Announcements/Notifications/Updates

Element Wolf Book #1: Stolen is Published!

Two days ago, on the 23rd of May, my Ydubs and blogging friend Jehanne J. Hendrick published her first ever book, Element Wolf Book #1: Stolen!!! *thundering applause*

The Blurb:

IN THE FACE OF EVIL, WILL FLIGHT FIND THE COURAGE TO DEFY THE DARKNESS?

Flight is first-born to the unbreakable alphas of Star Pack—the pack of wolves that rule the harshest territory in Yellowstone. The young pup is noticeably strong, and he’s full of potential no wolf can deny. On his first day outside the den, Flight is overcome with love and pride for his ice-locked land. 

     But after his entry into the world beyond the den, Flight’s perfect life in his beloved homeland is cut tragically short as everything the young pup loves is whisked away from him. Flight finds himself in an ominous land known as Avida, ruled by a vengeful wolf with a haunting past.

     The pup is astonished to learn that he is part of a mysterious prophecy which claims he holds unusual powers given only to him. However, the ruler of Avida wants Flight to use his abilities to help her destroy the pup’s entire pack so she can claim his homeland.

     Desperate to rescue everything he loves from destruction, Flight forms his own plans against the cruel alpha of Avida. For months, Flight works in secret with newfound allies, readying their plans before the ultimate bloodshed. But when the day comes, what happens is more shocking than Flight ever could have prepared for.

Now, being the ambitious type of boy I am, I jumped at the opportunity to post a book review on the day of the publication, but, obviously, that didn’t happen. School was much tougher on me than expected, and I haven’t finished the book yet. BUT, I am still planning on doing the book review when I do finish.

But don’t wait for my book review to buy it. Get it now! You can get the paperback and/or the ebook right here!

Stats:

Word Count: 478 pages.

Current Amazon rating: 4.8/5.

Weight (because Amazon offered the option): 1.54 lb.

Genre: Christian fantasy.

Stolen has such an epic cover, not to mention it comes with MAPS!!!!!

Now I just need a job because if I keep buying books at this rate I’m gonna be broke in a few months. -_-

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Christian Living, Guest Posts

When Pursuing God is Hard

Hello readers. Today I have the pleasure of announcing RKW (the Right Kind of Writer)’s very first guest post! Our guest today is CoCo Ashley. This post is longer than the usual, but reading it is so worth it! Now, take it away CoCo.

What do you do when life is hard? When God feels silent? When you’re discouraged in your faith?

For me, I used to look back on my “mountaintop” experiences–back to when life was good or when I experienced God in a fresh way–and wish I could go back. I would get frustrated because I knew God was fully capable of doing it again, and yet for some reason, He wasn’t. For some reason, He seemingly decided it was time to halt the forward momentum and growth.

It would lead me to think that God was withholding something from me, or that I was doing something wrong because it seemed I wasn’t growing anymore. 

For example, I would go to church camp and be surrounded by all the hype, and all the leaders would tell me that I could take the truths they had preached during the week home with me. But then I’d get home and stare at the ceiling, wondering where all the joy and excitement had gone. 

However, what I’ve come to learn is that, sometimes, God doesn’t want to do it again. He doesn’t want to give us the same experiences or feelings because He wants to give us something new. Something better. Something we never would have thought possible. And we’ll never discover something new if we are constantly holding on to the old. We shouldn’t place our security on the familiar.

In seasons when God feels distant, we must remember that He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and He will always keep His promises. Difficulties and discouragement test us to see where our true loyalties lie. Because for the one who is fully committed to Jesus, there simply is nowhere else to go. We must pursue Him with all that we are even if it feels like we’re shooting in the dark.

The Bible offers us many verses to combat the discouragement and I would highly suggest that you make Scripture your number one resource, but today I would like to share three truths that have helped me personally.

1. We Will Find What We Seek 

When I find myself growing discouraged in my pursuit of God, I love to return to Jeremiah 29:12-13.

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13

It’s always a great reminder that my searching is not in vain. Despite my doubts, my prayers are being heard. Despite seemingly fruitless attempts to find Him in difficult situations, God does see my efforts.  

But we have to be committed to seeking Him with all of our heart. 

God will do His part regardless of our faithfulness (thank God for His grace!) but in my experience, life is so much better when we do our part as well.

There was one particular morning last summer I had planned to get up early to pray, but my alarm never went off and I woke up much later than I had anticipated. I was discouraged, but rather than calling it quits completely, I still decided to give God whatever time I had. And the devotional I read ended up being exactly what I needed… a reminder that God is worthy of my whole-hearted pursuit. 

Here’s what it said: “Do you find it hard to connect with God? Hard to hear his voice? Don’t worry, this is to be expected. God wants to see how much energy you’re gonna put into finding Him and getting to know Him. He’s interested in the chase.” ~Devotions for the God Girl by Hayley DiMarco

His “silence” toward us, or perhaps our own shortcomings, may make it hard to pray, but those are the very moments we ought to pray the hardest.

2. We Will Reap What We Sow

The Bible teaches the concept of reaping what we sow–whatever we plant is the kind of fruit we’ll grow. If we sow half-heartedly, we probably won’t have much fruit to enjoy.

If we spend our time appealing to our senses, feelings, and emotions, we are sowing to the flesh and will reap destruction. We can’t only be Christians when the hype is high. But if we spend our time reading our Bible, praying, and filling our minds with truth–even when it’s hard–we are sowing to the Spirit and will reap eternal blessings. 

We must keep in mind that what is done in secret now will one day be brought to the light. The things we do in private when people aren’t watching (or so we think) are a reflection of who we really are. 

Every year at awards ceremonies, I always wish I had done more. Worked harder. Really given my time and devotion throughout the year so I could feel as though I had made a difference, rather than barely doing the requirements just to earn my empty prizes. It may be easy to appeal to our flesh and skimp in the moment, but when judgment comes we won’t be able to go back and say, “Well, God, I was just waiting for life to get easier.”

I don’t want to find myself in front of God wishing I had done more or started sooner. I don’t want to find myself wishing I had spent more time chasing the things of God rather than the things of earth. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” so I will press on and keep sowing to the Spirit, even when it is hard.

“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:7-9

3. We Will Be Rewarded for Pressing On

If God has promised us something, we can be 100% sure it will come to pass. We just haven’t seen it yet, because God’s timing is different than ours. 

Perhaps God hasn’t opened a door for us because He knows we aren’t ready.

Perhaps He hasn’t come through like we had hoped because He is preparing something better.

Perhaps we haven’t received our answer to prayer because God knows something we don’t.

Whatever the case, we are instructed to live up to whatever truth we have attained (Philippians 3:16), pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and trust that God will work out all things for good, for those who love God (Romans 8:28). 

I am always reminded of the story of Daniel, when the angel finally shows up and tells him he came because of his prayers. Let that be an encouragement to us to not give up hope, because help is on the way.

“‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel,’ he said to me, ‘for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers.”

Daniel 10:12

God doesn’t call us to be Christians only when it’s easy, nor does He want us to seek Him only when we feel like it. He definitely doesn’t promise we will escape hardship; in fact, He guarantees we will have trouble in this world. 

That’s why the path is called narrow, and why few find it. Unfortunately, it’s also a big reason why people walk away.

But I don’t want to be the Christian who hangs around just long enough for the blessings and feel-good experiences. Instead, I want to be the Christian who will return time and again, even when life doesn’t feel good. Especially when life doesn’t feel good. 

I want to follow Jesus rain or shine.

If God seems far away, or if you’re questioning why He has allowed something to happen, take it to Him. All too often we retreat and try to figure out God on our own, but apart from Him we will never find true understanding. God can handle our questions, and He can handle our doubts.

Even when life is hard, we can press into God and press on to victory, keeping our eyes on Jesus.

We are promised it will be worth it. 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

CoCo Ashley is a young writer devoted to using her words for the glory of God. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and dreams of one day publishing both fiction and nonfiction. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her talking with her friends, reading a book, or simply being an introvert with music in her headphones. Connect with her on her blog at cocoschitchat.com.

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Tags & Awards

The Outstanding Original Blogger Award

Creator of image is unknown.

If you’re like me when I saw the title to my friend’s post and then my name near the bottom, you might be thinking, “oooh, an awwaaaarrd!” Yes. It is true. This is my first blogging award *awkward, short clap*! Thank you, Mia, for tagging me.

The Rules:

  • Provide the link to the creator’s original post (Here)
  • Answer the questions provided
  • Create 7 unique questions
  • Nominate 10 bloggers (noooo too much! Too much! *sigh*) Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you may be nominated.
  • At the end of 2021, every blog that pingbacks the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2021 Outstanding Blogger award.

There. We are done with that.

Let’s move on to the questions!

  1. If You Had an Unlimited Amount of Candy For a Day, How Much Would You Eat?

Honestly, I’d only eat a few candies. I’ve never been a HUGE fan of candy, not to mention it is super unhealthy. I honestly don’t know the exact number. Probably less than 11.

  1. Does Anyone in Your Family Scrapbook?

I don’t know. I should probably ask.

*Asks* Yes.

-Wow, such an in-depth answer!

-Wait, you’re back?

Yessirrr. You can lock me up for a bit, but never forever.

-Clearly.

-. . .

-What, you’re not gonna yell at me?

-Cut me some slack. I’m tired right now and don’t have the energy to yell.

-Okayyy. . .

Anyway. . .

  1. Do You Like to Sing?

Hehehe. . . good question. . .

I enjoy singing to myself. I prefer rapping. I’m not sure if that would be considered singing or not. I’m fine if it is a small group of friends or family. I don’t like singing in public. Though, if I’m being honest, I would like to rap professionally someday.

  1. Do You Know Your Vocal Range?

*Scoff* No.

  1. Are You Homeschooled, or Have You Been? What Did You Take Away From it?

Yes, I am homeschooled. I also go to a co-op, which is basically school, but we ‘meet up’ once a week, and do homework for it throughout the week.

One thing I took away is that homeschool with a co-op can be just as stressful, if not more, than public or private school. It honestly depends on the classes one takes. A lot of people have the misconception that homeschoolers have little to no homework and can do whatever. That can be true, but most definitely not in all cases.

  1. What is Your Dream Job?

Several things. A professional -isn’t it ironic how I misspelled the word professional at first, writing “porffecional”- author and blogger, as well as having a side community-serving occupation. And as we’re talking about dream jobs. . . it’d be awesome if I were able to be a rapper.

  1. What Was Your Favorite TV Show When You Were Younger?

Hm. Probably either Phineas and Ferb or Avatar the Last Airbender.

My Questions:

  1. What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of Doing?
  2. If You Could Go to Any Country for Free and for A Week, Where Would You Go?
  3. What is Your Least Favorite Food?
  4. If You Could Meet Anyone in All of History, Who Would You Meet?
  5. Do You Collect Anything? If So, What Do You Collect?
  6. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
  7. What is Your Favorite Sport?

Finally, the tags!

  1. Laurel over at Laurel Jean
  2. Raegan over at Reagan’s Full Mind
  3. Meg over at Heyo It’s Meg
  4. Olivia over at Olivia’s Pen
  5. Emilie over at Emilie Violets Essays
  6. Alabama over at Alabama Rose
  7. Callie over at An Unfinished Story
  8. Callie (another one) over at Callie’s Corner
  9. Josie over at Apple Blossoms
  10. Aaand last but not least, Caleb over at Caleb E King

Whew, that took a while! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading! See you next week (unless something occurs making me see you sooner, or later . . .)!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Uncategorized

Change of Environment = Increased Productivity

Maybe you are sitting at the living room table doing homework. Maybe you’ve been working for an hour but have hardly gotten anything done. Maybe you are procrastinating. Getting distracted. Maybe you’re getting the icky feeling that comes from being behind in schoolwork and being in a noisy environment (or maybe you’re not like me in that way). And maybe you need a solution to this problem of procrastination and getting distracted.

I may have one. I may want to procrastinate giving it to you for the fun of it. I may not. I won’t. I will now tell you.

If all that I said in the first paragraph relates to you, there’s a good possibility you need a…

Change of environment.

Think about it. It’s easier to get distracted when there are more distractions around you. Possibly your talking siblings. The movie your other siblings are watching. The sizzling of the food your parents are cooking. You might be hearing this and thinking, “Isn’t it a bit obvious that that person should move somewhere else?” Likely. But sometimes people don’t realize something obvious until it’s pointed out to them… and a solution is provided. I’ve pointed out the obvious. Now for a solution. Multiple solutions, actually.

  1. Go to a cafe. Whenever I go to a cafe, I can concentrate much better. Cafes are nice, fancy, and offer yummy stuff too (for a price, of course). For me, whenever I tell friends that I can’t concentrate, they always suggest a cafe.
  2. Just move to another room. If there is another quieter room you can go to, go there! The quieter, the better.
  3. Build a desk, or buy one. “What do you mean?” you might be asking. Well, this is the solution I went with. My brother, dad, and I have been renovating my brother’s and my room. A cool feature we thought we’d add was a desk *“ooh”s and “aah”s are heard from the crowd*. Concentrating is easier here than in my living room, where all family members living in this house (6 of my siblings and my parents) work, pass through, and just be. (Being honest, I didn’t actually do too much for the desk… mostly my dad and brother. They like carpentry and are much better at it than me.)
  4. Clean up! From what I observed, the cleaner your surroundings are, the better you can concentrate, because the cleaner it is, the more comfortable you feel, the more productive you become. If you’re like me and you share a room with someone else, and while you are always very tidy they are not, just have a conversation with them. Try to get them to understand. Figure out a resolution.
  5. Talk to those you live with. This goes beyond the person you share a room with, to everyone in your household. Explain to them the problem, and offer a solution. Don’t be too nit-picky or impatient, though. The kinder you are, the more likely it is that they will listen.
  6. Spruce things up a bit. If you work in your living room and your table is always dirty, your chair is chipped, the painting on the wall is ripped, there’s toilet paper on the floor left by the dog, the picture frame is crooked, the plant in the corner is dying, and so on, your going to get the icky feeling that comes from being uncomfortable, and comfort can help you concentrate. Clean the table. Get a new chair. Trash or mend the painting. Sweep the floor. Straighten the picture frame. Get a new plant (and don’t let it die!). Buy a nice candle. Then take a moment to admire the nice vibe.

And there are 6 tips and suggestions! I hope they helped, and increased your productivity. If you have any other suggestions, comment them below, and I might add them to this post!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional nor have I put significant time into studying these things. The above are simply advice from one teen to another (even if you are not a teen, this post can still apply to you).

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Announcements/Notifications/Updates

Crazy Writing Week, May 2021, Begins

*Walks onto stage, hands folded behind his back. Grabs the mic with his left hand, his right hand is still behind his back. Taps mic a few times before he begins to speak.*

Ahem, dear readers, I have a special announcement that I’d like to share. Crazy Writing Week, CWW, is officially…

OPEN!!!

Woo hoo!! Yes, it is true. Once again, yesterday, Monday the third of May, the day before May the Fourth (be with you), CWW went online for the public. Better yet, today the competition officially started!

I realize that many of you may not know what CWW is. To quote my friend Mia on her post about CWW… “Crazy Writing Week (or CWW or CDubs) is a program given by the Young Writers Workshop to help writers make a significant amount of progress on their writing projects by friendly competition. CWW is really similar to YWW, but does have a few differences as explained on the website.”

It is an awesome time of writing, making friends, and (friendly) competition. 😎

Everyone who joins is either put on the Spoons Team or the Forks Team. Also, if you don’t actually like competing, you can join the Sporks Team. They sprint simply for fun. I’m part of the Forks Team.

Here is a Team Fork logo I made for myself:

Image to the credit of Daniel L. Amador.

Whenever the word or time count of all the teams reaches a certain number (500,000 words or 1,000, for example), everyone will get a prize (a spreadsheet of every student’s accomplishments, for example)! 😜

CWW is a great way to boost your motivation, which in turn boosts your productivity, which in turn boosts your team’s score, which in turn may make your team WIN THE COMPETITION. Remember, the competition is only ONE WEEK LONG, but you can sign up whenever. So, sign up as soon as possible and earn your team some points!!!

If you are interested, click here!

Also, here are a couple other good posts some of my friends wrote to read on CWW! Crazy Writing Week! ~ In Which Craziness Ensues. FREE Event for Young Writers.

I hope to see you there! By the way, my name on CWW is Daniel Amador. 😉

Tags & Awards

Reflections Tag

Quite a while ago I was tagged by my blogging friend Laurel Jean for the Reflections Blog Tag. Thanks, Laurel!

Anyway, here are some rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you (check!).
  • Share 8 of the things God blessed you with or taught you in 2020 (alright, I got this…).
  • Tag +5 bloggers (ayy, that ain’t so hard).

Alright alright, let’s get this thing started.

  1. I started writing seriously.

I started writing seriously in 2020. Mid April, to be more exact, so my writing-seriously anniversary passed fairly recently. By taking writing “seriously”, I mean that I’ve started several writing projects and had the mindset of publication in my mind. I hope that makes sense.

  1. I started blogging.

Blogging was something I don’t think I even knew about till 2020 after I joined the Young Writer’s Workshop in May. It’s been so awesome blogging, and I’ve learned so much through it! I’d like to thank God for helping me out with this. As I say every single blog post, I could only do this “with God’s help”. That goes for everything I do. I’d also like to thank all of my readers and followers! I’d be writing to empty Internet space if it weren’t for all of you.

  1. I joined Ydubs.

I’ve told you all about Ydubs, YWW, the Young Writer’s Workshop, several times, so I don’t think I need to explain it again. Anyway, it has blessed me SO much. Along with learning so much more about writing, graphic design, blogging, and the like through it, I made some amazing friends as well.

  1. I made the bold decision to take two high school classes.

You may have heard me say a few times that I am in eight grade, but also take a high school and college-level class. That is true. Officially, I am in eight grade, but I take high school literature and Advanced Placement Human Geography. Yes, this has been the most stressful school year of my life, but most definitely worth it. Literature has continued to hone my skills while APHG has dumped so much knowledge on me -a geography fanatic- I’m ecstatic! It is true that I hope to never take an AP class again, though! I only took the challenge because it was a geography course. 😉

  1. I made a lot of good friends.

While COVID has limited my chances at in-person friends, I have made some amazing online friends through Ydubs.

  1. A laptop.

Sure, this laptop is really old, has to always be plugged in, and I share it, but it has been INCREDIBLY helpful.

  1. I see changes in me.

As I continue to grow older, I feel myself maturing. Yes, I know that might sound boastful, but it is true. While I’m most definitely not perfect, and I can be annoying and have other flaws as well, when I compare myself to my younger self, I do see some improvements. 🙂

  1. I became extremely fascinated in graphic design and photography.

Both are just so fun, and I have figuratively fallen in love with those two arts! True, I’m not the best and I do lack a good deal of skill in them, but I’ve been improving and putting effort into them.

And that is all EIGHT! This gave me the opportunity to really look back at the good things of 2020, and not just… not-so-Lil’ Rona.

Time for the tagees! That’s a word. It is… maybe. Hehehe.

  1. Shanessa over at My Days in Montana
  2. Esther over at Esther Josephine Writes
  3. Caleb over at Caleb E. King
  4. Noah over at Life in Kyoto
  5. Alabama over at Alabama Rose

That’s been done.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! If you weren’t tagged, feel free to comment about your favorite blessing(s) of 2020!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Uncategorized

Adam Toledo: A True & Tragic Story

Our neighborhood — Little Village, La Villita, South Lawndale… it depends on who you ask — has been spotlighted more than usual during these times. Sometimes for really good things, sometimes for truly tragic things. Like the death of a young teenager, Adam Toledo. You all may or may not recognize the name. It is the name of the 13-year-old boy who was shot by the police. He was shot in my city, Chicago, in my neighborhood, Little Village, just two blocks away from my home.

It was around 2:30 a.m. in the morning on March 29, 2021. The same shooting was reported by multiple people; roughly 6 shots directed to cars driving by on Sawyer and 24th. Two cops were sent to the crime scene. They pulled up into the alley between 23rd and 24th, and quickly jumped out of the car. They ran down the alley, towards the two people there; the older one walking casually (pretending to be guilty of nothing) and the younger one running.

The policeman who was driving shoved the young adult to the ground and continued running after the teen, who was carrying a gun. The policewoman, the driver’s partner, kept the man on the ground and handcuffed him.

The policeman strode after the boy, shouting, screaming even, for him to stop. Almost at the end of the alley, the boy slowed down and quickly threw the gun behind the fence. He had begun to lift his hands and turn to face the policeman when a bullet from the officer’s gun shot out, piercing Adam Toledo’s chest, and the boy collapsed to the ground.

The officer went over to him and turned him over, looking for the wound. He called several other officers, and they arrived momentarily. The officer began CPR as the other cops knelt beside Adam, saying encouragement like, “Stay with us, big guy.”

Another officer took the policeman’s place, doing CPR on the boy. The policeman stood and began slowly wandering around, and the loudest sound heard by the cop’s body cam was his heavy breathing. His wanderings led him a bit around the alley and through an opening in the gate to the parking lot of Farragut High School. For a while he stood in the parking lot, just breathing. His partner walked up to him and rubbed his arm. After several minutes, she suggested that he sit down and then they get a drink of water from the squad car. He sat down on a concrete parking block and sat there for a while, his partner standing beside him. At some point the sergeant stood beside him as well. It was evident: Adam Toledo had died.

Then came the order for all the officers to turn off their body cams because the situation was secure, and…

*beep*

*crackle*

***

And that was it. Our city is in uproar. Several marches and protests have occurred because of Adam’s death. Many voices and opinions fill the air. What do we make of this?

A memorial for Adam Toledo near where he was shot.
Mural of Adam Toledo at the spot where he was shot.
Adam Toledo was shot right beside the pole.
A protest march through Little Village.

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Credit to Daniel L. Amador for all photos in this blog post.

Announcements/Notifications/Updates

50 Followers

Readers, today, the 25th of April, I hit an awesome milestone.

.

.

.

50 followers on my blog!!!

It’s not 1,000,000 or even 100, but it’s still a very decent amount!

I am so grateful to all of you who have followed and supported me. I can’t tell you how thankful I am. I might have given a shoutout to a good deal of people who helped me on this journey, but I don’t want to put anyone on the spot and I honestly don’t have much time to write this as it is 10:00 p.m. right now. Hehehe…

Anyway, I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed reading my posts and such, and continue to enjoy this blog and support me on my journey through… life. If you are reading this and are not subscribed, all you have to do is scroll down to the bottom of my blog and there will be space where you can insert your email. It’s as simple as that.

As I get off the laptop to get some sleep, I’d like to thank you all one more time. So… thank you! And thank you God!

 With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Blogging Tips & Advice

Before You Launch Your Blog

When I first started working on my blog back in October, I had close-to-no idea what I was doing. I created my blog for the purpose of sharing my thoughts, writing, and having a platform. Looking back on it, I don’t even remember how I found out about WordPress. Maybe it was through my coauthor’s blog.

Do you remember? You were there, right?

*Crickets*

Oh yeah, I forgot, I locked you up. My bad. Not about the locking-you-up part. I don’t regret that. I’m talking about the asking-you-all-the-while-forgetting-you-were-locked-up part.

Anyway, I somehow discovered WordPress, and began designing my blog. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. If you know me, you know that I am terrible at managing technology (thankfully, though, this blog has given me the chance to learn more). Several times I nearly ripped the hair out of my head trying to get it all to work, trying to understand. I nearly gave up. But, thankfully, I didn’t. I kept working on it, persevering, and being consistent. As I said once, consistency is key (I said it to when dad when he made a comment for like the fiftieth time about him leaving for work in the morning, and I’m in the far corner of the table on this laptop, and him coming home hours later, and I’m still in the far corner of the table on this laptop; I did leave several times in between, but he was just making a joke about me consistently finding a place in this corner, where I am sitting now).

Finally, my blog was launched. The Right Kind of Writer was public. Little did I know how unprepared I’d be for RKW’s future. I would be tripping over myself to try to get an article posted on time; I would be making major changes months in from the theme to the color scheme to the tagline. Just recently have I gotten a good hold on the reins and been able to manage things well.

So, to try to keep you, the soon-to-be blogger and the newbie blogger (okay, I myself have only been going for around 5-6 months, but I wouldn’t consider myself a newbie anymore) from making the same mistakes I did, below are several tips, suggestions, and advice that you should know and put into action before you launch your blog (or to do ASAP if you’ve already launched your blog).

I’ll start by going through the most common pages, explaining them, and giving suggestions about what to put in them.

Contact page. Obviously, this is the page people can go to if they want to contact you. There isn’t really much you have to do for this, but you can (and should) customize it by adding a picture that represents contacting. Maybe a picture of a phone or two people talking. It’s up to you. You could also write your own quick subtitle. For example: “Send me a message anytime about anything, and I’ll reply ASAP!”

About page. This is the page people go to when they want to know more about you and/or your blog. Here you can tell people about yourself- I just suggest not making it too long or people might get bored and give up, as they are expecting a quick yet informational bio (mine is 83 words). Here, you can also give a little information on what you will be posting on your blog, whether book reviews or life updates. You can also share past experiences, and what makes you so qualified. I would recommend putting a picture of yourself there as well.

Blog page. This is the page where people can find all your blog posts. There isn’t much to this besides maybe a photo at the top of the page and a short explanation, such as, “Here is where you can find all my posts!”

Homepage. This is the homepage. If each page was spaceship, this would be the mothership. The first impression on a visitor. It can often be a mix of all the pages. It can list the most recent posts, a bit about yourself and/or more commonly what you’ll post in your blog, a short welcome, a sign-up for your newsletter or subscribe button for your blog, a few quotes and/or more.

Now that we are done with going through the pages, I’ll list several things you should do before you launch your blog, and how to do them.

Come up with a good title. Every blog needs and normally has a title. I doubt every blog has a good title. You want a short yet descriptive title. No one wants to visit a blog called “A Blog About Christianity, Writing, and A Lot of Other Things You Might Want to Read”. Don’t overthink it, but don’t underthink it. This is something you do want to think about before you start any of the tech stuff. Literally the first thing that pops up when you’re starting a blog through WordPress is a question asking you what your blog will be called (of course, don’t stress about it; it gives you the chance to change it later if you really don’t like what you have). I’m not even going to make a suggestion, because I don’t want to take the time to contemplate a good title. You should also make a tagline. A tagline can be an extended version of your title, or something related to your title. This is where you can use “A Blog About Christianity, Writing, and A Lot of Other Things You Might Want to Read”.

Choose a design/theme. This will be the format of your blog. The layout. When you start the process of making your blog, it will give you a list of themes to choose. Take time to go through them, and find one you like- just don’t take too much time. You can change it later. (Remember, do it before you launch your blog.)

Choose a plan. When you start making your blog, you’ll have to choose a plan. I recommend starting with the free plan. Maybe when your blog is bigger and you want to make money or just have a better quality site, you can choose a different plan.

Make a logo. This is something you do on your own time, and isn’t really largely mentioned in the blog-building process. This is particularly for the favicon, but it can also be placed at the top of your blog (like mine) or something of the like. Make sure to really work on this and get good feedback. Particularly if you are making it. You could also ask a friend to make one for you, or quickly make one through a logo generator. A good one is BuildMyLogo. If you’re like me when I was a newbie, you’re probably wondering “HOW ON EARTH WOULD I MAKE MY OWN LOGO???” I’d then direct you to Canva. When it comes to graphic design, Canva is my hero. I’m sure from there you can find your way around that site, and get started with your logo.

The dashboard. If you’re starting to make a blog through WordPress, and they’ve taken you through most of the steps, then you’re probably right here (format varies by what you chose):

I suggest going to your dashboard first. How do you get to your dashboard, though? You click on the black square in the top left corner with the white W. It will give you the option to go to the dashboard.

You should browse through this for a while. A good, long while. Get very familiar with everything, till you understand the works and purposes of at least a good deal of the things in the dashboard. This is very important.

Images. You’ll notice that practically every blog has images. Photos. I’ve never found a blog without any. You probably already understand the purpose of images. What you may be wondering, is, where to get them from. I started by using my own photos. That was a mistake. Unless you’re actually a professional photographer or something, I do not recommend using your own pictures. Though several of my pictures weren’t horrible, they weren’t that good or attractive either. Start by using professional pictures. You can find plenty of good photos from Unsplash. You can also get really good images from Pexels. Though I would suggest clarifying that you are getting these images from these sites.

Make a blog post schedule. Trust me, this will save your sanity, or at least a good deal of it. Make a blog post schedule. This you won’t make public on your blog, unless you want your viewers to know what’s being posted when. And that’s just what it is. It allows you to know what will be posted when. It will also allow you to be consistent. Here is an example: “Wednesday, April, 4/14/21, post ‘How to Fly A Kite’. Wednesday, April, 4/21/21, post ‘How to Run a 5K’. Sunday, April, 4/25/21, post, ‘Birthday Special’. Wednesday, April, 4/28/21, post ‘How to Deactivate a Nuclear Bomb’.” You could even take another step ahead and begin writing some of those posts before you launch your blog or way before the post is supposed to be published.

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There you go. These are just a few tips and recommendations. I’m sure that you’ll be able to figure out many things on your own, though. A warning: whatever you do, whatever you click on, don’t click “Launch” until you are really ready to launch. If you do by any chance accidentally launch your blog when you’re not ready, just don’t send out any links or anything like that. Keep this mistake fairly private, and fix up whatever you need to fix. I’m pretty sure, though, that you can un-launch (there’s probably a good word for that somewhere, but I can’t remember any; heehee) your site as well.

Another thing to note is that WordPress will be a dear and help you out a bit by sending emails with tips and suggestions as well.

Finally, DON’T FREAK OUT. Know that this will take time, and if you’re horrible at tech like me, just be patient and breathe.

If you ever need advice or anything, just message me through the contact page. 

Also, I will likely make a part #2 to this.

I hope that your future blog will thrive, and that you learned a lot from this post!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Book Reviews

Book Review of Shards of Sky

Woo-hoo! This is my first book review, and I’m ready. So, let’s jump in, shall we?

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My book review for today is of Shards of Sky, by E. C. Colton (I’ve interviewed her once on the Right Kind of Writer). You may be wondering: “Danny-Boy, my good man, why do you post this on a Saturday?”

I’d have to answer with, 1) ‘Danny-Boy’ is reserved for my blog-conscious only, and, 2) this is the day I scheduled to publish a SoS (Shards of Sky) book review, as part of her blog tour, gaining anticipation for the launch of SoS on April 18! I was given an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), and, in return, I gave this honest book review.

Synopsis:

Will hope prove itself worth fighting for?

Nestled within the mountains of Colorado, life is anything but perfect for two children and their negligent aunt. Yet it becomes even more of a disaster when a mysterious accident leaves Aryon mute and Jenn terrified for their futures. Battling her own sorrow, bitterness, and distant memories, Jenn journeys through the mountains of Colorado in search of their father, who may only be as real as a wisp of mist. The biggest things standing in her way are the miles of seemingly endless forest, her shattered memories, and a mysterious woman trailing her.

As she journeys on, Jenn is forced to confront her past. Has time changed her memories? What will it take to be strong and unhindered by the darkness around her? And does this woman hold the key to her past—her real past?

But no matter where Jenn goes, a shard of sky shines bright overhead as a distant reminder of the hope she’s fighting to hold onto—and the person she could become. 

Heart-wrenching and emotionally moving, this story delivers a powerful message of courage and the wonder of hope.

My opinion:

I expected a good book from this young author, and that’s exactly what she gave me. The pieces of the plot of this novella fit incredibly well. Right from the start, I fell in love with the wording – very well done. Not to mention that the cover portrays the book’s vibe beautifully. The main character, Jenn, was portrayed incredibly. Her arc, her flaws, her good qualities… very realistic, and fairly easy to sympathize with. I would definitely recommend this. I’d give this 124-page YA fiction novella a 9/10.

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Shards of Sky sound interesting? Here is the preorder link. For those who preorder the SoS ebook (before the launch date, April 18), if you insert a screenshot of your receipt into this form, E. C. Colton will contact you with the FREE preorder goodies that come with the preordered purchase of SoS.

Below are images of some of the goodies…

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 8 – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (intro), Cynthia at Achinty (interview)

April 9 – Mia Harden at Windows to Mia (interview)

April 10 – Daniel L. Amador at The Right Kind of Writer (review)

April 11 – J. S. Clingman at My Little Hole in the Ground (interview)

April 12 – Allie Jo Anderson at Allie Jo Anderson (review)

April 13 – Althea Truth at Apple Blossoms (interview)

April 14 – Liesl Brunner at Quote, Unquote (interview), Ryan Elizabeth at Ryan Elizabeth Writes (interview), Hannah E. M. at Precarious Book Stacks (review)

April 15 – Allyson Jamison at Shay’s Scribbles (interview)

April 16  – Addison Vallier at Story Well (interview)

April 17 – Cara from Paper Strider (review)

April 18 (launch day) – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (finale), Samantha Hopper at Stuck in a Story (review & interview)

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E. C. Colton is a Christian, entrepreneur, cat mom, and author of A Change of Heart. She strives to write stories that illustrate deep truths through realistic characters. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drawing, designing graphics, and scribbling away in a vintage notebook with a cup of tea. 

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Thanks for reading! I hope you do decide to get Shards of Sky. It’s a beautiful book.

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Credit to E. C. Colton for photo [of Shards of sky paperback].