You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Author Interview: Fatimah Ashaela Moore Ibrahim, The Azurean Trilogy


Every once in a while you come across a book that is really different from all the rest. I would like to introduce a wonderful new series written by Fatimah Ashaela Moore Ibrahim called, The Azurean Trilogy. I love scifi and the fact that this was a spiritual fiction, put the icing on the cake. It is unique, fresh and has all the fun and adventure I like in science fiction/fantasy. The Azurean Trilogy follows the adventure of five gifted teens as they train to save their planet from an evil that is oppressing them and sending their new found home into the same chaos and destruction that planet Earth went through. Today, I am happy to introduce the author of this exciting new series as she shares her publishing journey.





I would love to know a little bit about your writing and publishing journey of The Azurean Trilogy (Books 1&2).

My writing and publishing journey for "The Azurean Trilogy" (Essentia and Burgeon) has been a really awesome experience. I had the basic ideas for the story in my heart for a long time; exploring, showing the power of faith, Earth conservation, world peace, healthcare, and caring about each other on a human level regardless of color, religion, etc. were at the top of the list. But every time I tried to think of the actual story-- it just wouldn't come. Then, one day, I sat down and said to myself, "Let me just start writing, see what happens, and then go from there." And the characters and storyline just flowed out! From then on, I wrote everywhere I could. I have three children, so writing was often done late at night. I found this great site (Wattpad.com) where you could post chapters of your story up to build an audience and get feedback, and seeing all of the people who read my book motivated me to finish it. Once I was done, I found another great site, Createspace.com, which allows authors to self-publish their book in paperback and Kindle, and sell it on Amazon.com--all without an upfront cost. They were very user-friendly with great customer service for any questions I had. The whole experience was a blessing.

How long did it take?
It took about 1 year to write, edit and publish Books 1&2. Looking back, I can't believe it took that long...the time just flew by. But I enjoyed every moment of it. 

Was it difficult balancing family life and making time for writing?
It was definitely a challenge. It can be really tough to balance home, work, family and staying on top of your prayers too. And then to have a passion to do something in addition to it all can be overwhelming. But staying focused and prayerful was invaluable. 

What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge for me was finding the actual (quiet) time to write. The things God has given me in my life as responsibilities are my priority. But it was also a priority to nourish the passion I had for this project. I have such a strong desire to use my talents and gifts to bless others and bring more light and love into this world. I may sound like a hippie, lol, but I truly do. 

Which part of your publishing journey was your favorite? Which was your worst?
I actually have two favorites: Writing and doing the graphic design. I am also a Visual Artist, so I really enjoyed writing the actual story as well as creating the graphics for the cover and promotional materials. The worst was the editing!!! I literally read through the story about 10 times once it was done trying to catch errors....my eyes were crossing by the 5th read through! But I have to say, each time I finished, I was like, "Even if this was a story I hadn't written myself, I would really enjoy it." That's what makes me the most excited about it. 
 
Why did you choose to self-publish your work?
I chose to self-publish because there was a shorter wait for when my book could be available to the public. I didn't like the idea of sending my manuscript off and waiting months to see if someone would read it. It just seemed like it would take so long, lol. And then, the genre (Spiritual Science Fiction, or Spi-Fi) is still working to carve out a real niche for itself....so there aren't a lot of publishers looking for books in this relatively new genre. 

What sets your story apart from other books about human survival after the death of our planet?
The difference with my story is that it really explores the power of faith-- it just takes it to a new and exciting level...and in a way that I have never read before. 
 
Tell us a little bit about your story, The Azurean Trilogy (Essential and Burgeon)?
The Azurean Trilogy is an adventure that takes a look at where we have been, and what can be if we all work really hard not to repeat the mistakes of our past. All of this is done within a framework of characters who are God-conscious. I don't want to give away anything, lol...in essence, it is an adventure that feeds your faith. 

What inspired you to write your story?
A desire to see a reality where we truly have world peace inspired me to write this book. I wanted people to be hopeful and empowered when they look out at the state of things on this planet of ours. I wanted to write a story that is entertaining, fulfilling and healing. I wanted people to be excited about being believers. 

What is the significance of using both Qur'anic and Biblical references in your book?
My original draft used references from the Qur'an, Bible and Torah, but I wasn't able to find a public domain source for the Torah scripture- so I ended up using Qur'an, and then Old Testament and New Testament from the Bible. I used them to unite people in their similarities rather than divide them with their differences. I wanted people of different faiths to not see each other as so different and foreign to each other.

Why do you call your work 'spiritual' fiction as oppose to 'Islamic or Muslim' fiction since your main character is a Muslim?
My main character is a Muslim, but the story, like life, includes many different people. I chose to put it under the genre of Spiritual Fiction because it is a story that can be enjoyed by people of many different faiths, because it focuses on our spirituality. For me, spirituality is a person's understanding that there is something greater than them that created them and all that they see. We all choose a different practice/religions to cultivate that. 
 
I'm curious, why was Yaya chosen to be the narrator? How different would the story be if one of the other Gifted Five narrated it? Or maybe even one of the Guardians?
The moment I sat down to write the story, Yaya was narrator. It felt most natural to tell the story through her eyes, probably because she is most like me: A female and a Muslimah. I think the story could have been just as good through the eyes of one of the other characters...but for me, it just felt easy and most natural. 


Do you have plans to write more spiritual fiction?
Absolutely!!! I have already begun writing an outline for Book 3, Manifest. I also have two other stories in the wings... but am giving all of the attention to completing The Azurean Trilogy and making it as full and exciting as I can first! My prayer while writing it is that it would inspire people to get a closer relationship with the Creator. If I accomplish that through anything I write, then that is the greatest gift to me. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Post: Tens List by Dani Pettrey author of Stranded




Dani Pettrey's Top Ten Editing/Revising Tips

1.     Take time off. When you first complete your manuscript, it’s a good idea to take a week or two off and let your story sit. You’ll have fresh eyes when you return to it. 

2.     Read through your entire manuscript in one sitting if possible. This helps you see the book as an entirety and really helps you get a feel for pacing. 

3.     Keep a notebook or sticky notes handy. Have something nearby to take notes with. You’re going to want to jot down your thoughts as you go. 

4.     Highlight sections you want to return to. Flag sections you know you’re going to need to return to. I use different color highlights for different areas. For example, if I need to do further research on a particular section, I highlight it in green. 

5.     Formulate a plan. Once you’ve read your manuscript, review your notes and figure out a plan of how you will tackle the changes. Will you go through linearly or will you work on one thread at a time? 
  
6.     Set a Deadline. Decide how much you need to do each day. Looking at what needs to be done, come up with a schedule for finishing your work by deadline. Earlier if possible. 

7.     Keep your inspiration fresh. It’s important to keep your love for the story fresh while rewriting. I enjoy listening to my story soundtrack while rewriting. It helps to keep the emotions at the surface.

8.     Take breaks. Revisions can be daunting. Be sure to get up to stretch, take a walk, or grab a coffee break. You’ll come back renewed. 

9.     Treat yourself. Set goals and when you meet them, treat yourself. Dark chocolate or iced mochas are my treat of choice. 

10. Trust your editors. Once you finish your revisions, trust your editors to do what they do best and let go. 


      About the Author:


Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.




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