indieBRAG Blog

Alison Ripley Cubitt-Recreating a Day of Reading From My Childhood

It's a weekend morning in late autumn or winter, on one of those days when Tawhiri (the Maori god of weather) was angry. I could tell he was angry, by the steady drumming of raindrops as they thudded down on the tin roof. In a month's time, I'll be nine years old. We're living in a rented house at the beach in South Island New Zealand, in a new country, now our family's home. And it's as idyllic as it sounds. Except when it's raining, you can't play in the sand. I snuggle under the blankets - in no hurry to get up. What I don't realise then is that the luxury of lying in bed on a rainy weekend day will be short-lived. Because when I turn nine, I will finally get the pony I've always wanted. But he comes with conditions. With ownership comes responsibility. And that includes getting out of bed on a wet morning to look after him. But all of this is in the future. Today it's about the novel I'm reading, which is Heidi by Johanna Spyri. The story of the little orphan girl sent away by her aunt to live in the Swiss…

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Inge H. Borg – My Summer Reading List

It seems to be hotter than usual for this time of year in the American South; just perfect to engage in a writer’s oft ignored other necessary activity. No, not editing, rewriting, or peddling my own titles on social media. If anything, I should be checking out those supposedly helpful titles on how better to promote one’s own books, or submit them to sites proclaiming to reach masses and masses of book-buyers—for a fee, of course. But...I am not. Instead, I am allowing myself some “time out,” and to wallow in the guilty pleasure I engaged in since I learned the alphabet: Reading. A couple of months ago, I drew up a plan for the summer. A few books, I already finished but want to share with you; while I am in the middle of a couple more, with others still on my Want-to-Read list. Just Finished (My Reviews are posted on Amazon. You can also find some on my blog Aurelia * (Book IV of the Roma Nova series) - Alison Morton (Interesting premise) The Sublest Soul * - Virginia Cox (Deliciously Machiavellian subtleties) Sirocco: A French Girl comes of Age in War-Torn Algeria - Daniella A. Dahl (A…

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The art of description – better too little than too much!

By Anna Belfrage  Whenever summer comes around, chances are I’ll be slouching in the shade reading a Lee Child novel. There is something very comforting about reading his books. Jack Reacher always survives, is always on the side of good, and the pace is fast and gripping. It is also a relief to read something outside my own genre, as the reading experience becomes more relaxed when I don’t go “Ooooo, that was an elegant insertion of historical detail” or “OMG: I wish I had written that!” or “That can’t be right, can it? A match in the 18th century?” (turns out it was – sort of). So I read Lee Child to relax – except I don’t, because Mr Child is an expert at succinct descriptions, a few word sufficing to paint a person, a location, a situation, and I read and reread, because seriously, to describe your characters is an art. As a writer, I have a very clear picture of what my protagonists look like – but the moment I turn them over to the public in a published book, I’m also inviting the readers to form their own images, and to do so I must describe…

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My Writing Space by Malcolm Noble

Here it is,  My writing space.  The desk in the corner of our tiny bookshop tucked away in the middle of England.  It's cramped, usually more cluttered than this and very vulnerable to interruptions.  But, hey, it's nice when readers pop in and catch me at work on my latest tale of crime and confusion. While I do put pen paper in the shop, the creative stuff has to happen outside for me,  (Rainy days are no good)  I compose most of the book in the little courtyard outside.  I like to learn about 650 words so that I can recite them cleanly,  Then, I'm indoors scribbling it down, in longhand, before I forget it. For more details about how I work, you may want to sneak at look at this video: YouTube B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Other posts my Malcolm: Lessons Learned from Radio, Christine’s Note of Life with a Mystery Writer, Talking to people is all you need to do, and Choice of Genre. 

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Freddy the Pig: My Childhood Friend by Dave Riese

Growing up in Arlington, Massachusetts during the 1950s, I was fortunate to have a large children’s library in the center of town. On Saturdays, my parents drove my sister and me to the library for story hour. I cannot remember if I was introduced to Freddy in a story on one of those Saturdays or if I found his books on the shelf and decided to take one home with me. I was seven years old. The Freddy the Pig books became my favorite series during my grammar school years. I read some Hardy Boys books, some Nancy Drew, and a few Bobbsey Twins, but they did not capture my imagination the way Freddy and his friends did. The first book I read was Freddy the Detective. Freddy is a fan of Sherlock Holmes (of whom I knew nothing at that age) and when a toy train goes missing, he takes on the job of solving the crime with Jinx the Cat. The books are filled with dozens of anthropomorphic barnyard citizens – Mrs. Wiggins the cow, Charles the rooster, Simon the rat, and many others – who help (or hinder) Freddy’s activities. Each chapter begins with a pen-and-ink drawing.…

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Not Just an Ordinary Day by Carrie Beckort

When I looked through the list of blog topics for the summer, the option “Create a day for yourself and recap it.” jumped out at me. Even though I’m home full-time, I don’t often make the time to do something fun for me. Not counting my 6-day-a-week workouts, I have a handful of regular activities that I do once a month.  I love that they provide me with something to look forward to each month, but I know I need to plan more time to do different things and/or pamper myself. I immediately knew when I would create this day for myself. My husband and daughter take a trip to King’s Island each year in early July, and I knew that would be the perfect time. That just left me with figuring out what to do . . . I started brainstorming, and several ideas came to mind. Visions of movie marathons, non-stop reading, manis and pedis all danced in my mind. The idea was that I would keep busy, all day, for the purpose of this blog post and one other very important reason. You see, I have Binge Eating Disorder (BED). It has been a very long and…

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Interview with Jennifer Quinlan-Graphic Designer

Indiebrag would like to welcome, Jennifer Quinlan today to talk about her Graphic Designing. Jennifer, aka Jenny Q, owner of Historical Editorial, is an editor and cover designer specializing in historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. A member of the Historical Novel Society, the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, the American Historical Association, and various local and regional historical organizations, she lives in Virginia with her husband, a Civil War re-enactor and fellow history buff. Jennifer, what is your Graphic Design Company called? My company is Historical Editorial, and it houses both my editing and graphic design businesses. I have a separate website dedicated to my book covers. How did you get in Graphic Design? I’ve always been an extremely visual person. Even as a child I was tearing pages out of magazines to hang on my walls and making collages out of pictures. My love for design began about eighteen years ago when I started scrapbooking. That was back when we worked with actual printed photos and paper, scissors, glue, etc. A few years later, I started working in the advertising department of my hometown daily newspaper. As an outside sales rep, I met with local and regional business owners and helped…

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The Thing About Titles By Helen Hollick

I’ve found that, sometimes, deciding on a title for your story can be harder than writing the whole thing. When my first novel was accepted by William Heinemann for publication, way back in 1993, I had called it The Kingmaking. It was about a man who became a king (King Arthur in fact) so it seemed suitable. We went through the long process of editing, copy editing, proof reading, cover design, etc then a few days before preparing to go to print I was told, ‘We’re not keen on the title. Can you think of something else?’ I couldn’t. ‘Can you think of anything?’ says I. They couldn’t. The Kingmaking it remains to this day. Counter that with my UK published Harold the King and A Hollow Crown. Both books (a duo about the events that led to the 1066 Battle of Hastings) were acquired by a US publisher who decided to change the titles. A Hollow Crown became The Forever Queen (which, I confess, I prefer) but Harold became I Am The Chosen King. Why? Because the publisher said ‘No one will know who Harold is.’ Fair enough – but does ‘I Am The Chosen King’ leave the reader…

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Foodie Lit: Medieval Times & Chicken!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I'll share the magic of a good Foodie Lit read and one of its recipes.  Cooking and recipes in novels or memoirs take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book's kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. Here's to cooking and reading together! Susan A Swarming of Bees by Theresa Tomlinson     A Swarming of Bees by Theresa Tomlinson is an absorbing murder mystery set in the 7th century Anglo-Saxon Northumbria , in what is now northern Yorkshire. As Indie Food Blogger, I was asked to create a recipe from that time and place and that meant using only ingredients available.  Honey Chicken was a natural creation, as Fridgyth, the herb-wife and confident of the powerful Abbess Hild, keeps bees, an herb and vegetable garden and chickens! Meats were the glory of medieval meals, especially for the royals and the wealthy.  The peasants had meat less frequently, their meals frequently  were a mixture of whole grains and vegetables such as cabbage, chard, onions and leeks, garlic and carrots.  Vegetables were looked upon with some distain by many…

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IndieBRAG Cover Crush: In Julia’s Garden by Laura S. Wharton

  Synopsis Lily McGuire has her plants and her work as a landscape architect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. What she doesn’t have (a man to date or an adventure to have) is just fine with her, thank you very much. Yet her whole world turns as chaotic as the grand old mansion’s garden she’s restoring when a stranger presents her with the gardening journal of a 1940s socialite-gone-missing. Snarky and somewhat misanthropic Lily must search its pages for clues to the young beauty’s disappearance and a potentially deadly mystery despite the warning that she should tread carefully: the journal was the cause of Lily’s best friend’s death, assures the stranger. Appearances aside, the old man doesn’t seem trustworthy. But then again, Lily doesn’t trust anyone, so why should he be any different? In Julia’s Garden is a contemporary mystery set in Winston-Salem with roots firmly planted in a historic southern garden in Columbia, South Carolina. In the first of a series, Lily McGuire pieces together clues she finds in the missing socialite’s journal to discover what happened to Julia and to find closure on the death of her best friend who ran the small landscape architectural firm where Lily works.…

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