Writing with the Stars ~ Lisa Kessler

This week we have more of the 10 finalists in the WRITING WITH THE STARS contest sponsored by Kensington Publishing. The grand prize for the winner is a publishing contract and the best news for readers is you get to help choose who comes out on top. Cast your vote at RT BOOKReviews!

My guest today is Lisa Kessler, who’ll be sharing about her entry Moonlight.

Take it away, Lisa…


I’m so excited to be a finalist in the Brava Writing with the Stars contest! Thank you Mia for having me on your blog today!

The question I get asked most often when people find out I write novels is: Where did you get the idea for your book?

Moonlight started out as a short story for my blog. At the time I was working on a challenge that Ray Bradbury told me would improve my writing. Finish one new short story every week for a year. I called it my 52 stories in 52 weeks challenge. (Pretty creative name, huh? LOL Oh well…)

Anyway, during that journey, I wrote a short story about a young woman who blacked out once a month during the moonless night of the new moon. I wrote the story in first person, which was new to me at the time.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about Lana and Adam. After a month or so, I thought I might be able to grow their tale into a book. Seven months later, Moonlight was complete.

I’d never finished writing a book so fast!

And it all started with a single short story. So where do your ideas for novels come from?

Excerpt from Moonlight

They’re at the edge of Lake Tahoe on top of a boulder overlooking the lake…

Adam’s smile faded as he stared out over the water. “Sorry. I thought when you kissed me that you felt the connection too.”

Oh I felt it, all right.”

He focused his attention on me, and the weight of his stare was staggering. “Then why are you fighting so hard to ignore it?”

“Because no matter how amazing it feels to kiss you, I’m still a… whatever I am. And you’re part of a Squad that kills… things like me. What kind of future could we have that wouldn’t end badly? I’m only trying to save us both some pain and heartache.”

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t see how enjoying the time we do have could be a bad thing.” He took my hand and laced our fingers together. “I’m not asking you to give me forever. Just today.”

Before I realized what I was doing, I kissed him again, harder this time. Our arms wrapped around one another as he laid me back against the rock. My pulse raced when I felt his fingers moving down my body, exploring every curve until he caught the back of my knee. Slowly he pulled my leg up, and I hooked it around his hip, pressing him even closer to me.

Through our jeans I could feel him rubbing against me, making it obvious he wanted me every bit as much as I wanted him. My hand slid up under the back of his shirt and he growled into the kiss. I shuddered, my skin tingling with raw desire as my fingernails skimmed down his back until I reached the waist of his jeans.

Suddenly Adam pulled away. He squinted, clenching his jaw as he scanned the water’s edge.

“What’s wrong?” I whispered.

Then I smelled it too. Blood.

From Mia:

Lisa’s Brava mentor is Bianca D’arc, paranormal author. She invites you to visit the “D’arc side” at http://biancadarc.com! Be sure to watch for her next release A DARKER SHADE OF DEAD, due in stores in November.

I’m sure Lisa would love to hear from you. If you’re a writer, how about answering her question about where you find your ideas? If you’re a reader, is there a story you haven’t found that you’d love someone to tackle?

24 thoughts on “Writing with the Stars ~ Lisa Kessler

  1. Lisa Kessler says:

    Thank you Jennifer!!! :) (You can follow me around anytime! LOL)br /br /I#39;m glad you enjoyed the excerpt! I sure hope I#39;ll be asking you to vote in round 2! :)br /br /Thanks for stopping by and commenting too!br /br /Lisa :)

  2. Jennifer says:

    Hi Lisa!!br /br /I seem to be following you all over the internet, lol. I LOVED the exerpt, the more I read of this story, the more I can#39;t wait for it to be published! Fantastic stuff, my dear.br /br /I#39;ll be waiting for round 2 in November to vote for Moonlight again!

  3. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hey Elen! *waving*br /br /Great to see you here!br /br /I can#39;t recommend the 52 stories in 52 weeks challenge enough! br /br /Some weeks were tougher than others, but the end result was I write MUCH faster now, I research much faster and I really feel like my pacing has gotten stronger for it! :)br /br /Thanks for all the good wishes for Moonlight! Hopefully I#39;ll be begging you to go vote next month too! LOLbr /br /Lisa :)

  4. Elen says:

    Lisa – You know I#39;m cheering for you! I love the advice from Ray Bradbury. I wouldn#39;t mind attempted that myself. It#39;s excellent discipline. br /br /Best of luck!

  5. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Anon – br /br /There#39;s a whole book more now! :) br /br /Moonlight did start out as a short story on my blog. It#39;s gone through a huge transformation since it grew into a novel…br /br /But it still opens with an Intimdator with extra bacon and two baskets of cajun fries! LOLbr /br /Thanks for stopping by to comment and thanks for reading my weekly fiction blogs! :)br /br /Lisa

  6. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Linda!!! *waving*br /br /I#39;m definitely excited! LOL And as a past American Title finalist, you are a HUGE inspiration to me while going through the nail-biting quot;please vote for mequot; stage of the Writing witht he Stars! :)br /br /Thanks for you good wishes and for taking the time to leave a comment! You really do Rock Linda!!!br /br /Lisa :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I remember this on your blog a while back (a year ago? two?) This was one of your stories that stuck with me and I always wanted there to be more!

  8. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Georgie Lee – br /br /I#39;m glad you enjoyed the excerpt! :)br /br /Thanks so much for your vote!!! A very cool side-effect of the Writing with the Stars contest is knowing it#39;s a team effort! :)br /br /Hopefully I#39;ll be asking you to go vote again in November! LOL I hope! :)br /br /Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!br /br /Lisa :)

  9. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Lynn – br /br /Thanks for stopping by!!! :) I#39;m glad you enjoyed the little sneak peek excerpt! br /br /I#39;m very excited about Moonlight and I hope I#39;ll get to share it with the world soon! LOL *fingers crossed*br /br /I appreciate your good wishes! Thanks for commenting…br /br /Lisa :)

  10. Linda Thomas-Sundstrom says:

    HI Lisa – good post – fun story. Good luck. I can feel your energy coming through your writing, and it#39;s terrific to sense your excitement.br /br /xobr /Linda T-S

  11. Georgie Lee says:

    Enjoyed the excerpt. Good luck in the contest. I#39;m voting for you!

  12. lynnrush says:

    Wow, what a great excerpt. Sounds like a fantastic book!! Wishing you the best of luck!

  13. MiaMarlowe says:

    Christine–Music inspires me too, but it has to be strictly instrumental. Otherwise, I get caught up in someone else#39;s words when I#39;m trying to find mine. ;-)

  14. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi – br /br /I was lucky enough to meet him! He came to San Diego for a lecture on writing a few years ago, and I was the head of marketing for a local writer#39;s newspaper at the time.br /br /We met him before and then after his lecture (which made me cry he was so inspiring!) I got to chat with him briefly and asked him what he recommended to improve my writing.br /br /(Of course I thought there was a magic book to read or something!)br /br /His eyes sparkled and he told told me to write a new story every week for a year. He grinned and added, at the end of the year you#39;ll have so many book ideas…br /br /If you ever get the chance to see Ray speak, definitely go! His passion for writing is crazy inspiring!br /br /Thanks for stopping by the blog!br /br /Lisa :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    I read lots of interviews with writers, and when they get that quot;Where do your ideas come from?quot; question, they respond like a deer caught in the headlights. The Ray Bradbury anecdote is very interesting. Did you actually get to meet him, or was this from one of his interviews (or books)?

  16. Lisa Kessler says:

    I#39;m glad you enjoyed the sneak peek Jinhee! :)br /br /The 52 Stories in 52 Weeks definitely jump-started my creativity! LOL I learned so much from the experience! I recommend it highly…br /br /Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)br /br /Lisa

  17. Anonymous says:

    Love the excerp!!! I love the idea of writing a short story each week. Great way to get your creativity flowing…. Great blog, Lisa! br /br /Good luck withe Writing With The Stars!br /Jinhee

  18. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Christine – br /br /I#39;m glad you enjoyed the excerpt! :)br /br /I find music really inspiring too! Do you put together playlists for the books you#39;re writing? br /br /I like having theme songs for characters and the music helps me slip into their frame of mind…br /br /Thanks for commenting!!!br /br /Lisa :)

  19. Christine Ashworth says:

    Lisa, what a wonderful excerpt! Ideas…hmmm…well, lots of mine I get from musical lyrics and I just spin them out. Sometimes I#39;ll get them from dreams, sometimes from overhearing people in a crowded room or restaurant – but most often from music.br /br /Good blog post!

  20. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Barbara – br /br /I#39;m so glad you enjoyed the excerpt!!! :)br /br /Your research sounds intriguing! For some of my paranormal short stories I enjoy taking unsolved mysteries from history and giving them paranormal answers. So fun! br /br /Thanks for stopping by and commenting today!!! Great to meet you!br /br /I really appreciate your good wishes too…br /br /Lisa :)

  21. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Mia – br /br /Thanks so much for welcoming me to your blog today!!! :)br /br /I love that you find book ideas in art! My Mom is a nationally recognized watercolor artist, and I#39;ve learned through her that paintings often tell stories without words…br /br /Thanks again for the opportunity to post!br /br /Lisa :)

  22. MiaMarlowe says:

    Barb–Excellent suggestion. I find new plot points every time I do research for my historicals. Any time your put new information in, it sends your mind down different paths.br /br /Sounds like you found an interesting person to base a character on.

  23. Barbara says:

    Hi Lisa,br /Loved your excerpt. What a hook. br /br /My ideas often come from reading. Sometimes it triggers questions, sometimes images in my mind. From there the story comes together in layers. br /br /For instance, doing research for my first manuscript, I kept coming across a real figure (a mercenary) who became one of Richard the Lionheart#39;s most important commanders. I wondered who he led–perhaps his own troop of mercenaries. From that came the hero for my second work, a mercenary from Mercadier#39;s group who must fight to gain property and find his own identity.br /br /Good luck in the competition.br /Barb Bettis

  24. MiaMarlowe says:

    I often find ideas in art, but they don#39;t immediately result in a story. Sometimes the characters have to marinate in my psyche for a while. A couple years ago, I saw a painting of 3 women and a child around a simple kitchen table. There was an older woman seated at one end snapping beans and opposite her a younger woman knitting with a toddler playing at her feet. But the figure who intrigued me most was the woman standing in front of the table looking at me from the canvas with her arms crossed, her expression defiant. I knew she was somehow the sole support of her little family. She became my light-fingered jewel thief heroine in a href=”http://www.miamarlowe.com/bookshelf.htm” rel=”nofollow”TOUCH OF A THIEF/a. The art gave me the motivation for her life of crime.

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