Meet Author Amanda Tero!

Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interviewAs part of the Indie Christian Books Black Friday sale (which is live today through the 30th), I got to interview fellow author and homeschool graduate Amanda Tero! Hope you have as much fun getting to know her as I did!

Interview Q&A

What made you decide to be an author? What encouragements have you had along the way?

I was the kid who tried my hand at story-writing well before I was ten. I don’t remember really deciding to become a writer, I just was one. My family has always been an encouragement to me, whether it was my sisters joining in with story-churning, my mom teaching and editing, and my dad bragging about me, they have never been anything less than supportive.

Tell us about other things you do – work, family, church. What do you do for fun?

Writing is actually one of the smaller things that I do, so this is fairly simple. I do a lot of music—I teach piano and violin, arrange hymns (and sell them at withajoyfulnoise.com), record music (my YouTube channel), play for church, and play for my family ministry. I suppose you could say that music is my work, even though for me it’s a big ministry and blessing. Some hobbies are photography, graphics design, crocheting, and reading (of course). My family—I’ll get to that with your next question. As for church, I go to Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, which has been an incredible blessing! Our pastor is a very solid Bible preacher, as well as a big brother figure for all of us siblings.

Family is a big thing for me – especially sibling-love!
Tell us about your family and siblings. Do you all get along? Do you have favorites : ) ? What was it like growing up?

I have eleven siblings from 35 to 8. I’m number 5. Overall, we get along. We have our moments and certain personalities clash a little more than others. But from what I have heard, our family gets along so very well—which is all due to being raised to honor God. As for favorites, I do try not to have favorites. 😉 My siblings are my best friends—they know the best and worst of me, what I believe, and how I communicate.
Growing up was super fun. Since I’m number five, I’ve always had a “large” family feel. We were raised with a lot of music (teased to be the “von Trapps” when we were younger), homeschooled, a lot of lighthearted teasing, animals, gardens, that type of thing.

Why did your parents choose to home-educate you? What’s your opinion? Would you choose the same for your own children, should you have any?

When my oldest sister was getting ready for kindergarten, my family lived in New Orleans. They saw guards packing guns around these little kids running around, and that was what led Dad to make the decision to keep the kids home and homeschool them. It wasn’t a popular decision at the time, and they didn’t know many homeschooling families. Since then, their reason for homeschooling has changed, and it was more of a conviction than a safety issue. I absolutely loved being homeschooled. What stands out to me most are two things: 1) When I think back at my schooling years, it wasn’t just about getting an education, but getting a solid start in God’s Word. The years that my parents invested into me spiritually can never be compared to any education in this world. 2) My highschool years were catered to what God had specifically gifted me in; while other kids were studying subjects that were irrelevant to their calling in life, I was majoring in music and writing. Given my very positive experience, I would definitely homeschool my children.

What are three things about you that are interesting, unusual, or unexpected?

Uh…I’m completely okay with being single…uh…I so have a hard time with words. Like, I use the wrong word in the place of the correct word. I can’t think of a good example, but I might would say something like, “quarantined” instead of “quartered.” And number three…I hate marketing? That’s not a huge unexpected from an author, though. 😉

Who is your favorite author (and book) ever and WHY? (If you can’t pick just one, narrow it down to two!)

Ooh! Well, my favorites change a lot. Right NOW, my favorite authors would be Roseanna White, for her writing ability, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, for her solid, Biblical plots.

How does your relationship with God interact with or influence your writing?

Oh wow. My relationship with God is the backbone of my writing! I pray a lot about my writing, study God’s Word when I’m looking at themes, take from personal-life examples of what God has taught me. I doubt that I’d even be a writer if it wasn’t for God’s leading in this.

Meet Author Amanda Tero! — Kimia Wood — interviewDo you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?

It all depends on the book. My short story, “Coffee Cake Days” was probably most auto-biographical. When it comes to my novels, I do try to reach outside of myself and portray characters who are not all like me, and who go through struggles that I may not go through. The reason for this is that I don’t want all of my stories to sound the same.

Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?

I have several helpers in my writing. Currently, three of my friends are my “writing counselors.” They know my general storyline and/or will read excerpts as I write the story, pray with me as I write it, and bounce off ideas like nothing else. After the writing stage, I definitely use beta readers. I currently have a team of about thirteen working on my upcoming novel. When they are finished with it, my story goes into the hands of my mom, who is my final editor. So far, I have designed all of my covers. It’s something that I enjoy doing, so I’m not quite ready to hand that job over to someone else. 😉

What’s your view on indie versus traditional publishing? Have you tried to be published traditionally, or do you want to?

I have never traditionally published, so my views are limited of that of Indie. So far, it has really worked for me, but I do have strong opinions about it. The ease of indie publishing has opened the doors to hundreds of pathetically patch-worked stories that really aren’t worth being sold. Writers aren’t always learning the craft as much as they are just trying to churn out a story and make some money. Quantity over quality. In ways, a traditional publisher moderates the quality of the quantity that they produce. But enough of that. 😉 For now, I try my best to do the best I can with Indie publishing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to traditional publishing—at the same time, I’m not blinded to the “glamour” of traditional. It still requires work, but it is a nice goal.

Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interviewTell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.

My latest or my upcoming? Let’s settle on my latest: “The Secret Slipper.” A dual-plotline has become my absolute favorite to work with—especially when it covers a girl who has no clue that she has a father, and a father when he has discovered that the daughter he thought dead ten years ago is alive and under the hands of someone he cannot trust. Lia and Raoul make a very neat team. Raoul is a Christian who is struggling with trust—not necessarily for himself, but for his daughter. Lia isn’t a Christian and everything in her life is coming to a cascading fall, swirling completely out of control. Oh, and did I mention that this is kind of a Cinderella-inspired retelling? It was such fun to put an original twist to it!

What’s your next project?

And here’s for my upcoming project: Nat’s story. Oh, Nat’s story. It’s my first full-length novel (currently 70k words) and has been a long haul of a job! But, let me introduce you to Nat. He is a boy raised on the streets, independent, fending for himself. One mistake places him in jail then hauled out on the orphan train out west, going places he doesn’t want to nor has any choice about. Just when life begins to go as he has planned, he is thrown into the War Between the States against his will. Are there ways that he can make choices in the midst of all of these choices made against him?

Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you still hope to be writing books? Are there other accomplishments/projects you hope to achieve?

Well, five years ago I hadn’t planned on being exactly where I am today. I definitely still hope to be writing books. I would like to still be producing music albums and publishing sheet music and teaching. And, if the Lord doesn’t bring a husband, I’d still like to be teaching. Maybe have my own house by then. I don’t know. 😉 I try to live my life by the moment, seeking God for the next step—it’s exciting, cause you never know where it will lead!

Where can people find you on the Internet?

Email: amandaterobooks[at]gmail[dot]com
Website: http://amandatero.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaterobooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amandaruthtero/
Blog: www.withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmandaTero
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/amandatero

Find Her Books!Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interview

Amanda and I both have books on sale or discounted with the Indie Christian Books Black Friday Sale (site is live Nov. 24–30) so be sure to look her up! She says her short stories are all free, while her novels are discounted – and who doesn’t love free reads?😉

Don’t forget to enter the sale giveaways, too—

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are You Thankful for Free Christian Books?

It’s that time of year.

The time for buying presents, and making lists of things we’re thankful for. Books, for instance! Here are some books I’m grateful for:

Are You Grateful for Free Christian Books? — Kimia Wood — booksNever, by J. Grace Pennington;
That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis;
Prince of Fishes, by Suzannah Rowntree;
The Innocence of Father Brown, by G. K. Chesterton;
This Present Darkness, by Frank E. Peretti.

If books are something you love to give – and get – here’s one more thing to be grateful for:

Books on sale!

In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors has banded together to offer a huge selection of discounted books between Nov 24th and 30th.

On November 24th, the Indie Christian Books website (http://www.indiechristianbooks.com) will go live. Every single book listed will be on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebookspackage deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we have some freebies for you! (And we all know how much I love FREE! 😉)

Need even more of a reason to support independent authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks.com you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!

And who doesn’t love giveaways?!

You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.

What awesome reads are you grateful for (so much so that you just have to get copies for all your friends 😃)?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.


White Mesa’s on Sale, Too!Are You Grateful for Free Books? — Kimia Wood — books

My books are on sale with this promotion, too! If you haven’t yet grabbed ebooks copies of my titles (or you’d like a cheap paperback edition) now’s the perfect time to do it – just get on the site once it goes live on the 24th.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter all the giveaways—

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NaNo ’17: FERAL Sneak Peek!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2017 is under way. Today is day 5, and as of this writing I am 9,509 words toward the target of 50,000.

I’m writing Book 6 of the White Mesa Chronicles: Feral. Books 1 and 2 are available now!NaNo 17: FERAL — Kimia Wood — NaNoWriMo

Here’s a taste of Feral (warning: SPOILERS for Books 2 through 5 😏):

Panic. Sam felt it coming on, and knew it for what it was.

Yesterday morning, the only thing he was worried about was keeping his little brothers in line while Dad ushered and Mom sat in the choir.

Then – boom. General Thaxton (one of the biggest men on the security council) had appeared, muttered some things to Dad, and whisked Sam away before his mother could know what was going on.

“99. Pay attention.”

Sam blinked and scribbled the temperature in the notebook, swallowing hard against the panic. Now he was holed up in the New Republic (his homeland’s biggest enemy) with 20 doses of z-killer (25 to 30 if he stretched them) and 50 to 60 z-germ patients ready to devolve into blood-lusting attack-beasts within the week. Continue reading

6 Things I Learned From Beta-readers

Beta-readers are the people who read your manuscript before it’s published to give you advice about how to make it better.

Sort of like “beta players” in the gaming industry are the lucky dogs who get to see Destiny 2 before the rest of us players who test the game while it’s still in “beta” and not ready to be released for the masses.

So what have they taught me?

  1. I have a coy writing style, frequently sacrificing “communicative” for “cute”.
  2. When you tack a beginning onto the front of your book…people can tell that you just tacked a beginning onto the front of your book.
  3. Layman beta-reader: “I like it.”
    Author beta-reader: *3 pages later…*
  4. Not everyone has lived in my pretend world for years the way I have.
  5. REWRITE REWRITE REWRITE and don’t stress it, ’cause you won’t please everyone.
  6. High-quality beta-readers = worth their weight in gold.

Thank you for reading this week’s stand-in blog post; now I’m off to rework that tacky beginning 😉

SOLDIER—A Friend in Need

The brutal truth: I procrastinated too much and didn’t get a post together for today.

The glossed-over story: Hooray! You get a special look at the first chapter of my latest release, Soldier (White Mesa Chronicles Book 1)!

(I checked, and the Amazon preview doesn’t go all the way to the end of the chapter, partly because of my little prologue thing.)

Anyway, enjoy! And if your curiosity is piqued, check out the book on Amazon (.mobi), Smashwords (most digital formats), Kobo.com, or Barnes & Noble (.epub)!


A Friend in Need

1330 hours

Tommy eased the motorcycle to a stop, his teeth clattering as they jolted over one last pothole.

He flicked a look over his shoulder, bracing as his “partner” jumped down and swung his rifle up and down the street.

“Clear,” called Ricco Dobson.

Tommy eased forward to be more in the lee of the torched cop car, and engaged the kickstand. Below the smashed roof lights and burned-out interior of the vehicle, the door still bore the peeling words Chicago Police. It had to be five decades since that had meant anything to anyone except history geeks like Tommy.

Creaking to a standing position, he also scanned their surroundings, tugging off his driving gloves. The road looked deserted except for the dog corpse they’d passed a dozen yards back, its mangey skin stretched tight over its skeleton. Three or four crows stared down at the two young men from tree branches or power poles, waiting ’til the coast was clear to return to their meal. Continue reading

Character Meet—White Mesa Chronicles

The publication date of White Mesa Chronicles Book 1: Soldier is upon us! To celebrate, I’d like you to meet some of the principal players!

White Mesa has one of the largest casts I’ve written (necessarily, being a series) and it took me quite a few drafts to get all their personalities nailed down. It was fun getting to know them, though!

In the effort to refine the characters’ essence, and make them not identical to myself 😊, I’ve used a number of character types and writer tricks. See what you think!

Capt. Lasky; Image credit: TVTropes.org

Thomas “Tommy” Thaxton

  • Family: General Michael Thaxton (member of the WM security council) and Dr. Joanna Thaxton (missing, presumed dead). No siblings.
  • Glass is 🍵 half-full or half-empty?: Half a cup only comes to a quarter-cup of water for each of us, but you can have my share because…you know…that’s the right thing to do…
  • Temperament: Melancholic
  • Favorite book/movie/TV show: That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis; Columbo
  • Destiny Class: Sun-singer Warlock (Knowledge) [New Monarchy]
  • D&D/WoW Class: Paladin [DPS]  Alignment: Lawful Good
  • StarCraft race: Terran
  • Strengths: Sniping, Charisma, Compassion;  Fears: Heights, Failure
  • Favorite means of transportation: truck or bicycle

Continue reading

Eris: The Tale of the Story

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a story.

July 6, 2009, is the date I have recorded that the story first emerged as recognizably itself:

Eris: the Tale of the Story — Kimia Wood — story

How we did story-boarding in the dark ages.

A human prince – Eris – is banished and branded, but accompanied on his wanderings by his elf and dwarf best friends.

As I usually do, I took the seed to my dad, who is an expert in taking my infantile premises and giving them plots. Continue reading

Author’s Guild Rails at Amazon’s Buy-Box

(This post might be more interesting to the writers among us, but readers and buyers-of-books are also affected by the dynamics of this issue.)

Author’sGuild.org recently posted an article discussing a change in Amazon’s algorithms regarding who gets top billing in what is called the “buy box” of books – apparently the display at the top that lists all available formats and the relative prices. As you might know, a little farther down appear links to other retailers offering “used” or “new” copies of the books.

Currently, Amazon places itself in the prime “buy box” spot, as the first buy-option people see, but according to the article Amazon intends to use metrics to allow third-party retailers the chance to get in that prize spot. (Amazon gets its stock from the publishers, but acts as the distributor itself.)

Author’s Guild (AG) is incensed at the suggested change, but on reading their article I find their arguments less than compelling. Continue reading

Writing Post Round-up 2016

I enjoy Twitter – and what I enjoy most is sharing and finding new blog posts or resources to help me in my writing journey. I realize not all of us are writers as well as readers, but for those who enjoy both, here are the articles/posts I’ve found most helpful or interesting this past year.

(I read 99% of the articles I tweet out, but not all of them are worth going back to later. The ones below are worth the effort!)

The Authoring Landscape

The Man Behind the Mask: On the Creation of Batman—and Rewriting Authorship Itself, by Sean P. Carlin (@SeanPCarlin):
A long and thought-provoking post about assigning authorship to intellectual property, the hazards of mob rule, “correcting for history”, and the baffling fact that someone has published a collection of Shakespeare’s works with Christopher Marlowe as co-author. Important read with telling worldview implications.

Protect eBooks Or Trust Customers To Do The Right Thing, by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords (@MarkCoker):
A lucid post on DRM (digital rights management) and the future of books. DRM is an important issue in today’s publishing world, and deserves the time it takes to understand the implications.

In Defense of Short Games, by Extra Credits (@ExtraCreditz):
This YouTube channel team posts videos primarily about game development and story-craft in gaming, but much of what they say is just as applicable to novelist entrepreneurs, or screenplay-writers, etc. This particular video affirms that sometimes it doesn’t take 10 hours of gameplay (or 200,000 words of a novel, or 3+ hours of running time) to tell the story you need to tell, and writers who deliver content in a shorter frame should be just as valued as the others.

Making Money in a World Addicted to FREE—What Do Writers DO?, by Kristen Lamb (@KristenLambTX):
I like so much of what Mrs. Lamb writes – partly because her style is very different from my own, and thus challenges me – and this post talks about writers being worth payment for their labor (just like every other business providing a product), and teaches us how to take charge of our author brand and bring the technological advances of our day to heel!

Botched Beginnings: Common First Page Killers, by Kirsten Lamb:
The first few pages/chapters of a book are always critical, and this post is an engaging walk-through of some common pit-falls to avoid.

5 Reasons to Pan Those 5-Star Reviews, by Porter Anderson:
This post discusses everything that goes wrong when every book is either FULLY AWESOME or WORST THING EVER.
I’ve heard some authors determine to not write book reviews, unless the book is good, to avoid “hurting feelings”…but I can just say I’m very grateful for the thoughtful, intelligent writers who write thoughtful, intelligent reviews of their reads, thus helping the authors of those books and the rest of us to grow, learn, and improve our craft. Why would you cheat anyone of your constructive criticism, thus skewing the review-ratings and denying them the chance to make the next book better?

Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish?, by Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman):
If you’re an author weighing the options of which publishing route to take, this post can help you lay out exactly what you’re looking to achieve and help you make the best decision for your goals.

3 Ways Self-Publishers Fail at Cover Design, by Joel Friedlander (@JFbookman):
Whether you’re trying your hand at making your own cover, or outsourcing the design, it’s important to remember the biggest pitfall authors face in this area: not considering the audience.

Common Writing Myths, by Nat Russo (@NatRusso):
This post shows the weaknesses of axioms like “Show, Don’t Tell” and encourages all writers to take a deep breath, step back, and write for the story, not for the critics.

Using Twitter Effectively, by Nat Russo:
This is a long series of posts, but it really helped me define my ideas of marketing and social media as I got started on Twitter. Because the landscape of Twitter – and marketing with Twitter – is so complex, also consider Kirsten Lamb’s post Twitter for Writers – Eight Ways to Nuke Your Brand.

Don’t Let A Glock Kill Your Book, by Scott Hoffman:
A post by a literary agent explaining why agents read until they can stop, then do (specifically with examples from thriller manuscripts). When they get about 500 queries a week, it doesn’t take much ignorance or imperfection (in research, grammar, or editing) to make a busy agent drop your query and go on to the next. Get your stuff right!

Worldview Significance

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” – The True Cost of Survival in The Walking Dead, by Extra Credits:
Again, this is a YouTube video primarily talking about the adventure video game The Walking Dead…but it’s talking about so much more than that. It’s talking about the ability of an art form to confront us with our humanity and challenge us to rethink crucial elements of who we are – while entertaining us at the same time. If you’re an author seeking to bring your work to a whole new level, this is a good exploration of what’s possible.

Superversive Blog: Life, Carbon, and the Tao — Part Two!, by Tom Simon:
I go back to this post every so often because it’s such a shining explanation of the impact of stories, and why your starting point for interpreting the world (worldview) matters so very much – in everything.

3 Ways the “Blind Men and the Elephant” Story Backfires, by Trevin Wax:
If you’ve heard this “just so” fable that talks about different perspectives on truth (or even if you haven’t), check out this thought-provoking analysis of where the analogy comes up short.


cropped-IMGP56981.jpgKimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little. Now she writes to give the people living in her head a chance at life. Join the mailing list to stay up to date on her latest reading and writing adventures!

Top 5 Namesakes

Five Reused Names

The Top Ten Tuesday subject for today is “Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc. After”. Fictional characters frequently have cool or memorable names, don’t you think? I’ve only been able to think of five examples of fictional namesakes – and yet it’s curious how many names we’ve snitched over the years.

1. On April 27, 2006, I created a ranger character for a D&D campaign my dad was game-mastering. I named this character “Elwin“, after Elwin Ransom in C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy. Continue reading