Learning From the Pros

Kelly and James Patterson

Recently, I was blessed enough to attend an author event at the University of Florida and the guest of honor was one of my favorite authors. I don’t go all “fan girl” too often, but that night I did. It was such and honor to meet James Patterson and listen to him be interviewed by another great writer, Michael Connelly.

Michael Connelly

I learned some things I’d like to share. Most of these ideas are things most writers know and put into practice, but somehow hearing it from a man who has had 82 #1 best sellers made it seem more real to me.

  1. Outlining is important. It keeps you on track and prevents you from wasting valuable time writing yourself into a corner.
  2. Write EVERY DAY!
  3. James and I share the philosophy that if you write it, and make it interesting and relevant enough, kids will read it. We are all about encouraging young people to read.
  4. Keep track of all your ideas somewhere close and visit them frequently – you never know when something will spring forth and be that prize winning novel you’ve always dreamed about
  5. You can be successful as a multi-genre author
  6. Write at least three drafts before calling it done – Michael Connelly even does more than three on some of his books
  7. Readers have different opinions and you can’t please them all, but if you learn and develop your craft well enough to write a good story, you’ll please a lot of them
  8. Never stop learning about the craft of writing – set aside time to take a course, research a writing concept, read a book on writing – anything to continue to grow as a writer
  9. Try something new. Stretch your writing muscle in a different direction, through a new genre or character perspective
  10. Authors need to know their audience and market to them – With James Patterson’s background in advertising, I found this very valuable. Learn the characteristics, demographics, likes and dislikes of the readers that read a particular genre

I could go on, but I think ten tips is enough for today. I’m still mulling over a lot of the things I learned. A special thank you to my son for inviting me on this incredible journey. Check this one off the bucket list!

Posted in Where Story Ideas Come From, Writing Tips | 5 Comments

Like Dragons? Stoking the Flames

It’s finally here! I’ve been working on this project for a while but couldn’t say anything about it until now! I’m in this fabulous boxed set with 12 other fabulous authors. We’ve put together a collection of 13 paranormal romances all about dragons! And some will surprise you. These aren’t your normal dragon shifter fodder.

It’s up for pre-order RIGHT NOW! I’m so excited.

Here’s the link.

Take a look at this FABULOUS Cover done by Linda Boulanger. Isn’t she fantastic?

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Be on the look out for a lot of giveaways and fun activities to go along with this wonderful release.

Here’s the Facebook Page so you can keep up with all of it.

ARCs will be available soon so if you’re interested in reviewing it just send me a message on FB or through this website

Kelly’s FB Page

Can’t wait for actual release day! You’re gonna love this collection.

 

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Take Time For Your Writing

quill

It’s the last day of the year, and I’m in a reflective mood. I look back on my writing endeavors for this past year, and I’m disappointed. Not in the stories I did write and publish. I’m happy with those as I believe my readers are, but I’m disappointed in myself. Like many of you, I’m a spouse, a parent, I work a full time day job, and that doesn’t include all the other things that tug at my life on a daily basis, like housework and laundry. I also run a graphics company. So yep…I’m a busy woman. And in all those things, while I’m not perfect, I do perform fairly well.

So what’s my problem? I failed to take the time to work on the one thing I’m most passionate about. My writing. Writing is an art and like every art it requires practice. It is not enough to just produce a story. It’s important to focus on the fundamentals as well. How much better can your plot fit your story? How can you make your characters more real? How can you craft the words in a sentence to show and not tell? These are the things I neglected this past year.

You have to exercise your writing muscle just like you do your body muscles or it becomes lazy and satisfied that it is producing its best work. The more you challenge yourself to improve your writing the better it becomes. I plan to reach into myself and pull out a few stories that I write purely for the purpose of improving my craft. Yes, I’m still working on The Gamble, my civil war action adventure, but just think how much better it will be if I spend the time exercising the craft.

In 2017, I plan to schedule time for writing practice. I’ve found some books and workshops I plan to attend to study my craft. It takes a long time to become a professional at anything. Do yourself a favor and build your writing into a profession. Take the time from your busy family life and work schedule if you’re not fortunate to work at writing full time, and carve out an hour or so a day or a few times a week to just practice learning your craft. You deserve that time. Think of it as your duty to follow your passion. All that other stuff will get done. It always does.

I’ll be along side you. I promise we’ll all be the better for it, and give our readers a much more gratifying experience.

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Words Are Magic

I’m up bright and early on this Thanksgiving Day, 2016, waiting to begin cooking a wonderful brunch for my family. I’m sipping coffee with more cream than coffee (just the way I like it) and reflecting on all that I’m grateful for. Of course I’m grateful most of all for my faith and my family. Without them I’m not sure I would know who I am or have ever been able to establish my purpose in life. I’m thankful for good health and the privilege to wake up of a morning and begin a new day. Its a gift I never take for granted.

I’m also grateful to have been given the gift to craft a story with words. My books may not give every reader the joy they seek when they read on of my stories, but there are those who find them gratifying, and to those people, I say thank you. Without readers, authors would have much less satisfaction in weaving the stories of their creation. But write them they must.

With the gift of writing comes a responsibility that I take very seriously. Words are magic. They can bring joy, pain, anger, sadness, and evoke change. Because of that power every writer should strive to craft a story to the best of their ability. Take those words and massage, extrapolate, twist, turn and build a story that grabs not only the attention of a reader, but their heart as well.

I believe this is true whether you write fiction or nonfiction, but as fiction is my specialty, I’ll speak to that. Using words to build not only a setting, but characters takes practice. Weaving emotion into a character’s thoughts and heart is not easy. It requires the study of words. Those that show and not tell. It’s easy to tell a reader how a character is feeling, but much more difficult to show them. I’m not the best I can be by far, and I also believe writing is a craft that grows with study and practice. I strive to learn new ways every day to construct with words a story that will leave a reader breathless.

Take heart writers. The beauty of words is their magic. Use them wisely and creatively to craft a story that will weave its way through your readers’ emotions in a way that will leave them satisfied yet wanting more.  If it were easy, everyone would be successful at it. Like anything, to become the best at what you do, you must practice.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I work in insurance. When people ask me who I am, I say, “A Writer.” I find joy in writing, and even if my stories weren’t read by a single soul, I’d still build them to the best of my ability. Words are magic, my friends. Thank you for supporting me by allowing me to weave my tales for you.

 

 

If you’d like to see Kelly’s stories, visit Books by Kelly.

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Why I Write Paranormal Stories

 

Pumpkins On Wooden Background With Copy Space

With Halloween approaching, I found myself reflecting on a recent reader question. “Why do you write paranormal stories?”

It’s a common question I get often as I am a multi-genre author. I also write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. If you’re familiar with my books, I think you’ll find a vein of paranormal runs through them all from a straight forward paranormal creature or a human that shifts into such creature to  a hint of a higher supernatural being influencing my character’s life.

I enjoy writing paranormal books because it releases me from some of those formula bonds that you often find in certain genres. By inventing a world that has supernatural creatures, magic, and realms with no real boundaries, I can build a fascinating story and allow my characters freedoms that other genres don’t allow.

Growing up, I always enjoyed a good ghost story. I can remember nights spent in the cemetery across from my best friend’s house where we would go and scare ourselves silly telling goofy stories like Who’s Got My Golden Arm? Or re-telling episodes of The Night Stalker or Twilight Zone. I read Goosebumps and Tales From the Crypt voraciously. If it was scary I read it, eventually graduating to the greats such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. So I guess my interest in the paranormal comes naturally.

I enjoy writing shifters (characters who change into some form of animal) because I like to explore what challenges their particular paranormal ability creates for them. How does it affect how they react to humans without their special gifts. What conflict does being so different create in their world. How do they over come those conflicts?

I like using magic because it allows me to do things with plot and character that don’t fit into a single mold. Oh sure…magic has its own set of rules and you need to be true to those, but who really knows what magic is capable of until you try something. That’s what this genre provides for me. A chance to try something different.

dragon and wizard meeting

Right now I’m working on my first Dragon Shifter story for a boxed set being released in March of 2017. I’m challenged by this character because once she gets herself out of the mess she’s in, I want her to be able to turn a curse into a blessing and retain some of her magnificent dragon powers and command them at will. It has to make sense to the reader, and therein lies the challenge. How do you make the unbelievable believable?

That’s what I love about writing, and particularly about writing paranormal stories.

Check out what I mean in some of my paranormal books:

Haunted Destiny

Secrets of a Wolf

Blood Harvest Moon

What do you love about reading a paranormal story?

 

 

 

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Ever Heard of Monticello, Florida?

downtown-monticello

Monticello, where? Isn’t that where Thomas Jefferson lives? Wrong Monticello. Thomas Jefferson’s home is in Charlottesville, Va., but that doesn’t mean that his home’s namesake in Florida isn’t connected. Read on to find out how.

The Saving Shenanigans Trilogy is set in Monticello, FL., and I thought it might be fun to share some facts about this historical town near Tallahassee, our state’s capital. I had a very special friend who settled there, and I still visit her family regularly. I am invited back frequently to hold book signings at Two Sister’s New Beginnings, a wonderful store you should visit if you get there.

So…What is this little town all about:

  •  The first Europeans passed through what is now Jefferson County in 1528
  • Primarily occupied by Native Americans…Miccosukees, a branch of the Creeks who became part of the Seminole group until American Settlers entered the area at the beginning of the 19th Century
  • Jefferson County was named after Thomas Jefferson
  • Monticello, named for T.J.’s home in Virginia, is the county seat for Jefferson County
  • The County Courthouse was built at the turn of the 20th Century

monticello

  • Has the Perkins Opera House built in the 1890 that is still used today

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  • Home to the Jefferson County Jailhouse built in 1909. The first floor was living quarters for the sheriff with the inmates housed upstairs

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  • Home to some great Bed and Breakfast Hotels – check them out
    • John Denham House
    • Avery Clark House
    • Daffodale Estate
  • Has the reputation of being one of the most haunted historical cities in the south

When I began to write the Shenanigans series, I wanted a small town where I could create characters that needed something to believe in. Something that would pull them together and help them all become stronger and grow as a family and as a community. After visiting my dear friend in Monticello, I knew I’d found my spot. Plenty of quirks to make it fun, a few ghosts to keep things interesting, and lots of home town spunk. The bar Shenanigans is fictional of course, but I know exactly where it would have been had it been real. Some of the homes described in the books are based on actual homes I’ve seen and been in. The bed and breakfast mentioned was patterned after one I stayed in while I was visiting.

If you’re rolling through north Florida and are near the state capital of Tallahassee, Monticello is only about 20 miles northeast. Stop by. It’s full of history and small town quaintness that will have you itching to find a home within Jefferson County’s soft rolling hills and planting your own garden.

AND…If you happen to be rolling through on October 22, stop in at Two Sisters New Beginnings where I’ll be having a book signing.

If you want more information about Mabe, Meg and Mara the three sisters who fight to save their Irish pub from the mob and deal with the other problems life throws at them check out Books by Kelly.

Mabe-3dMeg3d Mara-3d

 

 

 

If you visit, let me know what you thought.

 

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Great Time At Indie Book Fest in Orlando

I just attended the Indie Book Fest in Orlando. It is always a fabulous event, and I met so many wonderful readers, bloggers and other great authors.

If you are a reader you should grab a ticket for next year as soon as they become available and make plans to attend. There are great panels for you to attend to meet authors and ask them questions.

As an author this is a great forum to hook up with bloggers, book clubs and readers.

I had a great time. Check out the pictures. These will be posted in my gallery on the home page as well.

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