Lei Crime Novella coming soon! – #fanfun

I was so honored to be asked by Toby Neal to write a novella for her Lei Crime series on Kindle Worlds. When Dick went to the Football Game I had a nice quiet house to myself and…TA-DA…I finished the novella for the Lei Crime Series! I still have one final read through with line edits, then it will go to the editors. The name of this will be “Esther’s Gift” – I really like it, it a very sweet story, plus you get to feel like you are in Hawaii.

If you don’t know what Kindle Worlds is, here is some information from Tobi Neal’s website

Have you read anything from Kindle Worlds, the new publishing platform that is fan fiction heaven? Get the inside scoop from Toby Neal, author of the Lei Crime Series.

Whatever you feel about Amazon, they are cutting-edge as a company, and one of the most innovative programs they’ve come up with in publishing is Kindle Worlds. According to Nick Loeffler with Amazon, “Kindle Worlds is the first commercial publishing platform to enable any writer to publish fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters while earning royalties for doing so, and sell them in the Kindle Store. Until the launch of Kindle Worlds, selling stories based on copyright-protected material had been difficult.” Not to mention, illegal!

Kindle Worlds has changed all that by contracting with authors and other writers to legalize use of characters in a “World,” and providing parameters within which other writers can play. All benefit from this—writers get to entertain through known settings with their own stories, and readers get more of the characters they love.

Developed in 2013, Kindle Worlds includes graphic novels, TV shows, and of course, bestselling book lines. Kindle Worlds is licensed fan fiction, in a nutshell, and it captures the urge of writers since the dawn of time to write about characters they’ve fallen in love with as readers, and for readers to be able to enjoy storylines and characters they’ve become attached to long after original creators have stopped writing a popular series.

Lei Crime Kindle World The Kindle Worlds site provides a quality assurance process that protects authors, and an easy review process that helps readers find the best of the bunch. I was nervous when my Lei Crime Kindle World launched in April, wondering if readers would be willing to try new works by others using my characters—but I needn’t have worried. The Lei Crime Kindle World novellas, varying in genre from mystery to magical realism, have become some of the top-rated works in Kindle Worlds. It’s been a blast to read the expansion of colorful minor characters (as well as my main ones) into stories that I would never have imagined or had time to write.

Melissa Foster, whose romance Kindle World The Remingtons debuted recently, puts it this way: “When I decided to open my Remington series to Kindle World authors, the idea of other authors putting their own spin on the world I’d created both scared and excited me. I hoped readers would enjoy the stories, but of course there was no way of knowing what the reaction would be. I’m thrilled that readers are loving the Remington Kindle World stories! They can’t get enough of them! What makes them unique is what makes each Kindle World unique—the world itself that these new stories are inhabiting. All the worlds are different, and since no two writers have the same visions or the same voice, the stories are unique, too.”

Here are some powerful ways readers benefit from Kindle Worlds:

Readers get to keep reading about characters and a world they love. With such long waits between books from favorite authors, I know I’d love to see a George RR Martin or Diana Gabaldon Kindle World! It’s especially wonderful to be able to keep reading stories in a World whose original creator has stopped writing the series, as in the case of Hugh Howey’s Silo World.

Readers are the boss. One of the concerns readers have voiced is that the writing won’t be as good as that of the original content creator. That is a risk, and one Amazon has dealt with by pricing the books in the World low and having high content standards for submitted works. Readers are also relied upon to review the works to help others find stories to their liking. According to an Amazon company source, “The reader response to Kindle Worlds so far has been great. Since launch, Kindle World stories have held a consistently high customer review average, ratings indicating the time and effort the authors are putting into story preparation.”

Authors joining an established World want to show their stuff. This is an excellent reason to try a story or novella in Kindle Worlds—these authors are hoping you’ll love their spin on the established World so much that you’ll give their other works a look, too! Russell Blake, whose action/thriller Jet World went live in July, says, “Amazon Kindle Worlds offers readers a chance to read other authors’ spins on their favorite worlds and characters, as well as the opportunity to try their hand at writing, should they be so inclined. I think it’s a hoot, and would remind any doubters that the biggest-selling book of the 21st Century, 50 Shades of Grey, started out as fan fiction! Fan fiction has definitely come of age, to put it mildly, and Kindle Worlds provides an organized system to differentiate the authors’ Worlds and pick your favorite flavor.”

Everyone gets to read a fun creative challenge. Many of the authors who helped launch the Lei Crime Series Kindle World had never written a police procedural or a mystery before (you don’t have to write in the genre of the original series, but many wanted to try). They all reported how easy, fun, and inspiring it was to “step into the shoes” of already-known characters, and that the writing went much more quickly than for their own original works. Meanwhile, readers commented that some of the stories were so close to my style that it seemed like I’d written them—with completely new and original plots at a reasonable price.

We hope you’ll check out Kindle Worlds, browse the many interesting spinoffs, and find YOUR favorite flavor.

AND here are the Lei Crime novels and their Novella tie ins. I’m not sure where mine will fit in yet but I’m sure Toby will let you know!

Do you need to know the LeiCrimeKW and Lei Crime Series order?

I received this email this morning from a fan:

“Hi Toby! I’m about to dive into re-reading your books in the Lei Crime Series, as well as reading each of the Lei Crime Kindle World books to get ready for Bone Hook. Do you have a flow chart or map of how the different books fit together? I know they can all stand alone, but am curious about their relationship to each other. (Maybe a good idea for a blog post?)”

My readers always have the best ideas!

I answered her back with my books’ order and quick summaries/time frame, in case anyone else wants to submerge in the Lei Crime World! I just did this recently with a favorite author, Charlaine Harris, and re-read all my favorites in order to get “in the mood” for a new book, so if you feel that way about Lei Crime, here you go, a quick list of the KW novellas and where they fall in Lei Crime.

My books’ order in which written (and chronologically)

Blood Orchids
Torch Ginger
Black Jasmine
Stolen in Paradise (Marcella)
Broken Ferns
Twisted Vine
Unsound (Dr. Wilson)
Shattered Palms
Dark Lava
Fire Beach
Rip Tides
Bone Hook (Nov. 2015)
Red Rain (Jan/Feb 2016)

Lei Crime KW novellas, in no particular order, but where they intersect with Lei Crime:

The Shell Keeper: (prequel to Blood Orchids)
Young Lei has a vacation in South Carolina and experiences magic and a wise woman.

The Shell Seeker: same vacation trip, continued, but Lei’s first real mystery. Wonderful Southern characters + Lei
(Christine Nolfi)

Half Moon Girls: (Torch Ginger period, on Kauai): super well written mystery with Lei solving a sex kidnapping case.
(Corinne O’Flynn)

Torn Roots: (set during Rip Tides phase) Great mystery involving conservation in Hana with Pono as main character
(Scott Bury)

Never Again: (Prequel to Blood Orchids)
Young Michael Stevens has the relationship that drives him to become a cop. Suspense from his good friend’s POV.

Money Makes it Deadlier: (Stolen in Paradise time frame)
Action packed! Marcella solves a bank robbery mystery in Honolulu

Revenge Makes it Sweeter : Marcella solves an assassination and revenge plot
(Julie Gilbert)

Saddle Road:(just after Fire Beach/Rip Tides)
atmospheric mystery involving veterans and Lei and Pono solving a gritty case on the Big Island.
(Janet Oakley)

Warrior Dog (Fire Beach)
A retelling of Fire Beach from Keiki’s POV. THere was more going on than the humans even knew! (a favorite. Get tissues ready!)
(Emily Kimelman)

A Snake in Paradise (Same time as Blood Orchids, Big Island) A recent divorcee encounters a nasty con artist and solves a crime.
Seal of a Monk (Torch Ginger time frame, Kauai) Same divorcee solves another mystery on Kauai, intersecting with cult. Vivid characters!
(Eden Baylee)

Fireweed Trail (prequel to Blood Orchids) Teen Lei solves a murder during a wilderness camp for teens. Encounter shapes her character.
(Craig Hanson)

Hidden Poppies (Stolen in Paradise cast and time frame) Marcella and Ken solve a drug smuggling mystery intersecting with the miliary on Oahu. Suspenseful, emotional, gritty.
(ML Doyle)

Princess Eyes, Part 1 & 2- Prequel to Blood Orchids, young Stevens solves his first very nasty crime. Great twist by end of second book.
(Lucas Kana)

Coffee and Kukui Nuts (Lei on Maui time frame) Fun mystery with Abe Torufu solving a bomb related crime on Oahu. Funny and vivid characters.
(AJ Llewellyn)

We will have a whole new batch of KW novellas 10/31, and I can’t wait to read them! Happy reading, all.

I’m deeply honored my books have become a series people want to read more than once, and that fans care about the Kindle World novellas and where they intersect with Lei Crime. This is a dream come true, folks. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Much aloha,