Book Launch: Stealing Time by KJ Waters

When I first read the blurb of this book it immediately piqued my interest. It mentions Hurricane Charlie (spelt Charley on the blurb) which I lived through during a family holiday in Florida. I even had a t-shirt made saying “I survived Hurricane Charlie”. Yeah, I know, a bit lame of me, but at the time I really did feel like a survivor and it was a bit of fun.

Anyway, enough of my story. It wasn’t only the Hurricane Charley reference that drew me to it, but the whole concept of the story. You’ll see for yourself in a minute! First of all, let’s take a look at the fantastic cover.

KJWaters-Front Cover for blog

This cover is so cool – I love it! And now here’s the all important blurb:

As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house. 

During the peak of the storm Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time. 

Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything.

Can you see now why I found the concept intriguing? And the good news – this is book one of a trilogy, so if you fall in love with the characters and story, you know there are two more on the way.

Guess who’s been lucky enough to score an exclusive excerpt just for you? Yep – me! And here it is:

A strange feeling bubbled in her stomach. Ronnie got up and slipped on Jeffrey’s T-shirt and found her underwear in a pile of clothes near the desk. The feeling worsened. Was she going to be sick? Jeffrey was busy at his computer and she quietly made her way to the small bathroom and closed the door behind her. Was it something she had eaten?

The cold water felt good as she splashed it on her face. Ronnie looked at her reflection in the mirror. No outward signs of being ill. Too much champagne? She took a deep breath in an attempt to quell the rising nausea. The room spun and she sat down on the toilet, head in her hands. Sweat broke out on her face and she knelt down to lift the toilet seat. “Oh crap!”

A sudden change in air pressure overwhelmed her, making her drop on all fours. Her ears popped and she swallowed trying to clear them. Was the storm intensifying?

An agonizing bright light seared into her eyes and she squeezed them shut in an attempt to block it out, without success.

The building must have been struck by lightning! Struck by lightning. Struck by lightning. She could hear her father’s voice reading The Hobbit to her as a young girl. A pang of sadness added to the confusion.

A low vibration shook the bathroom tiles. A dark mist sucked away all light. Ronnie was flattened to the floor by some unseen force and couldn’t fight it. Strange smells assaulted her—horse manure, almonds, and wet soil. She pressed the side of her face against the cool cement floor in an attempt to stop the dizzy spin of the room.

What the hell was happening? A chill ran up her spine. Nothing about this was right. Fear choked out any rational thoughts. She tried to call out to Jeffrey but her body was paralyzed, her voice disconnected. It was a living breathing nightmare.

A gut-wrenching tearing ripped apart her soul. She tried to scream. Ronnie floated up to the ceiling to see a lifeless shape on the bathroom floor below, surprised to see anything in the dark. Holy crap, that was her own long blonde hair spilled across the concrete floor. She reached out to touch her arm but was jerked a million miles an hour upwards into the darkness.

Shadows engulfed her. A sensation of motion disturbed her equilibrium. She was hurtling up into the ebony sky and away from her body splayed in Jeffrey’s lab. Her arms reached for something to hold onto, to make it stop, but came up empty.

Was she dying? There was supposed to be a calming bright light to head towards. Instead there was only emptiness, a buzzing that lulled her to an empty dark place similar to the twilight just before falling asleep—alert, yet fuzzy and drifting into oblivion. It sped up, she could feel the wind on her face, her hair whipped behind her, but now she was falling like a rocket returning to Earth, pulling her down, stretching her towards destruction. 

So is this when Steph goes back in time to 18th century London? I’m not saying – you’ll have to buy the book to find out!

The book launches today and is available here:

Paperback:

Createspace: http://createspace.com/5265254

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Stealing-Time-Book-K-Waters-ebook/dp/B00PJMWD6S/

Ebook:

Amazon: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00PJMWD6S

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stealing-time-kj-waters/1121455699?ean=2940151669672

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id977501005

inktera and Page Foundry:
http://www.inktera.com/store/title/6ba521d5-da57-4598-b71b-d8d75925408c

kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/stealing-time-12

scrbid: https://www.scribd.com/book/258981760/Stealing-Time

Let’s find out a little more about the author.

kj pic

I never really wanted to be a writer. I’ve always had a great imagination, but writing was not easy. It wasn’t until I completed my master’s degree where I was forced to write paper after paper and I realized I actually enjoyed it. All of my professional jobs have been writing in some form, either brochures, contracts, newsletters, marketing materials or proposals. So why not do something I created for fun?

 

In the squillion hours spent driving from Florida to Maine for a family vacation I realized I had a great idea for a novel. That is where I began my journey as an author. I just finished book 1 in December 2014. Book 2 and 3 are already in the works and I hope to have them out in the next year, if the kids will let me get something done!

 

KJ is the CEO of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers, a company specializing in independent author services.  She also has a blog called Blondie in the Water where she has author interviews, water adventures, and other information about her books.

 

During this next week, you’ll get to know even more about KJ as I’m going to be interviewing her and she’s writing a blog post about what inspires her. So keep checking in for the next post. You won’t be sorry!

 

 

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My 5 Top Tips for New Authors

Getting back to the posts from the Heart Search Blog Tour, Elaine Hillson was my next fabulous host. She asked me for my 5 top tips for new authors. I could have written more than five to be honest, but I think these are the most pertinent and important.

Writing, like any skill, needs to be honed. You need to study the craft and never stop learning. I could spend ages giving you the benefit of my experiences, and it’s all useful stuff, but I’m going to pass that by and talk about things you need to ponder once you’ve finished your manuscript.

Editing and Beta Reading:

It’s incredibly difficult to see our own mistakes in our manuscripts. We see how we want it to read and not how it actually does. It takes a fresh pair of eyes to take our work and turn it into a polished gem. Editors don’t come cheap yet good ones are worth their weight in gold. There are two levels of editing; copy/line editing and full editing.

A copy/line editor will look at grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. They will also look at overused words and repeated sentences beginning with the same word which are too close together. In addition, they check for inconsistencies within your manuscript. They won’t make the changes for you, but will point out where the problems exist and leave you to correct the mistakes.

A full edit will encompass all the above plus a developmental and structural edit. This is where the editor will look at redundant phrases and paragraphs, timelines and the story as a whole. They will suggest changes based on experience and the way the story reads. Ultimately they want to make your manuscript the best it can be for you.

A good editor will gently guide you in bringing your work to ‘submission ready’ status. You may not agree with all the changes an editor suggests, and that’s okay because it’s your right as the author to take or discard their recommendations. But don’t dismiss them out of hand – never forget the editor has the experience you lack, so consider each comment carefully and be prepared to compromise on occasions.

After all the editing, I would always recommend getting a Beta Reader to go through the novel. Pick wisely. This should be someone you trust to give you good honest feedback and criticism, preferably not a family member as they will feel obliged to tell you how wonderful it is because of your relationship with them. It needs to be someone impartial. Take their critique on board. They are, in a way, representative of all the readers who could potentially buy your book. If they find something confusing, lacking in substance or explanation, you can bet other readers will too, so be prepared to rewrite in places and once again, get your editor to check the changes.

The important thing to remember here is by self-publishing a book (if you decide to take that route) which is full of typos, mistakes and bad grammar, you are setting yourself up for bad reviews and a tarnished reputation. Mud sticks!

ISBN’s:

If you plan to publish your novel as an e-book through Kindle only, you don’t need an ISBN. If you decide to go through one of the ‘print on demand’ companies like CreateSpace or Lulu you can get a cheap or free ISBN. However, you are quite limited by where you can make your book available for sale.

Let’s take CreateSpace as an example. You can obtain a free ISBN when you upload your book, but you are limited to their sales channels. Sure you can pay for ‘Extended Distribution’ which would open up further outlets in which your book can be bought, but you cannot go outside of their network and sell your book wherever you want.

By purchasing your own ISBN (please note: you need one for each medium your book is published so if you decide on e-book and paperback, you will need separate ISBN’s for each), you are in control. You own the legal rights to your book which gives you the freedom to select your own sales channels anywhere.

ISBN’s aren’t cheap, but well worth the investment in my humble opinion. I have bought a block of ten through my publishing group, which has worked out very cost effective.

If you are one of the lucky ones who get picked up by a traditional publisher, this is all done for you, but the publisher owns the ISBN not you!

Social Media Platforms:

If you’re not very social media savvy, you better start practicing before your book comes out. Don’t try and spread yourself too thin – just pick a couple which are manageable and start building a following/friends list. These people are the first ones who will be exposed to news of your book and if they like the sound of it, they’ll keep watching you closely. Feed snippets of news of your progress to keep them interested, make and cultivate new online friendships as you never know where it might lead. You can also pick up useful information from other authors recommending editors or beta readers, plus hints, tricks and tips which you can utilise to your advantage.

Blog:

Start your own blog. This is, by far, your most useful platform and what’s more, the vast majority are free! You can utilise this space to allow your potential readers to get to know you and your writing. The more you engage them, the more they will talk about it to their friends and the wider your reach and potential readership becomes.

You don’t have to blog every single day – I don’t. Some authors do, but that is their choice. Set yourself a goal of blogging, say once a fortnight, to begin with (and don’t forget to publicise each post on your social media platforms). If you begin to feel you can increase it to once a week, then do so. You’re the one in control – just make sure you leave enough time for writing outside of this and the previous activities mentioned for Social Media.

And finally . . .

Marketing:

Whichever route you take to publishing, you are still going to have to market yourself. And if you haven’t done it before, it’s quite a daunting task. Look on social media to see what other authors are doing, read blog posts devoted to the subject, research what is available, what is free and what you can afford.

I have an advantage. I’ve had quite a bit of experience in marketing in my ‘day jobs’, so already have the ethos entrenched in the old grey matter. I’ve followed the advice and tips given to you above and orchestrated a marketing plan leading up to and following on from the launch of my novel. I’m told I’ve created a bit of a ‘buzz’ about it on the internet/social media platforms which is what I set out to do. I know my plans aren’t going to generate humungous sales overnight (although it would be nice), but each person who buys my book and enjoys it is likely to recommend it to their friends. Each reader who posts a good review on Amazon or Goodreads is showing the world that they think my novel is a worthwhile buy. All this adds to my credibility as an author and little by little the network expands.

I hope you find these tips useful and I wish you all the very best of luck in your published career!

Wading Through the Publishing River

Michelle Birbeck was my next fabulous hostess on the Heart Search Blog Tour. She wanted me to write on the subject of publishing and this is what I came up with.

You’ve spent untold hours writing your story. You’ve lovingly crafted your character and skilfully designed your plot. Having gone through editing and beta reading, your manuscript is now as perfect as you can make it and now comes the hardest decision of all – how to publish it.

As writers, most of us dream of getting an agent and being contracted to one of the ‘Big Six’ publishers, but it’s not as easy as that, is it?

Basically you have three choices; attempt to get an agent who will tout your masterpiece until you get a publishing contract, go through an Indie Publisher, or self-publish.

Traditional Publishing:

These days, it’s even harder to get an agent than ever. They are inundated by manuscripts and you can wait months for a response. The wait is agonising – I know, I’ve been there! You have to pen a killer query letter which will grab them in the first couple of sentences (no longer than one page), write a single page synopsis which will highlight the most exciting parts of your book and send in two or three chapters for them to consider. Writing a query letter which will have the desired effect is, in some ways, harder than writing the book itself. You need to research your potential agents thoroughly and adhere to their submission requirements to the letter with every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. No mean feat that!

Having done all of that, you send it off with hope in your heart and wait. Several weeks or months later comes the email you’ve been dreading – the rejection. However, if this is your dream, you keep trying other agents and wait some more. It’s like a never-ending circle. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who gets picked up by an agent, but there’s more waiting in store as your agent suggests possible changes to the book and you may have to re-write sections and then there’s the time to kill while your agent tries to get you a publishing deal. While all this is going on, you are depriving potential readers of your work of art. Still, if that’s your dream you must follow it.

Indie Publishing:

This is a similar process to traditional publishing except that you submit direct to the publisher. Again, you need to do your homework and ensure the publishers you choose want the genre your novel is based in and most of them only accept submission at certain times during the year. If you send your submission in speculatively outside of their ‘open window’, it will either be deleted or thrown away.

Again, it’s important to follow the submission guidelines to the letter, and you still have to wait and be prepared for rejections.

Self-Publishing:

This is, by far, the quickest and easiest way of getting your book out to the public. You can sign up to Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon and upload your manuscript. It’s a simple process and quite quick. If you want a paperback as well, CreateSpace or Lulu are the best, and again the process is simple. You can get free or cheap ISBN numbers through both (an ISBN is not needed for e-book through Kindle, but it does limit the availability – more on that in a minute). However, you may be limited to their distribution networks only.

If you purchase your own ISBN number, you have the flexibility to place your novel in so many more sales channels for either your e-book, paperback or both, and is something I would recommend. However, if you don’t have the time to place your book on Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble et al, you may be content to go with the distribution packages offered by these print on demand companies. Your choice!

One word of caution – don’t think about putting your novel out there before getting it professionally edited. Readers will be put off by typos and inconsistencies and ultimately this could be the kiss of death for your work. The money spent on getting your novel edited will pay off in the long run when weighed up against a tarnished reputation which is unrecoverable.

I’m lucky – I have the best of both worlds! I’m self-published under the banner of an Indie Publisher, Myrddin Publishing Group. This means I own the legal rights to my book and not the publisher, but I have the support of the team behind me.

Whatever you decide to do, you will still have to be prepared to market your book yourself. This takes time and dedication and where some authors fall down – they have no idea where to start. My advice is to look around on social media platforms and see which individuals or companies offer advice on marketing to authors and learn fast. Marketing is a whole different post so I’m not going to go into that now.

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At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s best for you and your book. I have one or two theories of my own which are yet to be put to the test, but ultimately you need to follow your dream. Good luck!

I hope you found this useful!