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!
*Takes a deep breath* Okay. I can do this. I can write this review without breaking down…can’t I? I don’t read much about the Holocaust…it’s painful to realize that anyone could be so cruel to a fellow human being, especially the innocent. To be honest, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! This book hid nothing.
The Auschwitz Escape
By Joel C. Rosenberg
Blurb: A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz's beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans -- especially Jews like Jacob and his family -- are treated like dogs.
When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare -- trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.
As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his "final solution" to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he's not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi's atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.
My Review: I actually read some 1-star reviews of this book on Amazon and I was asking myself, “Did they even read the same book I did?” They clearly didn’t pay attention at least.
Let me start off by saying 1.) This book is not for children. I recommend it to grown, mature adults only. There is a lot of violence (it’s the Holocaust) and the conversations about Christianity and Judaism were very confusing at times. 2.) This book is NOT for entertainment. Even though it is fiction, it is very raw, rough and real. Mr. Rosenberg doesn’t hide the ugly things of the Holocaust and while it was certainly disturbing, he didn’t treat the subjects in a light way or as a way of throwing ugliness into his story. He wrote it as historical fact. Would I have included those details? No, not all of them. But it was an eye-opening experience to me.
There are some minor historical errors that the author points out in the back of the book. I don’t agree with shifting timelines, but I’m glad he pointed them out. There was also a spattering of romance in the story and some brief mentions of topics that I know were probably realistic, but that I didn’t find necessary.
This book was not overtly Christian. In fact, they refer to Catholics as Christian, and they mention protestants, but there is no mention of the Baptist faith. I really didn’t like them lumping Catholics into the Christian label, since they worship Mary, not God, and they are the ones who hurt the Jews, not Christians. That insinuation really upset me.
I also did not agree with the use of a Bible version that was not King James. There were not many verses in the book, since it was mostly about the Jews, but towards the end, there were several verses all together, and I am in the process of looking up the references to fix them.
But this story was so touching. We get to see Jacob struggle through his belief in God. If God cared, why had he allowed the Nazis to do all these wicked things? We see him struggle to understand, struggle to live, struggle to hope. But then, we also get to see him fight for his hope, fight for his life and fight for the lives of others. And in the end, we get to see his belief in God restored, though I have no idea if he was supposed to have gotten saved or just decided to practice Judaism. It wasn’t very clear, and that bothered me.
But if you want a story to glean a better understanding of what was happening at Auschwitz, the escapes that happened or how one could have been made, or just a story about doing all you can to help God’s Chosen People, give this one a try. Again, I do not recommend this to people younger than 20 or those who are young in their spiritual walk with the Lord.
Have a blessed week and God Bless Israel!
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!
10 Totally Random Facts About…Second Manassas! // A History Post +An Excerpt from Our Heritage to Save!
At last, I have returned to this beloved series after…4 months! Wow…that’s a long time…
Anyway, today I am doing a post on the Battle of Manassas Junction, Virginia! But Ryana Lynn, you might say, You’ve already done a post on Manassas Junction! And you would be quite right! Here’s a link to my first post! But today, we are looking at the SECOND battle that took place in that unfortunate area. Unfortunate because who really wants to have ONE battle fought in their backyard, let alone TWO? And hang around at the end of the post for a tiny excerpt from my book, Our Heritage to Save, to learn an additional fact about the Battle!
1. Lightning Strikes Twice. Yep, people often say it doesn’t but it has happened…anyway… Second Manassas (Or Second Bull Run, if you’re from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon 😉) was fought on the same ground as the first major battle of the War Between the States, almost a year later! And it lasted a little longer too, beginning on August 28th and ending on the 30th.
2. Stonewall was Here! But unlike the first battle, where his was one of the last on the field, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s was the first command to arrive at Second Manassas…3 days early!
3. Same song, second verse. After the second battle I suppose the federal army decided it would be a bad idea to fight here again; they lost both battles fought at Manassas Junction to the Confederate Army.
4. Immortalized in Song. There is a hilarious song, written and sung by southerners, that goes through the laundry list of men who Lincoln put in charge of his Grand Army of the Potomac. (There were so many, it’s not even funny!) The commander for the Manassas Campaign was Gen. John Pope. The song is written as if it’s union soldiers singing it, making it even funnier to the Southern population. Pope and the Battle of Manassas were featured in the lyrics like this:
Then said Lincoln unto Pope, “You can make the trip I hope,
I will save the Universal Yankee Nation,
To make sure of no defeat, I’ll leave no lines of retreat,
And I’ll issue a famous proclamation.”
But the same dreaded Jackson, This fellow laid his whacks,
And made him by compulsion a seceder.
And Pope took rapid flight from Manassas’ Second fight,
‘Twas his very last appearance as a leader.
But to be fair, the southern author was kind to Pope in the chorus…
Then pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves,
For Stonewall is a hard road to travel;
Pope did his very best but was evidently sold,
For Richmond is a hard road to travel, I am told!
5. A New Commander. The federals weren’t the only ones with a different commanding general when Second Manassas rolled around. Instead of Joseph Johnston commanding Southern forces, General Lee was in charge. But the results were the same: Southern Victory!
6. Old Stomping Grounds. Stonewall’s first mission upon arriving at Manassas Junction was to destroy the Union supply depot there. After fulfilling this duty, Stonewall set about making camp…near to the very place where he had first earned the nickname Stonewall (though he always insisted the name belonged to the brigade who had fought with him that day).
7. Don’t Count your Eggs Until They Are Laid. During the fight, U.S. General Pope informed Lincoln that the victory was the Union. NEVER announce victory before you actually have it…you’ll have to eat your words…
8. Strike while the Iron is Hot! Stonewall believed in action. He was not one to sit around and wait for the enemy to attack him. Second Manassas showed that very well. Pope knew he was in the area, due to a previous fight with another command. But his men got within a few hundred yards of Stonewall and didn’t even see him until Jackson’s artillery opened fire on them.
9. It’s not the Size that counts. Jackson and his troops were outnumbered two to one during the battle. In fact, multiple times, the federals broke their lines. But in spite of being outmanned, Jackson’s men always counterattacked and plugged the holes. And it paid off; Longstreet reinforced them, giving them desperately needed man power to ultimately carry the battle.
10. According to the Numbers… There are a lot of similarities between the two Battles of Manassas Junction. But the numbers are not part of that. Around 63,000 federal and 55,000 Confederates were engaged in the second battle, almost but not quite double their forces from the first battle. At First Manassas, 2,896 federals were listed as casualties (mostly injured); at Second Manassas, their numbers were 13,826. The Confederates listed 1,982 casualties (again mostly injured) at the first battle. Those numbers jumped to 8,353 at the second battle. (Numbers taken from A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham, ©2011 by the author, All Rights Reserved)
And now…for the excerpt…which happens to spotlight one of my favorite facts about this battle!
From Chapter 22: He Fixed It, Our Heritage to Save
“Believe it, Joe. We’re out of ammo!” The young Southern soldier’s face was white with anxiety. “We just used our last two rounds. What are we gonna do?”
“Rocks!” someone yelled. “Use the rocks!” The boys looked down at the rocks on the ground.
“Can’t hurt trying,” Joe shouted, picking up a sizable one. He hurled the rock as hard as he could. The others standing around followed suit.
Meanwhile, a Union soldier was firing away as fast as he could. Suddenly, a hard object struck his rifle barrel. “What was that?” Another “thing” came flying, this time striking him in the shoulder. “Stones? Ahh!” A hail of the rock ‘bullets’ came raining down on him.
“Now I have seen everything!” his friend commented, picking a pebble from his hand. “Here we are, fighting our own countrymen in the middle of nowhere, and being battered by rocks!”
“Yeah, and they say Longstreet and Lee reinforced Jackson last night. This is insanity!”
Not as long as most of my excerpts, but if I put anymore…well, you know, spoilers…
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have a Blessed Day!
Okay…I know…it’s Fall. But I really need to review this before I forget what it was about 😉 So, without further ado, let’s get into the review!
Summer of Suspense
By C.R. Hedgcock
From the Back Cover: When Phil, Abby, Andy, and Tom Baker hear that their cousin Millie will visit their farm for the summer, little do they imagine what a dreary time they will have with the snobbish girl. But when Millie disappears, life quickly becomes anything but dreary. What starts out as a summer of chores and horse-riding on the farm turns into a cross-country adventure, as the Bakers find themselves matching wits with a notorious jewelry thief who pulls them into her web. Aided by a seasoned detective, the Bakers confront numerous dangers in their search for Millie, all while attempting to foil the plot of a major crime ring -- making it a summer they will never forget.
Filled with mystery and intrigue, ''Summer of Suspense'' contains important lessons of Christian courage, humility, submission to authority, and repentance before God and man.
My Review: This isn’t a widely known fact about me, but I love horses. When I was little, I dreamed of the day I would own my very own horse. While I still adore horses and they tend to grab my attention in books, I got over my desire to own one. I’ll just watch them run and maybe go to a farm someday if I really get the itch to ride 😉 So when I saw the cover of this book and found that it was a Christian mystery set on a farm with horses…oh, yes, I was interested!
The mystery was a bit predictable, but the author clearly has an extensive knowledge of Horses, which I found quite interesting. And I greatly appreciated that there was no profanity. Even some Christian books I read don’t always satisfy me in that category.
My main hang up with the story was the fact that the scriptures were not King James and in one scene they mentioned something they called Righteous Deception, which is not Biblical. As I’ve said before, I understand that sometimes fear takes over and people lie to protect their loved ones, etc. but that doesn’t make it okay. Yes, God will forgive, but it’s never right to do wrong to do right.
Also, I am personally dresses only and I thought this story was suggesting the same, but then it told that the girls were wearing pants when they were in a riding competition. I didn’t like the vibe that was given of “wear dresses unless it’s not practical.” I would suggest wearing a fuller, loose-fitting skirt with leggings (if needed).
There was also an almost futuristic type building where illegal operations were going on and to me, it just popped into the story out of nowhere.
This was the author’s first work I believe, and I am curious to see how their writing skills grow. Overall, the book was very clean and an interesting read, but not a favorite. As far as reading level, I would say 12+ but I would recommend a parent or spiritually mature, older sibling read it first to mark scriptures, etc.
Have a great day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.