Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” Prov. 6:6.

Has God called you to be a writer? Is it hard? Do you feel like quitting?

Here in Proverbs we learn that God takes a dim view of laziness and basically not doing the work. It is true that writing can be hard work. But if God truly called you to be a writer He never provided the option of quitting.

But I know how you feel. Before I ever published my first novel I often felt like quitting. Especially when a story would suddenly hit the wall and I knew it was going nowhere. While I did quit the novel, I never quit writing. And it is important to know there is a difference!

Anyone who has been a writer for awhile has had to change directions at least once but probably more often than they might want to admit. When writing you are investing a part of yourself and it becomes very difficult to stop and reject the work. However, if you consider what you have learned about writing during the project then it has not been a waste of time and effort. Instead you have learned something you can use in your next project.

Quitting as a writer is altogether different. By quitting you are saying that God never called you. If you say no, God called you and it didn’t work out then you are saying God made a mistake. God never makes mistakes! So you need to re-evaluate your calling. Did He call you to be an author or not? If He did then you can’t quit, because it would be disobedience.

Assuming therefore God called you to be a writer then you need to evaluate your writing. What is stopping you? Are you in the right genre? Do you need additional skills?

When I was trying to write and not succeeding it was very frustrating. To offset this I wrote computer programs (most of which were used only personally) and poetry (which helped me win my wife). But behind it all I still had that drive, that calling to write. I often prayed about it and would pick up pen and paper and try again. I even developed a model train hobby that I converted into a story. It didn’t work, but my point is I kept trying.

In my case the solution came through my daily devotions as God showed me that the Bible is loaded with true stories waiting to be the foundation for novels. Your experience will probably be different except that God is just as interested in your success as mine. So keep your prayer life strong and listen for His guidance.

Not only did God open the door for my writing career to open, He also opened the door for my wife and I to become the publisher of our own books (soon she will have her first novel published). In 2014 God gave me the idea for being a self-publisher in the truest form. I talked to my wife and she immediately was enthused. Thus was born T&R Independent Books with her as president and yours truly as vice president. This decision opened the door for us and provided us not only with greater potential earnings but with greater control over every aspect of writing. But it wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t listening to God!

It is my belief that roadblocks in a Christian’s life are there for a reason. Sometimes it means quit  a project to be sure, but never to quit doing His will. Roadblocks come with multiple solutions which could include plowing through them, going around them, going over them, or even going under them. In other words, roadblocks are often opportunities. We just need to stop, pray, and seek to discover what the opportunity facing us might be.

So if you’ve been called to write don’t let a roadblock stop you. It might just be God trying to get your attention and redirect your path.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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And God saw…it was very good

And God saw…it was very good

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1:31

The Book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible. It is the only reliable source we have on the creation of the world. God created a world where there was no sin and no death. It was a perfect world.

And within that world He created Adam and Eve. In fact, He created Adam before He created the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7-8). Within the Garden He created Eve (Woman) from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:21-23). We have an amazing God who created a perfect world with perfect people.

Then of course there came sin. That was man’s contribution.

Fortunately human science is beginning to catch up to the Bible. While it still stubbornly adheres to evolution, it has made discoveries that not only disprove or weaken their theory but also adds information to the Biblical account which we didn’t know.

You may have heard of the supercontinent Pangaea. But did you know they now believe it was the second and last supercontinent and that it was underwater? That’s right. They now believe it was formed during and under the Flood. Further, it is believed it may have lasted only weeks or months.

So what was before Pangaea? Rodinia! Russian for “mother earth” it is believed to be the original supercontinent. Evolutionists don’t believe that, instead they say there were probably previous supercontinents. But there is no evidence supporting such a theory.

Thus, the Garden of Eden was placed within Rodinia. When Rodinia broke up and became Pangaea it then broke into seven continents. It is easy to understand why human skeletons may be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or some island. Scientists like to complicate things (it makes them seem more important), but even a child would understand this fact. The world likes to say that the Bible says the Garden was in Mesopotamia, and then tear it apart noting inconsistencies.

But when you understand geologic history through the lens of the Bible you can see that the similarities of names of pre-Flood and post-Flood geography are likely the result of Noah and his descendants naming things after the world they had known. By the way, we still do that today. We move to a new area, start a town, city or street and name it after something we left behind. It’s human nature.

In writing Perished I blended the Biblical account with the latest scientific findings. Obviously I used the Biblical account as the primary and science as only supplemental. Why? Because the Bible remains the same (in spite of attempts to alter it) while science is constantly changing. Take evolution for example. Compare today’s version with that of a 100 years ago. Vast changes!

As a foundation book to the Bible Genesis provides both a spiritual and practical bedrock for our understanding of the need for salvation and many other doctrines. In fact, the entire Bible rests upon Genesis. That is why atheistic evolutionists attack Genesis. If they could knock it out, it would disrupt the rest of Scripture. But although they have tried countless times, they have always and will always fail.

Unfortunately we will have to wait until the millennium (1000 year rule of Christ) to ever see the world as it was meant to be. In fact, we really won’t see it in pristine beauty until the New Earth.

The novel Perished has consistently received four and five star reviews. One reason is because it sticks closely to the Biblical account. It’s the story behind the story, or “the rest of the story.” It is available in both print and eBook. And it is available through Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, and other fine sites. If you enjoy the book I invite you to post your review on the site where you purchased it or at least on Amazon. I’d be thrilled to hear from you at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” Psalm 3:3

Today we live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. They mock us and, in some cases, try to harm us. But no matter what they do we have a God who is our shield. Nothing can be done to us without His knowledge and permission. So even if they kill us, God protects our soul and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.

But how do I apply this to my writing career?

As a Christian you have standards – Bible based standards. And when you take a stand on those standards the world attacks you. This can come in the form of writing ‘experts,’ editors, publishers, and marketeers, or just well-meaning friends.

When this happens remember that God is your shield. Look to Him for guidance and reassurance. If your stand is Biblical then He will “have your back.”

For example, let’s say that you been searching for an agent to help you get a publisher. You finally found one you like. When he reads your book he says, “Your book is too bland. You need to spice it up. Your characters need to be more realistic.” Usually a statement like that means you need to have more sex, violence, and vulgarity than what you’re conscience permits. That’s assuming of course that your characters are well developed.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex and violence are part of life. But as Christian writers we are not to exploit sex and violence. There is a big difference from inferring sex and actually describing it. As for violence we don’t need to be overly graphic. In both of these areas our understanding of Biblical standards governs what we write.

Back to the agent. The agent has given you his advice and has made it clear that unless you change things as he has described, he won’t represent you. Complicating the matter is the fact that you have not been able to find another agent. What do you do?

You stick with your Biblical principles. You need to remind yourself that God is your shield. And since God knows everything from before Creation, He already has prepared for you a safety net. That net could be the sudden appearance of an agent who will represent your work without compromises. Or God could lead you to go the self-publishing route. Or He may provide something altogether different.

The point is that if we trust God and do things His way He will work it out to be for our good (see Roman’s 8:28). And chances are you may even be surprised by how He does it!

One last comment: As a Christian writer you don’t measure success the same way the world does. The world uses sales, royalties, etc. as the measuring stick. While you certainly shouldn’t ignore such data, your real success must come from a Biblical perspective. Does God approve? Not that you’re going to hear a verbal “good job” from Him, but your Christian conscience will let you know and He may well give you a great sense of peace. And no matter the sales, God takes care of His own!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How I wrote Perished Part I

How I wrote Perished Part I

This series will give insights into the writing of the novel Perished. It will cover such things as inspiration, research, writing techniques and publishing platform.

INSPIRATION

My history prior to the writing of Perished takes you all the way back to my childhood. Looking back I have always had a lively imagination. As a child I would daydream of heroic stories in which I played the hero. This is typical childhood fantasies but I guess I never grew up. It is a fact that to this day my imagination works overtime.

As a teen I realized I wanted to write stories and as a young adult I actually signed up for a writing course which I eventually dropped for lack of money. But I had the bug and never quite quit writing.

I also loved reading books, so I read a lot of books. I occasionally tried to write a novel but even if I got to the point of developing a plot and working on a novel it eventually ended. I would hit the proverbial wall which I didn’t know how to get around. So the novel was stopped and eventually ended in the trash. This was not necessarily a bad thing since these attempts can best be described as terrible.

At the age of 30 I received Christ as my Savior. In an instant I went from a man destined for Hell and became a child of God. Some people mistakenly say that everyone is a child of God but what they really should say is that all are created by God. When I received Christ my destiny was changed and I became a child of God, a member of the family of God.

But asking Christ to save me didn’t just change in my eternal future. The Bible teaches that many other things took place then as well. I already had the talent and desire to write but I believe that God also changed my approach to writing. At the time I still couldn’t put together an entire story. I would get so far and then hit that wall. But God was working on me to put Him first.

From that time onward God worked in my life changing me. My worldview was brought into agreement with the Bible. As I studied the Bible I began growing spiritually. I not only attended church but began having daily devotions. And I started putting Him first in my life, even in my writing.

But in 2000 I became an author!

Up to that time I had written poetry (it won my wife) and computer programs (amateur) that helped my employer. None of these completely satisfied, but they kept my fires burning. I even dabbled in the hobby of building a model train with a village that became the center of another novel. But it also came to an end.

Then on one day in the year 2000 I was doing my morning devotions. My habit was and is to read a chapter a day until I’ve read the Bible through. It usually takes a couple of years, then I start over. On this particular day I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Ark. And the inspiration hit!

I thought, This only covers the basics! There’s a story untold and I can tell it.

From that moment of inspiration I knew what I wanted to write. But there was something else. I prayed to the Lord about the writing and in particular of writing novels based on the Bible and I was given a certainty about writing that I had never experienced before. I could never prove it, but I now knew it was God’s calling on my life.

Soon I was busy writing my first book, Refuge (no longer available). The book was published by AuthorHouse. And it was good enough that the president of a Christian university read it, complimented me, and encouraged me to continue writing. Such commendation was better than a published review because it undergirded my belief that God had both called and equipped me to write.

And it changed my life!

I not only continued writing but I eventually wrote the historical novel Perished which became the foundation for the series The World That Was which includes Perished, World of Noah and the Ark plus soon World of Shem, and World of Abraham.

The novel is available in both print and eBook. If you enjoy the book please post your review on Amazon.com. Not only do they helped me get a better position on Amazon, but I enjoy reading what readers have to say. And I thank you in advance.

Part II will begin looking at the novel Perished. First up, research.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

The following review was posted by a reader on Amazon. (http://amzn.to/2u1Y409)

This book was like a dialogue to the bible. I could feel and hear each character…they became life like or real to me in the way the author pended their various responses and reactions to their unique situations. My favourite chapters were 44 and 45, where Queen Esther expressed her love for both men. The one she was in love with before she was ordered to marry the King-something she became willing to do and her now established love,for the King-something that obviously grew with time. I also loved the King’s reaction upon his death bed in that he now entrusted the life of his soon to be widowed wife back to the man with whom she was previously in love. I loved how she displayed faithfulness and trust in a most uncertain time in her life..a time when her daughter-in-law was seeking to take her place as Queen. This gives a fresh feel to the bible and is a real eye opener. I will definitely be looking out for book 2.

As noted above the link to this book on Amazon.com is http://amzn.to/2u1Y409.

Review of Book Blueprint

Review of Book Blueprint

Rating: 5 stars
Special thanks to Jacqui Pretty for sending me a review copy.
I am an author of Christian fiction, but I have written a couple of non-fiction books. More importantly I am always willing to learn how to write better. That said, I thought I knew how to write non-fiction. This book was an eye opener for me.
The author appears to favor publishing houses while I favor Indie Publishing and am now publishing my own books. But I found that her wisdom applies across the board. Her book is filled with cogent and practical words of advice.
I also found the book extremely easy reading. She stated principles, then proceeded to build upon them. An example of this technique is her discussion of a book’s Introduction. She not only stated the principle, “your introduction in arguably the most important part of your book,” but she also put her principle into action with an excellent introduction.
Repeatedly she demonstrated a solid understanding of her subject. By the time I finished the book I was thoroughly convinced that this blueprint is a valuable asset for me. Especially since I am seriously thinking of rewriting one of my books and may write a new one as well.
In rating this book I examined it from several angles:
Cover: 5 stars – I generally like more eye appealing covers, but while this didn’t measure up to that, it did measure up on such things as Title (great title), positioning, and promise.
Fulfillment: 5 stars – This book makes some great promises, such as: “The goal is that by the time you finish all of the exercises you will have blueprint that’s so detailed your book will write itself.” As a reviewer I didn’t work the exercises, but I could tell by the comments and instructions that these were concepts that would actually work. I believe this is a promise that any committed student would find fulfilled.
Readability: 5 stars – As I stated in the review it was easy reading. It moved along at a quick pace and was easily understood.
Structure: 5 stars – Perhaps the most important as the way she structured the book transmitted the information in a way that both informed and built upon itself so that the next bit of information fell into place naturally.
Content: 4.5 stars – The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that the author didn’t really address self-publishing. The principles laid out are good for both professional publishing and self-publishing. But in all honesty I am being a nitpicker.
The overall rating is therefore 4.9 which rounds off to 5 stars.
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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. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Are you a Real Author? Part II

Are you a Real Author? Part II

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the second question:

DO YOU HAVE A PLATFORM?

Different people have different ideas about what a platform is. Here is my definition: A platform is a website, a blog, and social media.

A Website

I’ve talked about this before, but it cannot be overstated. An author needs to have a website. And not just any old website. An author needs to own a website.

Now this can have different connotations, so let me be specific. An author should have an website that reflects who they are. This can mean:

  • A website that reflects the book you’ve written
  • A website that reflects your name or alias
  • A website that reflects the you as an independent author.

For example, a website that reflects your book’s name will work if you have written only one book and won’t be writing new books. But if you write more than one book, such a website would be poor. Instead, you will want the website to reflect you as an author. By reflecting I mean both the domain name and the content would emphasize you as an author. I have used RFrederickRiddle.com as my website name.

However, when we founded T&R Independent Books and I decided to set up a new website, I created a typical publisher’s website where the author has his or her own pages. My former website RFrederickRiddle.com redirects to my author’s pages on the publisher website.

The important thing is that you want critical information within the domain name. In my former website it included my name and my new pages also include my name. This is a very important consideration, so if you have not done so yet, seriously consider it.

For more indepth wisdom check out my blog article, Hosting Your Website.

A Blog

As you know my blog’s url is RFrederickRiddleBlog.com. It tells the potential reader who I am and that it is a blog.

Your blog does not have to be about writing, but it should be about something you know and can be passionate about. And it should interest readers.

Social Media

You need to have a social media presence. While you don’t need to use everything that’s available, you should certainly be on at least two social media platforms. I use Twitter and Facebook, plus Goodreads and Bublish. Some authors also like LinkedIn, although that is primarily aimed at business to business.

It is not necessary to spend every minute of the day on your social media, but you should be active.

Why Is Having A Platform So Important?

Because people want to know about you and your book(s). And you want people to know about you and your books. Social Media provides excellent opportunities to self promote both yourself and your book.

Take a moment or two and tell us about your platform.

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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.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1) can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Are You A Real Author? Part I

Are You A Real Author? Part I

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the first question:

Do you have a clear message?

Let me start at the beginning. When you write you should be writing with your reader in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I write books that I, the author, enjoy and so should you. But you also need to write for others.

Everyone of my books are written for people who enjoy Christian fiction and historical fiction. That said, what is your message?

Are you just relating a story or do you have something to offer? I believe that one reason it took so long before I published my first novel in 2003 is that every story I wrote had no message. But when I wrote Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, I wrote with the idea of bringing the Biblical facts to life and giving people insights into the Biblical story.

Ever since then that or something similar has been my message: Bringing the facts to life. I would say that is one of the unique things I do. According to one reviewer I brought the people, places, and events alive giving her a deeper, wider understanding to the Biblical events.

The title of today’s blog is: Are you a Real Author. In other words, does your story jump off the pages? Do people like certain characters? Do they identify with them?

That is what the craft of writing is all about. Namely, to get the reader to use his/her imagination and be able to picture the unfolding story. If you can accomplish that you have become a real author!

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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.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Getting Book Reviews

Getting Book Reviews

How do you get book reviews?

This is a time question since I am currently seeking reviewers for my latest novel, Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1). Over the years I have used different approaches. My primary approach in the past was to make use of First Wild Card reviews. However, that is no longer available.

So I have move on to a broader, and potentially, more effective approach. In this blog I will share with you some of this overall strategy. Let’s start now.

Strategy.

  1. As a member of KDP Select make use of Free Days. My first set of 2 days are November 3 – 4 (Thursday and Friday). I use this in conjunction with my inquiry, offering the reviewer a free Kindle copy.
  2. Emailing friends/relatives and inviting them to review my book. I offer them the free Kindle (on 3rd and 4th).
  3. Research and contact actual book reviewers, offering them the free Kindle, a PDF copy, a ePub copy, a Mobi copy, or a paperback.
  4. Make use of a Goodreads review request.

I can ask friends?

Yes. But don’t be surprised if they don’t respond. Friends want you to succeed, but for a variety of personal reasons may not want to be a reviewer. It’s not personal, so don’t take it personally.

What are the results?

Since I just began using this strategy it is too early to be concerned about results, although I have already had three positives replies. This is an ongoing process that will take weeks and maybe months for me to complete.

In number 3 above I mentioned research. I used Indie Book Reviewers, although there are others out there.

How many book reviewers do you need?

I have heard several different answers to this. One is to get as many reviewers as possible. I totally agree with that as a long term goal. But short term I believe your goal should be a minimum of twenty. (If you fail to get twenty it is not a disaster. It’s a goal not a requirement.)

Who can review a book?

There are different types of reviewers. The Indie list covers those men and women who are professional in their approach yet charge no fee. (Using paid reviewers on a limited bases may be ok, but don’t build on them.) Then you have the more casual reviewer who occasionally reviews a book, but still takes the job of reviewing seriously. Finally, there are those who may never have reviewed a book before, but love to read.

All of these are acceptable. Try for a mix, if possible. You can find lists like the Indie Reviewers by Googling ‘book reviewers’ or something similar.

When doing your research remember that not all reviewers are interested in your particular genre. If possible visit their website and discover their likes and dislikes. And are they accepting books for review and what format they require?

How do you ask for a review?

This varies according to the type of review you are seeking. For example, when contacting friends/relatives your approach is more personal. You are actually asking for a favor, so I suggest you begin with “may I ask a favor of you?” or something along that line.

With the others you want a more professional approach. I will show an example in a moment.

There are at least two ways of doing this. One is to send out an email to all your potential reviewers at one time. This has the benefit of saving you time. But different reviewers have different requirements and a one letter fits all approach could backfire. I prefer one reviewer at a time. Requires more time and effort, but allows for a more personal and accurate approach.

Did you get the idea that seeking reviewers is work? Good, because it is. But don’t be afraid of it. Book reviews can be beneficial to your marketing efforts. With that in mind, what follows is an example of valuable content to include in your inquiry.

An Example

But no matter who you are asking or how you contact them you need to provide them with certain information. So with that in mind here is an example of information I recently sent out: (The highlighted parts are necessary.)

  • Title: Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1)
  • Publisher: T&R Independent Books (http://tr-indbkstore.com)
  • Published: 10-12-16 using Create Space publishing platform
  • Author: R. Frederick Riddle
  • Pages: 469 (paperback)
  • Reading age: 18+
  • ASIN: B01M4IDHNY
  • ISBN: 1537476378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1537476377

I also provided a brief description of the book. (Some reviewers may request an excerpt.)

Here’s my example:

Based on the first six chapters of the Book of Genesis this story brings to life the Bible especially as it relates to places, events, and people. You get to meet and know such people as Adam, Eve, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah as well as Cain and his descendants.

And remember to thank them. You are asking them to do something for you and that includes taking the time to read your inquiry. So thank them.

In conclusion, let me add that while this is a blog and not a inquiry, if any of you readers would like to review my book, feel free to contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

And thank you!

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R Frederick Riddle is co-founder and vice president of T&R Independent Books, an author of six novels, and blogger. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page.

Book Reviewers Wanted!

This is an alert to all of those who follow my blog.
My latest novel Perished: The World That Was is now available. If you participate in Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free. Why am I telling you this? Because I am looking for book possible reviewers.
If you like to review historical fiction then I encourage you to do the following:

  1. Contact me at information@rfrederickriddle.com and tell me.
  2. Get your Free copy at Kindle Unlimited or for $3.99 at Kindle.
  3. Once you have read the book post it on Amazon.
  4. And let me know about your review.

Thank you in advance.

R. Frederick Riddle