Monday, October 15, 2012

Even More Spooky Stories for the Halloween Season!

Hello everyone!
Welcome to part three of my horror fiction blog! This week, I’m sharing an inside look at two more stories, “The Ape” and “Not Your Ordinary Little Green Men”.

The Ape” appeared in TheFour Horsemen: An Anthology of Conquest, War, Famine & Death, published by Pill Hill Press. This anthology of twenty-five short stories is based on The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In “The Ape” a young boy in South Carolina uses an unusual “toy” as a tool for revenge.

An Excerpt from The Ape

Billy wrinkled his nose as he entered the dimly lit shop. The air smelled funny, like a mix of spices and smoke. He closed the door behind him, cutting himself off from the outside world. His mind fired a jumble of warnings. Nobody knew where he was… he wasn’t supposed to be here… who knew what might happen to him?

He fought the urge to yank open the door and run, but he couldn’t. He had work to do. It had taken every bit of courage he had to get this far, and he wasn’t going to give up now. Everyone in town knew where the voodoo-lady practiced her magic—but no kid in fourth grade had ever been brave enough to come inside before.

The red curtain behind the high wooden counter whipped open. An ancient black woman wearing a bright yellow dress stood in the doorway, looking him up and down. She frowned. “Little boy, what you doin’ here? Don’ you know better?”

“I need a spell,” he whispered.

My humorous sci-fi short, "Not Your Ordinary Little Green Men" is one of 14 sci-fi tales appearing in What if…. Each story is unique and is based around the concept of “what if…” In “Not Your Ordinary Little Green Men”, a young couple moves into an old Victorian house and discovers they’re not alone.

An Excerpt from Not Your Ordinary Little Green Men

Sam grabbed a handful of yellowed "Not of This World" newsletters and dumped them into a trashbag. Everywhere he looked, he found books and pulp magazines about UFOs, aliens, and mystical creatures.

"No wonder everyone thought the old lady was a wacko," he muttered. He glanced at the cover of a sci fi magazine. The poorly drawn illustration showed three little green men standing next to a rocket. He frowned. Maybe these magazines had given Margie the idea about the pixies, or maybe she'd been hearing the strange noises at night, too.


Next week I’ll be back with a look at paranormal romances. Until then, you can check out more of my writings on my site:

Happy Haunting!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Spooky Stories for the Halloween Holiday Season

Happy October!

As most everyone knows by now, I not only write sizzling erotic romances, I also write short horror fiction. I’m kicking off my month of horror blogs with a look at two of my short stories that have appeared in horror anthologies.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who likes to read horror stories - or if you’re a horror fan who wants to get in the spirit of the holiday season, Frightmares and Haunted are just for you!

Haunted is a collection of 42 stories about haunted places! Set in a haunted house, “Whispers from the Past” blends the paranormal with a startling bit of reality. The anthology is available in paperback and electronic formats

Here’s an excerpt:
Paul rolled over in the narrow twin bed and tried to ignore the faint whispers. No matter what he did, they invaded his mind like silvery moonbeams.

He closed his eyes and counted to fifty, hoping to focus on anything but those quiet sounds on the edge of his sanity. Ghosts did not exist, yet he was hearing eerie noises in the dead of night.

The whispers grew louder, more insistent. Now and then, he could make out a word or two in the hushed voice he recognized from long ago. It can't really be him. It's just my over-stimulated imagination, or maybe the contest people are playing tricks on me.
"Stop it!"

He snapped back the bedclothes and stood up. The whispery voice fell silent. He let out a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair.

My flash fiction story, “Death is Just a Tick Away” appeared in Dark Moon Digest’s e-magazine (Issue #1), and it also appears 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 book is a compilation of dozens of flash fiction horror stories. Each tale is under 500 words and is a quick read. The authors weren’t limited to a central theme (vampires, zombies, or haunted places), so each story is completely unique.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dave couldn’t sleep. The ticking echoed through the house. Even at 35 years old, the damn thing still spooked him. Lots of families passed down stories to scare kids, but most of them didn’t involve cursed objects that could kill.

He was seven when Dad had told him about the clock. His great, great grandfather had severely beaten a servant who had forgotten to wind the clock, and the old lady had cast the curse on them. If ever the clock was allowed to wind down to a stop, one of his family members would die.

Three days ago, Dave’s father had been found lying at the base of the black walnut clock, one arm stretched toward the ten-foot high carved demon. Paramedics said he had suffered a heart attack. But Dave thought he knew better. Dad had been trying to wind the clock.


Next week on the blog I’ll share two more horror stories! And I've also added links to my horror stories on the blog’s upper right corner. 

Until next time!
Happy Haunting,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Trust with Hearts - After the Story Ended

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an “After the Story Ended” inside look at my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts.

Here’s the synopsis:


After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.

Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.

Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever?

Most people don’t know that the book had a much longer and different ending. Here’s an exclusive snippet:

Curtis leaned back in the red vinyl booth as he toyed with his granddad’s pocketknife. He had found it in the back of a kitchen drawer this morning when they’d closed up Gram’s house. It wasn’t very sharp, but it made a nice memento.

For the last three days, Sherrie and Ginny had gone through the house, sorting and shipping important items to the ranch in California. Now they were headed back to Dave’s house. It was late, but they would be home by one o’clock in the morning. He was looking forward to telling Dave the good news about their engagement in person.

That pocketknife comes in handy later in the book when Curtis and Sherrie get into a terrible car accident. (Sherrie has to cut through the seat belt and pull Curtis out of the car before it burns.)

After they’re released from the hospital, they go back to Dave’s house to recover. Curtis’s cousin Jen and her son Rowan were coming to stay with them for a while. In the alternate ending I hint that Jen and Dave might hook up:

“Ginny and Rowan should be here soon,” Curtis said.

“Good. It’ll be nice to see them. I’m glad they’re gonna stay for a while. Has she ever met Dave?”

He shook his head. “Nope. Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if they hooked up and got married? Then we’d all be related in some weird hillbilly cousin kinda way.”

Sherrie laughed. “I just hope they get off to a better start than we did.” She batted his shoulder. “And I don’t think Dave’s going to settle down with anyone, anytime soon.”

Curtis shrugged. “You never know. Strange things happen. I got you to like country music,” he said with a wink.

So what happened after the story really ended?

When Curtis and Sherrie got back to California, Curtis started recording his latest CD titled “Yankee Girl” and was besieged by reporters. They wanted to know all about CJ’s “secret” life and find out every detail about him and Sherrie. At first he resented the media’s intrusion into his very private world, but after his brother threatened to blackmail him about his background, Sherrie convinced him to give a candid interview and open up about his past.

Sherrie volunteered at a local animal rescue shelter and helped them adopt out homeless cats.

Three months later, Curtis and Sherrie got married and honeymooned in Hawaii. Jen and Dave and most of Curtis’s band members were in attendance. After the honeymoon, Curtis went on tour with Sherrie at his side.

A Trust with Hearts sequel?

I had an idea for a follow up story focused on Jen and Dave. The basic plot went something like this:

One afternoon Jen finds out that her ex-boyfriend, Tony, has been released from prison. Jen fears that Tony will come after her and calls Dave for help. Dave tells her that she can stay at his guest cottage as long as she needs to. Jen arrives with her five-year-old son, Rowan, and Dave can see that she’s barely holding everything together.

Over two weeks, Dave and Jen bond and fight their growing attraction to each other. Dave helps Jen relax and see herself as not just a mother, but a sensual woman with needs. Dave and Jen have been hurt in the past and have trust issues, but eventually they give in to their desires.

When Jen goes to town she sees a man that looks like Tony and is afraid that he’s found her. Dave reassures her that everything is okay and she reluctantly lets Dave take care of Rowan for the rest of the day. When Rowan accidently gets injured, all of Jen’s fears resurface and she falls back into her old pattern of not being able to trust anyone. Dave and Jen argue and she decides to leave. That night as she packs, she finds Tony waiting for her in the cabin. Eager for revenge, Tony wastes no time terrorizing her.

The idea for the follow-up book is a romantic suspense – with plenty of intense love scenes between Dave and Jen.

Readers – I’d love to hear from you! What do you think about the alternate ending to Trust with Hearts? Should there be a spicy sequel featuring Dave and Jen? Or should we just leave the characters where they are?

I welcome your feedback, ideas, suggestions, and questions! Feel free to email me (or post a comment) and let me know what you think.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kelli's Sharing an Interview - Peek Inside a Writer's Mind.......

Hi Everyone!

Today I'm sharing an excerpt from my interview with Romance Reviews Today. It offers an inside look at my writing process. Enjoy!

On Valentine's Day I'll be posting hot excerpts on the Amber Quill Press Yahoo Group and giving away a PDF of my wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. More details are on the loop here:

And on Feb. 16th, I'll be a guest blogger on Shannon Leigh's blog:

I hope you'll check them out! And now, for the interview!

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A. I’ve always been writing stories. When I was in high school I wrote short stories and plays for fun and I took a lot of creative writing classes. After college I took a series of Commercial Writing courses and learned a lot. The classes were great experiences because I received a lot of helpful advice and feedback.

Q: Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?
A: I’m always thinking of new ideas for stories. I have entire folders of ideas just waiting to be developed. (I have more ideas for stories than I have time to write them!) I find ideas everywhere – while driving, watching people at the store, from overheard conversations… usually something catches my attention and I let my mind wander, to see where the ideas take me.
For example, my 2008 release, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, came about because I wanted to write a story about a vampire who falls in love – at the beach!
Q:  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: I have two quirks. One is that I write in several genres, including romance and horror. Some people can’t quite understand how I’m able to write romances one minute, then create spooky horror stories the next. (I like to think that one half of my brain writes the horror and the other half writes the romance.) I’ve also written dozens of sci fi stories and four non-fiction books, so I pretty much write everything.
My other quirk is that I write everything in longhand. Every short story and novel all start out on paper, then I revise and edit them as I type them up.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A: I thought I knew all about my characters before I started writing ThePauper Prince and A Midsummer Night’sDelights – but I was wrong! One thing I learned while writing those stories was that characters can surprise you and take the story in a different direction. I outline my books and stories before I start writing them, so I was surprised to discover a different (bisexual) side to both Prince Allan in The Pauper Prince and Julian in A Midsummer Night’s Delights. Another thing I learned was that I had to turn off my “internal editor” when it came to writing some of the more detailed same-gender love scenes in each book.
Q: What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
A: I’ve been reading since I was very young, so I’d have to say that every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way. Some authors are great examples of voice, mood, or tone, while others are excellent with details, plot, or characters. I think the more you read (in any genre) the more you learn what works in a story and what doesn’t.
Q:  What does your family think about your career as a published author?
A: My family is very supportive. My husband loves reading my romances and I have a few close friends who give me feedback and suggestions on rough drafts.
Q: Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you, writing-wise?
I’m working on a few new romances (a paranormal and a historical romance/mystery) plus revising a few horror stories. In August, I have a full-length historical The Witch & the Warrior set for release from Medallion Press.
Until Next Time,

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