Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a wife, mother of two boys and an author. When I am not involved in those roles, I am also an avid reader. I own the Authors By Authors Blog where I feature my reviews as well as reviews of other authors, and I am a reviewer for Suspense Magazine. On the rare occasion I have time beyond those tasks, I bake, knit or watch movies. First and foremost, I love being with my family, extended as well. And, since my husband is a school teacher, when they are all at school, I must write.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I think rather early in life to some degree. I was more of a recluse who loved to be in her room reading as a child. And, I can remember daydreaming that the book in my hand was one I had written. As a child though, I may have scribbled out a few stories or poems, but really, I was happy just reading. When I went to college, I got a degree to teach Secondary English Education. And, during that time I wrote a few stories for writing classes, but that was it. I knew I wanted to write though when the time presented itself. Well, time had other plans, and I didn't write again for well over a decade.
What was the first fiction you ever wrote?
Was it for publication? What reaction did you get?
As I said above, college was the first stories I guess. I got A's if that is any reaction, but I didn't share them with anyone else. It was not until 2007 that I wrote again. I had been a stay-at-home mother since my first son was born, and was finding more and more time on my hands and less and less excuses not to try it again. In 2007, my husband was in Israel for two weeks, and not sleeping, I wrote two short stories based on a call for submissions of Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. Prior to that I had written one other story, which is a long story in and of itself which was eventually published by Whiskey Creek Press Torrid later. But, back to the two stories I wrote when my husband was away - my husband came home, read these two stories, and told me to submit them to see what reaction I got. I got contracts for them both.
What author or book influenced your writing?
I can't say I could pinpoint one. I was such an avid reader that I picked up just about anything I could get my hands on or someone recommended. So, it makes it really hard to say.
What is your most & least favorite part of writing?
I write my stories in three phases. First, I research and outline. I would say that is my second favorite stage. Second, I crank out a rough draft quickly which ends up being a rough, bare bones sort of story which is about half the word count it will end up. This is exciting, but not a favorite step. The Third phase is my favorite, the one where I get to play with words and really craft the story to its final stage. As i reread the rough draft here, I play with description and telling the deep emotions of my characters. I try to polish each sentence here. My least favorite part of writing would have to be the errata stage. This is after it is published and edits have been done, the author reads through the story one last time for anything missed in every other stage. By this time, I know the story is coming out, I have read it what feels like a gazillion times already, and my perfectionist personality comes out - I tend to get critical and worry about the release of the book then and how readers will react to it.
Do you have a ritual to get you ready to write?
Nope, as soon as my two boys catch their bus, as my husband has already left for his school, I walk to my computer and start writing about 7AM in the morning after checking emails. I always plan to take a break to walk and shower about lunch time. This rarely happens as some email or call has come in and I have something else to do, or I just write until my stomach growls too loudly. Then I find myself still in my pajamas at say two o'clock in the afternoon *hand head"
After writing for hours at a time how do you relax?
I don't understand the word, sadly. I always have other things to do whether edits for a published story, some promo, I even distribute books for one publisher now. When my sons get out of school, the real games begin with after-school activities or practices, homework help, dinner, etc. In between you try to fit in the fun stuff like bills or groceries or laundry or cleaning, the things that often get thrown to the side in my life now. By the time my boys go to bed, I am lucky to read a book I am reviewing till I fall asleep. Sometimes I get to relax when a holiday or summer intervenes and I get together with extended family.
Where do you write?
A room on the far side of our house. It is actually supposed to be a family room, but since we have a living room everyone uses, this room ended up divided it in half by furniture. One side has our table in it since our kitchen is so small. And, the other half has a wooden love seat and chair set, a fireplace with shelves around it, and my movable cart of a writing table. I am a certified Feng Shui practitioner as well, so I have made it so that each item in the room has good things to say to me about my personality, creativity and career. It has a big double window and sliding glass doors, so it is nice and bright as well.
Does your environment color what you write?
Not really, it just makes me happy so I am in the best mind I can be to work. Of course, I love a nice Ohio gray day, and can curl up in my chair with a nice cup of tea and work just fine. My favorite season is winter, so writing with the snow falling outside and my fireplace on is just wonderful. My writing room is actually filled with snowmen year round since I collect them. It has taken on a funny, peculiar to me, look now with all my paranormal witch stuff in there too. I now have snowmen dressed as witches and one witch crystal mobile where she is flying in snowflakes. LOL Don't laugh, but I have plans to make the ultimate melting snowman who will be dressed as a witch, you know like in Wizard of Oz, he would be saying, "I'm melting." Yeah, I warned you I was peculiar.
What is your opinion of writer's groups? Do you find them helpful? And how did you find yours?
I actually don't have one. I am part of groups online like Savvy Authors and various yahoo groups like Just Another Paranormal Monday, but I am more of a lurker than anything else. There is a local, active writers group in my town, but being an erotic author, i have never gotten past the thought of attending and my blushing cheeks. I would assume if I was not such a recluse that they would be very helpful.
What are some of your pet peeves in life?
Not a good question to ask me with two boys in middle school. I would surely get myself in trouble if I went on a rampage about todays schools, youth and parents in general terms.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Just write. Stop questioning it in anyway and just write what is in your heart to write in your own set of unique words. If you ever decide to put it out there, remember that people being different is what makes the world go round, and so not everyone is going to like what you create.
Tell us about the stories linked here today? How did they come about?
Well, as a paranormal author, I love October and Halloween. I joined the group, Just Another Paranormal Monday on Yahoo, and read a call for an anthology they were putting together. In response, I wrote my third true horror story and submitted it. And, my story, Samhain's Visitor was selected to be in the The Just Another Paranormal Halloween Anthology which ended up being then published by Mojocastle Press.
As far as the subject of Samhain's Visitor, since it had to be a Halloween theme story, I started researching the different ceremonies used around Samhain. For this story, I used the mute supper where witches try to communicate with ancestors who have passed. I incoporated into the beginning of it one of my favorite movies of all time, Practical Magic.
Just Another Paranormal Halloween Anthology ebook at Mojocastle http://www.mojocastle.com/ParaHalloween.html and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-justanotherparanormalhalloween-469787-139.html
And here are links for Sexual Magick free read so far
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a PDF!
I know you also have a new book coming out in January what can you tell us about that?
Sure, i would love to. I am very excited about it. It is my first full length novel to release. It incorporates quite a mix of genres, from historical/regency to paranormal to erotic romance with touches of suspense. The blurb follows.
Blurb: Aubrey Griffen is a witch whose true reasons for coming to London soon fall to the wayside when she catches the eye of Edmund Bryant, the Marquess of Dalysbury. He seduces her into a whirlwind romance until the lies and threats of his mother force her to flee to Triaill Brimuir, a secret island of her ancestors off the coast of Ireland. Edmund goes after her only to be hit by Aubrey’s confusion and anger when she magically transforms him into an elemental beast of her own creation.
However, it is when Edmund’s lust mysteriously turns him back into a man that the couple are forced to deal with a family secret and untold of powers. Now, Edmund must learn to shift himself into the beast in order to save her in a battle of black verses white magic.
Fraught with scenes of explicit intimacy, romantic spells and mystical shapeshifting, Torn Asunder is a unique blending of the age of manners with sexual magic.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Please enter my October Haunted Places Contest for a chance to win one of my ebooks. You can find the contest by going to:
You can also find Kiki Howell at: http://www.kikihowell.com/