Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Big January Issue

Kelli’s Quill
Welcome 2014 Issue
January 2014

Hi everyone!
This month in the Quill, I’m sharing an excerpt from an interview and writing tips.

Let’s get started! 

Q & A with Kelli

Here’s an excerpt from my November 2013 interview with Katherine Givens:

Q: What is the inspiration behind Ultimate Night’s Delights?
A: This book is the third and final book in a series that began with A Midsummer Night’s Delights. When I wrote the first book, I never intended to write a sequel and had no idea I’d be starting a trilogy. After I finished the second book (A Midwinter Night’s Delights), I wrote a few other romances, and then started toying with ideas for a third book that tied everything up. Readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters from the first two books and wanted more. I was happy to round out the series with this book. I leave everyone in a good place!

Q: What’s your favorite scene in your book? Can you describe the scene?
A: One of my favorite scenes is where the Black Duke barges into Vincent’s ball, expecting to find the guests participating in a full-on orgy, only to discover them dancing and having drinks. I infused this scene with some humor (which I love doing) and enjoyed making an ass out of the duke. I also set the stage for something big that comes later!
My other favorite scenes are with Julian and Ivan. I enjoyed showing how Julian understands Ivan’s plight and takes him under his wing. It’s a very sensual scene and is one example of how Julian and Annabelle use the “skills” they learned from Vincent and Sabrina to help others overcome their shyness.

Q: How do you decide how hot or not your book is going to be?
A: I don’t! I’m not really “in charge” of that, and I don’t decide “I’ll write a scorching book.” I let the characters in each story determine the sexual content. Every story is different, and so are the sexual lives of the characters. They all have a sexual history (whether curious, shy, very open, or unsure) that comes into play during the course of the book
Writing in different romance genres also influences the sexual content. In The Viking’s Witch, (a historical) Odaria is innocent about things, yet, is so hopelessly in love with Rothgar, she insists that he’s “the one” for her. David in Four Days with Jack (a gay contemporary) is a modern, though sexually unsure man who’s interesting in experimenting. Sherrie (from Trust with Hearts) had her heart broken, so she’s not going to jump into a relationship with just anyone. In Ultimate Night’s Delights none of the characters are shy, and anything goes! Writing for the different characters and their individual situations helps keep things interesting and fresh from book to book.

Q: What makes your book stand out from all the others on the market?
A: I think that my original storylines, well developed characters, and unique writing voice make all of my books stand out from others on the market. I write in nearly every romance genre, which also sets me apart from other writers. Not every romance author can pull off a Bigfoot romance (Beauty & the Bigfoot), a traditional contemporary (Trust with Hearts), hot gay romances (Four Days with Jack and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing), and sizzling erotic historicals (Ultimate Night’s Delights). I’m happy to say that reviewers and readers find my eclectic romances refreshing.  (And for readers who think historicals are boring – mine sure aren’t!) I go where each story takes me, and I never know what genre I’ll be writing next.

3 Quick Writing Tips
1. Lights, Camera, Action!: Always start your story with an interesting hook to capture the reader’s attention. Begin either 5 minutes before, during, or 5 minutes after “the big moment” that gives the character a problem and draws the reader into the character’s world. Keep the action going in the first few paragraphs. Don’t waste the first page describing ordinary events such as the weather or how a character got dressed. (You can add supporting details into the backstory later.) Jump into the story and take your readers with you.

2. What’s Your Sign?: One of the keys to writing a good story is creating a believable cast of characters. As the author, it’s your job to know your characters better than anyone. Before you write your story, spend some time with your characters and learn everything you can about them so they come off well-rounded and “real” to readers. (And no, it’s not “cheating” if you write down the physical descriptions of your characters and keep them near your keyboard. It saves you from going back through the manuscript and hunting down a detail.) A short list of details you should know are:

  • Hair and eye color, general build/body shape, left or right handed (great detail to know if there’s a gun involved in the story!)
  • Birthday and astrological sign. (You can develop character traits based on the sign. An astrology reference book is an excellent tool for this.)
  • Distinguishing marks (scars, missing limb, tattoos – and the backstory behind each)
  •  Family life (brothers, sisters, adopted, parents together or divorced, raised by uncle, etc.)
  •  Have children? Wants children or never even considered it?
  • Pets (cat or dog person? reptiles? raises bees? or no pets at all?)

The more you know about the characters in your story, the more you can make the reader (and other characters) identify with them through details. You can also build on these details and/or use them to move the plot along, add conflict, build dramatic tension, or liven up a love scene. You don’t have to use every detail in the story, but knowing that your character has to overcome her fear of water to save a child trapped during a flood will bring her to life.

3. Gotta Have a Goal: No matter how grand or simple, everyone has a goal. When you’re writing a story, you have to know what your characters want most – at least for right now. Different characters will have different goals, and along the course of your story, goals may change, or a character will develop secondary goals. Goals can, will, and should, vary depending on the type of story you’re writing, but they generally fall into two categories: emotional, or internal goals, and physical, or external goals. An internal goal is something the character needs or wants. (This can be meeting a soul mate and falling in love or healing grief after the loss of a loved one.)

An external goal is something the main character physically must do, such as steal a magic ring from a dragon or climb down into a cave to rescue his beloved. Sometimes goals start out simple (like buying a house or getting to a wedding on time), and your job as a writer is to make it hard for your character to achieve his or her goal by throwing in conflicts and obstacles that force your character to work harder.

But writers also have to motivate them to reach those goals. Ask yourself “what’s at stake?” for the character. What if he or she doesn’t reach the goal, then what happens? If the answer is “nothing, he just moves on” then you need to up the stakes and get your character motivated. It will increase the action and keep the plot moving.


Read about Kelli’s IPPY-winning historical romance, THE VIKING’S WITCH, in the January issue of “Cocktails” magazine:

Mark Your Calendars!

In May, Medallion Press releases Dangerous Indenture, my second Medallion Press book. This historical novel blends mystery and suspense with a spicy romance. 

Stay tuned to the next issue of Kelli’s Quill for full book summaries and sneak peeks at the covers!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Kelli's Quill. Next month, I'll be sharing more news about my upcoming historical romance and links to interviews and guest blogs.

Have suggestions? Send them along! Want to subscribe? Contact me via the email on the News page of my site:

Happy Reading,