indieBRAG Blog

Yummy Spinach-Cheese Pockets – without all the trauma Mirra had to go through!

  “I am Uru Ana, privy to men’s darkest secrets, witness to the memories that haunt and the memories that comfort.” Mirra and her brother Kel are from a people who mind-travel, who can see into others’ memories and thoughts. They are feared and they are used for their abilities. Their country has been destroyed, they have been exiled and are in hiding, many hunted and enslaved. heir original home, where they truly belong, is gone. Author Claire Merle told me, “Mirra holds a deep sense of being unable to ever get ‘home’, even before she starts her journey and this is shown through the lost island of the Uru Ana. To me, it’s as much an internal sense of something missing as an external one. There have been periods in my life where I’ve had the sense that ‘home’, where I truly belong, is somehow inaccessible. As though it lies in another time and place, perhaps childhood, or elsewhere.” Like many before them, Kel is kidnapped, the glittering eyes of the young shadow weavers giving Kel away. He is to be taken to the Pit and sold into slavery.  This transaction is interrupted by Mirra, who leaves her injured…

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Can you imagine anything better than a good mystery and sweet rolls?

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre of novels & memoirs filled with stories and recipes Join Susan as she shares he reviews and fantastic recipes! Hush Girl by Gloria Zachgo is a well-written novel so intimate it reads like a memoir.  After the death of her father, memories and nightmares begin to re-emerge for main character Nicole Reed.  These caused panic attacks, an inability to speak, mood swings and loosing of her grasp on reality. But what was her childhood reality? That is what Nicki both needs and fears to find. Nicki and readers doubt her sanity as Gloria blurs memory, visions and nightmare. At the same time as the author takes us back into Nicki’s abusive past, we are led through her healing through counseling and family support. Although a long and difficult process, we see the healing value of counseling. Nicki is a writer within the novel, writing a mystery within a mystery, her writing modeling the author’s own writing process. As a retired principal, I encountered children who had been abused.  As difficult as it was for me to learn what had happened to them and then report to the proper agencies, there was much more anguish for these…

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A Proper English Lunch and a Great Mystery!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre of novels & memoirs filled with stories and recipes Join Susan as she shares he reviews and fantastic recipes! Have you ever walked into a room and think, “I’ve been here before,” or met a person and feel, “I’ve met this person before,” but you haven’t.  Yet that connection remains. And that is how the novel, When the Clocks Stopped begins. This is not your typical time travel novel, but rather the creation of a ”chat room” between eras, where characters do not go back and live in another time, but nonetheless through multi-layered and intertwined time lines, interact together. Hazel Hawkins lives in 1976, Annie in 1747. Both live in Cottage House on Romney Marsh.  We know from the beginning of the novel that this house is special. “I think this house likes us,” Hazel’s husband Bruce says to her, as if the house has a personality or is a character in itself. Author Marion (M.L.) Eaton told me, “Rose Cottage is based on the cottage that my Australian husband and I bought in Lydd (thinly disguised in the novel as Rype) in 1975… Rose Cottage not only had its own character, its atmosphere was truly…

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A Great Thriller and Apple Tarts – Oh My!

Jennifer Alderson has created a fast paced and suspenseful historical novel about art theft In the Netherlands. Two time lines connect the plot. In the contemporary time line is the feisty Zelda Richardson, intern for an Amsterdam museum’s exhibition of still unclaimed artwork once stolen by the Nazis. Trouble begins when two women claim the same painting.  Zelda and her friend Friedrich become detectives in what becomes a dangerous game worth millions in artwork and a cover up of murders. During the Nazi occupation time line, priceless artwork was stolen from Jews, gays, dissidents and other victims by the Nazi government and too with the assistance of officials and citizens of the occupied countries. Arjan van Heemsvliet is an art dealer trying to protect his artwork from the greed of the Nazis and at the same time, hide his homosexuality, a “crime” which could send him to a concentration camp. Jennifer has pulled together all of this data into an exciting and suspenseful historical novel. Zelda, our modern sleuth, is impulsive, courageous and smart as Sherlock Holmes in sniffing out clues. I immediately liked her!  Jennifer told me, “Zelda’s intellect is driven by her endless curiosity, a deep-seated need to…

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IT’S YOUR BOOK LAUNCH…PARTY IF YOU WANT TO

 Lorraine Devon Wilke- Author There are lots of rules in the writing game. LOTS. Ask anyone in the biz for advice, do a little research on norms and protocols, get active in social media groups on the topic, and you’ll be bombarded with generalized and specific do's and don'ts, articles with titles like, “the 10 most important rules of writing,” debates around, “are you an author or a writer?”, and certainly lists of what to avoid, what to absolutely avoid, and how to “do things right.” In the swirling eddy of contradictions and occasional hits of inspiration you will likely get… exhausted. But take a deep breath and know that, in the midst of all that information, you can glean enough good advice and worthwhile input to create your own set of protocols and preferences to fit your style, while still getting the job done. Here’s the trick: You have to be selective. You have to curate that advice. You have to experiment on your own to discover what you agree with, what you don’t. Let’s take the “book launch.” Now, there’s a topic that inspires prodigious amounts of opinion. Just this week I read a lengthy blog filled with…

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More Thoughts on the Newsletter Rage-

  A reader’s thoughts First of all, let me say that, at times, I like getting newsletters from my favorite authors- but it can be over done! Most of the time I am the one who seeks out subscription on their newsletter but I am definitely not a fan of being “forced” to sign up when visiting a website. Pop ups that require you to sign up for the newsletter to allow you onto the website really annoy me – not what an author wants!  I actually think this may discourage some people who are just browsing and getting to know you as an author.  Getting an email for your list is not as important as winning a fan!  I have found that sometimes I sign up just to get a look at the authors website  and his/her books and then when the emails come pouring in, I unsubscribe, and I am sure I am not alone. The big question is Do Newsletters turn into sales?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think that forcing subscribers to sign up for your subscription is helpful and too many emails is soon considered spam.  Where I do think it is helpful is when…

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Author Newsletter vs. Author Blog: Five Reasons I Prefer a Blog, and Six Reasons You Might Not

“The one with the biggest email list wins” is the current mantra of pretty much every book marketer on the planet. The author newsletter is supposed to be the most important weapon in your book marketing arsenal. Marketing experts tell authors their #1 goal should be to collect as many email addresses as possible for the purpose of sending our victims fans weekly or even daily doses of our spam news. This week Kristine Katherine Rusch wrote a great in-depth post on newsletters. She pointed out there are two types of newsletters that authors are using today: the old school, chatty  letter that reads like the newsy Christmas letter you get from Aunt Susie. Those newsletters appeal to your established fans who know your characters, and want to know what’s coming up and what’s going on with you personally. Then there’s the newer type of newsletter which is like an advertising circular that aims at getting new customers. It’s all about marketing. It’s the latter I have the most trouble with. (So does KKR) but if you’ve got a lot of marketing savvy, it may work for you. Unfortunately I personally have negative reaction aggressive marketing, so I’m not comfortable with doing it myself. Should You…

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Another Tasty Idea and a Great Book!

Kitchen Brigade by Laurie Boris Dystopian novels have a long and popular history, from classics such as The Time Machine, Brave New World and 1984 to the more modern Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Divergent.  Some take place in a specific time and place and some are vague or fantasies. Some dystopian novels use unknown tyrants while others use current US rivals, such as the Chinese, Cubans or Russians. That is the route of The Kitchen Rivals by Laurie Boris, which uses a specific enemy, the Russians and their allies, the Cubans, as the tyrannical rulers who have taken over the eastern part of the US. Its setting is also specific, taking place in the Hudson Valley, where the author lives. Laurie skillfully places the main scenes in the kitchen, where main character Valerie, now called Three, with her fellow chefs, including Chef Svetlana, under whom she had previously studied at the Culinary Institute of America create meals for the general, his staff and visitors. Food is an important focus in the novel.  While the kitchen chefs are prisoners, food still provides joy, love and artistry. It is used as payment, as for chef Four, and used horribly, as when the child Tomàs is forced to taste food in case…

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It’s a Tough Market for Authors

                          Florence Osmund                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Author and Contributor When it dawned on me last year that I was making less money but spending more time promoting and marketing my books than I did three years earlier when I had fewer to offer, I decided to take a break from writing and focus on what I was doing wrong. Since my marketing strategy hadn’t changed during these years, I was pretty sure it was the industry that had changed around me, and I had to understand this in…

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A Thriller & a Burger (Vegan) – Perfect!

Of Half a Mind                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Bruce M. Perrin Stanley Milgrom’s famous studies on obedience, prodded by bullying and authority, comes to life in Bruce Perrin’s Of Half a Mind. While both are ostensibly about memory and learning, they are in fact about submission and subservience to authority. Milgrom’s studies, of course, were at Yale with students who went home, disturbed after what they thought they had done. [No one was actually electrically shocked or hurt in any way.] Bruce commented, “Stanley Milgram’s studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s revealed an unexpected dark…

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