Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Hot Summer 2013 Issue


The Official Newsletter of Author Kelli A. Wilkins

Hot Summer 2013 Issue (Vol. 6 Number 3)

Hi everyone, and a warm welcome to summer! Flowers are blooming everywhere and the days are heating up. While everyone else is taking a summer break, I’m revving up with more news and working on more stories.

As always, feel free to forward this newsletter to your writing groups, post to social network groups, and friends. I look forward to chatting with readers and other writers! Email me or drop me a line on my blog with questions, comments, or anything else that comes to mind.

In this issue I’m sharing news about my GOLD IPPY AWARD, another new anthology, giving a sneak peek at upcoming projects, linking to interviews, and more!

In May, THE VIKING’S WITCH won a Gold IPPY Award for best romance ebook! Kelli went to NYC to receive her gold metal and pose for photos. This year, there were 5,203 total entries and 372 medals were awarded to talented authors in all genres. Kelli also posted a two part blog about THE VIKING’S WITCH (and a few photos) on her blog.

Raven at Reviewing Vixens gave The Viking’s Witch 4 out of 5 kisses. Here’s what they had to say: “A great read that will have you guessing right to the end of the book. I was literally tied into knots wondering what would happen next, if they would actually make it as a couple or if all they'd done would be for nothing. Two very interesting characters, very opposite and yet the perfect match for one another. Read this book.” Read the full review here

Not to abruptly switch genres, but….Kelli’s
sci-fi story "The Con" was published in the anthology, The Big Bad - Anthology of Evil. In this collection of speculative stories, the bad guys rule!  The “heroes” are anything but good – at least not in the traditional sense. This book is available in paperback and eformats. Order a copy here: Kindle -

On June 21, Kelli’s interview about her romances and the writing life appeared on the Raine Delight blog. Read the full interview here:

Four Days with Jack, Kelli’s gay paranormal romance, was recently a featured spotlight book on the Zipper Ripper blog. Read it here:

Read Kelli’s new interview with Zipper Rippers here:

Don’t forget to visit Kelli’s blog for inside looks at her romances, horror stories, writing tips, and more. And her website has been completely revamped. Same url but a totally different look. Each book page includes summaries, links, and reviews. Check out the News page for links to new projects, interviews, and more.

Kelli on Kindle!: Did you know that all of Kelli’s romances are available in electronic format? Visit her Amazon author page: or type in to see all of her writings!


Here’s an excerpt from Kelli’s Interview with Two Lips Reviews. Read the full interview on the News page of her site:

What makes a great book to you?
An interesting (and maybe unusual) plot, believable details, and well-developed characters I care about. If the author can accomplish all that, then he or she has written a great book.

What really draws your attention to a good book, the cover art, the genre, the author or the blurb?
The genre and the blurb/plot get my attention first. If I follow a particular author, the name might make me pick up the book, but if I don’t like the genre or plot, I probably won’t buy it.

Is it difficult when you have to hurt your characters or make them do something they don’t want to do?
Absolutely! And it’s especially hard when writing romance. I ran into this problem with The Pauper Prince. I can’t give away too many details about the situation, but I had to kill off a character I had come to love. It broke my heart to do it, but it was necessary for the story to move along. Sometimes you have to “kill your darlings”—and some of your characters.

However, if I’m writing a horror story, or if I’ve created a villain that deserves to be bumped off (or eaten by a monster), I have no problem writing the scene. Sometimes characters just have to “go”—but it’s easier if they’re not nice.

Are any characters actually inspired by people you know?
Sort of. I’ve taken bits and pieces from real people and used some elements for my characters, but no one character is 100% anyone I know. I’m also a “people watcher” so I pick up character traits from observing people and how they act.

How long does it typically take you to write a book?  Do you spend a lot of time researching or do the characters just come alive in your mind?
Usually the characters, the setting, and the story just come to me in my head. Once I have a genre or time period for the story, I do some research for details and/or ideas for clothing, occupations, or the food that people ate. I like to weave little details into the books and blend them in as naturally as possible. When I’m writing fantasy romance, I try to make the details believable, even if I’m making them up!

Depending on the book, it can take anywhere from a week to a month to write the first draft. (The Sexy Stranger and The Dark Lord took a week. My full-length novels, Trust with Hearts, The Pauper Prince, and The Viking’s Witch each took about a month.) I write all my stories in longhand, so after the first draft is finished, I edit and revise it as I type it.

How difficult is it to separate the author from the person?
I don’t have a hard time separating Kelli the Writer from Kelli the Person—but a lot of other people do. Because I write romances, people think that the love scenes are “confessionals” or are inspired by what I do in my personal life. Not so! Fiction is fiction, no matter what inspires it. It’s the characters who are doing these things, not me.

Believe it or not, not-so-polite people have asked me if I “act out” the love scenes at home. I tell them that I don’t act out what happens in my horror stories, so why would I act out my romances? I let them know that I have a very vivid imagination and I can create anything—whether it’s a vampire story, a romance, or even a vampire romance!

On one side, a strong sexual relationship between characters is very important, but on the other, it is just as important that the stories can stand on their own without this element. How important do you feel the sexual relationship is in making a story interesting?

In most romances, a sexual relationship is almost a requirement. However, the type of relationship and the frequency of the love scenes have to fit in with the characters and the story, and add to it. I think love scenes should show how the characters relate to each other, how they fall in love, and add to the overall emotional intensity of the story. When I was taking writing classes I was taught that if a scene doesn’t move the story along, then it should be cut. This goes for chase scenes, flashbacks, and even love scenes.

In my books, I often use love scenes to illustrate how the characters have learned to trust each other completely and that they have an emotional commitment. When I’m writing, I focus on the plot and make sure that the stories can stand on their own and “work” without extraneous love scenes.

Is there a genre you don’t ever see yourself writing?
Right now, I’m not ruling out anything, but I don’t particularly see myself writing mysteries. It’s possible that I’ll include mystery elements in my other books and short stories, but I don’t see myself writing a hard-boiled mystery.

Sometimes the best of us get “stuck” on what project to start next, or we’ll be in the middle of a story and say “now what?” Or we might just need some writing motivation to get started for the day. What’s the solution?

A great way to get the creative juices flowing is to practice free writing. It’s an interesting psychological exercise to get your mind away from thinking logically and linearly, and open up to random thoughts and ideas. (And maybe some ideas will become stories.)

Here’s how to do it: Get a piece of paper (or open a blank computer document) and just start writing (or typing) whatever pops into your head. It can be groups of words, your stream of consciousness, or random thoughts. (You can even write a letter to your muse explaining the writing problem and ask for results.)

Practice free writing for five minutes at a time (or longer, if you enjoy it). Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to write—you’re not trying to be creative or coherent, you’re just trying to let your mind relax. If you get stuck, try these prompts:

“Today is… (day of the week) and I am… (wherever you are) free writing.”

“Yesterday I… (fill in with what you did, where you went, or what you ate).”

“I really like… (let your mind wander and write whatever you feel like).”

“Here’s a story about (fill in with something) and a (fill in with something else).”

If you have any venting, ranting, or angst to clear out, now’s a good time too! “(Something/someone) annoys me and makes me scream.”

You can even write “I have nothing to write I can’t think of anything. Nothing nothing nothing…” for five minutes and it still counts!

Have fun with free writing! You can also tailor your exercise to work alongside a story you’re writing. (This is more like free association, but it works.) Say you’re writing a romance/mystery and need to flesh out ideas (or plot, or names, or whatever). Start with one or two key words and build from there, adding whatever pops into your head. Here’s an example:  (And it’s all authentic free writing! I just made it all up in the last 2 minutes.)

Setting: Ireland, East Coast, Maine, ocean, rocky coast with cliffs, cold water, fishing village, small town

Characters: gruff fishermen in town, pampered heroine out of place in this new town, small town-type folk, nosy & into everyone’s business; hero helps her at the house or rescues her when she first arrives

Plot: did heroine inherit a house/mansion/manor and the people in town resent her?  Is this house haunted? Was someone murdered there & nobody will go near it? Is there an inheritance, something they don’t want her to collect, does she now own the cannery & they’re afraid of losing their jobs?

Action: hero or killer chases heroine off cliff, or falls into the water from a boat, someone’s trying to kill her to protect a secret?

Give free writing a try and you never know where your mind will take you!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!