Authors' Chat

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving we can smell the aroma of a turkey baking and pumpkin pie cooling, whipped cream and whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s a tradition so ingrained in memory our thoughts automatically rush to full bellies and football, family and friends. Not so long ago, during the Great Depression, most of the country could only dream of a table laden with a fat turkey and all the fixings. And if you lived in the dust bowl in the 1930’s you forgot how to dream of a table filled with food or even a table with any food. But the American people are strong, resilient, and hopeful.   Envision living at the worst of times in a part of the country where daily survival meant fighting the wind storms and praying the small garden you planted would yield a potato or two and the chickens would survive for a few more weeks. Thanksgiving still meant a holiday and sharing. It provided a reason to get together and be thankful. I imagine during those times what a Thanksgiving would be like for those in small towns made up of farmers and ranchers, where neighbors knew each other…

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The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving Story

Every schoolchild knows the bare bones of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving story. Inexperienced settlers who came to the New World for religious freedom would have starved during their first year in Plymouth, if not succored by Indians who taught them how to raise corn adapted to New England’s climate. The Pilgrims feasted to celebrate their successful harvest, and invited their Indian saviors. That, in a very small nutshell, is what happened. Here’s the rest of the story:   The 1620 settlers were a mixed bag. Many were Calvinist Separatists who took refuge in Holland in 1608 to escape persecution by the Catholic-leaning King James. A decade later, the Dutch were growing weary of cultural differences with the Saints, as the English Separatists called themselves. The feeling was mutual. The Dutch loved celebrating the Sabbath with a pot of beer, the Saints’ children were speaking Dutch, and falling into ‘extravagante & dangerous courses, getting ye raines of[f] their neks, & departing from their parents.’ In 1617 the Saints decided that if they were to remain pure, they had to leave Holland. They sent agents to London to search out a place to settle in the New World. The original choice was…

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The Hobo Family

During the Great Depression, Maddy Skobel, my main character in Line by Line, reacts to her first real Thanksgiving dinner.  Maddy is a hobo who has been welcomed into the home of Phillipe and Francine Durrand: That afternoon, as I watched Phillipe carve a whole turkey, I thought about families.  In New Harmony, my family’s Thanksgiving Day never looked like the illustrations in Harper’s Weekly or the Saturday Evening Post. . .  I had never been part of a dinner where just one big, plump, stuffed and roasted golden brown turkey with drumsticks was brought to the table whole and served at one time. I thought about how there were two kinds of families: the ones made up of people related by blood, which you’re automatically part of, like it or not, and the families you choose for yourself.  Today Francine and Phillipe chose to include me.  I knew I was lucky, because there was a very large hobo family out there that didn’t have enough to eat. Because Maddy was a hobo, I needed to research how hobos lived—and survived—the Great Depression.  That quest took me to Britt, Iowa, where the National Hobo Convention has convened each August for…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Glen Craney

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Glen Craney today. He is here to talk with us about a big part of his writing. I first started this series-A Writer’s Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors.  Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is also a two-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree, a Chaucer Award First-Place Winner for Historical Fiction set during the Middle Ages, and has three times been named a Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was recognized as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards and as an Honorable Mention winner for Foreword's BOTYA in historical fiction. His novels have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in southern California.  Glen, what makes you feel happiest when writing?  I agree with the satirist Dorothy Parker, who reportedly answered with the quip: “I…

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Interview with Award Winning Author & Graphic Designer Lee Davis

A few months ago I wanted to create a series that went deeper into the process of cover art for books and the graphic designers who created them. Without these truly gifted people, I often wonder if book sales would be what they are today. After all, we are such visual creatures. I can agree that cover layouts and graphic designs play an important role in the overall presentation of books.  I’d like to welcome, award winning author, Lee Davis to indieBRAG today. Lee is here to talk with us about his graphic designing. He is a talented guy who loves the art of graphics and it certainly shows through is creative designs and process!   Lee Davis once pursued a career in thuggin’ gangsta rap, but then remembered that he grew up in suburbia and to do so would make him nothing more than a raging poser, so he revived his childhood dreams of illustrating and writing and filming stories of monsters and villains and good guys and copious amounts of blood and guts. He spent his teen years misusing his gifts as means to offend people after spending adolescence being bullied and having teacher figures beat the notion into his head that…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Helen Hollick

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Helen Hollick today. She is here to talk with us about a big part of her writing. I first started this series-A Writer’s Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors. This is Helen’s third participation in this series. -Stephanie M. Hopkins  Helen Hollick lives with her husband, daughter and son-in-law in North Devon, England, in an eighteenth century farmhouse, surrounded by thirteen acres of fields and woodland. A variety of pets include her  daughter’s side-saddle riding horse and a show jumper, two Exmoor ponies which once ran wild on Exmoor, two cats who ignore each other, two wonderful dogs from the Dog’s Trust rescue Centre, some chickens, ducks, and a very grumpy goose called Bernadette (although Boudicca is a more appropriate name!). All of Helen’s books in The Sea Witch Voyages series are B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees.  She also has a number of respected books of historical fiction which are traditionally published. Including the bestseller The Forever Queen the story of Emma of Normandy  and The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, has also been widely acclaimed as a different telling of the Arthurian Myth – no…

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Stephanie’s Book Spotlight: A Beautiful Glittering Lie by J. D. R. Hawkins

Synopsis In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known. After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline – Hiram’s wife and David’s mother – struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart. In this historical tale, the naïveté of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure – regardless…

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How Barnes & Noble Helps Indie Authors Find a Spot on Their Shelves

By Award Winning Author Victoria L. Thurman (author of The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield) I wasn’t aware that Barnes and Noble hosts an author signing class, as maybe you weren’t either. (Please be advised I am not exactly sure if that is the exact name). I received a text from my friend, whose friend posted it on Facebook. The text was a photo of a sign in the local Barnes and Noble advertising an author class—how to get your indie book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. (NOTE: I could not find it listed on their events website at all. Call your local B&N to find out when your class is. They have one once a quarter.) As I had given up after a couple of years trying to figure it out, I jumped out of my chair at work and squealed. I didn’t want to take any chances on the class filling up (in my mind it was already packed to the hilt with eager indie authors and they would turn me away) and even though I am poor as a church mouse at this moment in time, I saw myself using my last credit card with…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Award Winning Author Annie Whitehead

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Annie Whitehead today. She is here to talk with us about a big part of her writing. I first started this series-A Writer's Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors. Annie is a history graduate and prize-winning author. Her first novel, To Be A Queen, is the story of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, who came to be known as the Lady of the Mercians. It was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society’s Indie Book of the Year 2016, and it has been awarded a B.R.A.G. Gold Medallion. Her second novel, Alvar the Kingmaker, is a tale of intrigue, deceit, politics, love, and murder in tenth-century Mercia. It charts the career of the earl who sacrificed personal happiness to secure the throne of England for King Edgar, and, later, Aethelred the Unready. It too has just been awarded a B.R.A.G. Gold Medallion. She has completed a third novel, also set in Mercia, and scheduled for publication in 2017. She has twice been a prizewinner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Writing competition, she won first prize for nonfiction in the new Writing Magazine Poetry…

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How did you discover indieBRAG?

Often times in B.R.A.G. Interviews we ask our authors how they discovered us. This past July, Stephanie at Layered Pages asked award winning author Ginger Bensman how she discovered us. Here is what she had to say: “A couple years ago, I discovered a wonderful book, After the Sucker Punch by Lorraine Devon Wilke. Wilke’s book was a recipient of the Indiebrag award, and after I read her book, I began to notice and appreciate that little gold medallion as an indicator of quality. Two years later, when I published my own book, I knew I wanted to submit it to the Indiebrag process. The possibility of winning a medallion was an exciting but secondary motivation, mostly, I wanted a straight up evaluation of my novel. Indiebrag is a gift to readers and independent authors, helping readers find high caliber indie books, and supporting writers to produce their best work.” -Ginger Bensman To read the full interview with Ginger, click here. About Author Ginger is a lifelong student of the human condition with a deep interest in philosophy and ecology. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development/Child and Family Studies from the University of Maine in Orono and has spent more than 25 years working in family…

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