Hosting Your Website

There are different ways of studying this subject. Some are much more technical than this blog will be. So for a detailed plan of action on hosting, then I suggest you Google ‘hosting your website.’

But I want to discuss the concept of hosting. Recently I blogged about marketing your website. In a sense this is an expansion on that subject.

There are two ways you can go. First, you can have a server such as Godaddy host your domain. The primary advantage of this is that you will have professionals design and maintain your website.

Chances are that the site will look good, attract visitors, and maybe even sell your books.

BUT YOU WON’T OWN IT!

What’s the big deal?

Let’s image for a moment that Godaddy goes belly up. Not likely, but let’s just pretend. Do you know what happens to your website?

It disappears.

You see, you don’t own it. Godaddy does. The domain may still exist (if you own that), but all content is gone, Kaput!

Second, I suggest the following:

  • Buy a domain
  • Make sure it is your name or company name (discussed in previous blog)
  • Do your own hosting

You might object that you don’t have the knowledge to do your own hosting. Well, that is a problem that is easily resolved. There are many companies out there, such as Godaddy, that provide easy to use interfaces that allow you to create dynamic websites.

Godaddy, for instance, has Website Builder. They also offer other hosting programs for relatively inexpensive costs.

I use the Website Builder. It is easy to use, has some powerful tools available, and is low cost.

In my blog about marketing the website I mentioned having good content above the fold. This term refers to when you first bring up the website on your computer or remote device. The fold is the bottom of the screen. You want some good, eye catching content above that fold.

Take a look at our website at www.tr-indbkstore.com. On your computer you immediately see our logo, site title, menu, marquee (showing clickable pictures of our books), our site motto, and the beginning of additional content. On a small cell phone you will see less, but all of this is information you want the visitor to see in the first few seconds.

Why? Because when we visit a site our attention span is very short. If we don’t see something to attract us and scream “Check this out!” then we will likely move on.

All of this was accomplished through Godaddy’s Website Builder. There are other hosting plans by Godaddy and other vendors that are just as strong or maybe stronger.

Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order) taken from Authors Academy:
·         1 and 1 (1and1.com)
1and1.com is a domain registrar that is both trusted and a reliable provider of hosting. Its services pretty much cover all types that are related to domain and Web hosting. Ideal for ITs (Information Technicians) as it has a dedicated server, website builder, SEO services, powerful web hosting, and email solutions.

You can get a domain for only $0.99 (first year) plus up to 5 sub-domains. In addition, it offers ecommerce.

·          Bluehost (Bluehost.com)
Bluehost.com is one of the best at the web hosting services. It is very useful to manage and host your website. Its one click installation of options allows you to easily install Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, Zencart, and WordPress.

·         Dreamhost (Dreamhost.com)
Provides Web Presence Solutions to professionals, individuals and small businesses. Helps customers grow and develop their online presence by providing business class email service, ecommerce solutions, website builder products, digital certificates and web hosting.

·         Godaddy (Godaddy.com)
This is probably one of the best web hosting providers and domain registrar in the world. We use it for our author websites as well as the T&R Independent Bookstore.

Godaddy provides many services in addition to buying a domain ($2.95/year) and hosting ($1.99/month). These are Godaddy website builder, business email accounts, SSL certificates, SEO and other services.

·         Hostgator (Hostgator.com)
It has a popular web hosting service. They provide various types of hosting such as shared hosting, Reseller hosting, and VPS. In addition it provides dedicated server and domain registration.

These are just a few of the options available. Once you choose a hosting plan, dive in. Take their tour (if they offer you one). Learn about their tools and how to use them.

My suggestion is that you program yourself to write your website. That is just a fancy way of saying schedule the work. When people see a huge obstacle or job, it is like seeing an elephant. I always ask people, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?”

They usually give me a blank look until I answer, “By eating one bite at a time.”

And that is good advice when designing your website. Take your time, accomplish one task at a time. Before you know it the job will be done.

If you liked this blog visit our Facebook page, like it and post a comment.

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 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. Authors Academy provides training in writing, publishing, and marketing.

The World That Was: Rodinia

Last issue we looked at the Resources I used. Today we are going to take a scientific look at how I came up with Pangaea, plus new discoveries.

First of all I am a fervent believer that an author has the responsibility to make his novels as realistic as possible. I am not referring to language or graphics, but rather to the underlining facts the novel is based on.

When I wrote Perished: The World That Was I used the latest information that I could find. That was 2010. Since then there has been increased details coming forth.

In fact, up until 2014 it was believed that a supercontinent called Pangaea was the world wherein the events of Perished would have taken place. Now we know that there was another previous supercontinent.

According to scientists the original supercontinent was Rodinia (Russian for “Mother Earth.”). While much is known about Pangaea they are still debating on the structure of Rodinia.

We do know that the Appalachians (located in Eastern U.S), Caledonians (located in the UK and Scandinavia), were not in existence at that time. Nor were many other modern mountain ranges.

When the Flood occurred Rodinia broke up and pieces of it formed Pangaea, which was underwater. They suggest that Pangaea lasted only a few weeks until our modern continents were formed.

This blog is not meant to be a scientific resource, but you can see how the dynamics of telling the story has changed. In fact, I am currently doing a rewrite of my very first book Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles as a Special Edition with a new title. This book will reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the subject of the Flood and, for that matter, the Ark.

Which brings me to the point I want to make: When writing a novel based in history always use resources that cover geography, climate, flora, fauna, manners, customs, and whatever else you can find.

For example, by including the latest facts in the novel the story will resonate with the readers, especially any who might know a thing or two about that historical period.

Some day I may rewrite Perished. If I do I will certainly include new information, thus enriching the reading experience.

For a list of resources I refer you to my recent blog on resources. You should find that a good starting place.

If you want to comment on this or any blog posts, please feel free to post your comments at RFrederickRiddlesWorld on Facebook.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

First Person Point of View

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (your’s or the character’s) view of the world.

 Before looking at the viewpoints let me give you another related principle: Make sure your reader knows when the character is thinking and when he is speaking. And try to avoid “he thought” or “she thought.”

 We are going to take a look at 1st Person.

 This is essentially “I”, “Me”, “Mine”. The POV is from the speaker. He/She tells the story from His/Her perspective. Personally, I don’t like this POV but I have read some excellent books using that technique.

 There are a few advantages to this viewpoint, such as:

  • Instant involvement

Because the reader is inside the character’s head all thoughts and actions are immediately known. There is no delay.

  • Language

Because the reader is inside the head and knows the thoughts of the character the reader is able to instantly know the education, and class of the character.

  • Range

How the character thinks. The reader learns a great deal about the character because every facet of his/her thinking is open to the reader.

 But there are also disadvantages; such as

  • it requires the presence of the character in virtually all scenes.

  • the character can’t keep secrets from the reader. If the character knows something, we do also.

  • you cannot include any information that the character doesn’t know. In other words, you know what the character knows. No more and no less.

  • The “I” becomes both you and the character. This can be troubling.

  • limited view. Since you only know what the character knows there is a whole world of unknowns.

First Person, in my opinion, is harder to write and to pull off. Some authors do and succeed quite well. I have read some excellent first person narratives. A recent example is The Knight by Steven James.

This is an excellent book that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The author wrote the book in first person, so I knew everything the hero (Patrick Bowers) knew. But the author threw some third person events into the fray as well. Thus, in chapters involving the hero I knew what he knew, but in other scenes I saw more and knew more. Even so, the author kept me wondering who the villain was until almost the end of the book.

That’s quite an accomplishment for any writer. I’ve read quite a lot of books and consider myself pretty good at figuring out the villian. But by deftly mixing the first person accounts and third person accounts the author kept me from guessing the outcome.

So if you are good at the craft you can write an entertaining novel in the first person. But be forewarned: it can be unwieldy. Therefore, unless you have a great deal of experience in writing, I would recommend you stay away from it.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing: Your Website

Book Marketing: Your Website

Your website should be an integral part of your book marketing efforts. Today I will discuss some of the basics of website development.

 First of all, you need a website. I use Godaddy, but there are plenty of potential hosts out there. Today’s blog is not about the various hosts although I may blog on that in the future. Rather, today I am going to assume you have purchased a domain.

 Why?

 Because when you own your domain, you have more control of the site and the content. For example, if you decided at some point that you are unhappy with your website host, you can move to another host.

 Another reason for owning your own domain is that you can have a domain that is keyed to your name. When I first started out I bought rfrederickriddle.com as my domain. As you can see it was keyed to my author’s name. Recently we (T&R Independent Books) bought the domain tr-indbkstore.com, which again reflects our company name.

 As the owner of rfrederickriddle.com I was able to cancel the content on the site and redirect it to the T&R site. So I retained my professional name brand and people searching for me are redirected to my home page on T&R’s site. That is only one positive of domain ownership.

 This blog is not big enough to go in to great detail on web development, but there are a few points that need to be made.

  1. White background is often better that dark. (Don’t believe me, visit a site having a dark background and quite often it is hard to read the content.)

  2. Put eye-catching content above the fold (making the content the first thing visitors see).

  3. Highlight your book(s)

  4. Link to your blog, newsletter, and social sites.

 There is much more. But the above are generally agreed to be important.

 The title of this blog is marketing your website. So let’s discuss promoting the website itself. There are ways available to you to promote your site, such as:

  1. Facebook page

  2. Facebook ads

  3. Twitter page

  4. Twitter ads

  5. Your email signature

  6. Your blog

  7. Your newsletter

  8. SEO

  9. Word of Mouth

 These are just a few methods available. Each could be discussed in a separate blog.

The key here is that you put some effort in letting word get out about your website. It won’t be overnight. Be prepared for a long term effort. Your website’s visibility will grow.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Resources

The World That Was: Resources

Last issue we looked at the Historical Perspective. Today we are going to take a look at the Resources or Tools that I used.

 In the issue on Historical Perspective I was actually using several tools. There were a host of resources (tools) I used. Biblical Research is more than a tool – it is a system of tools I use. Each one of us have a system. So I am not promoting a particular system. Rather I am trying to get you to be as prepared as possible. Use your system as full as possible.

 Let’s look at some of the tools you have available. Some of these are aimed directly at Biblical information, but others are more recent.

  1.  Answers in Genesis (online Biblical resource)

  2. American History (Google this)

  3. Books on the Manners and Customs of the Bible (Library or Google)

  4. Books on the Manners and Customs of differing countries (Library or Google)

  5. Civil War books (Library or Google)

  6. Google search (almost any subject can be found here)

  7. History books (especially older ones predating the evolutionist influence)

  8. Institute for Creation Research (online Biblical resource)

  9. Revolutionary War (Library or Google)

  10. The Holy Bible (It is loaded with history)

  11. World History books (Library or Google)

 And the list goes on. These are the kind of tools I might use since I write on ancient history (especially Biblical history) and American History. The point is that there is a great deal of information at your fingertips for whatever subject you are interested in writing about.

 The computer and Internet has revolutionized how and what we can research. Use it!

Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

 

What About Characters?

What About Characters?

Last week I discussed Genre. I thought about continuing that discussion with more in-depth information on the different types of genre. But I decided to move on to developing characters. This blog is not meant to be a training program. There is more involved than can be revealed in a blog. For actual training you might want to check out Authors Academy (and get a free book on Setting Up Your Business).

As I said, I will now talk on character development.

It is well to consider that your characters are human and humans have desires and flaws. When creating a character make him/her as real as possible.

For example, mankind has a perpetual desire to return to the innocence of the Garden of Eden. Some people believe this and some don’t, but all have it. Some even envision an idyllic world where man is at peace with his surroundings, himself, and with God.

How does this impact a novel? The truth is that every novel ever written or to be written is impacted in some way. The degree of impact will depend on the author’s understanding of that desire and ability to put it to paper.

The exciting thing is that your fictional characters start out with nothing and you can build on that. Then again, your character may be a real person. In the book Perished: The World That Was many of the characters were real, lifted right off the pages of the Bible.

Therefore some characteristics or traits were already known. Even so I was able to take those few facts and develop the characters further.

In the case of Adam there was a constant inner desire to return to the Garden where he walked with God. But that was impossible. So what did he do? In Perished he built a small garden within his home and called it Little Eden. It was a place for quiet meditation or important meetings. That yearning was never really addressed but it expressed itself several times within the story.

Principle

Build on what is known.

If the character is drawn from history, you should be able to discern some of his/her characteristics. But don’t stop there. Using what you know and your imagination try to put yourself in that character’s situation. How does he/she react to change? What is her/his temperament?

For example, in Perished: The World That Was I knew certain things about Adam and Eve. They were created perfect, they sinned, and were expelled from the garden. I also knew that both tried to blame someone else for their sin (and ultimately blamed God). Then of course I knew they became parents, suffered the tragedy of Abel’s murder by Cain, and had to start their family all over.

But these facts raised questions. Did they miss the garden? Where and how did they live? What was their reaction to Abel’s murder? And many more questions.

Answering those questions rounded out the lives of both Adam and Eve. Although no mention is made of it in history, I had Adam build a house with a small courtyard that he called Little Eden. Here he would go to meditate, pray, and have meetings with the VIPs of the day. All based on my stepping into his shoes and asking, Would I have missed Eden? The answer was a definite YES.

If your character is entirely fictional you can create whatever characteristics you want. Just be careful and review them. You don’t want to create a character that is unbelievable. Again, place the character in different situations and imagine how he/she would react. Basically it is the same as with a real person, except that here you have a clean slate.

If you are a beginning or established writer you already have one of the tools to do this – it’s called your imagination.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing SEO and Links

Book Marketing SEO and Links

A strange title isn’t it?

 Basically what I am talking about is using links to build your SEO.

SEO is that dreaded word that we all agree we need, but don’t always know how to go about it. We will be looking in the next few weeks at different SEO techniques. I am starting with Links because I believe it is a very important action and it is an action you can easily perform.

 I am assuming that you have a website, either managed by you or someone you have hired. If not, I will be discussing that at a later time.

 Here’s a principle you should adopt: Never pay for links!

 There are those of you out there that may take issue with that, which is fine. But if you are going to do it, I recommend CAUTION. Some providers use shady techniques and still others are outright scams.

 A simple way is to establish links between your assets. For example, I have a blog (you’re reading it), a newsletter, and company website. All of these are capable of doing two way linkage. I also have my author domain which links to the company website and I can link to my products on Amazon. And of course there is Facebook and Twitter.

 For instance, to two-way link my blog with my website I simply went to my website and created under Services the word Blog and a brief description. I highlighted Blog and linked it to the url for the blog. With that I immediately created a link to this blog. On this side I simply put T&R Independent Books in my boiler plate (see below) and linked it to the website url.

 You can also place links from your website (say a product page) to a particular Amazon page. I have linked this blog to Amazon’s authors page where the user can view all my books.

 It is not only easy to do, it is valuable. I am not an expert on SEO or on Google, but it is my understanding that Google includes links, especially backlinks, in their search formula, which affects your search results. Our website has backlinks with Goodreads, PRLOG (Press Release service), and Facebook. So our website has both links and backlinks which has long range positive prospects for the site.

 Does your website have links/backlinks with your Facebook business page, your Twitter account, your Amazon authors page, or your blog? In the future we will discuss each of these services that you should have. But if you have them make sure you have them linked!

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Historical Perspective

The World That Was: Historical Perspective

Last Wednesday I blogged about an Introduction to The World That Was. Today is the second in the series of blogs devoted to this subject. Last time I discussed how I got the title and subtitle of the first book of the series.

 Today I want to discuss the historical perspective.

 When the idea came to write my first novel, Refuge: The Genesis Record, it came as a result of a Bible study I was doing. And some of the facts recorded in the book came directly from the Bible. But since the Bible was written to instruct us about man’s relationship to God there were only some basic facts given, such as the blue print God gave Noah of the Ark.

 I was immediately faced with a problem. This world we live in now isn’t really interested in the Flood or pre-Flood history. Go backwards a couple hundred years and the interest would have been much higher allowing for a writer to easily discover facts and theories pertaining to the pre-Flood world.

 So I had a problem: How do I discover a factual basis, in addition to the Bible, to lay a strong foundation for a book? You might wonder why that would be necessary given I was writing fiction. My response is easy: I believe that the more facts the writer can discover, the richer his/her novel will be.

 The Pre-Flood World

 I love history. Period! So it is not surprising that I looked to history for the answers. And I discovered an amazing fact. A sophisticated society grew up within 500 years after the Ark landed on Mt. Ararat! While 500 years sounds like a lot of time in our personal worlds, from a historical point of view it is a very brief time.

 So I had discovered a perplexing situation. Although historical records of the pre-Flood era were gone except for the Biblical record, this 500 year miraculous rising of a sophisticated society demanded my attention. I quickly realized that the only way for such rapid development was if the people had carried over the flood a library, if you will, of knowledge.

 With that perspective in mind, the pre-Flood world was suddenly opened up. I could study the post-Flood world, combine it with the Biblical record, and arrive at a plausible, perhaps accurate, view of life before the Flood.

 Another factor that influenced me was the genius factor. As I read the Bible it was quite apparent that Adam and Eve were very intelligent. Scientists say we only use maybe 10% of our brain power. But if God created them perfect in all their ways (certainly implied in chapters one and two of Genesis) then they probably used a much higher percent of their brain power. We would probably call them geniuses if they were alive today.

 So I now that a perspective on Adam and Eve as two highly intelligent individuals who produced children and descendents who were also intelligent. I also had a window into their world to see what they had accomplished in 1656 years. And I had a Biblical account that highlighted some of the achievements.

 Now it only took a few minutes for me to describe the process involved, but it took days, weeks, and months of research to put it all together. You may never face the problem I first faced, but whatever genre you write in it will be necessary to do research. Some times it will be easy and at other times you may need to really dig for that nugget of information.

 The process for me was very rewarding. I learned more than I could ever include in my book. In addition, I was able to create a vibrant world that was believable and consistent with the Biblical record. Plus the characters were not merely one dimensional but were well rounded with strengths and weaknesses.

 So what am I saying? Basically this: Be willing to do the hard research. You may run into a wall, but don’t let that stop you. If the obvious research isn’t productive, think outside the box. What other ways can you discover the information?

 Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

What’s the Big Deal With Genre?

What’s the Big Deal With Genre?

In Author’s Academy we teach more in-depth on genre, covering genre in general and the different types of genres. The following is taken from but does not include all of the material on genre in general.

 First, we need to explain Genre. It is defined in Wikipedia as: A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

 In the Academy we cover the three main Genre (Children, Young Adult, and Adult) along with their subgroups.

 Principle

 Discovering your genre will be a valuable aid not only in marketing, but in the writing and publishing of your book.

 Don’t brush this aside. When I first began writing I didn’t even know what genre was, let alone which one I was under. At best I knew that I was writing fiction.

 As time went on I began understanding the meaning and importance of genre. The more I learned, the better my writing and my marketing.

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 Tip #1 – Take a close look at your writing. It is probably more than a single genre. And that is good!

 Tip #2 – Identify all the genres your book would fit within.

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 Example

In my case I write both fiction and non-fiction. In the fiction arena my genres have been American History, and ancient history. But my writing genres are also: Adventure, Romance, and even some Mystery.

My non-fiction works have been on American History, Bible History, Politics, and How To.

 Application

Identifying your genres will be crucial when you get around to marketing your books. It will also help you in determining such things as your audience.

 For example, when launching an ad (say Adwords or Facebook) you’ll want to define your potential audience based on the genre. That is only one factor, but it is an important factor. You don’t want to market your book to people who aren’t likely to read it.

 As stated in the Principle it also affects your writing and publishing. In writing, knowing your genre keeps you on mark. Meanwhile in publishing, it helps you in selecting your publisher, unless you are self-publishing.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing: An Introduction

Book Marketing: An Introduction

In today’s blog I am beginning a series on book marketing. My goal is to provide you with some solid content that you can use. I may discuss different tools you can use or resources that are available to you.

I plan for this series to appear on Fridays.

Let’s get started.

Any new series needs an introduction. So here goes.

Shortly after writing my first novel I came face to face with the realization that most, if not all, the marketing was up to me. While publishers will offer tools you can use, they don’t normally do the marketing unless you happen to be a celebrity.

My first experience in marketing was Book Signing. Back then you went to a local bookstore and offered them a share of the profits if you could have a table. The concept being they order the books, the customer buys them, and you sign or autograph them.

Simple, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

The first problem I came up against was the bias against self-published books. Some stores simply weren’t interested, while others had to be convinced. So I quickly learned to do my homework and find out what my publisher’s book return policy was (this was a major issue with the stores).

But eventually I did get into some stores.

The next thing I learned was that each store has a different policy. In one store I shared a table with another author, while in another store I had my own table. Another fact I learned was that you were assigned a four hour space of time. This was fairly uniform with all the stores.

Was it successful?

Depends on what you mean by successful. Did I sell a ton of books? No, but such expectations are unrealistic. Book signing is low volume. By that I mean that unless you are a celebrity the number of books sold at a book signing is relatively low. In my case, I probably averaged about 5 per hour for 4 hours.

How did it work?

The book store would order the books and provide them to me for the four hours I was there. Customers would come up to the table, take a book, go to the cashier, and purchase the book. Then they came to me for the book to be signed.

Another way was for me to sign the book and then they would take it to purchase. But there was a big problem with that scene. Once, maybe twice, I had someone come to my table, say they were going to purchase my book, and I signed it. Then they left. Later the signed book was found on a shelf by a clerk and returned to me. It was basically useless because it was signed and maybe included the person’s name. Not recommended.

Book signing is still valid. It is still hard to get into stores, especially chains. Not because of bias, although that still exists, but with chains you often have to contact the corporate office and get approved. That said, if you are an author it is still worth your while.

Why?

Because it is personal. People can personally meet you and get your signature. It is also usually local, which enhances your local reputation.

Just remember not to focus all your time on it. In today’s internet world you need to spend your time on the internet. But more on that in another blog.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.