Authors' Chat

Getting to know Cayden

Award winning author Crystal Marcos- B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree On this balmy night, I was intrigued by Linnayah’s questions. I watched her lips intently with every word she spoke. Wondering how or why this enchanting Human girl would want to know more about me. Sunrise or sunset? Sunset, I spent many warm nights in the sand watching the sun disappear on the horizon. Breakfast or Dinner? At this point, I will take either. If I have to choose, I pick breakfast as it is hard to go most of the day without eating. If I start with some sort of breakfast, I am in pretty good shape for the rest of the day. Underground or above? Honestly, up until recent events, I would have certainly said above ground. In light of the new situation, I think I will take my chances beneath it. Hunting or Fishing? Fishing, I believe I am a better fisherman than a hunter.  I have a greater chance of bringing something to the table. Dancing or Singing? Well, I do not know that I have ever sang a note in my life and I most certainly did not learn how to dance until little Tara taught me.…

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BRIGIT QUINN’S MINI-TOUR OF IRELAND

Award Winning Author Valerie Biel-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  In honor of Teen Read Week, I am celebrating with all of you lovely readers with a package of goodies which includes: A $.99 e-book sale of the first book in my YA series (Circle of Nine: Beltany). A sample for your reading pleasure on Wattpad. A great giveaway contest via Rafflecopter.  (Details on all of these are near the bottom of this post!) AND BEST OF ALL, Brigit Quinn (the main character in the series) has agreed to take you on a tour of her favorite places from her May Day trip to Ireland in Circle of Nine: Beltany. BRIGIT QUINN’S MINI-TOUR OF IRELAND On my 15th birthday everything changed. I wished for the same thing I always wished for—to just be normal! But that’s not what I got, not even close!! Truthfully, I knew it was an impossible wish. “Normal” has always been out of reach with a mom who openly practices a pagan religion, making everyone in our small town believe she is a witch. Instead, my birthday gifts included the unbelievable revelation that I am descended from a legendary Celtic tribe—the guardians of the stone circles of Ireland. While…

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Fair game or a theme too far?

By G.J. Reilly-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree As a writer, this week is perhaps one of the most important in my calendar, so, when indieBRAG and Layered Pages announced that they were looking for posts, I jumped at the chance. It’s funny how teen readers get just one week. I love the fact that teens get a week at all, but as a novelist who writes with young adults in mind, part of my job is to encourage teens to read as often as they can. It was teaching that led me to write for that age group. Many of my characters have been influenced by the people I’ve taught over the years. Indeed, some of the themes I’ve tried to explore in the Book of Jerrick series have come from snippets of conversations that I’ve overheard in the corridors, or in the classroom. Before we go on, I’d like to emphasise something that all writers should know – ‘Young Adult’ is NOT a genre, it’s an age bracket which, although popular with older readers, is written with teens in mind. Young adult readers enjoy exactly the same ‘genres’ of books as everyone else (and many of the same themes too). That’s…

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The Magic is in the Balance

On Sale for $0.99! By Award Winning Author Elle Jacklee-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Writing for the middle grade/YA audience is like my own fountain of youth! Getting into my characters’ heads means thinking like they would, which is truly a gift. As we get older, some of the whimsy that we enjoy as kids and teens can become a little (or a lot!) tarnished if we let it, if we forget to look for the wonder that’s all around us. That’s one of the themes in The Tree of Mindala, the first in my Wunderwood series: that there truly is magic in the world if you open yourself to see it. And even though most of the story takes place in a different world, the themes I chose to weave into it are ones that mirror truths about our own world. Nature in our world has a way of maintaining a delicate balance. For example, droughts are followed by rains, and some species hibernate when conditions are undesirable. Balance in Wunderwood is also naturally maintained. That means, among other things, that whatever is needed–like food and shelter–is always provided. But it also means that justice has a way of being done,…

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The Dirty Secret to Writing your Novel

By Christopher Angel -Award Winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You’ve just completed the manuscript to your novel.  You’ve had friends and family proof-read it, maybe even a professional editor takes a pass.  You’re ready to share your bouncing new baby with the world. And you know there’s a few final things you have to take care of.  The book cover is the obvious one.  I spent a lot of time agonizing over the right image and font to represent my novel, The Mona Lisa Speaks (about the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre).  I was fortunate, because I had a friend who is an expert at designing art book jacket covers who helped me out (check out her amazing work at here) So, you have your cover art, so now you’re ready to publish right? Well, hold on.  Here’s the secret.  I’m going to give it away right now. Writing the book is only part one of a two-part job.  And unfortunately, the skills of being a great writer only partly translate to the second job.  Because these days, in our cluttered media space, being an author means you also have to become a marketing expert. The good news…

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Criteria of a Specific Genre or Subgenre

Does your book fit a general genre or does it fall in a subgenre? Could it be that other elements in a story go beyond the criteria of a specific genre or subgenre? For example, “Thrillers.” We know that thrillers are a broad genre of literature. Which is defined by key elements in the story to drive the plot and characters actions, what they must overcome, crime and suspense. When we add other elements such as courtroom drama and legalities…do we give it a new name? Tim Vicary shares with us today a conversation he had with a friend and fellow reader about this very topic. Please join us in this conversation and share which category does your book fall under. ************ I met my friend Angela outside the supermarket one day, and I made a mistake. I told her I like legal thrillers. ‘Legal thrillers?' she asked. 'What’s that? Some sort of drug?' 'No, of course not,' I said.  'Though they can be quite addictive, I suppose. A legal thriller is a book - a sort of crime novel.' 'So why not call it a crime novel then, and have done with it? At least then, I'd know what you were…

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Halloween-An Unusual Holiday

Award Winning B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Saving Halloween Halloween is an unusual holiday - it's the one day of the year when we're allowed to deceive one another in a spirit of fun. We dress up in costumes, hide our faces, and believe we are someone or something else. We let our imaginations run wild! In writing 'Saving Halloween', I wanted to draw the reader into an imaginary and mysterious world by using deception.  When book-smart Anne Parson meets the lively Halloween Spavento for the first time in the orchard, it may dawn on the reader that something is a bit odd about this free-spirited girl. As more of the Spavento family is introduced, the magic surrounding this household is revealed. But, it's not just the characters and actions that may dupe the reader; their names are significant. The magical family's last name -- Spavento, means fright or terror in Italian. There's more hidden meanings in the names than that and I've included in the back of the book a listing of Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the book. If readers get really curious, they'll look up (Uncle) Fenris's name and discover more quickly how well that describes him. Oh there's lots of mystery and…

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Inspired by Halloween

By J.B. Hawker - B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree The first book I ever published was inspired by Halloween. One warm October day, my son and I were taking a walk around our small Northern California town, enjoying the weather and the Halloween decorations popping up in the neighborhoods. Passing by a particularly grisly tableau, with imitation body parts and fake blood galore, I commented on how easy it would be for a serial killer to get rid of his victims’ bodies by inserting them into such displays. “That’s a great idea for a book, Mom. You should write it,” my son said. So, I did... The book, Hollow, takes place in the imaginary Northern California mountain town of Clark’s Hallow. My working title was Halloween Hollow, but I liked the ambiguous sound of the one word: Hollow. The main character, Bunny Elder, is recently widowed after many years of marriage to a minister. The book is written from a Christian perspective and includes scripture quotes at the heading of each chapter. I didn’t label it Christian Fiction when it first came out, but after a reviewer accused me of trying to trick readers into reading a Christian work by simply calling it…

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How to Respond to Negative Book Reviews

By Award Winning Author Valerie Biel -B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Telling an author to ignore a bad review is like telling a dieter to ignore a cookie sitting in front of them. Rarely do we have the willpower to just walk away. We stare at it, we wonder about it, and it might become all we can think about for a while. I get it . . . I’ve been both that author and that dieter (and God forbid if you get a bad review while dieting—that just not fair.) But I’m here to tell you bad reviews are bound to happen and you should be happy (YES, HAPPY) when you are staring down that two-star or (cringe) one-star review. (Seriously!) That means your book is being more widely read and the more people who read your book, the more likely it is that you will attract a naysayer or two. Intellectually, we all know that not everyone will like what we write. But that is hard to remember when that first stinging review comes in. Remind yourself that you’ve written a great story (because you did) and the vast majority of reviews will cancel out the few who didn’t like…

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Copy-Editor- do we need one?

By Award Winning Author Elisabeth Marrion-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You finished your latest masterpiece. Ready to press the publish button? No, wait, hold it there, just for a minute. Have you read and re-read? Did you do so on your computer, or did you print a copy? Printing out a copy is always a good idea, if you can do that. It really is easier to spot mistakes on a printed sheet. Have you been lucky, or brave enough, to have it beta read? Most of us have written more than one book. Do we, by now, have an inkling as to what will be best for our work to shine above the rest? Cost, as always, will be a factor. Proofreading is a must and can be costly. I, at one time, received some really bad advice on how to save on proofreading costs. A mistake I will not repeat. But do we need the extra expense of having the manuscript copy-edited? And bear in mind, that your copy-editor might suggest some changes. Or, worse still, suggest to delete certain sections altogether. This is your work, every word thought about, and the story carefully crafted. And now? A total stranger…

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