About Tamera Lynn Kraft

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are two of her historical novellas that have been published. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest.

4 Tips for Writing a Great Novella

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Novellas are basically stories that are too short to be considered a novel and too long to be under the short story category. They are fiction between 15,000 and 40,000 words. Novellas have gained popularity with the emergence of e-books because they cost very little to publish. Also an e-book novella can cost the reader as little as 99 cents. Many publishers and authors have created anthologies with a group of novellas around one topic, such as the Civil War, quilting, or Christmas on the frontier.

Although there are no hard fast rules in writing, here are four tips to remember about writing novellas:

One Plot: Novellas generally only have one plot. They are too short to develop subplots effectively.

One to Two POVs: A novella does better with only one or two points of view. It’s too short for much character development, so by limiting the number of main character points of view, it makes it easier to have deep character development.

One Topic: Keep the main thing the main thing. You want to limit yourself to a brief span of time and one problem your character needs to overcoming. One major focus will make your novella stronger.

Write Tight: Novellas are shorter than novels. They require you to get to the point as quickly as possible. This isn’t the genre to use long flowing writing or descriptions. Novellas require tight writing.

Here are three novellas I’ve written that are currently in print:

Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

A Christmas Promise

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day. When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

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4 Things to Remember when Plotting an Inciting Incident

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Every novel has an inciting incident, a point that starts the story’s journey. An inciting incident is the catalyst that causes the protagonist to take action. It is the thing that must happen to mess up your character’s normal life and set the story in motion. Without an inciting incident, there would be no story.

Don’t confuse the inciting incident with the doorway of no return. The inciting incident is what causes a disturbance in the main character’s normal life. The doorway of no return is when the main character decides to act in a way she can’t return from. There is a process of decision making for the character between the inciting incident and the doorway of no return where she begins her quest.

An example of an inciting incident would be when Katniss’ sister’s name is called for the games in the Hunger Games. The door of no return is when Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place.

In the Wizard of Oz, the inciting incident is when Dorothy’s house is blown away by a tornado. She may have had problems at home and dreamed of a better life over the rainbow, but nothing really happened until the tornado blew her away. The door of no return is when she kills the witch and puts on the ruby shoes.

For Lucy, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the inciting incident is when Lucy hides in the wardrobe. The door of no return is when the beavers tell Lucy about the fawn’s capture. She and her siblings decide to stay and help.

Here’s four things to remember when plotting an inciting incident for a novel:

1. The inciting incident should happen early. By early, I mean by the end of the first chapter, maybe even by the end of the first scene. Some novels have the inciting incident in the first paragraph. Since the story doesn’t really start until the incident happens, don’t waste the reader’s time by taking too long to set up the story before the inciting incident.

2. Show that a change is needed. From the first sentence in the novel, show that the peaceful life of the character has conflict. Basically show that the protagonist’s world needs shaken up by the inciting incident.

3. Make the incident important enough to change the character’s life. The incident doesn’t have to be major, exciting, or earth shattering. But it does need to be the match to ignite the fire that changes things. It could be as simple as the protagonist meeting the love of her life when she’s happy with things the way they are or as earth shaking as being blown away by a tornado.

4. The inciting incident must be personal. Your inciting incident might be the Civil War or a nuclear war. It might involve a tornado or a fire. Whatever the case, if you incident affects masses of people, you need to show it from your protagonist’s viewpoint. Show how it changes your main character’s journey.

Sarah Edwards – The Mother of the Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Sarah Edwards is often overlooked when the First Great Awakening of the 1700s is mentioned, but her legacy and contribution to her husband’s ministry are enormous.  Over fourteen hundred descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards have been traced in 1900 by A.E. Winship. Of these, fourteen became college presidents, roughly one hundred became professors, another one hundred ministers, and about the same number became lawyers or judges. Nearly sixty became doctors, and others were authors or editors.

Sarah Pierpont was born in 1710. Her father, James Pierpont, was one of the founders of Yale University. Sarah was known for her love of God at an early age. When she was 13, Jonathan attended Yale at age 16. He would often wait outside Pierpont’s church to catch a glimpse of her. He had this to say about her.

They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is loved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight; and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on Him…You could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure…She loves to be alone… and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.”

Sarah Pierrepont married Jonathan Edwards on July 28, 1727 at the age of 17. Jonathan was serious and scholarly. Sarah was beautiful and enjoyed conversation. As far as their personalities, they couldn’t be further apart, but what attracted them to each other is their love for God.

Jonathan and Sarah had 11 children, 3 sons and 8 daughters. She prayed consistently for her children and was known for her parenting skills. She treated her children with gentleness and firmness. Although Jonathan contributed with child-rearing, making sure he spent at least one hour with the children every day when he wasn’t traveling, most of the parenting was done by Sarah. All of their sons became pastors, and their daughters married pastors.

Jonathan was also known as being absent-minded, spending as much as 13 hours a day in study, so Sarah was responsible for maintaining the household and keeping things going.One remarkable thing for that time period was Jonathan’s attitude toward Sarah. He valued her intelligence and not only relied on her to manage his personal affairs, but she also helped him with the ministry.

In 1734-1735, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Northampton and the surrounding ares erupted. Jonathan was at the center of that outpouring, but Sarah experienced it too. Jonathan asked his wife to write a testimony about her experience, and she wrote a long one. One phrased she used to describe it was being “swallowed up in God”.

When George Whitefield, Great Awakening preacher, visited Jonathan and Sarah Edwards in 1730, he said, “A sweeter couple I have not yet seen” and wrote about the peaceful home Sarah had created and how she freely talked about the things of God. He called her a perfect helpmeet for her husband and determined to get married himself.

In 1750, Sarah was by Jonathan’s side when he struggled with the congregation at Northampton Church. He would not allow the members of his church to take communion unless they had a salvation experience. This angered many of them because the town council had to be communicants of the Congregational Church to hold on to their government positions. The last pastor, Solomon Stoddard who was Jonathan Edwards’ grandfather, had allowed anyone to take communion regardless of their salvation.

Many in the church came against Jonathan when he asked for a raise in his stipend due to rising costs. The church said they would only consent after investigating the Edwards’ material affairs. Some were outraged that their extravagant minister had two wigs and two teapots! Jonathan denied possessing even one wig although he did admit they had several teapots. The congregation used this excuse to fire him.

Edwards was still in high demand and in 1751, became pastor of the church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and a missionary to the Housatonic Indians. In 1757, Jonathan became President of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton. 

Jonathan died on March 22, 1758 when he contracted smallpox. He was out of town, so Sarah couldn’t be with him. He did leave a deathbed message for her. Over a year later, Sarah became ill during an epidemic and died at the age of 49.

Sarah was a woman who loved God, her husband, and her children. In many ways, she was a woman who was ahead of her time. She left a legacy that is still alive today.

10 Decorating Tips for Autumn

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I love to add a few decorations for each season. Autumn is one of my favorite times to add some seasonal décor because of all the rich colors. Only a few additions will make a big difference. Here’s 10 tips for Fall Decorating.

1. Use a tablecloth with Autumn colors such as brown, rust, orange, or burgundy to bring color to your dining area.

2. Make or buy an Autumn centerpiece for your table. Here’s a post on How to Make a Simple Fall Centerpiece that even someone with two left thumbs can do.

3. Use pumpkins, gourds, and pinecones for decoration accents around the house.

4. Use candles and accent pieces with Autumn colors.

5. Glue different color leaves onto a poster board making a collage of color. Then frame it and hang it in a prominent place.

6. Take a hike through the woods and take photographs of the leaves changing colors. Blow up and hang the best photograph.

7. Cut holes in the top of gourds and place flowers in them for unique vases.

8. Attach dried cornhusks to porch posts or set them on either side of your front door.

9. Add a few fall colors to your flower arrangements.

10 Hang an Autumn wreath on the door.

Happy Autumn!!!

10 Simple Ways to Promote Your Blog

Blogging concept

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

1. Create a signature for your email and online forums with a link to your blog.

2. Make use of tags and categories when you make blog posts.

3. Use Facebook network to promote your blog.

4. Create buttons to share blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. If your blog doesn’t do this, you can use addtoany to create share buttons.

5. Comment on other blogs with a link to yours.

6. Share your posts on all social media sites you are a part of.

7. Use hashtags on Twitter when sharing posts there. Click here for a guide on using hashtags.

8. Write reviews using a link to your blog.

9. Write a blog post at least once a week. (Three times a week or everyday is even better.)

10. Have a target audience for your blog and write blog posts that will interest that audience.

Where Were You on September 11th, 2001?

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Everybody has a story about that fateful day. Here’s mine.

A couple of days before that notorious event, my son who had just gotten married in July called to tell us his new wife was leaving him to be with a married man. She would move out on Tuesday, September 11th. I tried to get a flight to Tennessee, where he lived for that Tuesday morning, but I couldn’t. I literally couldn’t book the flight online. Something blocked it. Now I know it was God. I would have been stuck in an airport in Cincinnati and wouldn’t have made it in time to be with him, but then, I thought it was just weird.

Since I couldn’t fly down, my husband drove down on Monday. I got a flight for the following week. Tuesday morning, I watched the news while I waited for my husband to call to let me know if my son’s ex-wife was there yet and how he was holding up. A breaking news story came on Fox News. An airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Nobody knew if it was an accident or on purpose. As I watched, the second plane hit. The world seemed to be collapsing while my son’s life and marriage did. The towers fell while my son’s wife moved her stuff out.

After the planes hit the towers, I realized I hadn’t woke up my daughter, and she was sleeping though this. She was a junior in high school and homeschooled. I woke her up and told her what happened. She wondered to the TV and said, “Oh, I thought you were talking about a movie.” At that point, it seemed so surreal.

All air flight was grounded, and the President was rushed from a schoolroom in Florida onto Air Force One. The stunned news broadcasters then announced a plane was headed to the Pentagon and I remembered my cousin had an office there. He was a private software contractor, but his only client is the Pentagon. The plane crashed through my cousin’s office and killed his secretary (his kid’s SS teacher). He’s alive because an hour earlier, he was called away for an emergency meeting at another location.

The news announced Flight 91 in Pennsylvania was headed toward the White House, and fighter jets had been called to chase it down. At that moment, the whole house rumbled as the jets flew over our house. I knew it was the fighter jets because the planes had been grounded. I spent the entire day watching the news, getting reports from my husband about my son, and praying. It was the day terrorism came to America and the world changed.

A year later, I went on a missions trip to New York. I saw Ground Zero. It looked like a bomb had hit it. It reminded me of pictures I’d seen of the devastation in Europe during World War 2. When I visited Grand Central Station, I read all the messages on a board in the center of the station to those who had died. I didn’t cry until I read one message. “Daddy, I miss you. I’ll see you in Heaven. Love, Veronica.” My daughter’s name is Veronica.

I did fly down to see my son six days after September 11th, but there were only a hand full of people on the plane. After the divorce, my son married a girl he met when he came home to recover. She is a sweetheart. They’ve been married 15 years and have two sons. God restores what evil destroys.

So what’s your story? Leave it in the comments.

Faith-Filled Fiction for the Adventurous Heart

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

If you haven’t read all of my fiction currently published, take a moment to check these out.

Alice’s Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.

World War II widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.

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Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

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A Christmas Promise

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape.

When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Buying Link