Review and Guest Post Dead 'Til Dawn by Kelli A. Wilkins
Title: Dead 'Til Dawn
Author: Kelli A. Wilkins
Published: Sept. 19, 2015
Genre: Ghost story
Review: ebook provided by author
Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon.uk
Dead ‘Til Dawn
Disturbing the dead doesn’t prove you’re brave – it proves you’re stupid.
After touring Gettysburg battlefield, Jessica, Tim, and Steve decide to sneak out to the Devil’s Den for some late-night fun. Jessica’s friend Kathy objects, and warns them about trespassing where they’re not wanted.
Undaunted by ghost stories and fueled by his own arrogance, Tim races toward the Devil’s Den. When the group drives through mysterious battlefield fog, they find themselves surrounded by Civil War soldiers looking for a little fun of their own.
Kathy leaves the others to fend for themselves and flees to Little Round Top. Although she’s rescued by a kindhearted Union solider named Charlie, she refuses to believe that what she’s experiencing is real. As the nighttime battle rages on, Charlie introduces Kathy to other weary soldiers, and she quickly realizes she’s trapped in the land of the dead until dawn.
Spend a night in the land of the dead in this 8,200-word ghost story set on the Gettysburg battlefield.
I received this book to give an honest review.
Now I have to say this was a good ghost story. Gave me the chills a bit and makes me not want to visit anywhere where a battle has taken place after dark. This is a short but fully packed story that you feel full-filled. There is some cussing but nothing to major so I would suggest this book for teens to read if you are okay with the language. If not then for sure YA and above. It does make you wonder if there are ghosts out there from battles long ago who can not move and still live the battle every day. The author did a great job with descriptions and the characters. I hope the author keeps up with the ghost stories because she does a great job with them.
Happy Haunting, Kelli
Writing Horror Fiction - Just in time for Halloween!By Author Kelli A. Wilkins
My name is Kelli Wilkins and I divide my time between writing horror and romance. Yes, I know, it’s an unusual combination, but I go with it. I like to say that one half of my brain writes the horror and the other half writes the romance.
When it comes to horror, I’m always asked a lot of questions: How does a person write a horror story? What makes a great one? How can you make a convincing story about a monster if monsters aren’t real?
First, it’s important to realize that horror can take many forms — gore-filled splatter-punk with buckets of blood… mysterious, cursed people living in isolated Gothic castles (or even tropical islands!)… psychological unsettling horror that makes you feel uneasy… or your ordinary “classic monsters” such as vampires, ghosts, zombies, and werewolves.
My horror stories tend to be based in psychological terrors rather than blood and gore. They’re set in a wide range of seasons and settings, and my characters run the gamut from small children to mentally fragile suburban housewives.
Each kind of horror story has its fans, probably because different people are scared of different things (heights, monkeys, bridges, etc.). But whatever type of horror story you write (or read) there are a few universal elements that should go into any horror tale.
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.
An important element in writing horror is to invent a believable “horror” universe where monsters, vampires, and other paranormal elements are possible — and conflict with the characters you’ve created.
There are several TV shows that excel at this paranormal world-building. Supernatural, Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, and Constantine all exist in a place and time where vampires, demons, shapeshifters, and other “monsters” cross over into the “real” world. What makes these shows work? The characters.
In Supernatural, the Winchesters were raised believing that paranormal creatures were more than legends — they’re real, no question. In Grimm and Sleepy Hollow, the characters were slowly introduced into a paranormal world that challenged their beliefs, but then they were drawn in 100%. And viewers were, too.
That’s what every horror writer has to do — make the reader believe in the element of horror (whether it’s a nightmare-invading serial killer, a 60 foot fanged sea-creature, or a ghost) and take the reader on a journey with the main characters. The situations in the story need to be plausible and told in a way that grips the reader, even if the premise seems a bit far-fetched (at first).
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… While you’re writing, 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.
As with any story, the author has to establish a believable setting. Whether your tale takes place in a gritty, post-apocalyptic city or a foggy rural graveyard, you need to give your readers a concrete foundation of where the story is taking place. Readers want to feel as if they are there, experiencing the events along with the main characters. Use lots of details (sights, smells, sounds) and props to make your descriptions come alive. My story, Kropsy’s Curse makes great use of setting. What’s better than a horror story set in a graveyard on Halloween?
Remember that all characters (even the monsters) need to have a purpose. Why are your zombies in Wegmans? Readers want to know why (and how) the events in your story are happening. Your job as a writer is to get readers to suspend their (dis)belief and buy into your story. This is done by giving characters a goal and following it up with in-depth characterization and details. You don’t have to go into a lengthy explanation, just give your readers a reason, have your characters believe it, and move on. In my story, The Man in Apt. 3-A, the main character really didn’t believe a vampire lived upstairs…until he met him.
And try to avoid clichés like the plague! Masked killers hunting campers in the woods, serial-killing cannibal families, miserable Goth vampires in period costume, and mindless zombie attacks have all been done to… well, death. And please don’t mix monsters. Only include one primary menace/monster in your story. Don’t have vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons attacking a cursed town during a full moon on Halloween. It’s overkill — and not in a good way.
When writing horror, don’t be afraid to break patterns, make your characters different, or have them go against stereotype. Give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view — it’ll make your work stand out. Why not set your werewolf story in Hawaii? My paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, takes place at the beach.
We all know that October is “horror month” because of Halloween, but there are plenty of spooky things going on the rest of the year. Loyal readers and writers of horror fiction know that a good horror story is just as scary on a warm June day as it is at midnight on Halloween. Remember, JAWS took place in the summer, and a haunted house can be terrifying on a rainy March afternoon…
Remember, when writing horror, the only limit is your imagination!
I enjoy hearing from readers and other authors. So feel free to drop me a line with questions or comments. You can catch up on all of my writings and follow me on social media here:
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Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
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.