January 25, 2011

Best Writing Sites of 2010

I spent uncountable hours online in 2010 reading, researching, and doing all I could to better my writing and further my career as an independent author. There is so much information, but it can take a lot of time to dig through. Now that 2010 is over, I've compiled a list of the sites that I used most often and were of the most benefit to me last year with the hope that they will also benefit other writers.


For writing tips, K. M. Weiland's blog was by far the most helpful and my favorite find of 2010. http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/


For all things writing, Absolute Write Water Cooler is chock full of information, more than you would probably ever have the time to go through. An excellent site for checking the credibility of agents, etc. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/


Whether you use Createspace or not, the people from the forum are very helpful when it comes to independent publishing. https://www.createspace.com/en/community/


If you don't have a lot of time for designing a website, plus want free hosting and extremely easy to use templates, Weebly is perfect. http://www.weebly.com/


Cover design is one of my favorite parts of being an independent author. I've spent hours searching these sites for cover photos, fonts, and photos for book trailers.






One of the more recent sites I came across. Full of useful writing and publishing information. http://michaelhyatt.com/


Another site with lots of writing information, especially for Christian fantasy writers. http://www.wherethemapends.com/


The cheapest printing website I have found. Amazing prices for bookmark, business card, etc. http://www.gotprint.com/


Not the cheapest printing website, but they offer a lot of free stuff and their quality is pretty good. http://www.vistaprint.com/


And lastly, another recent find. With this website you can search for blogs and posts related to your writing. Very useful to find blogs that might consider reviewing your books. http://technorati.com/

January 20, 2011

Book Review - The Door Within Trilogy


Book 1 Description:

There is an unseen world of good and evil where nightmares are fought and hope is reborn. Enter The Door Within.


Aidan Thomas is miserable. And it's much more than the strange nightmares he's been having. Just when life seemed to be coming together for Aidan, his parents suddenly move the family across the country to take care of his wheelchair-bound grandfather. When strange events begin to occur, Aidan is drawn into his grandfather's basement where he discovers three ancient scrolls and an invitation to another world.


No longer confined to the realm of his own imagination, Aidan embarks on an adventure where he meets knights, warriors, kings and mysterious Glimpses who can travel between worlds. Aidan joins them in the struggle between good and evil. With the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance, Aidan faces Paragory, the eternal enemy. Will Aidan be willing to risk everything and trust the unseen hand of the one true King? The answer comes from The Door Within.


* * * * *


When I first found out about The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson while I was working at the local bookstore a couple years ago, I have to admit, it didn't grab my attention. For some odd reason, which I can't even recall now, I thought it might be a little too juvenile for me. Boy, I don't think I'll ever judge a book so quickly again. Being the Christian fantasy fan that I am, I finally got the books from the library and from page one I was completely hooked. The entire trilogy had me reading almost non-stop and when I'd finished, I had to buy my own set to read again. I don't think any fiction series has impacted me like The Door Within. I read the trilogy to my youngest brother who is not a big fan of fiction. In the beginning, I more or less forced him to sit down and listen, but soon he was coming to me, begging me to read more. Even now, months later, he still talks to me about different scenes in the book. Like me, he was deeply affected by the story.


One of my favorite aspects of the trilogy is the characters and their growth. They are so endearing and diverse, and you really feel for them and their struggles. The allegorical and spiritual parts of the books are amazing. Once you finish, you have a deep sense of longing to be a knight for the one true King, to stand firm in what is right no matter the cost, and grow in your faith. The books are a wonderful example of friendship, sacrifice, faith, and growth. There is also a perfect amount of humor that had me and my brother laughing out loud numerous times. I recommend The Door Within to anyone of any age who enjoys a good adventure story with a great message woven in. And they are excellent read aloud books.


Visit Mr. Batson's Blog: http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/


Buy The Door Within Trilogy

Book 1 - The Door Within

Book 2 - Rise of the Wyrm Lord

Book 3 - The Final Storm

January 19, 2011

The Song that Inspired Every Tear

I've written about it, but I don't think I've ever posted it before. This is the song that inspired Every Tear and will always be my favorite song.

Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns


January 18, 2011

Pirates & Faith Available on Smashwords

Pirates & Faith is now available on Smashwords to download for a variety of e-readers and reading on your PC. With Smashwords you are able to sample up to half of each book before deciding whether or not to purchase.

All books are $4.99.


The Pirate Daughter's Promise

Every Tear

A Captain's Heart

Finding Faith

January 17, 2011

A Fiction Book Proposal

The dreaded book proposal. Some agents require one after you query them, others don't. I thought I would need one when I considered approaching a particular publishing house, so I spent hours and hours researching how to create one. I found it a difficult task. There doesn't seem to be all that much on "fiction" book proposals (while there is an endless amount of information on putting together a "nonfiction" proposal). But I did manage to find a few good sites, and while I haven't actually completed a book proposal, they got me off to a good start. So here are three of the websites I found most helpful:





January 14, 2011

Fantasy Writing Tip: A Long, Epic Battle

In Truth, the first book of my fantasy trilogy, Makilien, a battle looms throughout the story. When it finally takes place, it only spans the length of one chapter. A long chapter, but still, just one chapter. That worked out perfectly fine with the flow of the book, but not so for book two. That book also involves a battle, but one of a much larger and dire scale. As I approached the time in which it needed to take place, I realized I had no idea how to write a long, drawn out battle. That was a problem because the battle spanned more than one day. You can't force your imagination to come up with action scene after action scene for your main character and not have it turn into some really bad writing.


I struggled for quite a long time trying to figure out how other authors wrote their battles. Finally, I found my answer in my second reading of Rise of the Wyrm Lord by Wayne Thomas Batson (my favorite author, of course). Multiple character viewpoints. In switching between characters and telling their side of the struggle, Mr. Batson's battles lasted several chapters. Luckily, I had already been putting emphasis on more than one character in Courage so switching between them was easy. The result? A massive three day, nine chapter siege. :)


So, if you're struggling to draw out your epic battles, try telling it through the eyes of multiple characters. The more characters, the longer it can be.

January 12, 2011

On to 2011

Another writing year gone by. 2010 was probably my best year so far. I finished publishing Pirates & Faith, had wonderful feedback, and learned a lot. I feel my writing greatly improved over the last half a year thanks to some of the resources I found, particularly K.M. Weiland's blog. For a while I felt kind of discouraged and lost as to which direction I should take with my writing, but I believe I have figured it out. We shall see in the next few months.


As for my projects for 2011, I am still working on Courage, book 2 of my fantasy trilogy, Makilien. It stands right now at 41 chapters, the most I've ever written, with only a couple more to go. It has continued to be a tough book to write, but I know in the end I will be pleased. I adore so many of the characters and love where some of their stories have so unexpectedly gone. I look forward to continuing their journeys in book three. I hope to be into that book within the next month or two. I also intend to begin the publishing process for Truth within the year. I just finished a very in depth round of editing on it so it's one more step closer to publication.


Besides Makilien I have begun work on a new book that I'd describe as historical fantasy. It takes place sometime around 1200 A.D., but I have created my own country and culture to work with. I am not going to give away too much info just yet, but it is a story of redemption and God's total forgiveness of even the worst sins. The idea came to me the night of Thanksgiving and within three days, I was already writing the first chapter. I've never felt so compelled to write a story as I am this one. I am completely in love with the characters and their journeys. This will be the first book of a two book series. Both books are extensively planned and I've started chapter five in the first one.


And, within the last week, I had another bit of inspiration that led to a new story idea. This one is actually contemporary and may turn into a novella instead of a full length book. I've been considering doing that with several of my story ideas since I have so many I want so badly to write.


So we will see what my writing future holds in 2011.


* * *

For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' - Jeremiah 29:11 NASB