Posts

Building your online platform

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I’m hosting a Back to School Giveaway! 

No, I’m not launching a new book. I like to treat my readers to unexpected surprises now and then. I also hope to acquire new readership. This is one reason authors hold contests.

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Click for a chance to win!

Contests are a fun way to help build your on-line platform. I’ve held several and they are tons of fun. My favorite contests were when I was launching my first novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. I held a Facebook Party and gave away gifts all throughout the evening to those attending. It’s fun to go back to the transcript of the party and read it! If you want to know how to do it for yourself, feel free to explore the page for yourself.

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Click to view Facebook Book Launch Party

Online platforms are becoming an important part of the author package writers must present to prospective publishers. The first thing a publishing committee will do when introduced to a new author, or even a published one, is Google the author’s name. Does your name bring up any social media results? Do you have a website? Some publishers won’t publish authors who don’t have a healthy online-presence.

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My website header

I’m like a lot of authors in that social media isn’t my favorite thing to spend time on. I’d rather not have the distraction. But, I look at it this way–it’s beats digging ditches. And it’s basically painless. Like scrubbing toilets, it must be done, and it won’t kill me.

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If you don’t know where to start, here are the basics:

  • Build a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I used Wix.com when I first started and later I used Weebly.com. There are other free platforms out there. Use the one that is the most user-friendly for you. I didn’t spend money to have someone design one for me until after I had my first novel published.
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This blog interacts with the history ebooks I write

  • Blog. You don’t have to blog every day but it’s common sense that the more you blog the more people will visit. What to blog about? Do a Google search for blog topics and you’ll have more than you’ll ever have time to write. Part of building your platform is projecting what you’re passionate about so write about what you love! I started my first blogs on Blogger, but now I use WordPress because that’s what my web designer used to design my site. There’s a learning curve to WordPress, but I love it. However, if you’re new to finding your way around the Internet, I recommend Blogger. Many successful authors use it and it’s what I use for my interactive eBooks.
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Click to add me as a friend!

  • Facebook: I have a “friends” page with about 3300+ followers, an author page with a little over 500, another page for my book and several groups. But really, you don’t have to do all that. You can simply use your friends page if you wish. However, once you reach 5000 followers, you have to stop accepting them and direct them to your author page. So it’s a good idea to go ahead and build your author page. The nice thing about an author page is that you can host your giveaways on it.
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Facebook Author Page Giveaway Tab

  • Twitter: for me, this is the hardest platform to build relationships on. But I am learning!
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Click to follow me and I’ll follow back!

  • Pinterest: I have almost 3,000 followers on Pinterest and it was super easy to build that following. Pick a popular subject and start pinning! (To keep numbers in perspective, most best-selling authors have followers in the five digits. I’m still working toward that!)
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Click to follow!

  • Google+: I’m fairly new to Google+ but as more people learn to use it, I’m gaining more experience and developing relationships.
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Click to add me to your Google+ circles!

  • LinkedIn: I post here every time I have a blog post.
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Click to follow me on LinkedIn

  • tumblr: I have about 800 followers on tumblr. I admit that tumblr is one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy the people I follow there and I actually get the news before it’s published in most other forums. It’s a lot like twitter that way.
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Click to view

  • Goodreads:  I have about 1300 followers on Goodreads. I’m not very good at checking in there, but while I was promoting my book, I did give books away and I believe it was well worth the expense and time.
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Click to follow me on Goodreads

Those are the basic platforms/applications that most writers use to build their online presence. Many do not use all of them. Others use more. There are always new apps coming out that people use to connect such as Instagram and Snapchat. Some authors use YouTube and have a channel where they talk about things that are relevant to their platform (I’m toying with this idea myself).

ending-relationship22You can also create podcasts to create traffic to your blog and website. You have to choose the best and easiest for you to use in building an audience online. In my opinion, a website, blog and Facebook are the basics to start with. You can branch out from there.

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Click to view source

The downside to all this is that it takes a lot of time away from the “real” writing we want to do. I have my twitter and tumblr hooked together so that when I post on tumblr it posts on twitter. It helps me build relationships on tumblr, but it doesn’t help much on twitter because to build relationships on twitter you need to interact and respond to other people’s posts.

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When the local college has students wanting internships, I use college students to add interesting tweets to my buffer app account. This app will schedule pre-created tweets throughout the day. Again, the downside, is having the time to respond to anyone who replies to your tweets. It keeps your feed active, but does it build relationships? Not likely.

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As you can see, I’m not yet in the mega-following status and I’m still learning. A platform isn’t built in a day, or week or month. It takes time to build relationships, and that’s what successful authors do. No one likes to be bombarded with “buy my book” all the time. People want to connect with people, not products. If you build relationships, you’ll gain a faithful tribe. And making friends, loving one another and caring about others is what life’s all about in the first place.

twitter26sepiamsallerClick to tweet: How are you building your online platform?

Don’t forget to go to my website and enter the giveaway! Today’s the last day! Have fun!

Leave me a message below and let me know how you’re building your online platform!

What do you want to read about?

I truly want to create a blog that is fun, entertaining and useful. We are all short on time, aren’t we? The last thing we need to do is waste our time reading blogs that we don’t connect with. I deeply desire to connect with you, Dear Reader.

Would you be so kind as to fill out this survey? I’d appreciate it so much! Thanks for your help in making this little ministry on the web the best it can be.

Love,

Karla

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The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani — 4.5/5 stars

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I don’t know where I’ve been and why I’ve not heard of Adriana Trigiani but here is an author I can’t get enough of.

Actually, I think I have read her before, but until I re-read her Big Gap book, I’m not positive. Funny how that happens.

This book was kind of surreal for me because it mentioned places I had actually been while traveling from Indiana to New Jersey. And this is the same time I read the book. I spent the night in Youngstown, Ohio on my journey there and back and that’s where the Macaroni Company ends up being. So odd for it to mention several other locations I actually knew about. Ever have that happen?

Youngstown_OHAnd it also has scenes in Italy. Which is one of my fantasy vacation spots.

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Take me here NOW!

And then there’s the patient, older, Italian husband who is romantic and an excellent lover. <sigh>

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Yes, I have a terrible crush on Andrea Bocelli. It’s okay, my husband knows. (In case you don’t know, this is the ultimate example in my mind of an older, good looking Italian man…)

Anyway, as secular market books go, I loved this one. What’s not to love about shoes and romance and pasta? I love reading about families who have strong ethnic ties. Being very, very, very American, I don’t have those types of traditions. So I enjoy living vicariously through those who do in books.

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This isn’t a book I’d normally pick up and I wasn’t sure I’d like it. And to be honest, I was thinking, if a new author wrote it, no one would publish it. It’s not hooky for one thing. And it doesn’t have a spell-binding plot. But there’s just something about the main character, Valentine, that makes you want to know what happens to her next.

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Adriana Trigiani, Author

I’m excited to read more of Trigiani’s books. I’m packing seven or so of them to take with me on vacation week after next. For one thing, she writes southern fiction, too, which made the fact that this book (and I think this is a sequel to some others) are set in NYC.

I’ll let you know how it goes. There’s nothing I like more than books. And I absolutely love southern fiction. Next to books I love shoes.

Wide-Italian-ShoesThis book was a perfect fit.

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Tweet This: Who knew macaroni and shoes had so much in common?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Blogging Realm Makers Conference: Keynote Speaker Tosca Lee

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What an amazing day I’ve had at Realm Maker’s conference today!

This morning’s Keynote Speaker was best-selling author, Tosca Lee. If you’ve never read any of her books, I highly recommend you do. Her style and voice are unique and powerful. As I wrote before, she has a voice akin to liquid velvet. I can’t get enough of her.

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Did you know that she cut her eyeteeth in the writing realm with online gaming? Who’d have thunk it? But it makes sense to me now. She spent hours and hours creating a character and a world playing a role playing game. In fact, the character she developed and eventually “killed” has a fandom! People to this day write poems and tributes to this character.

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Now, I’m not into role playing games. I’ve never “got” that lifestyle. In fact, I’ve protected myself from that sort of fantasy life because I didn’t understand it, feared it, and was concerned that with my personality I’d become addicted to it.

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But as it turns out, lovely Tosca was once the Overlord of a gaming community that still holds tournaments in her character’s honor. Talk about creating a powerful character! This character was so real to those playing this game that they mourned her and continue to this day to honor her. Wow. Can I create characters like that? Can you?

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Following Tosca’s keynote address, I attended a workshop entitled “Touching Evil: Reflections on Writing Villains and their Villainy.” The take-away for me was when he said that the villain is the measuring stick for the hero. Excellent stuff!

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This afternoon Steve Laube spoke about the ins and outs of being represented by an agent.

SteveLaube2Jeff Gerke presented a workshop on “The So-Called Rules of So-Called Fiction and what to So-Called do with Them.” As always Jeff was engaging and funny.

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Lisa Walker England taught on Steampunk, which is the reason I’m here as I have several steampunk novels running through my head. Doesn’t she look great in her costume? (She’s pictured below with Ben Wolf.)

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 The last presenter before the evening awards banquet was Kat Heckenbach who spoke on writing YA.

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The banquet tonight was attended by various unique and special guests:

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The Clive Staples Award for the best in Christian Speculative Fiction this past year went to Patrick W. Carr for A Cast of Stones!

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The Parable Award for best-designed cover on a speculative fiction book directed to the Christian or family-friendly market went to Numb by John W. Otte.

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The food was delicious and my brain is just as full as my stomach. I’ve learned a lot today and can hardly wait until tomorrow morning to start all over again!

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Click to tweet: Best-selling author Tosca Lee!

Live blogging from Realm Makers Conference with BREAKING NEWS!

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I’m in Radnor, PA for the Realm Makers Conference! I am a slightly surprised to find myself here but there’s a nagging in my heart to learn how to write compelling YA, specifically in the Steampunk vein.

I’m not really sure what to expect, but so far things are good. On my drive to Pennsylvania there was a rainbow! That’s a good sign, right?

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It took me two days to drive here from Indiana. Today before I checked into the conference I stopped at a mall in King of Prussia, PA, and had lunch at Ruby’s Diner. The clam chowder was so scrumptious I was tempted to order another cup!

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I sat in the diner and worked on my work in progress. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I can write pretty well in a diner environment. I need to try it again. Although, there aren’t any diners in my neck of the woods. Certainly not ones that have such great decor.

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I was wishing my guys were with me to enjoy such pretty bikes!

The conference is on Villanova University’s campus. The college has beautiful old stone buildings and we’re staying in dorms. The dorm I’m in is actually an apartment. I have the entire thing to myself but there’s enough room for 4 people.

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Tonight as I type this I’m at the Splickety Magazine Critique Party. On the panel critiquing the first few pages of novels submitted and chosen before the conference are Tosca Lee, Jeff Gerke, Steve Laube and Avily Jerome.

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I’m so excited to hear Tosca Lee speak in the morning! I love her books. She has the sort of writing voice I love. Like liquid velvet.

I’ll post again tomorrow (hopefully I’ll have some time to sneak in here to share with you) and let you know all I’m learning. Tonight the panel seems to be in unison regarding that first hook in the first few pages of a book. Lovely writing might be beautiful, but will it keep a reader’s attention? If you want to be published, you need to learn to write what sells.

But if you want to write for your own pleasure, then write what you want!

Tonight Steve Laube announced the new name of his publishing company (formerly Marcher Lord Press): Enclave Publishing! You heard it here first!

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Steve Laube making the announcement:

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Tons of excitement tonight! I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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Click to tweet: Steve Laube announces Marcher Lord Press now Enclave Publishing!

Character Mapping

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The first book I bought when I got serious about writing novels was Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. (I highly recommend both the book and the workbook together.) It was this book that taught me how to create a character map. If you’re new to creating characters and story lines, I highly recommend this. You’ll be surprised how many different ways you can connect your characters and it makes their back stories come to life almost on their own.

When I used this method for my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, it revealed a twist and surprise at the end. Here’s an example of a character map based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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And here’s one for Shakespeare’s Othello:

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Sometimes your characters may not have very many interactions or relationships with one another. In my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, the setting was a small, close-knit community. A lot of the people were related and had grown up together for years. So the map looked like a maze much like the one for Pride and Prejudice. But in my current work in progress, the characters come together on a steamboat from different parts of the country and interact with passengers on the boat who are strangers to them. So there aren’t as many mysterious cousin-type relationships.

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If you’re stuck on a story, try using the character map. I promise it will get you unstuck and spark some exciting new ideas.

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Tweet this: Stuck on your manuscript? Draw a character map!

Introducing Steampunk author Michael Vetter and a giveaway!

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Michael Vetter, Author

I am very pleased to introduce you to Steampunk/Sci-fi author, Michael Vetter. I became intrigued with Michael’s work after meeting him on a Steampunk forum.

I’m fascinated with this genre and have been researching it for a book I’m formulating for the YA market. I’m also leaving next Tuesday to attend the Realm Makers conference in Pennsylvania! I’m looking forward to rubbing shoulders with fantasy genre authors as I have much to learn. I have a burden to write YA books that point young people to Christ. It’s much needed.

Print Which is what drew me to Michael’s work. Michael very graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog. I think you’ll find him and his work fascinating!

(By the way, dear reader, if you leave a comment or question and tweet about this post (I’ve provided a handy dandy link below as well) you’ll be entered to win a free digital (.pdf) copy of one of his books — your choice!  If you use any of the other buttons, you’ll be entered each time you promote this post on social media. What a deal!)

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Thanks so much, Michael, for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself:

My father worked for Pan America Airways so I grew up around airplanes and airports in Latin America all my life.  When I went to college in the U.S. I studied engineering, met my wife, Mary, and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Florida, we heard the Gospel for the first time and, after months of questions and resistance, accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We grew spiritually through the years, served in many capacities at Salem Bible Church (www.salembible.org) while I worked in the defense industry, and recently retired. My wife and I have a grown son, two grandsons, and are involved in several ministries. Besides teaching adult Bible Sunday School and writing novels, I edit a newsletter for Grace Dental and Medical Missions (www.gdmmissions.org) and am a translator on medical missions trips to Spanish-speaking countries. We live in Salem,  NH, where the one month of brilliant fall foliage makes up for long winters of snow and cold. We enjoy long road and rail trips together and kayaking in the summer.

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What a fascinating journey to this point in your life you’ve had! I long to take a rail trip sometime, too. How can we find you online?

Web page:  http://www.michaelvetter.net

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdventuresBibleThemes?ref=hl

Where do you write? (What’s your office like?)

My best creative writing is done where I’m free from distractions so that means not in my cluttered office! My home office is where I have access to my reference books for research and Bible studies. Libraries with quiet rooms or cubbyholes hidden in remote stacks are where I can get lost for hours in a complicated plot. While my most imaginative writing is best done in quiet isolation, draft editing seems to be fueled in coffee shops where I draw energy from the hum of background conversations. I don’t know if this is an odd way to write/edit or not, but it works for me!

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I’m the same way about my home office. How funny. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

Because I’m an engineer, I like to have the overall plot and flow of my book mapped out from beginning to end before I start to write. I use a “storyboard” technique learned from defense systems analysis that depicts various “threads” of a message to be sure that everything supports a final conclusion or objective. Many ideas come together on a wall-size graphic using colored-coded post-it notes, pictures, sketches, and connecting lines showing the progression of a story.

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Karla: Oh my goodness. I have to interrupt here. You have no idea how giddy this photo makes me. I do the same thing and trust me, I do not have the mind of an engineer. I feel so much smarter now!

Genius babyOkay, then what do you do?

I then write an outline for each chapter in sequence and match chapters to the storyline. In parallel, I write profiles of the various main characters. Then I begin writing at Chapter 1 and expand on settings, dialog, and other details. Sure, things take unpredicted turns when I get more involved with my characters. As long as the main story line stays generally on track, I keep going. About every twenty chapters or so, (which can take me two or three months to write) I’ll then perform rough editing/surgery on the text. This is where I cut down the prose—I’m not stingy with words in my first draft—and try to come close to my page/word count target. This is also where I do a mid-course correction if the story line needs to change drastically. After about 8-9  months, I have a manuscript that I then spend 2-3 months editing. I have to admit that the creative part of developing and telling a story is my favorite part of writing. Everything after that is a chore before I can start on my next book.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my third book in a fiction series for young boys with the working title, Flight from Egypt—Adventures Along The Nile. My books occupy a genre that I still haven’t fully characterized, but some call it retro-futuristic or steampunk.

The book takes place in Egypt in the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III during the 6-9 months before Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. The Biblical account of the plagues, Passover, and miraculous parting of the Red Sea are told through the eyes of Malik (a young Egyptian), Nathan (his Hebrew slave and best friend), and Malik’s sixteen-year-old sister Sarina. The two nineteen-year-old boys grew up together and are more like brothers. The speculative nature of the story weaves advanced, though plausible, technologies created by an inventor named Imhotep: a flying machine called the Eye of Horus, a box that lights the inside of underground tombs, encrypted signals using focused solar energy, and the Breath of Osiris that flashes across the night sky. These and other technologies, in the midst of devastating plagues, propel the three young characters as they pursue the identity of the Black Falcon who plundered tons of gold from the tomb of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Kings. Linking their adventures ranging from Karnak/Thebes in the south to Giza/Memphis in the north is the nationwide heliographic (solar powered) signaling network used by Pharaoh and his military. As the plagues reach their climax with the Passover, some Egyptians believe in the God of Abraham and join Moses and millions of Hebrews on the beginning of their exodus journey. How many lives will the Black Falcon ruin in his relentless pursuit for more gold? Who will follow Moses through the Red Sea to safety and who will die in Egypt?

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This sounds sooo intriguing, and this may be a silly question because I, for one, can’t wait to read it. But are there any other reasons readers should pick it up?

Young readers should read this and other books in the series because the characters, although living in Old Testament times, have a God-centered Biblical worldview that guides their lives through adventures in a complex, dangerous world. New and often strange technologies, not unlike those in our own fast-paced world, add twists and turns as the plot heads toward a foregone conclusion that fits the Biblical record. The fate of individual characters hangs in doubt up to the last second.

How did this book come to life for you?

I’d always wondered how all the Israelites knew what was happening when Moses and Aaron repeatedly confronted Pharaoh and unleashed plagues in response to his stubborn refusals. How could slaves working hundreds of miles away in granite quarries of Aswan, brick pits of Giza, or  flooded fields of Goshen know what was going on in the palace? The usual answer, “God somehow told them,” did not satisfy me. My conclusion was that the everyday Egyptian or Hebrew had no idea what was happening until much later in the series of plagues, maybe not until the last plague, when they had fourteen days to prepare, did people understand that it was God who brought the plagues on Egypt. Even then, it’s a puzzle to me how millions of people could organize such a massive effort in so short a time. So, I came up with a hypothetical Egyptian heliographic network based on actual equipment and codes used by the U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico in the late 1800’s to signal long distances using solar rays. (The highly effective network was used for only a few years before it was replaced by the telegraph.) My story revolves around a nationwide “solar Internet,” the “blinkers” who run it, and the royal codes used by blinkers to inform Egyptians and Hebrews about the plagues, Pharaoh’s rejection of Moses, and God’s ultimate purpose to lead His people to the Promised Land.

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I love ancient and 1800s technology! This is such a fascinating book. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I think that is like asking which of your children is your favorite because I invest so much into my characters. But Malik’s father, Hatep, might be my favorite because his struggle over whether to believe in the God of Abraham or the gods of his Egyptian forefathers parallels my spiritual struggle when I first heard the Gospel of God’s grace and realized that the Good News was opposite to what I had been taught by religion all my life. Hatep has to face repeated evidence in the plagues that the LORD God of the Israelites is more powerful than all the gods of Egypt and he’s frustrated, disappointed, and scared by what he experiences. As a Royal Architect of Tombs, Hatep tries to reason everything logically but finally concludes that salvation is by faith alone in the One True God.

How did you name your characters?

This is a difficult task for me since I invest most of my energies in the storytelling. Fictional Egyptian characters take their names, or slight variations of them, from historical persons although not necessarily from the same time period. Most archeological evidence points to Thutmose III as the Pharaoh during the approximate time of Moses, although none of the historical records can prove this. Names for Israelite characters are either common Biblical names or modern Hebrew names. The principal Hebrew character is Nathan because I like that name.

Are the characters based on people you know?

The Inventor Imhotep, Royal Architect Hatep, and General Herihor have some parts of their personalities and experiences based on my own. The sixteen-year-old Sarina is a mathematician and crypto-solver very much like my wife, who spends hours and sometime days working on a cryptogram that I would never dream of tackling. When I hear “I did it!” shouted from another room I know she’s cracked another one.

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Oh, I love cryptology! I’m not good at it but I’m fascinated with it. I must meet your wife and pick her brain sometime.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

It’s the type of exciting, wholesome adventure that I loved to read as a pre-teen and teen myself when I grew up with characters like Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys. I loved the mysteries and action stories that planted seeds in the mind of a future engineer who wanted to build airplanes, submarines, space ships, and complicated gadgets. Today, young Christian boys should read my books for the enjoyment of adventure fiction with technologies that they can relate to within a Biblical worldview.

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I think I read every Nancy Drew book growing up. What is your favorite scene in the book?

Nathan and Malik enter a large chamber in the Great Pyramid of Khafre with a gold cylinder in its center and directly under the pyramid’s golden apex . As they inspect the inscriptions on the cylinder and the tubes that rise from it into the ceiling, they hear a whine that gradually increases in pitch and intensity. This is Imhotep’s Breath of Osiris. They don’t know what it does, but the reader senses that something terrible is about to happen as the noise becomes deafening. We want to scream, “Get out now!” but they approach the gleaming object and reach out to touch it. There is paralyzing tension as the two boys can’t decide whether to investigate with captivating curiosity or flee in deadly terror.

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Oh, that’s edge-of-your-seat stuff there!  Can you tell us why you chose to write Christian fiction?

My principal motivation in writing Christian fiction for young boys is because there are so few wholesome books available that appeal to their interest in stories with physical action, adventure, suspense, mystery, and complex gadgets. Classical science fiction from the 1800’s (Jules Verne, H.G. Wells) fills some of this interest. But good (moral, safe?) Christian fiction for boys is meager; good Christian fiction written by godly women for young girls is abundant. Today’s young adult (YA) fiction is not suitable, in my opinion, for Christian young people, although I realize that many read it. My desire is to write speculative fiction to honor God and I hope that comes across in my books.

We’ve all heard that fiction writers should write about what they know. That has motivated me to write stories that blend engineering and technology with my understanding of the Bible and history. I’m fully committed to the inerrant, inspired Word of God. I believe we are free to speculate about what the Bible does not say, providing we do not contradict what it does say. I was encouraged by Dr. John Whitcomb (co-author of The Genesis Flood and other creationist books) to speculate in my first book about technology in an advanced pre-Flood civilization. We had several conversations in which we agreed that civilizations before and after the Great Flood were much more sophisticated than the backward cave-dwellers depicted today. I place my fictional plots in Bible times but use seemingly modern, although primitive, instruments, engines, vehicles, and devices in adventure plots.

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I raised four boys and I can’t tell you how excited I am about your vision and mission. It was always difficult finding good, wholesome, engaging reading material for them. Thank you for answering the call and writing these books! Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I inherited my love for reading and writing from my mother, Peggy Vetter. She wrote the society page of a newspaper (The Niles Daily Star in Niles, Michigan) in the 1940’s while still in college. After WW II she married my Dad in 1947 and wrote long letters to family and friends describing her “adventures” in exotic places like Guatemala, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, and Jamaica. Growing up in those countries (with no television!) we read books for entertainment. She founded, published, and edited the weekly Herndon Observer (Herndon, Virginia) for almost thirty years until a few months before her death in 2000. My second book, One World Tower-A Babylonian Adventure, is dedicated to her.

Michael, thanks again for joining us today. I am so excited to know you and to get to follow your career. I know God has an amazing plan for your work! God bless you!

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Tweet This: Read Steampunk/sci-fi author Michael Vetter’s riveting interview!

 

 

Tweet and comment for a chance to win a FREE pdf copy of one of Michael’s books!

Today is my birthday!

fun_53rd_birthday_gift_idea_pinback_button-r7f5d86e72c194c42b3269a25a2b23070_x7j3i_8byvr_324Today is my 53rd birthday!

In some ways it freaks me out that I’m heading toward old lady status, but in some ways I’m happy because I know a lot of people don’t get to live this long on earth! I’m thankful today that I’m still alive and healthy.

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In honor of my birthday I’m giving away a free copy of my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. I know some of my readers already have a copy, so maybe you’d like to win a copy to give to someone else? I am giving away the format of your choice — autographed print or digital.

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Here’s how you can win. You get an entry for each item you complete:

1. Sign up for my newsletter. You can do that on my homepage in the upper right-hand corner.

2. Sign up for my blog posts. You can do that on this page in the upper right-hand corner.

3. Tweet about this giveaway by clicking the tweet below.

4. Post this post on Facebook using the Facebook link below.

5. Pinterest this post on Pinterest by using the Pinterest button below.

6. Google+ this post using the Google+ button below.

7. Post this on on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn button below.

7. Blog about this on your blog and post the link in your comments below. If your link isn’t allowed in the comments, email them to me at kkakins@gmail.com

8. In the comments below, let me know how many of the above items you participated in. I’ll trust you!

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Please allow three to four weeks for delivery of your prize as I will be out of town until mid-June.

Have fun! And thanks for helping me celebrate my 53rd birthday!

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Book Review: Take this Cup by Bodie & Brock Thoene

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I have been reading Bodie Thoene since her release of The Gates of Zion in 1986. She is truly the reason why I fell  deeply in love with Christian Historical fiction.

She didn’t disappoint me in this book, either. Take this Cup is book 2 of the Jerusalem Chronicles Series. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much as I did. I got excited about many new insights I’d never thought of before regarding the history of the Israelites and the prelude to Jesus Christ as Messiah.

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That Thoene is an artist there’s no doubt. But what makes her books, including this one, so special, are the Spiritual Truths and revelations that knowing details of history bring out in the story. For example, I’d never put together that the people of Nineveh worshiped Dagon, a god that’s half fish and half man, and that God used a large fish to swallow Jonah and spit him out preach to these fish-idol worshipers about the One True God. Pretty cool insight.

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There are many others in the book.

I think this book would be a great read-aloud to middle grades and an excellent book to give to a high school student as a Resurrection Day gift. There are several scenes regarding a white hart that kids and teens will especially enjoy. However, it’s definitely an adult book, too. But I can see a classroom of kids really enjoying reading this book together or listening to their teacher read it aloud.

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http://www.markduffin.net/

From the blogger review website:

Though there have been many stories about the Cup of Christ, the Holy Grail, after the Last Supper, this is the first imaginative account of the Cup’s previous history and significance. Nehemiah, the young son of a Jewish woman, a weaver from Jerusalem, is born and raised among the Jews who didn’t return to Jerusalem from the Exile. Educated by Rabbi Kagba, one of the magi present at Jesus’ birth thirty years earlier, Nehemiah grows up with the expectation of a soon-coming Messiah. Could the Yeshua of Nazareth, who is walking the earth, reportedly doing miracles, be that Messiah?

When young Nehemiah must travel the long caravan road to Jerusalem, he is charged with an unusual mission—to carry a mysterious object back to the holy city of Jerusalem . . . an object whose reappearance heralds the Messiah’s arrival.

Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem just as the final events of Jesus’ earthly ministry are coming to a climax: the Feast of Dedication, the Triumphal Entry, the last cleansing of the Temple, and culminating at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Only Nehemiah understands the true sacrifice that is to come as he makes the cup worthy of his Savior.

I give this book 5 stars. It’s a flawless, beautifully written story with a unique point of view. I hope parents will share it with their children and teachers with their students. It’s an excellent book for any home or church library. I highly recommend.

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Tweet: I give this book 5/5  stars.

 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

World Autism Awareness Day

I believe in confirmations from the Lord that I’m on the right track. And lately, with the hardships my family has experienced, I needed a little boost of confidence.

Today is Autism Awareness Day. It’s a very special day for me because I am a Mom of twin adults (age 19) with autism.

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L to R: Isaac (with Chevy) and Isaiah (with Jake)

And it’s also a special day because I received my contract from Beacon Hill Press to write my proposed book, Pie in the Sky: A message of Hope, Healing and Hallelujahs for families living with autism.

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My sell sheet book cover

You might call it a coincidence that the contract arrived TODAY, on Autism Awareness Day, but I don’t believe too much in coincidences. I’m one of those faith people. I believe that when a soul talks to God, He talks back.

I’m excited, yes, but I’m more concerned that I get this book right. That it touches lives and helps people. That it makes a difference.

If you’re a family living with autism, I’d love your input. What do you need this book to address?

If you’re a friend and know someone with autism, what questions do you have?

If you’re a church and you want to know more about how to reach families living with autism — shoot me your questions!

I am constantly amazed when I look at the world around me at the Lord’s ability to pay attention to us individually. His Presence is the most precious thing to me. And I covet your prayers that I’ll continue to seek Him and write what HE wants me to write in this book.

Thank You, God, for being so big and able, and yet so personal to order our steps and speak to us where we are.

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Tweet This: I love someone with autism!