really do love each other. It can be noted that Kelli always finds a new and unique method to draw her lovers together.


This latest creation of Kelli's is available at Amber Quill Press and is a must buy for Kelli Wilkins fans everywhere, as well as those who enjoy a truly excellent erotic romance. A Midwinter Night’s Delights is truly a keeper, so get your copy today.” – Rose, Romance at Heart"

In other news, look for Four Days with Jack to be released on May 22. This contemporary gay romance is set in a tropical island resort. In the next few weeks I'll share an excerpt and book summary.

Until next time!

Kelli


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Perfect Match – from Dream to Reality

Hi everyone,

A non-writer recently asked me about my new book A Perfect Match. She was wondering how I come up with the characters and the story and...basically how I wrote the book. I told her that this book was different from all of my other books because the entire story came to me in a dream.

Today I decided to share the ‘inside look’ at the history of this book and explain how it all came about. One morning I woke up and said “uh-oh!” and grabbed the pen and paper next to the bed. (I keep it there in case of inspiration.) I knew that if I didn’t immediately start writing down everything in my head, it would be lost forever. So I sat there, furiously scribbling the outline of the book. It was just the bare bones of the plot and the characters, but I knew I was onto something.

Over the course of the day, more bits and pieces came through. Now I had a subplot, secondary characters, and knew more about what was happening in this book that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I was fortunate enough to actually ‘see’ the book in my head like a movie – some scenes were missing, but I had a clear picture to work from.

At the time I got the idea for A Perfect Match, I was deep into working on a very different contemporary, Trust with Hearts. I set that book aside and started writing about wrestlers!

After the book was finished and polished I submitted it to a bunch of writing contests and “big-name traditional” publishers. Results were mixed – the contest people loved it! They said it had great characters, interesting (and different) kind of plot, and lots of sexual tension. A Perfect Match was a top 10 finalist in the first “American Title” contest and won awards in a few other contests.

The editors were not so thrilled. I remember getting two very different (and painful) rejections on the same day. Editor 1 basically said that Vinnie was a caveman and too much of an alpha male, a bully, and not a good hero at all. Danni was a spoiled child who shouldn’t wear suits and should be completely rewritten to be more of ‘chick lit’ kind of character. And by the way, nobody will buy (or want to read) a book about wrestlers.

Editor 2 loved the characters, their relationship, the drama….but women readers wouldn’t be interested in reading about sports, especially wrestling. Try something else.

Everyone’s been rejected – but some rejections hurt more than others. So, after the allotted time to lick my wounds, I did what any good writer does – I sat down, gave the book another edit and kept sending it out. I’m pleased to say that the book was born into the world on March 27. (Yey!)

So what’s the point to this story? I think it just shows how writers have to stick with it and believe in themselves (and their book). I know a lot of people who say, “I want to write a book.” But never put a word on the page. They tell me that they don’t want to go to all the trouble to work on something if it’s just going to be rejected.

Most people don’t realize how much work goes into writing a book and are amazed that writers can do it. They see the finished end product and think it’s easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. But the rest of us know the truth – even when we have a great idea come to us in a dream, we have to write the book and do the hard work to make the dream a reality.

Here’s a link to A Perfect Match: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/PerfectMatch.html

I hope you’ll check it out – and tell me what you think!

And, in other news: my new interview was just posted on the Seriously Interviewed site. Here’s the link:

http://seriouslyinterviewed.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-with-kelli-wilkins-amber.html

Until next time,

Kelli

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kelli's Quill Newsletter/Blog - Spring issue



KELLI’S QUILL

The Official Newsletter of Kelli Wilkins

March/April Issue (Vol. 4 Number 2)


Happy spring everyone! The weather is turning warmer and flowers are starting to bloom. As we say goodbye to winter, I’m sharing some news about two hot new romances, a review excerpt, and more!

FOR READERS:

KELLI’S NEW WRESTLING ROMANCE: Kelli’s twelfth romance, A PERFECT MATCH was released by Amber Quill in March. This sizzling contemporary romance is set in the world of professional wrestling and is available in electronic formats and paperback. Here’s a summary and link to buy:

A PERFECT MATCH

Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash.

Disgruntled with her job as the office gopher for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.

Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.

Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie. Their mutual attraction grows, and Danni gives in to the lustful feelings she’s repressed for years. As their relationship deepens, she finds herself drawn into Vinnie’s world and becomes a key player in his title bout. But before Danni can tell Vinnie that she isn’t the reporter she claims to be, he discovers her deception. Her lie threatens to destroy everything between them. Is their fragile love destined to fail, or are they a perfect match?

The link is: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/PerfectMatch.html

COMING IN MAY - KELLI’S FIRST GAY ROMANCE: Kelli’s first gay romance, Four Days with Jack, will be released by Amber Quill Press in May. Set in a Caribbean resort, this contemporary follows the budding romance of two best friends. Check out a sneak peek at the cover here: http://www.kelliwilkins.com/romance13.html

REVIEW FOR A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S DELIGHTS: Romance at Heart recently reviewed Kelli’s hot historical/fantasy, A Midwinter Night’s Delights. Here’s an excerpt and link to the full review.

“Kelli A Wilkins is an author who brings a huge amount of joyful imagination to her writing, an equal part of enthusiasm, and a lot of talent as well. Her love for her characters shines through in her words, their plights so wonderfully explained, and the resolution of the problems so innovative and erotic. A Midwinter Night’s Delights is no exception. With Julian and Annabelle, she has stretched her boundaries with care, chosen the settings that suited each encounter, then meshes them with the story in a way that draws the reader in and allows them to again live their experiences. In Julian and Annabelle she has taken the pair who came into a marriage as virgins, and used the Midwinter's party held by Vincent and Sabrina to again bring this naive couple farther into the world created at the celebrations. In the beginning, Julian's well meaning parents only did one thing right, they sent the couple to Vincent and Sabrina, and now the two of them are back to explore even more of what they hadn’t known, and found there are many paths to love.

For those of you who delight in the erotic romances, A Midwinter Night’s Delights by Kelli A. Wilkins is a book you won’t want to miss. Julian and Annabelle are again ushered into a discovery of self, and relationship as their foray into the world of BDSM and a mid-winter orgy finds them expanding their trust issues and discovering how much they really do love each other. It can be noted that Kelli always finds a new and unique method to draw her lovers together. This latest creation of Kelli's is available at Amber Quill Press and is a must buy for Kelli Wilkins fans everywhere, as well as those who enjoy a truly excellent erotic romance. A Midwinter Night’s Delights is truly a keeper, so get your copy today.” http://romanceatheart.com/review/midwinternightsdelights.html

Q&A WITH KELLI

This is an excerpt from my interview with Novelspot. You can read the whole interview here: http://novelspot.net/node/3522


Q:
Several of your romances have won writing contests. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you really enjoy writing romances and erotica. What is it about these genres that you like so much?

Kelli: Yes, I do enjoy writing romances. Writing in general appeals to me because it lets me create characters and entire worlds from out of nowhere. It’s fun to make up a setting, add characters, and then give the characters a problem or issue to solve. Romance (whether it’s erotic or traditional) is interesting to write because in most cases the hero and heroine are strangers at the beginning of the story (or don’t like each other much), but by the end of the book they’re in love and living happily-ever-after.

I write in several romance sub-genres (fantasy, historical, contemporary, and paranormal) so there’s always something different going on in my romances. Writing in various sub-genres lets me experiment with plots, settings, and characters. For example, Beauty & the Bigfoot is a paranormal-comedy based on a woman falling in love with a Sasquatch. (Yes, you read that right.) In my historical, The Dark Lord, I set the story in an isolated Carpathian Mountain castle. Princess Elara (from A Most Unusual Princess) is feisty and very opinionated and doesn’t act like a princess at all. I like mixing things up and switching romance genres, I think it helps stretch my writing muscles and keeps the stories and characters interesting.

Q: Non-fiction, horror, romance…you write in many different genres. Are there similarities that draw you to them or is it the differences that you like?

Kelli: I pretty much write everything and anything. If I have a good idea for a fiction story, I’ll go with it, regardless of the genre. I think writing in different styles/genres helps writers grow and keeps the writing fresh. You don’t get stuck in a rut with the same settings, time periods, characters, or expectations. One thing I like about diversifying my writing between horror and romance is that I get to entirely change the way I approach (and write) the story. When I’m writing horror, I can create an utterly repulsive lead character and let him/her do things that a character in a romance wouldn’t do. I can also explore different settings (graveyards, haunted houses, etc.) that aren’t normally found in romance. After writing a few romances, I like to switch it up and write a few horror stories for a change of pace.

Q: If you were to be transported into one of your books, which one would it be and why?

Kelli: That’s a hard question to answer! I love all my books and would enjoy hanging out with all of my characters. I like castles, so it would be nice to creep around the Carpathian castle in The Dark Lord. It might also be fun to hang around with Princess Elara, Prince Dalton, and Prince Allan from A Most Unusual Princess, Dalton’s Temptation, and The Pauper Prince. Or maybe even indulge in some naughty fun at the ball in A Midwinter Night’s Delights… A nice thing about creating all these characters and different worlds is that while writing them, I did get to transport myself into the books!


FOR WRITERS:

As a writer, you might be asking yourself: “What’s with all these social media sites? Do I have to be a social butterfly?” The answer is – yes and no. As with anything involving writing, you need to do what’s comfortable for you. Writing blogs, creating pages for your author self, posting covers for your books, and maintaining a website can seem overwhelming to anyone who isn’t computer savvy, but with a little practice – and patience – social media sites can work to your advantage.

If you’ve already published a book, articles, short stories (or whatever!) posting your writing information (book covers, blurbs, links to buy) on social sites can increase your readership and sales. Sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, Authors Den, and Manic Readers let you create author pages and post blurbs about your books. You can also join Yahoo groups and interact with readers and writers, share info, and ask questions about writing in general. Having a personal blog is a great way to connect to readers and post news and excerpts from your writings. And, it’s free!

Most sites are easy to figure out and setting up a page for yourself (or your books) doesn’t take too much time. However, if you have author pages for 15 sites, you’ll need to maintain all 15 sites with updates (such as new releases) or whenever you want to blog or chat with other writers or readers. All the time invested in being a social cyberspace butterfly can (and most often will) take time away from your writing. So, it’s a good idea to update/check sites for an hour or two a week, or devote a block of time specifically for this, so you don’t eat up the time you’ve set aside for writing (which is what you really should be doing!).

You never know where your social media/promotion efforts will lead, so do as much as you can (and feel comfortable with) as often as you can. A few well-maintained pages, a great blog, and a fun website can enhance your online presence and boost your writing career!

***

Until next time,

Kelli

Friday, April 1, 2011

An inside look at A PERFECT MATCH - Kelli's Wrestling Romance!

Hi everyone!

My sizzling Amber Heat romance, A Perfect Match was just released on Sunday, March 27. I blogged a little bit about the book before, but now I’m sharing an excerpt and some insight into the book in general.

A Perfect Match is a contemporary romance set in the world of professional wrestling As anyone who knows me will attest, wrestling has always been a part of my life, so it was only natural that one day I’d write a book with wrestling as the backdrop.

People who have read the book have asked me to questions: 1. Which wrestlers are the characters based on? and 2. How do you know all this stuff about wresting?

It’s easier to answer the second question first. Wrestling has always been a staple in my family. (I like to say it’s our family tradition.) Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be on friendly terms with a bunch of wrestlers. My husband and I would go to matches and hang out with the guys after the shows. (No, I wasn’t a ring rat.) I picked up a lot of terms and got a real feel for what they did and how they experienced life on the road. I wasn’t even thinking about writing then, so I had no idea that one day I’d use what I learned in a book. When I got the idea for the book, I was able to incorporate much of what I knew into the plot, through Danni’s point of view.

The male characters in my book (Vinnie, Ev, Thorn, Nick) aren’t based on any one wrestler or real person. Like characters in any story, they’re a combination of real and invented personalities and have their own individual traits. I specifically made sure that Vinnie and the others aren’t linked to real wrestlers, because it would take away from the story. Also, since I’m writing fiction, I was able to invent whatever character flaws and backstory info that I wanted!

Here’s a short summary & a tame excerpt:

A PERFECT MATCH

Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash.

Disgruntled with her job as the office gopher for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.

Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.

Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie. Their mutual attraction grows, and Danni gives in to the lustful feelings she’s repressed for years. As their relationship deepens, she finds herself drawn into Vinnie’s world and becomes a key player in his title bout. But before Danni can tell Vinnie that she isn’t the reporter she claims to be, he discovers her deception. Her lie threatens to destroy everything between them. Is their fragile love destined to fail, or are they a perfect match?

***

Danni hurried down the hall to the locker room. She hadn’t meant to be late picking up Vin tonight, but the moron lot attendant wouldn’t let her back into the parking area. She pushed open the locker room door and rushed inside. “Vin, I’m sorry I—”

Her tote bag slipped through her fingers and dropped to the floor. Vin stood less than three feet away, soaking wet. A white towel barely covered his waist.

“Oh, my God!” Her entire body flushed as a tingling sensation built deep in her belly. Vin was practically naked and dripping wet from the shower.

“I…um…you’re…I…oh God,” she muttered and whirled around. Why wasn’t he saying anything?

Vin’s warm hand settled on her shoulder. He gently turned her to face him. Beads of water dripped down his chest, and she longed to lick them away. “Um…you…you’re wet.” She glanced at the towel and prayed it would fall off his waist.

“And you’re not?”

She squealed as Vin drew her to his chest. His mouth covered hers, and she lost all sense of reason.

A wet heat built between her legs as Vin’s tongue entered her mouth. Her body surged beneath his touch. She clutched him tight and dug her fingers into the solid flesh of his back and ribs. He smelled like soap and water and yet there was a hint of something manly, musky about him.

Vin moaned and cupped her buttocks through her sundress, melding her body against his. A high-pitched mewing sound escaped her throat as a long-denied lust flared within her. Was this really happening? She’d had this fantasy for so many nights, would she wake up and discover it was only another dirty dream?

She slid her hands down Vin’s flat stomach to the edge of the towel. For a second, she hesitated, unsure. Did she dare do what every instinct commanded? Vin’s tongue plunged deeper into her mouth, wordlessly urging her on.

***

The book link is: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/PerfectMatch.html

I hope you’ll check it out! I’d love to hear what readers think about the book, the story, and the characters.

Until next time,

Kelli

Next week: My newsletter!