Monday, September 24, 2018

Nightmare in the North - An Exclusive Excerpt



Hi everyone,

My favorite month (October!!!) is just around the corner, and today I’m sharing a look at my latest horror novella, Nightmare in the North. Think of it as a pre-Halloween treat!

Some of you may know me as a romance author, but I also write short horror fiction. I originally started out as a horror author, and nowadays I divide my time between the two genres.

Nightmare in the North is a cautionary tale about traveling alone in the winter and trusting strangers. In my last blog, I talked about the origin of this unsettling story. This week, I’m posting an excerpt from the opening.

NIGHTMARE IN THE NORTH

Stranded during a violent blizzard, Mark hikes to the only house nearby. George, a well-mannered University professor, welcomes Mark and gives him shelter from the storm.

By morning, Mark suspects that everything isn’t what it seems. George’s adult daughter, Kate, who also lives in the house, shares a disturbing and unsettling tale. When questioned, George insists that Kate has a psychological issue and can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Mark quickly finds himself caught in a game of cat and mouse. Who should he believe? Is Kate’s desperate plea for help sincere? Should he be suspicious of George? Or are both of them plotting something together?

Isolated from everyone, Mark is forced to wait out the storm—and find a way to escape—if he hopes to make it out alive.

***
“You have reached Great Bear Lodge. In three hundred feet, turn right into the parking—”

“Are you kidding me?” Mark jabbed the power button on the navigation system, silencing it. The useless piece of sh*t had done nothing but get him lost.

For the last half hour he’d been listening to the robotic voice lead him deeper into the wilderness. He’d followed the GPS from one secondary road to another, and now he was lost in the backwoods of Nowhere, Vermont.

At least he thought he was still in Vermont. For all he knew, he could be in Canada. Then again, if he was at the border, at least there would be a sign and he could get directions from a Mountie.

He peered through the windshield, squinting into the wall of white. Fat snowflakes coated the car, and he couldn’t tell where the Camry’s hood ended and where the snow began. Who the hell rented a white car in winter? Nobody except him, obviously. He cursed and punched the steering wheel. This trip had turned into a disaster the second he’d crossed the Vermont state line.

The storm had started about four hours ago. At first it was only a few flakes, then more, and more. Then the wind kicked up, and before he knew it there was at least six inches of snow on the road. He had watched the outside thermometer drop from a balmy eight degrees to four, then two, until finally, it had settled at minus four.

There was nothing on either side of the snow-packed two lane road except more snow and a few scatterings of pine trees. He grumbled and kept driving at a whopping 10 miles an hour. He had no choice but to keep going. There was nowhere to turn around.

He probably should have stopped when he passed that house a few minutes ago. The driveway wasn’t plowed, but there was a light on, and he could have asked for directions. But the house might be empty. It was the middle of February. Didn’t most people up here spend the winter in Florida, or—

BAM! The loud bang snapped him from his thoughts and he yelped as the car started spinning. He took his foot off the gas and steered, twisting and turning the wheel as the car slid left, then right, then spun all the way around.

Everything happened in slow motion. A cluster of pine trees went past on the left, then the car rotated again and slid sideways on the road, spinning out of control. He spotted a pine tree three feet from the front end and jerked the wheel hard, shooting the car across the street toward a ditch. “Sh*t!” He hit the gas and cranked the wheel again.

After a few more spins and slides, the car finally stopped. He threw the gearshift into park and slumped over the steering wheel, listening to his heart hammering in his chest. Jesus, that was close. “I hate this state. I hate winter. I swear to God I’m never coming back here,” he whispered.

He took a deep breath and straightened up. It could have been worse, much worse. He could have slammed up against a tree or went flying sideways into the ditch. If he’d gone off the road there wouldn’t be help for hours, maybe even days. He’d freeze to death. Nobody would ever find a white car out here.

But what the hell happened? He’d heard a loud bang before he spun out. Did he hit something? He unhooked his seat belt and got out of the car. Icy air blasted him in the face as he pulled on his gloves and checked the driver’s side front tire. Great, just great. It was flat.

No, not flat. He leaned closer. The tire was… shredded. “What the hell?” He walked around to the passenger side and groaned. That tire was shredded too, right down to the rim. “Beautiful. What the frig did I hit?”

***

Find out how everything gets even worse for Mark in… Nightmare in the North. Order it here:


***
I hope you’ll check it out. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss my other ebooks: Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.

Next month, my blog goes all things paranormal & horror. I’ll be posting about my paranormal romances and my spooky horror fiction!

Happy Reading,

Kelli



Thursday, September 13, 2018

Travel takes a deadly turn in… Nightmare in the North




Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my latest horror novella, Nightmare in the North. Some of you may know me as a romance author, but I also write short horror fiction. I originally started out as a horror author, but nowadays I divide my time between the two genres.

Nightmare in the North is a cautionary tale about traveling alone in the winter and trusting strangers. Here’s the summary:

NIGHTMARE IN THE NORTH

Stranded during a violent blizzard, Mark hikes to the only house nearby. George, a well-mannered University professor, welcomes Mark and gives him shelter from the storm.

By morning, Mark suspects that everything isn’t what it seems. George’s adult daughter, Kate, who also lives in the house, shares a disturbing and unsettling tale. When questioned, George insists that Kate has a psychological issue and can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Mark quickly finds himself caught in a game of cat and mouse. Who should he believe? Is Kate’s desperate plea for help sincere? Should he be suspicious of George? Or are both of them plotting something together?

Isolated from everyone, Mark is forced to wait out the storm—and find a way to escape—if he hopes to make it out alive.

***
So… how did this novella come about? Believe it or not, I wrote a version of this story for my eighth grade English class. The assignment was to write a short story – and boy, did I! The original version was much shorter and less detailed, but the basic premise was there. I’m not sure what my English teacher thought when she read it, but I got an A.

I grew up in upstate New York where winters can be brutal and last a long time. It can be an isolated place, and sometimes you could be snowed in for days. I decided to use that as the backdrop to the story, throw in some strange characters, and add a little mystery. After I submitted the story for my English class, I pretty much forgot about it.

Then, in January of 2018 I drove to Vermont in a snowstorm. I was in the car for 12 hours, and naturally, my mind started to wander… I wanted to write a new horror story, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. As I was driving, I thought back to that original story and decided to rewrite it – to tell the story the way it needed to be told.

I changed the opening, moved the setting to Vermont, and filled in all the details and backstory that set the tone. The ending of the new version is slightly different from the original, but it’s not off by all that much. I added an epilogue (of sorts) to the end, and spent about twenty minutes getting the last line just right.

Nightmare in the North is a departure from my “usual” romance novels, but it’s not gory. My horror stories tend to be more psychological/spooky than bloody. I love writing horror, and after writing a few romances, I find it refreshing to embrace my darker side and write something creepy. (I wrote this in between edits of my historical romance novel, Redemption from a Dark Past.)

After reading Nightmare in the North, my husband said that it was well written and it drew you in, but it was “twisted” and “disturbing” - I consider that high praise. Read it and decide for yourself!


Order Nightmare in the North here:



I hope you’ll check it out. Next week I'll share an excerpt from the opening… partially based on that trip to Vermont!

And if you like horror fiction, don’t miss my other ebooks: Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.

Happy Reading,
Kelli 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New! Online Writing Course - Fiction Writing for Beginners




Hi everyone!

My new writing course is now available on Teachable. Fiction Writing for Beginners is designed for anyone who is interested in writing and needs practical advice on how to get started, PLUS motivation and encouragement to keep writing.

Thirteen easy-to-follow classes cover the writing process from start to finish. You’ll learn where writers get ideas, how to create characters, get expert tips on writing your story, and find out how to submit it for publication. Everything you need to know to start writing is wrapped up in this comprehensive and fun course.

Each class is self-contained and self-directed. This way, you can learn about a specific topic at your own pace, and not worry about completing the class by a certain deadline. Short writing exercises at the end of each class highlight the subject matter and get you writing.

The classes are grouped into four sections, and each section focuses on a writing theme. Here’s the breakdown:

Section 1: Getting Started
Class 1: The 5 Ws of Writing
Class 2: Getting in the Writing Zone & Staying Motivated
Class 3: Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas? (Part 1)
Class 4: Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas? (Part 2)

Section 2: Creating Your Characters
Class 5: Creating Characters
Class 6: Developing Heroes, Villains & Secondary Characters

Section 3: Get Writing!
Class 7: Plotting Your Story
Class 8: Scenes, Sequels & GMC
Class 9: Point-of-view & Dialogue
Class 10: Setting, Details & Research

Section 4: Revising, Submitting & Promoting Your Story
Class 11: Revising Your Story
Class 12: Getting Feedback on Your Story
Class 13: Submitting & Promoting Your Story

If you’ve always wanted to write, Fiction Writing for Beginners will get you started. Visit the course page and enroll here: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

I hope you’ll check it out. Next week on my blog, I’ll talk about the making of my latest horror novella, Nightmare in the North.

Until next time,
Kelli