Holiday Freebies!

FREE BOOKS!

Who doesn't love Freebies? No one.
Below are a few promotional specials for your reading pleasure for the next few weeks. Enjoy!


Christmas in Whistler - A Christmasy Romance set in Whistler, Canada, among evergreens, snowy mountains, and mistletoe. Daria is tempted to have a well-deserved Holiday fling with a dashing French vintner but worries her heart will be broken when the holidays end.
Free Dec 21-23
Christmas in Whistler




Dream Come True - A Holiday Suspense set in snowy Carnation, Washington at Pops' old homestead with Jamey and Tina, telepaths who foresee the house burning to the ground on Christmas Eve.
FREE Dec 26-29

Dream Come True





The Dream Jumper's Secret - A Supernatural Romantic Suspense set in Seattle, Afghanistan and the dream world, Tina struggles to understand this new life of entering dreams and the secrets that must be kept along with the gift.
FREE Dec 28-31
The Dream Jumper's Secret


Amazon's Kindle Worlds -- Worth it for Authors?


TODAY on the BEACH, we have Suspense author Kim Hornsby who's been known to enjoy the sand between her toes on occasion. Take it away, Kim...



Amazon has a lot going on for authors. Their building must be bursting at the seams with all the programs they offer. Amazon Encore, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle Countdown, Select, Amazon Scout, Kindle Unlimited...





Kindle Worlds is one of their relatively new programs that allows pretty much anyone to write a Fan Fiction novella or novel from their list of Bestsellers and if it passes Amazon's content scrutiny, they'll publish your book, plunk their Kindle Worlds badge in the corner of your cover and take some royalties when you sell.

When this program began 5 years ago, any character you developed belonged to Kindle Worlds and you could not tie in your own previously written works or characters in the KW book.

Kindle Worlds Available - The List

I recently attended a panel on KW at a Writing Conference and the authors on that panel are allowed to tie in their own novels with their KW books. The K World they all write for is a medieval romance series and their World Owner negotiated a contract to include this. The contemporary romance writers on the panel said they made their KW characters descendants of the well-known Kings and Queens in the World. I'm not sure if this is beneficial or not.
The one I write for doesn't allow tie ins to your previously written works but I have loads of crossover traffic to my series that's set in the Hawaiian islands and is also Suspense/Crime. I've gained many readers, including beta readers and our world has formed a group that supports each other on social media, in and out of the World.
Thanks to our World Owner, Toby Neal, who is involved in our efforts in a very big way, we even have our own closed Facebook Group where we confer on loads of stuff, KW-related.
World owners, NY Times Bestselling Authors, and very successful novelists in their own right are now crossing into other Worlds and writing spin offs to either support their friend's World or to gain readers! Toby Neal writes for Sydney Rye, Bella Andre writes for one...

If you're interested in broadening your readership, consider this:

Go to the Kindle Worlds site, chose a book with a huge following that you feel you can do a good job with, research the World to make sure this is a good fit, and then write your book. The guidelines are listed on the site to tell you which characters you can use, book length, and royalty information. Different World owners have different sets of criteria.

I write for the Lei Crime Kindle World for several reasons. HAWAII! and I love the series, Toby Neal's writing style, and the characters.
Initially I was lured in by her gorgeous covers when I saw our books side by side on a book shelf in Kihei, Maui. I read two books, loved them and contacted her to say so. She asked me to join her World and I put one of her novellas in my Suspense Box Set.
I later found out her husband is a photographer and is responsible for these amazing cover photos.
I was excited to sharpen my writing skills by trying my hand at a Toby book. It was easier than writing one of my own books because I used her characters and locations. Riding Toby Neal's coattails proved to be a good business move for me.
My novella, Rocky Bluff, at 40,000 words, basically wrote itself in 2 months, and has done well. I made some money, made friends as well as business contacts and beta readers (Toby shared her list with us!!!)  and cast my net wider as an author.
I'm proud of the Murder Mystery that I crafted and look forward to writing another in a series of Bluff books. I left the plot open in Rocky Bluff for the next book. I'm off to Maui January 2017 to meet with Toby and to plot out my next KW book!

I asked several Lei Crime World Authors to answer questions on their experience. All were previously published authors when they took on Lei Crime World.
Here's what Amy Shojai, Julie Gilbert and Scott Bury had to say:


AMY:

1. How many books in the series did you read of the World Author?

More (probably 12 or so thus far...)

2. How many books had you published when you decided to write for KW?

3 fiction books, and 30+ nonfiction

3. What was your reason for writing for this KW Series?

Experiment with length (novella) and reach additional readers

4. Did you contact the author or just start writing your book?

The author contacted me! 

5. Did the author support your book and your writing?

Absolutely. Toby Neal was incredibly supportive, organized launch parties/promotions and helped with resources regarding her "world."

6. Did he/she give any guidelines as to which characters were available and which were off limits?

Yes.

7. Did you write a novel or novella and how long did it take you?

I wrote a novella, just under 25,000 words. I tend to write slowly, and had the concept early but was working on other projects at the same time. It took me about four months to write.

8. Did you write in the author’s style, your own, or a mix of both?

I write in my own style.

9. Did you have your work professionally edited?

Yes, I had the work both edited and copy-edited.

10. Did you have a cover made by a professional?

I designed my own cover.

11. How easy was Kindle Worlds to work with? Upload? Guidelines? Help with Cover?

The KW platform is a bit clunky and at times buggy. Uploading the text itself worked fine but I had a lot of trouble with the cover. Eventually, I had to delete the whole thing and start over--and it finally worked. 

12. What were the benefits of you writing for this particular world?


Probably the top benefit was meeting and working with Toby Neal and her AWESOME group of KW contributors! I have plans to write at least 2 more in this KW as sequels to my first novella. Secondly, I've reached new readers who already love Toby's "world" and her characters. They're already eager to find out more about the backstory of Keiki, the police dog, as she grows from clueless puppy into the wonderful Rottweiler protector of Lei in Toby's series.


best,
amy

Amy Shojai, CABC
www.SHOJAI.com

30+ Pet Care Titles &
Thrillers with Bite!




And here's what Julie Gilbert said:
1. How many books in the series did you read of the World Author?
1-3
3-5 
I think I’m in this range. I heard the audiobooks up through Twisted Vine for Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Series.
More

2. How many books had you published when you decided to write for KW?
8 ish.

3. What was your reason for writing for this KW Series?
I found the idea of KW intriguing. It’s a chance to see what you can do with established characters. In some ways, it’s a different kind of writing than one does with their own works. I’d done mystery before but not ones that fit in more mainstream and thriller categories. It was a cool challenge for me.

4. Did you contact the author or just start writing your book?
I sort of attached myself to the coat-tails of Toby Neal’s launching Lei Crime KW. We’d talked a bit on Facebook, and I heard about KW through her blog announcement. I knew I had a few weeks to make the deadline, so I hopped on board.

5. Did the author support your book and your writing?
I’ve worked for and with a grand total of two authors in launching their Kindle Worlds, so I can’t speak for everybody. But, yes, I’ve found them both very supportive.

6. Did he/she give any guidelines as to which characters were available and which were off limits?
I think Toby only had two that were off-limits. I’m not sure Emily Kimmelman had any. I knew I was just going with Sydney Rye anyway with that series, so it didn’t matter as much to me who couldn’t be named.

7. Did you write a novel or novella and how long did it take you?
All my KW stories are novellas. Back in the day, we were advised that the sweet spot of sorts with KW is about 25-30 thousand words. I just stuck with that. I think that advice was given to launch people just to give us a starting point that wouldn’t scare people off.
The rough drafts for my KW stories take about 2 weeks to put together. Then, I do about a ½ week of edits, give to some beta readers, and make corrections. Total time is about 3 weeks if I’m working my day job at the same time. About 2 weeks if I can concentrate on that in the summer.

8. Did you write in the author’s style, your own, or a mix of both?
My style.

9. Did you have your work professionally edited?
Not the KW story. I just read it 3-4 times myself and asked about 12 people to look at it. Then read it again.

10. Did you have a cover made by a professional?
Define professional? All my covers are made by other people. I don’t know if my cover art lady solely makes a living off of her work or just does it as a hobby, but if you define professional as makes money doing it, then yes.

11. How easy was Kindle Worlds to work with? Upload? Guidelines? Help with Cover?
On an amazon rating scale they get a 4/5 stars from me. The process has mostly been easy, but their cover creator thing is about the clunkiest program out there. They do NOT make it easy to upload your own cover or change your uploaded file. You have to practically right click in a certain, magical spot and hope you get the option to upload a new option. Other than that, it’s been decent to me.

12. What were the benefits of you writing for this particular world?

There are modest financial benefits to writing for KWs. There’s also the chance to meet other writers and new readers through those other writers. I don’t think it’s a get-rich-quick scheme, but it’s steady enough to pay for itself, meaning I can make enough to pay off the cover in a month or so. It’s also great to keep exploring new worlds. It stretches the writing muscles. Writing shorter stories (novellas) is a different sort of beast than a novel. They’re a lot of fun to put together. You get to let the imagination run wild for a bit, but you also have to make sense.


-- 
Julie C. Gilbert



And here's what Scott Bury said:

1. How many books in the series did you read of the Lei Crime Series by Toby Neal?

3-5
I had read three books in the Lei Crime series before Toby Neal invited me to join the new Lei Crime Kindle World back in late 2014. I realized that I could not complete a novella in time for the first publishing date of April 1, 2015, but I did manage for the second “flight” in July 2015.

2. How many books had you published when you decided to write for KW?

I had published three full length novels by then: The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy; One Shade of Red, a spoof of the biggest seller of the time; and Army of Worn Soles, the first part of the memoir of my father-in-law, a Red Army soldier during World War II.

3. What was your reason for writing for this KW Series?

I liked Toby Neal’s work, and she invited me.

4. Did you contact the author or just start writing your book?

The author contacted me. She gave me a lot of advice. I sent her the outline of my first Lei Crime book, Torn Roots, and she gave me excellent feedback. Later, I sent her a draft, and again, she provided invaluable insight. I even took the opportunity to take my vacation in Maui, the setting for the book and Toby’s home, and she graciously agreed to meet with me. It all helped a lot. Toby even read the first draft of my second Lei Crime mystery, Palm Trees & Snowflakes.

5. Did the author support your book and your writing?

Toby Neal has been instrumental in the success of the Lei Crime Kindle World, organizing promotions and supplying information, feedback, guidance and inspiration for all of us.

6. Did he/she give any guidelines as to which characters were available and which were off limits?

Toby has been the best of the original KW authors I have worked with in terms of the information about her world and characters.

7. Did you write a novel or novella and how long did it take you?

It took me about three months in total to write Torn Roots. Palm Trees & Snowflakes took a matter of weeks, but it’s half the length. My third Lei Crime book, Dead Man Lying, took a little over a month to write, plus time for editing and rewriting.

8. Did you write in the author’s style, your own, or a mix of both?

I maintain my own style, but Toby’s style comes through a little in the personalities of the characters she created, because he style is so vivid.
9. Did you have your work professionally edited?

Absolutely! Otherwise, I could not call myself a professional writer.

10. Did you have a cover made by a professional?

Again, yes – all my covers are done by the outstanding David C. Cassidy.

11. How easy was Kindle Worlds to work with? Upload? Guidelines? Help with Cover?

I face the same hurdle that do all KW writers who are not from the U.S.: KW titles and the interface are not available beyond the U.S. borders. So I had to send the files to a contractor in New York, who uploaded them for me.

12. What were the benefits of you writing for this particular world?

It exposed me to many more readers than I had already found, as well as a whole new range of reviewers and book bloggers. And that exposed my work to them. I know that several of the readers of my KW titles have since read my other — I know that from the reviews of my other books, the latest of which are by reviewers of my Lei Crime books.

Thank you for this opportunity!
Scott Bury
scott@writtenword.ca
http://writtenword.ca
http://writtenword.ca/wordpress/blog


Do you need to be asked by the World Owner? Heck no! But they might be thrilled to have you on board so contact them.

Here's the Worlds available to you on the Amazon site and good luck:
Kindle Worlds Available