Surprise! I Love My Amazing Church

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Surprise! I Love My Amazing Church.
I say I love my church, but do I? Do you?
Let’s take a walk and discuss this issue. Since it’s a sensitive subject I will deal primarily with what we should be doing, not with I’m doing.
What is Love?

  • I ask that first because people today don’t know what is love. Let me begin with what it isn’t. Love is not Do this for me and I’ll love you. That’s lust or Hollywood love. Did you know that the word love meaning lust is not in the Bible. Other words are used to describe lust.
  • Love is not you did something for me therefore I love you. It is very close to the previous love I mentioned, so we’ll just treat it as two sides of the same coin.

Then there is Brotherly Love.
Brotherly love is in the Bible and it is found first in the Gospels. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
That command is repeated throughout the New Testament. In Greek it is Phileo or brotherly love. It is never used in a command to men to love God. Rather it is used as tender affection one for another.
Do we practice tender affection one for another. I see this in two practical applications.

  1. First there is love for all men. As a Christian we should love our fellow man. That does not mean to overlook his faults. The world teaches that love means to accept the whole person, including the parts we don’t like. But that is not in the Bible. In fact just the opposite is spoken of. If we love our fellow man than we should be willing to warn him when he is doing something that might bring the judgment of God upon him. That is one motivation for soul winning; to go out and warn people of judgment and to tell them of Jesus Christ who died for them.
  2. Second there is love for other Christians. This type of love involves fellowshipping with the brethren. It is said you are known be the company you keep. We should be spending time with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. It also carries the meaning of helping them. While this aspect can also be used in our love for all men, love for the brethren takes it to a higher level. At this level you are willing to go the extra mile. Why? Because this man or woman is a fellow Christian, a believer, a born again child of God. And God wants us to be a conduit for Him to bless them. Do we practice that?

There is Sacrificial Love.
The love that exists between a man and a woman is said to exemplify the love between Christ and His Church. In Ephesians 5:25-29 we husbands are told to love our wives as Christ loves the Church. What a great love that is.
This is called in Greek ‘agape’ and is defined as “the attitude of God toward His Son.” But it goes further in that it is God’s attitude toward all men generally as expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Then there is His love toward Christians in particular as seen in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
In John 3:16 God so loved the world that He was willing to sacrifice His Son that anyone could turn to Christ and be saved because Christ died for them. It is the Good News that has turned this world upside down. It is because of God’s love toward me through His Son Jesus Christ that God extended to me His hand on May 9, 1973 and pulled me out of the miry pit and saved me for eternity! And if you’ve received Christ as your Savior, He’s done the same for you.
But according to Ephesians God wants us to love our wives as Christ loved the church! That means ignoring hurtful words; that means loving her in spite of any faults she may have. And by the way, wives are suppose to love their husbands. It would appear that our marriages are to be pictures of Christ and His Church.
So How Do We Love the Church?
Obey.
This is extremely hard. But we are to be obedient. If you follow that out it implies at least two things:

  1. Obey the Word. God has filled His Word with commands for us to follow. Not only commands but principles that He expects us to use in our lives, our marriages, our careers, and our worship.
  2. Obey the Pastor. If obeying God’s Word is difficult obeying God’s man is even more difficult. Why? Because pastors are men, fellow humans with failings. And when you are in the church you get to know your pastor and his faults. Yet we are called to obey him in the things that are in the Word. That is key. It does not mean obey your pastor when he tells you to go do thus and thus. There is always the Word of God. If he tells you to do something contrary to the Word, you don’t do it. But you better be sure of where you stand.

Serve.
God created the Church for His people. We are strongest when we attend church faithfully. But He didn’t command us to go to church, sit in the pew and do nothing. God has something for all of us to do. His callings upon our lives are not eternal. He may call us to serve in a particular area and later call us to another area. That is His prerogative.
I have used this illustration before. Ushering is an area of service. You can even find verses related to ushering in the Bible. It is a time honored ministry and it is an important ministry since the usher is usually one of the first persons to meet you at the church door. He welcomes you, he helps you find a seat, and he, hopefully, is a godly example. But should everyone aspire to be an usher? When I first got saved I was soon asked if I would usher. I promptly said yes and then went home and asked for God’s blessing. What did I do wrong? I didn’t check with God until after I made the decision. Throughout that whole year I felt miserable. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I had dictated what ministry I was going to practice.
When the following year came up and I needed to make that decision again, I did it right. I went to God and asked Him if it was where He wanted me to serve. I’ve been ushering ever since!
Now some people contend with me that we should start serving immediately as a walk in faith. And to an extent I agree. If you walk into the church and see trash on the floor. You don’t need to pray over it. You pick it up and get rid of it. But performing a service unto God, whether it is ushering, singing, working in the sound room, typing, accounting, etc., is something you need to have God’s approval. Put Him first!
It is not a walk of faith if God isn’t first in your life.
Another illustration of godly service. I was visiting a church and the woman who was obviously their best singer stood up. She announced that she wasn’t singing that day not because of sickness; not because she had to leave suddenly, but rather because she didn’t feel spiritual that day. She made is sound spiritual, but it was selfish. We are to serve God where He puts us, as long as He puts us, and as long as He enables us.
Do we love God enough to serve Him in the church?
Follow.
Following God includes obedience and service, but I’m including it here as it pertains to our personal life. We are constantly being attacked by the world with ungodly temptations. Sometimes they come dressed as godly and sometimes they make no effort to disguise themselves, but they are still temptations.
God left us in this world to be a light but we have to be strong and keep that light visible. It is a dark world out there. Wickedness abounds.
I have not found a magic formula to keep away from temptations. You can’t. From the time you get up in the morning and the time you go to bed there are manifold temptations. Some are sly, some are sneaky, and some are bold.
I have found that spending time in God’s Word and in prayer strengthens me when I’m weak. It is like having necessary and healthy food. It doesn’t guarantee godliness or health, but it sure helps! And just because you walked with Christ yesterday doesn’t mean you will today. He’s always there willing and wanting to hold your hand, but you have to let Him.
We need to make a practice of following Jesus in all areas of our lives. If we practice that then Jesus will walk with us and even carry us on occasion.
Do we love God enough to allow Him to direct our steps?
Why did I call my church an Amazing Church? It is simple. My church and any church that loves and serves God has the power of God upon it and is therefore Amazing.
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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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Remarkable Insights from Pauline A New Home

FeaturedRemarkable Insights from Pauline A New Home

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Tuesday’s I try to focus on Insights. This week I am taking another look at Remarkable Insights from Pauline A New Home.

‘At that moment the President was still building his Cabinet, which currently held Vice-President Sarah Adams and Secretary of State Mark Taylor. But today he welcomed Jessica Harper into his office.
The twenty four year old Jessica was a graduate of Michigan State University, located in East Lansing, Michigan. She had majored in education and had planned to continue for a Masters Degree. In fact, she had already enrolled at the time of her arrest.
“Have a seat Miss Harper. May I call you Jessica?”
“Yes, although some simply call me Jess.”
“Any preference?”
“Jess is reserved for friends and I have a hunch that we’re going to be friends, so Jess is fine.”
“Does that mean you are accepting the position of Secretary of Education?”’

The above quote is taken from my novel Pauline A New Home. If you’ve read the book you know that President Adams was in the process of forming his cabinet shortly after the Christians landed on Pauline. Today’s insights come from that necessary step as the Christians formed their new government.
Whenever a new government is formed the new leader needs men and women around him that he can trust to carry out whatever agenda he may have for his government. It matters little if it is an existing government on Earth or a brand new government on some distant planet, you need government and you need the right people to run it.
In our country the President, who is elected by the people, selects people he feels will help him administer his government. These men and women are then submitted to the Senate who either approves of disapproves. If approved then they run their respective department in a manner that supports the Presidents will.
Representative Democracy.
Here in America we have what is called a Representative Democracy. This is not the same as Democracy. In Democracy you have the people making laws, etc. It is unwieldy and closely resembles mob rule. Representative Democracy is where the people elect representatives to make the decisions for them. If the people are unhappy with their representatives they have the right to replace them.
When first formed it was truly unique. Since then other countries have tried to copy us with limited success. As with the government on Pauline our government adopted a Constitution based upon Biblical principles. Some people have challenged this fact, but while the Bible is not mentioned in the Constitution the ideas either came directly from the Bible or indirectly.
Some countries modified their constitutions or charters. Great Britain had already adopted a form of government that has largely continued to this day. In their government they have a King or Queen born for the job and a Prime Minister chosen is the leader of the winning party and appointed by the King or Queen. Many countries have followed this pattern.
But to my knowledge no country has truly imitated the United States. Not that we haven’t tried to export it. But it remains unique. The problem is that our type of government is linked to the Christian faith in spite of the detractors. When we remove God from our government we run into trouble.
Wall of Separation
For example, there are many politicians who insist on a “wall of separation” between the government and religion. They claim it is constitutional, although the term is nowhere found in the constitution. It first appeared in a letter by President Thomas Jefferson to a group of Danbury Baptists in 1802. They were worried that the government would do as governments in Europe, namely run the church. His letter was to reassure them, that they were protected by a wall of separation, namely the 1st Amendment. That wall was to keep government out of the church, not to keep the church out of the government.
Unfortunately in today’s world politicians don’t want to be bothered with morality (look at their lives if you doubt that). So they reinterpret the wall statement to mean the church is to be kept out of the government. Most Americans today don’t know this because modern history books reflect the current view rather than historical fact. It’s called revisionism!
This tearing down of the relationship between church and state causes additional problems!
Based on the new understanding God was kicked out of our schools. Bible Scripture has been removed from buildings; Bible knowledge has been banned from our schools; and Bible standards are systematically being removed from all public institutions.
Persecution of Christians.
Christians find it rough in colleges where toleration is preached but persecution is practiced. Every year we read of Christian college students being barred from this activity or that activity. But it’s not’s just colleges. It is showing up in government. We recently witnessed the attempt to destroy a good man whose only crime was that he was religious. Whether or not you believe the woman who claimed to be a victim, her story lacked credibility and was even denied by people she claimed were there. Plus, of course, she didn’t remember how she got there, how she left, where there was, and a lot of other details.
Crime.
We also see a rise in criminal activity by our young people. If they kill someone the finger is pointed at the NRA whether or not the killer was a member (usually not). The real culprit is not the gun used but the fact that our government has removed absolutes from our lives. Children grow up with no moral absolutes, therefore having their consciences instructed by TV and the movies. The only absolute they are taught is that the end justifies the means.
Of course, this thinking doesn’t apply to speed limits on the road. Try telling the policeman that the speed limit is only a suggestion since there are no absolutes.
Violence.
Our children are growing up in a violent world. That’s a fact. I grew up watching westerns, cops and robbers, and war stories. That didn’t make me violent. My parents were not particularly religious, but they instilled in me some absolutes. And every one of them can be traced back to the Bible.
The Bible teaches Christians to love one another. Not the love as expressed in Hollywood, but a love that is based on respect for one another; a love that truly cares for others. Christ is our example, but the world denies Him. They’ll use His name but ignore His Word (Bible). Is it any surprise that children that have grown up without Biblical teachings is violent to others?
Apathy.
The other side of violence is apathy. Women can be raped and no one will help her; people can be beaten and murdered while people look the other way.
Why?
“Because they are not concerned with human life except their own. So instead of stepping in, or calling 911, or providing the police with the needed information, they look the other way and keep their mouths shut. It is a tragic day we live in.
Abortion.
The Bible clearly teaches that abortion is a deadly sin.
“If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,” Exodus 21:22-23.
Homosexuality (aka transgender, gay, etc.)
In the Book of Romans (1:22-28) the subject is dealt with clearly. But if people don’t read the Bible, if they don’t go to church, or are taught otherwise in school it is going to be a rampant problem. Today immorality has taken the position of being the new morality. And it all began with the removal of God and His Word from our schools!
Family
The family is the basic unit of our government. When we have strong families we tend to see more respect for government, we value absolutes, and we are more agreeable with one another. But today the family is being attacked on almost every level.
Call to Action
There is issue after issue where the Bible has expressed itself, but today most people either are unaware or don’t care. And the results are tragic!
Those of us who are Christians have got to do more than protest. We need to take political action. That includes taking moral stands. It includes using the power of the vote. And it includes being a daily example.
I speak to everyone including myself. We are in danger of losing America!
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Church and Politics

FeaturedChurch and Politics

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Church and Politics.
Is the Church Prohibited from Participating in Government?
To answer that question you must look at both the Bible and the Constitution. First the Bible:
There are no Bible verses that prohibit Christians from participating in government. On the other hand we know that God has used His people in government.
The first one that comes to mind is Joseph who God prepared for high office. Aside from his two dreams, Joseph also experienced treachery, slavery, and imprisonment. But when you take a closer look you see that he was put in positions of responsibility that not only were instructive but nurturing him toward eventual high political position, namely the second highest person in Egypt. Today he’d be called a Prime Minister.
The second one that comes to mind is Daniel. He was taken as a teenage boy to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. Although essentially a slave he rose to be the most prominent advisor in the kingdom. He was so good that the Persian Empire made him the equivalent of a governor and, at that, the highest among the governors.
The third example is Nehemiah. A servant (slave) in the Persian court his job was to taste the food given to the king. Although not usually considered an influential job it was important as he was a defense against assassination. But God raised him up and caused him to have a good reputation with the king. The king not only allowed him to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and the city, but he gave Nehemiah his authority! Nehemiah went back, became the governor, and built the wall.
In the New Testament I don’t recall any governors, but we do know that men high in the military called centurions became Christians. Christ never condemned people for being rulers, although he did condemn those who were corrupt.
In addition we as Christians are to be light and salt, which by definition requires being used.
So Biblically Speaking Christians are not prohibited.
So What About the Constitution?
We now know that the Constitution was the product of mostly Christian men praying and deliberating to hash out the Constitution. When you research it you learn that the Bible was instrumental in both the Constitution and the Amendments. If you would like an in-depth book on the subject read America: A Journey of Faith and Freedom by Caleb Garraway.
What About Separation of Church and State?
Glad you asked. Revisionists have removed from our history books the truth about that phrase and revised our history to match their agenda. But here are a few facts:

  • It is not in the Constitution
  • It was a letter from President Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists
  • It was in response to their fear that Government might someday impose religion upon them (as did England)
  • He wrote reassuring them that there was a wall protecting them from the government
  • It was never about keeping religion, specifically Christianity, out of government
  • As citizens we are to participate, which includes voting and serving (if God leads)

In fact our country was great because of Christian involvement and to be great again it will need Christian involvement.
My Opinion
I labeled this my opinion because I don’t have hard facts at hand to prove my contention, just the memory of a man who’s lived a long time. I grew up in the 50s. Since I was a child I don’t remember any sermons. However, the mindset was that because politics is dirty Christians shouldn’t be in it! Serving in government was considered almost sinful.
In addition, pastors felt they shouldn’t even preach about the evils that existed in government. I don’t recall any well-known pastor standing up against the Congress and the Supreme Court when the attacks upon Christian influence in our schools began. Christians buried their heads in the sand!
But decisions made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, have had a detrimental effect upon our society. Today we have more violence all around us than prior to the 50s. Children grow up to be disrespectful, rebellious, and extremely violent. What’s the reaction? They say we need more gun control. But the real need is to have God in our children’s lives. And with that godly discipline. Returning to our Biblical heritage will solve most of our problems.
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Everyone Has A Story

FeaturedEveryone Has A Story

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Everyone Has A Story.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Everyone has a story” sometime in your lifetime. I believe this is true. Most people don’t realize it, aren’t interested in writing, or don’t know how. But all of us have life experiences that can be instructive or entertaining to the rest of us.
I write stories. I write Bible based stories and I write speculative fiction; I also write historical novels. In fact, you could say I write Biblical historical novels, American historical novels, and Futuristic historical novels. In the last cast it would be a history that hasn’t occurred yet.
What Kind of Stories Are You Talking About?
All kinds. You could write about your trip out west. It could be instructive, entertaining, or just a plain telling of the trip. Your story can go in a lot of different directions. How you write the story is up to you.
The same could be said for a purely fictional account loosely base on an historical event. This would require some research, but the labor would be worth it. Research usually enriches the story being told, so I encourage you to do research.
What Kind of Research?
Depends on your story. The more complicated or extensive it is the more research you need. Good research tends to enrich the story.
But I’ve Never Written A Book Before!
There’s always a first time. And while I don’t necessarily recommend it there are ghostwriters who’ll write your book for a fee. But before that try writing a rough draft by yourself. The draft won’t be perfect but it will be a start. You can also purchase books or borrow books from the library to help you write.
Writing can be fun.
But What About Finding an Agent or Publisher?
I’m neither for or against agents, but I don’t usually write about them. The reason is I favor Indie Publishing where you are the publisher. My Friday blogs deal with publishing. I favor KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) because it is easy and generally free. And the quality is good.
Most of your Traditional Publishers require you having an agent. The process of finding an agent who is willing to represent you can take months, perhaps half a year or longer. Then the agent may take months to find a publisher and the publisher may take up to two years to publish your book. In my view that is way too long!
What About Genre?
Genre is basically a category of artistic expression. It is not just writing books, but that is all I will cover here. It is one of the first things you should check out. Different writers may have different ways of discovering their genre. The best way that I know of is to find other books that are similar to what you want to write. Then find out what categories those books are under.
When I wrote my first novel about space I thought the genre was science fiction. But a reader of this blog told me that Christian Science Fiction is known as Christian Speculative Fiction. So friends, family, and others can help you find out what your genre is. Once you discover that then learn the principles regarding it.
Can I Make Money Writing?
The short answer is yes. There are multiple ways of making money. Whether you can or not is something you must decide. However, if you enjoy writing than I believe that should be your first consideration.
Hone your craft, stick with it, and publish it. All of this can be done for free. And you can get your book out there. Then there’s the matter of advertising and other marketing ideas. In the end a love for writing or a real commitment to writing can sustain you for a long time.
If you have a story to tell why not tell it?
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Dealing with Multiple Characters

FeaturedDealing with Multiple Characters

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Dealing with Multiple Characters.
When writing my novels I frequently deal with multiple characters. This is common to most writers. But in my case, I like to let the reader into a character’s mind instead of just telling the reader what the character is thinking.
This immediately presents a situation where the character could take over more than his or her part of the story. I must always remember who the primary character is in the book. In my Bible based series The World That Was this is not a major problem because the Bible has already told me who the primary characters are and their role. But in the series Christland I have a great deal more freedom which also means I face different problems.
Multiple characters can be a distraction.
Especially if the character has a limited role. For example, in Death Ship to the Stars there was Ralph Abernathy. He had a brief but important role early in the story, albeit a limited role, while people he connected with had more enduring roles. Keeping him in his proper place yet allowing the reader to get to know him kept me busy. But I believe I accomplished the task.
On the other hand Agent X was constantly being revealed through his thinking.
How Did You Do It?
Basically, I only allowed the reader into Ralph’s mind when he was alone or for only a brief time. Agent X’s identity was secret. For awhile the reader may have included Ralph as the true identity of Agent X. In fact, several people in the novel were possibilities so I limited the amount of time they were given for us to see their thinking. I restricted these moments to only those that were important for the reader to see.
I also kept to the Primary Character rule.
What’s the Primary Character Rule?
That’s my name for keeping the primary character up front even if not in view at the time. In the case of Ralph most of his interactions were with Sarah, so she was always treated as the Primary Character when in his presence. Of course, she actually was one of two primary characters.
On the other hand there was Miss M. Since she was something of a mystery woman (not revealed until Book 3) I kept her thoughts restricted. She did think and the reader listened in, but I also kept her true identity secret while dropping a clue once in a while. But she was also a primary character that was viewed through the eyes of Colonel Michaels and General Smith. So there was a balancing act between revealing her and hiding her identity.
Should a Writer Always have Multiple Characters?
Actually that is up to the author. Multiple characters can get messy. You must try to keep them consistent and in their proper roles. In my Bible based novel Perished The World That Was I had multiple characters imposed by the Bible itself. Some of the characters had the same name. (I would not recommend having multiple characters with the same name, but dealing with the Bible required them.)
When the book was reviewed a man purporting to be a Christian reviewed it. But instead of reading it honestly he skipped through the book. You guessed it. By skipping he ran into characters with the same name but didn’t know they were actually different people. So it resulted in a poor review. (By the way I have kept the review because even a poor review can be a good review. Most people reading his review will spot the problem.) Don’t let that scare you most reviewers are honest in their approach.
Multiple characters can be problematic, but the larger your story the more likely you’ll have them. The key is to keep them consistent or develop them over a period of time. And keep their relationship with the primary character consistent.
What About Only the Primary’s Thoughts Being Revealed?
That is a legitimate solution. In fact, that is what most writers do and I believe I’ve read experts advise such. In my opinion, if you can handle multiple characters thinking go ahead and try it. I believe when you can let the reader truly get to know the characters it can be worthwhile but just remember it also requires hard work on yourself.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Writing and the English Language

FeaturedWriting and the English Language

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Writing and the English Language
While it is true that everybody has a story in them, it is not necessarily true that they have the ability to write a book. One of the first obstacles a writer has to good writing is the English language.
What’s wrong with the English language?
There’s nothing wrong with the English language. It is perhaps the most powerful language in existence in the world, which explains its worldwide usage. It is the language most used between countries as they negotiate treaties, trade with one another, and socially interact with each other.
Now I’m not advocating a college major in English. While that might be helpful, it could also be disastrous. Rather I’m advocating that we teach ourselves proper English. I often review the rules of grammar and spelling, especially now that we have the internet. (I’m doing so even as I’m writing this blog.)
With the internet available and self-help books available we don’t have any excuses. If someone critiques my book and finds a grammar or spelling error it is my fault. We need to master English to the extent that we can write a good book.
Unfortunately we live in an age when speaking or writing good sentences is on the decline. We are living in the age of the dumbing down of America. We’ve often heard that phrase in relation to math and science, but it is also a true description of  our writing and speaking.
Don’t believe me? Read the posts on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of “you are” you read “ur;” instead of “best friend” you get “BF;” instead of “God the Father” you get “old man;” and instead of “laugh out loud” you get “lol.” I understand the need for brevity, especially on Twitter, but the problem is that kids are learning this language and spend more time using it than they do English.
I once knew a teenage girl who was rather smart. She wrote an essay and submitted it to a national contest. And she won! She was proud of this accomplishment, as I would have been. But then she let me read her essay. The writing was terrible. There were misspelled words, poor grammar, etc. It was obvious they read only to get the concept of her letter. But this was a writing contest. Oh, and this was before the internet!
Recently I read that American schools, both high school and college, score low on literacy charts for the world. I don’t know the accuracy of that statement, but the man himself is credible so I tend to believe him. This is tragic!
This is why it is so important that anyone wanting to be an author keep a dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar book nearby.
You Don’t Think That’s Important?
If you can’t properly write a book the chances are that people won’t be able to read it even if they want to do so. Communication is the life line between writer and reader. A writer needs to be able to use words efficiently and effectively. We are creating word pictures for our readers, but if they can’t see the picture then we’ve failed.
Being able to read is just as important as being able to write.
In fact, I’d say they go hand in hand. People today have trouble reading Old English. How many kids can read Shakespeare? Not many, because it’s too hard! Yet they spend countless hours on their tablet and on Social Media ( think Twitter and Facebook).
This also affects the reading of the Bible.
One of the reasons people don’t read the King James Bible is because they don’t know the words being used. The real tragedy here is that these same people have to learn a technical language for their jobs, but find the KJV too “difficult.” The result is they use so-called modern translations that leave out powerful words like “propitiation” which is used more than once in the New Testament. Instead they accept the watered down translations of the word that gives them a bankrupt understanding of Scripture.
(I do realize that the primary reason for new versions is the financial rewards for the publishers, but even so they are capitalizing upon our ignorance.)
You hear today that our language is evolving, which implies it is not only changing but changing for the better. But this is not true. A better word would be devolving (degenerating). Aside from better education I don’t know how to handle this phenomenon, but we as writers can learn to write better.
Oh, and I’m not talking about the King’s English. Rather I’m talking about American English. I’m sure the people of England face the same challenges, but we in America need to face up to these challenges and work on our English. Starting with me!
Ain’t that right? (Just kidding.)
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for more book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to receive a free copy for the purpose of reviewing any of these books please feel free to contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Author’s Resources Part 3

FeaturedAuthor’s Resources Part 3

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Author’s Resources Part 3 of the series which deals with the author’s website.
In last Two Weeks I Asked Why Use Resources?
There was a time when an author only had his own imagination, his experience, and, if so blessed, a dictionary as resources. But the world has changed since those olden days. Back then few resources were available, but today there is a whole world of information available at the touch of a key. A computer key, that is.
Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We will take a look at each, thus requiring several days of study. So let’s get busy.
Website Resources

  1. Authors need a website

It doesn’t matter whether you are an established author or brand new you still need a website. Consider it an absolute must!
Your “About” page is where you can begin building your credits if you don’t have any or brag about the ones you do have. Write a bio that talks about your passion for writing as well as your dedication and enthusiasm.
Include your goals, what projects you are currently working on, that which inspires and motivates you, and whatever interests/hobbies you may have. Your goal here is to paint a broad, positive image of yourself, one that the reader will instinctively trust.
The key is not to be shy. We are always told not to brag or boast. It is a negative that turns people off. That is true. However, in advertising just the opposite is true. Generally your reputation is in your hands. The bolder, more assertive you are (if done properly) the stronger your reputation.

  1. The Power of a website

There are many marketing tools. Don’t feel that you have to use them all. Some of them will be covered later and some of them you may decide not to use. However, it would be a severe mistake to ignore a website.
A good website has the capability to communicate to visitors. That is why you are encouraged to have a website in the first place. Many people will learn about you through your website.
It is true that Social Media is an important venue for your name and books. But you can move ahead without Social Media, albeit very slowly. Without a website you are basically stuck in the mud.
Your website serves both as a place to promote your book and yourself! If you plan on writing more than one book, it is wise to promote yourself (using your author’s name).
Above I talked about your “About” page. That is for your bio which will tell people about yourself. You can also create a page about your upcoming novel; you can actually allow visitors a chance to see your progress.

  1. Your website is not a get rich quick scheme

Don’t think of a website as making you a ton of money. Rather, think of it as a storefront. This is where your potential customers will get a chance to meet and learn about you and explore your site.

  1. Unlike stores websites need to attract visitors

When you open a brick and mortar store you are located on a street or in a mall. Foot traffic will bring people by your store and they will see your storefront. There is a chance they will enter through the door and check the store out.
But a website doesn’t work that way. You could have the most beautiful website ever built and people may never visit. Why? Because they don’t know it exists!
People have to be told about your website. There are many ways to tell people, such as Business Cards, newspaper ads, word of mouth, and social media (more on this later).

  1. Your website is the hub of your activities

When I first started out I made my website my hub. I placed it on business cards, and used it in my email (signature), as well as in social media. Now that we have T&R Independent Books our bookstore is the primary hub. But the website is still important!

  1. Your website needs to be updated frequently

Actually we are discussing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is another necessary thing to promote your website. Google, Yahoo, and others send out robots to examine websites resulting in a placement within their database. The higher the placement the better for you.
Part of having a good SEO for your website is frequent updating. You should update (that is, add or change content) at least monthly. The SEO robots like fresh sites!
A good resource for website building is the “Dummies” books. These books are usually a goldmine of information and you should go to your local bookstore and check them out.

  1. You need to OWN your website

You can’t be on the internet very long without learning about FREE websites. Be careful. Some may be scams and others are poorly written and designed.
But you need to own your website. By that I mean own your Domain name. I own the domain http://tr-indbkstore.com/. Therefore I have control over everything that is on it or within it.
The cost of a domain is cheap. For example, Godaddy sells them sometimes for only a couple of bucks, while your annual renewal is usually less than twelve dollars.
Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order):

  • 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. Starts at $2.95 per month.

  • 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. Starts at $2.59 per month.

  • Godaddy (Godaddy.com)

This is probably one of the best web hosting providers and domain registrar in the world. We use it for our T&R Independent Bookstore website which includes author websites.

Godaddy provides many services in addition to buying a domain ($2.99 1st year) and hosting ($2.49/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. Starts at $3.95 per month.

  • Hostmonster (Hostmonster.com)

This powerful web hosting service provides unlimited bandwidth, hosts unlimited domains, unlimited email accounts, free site builders, free online stores, and one click WordPress install. Starts at $4.95 per month.

  • Justhost (Justhost.com)

Real cheap Web Hosting. It uses shared hosting on Linux server and costs only $3.95/month. Plus they offer you Adwords offer ($100) and Bing Ad credits ($100).

  • Inmotionhosting (inmotionhosting.com)

A hosting service that provides business hosting, reseller hosting, virtual private server, or dedicated server hosting. Also provides marketing credits for marketing your business. Business hosting starts at $6.39 per month

  • iPage (ipage.com)

This Web hosting provider enables you to host your website at intro price of $1.99/month (reg. $7.99). It provides such features as unlimited email address and Disk space, site building tools, Search Engine and Marketing Credits, free online store, and more. In addition it has tools ranging from Google Adwords, Facebook, analytics, and other valuable tools.

  • Mediatemple (mediatemple.net)

Mediatemple has been around since 1998. It provides hosting plans called grids that can handle a large amount of traffic without slowdowns or crashes.

Their hosting plans include Shared, WordPress, VPS, dedicated server, and managed hosting.

  • Name (Name.com)

Mostly known for buying a domain name, they now provide website building, hosting and other services, including SEO. Starts at $4.99 per month.

  • Namecheap (Namecheap.com)

Provides domains and hosting services at very low prices (hence, namecheap). Also provides whois privacy feature plus other features, all at low prices. Hosting starts at $2.88 per month.

  1. Website creation need not be expensive

See the list above. Hosting plans are relatively cheap.

  1. You do not need to be an expert

You can easily manage your own website. I use Godaddy which provides a user-friendly interface allowing me to build the site the way I want. No HTML experience necessary although it is helpful for a more advanced website.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), and Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Authors Resource Part 2

FeaturedAuthors Resource Part 2

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Author’s Resources.
This is part 2 of the series. Next Thursday and possibly others will cover this topic in greater degree.
Last Week I Asked Why Use Resources?
There was a time when an author only had his own imagination, his experience, and, if so blessed, a dictionary as resources. But the world has changed since those olden days. Back then few resources were available, but today there is a whole world of information available at the touch of a key. A computer key, that is.
Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We will take a look at each, thus requiring several days of study. So let’s get busy.
Basic Resources that you need:
Dictionary
“I don’t need a dictionary!”
Think again. A good dictionary is vital to every writer. Your word processing program’s built in dictionary is good, but not perfect. You need a real dictionary; preferably one that contains thousands of words. In fact, a dictionary with a thesaurus would be a major plus.
Why? Because you want to avoid, if possible, the repetitious use of a word.  Somewhere during your editing you will discover a word keeps reappearing. A thesaurus would help you find another word, maybe a better word, to convey the same meaning. This helps keep your story fresh.
Dictionary, Bible
If you are writing a story that is based on the Bible you need a good Bible dictionary. Even better, a pictorial Bible dictionary.
When I use a pictorial Bible dictionary it not only tells me about a certain item, say a tool, but provides an image as well. This is an aid in visualizing the tool and its uses.
Grammar
Again, don’t depend on your word processor. They are not always accurate. You need a good resource such as a grammar book or a reliable online resource (in which case you bookmark it).
I often use the Internet to look up word usage and proper grammar. It helps reduce the confusion and makes the whole writing experience easier.
Newsletter
There are newsletter available on the Internet that deal with writing. Chances are there’s one that fits your needs. Check it out.
Thesaurus
You don’t want to be guilty of using the same word over and over. You need a resource for synonyms and antonyms. You need a Thesaurus. I commented above on the value of a dictionary with a thesaurus. If you can’t get both the dictionary and thesaurus in a single book, then invest the money in a thesaurus.
Actually, while I favor a two in one approach a standalone thesaurus may be bigger, with more words and uses.
Computer
These days a computer is virtually a must! That’s true even if you only use it as a word processor. Here are some uses of the computer:

  • Research
    • Basic research may include looking up words, facts regarding people and events, and places. Deeper research can take you as deep as you want.
  • Social Media
    • A Social presence can be gained through a variety of Social Media outlets.
    • Some popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads
    • New ones seem to be appearing on an increasing basis. Check them out.
  • Purchasing
    • Self-Help books. You can find books on almost any subject. They can be immensely helpful for a writer.
    • Subject books. By that I mean books written about subjects you are interested in. Perhaps your story is taking place in Australia. You can find books about Australia.
    • Tools. New tools are constantly being invented. Some may not be worth your time let alone your dime, but you might just discover a gold mine.

     

Next week we’ll look at websites.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), and Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

Why I am an Indie Publisher

FeaturedWhy I am an Indie Publisher

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Why I am an Indie Publisher.
In 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I went out to lunch at a small McDonalds located in Murdock, part of greater Port Charlotte, and made a very important decision. As we sat there we discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet. The upshot of that meeting was the establishment of T&R Independent Books.
Let’s look at the Why form our own publishing company.
Up to that time I had been publishing using what is commonly called self-publishing companies to publish my books. But as I studied these companies I discovered:

  • They control the content of the book
  • They control the cover of the book
  • They determine the royalties
  • I still had to do most of the marketing

In other words, while I had more freedom and control that I’d have with a traditional publisher I still didn’t really have control of anything that really mattered. By going independent and truly publishing by myself, I would:

  • Have control over the content of the book from cover to cover
  • Have control over the cover of the book, including what photos I can use
  • Determine the royalties (You have choices with CreateSpace platform)
  • Still do the marketing

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a control freak. Rather I believe that if the author is going to invest his or herself into writing a book, any book, then they deserve to benefit from it.
Example
With traditional and self-publishing companies the average author’s royalties are scaled. It varied from publisher to publisher but in general it might go like this: 8% of retail for the first 2,500; 15% for the next 5,000; 25% thereafter. Now the numbers I just used may not be accurate (I did it from memory), but the concept is true.
But by doing my own publishing using the CreateSpace platform I can receive 35% or 70% right from the start! That is a major difference.
What about the content?
With traditional publishers you generally have to first go through an agent who then tries to find a publisher. The agent has certain criteria which may involve you changing the content. But just finding an agent can be long and frustrating. Then the agent gets to tell you whether the book is good enough for publishing based on their expertise.
Even self-publishers exert control. For example, say you are writing a book and you quote from the King James Version Bible. It is possible they will substitute a different version whether you agree or not. They may also reject passages they don’t like. In other words, just because you are pleased with your results they might not be and can act accordingly.
Another thing involved is the ability to correct. No matter how or to what extent you have had your book previewed and edited, there is always the chance of errors. Moreover the publisher may have printing errors. I ran into this with my books. I was sent a ‘Proof’ copy and given about three days to review, find errors, make corrections, and return (electronically, of course). Three days may sound like a lot. But if the publisher made errors, which in this case they did, the finding and correcting  could be extensive, which it was. As a result I was only able to make a limited number of corrections and then it was published. And once published I could not make any corrections without going through the submission process again including paying money!
But by publishing the book myself I am able to take my time and do a more thorough job of previewing and editing. And, if there are still errors in the published version, I can correct the errors and republished at no cost to myself!
What about the Cover?
In previous blogs  I wrote about CreateSpace’s Cover Creator and the Photo Gallery. I won’t go into all the details again other than to say I can use one of their free pictures or I can upload a picture of my own. I don’t have to deal with the publisher to get permission like I did with my previous self-published books with a publisher. Even though I had a certificate proving I owned the rights, they rejected the photo and the certificate. But as the publisher I not only can but I did use it.
And one last thing: Writing a book can be and is stressful; so is marketing. Having greater control over the publishing removes a lot of stress; and having greater control over price and royalties is far more rewarding.
Have you considered publishing your book yourself?
More and more authors are discovering the value of a DIY (Doing It Yourself) approach commonly called Indie Publishing. Yes it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it in many ways.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.