Authors' Chat

My Tale (Tail) of Two Desks by PJ LaRue

My desk at work and my desk at home are opposites. One might think the nature of my job is the cause, but it isn't. I am an organized thinker, numbers person and CPA under my real name by day and a writer under my pen name by night and on the weekends. Although artistic people are sometimes categorized as disorganized, the neatly organized desk is my writing desk, while my office at work is hidden beneath a mountain of paper. Occasionally, my propensity for neatness wins and my office takes on a semi-clean appearance with stacks of papers organized by tasks at hand. Other days, there is no hope, with papers strewn across the desk, credenza and meeting table, today's latest crisis on top of yesterday's unfinished assignment. Please join me in my tale (tail) of two desks to discover why my work space at home is always organized and often paper free. It all started a little over a year ago when we adopted our kittens Shelby and Riley at the local animal shelter. Shelby should have been named Shelby Don’t, because we exclaim that phrase throughout the day. Many people converse with their pets, and I am…

Read More

LIVING IN SUMMER, WRITING ABOUT WINTER by Gill-Marie Stewart

My current YA novel, No More Lies, was inspired by a trip to the Cairngorm National Park in the Scottish Highlands in winter 2015. I began writing it in winter 2016, when we had actually moved to this area. Perfect, I thought, I have my setting at my fingertips. And then we happened to see a house we fell in love with, miles away on the west coast. So instead of being able to concentrate on the writing I had to think about moving (second time in 12 months!) and suddenly it was spring and I still hadn’t finished No More Lies. And now it’s nearly summer, and I’m loving the sunshine and the heat (yes even here in Scotland – first barbecue last week) but am still putting the final touches to that novel set in the depths of a very snowy winter. So - how do I do it? How do I take myself out of the lush green of the present and back into the stark black and white of my story? Obviously as writers we are constantly creating a world which is not the one we are currently living in, but I do feel that with…

Read More

Childhood Memories and Rainy Days

By J F Ridgley-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Funny how certain days linger in your memory forever.  Stephanie suggested a topic for the indiebrag blog…“Try to recreate a day of reading from your childhood or teen years and write about it,” she asked. And a cherished memory sprang to life the instant I read her prompt. Freeimages.com Niles N Kristensen It began on a cloudy, rainy days, all gray, drippy, and cold. My family and I lived on a busy, city street where, on this day, cars, trucks and buses hurried by, spraying large puddles of water onto the sidewalks.  Our house was a simple one, barely more than a two bedroom ranch with a front porch, which is where this memory  began. On that porch swing. As a young girl no more than ten, I loved that swing on any day. It swung my dolls to sleep, thrilled me and my friends when we banged it against the house as we laughed together on a hot summer day. But this was spring and raining, not storming. Just a steady downpour flowed from the thick gray clouds, watering  spring flowers, turning winter yards to a lush green, and kept everyone inside. Everyone except…

Read More

Covers in Color by Holly Bush

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree! When I began self-publishing my historical romances back in 2011, I did not have a clear vision of the sales ocean I was dipping my toe in, and even with some significant marketing background, I did not have the experience or understand the particulars about product placement in the book biz. I scanned the Amazon and Barnes & Noble book site pages for hours and hours, recording and cataloging what covers drew my eye. I had virtually no budget, as I’d not sold any books at that point, for models or photos or the software to design a cover and in 2011 there were few, if any, sources for pre-made book covers. Romancing Olive’s original black and white cover was put together by my daughter using borrowed software and a $10 photo. The second black and white cover for Train Station Bride and the third, Reconstructing Jackson, were also done in much the same way. At the time I was not convinced I could compete with the gorgeous color covers coming out of New York, so I decided to go the opposite direction and be the black, tan, and gray, amongst the violet, chartreuse, rose, and periwinkle.…

Read More

So, you want to write a novel?

By Helen Hollick B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Don’t we all? Well, I assume most visitors glancing through this article are keen to write, hence reading this in the first place. (Although, of course, I might be jumping to conclusions – some of you are also readers.) There’s a saying ‘write what you know about’. It is, sort of, useful guide but if you want to write historical fiction – well I don’t know many people who were actually there in Roman, Medieval, Tudor or the American Civil War eras. Not in person, so it isn’t easy to know how people lived, loved, fought and died in these centuries. Which is where research comes in. From academic books, from history magazines, from quality documentaries on T, and from the Internet. (Good old Wikipedia and Google Search!)  All are useful sources for information, but beware. Not all internet sources are accurate. I once queried some ‘facts’ used in a historical novel, tactfully implying that they were not correct. The author emailed me back, most indignant, claiming she had looked at several sources on the ‘Net. It was a fairly obscure subject so I took a look. Indeed, there were several articles, but on…

Read More

The indieBRAGs on My Shelf by Carrie Beckort

It’s probably not surprising to learn that I was a reader long before I was a writer. I’ll admit that I have days when I struggle with the urge to read and the need to write. I only have so many hours in the day after all. And, unfortunately, I’m not a very fast reader. I used to read primarily one author, but over the years I’ve worked hard at trying new reads. Now that I write, I try to extend my reading reach even more. I wrote up a post over on the group blog I’m a part of, Across the Board, about how I now love embracing an open reading lifestyle. I never used to establish reading goals. I had my book club reads, but beyond that I’d just read what sounded interesting. However, this year I decided to establish a loose reading goal—focus on books already on my shelf and self-published books. The number of books on my physical to-be-read book shelf is expanding rapidly. I’m running out of room, so I need to start knocking some of those off my list. My Kindle has also grown to a number that’s outside of my comfort zone. I…

Read More

How did you discover indiebrag?

I have had the honor of interviewing B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees for a few years now and will continue that honor. One of the questions I ask the authors is how they discovered indiebrag. I am always fascinated with their answers and I thought, why not blog about it? It would be fun. Beginning today, I will frequently share quotes from authors on how they discovered indiebrag. How did you discover indiebrag? Egore Pitir -While venturing down the Internet rabbit hole labeled “self-published reviews,” trying to divine reputable from reprehensible, I finally came across the bookbaby blog, and their article entitled “5 Places Indie Authors Can Get Their Books Reviewed.” All five seemed to have legitimacy, but indieBRAG possessed the most unique concept, and seemed to put the reader’s needs first. I liked that a lot. Full interview here             Alan Bray - I believe I learned about IndieBRAG through an internet search regarding self-publishing resources. I sent in an application and was delighted to be accepted. They have been very helpful with promoting my book. -Full Interview here               Laurie Boris -I’m grateful to be aboard today and so…

Read More

Reviews – Who needs them?

We all do, of course. Or at least, we believe we do. It is the Amazon reviews we are really craving. After all, that is where we sell most of our books. We have also learned if you achieve fifty reviews on Amazon, the company begins to take you seriously, and you could be featured in their newsletter and/or other promotions. I do not know how true the statement is, but one of my books has achieved this target, and it is selling well. How can we get there? Maybe, like myself, you purchase products other than books on Amazon. Perhaps, you ordered a set of towels, for example, or a coffee maker? When your items arrive, you open the carton and begin using the contents, but did the thought of leaving a review ever cross your mind? Backing up a step, remember when you were searching for the product? Did the number of reviews influence your purchase? Did you read the review and, if so, did the negative reviews cause you to continue shopping? We could begin leaving reviews ourselves on all products purchased on the Amazon site. The number of reviews, especially, if they are helpful to others,…

Read More

Talking to people is all you need to do by Malcolm Noble

Peggy Pinch-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree The cynic will say that a platform may be defined to suit whatever author service the blogger is trying to sell us.  You're right.  I don't start out as a fan.  I'm repeatedly told that legacy publishers are looking for established author platforms. That's as may be - but I am not looking for a legacy publisher.  So, surely the concept is of no more than a passing interest to confident self-sustaining authors? However, Polly Courtney's strap line tells us that self-publishers do everything that traditional publishers do - but they do it better.  So let's, at least, look at it. I have settled on the elements set out by Jane Friedman in her 2012 blog. A target audience. Authority. Visibility. Proven reach. I warm to this because it reflects my own experience.  Please forgive me but I do need to offer a brief account of my own self-publishing career if the rest of this blog is going to make any sense.  My third book earned me a complimentary ticket to the London Book fair.  When I saw the almost obscene amounts that the grown-ups were spending on promoting their lead title for the season, I realised that playing on…

Read More

The Genie Effect by Virginia King

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree How Authors Write Stories that Are Bigger than They Are Some authors plan their stories in advance. Then the writing process puts flesh on the bones of this outline. A few surprises may turn up along the way, but the story follows the plan. In this post I look at a different process called ‘pantsing’ – writing by the seat of the pants. This is when an author has little or no idea what they’re about to write – until they write it. These kinds of writers – like me – are keyhole peepers who wonder what might be lurking on the other side of the door. Their novels are a mystery to them and they discover the story by writing it. This uncorking of an unknown genie is a wild ride, scary and big. It’s also serious fun. Writing without a plan Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) has a great explanation: The characters in my novels are my own unrealised possibilities. Each one has crossed a border which I myself have circumvented … Beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. Wow. His characters are taking him places he hasn’t been, through…

Read More