indieBRAG Blog

Your First Chance!

Your Book Cover by S.L.Dwyer Great! You’ve written a wonderful book. The story flowed onto the pages and your characters have become your best friends. Now what? Write the blurb—ugh, and synopsis. Not the most fun, but necessary. Blame the industry for those hateful necessities. So we come to the first thing a reader sees when looking for a new book. Your cover. Yup, first with the eyes, then with the words. There are millions of beautiful book covers that your book will fight with for space on the shelves or on the internet. So what makes a great book cover? Some will say it’s the color that will catch your eyes first. Others say it is the script or the lack of color. Is it part of a genre color scheme? Should we all use pastels for romance or black and red for horror? Dark blues and bright lights for Sci-Fi or soft primaries for fantasy? Knowing your genre and the major premise of the story should dictate a starting point. Bright colors will attract your eyes, while dark colors will repel those who are not interested in the genre usually represented by those colors. Choosing colors and script…

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The Blurb- Buy or not to Buy

      The Blurb By S.L. Dwyer   The blurb for your book is the most dreaded word once you’ve typed “The End”. We sit and stare at the screen, or paper, wondering how do we even begin to condense a three or four hundred page book into two or three paragraphs. Yet, the blurb is the first thing a reader goes to when deciding if they want to purchase a book. The reader has to be pulled into the idea of the story, make them want to see how it unfolds with a limited amount of words. This isn't a synopsis that gives away the entire story, including the ending. It is a concise, pared down to the fewest of words, yet intriguing enough verbiage to make the reader want to take the book home. The blurb is the most important step in putting your book out for the public, either fiction or non-fiction. So, why is it so difficult to write? After months, and sometimes years, we have lived with this story. We are part of our characters' journey, their joys and heartaches, and their reason for demanding we share their story. We want to include everything…

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On the road with Apple Turnovers!

In J.R. Ridgley's 16Wheeler, main character Carrie Marshall recently a widow, recently without a job and recently adrift in what was an orderly and planned life, takes off spontaneously to visit her grandchildren. She doesn’t check the weather and is stranded in a freezing snow storm, hearing her dead husband’s voice berating her judgment, as he so often did in life—her dead cell phone, lack of food and emergency supplies. Trucker John Graham, a widower with grown children, is constantly on the road to escape his life after his beloved wife died of cancer. His life is in his rig, the cab with a microwave, refrigerator, shelves, a bed and internet. His friends are truckers he sees at truck stops and talks to on his CB. His kind heart has him stopping for the car he sees on the side of the road, rescuing Carrie. And turning him from a suspected predator to a hero who saves her life. Like Noah’s Ark, the rig becomes the world for John and Carrie, adrift in the world. I will never look at an 18Wheeler in the same way again! The aroma of baking apples reminds us that fall is around the corner, even if…

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Grab a Meat Pie and travel back in time!

        “Had Anna been allowed to choose, she'd have become a professional time-traveller. No luck there, so instead she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests; history and writing.” (annabelfrage.com) Like his Grandmother Alex before him, Duncan Melville finds himself on a crossroads during a terrible thunderstorm. Instead of falling backwards 300 years as she did, he falls forward in time, from 1716 to 2016, landing like his grandmother, at the feet (well, actually in front of a modern automobile driven by Erin Barnes!) of a person destined to be important in his life. Living in 2 time periods can be enlightening, confusing and, for a reader, so compelling that it is difficult to do anything else until  you read to the novel’s end! The crossroads are symbolic of life choices. For Anna Belfrage, they “…represent a moment in which there are multiple choices and you never know beforehand what will happen if you choose road A or road B. Obviously, my poor time travellers don’t get a choice, they’re just thrown through the nexus to land in an entirely new time. There are days when Alex, the female protagonist of The Graham Saga, still hasn’t…

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A closer Look

Tecumseh A Panther Crosses Over by Sam Foster This regretful piece of American history is told by Sam Foster in A Panther Crosses Over, a fast-paced exciting historical novel. For years and years, our children were taught that this encounter, the Battle of Tippecanoe, tore the Indian Confederacy apart, allied the Indians with the British, and opened the northeast for the settlement of America pushing the Indians into Canada. America needed land for the new settlers.  All of this is true. But why did it happen?  Better yet, why did it have to happen? In this day and age, it is very virtuous and fashionable to be “woke.” I, for one, am someone whose friends and family would never describe using that word. To me, being “woke” is partly taking the side of the “victim” and running wild with it, beyond common sense. But here we have a situation that demands a closer look. We, literally, came in and took over other people’s land without batting an eye. We didn’t try and live peacefully with them; we took their land. We deemed ourselves better; more deserving. We were stronger; more advanced technologically and beat them into the ground. In some cases,…

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What do you know about self-publishing?

I would like to tell you about self-publishing and indieBRAG First, what do you know about self-published books? That they are books that couldn’t find a publisher – probably because they aren’t good enough?  Well, there was a time when that was a fact – but not so any longer. It has become a very popular choice for writers who want to have more control over their work. You would be surprised at the successful books that have been self-published today (not to mention some of the old classics like Beatrix Potter’s books). Here are a few that might sound familiar- The Martian by Andy Weir- which not only became a best seller, but also a successful movie. Wool by Hugh Howey – a founder of the “hi-bred” publishing. He sold the print rights to Simon & Schuster (for a sum of$500,00!), the movie rights to 20th Century but has retained all rights to continue distributing online himself. He was able to do this due to the success of his Self-published books. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. This was the first self-published book to make it to the New York Times Best Seller List! The Joy of…

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The Plague!

"A Herbsife on a mule may go where warriors cannot - she may see what warriors cannot and see and hear what warriors cannon hear." A Swarming of Bees  From Fact to Fiction In A Swarming of Bees author Theresa Tomlinson writes about what Abbess Hild, ruling over Whitby’s Monastery, has to do when her community is attacked by the plague and the resulting panic. The term “plague” can still cause people to flinch, if only for a moment. Thankfully, we can now vaccinate against it in people in areas where the plague threatens, treat it in people with symptoms and prophylactically attack it in first responders who go in and help people where the plague crops up which it still does periodically. But historically the plague was a deadly menace to people in ages gone by. According to medical texts, there are three forms of plague (carried by the common flea) all caused by yersinia pestis: 1) the common bubonic subtype, which causes buboes or swellings on the body (the Bubonic Plague of historical note), 2) the septicemic subtype, and 3) the pneumonic subtype. The plague, readers will be interested in noting, has been with humans for quite a while. The famous outbreak…

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Trucking Together!

FROM FACT TO FICTION 18 Wheeler By J. F. Ridgley Ever wonder if love can be sweeter on an 18-Wheeler This mature romance is set on John’s 18-wheeler when he discovers a cute but helpless driver in her broken-down car on the Salt Flats of Utah. Carrie was dead either way,..freezing in her car or getting into a complete stranger’s semi that pulled in behind her car. So, she climbs into John’s rig, only to have her life take a unexpected right turn. Join John and Carrie’s journeys that crosses America and offers them a chance for a new romance and dreams. 18 Wheeler by JF Ridgley is about two people finding love on the open road where one is a widowed truck driver who comes to the rescue of a woman stuck out in the cold. She becomes his “broker” scheduling his loads and deliveries. This brings to mind the relatively new concept of husbands and wives traveling together as team truck drivers. What would that be like? Traveling constantly with your wife or husband by your side, 24/7? I did some research and came up with both pros and cons. First off, the biggest pro would obviously be the…

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A conundrum!

FACT NO FICTION! 336 Hours by Rachel Cathan 336 Hours by Rachel Cathan documents the honest account of a woman attempting her third IVF treatment and the emotional, funny, and moving experiences she goes through. Imagine placing on top of her experience discovering that you’d be committing a felony if you disposed the unused fertilized embryos. This is the conundrum created by the Supreme Court’s ruling when they overturned Roe v. Wade and left it up to the individual states to decide the fate of abortion rights. People waiting for babies could realistically be impacted by laws passed in their state granting personhood to frozen fertilized embryos. Some states say fertilization starts life; some say 15 weeks. Some do not specifically talk about IVF; others feel personhood starts immediately. No one knows precisely at this point which is making choices risky and very tough for couples choosing IVF. Depending on the state, a lot of these couples could be in legal limbo with tough choices. Currently, their choices may be fertilizing one embryo at a time, freezing embryos and then implanting all of them and seeing what happens, transferring the frozen embryos to states which allow their existence, or paying for the frozen embryos’…

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