A Self-Interview with R. Frederick Riddle

Normally I blog about writing techniques, but occasionally I will do an author’s interview. Today I am interviewing myself as I just published my first novel with T&R Independent Books, our own publishing company.

So with no further delay let’s get started. As interviewer I will be Ron.

Ron: Welcome to Writer’s World. Should I call you R. Frederick?

Frederick: Some people drop the R and just call me Frederick. So that is OK.

Ron: As I stated you just published with T&R. Briefly tell us about your company.

Frederick: T&R Independent Books was founded by myself and my wife in 2014 for the sole purpose of publishing our books. In the past two years it has evolved to not only publishing but providing inexpensive training course in writing plus a free directory of Christian authors with links to Amazon.

Ron: But it is still primarily for publishing your books?

Frederick: Yes. We have already published two of my books: So You Want To Write? and now Perished: The World That Was. We plan on publishing my wife’s (Tress) debut novel later this year.

Ron: I understand Perished is actually a republishing of the book. Walk us through that if you could.

Frederick: Earlier this year I bought back the publishing rights to the original Perished. Once that was done, I set about reformatting and rewriting the book. So while the Title is the same, there have been a few changes in content. It also has a different cover.

The reason for doing this is two-fold: 1) When first written I didn’t expect it to be a series, which it became. 2) T&R exists to publish our books and it only makes sense to have all the series books under one imprint.

That is why I plan on rewriting The Rise of Shem. Since I will be changing the title as well as content, I don’t plan on repurchasing the rights.

As for Perished, the book covers world history from Creation to the Flood. It tells the story behind the story. I think fans, both current and future, will enjoy this book because it is slightly different than the original yet still brings the Bible alive.

Ron: You mentioned world history. Does that mean historical fiction?

Frederick: Yes. It is also action and adventure as well as Christian fiction.

Ron: Where do you write from?

Frederick: My wife and I live in Port Charlotte, Florida full time.

Ron: Briefly, what led up to this book?

Frederick: Aside from the launching of T&R, I have wished I could rewrite the book. But it was owned by America Star, the publisher. It wasn’t a major rewrite, but I felt it would be a stronger novel. As for the original, I have long had a deep affection for Biblical history. In this world of confusing, humanistic explanations of life, the Bible stands out as the sole authority on early history. Putting that history into a fictional story that remains true to the facts enables me to give people an alternative to the mythical beliefs of modern science.

Ron: What was the timeframe for writing this version?

Frederick: I bought the rights at the end of August and republished on October 12th. So about a month and a half.

Ron: That’s fast. You must have been busy.

Frederick: Very. But I enjoyed it.

Ron: What is your platform?

Frederick: That remains a work in progress, but generally I write this blog and make use of Social Media. I also plan on reaching out for more interviews and reviews.

Ron: What’s next?

Frederick: I’m real excited about  my next book. It will actually serve as a bridge between Perished and Shem. It will focus primarily on Noah’s Ark, including during the Flood. After that comes the rewrite of the Rise of Shem, plus I have another in the series called Abraham. So I have a busy future.

Ron: Where can interested readers get your book?

Frederick: Create Space Estore and Amazon.com for the print, and the Ebook is available at Amazon.com only.

I might also add that I will be looking for reviewers probably through Goodreads, although interested readers can contact me through information@rfrederickriddle.com. I will provide a PDF version to them, although buying it through Amazon would give more weight to their review.

Ron: Thank you. To those of you interested in R Frederick Riddle’s Perished:The World That Was it can be purchased here for paperback or here for Ebook.

For our readers I am planning on doing future interviews with upcoming and established authors. I will try to give you advance notice.

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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.

Keeping Your Focus Part I

Ever since I wrote my first novel I have had to work at keeping my focus. You might think that it gets easier with each succeeding book. It doesn’t.

There are many interruptions that can affect one’s focus. In this blog I will cover several. Today it will be health.

Your health affects your ability to focus.

In 2014 I had a major heart attack. While I recovered quickly mental focus has been slow to come back. I need to take a rest periodically. It’s an ongoing struggle that I am slowly winning.

Prior to my heart attack I could stay on the computer virtually all day without interruption, but now I often need to take a short nap at least once during the day. I get mentally tired and find it difficult to concentrate on the work being done.

So, like I said, health affects your ability to focus.

So what do I mean by focus?

Here is my definition: Focus is the ability to concentrate on both the problem and the solutions. In marketing, it requires a high degree of study to determine the best course of action.

When I wrote my first book I quickly learned that most marketing was going to be by me. Over the years I have learned that there are a multitude of marketing ideas. So one part of focus is sorting the ideas out and determining which one is best for me.

This requires study and concentration. It is not easy. Especially since many of these ideas are well defined and presented.

So how do I focus?

Remember my definition? I’ll repeat it: Focus is the ability to concentrate on both the problem and the solutions. In marketing, it requires a high degree of study to determine the best course of action.

As can be seen, it can be tiring, exhausting.

Each one of us have different make ups. Different things disrupt our lives. But all of us need to focus on our work whether writing, publishing, or marketing.

So if necessary, take that nap. Do whatever you must to keep your ability to concentrate at a high level.

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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.

Hooked on Writing

Those of you that are familiar with me know I published my first novel in 2003 at the age of 60. But you may not know that I got the bug to write as a teenager.

You may ask why the large gap in years? Even as a child I had an active imagination and came up with stories that were adventurous and exciting. And, of course, I was often the hero. When I entered my teen years this ability to conceive stories (never told to anyone) led me to desire to write. English became one of my favorite classes.

But choosing a writing career doesn’t guarantee you actually start writing and publishing books. To achieve this requires a commitment. Thus the reason for the title ‘Hooked on Writing.’

You are likely going to run into roadblocks that either frustrate or cause you to stop. You are tempted to quit. Being hooked on writing is all about persevering. You press forward.

As a teenager I wanted to write, but I knew precious little about writing a book. In my early twenties I served in the Navy and got out in 1968 at the age of 25. You might consider this my first roadblock. But at worst it was a delay.

I shortly afterward signed up for a course on writing. About the time I was making progress I ran out of money. This was my second roadblock. And it effectively stopped me in my tracks.

In 1973 I received Christ as my Savior. This motivated me to want to write Christian fiction. But I still knew little about the subject. Frustrated in this effort I turned to poetry. I liked (still do) rhyming poetry. I began writing poems. In addition, I began writing computer programs for my own use. Neither of these furthered my career, although the poetry played a role in winning the heart of my future wife.

I continued trying to write stories. However, most stories lasted only a chapter or two while one actually went much further before being abandoned. In every case, I was unable to relate to the characters I developed or the plot itself.

But in 2001 I had a breakthrough. I was reading my Bible for my daily devotions. I was in Genesis, chapter 6 where you read of Noah and the Flood. Sudden inspiration struck! While the facts of the event are laid out for everyone to see, there is a story behind the story never told. I set out to tell that story.

Since then I have written several novels and am completing a rewrite of my novel Perished: The World That Was. It will be available soon.

Are you tempted to quit? To throw in the towel? Are you frustrated by some roadblock such as: lack of money, uncooperative characters, or a plot going nowhere?

The question for you to answer is: Are you hooked on writing?

If so, don’t give up. There are things you can do:

  1.  Write something other than fiction
  2. Read other authors in your genre
  3. Be open to ideas
  4. Take a course
  5. Pray

Praying is important because if you are a Christian you should want God’s blessing. He will answer that prayer, but maybe not as fast as you like. Be patient.

Meanwhile consider taking a course. There are many out there including Authors Academy which we offer. This inexpensive course will get you started. Click here and begin your new career.

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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: Methuselah

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 Methuselah.

We know very little about Methuselah other than he was the grandfather of Noah and he was the oldest person who ever lived. After that our knowledge takes a nosedive.

While this creates a challenge it also opens wide an opportunity. Developing Methuselah was challenging, yes. But I was able to create his character almost from scratch.

Since I believe that God gave him long life for a reason and his life coincided with the building of the Ark, I imagined him as having a major role. In addition, I thought of him as a leader both in war and in ruling.

In those days there was no government as we know it. That didn’t happen until after the Flood. But man always seeks to rule others. So it was easy to see him as a general and, perhaps later, as a ruler. If a ruler he would have ruled by decree. There would have been no laws, no courts, and no prisons.

With these assumptions in mind I was able to create the character of Methuselah as a man who loved God, who rose to be a general and a great ruler. Because he loved God he became involved financially in support of the building of the Ark.

While much of his life is fictional in the book, it is also believable. And that is what we strive for: a character bigger than life who is believable. Such a character adds to the overall impact of the story.

This is another example of using imagination. 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), we can give you principles for employing it.

Your comments are welcome. Just make a comment below.

 

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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.

Your #1 Writing Problem!

As you may know my blog So You Want To Write? deals with the how of writing. Today I am giving you the opportunity to voice your opinion about YOUR problems when writing. What are they? How do you handle them? What is your greatest need? What topics would you like covered in the future?

When responding please include your name and email address.

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So You Want To Write? is a blog written by R. Frederick Riddle – author, editor, instructor. He is co-founder of T&R Independent Books, instructor at Authors Academy and the author of several books.

For more information you can contact him at information@rfrederickriddle.com. Please indicate question in subject line.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ONGOING SURVEY for Authors Academy

ONGOING SURVEY for Authors Academy

As some of you know we have opened up Authors Academy for anyone interested in starting their authoring career. I would like to take this moment to ask of you a favor. Namely to visit our Landing Page and comment.

If you were looking for help on your writing would you sign up?

Do you find the content compelling?

Do you have any criticisms?

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being poor, 5 being great or awesome) rate the page.

I understand I may hear comments I don’t really want to hear. However, marketing is an evolving process even as writing. I am interested in hearing anything that will make my marketing better.

I promise to read your comments. Who knows, I may even accept and act on your advice!

 

Thank you,

R. Frederick Riddle