Author Interview: Self-Publishing With Rebekah DeVall

To all my beautiful people,

As promised, I’m starting to work on a series concerning self-publishing. Since I recently reviewed a book by a newly and successfully self-published author, I thought we might start by asking her a few questions concerning what the process was like for her as a new writer.

As mentioned before, Rebekah DeVall is a part of a missionary family. She has been writing for years, but only recently published a novel, Aveza of the Ercanhelm. Rebekah writes primarily retellings. However, this was her first published piece that was not a retelling, and it was a genuinely wonderful story.

That said, I was able to have the chance to discuss with her on several things varying from writing strategy, the writing of retellings, and the self-publishing process. We are happy to be able to share that with you today, and I hope you enjoy it.

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Book Review: Aveza of the Ercanhelm

To all my beautiful people:

Seeing as I’ve felt like doing a series on self-publishing for a while now, I’m about to start that. Yay. Finally. That said, I’m also going to start that off with this review of a new book recently published by a young lady who has started her career off through self-publishing.

Later, I will be holding an interview with her, as well as an interview with someone who works in the field of marketing for self-publishing. And hopefully some others. So in the upcoming weeks, I hope that you will find some beneficial articles that may give authors and readers alike an idea of the hard work that it takes to self-publish a book.

That said, this first review is on a book titled Aveza of the Ercanhelm. And without further ado, here it is.

Background

    Sometimes, some of the most interesting reads that one can find are not written by great literary masters but rather by friends. And while I don’t know that Rebekah DeVall would approve of the title “literary master” near her name, I will say that upon reading her newest book, my heart was touched deeply.

    Rebekah DeVall, a missionary kid, is the newly published author of Aveza of the Ercanhelm. This is a uniquely written action fantasy allegory. It’s the story of a young woman with a difficult past, a woman hiding her identity for fear that those she loves most may kill her, and a woman running from the truth.

    But that is the great lesson of this book: The truth will set you free. And often, for ourselves, just like for Aveza, the truth is a difficult thing to face. Because sometimes what we think is the truth isn’t always the truth. A difficult thing to comprehend in and of itself.

    In terms of content, there is mention of mature content. However, nothing is openly stated. It’s left for the reader to infer for the most part. This is a book that I would not worry to put in the hands of anyone ages ten or up. It’s a simply written, enjoyable action story with a genuine main character that any young person would love.

    There are many things that I enjoyed about this book that I don’t have time to get into. But one of the things I most enjoyed was the main character.

     Too often we see female characters that are “strong females” and are all spoiled brats, untouchable warriors, or some combination of Katniss Everdeen and Mystique from X-men. (Not to hate on these characters, because I’m honestly a Mystique fan, and lots of people love Katniss.) But the idea of a strong female character is someone who cannot be controlled and can do everything herself without the help or input of others.

    What I love about the character of Aveza is that from moment one in the book she is someone who knows how to act on her own and use wisdom even in fear, but she is also someone who knows she cannot do everything alone. She does not push away the people in her life, but tries to draw them close and involve them in her life and actions (despite the whole secret issue).

     Aveza is the example of a hero that young readers need to see: someone confident, someone with self-worth, someone who isn’t afraid to admit they mess up, someone who is willing to be honest with themselves about how they feel, someone who tries to protect and defend those that she loves, but someone who will trust in her “God” and put Him before everything else–even when she is afraid for her life. There are not many characters like her in fiction, much less in Christian fiction, so this is a character I highly recommend to put before young readers as an example of fictional heroes. Aveza of the Ercanhelm is a character to be admired.

    A second thing that I love is the level of the love stories in this book–and not romantic love really. But the variations of different relationships and the trueness of what love is. There character relationships develop almost organically within this story. Not because there were all necessarily amazing characters, but rather because the reader can understand and feel with them. From the love interest to the father figure to the “voice” of “God”, there characters all seemed to have an inhuman sort of love–almost even beyond the human idea of agape. And I feel like this is something that is very difficult for many people to write, but Rebekah DeVall pulled it off with her characters almost seamlessly.

    The final thing I wish to mention relates to the above point. Rebekah DeVall has a manner of writing that allows her to insert so much into only a few words. Her development of both plot and character is exquisite. In reading this short novel, entire worlds and relationships were built before my eyes that weren’t even explicitly written. There were relationships formed and founded, molded and understood within handfuls of pages that seemed so much deeper than the page actually allowed them to be.

    As a fellow writer, I could imagine stories within stories just in this novel alone, endless possibilities of places to take this story for sequels and spin-offs. Yet, sitting and pondering on the ending, the story and world feel complete, needing nothing. The story was ended, the character’s journey complete, the lesson learned and it left me with a sense of fullness that stories like this don’t often leave me with. This is something about Rebekah DeVall’s writing that I can honestly say, as a fellow writer, that I envy.

    Now, having finished saying all that I believe I can about Aveza of the Ercanhelm, I have a special treat for all of you who actually finish reading this. Below you will have the opportunity to read a part of an interview done with Rebekah DeVall concerning this book. (If you want to read more, visit my blog, the link to which you can find in my bio.) So, without further ado, enjoy this interview with our lovely author:

 
CS Taylor: How do you put your faith into your writing? Is that important?

Rebekah DeVall: I put my faith into my writing by covering issues that matter to me, that have affected me as a growing Christian. I don’t believe Aveza of the Ercanhelm is a preachy book, but it covers something I’ve struggled with: self-discovery, truth, sacrifice, and facing fears.

CS Taylor: Why do you think this story might be impactful to others?

Rebekah DeVall: Aveza feels deep things and lives a deep story, forcing me to ask questions about my own Christian walk and willingness to sacrifice. I hope it will provoke the same insight to readers.

CS Taylor: Why is this story important to you? Why did you HAVE to tell it? What inspired you to write it?

Rebekah DeVall: We may not believe in the evolution of humans… but I do believe in the evolution of story. Aveza of the Ercanhelm began as a simple thought (What if David’s ambidextrous warriors were set in a fantasy universe?) and a theme: facing fear. From that moment on, the characters took over the story. Late nights, early mornings—Aveza was mostly written with the computer screen being the only source of light, and God and I talking it out. It was pretty amazing. I had to write it because these characters would never be quiet. The story simply wrote itself. All I did was take dictation.

CS Taylor: How can aspects of this fictional story and its lessons apply to the lives of readers/yourself?

Rebekah DeVall: We’re all afraid of something. At this moment, I’m in the middle of a journey of self-discovery, of molding myself into the woman God wants me to be. While my secret is not so dark as Aveza’s, I struggle the same as she does: Who am I? Who can I tell? Will the words I say turn others against me?

So, as I hope that you can all see from this interview, this book was written with love from an author to a wide audience with a purpose. And I hope that by reading it, you may all feel the ravaging truth of Rebekah DeVall’s words when she told me at the end of the interview:

“Dear young woman who is struggling with finding yourself, with fear of what others will think… this book is for you.”

    

Well, darlings, I hope that some of you found this interesting and that you’ll come back later to read future articles about the business of self-publishing. I know that Rebekah would love to take questions from any of you, so you’re welcome to leave them on this blog or you’re welcome to contact me personally through the contact form (or at my email nevermoreemergingflame@gmail.com) and I can put you in touch with her. Take care, all.

Your unaffectionate supernova,

CS Taylor

               

 

 

Author Interview: Liz Kay

To all my beautiful people:

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an interview with an author, but considering that I’m going to be starting a series on publishing soon, I thought this might be enjoyable for all of you. That said, the person

That said, the person I’m interviewing today is one Liz Kay. She graduated from the MFA Writing program that I now attend and is a very accomplished author with several books published, as well as poems, chapbooks, and collections of poems. Overall, a very talented lady. She also is an editor and co-founder of burntdistrict, a literary journal that I highly recommend reading.

You can learn more about her here on her website, and visit burntdistrict to see copies of it here. You can purchase her book at this link on Amazon, as well as early copies of burntdistrict.

With all of that stated, let’s get on with the show!

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Making a Mark on Eternity

To all my beautiful people,

I’ve been sitting here for quite a while now just tapping away at the keys on my keyboard and staring at them. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had to wonder what to write on my blog. Generally, I’m having to pick between ideas and try to combine and organize them. Generally, I have something on my heart that I want to write about. But today is not that day.

Today, while I have something to share, I also have a question for you, my readers. A question I want you to think on, yes. But a question that I want to see answered because I don’t think there’s a more important question on this earth.

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Writing 101: What is a Christian Writer?

To all my beautiful people:

I’m doing it again. Writing without really stopping to think before I write. So if this doesn’t make a lot of sense, someone come and shoot me.

For a brief update on life, I am newly settled in Iowa. Yay. I am back to school with 15 credit hours in my MFA. Also yay. I am working three part-time jobs. This will possibly be the death of me. I’m also writing articles for several different online journals and magazines. Which is a little more fun. Also trying to tuck some time in there for writing and family and life. Less fun. Therefore, if I don’t blog for over a month, you know that I’m in rehab for being a sadistic sociopathic work-a-holic lunatic.

(Ah Grammarly, the beautiful thing which tells me that “work-a-holic” isn’t a word. Go figure.)

Enough said there.

Anyway, I’m breaking my promise. I know my dragon babies were super cute, and I promise I’ll go back to them eventually. But I sat down to blog today and just had something on my mind and heart that I wanted to share with you.

I’ve been talking to some young and beginning writers who are Christians. Many of them doubt their work and struggle to understand what it means to join their faith with their craft. I want to address this in the article below. Not what does it mean to be a Christian writer, but what does it mean to be a writer who is a Christian.

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Writing 101: Slay Your Dragons (With Belly Rubs Because They’re Cute.)

NOTE: I wrote this at like 12am-1am. It’s obvious.

To all my beautiful people:

There are normal people, there are normal writers, there are other writers, and then there’s me. What does this general statement have to do with anything?

It has to do with this week’s blog post request. I received two. One was for something on description or on writer’s block. The second was for dragons.

Of course, most people would go “what the heck am I supposed to do with that?”. I am that person. Until Creative C.S. Taylor kicks in. Then, this happens.

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Writing 101: Character Development

To all my beautiful people:

I have found my way to Iowa. And no, I didn’t get lost or die along the way. (Which yes, if you ask my father, is a miracle of God.) I’ve settled in and begun one new part-time job that I absolutely love.

I’m working with special needs and gifted children for a tutoring service, strictly tutoring in writing, reading, and study skills. There are two really nice girls that I’ve been working with as well. (Why are elementary education students so nice??? Maybe that’s why kids love them.)

Anyway, school is back in full swing, so likely my posts will become a little more infrequent. I’m hoping to be able to post at least bi-weekly. However, I have promised myself that I WILL post at least once a month.

I promise that this article will be useful, but first I want to pass along an idea to all of you. I’ve considered for a while now doing a serial blog story. Perhaps on this blog, or perhaps one that I’ll link to it. Is that something that you, as an audience, would like to see? Or is there a type of article that I’ve done in the past (or a topic you want to be explored) that you would like to see me do more of in the future?

I would sincerely love to have your feedback, as that’s what helps me keep this blog going. (Despite some people’s opinions, I do not inhale and exhale creativity. I depend on prompting and inspiration and deadlines just like the rest of humanity.) That said, if you have thoughts on a serial story or future articles, please either email me at nevermoreemergingflame@gmail.com or post in the comments below.

That said, without further ado, I’ll get to my general point for this article and stop wasting your precious time. 😛

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Book Review: I Capture the Castle

To all my beautiful people:

It struck me as I pulled up this page to write that I’ve grown this sort of “blogging intuition.” I’ve gotten to the point where my brain doesn’t keep track, but somehow I subconsciously feel when it’s time for me to blog again.

Literally, the last several times I’ve blogged I always end up pulling up the stats page to do so on the sixth day since I last blogged. I suppose that’s either a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it.

And honestly, sitting here and typing I don’t really know what I’m going to blog about yet. Therefore, I’ll probably just…go with it, as they say. Maybe this will be a blog post about nothing in particular. Who knows.

I suppose I need to give you all a brief life update. School residency is over and I’m back home preparing to move. That will happen at the end of this week. Promptly after moving I’ll start one of my part-time jobs. I’m still in the process of searching out a second. Camp NaNo was a flop this year. I got some writing done, but not anywhere near what I’d hoped to do. Oh well. That said,  my classes (for school) will be in full swing so blogging will slow down for a while. Likely, I will only be able to post twice a month at most–however, I will attempt to do better.

That said,  my classes (for school) will be in full swing so blogging will slow down for a while. Likely, I will only be able to post twice a month at most–however, I will attempt to do better.

 

 

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2017 Contest Winner: Non-fiction

To all my beautiful people:

For once, I don’t have a big to-do with which to open this. Right now, I’m at school so life is busier than I’d intended and NaNo is a flop. Go figure, right? Anyway, that said, I’m really excited to share this piece with you. I think it’s an incredible, highly impactful read and an incredible piece of non-fiction.

Before I do post it for you though, I suppose I should introduce the author a bit. Rissalyn Bard is one of the original followers of this blog. She an incredible writer, and managed to submit something every category in this contest. (Some of which you may see excerpts of later on.) Anyway, for this piece she used a prompt called “Words we [Never] Should’ve Left Unsaid” to create this vivid and moving piece of artwork.

To tell you a bit about the author, she has provided this short bio for you: Rissalyn Bard is a recent college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing from Lee University. Her career interests lie in library science and the publishing industry, and she is working on fictional novels in a wide variety of genres.

This said, without wasting anymore of your valuable time, I present to you our interview and winning Non-Fiction entry by the beloved author, Rissalyn Bard.

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2017 Contest Winner: Fiction

To all my beautiful people:

In short, I will post the fiction contest winner below. Yay. And next week, I will post the non-fiction winner. After that I’ll start producing original content again, as well as showing a few pieces from those who were not winners. Anyway, if you have suggestions for any articles, now is the time to send them! I really appreciate feedback from all of you.

Well, before I get started, I think this blog thing is catching. In the last month, I’ve had the pleasure of helping three wonderful young people start their own blogs. It’s been a very pleasing experience, and to help them I want to share those links with you. (One of them is belonging to our very own Gracie Rose.)

The first blog is that of one JJ Hallam. His blog can be found at this link. Primarily it covers issues of literature and history and current events which all cross over into each other. There are several very enjoyable articles there for anyone interested in more analytical writing.

The second blog is that of our darling Gracie Rose. Her blog can be located at this link. It’s  titled dear Gracie Rose. On it you will find everything from general thoughts to new poetry and advice on life, writing, and many other things. I highly encourage you to read pieces from this blog as they are always enjoyable.

The third blog is that of one Lanee. Her blog can be located at this link. While she doesn’t have any current articles up and the blog is in a state of being fixed up (because she literally just started it last night), she has a plethora of new and fun ideas that she’ll be posting in the near future, so I would keep an eye on this one. (She would be so pleased that I used the word plethora.)

Please take a look around these blogs. These are new authors, but they all have lots of promise, and I find it encouraging to see them stretching their wings to try new avenues of writing. Let’s support them in their endeavors, just as they have supported fellow bloggers in the past. 🙂

Before I go into our contest winner’s piece, I’ll give you a little background information. There was an almost tie in the fiction division, and I was hard pressed to choose a winner. (Mostly by myself.) That said, “Broken Soul” was the only piece submitted by Vera Aisling. It’s a short story based off of two characters from a longer piece she’s writing titled “Demon’s Lullaby.” “Broken Soul” is its prologue of sorts.

 

To tell you a little bit about Vera, she kindly sent us the below bio (which includes some links to more amazing blogs, guys! Especially Of Beauty and Rage, which is a story based blog. <3)

Vera Aisling writes comedic fantasy, psychological horror, and slice of life stories about faith and other hard aspects of life. She has an obsession with vampires and angels. You can read more of her stuff on her personal blog Shadows in the Corner, or her collab angel series blog Of Beauty and Rage.

That said, without further ado, I will now present our fiction winner for the 2017 Summer Contest!

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