The World That Was: Enoch

We have been looking at how I wrote The World That Was series. Today I will take a look at character developmenPerished - the hardcovert as it relates to Enoch.

Let’s begin by taking a look at Scripture:

“And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

Aside from this passage in Genesis 5:18-24 you also have a passage in Jude:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Basically that is all you have in the Bible about this great man of God. I recently came across a site that contends that Enoch was a black man and that is the reason the Book of Enoch is not in the Bible. Pure garbage.

But was he black? We really don’t know. However, recent scientific discoveries and theories demonstrate that Adam and Eve probably had all the genes necessary for their descendants to have different coloring. In fact, Ham was probably black or near black and not because of any curse. He was born that way.

I won’t spend a lot of time on this subject but the idea of races and racism itself did not come along until the rise of evolution. The Bible speaks of one race, of one blood. Racism is not found in the Bible and has no place in Christendom. You do find national envy and hatred in the Bible, but not racism.

But who was Enoch?

According to the Scriptures he was a faithful man of God. According to Jude he was a preacher, perhaps a prophet. He was also a father and grandfather, so he had a family.

When writing about him in Perished: The World That Was I zeroed in on his faith. I could easily picture him traveling about and preaching to people. Although the Bible doesn’t say, I imagined him training others to also worship and serve God.

Here is a case of taking a little information and expanding upon it. I built an entire character on only a little bit of fact. But I did so without violating the Scriptures themselves. Sometimes a character like Enoch proves easy to develop partly from lack of information.

What principle can you take from this?

First, don’t let the absence of facts stop you. Secondly, take the few facts you have and place the character in situations where those facts might trigger your imagination.

Remember that I said in my article on Adam that I believe your imagination is the most valuable tool a writer possesses. If you can put yourself within your character and express the result to your readers, you have the beginning of a successful story.

Imagination is something we emphasize in Authors Academy. While having an imagination is something you have or don’t (and if you don’t you are in the wrong business), but we can give you principles for employing it.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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.

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GRAMMAR

Your grammar must be perfect!

Right?

Depends on who you talk to and the specifics involved. Here is my take:

Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. For example, let’s say one of your characters only has a ninth grade education.

You would not want that character talking like a professor. For that matter, you really don’t want any of your characters to talk that way unless they actually are professors.

Now I don’t recommend that you try to imitate slang and accents, but just be cautious. Maybe allow a character to have a favorite saying. In Perished: The World That Was I had Methuselah with a favorite saying, “So God has said, so shall it be.”

Which brings up a related principle: Be consistent. If I later had someone else using that same phrase it could have been a jolt. Be consistent.

So here’s the principle: When you are dealing with conversation (or even thoughts) you can and should be less than perfect but consistent. Everything else should be perfect.

Aside from speaking, there is the matter of punctuation and spelling. With the tools available this should never be a problem, but it does sometimes. It is therefore necessary to check your spelling and punctuation as often as possible.

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Tips

Be consistent. If Bob is talking like a country boy on page 2 and a professor on page 132, you better have shown a transformation. Your reader will spot inconsistencies!

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 Example

The boys is clothed alike. This is poor grammar.

The boys are clothed alike. Much better.

“You guys look the same.” OK.

“The boys is clothed alike,” Martha said. OK, if this is consistent with Martha’s education.

Application

Both my wife and I try to watch our grammar usage. One of the tools we use is Microsoft Word’s grammar checker. It’s not perfect, but it helps. Also, we use the spell check, but it is not always up-to-date.

Other resources are grammar books (especially older versions that really emphasized good grammar), and the internet.

Make use of as many resources as needed. And pay attention to grammar and punctuation when editing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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: Blogging

Obviously I believe in blogging. But how about blogging as a marketing tool?

There are several reasons for blogging:

  1. For the fun of it.
  2. To be helpful to others.
  3. To market a product or service.
  4. To promote an event.

While I do enjoy blogging I am not in it for the fun of it. However, I do want to be helpful, I do want to market myself, and sometimes I do want to promote an event.

All of these are legitimate reasons for blogging. When I first started blogging the primary reason was to market myself, but that is no longer the case.

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about writing, publishing, and marketing. I have not only learned, but I have formed strong opinions. And I want to help other writers learn the same skills I learned without the same hard work.

Blogging enables me to communicate truths, techniques, and ideas to you for your benefit. This information is free to you because I believe it is necessary for every writer to know.

As for marketing, yes blogging is still a valid marketing tool. Through blogging I make people aware of the Authors Academy where they can study at a low cost (currently at a reduced price of a one-time fee of $7.00).

I can also blog about my books. I genuinely believe that my novels bring historical characters, especially Biblical characters, alive and perhaps give the reader insights they may not have known.

Do you blog? If so, what is your purpose?

Mine, of course, is writing, publishing, and marketing. Although I may at times stray from that theme, it dominates the blog. When I first knew I wanted to write I sought instruction. But it was not widely available. I did find one source that was helpful, but it wasn’t free. It was a low cost monthy subscription.

But when hard financial times struck I could no longer afford the monthly cost and had to drop out. This meant that it took me a lot longer to learn my craft. It was for that reason that Authors Academy eventually was started: to provide a good solid foundation for anyone desiring to write a book.

I recommend you blog. Find a subject that you know and focus on it. Get a blog host (I use Word Press). Then start blogging!

It will take a while to build a following, but it is worth it. But try to establish a pattern. The more often you blog and the more you blog each week will eventually draw followers.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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: Adam

We have been looking at how I wrote The World That Was series. Today I will take a look at character development as it relates to Adam.

You might wonder what could possibly be difficult about creating the character Adam? After all, he is the primary character, other than God, in the first four chapters of Genesis. What’s so difficult?

It was difficult for the very reason that Adam is so well known. Anybody who has read those first four chapters has formed in their mind an image of what he was like. And the Bible gives insights. My task therefore required me to be very careful to make his personality fit what the Bible describes and hints at.

First, here are some basic facts found in the Bible:

1.     Adam was created from earth (clay?) by God
2.     Adam was the first human
3.     God gave him great intelligence (his offspring invented music, worked with brass (mining & industrial processes), established religion and more
4.     God placed him in the Garden of Eden
5.     God gave him a wife
6.     God fellowshipped with them morning & night (cool of day)
7.     Adam sinned
8.     Adam was expelled from the Garden
9.     Adam believed and worshipped God
10. Adam fathered at least three sons and possible three or more daughters

These are ten basic facts. You can discover more by studying the Bible. It provides a general insight into the man. But I needed more.

So how did I do it?

The first thing was to become familiar with his story as it is related in the Bible. Being something of a Bible student that wasn’t hard. I also needed to be aware of his unique relationship with God plus his life with Eve in and out of the Garden.

That last point provided me the spark my imagination needed. What was the Garden like? I did a lot of research on gardens, but eventually I settled on the fact that this was not like some backyard garden. It probably was more like the Amazon.

It was a perfect world that Adam found himself within. And when God created Eve, he had a perfect wife! This was all before sin corrupted us, so such perfection can not be found today. (I love my wife dearly, but she has a sin nature just like me, so that rules out perfection. Although she comes close.)

As I studied these questions I was able to put Adam in differing situations. This required me to step inside the man and become him. Then it was, As Adam how do I react to the Garden? What fascinates me? How do I relate to Woman (Eve)? These questions triggered my imagination.

More difficult than that was Adam’s relationship with God, his Creator. As Adam how did I view God? As Creator? As my Friend? Myriad possibilities. Added to that I had to be very careful about God Himself.

In writing about God I followed a very simple principle: Not to have God do anything or say anything that was not found elsewhere in the Bible. That was tough, but I believe I held to that principle successfully. Thus, the God of my novel was consistent with the God of the Bible.

Actually that principle is good for writing about any well-known historical figure. But it was an absolute must regarding God.

Back to Adam. Another principle I employed was: put myself in his shoes (so to speak). I referred to that above. But it is important enough to go deeper. When writing about your characters, especially your primary character, it is a big plus if you can become that character.

For example, I needed to put myself in Adam’s character and imagine my reaction to the first sin. That wasn’t impossible since I know how I feel whenever I sin; it is terrible guilt! With Adam it would have been magnified! And then there was the expulsion! The Garden of Eden was his home, the only home he had known. How did he feel and how did he react to being cast out?

Identifying with Adam enabled me to demonstrate his sorrow, his strength to handle the murder of Abel, and the building of “Little Eden.” This last was my imagination let loose. If I had been Adam I would have felt tremendous guilt, but I also would have remember the wonderful days in Eden. And I wouldn’t want to forget it! Thus, when I built my first home, and everyone thereafter, I would have built within the house a small place (perhaps a courtyard) where I could meditate and remember God. I might even call it “Little Eden.”

Once I had the character of Adam clearly embedded in my mind, I was able to trace out his history as the years went by and he faced different scenarios, virtually all for the first time.

All in all it was quite a humbling and satisfying experience. I used two very important principles:

1.     Not to have God do anything or say anything that was not found elsewhere in the Bible.

2.     Put myself in my character’s shoes.

I believe that your imagination is the most valuable tool a writer possesses. If you can put yourself within your character and express the result to your readers, you have the beginning of a successful story.

Imagination is something we emphasize in Authors Academy. While having an imagination is something you have or don’t (and if you don’t you are in the wrong business), but we can give you principles for employing it.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

– – – – – – –

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.

GENRE

First, let’s 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.

Principle

There are many Genre subgroups. So you, the author, must decide which subgroup(s) your writing fits. 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.

Tips

Take a close look at your writing. It is probably more than a single genre. And that is good! Identify all the genres your book would fit within.

Example

In my case I write both fiction and non-fiction. In the fiction arena my genres have been American History, and Bible 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. This is very important as you will want to specify who your marketing efforts are aimed at. Otherwise you might be putting forth great ads with excellent content but reaching an audience that is not interested. And that would be a disaster!

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.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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.

Multiple Third Person

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (yours or the character’s) view of the world. Last Monday we looked at Third Person viewpoint. Today we take a look at Multiple Third Person.

 Imagine yourself as a reader who gets to read the minds of the characters. Not necessarily all the time, but at critical times. It gives you, the reader, the power and knowledge to understand what is going on to a greater degree.

 In Third Person Viewpoints you are reading or “listening” to the thoughts of the primary character. But in Multiple Third Person Viewpoints this is multiplied so that the reader has the opportunity to grasp more and understand more.

 That being said, I would not suggest too many characters at one time. Generally I try to limit to two or three characters. And only with the primary character do I have constant contact.

If you have more than one character with a POV you need to transition from one to another. Here’s the problem: Your reader is in the head of one of the characters and suddenly you switch to another character’s POV.

This can be very disruptive to the reader. You must transition from one character to another to keep the reader engaged.

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 Tip #1 – Generally, multiple characters with observable viewpoints should be introduced early. However, in books spanning many years it is possible to distant them (as in Perished: The World That Was).

 Tip #2 – Unless you are truly great with prose keep your primary character as your primary POV. In books like Perished you can change the primary character but make sure the transition is smooth.

 Tip #3 – You must transition between POV’s. You will lose the reader if you don’t.

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 Example

 In Perished: The World That Was you have a book covering 1656 years. It starts with Adam being the primary character but he eventually dies and another takes his place. This continues until Noah becomes the primary.

 In each case there was a transition (either death or simply a “changing of the guard” (so to speak)).

 I do not recommend doing this in a story that is more compressed in time. Most likely your primary character will be constant throughout.

 Another example from the same book is the inclusion of multiple primary characters. But it is rare for both to appear in the same scene at the same time. If such a situation presents itself, however, only one should be the primary at that time.

 Application

 Multiple Person Viewpoint is in my opinion the most flexible (and hardest) viewpoint for the author to use. That flexibility is a valuable asset for the author. So don’t shy away from it.

 Try it out. Buy books on viewpoint and learn what works for you.

 Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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: Facebook

Using Social Media as a marketing tool is a multifaceted subject. But we will only be looking at a few uses.

What is Facebook?

According to Wikipedia: Facebook is a for-profit corporation and online social networking service. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 it is located in Menlo Park, California.

Primarily it is a very popular social networking site where users can easily interact with one another. Facebook has grown tremendously and is now not only for personal communications but has a strong business flair as well.

Facebook ads give advertisers an alternative to Adwords. For authors it might just be the preferred format for advertising.

I can only speak for myself but I have been very disappointed with Adwords whereas Facebook ads have done better for me. At the very least Facebook offers a credible competitor.

One of the factors that I like is that Facebook has a large database that can be defined narrowly. While Adwords has similar capabilities Facebook offers, in my opinion, a stronger defining tool that allows me to determine or customize my audience by geography, age, gender, interests, and more.

It is also tied to my Business Page which is a plus.

Do you have a Facebook business page?

Whether you use Facebook Ads or not having a business page gets you name recognition. And it can serve as a landing page. In my case I have designed other Landing Pages, but I do use my Facebook Business Page as a Landing Page in some ads.

You can also use your Facebook business page not only to inform existing and potential customers, but to act as a conduit. For example, at the bottom of this blog article you will see a statement that reads, “Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.” This allow you to comment on my blog, plus while on the page you can “Like” my page and “Signup” for Authors Academy.

I have barely touched on what you can do with Facebook, but I think you get the point: Facebook deserves to be an integral part of your marketing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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: Using Science

Last issue we looked at the supercontinent Rodinia. In this blog I will discuss science and how I used it.

First of all when discussing science you must decide which of the three viewpoints of science to which you adhere.

  1. True Science
  2. Evolutionary Science
  3. Creation Science

 Many of you might say that you adhere to true science. Unfortunately, that is impossible. True science, you see, is not really a viewpoint (yes, I tricked you). True science is the raw scientific data that exists in our knowledge base. It must be interpreted and interpretation rests upon viewpoint or theory.

Evolutionary science is a theory that believes that man evolved over millions and billions of years and interprets true scientific facts accordingly. At one point it held the day but today more and more scientists are questioning its validity.

Creation science is a theory that interprets true scientific facts according to its belief. It believes that a Higher Being, Who we Christians and Jews call God, created the world and man. There was a day that Creation science held the day, but then Evolutionary science came along and people thought it was better and more intelligent. But now the pendulum is swinging back to Creation as an increasing number of scientists are returning to a Creationist viewpoint.

I am a Christian who accepts the Creationist theory as the correct theory. Which brings us to today’s topic. Most writers don’t have to worry about such things, but when writing Biblically based stories it is a must.

Why?

Because the Bible record of events is at odds with evolution. It is true that people often twist the Bible to mean anything they want, which is why it is important to always read “in context.” When you read it that way it removes a lot of silliness.

So how did I use science? Being a Creationist I chose sources that I had complete confidence in having their facts straight. Two of these are Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Answers in Genesis (AiG). There are others, of course, but those are in my opinion the best.

When writing the story of Creation itself I found these resources to be highly accurate and informative. I was able to draw out the knowledge I needed to undergird my book Perished: The World That Was. Not only for Creation, but also regarding the earth itself (see Rodinia) and the Flood (see Historical Perspective).

Science is a useful tool. Once you know which theory you embrace you can start researching your novel. Now, I will say this: If you embrace evolution you will have a very difficult time writing a Bible based novel or non-fiction book. Evolution simply doesn’t work well with the Bible. And, unfortunately for you, there is no middle ground such as Theistic evolution (a belief that is largely discounted by Evolutionists and Creationists).

So settle that in your mind. That is your starting point.

Actually when writing about Biblical events and people you will find you are using both the historical and the scientific resources at your disposal. I did. My primary was, and is, the Holy Bible. I rely on the King James Version because its history traces all the way back to the beginning (another subject) while other versions have broken histories and are suspect in their accuracy.

The best way that I have found to understand the science of Creation and other Biblical events is to:

1.     Let the Bible first interpret itself.

2.     Then use science to help understand.

Always use the Bible first. If you use science first and then try to fit the Bible within its realm, you will have problems. God gives us wisdom (science) to help understand not contradict His Word.

If you follow that simple rule you will do fine. You have no reason for hesitating at using science. It is a tool that can enrich your writing when done properly.

Will you be criticized? Perhaps. But such criticism will more often come from either non-Christians or Christians who don’t really believe that the Bible is inspired. (How can you know you are saved if you don’t believe the Bible is the Inspired Word of God? How do you know that Jesus really said you must be born again?)

Now be forewarned. When researching science there is a lot of information available. And it can get boring. So you will have to dig deep and persevere. You will learn more than you will ever need to put in your story, but you may need it to understand how best to use the information.

Remember this truism: Scientific and Historical data need to be accurate in your story, but they should not be the primary thing.

If you write science fiction novels the science will play a much bigger role. But in writing Bible based novels, the Biblical story is paramount.

What if you are writing a novel not based on the Bible? You still want your science and historical data to be accurate. All sorts of people will read your novel. Some of these may have a deep understanding of science, or of a particular historical era. You make a mistake and they will see it.

So how did I use science in regards to the Ark? First it required a lot of research. For Perished I used the latest scientific knowledge then available. Currently I am writing a Special Edition book about the Ark. There is much more information available. Back when writing Perished there were theories abounding about the Flood and the Ark, but now there has been more scientific discoveries both about the worldwide Flood and the possible construction of the Ark.

I have investigated these new facts and have used them where appropriate. As stated above, I learn more than I ever use. But that gives us another principle: New discoveries are always being made, so you need to keep in touch with the facts even after you have published your book.

Why?

Because you may some day write another book that would need the same facts or you may rewrite the book you just published. Your readers will be current so you should be also.

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 offers training in writing, publishing, and marketing.

Third Person POV

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (yours or the character’s) view of the world. Last Monday we looked at First Person viewpoint. Today we take a look at Third Person.

This is a lesson we teach in Authors Academy and much of the material comes from there.

 Third Person, in my opinion, is the preferred method to use. It is the “he”, “she” or “it” viewpoint. This is the POV that I consistently use when writing my books. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of this viewpoint.

 The advantages of this POV are:

  •  an outside view of the person

You, the narrator, can talk about other facts, events and people.

  • you can have additional characters in third person

you can have other POV characters.

  • unlimited worldview
  • In the first person you were restricted by the author’s or character’s thoughts and opinions.
  • But in third person the narrator and reader have access to other information – thus expanding the scene.
  • greater objectivity – in first person you only have the character’s opinion of self, but in third Person you see much more and can make better judgments.
  • hidden information – In third person the author can keep some facts about the character secret until later in the story.

 The above advantages simply overwhelm the disadvantages below. While I have read and enjoyed First Person viewpoints, for the most part I have enjoyed Third Person much more.

 But there are disadvantages. These include:

  •  separated involvement

With first person you had instant involvement, but here there exists separation or distance between the character and the reader.

  • language

It is more difficult to identify the class and education of the character.

  • range

Awkward. The thinking, etc, is not as visible as it is with first person.

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 Tip #1 – Choose your POV carefully. First person identifies more closely with the character, while third person more distant. Also, third person is better, perhaps necessary, when dealing with multiple characters.

 Tip #2 – When conveying a character’s thoughts put it in italics. Not a hard rule, but I recommend it.

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 Example

 First Person: I thought to myself, What a wonderful day!

 Third Person: He looked about, smiling. What a wonderful day!

 Application

 Be careful with your POV. It is very easy to forget which POV you are using. The result can be disastrous.

 I do not recommend First Person, although many authors have done so successfully. It takes a lot of hard work and skill. And in my opinion is too limiting.

 Be aware also that there are many variations of both first person and third person viewpoints. I recommend that you buy a good reference book on the subject. There are many resources, including Writers Digest.

 That said, I indicated earlier that I write in Third Person. Actually I practice something a little different: Multiple Third Person. It is the most difficult of all to master. But if you do, it is worth it. We will discuss it next Monday.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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.