Monday, January 26, 2015

Blondie's Books From Friends -- Author Spotlight on Rachel Amphlett

Blondie's Books From Friends (BFF) Author Spotlight on Rachel Amphlett


My new author spotlight feature offers my lovely readers a water splash each Monday with booky goodness from some of my favorite author friends. When you see my blog with the BFF title it means you're in for a treat. If you would like to be featured on my blog contact me at any of my social media sights below.

Please leave a comment below to welcome Rachel to my blog and let me know you were here. This month I will choose one random reader comment to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Stay tuned!




Author Spotlight on Rachel Amphlett and Before Nightfall



Rachel Amphlett
What a thrill to be able to connect with authors all over the world! I love social media and its ability to make these connections seamless. Today I bring you one of my Aussie author buddies, Rachel Amphlett, who has been a great connection on twitter. She writes some really bad ass suspense novels so I hope you check out her work. Her current novel, Before Nightfall, is only  99 cents so it's hard to go too far wrong with that. My hope is that you'll be hooked and find her other books as captivating. You can also get her first novel White Gold for free by signing up for her newsletter on her website.

Today I bring you a behind the scenes look at how Rachel came up with the novel concept for Before Nightfall. I have to admit I got chills when I read this, partly due to the magical trip she describes but mostly at how her creative process was inspired by the sea that surrounded her. I wish my writing ideas worked out so neatly. Not that I have trouble but I don't write my books in 9 weeks. I chase kids and work at my two jobs and create awesome things for the PTA. maybe someday I'll get the chance to write in a solid straight line and get something done quickly.  Here is Rachel and her watery adventure.


Inspiration and a Change of Scenery


I’m not naturally drawn to the sea. It’s something I blame on my Anglo heritage, and the fact that if I go out in the sun my vampire-like skin simply burns. I always joke that people will know if I’ve got a tan because I go from blue to white.

However, it was while on vacation in Malta eighteen months ago that the idea for my current thriller, Before Nightfall came to fruition, which goes to show that being out of your natural environment (for me that means countryside and greenery) can often spark your creative juices in ways you might not expect.

It was about three days into the holiday that the idea first popped into my head. I could see a woman on a chair, her hands tied behind her. She had a Hessian sack over her head, and was scared – very scared. Her head was bowed, and she wore no jewelry. She’d tucked her feet under the chair, her toes pointed at the ground.

That evening, we met with family members who had flown to Malta to meet us there, and I described this scene to my aunt over drinks at a bar overlooking Sliema harbour – it wouldn’t let go, and I was aching to find out who the woman was, and why she was there.

What had she done to get into that situation?

Did anyone know where she was?

Would she get out alive?

I’d just published the second in my Dan Taylor thriller series, Under Fire, and my aunt suggested a rest from the series to explore this new idea. Rather than take a break from writing completely, the concept of writing something different as a means to dust off some different writing skills held appeal.

The next day, we spent a leisurely time walking and taking taxi boats between Sliema, where we were renting an apartment, and Valetta. The noises of the busy harbour-side and shouts from people as they worked the docks, and the aromas of salty air, and diesel fumes from the boats, evoked a real sense of place in my mind.





The warm air held an undertone of these smells – it would waft past us as we sat at tables outside cafes, sipping our cool drinks under an umbrella as we watched the world go by.


I knew the setting of the story wouldn’t take place in Malta – the place is too friendly (I wanted a location facing social upheaval), and too small to hide someone for any length of time. However, these sensory moments stayed with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the woman would be held captive near water.

The overheard conversations of everyday life and salty air would become the sounds and smells that sustained her, and how she would work out her location.

The day before we were due to fly home, we treated ourselves to a boat trip up the east coast of the island towards Comino and Gozo. The owners of the short tour used a traditional Turkish gulet, a beautiful wooden-hulled vessel that held special memories for us from trips to Turkey in the past.


We tossed books, a small camera, and my notebook and pen into a backpack, wandered down to the quayside and found a quiet place to sit on the small yacht.

For a while, we watched the scenery and fell into our usual companionable silence, and then I suddenly reached out for my backpack, pulled out my notebook and pen, and started scribbling.

Twelve pages later, I had the rough outline of the plot completed. I knew who the woman was, how she got there, and how much trouble she was heading for. When I finished, I was stunned and turned to my other half, a huge grin plastered across my face.

‘I’ve got the story,’ I said.

He laughed, shook his head, and turned the page of the book he was engrossed in. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘Then you can start writing it when we get back to Australia.’

I smiled, put the notebook back in my backpack, then went to stand at the guardrail to watch the island of Gozo grow closer to our starboard side.




Nine weeks later, the first draft of Before Nightfall was complete.


Links:

Twitter: @RachelAmphlett (http://twitter.com/RachelAmphlett)

Before Nightfall is available for the special price of $0.99 until 31 January 2015 from eBook retailers, including:


iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/before-nightfall/id864292743?mt=11





Connect With KJ Waters

When I'm not working on Stealing Time you can find me on my social media at the links below. My novel is out on amazon here.

    I am also the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers, a company that helps authors and publishers create stunning book covers. Please follow our links here.
    • Check out our website here.
    • We are on twitter here.
    • Facebook link here.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Blondie's Books From Friends --Author Spotlight on Geoffrey West

    Blondie's Books From Friends -- Author Spotlight on Geoffrey West

    This year on my blog I am offering my lovely readers a splash of watery fun using excerpts from some great authors' books. When you see blogs with the title Blondie's Books From Friends (Blondie's BFFs) you know you're in for a treat with a new water adventure from a talented author. If you would like to be featured on here please leave a comment or contact me on any of my social media sites below. 

    My novel, Stealing Time, is out on Amazon and you can find it here, and it currently has 13 5-star reviews on the US and UK sites!  I'm working on getting it in paperback as soon as possible and I'm in negotiations with a voice talent for the audiobook. Book two is half-way done and I'm busy writing the rest of it.

    As always I encourage you to leave a comment below. I'm always grateful when readers let me know they were here.

    Author Spotlight on Geoffrey West and His Novel Doppelganger

    This week's watery splash is from Geoffrey West and his second novel in the Jack Lockwood Mystery series Doppelganger. Geoffrey was introduced to me by the infamous Terry Tyler (@terrytyler4 on twitter) to help me with the historical bits and bobs on my debut novel, Stealing Time. Geoffrey was a huge help with the English dialog and historical whatnots from the eighteenth century and I highly recommend him. 

    My business, Blondie's Custom Book Covers also created the cover from his latest release, Sheer Fear, that you can find here. We are helping him with a new book in the Jack Lockwood Series, that you can find more on here

    Doppelganger -- The Second Jack Lockwood Mystery Novel

    SYNOPSIS


    What happens if you fall in love with a killer? Jack Lockwood, psychologist/criminal profiler and writer falls in love with Lucy Green, whom he later has reason to believe may be the child-killer, Megan Foster. Megan was held in custody at age eight, in 1982, and released ten years later with a new identity. Simultaneously, Jack is being targeted by a gangster who does not want him to write his (unauthorized) biography. What’s more there’s a serial killer on the loose in historic Canterbury, someone christened ‘the Bible Killer’, who targets women and kills them in a particularly gruesome manner. Is Lucy the Bible Killer? Jack has to find out, but the answers are far from simple.


    EXCERPT

         Once I was outside, feeling the full force of the rain pounding hard into my face, I wondered if I’d been stubborn and stupid to have taken the decision. The swirling torrent was already a flood by anyone’s standards, the water I was plunging through nearly six inches deep, swirling and eddying as I walked, and hard to negotiate, like wading through a swimming pool, oozing and sucking at each step, already surging over the top of my Wellington boots and soaking my socks. The rain was falling so hard it actually hurt my cheeks, such was the force of the water, and all I could do was keep my head down and go forwards. My ‘storm proof’ flack jacket’s waterproofing was also compromised, so that icy water clawed at my skin. And it was practically impossible to see through the misty torrent, as if I was groping through an angry, dark, terrifying world of freezing streaming water.
    I remembered I’d seen Ken Gifford’s cottage when I’d first arrived here in sunshine, and I recalled it was only a few hundred yards down the road. I pictured the water getting as deep as a couple of feet, then up to my waist. Would there be some kind of tide, or water-borne currents that could sweep me away? I had no idea, nor did I really want to dwell on the thought. It was better not to think too deeply, just get on with what was in front of me. 
    After a while I saw Ken’s cottage in the distance, and thanked heaven that I’d be there very soon. The rising rock of the mountain was to my left, but to the right the road had now completely disappeared, and without the rock to cling to I could easily have become disorientated. Unable to get back to Llantrissant Manor.
    Wading up what I assumed was Ken’s front drive, I made it to his door. The builder of Ken’s cottage hadn’t been so farsighted as those who had constructed Llantrissant Manor. Although Ken’s ground floor was a foot higher than its surroundings, this was barely enough to keep the flood at bay, and the water level was virtually up to his top step. 
    He came to the door in response to my knock. “Hello, neighbour,” the old man said warmly, peering out at me above his half glasses. He wore blue jeans and a large blue sweater, and gumboots, the same as mine. “All set for the flood?”
    “That’s what I came to ask you about.” I replied entering his narrow hallway, shivering with the freezing ice against my skin. “You’re very welcome to come up to the Manor—I think we’re on slightly higher ground than you are.”
    “That’s kind of you, but this is nothing, happens most years.” He sounded calm and relaxed. “Ten years ago the valley was flooded bloody nearly three feet deep, and it wasn’t much better last year. We’re used to it, see? Just a question of shifting things upstairs and staying put. Maureen and I did all that this morning, so we’ll just go up and sit it out.”
    “What if the electricity goes?”
    “Candles. We’ve got plenty to spare if you need any. We’ve even got a battery powered telly to pass the time. Plus a camping stove for cooking, and we’ve already filled our water carriers. You’d better do that, sometimes the tap water gets contaminated.”
    “We will, I remember seeing some in the cupboard. As for the candles, there’s no need thanks, we’re supposed to have a backup generator.”
    “Buggers, generators, work fine when you test ‘em, then when you depend on them, sometimes they let you down. Just take a few in case.”
    “I didn’t mean to–”
    “Course you didn’t, I know that.” He took my arm and squeezed gently. “We really appreciate the offer. I knew you were a nice bloke. Liked you the first time I met you, instinct you might say. And to think you’ve made all this effort to came out in this bloody awful weather because you wanted to help us out of a mess. The least we can do in return is let you have a few essentials in case you need ’em.”
    “Well if you’re sure.”
    Ken thrust a dozen candles into a carrier bag and handed them over, adding a large torch.
    “Oh I almost forgot,” he said, bustling away and returning with a brown paper parcel. 
    “This arrived for you a few weeks ago, kept meaning to give it to you, then I forgot. I’ll put it in the bag.”
    “Thanks.”
    “You’d best get back before the water gets any deeper.”

    LINKS

    Jack Lockwood mystery novels:

    #1 ROCK’N’ROLL SUICIDE  http://viewBook.at/B009XA5SQ4

    #2  DOPPELGANGER http://viewBook.at/B00B6U64B2


    Coming soon:  JACK LOCKWOOD DIARIES, 21 short stories, see some here now at  https://jacklockwood.wordpress.com/

    All other info on my website   www.geoffreydavidwest.com

    Please support Geoffrey by following him on Facebook and Twitter.






    Connect With KJ Waters

    When I'm not working on Stealing Time you can find me on my social media at the links below. My novel is out on amazon here.

      I am also the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers, a company that helps authors and publishers create stunning book covers. Please follow our links here.
      • Check out our website here.
      • We are on twitter here.
      • Facebook link here.

      Monday, January 12, 2015

      Blondie's Books From Friends -- Author Spotlight Graeme Ing

      Blondie's Books From Friends -- Author Spotlight on Graeme Ing


      It's a new year and I'm so excited to bring you a new feature on my blog. I will be giving my lovely readers a splash of watery fun using excerpts from some great authors' books. When you see blogs with the title Blondie's Books From Friends (Blondie's BFFs) you know you're in for a treat with a new water adventure from a talented author. If you would like to be featured on here please leave a comment below or contact me on any of my social media sites below. 

      My first novel, Stealing Time, is out and is receiving superb reviews on Amazon. The one I just received minutes ago, "Hands down one of the best books I have read in quite some time." Please check it out here on Amazon. I'm working on getting it in paperback as soon as possible and I'm in negotiations with a voice talent for the audiobook. Book two is half-way done and I'm busy writing the rest of it.

      As always I encourage you to leave a comment below. I'm always grateful when readers let me know they were here.

      Blondie's BFF Spotlight

      My first Blondie's BFF spotlight author is Graeme Ing and his Young Adult Fantasy novel, Ocean of Dust. I'm tickled to bring this to you and I think this is a gem of a book. I've spent the last two years touching base with Graeme as we both worked feverishly on our first novels. This is his first novel, his second one is also available on Amazon called Necromancer. I hope you take some time to check 
      out both of his titles on Amazon and Audible.

      This blog was created nearly 3 years ago as therapy for my unfortunate living arrangements where I'm totally land-locked in Dirtville, USA, without a decent body of water anywhere in sight. I love that my first author spotlight describes my town to perfection as I live in an Ocean of Dust here in Dirtville.  

      Graeme Ing 

      Graeme Ing
      Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.

      Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.


      Synopsis of Ocean of Dust


      Fourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

      Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.

      When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

      Useful Links

      Website:                           http://www.graemeing.com/
      Blog:                                  http://www.graemeing.com/blog/
      Facebook Page:               https://www.facebook.com/GraemeIngAuthor
      Twitter: @GraemeIng   https://twitter.com/GraemeIng
      Google+:                           https://plus.google.com/u/0/106761802400693987858/about
      Goodreads:                      http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6571955.Graeme_Ing

      Buy Links
      Amazon (Kindle/paperback/audiobook):

      Audible:

      Excerpt:

      Beyond the dock, she noticed a gently rippling ocean, colored grey instead of the deep blue of the lake at home. Her eyes widened. She'd always wanted to see the dust ocean, and here it was. It seemed to go on forever.

      She studied the way the dust flowed ashore in tiny waves. It didn't look wet; in fact, it didn't look like water at all, but an extremely fine powder. The dust ocean, she'd heard it called, but surely they hadn't meant that literally. How could the ocean not have water? She shook her head. It was hard to think straight.

      Squinting against the glare of Eldrar, the largest sun, she peered out at several large ships anchored offshore. Tiny boats moved back and forth between them and the dock, each rowed by two men, and piled so high with cargo she wondered how they didn't sink.

      . . .

      Pete climbed in first and then the larger of the two men lifted Lissa into the boat. She felt her cheeks flush and couldn't bear to catch Pete's glance, didn’t want him to see her this way. I'm not a little child.

      They moved to the backbench of the boat, and the two men stepped into the front. The boat wobbled and sank deeper in the grey dust, forcing Lissa to grip her seat with both hands. The skinny man thrust his oar against the dock, pushing the bobbing boat away. They began to row.

      Lissa stared over her shoulder at the receding land. Her heart pounded and tears trickled down her face. Somehow, she knew that she would never see her home or her parents ever again. The world wasn't exciting after all, but cruel instead. She let herself sob openly. It didn't matter what anyone thought of her now. The wetness felt good on her chapped lips.

      wind powered a small whirlwind that sucked up fine grey powder from the ocean surface. It rose several feet into the air and sprayed the powder in all directions. When the wind died, the dust fell back down to be absorbed into the waves.

      Fascinated, she edged along the seat, careful not to rock the boat, and peered over the side. Unlike the lake at home, she couldn't see anything below the matt grey surface. How deep was it? She dipped her finger in, expecting it to feel like a bowl of salt, but the grains were so tiny that her finger met no resistance.

      "Don't even think of trying to swim for it," the big man said, glaring over his shoulder. 

      She pinched her lip thoughtfully. In the warmer moon-cycles, she liked to swim in the lake. What would stop her swimming here? After all, it clearly supported boats and huge ships. She plunged her entire hand beneath the surface and moved it about. The dust felt bone dry but grew cooler as she reached deeper. Scooping out a handful, she compared it to the spices in her mother's kitchen. None had been ground as fine as this grey powder. It flowed between her fingers like a liquid.

      A gust blew a wave of dust across the boat and into her face. She coughed and licked her lips. It tasted bitter, like nothing she could put her finger on. She brushed her hands together and wiped them on her skirt. The dust particles fell off easily and the bottom of the boat was covered in the stuff.

      Pete nudged her. "Look."

      The rear of a ship towered above them, three or four stories high. The whole ship rolled side-to-side in a wide but lazy motion and was larger than she had expected. Windows were open on every level, with a narrow balcony halfway up. She read the huge letters painted across the stern:

      The Fair Maiden Of Yamin




      Connect With KJ Waters

      When I'm not working on Stealing Time you can find me on my social media at the links below. My novel is out on amazon here.


        I am also the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers, a company that helps authors and publishers create stunning book covers. Please follow our links here.
        • Check out our website here.
        • We are on twitter here.
        • Facebook link here.

        Tuesday, December 30, 2014

        Release of Stealing Time

        Stealing Time is Finally Here!

        After nine long years of hard work, Stealing Time is available as an ebook  on Amazon. Please check it out here http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00PJMWD6S. I hope to have it available in paperback in January.




        Synopsis:

        As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm.

        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. Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Trilogy.

        5 Star Reviews:

        The book has been out for a week and I have six 5-star reviews. How awesome is that? If you read 
        Stealing Time, please leave a review on Amazon. This is the main way I can sell the book by having 
        people give their honest opinion about it to help others make the purchase.



        From the UK site:

        5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me captive from cover to cover 29 Dec 2014
        By m.e.s.
        Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
        Stealing Time is everything I expected and more! A fascinating story-line, a cast of engaging characters 
        that feel very much alive and compel you to love them or hate them and a well researched historical 
        journey. All in all, a delightful book that kept me captive from cover to cover.

        Two thumbs up from me for the debut novel of KJ Waters and I can't wait to read the next one from this 
        promising author.

        5.0 out of 5 stars Stealing Time, debut novel of the year!, 21 Dec 2014
        Verified Purchase(What is this?)
        This review is from: Stealing Time: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
        This is an electricity driven tour de force of a novel. The characters are completely believable and draw the
        reader in, to such an extent, they will not want to leave until the astonishing conclusion of this amazing book!
        If you only buy one book per year, Stealing Time by the incomparable KJ Waters, is the book to buy!

        5.0 out of 5 stars Smashed it into the ballpark!!!!!24 Dec 2014
        By 
        mR mE (london uk) - See all my reviews
        This review is from: Stealing Time: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
        Wow, what a way to debut!!!! It's not very often that self-published writers are given the credit that they deserve
        and so I take my hat off to K J Waters and urge everyone to buy this astonishing piece of storytelling. Keep up the
        good work.
          5.0 out of 5 stars.

        From the US Site:

        5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating page turner!December 23, 2014
        This review is from: Stealing Time: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
        KJ Waters is a first-class storyteller, who not only has the ability to pull you right into the story, but can keep you 
        right in there turning the page. Stealing Time is a time travel adventure that has all the dramatic elements of a love 
        story in the package of a fantasy thriller. 

        Pulled back in time to another century during a crippling Hurricane, the heroine has to fight her way back to her 
        own time before there are dire consequences. All the time she has to fight an antiqued world and system she is poorly 
        equipped to face. A very clever concept, nicely executed by a wonderful storyteller. Stealing Time will have you on 
        the edge of your seat!


        5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Lions & Tigers & Bears - But: OH MY!! December 24, 2014
        By 
        D. B (Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
        Verified Purchase(What's this?)
        This review is from: Stealing Time: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
        Yay - a real PAGE TURNER! I love to find books that keep me interested in every character, every scene, every chapter: 
        I can't wait for the next book to find out more about these people. I am glad I live in the time period I live in, I'll tell you 
        that! This is a GREAT first novel!! MORE, PLEASE.

        5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away!!!December 24, 2014
        By 
        mR mE (london uk) - See all my reviews
        This review is from: Stealing Time: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
        Man I'm amazed by the literal skill that KJ displays in this wonderful and gripping novel, I await book 2 with baited breath!!!




        Connect With Me

        When I'm not working on Stealing Time you can find me on my social media at the links below. My novel is out on amazon here.


          I am also the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers, a company that helps authors and publishers create stunning book covers. Please follow our links here.
          • Check out our website here.
          • We are on twitter here.
          • Facebook link here.

          Monday, November 17, 2014

          PreSale of Stealing Time Available on Amazon and Radio Interview

          Release of Stealing Time on Amazon


          I'm so excited to announce that my book, Stealing Time, is now available on preordrer on Amazon! Please check it out here: Stealing Time 


          Here is the summary:

          As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. The women separate and Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph invites her friend Nick to stay at 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 to rescue her cat, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as Steph is faced with losing everything.

          Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Trilogy, currently available as an e-book and will be on presale until December 20, 2014 at which point it will download to your device.

          In January I hope to have the book available as a paperback and I'll be looking into an audiobook as well. 


          Radio Interview

          I was on the Tom the Treeman show on November 13 talking about my book, its release, and my writing process. Here is the link to hear the 15 minute interview.




          Want a Free Paperback of Stealing Time?

          When you read my book you will find a scene where Steph and Nick are listening to the Tom the Treeman show during the storm. If you call the radio station number that appears in the book and mention Stealing Time Tom will buy you a paperback!

          What a deal, eh? Thanks Tom and look for a book signing live on the air with Tom the Treeman sometime in the spring.

          You can listen to his show Thursday nights at Mixxfm radio here: Tom the Treeman Show