Month: January 2018

Author Highlight: Heather Elizabeth King- Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers Pt 1

Author Highlight: Heather Elizabeth King- Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers Pt 1

Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers

Hi guys! I’m Heather Elizabeth King and I write supernatural mysteries and paranormal romance. I’ve been a lover of scary movies and scary books since I can remember. By the time I put fingers to keyboard I’d probably seen over a hundred horror movies, so writing scary stories came naturally for me. Almost everything I write has a supernatural element in it, so it seems fitting for me to give advice on how to scare readers.

Like I said, I write supernatural mysteries and paranormal romance. And when I say paranormal romance, I don’t mean sexy lycan and brooding vampires. The paranormal element in my books is always something beastly and scary. I’ve tried to write about happy people living normal lives, but inevitably, a ghost pops up or an undead creature comes sauntering into town. I just can’t help myself. And when a reader tells me one of my books gave them nightmares, I feel it’s a job well done.

You may find it hard to believe that it’s possible, with only words, to scare someone so much that they have bad dreams, but it is possible and not as hard as you may think. If you’re thinking about writing a supernatural mystery or a horror, here are four ways to use DESCRIPTION to scare your readers senseless.

DESCRIPTION

Description is important in every genre of fiction. When I write erotic romance, the description I use is meant to arouse the reader. When I write romance, the description I use is meant to make the reader fall in love with the hero. When I write supernatural, the description I use is meant to scare the reader. But not only that.

A writer who has mastered the art of using description to tell a story is a writer who can transport their readers anywhere. Good description lets the reader feel like they’re in your fiction world. Good description will make the reader feel like she can smell the pumpkin pie your heroine’s mom is cooking, taste the hot tea the heroine is drinking, see the creature that’s partially hidden in the trees, feel the coarse skin of the thing that has cornered the heroine, and hear the heavy breathing of an assailant. Description is one of the most important tools in an author’s arsenal.

  • Use the senses – I touched on this a bit when I talked about Description. A character’s senses are a key ingredient in good description. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. There’s so much that can be done with a character’s senses. Most authors use the sense of sight, but what about hearing. Does your character hear a sound that shouldn’t be there? Footsteps? The sound of a door closing in an empty house? These things are so simple, yet so perfect in creating the right, scary atmosphere.

Sometimes, the first indicator a character has that something is wrong is because they smell something that shouldn’t be there. In Patricia Cornwell novels, she does such a great job writing about the smells of a crime scene and autopsy suite that the reader nearly gags in disgust.

Using a character’s senses to let the reader know something scary is about to happen isn’t hard, but it’s very effective and worth the extra effort.

  • How do the characters feel? This seems obvious, but writers often forget to let the reader know how your characters feels about what is happening to them? Are they scared? Are they happy? Confused? Tell the reader AND show the reader. It’s vital the reader knows how your characters are reacting to what is happening to them and around them. Why? Because letting readers know how your characters feel is a great tool in telling your readers (without telling your readers) how they should feel.

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Author Highlight: Heather Elizabeth King- Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers Pt 2

Author Highlight: Heather Elizabeth King- Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers Pt 2

Scaring the Crap Out of Your Readers

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

Below is an excerpt from chapter two of my novel, Doomsday. I chose it because it has all of the elements I discussed: using the senses, telling the reader how the characters feel, making sure the characters come across as human, and using imagination to draw the reader in a supernatural world.

Doomsday – A Remy Jones Mystery

My breath caught. Had I been wrong? Had I missed her pulse and mistaken her for

dead? Not only that, she had changed. She didn’t seem freshly dead anymore. Her skin had

taken on a sickly tinge, her flesh sagging as though it had rotted in the few seconds since I’d

turned away from her. To look at her, she could have been dead for days.

“Vincent,” I whispered.

He looked at me, then followed my pointing finger to the spot on the ground where the

woman was.

Her arm twitched.

“Damn,” he said.

Not exactly what I wanted to hear. If he was nervous I figured that meant I should be

scared witless.

“Remy,” he continued, speaking in the same quiet voice I had used, “I want you to walk

slowly out of the food court. When you get into the square, run for the corridor. You got me?”

Mouth open, I was breathing too heavily to give him a verbal response. I nodded. “Let’s go,” he moved from behind the counter. “Keep it nice and calm.”

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There Are Two Types of Writers…

There Are Two Types of Writers…

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A few weeks ago I saw a tweet that I haven’t been able to forget.

It was a few days before the new year and an author I follow had tweeted about being positive for 2018. Specifically, she mentioned not comparing yourself to other writers, writing what you want to write and other sentiments along those lines.

I actually replied to her tweet and commented about my own feelings for the new year. Like many authors, I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to others in the industry. Not the big wigs like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I understand gaining success like that takes (1) time, (2) talent, (3) hard work, (4) perfect timing and (5) the stars aligning just right.

That said, I never compare myself to such successful authors. However, lesser known authors with solid fan bases and high ratings who write stuff I read on Quizilla when I was in high school…yeah, sometimes I fall into the trap of comparison here.

Now, of course, this may make me sound like some sort of literary snob. The type of person who swoons over the classics and longs for “the better days” of literature, right?

Well, I’m not. Far from it, actually. I’m a big believer in reading what you want to, as well as writing what you want to write. No questions asked. However, I’ve read several books that have darn near perfect ratings on GoodReads and Amazon but offer me nothing as a reader (this is only my opinion after all). Usually, these books will do several things right. They’ll have instances of suspense that draw me in but, then quickly deflate me. Overall, the stories don’t develop well and I’m left wanting more.

Still, these authors have a solid following and are making bank (from an outsider’s perspective, at least).

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And isn’t that what every author dreams of? Having a solid fan base? Living, if only in part, off their writing?

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The Countdown Begins!

The Countdown Begins!

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Holy kapoodle sticks! I’m nine weeks and six days away from my release date. In that short period of time, the story I’ve been working on for years is going to be available to the world. Deep breath, Tasha, deep breath…

 

 

Aw, who am I kidding?

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I can’t wait. I’m like a kid going to the state fair for the first time. Basically, I’m in this constant state of happy shock. Does that make sense? It’s like I know a lot of crap is happening, a lot of last minute frustrating crap but when I think of my book releasing, I’m back in my happy place. And everything’s wonderful in my happy place.

But, like I said, there’s still a to-do list:

1) Order all the giveaway items
2) Finish the paperback formatting
3) Complete the plan for my blog tour
4) Complete the plan for my FB Release Party
5) Stay sane

Not sure I’ll be able to do the last task, at least not successfully. One through four seem doable, though but seriously, guys, I’m really excited. All joking aside this is a very important moment for me. There was a point in my life I didn’t think I’d ever publish this novel—my own piece of writing that I actually want to publish.

In a way, by finally getting “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” released, I’m doing a type of self-confirming. I’m proving to myself that I can turn my dreams into a reality and that I am capable of transforming pieces of me into something others can relate to.

That makes me feel pretty good.

And in celebration of all this goodness and awesomeness, I’m doing a giveaway!

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Okay, so it’s simple. Follow this link here to win a free copy of the science fiction short “Plugged In.” It’ll take you to a page where you’ll be asked to subscribe to my newsletter (I don’t spam so no worries). Once you’ve subscribed and confirmed your subscription, you’ll receive two emails.

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2018 Going My Way

2018 Going My Way

Hi, lovelies and happy Wednesday!

I hope your new year has gotten off to a good start. Of course, with the new year comes a lot of new year resolutions. I have to admit, I’m not big into the whole concept. I enjoyed it when I was younger, especially in my teen years but as I’ve gotten older I’ve kind of fallen off. I think the more confident I’ve become the less I’ve needed the resolutions because if I want to do something, I do it. I don’t wait for the next year to roll around.

Now, please, don’t think I’m slamming those of you who use new year resolutions. For a lot of people, they work wonders. Many people use them as a type of spark for the new year that drives them until the year concludes. People grow and develop at their own pace. But I’m not that patient which can be both a blessing and curse.

Thankfully, I’m not alone and one way I started this year right was by following Leigh Bardugo.

If you follow me on any of my social media, you’ll know I’m a fan of Bardugo’s. I started following her on Instagram and Pintrest when 2017 was wrapping up. By following her, I found her #BAYMTGO tag on Instagram. It stands for “begin as you mean to go on.” Basically, start your new year as you want it to continue–set the foundation.

Me, being as impatient as I am, I was down for this mantra. Additionally, it gave me the final push I needed to refuse all those New Year’s Day celebrations. In a way, I felt like I was being rude by not jumping at the invitations as soon as they came in. However, the truth was I had no interest in attending them. I was really over the holidays which makes me sound like a Scrooge but it’s true. I hate feeling forced to spend time with people because it’s a specific time of year and society dictates I do so. I can engage with family and friends as we see fit, so holiday ” social requirements” can come off as a little pushy.

Does that make sense?

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Anyway, I spent New Year’s Eve alone. And I was so happy. I watched some anime I needed to catch up on, got a decent amount of work done and headed to bed early. Of course, everyone shouting at midnight woke me up (idiots) but, hey, I fell back to sleep eventually.

I also spent the first day of the new year working, too. Did I take it a little easy on myself? Yeah, I guess you could say that but I still had a to-do list I knocked out. So many people were celebrating though. People were going to see family, friends, they were going to parties and other events, holding off starting their new year until they were done celebrating. It was the socially acceptable thing to do but not what I wanted to do.

So, instead, I watched the hashtag, watched Ms. Bardugo’s stories on Insta and did what needed to be done. One thing I’m particularly proud of is that I added over a thousand words to the second book I’m working on. After doing this, I checked my calendar and I realized I was on track to finish my second novel by February if I write a thousand words each day. I’m over the hurdle and I started my new year right–by doing what I plan on doing for the rest of the year, by doing what makes me happy, not what’s expected.

Of course, it’s only the third day of 2018 but my to-do lists have been getting done and I have to say I’m happy.

Things really are going my way in 2018. I have two new group boards on Pinterest (for writers and for readers), two review companies have gotten back to me, I’m going to be featured in a webzine, and, to put it simply, I’ve been killing it on the business end.

And I don’t plan on stopping.

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