Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

My Return   2 comments

Well, after another long hiatus, I thought I would finally get this blog back in running order. I won’t bore you all with lengthy descriptions of how busy I’ve been, but suffice it to say, I’ve organized my slate so I can start being active across all the social media platforms I’m on. For the past few months I’ve mainly been hanging out on DeviantArt and honing my skills as an artist. But I haven’t forgotten my writing, and I have been making progress on the third and final book in the Heart of Light trilogy. I’ve been working on updating the covers for the first two books, one of which is almost complete and the other which is in development stage. I figure since I got the skill, it’s time these books got the covers they deserve. And just because I’m still tickled about it, I thought I’d post a bit of news. I made a book cover and entered it in a cover redesign contest a little while back which, to my delight, not only won second place but was so well liked by the author of the original cover that she swapped hers for mine. *takes moment to do happy dance*

 

Phoenix Cover.JPEG

Advertisement

Posted September 5, 2016 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , , , , , ,

October Doings   Leave a comment

A happy October to you all! It’s fall time, and it’s a season I always get excited about. Everything is colorful and the scent of Christmas seems to fill the air. It’s like magic comes to life in this world. This month, I thought I’d go ahead and leave an early post instead of leaving this blog unattended for months on end. Due to being almost ridiculously busy, I never got to leave a post here on Crown of Ravens being finally published. Below is the cover I made for the book, as well as the link if you wish to check the book out.

Crown of Ravens Full Cover

http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Ravens-Heart-Light-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00VS6KRX0/ref=sr_1_1?tag=geolinker-20&s=digital-text

Gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s almost hard to believe that there’s only more book left to write in the series before the adventure is finished. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it! But all good things must come to an end, sad though it is to admit. One adventure ends, and another begins.

Currently, I’m almost a quarter of the way through the first draft of the third book, and things are looking good. The story is really shaping up into what I think is the most epic of The Heart of Light Trilogy, with a lot of surprises and twists that even caught me unawares. As I mentioned a couple posts back, I wanted to get to work on a new series to get published for next year. Good news and bad news. Good news is, most of the kinks have been worked out and I’m currently polishing things up in the first draft. What’s the bad news? I had a little over 6000 words written up for it that will mostly get scrapped, leaving me back to almost square one. Still, with everything mostly all set and ready to go, I should be able to make it up quick. I have also started two other projects, which I am super-excited about. Both are fairy tales and one of them I’m writing for this contest here.

BlogButton

The other is inspired a lot by the movie Maleficent and a fantasy book from the ’90s called Children of the Night by Harold Mrya. This one I’ve probably made the most headway in. Over fifteen thousand words and growing. Not too sure where it will finish at, but I’m hoping for something over the twenty-five thousand mark.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. Feel free to like or comment. Next Friday, I will be giving a sneak preview of one of my fairy tale novels, so make sure to tune in then. 😉

The Death of the Underground   3 comments

Happy September, everyone! Little late again in posting, but hey, at least it’s not another month gone, right? I’ve been wanting to post this for awhile, but I kept getting sidetracked, so here it finally is.

A few months back, the first forum I ever joined bit the dust. And on the anniversary of my fourth year on there, too.

In a way, it was to be expected. The forum had been hacked numerous times and was consistently plagued with problems, but with its official demise, it’s still saddening. The Underground may have been a small forum, but it was clean and most of the members on there were fairly decent. It was also the first public site I began to post my writing on, and ultimately, provided the stepping stone towards me becoming a published author. Sadly, now, it is no more. While there is a backup forum one of the members created, it is not the same. The activity on there is next to nil, and most I believe won’t even know it exists, as they would look for the one first associated with the series of the book the forum was named after. In a way, I can’t help feeling that the owners of the forum, Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson, are to blame. It’s not like they did not know what was going on and could have invested a little money into making the site more secure. Instead, they did nothing.
While everyone was told that the site was going to be moved, it never happened. Months went by with no word on what was going on, until at last the UG disappeared. And of course, the authors aren’t doing anything about it. Everyone is supposed now to shuttle off to the alternate forum that one of the members had to start, but again, it’s not the same. The place is practically like a tomb. I guess when you’re a big author and people are following you across most social networks, it’s not necessary to really take care of the stuff you start for your readers. It’s sad to say it, but it seems that’s how it is.

Still, I have my memories of the place, good ones, that I will always cherish. God used it in a big way for me, because it really was the kicking off point for my writing career. And for that, I will always look on the Underground with fondness.

Posted September 9, 2015 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

Rules of Writing   Leave a comment

You hear a lot about how you should or should not write. More description, less description; passive voice, active voice; long word count, short word count-it seems like no matter where I look, I always find conflicting opinions. Everyone has their own “rules” which, if you follow, supposedly make the story better. I can say from experience that if you are looking to mutilate your story and give yourself a great deal of headache, go ahead and follow what everyone says. When I first got into writing, I naturally wanted to know what I needed to do to make the story perfect. So I surfed the internet, found a lot of do’s and don’ts, and tried applying it to my writing. After nearly driving myself bonkers, I had to abandon that approach and, in the process, learned something very important: you have to write like yourself. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to improve your craft. Far from it. I’m always trying to improve my writing skills, but what I do not do is try to follow the supposed “rules” out there that many authors give. You have to realize that every story is different. Some stories can have a lot of description of the minute details and be done so good, it doesn’t bog the tale down, while others you need to be light with on going into too many details.

I like to think of a story as a piece of music, as liquid magic running through the soul. It’s not something that we can create at will. It comes from above and has already been composed. While we can tweak with it a little, we cannot force the story to be what it was not meant to be or make it go in a direction opposite of its purpose. I’ve seen many stories ruined because the author forced the story to adjust to what he or she thought it should be, and the end result sabotaged the story’s full potential. I did it, and I saw how bad it came out, whereas when I just let the story go where it wanted, the result was a beautiful, rich tale that began and ended with a contented smile on my lips.

If you have a story that needs to be told in this world, then go ahead and don’t hinder it. If it requires extra words, give it. If it needs a little less description, then go ahead and trim it. Don’t worry about not knowing what it will need or how you will know when to give it more description or less, active voice or passive, or simply which POV you should go with. If it’s a good story that you love, trust me, it will make itself known and you will just lose yourself in the flow of words like a musician does with the music he plays. Because it’s from the heart.

My 2015 Post   Leave a comment

Happy 2015, everyone. Hopefully all of you are having a splendid new year (or at least passible anyway). Resolutions are something I tend not to really both with, unless it’s something like trying to just post more often on my blogs, but this month I decided to make two big ones in the area of writing. As those of you who follow my blog know, I am the author of a fantasy book series, the second book of which I have been working on to get published. My goal originally was to have the story published last year, but I ended up blowing past that entirely due to both lack of time as well as waiting on my proofies to finish with the story. This year, I’ll confess that I haven’t done much writing. Actually, to be honest, I haven’t done any. I just joined Deviant Art, a site where you can post your works of art, and have been caught up with polishing up my digital art making capabilities. Due to God’s excellent tutelage, I’ve actually become fairly good at photo-manipulating and am creating a fancier piece of art for Crown of Raven’s cover.

I’ve missed my writing, though, and so I decided to create a couple goals which I’m praying to meet. The first is to finish the series I’m writing now, The Heart of Light Trilogy. The second book is practically all set to go except for fixing the places in the story where the proofies thought needed work, a few tweaks to the cover’s art, and we’re all set. Then I can concentrate on going full speed ahead with the third book and getting that done. My second goal is to get work started on a new series which I hope to have done in time to publish for next year. It’s a tad ambitious, given my schedule and the fact that I usually like to work on one story at a time, but I figure why not? God gave me the talent and brains for the job, so let’s use them and see how far I can go. One other thing which I’m looking to do, which is not a resolution but something I’d be interested in doing, and that is making book covers for folks. In making my own covers and those for my sister, I’ve ended up creating five with a sixth on the way, and they have turned out pretty good. What’s more, due to surfing Deviant Art, I’ve come across a treasure trove of unrestricted stock photos that allow me greater freedom to make art that I before did not have the ability to create. And have I made some sweet art.

Anyway, there are my goals for the year, and I wish you God’s help (not luck since I don’t believe in that anymore than I believe in leprechauns) in whatever goals that you folks are looking to achieve this year.

Writers’ Block   6 comments

Writer’s block. You’ve heard of it before, especially if you’re a writer. In fact, as a writer, you have firsthand experience with it. It’s something all of us have experienced at one time or another and dreads with every fiber of their being. It’s the moment when that well of inspiration runs empty, the flow of words and life injected in the story come to a wrenching stop, and you’re left sitting there staring at the screen, your mind struggling to come up with what happens next and frustration boiling as the minutes tick by with no progress. Every avenue you try ends up meeting a dead end, and sometimes that block lasts for days. You’ll write pages of stuff and in the end discard it because it just doesn’t fit or sound right. Yes, this is what every writer hates and hopes desperately to avoid.

But what if it wasn’t just the well of inspiration running dry? What if it was something more, like a warning light signaling that the story is not going in the right direction it is supposed to? What if the direction we’re pushing for is wrong, and this is trying to warn us to turn the story another way?

And now you’re probably asking, ‘is he nuts?!’

Well, to quote Tony Stark, ‘jury’s out.’ One thing I do know, though, is that every great story comes from God. From Him we receive the talent, and from Him we receive the inspiration necessary to write those stories. So if we suddenly run into writers’ block, that moment when we can’t get the scene to play as we envisioned it, does it hurt to turn to the source of all inspiration and ask what is going wrong? If God is the one from Whom we get our talent and if He cares enough to give it to us, would it not make sense that He would try to help us with our work? And if we are forging ahead in the wrong direction with the story, would it also not make sense for Him to intervene and warn us?

It’s funny that when I ran into writers’ block, I would spend hours, days even, trying to figure out how to write the scene out. I’d be tearing my hair with frustration and looking to hurl that computer across a football field. But…as soon as I asked God where He wanted the story to go, immediately I saw the path it needed to take and shazam! I was blazing a path like nobody’s business. It’s really embarrassing when one thinks about how much time I wasted with trying to figure out how to go my way, when all I had to do was ask God what His was. And you know what? It was so much better than mine. The story ended up coming out richer, deeper, better written and developed—everything a writer desires with their book. Writers’ block used to be a hated foe; now it’s a friendly flag waving to catch my attention if I begin to go the wrong way.

Many times we get so focused on doing this on our own, that we forget that there is Creator above that does love us and tries His very best to help us out, in spite of our thick-headedness. So when and if you ever encounter writer’s block, don’t ignore it and push on with your own idea. Stop, and take the few minutes to ask God what He wants for the book. Trust me, His stuff will always fit better than yours, and you’ll be glad that you listened.

Posted September 26, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , , ,

SUPER FANTASY GIVEAWAY!!!   Leave a comment

Great news, folks! If you’re a fantasy lover or simply looking for a new read to add to your bookshelf, then this is for you. A friend of mine is having a book giveaway to promote her newest release, and due to her gracious invitation, I also will be participating in it (the first giveaway I’ve ever taken part in 🙂 ) and my book, The Dark Wolf, is one of the prizes. For the giveaway, my friend is giving not one, not two, but four books of amazing epicness! Add in mine plus another book by another author (also another friend of mine), and that makes a grand total of six beauties being given away for FREE. So if you are looking for some great reading material of adventures, epicness, and a stirring story, click the link below to head on over to my friend’s blog and start earning some entries! The giveaway starts today and ends at 12:00AM on September 1st. (EST)
http://tristavaporblade.blogspot.com/2014/08/gunsmoke-giveaway.html

Posted August 25, 2014 by J.M. Christian in My Books, Random Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

Widows and Orphans: Poor formatting or someone’s asinine idea of more work for the writer?   Leave a comment

Up until a couple years ago, I had no idea what widows and orphans were, other than that one was a woman whose husband died and the other was kids without parents. That was as far as my understanding of them went. And then I started writing a book.

Like a lot of others out there, I self-published my fantasy book, The Dark Wolf, instead of going the traditional route. While it means you end up having complete control over your book and making more money, it also means more work, and when you’re self-publishing, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to get every little detail done to perfection. Not that you want it otherwise with the traditional route, but from most people’s perspective, self-published books aren’t formatted as well as those in regular publishing.

I am a guy who is very good at Grammar and English. This is not bragging on my part; it’s something I love and therefore do very well at. My parents homeschooled me and made sure to buy me the most advanced textbooks available, and my mom happens to be a whiz at English. So you can imagine my surprise as when doing some research on self-publishing, I found out about widows and orphans from an article on the internet. For those of you who don’t know about what I’m talking about, here’s a link to Wikipedia explaining it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widows_and_Orphans

My mom told me not to worry, but being a newb at the whole self-publishing biz, I spent a lot of time trying to learn exactly how to get everything done right and panicking at the slightest little thing that I thought might ruin the book. So when I heard about the widows and orphans, I spent days trying to eliminate them. And I mean days. When you get the right emotion and detail into a paragraph, you really take a chance on messing with it. And when you fix one, it either pulls the whole story up or sends it down, creating even more problems. Need I say that I was supremely frustrated by the whole ordeal? I can honestly say that it is only by God’s grace the story didn’t get messed up.

With the initial anxiety over self-publishing fading, I took the time to really consider if widows and orphans were poor formatting as I’d read. After all, just whose decision was it that it should be considered poor? And if it really is bad to have them, why in tarnation didn’t my textbooks mention something? My parents went to school and even they hadn’t heard about them, for crying out loud. Heck, many writers I’ve talked to didn’t even know and they’ve been writing longer than I have.

So I did some digging. Turns out, many of those books published by regular publishing companies have those same widows and orphans in their books. And we are not talking about just one either. The crazy thing is that none of the readers noticed or seemed to know about them either, even the ones who reviewed the authors’ overall writing in general. Granted, I never noticed. If I see something that doesn’t make the book look crappy, I don’t give it a second glance, and it seems that goes for the majority of people out there. In fact, the only people who do seem to even know or pay attention to them are a few self-published authors that claim to be an authority on writing. Go figure.

Now, does every book have widows and orphans? No, but enough have them to make one think seriously about whether they’re really poor formatting, or just another one of those dumb ideas out there in the world. To me, typos and misspelled words make a story look sloppier than a sentence beginning the page. If it wasn’t, believe me, I’d be the first to champion their removal, because if there is one thing I take pride in, it is perfection.

Why am I writing this post when I’ve gone through so much labor already? Because after what I went through, I want to make sure any person new to self-publishing knows that they don’t have to go through that. I remember how I felt, and if I can spare someone else that headache and frustration, I’m all for it.

So for any of you looking to go into self-publishing your own book and leafing through articles and blog posts on just what to do, take the advice from someone who’s been there already. Leave the widows and orphans alone. Trust me, your book will not look any worse than the other bestsellers out there that everybody likes.

Posted June 6, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

Formatting tips for your e-book on Kindle   Leave a comment

My apologies for the long delay in posting. I meant to have this up sooner, but my internet was down for awhile and then I just got swamped with playing catch-up. Anyway, like I promised, here are tips for formatting your own e-book. Because the process is slightly lengthy, I’m only listing a few essentials here. To get full, detailed instructions I am providing a link for you that will allow you to download them.

First, make sure your story is assembled in Word. The majority of you probably have already done this like me, but for those of you who haven’t, you better start transferring. If your story is done and finished editing, it is recommended you download Word from Microsoft and use their thirty day free trial.
Second, if you’re planning on submitting your e-book to Amazon, register with their e-book site, https://kdp.amazon.com

Once you get that done and submit your title, either click on your book or simply press the link on your right that says “edit book’s details”. That will pull up a window where you can adjust your book’s information and preview it using Amazon’s online previewer. DO NOT use the online previewer. I found out that it has quite a few bugs and makes you think your story has a ton of formatting issues when in reality it is fine. It gave me quite a few frustrating and panic filled moments until I found this out.
So instead of the online previewer, make sure you’re still on the window where you can edit your book’s details and go to the bottom of the page where you see “download previewer” I chose the one for Windows. This allows you to download a program from Amazon that allows you to preview how your book will look as an e-book on multiple devices without having to go on the internet and also has fewer bugs in it. Believe me when I say that it is a life saver.

Third, you’re going to need a few instructions on how to format your book properly in Word. This link here: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=9978&start=0&tstart=0 takes you to a thread on the Kindle forum. Click the link the user provides on the very first post and that will allow you to download step by step instructions on how to format your book properly and which you open using your downloadable Kindle previewer.

Fourth, once you get your e-book all done with, make sure you do not upload your story as a Word Doc. I have been told that this corrupts the manuscript, leading to several errors, and I can easily confirm that. Using Word, convert your story into an HTML file (save it as web page/ web page filtered) and then load it on to KDP.

Let me say once again that when you use Amazon’s “click to view inside” feature, it will not show any page breaks unless you use very complicated formatting. I talked with several authors about this, and even the instructions I gave you the link for warns about this. That is because the feature has bugs in it. My own theory on the matter is that Amazon hopes it scares you enough to make you pay them the money. But anyway, your book does possess those page breaks, and you can make sure by downloading your converted book off of KDP for free and using the downloadable previewer, and even download a free sample off of Amazon.com itself.

And there you have it. Hopefully, the information I have provided will be of some help to any new writers out there and save you some of the headache and frustration I went through. If any of you have any questions about the links I provided or any other questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Posted April 12, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , , , , ,

Inspiring Poetry   2 comments

Two posts from me on here within the same month. Talk about shocking, isn’t it? *smiles* Anyway, since this blog has been languishing in the hole for a bit, I decided to post a review on some poetry on here that I wrote up on my other blog, A Dark Wolf’s Haunt. So without any further ado…

***

I recently finished reading two books of poetry by author Ophelia-Marie Flowers, and as they were so good, I decided to write up a review on them.

The two books from the author are Sixteen So in Love with You, and Zeal Aspiring. Now I’ve never been a fan of poetry. I rarely read any, and as for writing them, I think there is only one I can say that I ever wrote. When I started reading these books, however, I was immediately captivated by what lay on each page.

There several poems that deal with life’s questions, the pain many of us go through and hide from others, and our struggle to be different from the rest of the world. And in every one, God’s power is always present. Each poem is a heartfelt reminder of God’s goodness and mercy, and reminds us that no matter what, no matter how many times we think we know it all and fail, God is always there to take our hand and pick us up.

Sixteen So in Love with You, and Zeal Aspiring are both uplifting and inspiring. They are books that not only glorify God, but also His unfailing love towards us, His children. Whether or not you’re a fan of poetry, if you’re looking for a word of encouragement, or a simple reminder of God’s love, I highly recommend buying these books by Ophelia-Marie Flowers. You won’t be disappointed.

Posted January 14, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

Tagged with , , , ,

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Saeger art

art and comics, tips and tools by Saeger Ryman

Morgan L. Busse

In Darkness there is Light

Audra's Book Blabbing

Let's Talk About Books!

The Godly Chic Diaries

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Heather Tabata

Heather Tabata's homepage for Christian fiction writing and author information.

What do you mean?

“Every human life contains a potential. It that potential is not fulfilled, that life was wasted.” ― C.G. Jung

Kat Devitt

Turning tragedy into timeless romance.

Book Wolf

Devouring Books

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

READING INTO THE PAST .....

Haden Clark

Better conversations toward a better tomorrow.

Sarah Doughty

Novelist, Poet, Wordsmith

Your grace is enough...

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

ChristforAllLivesMinistry (C.A.L.M.)

Let's build a Nation of good faith, solely dedicated to God and Jesus, helping each other to overcome evil! May God Bless you with the fullness of his Shalom!

The Cat's Write

Milly Schmidt

The Critiquing Chemist

Literary Analysis derived from an Analytical Chemist

Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop tutorials for beginners to experts. Learn tips and tricks on how to use Photoshop for photo editing, manipulations, designs, and more.