Upcoming Christian Novel~ A Courageous Heart

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Thirteen year old, Emiline Elmwood, wants to be courageous. She dreams of daring battles and heroic missions, but that doesn’t keep her from feeling afraid when her simple life in the West takes a perilous turn. As she and her friend, Peter McDougall, explore the wild woods, they find a little more adventure than they bargained for. Winter’s storms become perilously cold, and there’s something strange about the cave they find in the hills. The sense of coming danger makes Emiline feel uneasy. Could it just be her imagination? Or has something or someone been watching their every move? Danger lurks around every corner, and its enough to put both Emma and Peter on their guard. Will they be brave enough to face their enemy? Or will they find their courage pushed to its limit, and discover that only faith in Christ can strengthen them in their hour of peril?

This is the third book in the “Hero at Heart” series, and it’s coming soon! I hope to get this book published before the close of 2017! All it needs is some editing and some artwork. In the meantime, get ready for this exciting story and check out the first two books in this series on Amazon.com! There you can see an excerpt of both books and have your pick between paperback and kindle versions!

You can see I’ve begun to create the front cover for “A Courageous Heart”. I’m a long way from finished, and in sore need of a new laptop before I can complete it! But, I’m working on it, slowly but surely! My laptop no longer allows my Bamboo tablet and pen to function, which makes digital art very difficult! But, easy remedy! It gives me an excuse to buy a new laptop. Who could complain about that? Keep an eye out, because I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from this new story soon! And in the future, I’ll be letting you know about another book I’ve recently finished. I’m looking forward to announcing it! But so far, the book hasn’t found a proper title, hehe! So I’ll have to figure that out. If you like this post, don’t forget to follow this blog! I love making new friends, hearing your thoughts and connecting with both readers and fellow writers! And, if you love books as much as I do, you can keep up with my latest books as well as my favorite stories from other authors by following me on Goodreads! Have a wonderful spring, and a joyous summer!

Createspace Review ~ Self Publishing A Christian Novel

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Today, I wanted to do a review of Createspace for any fellow, self-publishing authors out there. I have been using Createspace over the past year, and what an adventure it has been! Let me start by saying that ultimately I’m pretty satisfied with the company. So far they have given me great customer service, and I was able to achieve the end results I wanted. With that said, I will admit that not everything has been a piece of cake with Createspace either. This is going to be a balancing review showing the things about Createspace that I like, the things I don’t like, and sharing the one really worrying experience I had with them recently.

Okay, the things I love about Createspace:

  1. Their wholesale price is incredible! I have a book with a little over 400 pages and it costs me less than $7 to print it. This means that if I order copies and sell them myself in local stores or at events, I can make a pretty decent profit on them!
  2. The pages feel quality. I like the weight and feel of their paper. I usually choose the cream colored paper, because I think it’s easier on people’s eyes when they read, and I really like the way the interior of my books turn out!
  3. Both the glossy and the matte covers turn out looking and feeling wonderful! I can say with certainty that (as long as there are no accidental mistakes) the quality of the cover material is good!
  4. This one seems obvious, but I love Createspace because they have allowed me to make my dream come true! Sharing my books with the world was important to me, and Createspace makes it possible for me not only to have my books in print, but to have them available on Amazon.com. It was really important to me that my books were available on Amazon. It’s a site that everyone recognizes and trusts.

Things that I don’t particularly like about Createspace:

  1. Instructions for formatting novels for Createspace aren’t exactly easily found. Maybe this was my own fault and lack of observation, but it took a lot of trial and error to format my novels. After doing a lot of fiddling with the margins and trim size of my document, I finally realized that Createspace offered Microsoft Word templates. That would have been a life saver if I had only known it sooner, but somehow I missed it! This isn’t really a mark against Createspace. But it would be so, so nice of them to make their template page a little more conspicuous so authors could find it right off the bat!
  2. Formatting the cover image was…confusing. So, Createspace offers templates for creating a properly sized cover image depending on the trim size you have chosen for your book. I used it and designed my front cover. I thought that I did it just right, but each time I upload the image to Createspace, it notifies me that the image was sized incorrectly and that they had to adjust it. Ultimately, the image works. Createspace resizes it and it ends up looking fine, so no real problem. But I’m still confused. If I used a template, then why does it say it was sized incorrectly? Again, this may be my own lack of understanding. Formatting cover images for Createspace is tricky  and I wish that they could give us a more in depth tutorial about it.
  3. You are unable to preview your uploaded cover image until after Createspace has reviewed the media for 24 hours. This is always so frustrating, because since formatting is a little tricky and slightly uncertain, you won’t know if you did the sequence of converting JPEG to PDF right for 24 hours (sometimes a bit less). It’s inconvenient, but perhaps Createspace has a very good reason for this step, so we’ll just excercise some patience and wait to see the results.
  4. The ink for the cover art is darker than expected. I’m not saying this is a big problem or frustration to me, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. If you’ve made your cover rich with dark hues, you might want to lighten it just slightly or some of your darkest objects may not be fully visible.
  5. Createspace only allows you to make books which are 22 pages in length or longer. Now, I’m sure they have a good reason for this one, maybe their printing machines need to have 22 pages in order to bind them together, I don’t know, but it’s still slightly disappointing. As well as novels, I am a children’s book author/llustrator. Children can’t handle a lot of pages, their attention span runs out too quickly. I’m afraid that 22 pages is too long for some ages, which means that I can’t publish my small picture books through Createspace unless I group several of them together.That can be done, but it isn’t the way I envisioned my books being published. For picture books that are shorter than 22 pages, I would suggest you look into thebookpatch.com. If you’re interested in that company, you can go check out the reviews which I wrote about my experiences with them.

Okay, now to share my dramatic experience. Keep in mind that the following account is in no way meant to paint Createspace in a negative light. In the end, I was totally happy with them and I was a satisfied customer. Here it goes: this December, I had made plans to go to the local Christmas Bazaar. I was so excited because it was the first time I could present both of my novels to my lovely town’s people. So, as soon as I had formatted my second novel and gotten it uploaded to Createspace, I ordered a few copies.I don’t know why, but I had a sort of premonition that something was going to go wrong. Time wise, I knew that I was cutting things close and I was kind of scared that the books wouldn’t come in time for the Bazaar. But, they did! I was really glad, but my joy quickly turned to horror. When I opened the box, I noticed that my cover was a little bit weird looking. The left margin was a bit cropped. I thought “Oh no, I must not have formatted it right!”. Disgruntled but trying to make the best of things, I decided that the appearance of the cover wasn’t bad enough to worry about. On further inspection however, more problems arose. As I took each book out of the box, I noticed that some of them had bent corners. The box was way too small! The packaging was a little bit sloppy. There was also a glue-like substance smudged over the back covers and spines of the books, and when I looked inside, I noticed that the left margin was cropped there too! When you held the page in your hand, you barely had enough room for your thumb to rest on the page without covering the text. I knew that this was a factory mistake, because when I formatted my book, I made sure that the margins were roomy. I grabbed a measuring tape and discovered that the books had been made over a quarter inch smaller than my selected trim size. Compared to the proof copy I had ordered a couple weeks earlier, they were very small! Yes, you can imagine that I was a very discouraged girl at that moment. But, I got on the phone with Createspace, and my troubles began melting away. Here’s were my complaints end and my praise for this company begins. They have excellent customer service! Yes, I did have to wait on hold for a long time. No problem. Once my call was put through, the man on the other end was so friendly and helpful! He listened to my story and immediately took action, giving me instructions on how to send the defective books back and ordering a replacement shipment right away. He promised that they were going to make sure that the books looked right before I got them, and he gave me free priority shipping! I was holding my breath so to speak, because the Bazaar was only days away! To my delight, the new shipment of books arrived the evening before the Bazaar and they looked splendid! Since Createspace was so good about righting their wrong, I don’t hold this dramatic experience against them. I know what their printing quality is usually like, (excellent), and even though I got one batch of defective books, I’m hoping it was a short lived error. I am a happy customer! I got a box full of beautiful books and had so much fun sharing them with people at the Christmas Bazaar! So, there’s my story and my review about Createspace. One of these days, I’m really hoping to put out a post about formatting books and uploading them to Createspace. I don’t claim to be a professional, but hey, I went through trials, errors, headaches and more until I finally created a book that I am proud of! Maybe my experiences will help others avoid all of those time consuming errors as they make their dreams come true! Oh, and if anyone has suggestions or experiences, or if you know something I don’t, I would love to hear your thoughts about Createspace, self publishing, marketing etc…! If you’d like to check out my two novels, you can take a look here! They’re available in both paperback and kindle formats, and you can read the first few chapters on Amazon.com! You can also follow me on Goodreads! You can find my novels posted there, and take a look at my favorite books to read! I love sharing my favorite reads, discovering new ones, and writing reviews from a Christian perspective. Have fun, keep writing and I wish you the best!

My Second Book on Amazon ~ A Christian Novel for Ages 9+

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My second novel is published!! I’m so excited! “The Richest Heart” is the second book in my “Hero at Heart” series. Written for children ages 9 + it is full of imagination, adventure and mystery. It’s available in both paperback and kindle formats on Amazon.com. Come check it out, here, and take a look at the first chapters! You can also follow me on Goodreads where all of my novels as well as my favorite books can be found! Now, for the synopsis of my latest book!

Emiline Elmwood dreams of being a fair lady. She longs for drama, fashion, cities and fancy tea parties. But as a twelve year old farm girl in the late 1800’s, those things seem to be out of her reach. Meanwhile, a mystery begins to grow as she and her best friend find the ruins of a burnt house hidden in the forest. Unraveling the story of a family quarrel and a fatal tragedy, she searches for clues and answers. Who had lived there? What had happened? Had anyone survived? Her dramatic quest and imaginative dreams carry her away. Could the town gossiper, Mrs. Bufford, be her only hope of finding answers? And when all of her dreams seem to come true, will she really be satisfied? Or will she discover that contentment comes from a simple life, and that the richest heart is the one that is full of Christ’s love?

I had quite a time getting this novel formatted. Oh, the suspence and drama of being self published!! But at last it’s finished and I am so, so happy! For all of my fellow, self publishing authors, I’ll be posting a review for Createspace as well as a tale of tragedy, suspense and final triumph soon! Until then, have a great week!

I started a Goodreads Author Profile!

Hurrah I have just begun the lovely adventure of Goodreads! You can check out my novel and book trailer there. Plus I’ve shared my favorite novels and the books that I’m interested in reading! It’s so much fun to share!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16070443.Theresa_Stinnett

The Richest Heart~Sneak Preview~A Christian Novel Coming Soon

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I just ordered my first proof copy of my second novel “The Richest Heart”! Woohoo! I’m so excited. This is the second book in my “Hero at Heart” series, if you haven’t seen the first book, check it out here! I am so close to having this novel published. All I have to do is look over my proof copy when it comes and then I will be sharing it with all of you! But, because waiting that long is far too hard, I thought I’d give  you a peek at the first chapter!

Chapter 1: The Message

Emiline gasped as her head rose above the water. Sputtering and coughing, she clung to a floating barrel and looked all around. Salt water was gushing in through a gash in the ship’s side. What had happened? Had the ship been thrown against a rock? Or had it been attacked?

It was dark in the bottom of the ship. The only light was a thin shaft that was falling around the hatch. With desperate haste, the girl left her barrel and swam toward that light. She grabbed onto the wooden ladder and put a hand against the door above her. But, before she could push it open, a noise made her stop. Clunk, clunk, clunk… It was the sound of wood thundering against wood. A frightening image flashed across Emiline’s mind. She could just picture a rogue captain staggering across the deck with his wooden leg.

“Pirates!” she thought fearfully. The water was up to her neck. Soon, it would rise over her head. What would she do? If she went on deck, the pirates would capture her. But if she stayed below, there was no hope of survival.

Clunk, Clunk, Clunk…

Suddenly, the sound shattered Emiline’s dreams. It was a loud noise, but what was it? Sleepily the girl opened her eyes. She was curled up in her own, cozy bed, snuggled under a warm blanket. For a moment, she lay still, listening carefully. Once again, the rattling noise of someone knocking on the front door came to her ears.

“A visitor?” she thought to herself. “This early in the morning? Who could it be?” She heard Mother’s footsteps hurry down stairs. The door opened quietly and two polite voices began to speak.

“Good morning, Mr. Thompson,” Mother said pleasantly. “What have you got for us today?” Emiline smiled. Mr. Thompson was the postman. Someone must have sent them a letter. A feeling of curiosity made the girl impatient to get out of bed, but she was trapped. Her little sister was still fast asleep, and the girl was clinging to her tightly.

“Ugh!” Emiline rolled her eyes in frustration. She didn’t understand why her sister had to snuggle so close to her.

“If only our house was a little bit bigger!” she yearned, “Then I wouldn’t have to share my bed.”

“Lizzy, let go of me,” she said aloud, wriggling away from the child’s arms. Elizabeth yawned and gave a mighty stretch.

“Good morning!” she exclaimed cheerfully. She threw her arms around Emma again and gave her a tight squeeze. Emiline grumbled inside.

“Good morning,” she replied, hiding her irritation. She patted the little girl on the head and then nudged her out of bed.

The floor was cold on Emma’s bare feet. She rushed to her closet and flung the door open. Lizzy bounded after her.

“Emma, I wanna wear my pretty, blue dress!” Elizabeth cried excitedly. She reached out a hand and fingered the soft, cotton skirt.

“You can’t wear that one, Silly,” Emiline laughed. “That’s your Sunday dress. If you wear it now, you’ll get it dirty.”

“Ahh,” Lizzy pouted “But I’ll be really careful!”

Emiline ignored her sister’s endless excuses and slipped on a simple plaid dress. She sighed as she watched herself in the mirror. She didn’t think her dress looked very becoming on her. But, as she unraveled her braids and watched her dark curls bounce around her shoulders, she felt better about herself. Down in the living room, Emma heard the front door shut again.

“Who would be sending us a letter?” the girl wondered. Her family didn’t get many things in the mail. Most of their friends lived close by and they visited them often. She grabbed the doorknob with an eager hand.

“Emma, what about me?” her sister whined.

“Oh, Lizzy, can’t you dress yourself this time?” Emiline begged. She was dying to go down and see what the postman had brought. The little girl shook her head sulkily.

“Oh, alright,” Emma growled. She hurried back to the closet and unbuttoned her sister’s nightgown with hasty fingers. Then she threw a dress over the girl’s head.

“Come on, Lizzy, stop being difficult,” she demanded, trying to fit the girl’s arm through the sleeve. As soon as she had fastened Elizabeth’s dress, she dashed out of the door before the girl could say another word.

Down the squeaky stairs, she found her mother sitting at her writing desk in the living room…

 

The Richest Heart ~ Self Publishing A Christian Novel

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I just wanted to share my excitement! I’ve been working hard at getting my second novel edited and formatted this week and I’m getting so close to being finished. I’m hoping to have this new book, The Richest Heart, out on Amazon within a week or two! Maybe less if all goes well! This is a sneak peak of the front cover! I really enjoyed creating it using Manga Studio and the Wacom Tablet my sister was so kind as to let me barrow, hehe! I loved all of the elements that went into this project. The ocean was a lot of fun! Anyway, I’ll be sharing more about this book soon! In the meantime, you might want to check out the first book in The Hero at Heart series, here!

A Hero at Heart ~ Christian Book Trailer

“A Hero at Heart” is an exciting, historical novel set in the 1800’s. Full of mystery, fun and drama, it follows Emiline Elmwood, an imaginative, twelve year old girl who dreams of being a hero and saving people’s lives. But, when she’s faced with needy neighbors and a bully whom she’s learned to hate, her courage is put to the test. Does she have what it takes to step out of her comfort zone and reach out to the poor? Worst of all, can she find it within herself to swallow her pride and help her enemy? Facing her worst fears and her own faults, she turns to God for help. Ultimately, she learns that Jesus is the greatest hero of all.

Important life lessons weave their way through this unforgettable tale, teaching faith, compassion and the true meaning of heroism.

Buy the Book Here: https://www.amazon.com/Hero-at-Heart-…