Tuesday, July 9, 2019

#GuestPost and #BookSpotlight - "Thirty-Three Days" by Stephen B. King

Congratulations on your RONE nomination for Thirty-Three Days, Stephen B. King, and thank you for sharing your journey into writing.

From Stephen... 

Follow your dreams, and never give up.

Completely out of the blue, recently, I received an email to say one of my books, Thirty-Three Days, had reached the final round of eighteen in the Suspense/Thriller category of the prestigious RONE Awards for 2019. To say I was shocked, and surprised would be the understatement of the year, because I didn’t nominate it – a reviewer did. To understand why I was so gobsmacked, you need to know a little about my history, and the book’s.

1969 was a seminal year for me. I was nearing fifteen, and it was the best part of the sixties. I know a lot of people thought the earlier period was more memorable; the hippies, make love not war, flower power etc changed the way the youth of the day thought and acted. But, by 1969, being a teenager in that period was an amazing time to be alive. The UK was the hub of the universe, it seemed. The Beatles had influenced musicians and bands to experiment, and the scene had moved from a pop culture, to a rock/underground electric guitar, hallucinogenic inspired, back beat driven hard sound – and that attracted me like a Bee to a flower.

Bands like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and many others had changed the musical landscape forever, and as their songs are still played by mainstream radio stations today all over the world, I rest my case. LSD, acid, and speed were rife because it was cheap, and women had the freedom of the birth control pill for some time. It all went into the melting pot that contributed to create the well-worn cliché of: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. It was that era that spawned the saying, and for very good reason.

My family lived in the South of England in the coastal city of Portsmouth, and my two most vivid memories of 1969 are the town being inundated with French girls in summer who wanted to perfect their English studies before their final exams, and secondly, hitchhiking to London for rock concerts in Hyde Park.

Is it any wonder then, that even though I had a deep love of English as a subject at school, I had no desire to be there? It’s safe to say, that during the last year, I attended less than a third of the lessons. So, when I was called to the headmaster’s office and told to leave before I was expelled – I jumped at the chance. The only teacher I went to see to say goodbye, was Mrs Stewart, English, and she was dismayed that I was giving up. I hadn’t missed any of her classes you see, because I loved that she loved any creative writing project I submitted. But my mind was made up, I had too much to do before I died, and staying at school wasn’t one of them. I had the mentality of everyone my age back then: live hard, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse. It took years for me to realise just how stupid that saying was.

I always, and I do mean always yearned to write. Poems, short stories, and every now and again, a novel. I had seventeen poems published, God knows how, and won two short story writing competitions, but rock music was calling my name. My family moved to Australia in 1971, and that was where it was all going to happen for me. Eventually I moved East, alone, determined to get over my shattered heart that Gail had left me with, and make a fresh start. (I wonder what ever happened to her?)

I learnt guitar, joined a rock band, began putting my poems to music, and lived the life I’d always yearned to live – being a rock star. Alas, just because you play guitar and write songs, doesn’t mean you make it to the big time – very much like being an author, as I’ve discovered. Real life began to creep in, I met a woman, we moved in together, had a daughter, and, eventually, I sold my guitars, and joined the rat race. But I never lost my dream of being a writer. Many years went by, a second daughter, a failed marriage, then a new one that worked and three more children, and still I dreamt of being a real author.

Thirty-Three Days was my sixth book (I’m in editing now with number ten) and it was rejected by over a hundred agents and publishers. It was written when my youngest daughter turned eighteen after a dream I woke from, around four in the morning. I intended to self-publish it because I thought it was better than the so-called experts inferred by their rejections. But then I won a Twitter competition, which got me a free edit on three chapters and of my query letter from a well-respected editor, Mica. She told me I should make chapter one, two, and vice-versa. It was a lightbulb moment and I performed yet another full re-write, submitted it to six publishers and got two offers to contract it.

The point to this story is that I’ve never been trained in English literature, but I always believed I could tell a good story. Like all authors, the more I’ve written, the better I’ve become at the craft, but…… of all the books to be nominated for a Suspense/Thriller Rone, for mine to reach the finals? Pinch me, someone.

Of course, I have a wonderful editor with my publisher, and were it not for Mica, that first editor who told me to change the order of the chapters, it wouldn’t have got a NY publisher for it, but still…….a literary award finalist, me? Nahhhh, surely not.

As I write this, it’s about three weeks from the announcement of the culling of twelve books to get down to six for the last round of judging. Pinch me again……what was that? Professional judging by editors and publishers? Surely not. Will Thirty-Three Days make it to the last six? It would be incredible if it did, but do you know what? For me, I’m already a winner, I made it this far, a kid who got kicked out of school at age fifteen to join a rock band.

And, what’s important about that is that it reinforces the life’s lesson I’ve tried to instil in my children, that I now pass on to you. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are too old, too fat, too ugly or too anything to reach your dreams. Never give up, never stop striving, and you can achieve anything.

Thank you for reading

Thirty-Three Days Blurb:

Jenny is a lonely university lecturer who's consciousness has traveled back in time to her younger body to try to save the future of the world. A young microbiologist is going to release a genetically modified wheat that will mutate and ultimately destroy all plant life, leaving nothing but barren windswept dust bowls. In the past, Jenny finds a love that has been missing from her life; the kind that comes just once in a lifetime. But Jenny can only stay in that time period for thirty-three days. Meanwhile, in the future, fearful Jenny will fail, plans are made to send another back in time--an assassin. How can she choose between saving the man she loves or saving the future?

Amazon buy linkhttp://a.co/bNiGS59

A short excerpt when Jenny is with Iain on the way to meet his son, Brad, the man who will if unchecked inadvertently create the blight by genetically engineering a strain of wheat that will mutate:

“It’s not my place to say, but as you know I teach Environmental Studies. There is a lot of fear and worry about the potential long-term effects of genetically modifying basic food supplies. Historically, man does not have a good track record with interfering in the natural order of things.”

“Oh, I’m so looking forward to long discussions between the two of you.”

“Me too, but what do you think?” She wanted to know if he would be an ally in the discussions to come.

“Me? What do I know? I’m just a truck driver; he has the brains. I’m not even sure with what you mean by the track record we have.”

“Well, a couple of things come to mind which have dramatically affected us here in Australia. Cane Toads for one thing.”

“But they weren’t genetically modified, surely?”

“No, but they were introduced into the sugar growing areas of Northern Queensland in 1935 in a hope to combat a beetle which was at the time devastating crops. The beetle eats the leaves of sugar cane, but the larvae which live deep in the ground, eat the roots, too deep for normal pesticides. So, just so people can have lots of sugar in their soft drinks, make cakes with, or sprinkle on their breakfast cereal, the cane toad was released to attack the beetle. About one hundred of them were set free, apparently under strict control, in and around Cairns and Innisfail. They originated from Hawaii, and they have since spread like wildfire, killing many native species because of the toxin on their skin. They look good to eat, and they are slow, therefore easy to catch by carnivores, and boy do they breed! You bet they do. But one bite on their toxic skin and the predator dies. They have marched north and westwards, killing pretty much everything that tries to attack them.

“They have been described as ‘the greatest risk ever to Australian biodiversity.’ That was the Kakadu National Park’s risk assessment, by the way, in the Northern Territory, which shows how far they have traveled. They now reside in the North of Western Australia, gaining something like thirty miles a day, and spreading south. They will be in Perth before you know it. Think about the geography, and the landscape, Iain, and you will realize they have traveled something like five thousand miles. The government of the day did not contemplate the future risk, only the short-term benefits.”

“Hmm, I see. I hadn’t thought of that before. But surely we have stricter controls these days, don’t we?”

“Ah, but do we? I’m not so sure. When there is big money involved, the promise of massive profits tends to make people in authority turn a blind eye. There are lots of other examples.”

“Such as?”

“Foxes, goats, camels, rabbits to name a few, all imported into our environment, for some short term gain or other, and all have devastated our ecology, and bred out of control. Australia has a unique eco-balance and when something is introduced which doesn’t belong, the effects can be catastrophic, and far-reaching. Honey Bees, and European Wasps are so firmly entrenched they are now impossible to eradicate, and the list goes on and on. The Fire Ant is a particularly nasty threat but is so far contained in Northern Queensland, for how long no one can guess. They have a poisonous sting which can kill humans, and if, or should I say when, they break out, it could cause a massive problem for us. Living underground as they do, they can be very hard to stop, if not impossible.”

“Jesus, I can see I might have to come between you and Brad at the dinner table.”

“Oh, I think healthy debate is a good thing, don’t you?” She squeezed his thigh again. She did not want to get too heavily involved in discussions of a nature which might affect their relationship. Not too early in the piece anyway. There would be time enough in the weeks to come.

Social Media links

Twitter: @stephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor

Check out my website and blog for fee stories and previews.

Backlist Titles

Forever Night
The Vigilante Taxi
Burial Ground

Titles Published by The Wild Rose Press

Thirty Three Days

The Deadly Glimpses Trilogy:
Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer
Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths
Glimpse, The Tender Killer


  1. What a story. An inspiration to never give up. CONGRATULATIONS 🥳

  2. Congratulations on your nomination!

  3. Congrats! Enjoyed your trailer. Best wishes for success.

  4. Thanks for sharing! Best of luck with your sales.

  5. Enjoyed reading your journey, Stephen. Keeping everything crossed you'll get that RONE Award! All the best! xo

  6. This book sounds do interesting, and I've heard such good things about it. Book video is great.

  7. Thank you everyone for commenting! Stephen's book sounds great and his writing journey really is an inspiration!

  8. Thanks so much for hosting me Amber, and thanks to everyone for dropping by.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.