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Blog by Ron – Turning Loss to Gain

Turning Loss to Gain can have various meanings. But in this blog I am talking about losing your soulmate.

How can such a loss be turned to gain?

My wife, Teresa, and I were married 41 years and 5 months before she went home to be with the Lord. It was a happy marriage founded on our mutual love for God and for one another.

Eight years older than her I never figured she would go first. She considered that possibility, but always claimed she would die in an automobile accident. It didn’t happen that way.

Turning Loss to Gain Begins with a Loss

In 2018 Teresa was diagnosed with cancer. It was quite advanced, requiring massive doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but she beat it. In 2019 she had it again. This time it was chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. She beat it again and remained cancer free until 2022.

Although diagnosed in 2022 with cancer, it was small and wasn’t the cause of her death. All the radiation she had reopened the surgical wound and on February 19, 2023, she bled to death in her sleep. She suffered no pain, went to sleep here on earth and awoke in heaven.

Yesterday, February 19, 2024, was the first anniversary of her death. It had been a sudden and unexpected loss. I lost the love of my life, my confidant, and the number one supporter of my writing career.

Turning Loss to Gain Can be Bumpy.

I regularly thank God for the great memories we had together. But I also thank Him for the family of God, Christian friends who support me in prayer, and acts of kindness.

In 2014, Teresa (aka Tess) and I had founded T&R Independent Books with the sole purpose of publishing our own books. Aside from laying a firm foundation for the new business, we had to deal with my heart attack in the same month, her cancer, and other issues. But in 2022 we published the most successful book we had ever published up to that point. Titled Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence and Provision, it was a hit and made 2022 the best year ever up to then.

In 2023, after her death, I published another hit. This is The Best of Tess which was a collection of her Ladies Devotionals plus an unfinished work that I finished with a postscript of our last 2 months together.

It was a bumpy time from 2014 through 2023, but God demonstrated His love and care throughout. When Teresa passed from life to glory, it suddenly grew very bumpy. Yet Christian friends, the family of God, stepped forward and wrapped their collective arms around me. Through them God comforted, supported, and guided me.

As a result, I trusted God, His Word, and my faith grew. Instead of being overwhelmed I was strengthened.

A New Direction

Earlier in 2022 I had written a course for the purpose of teaching people how to write. But it languished as I paused everything to care for my wife. After her death God began directing my thoughts back to that course and ultimately to launching it in 2023. He did this through Gordon Duncan who took over Christian Authors Community & Service or CACS after the founder Tom Blubaugh had died.

Aside from heading CACS, Gordon has another business called Capitalize Your Best which helps companies grow to new heights. I signed up got his course and his coaching. This resulted not only in the launching of the course, Basic Authors Training, but also the launching of Ministry Publishing.

Ministry Publishing is a publishing service to Christians who serve their local church whether paid or volunteer. It had an immediate impact.

Turning Loss to Gain is Exciting.

It wasn’t long before I had clients for the Ministry Publishing. My first clients is a husband/wife missionary team. They minister to men, women, and juvenile prisoners by taking the gospel to them. They are now in the process of writing a 365 Daily Devotional. This is an exciting project!

Another client is rewriting his biography. This one will tell more of his story than previously, plus it will be published by T&R Independent Books. Having crisscrossed America with the gospel, it is a story I am excited to see in print.

Turning Loss to Gain is A Work of God

As Christians we live in a world of loss, injury, and wrong. We suffer for a variety of reasons. But God doesn’t want us to mope and feel sorry for ourselves. Whatever grief or obstacle we may face in this life, He wants us to turn to Him and let Him turn that loss to gain.

Our God is a loving God Who has in many cases called us to use our writing skills for His use. He wants us to lay our troubles at His feet and allow Him to lift us up, to turn our loss to gain, and use us to His glory.

Thus, our loss when submitted to His care brings us great joy. Moreover, it allows God to transform our lives in ways we didn’t foresee. All God asks of us is that believers trust and follow Him. He will give you back so much more than you lost!

___

R. Frederick Riddle is an author, teacher, publisher, and the owner of T&R Independent Books. The website is at Home – T&R Independent Bookstore (trbookservices.com).

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Blog by Ron – Writing About Current Events

Writing about current events is a good subject matter for authors. Because our news media has drifted away from reporting the news and now include their own bias, the door has been opened for authors to write more about current events than may have been the norm.

Writing About Current Events by News Media

It varies according to the subject matter, but my statement about bias reporting as referred I referred to previously is a correct assessment. I have been around long enough to remember when the opinions were relegated to the Opinion Page. But that is no longer true. Now the reporter includes his or her opinion ass though it was fact, which explains the current lack of knowledge about events, people, and places.

It is a shame that reporting of the news has slipped to such a low standard, but for authors it is a major open door.

Writing About Current Events is the Basis of Many Successful Books

Basically, an author writes about historical events, current events, or future events. Which means that Current Events is a topic we are not only knowledgeable about, but often write about.

The news media has opened a door that we already had a foot inside. You could say it is our forte. At least the forte of some writers.

I call today’s reporting, Bias Reporting. Whereas in the past reporting focused on the facts, today the focus is on bias. Facts are only used if they agree with the bias. This, in turn, puts news reporting on the same level as fictional writing. Both are stories based on some facts and a lot of imagination.

For hundreds of years writers have been taking either historical or current events and developing successful novels or nonfiction stories. It is what we do. And based on history, we have done quite well. In fact, we’ve done a better job of it than the reporters.

So, if you are planning to write a book, don’t be afraid to tackle current events. You can take a current event and develop a mystery, an adventure story, or just about anything your imagination can stir up.

Let Your Imagination Soar

Because you are an author with a lively imagination you can take a current event and take it into the future or explore the past leading up to the event. This is equivalent to reporting at this stage. But then you can take it further’

Writing About Current Events has its Risks

Current events as a subject matter has some risks, such as losing consumer interest quickly. When I was writing Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence and Provision, I was writing about a current event. But I was aware that the window of interest was narrow.

I had two things working in my favor.

One was that the storm was in the news daily, which created interest. If I could get published quickly, I could tap into that interest.

Secondly, it had historical significance which would help sustain the story’s appeal.

A third plus was that it was the personal story of a family as told in their own words.

Anniversary Sale

Since I used the story to emphasize my blog’s point, it seemed good to me to provide people with another opportunity to read this inspiring story. A story that was greater than Charlotte County, and greater than Florida. It inspired people throughout the United States.

Therefore, Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence and Provision is on sale through the remainder of hurricane season and ending on October 1, 2023.

Normally $18.43, it is now $16.80, a 9% discount. But it is over October 1st.

Click on Hurricane Ian Sale and get your copy today.

To visit our bookstore, go to TR Bookstore and look around. You’ll find books by my late wife Tess, plus books by me, including Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence & Provision.

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Blog by Ron – Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season is upon us. Not only that but we are closing in on the worst storm to ever hit Florida. I am talking about Hurricane Ian, a category 5 storm that devastated southwestern Florida, destroyed businesses, leveled homes, and destroyed all the possessions that some people had. Moreover, it killed.

But September 28, 2022, will also be remembered because of an inspiring story that came out of its destructive power. This story is not only inspiring but true.

Hurricane Season is always Traumatic

Hurricanes are mindless, destructive forces that nature unleashes upon the world every year. Here in Florida it makes its presence known from June 1 through November 30th. But come the  latter part of the season and the storms become worse. On September 27th many people, including myself, evacuated because of the coming storm.

But Pastor Jay Sheppard and his family were prepared. They lived along the Peace River in Arcadia, Florida. As they prepared for the storm, their primary concern was for the church that increasingly looked like it would be in the path of the storm.

But the Sheppard’s had a plan. The storm, if it came, would likely come up the Peace River, so they prepared for that possibility. Pastor Jay and his sons worked hard securing anything that looked like it could be impacted, including the roof. They also had a plan B which included evacuation to a safer house not too far away.

It looked like they were ready.

They were wrong!

An Unexpected Surprise in Hurricane Season

The storm drove north along Florida’s southwest coast wreaking havoc and causing damage that would take months, possibly years, to recover. As the cone shifted eastward, it brough Charlotte Harbor into its sights. The storm landed on

Cayo Costa Island about 12 miles west of Cape Coral.

The storm’s path had changed over a brief span of a few days. This was not a great surprise, but it’s intensity and destructive power were surprises. It would soon turn northeast and follow the Peace River, beginning in Charlotte Harbor.

Still, there was no real surprise. Hurricanes were known to change course and to go inland. In my wife and mine experience it seemed normal for the storm to follow the path it was taken.

But then came the surprise. Hurricane Ian acted like it had intelligence. And its Plan was diabolical. While we were focused on the eastern edge of the storm, it unleased a flash flood from the north!

No one had anticipated that, including the Sheppard family. They were literally ambushed as the flash flood came right at them with overwhelming force, wind, and water.

They would end up losing the house, though the structure survived, and virtually all their possessions. But God stepped in and miracle after miracle took place. In the book, the story is told in the words of Pastor Jay and members of his family, as well as others. It is highly personal, but it is much more.

You get a picture of God’s Providence at work.

Anniversary Sale

Now that we are again in hurricane season, it seemed good to me to provide people with another opportunity to read this inspiring story. A story that was greater than Charlotte County, and greater that Florida. It inspired people throughout the United States.

Therefore, Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence and Provision is on sale through the remainder of hurricane season and ending on October 1, 2023.

Normally $18.43, it is now $16.80, a 9% discount. But it is over October 1st.

Click on Hurricane Ian Sale and get your copy today.

To visit our bookstore, go to TR Bookstore and look around. You’ll find books by my late wife Tess, plus books by me, including Hurrican Ian Winds of Providence & Provision.

Want to be be a published author, but don’t know how? Check Best Sellers.

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Blog by Ron – Getting Published

Getting Published should not hurt, but if you are not careful you can get hurt big time. In posts and past blogs, I have shared much of my story. When I wrote my first book, I needed an author. So, I set out to find what I needed.

I didn’t have any idea of what publishing and marketing would entail. But I did understand that publishers, especially traditional publishers, were increasingly wanting authors to have a book agent. Someone who could represent the author and be a trustworthy connection for the publisher.

It was not always that way. There was a time when you wrote a manuscript, mailed it to a publisher, and, if approved, it was eventually published. Back then there were no agents. Just the publisher and the author.

Of course, it was also true back then that almost all of the marketing was done by the author, and they did this without benefit of the internet. From those days these publishing houses grew into the mighty Traditional Publishers of today.

Getting Published the Traditional Way

By the time I came into the picture there were two types of publishing houses, the Traditional and the Self-Publishing. At that time, I knew a little about the traditional, and very little about Self-Publishing.

I knew that there were some rather big publishing houses that handled virtually all the best well-known authors. I also knew they paid royalties, that authors often had long lines at book signings, and, apparently, made a lot of money.

Armed with this knowledge, I began looking for an agent. I knew it might take time, but I was also confident that I could find the right agent for my book. The book itself was called, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, which fit into historical fiction. In fact, it was in multiple genres such as historical, Biblical, and Adventure.

As I began searching for an agent I focused on historical fiction. This helped me narrow the number of agents that I would need to find and submit my book to for their inspection.

Rejection

Time went by as I searched diligently. Then came the day when I struck gold. I found the right agent. I submitted my book and a few weeks later received a reply. Eagerly I opened the letter, and my spirit immediately sank. It was a rejection letter.

Why?

Because it was the wrong genre!

She didn’t really say that. In fact, she didn’t say much at all other than it didn’t fit at all! At first, I was stumped, then it came to me, my book was historical, but it was also based on the Bible.

Being turned down by an agent soured me on going with a traditional publisher. The more I investigated, the more I learned. For instance, I learned that they were increasingly wanting the author to have an agent. But  it had taken me months to find one that turned me down. It was a major downer!

As I further studied the matter, I learned that not only does it takes months to get an agent, but it takes months for an agent to find the right publisher, as well. On top of that, the typical publisher might take another two years before they publish the book.

I didn’t want to wait THAT long!

What About Getting Published by Self-Publishing

What about getting published by self-publishing? The idea was prompted by information that introduced me to self-publishing. I don’t remember the details, but it was probably an ad. And it probably suggested that I would have greater control, be guaranteed to be published, and not have to wait a long time. All of this was exciting news.

That thought renewed my energy, and I turned my focus to self-publishing. It didn’t take long before I found a self-publisher that I could use. I paid the fee of about $400, (today it is more likely above $800) and was soon working on getting my book published.

I was on my way!

Getting Published was NOT So Easy

Although I had paid for the publication, it still had to go through their process. One particular annoying practice they had was the proof copy. Once I had finished the book and selected the cover, I was ready. So, I took the next step by requesting a proof copy.

They sent me the copy, but I only had 72 hours to examine it and note the errors to be fixed. That was bad, but I also found a number of errors on their part. One was a repetitious error throughout the book. It was daunting, but I worked hard and got most, not all, the errors identified and provided corrections.

That resulted in errors slipping through. It simply wasn’t enough time to find, and note the errors and the solutions. Once the book was published, I couldn’t update without it costing more money.

Getting Published a Different Way

I was disgusted and changed to another company, but it wasn’t much better. I learned a bitter truth. Self-Publishing sounds great, but the “self” part only means that you pay for it in advance, thus assuring yourself of getting published.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and then CreateSpace showed up representing an idea I never heard of before. Indie Publishing! It changed my life!

But that experience with self-publishing solidified in my mind that when I sat down to write my course on writing I determined that I would work with the student. No rushing them. The student and the manuscript are both important. So, whether the student chooses to be published by T&R Independent Books, or chooses another way, I will work with that student to get the manuscript ready for publication. That decision didn’t happen right away. It took time. And it took tragedy.

In February of 2023 my wife of 41 years unexpectedly passed away during the night. I had lost the love of my life. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my church family which showered their love and support upon me.

After the shock of her passing, I realized that I needed to get serious about the course I was writing to help others write. And I realized I was going to have to offer potential students not just value, but great value.

Looking at my life, and my skillset, I knew I could offer something unique. I could not only offer them a writing course, but I could publish and market their books! It was an idea that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. The more I prayed about it the more I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do.

I now would be in the position to help potential writers avoid the school of hard knocks which I had attended, provide them a publishing opportunity that I had not enjoyed, and help them in marketing their books.

The Guarantee

If the student completes the course, meets the Christian criteria (which they would have been meeting all along), and chooses to be published by T&R Independent Books, then I guarantee that the book will be published, and that I will coach them right through that process.

On the other hand, if the student finishes the course, meets the Christian criteria, and chooses not to be published by T&R Independent Books, then I guarantee that I will work with them to get their book ready to be published by themselves or others. If they wish to publish the book themselves using KDP, I will help them set up an account, and coach them on how to use KDP. Since I am unqualified with other publishers, I cannot offer the same guarantee. However, I would still be a resource and would do my very best to help.

if you want to know more now, you should visit my article titled Whats-the-Truth-about-Best-Sellers.

To visit our bookstore, go to TR Bookstore and look around. You’ll find books by my late wife Tess, plus books by me, including Hurrican Ian Winds of Providence & Provision.

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Blog by Ron – Writing Hurricane Ian as 1st Person

Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence & Provision book cover

Writing Hurricane Ian as First Person was not easy, but it worked. Titled Hurricane Ian Winds of Providence & Provision, the book is already the most successful book I’ve ever written!

But let’s take a deeper look at it. This is a book that tells the true to life story of Pastor Jay Sheppard and his family in their own words.

Hurricane Ian is Told in First Person

I am not a big supporter of first-person storytelling, but in this case, it works really well! If you have never tried this in either fiction or nonfiction, you might want to give it a try.

This particular book was not me telling the story in first person, but various family members telling about their particular situation or experience. In the book you get each person’s individual recollection and sometimes they don’t agree 100%! But that is ok, because in life different people see the same events differently.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Each class registration occurs between the 25th  of a month and runs through the 24th of the following month. The new class starts on the following 1st.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Hurricane Ian told Consecutively

This technique worked really well. Different family members related their experiences at approximately the same time. Their stories provide a background of their impressions, thoughts, and actions. In turn, this provides the reader with an expanded view of events, while also tying the recollections together. The reader gets a more complete picture of how each scene played out. Instead of getting the author’s viewpoint superimposed, you get individual stories that pull you into the action.

Hurricane Ian Divide and Conquer

What I am referring to here to is the methodology I used. After going to the various family members and friends and asking them to write down their own stories, I then divided their stories and juxtaposed them against one another.

By doing this, I allowed their comments, understandings, and recollections to be compared. Whether conscientiously or subconsciously, such comparisons add depth to the overall story. This is depth that I may not have been able to create by telling the story in 3rd Person.

This is just a short blog today, but it gives you something to think about. Namely, should you try 1st Person? It can be difficult voice to master. But if you can it might just prove profitable.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

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Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.