Author Archives: Kristina Stutts

Happy Anniversary, Mirror Image!

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It’s been a year since KG Stutts came onto the independent book scene with Mirror Image. She later went on to publish five more book during 2014, all but two in her beloved sci-fi romance genre.

2014 was a big year for North Carolinian KG Stutts. During the course of the year, the new author released six books, all but two in her beloved sci-fi romance genre. But you never forget your first.

Mirror Image, her first novel, is celebrating its first anniversary onApril 25th. It’s a story of Madison ‘Maddie’ Rhodes, an engineer whose life is forever changed when she finds out she’s a clone. When an intergalactic threat turns toward the Earth, Maddie becomes entangled in a world she never knew existed.She must work alongside of her counterpart, going by the name Mack, to protect Earth, countless other worlds, each other, and the man she loves..

This story is very close to the heart of the author. It started out as a dream she couldn’t get out of her head so she started writing it out. It rekindled the love she had for writing she once thought was gone. As a child, KG, known to others as Kristina, would write stories, songs, and poems to share with her mother. After losing her mother at eighteen, she put away her notebooks. The dreams she had about Maddie, Mack, and the Intergalactic Security Commission opened the doors to the possibilities of fulfilling a life-long dream to become a published author.

Since its release, Mirror Image has hit a chord with sci-fi and romance fans of different ages. Its been in the Amazon Top Ten three times, most recently coming in at number eight. The books that followed, Mirror Shattered and Mirror Reformed, rounded out the trilogy. The trilogy has a number of character focused companion shorts already available for reader consumption. In November, a spin-off launched known as the Amethyst Chronicles was introduced to the world.

Kristina also serves as the marketing manager for her series-only independent publisher, Distinguished Press. She’s proud to be launching a podcast for the company in May.

To celebrate, the entire series is on sale for $.99! MirrorImage
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I started writing my first book in 2012. Mirror Image started as a reoccurring dream and I wrote it down to get it out of my head. Little did I know the journey I would embark on. The original story is vastly different from the published story. For one thing, it was strictly sci-fi. There was no romance. In fact, the three Brooks brothers didn’t exist. There were a couple other elements I didn’t like and actually put them aside to save for another series. I learned a lot during the course of the first year in writing. Writing a sci-fi romance series has been fun and challenging. I have learned there is an art to it. I am just the vessel for telling the stories. They are actually the writers. These characters have become a family for me. Once Mirror Image had been fine tuned into the story it is today, I immediately set to writing the second, Mirror Shattered. That story is very much the cornerstone for that series. During the writing of Mirror Shattered, I signed a contract with Distinguished Press for the series. I took a break to focus on edits and everything for Mirror Image, so when it came time to write the third, it was like visiting old friends.

As writers, we get attached to our characters. I can only hope any reader would get equally as attached or at least some level of enthusiasm. I cried several times while writing Mirror Reformed. When the story was done, it felt finished. The story was complete. I’m not ready to say goodbye to them yet, but thankfully I’m not there yet. I’m releasing short stories for John, Seth and Logan, and Jackson. The prequel for Mirror Image is also coming. Plus, and because this is sci-fi and I can do it, the third book in my other series, Amethyst Chronicles, will cross over with the Mirror series. How, you may ask, since Amethyst is a thousand years after Mirror Reformed? Guess you’ll have to wait to find out how Ember travels back in time. But I can say I am extremely excited for it. Ember facing off with Mack or going toe-to-toe with Logan, another like-minded warrior? Oh, it’s going to be gooooood.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but it’s not really goodbye, is it? I can always pick up the books anytime I want to visit them. I just remind myself in the meantime, there are other stories to tell.

Haven’t read my Mirror series or Amethyst Chronicles? Click the link to hook yourself up!

 

Mirror Image (Mirror series book one, now $.99)

Mirror Shattered (Mirror series book two)

A Mirrors Beginning: John Brooks  (short story, $.99)

 Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss

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Troupes of romance

Two days ago, the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan posted an article entitled 25 Erotica Lit Tropes that Need to Die. This spawned a friendly discussion in a writing group on Facebook and got me thinking. To me, most of the article is laughable at best. Regardless of her intention, the author came off as a bitter woman who hasn’t had a good tumble lately, if ever. And judging by the comments on the article, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Yes, some things in erotica are a bit eye rolling. But one thing I think the author didn’t take into account is romance and erotica stories are FANTASY. Sex in of itself is dirty and really kind of gross when you really think about it. Often our private lives are lacking in one area. Not necessary in the bedroom, but we are all wanting or needing something our normal day to day lives doesn’t give. That’s why we escape to books to begin with. I’m not going to get into too detail regarding my sexy time with my husband. That’s just between us. But I can assure you it’s not lacking anything. Still, I have written several graphic sex scenes in two of my novels that differ completely from me and Brad.

Some of the things felt like the writer of the article was calling out Fifty Shades of Grey, not the genre as a whole. Still, erotica is the biggest genre for a reason. Yet there are a few things I’ve seen in novels that do make me roll my eyes. For instance, I will never write a romance with a billionaire or a cowboy. I am breaking two of my rules and writing a story featuring a rocker and one about a pirate. To be fair though, the rocker is just the occupation. It’s not key to the story. I just need a reason why two of the main characters travel a lot and I’m already writing a wrestling romance story.

Good Lord I write a lot. lol

What are some cliches in romance that take you out of the story or you feel are overdone?

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Rules of Time Travel

Time travel has been an integral part of science fiction for as long as I can remember. I think it’s a fascinating concept. If you could go back in time, where would you go? What would you do if you could go forward in time? Would you make changes, if you had the ability? It’s a concept I explored in the second book in my series, Mirror Shattered. The team has to travel back to 1965 to prevent an alien race from stopping the creation of the Intergalactic Security Commission. The result does have a ripple effect. Truths were no longer facts. Some changes minor, but there were several major effects from the team’s actions.

When I started to write the short stories on the origins of the other characters in the series, a thought occurred to me. I wrote the story as a prequel to Mirror Image, but the actions in Mirror Shattered would’ve changed the first book, wouldn’t it? I had to sit down and draw up a timeline to figure out what I did in my own book. My father and I often get into discussions regarding if the events in the Back to the Future movies could’ve happened the way they play out because of the changes in the timeline.

It begged a question to me. What are the rules of time travel?

  1. Be careful what information you give. This one is obvious to me, but it still takes a considerable amount of thought. Maddie spoke semi-openly about her personally to Charlie, thinking the thirteen year old wouldn’t retain information. She also didn’t know about his identic memory.
  2. What happened in the past was supposed to happen … right? But then it wouldn’t be much of a time travel story if there weren’t some hijinks.
  3. Be careful what you wish for. But, to me, that’s a rule in life.
  4. Always be on your guard.
  5. Do the mission you set out to do. Don’t try to play hero and help. Remember, you weren’t there originally so whatever happened, happened without you there.
  6. Whatever you do, interact as little with people outside of your time as possible.

 

What do you think are other rules? Anything I missed?

On the 21st, book one in a new sci-fi romance series will release. Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss, is an exciting story I can’t wait to share. Check out kgstutts.blogspot.com for two excerpts as well as a giveaway for the new series!

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Nebula Nights

 Nebula Nights is a collection of 11 sci-fi romance books which is taking the eReader world by storm. Some of these stories are written by best selling and award winning authors. 65970_529802730452701_9070270748237963231_n

Here’s an excerpt from one of the stories included in this amazing box set:

ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE by Veronica Scott

 

The lights along the path and beside the benches flickered and went out, plunging them into darkness.

Glancing around, Deverane frowned in the moonlight. He released her, keeping one hand around her wrist and putting the other on the butt of his blaster. “Is that normal?”

“The generators have been known to be troublesome in the summer. Probably nothing.” The moment was gone, the spell she’d been under broken. Am I disappointed? Relieved? Things had been moving way too fast between them for people who had just met. “Fortunately, we still have enough moonlight to see the path.” Andi took a step toward the clubhouse.

He tightened his grip on her wrist, forcing her to stop. “Wait.”

Yelling broke out in the large building on the rise behind them. Glaring, spora­dic flashes burst from the general direction of the parking area and from the main wing of the celebration hall itself. Making the forest brighter than day, a sizable explosion obliterated the light of the two moons for a moment. Clapping her hands to her ears at the concussion, Andi ducked, crowding into the reassuringly hard-muscled captain.

In one fluid motion, he had his blaster in hand. Still keeping his grasp on her wrist, he drew Andi farther away from the path, taking cover behind a wide, multiple-trunked tree. Placing himself between her and the build­ing, he leaned out, reconnoitering the pathway. The screams and shouts were increasing in intensity and number.

Andi huddled against the tree, rough bark scraping her arm. He was right, this sounds like the beginning of war. Trembling, she had to lock her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering as one piercing shriek rose above the rest of the general uproar.

“I’m afraid we missed our deadline for a clean escape.” His voice was harsh, the words angry. “Come on.” Pulling Andi to her feet, he laced his fingers in hers and drew her from the safety of the tree, setting a course around the edge of the lake to the east.

 

If you bought each of these books separately, it would cost $25. Or you can buy Nebula Nights for $.99! Check out the links for your next addiction and meet some new favorite authors!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAXCS1E

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/2mwluE

All Romance eBooks: http://goo.gl/JFG4v7

Kobo: http://goo.gl/rbU36p

 

 

 

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Why I became an author

There are a lot of different reasons I hear from people when they answer why they became a writer. Money often comes up. Occasionally someone says fame. Or they would say it’s in their blood.

I don’t know about any of that.

When I started writing, it wasn’t for fame or money. I had a story in my head which I had to get out. When my story was finished, I knew I wasn’t done. There was so much more to the story than just one book. I had a series on my hands. One I couldn’t wait to share with the world.

My little sci-fi romance story recently ranked as high as #23 on Amazon in its genre. I never would’ve guessed Mirror Image would get the response it has. I’ve started to plan the party for the second in the series, Mirror Shattered, to launch on August 15th. And yesterday I found something which really blew my mind. CNN featured an article on me and my sweet book. Check it out here http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1156026

I never thought I would garner attention like this. And the entire experience has been surreal to say the least. I never wrote for fame or money. Always said if anything were to happen, that would be icing on the cake. All of that is still true. I’m just happy people are reading Mirror Image and will hopefully follow along with Mack, Maddie, and the others as the adventures continue.

I’ve heard someone say if you wake up in the morning and you want to write, then you’re a writer. In my case, that’s true. My heart lies upon the pages. Regardless how you chose to read, I’m really glad you did. 🙂 If you haven’t yet, Barnes and Noble has the paperback on sale! eBook is also in the link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mirror-image-kg-stutts/1119689102?ean=9781633100022

My advice for any aspiring author: write every day. If this is something you are truly passionate about, find the time. Write because this is something you love. Everything else will follow.

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Breaking the habit

Bad writing habits. Every author has them. When I first started, I felt like mine were the worst. Here’s a few of mine:

+Overuse of dialogue tags.
+Overuse of the word ‘that’
+Switching from passive to active voice
+The occasional switching tenses

There are more but this is a good list to start. I didn’t notice how often I use the word ‘that’ while writing until my editor pointed it out. I honestly never thought of it. It sounded good in my head but often the word could be taken out and the sentence remains the same. Or even modified to sound better. Now when I go back and re-read some of my previous writings, I cringe every time I see the word ‘that’ when it wasn’t necessary.

Dialogue tags were a big issue of mine. I tend to write a lot of dialogue and unless it was back and forth between two characters, often it was followed by a tag. When I wrote Mirror Image, I wasn’t aware how to show little nuances like I do now. Someone actually mentioned it in the review of the book. It’s not a mistake I will make in future books. Granted, there are times it is needed but I really drilled those tags to the ground. It was almost eye rolling in the original manuscript. Overuse of tags can bog down the action.

Switching between passive and active voice is a terrible habit but one a lot of writers fall into. It’s one of the hardest for me to break often because of the way my mind will see a sentence. This, ladies and gentleman, is why you need a great editor. 🙂

Tense switching is just a big no-no and happens when you aren’t paying attention. For me, often it was if I was tired and trying to push through to finish or when I would write at work. I am a customer service representative at a call center and will often write when the call volume is low. Sometimes having to stop in mid-sentence will throw me off and make me forget where I was. Which is another reason passive voice tends to happen to me.

All of these habits are correctable. In fact, since recognizing my nasty little habits have helped me break a lot of them. I recently explained to my publisher I felt like Mirror Image was freshman year. It is in a lot of ways. It was my first attempt at professional writing, my first foray into publishing world, and of course, the first in my Mirror series. The second in the series flows a lot better. I am currently nearly done with book one in a new sci-fi series and I feel like it’s my senior project. My writing has greatly evolved and it clearly shows. I’m eager to submit it to my publisher and editor to get their comments and views.

One of the best things, in my view, for a writer to do is write every day. It’s the best way to improve and grow. To me, a day without writing…would drive me crazy. It’s how bad habits get broken. I am eagerly awaiting my editors notes for Mirror Shattered, solid in the fact I feel my books will keep improving. Of course, that’s for the reader to decide, isn’t it?

If you haven’t checked out Mirror Image, now is your chance! amzn.to/1meOLl7  is the link to Amazon. You can even download a free sample.

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Creating a Series

The idea for my first sci-fi story, Mirror Image, came to me in a reoccurring dream. I had never written a book but I couldn’t get the story out of my head. After much debate with my husband and best friend, I decided to write. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

As it always happens with manuscripts, the first draft to Mirror Image is vastly different than the final. The whole process took a year as I was learning as I wrote. The first draft didn’t involve the three Brooks brothers which really changed the tale. Their inclusion inspired me to look past the first story and thus a series was born.

It partly grew from my love of Mack and Maddie, my two main characters, but mostly the second story came at me in full force. The idea of time traveling, seeing new races, and the danger everyone is confronted with, not just Maddie, was intriguing. As I planned Mirror Shattered out, I decided to split the story into two and now I had a trilogy. In fact, the way I plan to wrap up the trilogy does give room for a fourth, but I think I’ll end it there. Leave something for the readers’ imagination.

It seemed to make sense to me. A small voice in the back of my head is asking if I’ll be able to let the characters go, once my Mirror series has reached its conclusion. One of my worries which led to the decision to split up the two was I was worried about putting too much content into it and the reader will stop caring. Pacing is incredibly important when writing and that’s truer to me when working on a continuing narrative than a stand alone book. Remember to pace yourself before you start spinning around in circles in the dirt, not gaining any traction.

To me, the crux of formulating a series is to keep interest in the characters. My first goal out of the gate after deciding to make the series was to make the reader fall as in love with Mack, Maddie, and the others as I have to the point where they have to know what happens in the second and third installments. The first is character driven but the second and third will be story driven. I hope everyone is ready for the roller coaster that the next book will be. It certainly will be a wild one.

After being knee deep in my Mirror series, another sci-fi story came to me. As soon as it started to form, I knew I had another series on my hands. One of the things that is also exciting to me is that this series could give me years of material to work with. Not only with the current story, but with spin-offs as well. Spin-offs! I have a whole world of possibilities at my feet.

The key to a good series is planning. For my next sci-fi series, I already have the three carefully plotted out, but not so tightly that a new idea wouldn’t throw it out of balance. Also not to the point where it has to stop after three if I get inspired to do more. There also as to be a flow to it. One of the things I pride myself on is how I control the flow of my books. If you feel burned out by the action, so will the reader. Keeping your audience engaged past the first book isn’t simple. And it’s all too easy and a little cheesy to end each book on a cliffhanger. The hook must be created to entice but too often I feel that authors use the tactic to carry over to the next book. Yes, I say this knowing the second book in my first series ends on a cliffhanger. I did, however, leave enough at the end of the first book to (hopefully) make the reader go, “Wait, what?”

Writing and maintaining an array of stories is one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges for me as an author. One of the biggest compliments I have received to me was my editor telling me that there were a few spots where she felt I could’ve stopped and the story would’ve been satisfied until the next, but then she saw how much she still had left to read and was excited. Ebb-and-flow is crucial. CRUCIAL to the success of the story.

I had a difficult time finding a publisher for Mirror Image. Some of which I have chronicled on in previous posts on my blog. I had gotten several publishers that came back saying that they loved my characters and the story, but were wary about publishing it not having read the second book. I was forever thankful to cross paths with Distinguished Press, a publisher who only puts out series. If you’re a writer thinking about or working on a procession of stories, submit to them. I’m grateful and proud to be a part of this team.

In May, my first book in my string will be available. I hope lovers of a great sci-fi story, and sci-fi romance will love Mack, Maddie, John, and the others as much as I do. You can read more about my Mirror series or any of my upcoming books and works in progress by visiting kgstutts.blogspot.com

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Meet Kristina Stutts

book-and-glassesHello, IWA! It’s a pleasure to come aboard and join this group. My name is Kristina and I am the author of Mirror Image, the first book in my Mirror sci-fi series. My Mirror series is centered around a young woman named Maddie, who finds out that she is a clone and must work with her counterpart, who works for a secret government agency to protect the Earth and a coalition of other worlds. I could go on and on about Maddie, but this is supposed to be a post about me, not her or the series.

I have a wonderful husband, Brad, who I am thankful for every day. Lived in the Carolinas most of my life. My parents were in the Air Force, but I didn’t move around a lot as a kid. We were in Texas until they retired then moved to South Carolina when I was nine. I lived in Charleston until meeting Brad and moved up to North Carolina. I graduated from Miller Motte College with a certification in massage therapy, but never took the national boards to get licensed. It’s still something I plan on doing. Just life keeps getting in the way.

I’m one of the biggest nerds you’ll probably ever meet. I love Disney and am probably a walking fact book on the films and parks. I collect Disney waterglobes, most of which is from my favorite film, Beauty and the Beast. I love Star Trek (Original, Next Gen, and Voyager), Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, and Star Wars. Mara Jade is one of my favorite literary characters from the books and comics. Every Christmas, I get something Garfield related. This year, my wonderful husband surprised me with a Webster dictionary that had Garfield cartoons in it. It’s really cool. Hunger Games is one of those series that I can read over and over and not get bored with it.

I can’t stomach horror/slasher movies. I can handle suspense and thrillers, but blood and guts for no reason…I’m a weakling. Zombies especially freak me out. I can’t even deal with zombie comedy movies. I am a sucker for good storytelling. If sex or violence is not essential to the plot, I find it a turn off more than anything.

I’ve had the most random assortment of jobs as well. I’ve been everything from a cashier, to a restaurant mascot, to a Sears photographer, a video game store manager, and customer service professional. I’ve done just about everything in retail and am very glad to no longer be working in that field.

More than ten years ago, I met my husband when I came to North Carolina to train to become a professional wrestler. I’ve always been a fan of wrestling. I actually got knocked out one day while training (completely my fault) and decided that wrestling wasn’t my thing. I’ve been a referee for over ten years, though. I’m a den mother to most of the locker room which gives me countless hours of entertainment. Besides wrestling, I’m a big football and hockey fan. Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks are my hockey teams. Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and whoever is against the Cowboys for my football teams. Would make things easier if I was a hometown fan, but where’s the fun in that?

I save pictures of my phone to send out to friends when they need cheering up. I’m fiercely protective and loyal to my friends and family. If I consider you a part of my circle, there’s not much I wouldn’t do.

To add to my geekdom, I’m also a big gamer. Final Fantasy series (X is my favorite), Kingdom Hearts, most role-playing games, Lego games, and the Legend of Zelda series top my list. I also love Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, The Crazy Ones, and The Newsroom are a handful of my favorite TV shows.

Let’s see…what else…my favorite color is purple. I love cats, but don’t have any due to rules in the complex I live in. The older I get, the more I appreciate 80s and 90s music. I love taking pictures, but hate pictures being taken of me. I am not photogenic at all.

I could continue, but I don’t want to bore you anymore than I probably already have. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of the IWA. Thank you for having me.

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