Friday, January 27, 2012

5 More Writing Tips Any Writer Can Use

Hi everyone!

Last week I promised more writing tips, well here they are! Whether you’re a beginning writer, an established author, or somewhere in between, keep these suggestions in mind as you work on your next project.

Reading Aloud is Fundamental: Before you send out your story, novel, query, or anything, make sure you read it aloud. When you read something aloud you’ll hear the words/narrative/dialog that don’t “work” or sound awkward. (And you’ll catch missing words.) If you find yourself stumbling over a sentence or phrase, it might need to be edited. Go slow and read every word. You won’t finish reading your novel aloud in a day, but the results are worth the time you invest in the process.


Give Me A Description: Use the 5 senses to enhance descriptions in your writing. Colors, smells, taste, the weather, food, (or anything) can be used to make a character or a setting stand out.

The living room smelled like a combination of wet dog and old lady perfume.

Claudia looked like she’d just eaten a lemon.

Only Aunt Patty would wear a hot-pink polka-dot dress with lime green shoes.

Color can help set the mood or tone of a story or reveal more about the characters. A room decorated in pinks and pastels with white wicker furniture probably belongs to a woman in a romance story. A room with red walls, black curtains, and silver candlesticks is most likely the setting for a horror story (or belongs to a romantic vampire!).


Rejection: It Really is All Subjective: All editors are not created the same. If you send your story (or query) out to 5 people, you’ll get 5 different opinions. (Although not every editor will share his or her feedback with you.) Rejection is hard to deal with, but as a writer you have to understand that the editor is rejecting the story, not you. Why? Sometimes you’ll never know. You might get a photocopied form letter that tells you nothing. Other times you might get a cryptic line about “not what we’re looking for” and sometimes you’ll get a paragraph with some explanation (weak plot, characters are not interesting, etc.). The important thing to remember after you’ve been rejected is to keep going. If the editor made suggestions (change the ending, add more dialog) consider the comments and either make the changes or don’t. (It’s your story.) But keep writing and submitting.


What’s Where?: Keep a list of when and where you submit your writing. Note the title of the piece (or query subject), date, and publication. This way, you’ll know what’s where and how long ago you sent it. This is handy in case you need to follow up on a wayward query or submission. I also make a list of places to submit to next, (just in case of rejection) so I’ll know where the story is headed.


5 Simple Rules of Writing: Learn these now and save yourself some angst:

  1. There’s no secret or magic way to get published. You must do the work, write the story, and submit, like everyone else.
  2. Write the best story you can and submit it to the proper markets.
  3. Everyone gets rejected – it’s not personal.
  4. Not everyone will like what you write. Develop a tough skin and learn to take negative reviews or criticism in stride.
  5. Keep writing no matter what. Be persistent and follow your dreams.

  I hope these simple tips have helped motivate and encourage you as you work on your 2012 writing goals! Next week, excerpts from an interview!

Until next time,
Kelli A. Wilkins

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - BIG Jan/Feb Issue




KELLI’S QUILL
The Official Newsletter of Kelli Wilkins
BIG January/February 2012 Issue (Vol. 5 Number 1)
Hi everyone! Hope the new year is treating you right. Before we get started, I’d like to thank everyone who joined my blog, signed up for my newsletter, and followed me on Twitter in 2011. As always, feel free to forward this newsletter to your writing groups, social networks, and friends. I look forward to chatting with readers and other writers in 2012!
Let’s begin with a review the best of 2011:
FOR READERS – A 2011 RECAP:
KELLI’S WRESTLING ROMANCE:  A PERFECT MATCH was released by Amber Quill in March 2011. This sizzling contemporary romance is set in the world of professional wrestling and is available in electronic formats and paperback. The book was a finalist in the 2004 “American Title” contest and received several great reviews.
“5 stars! Kelli A Wilkins’ A Perfect Match is one of the best books I read in awhile. It’s romantic, sweet and HOT!! Vin and Danni have it bad for each other and once they both give into their passion, its hot and heavy. I really enjoyed this book, it has a great storyline and I loved all the characters.” – Wanda, Reviewer, Romance Writers Reviews

“4 stars! A Perfect Match is a how-to manual of what goes on in the professional wrestling world. I found it fascinating. You don’t need to know or like the sport to enjoy this tender, yet fierce love story, with a ‘HEA for now’ ending. I hope you like it as much as I did.” – Patrizia M., Reviewer, Manic Readers

“Kelli A. Wilkins writes a daring romance. She gives her readers ringside seats to a spectacularly sexy main event. Danni may have her reasons for being deceitful, but her treachery will not allow her to obtain what she honestly wants. Vinnie may be on his way out, but he will not surrender without the fight of his life. Together, they create a tag team that cannot easily be defeated. Ms. Wilkins certainly pins her readers and keeps them down for the count. I definitely could not stop reading once I was caught firmly in the grasp of the entangling romance. A PERFECT MATCH throws out all the rules and shows just how no-holds-barred love can be. This was a fun, fast, and feisty tale.” Melissa K., Reviewer, Noveltalk

KELLI’S GAY ROMANCE: Kelli’s first gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released by Amber Quill Press’s Amber Allure line in May. Set in a Caribbean resort, this contemporary follows the budding romance of two best friends. This novella also got great reviews!
“4 Gold Crowns! Four Days with Jack by Kelli A. Wilkins is a great story about best friends Jack and David. Two friends who have been in love with each other for years, and, for various reasons, afraid to let it out, finally give in while on vacation. David and Jack are beautifully created. They both have their faults but love each other enough to want to try. Kelli A. Wilkins’ Four Days with Jack is a great story about accepting who you are and going after what you really want.” - Jaymes, Reviewer, The Readers Round Table (Read the full review here: http://thereadersroundtable.com/erotic/?p=390)
“Four Days With Jack was exactly as promised. Hesitation, longings, risks, fears, and in the end, taking love the way it comes. The sex is hot, the characters likeable and the writing was easy to read. The peaks and valleys of the story come from David and Jack coming to terms with their relationship. Their secrets are exposed but those secrets and actions come with consequences. Their journey is a pleasant read and one I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well.” – Seriously Reviewed (Read the full review here: http://seriouslyreviewed.blogspot.com/2011/06/four-days-with-jack-by-kelli-wilkins.html?zx=cb3786698a471e82)
I thought that (Kelli) Wilkins did a very good job portraying the confused David and the wary, but hopeful, Jack. David’s inner turmoil and fears about outing himself were so heartbreaking. I definitely felt for him. Overall, I believe that FOUR DAYS WITH JACK is a strong romance with very likeable characters. I’m quite glad that I went ahead and read this story. I learned that as a romance fan I can definitely appreciate and enjoy those that feature two male heroes. FOUR DAYS WITH JACK is an emotional, yet sexy coming-out story about two men finally opening themselves up to the possibility of a great love. It was an excellent introduction into the world of m/m romance.” – Jennifer, Reviewer, Romance Novel News

INTERVIEWS & GUEST BLOGS:
In April 2011, Seriously Reviewed interviewed Kelli about her books. The link is: http://seriouslyinterviewed.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-with-kelli-wilkins-amber.html

Fallen Angel Reviews also posted an interview with Kelli. You can read the full interview here: http://www.fallenangelreviews.com/Interviews/2011/April-Tammy-KelliAWilkins.htm
Kelli’s guest blog/interview was posted on July 7, 2011 on the “You Gotta Read Reviews” site. The link is: http://yougottareadguest.blogspot.com/  She shared info on her books, the writing process, and more.
On July 12, Kelli was a featured “Author Spotlight” on the website Best Romance Stories. Click here to read the spotlight: http://bestromancestories.com/author-spotlight-kelli-a-wilkins/
Kelli made the rounds as a guest blogger on the Seriously Reviewed blog. She shared an inside look at all of her romances. Here are a few links to her most recent blogs:
Kelli’s interview with Whipped Cream also appeared online on July 12. Here’s the link: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/interviews.htm
IT’S NOT ALL ROMANCE: Kelli’s flash fiction horror story “Death is Just a Tick Away” appeared in the premier issue of Dark Moon Digest e-Magazine. The magazine is available in Kindle (Amazon.com) and Nook (B&N.com) formats.

Here’s the link to order a Nook version:

The story also appeared in the Frightmares: A Fistful of Flash Fiction Horror paperback anthology published by Dark Moon Books. The story is based on a real superstition! The link is: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0983433550/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=shadara-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0983433550
 CATS & HORROR: Kelli’s horror story, “Just an Innocent Little Cat” was published in DARK THINGS II: Cat Crimes: Tales of Feline Mayhem and Murder in December 2011. The character of Chester is based on a real-life orange cat. All proceeds from sales of this anthology go to several cat sanctuaries across the USA.  Buy a copy (or three) on Amazon. The book link is:  http://www.amazon.com/DARK-THINGS-II-Crimes-Feline/dp/1468055488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324187873&sr=8-1
COMING IN 2012….
Kelli’s full-length historical/paranormal romance, THE WITCH & THE WARRIOR will be released in e-format by Medallion Press in August. Here’s a plot summary and a link to the page.
Scotland, 803 A.D.
 About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
 But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.
SHORT STUFF: Look for Kelli’s stories “A Purrfect Match” and “Exception to the Rule” to appear in the February issue of True Confessions Magazine. (These are the submitted titles, so they’re subject to change.)
IN THE WORKS: Kelli is currently working on several new romances (a m/m paranormal, a historical mystery, and a few others….). Her website should be updated soon…really!
THE BLOG & OTHER WEB PLACES:
Kelli has added book pages to her blog! Links, covers, and summaries are there for the reading! She’s going to add horror pages soon, too.
Kelli’s Writings are on Amazon: Did you know that all of Kelli’s writings are on Amazon? (Romance, short fiction, anthologies, horror, non-fiction, and everything else….) Visit her author page and catch up on books you may have missed. The link is: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.-Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1326933452&sr=8-3
Kelli’s Where on the Web?
Here’s a quick list of where to find Kelli on the web.
Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Twitter:
@KWilkinsauthor
FOR WRITERS:
Something to Think About
It’s nearly February, the time of year when thoughts turn to romance and love. March is just around the corner, and everyone’s getting ready for spring….so naturally writers are thinking about…Autumn? Halloween? Yes, believe it or not, some publications are already planning late summer or early autumn issues. What’s the rush, you ask? Most magazines work on issues two to three months in advance, while some plan anywhere from six to nine months ahead.
What does this mean for writers? Well, if you have a great seasonal/holiday story (or article) waiting to be sent out, don’t delay! (As a general rule, I submit seasonal stories six months in advance of the holiday.) Depending on the publication and the rules about simultaneous submissions, you may have only one shot of submitting your seasonal story this year. By sending it “early” your story has a good chance of falling onto the editor’s desk when the editor needs it, and it could very well be accepted into one of the coveted seasonal slots. In some cases, (if your story is rejected quickly or you learn that a publication has folded), submitting early will allow you to send the work elsewhere within the proper timeframe. With a little advance planning, you could see your seasonal work published sooner than you think!
Something to Write About
Are you working on a seasonal story and don’t know it? Whether you write romance, horror, or mystery, your story has to be set at some time of the year. Spend a few minutes and think about all the sensory details of the season you can add to any piece of writing. (The crisp crunch of oak leaves in autumn, a fresh-cut grass smell, icy blasts of December wind, the salty taste of sweat in summer….) But don’t just focus on the weather. Each season/holiday has its own particular sights, sounds, and smells. And don’t overlook tiny details such as flowers, insects, and animal life. (I once tossed a book across the room because the author had tulips blooming in September!)
Writing exercise: Pick a holiday/season and write a little story around it, using as many details as you can. Consider breaking away from the “traditional” seasonal stories (not every horror story happens in October). For example, why not set a romance at the beginning of the new school year? How about a terrifying tale that takes place on the 4th of July? (Preferably one that doesn’t involve frogs - that’s been done.)
You might be amazed at what you come up with, and you could turn a writing exercise into your next submission!
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I hope you enjoyed this issue of Kelli’s Quill! Feel free to share it with friends. Next time, I’ll share some writing tips and an excerpt from an interview!
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins




Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Writing Goals


Hi everyone!


As 2011 wound down to a close, I found myself reflecting on the writing goals I set for myself way back in January. Did I achieve all that I wanted to? Could I have written more? Should I have put in more time in front of the computer, blogging or working on another book? Or was it entirely okay to sit in the back yard this July and watch the fireflies?

A friend and I were talking recently, and she asked me how the writing was going. I told her what I was working on and mentioned that I average two new books a year, plus some short stories.


“Two a year?” she exclaimed.


“Yes,” I answered. “I could write more books, maybe do five a year, but my stories tend to be longer,” I said.


She looked at me like I had three heads. “You do know that most people don’t even write two books in their life, don’t you?”


Her comment made me realize that everyone’s writing goals (and successes) are different. And that’s because every writer is different. There’s no “right” way to write – as long as you’re happy with your results. Writing is a very personal and individualized process. One writer’s goals or self-expectations may be entirely unrealistic for someone else.


At this time of year I look back at the books I’ve had published, compare them to last year’s books, and vow to write more in the coming year. I revisit those half-started outlines and piles of story ideas and pick out the most promising ones to “start fresh” with in January. It’s motivating to plan out the next year’s characters and dramas – after all, I’ll be living with these people for months!


Writers, ask yourself, what are your writing goals for 2012? Do you want to finish the novel you started last year (or haven’t started yet)? Send out a dozen short stories? Enter a contest? Now is the perfect time to sit down and make a list of all you want to accomplish. Having a list of projects and priorities will help keep your writing objectives on track. Try not to compare yourself and your writing goals to anyone else. Remember, you’re writing your book at your pace.


If you’re determined to start a new book, make a timeline for research, character development, plotting, etc. Give yourself a deadline for when you will start writing and stick to it. Decide how many pages or chapters you want to finish each day/week/month. Little by little, your book will take shape, and you’ll be amazed at your progress.

But keep a balance. Don’t let yourself become so “goal” oriented that you burn yourself out, stress yourself half to death, and let the writing life take the place of your real life. (Believe me, I’ve been there and I’ve learned.) Family, friends, pets, neighbors, and having fun are all important parts of being alive. Make time for your books, but also make time for yourself and those you love. (Yes, it’s perfectly okay to leave the husband parked in front of a movie and go write for two hours. But make sure when you turn the computer off, you focus on the present moment.)

Brand-new calendars are waiting to hang on our walls and each page is filled with unexplored days yet to come. Every new month is bursting with hope, possibilities, and opportunities. Make the most of the upcoming year. Set some goals for yourself. Write as much as you need to or want to, and then sit in the yard and watch the world go by.


Until next time,
Kelli