Sunday, May 31, 2015

Is Kindle Worlds for you? Writing Romance in Melissa Foster's #RemingtonWorld #writertip

Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing has truly changed the world for both readers and writers. By providing a platform for writers to publish directly to readers, KDP has revolutionized the reading experience with a greater variety of books, everything from nonfiction to fiction. Now, with Kindle Worlds, Amazon is creating an opportunity for fan fiction in a way that benefits both the original content owner and the fan writer.

I've always been a fan of Melissa Foster since she first started writing and have read more than fifteen of her books. I was aware of Kindle Worlds before, but I wasn't familiar with any of the existing worlds until Melissa launched her Remington World about her sexy family of five siblings ranging from video game designer, fashion model, to professional Olympic skier.

I was excited to jump in with both feet. I already knew Melissa and some of her other author friends, so it was fun for us to brainstorm together and talk about what we were going to write. I read Game of Love, Flames of Love, and parts of Read, Write, Love so I knew Dex Remington and Siena Remington best. I loved Leana Bray too and at first, I wanted to write about her at Cape Cod.

My next step was to find a Stock Photo image to use as a cover. We only had twenty-one days from start to finish with a strict deadline, and I knew that making a cover would be hard once I had a solid idea of what my character would look like and do. Imagine my delight when I scored this one of an athletic woman with a heavily tattooed hunk on a beach.

Immediately, the story started to flow. Kerry Mills is a professional surfer who was wounded by a shark during a surfing competition in Western Australia. Finn Meriwether is an Army Ranger searching for a place to scatter his buddy's ashes. I wanted them to meet on a beach, similar to how Kurt and Leanna in Read, Write, Love met on a beach, so I decided they would both be seeking a vacation. One would be Leanna's friend and the other would be Kurt's friend. Both thought the cottage was empty and that their friend was away.

Here is where I ran into my first snag. A Kindle World story is licensed to you in ways that restrict which characters and time periods are allowed in your story. In the case of Melissa Foster's world, an author is not allowed to use any Bradens, Snows, Ryders, or any of the hilariously cool ladies from the Seaside series [who are Leanna's friends and neighbors in the row of cottages they live at]. How would it be possible for Kerry, who is Leanna's best friend, to NOT meet any of her Seaside friends?

Melissa and I discussed locations and decided that the Cape would be too crowded. It would be too hard to avoid the Bradens who also frequented Wellfleet and skirt around Leanna's Seaside friends. I then researched surfing spots in the East Coast from Maine down to Ocean City, Maryland and came up with the fabulous Montauk, New York at the eastern tip of Long Island.

Remembering that I only had a few days to write, since I needed time with my editor and proofreader, I decided to change the Remington friends to Dex Remington and Siena Remington. Finn would be Dex's friend from high school on R&R break from the war, and Kerry would be a surfer who met Siena, a model, at a swimwear shoot in Kauai. Location problem and friend problem solved. Yay!

Once Siena got involved, the story blossomed. Siena encouraged Kerry, shared makeup tips with her, and helped her see that not everyone out there has an angle. She's also loads of fun and provided the perfectly cute ending. Dex, of course, spared his wisdom with Finn and even though their man talk was more brutal, done on a punishing run up Cat Hill in Central Park, he turned out to be a sensitive and compassionate friend, too.

I wrote the first draft in 12 days and spent 7 days working with my editor and beta readers. 1 day for proofreading and formatting, and I uploaded it with 1 day to spare. Next, we split into teams for the launch. I teamed up with Zoe York and Elena Aitken. We shared our ARCs with our Street Teams and Readers Club, and held a cross-promotional launch party in our groups. This was so successful, that the other authors in the set asked to join our groups and party with our readers and street teams.

Was it worth it?
Our set of EIGHT romances took the top eight spots for Romance at one point. While sales do not show up on the KDP dashboard [they are available 60 days later at Author Central], our rankings indicate that we sold briskly our first week. The best part about this experience was the exposure of working with the other chosen Remington World Authors, the camaraderie of writing a romance in a short period of time, and the cross-promotion and pooling of our resources.

Also, by the licensing terms of Kindle Worlds, every character and location I introduce into the Remington World is available for YOU or any other writer who wants to write in Melissa Foster's Remington World. This is an excellent opportunity for you to write where there is already an established fan base, and add your story to the Remington lore. So, if you're on the fence and trying to decide if Kindle Worlds is for you or not, jump in. The water's warm! Surf's up. See you there.

My contribution to the Remington World is Leap, Laugh, Love, about a professional surfer and an Army ranger on vacation. Here is the list of characters and locations I added to the World. Remember, you can only use them IN the Remington World and NOT anywhere else. So, go ahead, and give it a whirl! You can pick up all the Remington Kindle World books to study:
SEE THE BOOKS HERE -->> Remington Kindle World

Kerry Mills is a professional surfer who travels the circuits of the world’s surfing competitions until a broken heart and a shark encounter send her reeling to a tiny beachfront cottage. Focusing on her recovery, she has no interest in a rebound relationship. That is, until a tattooed hunk she spies in an outdoor shower asks her to teach him to surf. Suddenly, romance doesn’t look so bad.

Finn Meriwether used to be the life of the party and the class clown, but years of war in the Middle East have replaced his smile with a deep frown. He’s overdue for a vacation and heads for his friend’s seaside cottage for some well deserved R&R.

Kerry soon discovers that sharks are the least of her worries. Her heart is at risk of being swallowed by a man whose grief and guilt overrides his ability to live and love. Can Kerry and Finn rise above their fears and take a leap for true love?

Beach Cottage in Montauk, NY - Even though Dex and Siena are diehard New Yorkers, seeing Kurt and Leanna enjoying life at Wellfleet made them yearn for a spot by the ocean. They bought the cottage together and share it with friends and family. Cottage includes: cherry wood sleigh bed and double tub [gray/cream marble surround] in master suite. Gourmet kitchen. A loft has a girl's bedroom with two twin featherbeds and daisy comforters, Jack and Jill bath, and a boys' cave with video game equipment and a large sectional to sleep and play on. Outdoor shower with cedar wood surround, storage shed full of surfboards.

Characters added to The Remingtons' World: Kerry Mills, born March 1989, professional women's surfer, friend of Siena whom she met at a surfwear modeling shoot.[blonde, six-feet tall, gray-blue eyes] Finn Meriwether, born January 1988, Dex's classmate from the high school somewhere outside of NYC. [six-two, 210 lbs, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes]. Jared Dunbar, surfing promoter, Kerry's ex [dirty blond hair, dark brown eyes]. Safire Chu [Asian woman, petite, dresses fashionably] artist at Thrive Entertainment who dated Finn the year before. Marina Martinez, current women's surfing champ after Kerry dropped out [never makes an appearance, but is talked about].
Updates to Rem characters: Ellie [Dex's girlfriend] wins "Teacher of the Year" award

Here's what Kerry and Finn look like:

Finally, checkout my Also-Boughts! Some of the hottest Authors in Romance today!
Thanks Melissa for letting me play in your world.

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