Seeking an open minded reader

book-and-letters-ipad-backgroundRecently I attended a party in a beautiful spot near Leigh, a fishing village further up the coast.  While we were all mingling and enjoying the view, I was asked about my book.  “What’s it about?”

Er, um.  “It’s about a journey through two worlds – the outside world, and a hidden, inner world called “The Kingdom.”  The main character, the King, is Jesus.”

I study my listeners face as I try to explain my counter-cultural book.  I’m relieved to see she hasn’t shown any antagonism at His name.  I never know what kind of reaction I’m going to get.

“Are you religious?” she asks.

That’s a tricky question.  To me, religion is a lot of man-made rules and structures in man’s attempt to reach God, which doesn’t interest me. Jesus is different.  He is God’s attempt to reach man.  Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  With Jesus there are only two rules – to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength and with all our mind, and love others as we love ourselves.  I believe and try to live by those rules.

the-greatest-commandment

“I am a believer” I answer.

“Where is your book sold?” she asked.

“Right now, as an eBook on Amazon.  It’s a bit hard to market the book because Jesus lacks credibility in the world’s eyes.  And my book doesn’t fit in a niche.”

How can I promote the King in a world full of disinformation and lies?

It’s a shame because I know Him from experience, but it’s MY experience.  How can I convince people He is real?  Or of His worth?  Or talk about all the proof there is for Him?  I can’t offer any of that unless I have permission to.  And a party is not the place.

“I’ll check it out” she said.

I am surprised.  I think people can be more open-minded than I give them credit or.

overcome-personal-prejudice-step-1-version-2

Nicola was one such reader.  She wrote “I didn’t expect God to play such a huge role in the book or for there to be quite as many bible quotes, I am ashamed to admit if I had read the info sent to me better I wouldn’t have read the book. That being said I am grateful if misread my info as I would have missed out on a truly original book.”

Willing to overcome her bias and consider new ideas; she kept reading and found she liked my main character; “I really liked that God was a real character in this story and I think he would be very happy at the way he was portrayed, we saw things from Joanna’s view and also from God’s.

Lucifer was also portrayed, his voice at least. I liked the way that Lucifer was portrayed, not as his cloven, evil personal as he usually is, in fact I found him quite funny the way he heckles, scoffs and laughs, all the while whispering in Joanna’s ear how God doesn’t love her, how she doesn’t deserve his love. His role is to put doubt in people’s minds, convince them they are not good enough, not liked etc… etc… I found him more believable than the fire and brimstone totally evil role he usually plays, in this I found him more real his turning people from God by deceit.

God on the other hand is constantly assuring Joanna and others of his love for them, that he has always loved them and always will, and his sadness at those who turn their backs on him. I felt he was a very human God who had all of our good points amplified and more, with none of our bad.”

So I am seeking open-minded readers for “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.”  Come and read a one of a kind book where God actually replies and converses with the characters. At some points you can even see the story from His perspective. This story is written with a different mind.

Can we understand something of the mind of God?  I hope you will read and decide for yourself.

 

 

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My first book review

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

Try and imagine bookshelves lined with millions of books – and my book is just one of them.  And the bookshelves keep growing.  My book has gone from one in a million to probably one in two million by now!

I’ve probably got the worst person possible in charge of book promotion – me.  Marketing was my worst subject when I was doing the Dip of Business, unfortunately.  But I did learn about the five ‘P’s of marketing; People, Price, Placement, Product and Promotion.

It’s a struggle.  Who do I tell about the book?  Christians obviously, but I hope to get it to the New Age market.  I know they would love the King in my book if they read about Him.  As for the product – the book is in a genre all by itself.  I struggle to even describe it’s genre.  I said it’s a cross between a memoir and a fantasy novel, but my first book reviewer said it’s actually an Epic Journal. My book is unique; one in a million – and not just because of it’s place in Amazon. For placement, I’ve gone to where the readers are.

In order for me to promote the book, I need praise.  I mean, I can praise it – but I’m the author!  Today I got some much needed praise.  I joined Goodreads, and I’ve received my first book review from Valicity Garris, author of Cross Academy.

It was brilliant, five star review.  It’s helped me to keep going with my efforts to get the book out to the wider world.  So it’s made my day.  Come and read my first review, and celebrate with me.

Here’s the review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1523617863?book_show_action=false

The book journey

I’m getting ready to publish my manuscript about ‘The Kingdom Within’ as an eBook.  I haven’t settled on the title yet.  My plan is to self-publish as I don’t think traditional publishers will be interested.  This book is in a unique genre all by itself.

I’ve been told in my book appraisal that the manuscript is so different that it may struggle to find a market. The blend of memoir/fantasy fiction/devotional theology is extremely unusual. Despite what has been said about publishers looking for fresh vibrant voices, they don’t actually want too unusual a book, since it is too great a risk for them in a marginal market. 

I understand that and look forward to the self publishing adventure.

Cath Dunsford, my publishing consultant, really helped me kick the ball off.  I gave her the first three chapters on paper whilst working on her computer.  Then she asked for the rest, saying “First impressions are always important when considering a text for assessment for publication as well as subsequent readings of the full manuscript. 

I have read the text you left me already – so gripped I could not put it down.  Many have written memoirs and about abuse but none, in all my 40 years of work, have ever related the close guidance of the Bible to finding a way forward in quite the way you have.  The writing is utterly beautiful and very moving. It is compact and powerful.”

Her feedback got the book going as I really respect her.  She is a published author and literary associate of Witi Ihimera, the author of “The Whale Rider.”

I’ve had the manuscript edited.  There’s a bit of a back-story finding Marie Anticich, my editor.   She’s a journalist and editor for some Christian magazines.  I got led to her through learning the sound desk at church!

The back-story:  Why, oh why did I put my hand up for a job best left for the boys?  That’s what I asked myself when I started doing the sound.  I’m a computer technician, so buttons and knobs don’t frighten me. I thought the sound desk would be easy enough to learn.  I also thought the Lord wanted me to volunteer for it!  Well you know what ‘thought thought.’  Sound practise was okay – but I made all sorts of mistakes during the church service the first few times.  Anyway it’s all good because the church has survived my efforts on the sound desk, I’ve learned a new skill, and it led me to the book editor.

Marie is a bit of a sergeant major, but I really appreciate her and the manuscript needed her criticism.  Marie told me about the Caleb award, a book competition that Omega Writers were running in 2013.  The competition fee included a book appraisal.  That was the next piece of the puzzle.

The book appraisal said “the constant reference to ‘the Princess’ actually detaches the readers slightly from the story, instead of allowing them to walk in her shoes.  Instead of the massive emotional punch certain scenes should carry, the real conflict is muted because of this detachment.”

So I’ve changed ‘the Princess’ to ‘Joanna’, keeping the viewpoint in the third person.

I was advised to tell the reader more of who I am and aim for reader sympathy.  Taking Marie’s advice, I changed the first chapters with that in mind.  Then she said I was too sad and no one likes a victim!  So it’s been back to the drawing board; and now (hopefully) I’ve got the mix right.

Here’s the overall comments so far:

Omega Writers: “This is a really awesome story with a fabulous blend of unusual elements. It has the potential to wield a strong and powerful impact if the issues of ‘show don’t tell’ are addressed.”  (I hope I’ve addressed those issues.)

Dunsford Publishing: “The quality and beauty of the writing in the preface really draws the reader in and it issues a warm invitation to come ad share this amazing journey. You have really achieved a stunning work of writing, here, Jo.”

 

The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams

KLost on a crooked path, Joanna could not see the wood for the trees. Denied her dreams, she’d got caught up with Silver-tongue, an evil manipulative man. 

Seeking a way out of the maze, she encountered the King, who she’d been estranged from. It was to him that Joanna turned for counsel after discovering he was Abba, her Father.

Leading Joanna to a narrow road, he told her to set up signposts and build landmarks. She was to set her heart on the highway leading to his Kingdom and a forgotten inheritance.

But here be dragons, and Silver-tongue. She had to battle her way out of bewilderment in her effort to break free.

Learning the King’s will from the Book the King inspired, Joanna found that man cannot live by bread alone.  “Call to me, and I will show you great and wonderful things” the King promised.

The King’s word came alive, and she was given dreams, with signs to follow.

Given a shepherd’s staff in the Valley of Shadow, Joanna was led by the King along the Path of Righteousness. Picking up her lamp she followed him towards the sunrise.  His word was like a light shining in a dark place.

As Joanna struggled through the Valley of Trouble she learned that you have to go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.  In the desert Joanna had to make a choice between Ishmael, and Isaac … the son of the promise.

One thing the King spoke – but two things could be heard if Joanna listened. She paid attention, listening to the Logos word for learning and the Rhema word for revelation.

In writing about her journey home by recording the Rhema word, she uncovered her part in a story that had been written generations before.

♥♥♥

See the book trailer on You Tube

This inspirational story is well worth the read.

Amazon book cover