Learning from History – Top Ten Historical Fiction Books

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for a Top Ten Tuesday post. The prompt for today was Back To School Freebie: anything “back to school” related. I’m doing ten of my favorite Historical Fiction (and Biblical fiction) reads, because as a homeschooler I read a lot of Historical Fiction for school, then would research things I’d read about.

  1. Saving Amelie – This one felt especially potent because it showed me how easy it is for people to be blinded and to accept prejudices. See My Review (Set during WW2)
  2. Counted With the Stars – Watching the world flip upside down from the perspective of an Egyptian slave girl. See My Review (Set during Exodus from the Bible)
  3. Tattler’s Branch – Living in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has made me very interested in realistic portrayals of the life of coal miners, and this book hit home. See My Review (Set in 1911)
  4. The Mark of the King – The beginning of this book shocked me and made me scurry for the internet to see if the setting was real to life – it was. See My Review (Set in the 1720s)
  5. Shadowed in Silk – Set in India this book was sad but so well-written. I felt as if I’d been transported to India. See My Review (Set in 1918)
  6. So Shall We Stand – This whole trilogy is well written, interesting, and full of espionage. See My Review (Set in WW2)
  7. Egypt’s Sister – I was instantly transported into Egypt whenever I picked up this book – fantastic world building. See My Review (Set during Cleopatra’s life)
  8. In the Field of Grace – Ruth is one of my favorite Biblical people to read about, and this made me imagine so many more possibilities about what her life might have been like. See My Review (Set during Ruth’s life in the Bible)
  9. My Daughter’s Legacy – Going back and forth between modern time and history doesn’t always work for me in a book, but these authors really pulled it off. See My Review (Set during the Civil War)
  10. The Lost Girl of Astor Street – With perfect world building, an intriguing mystery, and well-developed characters, this book is a winner. See My Review (Set in 1924)

Have you read any of these books? Which looks the most interesting to you, and what is YOUR favorite Historical Fiction read?

(And remember! If you haven’t signed up to read my book Where Dandelions Grow in exchange for review, you can do so right here.)

Writerly Happiness: When Book Reviews Make You Want to Cry

This morning I’m doing that whole “Twenty-first-century-author” type thing. I’m in the backseat of a car, typing away on my laptop while using my phone as a hotspot, and the phone is plugged into an external battery so I don’t have to rush to conserve the juice. Pretty crazy, right?

Today is a happy authorly day for me. Not only did four (!!!) more of you sign up to read Where Dandelions Grow since Saturday night *cue happy dance* but two people have posted reviews on Goodreads. And yes, I will happily admit to getting tears in my eyes when reading the reviews and thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to not only get to be an author but to have you AMAZING people as part of my community.

If you want to check out the reviews that are live, you can look at the Goodreads page for Where Dandelions Grow. I’m also blown away by how many of you have marked the book “To-Read” – Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you haven’t done that, I’d be thrilled if you’d take a moment to do so, and if you want to recommend it to your friends on Goodreads, too? Well, that would be totally amazing as well! 😉

 

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Traveling office – and yes, that is a pile of clothes next to me cause I’m going to the Creation Museum for the week. Y’all should come visit! 😉 

I finally received the final front cover of the book from my designer, so that means I get to send that out in an email to everyone who has signed up to read WDG in exchange for review. Cause you know, they get the first sneak peeks. 🙂 (You want to get into the fun? It’s still not too late to sign up! Tomorrow is the Five-Weeks-Until-Release-Day! *cue yet another happy dance*)

 

This morning I’m also working on sending out info to everyone who has signed up to be part of the Cover Reveal team because the Cover Reveal is only eight days away! (If you’d like to take part in that, but don’t have time to read and review the book, you can email me at aidylewoh@gmail.com – We’re going to have lots of fun with Giveaways and all that.)

Among other writerly things that I’ve done recently, on Friday and Saturday I sent 38 emails, wrote 11 book reviews, scheduled two (book review) blog posts, and hung out on quite a few blogs. That’s in addition to having an already-busy weekend (which included packing for this week, having a bunch of company, and hanging out at my sister’s house).

And speaking of busy, we’re only about a half an hour away from the Creation Museum so I’d better sign off here so I can send out those emails. Have a delightful Monday, y’all! Thank you SO MUCH for being part of my journey as an author. Your support and community mean an incredible amount to me! 🙂

How to Properly Use Hashtags as an Author

I remember the day my life as an author totally changed in an irrevocable way. It was as if the sun had suddenly burst through the clouds and I could see what I’d been missing all those years.

It was the day I first discovered what a hashtag is. 

For years I’d had a difficult time figuring out how to keep track of my writing. Since I write long novels I was always losing my thoughts and ideas in the throes of a thousand delightfully written pages.

You know the struggle:
*What’s the name of the main character’s mother’s grandma’s first car that was stolen in 1963?
*Did the best friend want to be a fabric designer or owner of a ceramics factory when she grew up?
*Is the dog a Border Collie or Basset Hound?

Every author on planet earth has a hard time remembering these small (but incredibly important) details from time to time. I’ll admit that I probably had a harder time than most people, probably because I like to have complex characters and so, therefore, I had lots of little details to make them feel more realistic. (I mean, come on. Nothing screams The author really did a lot of work creating these characters! like reciting all the names of the main character’s friends from first grade. And, if you’re extra cool – like me – you’ll even include middle names. Just a word of caution: Don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you that kind of info isn’t important and bogs the story down. They’re just jealous that they aren’t willing to put as much work into their own character’s backstory.)

But back to the hashtagging.

Apparently, people use hashtags as a way to keep things categorized and therefore easy to find. (Look at techy little me! I even took a screenshot of an explanation so you could see it for yourself.)

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After I discovered that, I began using hashtags in all of my writing. Like, ALL of it. #WayCoolIdea As it turns out a lot of people don’t even know what hashtags are, because I received a couple emails back from publishers I’d been asking to publish my book, and they were like “No thank you, and in the future if you’d like to appear professional, you might want to refrain from using hashtags in emails.” Which of course shocked me, because #HashtagsAreTools and #HashtagsRock so I emailed them back and offered to teach them out to use hashtags properly, and can you imagine? They never even replied to my (very nicely worded) email. #Rude

Not that I’m worried though. I’m the one who will have the last laugh because I’ve got approximately 12,540 (okay, yeah, I counted) hashtags in my newly finished, thousand-page, handwritten manuscript which is going to make editing a total breeze.

That is if my Google searches ever decide to show up helpful information.

#DontTellMeHashtagsDontWorkOnPaper
#PleaseWork
#AllThisWorkForNothing
#HashtagsDontDoThisToMe
#WhatIsThePointOfAHashtag
#OkayThenBeThatWay
#HashtagsAreLame

– – – –
So, if y’all didn’t gather this, today’s blog post was written in jest.
#IHopeYouEnjoyed #WelcomeToMySenseOfHumor #PleaseLeaveAComment #ByeForNow #ThisHasGotToStop #Wow

Summertime Madness Book Tag! {Vlog}

AND I’M BACK! After missing vlogging last week due to being sick, it was so much fun to get back in front of the camera this week.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy with working on getting everything ready for my book release next month, and have already been getting great feedback back from my reviewers even though I just sent the book out yesterday! It’s so encouraging! And, on that note, it’s not too late to sign up! Join the dozens of other reviewers by clicking on this link.

And now, to the book vlog for today!

10 Things To Do When You Have Writers Block

Writer’s Block. Are there any more common words in the writing world? Today I’m writing a list of ten things to do when you have writer’s block. Because #WritersBlockDoesntRock

  1. Google “Writer’s Block” and then read the posts that assure you that all though this is a common malady, it doesn’t have to be debilitating for long
  2. Clean your office
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  3. Find some epic music and challenge yourself to a dance-off
  4. Beg someone to let you mow their yard, and then zone out while getting that mowing done
  5. Make delicious food (preferably of the healthy variety)
  6. Write something witty on Twitter and then laugh at yourself and whatever hashtags you used (For examples: #AmWriting #AmEditing #WillStopProcrastinatingSoon)
  7. Sprinkle glitter around your writing area and imagine its Imagination exploding around you
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  8. Read a book to inspire you (PEOPLE! I have you covered with this one. Do you ever dream of getting new books for free? Today your dreams come true. #Yay I’m sending out my newest ebook, Where Dandelions Grow free in exchange for review. You can sign up here. #GoodIdeaRightThere #ThankYou)
  9. Throw some things in a backpack and head out into the wilderness where you learn how to start a fire with flint and steel
  10. Line up your cute little stuffed animals and think of all the stories you read during your childhood that involved talking creaturesIMG_7896

Oh, wait. Were y’all expecting me to give hints about how to get over writer’s block? #oops If that’s what you’re looking for, here’s what I have to say: Surround yourself with every ounce of creativity you can collect, bask in it, then sit down and make yourself write, even if it’s junk.

Don’t listen to logic. Don’t listen to feelings. Instead set a word goal and write until you hit it. Don’t go back and edit. Don’t worry about if it makes any sense. Continue these sessions until your writer’s block has abated. Then you can go back to worth-while writing.

What about you? Which of the above suggestions sounds the best to you? I’m partial to #9, although I’ve never actually tried it…. #shhh

Top Ten Book Recommendations for Nonfiction Readers

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for a Top Ten Tuesday post. The prompt for today was “Ten books we’d recommend to ________,” and I choose ten books I’d recommend to someone who wanted to read nonfiction. Even if you’ve never enjoyed nonfiction before, these books would be a great place for you to get your feet wet.

I came up with a variety of my four and five star reads, trying to stay away from books I’ve talked about recently. These books seriously contain fantastic stories, information, writing, and ideas. I’ll give a little blurb about each book below. I highly recommend all these books and have even bought extra copies of some of them to give away.

  1. Whatever the Cost
    Written by identical twin brothers, this book is brimming with wit, laughter, and solid information.
  2. Life Creative
    So, so beautiful. The book itself, the writing, the ideas that are shared. Living a balanced life while being a creative person is possible.
  3. 20 Things We’d Tell our Twenty-Something Selves 
    Told by a husband/wife team, the writing is honest, clear, and helpful. (What twenty-something person doesn’t need advice and honesty?)
  4. Every Body Matters 
    This one dives right into the heart of the matter that most people in the church today avoid.
  5. Screens and Teens
    Yes, yes, and yes. How to have a healthy balance in today’s age of screens all over the place.
  6. Knowing God By Name
    This book goes through various names of God, exploring what they really mean and who God really is.
  7. Dangerous Love 
    Getting shot by terrorists? Yep. Finding forgiveness? Yep. There’s a bit of an info dump near the beginning of the book, but when you get past that the story is riveting.
  8. God’s Smuggler 
    Smuggling. For God. Say, what??? Yeah – it’s a mouth-dropping (and sometimes laughable) true account of the life of a man from Holland.
  9. Forensic Faith 
    Picture this: A real-life detective sets out to prove that God couldn’t exist, and instead becomes a passionate Christian. Here’s how that happened.
  10. Control Girl
    Nothing like wanting to take control of a situation (or should I say every situation). But that’s dangerous. Here’s a good look at just how dangerous that can be.

Have you read any of these books? Which looks most interesting to you?

That Day I First Became A Published Author

Happy Monday, Y’all! Am I the only one who has like ten thousand things to do this week? I’m excited about seeing what I can accomplish, but also maybe a wee bit overwhelmed when I stop and think about all there is to do.

I’ve been working on getting my book Where Dandelions Grow ready to be released, which has been so rewarding. (And Hey! It’s not too late to sign up to be part of the release team! If you want to read the book for FREE in exchange for a review, you can sign up here.) With the release of a new book, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all part of the story regarding my first book release.

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Cue the year 2013 and I was in the beautiful state of Hawaii with my family. Even though I was throughly enjoying my time there, I was also frantically trying to get everything in place with my book, Cave Secrets of the PterodactylI’d co-authored the book with my adopted parents, and there was a really good chance that it would be published, and the next couple of weeks were the determining factor.

I spent a lot of time on the phone and computer and texting working out small details (like who I wanted to dedicate the book to), without actually knowing if it would be published or not.

Then I awoke early one morning to see I’d received a text from my adopted parents telling me it was a go. I kinda totally flipped out, wondering if I was reading the text correctly. (With the time difference, I’d gotten into the habit of answering texts and then falling back to sleep.) Jumping out of bed I quickly threw some clothes on in the dark – not even knowing if they matched – then slipped out of the hotel room, through the lobby, and onto the path that led down to the beach.

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I called my adopted parents, nearly shaking with excitement (they were the ones dealing with the publishers, so I got all my info from them). When they answered I probably had to ask about ten times before I finally let it sink in that my book was indeed going to be published.

Sitting out on the beach that morning, I talked to them, begging for all the details, and watched as the surf rolled in and out. (See the top picture.) When my adopted parents finally had to get off the phone to go to work, I snapped a selfie that clearly shows that I’d dragged my young-little-braces-self out of a deep sleep to hurry down to the beach. 😉 Really though, although I’m not generally a fan of selfies, this one will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s when and where I learned that my published-author-dream was coming true. (And, this also ended up being the first picture of myself I ever showed on Noveltea, because until that time I hadn’t posted any pictures of myself online.)

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After we got home a few days later I signed the contact for the book, and the dream was underway.

My author-ish life didn’t explode after that like I thought it would, but it was a good beginning. I got to attend some conferences/hang out at the Creation Museum bookstore and do book signings. I’ve gone places and randomly seen the book in bookstores. I’ve met fans of the book, which still feels incredible.

And now I’m about to release my fourth book. (Two self-published, two traditionally published.) I’m still a bit in awe over the fact that I get to be a writer. It’s not always fun. It’s not always easy. It’s not always what I feel like doing at the moment. It’s hard. And discouraging at times. And quite crazy.

But it’s worthwhile. It’s a dream come true. And I’m so thankful that this is my dream – that this is what I get to do.