Monthly Archives: October 2015

You Can Write Horror – Really!

you can write_coverby Kelli A Wilkins

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my non-fiction writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. As an author of more than 95 short stories and 19 novels, I’m often asked: Where do you get your ideas? How do I get published? How do you write a book? What advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?

I’ve answered these questions many times in interviews and addressed them in guest blogs, but I always wanted to say more. One day, I started thinking about everything I’ve learned over the years, and inspiration hit me: Why not write a book on how to write? The result? You Can Write—Really!

This fun and practical book walks you through the story-creating process step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. I also included helpful tips all writers can use, plus easy writing exercises to get you motivated.

Here’s an excerpt from the section on writing horror:

Horror readers want to be scared (or at least made to feel nervous), so start scaring people on page one. Use a clever hook, details, and setting to pull readers in. Start with a pool of blood on the floor or give us all the details of your haunted house. Let readers experience what it feels like to be chased across a field by a werewolf.

In horror, you can write almost anything and get away with it. Play on childhood fears and things people hate (or are afraid of). Here’s a short list: clowns, creepy dolls, being buried alive, stuffed moose heads, basements, closets, the dark…

As you write, keep the tension and suspense constant. Enhance anticipation and fear in layers. Your novel or short story needs twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and wondering, “What happens next?” Be sure to end scenes (and/or chapters) with a cliffhanger or other danger.

If your antagonist is a monster (of the non-human variety) you must believe your monster is real (whether he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or a slimy sewer creature). If you don’t write the creature believably, readers won’t buy into it. Make your monster as real as any other human character and show him in action.

Because your monster is not human, it’s okay for readers to hate him. They should know he’s bad news from the start of the story, so make him awful. You don’t want readers (or other characters) sympathizing with your monster—you want them to fear him.

TIP: Don’t mix monsters. Only include one primary monster or menace in your writing. Don’t have vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons running around in the same story, attacking a town during a full moon on Halloween. It’s overkill—and not in a good way.

If your monster is human (serial killer), depict him at his worst. Don’t shy away from showing him doing really bad, socially unacceptable things. Horror stories are generally dark and explore themes and ideas that expose the bad side of people. If you’re not comfortable going to “the dark side” to write terrifying stuff, you may want to consider writing thrillers or suspense stories.

Your human “monster” needs to be fleshed out. Develop his character through details, give him a history, and show why he’s so warped. If your villain is a racist, show readers how nasty he is through his actions, dialogue, or vocabulary. Make readers hate him. Get readers emotionally involved so they can’t wait for him to get what he deserves in the end. (And he will!)

In a way, it’s fun to show two sides to your villain. Maybe when we first meet him, he seems charming and sweet and is a perfectly normal eighth grade science teacher. Later, when we see the torture chamber in his basement, we’re thrown for a loop.

When creating a human monster, take cues from reality. Most predators are cunning, manipulative, without remorse or conscience, and have a sense of entitlement. They’re great at tricking people and identifying weak spots or vulnerabilities. They are practiced liars and good at covering their tracks to avoid detection. In general, people underestimate them. Many serial killers blend into society and nobody suspects a thing—now isn’t that scary?

If you are writing a serial killer-type villain, be sure he exhibits traits consistent with a predator. He can’t be nice. He can appear nice on the surface as he lures unsuspecting people into his van, and he’s very polite—but it’s all for show. Underneath he’s dangerous.

TIP: There are a lot of books about serial killers/predators and their psychological profiles. Use them to understand your character’s thoughts and behaviors. If you are writing about a villain, you might need to know if he’s a full-blown sociopath or just has narcissistic tendencies.

I’ve written dozens of speculative fiction (horror and sci fi) short stories as well as three paranormal romances. For me, creating disturbing villains and exploring the “dark side” of fiction is fun.

HiResHere are two writing exercises to motivate you to write a horror story of your own. How will you scare people?

EXERCISE 1: Take one of these first lines and write a few paragraphs about it. See what ideas come to you as you start writing.

Steve knew his house was haunted, but that didn’t bother him. He had bigger problems.

On a warm June day, the body of Ann Marie Duncan washed up on shore.
“I have to tell you a secret. I’ve got six bodies buried in the cellar.”

Mike got a strange call from Dave on Friday. After that, he never heard from him again.

EXERCISE 2: Here are some wild “what if” questions to get you thinking about story ideas. Pick a few and write three to five paragraphs about each. What if…

…archeologists uncovered a living mummy while excavating in Egypt?

…your character inherited a haunted house and knew the ghosts?

…a killer picks his victims according to their birth sign?

…the weird Goth kid down the block really is a vampire?

…a woman finds a blood-soaked clown hiding in her garage?

If you’re ready to write, order your copy of You Can Write—Really! here:
http://www.amazon.com/Write-Really-Beginners-Guide-Writing-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00THWLFQU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1423749384&sr=1-1

I enjoy hearing from readers and other authors. So feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, and to let me know how you liked the book. You can catch up on all of my writings and follow me on social media here:

Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Happy Haunting,
Kelli

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning romance and horror author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her short horror fiction has appeared in several anthologies. In autumn 2015 she released two horror ebooks, Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.

Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover… Love at first bite

tnConfessionsVampiresLover coverby Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
www.KelliWilkins.com

Greetings Everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look at my paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. As most everyone knows by now, I write spicy romances and spooky horror fiction. For some, that might seem an odd combination, but it works for me. I like to say that “one half of my brain writes the horror, and the half writes the romance.”

There have been a lot of vampire romances published over the years, and vampires continue to fascinate romance readers. So what makes this story different from all the rest? Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover offers readers a different view of a vampire romance. For starters, the novella is a summer romance told in the first person from the hero’s point of view. The story also makes use of an unusual setting – the beach. Yes, it’s a summer beach-themed vampire love story! And you don’t see those every day.

So, how did this story come about? My original idea was simple: “What if a vampire went to the beach and fell in love?”

I’m married to a surfer and one of our trips to the beach (where I sit and write) got my imagination going. I liked the idea of contrasting typical sun-worshipping beachgoers and surfers with a darkness-loving elusive vampire. Besides, what could be more mismatched than a die-hard surfer falling in love with a nocturnal blood-drinker in the heat of summer?

Although the story is about a vampire, I wanted to keep the central focus on Brian and Cassie’s relationship and not on the “bloodier” aspects of vampirism. I think there’s a fine line when blending horror and romance into paranormal romance. Too much gore or a “too terrifying” creature can snap the readers and the characters out of the romance and into a full-on horror story.

I also made sure that the love scenes were highly sensual and almost surreal. Aside from being a vampire, Cassie is a woman with needs, and she makes sure Brian satisfies them! I don’t remember how I got the idea to have the story told by Brian, but it worked. (Readers and reviewers liked the first-person aspect – it pulls you into a story that would seem unbelievable.)

I love combining my two favorite genres into one great story. (You can check out all of my romances and horror stories on my site or Amazon author page.) Some people think it’s strange, but writing horror lets me explore characters, settings, and plots you don’t normally find in romance. And every so often, it’s good to mix a little paranormal into your romance and see what happens. Who knew vampires could have a summer romance?

Here’s the book summary for Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover

The moment Brian spotted Cassie sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Cassie is the girl of his dreams. She didn’t mind that he spent the hot summer days riding the ocean waves, because once the sun set, he belonged to her–all night long!

Everything is perfect between them–until Brian discovers Cassie’s shocking secret. Can Brian give up the sun, sand, and surf to be with the woman he loves?

Read Brian’s first-hand account of their unusual love story in… Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover!

***

CATCH UP WITH KELLI

I enjoy hearing from readers and other authors. So feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, and to let me know how you liked the book. You can catch up on all of my writings and follow me on social media here:

Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Happy Reading!
Kelli

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning romance and horror author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her short horror fiction has appeared in several anthologies. In autumn 2015 she released two horror ebooks, Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.

Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

Types Of Sci-Fi Heroes by Cynthia Sax

Releasing Rage_Compressed

Releasing Rage, my sexy cyborg story, is my 19th SciFi romance release. I’ve written about aliens, clones, androids, humans, and now cyborgs. The variety of heroes available in SciFi romance is one of the many things I love about writing in this space (pun intended – grins).

Every hero is different. Rage isn’t the same cyborg as his close buddy, Crash. They’re different models, different individuals. Rage is primal, a shoot first, think later type of warrior. Crash doesn’t enjoy violence and does anything to prevent it, his strength being strategy.

A scientist alien won’t be the same as a warrior alien. An alien who breathes fire won’t be the same as an alien who prefers the water. An alien actively seeking a mate won’t be the same as an alien who (thinks he) prefers to be solitary.

But types of heroes have some core things in common.

Cyborgs, for example, are half man, half machine. They have that delicious constant internal conflict between emotion and logic, being independent and following commands. Both of these males struggle with this.

Stories with alien heroes often explore how beings that look and sound different can still have similarities, still want and need the same things. I love reading and writing about how two very different beings find common ground and grow to understand each other.

Clone heroes explore what make us different. A clone is an exact copy of a being—at birth. How will this being’s life experiences change him? Will simply being a clone make him different than the original being? If the heroine loves one clone, will she love all of them?

Human heroes, in futuristic SciFi, are fascinating also. How might men change in the future? Will their jobs be different? Will they act differently? Could an incident (like a disease) change the way men and women relate to each other?

The variety of SciFi romance heroes is endless, almost overwhelming. I plan to explore cyborg heroes for at least the next year, perhaps two… or even ten. There’s that many possibilities.

What is your favorite type of SciFi romance hero?

***

Book Description:

Releasing Rage
Half Man. Half Machine. All Hers.

Rage, the Humanoid Alliance’s most primitive cyborg, has two goals–kill all of the humans on his battle station and escape to the Homeland. The warrior has seen the darkness in others and in himself. He believes that’s all he’s been programmed to experience.

Until he meets Joan.

Joan, the battle station’s first female engineer, has one goal–survive long enough to help the big sexy cyborg plotting to kill her. Rage might not trust her but he wants her. She sees the passion in his eyes, the caring in his battle-worn hands, the gruff emotion in his voice.

When Joan survives the unthinkable, Rage’s priorities are tested. Is there enough room in this cyborg’s heart for both love and revenge?
Buy Now:

On Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Releasing-Rage-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZOL1DRO

On Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ZOL1DRO/

On ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-releasingrage-1850041-340.html

On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/releasing-rage-cynthia-sax/1122455646

About Cynthia Sax
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com.

Website: http://cynthiasax.com/
Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/
Facebook: facebook.com/cynthia.sax
Twitter: @CynthiaSax
Blog: http://tasteofcyn.com/

Book Review: You Can Write-Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing FictionYou Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction by Kelli A. Wilkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book isn’t just for beginning writers, it has something for writers at every stage. With sections such as Meet the muse, Excuses, Ideas, Characters, Marketing, etc, whatever you’re looking for, there’s something here to learn from.

I have a lot of writing books, and some of them deliver on their promises, some don’t. But this book breaks down the writing process and shares tips and tricks to help you to learn and grow.

No matter where you are on your journey as a writer, you’ll get something out of this book. I highly recommend it as a reference and as a way to inspire and encourage you to move past writing blocks, and tap into your creativity.

Purchase on Amazon.com: You Can Write Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction