Monday, January 9, 2012

VBT Pit Stop - Guest Blog & Giveaway with Kiki Howell, What Are You Afraid Of?

Welcome Kiki Howell back to BK Walker Books Etc. Kiki is on tour with her new children's book, What Are You Afraid Of? This little picture book has been getting some awesome reviews and is not just for Halloween. So follow along for a chance to win her grand prize at the end of her tour and to learn more about Kiki and this wonderful new picture book.

Welcome Kiki!

Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.

“After a long break having my boys, I finally just had to write again. And, as soon as I gave the stories the space, they entered it. It’s both awesome and humbling to find the words in my mind become characters on a page and create their lives.”

She has now had over twenty stories published between seven different small presses.  She could not be more thrilled or grateful to see her creations polished and out in the real world. Please look around. Although, a bit of caution, most of her stories tend to hang out on the graphically sexy side of town.

In May, 2011, Kiki was chosen as an Ohioana Book Festival author for her novel,Torn Asunder. 

Kiki resides in the Midwest with her incredibly handsome and talented, singer/songwriter husband and two children. When she is not writing, she is spending time with her family, reading, baking or knitting.

Her biggest dream is to have a novel she writes be made into a movie that her husband creates the soundtrack for, and then cruise to Alaska with her family on the money they make.

Guest Blog – Transitioning From Paranormal to Children’s Stories

I’ve been called a diverse writer, and maybe I am writing all over the place with a published children’s picture book as well as published adult, paranormal romance novel and a many more genres and lengths in between. But, I’m not sure I transition as much as hop *giggles* I’ve never been one to ease into anything, more a stay up all night learning all I can so I can jump in with both feet type of gal. Yes, I should come with a warning sign! LOL But, I write what I’m inspired to - sometimes a subject laying heavy on my heart and sometimes a type of character I want to experiment with, and sometimes a plotline I’ve been handed, etc. But, a good four years into my writing career, I think I am still in that experimental phase, just having fun with whatever inspiration comes my way.

I think I’m more trying my hand, finding my place. I thought when I was younger and dreamed of writing that I would write children’s books, picture books to be exact. But then I grew up with after-school specials and soon my stories turned to be like those. I know when I was first in college that I wrote a few stories, one about a runaway, another about a woman with an eating disorder, and so on – still haven’t been brave enough to go back and read those yet though. LOL Someday. But then life happened, and I didn’t get to write for a good decade. Come the year 2007, I wrote two stories for a writing exercise that were supposed to be in a genre I was not comfortable with, I took as not familiar with. Having just read my first erotic romance, I tried that that genre, and to my surprise, having submitted them on the encouragement of my ever-supportive husband, they were accepted. This of course took me down a road of writing I had never dreamed of. Never even imagined in my wildest dreams! And, these events had all who knew me saying, “It’s always the quiet ones!” Of course one reader early on also said that I could describe anything, sex included. LOL

During this time though, what I noticed I had this constant need to try something new with my writing. I went from contemporary to historical, from paranormal to magic realism, etc. Even in the paranormal realm I moved from different types of creatures, witches to vampires to shapeshifters to incorporating them all in one story. I got good and bad reviews, noticing a consistent theme that the way I liked to describe things often was not right for the adult genre reader that I was writing for. Reviews proved a love or hate my writing kind of thing. But, without description, well I might as well not write, I figured. Because plying with words is what I love about writing, as much as weaving a good tale. What was missing, but crept in from time to time still in various ways, was the messages. I still had this need to tell a story that not only evoked emotions but made people think about important issues in life. I have this constant need to help, to do something worthwhile with my life which translates into assisting others in their lives. So, when I got that first email where a couple who had lost their daughter three years ago and had grown apart had come together again for the first time after reading one of my stories, and was now ready to work on their marriage, well that was an indescribable feeling.

So, when the idea of helping kids overcome their fears, having been a fearful child myself, popped into my head, I did the research and just had to write a story. To help kids overcome such a big issue in a way that didn’t stifle their big creative minds, well I felt on a mission really. It did cross my mind many times to question if I should write a children’s story having established myself as an adult writer. But the story would not be kept silent. And even with many obstacles in my way as the story progressed, I kept with it feeling the message just too important. It was the lesson I wanted out there that kept me going. So one day I was writing a story about a witch using a sex magic spell and the next I was writing a rhyming story based on a dog who was afraid of kids in a Halloween costumes. A jump? Yes. Of course. But one I made happily, not slowly, but jumping in with both feet, writing furiously and snapping pictures of my dogs to illustrate it to boot. And, I did dress my poor dog in a witch costume. I think he has forgiven me?

Now that I have such a diverse line of stories out, I don’t seem to be stopping. Again, no smooth transitions, but absolute leaps and bounds from genre to genre. You should see my line up of stories to edit and write in 2012! I have a sexy trilogy involving vampires, witches and werewolves at war in a resort town; I have my first steampunk story with a Valentine’s Day theme; I have a more reality based mainstream novel about a gifted woman coming to accept who she is and what she can do in the city of Salem, MA; and I have a story taking shape, a contemporary, feel-good type story about a veteran forty years after the Vietnam war as told through his forty year old daughters eyes. All I have left is to try YA! LOL No ideas yet though unless I brave those old manuscripts from college. But I shall keep hoping until I find where my writing voice shines best, or maybe I shall just keep jumping around. Who knows?  

What Are You Afraid Of? - A Children's Picture Book

While this book is set during Halloween, it's really a book which addresses the issue of dealing with a child's fears and is meant to be read during any season by any child dealing with any fear. The setting came about because the author's dog is actually afraid of children in costumes on Halloween, and the idea seemed just funny enough an approach to work with this very important subject. Please read the Note from the Author to find out more about why this book was written. “Why does the night have to be so dark?” the big dog named Drake gave a low bark. 

Everyone has fears, even a big dog like Drake. In fact, the big dog named Drake is afraid of the children in costumes on Halloween. He really only likes the candy his boy drops.

Lucky for Drake, the old dog named Zoe is there to help him forget his fears with a fun game.
Drake and Zoe can’t wait for you to play along. 


Kiki is offering one lucky commenter from her entire tour a chance to win a tote bag with a picture of Zoe and Drake on it that will be filled with dog stuff - plush dogs, dog coloring book, etc.


December 22 - Kick Off at VBT Cafe' Blog
December 27 - Review at Loves To Read
December 29 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
December 29 - Interviewed at KWOD Radio 7:30pm ESTJanuary 2 - Review & Interviewed at Rhodes Review
January 4 - Reviewed at Sacred Legacy Reviews
January 7 - Reviewed at From The TBR Pile
January 9 - Guest Blogging at BK Walker Books Etc
January 11 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
January 17 - Interviewed at BK Media Entertainment
January 19 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations
January 24 - Guest Blogging with Louise James
January 26 - Review & Guest Blogging at Mad Moose Mama


BK said...

Thanks for the great post Kiki! Glad to have you back :)

Alexx Momcat said...

Just wanted you to know that this book is a truly wonderful book. I bought a copy for my niece and nephew (mostly the nephew who is four) and their mom and dad loved the book. They thought it was a great way of showing him how to overcome their fears.

Omegia said...

Great post Kiki. I too am very diverse. People assume because you write hot and steamy you can't do anything else. I write steam, ya, and nonfiction. You inspired me to keep going and not worry about anyone else!


Kiki Howell - Author said...

Thanks ladies!

BK - So glad to be back :) Thanks for having me.
Alexx - Thank you for your kind words. So glad to hear the book is helping.
Omegia - Keep at it! Makes me day to know I inspired someone :)