Monday, May 12, 2014

WORLD BOOK BLOG TOUR - Christian Fantasy Author Lorilyn Roberts




The Author’s Writing Process and the Discovery of New Books
May 19, 2014 Stop

When Emma Right asked if I’d be interested in following her on the World Book Blog Tour, I thought this would be a fun way to share how different authors write. I am thankful for her invite and hope you enjoy my few comments. Perhaps I might inspire you to write or curl up with a good novel and enjoy the world of reading and writing books—of which there are never enough.

First, if you want to read about some previous bloggers on the tour, click on Emma Right’s blog here. She followed Diane’s blog which you can follow here. If you wish to go back further, you can visit Marion’s blog, who had tagged Diane.


WHO AM I?

I’m Lorilyn Roberts. My closest friends would probably describe me as the brave woman who went around the world and adopted two beautiful daughters as a single mother. Now that one daughter is almost raised and the other one thinks she’s raised (and I won’t say which is which), I have more time to write. I went back to school at an old age (but still young at heart) and received my Master of Arts in Creative Writing last year.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

I am 55,000 words into the first draft of the second book in my YA Christian Fantasy Series, Seventh Dimension - The King. The total length will be 65,000 words and I should finish The King in about a week.





HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

First, I research. Second, I think. Third, I come up with the plot points – the beginning (problem), the middle (the process), and the end (the crescendo and the resolution).

After I do the above, I am assured I have a skeleton for a future book. Then I will use an online program called Hiveword Online Fiction Organizer
and James Scott Bell’s Knockout Novel aid. The two programs work in tandem and help me to organize my thoughts and begin writing. I think in terms of scenes and outline all my scenes first.

The Hiveword Organizer allows me to move the scenes around. It also has other features, options for multiple plotlines, character development, writing prompts (even suggestions for names if I can’t come up with one) and scene summaries that can be stored for future reference.

After my scenes are titled and loosely described, then I do more research for those I’m less sure about. I keep an excel file with a link to all the sites I visit that I might want to revisit when I actually write the scene. I will insert notes from the website into the scene organizer for quick reference.

Once I have all the characters, scenes, and plot lines developed, then I write each scene. This is when I add the spiritual component, foreshadowing, symbolism, emotion, et cetera. In other words, I give the scene life. A love scene is not like a rose by any other name. It’s my unique love scene. The protagonist is not just facing life or death—he must face other issues that will worry the reader, like honor, truth, and sacrifice. I raise the stakes. If I’m not engaged in the scene, I rethink it through or I remove the scene entirely.

I allow myself the option to change things, but more often than not, each scene I’ve outlined grows and becomes even more than what I meant it to be. Since I know where I’m going, I can work on the boundaries of the scene—how far can I go with this idea? I let my mind create, create, create. This is my favorite part of writing. I put no limitations on where my mind takes me.

Real change happens at the boundaries of life, and therefore, it should be that way in books. As God our Creator chisels away on our rough edges and refines us into the person He created us to be, I refine each scene (even in the first draft because I love to edit), and hopefully make each scene unique and memorable.

As an aside, I could never do the Nano Challenge. I can’t think in terms of outcome so early in the process—or worry about a word count. I enjoy the process of writing too much to rush it.

I do the actual writing in one of two ways, depending on my mood. I either type the words directly into Microsoft Word on my laptop, or if I want to write a lot of words in one day, I type the words directly on my stenograph machine and then make a text file and copy and paste it into Microsoft Word later.

I provide closed captioning for television and if I’m on the air several hours at a time, it would not be unusual to write close to 200,000 words in one day. Perhaps that sounds grueling but it’s not. When you are writing 200 to 250 words per minute, the words add up quickly. 

The stenograph machine works well for writing a lot of words in a short span of time, but if I have the time and luxury, I’d rather sit on the sofa in the living room and type on my laptop, drinking coffee. I enjoy the process of writing, particularly if I’m writing difficult description or an emotional scene. The stenograph machine is very mechanical,  too much like work, but it’s a nice way to get a lot of words written that I can edit later if feel like I’m getting behind in my word count—those days when I set one, which is not every day.

After the first draft, I will take a break for at least a few days to two weeks and then come back and edit. I love the editing process. I am surprised that most writers don’t, but my first draft of anything is so beneath what I’m capable of when it’s polished that I can’t wait to edit. I also belong to Word Weavers and will frequently take in scenes for critiquing.

The editing process takes longer for me than the first draft. After I’ve reached the point where I can no longer be objective, I’ll submit the manuscript to beta readers.

I’ll give the readers some general questions to answer based on what I feel might be weaknesses, confusing scenes, or some other point that’s important to me.

After I receive their responses, I’ll make changes. This can be quite time consuming, but this process is critical, especially for indie authors. Beta readers can take your “average” book and make it a “good” book or even a great book. I can’t imagine publishing a book and not having beta readers critique it first and tell me what needs to be fixed. At this point, I cannot be objective. I need readers to help me see any weaknesses, and I want that to happen before my book is published. One and two-star reviews can hurt a book’s future popularity. I don’t want those kinds of negative reviews because I was too much in a hurry and published my book before it was ready.

After I’ve gone through the beta process, I give a copy of my manuscript to my first editor who reads my book for content. After I make her suggested corrections, I then submit my book to a second editor who goes through the manuscript again. This editor also reads for content, but she focuses more on copyediting that has been missed. Things like leaving off a quote or having two periods at the end of a sentence.

Once I’ve finished this final edit (hopefully), I upload my specially formatted Mobi file to Amazon, but I don’t tell anyone. I want to download my book on my Kindle before anyone else. Sometimes I’ll find weird things, like a formatting error on the copyright page. You don’t want an error on that page screaming “amateur.”

Sometimes when I fix one thing, I inadvertently mess up something else. After all the work that’s gone into my book at this point, I want it perfect. I might do several uploads to Amazon before I announce my book’s availability. I usually raise the price when I first publish it, like to $9.99 – no one will buy my Kindle book at that price. Once I feel like everything is fixed that has been missed, then I will reduce the price to $2.99 and promote my newly published book. Then the real work begins. Marketing a book is much harder than writing it.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS?

I don’t know. I try not to compare myself with others. How similar or different my writing is from other authors is very subjective. Contemporary fantasy authors I like to read are Randy Alcorn and Lois Lowry. An Undiscovered Christian fantasy author who I like and predict someday will be well known is Janalyn Voigt. Classical fantasy authors I enjoy are C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. My favorite book of all time is Pilgrim’s Progress. After reading books by these authors, I find myself admiring their talent—and inspired. I hope someday to write a book that will touch others the way their books have touched me.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I have a story to tell. The Bible says in Luke 19:37-40, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, the multitude of disciples rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice. When the Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke His disciples, He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

If I don’t write, I will go to my grave with regret. I know God made me to write and writing draws me near to His presence. I must write or I’ll feel like I missed out on God’s perfect will for my life.

He has redeemed too much of my past not to share it—either through fiction or nonfiction. When God blesses us, He expects us to give those blessings away. If we don’t use the talents He gives us, He might take our gift or gifts and give them to someone else. I would hate to stand before my Savior and see His scarred wrists and confess, “God, it was too hard. It was too heavy a burden to bear.” Never! As long as I am breathing and not demented, I will write and share what God has done—through whatever story or means He imparts on my heart. Whether anyone reads my books is an outcome I don’t control. I can only control the process—writing, and that’s what I love doing most.

*~*~*~*

WHO IS NEXT ON THE WORLD BOOK BLOG TOUR?

 **

Please visit Robin Johns Grant and Katherine Harms on May 26, 2014, for the next stop on the tour.

Meet Katherine Harms: Katherine and her husband Larry live aboard a bluewater cruising sailboat and cruise the east coast and the Bahamas. It is the perfect writing environment. In 2008, she published Oceans of Love, a collection of meditations based on biblical texts that refer to oceans and water. That same year she wrote her first blog post. She experimented with varieties of blogging topics and blog hosting options. Currently she writes four blogs, of which Living on Tilt is the flagship.

Katherine has published articles in several magazines including The Lutheran, Christ in Our Home, Cruising World, and Living Aboard. Her only novel, Hannah’s Journal, won third place in the Christian Writers Guild’s First Novel Contest in 2004. Since that time, she has focused primarily on nonfiction. She also writes materials for worship and faith formation such as guides for worship, prayer vigils and Bible study.

In addition, she edits book-length manuscripts and provides mentoring for writers. Internet and phone services maintain her availability to her clients in most locations.
Katherine’s current work in progress is Thrive! Don’t Just Survive: a Guide for Christian Interaction with a Secular Culture.

**

Meet Robin Johns Grant: Robin Johns Grant has been writing for most of her life. In fact, she's been following her publishing dream so long that she crowned herself The Queen of Perseverance on her blog, where she encourages other weary dreamers.
While waiting for her writing to pay off, she wrote and edited university publications, managed an office for a firm of private investigators, and worked as a university financial aid counselor. She also did a lot of crazy fan stuff and developed fascinations with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie for Summer's Winter.
With a degree in English and a mid-life crisis coming on, she returned to school and earned a master's degree in library and information science in 2005. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.
Robin lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral feline, Mini Pearl. She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a wonderful pit bull puppy named Pete who showed up as a stray at her mom's house.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Life Is Not Fair - Devotional from "Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension" - by Lorilyn Roberts







The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oilmy cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23


Is life fair? Perhaps your family refers to you as the “black sheep,” the one who is different from everyone else.

I believed I was born under a cloud. My birthfather left my mother when I was two and I didn’t meet him again until I was thirty. It wasn’t until I was six that I realized most of my friends had a father. I couldn’t imagine why anyone needed one of those. I remembered when mine left and he never came back. Being raised by a single mother seemed normal to me—until people asked where my father was. I didn’t know.

Perhaps you can relate to me. Does life seem fair?

*~*~*~*~*~*

From Seventh Dimension – the Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy (in this excerpt, Shale has met her birthfather for the first time, and she asks him why he left her):
Why was this so difficult? I needed to know the truth. I’d try again.
“I used to wonder what it would be like if we met. I dreamed of spending time with you. I didn’t like growing up without a father. Something was missing. I felt like a doughnut with a big hole in the middle. Mother never understood me—and she sure didn’t like you by the time I was old enough to realize everyone else had a father but me.”
—Shale Snyder and Brutus Snyder, chapter fifteen

*~*~*~*~*~*

Life is not fair—in my opinion, most of the time. Bad things happen. No matter how hard you try, things don’t work out the way you think they should.

In my case, as a child, I tried to make sense of why bad things happened. I came to the conclusion that I must be flawed. I believed my parent’s divorce was my fault. I thought people didn’t like me (and bullied me) because I wasn’t likable.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
—Proverbs 23:7

My daughter was the Level 8 Florida Gymnastics Champion for the vault in 2012. In 2013 during the state competition the equipment moved when she placed her hands on the vault. She bailed out of the vault to avoid getting hurt. Because she was so freaked out after her first run, she was unable to do the second vault and bailed out again. She scored a zero on the event which disqualified her from competing at the regional meet. If you have ever competed at a high level in any sports, you know how devastating this was to both of us.

Perhaps you’ve spent hours preparing a report and just before you save the final draft, your computer crashes and eats it. You have to turn it in tomorrow and now you can’t. You’re devastated.

Life is not fair, but it’s not because you are bad. If you think you’re no good, you will treat yourself with disdain. Others will pick up on the subliminal messages you send and may treat you disrespectfully. What should you do,  though, when life is not fair? How do you not blame yourself for the bad things that happen?

Shale’s life wasn’t fair. It wasn’t her fault that her father abandoned her. She didn’t deserve to be bullied. Her life was a mess—and she knew it deep down. She knew there was something she wanted, something she needed, but she didn’t know what it was.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

It would be easy for me to cite a few Bible verses and tell you to get on with it, make lemonade out of lemons and quit holding pity parties on Saturday night. After all, there’s always someone who is worse off than you. But it would not help you.
Are there things you can do besides feel sorry for yourself?

Try writing down all the things in your life that you’re angry about, like Shale told God all the things that made her angry. Better yet, start keeping a diary and jot down your feelings each day.

If you’re like me, you might find it difficult to share your innermost thoughts. Shale was unable to express her hurts and that’s why Much-Afraid, the dog, was important to her. Shale kept resentments bottled up inside. She had no one who would listen to her, no one to confide in—once Rachel could no longer be her friend. She told God exactly how she felt by keeping a diary.

Maybe you don’t hate God but you would like some answers. Sometimes I want answers, too. Why did God allow this or that to happen? Why did my father leave me when I was a child? As wonderful as some adoptive fathers are, melding together as a family can take months or even years.

Have you been honest with yourself and listed several items on your sheet? If not, how can you be honest with God? Believe me, God won’t be upset with you if you do this.

Now take your list and go down each item and give it to God. God knows everything on your list before you even tell him. But there’s something healing about confessing to God the things that frustrate you and upset you.

This is part of building trust in God—that you can go to him, knowing he will understand you when you tell him how you feel.

God wants to have a relationship with you. God never changes. It’s you and me who change. We forget all about God or stay too busy. God is waiting for you to come to him.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
—I Peter 5:7

That means everything that gets you upset, frustrated, or angry. If it’s your family—tell God so. If it’s a teacher, tell God so. If it’s a coach, tell God so. Confess your heart to the Great Physician who cares.

Things may not change on the outside. Your family may not ever understand your needs, and, quite frankly, they may not even care. But when you go to God and confess how you feel, something changes on the inside. You become a different person—a tiny bit, because you have given all that negative stuff inside of you to God. The Holy Spirit, or the Comforter, will come alongside and encourage you, lift you up, speak to your innermost being, and remind you that you belong to Jesus.

You might go to God today and expect him to change everybody and fix your problems, only to discover later nothing has changed. You soon realize you still have to face your teacher tomorrow or live with your disagreeable family or deal with the rejection of a close friend.

Shale’s world didn’t change when she was locked up in her room for days at a time, but she found solace in her relationship with the king. Your relationship with Jesus Christ will make a difference.

Get out your Bible, dust it off, and start reading. Read the Psalms, written by David, found in the Old Testament. David was a man after God’s own heart and the most famous and best king of Israel. He spent much of his life being treated unfairly by others, but he loved God deeply. Meditate on these words.



Dear God, help me to see others as you see them so I don’t blame myself for things that are not my fault. When I’m angry with someone, I will  remember you love me. It is that love that will compel me to lay down my rights to get even or to “prove” I am right.

Help me to remember I am responsible for taking care of myself to the extent of my ability. I can listen to music when I am sad, go for a walk in the woods. sing, keep a journal, and spend time with positive people. I can watch a funny movie or read a good book.

I may not be able to change some things. Please help me, God, to accept those things I can’t change. Please help me to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Help me to remember I am not responsible for other people’s bad choices. I am only responsible for how I choose to react to those choices. Help me to remember I am a child of God and deeply loved by you.



*~*~*~*



Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension answers many questions teens and even adults ask dealing with hot topics like self-esteem, dating, bullying, abortion, careers, forgiveness, salvation, and deeper theological issues related to the end times and the Lord's return.

Woven into the devotionals are stories from the Seventh Dimension YA Christian Fantasy Series as well as from the author's life that touch on themes that are important to Christianity and what it means to be born again. Each of the 27 devotionals has a QR code and link to videos, music, and/or books for further discussion and enjoyment. 

Price during launch: $0.99
Regular price: $2.99
ISBN   978-0-9891426-5-6
ASIN   B00HMTMNBG
To purchase your copy of Am I Okay, God and enter the Rafflecopter drawing, go to http://bit.ly/Christian_Books