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!
Today, I’m back with another writing post! (Click here for post 1 and 2!) I thought it would be nice to do another themed around the War Between the States, so we’re going to look at a few more common myths (or facts) about the late war!
Claim #1: Coffee in the South wasn’t real Coffee
During the war, it was extremely difficult to come by because of the Federal blockade. Instead, Southerners were content to drink coffee substitutes made of sweet potatoes, corn and other root vegetables.
Claim #2: Drummers never saw action
Contrary to what many say, drummers were often on the field of battle, for that was their whole purpose, conveying orders that otherwise could not be heard over the den of the weaponry. But that wasn’t the only battle task allotted to them. They also carried(or dragged) soldiers off the field to the medical stations. They fetched water and held horses and ran messages. Without drummers, battles would not have turned out as they did.
Claim #3: Blacks only served in the Union Army
This is one of the things that bothers me the most about people calling the Confederacy racist. Southern blacks were serving the Confederacy long before the federals allowed them to fight. I’m shocked at the number of historians who chose to ignore and deny the fact that blacks willingly served. True, they were not given the official rank of soldier until 1865, but that does not justify ignoring their valuable and honorable service. They served as wagoners, cooks, barbers, and yes, soldiers, carrying flags, drums and rifles into battle.
Claim #4: Jefferson Davis “adopted” a black child
While in town one day, Varina Davis witnessed a black guardian beating a little black boy in his care. Varina, indignant over the scene, took the child into her custody and raised him in the Confederate White House with her children. His name was Jim Limber and he stayed with the Davis family until their arrest in 1865. He was then ripped away from his family, kicking and screaming. They never saw him again, though they heard people say that Varina was the one who beat him, not his former guardian. You can read more here.
Claim #5: Firing on Ft. Sumter was an act of War and started the War Between the States
Firing on Ft. Sumter was not an act of war, but a mission to protect the public from an enemy threat of violence. Col. Robert Anderson had moved his men from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter, which he felt was a stronger place of safety for his men. The people of South Carolina took this as a clear signal of violence, especially since the cannons of the fort were aimed directly at the city of Charleston. This was a direct attack on the safety of the civilians living there.
Action had to be taken.
Previously, the state had tried to buy the fort from the federal government, even though they knew it was rightfully their own. The government refused, the threat persisted and the fort was attacked on April 12th, 1861.
Another thing that shows this wasn’t an act of war is the fact that none of the soldiers who surrendered were treated as Prisoners of War. They were allowed to leave the state and return to their families.
War was not the objective here, but rather peace and safety.
So that wraps up today’s post! Have a blessed week!
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.
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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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Wedding Score is open for reviewers, bloggers, and influencers. Sign up here.
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!
I’m here with another Fact or Fiction post, this time geared especially toward the field of writing! No matter what kind of writing you do, this applies to you! To those who don’t write, I hope you learn something about how your favorite books come about! 😉 Let’s hop in!
Claim #1: You Must Write Daily to Be Successful
While it is great advice to write something daily, if you miss a few days, it’s not the end of the world. I am certainly in favor of forming this habit and I try my hardest to write something by hand or on my laptop every day. But guess what? Life happens! I am a ministry kid and there are sometimes when writing just isn’t gonna happen! And that is okay! So, if you miss a few days, a week, even a month, don’t be too hard on yourself. If God puts a book in you, He will give you the perseverance to get it out there in His timing.
Claim #2: You Must Have an Outline to Write a Good Story
While you don’t have to have an outline of your story, this is one of the most crucial things in a story’s development. I wrote The Land of Cotton without an outline, other than a list of chapter titles and let me tell you, it was a big mistake. In my first draft, story lines weren’t finished, characters appeared and disappeared at random and I used three people where I could have used one!
So, take my advice and at least attempt making an outline of your major plot points. You won’t believe how much this will help you! (Click here for more on this topic!)
Claim #3: If You Aren't Traditionally Published, You Aren't a Real Author
Thankfully, this opinion has started to die over the last few years, but for a while, if you were a self-published author, people didn’t take you seriously. But let me tell you, self-published authors have to work twice as hard as traditionally published authors! Traditional publishing requires the author do one thing: write books. (This includes revisions the publisher gives them.) The publisher does the editing, designs the cover, markets and sells to big name book shops, arranges book tours and formats and…yeah, you get the idea.
Self-Publishers have to do it all. I have to write the story, edit the story, find people to edit behind me (thank the Lord for my mom, sister, brother-in-law and grandpa who are far better at English than I am!), design the cover, or get with someone to design it the way I want, advertise and market, actually talk to people to get them to buy my book, set up interviews and book signings (I don’t have an agent…) and then…I have to start the process all over again. So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that self-publishing is the cheater’s way. It’s a hard road to travel!
Claim #4: If I am a Writer, then the Story Will Come to Me Easily
Oh dear, no! Some days, the stories pour out of you and you wonder if you will ever get them written down in time! Other days, you are sure this was one of the biggest mistakes you ever made in your life! I’m currently at a stand still with my draft of book 5 in The Battle for Heritage Series. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. And it makes me feel silly. I mean, I’ve published 4 books, written 7 and have tentative outlines for several more. Why can’t I get this story on paper? There are many answers to this question, but it would take too long to explain here. Keep in mind, every writer has had those days when getting the words out was hard. Take a break, reread what you have and plow on through; eventually, you’ll get back on track!
Claim #5: Anyone Can be a Writer
Okay, so technically, this is a fact, but I beg to differ. I believe that while anyone can be a writer, many shouldn’t be. *Thinks of a list right now…* It’s not necessarily because they aren’t talented (though that can be the case sometimes), but because they are not writing books with good intent. Horror stories should never be written. Books that glorify sin should never be written. Books that lie should never be written. Get what I’m saying? When you think about it, unless the book can be used for God’s honor and glory, it probably shouldn’t have been written. I read historical fiction and while I’ve found some clean, well-written, non-Christian works, it saddens me to know the book had so much potential but fell short of what it could have been. I loved Sophia’s War, but I would have loved it even more if the book had shown me the struggle that went on in Sophia has she tried to follow God and rest in His plan for her life. Or what if when Nancy Drew got stumped in her mystery, she stopped to pray, and God sent the answer her way, instead of her brilliant mind? See what I mean?
I hope this post has been a help to you! Have a blessed day!
Hello and welcome back for my newest book related post. But …I’m cheating. 😉 I have only one actual research book to share today. But don’t despair! I’m going to include a few fiction titles to this list to round out the end of this series (for now anyway 😉). So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Manhunt: The Twelve Day Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (Don’t currently have my book with me, it’s being loaned out, it’s that good!)
This book! It’s so good! Okay, so that sounds terrible, seeing as how this is about someone dying… Anyway, this is the best book I’ve read about the Lincoln assassination. It’s non-fiction written like a novel! (I think you call that narrative non-fiction…?) Anyway, Mr. Swanson spins an excellent narrative. At times there are bits of history that we just don’t know what happened. I think there were (I think) three days of the Manhunt when we don’t know what John Wilkes Booth was up to. What did Mr. Swanson do? He used it as a springboard for some background story on the Booth family! It was brilliant! Because of some of the details, I would recommend either editing it first or waiting until the reader is at least 16, depending on their maturity level. It’s very well researched! I’ve read it…3 times? And I’m going to be reading it again when I get it back, to refresh myself for the writing of my 5th book on the War Between the States! (Title is still under wraps!)
2. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
Okay…I did a whole post on this book, so I won’t reiterate here, but people! You need to read this book! It too is Narrative non-fiction, but not really a research book. It’s about Wade Hampton’s elite Cavalry unit and I just adore this book. This is another one I’ve read two or three times and hope to read again soon! Recommended for all ages!
3. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Okay, so this one will need editing. But, it is worth it. It’s language, not content. But this book I learned a lot from. It shows the struggle of duty and fear for a young soldier and how he overcomes what he feels is cowardice. I personally just wanted to tell him everything would be okay and your not a coward, you’re just young and scared. Even though he didn’t subscribe to my personal view of the War Between the States, Henry taught me a lot. It made me understand some of my own characters a little better.
4. Iron Thunder by Avi
This was my very first Avi book! It was written in First Person Point of View (POV) so that was so neat. The main character is Tom Carroll and his service aboard the USS Monitor. (There actually was a Tom Carroll aboard, but they make it clear, this is a different person ) While some of the talk about the south was offensive to me, I found it very intriguing to learn about the Iron Clads of the War Between the States. I would love to find a book like this about the CSS Virginia (which this book calls the Merrimac, which drives me nuts!) It was very informative and worth reading. Minimal editing needed, recommended for ages 8 and up!
So that pretty much wraps this series up for now! If I read anymore for my The Battle for Heritage Series research, I will let you know!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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