Friday, March 24, 2017

Writing The Next Book

And . . . today is the last day of the Indi E-Con! I've had so much fun with it all, and I can't believe it's almost over!



Okay, today we're talking about the next book in a series. There are many different ways to write a series Sometimes, it's continuing the main character's journey from the first book. At other times, it's only a semi continuation of the story. Meaning you stay within the same family/character group, but use a different POV for each book.
Since I'm using the second method for my Questions of War series, today we'll talk a little bit about that. More specifically, how to keep the characters unique and the plot intriguing with each book.


     1.) Make sure each character is its own, distinct person. 

Now, this may seem obvious, but this goes a bit further than making them look or talk differently. Every character in each book, whether the main character, or minor, has got to have a different drive. A different struggle. A different way of looking at things. 
I don't care if your characters look like mirror images of one another. (Okay, well, maybe I would mind a bit.;)) But they have to have their own distinct personalities. Perhaps they are a lot alike, but there have to be subtle differences.

In my first and second book, I have two very similar characters. Or, at least at first glance they appear similar. But they aren't.
Gil is outgoing, friendly, and he has a teasing streak. He also can be dead serious within the snap of a finger.
Rafe is also outgoing and teasing, yet he doesn't relish attention as Gil did. Also, he will never be quite serious with you unless he fully trusts you.
Gil's drive was fighting for what he believed. His trusting nature was just that---trusting. Yes, he had the good sense not to trust every person who crossed his path, but he looked at people with the "trust them until proven otherwise" motto.
Rafe's drive is fighting for those he loves. He is friendly with everyone, but extremely wary. His motto is "people have to earn trust."
For Gil, his lighthearted look at life is who he is. For Rafe, teasing and making light of things is a guard.



     2.) Make the struggles different. 

In the first book, the struggle for my characters is accepting things that happen in life as a part of God's perfect will, even when we can't see it. 
In my second book, the struggle is taking the next right step, even when the outcome may not be what you want it to be.
The struggle needs to fit the character. What one character struggles with, your other character may not.
Don't try and force your characters to fit into the same struggles, because it's not realistic. Yes, as humans we all have some of the same struggles. But we are all also wide and varied in so many ways. And because of this, we'll all have many struggles that are unique.



     3.) Add  Variety.

 I'm sure y'all are rolling your eyes at me and thinking obviously!  But just hear me out! ;) Everyone is different. Everyone has a different way they view life. Perhaps one character walks around quoting books, much to the annoyance of everyone else. Maybe another loves music. The way they look at life will be different than the way a non-musical person will look at life. (Trust me, as a musical person, I can couch for this. ;))
Also, give different characters different quirks. Don't rely on physical features only to tell them apart. Does one character always whistle? Perhaps another is known by their signature grin, or the way they are always rubbing their chin when deep in thought. Maybe your main character has a habit of twirling her hair around her finger.
At times this takes a bit of extra effort on the part of the author, because these are such common, everyday occurrences that they are often overlooked. But never underestimate just how much they add to your book!



     4.) Adjust your plot according to the characters. 

So far, I've been talking mostly about characters. And I'll admit, I tent to like character driven books much more than plot-driven ones. However, every book needs to have a plot of some sort. But don't try and make the characters in your second book fit into the same plot structure as the ones in your first book.
Did the characters in book one go on some sort of epic quest? Well, what if this adventure-structure story doesn't work with the second book?
Let's day the main character in book one is the kind of person who is bored and restless with life. This literally sets the stage for something big and exciting. Enter the quest. The character's passion and talents are discovered on this journey.
In book two however, the main character is the younger sibling, who has always lived under the spotlight of the older one. Their plot is going to be a bit slower. They're not longing for adventure like character #1. Perhaps their journey is simply finding and discovering their passions, and how they can use their gifting to help in the every day life of the world they live in.



     5.) Realize each book is a different journey for yourself. 

Yes, I know, I've abruptly left plot and characters behind. But I think this is something that is worth pointing out. Wherever you are in life right now, whatever struggles you're having, these are going to be reflected in your writing. And whatever answers God shows you through the course of writing the book, will also work their way into your writing, whether consciously or not. 
Each time you begin a new project, you're at a different stage in this journey we call life. And this is going to be reflected in your writing. So journey with your characters to find the answer. Pray, and ask our Heavenly Father what He would have you learn through the writing of this particular book. I can guarantee you, there will always be a different lesson He's waiting to teach you as you turn the project over to Him.


Well, there you have it. The five ways I use to make sure my first book, second book, and so on are different, and not simply a different way of repeating the same thing we learned in the first book. What guidlines do you use when you start the 2nd book of a series? Any tips you can share with me?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Best Stock Photo Sites

And . .  .we're back as a part of the Indie E-Con! Okay, today we’re talking about . . . publishing! And more specifically, I’m talking about places to find good stock photos.



Stock photos are wonderful for everything from blog posts to book covers, but with so many sites it can be hard to figure out which ones are good to use, and which free ones are actually legal. So. I’ve compiled a list stock photo sites that either I have personally used, of sites that people I personally know have used and can be recommended.

Free Sites:

Pixabay.

I’ve used pixabay for nearly two years now. They have a nice selection of royalty free photos, and you don’t need to have an account with them in order to download pictures. Be sure to read through their terms, though. They do have some limitations when it comes to photos with identifiable people. ;)

Wikimedia. 

So far, this is the sight I’ve used for my Questions of War series covers. I’d especially recommend this site for black and white images from the 1900s. They have a wonderful selection, and I may be known to spend hours simply looking through historical images.

Morguefile

I’ve only personally used this site once, I think, but I know others who use it quite a bit! They seem to have less selection than pixabay, but they still have a good variety.

Unsplash

This is a site I have never personally used, but my cover designer told me she has used it and has been able to find some amazing photos.

Pexels

Yet another site I haven’t personally used! However, I’ve heard many good things about it, and from my quick look over the site, they seem to have an amazing selection!




Paid Subscription Sites:

Dreamstime

Dreamstime has a wide selection of photos, as well as a small selection of free ones. Their pricing plans are very reasonable, and they really have some amazing images. I’d definitely recommend them if you’re looking for more professional photos.

iStock

Their prices tend to be a bit more on the expensive side, but they also have some amazing photos I haven’t been able to find in other sites, especially if you’re looking for full color historical images. (They have some amazing WWII ones! ;))

Shutterstock

Their prices are about the same as Dreamstime’s, and they have a decent selection. (Especially if you're looking for images of swords! ;)) I haven’t used it all too much, though. :)

What are your favorite stock photo sites? 
Have you used any of these? 
Oh! And as a part of the conference, there is some book awards going on, and two of my books were nominated.(A Question of Honor and Beyond the Horizon)  I'd love it if you would head over here and vote for them if you've read and enjoyed them! (http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/p/2017-indie-e-con-book-awards.html)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Using Google Docs for Writing

Hey All!! Today is the first day of the Indie e-con 2017! Be sure and head over to Kendra's blog to take a look at all the things she's got going on there. Word wars, games, articles, and more! Oh, and there is some voting for book awards going on, too!
Today's subject is writing, and there are a lot of great authors sharing their insight . . . so be sure and check it out!

Using Google Docs for Writing:

For the first draft of any book or story I’ve written, I always use Google docs. While you can’t really format much in it, or upload it on a self-publishing site, there are several reasons and factors that have come into play that have made me decide to use this writing platform.

Google docs is fairly simply to use and understand. It has a good selection of fonts, and it’s pretty simple to customize it in any way you’d wish. And of course, it’s free. If you have a google account, you can sign in and start using Google docs. Below I’m gonna list some of the advantages and reasons that I use Google docs in my writing. 

     1.) It’s accessible from any internet device. For me this was a huge thing, because it meant I could sign in on a tablet, phone, our second laptop, or even the computer at the library and get some words written. When I’m working on a first draft, I like to be able to write any idea down just as soon as I get it. And there are times when I have to spend the day somewhere else, and I like to write whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes. 

     2.) It’s easily shared.  Now, I know, you’re probably thinking “Share?! My writing?!” I know, it seems a bit intimidating, but if you ever decide to get beta-readers, or even want to share it with friend or sibling, it’s quite easy to add them to the document. All you have to do is click the blue “share” button at the top right corner, enter their email, and press share. They now have access to your document. This also requires no downloading to your computer or device, such as Word Doc would. 

    3.) People can leave comments and suggestions right in the document.  This is so much easier than sending someone a Word Doc or PDF and having them try and critique it. In Google docs, they can comment on pretty much everything. This option is available in Word Doc, however, only one person at a time can comment in Word Doc, which makes the process more time consuming when you have more than one person reading your writing. 

     4.) It doesn’t require yet another platform to keep track of. In this day and age, most of us have a gmail account, or are some way a part of the google network. Another beauty of Google Docs is that one account is all that is required. And you don’t have to remember another password, because this is the same password as your email. 

     5.) It is simple to convert into PDF or Word Doc. Because I used Word Doc for publishing, pretty much any platform I use for writing is going to have to convert to Word Doc easily. Thankfully, google docs does just that. At the top left corner of the screen, click “file. Then, go down till you get to “Download as”. Then choose whatever form you want it downloaded in. It’s as simple as that! 

So have I convinced you yet? Will you give Google Docs a try? What platform do you use for writing? 

Friday, March 17, 2017

"The sky calls to me, and I can't ignore it."

From Pinterest.
You know those moments when life is good and everything seems right . . . yet you feel restless? Often, it comes at a time you weren't expecting it.  You watch the sunset and, long to see what lies beyond the horizon. You want to see the sun sink beneath the waves of an ocean; you want to watch the clouds turn into molten gold from above them, not below. Suddenly, you feel small in the universe. Life seems short. And oh, you want to live life. To experience it to its fullest as time swiftly slips away. It's as if the horizon is calling, beckoning you to come and press its boundaries.You can almost feel the ache physically. You long to go beyond the day to day routine of life. You long to feel complete and utterly . . . free. Without the weights of this life pressing at us on every tun. Without the drudgery of small tasks that seem to never end.

My picture. All rights reserved. ;) 

I've felt that way. No, I don't feel the call of the sea (perhaps because I live in Kansas? xD) But I have felt the call of the skies. I've flown three times that I can remember, and each time I fell more in love with it. Nothing stirs up a feeling of longing in my soul more than looking to the skies and wanting to see the earth from the other side of the clouds. For some reason or another, the skies stir up something in me nothing else does. 

From pinterest. 

I heard a song the other day when I was shopping with my mom. I don't remember all the words, but the chorus is simply summed up. Life is short, live it up. Do what you want to now, because you'll" never get a second chance. 

I don't agree with the message of that song, but I think, to an extent, there is some truth to it. Friends, life is short. We can spend our days as teens or young adults longing for a life different from out own. We can spend those days wishing we were doing something else.Wishing we were somewhere else on this journey called life. 

Or, perhaps, we can simply grasp hold of the days that are swiftly passing us by and make them count.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

The days that pass we will never again live. With each day that ends, twenty-four more hours of our life silently slips away. In those past twenty-four hours, did we live them with eternity in sight?

The Bible says whatever we find to do, do it with might. Perhaps it's studying. Maybe it's doing the dishes, or helping with the laundry. Seemingly everyday tasks. But are we completing them grudgingly? Doing them because we know it's the right thing to do, and because it has to be done, but not really embracing it as our mission from God?

Wherever you are in life right now, you are in the middle of God's will for you in this particular time. Whether it's being a daughter/son in your parent's home, a college student,or a best selling author, it's where God has you for this season. No matter how small or insignificant your life may seem, it matters. Every day needs to be lived to the full. But not for ourselves. Not for our selfish desires. 

No, each day needs to be lived to the full with eternity in view. Yes, in a way, we need to keep our eyes fixed on a goal. On the horizon of eternity, where time will never end. Yet, at the same time, we need to keep our feet firmly grounded on what we're to do with the season of life we've been given. 

Wherever you are in life, live it to the glory of God. Pray about your desires, about your passions, about your dreams for the future. Perhaps, one day, what you hope and long for will come to pass. 

Have a goal here on earth, and work towards it. But in doing so, don't let the days slip by while your gaze is focused only on what you're working toward. I know how easy it is. Oh, do I know! It's so easy to look at the future and hope for the day when your dreams become reality. To long for the day when what you've worked hard for becomes your life.

from pinterest

But until that day comes, we have got to be so, so careful to not waste the days we are given now in the pursuit of our long-term goal. Don't become so focused on tomorrow that you lose sight of today. No, live like there won't be a tomorrow. Because a new dawn is never promised. Someone who is here today may be gone tomorrow. What your hand has found to do more, do it with might! If it's schoolwork, than apply yourself to it. If it's a job you're not fond of, double your efforts to do a good job. If it's the seemingly endless drudgery of chores, think of those you are serving as a way to serve the Lord. Live today like eternity, our end goal, comes tomorrow.

Friends, today is a steppingstone to tomorrow. What we're going through now prepares us for what is ahead. 

Sometimes, the hardest thing in life is being content in our circumstances. But let's remember. We are where we are for a purpose. God has us here for a reason. So let's keep our eyes on what's a head of us, while still waiting with excitement for what's around the bend. 

My dream is to be a flight nurse. And who knows, maybe someday that dream will come true, and I'll be able to fly again.  To feel the weightless feeling that becomes addictive. The feeling of being suspended between earth and space, with nothing but the plane keeping you up as you defy the law of gravity. 

But until then, my feet are firmly on the ground, and I'm doing my best to keep my head out of the clouds. Because right now, God's will for me lies on this soil.

Not above it.



From pinterest.

Oh, and in case y'all were wondering, the title is a quote from one of my stories. :) 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Writing conference/kindle book Sale!

Hello all! I'm just poping in first to let you know about . . . an online writers conference coming up next week! Have you ever wanted to attend a writers conference, but there were none near you? Or perhaps you couldn't quite afford to go? Well, a fellow India author has put together an online Indie writer's conference! Yep, you can attend it from your house, and it doesn't cost a thing! Want to know some more about it? Go here to read all about it. And remember, it's happening next week! :)



Also, as a part of the conference, there are some book awards happening for the authors taking part in the conference! Because of this, the kindle of both A Question of Honor and Beyond the Horizon are on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the week. So head over here and grab the links, and pick up your copy! :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

London in the Dark Blog Tour--Review/Spotlight

Hello, folks! I'm here today as a part of the blog tour for Victoria Lynn's new book London in the Dark!


About the Book: 

London, 1910

Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned.

Olivia Larken Hartwell is just home from boarding school for the summer anticipating time with her adoring parents.She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined. 

Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London… and their hearts.



My Review: 5 shining stars!

I loved this book! It took me a while to get into it, but I grew to enjoy the laid back, writing style. It had an old fashioned feeling hat just added to the loveliness of the book!

Okay, first off, Dudley. No, before you think so, I'm NOT going crazy over him. xD (Since he already has a bunch of people laying claim to him... ;))
But I have to say, I really, really, really, loved how the author really made him stand out. He was a Doctor, and she had him act like one, but not only in dire circumstances, He noticed small, every day things. Clenching of the jaw, etc. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole book. So many people who write doctors have them act like everybody else, except when there's an accident of some sort. But Miss Lynn made him stand out wonderfully well and I thoroughly enjoyed it! And yeah... he had some awesome quotes! ;)

I also really enjoyed reading Cyril's character, though there were times I often wanted to pound some sense into his head. ;) But at the same time . . . his struggle was very well done, and I appreciated how the author showed it. I could relate to him in a few different ways, and his POV was my favorite of the book. He and Dudley also tied for my favorite characters. I loved their friendship so very much!

Olivia was probably my least favorite POV character, just 'cause we don't have a lot in common . . . but I still enjoyed reading about her, and watching her grow through the course of the book.

As I mentioned before, I think the writing style was perfect for the book. It gave it an old fashioned, laid back sort of feel, while the action was still done well! I did notice a few mistakes, (and anytime the letters "Mis" occurred in the book, they were capitalized, whether in a  word like "Miss" or, "Mistake".) But I was also reading an ARC copy.

The mystery was well thought out, and I enjoyed trying to figure it out! I loved the twist in there with Bancroft--boy, I was NOT expecting that!

The Christian message was strong, whcih I appreciated. I ADORED the fact the the author used hymns throughout the novel . . . especially Be Still, My Soul which is one of my very favorites!

All in all it's a clean, family friendly read that I would recommend to any lover of Christian Historical Fiction!


About the Author:


Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she's not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings.



Victoria also has two giveaway's going on, so be sure to check them out!! :)



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Three years ago . . .

 . . . I sat down at the computer desk, opened blogger and typed up my very first post here on Whimsical Writings for His Glory. I honestly had no idea what had in mind for the blog long-term, but I wanted it to be a place I could share some short stories, maybe some poems and whatnot. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what all I was going to post, or where this blog would take me.




Fast forward three years.  I've published thee books, my blog has been viewed over 30K times, and I have 71 Google followers and 31 email followers.

Wow. God has used this little blog to allow me to meet people and have adventures I never dreamed were possible. During my time here, I discovered my love of WWII history, (I'm sure none of you knew that... ;P) I've participated and won two NaNoWriMo's, and met five of my internet friends in person. I've traveled to every state west of Kansas, as well as the two states south of us.

I've ran barefoot down dirt roads, gotten inspiration while perched in a tree, and danced in the rain. I've learned that time is precious, and once it is gone, it will never return. I've seen seasons change, and I've felt the pang at knowing we can never go back to the way things once were.

But most importantly of all, I've grown closer to my Savior. Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all perfect. I'm still far from where I want to be in my walk with God. But these years I've been learning to trust. Learning to lean on Him when times get rough. And above all, looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.

I'm not sure where the next three years will take me, but I'm excited to find out, and so blessed to have you all along with me for the journey!

Spring is here, and summer is just around the bend. A season of new beginnings, and a time to pause and reflect. And then, a time to let your hair down, throw off your shoes, and run with abandon into the wind as you explore what is just around the bend.

I'm excited to see God has in store for the future! Will you join me?