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Joanna Alonzo

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Joanna Alonzo last won the day on February 28

Joanna Alonzo had the most liked content!

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About Joanna Alonzo

  • Birthday 01/20/1987

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  1. Help Me Choose A Cover Please?

    Lynn! Been a while Noting your "vote"! My main concern with the first image is I used TinEye.com to search it and found another book cover using the image. Book title is "Trey". (I found out about it after posting here.) To answer our question, I was trying to keep it consistent with my first book. I used two fonts for "Beauty & the Beast". Yes, I did.
  2. Help Me Choose A Cover Please?

    This is for a modern-day Christian Little Mermaid retelling. It's part of a collection of modern-day Christian fairy tale retellings, which I would place in the romance/fantasy genre. Any feedback would be appreciated! Blurb: To gain immortality, mermaid princess Maraja needed a human spirit. To get one, she needed to marry a mortal. The mortal man she set her eyes on was a wanderer named Aiden Scott, who had one too many secrets of his own. Caught within the tale of the little mermaid and the restless wanderer was island girl, Vanessa Lualhati, struggling to keep her business, her family and herself afloat. Three lives get caught up by the tides of romance and reason, passion and purity, desire and duty. As their paths intertwine, each begin to recognize the sound of the Voice Unseen, the only One capable of keeping their peace without and within. Covers to choose from are attached:
  3. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Darrel! That gave me a lot to think about. This immediately came to mind, and I'd love to hear your perspecitve. While it is possible that technology is killing people's need to read (therefore, lessening demand), I think one reason also is that the supply is increasing way too much. More and more authors are discovering indie publishing as a way to get written work out there. The competition is becoming global in scale, and not just limited to the west. The supply is overtaking demand by a mile. Readers haven't been able to catch up. I've heard a lot of BookTubers say that they don't read anything that's indie published, because they're never sure of its quality, and let's face it: While there are a lot of indie published works of great quality, I think it's safe to say that an equal amount (perhaps even more) are sub par. So yeah... (Supply > Demand) + (Quantity > Quality) = A struggling industry Thoughts? And what could a possible solution be?
  4. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    So true! I'm the same way when dealing with critique. I mean, as writers, we have every right to ignore critique if we don't think it will benefit our story, but that doesn't mean the one who gave the critique is out to get us.
  5. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    Just as it's hard to receive critique, it's not easy to give one either. Giving critique means: 1.) The person took the time to read and analyze your work. 2.) They cared enough to be honest with you and not just butter you up so you can feel good - at the risk of you getting hurt or angry. 3.) You opened the door for critique when you asked for feedback. I hope more writers realize that. *sigh* I know for sure, Lynn, that you're coming from a place of wanting to help. The goal is not to crush someone's dreams, but to help them better achieve it. *deep sigh* Life is complicated. haha!
  6. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    I feel like I'm being enriched just by reading all these discussions. I totally agree with @InspiredHome about making good art, one that spans both Christian and secular groups. This is an issue I usually find in Christian writing groups. "We're here to encourage and support one another" translates to "no negative critique allowed". Sorry to say it, but unbelievers seem to be more accepting of critique than Christians do. Worst thing I experienced is giving critique to someone who simply said, "This is how God told me to write it." What do you say to do that? "So God asked you to write badly?" I'm no expert or anything, and I could've been wrong, but if God told you to write something a certain way, then you should probably stop asking for critique. Bah. I digress... If we're to improve the quality of our work (and therefore, our worship to God), we should be able to handle it with grace when we're told that our work is less than excellent. If we look at Scripture, we see a God Who valued excellence. He cares about the details. He doesn't ask for our perfection, but I do believe that He delights when we give Him the best we have to offer. This is something I appreciate with several authors I've encountered here (@Accord64 comes to mind). It's not just about cranking up novels and stories at lightning speed. It's also about continuously and persistently improving our craft. All that being said, I'm extra nervous having @Steve Townsend reading my novel. Thanks for purchasing the book! I'm slightly terrified, because you're not quite within the target demographic I had in mind when writing the book. Haha! Hope you like it though. If you don't, hope you lend it to a sister or wife or mother who might. Thanks for the kind words. I got a lot of help from here in improving the cover.
  7. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    THIS! Very well stated. I so agree with you about Jesus being a perfect example of being in the world and not of it. My first novel is targeted specifically towards a Christian audience and explores themes on self-harm, depression and pride amidst a "fairy tale" setting. I can't imagine many non-believers totally liking it, because it does really have strong faith elements in it. Meanwhile, the project I'm working on now is targeted towards a wider audience, which is terrifying for me, but well... the story has been placed in my heart for a reason, and it needs to be told. I think this is a great rule of thumb for writers. I certainly follow it in my writing. If the Holy Spirit is in you, you'll know when something is off. I do follow my convictions in that regard, but I certainly won't pick up pitchfork and knife, gather the mob, and attack a fellow author who may not have the same convictions.
  8. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    *chuckles* I... don't know what to say. I guess I can handle more than a lot of Christian readers can. As long as a work doesn't cause me to sin, I really don't mind it.
  9. Which Cover is Better? Thoughts?

    Thanks, guys! Most do seem to gravitate toward the first cover. I'm told the second one fits a romance novel more than it does a devotional. This is what I ended up with: Neither have I! Haha! It's more like an experimental thing. I started writing this quite a while back. At least five years ago. It was just an allegorical story at that time, but the more I wrote, the more it felt like a devotional, so it's basically a fiction story of a woman in a fantastical wilderness, longing for her Beloved. Along the way to the kingdom of shining light, she meets a bunch of characters like a talking sycamore, a stone a troubadour, a gossamer prince. Each day chronicles a new stage of her journey and has accompanying verse and reflections about a Christian's wilderness season. Does that make sense?
  10. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    I don't swear either, neither would I encourage anyone to, especially if the motive is only to relate to others. I don't have swearing in my writing either, but if I read a Christian fiction book with cussing, I wouldn't drop the book just because a swear word was mentioned. UNLESS there's no reason for it, or it's OOC (like Prof. X). I do agree that it can sometimes feel lazy - provocation for the sake of it. I love how Hacksaw Ridge isn't laced with swearing and still remains a powerful piece of cinema. More often than not, it's unnecessary. My point was more about representing "unconventional" Christian characters in our work and being able to do so without glorifying sin. It's just simply the reality and the struggle of a Christian who is still a work in progress. If we can create characters like that, then maybe CF would be a lot less saccharine.
  11. The Woman in the Wilderness is allegorical devotional fiction. (Yup. I kind of just made that up. Not sure if there's anyone else who's written "allegorical devotional fiction" before and called it that. ) But anyway, it's a 40-day devotional about our wilderness seasons, and follows the journey of the woman in the wilderness as she encounters different obstacles and characters on her way to the kingdom of shining light. Cover #1: Cover #2:
  12. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    Thought-provoking! I think you're both saying the same thing, but with different examples. The Prodigal Son certainly wasn't exhibiting much of the fruits of the Spirit, but it was certainly a story of redemption. I struggle with a lot of the points both of you mentioned myself. I've read reviews by Christian readers on Goodreads, giving a work 1 star, for one reason: there were two unmarried characters (not yet Christian) who slept together in Chapter 2. I've also had a beta reader completely tear down my work, throwing verses at me, because my main character (not yet a Christian in the beginning) wasn't acting like a Christian. I love how Steve referenced the Good Samaritan or the parables. Jesus loved using stories to answer questions, because I truly believe that He believed in the power of fiction to present layers that would be hard to swallow if presented as direct preaching. I feel like we need moral dilemmas in our works. We need stories that address real-world issues, and show how we can reflect the fruits of the Spirit in spite of (or even because of) the struggle. I've met Christians who still cuss - mainly because of their upbringing and environment. Their love for Jesus is genuine, yet their tongue hasn't yet been tamed. They are works in progress, and Jesus is faithful to complete the work He has begun in them. They are crude and unrefined on the outside - and this is exactly what makes them relatable to a fallen world. It's what God uses for them to reach a crowd a "refined" Christian would find difficult to reach. Is their room in our fiction for these types of characters? There should be. We should be able to tell stories of how His glory shines through cracked jars of clay.
  13. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    TRUTH, but the problem is - and I think we've touched on this before - a lot of indies aren't exactly providing professional quality material. And with a sea of indie works out there, it's difficult to wade through all of it to find what's actually good. I think this harms the chances of edgier works getting into the mainstream through traditional publishing. True, true. And it's good that we're taking ground in those areas. I'm wondering why Christian Romance (Amish, in particular) is such a big thing while other genres seem to fall behind. I read another article on that recently. I completely agree. Our stories can't be cocooned in the world of Christianity and be out of touch with real-world issues. It's scary though, because there are a lot of ultra-conservative Christians who wouldn't blink an eye giving a one-star review at the hint of anything that goes against their world view. It's quite tricky.
  14. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    1) True. I'm guilty of this too. A lot of the first people who purchased my book were kind enough to send me typos to make sure I could change them. I wish there weren't that many. I really do need to hire a professional editor next time around, but I digress. I totally agree. We need to be excellent in what we put out there, because well... the God we serve deserves excellence. 2) That's a sad thought. Jesus liked fiction. He always told parables instead of just answering questions directly. 3) Haha! Whatever the point was, I'm sure it made a lot of sense. If that's the case, maybe it's a good thing that "Christian" fiction should die. Maybe we should write more for the general market than just the Christian market. Take ground in those circles with wisdom and messages that are stealthily God-glorifying. I understand that viewpoint. I didn't really realize how powerful Christian fiction could be until I accidentally picked up a Francine Rivers book, thinking that it was a story about Queen Esther of the Bible. Until her Mark of the Lion trilogy, I always thought of Christian fiction as mostly saccharine sweet books that's out-of-touch with reality. I really pray this changes - especially in a global market, because fiction is powerful.
  15. Self Publishing vs. Traditional

    What they said. Also, get feedback from people you don't know - not just friends and family. Look for beta readers, people who will be brutally honest with you. I understand that it's hard to change anything especially after pouring your heart and soul into the work you've done for such a long time, but I'm pretty sure you want to release a product that is the best that it can possibly be, so get feedback from those who have nothing to lose by being honest to you. It helped me A LOT! I had my debut novel beta read by two friends and two strangers. The strangers are now friends, so I guess I'm gonna have to find more strangers to beta read my future works, but back to the point: I'm so grateful I had them go through my manuscript before I even thought of sending it out to agents.

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