The commandment is a lamp

The commandment is a lamp

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light;…

God’s Word sheds light upon us. Think about that. What a powerful statement. We Christians need not operate in darkness. Whatever is going on in our life, including our secrets, is open to God. His Word reveals our deepest secrets and needs to us!

But if that is true (and it is) then how does that affect us as authors?

Considering the trials and tribulations of writing a book I look upon this verse as a strong encouragement. When I hit a wall that stops my writing God already knows all about it and has provided the solution. When I need to be encouraged God knows that and has already prepared the perfect encouragement for me.

In other words, the Word of God is a powerful resource for us as Christians and as Christian authors. All too often Christians separate their faith and their daily lives, but God intends for us to be in His Word daily and to apply it to every aspect of our life.

One of the advantages I have in blogging on Scripture is that it requires thoughtful reading of the Scriptures in addition to my daily devotions. It causes me to actually ‘think’ about the passage in relationship to my writing career. And that makes me stronger!

As an author I also write stories that are based on Bible stories. Although similar to writing stories based on secular historical events, it has the added benefit of once again involving me in the reading and meditation of God’s Word. It helps me to picture the actual events and to bring them alive for myself. And if I bring it alive for myself, it is likely to be alive for my readers.

But back to my basic point, which is that Christians need to be in God’s Word daily. This is true no matter what their career. God has something to say to us and we’ll only ‘hear’ it if we delve into His Word. And like a lamp it sheds light upon our feet and lightens the path before us (see Psalm 119:105)!

If you haven’t begun a daily devotion I encourage you to do so. The light won’t blind you but will show you how to move forward. It may even show you the possible pitfalls that await you if you persist in going a certain way. That is the beauty of it. The light shows both the good and bad in our life and acts as a guide. You won’t regret starting your own devotions.

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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.

Profiles in Faith: John Quincy Adams

Profiles in Faith: John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was not only the 6th President of the United States, he also served as Secretary of State, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator and Ambassador.

“My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ…” is a bold and clear statement of faith. In that same statement he allows that Christ allowed his disciples to call Him God. John’s faith was rock solid and appears to have influenced him greatly in whatever position he held.

Another statement, quoted here in part, states: “The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.”

This statesman was firmly rooted in the Christian faith and played an integral role in the founding and early history of our nation. Some views, such as his view on slavery, evolved over time. Although he never became an abolitionist, because they called for disunion of America, he became a strong advocate for the removal of slavery. He accurately believed it would only come with the permission of the South or through civil war. (source: wikipedia.)

Both John Adams and John Q. Adams were members of the United First Parish Church, which originally was a Puritan Congregationalist church. Later the church would become an Unitarian  Universalist church. But in Adam’s day it was the former. Also known as the Church of the Presidents because of their membership, the building has been designated an historical landmark.

John Q. Adams was a strong defender of the Constitution even to the point of successfully opposing President Jefferson’s power grab where a Supreme Court justice faced removal from the Bench. In addition, he is the father of space exploration through his efforts that spurred the construction of astronomical observatories across the nation—so-called “lighthouses of the sky”—to study the heavens. (source: Constitution Daily.)

This great Christian statesman stood tall in his generation. And although we should never judge people of the past by morals of today, he would pass such a judgment today.

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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.

Responding to Major Roadblocks

Responding to Major Roadblocks

Albert Einstein defined Insanity as: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Sometimes we writers get into a rut. Whether in writing or marketing we have discovered what we believe is the right way to go and we stick to it no matter what. Christian authors are just as guilty as any other writer of this unhealthy attitude.

After all we have prayed and sought God’s advice and implemented what appeared to be His answer. But there is the crux of our problem. Maybe it wasn’t God’s leading.

If that is where you are at then it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Take a step back and take a hard look at what is happening. Seek God’s leading and listen carefully!

If the problem is about your writing, revisit it and look for ways to improve. Ask yourself questions, especially as it concerns your cover, story line, and structure. Does the story move along at a good pace? Does it hold interest?

Don’t be afraid to change the story! Neither change just to change.

As for marketing you have a great many areas to look at. For example, do you frequently update your website or is it stale? Google and other search engines like fresh material and may downgrade your site if it is not updated.

Also take a look at your advertising. Especially paid advertising. You can waste a lot of money if you’re not careful. Frequently I take a look at where my money is going. And sometimes it means I shut something down and start something else. Recently I closed an email and domain account for three reasons: 1) there was a monthly cost, 2) the domain was not working like I wanted it to work, and 3) I could substitute a free email account for the paid account. The immediate result was a savings of money, but it also caused me to refocus on both the business and personal side of my writing career.

Did I just arbitrarily do that? No. I prayed to God for His leading. And it took weeks, perhaps months, before all of this was accomplished. It required me to look at everything and ask if I was just following popular opinion or was I doing things God’s way? It is not always an easy question to answer.

What is too easy is to follow the crowd. We are beset on every side by ideas and methods that are popular and successful. But worldly success doesn’t always translate to Christian success. God has a plan for us, and our goal must always be to conform to His will. It always requires us to spend time with Him and in His Word. It also requires us to compare the tactic or plan to God’s Word. Does the tactic or plan violate God’s Word?

In conclusion, we want to evaluate our work on a regular basis. Ask yourself the tough questions and early seek God’s leading. I believe that God has a plan for every Christian and He wants us to succeed within that plan. So the most important thing you can do is to trust Him and constantly seek His guidance.

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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.

A New Year’s Message

A New Year’s Message

Soon we will be entering the year 2017. Before taking a look at what we might expect in the new year, let’s take a look at 2016.

2016 was a very active year, although it didn’t start out that way. It was for us a normal year until March when we bought ourselves a new (for us) 2013 Ford Fiesta. While a great car, it was God’s miraculous hand in our getting it that really stood out. But that is not the subject of today’s blog.

Instead we are looking at T&R Independent Books, our adventure in self-publishing.

Here is how 2016 unfolded:

  • August/SeptemberT&R Independent Books bought the publishing rights to Perished. This was the foundational book of The World That Was series.
  • October T&R Independent Books published the rewritten and reformatted Perished. This was the publisher’s first novel.
  • NovemberPerished was placed in the KDP Select program.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books published Noah and the Ark, book two of The World That Was series.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books began seriously getting ready to publish Tress Riddle’s debut novel sometime in January 2017.

As can be seen T&R Independent Books has had a rush of activities in the latter half of the year. It has truly been an exciting and busy year. Behind the scenes Tress Riddle has been working on her first novel, a mystery aimed at teens and young adults.

Also during this past year we have witnessed an explosion politically thinking. In Britain they had the Brexit  vote and in America we had the rise of Donald Trump. In both cases the average citizens revolted against the political elite demanding that they be heard and represented.

Whatever you may think of President-elect Trump he was wise enough to hear the rumblings and tap into them. Here are a few reflections:

  • NovemberDonald Trump won the national election for President of the United States.
  • NovemberUninformed men and women took to the streets and rioted in protest. This represented a national disgrace in our education system as the protestors showed their ignorance of the United States government. (We are a representative democracy, not a pure democracy where popular vote dominates.)
  • November3rd party candidate pushed for meaningless but costly recounts. Results were essentially the same.
  • DecemberTrump begins assembling cabinet showing that he actually intended to keep his campaign promises.
  • DecemberTrump won the Electoral College vote.

If I was writing on political issues I would spend some time addressing the lack of knowledge some people have demonstrated. As mentioned, our country is a representative democracy – a fact our citizens should have learned in high school! It was so designed to prevent large populous states from ruling the country (there are only four or six states that fit that bill) and from anarchy that often comes from pure democracy.

However, this is a blog on writing, so let’s move on.

I am really proud and excited about the achievements of T&R Independent Books! Founded in 2014 by my wife and myself, T&R had to withstand my heart attack and much foundational matters for the fledgling business. But 2016 has been a breakout year for the business.

I have now had three books published by T&R Independent books: So You Want to Write? (2015), Perished (2016), and Noah and the Ark (2016). In the meantime, my wife has been working hard on her debut novel which will soon (probably January) be published.

So what are my predictions for 2017?

Here’s a list of possibilities:

  • Publication of Tress Riddle’s debut novel.
  • Rewrite and publish So You Want to Write? with new material.
  • Write and publish book 3 of The World That Was.
  • Tress Riddle’s second novel published.

These represent another active year for the Riddle family. Sandwiched in-between are a variety of marketing events. Plus a renewed commitment to this blog.

I am seriously looking into adding video blogs to this blog. I plan to explore the idea of interviewing other authors, plus have videos on writing techniques and aids. I have the capability, but it comes down to cost versus effectiveness.

We wish all of you a happy New Year.

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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 in greater detail.

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.