Friday, December 9, 2016

The Distracted Writer (and how to not be one)

We've all been there.

*Write, write, write, check email, check FaceBook, get a snack, reply to some texts, look at stats*
Oh yeah... where was I?
*Write, do some research, remember something else online unrelated to writing...*

I'll be the first to raise my hand. It happens here. Even when I know that I'm getting distracted, I still let it happen. In fact, as ironic as it sounds, as I'm writing this article I've already gotten distracted three times. The struggle is real, folks!

Some days, I write just fine without distraction. Other days, it seems like everything but writing is on the brain! And on these days, when I don't quite know what I'm supposed to do in my writing, my mind wanders. And distractions come up.

Not that I'm the queen of solving these problems (obviously), but here are some tips I've applied to my own life in fighting against these distractions.


If you've got text tones on, turn them off. If your FaceBook or email notifications come up on your screen or make a sound, turn them off. Do everything you can to make your writing time your writing time.



If you just can't stay focused, set a timer, then appoint an award (e.g. "I will do nothing but write for fifteen minutes, then I will spend five minutes working on emails.").



How many words are you going for? Do nothing until you've written 100 words (or 500 or 1,000), or finished the chapter, or completed a scene (whichever goal suits your style).



 Find a fellow writer or friend to keep you accountable. Tell them your goals at the beginning of the day, and report back to them at the end of the day.




Whatever tip you decide to apply, don't be scared to "award" yourself somehow. Whether it's chocolate or internet time, after you've accomplished your goals, give yourself some freedom and relax.



You've heard my tips, now... what are your tips? When you find yourself getting distracted, what do you do to prevent it? Ready... share!

Note: this article was previously posted on Amanda's blog, With a Joyful Noise.

~*~*~*~

Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

FREE Kindle ebook and Cover Reveal!

For the first time, Prisoner of the Pyrenees, Book 5 in the Baker Family Adventures Series, is FREE for download as a Kindle ebook! Offer ends November 30, so be sure to grab this opportunity while you can! Available on Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here.

prisoner-promo-28-nov-2016-cropped

Re-live the Spanish adventure and be ready to unravel the intrigue that the Bakers face in Iceland two months later!

TODAY ONLY, pre-order the paperback 6-book set for 50% off at Grace & Truth Books! Includes brand-new adventure Iceland Intrigue!

collection-6-books-better
"'Iceland Intrigue' by C.R. Hedgcock is the sequel to 'Prisoner of the Pyrenees' and it is the best book in the series so far! It's the perfect blend of action and suspense. I couldn't tear myself away from the book! I HIGHLY recommend it!" —Rebekah J.

When Phil Baker has trouble with an invention he’s building for a competition, Detective Mortimer arranges a meeting for him with a mysterious and brilliant inventor who may have the solution. The only catch is that reclusive Sigurd lives in Iceland . . . in hiding.
View the full synopsis on Goodreads or on the Grace & Truth Books website!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lawful or Edifying?

Guest post by Rebekah A. Morris


Not long ago I was challenged by 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful but all things edify not.” The more I pondered this verse, the more it felt as though the apostle Paul was writing this for the homeschooled authors. This passage is talking to Christians about encouraging and building each other up. It’s all a part of the love mentioned in 1 Cor. 13. If we don’t have the love that edifies and encourages, we are nothing.

But, I wondered, how did this apply to authors?

As writers we have great freedom. We can live in imaginary worlds, converse with characters we created and do things that we can’t do in real life. But with this freedom comes a great responsibility. If our writings are only for our selves and no one reads them, then what we write is between us and our Lord. But, if we take those stories and release them to the world, to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, suddenly the stories become more important.

Are we portraying things that build up and encourage or that tear down and destroy? Do our stories edify our readers or do they cause them to stumble in their Christian walk? Are we filling their minds with things that are pure, right and lovely or dark, ugly, and evil?  Do we share just a little of the sensual so the reader knows what’s going on? (Please don’t!) Would we feel right about letting Jesus Christ read our stories aloud to our siblings, nieces, nephews or friends?

All things are lawful.

We can write about the evils of sin, the depravity of man, the sadness of a life without Christ.

But all things edify not.

Do we write them in a way that leaves a reader “feeling dirty” because of the choice of words, the descriptions, sounds, or details we include, or do we leave them with a sense that there is sin, but simply say so and leave it? It’s there, but you don’t know all the gory details. Think about the way the Bible talks about sin. When the man’s concubine was raped and killed, he cut her up and sent her body to all the tribes. But we are spared the details of both the rape and the rest. (Thankfully!)

It is lawful to write any way you want to, but if you are causing a brother or sister to stumble in their walk because of your writings, maybe you should consider if that phrase, that sentence, that description is going to edify.

Let us, as authors, strive to show true love to our readers by writing what edifies and not just what is lawful. Let us build up and not tear down. Let us encourage and not just entertain.


Rebekah A. Morris has lived her entire life (as of now) in Missouri. Being home educated during her school years was great, except for writing. That was the worst subject (along with math) that she had to do. It wasn't until after she graduated that she discovered the joys and wonder of writing. Now she can't write enough. After spending six years in research and writing, she completed her first book, "Home Fires of the Great War," a 500+ page, historical fiction about home life in the United States and Canada during the First World War. Since then, she has been an avid writer and always has more than one story going on at once because only one story at a time got tiring and dull.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Praying for Authors

Hi all! It's Amanda! This time, it's an article for both writers and readers alike. Cause you know what, behind every published book is a real, flesh-and-blood human with real struggles and needs! (note: I previously published this on my blog, in case you've already seen it)

- - - - -

When I was younger, I remember looking up to the authors that I knew of. It really didn't matter what genre they wrote, they were impressive.

Then, I became an author. I began talking with others authors. And I realized just how... well, human... authors are. Take any author, and you'll find that they live a similar life to you. Very few authors "just sit and write." They may be wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, or single. Most of them have other jobs or ministries, they all have relationship issues (good and bad), daily struggles, heartache, joys, and delights. It's just that they add to this, by also being an author.

The more I dove into the writing field, the more I realized how much I appreciate people praying for me as an author. Authors have a huge responsibility. When we write, we are shaping others' ideas -- for good or for bad. If we are a Christian author, then we are handling God's Word -- and must portray it in unadulterated truth. And, like I indicated earlier, we have people who look up to us. Complete strangers will contact us, not only to let us know they appreciate our work (or find fault with it -- let's be honest ;) ), they will write us to ask for advice and prayers.

Do you think authors needs wisdom? You bet!

Considering all of the above, I started a prayer list for authors. Many of these authors, I personally know. Some of them, I don't know, yet admire. Whether "big or small" (e.g. sellers of 1,000,000 copies or 10), authors need prayers. Temptations are real. Struggles are real. Discouragement is real. And the opportunity to be a strong light for Jesus is real. The best gift you can give to an author is your dedicated prayers.

Here is a sample of my prayer list for authors:


What would you add to that prayer list? How do authors need prayers?

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Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rachelle Rea Cobb | Author Interview

Today, author Rachelle Rea Cobb is joining us with an interview! Rachelle is celebrating the first birthday of her novel, The Sound of Silver. You can find out more about the celebration on Rachelle's blog here.

Me: How did The Steadfast Love series happen? What was the very first seed of inspiration that you remember?
Rachelle: Driving home from college, I was listening to the radio, because country music is my favorite. Some thread of some song popped this random thought into my head: that sounds like diamonds. So I wrote a whole book to figure out just what that meant. ;)

Me: When you first started writing The Steadfast Love series, what kind of dreams did you have for it? Did you see these dreams realized -- or did those dreams change?
Rachelle: What a sweet question! No one’s ever asked me that before. Well, I didn’t write Dirk & Gwyn’s story to become the next J.K. Rowling and make a million dollars. LOL ;) To be honest, from the very first page, I dreamed that Diamonds would be my very first published book. That was so against the odds, since I was a nobody with no writing credits and it was my first foray into writing historical inspirational fiction. But God gave me my dream. The whole process, from putting in ink The End to signing my name on the publishing contract for all three books, was joyous.

Me: How long did The Steadfast Love series take from start to finish? What did you learn in this journey?
Rachelle: I wrote Diamonds in three months, the summer after my sophomore year of college. I wrote Silver in six months. Emeralds took me a year—and definitely taught me the most. It took a lot out of me and meant a lot of emotion. But several people have told me it’s their favorite, so it was effort well spent.

Me: Do you have any future plans for writing novels?
Rachelle: Yes! I have a Top Secret project on my editor’s desk right now. We’ll see what God’s plans are…

Me: Do you find much of your real life reflected on the pages of your novels?
Rachelle: Absolutely. I think every writer invests a bit of their heart into their stories, even if the story looks nothing like the author’s real life. I certainly have no experience being on the run for my religion, like Gwyn does, or knowing what it’s like to be framed for murder, as Dirk suffers. But seeds of similarities draw themselves out to me. Like Gwyn has lost her grandfather, whom she was very close to, before the novel begins. My grandpa, to whom I dedicated Diamonds, went Home in 2011. Gwyn has trouble seeing, and I wear contacts. J

Me: What is the #1 piece of advice you'd give to an aspiring writer?
Rachelle: Read, read, read. You can’t learn to pilot a plane by watching one soar across the sky, but you can glean so much by reading good books by good authors. Just don’t forget to practice what you learn by writing!

Me: What are three non-writing things you enjoy doing?
Rachelle: Playing with my dogs, watching movies with my family, and hanging out with my husband.

Me: Okay, now for some 1-word answers (if possible ;))
Favorite verse? Isaiah 30:18
Favorite color? Orange
Coffee, hot chocolate, or hot tea? None. I’m a cold drink girl. Smoothie, juice, and water.
Winter or summer? Summer!!

Can a book be read a dozen times? ;) Absolutely! I think I’ve read Hope was Here by Joan Bauer at least that many times.

ABOUT The Steadfast Love Series
In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, a half-Dutch Catholic, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. During college, Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South.

LINKS

Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kingdom Pen's Best Music for Writing

Greetings all, John J. Horn here.

I stumbled onto the email list for Kingdom Pen some time ago. They're a fun community of young Christian writers who put out some good content and swag.

I enjoyed their infographic compilation of "the top 110 songs for every moment of your story." I figure you might enjoy it as well. :)

See infographic here.

Visit Kingdom Pen and sign up for their email list: http://kingdompen.org

John J. Horn is a Christian author from Texas. Purchase his Men of Grit series from Amazon here and sign up for his newsletter at johnjhornbooks.com.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Five Benefits of Negative (Constructive) Feedback

Sending a story to early readers is a moment of elation as well as quivering nerves. We writers invest time, thought, and love in our projects and we can only hope that others will enjoy them—or at least appreciate our efforts. We want the excited, all-caps response, “It was AMAZING! I was blown away by every sentence. BRILLIANT WORK. Absolutely nothing to change!”

While such feedback is encouraging, it’s not likely to come from all quarters, and there are real benefits to not-so-excited, or even negative, constructive responses (part of what's called 'constructive criticism').

(I’m not advocating harsh criticism of others' work. There’s a difference between that and pointing out problematic areas in a spirit of love and genuine care in helping a friend craft a better book.)