It’s hard to believe it was less than two months ago that one of my indie publishing idols, bestselling author Toby Neal, asked me to be a part of an incredible project. Amazon intended to launch a Kindle World, featuring Toby’s Lei Crime Series. Part of Toby’s Amazon launch involved convincing nine authors to write the first stories that would populate the new World. What an honor for Toby and what an exciting opportunity for me and eight other authors.
While the amount of time available to actually write the piece made my heart seize up in fear, I knew there was no way I could let the opportunity slide. Besides, there were eight other authors in the same short timeline boat and if there’s one thing I learned from my time in uniform, a challenge is best faced with a team at your back.
I’d never written fan fiction before, so I was a bit nervous about the prospect of using someone else’s characters and their world in a story I crafted myself. It made me even more nervous to use Toby’s characters. How could I possibly do justice to the three dimensional, multi-faceted, incredible characters Toby invented in her Lei Crime Series?
I finally approached this project the way I approach every writing project. I got my ass in the chair, put my fingers on the keyboard and put words on the page. I struggled at first, but then Toby sent me an email that said two words that made all the difference.
Have fun, the email said. That was the freedom I needed to really run with the project and Hidden Poppies, a Lei Crime Series Kindle World novella came to be. I’m so proud of this little book.
The best part about this whole thing is the shared experience with eight other authors doing the same crazy thing in the same insanely short amount of time. Sharing ideas, advice, answering questions, it was as if, no matter how crazy-short the timeline was, I wasn’t alone. We were all wading into unknown territory. We were all uploading our work to a whole new site. We were all operating under rules and copyright restraints we’d never worked with before.
The bottom line is, we did have fun.
Usually, when I’ve finished a book, I pour myself a glass of wine and have a private moment of satisfaction for having completed a new story that I hope others will enjoy. This time, I had that moment of satisfaction, but it felt as if I shared it with an entire team of authors who all created amazing, unusual and completely unique works.
I can’t wait to read what the others have written. Here is the line up for the Lei Crime Kindle World:
- Hidden Poppies by M. L. Doyle (Mystery with LGBT themes) Nothing about this kidnapping makes sense. An army colonel’s daughter isn’t a typical target, and that’s only the beginning. FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott knows that ‘unusual’ also means unpredictable and that translates to dangerous.
- Warrior Dog by Emily Kimelman (Suspense) In the modern world, Keiki’s role remains much the same. She must protect Lei and her family. They are her pack and in need of her protection.
- A Snake in Paradise by Eden Baylee (Suspense) After Lainey Lee’s divorce is finalized, she decides to take the vacation she’s always wanted: to Hawaii. But there’s danger in paradise, waiting to prey on the vulnerable.
- Saddle Road by J. L. Oakley (Mystery) Detective Lei Texeira and Lieutenant Michael Stevens identify a murder victim as a veteran from Washington State. Soon, they find not only murder but a scam that takes advantage of returning veterans with PTSD.
- The Shell Keeper by Christine Nolfi (Sweet) Lei’s aunty sends her on a vacation to relax before she starts her new job.
- Princess Eyes by Lucas Kana by Lucas Kana (Suspense) A young intellectual Stevens teams up with a good-natured bohemian psychologist, Jenna Brooke, to investigate a serial killer targeting rapists. (Coming soon)
- Never Again by Julie C. Gilbert (Suspense) When Alana Adams finally dumps her cheating boyfriend, she doesn’t realize she’s putting her best friend, Michael Stevens, in danger.
- Half Moon Girls by Corrine O’Flynn (Mystery) When Detective Lei Texeira investigates a murder and a missing person case, the victims dredge up her darkest memories because both victims look a lot like her.
- Fireweed Trail by Craig Hansen (Suspense) Teen Lei is sent by Aunty to a wilderness-encounter down the Oregon Coast trail, a program for troubled youth. But when a hiker disappears, then turns up dead, Lei is no longer hiking, but running for her life.
Of course, I’d be crazy not to mention that The Ceremony, a companion short in the Master Sergeant Harper series which is also available today. It’s a nice little story from Harry’s perspective that I think readers of the series will enjoy plus it has a little tease about where book four of the Harper mysteries will take place. I hope you’ll pick up a copy.