I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.
As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.
Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.
And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.
Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.
This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.
Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.
Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.
This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.
During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.
And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.
Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?
Yep, Nadine Brandes.
The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.
When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.
That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…
It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.
But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.
And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.
Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.
Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book.
But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.
It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.
Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.
If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…
If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…
If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…
If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…
Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?
And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.
Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.
Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?
Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.
- Website: http://nadinebrandes.com
- Newsletter: http://nadinebrandes.com/my-newsletter
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/NadineBrandesAuthor
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/NadineBrandes
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/NadineBrandes
Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18
Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?
A Time to Die
A Time to Speak
A Time to Rise
Posted in Book Recommendations, Christianity, The Blades of Acktar, Writing Blogs, Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged #ATime2Die, #ATime2Rise, #ATime2Speak, #OutofTimeSeries, A Time to Die, A Time to Rise, A Time to Speak, author, dystopian, Enclave Publishing, Nadine Brandes, Out of Time Series, publishing, The Blades of Acktar by TriciaMingerink with 6 comments.
Authors do a lot of things to get their book out there. They write blogs, hang out on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social media site they can think of. They host giveaways. They beg for reviews of their book. While a lot of those things help, the single best way to get the word out there still is…
Word of Mouth.
Yep. Something the author has no control over except for writing an awesome book that readers will want to talk about.
That puts the real power behind marketing a book on you, the readers. You are the ones who make or break an author’s career. If you love an author’s book, then you are the one who can support them so they can write more books. This doesn’t have to be hard. Reviews are super helpful. Emails to the author are nice to let them know how much you liked the book.
But, if you can’t do anything else, the best thing you can do is simply tell one person. Just one. But tell them and tell them until they read it. Tell them to pass the word along. Beg them to tell just one person.
I found Jill Williamson’s Safelands trilogy a while ago and loved it. I told my sister-in-law about them and kept telling her until she read them. She loved the books so much that she passed them along to her sister and mom. She was so excited about the books she posted about them on a mom group on Facebook.
All because I told one person.
What about you? Who is going to be your one person? Can we start a trend going? #telloneperson Let’s see how many people we can reach if we simply tell one person and they tell one person and they tell one person.
Got a favorite author? What book are you going to tell a friend about today?
Posted in Book Recommendations, Writing Blogs, YA Authors and tagged #telloneperson, author, Christian Fiction, Christian YA Fiction, dystopian, Jill Williamson, tell one person by TriciaMingerink with 3 comments.
If you’re like me, you are always searching for new books to read. When I was a teen, I couldn’t find much for Christian YA fiction. Now that I’ve been trolling blogs and following threads online, I’ve found a number of authors and books that I wish I’d known about years ago.
To help all of you along, I’ve added a YA Fiction Finder set of pages. All the books on these pages are ones that I’ve personally read since I don’t want to recommend a book to all my readers that I haven’t read myself. I’ve also added a few links to a few other places to find more Christian YA books. I’ve organized my pages by both genre and author so that you can look it up either way.
I plan to add to these pages as I discover and read more books so check back frequently!
So without more introduction, my YA Christian Fiction Finder!
Any books that you’d recommend that you don’t see on my pages?
Posted in Announcements, Book Recommendations, YA Authors and tagged A Time to Die, Angie Brashear, author, Christian Fiction, Christian YA Fiction, dystopian, Enclave Publishing, fairy tale, fantasy, Gillian Bronte Adams, Jill Williamson, Melanie Dickerson, Nadine Brandes, speculative fiction, YA authors by TriciaMingerink with 8 comments.
For the past month, I’ve had some big news that I’ve been waiting to share. A month ago, I learned that the talented Nadine Brandes has agreed to professionally edit Dare!
I stumbled onto Nadine Brandes almost by accident. I had recently read Jill Williamson’s By Darkness Hid. It was both fantasy and Christian, a combination I hadn’t seen often. I looked up the publisher: Marcher Lord Press.
I quickly learned that Marcher Lord Press had recently changed its name to Enclave Publishing, a publisher focusing exclusively on Christian speculative fiction. I browsed their list of books, reading the blurbs about each of the books and visiting each of the author websites. I also read through Enclave Publishing’s blog and came across a guest post by Nadine Brandes. I followed the link to her blog, and I guess the rest is history.
After visiting her blog obsessively and waiting eagerly for her book to release, I finally gathered my courage to see if she would edit my book as part of her editing services. And she chose my book to fit into her busy schedule! Mine!
To celebrate both this opportunity and the release of Nadine’s book, I’m giving away either a paperback or ebook copy of her new book A Time to Die. Just follow the directions below! The winner will be announced on October 17!
Posted in Announcements, Writing Blogs, YA Authors and tagged A Time to Die, author, dystopian, Enclave Publishing, Jill Williamson, Nadine Brandes, publication by TriciaMingerink with 17 comments.
I volunteered to join Nadine Brandes‘ blog hop for her new book A Time to Die, which releases on September 23. In this dystopian novel, the main character is faced with the question of what she will do with her last year to live.
In this blog hog, I’ve been challenged to answer the question for myself. What would I do if I knew I had one year left to live?
A week ago, I would have given a very different answer. I had been planning to write something about my bucket list and the things I would like to accomplish. I’ll admit, it was shallow. An exercise in the hypothetical.
That all changed this past Thursday when a young man from my church was killed in a motorcycle accident. I didn’t know him personally. In fact, I don’t think I had ever talked to him even though he had attended my church for a few years. But I have friends who knew him well. It shocked my entire church to realize that a young man had been taken so quickly.
On Sunday, my minister preached from Psalm 90 about numbering our days. This doesn’t mean we count our days in the way we say we are so many years old. It means we realize how short our lives are. We count up our fleeting time and realize that we need to use that time to God’s glory. All of our time, whether we have a year or seventy years left to live, should be focused on serving God and His people.
While listening to this sermon, my answer to this blog question changed. If I had one year to live I would…
At least, that is what I should be able to say. I should already be living with the awareness that life is short. Each day should be lived with no regrets so that it wouldn’t matter if God took me tomorrow or in seventy years. My heart and soul should be poured into every second.
Right now, I can’t say this is true for me all the time. I waste time on frivolous activities. I walk away when I should be helping others. I draw back and hide when I should be touching others’ hearts. But I am learning. Perhaps by the time it is my time to die, I will have begun to live this way.
Now it is your turn. What would you do if you had one year to live?
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?
Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.
This is the first book in the Out of Time Series. Releases September 23rd from Enclave Publishing.
Posted in YA Authors and tagged A Time to Die, author, dystopian, Enclave Publishing, Nadine Brandes by TriciaMingerink with 1 comment.