[Guest Post] HOW I WROTE AND PUBLISHED THE DIVIDED NATION by ANGELA R. WATTS

Hello Lovelies! Today I have author Angela R. Watts on the blog sharing about her new novel which has released today! At the end of the post you will find all her social links and book summary below!

 

Every novel writing process, for me, is different. However, I’m a firm believer that every work I write should scare me in its own way. (Ironically, when I attended Realm Makers, Brent Weeks said the same thing. It was funny to have that mindset before hearing it from a NYT bestseller!) And The Divided Nation scared me from the start.

The Divided Nation began as a roleplay, which lasted for a couple years, but when my roleplay partner left for good and told me to do with the story as I wished… I was both lost and ecstatic. It wasn’t the first time a roleplay had gone “wrong”. But it was the first time the story didn’t leave my heart and it baffled me! After all, how could I do this story justice? It was a long series. I couldn’t handle that. “It isn’t the time,” I kept saying to myself. “Dystopian is hard, you will have to research so much.”

After a while, I told those voices to shut up and I listened to what God said. And the journey began. It started with a short Christmas prequel that I whipped up in one day during winter. I liked it. A lot. I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed it, so I promptly got it ready to publish for that December. I had dipped my toes into the world I’d tried to avoid… and came out of the story absolutely in love. Emmanuel is currently free on Amazon but it is priceless to me. Why? Because it proved that these books are not out of my hands. God gave them to me. I just had to grab the bull by the horns. Emmanuel helped me do that on a super small scale.

I had pages and pages of notes, scribbles, snippets, plot ideas, character sheets, etc, for the series before I ever wrote a first draft of The Divided Nation by myself. I gathered all of this together, added some, wrote a real outline… And started writing the first draft in February 2019. Draft one took around a month to finish and I printed it out, wrote out all that needed changing, and started draft two.

After draft two, I self edited a great deal before… beta readers. The beta reader stage was quite a wild ride. Dystopian is a strange genre and not one many Christians read, or so I thought. I had betas loving the novel. I even brainstormed with a few and got epic ideas I hadn’t thought of before… Even if this meant replotting the whole series, but I don’t mind so much.

I wanted to self publish this novel with the new knowledge I had learned: a book should sell itself. How does it do that? 1. The story must be good. This is obviously up to interpretation, but make sure the book is solid, not tossed together. 2. The cover and formatting need to make people WANT that story even more. People like pretty things. If the story is good and the book is nice looking… You won’t have to work so hard later on.

So I hired a cover designer, formatter, and finally decided I’d take the wild ride of using KDP and Ingram to publish… and the rest is history. It took hours of work, hours of talking with the great people I hired to get what the book needed, and hours of research as I figured out Ingram. But it was all so worth it.

And now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on the big lesson that writing and publishing this novel taught me… Changing your lane. What do I mean? Well, all I’ve published thus far is Christian fiction. Clean content, by most standards, nothing too dark. Christian readers have generally enjoyed my previous works. The Divided Nation is different. I knew this from the start. It is one reason I was afraid to write and publish the series. Because these books aren’t limited to the Christian market. They aren’t super clean. They aren’t for people with faint hearts. So, what was I supposed to do? Most of my friends write and read Christian market fiction! And no one published dystopian anymore (that’s incorrect, by the way, I was just blind)!

I had a decision to make. I knew this novel was for readers in search of a story that shows the reality of the world without Jesus, of how every person is a sinner in need of Jesus… This book is for them. Not strictly for Christian readers or secular readers. I wanted it to be flexible. That’s why I decided to market this novel as general fiction with Christian content instead of Christian fiction! I’m so glad I did. This decision was encouraged when I attended Realm Makers this year. “Is it possible?” I asked Robert Liparulo. “To publish a novel with strong Christian content but market it for general audience?” He said it was, reminding me of all the authors who have done just that (TED DEKKER, ANYONE?) so I ran with it. I haven’t looked back. I encourage every single one of you… be bold. Even if it isn’t the norm, even if none of your friends are doing it, even if you don’t get a lot of support… Be true to God and your story. And run with it.

 

                                                 AUTHOR BIO

17597325Angela R. Watts is a Christian fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.

LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaRWattsauthor/
Website: https://thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Angela-R-Watts/e/B07F97JNMY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1564688304&sr=8-1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelarwattsauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17597325.Angela_R_Watts

the divided nation_v7 (3)                                      SUMMARY

WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.

The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations  thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.

West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene’, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.

Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45150828-the-divided-nation

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Coral by Sara Ella [Book Review]

** I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts/review**

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This book was marked as a DNF at 30% of the book completed – Okay so the whole premise of this book had me beyond intrigued and once I started reading I was really disappointed! Which is sad because I wanted to like it but no matter what I just couldn’t connect with the characters and the situation. I found that from what I had read the writing came across as vague at points, I think the approach was to be that of sparking curiosity in the mysterious (an example being the ‘Red Tide’ which is introduced in the first chapter and not explained until the end (I looked ahead)) but it fell flat.

I do appreciate the author’s approach and intent with the theme of Mental Health discussions and representation in this piece and I feel that Sara Ella did a good job focusing on that in her story but there was just an emotional disconnect with the character’s in that regard which I REALLY didn’t want to happen.

2stars

 

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My Bookstagram Tips + Tricks

I have had many Instagram messages asking me if I have a post like this…so here we are! I would like to say I have some magical formula on how I grew my bookstagram account (Books + Instagram = Bookstagram) but alas, I do not. And honestly my account isn’t all that large compared to some out there but one of the things I’m going to talk about is just working hard no matter the followers… but more on that later!

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Photo taken by me and can be found on my Instagram @TheLibrarianFiles

I really want to focus on the tips and tricks I’ve discovered and learned from other people to help other Bookstagrammer’s who are just getting started or looking for fun ways to switch up how you do things on your accounts!

So, First Things First!
As I’ve already said, ‘Bookstagram’ is simply Instagram Accounts dedicated to books and run by bookworms from all over the world! It’s such an amazing community to be a part of and is the sole reason my TBR (‘To Be Read’) List is spiralling out of control!

Now! On to some tips and tricks I’ve learned in no particular order…

 

1. You’ve gotta do it because you love what you do

This applies to anything in life. If you love what you do or, in this case, take photos of that should always be your main priority and I find that when I focus too much on likes and follows I lose my drive, passion, and excitement for what I do.

 

2. ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!

for me when following other accounts, whether they respond to comments left and are a decent human being honestly says a lot if I’m going to keep looking at a page and going back to it and following posts. So don’t be a petty human and think you are above everyone else. Just have fun with it! I promise bookstagram is an amazing place and you will definitely make some friends on the way. So just engage with people in your posts. A good way to do that is to put a question of the day in your caption that people can answer. Like ask people what their favourite book is, why they like a certain book/series, their favourite fandom merchandise. Even ask a favourite holiday or season. Cause bookstagrammer’s are people too 😛

 

3. Comment Loop Groups are your Best Friend

The IG algorithm SUCKS sometimes. It’s horrible. So comment loop groups are an awesome way to keep up with your friends and other bookstagrammer’s page by spreading the love to their posts and them to yours all while kicking the algorithm in the butt a little bit

 

4. Instagram Stories? 10/10 would recommend

Instagram stories is such a fun way to connect with your followers! You can film un-boxings of your orders, book hauls, every day life videos, ask questions/post polls, show off your amazing book/fandom merch, shoutout all your friends accounts and SO much more! It’s a fun and more personal way to connect and invite your followers into your real life a bit! ( Stories Tips: Use hashtags in your stories as well as your posts! People will find your stories more)

 

5. Create your own style. Do what you love!

This is your baby. Your thing! Be creative. Come up with a theme or general look if you want. For me, I started off using just a plain white background (I’ve recently switched to a wooden panelling background) and if you look, my photos are pretty simple. I use very few props and items but for some people, they use lots of props and items! For me, I find that, because I don’t currently have as much time as I would like in a week to take photos I go the more simple route so I can get photos taken but something that is practical for me is also what I love! Like, I have seen some photos where people have multiple books in their photos and multiple props and I love them but that just isn’t for me! So find out what your theme/style is and go for it! Experiment with it. But also don’t constrain yourself to one kind of photo.

Decided you don’t like the background you are using? Change it up! Be you!

Want to go from shelfie photos to flatlays? Go for it!

Only want to post photos using the same 5 books and nothing more? Go for it!

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Don’t work yourself up and stress yourself out!

 

6. Hashtags!

So you might be sitting there thinking ‘Duh. Of course I would use hashtags’ but seriously. This is super important if you want to get your photos out there! There are some accounts on Instagram that have either feature hashtags or feature accounts! This is an awesome way to get your photos out there. Use that hashtag in every photo. You also want to make sure you find some hashtags that work for you. For me, I have created my own hashtag to track my photos using my username and then a second one with my username with the word ‘reads’ at the end. (e.g @thelibrarianfiles @thelibrarianfilesreads )

My advice for hashtags, is to make sure you use the same or similar hashtags for all your photos and then, on top of those hashtags, you add more based on the theme/book(s) featured in your photo! This sounds confusing but it’s not. Let me give you an example here using one of my posts as an example:

HashtagExample

So, my usual hashtags that I have found work for me, (you have to find what works for you! But feel free to swipe my technique 😛 ) are listed there in the caption, and then as you can see I added some hashtags based on the book features in the photo! It’s really just that simple. Just find what works for you (might take a few posts to find what works best for you) and go for it! But hashtags are super important if you want to get your photos out there.

 

And those are some of the tips and tricks I’ve discovered! Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you want more information on? Comment, Send me a message (through my contact page), or find me on social media! I love helping people pursue bookstagram and doing what they love!

Thanks for tuning in! If you liked this post and want to see more like this let me know!

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Girl Wash Your Face – Book Review

Hello Lovelies! I’ve got another book review for you and trust me, this is a book you do not want to pass up.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion]

girlwashyourfaceI will admit that I was on the fence about this book. I had heard so many amazing things and nearly gotten a copy so many times and let me just say I will be purchasing my own physical copy of this book!

This book is AMAZING and something all women, both young and old, should read! Although it is more directed towards mothers and wives in some chapters, the takeaway can be for anyone. The way this book was written is for both married or single, old and young, as the chapters all have their own point. For example, I did start to read the chapters directed towards motherhood but found I just couldn’t relate so I skipped them but the nice thing about this book and some of the chapters is simply this: If it doesn’t apply to you it’s made in a way that you can either read it or just move on without missing crucial information or points!

Right from the start I knew this book was going to be amazing. How? Well I encountered a quote like this in the opening letter:

            “The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.”

I just love that! Getting right to the point before the book has officially started! The way Hollis has structured the book and the chapters is brilliant! I love the whole approach of ‘here is a struggle that I, and many other women, have but this is how to deal with it!’ and at the end of each chapter she provides ways that helped her or would have helped her in these moments in her life!

4stars

 

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

You can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree. I’ll be home for Christmas!

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So the reason for my being MIA is due to my being at college. (In case you didn’t know due to my forgetfulness to mention things or you are new and visiting the blog for the first time.) For some reason, I thought my first semester was going to be so chill and easy and…while it was easier than I had initially thought I’ve been so busy on a daily basis it’s not even close to funny. Penpals haven’t received responses (but they have not been forgotten), Bookstagram hasn’t had very much TLC, My blog has been abandoned and while I have been able to keep up with a bit of reading (textbooks aside) I still haven’t had much time for downtime.

Experiencing now, my first ever semester of college, I can look upon the semester with some stress, confusion, and frustration, I’m also really proud of myself. And no, not in the ‘oh wow I’m so amazing and better than everyone else!’ proud but just proud of my accomplishments and that I even made it this far. Because if you had asked me last year if I was going to college I may have said I was going to try as I was upgrading high school classes at the time but it’s still quite surreal that I’m even here right now and a week and a half away from going home for Christmas break! Being here at Bible College has been such an eye-opener for me and an amazing experience…well, amazing as long as we ignore and forget the caf food here is the worst. Caf food aside this college has been a huge experience for me with so many learning curves and trying new things to help me grow not only academically, but spiritually. One of those things was in my Spiritual Theology class where we had to spend 24hours fasting and in complete solitude. While it was something I’m not sure I’m too keen on doing on a regular basis it was still an amazing time and wonderful experience to be able to connect with God in a new way. And now I actually know from experience what it is like to be in prayer and fasting for 24 hours and spend one on one time with God in such an interesting and intimate way. ( I am hoping to write up a post or two over Christmas break about my classes and what I learned and more about what I’m planning to do here at school.) I’m actually quite sad my last day of that Spiritual Theology class is ending but I know that its time to move on to other classes and get other things done and just keep learning!

Within the next week and a half before heading home I have 3 final exams to complete and while I’m slightly nervous I know I can and will put my best work into studying and prep for these exams and make sure I’m ready to take them on and pass them. Despite that, these last few weeks the words from the Christmas song, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ has been stuck in my head. This year especially has had that song as my #1 favorite because it’s true! I’ll be home for Christmas! Last year I spent Christmas in my apartment 6 hours away from my family. While I spend Christmas day with some relatives in the area I still missed my parents and siblings and grandparents. The homesickness was even worse when I got a phone call from my dad later in the morning on Christmas Day saying my Papa was rushed to the hospital due to having a stroke. It made Christmas so hard for me because I was scared I was going to lose my Papa. One of my best friends for these short 20 years of my life. I thank God every day, especially as Christmas nears, that my Papa has fully recovered and is still here with our family. But that makes me all the more anxious to be home this time for Christmas. To see my family and spend time with them, hug them a little longer, lose sleep staying up late to spend time with them, and just being home with the people who love me most even though I’m not home right now.

Merry (Early) Christmas Everyone! ❤

Sometimes You Gotta Refocus…

Rethink.

Refocus.

Move Forward.

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So I have some more guest posts coming in the next week or two but I thought I should pop in and share some thoughts with you as well as a verse of encouragment. As I’ve mentioned a little bit here and there, this year I really focused on upgrading some high school courses so I could attend college this fall and I have arrived! But with that, I want to talk about focus and priorities.

Reaching your goals takes a lot of doing what you don’t feel like doing and also hard times. And when that happens, sometimes you’ve gotta refocus. I really learned that over the last year as I had to buckle down and do work I didn’t want to do and meet deadlines that feel almost impossible to meet. As I sit here at college having survived the first week of classes I’m realizing that it’s all the same as before. Slightly harder work and lots of it but still the same. And in those moments of stress and frustration when I feel like I’m drowning in all I have to do I’ve had to learn to stop, take a minute or two to just breathe and then reflect about why I’m doing this all and what it’s for. – What the point is behind all this paperwork and daily readings for classes the next day.

Refocus on my goals then move forward knowing that this is not pointless. That there is a plan and final goal in mind.

A long-term plan.

So just remember that if you feel exhausted, or swamped with homework, studies, work or even just life to stop and take a minute to breathe and reflect on what will come from what you are doing right now.

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Things I Learned From Doing A Readathon

Hello Readers!

Quick side note before I start I should let you know to read all the way to the end of this post. Got some details on an amazing giveaway for you!

My apologies on my absence. Considering what my life is like at the moment, posts my not be done as often for the next bit (just until I can actually get my crap together anyways…At the latest I’m thinking MANY posts will be written during christmas break but up to that point I’ll have some posts here and there.)But today’s post is here! So wait no longer.

So in the midst of my crazy schedule which has consisted of mostly Schoolwork and Art (for school) with a dash or writing, reading, and planning youtube videos (so I can just find a day to film a million and one of them) I found the time to meet up with my bestie and we decided to do a 12 hour readathon. (We were gonna do 24 hours but adult life commitments interfered with that)

It was LOADS of fun and so, I decided to share some things I learned from doing a readathon that you might find helpful if you do one yourself one day.

 

1. Bring MORE books than you will actually end up reading.

The LAST thing you want in the middle of a readathon is to run out of books to read O.O (that didn’t happen to me but its good to remind peoples) So always make sure you bring more books than you think you might need. (I brought 6 books and read 2 and 1/2 of them in the 12 hours)

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2. Have a Timer Going

My friend is a million and one times smarter than me and decided to have a timer going. It was helpful when we stopped for dinner so then we knew EXACTLY where we left off before going and eating dinner or taking a break…or sometimes we got talking so often the timer got paused for that too XD

 

3. Have LOTS of food

Food is good so obviously you are gonna need lots of yummy (and mostly unhealthy) food with you! Its essential.

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4. Take breaks

Yes, the goal is to read for a certain amount of hours without interruptions. BUT taking a break is necessary. Whether its a quick bathroom break or you need to go make a cup of tea or something then just get up, pause your timer, and take a break. My friend and I both found that after about 3 hours our eyes were getting sore and we needed a break so we would just stop the timer and chat for a bit or go make tea, or eat food or something. (at one point I was dancing around the kitchen while I waited for the kettle to boil so I could make tea so yah…) Yes, the goal is to get TONS of reading done but don’t wear yourself out either.

 

5. Tea and other caffeinated/sugary drinks are essential.

Need I say more?

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6. Prepare to beat MUCH discomfort with comfy things!

So my one complaint about this readathon is that I didn’t take into account the beating up my old lady bones would get while doing this. I couldn’t really move for the next few days (More just because I literally have old lady bones and am almost always in pain/discomfort but sitting on a floor for hours on end didn’t help) so plan ahead. Set up an air mattress or stack cushions/ pillows to keep yourself comfortable but I will warn you. As it gets late into the night DO NOT climb into a bed. Or you will doze off. *is guilty cause this happened to me*

But seriously. Ask my friend how often I kept moving around because I couldn’t get comfortable. So prepare for that. Also Pyjamas are good too.

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7. If you are reading books to review, write the reviews as you go!

If you are reading the books to review them (as I did) I suggest writing the review as you go. The reason being because you can compile all your notes and thoughts in one notebook (I have a book review notebook) or something and then you can flesh out more of the review later on. The reason its so effective is because you are going from one book right to another. So if you know you want to review the book, take a few minutes to write out your thoughts or the review as you go.

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So those are the things I’ve learned #’s 1 and 6 are super important in my mind BUT either way I hope you enjoyed it! Have you done a readathon? If you haven’t are you planning one soon? If you have, what are some things you learned while doing one.

 

 

Until Next Time,

Adriana Gabrielle

Also, if you want to spend next NaNoWriMo writing your novel in a castle in France, you MIIIIIIGHT wanna check this out: Write Your Next Novel In A Castle Contest

 

 

Shoutout to my bestie for letting me join in on this readathon with her! ❤

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