A Writer’s Guide to Kiss Scenes

Warning: Lack of Seriousness Ahead

It has been a long time since I went on a rant but I have just read a book that contained a kiss scene so bad that I thought I would teach professional writers, ADULTS, how to kiss someone properly. One book might have caused this post but trust me, I have seen a lot of badly described and uncomfortable kiss scenes in books. Apparently a lot of professional writers have never had a good snog.

So what qualifies me to teach writers how to kiss? Well, I write and I have kissed a lot of girls, a lot of guys, and been kissed right back by both. So I am using my bi powers for good today. Think of my as your dark haired, brooding YA love interest who is going to save your leading lady from bad kisses. (Because it is usually girls who are on the receiving end of these horrific lip assaults)

1. STOP KISSING PEOPLE TO SHUT THEM UP

This one is number one for a reason. Now imagine you are ranting because upset, excited or angry and then some knob decides to kiss you to shut you up because you were talking too much. What would you do? Well, in real life Mister Kisser is getting a knee in the balls, especially if I am not even dating him.

Why do writers think this is sexy? Your character is being a jerk and in real life he would get slapped. Being an insensitive twat isn’t attractive. Would you like it if I man you barely knpw and has been an ass the whole time you have known him randomly kissed you? No! Consent and waiting for the right moment is sexy, writers.

Also I don’t know about you but when I am upset, angry, excited or generally ranting I am not in the mood for kisses.

2. Don’t “Grab” her face

Unless you are writing a very forceful and intentionally unpleasant kiss scene cut down on the grabbing. I have read too many books where the guy “grabs” (they actually use the word grab) the female character’s chin/jaw. Why? To me that just conjures images of his big hand grabbing her entire lower jaw and shoving his face into hers. Not sexy. Oh and don’t shove your face into theirs, also not sexy.

To kiss someone nicely you GENTLY cup one of their cheeks while pulling them in with your other hand by the waist or hip. The cheek cupping hand can then slide around into the hair as the kiss deepens. No yanking or grabbing involved.

3. Humans are NOT Food

Cannibalism is frowned upon.

I don’t know about you but when I kiss someone I am not thinking about eating them. I am not talking about vampires or other fantasy creatures but writers describing kissing scenes like their character is eating something. That is disgusting. I recently read a kiss scene where the word “nibble” was used 6 times. SIX TIMES. It is a woman not a Kit Kat. Stop nibbling on her. The same goes for excessive neck or body part licking, overly detailed french kiss descriptions or generally using words you would use to describe eating something. You are kissing someone, not licking the insides out of a Cream Egg.

Also why do characters in bad kiss scenes always think about what their partner tastes like? That is gross and doesn’t happen in real life unless you are kissing someone with awful breath.

4. Would you Enjoy the Kiss?

Do onto your characters what you want done to yourself. Usually that is bad advice but when it comes to kisses it applies. If you are trying to write an enjoyable kiss just think about what it is like to be kissed. It isn’t hard. Would you like it if someone grabbed your face and started kissing you when you barely know them? Probably not. What if a guy started licking your neck for a long time? Also probably a no. (yes I have seen that in a book before)

Put yourself in your character’s situation.

So to summarise:

  • Dont kiss people to shut them up
  • Buy a thesaurus so you can describe kisses better.
  • Go and make out with someone and call it book research.

Happy Kissing Everybody

Waiting for Wednesday: When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Book Synopsis:

“Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead….

After her troubled older brother, Dashiell, dies of an overdose, sixteen-year-old Ruby is overcome by grief and longing. What she doesn’t know is that Dashiell’s ghost is using her nightly dreams of him as a way to possess her body and to persuade her twin brother, Everett, to submit to possession as well.

Dashiell tells Everett that he’s returned from the Land of the Dead to tie up loose ends, but he’s actually on the run from forces crueler and more powerful than anything the Bohnacker twins have ever imagined….”

Why I need it:

Evil siblings, enough said.

I have seen possession as a plot point quite a bit, in fact this novel sounds similar to Chucky without the doll part of the story, but the fact that this book is about a dead sibling makes it a lot more interesting. When it comes to horrible family members there is always a feeling of being trapped. They are your sibling, you are supposed to love them and mourn their passing. But what if they were a terrible person who is trying to possess your twin brother? The whole situation in this novel automatically makes the living characters seem trapped. That is why I want to read this book.

I am also curious about the fact that someone who died of an overdose is possessing people. Was it a suicide via medication or was it recreational drugs? If they were recreational and he was an addict that might make him use while possessing people. Imagine being possessed by a ghost that makes you use drugs. Now that is real horror.

Maybe I am reading into this blurb too much or those elements won’t be as well written as I would like, but I guess I won’t know until I read it.

When I Cast Your Shadow is scheduled for release in September 12th 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

TBR Spotlight: YA Horror

As some followers know normally I am not a fan of the YA genre. When it comes certain elements YA can be cheesey or straight up annoying, but there is one subcategory of YA that has surprisingly has never let me down so far and that is YA Horror. Yep, the usually neglected horror genre is a bright light in an age genre that is usually full of bland chosen ones, corny red flag romances, poorly thought out fantasy worlds and on going plagiarism battles. If you havent picked up a YA Horror novel you need you. They are usually easy to read and generally short novels. So, without further ado, here are 6 YA horror novels that have made it to my To-Read list.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

About:
“You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.”

The Girl from the Well is a novel based on Japanese folklore and horror. This book is probably one of the books at the top of my to read pile due to my obsession with all things Japanese horror related. It sounds like The Ring with some vigilantism thrown in, what’s not to like?

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

About:
“Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.”

What first drew me to this novel was that it has the same title as a favourite film of mine. (Shutter 2008 or 2004. Both the American and Thai versions are brilliant if you want a horror mystery film to watch) This book and the film are not related in the slightest but the matching titles were enough to make me read the blurb. At first I was put off by the use of the name Hellsing because I am sick of that trope by now but the mention of spirit photography kept me interested. Spirit photography is a bit of a hobby of mine as I like to collect old and new spirit photos. They are creepy and are like playing Where’s Wally with a ghost. Maybe I should write a post sharing my favourite photos some time, but that isn’t book related…but I guess it would be if I reviewed this novel.


The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

About:
“Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.”

When I read the blurb of this novel my first thought was “What the hell is going on?” It sounds confusing but in the way a mystery should be. I am also interested in how the story is made up of reports, testimonials, the diary and video footage. I want to see how they will tie all of that together to make the story.

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

About:
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

I have heard a lot about this book and apparently it is a diverse horror read. I have been wanting to read more horror from other cultures so this book is right up my ally. Also I have heard that it contains a cult of some kind and that just adds to the creep factor.


Ten by Gretchen McNeil

About:
“It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”

I will admit, this book sounds cheesy but sometimes you need a cheesy slasher book. This book reminds me of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream. Sometimes you just need stupid teenagers running around being offed one by one until the killer is revealed. Mindless, violent and probably fast paced.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

About:
“Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”

I love when the blurb of a horror novel teases the fact that the whole thing could just be in a characters head. That sort of things always makes for a thoughtful read and reminds me of The Haunting of Hill House. (Another book you should really check out if you haven’t already) Where did the aunt go? What is the deadly legacy? And why is the cousin hearing voices? These are all questions I want an answer to.

Have you read any of the books mentioned above? If so let me know what you thought of them. Or suggest a good book. They don’t have to be horror or thriller, they can just be on the dark side.

Hosting my Own Readathon? (Update: Names and Dates)

It is a sunny day in July and what am I going to do? Announce the name and dates of my Halloween readathon.

Yes the readathon that I made a post about last month is actually happening. There was so much positive feedback about the idea that I decided to actually do it. I would have made this announcement sooner but I didn’t have a name for it until today. Naming a readathon is surprisingly difficult. I now I have several sheets of paper covered in scribbled out potential names.

So without further a do:

Welcome to Spook Stock 2017!

Dates: 23rd – 30th of October 2017

Feel free to use the tile I made during the readathon. I might make a banner or two. I havent decided yet.

The Rules are simple:

1. Just read as much as you can in a week.

2. You can read whatever you like but there has to be at least ONE Halloween appropriate book in your To Read Pile, whether it be a horror novel, dark thriller or simply has monsters in it. It has to be fitting for Halloween. The horror genre is shrinking in shops due to lack of interest so why not show it some love in October.

There will also be a new blog prompt every day of the week. You don’t have to take part in these but who doesn’t like the occasional meme or prompt for blog ideas. These prompts will be based on monsters and gothic literary figures.

I will be setting up a sign up page closer to the date so if you are interested keep an eye out for the registration opening announcement. It will be at the start of October.

This is my first time organising and hosting a readathon so feel free to tell me what you think. And most importantly, will you be taking part?

Dark Reads of the Month: June


Well, this month sucked for reading. It was too hot, I was so busy that finding time to shower was a treat and generally I wanted to do anything other than read. Generally not a good reading month. So much so that I went from being six books ahead in my yearly reading challenge to being 1 book behind schedule.

So, thanks to my laziness and disinterest in June this Dark Reads of the Month post will be one book short. Normally I pick out three books for these posts, but this time one of the books I read was an unrelated graphic novel (Marvel’s Civil War II if you are interested) and The Shining which I have written up already. Aw well, maybe I will read more in July and make it up to you.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury


Something you should know about me, I am slightly in love with Ray Bradbury. Him and HG Wells are my science fiction crushes. So when I discovered Bradbury wrote a book about my all time favourite holiday, Halloween, I just had to read it. Never mind waiting for October to crack open this book I had to read it now, and that is what I did.

The Halloween Tree is a short novel about a group of boys who explore a creepy house on Halloween night and befriend a dark entity that shows them the true meaning of Halloween. Not only is it a dark read that is full of the Halloween vibe, it is also interesting and educational. The boys are transported through time and around the world to witness Halloween throughout the centuries and its different meanings to different cultures. It isn’t too scary so this would be a great Halloween read for all ages.

Either pick it up in October when you are in the Halloween spirit or read it now to inject a bit of Autumn into your summer. Perfect Summerween reading.

The Fireman by Joe Hill


Joe Hill, the author of Horns and Heart Shaped Box, is back and this time he is trying his hand at dark dystopian fiction.

The Fireman is about a plague that causes people to spontaneously combust. It has infected most of the human population and the survivors spend their time trying to contain the disease by killing infected people. One day a pregnant nurse discovers that she has the illness and that sets her on a quest for survival. All she wants is to survive long enough to give birth. Can she do it? Or will she burst into flames first?

I loved this book. Normally I avoid novels of this genre but it was written by one of my favourite authors so I could hardly say no to reading it. I am glad that I gave it ago. It is listed as a horror dystopian and I can see why. It reads more like a zombie apocalypse novel at times than a science fiction dystopian. Unlike zombies the illness in this book is very beautiful. It is full of pretty descriptions of people burning to death. That sounds horrific and morbid but you can tell Hill had fun writing this one.

If you like long and dark dystopian novels you have to give this book a go.

So what was the best book you read this month? Leave me a suggestion I am always open.

As always feel free to follow me on Instagram or add me on Goodreads  to keep up to date with what I am reading throughout the months. I usually follow back.

Waiting for Wednesday: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc


Book Synopsis:

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It tells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. 

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.”

Why I need it:

Who doesn’t love a classic haunted house story? I know I do.

Since reading The Shining a week or two ago I have been craving a good ghost story. The Shining novel was more psychological horror than a ghost story but thanks to the film it will always make me think of ghosts, so now I am in the mood for a good ghost story.

The cover also reminds me of The Boy Who Drew Monsters, which was one of the best horror novels that I read last year. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but if I see horror that is potentially mixed with childish themes it will go straight on my TBR list. I am a sucker for anything creepy involving children in any way. It is my horror catnip.

I have a personal reason for wanting to read a book about a haunted new house. I bought a house a few months ago and feel too comfortable in it. I need to give myself some nightmares.  I also have a slight fear of undiscovered rooms in houses and according to the blurb this book has just that. I am always on a quest to find a novel that frightens me and this book ticks plenty of my potential fear boxes.

Perfect Summerween reading.

The Grip of It is scheduled for release on  August 1st 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

On New Hair and Being Busy

I have sucked at two things this month: Reading and Blogging. The problem with running a book blog is that it gets a little difficult to blog when you havent really had time to read anything. So I thought I would make some time to sit and update you all on things while I enjoy a pasta salad. (Well, somewhat enjoy because it is making me feel rather sick) I think it is important to just chat with you guys sometimes rather than spending all my time throwing books at your heads.

The main reason for not blogging and reading lately is that I have simply been busy. Over the last three weeks I have had a convention to go to, (which takes up a whole weekend, involves preparing cosplays and generally leaves you very exhausted after), an event at work,(I work in digital marketing so you can see why I would be busy when a company plans an event) and I had a concert to attend yesterday. I went to see Green Day live and it was brilliant. ….Even though I had a full grown man dropped on my head at one point and my hearing is a bit messed up today.

Another reason for not blogging or reading is that I just haven’t felt like it. Being so busy is tiring so I just don’t feel like spending my free time reading. What free time I have I spend it fighting the urge to lay face down on the floor and simply not move. I also fear that I have read myself into a reading slump. I dont know about you but sometimes I have brilliant reading highs where I finish multiple books in a week and spend all of my time book shopping, but then I end up crashing into a reading slump. I will get over it. I always do. I haven’t stopped reading entirely but I have mostly been reading graphic novels.

On a vain and completely irrelevant note, I have had another big change lately. I shaved half of my head!

Don’t worry, I didn’t do it myself. I went to a professional stylist who specialises in alternative hair. It is a big deal for me because I never change my hair style. I have worn it loose and long for probably 10 years now. I barely wear it up. People usually try to deter me from cutting my hair so this time I didn’t tell anyone I was getting it done. I just did it. My hair is naturally black and silky so people hate it being cut and since shaving half of it off I have had to listen to a lot of “Oh no all of that lovely dark hair is gone” in various forms. They like the style, just not the idea of my hair being shaved off. Aw well, hair grows back. The important part is that I love it. The short side feels like a puppy when I stroke it.

So how have you been? Tell me something exciting that has happened to you this month. I would love to hear it.