Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Big October Issue!

Kelli’s Quill
Welcome Autumn Issue!
October 2015


I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely fall weather. Halloween is just around the corner, and you know what that means for me... yes, “the most wonderful time of the year!”

This month the Quill is devoted to everything spooky and strange! We’re spotlighting my two new horror stories, the Moonshadows horror anthology, paranormal romances, offering advice on how to write horror, and more.

It’s another double issue, so let’s get started!

Just Released – Two Horror Stories

In late August, Kelli released a new Halloween-themed horror story, Kropsy's Curse!

Late one Halloween night, two young boys venture into a secluded graveyard in the hopes of conjuring up a spirit. Although Kyle is skeptical and would rather be home eating candy and watching horror movies, he reluctantly goes along with Jerry’s plan. He doesn’t believe Ouija boards work—until this one starts spelling out a message…

This 1500-word short story is a cautionary tale about playing with a Ouija board in a graveyard and is only $.99 on Kindle:

Spend a night in the land of the dead with Kelli’s horror novella, Dead Til Dawn.

Disturbing the dead doesn’t prove you’re brave – it proves you’re stupid.
After touring Gettysburg battlefield, Jessica, Tim, and Steve decide to sneak out to the Devil’s Den for some late-night fun. Jessica’s friend Kathy objects, and warns them about trespassing where they’re not wanted.

Undaunted by ghost stories and fueled by his own arrogance, Tim races toward the Devil’s Den. When the group drives through mysterious battlefield fog, they find themselves surrounded by Civil War soldiers looking for a little fun of their own.

Kathy leaves the others to fend for themselves and flees to Little Round Top. Although she’s rescued by a kindhearted Union solider named Charlie, she refuses to believe that what she’s experiencing is real. As the nighttime battle rages on, Charlie introduces Kathy to other weary soldiers, and she quickly realizes she’s trapped in the land of the dead until dawn.

Love Halloween-themed horror? Don’t miss Moon Shadows! 
 It’s a collection of 17 tales of terror that take place on and around Halloween.

In the dark of night, the moon is bright.
But what lurks in the shadows will give you a fright.

These stories touch the unknown, the unseen, and the undead. Visit what we avoid. Step into the shadows of the moon. 

My seasonal story, “Home for Halloween” appears in this horror anthology. This tale of two brothers reunited for Halloween showcases the best elements of this special holiday. (And if you know me, you know it really is special!) 

Kelli’s horror fiction has also appeared in these anthologies:

‘Tis the Season for….Paranormal Romances!  
Kelli has combined her love of horror and romance into several paranormal romances. Don’t miss these unusual love stories! Click on the link to read excerpts, reviews, and full book summaries.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover

Want more even horror? Read Kelli's interviews about horror writing here:
Interview with Patrick Greene
5 Quintessential Questions
Interview with Killion Slade

Kelli also talked with Dark Moon Books about her horror writing. Read the interview here:

You Can Write Horror – Really!
Here’s an excerpt from Kelli’s blog about writing horror. Read the full post here:

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: clowns, creepy dolls, being buried alive, stuffed moose heads, basements, closets, the dark…

As you write, 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 other danger.

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.

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.

TIP: Don’t mix monsters. Only include one primary monster or menace in your writing. Don’t have vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons running around in the same story, attacking a town during a full moon on Halloween. It’s overkill—and not in a good way.

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.

Get more writing advice, tips, and fun exercises in You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this issue of Kelli’s Quill. I enjoy hearing from readers and other writers, so contact me with questions or comments on my site or via social media.

Like my Facebook page and see what’s new. 

You can find all of my writings on my Amazon author page:

Happy Haunting!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When Love Meets Monsters — Paranormal Romance!

Hi Everyone,

To celebrate my favorite month, 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. (In fact, I just released two new horror stories this fall. You can read more about them on my site or my Amazon author page.)

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 brain and writing muscles a change of pace.

My horror short stories are more psychological/spooky/creepy than gory, and it’s fun to add something scary (or strange!) into 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/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. 

In some cases, the only way to get around the wacky idea of someone being in love with a non-human creature is to use humor. My novella, Beauty & the Bigfoot is a perfect example. Beauty & the Bigfoot sprung from a “what if” idea. What if a girl fell in love with a Sasquatch? And, what if her father was the town crackpot Bigfoot hunter? I wrote the story as a contemporary comedy (how could it not be?) and had great fun creating the oddball characters and their crazy situations.

And yes, there’s plenty of romance between Tara and her sexy Sasquatch-shifter named Joe. I’ll admit, writing the love scenes was challenging. I had to write the scenes in a way that was believable to the readers and characters, and give Tara a really good reason for giving into her animalistic desires. It must have worked, because the book got several great reviews and readers love the chemistry between the two lovebirds. The book has a “twist” ending that I won’t give away here, but “Joe” isn’t exactly what he seems…

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

Killerin Wolf’s Clothing is my third paranormal romance, and I almost had a problem writing the story 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.)

Killerin Wolf’s Clothing is not your usual werewolf love story—readers should know that Deke, the werewolf character, doesn’t actually turn into a “wolfman”—he’s a shifter type of werewolf and transforms into a super-aggressive Alpha male. As I say in the book, “It’s more Incredible Hulk than American Werewolf in London.” 

I contrasted Deke’s harsh and demanding personality with that of his gentle alter-ego Greg. Greg has an understanding of his condition and does everything he can to keep Deke suppressed. But Deke is a badass with a serious need for revenge, and the antagonist, Blayne, is just about as violent and vicious as you can get (without fangs and claws). This book was a lot of fun to write and although it’s dark in places, Larry lightens the mood with his offbeat sense of humor.

But 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 element (whether it’s a werewolf, zombie, vampire, or ghost) 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. Why not set your werewolf story in Hawaii? Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover takes place at the beach.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at writing paranormal romances. I enjoy hearing from readers and other authors. So feel free to drop me a line with questions or comments. You can catch up on all of my writings and follow me on social media here:

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Next week I'll be sharing the October issue of my newsletter. Filled with all sorts of holiday treats!

Happy Haunting,


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover - Love at first bite... AND Book Sale News

Greetings Everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look at my paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.   

but before we get started, I want to share...

Now through Oct. 20, all of my Amber Quill Press e-books are on sale at 50% off!
 This is one Halloween treat you don't want to miss!

As most everyone knows by now, I write spicy romances and spooky horror fiction. For some, that might seem an odd combination, but it works for me. I like to say that “one half of my brain writes the horror, and the half writes the romance.”

There have been a lot of vampire romances published over the years, and vampires continue to fascinate romance readers. So what makes this story different from all the rest? Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover offers readers a different view of a vampire romance. For starters, the novella is a summer romance told in the first person from the hero’s point of view. The story also makes use of an unusual setting – the beach. Yes, it’s a summer beach-themed vampire love story! And you don’t see those every day.

So, how did this story come about? My original idea was simple: “What if a vampire went to the beach and fell in love?” 

I’m married to a surfer and one of our trips to the beach (where I sit and write) got my imagination going. I liked the idea of contrasting typical sun-worshipping beachgoers and surfers with a darkness-loving elusive vampire. Besides, what could be more mismatched than a die-hard surfer falling in love with a nocturnal blood-drinker in the heat of summer?

Although the story is about a vampire, I wanted to keep the central focus on Brian and Cassie’s relationship and not on the “bloodier” aspects of vampirism. I think there’s a fine line when blending horror and romance into paranormal romance. Too much gore or a “too terrifying” creature can snap the readers and the characters out of the romance and into a full-on horror story.

I also made sure that the love scenes were highly sensual and almost surreal. Aside from being a vampire, Cassie is a woman with needs, and she makes sure Brian satisfies them! I don’t remember how I got the idea to have the story told by Brian, but it worked. (Readers and reviewers liked the first-person aspect – it pulls you into a story that would seem unbelievable.) 

I love combining my two favorite genres into one great story. (You can check out all of my romances and horror stories on my site or Amazon author page.) Some people think it’s strange, but writing horror lets me explore characters, settings, and plots you don’t normally find in romance. And every so often, it’s good to mix a little paranormal into your romance and see what happens. Who knew vampires could have a summer romance?

Here’s the book summary for Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover
The moment Brian spotted Cassie sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Cassie is 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 Cassie’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!

Here’s what reviewers had to say:
“In Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, Kelli A Wilkins writes a story filled with seeming incongruities. It is only one of a dozen reasons her stories are so intriguing and exciting. She manages to put such a variety of characters together, and melding them so perfectly you never notice the things that shouldn’t be possible. Her stories premises always seem to include the unusual, and that is evident in her very unique ways of telling her tales, whether they are fantasy, contemporary, or paranormal. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover makes for interesting reading, and a story too good to put down.” - Rose, reviewer,

 “My first thought after finishing Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover was “what a fun story.” Kelli A. Wilkins has spun a fast, entertaining, deliciously wicked tale that was wonderfully satisfying. What makes Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover somewhat unusual is that the story is written in the first person, entirely from the hero’s point of view. It’s fascinating and sensual with two immensely likeable protagonists. I am fast becoming a fan of Ms. Wilkins’s stories and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.” - Shayna, Reviewer, Joyfully Reviewed
Order your copy here: