[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

Romanov by Nadine Brandes [ARC – Book Review]

romanovSummary:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

My Review:

I realized that a part of forgiveness was accepting the things someone had done – and the pain that came with that – and moving on with love.” -Anastasia from Romanov

This book was AH-MAZING.

I’m someone who very rarely reads Historical Fiction aside from a few authors and Nadine Brandes is definitely now a part of this list. My issue with so many Historical Fiction books is that they often feel like I’m reading a history textbook, and this…this was NOT one of those books.

This story was crafted so beautifully, and the ending was beyond perfect. Throughout the whole story I was just in LOVE with the Romanov family. I loved their relationships and love for each other. I especially loved the relationship between Nastya and Alexei! It was beyond beautiful. And I love how the story focused more on the love and relationship between a family more than the love interest story line. I knew nothing about the real-life Romanov family going into this story and the whole time I was reading this book I was just rooting for them and my heart rejoiced and grieved with them and their situation over and over and over again. Their small moments of joy brought me joy and their moments of sadness broke me. I was so invested in this story of their amazing family. I love the strength and the voice Nadine brought to Nastya’s character. She was so easy to connect with and relate to. I love that despite everything Nastya and her family has been through, she is so strong and despite her pain and being faced with many difficult decisions she was never selfish. She always thought about her family and those around her.

Whether you read Historical Fiction on a regular basis or not I 100% recommend this book.

5stars

**NOTE: I was given this book (from NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review/opinion**

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Release Day Celebration and ARC Review|| The Sound of Diamonds

Hello Readers!

As I told you a while ago, I’m back with a review of such a wonderful book that releases today! YAY! And, because of that, before I start the review I must say this: HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, RACHELLE REA!

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Cake for everyone to enjoy while you read the review!

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So, remember a while ago, I mentioned how Heather Manning’s first book got me hooked on historical novels? Well, this book did something even better than get me hooked on a certain genre of books. The Sound of Diamonds fed my newfound addiction and I am very much okay with that!

 

The Sound of Diamonds is an AMAZING book, you guys! Like, you NEED this in your life.I just cannot deal! It’s too amazing!

Fangirling

 

*excuse me while I go cry over the beauty of this book*

The Sound of Diamonds

In Reformation-era England, a converted rogue wants to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk Godfrey knows he has only one chance at redemption.
An independent Catholic maiden seeking refuge in the Low Countries finds herself at the center of the Iconoclastic Fury. Jaded by tragedy, Gwyneth’s only hope of getting home is to trust the man she hates, and she soon discovers her poor vision is not the only thing that has been blinding her.
But the home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, will the saint and the sinner hold to hope…or be overcome?

*takes a deep breath so I can control my fangirling somewhat so this all makes sense*

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Anyways. This book was absolutely amazing. I was instantly hooked and dragged right into the beautiful and amazing story.

What I loved most of all was how well Rachelle wrote Gwyneth’s struggle and the fight that went on in her mind as the journey went on. We were really shown how Gwyneth’s feelings towards the situation she finds herself in and towards other characters in the story and it all came out to be realistic and I really felt Gwyneth’s pain and her struggles. It was perfectly done.

While I’m here kind of tlaking about the characters, I must say that I LOVED them. Each character was unique and important and some were totally worthy of being fangirled over…I’m just sayin. (Oh how I want to give you all exact examples but it would ruin everything.)

As you might have gathered from the description, The Sound of Diamonds is set in the 1500s. At a time where, not only was the Reformation in full swing in Europe, but modern-day Holland was launching the Dutch Revolution because they no longer wanted to be ruled by Spain. The Sound of Diamonds starts right there in the turmoil of religious upheaval and political intrigue. The setting was amazing and I loved how within opening the book I was pulled right into the action of the story without fail. It is very rare I get into a story that quickly. Usually it takes me the first chapter to be completely hooked…but not with The Sound of Diamonds. With this book I was hooked within the first page.

Now, I can’t say I’ve been reading Historical Fiction for long..but I can say The Sound of Diamonds is my favourite Historical novel so far. I can also say that you also need a copy of this book right now.

And obviously, instead of stars, I must rate this book with Diamonds…I mean it’s fitting, is it not?

5 Diamonds

Book Review + Giveaway- Seeing Through Stones by Rajdeep Paulus

Hello everyone!

Today I am here to share a review of Seeing Through Stones by Rajdeep Paulus, the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds.

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From Award-Winning, Young Adult author Rajdeep Paulus comes the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds, a powerful reminder that life is a battle you don’t fight alone. 

“I live in the in between. Between yesterday and forever. The way forward haunts me. The gap I must cover daunts me. And hope beckons, ‘Run to me,’ but I just learned to walk.” 

After a lifetime of abuse, the Vanderbilt siblings flee their home, finally free to pursue new dreams while running from yesterday’s nightmares. Once bed-ridden Jesse navigates the Chicago streets, concealing his identity and planning revenge. A chance encounter in the rain introduces a girl who offers Jesse a glimpse of a sunnier future, but how will he weather the growing storm inside himself?

Separated from her Post-it note prince, Talia hides at a safe house for survivors of domestic violence while her father turns the city upside-down to find her. Surrounded by women fighting their own demons, Talia faces her past at every turn.

Alright! Time to jump into this review! YAY! *throws confetti*

So I’m gonna start adding a little section (along with Characters, Setting, Genre etc etc.) about the covers because I ALWAYS comment on the covers anyways so why not make it a thing? 😛

So here we go!

Cover:

This cover is absolutely beautiful! I love the colours of the cover and just the simplicity of it as well. Super pretty! (100 points for Rajdeep’s cover designer)

Plot:

The plot was amazing. I loved it. It was really well written, very engaging, and very well done.

The plot also just helped drag me into this story. (People. I read this book in the span of 3-4 hours.)

I know this isn’t much on the plot but I seriously loved this book and everything about the plot that I cannot form the words to explain it. Just trust me. It’s amazing.

Characters:

*sigh* Characters. I LOVE characters. One of my favourite parts of a novel is the characters and their unique-ness and their stories.

I love all the characters in this story. (Except for those characters you are supposed to absolutely hate… *cough* I won’t say any names in case you haven’t read the first book but if you have then you know who I’m talking about.)

I loved how in this book we got Jesse’s side of the story as well as Talia’s. It was nice to see that switch.

Okay and Lagan… Lagan needs a fan club. (Raise your hand if you think we should make this a thing *raises hand*)  I seriously love Lagan’s character SO much. ( So even if he doesn’t have a Fan Club there is a Fan Girl sitting right here. *points to self* )

There were a bunch of other characters I loved but if I went on to list them all and why I loved them we would be here quite a while but I LOVED all the characters so much! (Except for certain character we’re supposed to hate like I mentioned before 😛 )

Overall:

five-stars

5 star rating! Overall I LOVED this book. Finished it in a day, people. (Well if you want to get technical it was in a few hours but spread out throughout the day) It was such a beautiful and well written story and I loved it so much. So yeah, Overall? LOVED IT SO MUCH!

What I didn’t like:

There was nothing in this novel I didn’t like. I loved everything about this novel.

Where to buy this book:

Buy it on iTunes for iBooks

Buy it on Amazon (kindle and paperback available)

17904531You can also buy book one, ‘Swimming Through Clouds’, on Amazon  (Paperback and Kindle)

Find Rajdeep on her blog, the Playlist Fiction Blog and Goodreads

Well this was my review for ‘Seeing Through Stones’ I hope you all liked it and seriously. If you haven’t read this or Swimming Through Clouds I totally suggest you read them. (Though keep the kleenex nearby you might need it. 😉 )

Oh my goodness! How could I forget! The giveaway! Everyone loves a giveaway! So follow this LINK for an awesome giveaway where you could win some awesome Seeing Through Stones Swag!

Did I just… say swag?…umm  okay then. ‘Stuff’ you could win some REALLY cool stuff.

So yeah, check it out, read this book and maybe even support Rajdeep by posting your own review once you’ve read this book 😀

Until next time!