To The “New” Author – Top 3 Tips from a 19-year-old Bestselling Author

I’m so excited for this guest post from Angela Watts! Angela is also releasing her new book Golgotha, so stay tuned to the end of this post for all the goodies!

Maybe you’re brand new to writing. Maybe you’ve been writing since you were six (like me). Maybe you’ve finished your first ever manuscript. No matter where you are on your journey, if you’re a new writer at any stage… this post has some advice for you.

Write.

You will be overwhelmed by people advising that you hire a mentor, join a billion writing classes, buy stacks of how-to writing books… And while these things work for some, please, don’t spend a decade of learning things that you could’ve learned by actually writing.

It is okay to not take classes, not go to college, not hire a mentor, not have a shelf dedicated to how-to books.

Read books. Lots of them. Study fiction novels with the fervor you’d give a writing class. Write just as zealous. Write a novel. Write a short story. Write something with a friend. Just write. You can learn by writing. It’s harder to learn from an empty page.

Take care of yourself.

You might notice the trend in writing communities that plays off burn out or exhaustion. It’s not cute to not get enough sleep. It’s not funny to harm your body. So take care of yourself. Take breaks from writing and desk work to move your body. Exercise and move to help your mind, too.

Believe me, this is huge. Yes, writing a novel takes dedication and long work hours, but you still need to care for yourself. You will be more motivated to finish a book if your body is happy!

Don’t be afraid to try new things.

If you have no writing community support and struggle to build an audience on social media, keep going. Keep trying. Post about things you enjoy. Be friends with people you respect. Keep trying because it will pay off.

And try new things. Are you scared of sharing your writing? Find a critique partner to work with. Are you scared of talking about your book? Write a one line (or paragraph) hook/pitch.

I am always asking myself “what scares me?” or “what is hard for me to do?” and then doing those things. You are capable of anything you set your mind to. And when you hit that milestone, you can keep going up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You can do all things through Christ. So be bold.

THANK YOU, Angela, for that terrific post!

Angela is the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, where she raises horses, dogs, cats, and snails. She’s been writing stories since she was little, and when she’s not writing, she’s probably drawing or working with her amazing clients.

Check. Out. That. Cover. *squeals* But seriously, don’t stop there. This book sounds amazing.

Four unlikely companions must band together to escape the Realm of Bones and save their kingdom from a reign of darkness.

Prince Moray will lead his empire to glory, even if it means dabbling with forbidden black magic. But when their parents are murdered, Moray and his brother, Finnigan, are cast into Golgotha—a realm where hope is dead. Finnigan fiercely believes his god, Elohai, will rescue them, but Moray will never trust again.

Princess Ama, promised in marriage to Moray to ensure her clan’s safety from rival tribes, arrives just before a coup and becomes trapped in Golgotha with the smart-mouthed mercenary, Gunnar. Surrounded by strange monsters and ravenous demons, Ama must fight to hold on to her faith—or lose everything.

Despite Ama’s Gift of prophetic dreams, Finnigan’s Gift of energy, Moray’s magic, and Gunnar’s blades, nothing can rescue them from themselves. If they fail to escape, darkness will devour the entire kingdom.

Shadow and Bone meets Mark of the Raven in this epic for fans of faith-based young adult fantasy.

You can find the book right now on Amazon and Goodreads.

For all the blog tour goodies, check out all the awesome bloggers who are taking part!

SCHEDULE

April 8th

Nathan Renfroe | Spotlight

Joshua Reid | Review

Merie Shen

April 9th

Laura A. Grace | Author Interview

Emily Seaver | Guest Post

April 10th – Release Day

Stephen Howard | Author Interview

Jaye L. Knight | Spotlight

Michaela Bush | Author Interview

April 11th

Ian Wilson | Author Interview

Nicole Dust | Spotlight

Madisyn Zeller | Spotlight

April 12th

Hannah Gaudette | Guest Post

Lacie Ryder | Spotlight

Yakira Goldsberry | Spotlight

The Role of Music in My Writing

I thought it was high time I did a blog post on this topic, since music is currently playing a bigger role than ever in my writing. Coincidentally, my appreciation and ear for music has also increased since I began creating music videos and listening to a much wider variety of songs.

So, what role does music play in my writing?

Simply, I’ve always applied a “theme song” to my books. When I wrote One Light Shining (feels like ten lifetimes ago), its theme song was Oceans by Hillsong. When I wrote Promised Land, very early on I realized its theme song was Even If by MercyMe. Now, writing Fate of a Prince, I have . . . let’s see . . . two theme songs for the book . . . one for each MC . . . one or two already lined up for the sequel . . .

(If you’re curious, this line-up will give you a very clear peek into the book)

Now We Are Free
Returning to Sand
Warriors
Meet Me on the Battlefield (book two)
Hero (book two)

And yet, for all these songs, I don’t listen to music while I write. It’s distracting.

However, I do listen to music while I edit. Especially when the music sets the tone for a particular scene or chapter. But the role of music in my writing does not stop there.

MUSIC GIVES MY WORK MEANING

Purely psychological, of course, but I find that when certain songs fit my work early on in the writing process, the music validates the story. Or maybe the work going into the story . . .

In all seriousness, though, music, when paired with a character or with the theme of the book, gives a sense of three dimensions to the story. It backs up what I want to say with something that’s already been said. It gives depth and meaning to the words I put down on paper.

Admittedly, I have to say I’ve never experienced this like I have with my current WIP. Fate of a Prince would not, I don’t believe, have such a solid shape in my mind if not for the numerous songs that have helped to describe it.

MUSIC GIVES ME A DIRECTION

When I’m writing, especially in a new book, finding music that “fits” just right helps to give the project a direction – a sense of purpose.

The idea of sourcing inspiration from music seems similar to Pinterest boards and aesthetic collages. We all have something we go to when we need to visualize our story off the page. Music is one such avenue, at least for me.

Fate of a Prince on Pinterest

There are so many sources of inspiration for our writing. What are some of yours? Music? Images? Let’s chat!

First Draft – COMPLETE! (And an announcement . . .)

I am SO excited to say that the first draft of my new WIP is DONE. Now, of course, the work actually begins, but I love the editing process, so, who cares?

But what is really exciting is . . .

. . . the book . . .

. . . has a name. 😃

FATE OF A PRINCE

Fate of a Prince is (most likely) the official title. Now for a rough draft synopsis:

In a land controlled by the power of four immortal sorcerers, a young prince learns that he was chosen before birth to be among those sacrificed to the usurpers.

Lance always hated the sacrifice – now, having learned of his fate, he despises it. And that his own parents could have marked him for death is unthinkable. If there is any chance of circumventing the decree, it must lie with his strange young servant.

Kyden is a restless, nimble-fingered sorcerer, running from his past as fast as he can. He never planned to wind up indebted to the prince and working as a servant, nor did he plan on counting Lance as a friend – a friend he is not willing to watch die.

Fate of a Prince

I have to say, I love this book. Which is a weird thing for me to say because I usually don’t like what I write, especially the first draft. . But the characters are very near and dear to my heart, and I see a lot of myself in Kyden. To celebrate finishing this round, I’ve created two aesthetic boards, one for each main character.

KYDEN

Images from Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.

LANCE

Images from Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.

Sum Up

This is a YA fantasy/magic novel with themes of brotherhood, loyalty, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. If you’re familiar with BBC’s Merlin, you can kind of get the idea. There is a lot of work still to be done, but I’m optimistic that Fate of a Prince will be a solid book.

Meanwhile, have you snagged your copy of my debut novel Promised Land yet? Check it out on Amazon! The reviews have been great, and people are really enjoying it. If you HAVE read Promised Land already, could I ask a favor? Could you take one minute to write a review? Be totally honest! There is no better way to help others find this book than to write reviews. Thank you!

What is your current WIP about? Who is your favorite character in it? How’s the writing (or editing) process going? Let’s chat!

Promised Land GIVEAWAY!

Psst! I’m running a giveaway!

I am giving away one free autographed copy of my YA fantasy novel Promised Land. 😊 So if you’ve been wanting to grab a copy or you know someone who might love it, take a quick second to enter below!

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Can’t access the form? Just follow this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ee1c74a21/?

Why We Need Fantasy

I wrote a post a while ago on why I write fantasy, but someone’s recent question to me about a TV series I love got me thinking: Why do we, as humans, like fantasy?

I touched on this in that post on writing fantasy, but I’m going to take it  in a slightly different direction today and look at some of the timeless stories that have impacted our lives.

LORD OF THE RINGS
Let’s face it, if you’re a LotR fan, you’re probably an avid LotR fan. It is vastly popular and has been for a very long time. Why?

Frodo’s journey teaches us about fighting for what is right – and staying the course, even when all we can see is darkness.

Sam’s journey teaches us about true friendship and self-sacrifice.

Ultimately, the story shows us that evil cannot truly conquer good and the light WILL win.

Lord Of The Rings GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
C.S. Lewis’ timeless tale of talking animals, a magical wardrobe, and an allegorical lion threw open the doors that portal fantasy authors are walking through today. I may not have published my portal fantasy novel, but I learned a lot from writing it, and from Narnia as well.

Lucy’s story (the three movies are what I’m referring to mainly) shows us the value of childlike faith.

Aslan gives us a glimpse of Heaven and the reality that God will erase evil from our midst.

STAR WARS

It’s a lot to cover, so I’ll just mention a few points. Star Wars, whether you love it or hate it, demonstrates a unique light vs. darkness struggle through all three trilogies.

Luke’s journey in the originals brings home the victory of the good and the conquering of the dark.

Rey’s journey in the sequels is similar in some ways, albeit more complicated. Through her story, we see the final thrust of a rag-tag group of rebels against a powerful empire . . . and the rebels win.

Star Wars is a powerful and emotive example of the battle between good and evil.

MERLIN
(Referring to the BBC adaptation of the legend of King Arthur and Merlin.) This well-told story captures so many wonderful principles, but I’ll just break down a couple of them.

Merlin’s journey shows us the power of loyalty and sacrifice – and doing what is right without any credit at all.

Arthur’s journey to becoming a king who united the kingdom demonstrates honor, duty, loyalty, and selflessness.

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On the whole, the story reflects values we wish we saw more of in the day-to-day. Which brings me to my last point:

We need fantasy to help us believe in a better reality.

We need stories like Lord of the Rings and Narnia to sweep us into another world and show us that darkness cannot ultimately win. We need legends like Arthur and Merlin to help us believe in humanity.

We need fantasy to bridge the gap between the world we know and the world we long for.

I will continue some of these points in a later post, so stay tuned. 🙂 Meantime, why do YOU like fantasy? What does it mean for you? Let’s chat!

The Voted Most Likely Tag (second edition)

I did this tag a long time ago, but since I have a new book in the works, I thought it was about time you all got a proper introduction to the characters (there will be a few from Promised Land, too, though).

Your character most likely to become a poet

Yikes. Umm . . . I want to say Ilderim (from the new, unnamed WIP). He was formerly a scribe, currently a weaver, but I just think this fits the side of him that he doesn’t let most people see.

Most likely to dance in the rain

I’m going with Freada from Promised Land for this one! 😂

Most likely to look good in a kilt

Kyden (new book) not that he’d ever wear one. 😉

Most likely to get punched in the face

Oh, totally Kyden. Don’t ask. 😂

Most likely to drop everything and become a sheep herder

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Owen from Promised Land. Not that he ever would, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he did, under other circumstances.

Most likely to be found in a library

From Promised Land: Talia. From work-in-progress: Riona’s father, Duke Chalton. Since I literally say that about him in the book. 😄

Most likely to sleep through an earthquake

Wow, umm . . . Kyden, maybe . . . maybe.

Most likely to steal food from other people’s plate

Kyden. Absolutely. #scavanger

Most likely to cheat on a test

I’ll say it again – Kyden. #normalize #justkidding

Most likely to say “oops” after setting something on fire

Umm . . . I have no idea.

Most likely to open an orphanage

Nan from Promised Land. She just has the sweetest heart ever. 😍

Most likely to run off with the circus

I kind of want to say Kyden. 🤷‍♀️ But only at the outset of his story. As time goes on, that would change entirely.

Most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse

Ilderim (new book). He’d hunker down somewhere.

Most likely to fake their own death

That depends why they’re faking their death. Also, this comes eerily close to being a spoiler, sooo . . . . I’m not going to say a word. 😉

Most likely to die and haunt their friends

…….

…….

Kyden.

 🤷‍♀️

Since this is an informal tag, I’m going to add a couple. Feel free to steal them.

Most likely to graduate from Harvard

Lance (new book). He’s pretty motivated, so I can totally see that, if he didn’t live in a fantasy medieval world.

Most likely to be a member of an underground resistance

I want to say Elwin (Promised Land) but I think Owen is just as likely, so, both.

Most likely to hide their emotions

Lance. Not necessarily because that’s his personality, but because of his position and the pressure he’s under.



Okay, there you have it! A sneak peak into the characters of the book-I’ve-yet-to-name. 😉 Tell me about your current WIP characters!

New Novel News! WIP Update #1

Guys, I am SO excited for today’s post. I’ve been wanting to announce this since before I released Promised Land, but PL had to be center stage for a while, so I waited.

After, like, two years of not writing anything of any value . . . I’m writing a new book.

*cue angel chorus*

And I am SO psyched to share it with you guys.

  1. What was the inspiration for the novel?
    I’m actually surprised I can answer this, because I have no memory of the original inspiration for Promised Land. For this book, however, I can tell you exactly where the idea came from. I was listening to Christmas music a couple months ago, and Chris Tomlin’s Forevermore came on. Only half-listening to the words, I heard the line “This baby born for sacrifice . . .” *mind-blown moment* I had the gist of the story almost instantly in my head.

    I can also say I garnered some ideas from Merlin for one of the main characters.
  2. Tell us in three sentences what the book is about.
    In a world controlled by four immortal sorcerers, an infant prince is chosen to be part of the ritual sacrifice demanded by the enchanters. Years later, he learns of his impending fate for the first time, only with an unlikely ally at his side: a young sorcerer named Ky, who is unwilling to accept his friend’s fate.
  3. Describe the main characters, their strengths/weaknesses, etc.
    Lance Tala, soon to be king, is a dedicated, sincere person with a lot of compassion. His is trusting (perhaps too trusting) and determined. After learning of his “fate”, he is thrown for a major emotional loop.

    Kyden is probably my fave. He is restless, reckless, disillusioned with the world, but carries a burden and a backstory that haunts him everywhere he goes. He is also a passionate and fiercely loyal individual, something that you don’t necessarily pick up on immediately, but it becomes an integral part of his story.
  4. What is something that surprised you while writing?
    While I was outlining/starting to write, I realized there were some beautiful (and unintended) allegorical themes. I don’t want to give away too much, but the elements of sacrifice, honor, and duty are close to my heart and very present in this story.
  5. Planning or pantsing?
    Planning. Like mad. I wrote, like, three or four pages of an outline before I even tried to start writing the book.
  6. What stage are you at now?
    I’m about 25,000 words in. Fingers crossed. 😉 No title yet, though, and it’s driving me crazy. 🤨
  7. Share an aesthetic and one snippet.
Images from Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.

SNIPPET:
After tonight, Kyden could be miles away from Dorvan and it wouldn’t matter at all. His mother would be free from his step-father. He could even go home if he so desired. What was wrong with that?

But no matter how he tried to convince himself otherwise, one thing was certain – he would have to live with his role in what happened tonight for the rest of his life.

Unlike Promised Land, this book is in third person (multiple, NOT omniscient), which is fun for me. I also have several songs I’ve been listening to for inspiration. I’ll share one here:


I’ll share another one in our next WIP update. 🙂

What are you working on? Writing? Editing? Let’s chat!

Is There Such a Thing as Reader’s Block?

Confession: I haven’t finished reading a single book in at least two years. 🤦‍♀️

It’s true. For some reason, I just couldn’t sit down and finish reading anything. Maybe this was in some weird way connected to the fact that I also wasn’t finishing Promised Land, even though it was ready.

Writer’s block. Reader’s block (shh, it might be a real thing). I was trapped in a rut. But like any other writer, I needed a creative outlet, and words weren’t delivering. So I turned to a new hobby, video editing (which I have had a TON of fun with). But I couldn’t stay away from the page forever.

So I published Promised Land.

I started a new project (TBA).

And . . . I read a book.

Will Smith Freedom GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Yep, I did it. I sat down and read a book. Just a short novella, but it was a delightful experience to have characters warm my soul, steal my heart, and to have the masterful words of a brilliant author settle in my mind.

I don’t understand why there was such a drought in my writing/reading ventures for so long, but as I’m madly typing a new first draft, I’m grateful that it seems to be raining again. (No, I’m not being dramatic at all. 😌)

(Is there such a thing as reader’s block?)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’m glad I finally sat down to read Half Blood! It is a beautiful, tragic story with such an inspiring ending. It ends where part of Resistance began. I would recommend reading at least Resistance first, rather than starting the series with Half Blood.

This is, without a doubt, a difficult story – sad, to say the least, and violent. But it is also short, so before you even get a hundred pages in, you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.