Every reader knows the kind of books they want to read. But not every author has a clear-cut idea of what they want to write. So, I thought it would be fun to share a few things I’d like to read in books and want to write.
A few things I want to Read and Write…
1. Clean fiction. Okay, that’s kinda vague…let me elaborate. When I say clean, I mean a book void of profanity and euphemisms. A book without romance. I mean, I don’t mind if there is a couple in the story, but I don’t like it when that’s the main focus of the story, with the exception of the Courtship Series (see below). Or if the times they are together are immature, carnal or just overall non-Christ honoring. If I know more about the opposite character’s physical attributes than their personality, something is wrong.
Examples of Clean Fiction: Tales of Faith Series by Amanda Tero; The Moody Family Series by Sarah Maxwell; The Courtship Series by Mr. and Mrs. Castleberry
How I plan to do this: Well, I won’t use language that I don’t believe pleases God. And if I write about characters that are in a relationship, write them in a manner that pleases God; keep the interaction mature and above reproach (no touching or kissing before marriage); Make sure that their relationship doesn’t become the focus of the story. Even if I someday write a story like the Castleberrys Courtship Series, I will try my best to make God the focus of the story, not feelings or emotions.
2. Engaging Text. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader than reading a book that isn’t a story at all. It’s a textbook. I don’t want to waste my time on a book that’s not interesting. Dry, dead, dull. I want the story to come alive. Make me see what is happening! Make me smell, hear and feel it. Drop me into the middle of your story!
Examples: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson; Sisters in Time by Various Authors; Iron Scout of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
How I plan to do this: Remove filter words; make my descriptions interesting as well as needful; Allow my readers to fill in unnecessary bits of information, but never leave them wondering where the story takes place or when it’s supposed to take place; Keep even the non-active parts of the story interesting with actions mixing with the dialogue and using colorful words and never writing something I would be tempted to skim.
3. Accurate Fiction. Nothing irritates me more than when writers add fictional members to real people’s families, change timelines or blatantly change history. It’s not right. You are lying to your audience. I don’t care how awesome it makes your story. It’s lying. I had an awesome storyline for a modern-day military story that included a Navy SEAL being captured by the enemy and his team rescuing him. The story was so neat, watching my main character side-step a lot of trouble, even as a POW, and watching how his buddies plan the most amazing rescue ever. And all culminating with a powerful Salvation scene.
But…in the History of the SEALs, not one has ever been a POW.
Who am I to write a story that might lead someone to believe that a Navy SEAL has been taken prisoner? It’s not my place to plant an idea in someone’s head that isn’t true. If a Navy SEAL ever becomes a POW, God forbid, then my story would work out. To be honest, I hope that story idea never gets written.
How I plan to do this: I want to make sure that in every book that I write, I am writing things that either did or could happen realistically. Could a young teen overhear a conversation that could save a group of soldiers? Yes, that is possible and has happened in history. Could a child win over a company and become their drummer? Yes. Think Johnny Clem, one of the youngest soldiers in the Union Army. There are many stories of boys who just wouldn’t leave the soldiers alone and becoming musicians. So, my storyline with Burdy in my Battle for Heritage Series is plausible.
See what I mean? Make historical fiction factual again! I will say one thing though. While I don’t completely agree with this, I do appreciate when an author is honest enough to make a note about what aspects they changed for their story’s sake. Like I said, I want it true, but I like knowing what wasn’t right in the story, straight from the author.
Another note here. I’m strictly talking about historical facts/situations. Some people would be quick to point out that I have done something in my series that isn’t 100% accurate. Dixie wasn’t a wide spread name for girls in the 1840s, which is when my character Dixianna Mason was born. In fact, it wasn’t a name for girls at all. Dixie was a nickname for boys named Richard. Why? I have no idea. But to make the name work (I was told by a historian not to change her name), I created a little history behind her name. You can read that here.
Believe me, I’m not saying every minute detail must be on par. But I am saying you should try your hardest to make your book as accurate as possible. I don’t mind a minor quirk here and there. I’m talking about changing history.
Ex. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy; Journey to Love by Amanda Tero (not a Romance)
Why I Write What I Write
One day after editing with my mom, she asked me why my stories were always so sad. I told her I wasn’t really sure, it’s just what came about. Then she found a poem that summed it up. I can’t find it now, but it mentioned how nice it is to read pretty stories. But sometimes, the author wanted to make her readers cry, to see and appreciate the hard things that lead to the good things.
That is true for me. Some people like to write about the sunshine. I like to show people the storm so you can appreciate the sunshine.
But all of this is nothing if you aren’t writing to please and honor God. Would you be embarrassed to have Him sit down and read your book? Would you have parts that you would want Him to skip? Cut. Them. Out. If you would be ashamed for Him to know what’s in your stories, they don’t belong there. Besides, He already knows. Let that sink in! Write to Honor God!
Something to Think about: Why do you write what you write? Would God be pleased with your stories?
Have a Blessed Day!
I’ve read a grand total of 4 classics in my life. Wait…do The Holy War and Anne of Green Gables count? If so, make that 6! So as you can see, I’m not well versed in classic literature. Not that I’m against it per say, it’s just not a genre I’ve gotten my hands on a lot. Now there are definitely some I’ll not be reading for obvious reasons, but that’s “neither here nor there”. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Kidnapped!
By Robert Louis Stevenson
This is the story of young David Balfour, who is seeking his inheritance after the death of his parents, is double crossed by his uncle and kidnapped by a sea captain who plans to sell him in the Carolinas as a slave (yes, the white slave trade was a thing in the 1700s). It is set in Scotland a generation or so after the Jacobite Rebellion, which was the Scottish struggle to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on his rightful throne. The English prevailed, ousting the true king and stripping the Scots Highlanders from their heritage, including the playing of bagpipes and the wearing of the tartan. Anyone who fought for Prince Charlie was arrested and executed or sold into involuntary servitude or slavery.
My Review: Forgive me while I bask in my love for Scotland. *Listening to some Scottish music as I type!* Okay, so I love Scotland! The accents, language, tartan plaid, bagpipes…ahh…
So, with that said, I really did enjoy this book! It was so Scottish, the story was engaging and believable and Alan Breck was such a Highlander! David tended to get on my nerves (he was a Whig, the liberal political party of his day and pro-King George II, who was the father of King George III, who was the one who was the cause of the Revolution), because he was a bit immature. To be honest, he came off English to me, rather than Scottish.
But why did it only get 3 stars if I enjoyed it so much?
Well, there’s this bit of Scottish culture that I do not like in the least. And that is the fact that drinking alcohol is an everyday “okay” thing and is treated as such in the book. I do not believe in drinking alcohol at all so this got on my nerves. It was sprinkled through the story and my copy was an eBook, so I couldn’t mark it out. There were also two different words that I would have marked out, for a total of three words.
If you enjoy Scotland and want a story that will immerse you in its culture, history and divided loyalties, pick up a copy, edit it and enjoy! Edited, I would give it a 4-star review! Recommended to 18+ for understanding/interest.
And now for that Invitation...
Hope to see you there!
Have a blessed week!
I love America. I’m sure you never would have guessed that, lol! But yes, I am a proud American citizen and I thank God for allowing me to be born in the Greatest Nation in the world. (Shouldn’t everyone be able to feel that way about their home?) Today, I want to share a book list of 5 books for Patriotic Americans!
1. Let’s Roll by Lisa Beamer
I promise I won’t fangirl over it here. If you haven’t read my review, you can do so by clicking here. This book helps you put modern American patriotism back into focus. It reminds us of why we are at war in the first place and what we as individuals need to do to keep our country great.
2. & 3. Battle Heroes: Voices from Afghanistan/War Heroes: Voices from Iraq by Allan Zullo
Want your eyes opened to “boots on the ground” operations in the Middle East by the best fighting force on earth? I don’t care if you are a mature adult, this middle grade book needs to be read by you! The youngest I would suggest read it would be 12, since it is a war book. While sensitive, it’s still intense. This book puts a story with the random things we hear about the war. Ever wondered what goes in to defusing an IED? What exactly are native translators capable of, besides translating? Who are the guys serving our country? What are they like? Do they really have a life besides the military? Just read it, please. (Needs minor editing, nothing major.)
4. O To Be Like Thee by Kassie Angle
I know, I know, I talk about this book all the time. But it’s because it is so good! Please, just pick up the book and allow yourself to dive in to this fictional but true to life story. I mean, Kassie has grown up in the Army, so I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s talking about 😉
5. Behind Enemy Lines: Under Fire in the Middle East by Bill Doyle
Okay, so if you’ve ever wanted to read/watch Lone Survivor but wouldn’t because of the language (like me!), you need this book. (I mean, I would probably read it if someone else had edited it, just because I still have a few questions, but that’s just me. But I seriously doubt I could endure the movie, even if the language was edited out. Some things are better read than watched 😉) Among the 8 stories of valor in the Middle East is one titled Operation Redwing…and this was my introduction to Marcus Letrell and the Navy SEALs that served with him. Well, I had read an article about his buddy Danny, but I’d never heard the story of how exactly he died or what happened to his friend that made it through the ambush. Well, now I know! This was written on preteen level, so it’s comprehensive, clean and still quite jarring. Don’t read it right before bed, just saying. But, if you want to gain a deeper understanding to the conditions our boys are going through over there, pick up this quick read and let the story pull you in!
So that’s it for today! Now, hurry along to your library and find these books. Except for Kassie’s. Just order a copy. That’s what you really need to spend your money on! 😉 And no, she didn’t tell me to say that. She knows nothing about this post.
Have a blessed week!
Our School year has officially started and it’s going well thus far! Yay, Homeschooling! Hard to believe I’ll have a sister graduating this coming Spring and my little brother is in high school! The baby of the family just started middle. Hard to believe they are all so grown up! And Fall is right around the corner!
Bible Study: I am currently reading through the book of Exodus, and the story of the Israelites fighting with Amalek was part of my study. I’m reading a commentary on Moses and I am enjoying the study greatly. It showed how the raising of Moses hands was symbolic of lifting our hands to God in Prayer and also how it represents the power of God. And it shows that God keeps His promises. He promised to destroy Amalek, to wipe their nation off the face of the earth for their sin against God and for their hatred of the Jews. There are no descendants of Amalek today. It’s time for America to wake up to the seriousness of antisemitism (racism toward Jews). God doesn’t take it lightly and we shouldn’t either. The retributions could be fatal! “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 (King James Bible)
Did you know that you can help others by praying for the peace of Jerusalem? “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.” Psalms 122:6-8 (King James Bible) Don’t allow mainstream prejudice to mar your view of Israel and her people. God’s hand is upon them and it is our duty to pray for them, that they will hear and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Whom they can have true Peace.
Song: Every Good And Perfect Gift by Adam Morgan. It’s a Thanksgiving Song, but I think it’s appropriate for everyday life! We need to remember where our daily supplied needs come from.
🎼 “Every Good and Perfect Gift comes down from the Father of lights, Who remains unchanged, forever reigns, Who makes His face to shine upon His Child!” 🎼
Event: My Grandparents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary! Both of my married sisters and their families came in for it so we had all six of the little ones in the house! The time spent with friends and family was amazing. Also amazing that we are still sane after having so many people in the house at one time! 😉
Book of the Month: It’s a tie between Let’s Roll by Lisa Beamer (Review coming soon!) and Protecting the Poor by Amanda Tero! (Click here for my full review!)
Ministry: My dad has had many opportunities to preach and share about FBN this month! We had a missions conference for one, but even our drop-ins have been a blessing, especially one specific Wednesday Night prayer meeting we attended a couple weeks ago. Now that was a Real prayer meeting!
Writing Update: We are back into the grove of editing! Mom has been hitting the chapters hard, and I’m just ahead of her, fixing a few things that have changed due to prior edits! God is good and we are moving forward towards the finish line 😊 And Y'all! The Land of Cotton is currently having it's 5th printing printed and bound!!! Thanks to all of you who made this possible!
A Book I am Anticipating for September: I did not finish Auschwitz Escape, but I did make progress! But I am looking forward to reading a series of books I am proofing for my brother, Soldier Dogs. There are four books I think (more coming) and I have all but #3. I know, reading out of order…I’m still looking for it. The books are set during WWII and spotlight the different uses of dogs in the service! So, yes, I’m looking forward to that!
And Now, Some Writing Prompts…
Have a Blessed September!
I love books. I love good Christian books. And while historical fiction is my favorite, I do love a nice medieval setting sometimes. So, when I found out that Amanda Tero was writing a series of Novellas in this genre…and that there was NO magic in them…and that the last one was going to be a retelling of ROBIN HOOD…yep, I was hooked.
Protecting the Poor
(Published August 2019)
About the book:
Sheriff Feroci is now lord over the province, and Abtshire has become a pit of injustice. Being forced into the lord’s service does not give Dumphey as many opportunities to help the poor as he desires. When attempts on his life drive him into the forest, this freedom opens a world of possibilities for helping others. But how can he do so when he is running for his life? And does God want him to do more than simply feed the poor?
Noel has always hidden behind the shadow of his older brother, Dumphey. When life forces him to stand on his own, will he still follow God in the corrupt world in which he lives? Would God really call him to do something that is beyond his power to do?
As Lord Feroci's sinister plot comes to light, each lad has a choice to make. A choice that could cost them their lives.
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About the Author:
Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continues to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Connect with Amanda
Now there are some who call Robin Hood a socialist and a thief and I’m not going to get into explaining why neither is true (that is neither here nor there). The same accusation can certainly not be made of Dumphey and his Merry Men! This book…*sighs* It was so beautiful. I loved it so much and would recommend it to anyone, especially boys, since it’s kinda about boys, but girls will enjoy it too. And there is no romance!
I loved the archery aspect of the book and the outdoorsy setting of most of the story. And Lord Feroci… that man is evil. He is the perfect mix of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Some of my favorite parts in the story were the Biblical lessons taught through the story. As terrible as this may sound, I feel that some spiritual themes and scenes in stories come across forced and cold. Not the case here! Noel’s child-like innocence, faith and yes, fear, are easy to relate to and understand. Zuzene’s wisdom and trust in God is unshakable and makes you wish you could seek her counsel. Dumphey’s struggles with doing right in all things, dealing with guilt and attempting to witness without driving the listener away are relatable and natural, something I greatly appreciated.
*I was given a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review. *
Miss Amanda Tero was gracious enough to give me an interview to share with y’all, so without further ado, let’s dive in!
Ryana: What inspired you to write a retelling about Robin Hood?
Amanda: Robin Hood has always, always been a favorite story of mine—I mean, I wasn’t really even a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella… so when it came to choosing a third tale to tell, I chose something I adored. Plus, I had to find a character to spin off from in “The Secret Slipper.” Sheriff Feroci and Abtshire had the perfect workings of being the new Sheriff of Nottingham!
Ryana: What was your favorite part of writing Protecting the Poor?
Amanda: Ooh… you know, what comes to mind is the grueling labor this book was. I mean, for real! Compared to anything else I’ve published, this has been by far the hardest. But! I really did like writing the action scenes. Like, a lot.
Ryana: What do you want people to learn from Protecting the Poor?
Amanda: There is a dual-message in “Protecting the Poor.” From Noel, readers can learn from his example with how to cling to God with a pure heart—but also, how to overcome fears and follow God when you don’t think you can. From Dumphey, I hope readers learn boldness, not in action, but in sharing God’s gift of salvation.
Ryana: Who was your favorite character to develop?
Amanda: Patey! I wanted to have a mischievous, sly fellow who was flirting with danger yet could be influenced to do what’s right. He was by far one of the most fun characters to work with.
Ryana: What's next on your desk?
Amanda: With “Protecting the Poor” released, I’m working on the release of my newest novella, “Wedding Score.” It’s a first-person, light-hearted work that focuses on single girls and contentment. Something close to my heart for sure!
Ryana: What is something you learned from writing PP?
Amanda: Be submissive to the season of life in which God has you. Sure, there were lessons I learned as I was studying what messages to put in “Protecting the Poor,” but the biggest lesson I learned was that God’s timing is perfect. It took a year and a half longer to get PP out than I hoped or planned, but God’s timing is perfect. He didn’t have to allow me to finish it at all, and He did!
Ryana: Advice for those wanting to write a retelling?
Amanda: Writing retellings are super fun! My top tips would be…
- Figure out the “flavors” of the original tale to keep in your retelling (for instance, in “Protecting the Poor” I made sure to keep archery, unjust authority, a band of men, and hunting “forbidden meats” even though I practically debunked the theme of “steal from the rich to feed the poor”)
- Make sure it’s a retelling, not a rewrite (don’t have verbatim conversations or even scenes and plotlines).
- Give a unique twist (what will make this stand out from the original tale and make it wholly yours?).
- But… make the retelling recognizable (goes with the “flavor”—you don’t want someone to read it and have no clue that it was supposed to be a retelling)
Thanks so much for having me on your blog and being a part of “Protecting the Poor’s” release!
And now for the fun part…the giveaway! And guess what?!? Two winner will receive not just Protecting the Poor, but the entire Tales of Faith Series! One U.S. Winner will receive paperback copies, and one international winner will receive ebooks! Enter here!
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Do you want to get a signed copy of "Protecting the Poor?" Order here!
About the Series
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Shout-out to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in the release of "Protecting the Poor."
Monday - August 26, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Protecting the Poor Release Post
Life of Heritage Corner - Interview, Review, Giveaway
Great Books for God's Girls - Interview, Review
Peculiar Miss Darcy - Interview
Honey Rock Hills - Review
Debbie's Dusty Deliberations - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post
Tuesday - August 27, 2019
We've Got Pockets - Review
Maidens for Modesty - Giveaway, Guest Post
A Brighter Destiny - Spotlight
Wednesday - August 28, 2019
Soldier Girl Stories - Interview
Purposeful Learning - Spotlight, Guest Post
Thursday - August 29, 2019
Rachel Rossano's Works - Spotlight, Guest Post
In My Bookcase - Review, Giveaway
Friday - August 30, 2019
Losing the Busyness - Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Resting Life - Guest Post
Saturday - August 31, 2019
Blossoms and Blessings - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post
Verbosity Reviews – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae - Review
Reading on the Edge - Spotlight
Monday - September 2, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Giveaway Winner Announced
Have a Blessed Week!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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