Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kelli's Quill Newsletter/Blog - Welcome 2011 issue

Hi everyone!

This blog is devoted to my newsletter,
Kelli's Quill. Enjoy!
The Official Newsletter of Kelli Wilkins
BIG January/February Issue (Vol. 4 Number 1)
Happy 2011 everyone! I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday season and that 2011 is off to a great start. In Roman mythology, Janus was the God of Beginnings and Endings. The month of January is named after Him. This issue of the Quill reflects back on 2010 and looks ahead into 2011


NEW HORROR STORIES: Kelli’s horror fiction appeared in two anthologies.
Haunted: An Anthology Of The Supernatural - Published by Pill Hill Press, this anthology contains 42 short stories about haunted places. Kelli’s horror short “Whispers from the Past” appears in this collection. It’s available in paperback and electronic formats. Click the links to order your copies. Paperback:

The Four Horsemen – An Anthology of Conquest, War, Famine & Death Kelli’s horror story, “The Ape” appeared in The Four Horsemen published by Pill Hill Press. The book is available on The link is:
OR just search for the title!)

In non-romance news:
Kelli’s really going to get more horror stories out of her head and onto paper!
Her horror short, “Just An Innocent Little Cat” was selected to appear in Black Car Publishing’s Dark Things II: Cat Crimes anthology. All proceeds from the sale will be going to cat charities across the country.

This is an excerpt from my interview with Fallen Angel Reviews. You can read the whole thing here:

Q: Trust with Hearts that was set in rural West Virginia and won Honorable Mention in the 2009 Reading Writers “Romantic Encounter” writing contest. Why not tell us about this delightful book?
A: Trust with Hearts is my tenth romance published with Amber Quill Press. It’s a full-length contemporary novel that takes place in rural West Virginia. After a bitter breakup, the heroine, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house. She meets Dave’s other houseguest, a sexy country singer named Curtis Taylor. They’re thrown together by circumstances and start a sizzling summer romance.

Trust with Hearts is longer than some of my more recent releases, but the story gives Sherrie and Curtis time to get to know each other and develop their relationship one step at a time. I’m happy to say that Trust with Hearts has received several great reviews.

Although Trust with Hearts is my tenth romance, it’s only my second contemporary romance. (The other one is The Sexy Stranger.) I write in several romance genres including historical, fantasy, and paranormal.

My romances with Amber Quill Press not only run the gamut of different genre categories, they also have different heat levels from 1 to 3. For example, A Most Unusual Princess is a heat level of 1, (relatively mild), and A Midsummer Night’s Delights is a scorching hot level 3. Trust with Hearts is in the middle, and has a heat level of 2.

Q: Was there a particular reason you chose the setting in
West Virginia? I know the countryside is lovely there.
A: Sherrie comes from Philadelphia, and her life was recently turned upside down. I wanted to uproot her even more by throwing her into a rural/isolated West Virginia setting that she was unfamiliar with. It was a great way to push Sherrie and Curtis closer together, and it gives her a chance to make a fresh start in her life.

Curtis is a country boy, so the two characters had the “city vs. country” mentalities to play off of. There’s also another reason the story is set in the south, but I don’t want to give it away in case some readers haven’t finished the book yet!

Q: After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever pull it from the shelf and read it over again? 

A: I occasionally will read a few scenes here and there, but for the most part, I don’t read anything after it’s published. By the time the book comes out, I’ve read it at least three or four times, so I practically know every word by heart! And in most cases, I’m already hard at work on a new book that takes up most of my time. 

Writers, are you hanging on to old stories that you’d swore you’d fix up “someday” and submit? Maybe you have a half-finished novel or you’ve been saving up guidelines for markets that you “might” try… Well, it’s time to make a commitment. Spend an hour (or more, depending on your schedule) revisiting the old and neglected stories. You know, the ones you abandoned because they weren’t going anywhere, or you got stuck on the plot, lost interest, the phone rang, whatever. Now’s the perfect time of year to keep the best, get rid of the rest. (Yes, that’s my very own motto.) 

Cut the old stories loose or add them to your schedule. Read them over and make a serious evaluation. Are you really going to finish the three-quarters done sci-fi story? Will you develop those scrawled notes into a novel? Perhaps you have old stories that just need a little help. If you like what you’re reading, fix up the story and send it out. (You may discover a gem you’d forgotten about.) If the stories aren’t any good, let them go. If you’ve been collecting market guidelines to use someday, but never submitted anything, let them go, too – especially if they’re over a year old. When you have a story to send, you’ll need new guidelines anyway.

And what if you don’t have any old stories hiding out? Now’s a good time to write some! Here are a few writing prompts to use for a fun writing exercise. Spend 5-10 minutes on each one and see what you come up with. 

A woman buys a house with a haunted swimming pool in the back yard.
“I only hit him once. I didn’t think it would kill him.”
The man stood next to the wall, watching and waiting.
Jane screamed as the mouse ran across her desk and under the wall.
Nobody knew where he was. If he didn’t get help soon, he’d die.
Take some time to clear out the old writing projects that haven’t gone anywhere and make room for the new stuff – you never know where they might lead you!
I hope you enjoyed this issue. If you know people who like to read (or write) please pass it along. Until next time,
Happy Reading!
Got questions, comments, or suggestions? Contact the author at:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

'Tis the Season to… Plan Your Next Story

Hi folks!

I was in the store last night and couldn’t help but notice that the Valentine’s Day cards and candy are already out. (Makes you wonder, when did they make that candy?) So just when you thought the holidays were over, we’re bracing for another batch. Before we know it, it’ll be February, the time of year when thoughts turn to romance and love. March is just around the corner, and everyone will be getting ready for spring….so naturally writers are thinking about—Autumn? Back to School? 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? Basically, if you have a great seasonal/holiday story (or article) waiting to be sent out—don’t delay! 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 he or she 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!

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—remember that each season or 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!)

Three of my Amber Quill Press books (A Midsummer Night’s Delights, A Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Trust with Hearts are all seasonally-based. I worked details like the weather, outdoor activities, and even planting flowers into the stories.

Here’s a Writing Exercise: Pick a holiday or season and write a 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!

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Writing Goals

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first blog of 2011. You may have noticed I changed the layout a little bit and swapped out some of my book covers. Feel free to invite friends, writers, readers, and anyone else you know to follow along. It’s feeding directly to my Goodreads page and I post a link on my Facebook page, as well. I’ll also be posting my newsletter here during the year.

It’s appropriate to think about changes this time of year. After all, we have brand-new calendars hanging on our walls that are filled with unexplored days yet to come. Every day is filled with hope, possibilities, and opportunities to make this year really great.

As we head into the new year, it seems that everyone’s talking about changes and goals for 2011. So, what are your writing goals for 2011? 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.

For example, if you want to explore new markets for your short story, put “find new markets” on your list. 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 want to 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.

No matter what your writing goals are, a little pre-planning will help you focus and allow you to flow from one writing project to another. Preparation also keeps you motivated and fends off writer’s block, because you always have “the next thing” to work on.

Take ten or fifteen minutes to evaluate your writing career. What did you accomplish last year that you’re most proud of? What would you like to achieve this year? What markets did you crack that you’d like to write for again? Which publications do you really want your work to appear in?

When you write down your goals, start off your sentences with a positive statement, such as: “I will finish my novel by June 1” or “I will submit six articles to magazines.” After you’ve made the list, note what you need to do to get started. This could include setting aside specific times to write each day, getting writer’s guidelines, or sending out query letters. Then, pick one project (the most time-sensitive one, or your personal favorite), and get to work. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to publication!

One of my long-standing goals was to get my “big” romance novels published. These weren’t short novellas; these were full-length “traditional” 85,000+ word novels. Trust with Hearts was one of those books. I’m proud to say that in 2010 I achieved that goal and Amber Quill Press published the book in paperback and e-formats. (One goal down, a million more to go!)

What are your writing goals? Is there a topic you would like to see me address on the blog? I welcome comments/feedback about the blog, my books, and my newsletter. Sign in and leave a comment or email me via the “Contact the Author” form on the News page of my website.

Until next time,