Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Late Summer Issue





Kelli’s Quill

Big Summer Issue!

July/August 2015

I hope everyone is enjoying the last bits of summer! This month in the Quill I’m sharing news about upcoming guest blogs and book spotlights, a mini-interview, and an exclusive excerpt from my writing book, You Can WriteReally! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

It’s another big “double issue” so let’s get started!


NEW For August:
Learn how to make your summer romances sizzle in my guest blog series!

 
Did you miss these July events?
Kelli was the featured author on the Book Reviews site in the month of July. Read her fun intro, learn about her spicy romances, and more! http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2015/07/KelliAWilkins.html
The site featured “inside looks” about her writings on these dates:

And if you missed it, there’s still time to read Kelli’s latest interview! In June, she was interviewed on the THURSDAY INTERVIEW BLOG and talked about her writing book (You Can Write - Really!), plus answered a few unusual questions!
http://the-thursday-interview.blogspot.ie/2015/06/kelli-wilkins.html
 

Q & A with Kelli
Here’s a mini-interview with Kelli. Have a question you’d like to see answered here? Drop Kelli a line on social media or send an email to the address on the News page of her site: www.KelliWilkins.com

Q: If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
 
A: This is a tough question, and the answer depends on what genre you like to read. A Most Unusual Princess was my first book with Amber Quill Press, so most readers started with that one. I had so much fun writing that story, that I wrote two sequels, Dalton’s Temptation and The Pauper Prince. Since then, I’ve written several 5-star reviewed historical romances, including The Viking’s Witch, Dangerous Indenture, and Wilderness Bride.
 
Readers of super-hot erotica would probably fall in love with my “Three Nights of Delights” trilogy: A Midsummer Night’s Delights, A Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights. Anything and everything goes in this historical/fantasy series. Although these books are connected, each can stand alone as an individual read.

Contemporary readers would enjoy A Perfect Match. It’s a full-length novel set in the world of professional wrestling. Another contemporary, Trust with Hearts, has a sexy country singer as a hero. Both books are available in paperback and ebook formats.

Paranormal and shifter readers with a sense of humor would definitely enjoy Beauty & the Bigfoot. It’s a funny, quirky, and strangely erotic look at the legend of Bigfoot. Since it’s a flat-out comedy, I was able to let my own odd sense of humor shine through in the wacky characters. 

Lovers of gay romance can choose between Four Days with Jack (my first M/M romance), Killer in Wolf’s Clothing (a gay shifter-paranormal), and my latest, A Secret Match. A Secret Match is set in the world of professional wrestling and is the follow-up (of sorts) to my straight romance, A Perfect Match.

Full book summaries, reviews, excerpts and links to all my romances are on my site: www.KelliWilkins.com


Q: What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
A: I hope readers will be satisfied with a happy-ever-after romance. I also hope that they’d think the book was a fun and sexy read, and that they loved the characters and rooted for them to be together. (I’d also hope readers would recommend that book to friends, and then try another of my books!)


Q: Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
A: I’m always multi-tasking. Although I can only write one book at a time, I constantly find myself adding something extra to my “to do” list. I might be writing a book, promoting another book, blogging, Tweeting, and writing my newsletter all in the same week. I also write short horror fiction, so I often take a break from writing romances to work on a horror story.

Q: If you were a superhero, what special power would you have?
A: Teleportation. I’d love to be able to teleport to places instantly – pop in and out like Samantha did on Bewitched! Want to go to a concert in London? I snap my fingers and I’m there!
 

You Can WriteReally! Exclusive Excerpt
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from You Can WriteReally! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. In this section, I share some helpful advice along with practical info on how to make your writing better, a few tips, and more!

Show, Don’t Tell
One of the most common criticisms authors get is: show, don’t tell. “Telling” is one of the hardest things for authors to spot in their own work. So what is it? What does it mean when someone says, “This is telling, not showing.”

When you “show” you are in the character’s head and body. You (and the reader) experience everything through the character’s point-of-view. This not only includes the senses (everything he hears, smells, etc.) but also the emotional and physical reactions to things that are happening (palms sweat, he feels like throwing up, his hearts races…).

Showing gives readers a close and personal relationship with your characters.

Telling pulls the reader out of the story and leaves a detached, impersonal feeling. It’s like a news report. Imagine a nosy neighbor who comes over to gossip—all you get is secondhand news. “Mike’s having an affair and John is mad.” It’s flat, with no feeling, emotions, or connection. Sometimes telling is identified by a big paragraph known as an information or story dump, or the “As you know…” speech.

Here’s an example: “As you know, Phil, after Mike and Susan had their affair, she became pregnant and started blackmailing him for the lottery money he won last August. When Jane, Mike’s alcoholic wife found out, she felt betrayed and hired a hit man to kill him.”

Sounds like a summary to a soap opera, doesn’t it? On occasion, a little telling is okay. For example, if a detective is summing up how he solved the mystery of the jewel heist, he can tell everyone how it was done. Be on the lookout for telling as you revise. Show us what’s happening, don’t tell us.

Passive Voice Versus Active Voice
Passive voice is another thing authors should be on the lookout for. It’s one of those pesky problems editors find in our stories (along with telling). What’s the difference between passive and active voice? Why does it matter?

In passive voice, the subject of the sentence doesn’t perform the action, but receives it (or is acted upon). For example: The window was broken by the red-haired boy. The play was written by George.
Passive voice uses the word “was” and a verb (was broken, was written). This means, if you see “was + verb” in your writing, you’re using passive voice.

In active voice, the subject performs the action directly: The red-haired boy broke the window. George wrote the play. Incorporating active voice (and active verbs) helps you write fast-paced, active sentences and improve your scenes.

While we’re back in English class, let’s review two parts of speech. Adverbs (words that usually end in “ly”) modify verbs or adjectives: slowly, quickly, sweetly, immediately, suddenly.

If you use adverbs, you’re telling, so get rid of them. He ran quickly. How about he sprinted? He dashed? Replace weak verbs (that often need to be helped along by an adverb) with a strong verb instead.

Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns. These are what you use for descriptions: blue bedspread, skinny horse, velvet touch, pale yellow moonlight, sunny dayroom, red striped wallpaper…

TIP: Don’t be afraid to do a major rewrite or overhaul on a scene, a chapter, or a whole book if need be. (I call this “burn it and start over.”) An aggressive rewrite makes your writing better. If you’re not sure, but think you need to cut your chapter or scene, you’re probably right. Take it out and see if the story flows better.

Bad Words
No, not those kinds of bad words. We’re talking about word repetition. As you edit, pay attention to words or phrases you overuse. A phrase shouldn’t be repeated more than five times in a novel, and less in a short story.

Make a list of “bad” words you keep running into while you’re revising. Here are a few examples: glanced, looked, laughed, that, even, just, once, would, could, felt, shook his head, somehow, started to, although, though, suddenly, a minute later, a few minutes later, after a few minutes…

After you’ve finished editing, do a search for each word (using a Search or Find function in spellcheck) and delete as many as possible. You can also use the thesaurus to give you suggestions on similar words and replace them. For example, scream can become: shout, yell, yelp, squeal, cry, etc.

Search for similarly-spelled words and check that you’re not accidentally using the wrong word. Some to look out for include: gaps/gasp, work/word, gong/going, from/form, though/thought/through, girl/gril.
Junk words fill space (which is nice if you’re getting paid by the word) but they don’t add anything substantial to your writing. A few examples of junk words are: oh, well, uh, a little, a little bit, but, rather, sort of, kind of, pretty, mostly, very, really, almost, although, besides, and also.

TIP: Avoid starting sentences with “suddenly.” It warns readers that something is about to happen before it does.

Titles
Does your novel or short story have a title yet? If so, congratulations! You’ve overcome a hurdle that makes many authors bang their heads on their desks and/or scream. When I started writing, I asked every published author I met one question: “How do you come up with the title for your book?” I figured they must have a secret formula or a “way” of choosing titles.

Nope. They all groaned, rolled their eyes, shook their heads, and said, “Don’t ask me that. I hate titles. The publisher always changes them anyway.”

At least I know I’m not alone! Titles can be elusive and sneaky (like leprechauns), and I’ve been known to lament: “How can I write a 70,000-word book, and yet I can’t think of a three-word title?”

Some of my novels and short stories had titles before I wrote a word, (The Ape, Four Days with Jack, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, Trust with Hearts, A Perfect Match, Not Your Ordinary Little Green Men), some came to me as I wrote, and others… forget it. The entire manuscript was ready to submit and the title still plagued me.

TIP: If your story doesn’t have a title, start working on one now. Ask yourself: What are key words or phrases that describe the story? What’s the genre? Is there a theme? You can also use character names or place names as titles. Hamlet, Jurassic Park, and Peyton Place have worked in the past.

Titles should convey the message or tone of the story to the reader and give them a hint as to what it is about. (You don’t want to mislead them.) A reader has a good idea The Viking’s Witch is about a Viking and a witch. I Eat Eyeballs is a dark horror tale (I hope!), and Tracking the Teddy Bear Killer sounds like a police procedural.

TIP: Do freewriting exercises and brainstorm ideas for titles. Write down anything associated with the story (Vikings, witch, Celts, Scotland, paranormal romance) or go through the alphabet A-Z and jot down three to five words for each letter that describes your story, then mix and match them. Ask friends and family for suggestions, too!

Titles aren’t easy, but do your best. Yes, sometimes the publisher will change the title you’ve worked so hard on (and if they do, hopefully they’ll have suggestions on a new one!) but that’s okay—it means they want to buy your story! (And isn’t that great news?!)

***
If you would like to read more easy-to-follow, fun and practical advice on how to write, order your copy of You Can WriteReally! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction here:

 
Literary Nymphs gave it 5 stars and said:
You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction has a lot of very practical advice that is easy to understand and follow. The author did a good job breaking up the various components of writing a book or short story and makes you think you are in a creative writing class as opposed to an English class. Each section of the book was followed by exercises that used the principles she was trying to convey. I loved this book and the way it is so easy to understand and follow. The author did good job in organizing it. Whether you are someone just starting or someone with some publications, this is a good book for the bookshelf.

Brewing on the Horizon…
I’ve recently been asked, “What are you working on?” Well, before I went on vacation I revised my full-length historical romance set in Nebraska. The book doesn’t have a title yet (time for me to read that section about titles again!) and I’m in the editing stage now. I’m hoping to have it finished by September. Stay tuned to the Quill and my social media pages – as soon as I know more, I’ll share!

I’m also outlining a few ideas for horror stories. My horror fiction is a lot shorter than my romances, so I hope to get a few written as soon as that romance is finished. 

In the meantime, visit my author page on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 and catch up on any titles (romance or horror) you may have missed.  

I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Quill. Feel free to send me questions and comments and share this with your friends on social media. 

Happy Reading,
Kelli

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