5 Stories that inspired Time Passers

Hello, readers!

Thank you for joining me at my little corner of the internet today.

Today, as apart of the countdown for the release of Instruments of Sacrifice: Time Passers, I am sharing with you 5 stories (books, movies, etc.) that inspired this installment in my fantasy series.

You might be here wondering what the heck Instruments of Sacrifice is, and if you are, here’s the rundown. Books 1 & 2 (Spirit Followers and Keepers of the Crown) were published in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Time Passers is the third book but because it is a prequel, you don’t have to read the first two books to have a thrilling time. Time Passers, in short, is a middle-eastern, ancient Egypt inspired story of a woman cursed to an immortal life and charged with the protection of the world’s most sought-after artifact: a crown that could change the course of the world when its king comes to wear it. Instruments of Sacrifice is the chosen one story we all know from the perspective of every character but the chosen one.

Time Passers hits shelves on September 26th, so there is still time to pick up books one and two on Amazon today! ūüėČ

(Read the full summary below :)) 

You can read chapter one here and chapter two here of Time Passers for free!

Time Passers Front Cover

Time Passers Back Cover

 

5 STORIES THAT INSPIRED TIME PASSERS

 

In my last post about this book, I talked a lot about the music that inspired a lot of the scenes in the book. My favorite soundtrack to listen to was The Prince of Egypt soundtrack, and I also enjoyed watching the movie. The Prince of Egypt is DreamWorks’ retelling of the story of Moses and the Exodus as told in the Bible. The music and animation combined truly bring the story to a vivid life, and it was an interepation that I looked to for inspiration on many occassions while writing Time Passers. TP is a retelling of the Exodus as well but from the perspective of a character not at all present in the Biblical verison. Although the world is inspired by ancient Egypt, it is by no means confined to it. As I took many liberities to make Ilea’s story apart of this classic Hebrew story, there came about many differences. Nevertheless, aside from the Bible itself, The Prince of Egypt always reminded me of the true essence of the story of the Hebrew people being freed from slavery and oppression.

 

The Bible is the obivous foundation for inspiration for this book. Obvious from the last paragraph and from reading the book itself. My faith has always been the foundation for my writing, but I find that regardless of who each of us is, we all crave a deeply human and exciting story. The Bible is full of such stories. Time Passers is inspired mainly by the Flood (Genesis 6) and the Exodus, but other Biblical inspirations are present as well. The story of Jacob and his 12 brothers is referenced (Genesis 37-50). Also, Shiphrah and Puah (the midwives who refused to kill innocent children on behalf of their Egyptian oppressors – Exodus 1:15-21). The Nephilim (called Shadow Bearers in my books – Genesis 6) and there are several others, but I’ll leave those as nuggets for you to find!

 

The Story of the World: The Ancient World and The History of the Ancient World both by Susan Wise Baur provided histroical refernce to Biblical events and to ancient Egyptian history that made writing more accurate and fun! I’ve never had so much fun researching than with these two books by my side. I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys an all-encompassing history textbook that reads like a narrative. (The Story of the World is the children’s verison of the college level The History of the Ancient World. Both are highly enjoyable if you like to eat history for breakfast as I do.)

 

I love desert landscapes (although I am no longer fond of trying to find other ways to say that it is hot outside.) My first encounter in a fictional story with a desert, middle-eastern-inspired landscape was in The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. Not many people consider the third chronilogical installment of The Chronicels of Narnia to be their favorite (even above The Lion, the Witch, and the Wordrobe) but I am such person. As some other honorable mentions of desert-landscape based books that I’ve eaten up: The Arabian Nights, The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas, Tower of the Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry and Rdiley Pearson.

 

Finally, and this is might seem cheap haha, but the preceding books published Spirit Followers and Keepers of the Crown are always so helpful to reread when I’m feeling my motivation and inspiration for my current draft dwindling. When feeling little desire to work on Time Passers, I devled into my own created world in its finished products. I remet Ilea (the main character of Time Passers) in Keepers of the Crown as the reader does. I recalled the trajectory and excitment of the story at large. This combined made my world bloom afresh in my mind and kept me going. Time Passers may be a prequel and thus seem unecessary to read, but it is vital to the overall course of this series. (i.e. you won’t be able to read any upcoming books without first reading this one.)

 

I would love to know what kind of stories capture your attention and make you desire to create your own stories! Please tell me about them in the comments! ūüôā

And watch out for more chapters of Time Passers coming to this blog before its offical release on September 26th!

Until next time,

Lydia

insta TIME PASSERS

 

Follow me on Instagram for updates and poetry

And on Pinterest

Add my books on Goodreads 

Preview my books on Amazon

Join my mailing list

Like my Facebook page 

 

 

 

 

what no one tells you about being an indie author

Have you ever heard a published author asked what advice they would give to aspiring writers? The answers are usually the same and may include things like “read all you can,” “finish your manuscript,” “do NaNoWriMo,” etc. Being an aspiring writer is not the same thing as being an aspiring publisher of your own work. I haven’t heard a lot of people give advice on how to best go about publishing your own book – because most of the people getting published aren’t doing everything themselves. So today, in this post, I’m going to be sharing some things that you should know if you want to be a self-published author. This is written for people who have already finished a book, have chosen to self-publish already thinking it’ll be easier than the traditional route and are able to hear some hard truths.

It isn’t easy.

It is a wonderful journey and one I do not regret making, but it isn’t always easy.

You can’t do it alone.¬†

When I wrote my first book at age 11 and published it at 14, I thought that I could do self-publishing all on my own. Truth is, you need a lot of people on your team in order to publish a book with the potential to be successful. You need an editor(s), beta readers and/or critique partners, cover artists, and people who are willing to promote your book before and after release. The cover artist part is something that a lot of indie authors also do. There are many artists who also write so that one is optional. But you cannot be the only editor/feedback giver of your book. You get so used to your own style that when editing, you are more likely to auto-correct a mistake in your head and not fix it on paper. You need fresh sets of eyes, active minds, and honest feedback.

You need a following/online presence to get people to read your book. 

Someone told me this a while ago when I was just starting to publish and I kind of blew the advice off. Gaining followers seemed tedious and unnecessary to me. I thought, “People just will see my book and hopefully read it and like it.” Truth is, you can’t depend on your book to sell itself. And since you won’t have a publishing house doing the marketing and distributing for you, its all something you have to do yourself. I thought for a long time that having mass amounts of followers on social media or subscribers to a newsletter or readers on a blog wouldn’t really “put me out there.” But it does. And you have to do it. Followers aren’t everything, sure, but making connections with people who read and write like you do is everything if you want your book to be successful.

Giveaways and ads are REALLY helpful. 

Yeah, yeah you think those Facebook ads don’t really reach people. They do. Yes, the algorithms are against us sometimes, but the majority of the followers and engagement I get are from ads. Repetition is key. If someone sees your book over and over and then reads a review from someone else they follow, they are more likely to go and buy your book. Ads help with this. And people are more likely to engage with your ad if you are offering them something: like a free copy of your book. Giveaways are a lot of fun, too! You get to meet a lot of people who are excited about the chance to get your book for free. This also gives you a chance to be creative. Don’t just give away books. Create swag, including gift cards, annotated copies, etc.¬† A majority of the people who have bought and read my books found me through ads.

Reviews > sales 

If you’re watching sales constantly, you are going to find yourself doubting and perhaps downright sorrowful at how little you are making – at first. No sales are promised. Consistent and frequent sales are not promised. You may have a lot of sales right after release, and then it dies down. You may have very little during the release but many later. Instead of getting people to buy your book, ask them to review it. Reviews are everything. Once you’ve gained some sort of following, contact fellow indie authors, reviewers, bloggers, and other creators to read and review a free copy of your book. Reviews on Amazon help to get you onto recommended sections on the site. Reviews on Goodreads are often looked at by potential readers. Even if you receive a bad review, count it as a blessing. What some disliked or criticized about your book someone else may like and praise. Don’t be discouraged by lack of sales and look for people who are down for reading a free copy.

Sometimes, publishing takes a lot longer than writing. 

Formatting, cover creating, formatting again, hours of Amazon review, FORMATTING AGAIN. It is a process, and sometimes that process is loooong. BE patient. listen to audiobooks and music while you do it. Just don’t expect that since your manuscript is polished and finished that you can publish in a day. Usually, publishing is a 2-week process for me. (This differs from author to author and book to book. I’ve heard from some authors of it taking months and others just a week. So, don’t compare your process to others.)

Just because you have self-published with Amazon, doesn’t mean you own your book.¬†

Let’s talk about ISBN’s. When publishing on Amazon’s platform KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you are offered the option to use Amazon’s free IBSN or to buy your own. (most IBSN’s cost around $200…so for an indie author starting out I know this is a daunting price.) BUT it is worth it. Long-term, if you use Amazon’s IBSN, they own your work. Not you. Essentially what is happening in this situation, si you are publishing through Amazon but you’re not getting an editor, cover designer, marketing team and everything else that comes with traditional publishing. If you buy your own IBSN, YOU own your book, which long term, is worth it. Most people chose self-publishing for creative control and to be able to own their own work. Don’t let Amazon have it if you want to keep it.

You are NOT the only young, self-published author out there.

Being self-published does not make you unique. For a long time, I thought I was special since I was the only teen author self-publishing her books. I was very, very wrong. Although the traditional publishing world is much bigger than the indie author one, you would be surprised at just how many people are doing exactly the same thing as you. There. Are. SO. Many. This can make one feel disconcerted and discouraged sometimes, but it is also a huge relief in other ways. You aren’t the only one, and those who have come before you know a lot and can teach those things to you.

You have to understand the world you are publishing in. 

What is trending? What is being overdone and what is being beaten to death? What do readers want more of? If you aren’t looking into these things, you’ll be writing another fantasy with a love triangle, a dark lord, and no diversity. Now, if you’re already an active reader, you know most of these things. Sometimes, when we are writing, we get so caught up in our own stories, we forget about all the other stories out there. Go and read them while your beta readers are reading your book.

Being an indie author is very lonely.

Just because you aren’t submitting your book to publishing houses and agents, doesn’t mean you are free of rejection. In fact, rejection, I think, is harder when you’re self-publishing. Not many people care about your book. Maybe a handful of people: your grandma, your best friend, your mom’s high school teacher, your other grandma.

*insert lotr meme*You will hear the same questions over and over: How much money do you make from your books? How many copies have you sold? Do people like your book? What’s it about? this last one is a question usually asked by someone who wants a short answer and not your long-winded Goodreads summary.

In the end, the lack of support you will have for your book at the beginning will make you even more grateful for all the rando, beautiful, kind people you will meet on your journey. I’ve made so many friends as a result of self-publishing and they are all wonderfully supportive and gracious.

Being an indie author is highly competitive BUT your fellow indie authors are highly gracious and compassionate. 

Making connections with people at first may seem tedious and unnecessary, but before you know it, you’ll be meeting a girl in line at BookCon who does graphic design and wants to make you a book cover. You’ll be emailing with a girl who crochets and wants to be an editor. You’ll be having coffee with a writer who lives in your city. You’ll be writing blog posts with other authors. You’ll be beta reading for other aspiring writers.¬† Every single one of these is a scenario that is real for me now and has been for the past year. Meet the people who are doing the same thing you are and support them. You will be amazed at the support you receive in return.

 

For anyone who read this post and is left thinking, “Okay, I get what I need to do, but how do I go about doing it?” I’ll tell you that most answers lie in the self-publishing community. I learned 99% of the things I know from other indie authors and their experience. Go find them on social media. Read their blogs and watch their YouTube channels. I’m going to link some of these people below! And I am always open to answer questions in the comments about how I accomplished all the above! So, questions? Let me know. I have some answers.

Happy writing AND PUBLISHING, my friends! ūüôā

Some indie authors you should be following: 

Abbie Emmons, Brian McBride, S.M. Creanza, April M. Woodard, Olivia J. Bennett, Brittney Kristina, Millie Florence 

Find me on Instagram

And Pinterest if you like aesthetics and mood boards?

Goodreads !!!

My books: 

Instruments of Sacrifice: Spirit Followers

Instruments of Sacrifice: Keepers of the Crown 

Essence of an Age: A Collection of Poetry and Prose 

mango street / a poem

mango street. 

 

The pink-tiled bathrooms and velvet robes have been traded in for

patched-up aprons and flour-dusted hands. 

Where names were once stitched into lilac silk, 

the phases of the moon are inked across collar-bones. 

The wives drink wine from mason jars,

prune their ferns and poplars. 

The children sing to the sidewalk songs

of plagues, and they think not of sickness 

but of their mother’s rose gardens. 

The fences are white and the houses yellow,

and if you listen hard enough 

you can hear the plunking of piano keys 

and the thunk of a knife against a cutting board.

The tea goes cold on cracked counters, 

but what is colder, and more worn are the soles of their feet

which tread hard-wood floors and gardens every day. 

The hands are tired, the faces like bent cardboard. 

They have not forgotten their so-called golden days, 

you should not think that because of their now dimmed ways. 

For when they look at the kitchen sink at night, 

they see glitter and smoke and homemade dynamite. 

They use to smile and laugh, 

now they just nod and tell their children 

that the chalk on the pavement 

depicts something interesting.

Still, living is still a thread in the aprons. 

It is hot showers and the sun through the boughs of the orange trees. 

It is the chalk on the pavement

and the children falling over in a circle, 

their laughter blooming higher than the magnolias. 

For, you see, one day,

the party girls grew up, 

and they moved to Mango Street. 

 

Read my poetry collection Essence of An Age 

my WIP’s of summer 2019

A few weeks ago, I featured several up and coming or already established indie and aspiring authors I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the Instagram and blogging communities. In the two posts, these authors shared their own work and progresses; the stories that are burning within them that they’re dying to share. You can read about them here and here.

One of the reasons I asked these authors to collaborate with me was so I could see what my fellow authors are working on while I work on my own projects. You see, one of the most inspiring things to me when I’m writing my own stories, is learning about what others are writing, why they are writing what they are, etc.

So now I’ve decided to do a whole post on (a few of) the projects that have burning within me this summer.

blog 1

INSTRUMENTS OF SACRIFICE III: 

You may or may not know this, buuuut in March of this year I republished my first fantasy novel Spirit Followers along with the release of its sequel Keepers of the Crown. Since then, I have been hard at work at FINISHING the rough draft of the third book which DOES HAVE A TITLE that you do not yet get to know hehehehe. (sorry.) This rough draft has put me through A LOT of emotions. But in a very, very good way. I am very proud of where this story is going. It has become the most important book to me out of this series thus far. It’s just taking a while to finish the first draft haha. What will I tell you about it? A few interesting facts…

  • It is, in fact, NOT A SEQUAL to SF and KoC, but rather a PREQUEL. You read that right: a prequel. The first of THREE actually. The series will be six books long with three prequels and then the sixth book taking place after Keepers and wrapping everything up. (well…fingers crossed and lots of prayers haha.)
  • There are far fewer main characters (only 2 pov’s this time.) Everything is on a smaller scale: number of characters, world/places readers will go, significant plot points, PAGE NUMBER (it won’t be the 600 monstrosity that was Keepers). Everything except for well…time. *wink wink*
  • It will follow two characters that readers of Keepers of the Crown have already met. I’ll let you guess who.
  • It will primarily take place in an ancient middle-eastern desert-inspired landscape and culture.
  • It will feature retellings of two significant stories from the Bible: the flood and the exodus.
  • You do have to read it if you want to read the final book in the series. (The prequels aren’t really optional lol sorry.)
  • I won’t kill off a lot of people. Maybe. I haven’t done it yet.

 

POETRY COLLECTION II: 

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Well, my first collection wasn’t supposed to happen either. And by “suppose to happen” I mean it wasn’t planned or foreseen in my eyes. Poetry just kind of happens for me. I write when I am inspired by certain visuals or concepts and when I really really need to express something that doesn’t really fit into any of the novels I’m working on. After the publication of my first collection Essence of An Age, I knew that another collection would be written, I just thought I would need several years of living and feeling before I could make it happen. It has been almost a year and already I have written the same amount of poems that are in Essence with many more on the way. The tentative title is the blue gabled house which, conceptually, has existed in my mind long before Essence was completed. I’ll talk more about the concept later…when I have more of a feel of what this collection even is. Right now, it’s all over the place, but there is a common thread: me and my relationship with God. And that’s the only one, in the end, that it needs.

 

INSTRUMENTS OF SACRIFICE IV: 

I’m plotting it, and it is a lot of fun. I am REALLY EXCITED about it. I am reading a lot of the book of Daniel in the Bible and Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the Ancient World for research. But that is all I will say.

 

FAIR VERONA: 

This project is unique because I don’t really know when I will publish it if at all. This is my pleasure writing (not that my other writing is un-pleasurable.) But this is the one I work on with really no idea where it is going. I write it when everything else on my to-do list is done or everything else I’m writing just isn’t working. It is very much in its early stages and exists only in a journal in my own handwriting with gel pens and accompanied by many lyrics (mainly Lorde).

I know where the idea came from, and I have quite an extensive Pinterest board developed. Honestly, the aesthetic of whatever this is is far more developed than the actual written form. What I do know is that I’ve titled it after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where the city of Verona is called “fair.” It’s my own take on this city AND 18 or so of the most memorable (or not so memorable) characters William wrote. Except they are all angsty teens and its set in modern-day suburbia. Will this turn into anything? Hopefully, since I’m obsessed with it, but it is a project that won’t really leave my journal or laptop for a long time.

 

Are there any stories YOU are working on and what are they? Or what upcoming books by other authors are you super excited for? Let’s talk. ūüôā

 

Love And the Sea and Everything In Between by Brian McBride (Review)

Look at me reading indie books and reviewing them too! I fell off my reading and reviewing game for a while, but when it comes to supporting people who are doing the same thing as me, I’m all for it!

Disclaimer: I don’t tend to enjoy reading YA contemporaries. I don’t tend to enjoy debut novels (more on that on down). I don’t tend to enjoy books written in first person, present tense. All of these things contribute to my rating and opinion of this book. I want to support the author while also remaining honest. I think that by listing my preferences, it will help readers see that this book simply wasn’t for me, but there are many qualities that others might find enjoyable. Any reviews help whether they be positive, negative or between. I tend to read all kinds of reviews when deciding on a book. What I dislike might be what another reader will like. With that said, this review will contain much criticism. I will also say that many of the things I found lacking in this book are also lacking in my own debut novel. I fully intend on supporting McBride in all he writes. I am writing this review not only as a reader but also as an indie author myself. I would never want to write a review that would cause an author to be doubtful (I’ve been there, reading those reviews). I hope that my criticism leads some to read a book that they love for the reasons that I did not.

Love and the Sea and Everything Between 

2.5 stars

Processed with RNI Films

Writing:

I want to first say that this book screams “this is the first book this author has written.” It reads like a debut. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have found that nearly every debut I’ve read in the last year hasn’t been a favorite. I rated Children of Blood and Bone 3 stars. The Poppy War 2 stars. Shadow and Bone 3 stars. City of Brass 3 stars, etc. All of these are books were received by the intended audience with admiration and high ratings, but that I found lacking. I’ve determined that YA debuts (especially contemporaries) just aren’t my thing.

With that being said, I think I’ve pinpointed exactly what about the writing style rubbed me the wrong way.

McBride uses strong emphasis and dramatic flair to reveal big emotional moments throughout the book. Although these moments have great intentions behind them, I found that they were not executed to their full potential due to fast and jarring pacing, redundant sentence and scene structure, and flowery prose throughout the entire book. Sudden, jarring moments can bring emphasis and effect that the reader can love. Redundant sentence structure can do the same and bring out patterns important to the overall arc. Flowery prose can make the writing beautiful and impactful. But when all of these elements are in place constantly, it reads kind of numbingly. It puts a drinking coffee scene on the same level as the mc being beaten by his dad scene. Nothing seems to be important because it is all written as if every single scene is as valuable as everything else.

There were, however, some beautiful lines throughout the book when I found them placed appropriately. An inner-monologue about healing in the middle of a dialogue can be jarring and distracting to me as a reader, but closing out a scene and a chapter in a poignant way was something McBride also did. I was breathless with this paragraph at the end of chapter 10.

“I’m falling. But then, I’ve always been falling, descending into a cavern deeper than my eyes can see. But I’ve grabbed hold of something, a ledge that wasn’t there before, and I’m holding on. I’m holding onto those three little words. And they’re not the ones you might expect. They’re simple, completely uncomplicated, but they’re a promise.”¬†

And also at the end of chapter 55: “So if God is who He says He is, then I’m all in too. Because Liz is right. I need impossible. And I’m ready for that adventure.”¬†¬†

Setting: 

I find that the setting is rarely well informed and written as if it in itself is a character in contemporary stories. I am fine with this but do expect the lack of setting and its effect on the story to be made up for with strong-character driven storylines. I found the characters lacking and will talk more about that below. I think part of this is due to the fact that I read (and write) A LOT of fantasy, so I usually find that the setting is just as much a character as the actual characters. I can read a thousand chosen one stories, but if the setting is vastly different and changes the course of the story, it can be done well. A contemporary cannot achieve this as well since the world-building is based on what we already know. A college dorm, a westward road trip, etc.

I will say that I liked how the setting made sense to Adam and his storyline. I wish that the pacing would have been slower so that we could really enjoy it more. I did like McBride’s frequent use of the ocean and the stars to further Adam’s character arc. The setting was there for Adam, and I appreciated that.

Plot: 

I think I would have really enjoyed this book if it was slowed down and each scene was explored to its full capacity. Everything moved far to fast for me. For instance, there was one chapter with 8 pages in which the two main characters travel to the Grand Canyon together, spend the night near it, explore it the next day, go to the motel that night and have a meaningful conversation. All of that in one chapter with only 8 pages. It was way too rushed. This pacing might be preferable to other readers who like fast-paced, easy reads. I prefer a slow-burn romance myself, so my lack of love for the plot comes more from preference than “bad writing.”

I will say though that I do love road trips and am all for it. 100%. pointspointspoints.

Characters:

I don’t know if my lack of connection with the characters was due to the writing style and genre (I think most of it is) or if there is a larger part of me that is more concerned with one reason I didn’t like these two characters.

I still don’t really know Liz. I just know what Adam wants from Liz.

I don’t connect with Adam. I found his “style” of getting to know Liz by asking her personal questions right off the bat a little jarring and disconcerting. I love that the author is advocating for deeper more meaningful relationships (we need them, I need them lol), but I felt like Adam’s questions the entire time was built on what he wanted from Liz rather than wanting her regardless of the questions or what she would answer, etc. I found the love story a little disconcerting as a result. The dialogue was sometimes entertaining, natural and made the book un-put-a-downable, but I never really had a clear idea of what these characters wanted and were aiming for.

Really the only thing I did like about these two characters and their relationship was the fact that they bonded over poetry and quotes poets all the time. MY HEART.

Themes:

This is the point that I found excelled the most. McBride brought up topics and situations I have thought a lot about myself but have never read in fiction. His views on relationships (taking them seriously as opposed to the hook-up/flings tendencies of our culture), faith, and healing I found poignant, refreshing and well-developed and executed. You can tell Brian wrote this book. It’s very him. It was authentic to him and his beliefs (as far as I can tell.) This book felt real, and for that, I am not only grateful but am in admiration. He closes the book out with a Dear Reader where he explains that he would rather write a real book than a perfect book. I agree and I would say that he succeeded in this.

With all of this being said, I will also mention that the writing-style aspects that irked me and the lack of connection I had with the characters are present in my own debut. I have since then developed my style and have moved past these flaws. Writing is a process. I very much believe that McBride has done the same, so I look forward to reading is the upcoming release Every Bright and Broken Thing to see how he has evolved as a writer. He has a lot of potential and views on the world that needs to be shared. This story, while not my favorite, has marks of a true, passionate storyteller that will write books impactful to many hearts. So, if you like contemporaries or have a thing for debuts lol, READ THIS BOOK.¬† I may have not enjoyed it the most, but I know there are others who will. I hope that this “negative” review will help others find their new favorite story!

Stay tunes for Every Bright and Broken Thing. I’m excited!

You can find Brian McBride on Instagram!

You can find his book here!

(support indie authors!)