award winning books

Writing Crime and Mystery Novels!

The indieBRAG Crime and Mystery Series   I am pleased to introduce RAR Clouston author of The Covenant Within Bob, welcome and thank you for sharing with us- Stephanie:   When writing crime fiction, there are usually several characters involved. What is your advice in presenting each character so they stand out? Bob: At the risk of sounding like my social psych professor in what seems like an eternity ago during my undergraduate days as a psychology major, we are all the product of both nature and nurture. And this is never truer than with the villains who populate thrillers and mystery stories.  We are shaped by the multitude of forces, both genetic and social, that make us who we are. What drives someone to a life of crime, or even worse, to become a heartless killer? An obvious answer is that they were the offspring of truly evil parents who gave them tainted genes, or raised them in a cruel and heartless home, or both. But there are also exceptions to this as evidenced by the cases of cold blooded killers who came from a “normal’ home. My point is this: we are all different and as such a writer…

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Books and Me by Steven McKay

I’ve always loved books, for as long as I can remember. My mum was a teacher so I suppose she felt obliged to make sure I could read well so she’d take me to get books from the library all the time. I have vivid memories of borrowing one with a little clock that you could move the hands on. I must have been about three or four-years-old but it’s still in my mind and must have helped spark my love of books. When I was old enough I would go along to the library myself and get out things like the Hardy Boys, Asterix and anything I could find about ghosts or the supernatural. I enjoyed writing little things myself eventually – silly short stories that made no sense and infuriated my English teacher who clearly recognised I had some skill but only wanted to waste it by writing nonsense to entertain my adolescent friends. Sadly, adolescence passed and I grew up into a sensible man who wanted to write things a little more serious and my grandma would always say to me, “Hurry up and write a book. I want to see your book in the library.” She…

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Comics Are Books Too!

  When I was a child, I saved all my money to buy comic books!  Not just any comic books but the ones called Classics Illustrated and Classics Illustrated Junior.  The former were condensed, comic book versions of some of the greatest books ever written, and the latter were the greatest of fairy tales.  At one time, I owned them all and I am so fortunate that one of my sons, a serious comic book collector, has preserved those of these treasures that survived my growing up and many household moves over the years.  I credit these comic books for my love of books today. I was only about 5 years old when I began collecting the fairy tales—some well-known—and others just as wonderful but lesser known like The Penny Prince, The Wild Swans and Silly Hans.  When I was in grade school, I moved up to the Classics. Can you imagine a second grader reading The Last of the Mohicans?  In comic book form they were readable for a young child and I loved them.  I later made it a goal to read the entire book version of each of these classics. We all know the benefits of reading…

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Should You Buy a Blog Tour to Publicize your Book?

By Martha Kennedy, Author of indieBRAG Honorees, Martin of Gfenn, Savior and The Brothers Path When you write a novel and follow the indie publishing route, you’re faced with marketing your work yourself. There are a lot of “experts” with advice for reaching your market. When I finished my most recent novel, The Brothers Path, a book about the Protestant Reformation, I was determined to market it as well as any “real” publisher would. I had personal reasons for this, “I’ll show you!” and “V is for Vendetta” reasons, but mostly because I believe people will like it. To like it, readers have to know about it, so… The “experts” strongly advised indie authors to sign up for virtual book tours. This involves hiring a coordinator, who has extensive contacts with book-bloggers, to set up a “tour” for your book. The tour is a catalog of different book blogs that, for a period of time, feature your work in reviews, interviews, excerpts and prizes — in my case, it was free books — to those blog readers who win the raffle offered by a particular book blog. I believed the experts, and a virtual tour seemed like a good way…

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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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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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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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How did you discover indieBRAG?

Often times in B.R.A.G. Interviews we ask our authors how they discovered us. In September Stephanie at Layered Pages asked award winning author Justine Avery how she discovered us. Here is what she had to say: "I discovered indieBRAG by relying on a Google search to lead me to award programs or other recognition offered for independently published books and authors—if there were any at all.   I was so glad to find there are organizations, readers, reviewers, etc. devoted to discovering, critiquing, honoring, and publicizing indie books.  And indieBRAG is and does all of these!" -Justine Avery  To read the full interview, click here. Be sure to check out Justine’s interview with her husband, film director Devon Avery here       About Author If you love where storytellers Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl, O. Henry, and Ray Bradbury take you, then you have a new name to learn and love… Professionally, Justine Avery first traversed the murky corporate world of writing and designing technical documents to navigate through writing countless travel stories, reviews, personal essays, and articles. She is now the multi-award-winning author of numerous short stories and novelette-length works. Personally, she has been writing since first…

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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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