Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

Wow! Only 12 days left before Christmas. I hope you're ready! But if not, you still have time. Now is the best time to take a little break and do something nice for yourself. I don't doubt you've been running around like crazy getting presents and decorations--not to mention getting ready for all the parties!

Curling up with a good book is the best to way to unwind and relax. In honor of the season of giving, I will be giving one lucky winner their choice of paperback from my collection (open to U.S. shipping only). You'll be able to pick from my fiction titles or my nonfiction titles.

All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is leave a comment telling me what you like most about the holidays. Good luck!

After entering my giveaway, don't forget to check out the other blog participating in the hop!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?

Like so many questions in writing, this one isn’t easy to answer. It can take as little as a few months to a few years to write a book—it all depends on how long it is, what age level it’s written for, how much time you dedicate to it, and how many rounds of edits you put it through.

I think the reason people ask this question is because they are worried or afraid of the amount of time they’ll have to commit to a novel. It can be daunting and scary to think that you’ll be working on the same story for years down the road, but if you are dedicated and intent on writing a great book, you’ll do what you have to to make sure it’s the best it can be. Conversely, if you can’t commit to working on something for months or years at a time, then perhaps a novel isn’t the best option for you as a writer.

However, that’s not to say that books that take weeks or a few months to write are terrible books. Some authors are faster than others and have more time to dedicate to their writing. The amount of time spent on a story is not indicative of how well it is written.

And let’s not forget about the amount of edits your story needs to go through—that adds time too. It is recommended that you have at least four editors go through your story before it’s ready to be published, and that’s not counting the amount of times you read through it. Of course, having that many editors go through your manuscript might not be within your budget, so it might not be feasible. Although, it is highly recommended that someone should edit your story before you attempt to get it published.

On average, you can probably expect to spend at least 6 months working on your book from first draft to final manuscript—although for some, that might seem like a short amount of time. If you’re not under a deadline, there’s no rush to get your book finished. You don’t win a prize for getting it done in a certain amount of time. Take the time you need to make sure the story reads the way you want it to. In the end, as the author, you have to be proud of what you’ve created before you can share it with the world.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Josh Gates Is a Great Role Model of How to Do Life Right

I first started watching Josh Gates when he had his show Destination Truth on Syfy. I continue to watch him with his show Expedition Unknown on the Travel Channel. Josh constantly cracks me up. He has a great sense of humor and an amazing sense of adventure.

In both shows, Josh travels to various parts of the world in order to solve mysteries. In Destination Truth, the mysteries often centered on mythological/mysterious creatures. In Expedition Unknown, his focus is on other mysteries, such as looking for lost treasure.

My spouse doesn’t enjoy these shows as much as I do. In fact, they bother him to no end. It drives him crazy that Josh gets to travel the world and never finds anything. He doesn’t find Josh as amusing as I do.

But I think my spouse is missing the point. I don’t think the purpose of the shows is about the destination. It’s about the journey.

It’s true that Josh rarely (if ever) finds what he sets out to find. In Destination Truth, he never filmed any of the creatures he was looking for and rarely found any evidence that they existed at all. In Expedition Unknown, he’s never found a treasure that he sets out to find. But that doesn’t make his excursions unsuccessful.

There is so much to learn when watching his shows. I learn about different places and cultures around the world that I had no idea existed. I get to go with Josh into remote places that haven’t been touched by humans in sometimes as long as thousands of years. I get to discover artifacts that often lead to more questions than they do answers. Through it all, I’m fascinated and intrigued.

It’s totally possible Josh knows that he’s not going to find anything when he travels half way around the world, but that doesn’t stop him. He still hops on a plane and travels to a new destination. He still lowers himself into deep, dark caves and sloshes through potentially polluted water to see what’s at the end of the tunnel. He traverses dangerous landscapes with nothing more than hope that he’ll find what he’s looking for.

What Josh does is inspiring. He takes something he’s incredibly passionate about and has made a living and a TV show following his dream. He gets to travel to amazing places around the world and immerse himself into the history and legends of the place. He gets to meet amazing people who are passionate about what they do—historians and archaeologists (among others) who are trying to find answers to ancient mysteries.

It is said that life is supposed to be about the journey rather than the destination, and I think Josh proves that with his shows. While he has a goal in mind, he often doesn’t find exactly what he’s looking for, but he doesn’t come home empty handed either. Just because he doesn’t find the buried treasure or the Arc of the Covenant or the Yeti doesn’t mean he doesn’t find some other really cool things. And think about how much he learns along the way!

If life is about the journey, then Josh Gates is doing life right. All he does is travel. Would it be cool if he actually found what he set out to find? Absolutely. But even if he doesn’t, he still gets to go on one hell of an adventure. And he never gives up.

Josh might live his life a bit more extravagantly and adventurously than some of us are comfortable doing (pick me! I hate traveling), but we can still learn that the journey is more important than anything and that following your dreams will open your world to endless possibilities.