Authors' Chat

Developing a character voice by Colin Weldon

Award Winning Book -A great B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree I’ll be honest. When writing my first novel I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. None. If you had of asked me about character voice development three years ago I would have looked at you like a deer in headlights. The funny thing about writing anything is the sudden appearance of characters that in of themselves are supposed to be fully-fledged human beings that just pop into existence because you need them to tell a story. I am thirty six years old and I am very much still trying to figure myself out so how the hell was I supposed to figure out the nuances of a sixty something year old scientist living on Mars, let alone the inner workings of my twenty something female lead protagonist, but there you are, looking at a blank page about to pop a person into existence in the hopes that that person will seem not only real but have their own hopes and fears and strengths and weaknesses. Hemingway said that “The first draft of anything is shit” and boy was he right so don’t be discouraged if your first read through makes…

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Handling Negative Reviews by Sean DeLauder

Award Winning Author-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Negative reviews happen. Stories and styles are subjective, and sometimes a person with no business reading your book does so anyway—with catastrophic and infuriating results. Maybe the wrong reader was intrigued by the cover or the premise. Maybe the right reader had different expectations for the story? Or maybe, and this will on rare occasions be the case, the reader was inclined toward hostility and decided to victimize your work. Unless you have a superhuman sense of self worth, a negative review, either articulate or gibberish, is going to leave a crater in your heart. Publication does, after all, expose it to bombardment. Sometimes negative reviews can prove useful, identifying genuine flaws in a story: awkward or unnecessary plotting, excessive exposition, lazy characterization. Assuming your book is a living document, you can always correct errors you agree with in future editions. Even Tolkien revised his work after it was published—he rewrote large sections of The Hobbit (1937) and republished 14 years later (1951) to bring it in line with The Lord of the Rings. Other, less savory reviewers take pleasure in ridiculing a book to provide temporary relief for some cloying psychological aberration. These reviews…

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Halloween – My Favorite Holiday!

       Gwen Dandridge                                                                                                                            The Stone Lions The Dragons' Chosen Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. When you have kids, the holidays take on a life of themselves, morphing into some other worldly sucker-up of time and energy. Halloween  was the best, I could let loose all my creative instincts and cheaply. A couple of us in our neighborhood designed and built costumes, each of us trying to outdo the other. I was single then and living on the east coast: working part time, going to school part time and broke. The end of October there was often chilly. Some of my first designs involve creating structures in which to place a child rather than dressing my children up in store bought outfits.                            …

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The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls

As we all know themes and getting to know characters so we might connect to them is so important in storytelling. Today Jane Brown is sharing a little about her characters from her stories, The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls. Share about the themes in your story. The main theme running through The Bitti Chai and the follow up The Lost Souls is the all consuming enduring love between Reigneth and Johnny.   The Bitti Chai tells of Reigneth's formative years, her struggle to come to terms with her gift for foreseeing the future; the ancient prophecy surrounding Reigneth's birth and her families need to protect her from the outside world.  We discover more about her relationship with her family and the huge changes which take place in their life following Reigneth's father's death.  Finally Reigneth meeting and falling in love with Jonathan Wilmott. The Lost Souls continues the young lover's story and the physical changes they both undergo following their marriage.  We see their relationship unfold and grow and Johnny's involvement with Reigneth's cousins Aaron and James deepen and solidify.   The Man with Two Minds to be released in 2017 will take the story further and delve deeper into…

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Moi Name’s Jenno

‘Allo ev’rybody…! Moi name’s Jenno; leastways, that’s wot most o’ moi friends call me, so Oi reckon as ‘ow yew can call me that an’ all. Actually, moi name is Jean Bryce. Moi mum calls me Jeanie, ‘cept when she calls me “Jean”. But cripes, when she does that, Oi gotta look out, ‘cos it means she’s real cross wiv me. Oi live in a village in England called Widdlington. It’s quite a big village taken all-together, only it’s cut inter two parts by a river an’ a railway going through the middle. Each part ‘as got its gangs. The part, wot we call “The Street” is real old. It were started by the Vikings about 1200 years ago. It’s got two gangs. The new part, wot is where Oi live, were mostly built along Pepper Mill Lane when the railway came. It’s got two gangs an’ all. Each gang ‘as got a territ’ry, an’ nobody ‘ad better go alone inter the territ’ry of anovver gang, ‘cos that’s jus’ plain askin’ fer trouble. Oi’m talkin’ about the kids, o’corse, ‘cos the grown-ups ‘ave got ovver sorts o’ gangs, wot ‘ave ter do wiv political parties, or sport, or religion an’…

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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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