Friday, January 29, 2016


Well, this is it folks. We've reached the last resolution, the end of the month of January.

Which, by the way, means there'll be a Cedwig excerpt next week!

But I really enjoyed working on this series, and sharing some new things with all of you. I really do hope that you've taken on some new resolutions to better yourself and your work, and I hope that you know you can contact me if you ever need help with your writing, or if you want to know more about any of these resolutions -- because they are, as you know, things I've taken on myself.

Today though, we talk about a resolution that's very near and dear to my heart. You all know it, but here I'm going to give you a new spin.

Resolution #10: Refuse to Believe in Writer's Block

Yeah, a lot of writers will tell you that this is impossible, that if you're a writer you have to face writer's block. I say that's a bunch of crap and they should shut their mouths, because I do not, nor will I ever, face the block.


Because I made this resolution.

And here's how I came to it:

1. Words have power

We talked about this on Monday. I made this discovery a few years ago, that words have a far greater power than we give them credit for. And it occurred to me that most of the writers I knew who said they faced writer's block were also writers who lived in fear of it. They were the writers who said things like, "well everything's going good now, but you know block is right around the corner."

That never sat well with me. For one, I had never experienced writer's block. I still haven't, actually. I write as often as I like, without fear of the block, because I don't believe it exists.

See, that's the thing. I don't believe it. And if you believe it exists, it does -- for you. You have the right to decide whether or not writer's block exists for you, just as I have the right to decide the same for me.

I choose not to believe in it, and I write without hindrance or fear.

2. You are a writer

What is a writer? Well, they're people who write. So then, how do they end up being blocked, if this is what they do love to do?

That's a very good question, and one I believe I've already reached the answer to. But the point I want to make here is that you are a writer. If you believe that, if you've really let it sink into your heart and seep through your veins, then you've already succeeded. 

Real writers, people who truly believe in what they do, in what they're doing, and who refuse to give up on it no matter what -- those are the people who can tell the block who's boss, who can chop off the head of the beast and feed it to the wolves. 

You're a writer. So believe it, be it, do it.



{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Resolution #9: Understand the Power of Words

Yeah, yeah, we're all writers, so of course we know that words are powerful. But I guarantee that most of us have no idea just how powerful words really are.

See, when you speak something, or even when you write it, you give power to it. This resolution is about understanding that power, and knowing what you're wielding when you write and when you speak.

1. Spoken

Like I said, when you speak a word, you give power to it. By talking about something, you give it permission to come into being. This is how many self-fulfilling prophecies come to pass. It's because we talked about them so much that they happened. That's how it works.

So, I want to challenge you to listen to what you're saying, to focus on the words and their meanings, and to know what you're talking about when you're talking about it. Don't talk about things that you don't want to be. Speak things that aren't as though they were.

For example, I say that I'm a writer. Even on days when I might not feel like writing, on days when I don't have time to write, or on days when the scenes I need to write aren't the ones I want to write, I still call myself a writer. I still speak good things over my work, whether I'm liking it at that instant or not. And you know what? When I go back and read it, it's pretty darn good. But it's only been that way since I've started speaking only good things over myself and my work.

2. Written

As writers, we work with the power of words. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword. But many of us fail to see just how powerful words truly are — even the ones that are written on the page.

See, when you write something, your intent is for someone else to read it. But did you know that when someone else reads your work, you're planting notions, ideas, and concepts into their minds? Do you consider this, when you're writing, that every word you write here will be read by someone else, perhaps someone who will take to heart what you're saying?

That means if you're in a bad mood, and you write like you're in a bad mood, and nothing turns out right and all your characters come out the other end worse for wear and hating the world, you're planting in someone's mind that this is how things are, that there is no good in the world.

But my friends, there is so much good in the world! You witness it in your own lives every day, even if you're too busy to notice. There is goodness in this world, and it is our duty to spread it, to share it through our words. But we can't do that very well if we don't even take into account how very powerful our words can be.

I hope this challenges you, friends. I hope that you learn something from it. And I hope that you'll take this resolution with me, to learn and understand the power of our words.


{Rani Divine}

Monday, January 25, 2016


Happy Monday! This week, to round out this month's series on Writer's Resolutions, I have three very important resolutions that every single writer needs to make.

Resolution #8: Believe in Yourself

Yeah, I know, it sounds a little cheesy. Resolve to believe in yourself. Who doesn't want to do that, and who hasn't failed at it?

Well, you're right. It's hard to master, because there's just so much going on in the rest of the world. Society wants to teach us to hate ourselves, to hate how we look, to focus on complaining and declaring that life is horrible and nothing's getting better. But that's exactly what we need to overcome.

So today, I'm here to give you two reasons to believe in yourself:

1. Power

We might not talk about it all that much, but self-esteem is a powerful tool, and when you believe in yourself and what you're capable of doing, you make yourself that much more able to carry it out. If you can't believe in yourself, if you can't hold your head up and keep your eyes off the ground, you'll just keep looking down, you'll keep aimlessly wandering around, without a real direction. But when you start to believe in yourself, when you trust your ability and the work you're doing, you'll have more confidence to hold your head up, to move forward, and to keep going even if you hit a roadblock.

2. Goal!

This whole month we've been talking about achieving goals. Well, believing in yourself is a good start for actually meeting any of those.

Believe in yourself, believe that you can do this, and you'll set yourself on a path to success instead of one that ultimately leads to failure. No matter what you do, no matter what happens, believe that you can do this. Once you stop believing, once you let all those other voices in, you'll already have given up on your goal. I've seen it hundreds of times, and I've experienced it enough to know I don't want to go through it ever again.

I hope this was an encouragement to you all, and I want you to know that I believe in you. Even now, I believe in you. And I hope that you'll learn to believe in yourself.


{Rani D.}

Friday, January 22, 2016


Today should've been Resolution #8. I know. But I couldn't wait anymore. 

I have something more exciting to share with you... 

Enter the first ever teaser trailer for my new book, Cedwig: People in the Vines, available April 1.

I'm. So. Excited.


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I've heard it both ways, as to whether or not this resolution is worthwhile. But in my opinion, it's one of the best ways to get your name out there, and to promote what you do.

Resolution #7: Network

(This is the Facebook group page for The Rising Tide -- one of the networking groups I'm a part of)

This means getting together with other professionals and working together to grow together. Usually, you network with businesses and professionals who are at the same level as you, sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower. But the point of networking is to work together, constantly, to ensure that everyone benefits from the relationship.

Here, I have a few options for you on how to network:

1. Join a book club

For writers, this is one of the simplest forms of networking. If you can find the right book club, you'll be in a group of business people who read, or writers who have set aside time to read together. Promote your own book through them, and find more writers to join the group and promote their work as well. We all benefit from working together like this! Plus, you'll make a lot of fun and interesting friends along the way. 

2. Join a networking group

Most every city has them nowadays, you just have to find them. Try google.

These are groups of professionals who get together, trade business cards, and talk about business strategy. Usually, they're full of people who want to grow in their business and want to help grow you in yours as well. And it's also a lot of fun, if you can find the right group. The tricky part here is, of course, finding the right group. So talk to other professionals you know in your city, and see if they have any advice for you.

3. Social media groups

If there isn't something in your city or you're having trouble finding time to go to the groups, there's always social media. Groups like the Rising Tide Society have a Facebook group and website where you can keep in touch, and they have Tuesdays Together in a number of cities, where the Facebook group is just as social as the meetings themselves.

Whatever you do, just make sure that you're getting in some good networking. At the very least, find some other young authors and trade books. Something, as long as it's getting done.

You'll be thankful you did it, in the end.


{Rani D}

p.s. I have a surprise for you on Friday. :) 

Monday, January 18, 2016


Hey everyone! I hope you all had lovely weekends, and I hope even more that you found someone out there to critique your work. But now, let's assume that you've taken the steps already put forth in these resolutions, and let's assume that you have something published, or something that's preparing to be published. Now it's time to take another step forward, into the sometimes scary world of reviews.

Resolution #6: Get Professionally Reviewed

This is, again, something that not a lot of us want to do. I mean, it's someone's professional opinion about either a work that is already published or a work that is about to be published. It can be very intimidating. Trust me, I know. I'm just starting to delve into this myself.

1. I don't mean your friend

Now, when I say it's time to get reviewed, I don't mean that it's time to send your novel off to your friend and have them write up a paragraph of what they thought. I mean that it's time to find someone professional to look at your work, and to write an honest review of their thoughts and opinions.

If you have a friend who you think is capable of that, then more power to them. Personally, I've found that friends tend to be too focused on maintaining the friendship and not focused enough on the fact that I need an actual review.

Beware the friend who flatters. 

2. Editors, agents, professional reviewers

These people are frequently a little harder to get in touch with, but if you can manage it, it's well worth it. I keep telling myself that, because I'm wait listed with a few.

These are the people that other people listen to, the people whose opinion for some reason matters more than others. So if you can get in touch with one of them, if you run into one of them at a conference and the two of you hit it off, don't be afraid to ask for this favor. I've found that people are generally nice enough to at least wait list you.

3. Other published authors

This is right between the first two levels. It's a step up from having your friend review it, and a step down from an actual editor. If you know anyone who is a published author (hi!), send them a message and see if they'd be willing to read your book. They usually also have a stack of books they're supposed to be reading and reviewing, but if you play your cards right, they'll at least put you in the pile.

See, reviews are how we get more people to read our work. We use professional reviews to promote ourselves, to promote our work, and to show people that bigger named people enjoyed what we did. It's a little weird if you think too much about it, but it works!

So if you're already published, or you're about to publish, go out there and get some reviews. I promise, it'll be worth it.


{Rani Divine}

Friday, January 15, 2016


Happy Friday! I for one am looking forward to the weekend, even though I still have work to do tomorrow. It's still a weekend. :-P

Today though, we're talking about something that can be a little hard to stomach for a lot of us, because many of us don't want to know what people really think about our work, and because we tend to relate people's liking of our writing to people's liking of us, which, let me tell you, is a bad frame of mind. People can love and cherish you and still tell you your work needs help. Believe me.

Resolution #5: Be Critiqued

Okay, so there are a few ways to go about being critiqued. Most of us who are writers have writer friends, or know a friend of a friend who used to write who knew when. That means we at least have someone we can go to.

 But that's not the only way to get a critique.

1. Writers

Like I said, most of us have writer friends. And all of us need some critique of our work. So find one of those writer friends, and swap stories. Read your friend's work, and give them an honest critique—and expect the same back from them. Help each other to do better with writing, because that's what we should be for each other.

And if you can't find a writer friend, then go to a writer's forum and post something. Some people will likely be a little rude on the forums... But it'll at least give you some ideas of where you might go with your work. 

2. Readers

A lot of people don't think of this, but readers also give amazing critique when it comes to writing. See, they're readers. They're the people we're trying to reach, so they have a very good idea of what's good and what's not. Give a reader your work, and they'll be able to tell you what's good about it and what might need some help.

And they'll be supremely honored that you allowed them to read it, because hey, they're readers, and you're one of those mythical writers they've always heard about. 

3. Editors

Honestly, this is the best type of critiquing you can get. Send your work out to editors, to agents, and see who bites. Some publishing houses allow free critique of a small sample of your work—use those houses to get a better idea of what you're good at and what might need some help. Many of them are nice enough to start out by telling you something they liked about your work, so it's less gut wrenching.

As long as you can find someone to read your work, someone to give you an honest opinion of it, you're heading in the right direction. Take what they say to heart, and use it to your advantage. Don't be put down when they don't like something you wrote. Take what they said, and better your work.

That's what critique is for, after all.

But it's also important that you know how to critique as well. Don't be a jerk, don't hold your expertise above someone else's head. Just show them what you liked and what you didn't like, what you think needs work and what you think is beautiful. Critique as you would have others critique you.

That should be our new motto, for those of us who take on this resolution. 


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Okay, so today I had a problem. This is an actual resolution I made for myself, but it's not very snappy sounding... In fact, it feels a little wordy. 

Resolution #4: Read Things You Wouldn't Normally Read

(Some of the better books I've picked up from this resolution, from the books that aren't currently in storage)

Two days ago I told you to read stuff you like. That still stands. It doesn't change just because you'll also be reading people you've never heard of before. In fact, it only gets stronger. A lot of books I pick up, I don't actually like. Therefore, I put them back down.

But, it's important, in my mind, to read stuff that I wouldn't normally consider reading. It broadens my horizons, and I end up learning a thing or two.

I do, of course, have a few ways to keep myself involved:

1. Country

There aren't a ton of extremely foreign, translated, books in the US. But from what I've noticed, a lot of them are actually really good. Maybe we're just picky with translating things. Who knows.

So, to start out, try something familiar but by an author who isn't from here. If you can't stomach going too far out, read some of the more recent British fiction. I took a class on that in college, and while a lot of it was weird, it was very well written.

2. Setting

This one took a lot of stretching for me. I know what I like, and I know what type of setting I actually want to read. I like science fiction, I like fantasy, I don't like modern normal life stories. I just don't. But it's been a good way to stretch my knowledge of writing, to get me to a place where I feel like I could write something in a modern setting, just by reading the stories.

So, try reading something that takes place in a world you wouldn't normally read. For me, it means I read a lot of stuff set in the way back whens, because I normally prefer a future setting.

3. Genre

I like science fiction. That's no surprise to anyone here, I trust. But whenever I pick up a book to read, I tend to avoid sci-fi. That's not to say that I don't read some science fiction here and there, but I do try to keep myself focused on the other stuff.

If you're like me and you normally read science fiction, try mysteries. If you like nonfiction, try fiction. If horror is your preference, try romance. Just try it. If you don't like it, put it down and try something else.

On a side note, this is why I like actual bookstores. This way you can physically pick up the book and read a couple pages before you devote your wallet to it.

I hope this helps you guys in finding some new authors, some new works to stretch your horizons.



Monday, January 11, 2016


Last week, we started talking about resolutions for writers. This week, I'm focusing on one specific type of resolution, that every writer needs to make: reading.

Resolution #3: Read, Every Day


(The inside of my bookshelf... and yes, those are Star Trek TNG pez, a Doctor Who mug, Firefly playing cards, and a chocolate penguin. Move along.)

Reading is one of the things writers talk about all the time. I've yet to meet a writer who says reading isn't important. After all, if we don't read, how are we supposed to expect other people to read what we wrote? It's a two way street, my friends.

But it's not exactly easy to make sure we read every day. I know that all too well.

However, I have come up with a few things to help you out this year, as you're maintaining your resolve to keep reading.

1. Read what you like

Make sense, doesn't it? If you read things you like, you're more likely to finish them. So for starting out, just read stuff that you know you like. Even if that means re-reading some of your old favorites, make sure you're reading.

Personally, if I find myself stuck and not wanting to read anything at all, I pick up something I haven't read in years, but something I know I enjoyed when I first read it. Usually, that means something by Ted Dekker, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Shakespeare. An interesting combination, but something that keeps me going when I really don't feel like reading anymore.

2. Don't be afraid to put the book down

This is something a lot of writers and readers alike struggle with. If you don't like the book, if there's something keeping you from finishing it, put it down. There's nothing wrong with not liking a book, even if it is a classic that everyone else you know adores. You're a different person, and you're entitled to your own opinions. If you don't like it, stop reading it and find something you actually like, something you'll enjoy.

Some of those books in my shelf, have only been read to page four, because I disliked them so much. Looking at you, Helprin. Looking at you. 

3. Five pages

This is what I tell myself on days when I feel like I don't have time to read. "I'll just read five pages." That way, I'm at least reading. There's something getting into my head, even if it's five pages of monotony in the middle of a book I've read a thousand times before. It'll get you through the book eventually, because even a little bit, even five pages a day, is forward progress.

And some days it'll get you to read a little longer, because really, you can't always stop at five pages.

Whatever it takes, just make sure you're reading. Don't give up on it. It'll teach you as much as you'll enjoy it, as long as you do it right. ;-)


{Rani D.}

Friday, January 8, 2016


Monday, we talked about the necessity of writers writing. Today, we're moving on to something that I find equally as important.

Resolution #2: 

Get Published

(Shameless picture of my own book? Check!)

Maybe these days that doesn't sound quite so exciting, but to me it was the one thing I'd always wanted to do, and the one thing I never saw coming through for myself. So you know what I did? I published myself. I signed with Xlibris, paid them their money, and I published my first book.

Sometimes, I wish I hadn't done that. True, I'll be the first to tell you that it was the smartest thing I've ever done in my life, that I learned a lot through the process, but in other ways, things would've been a little easier on me if I'd skipped that step.

But there's something in this that every writer needs to experience: we all need to get published. At some point, something we've written needs to be read by the world. And yeah, maybe that will take a lot of time, maybe it'll be a little painful and a little rough going, but it'll be worth it when it finally happens. Trust me. I've been published now. A few times.

Like Monday, I have a couple practical pieces of advice for you, on how to set goals for getting published. But this time, basically, I just have two options for you. 

1. Submit Everywhere

This is what you do if you have a lot that you can submit. I don't recommend sending the same two pieces to dozens and dozens of magazines and publishers. Send one piece to a few places, another piece to another few places, and so on and so forth.

The trouble with this option is that a lot of publishers (and magazines, etc.) don't want to publish unknowns. They want to publish works by people who have been published before, and they have a strong tendency to scan over the underdogs and throw their work in the trash. I know, because I've worked with people who worked in larger publishing companies.

But this is still a good way to get yourself some experience, and to get yourself accustomed to rejection letters. That's something we all need. We need to get used to rejection letters, if only because it'll make us stronger in the future.

2. Submit Locally

This is my favorite option. I personally prefer working with smaller, local companies. I like working with people in smaller units, because they understand people better, and they're more likely to want to work with underdogs.

So submit to smaller magazines, to small publishing houses, to get your name out there and into the hands of people who will actually read them, to people who might actually decide to publish us.

Why? Because that's our dream. That's all our dream. To be published, to have our work in the hands of someone else, maybe even someone who has the same dream.

And if we don't submit our work somewhere, then how are we ever supposed to get published?

So do it, writer. Submit your favorite pieces, your least favorite pieces, anything—just submit, just get that experience, get your work out in the world, into someone's hands. Eventually, it'll come across an editor who will choose you.

I believe that.


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


If you're a writer, then there's one resolution that you should absolutely make, if you haven't made it already.

Resolution #1: 

Write, Every Day

(That's something I actually wrote — and it's in Mavguard Edition II)

Of course, the harder part of this is figuring out how to make it happen. It's a lot more difficult that it sounds, when it comes right down to it. We all have things going on in our lives, things we have to do each and every day. Some of us are parents, some of us have jobs that take up the majority of our time, others of us are students and have to devote all our time to studying. But we're all writers, and we all have to take the time to write. If we give up on that, then we've lost sight of what it is to be a writer.

Thing is, it doesn't really matter how much you write each day. It just matters that you do it, that you get in a few words, every day.

That in mind, I have two helpful methods for you, to figure out how to fit it into your schedule.

Goal Types

1. Time

This is one of the most popular goal forms, when it comes to writing every day. Rather than deciding on how much writing you need to get done in any given day, decide how long you want to spend on it every day. It can be as little as ten minutes, as long as you do it every day.

Whether it be a few minutes at breakfast and another few minutes at lunch, whether some days are devoted primarily to research and others to pure writing, set yourself a time goal, and stick to it.

If you have a set schedule, and you always know what time of day you're going to be free, this is probably the best option for you. 

2. Words

Personally, this is my favorite, simply because it varies daily as to how much writing I can get done in any given number of hours. And I'm one of those people who likes to get a specific amount done every day.

Generally, I set a number goal for myself every day. Sometimes it varies by day, depending on how much work I have that day, but I always shoot for between 2,000-6,000 words a day.

Now, you could also set a goal for number of words to write in a week, but this is a little dangerous for those of you out there who are accustomed to procrastination. See, if you're not "strong" enough to keep yourself going at it every single day, then at the end of the week you'll find yourself with a huge number hanging on your head—and most of you in this situation will give up. I know because I've done it before.

Whatever it takes, make sure you stick to it. Set realistic goals for yourself, ones that you know you'll be able to stick to.

Writer, write. Every day.


{Rani D.}

Monday, January 4, 2016


Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope that you all had a fun time celebrating the holidays over these past few weeks and months, and that you're all ready to face the new year ahead of us. Should we start making bets on who will be the first to get used to writing '2016' on everything?

This month is one of the most popular when it comes to making resolutions, to deciding on things that will change for our lives. It's a new year, and so it's a new version of us.

That being the case...



 What better topic for January? The more that I thought about it, the more I knew this was going to be the best thing I could discuss this month.

If you saw my Facebook post on Saturday, then you know this year I'm trying to hit return on a lot of buttons, and get back to how I wanted things to be. That means we're going to be talking more about life for writers and editors, and more tricks of the trade when it comes to writing and editing. It also means I'll be posting more excerpts and short stories for you this year — more fun things for us to keep ourselves entertained, more of the things I so enjoy doing. And it means that most if not all the pictures I put on Too Many Books to Count will now be taken by me, not nabbed off the internet.

But this month, we'll be talking about resolutions. I myself make several resolutions every year, but most of them are things that have to continue into every following year.

For instance, this year one of my goals is to learn more about my authority in Christ, as it is written in the Bible. But that's not something I'll ever finish learning, so it's something I'll have to keep doing for the rest of my life.

Another of my resolutions is to take more pictures, so I can share more of me with all of you. And that's also something that I'd like to continue, long past this year. 

All month long, we'll be talking about resolutions that I've made in the past, ones that are good both for writers and editors. There will be things to help keep us on track and things that we should be doing anyway, but maybe we need to make a resolution just to make it official — and I promise, it'll be a whole lot of fun.

Oh, and one more thing:  this month, all these resolutions, are leading up to something. To one, big, something.


February 1, 2016. Right here, in Too Many Books to Count.  

Alone, an excerpt from Cedwig: People in the Vines

[love and excitement]

{Rani Divine}

Friday, January 1, 2016


Coming soon to a bookstore near you...

Cedwig: People in the Vines

by Rani Divine

What would you do, if the things that went bump in the night were suddenly as real to you as life itself? 
My name is Freia, and I believe in phantoms. 

A part of the expedition from the plains, my family and I have come to a land where no human has stepped in over a century.

But we are not alone.

This land is home to the druids, creatures of legend that wiped out all traces of humanity in the deserts, the hills, and even at sea—creatures that should not be real.

I hear their voices, in the night. I feel their eyes, watching me.

We are not alone.

 “Divine … weds the peril of the unknown with the glory of love, and the story between will determine the fate of not one but two races.” M.J. Neal, Dreamer

“Be transported to a world where the fantastic and the familiar collide.” Tammy Boehm, Bethany’s Crossing

Coming April 1, 2016. Only at the RAD Store Online. 


{Rani Divine} 

P.S. Ignore the typo on the cover. It's just a rough for now. ;-)