Bloggers

Join us for “Novel Conversations” with Helen Hollick

Novel Conversations starting Tuesday 4th September then  every  Friday in conjunction with                   Indie B.R.A. G                        4th September Anna Belfrage and her character Matthew Graham    7th September   Julia Brannan and her character  Sir Anthony Peters 14th September Sharon Dwyer and her character Katelin 21st September Barbara Anne Mojica  and her character George Washington 28th September Inge H. Borg and her character  Ebu al-Saqqara 5th October Clare Flynn and her character Hector Channing 12th October Annie Whitehead  and her character Æthelflæd, Lady of Mercia 19th October J L Oakley and her character  Jeannie Naughton 26th October Lorraine Devon  Wilke and her character  Dan MacDowell 2nd November  Stephanie Churchill and her character  Kassia 9th November    Wendy Percival and her character  Maddy Henderson 16th November  Susan Appleyard and her character  Ludwig, King of Bavaria 23rd November  Charlene Newcomb  and her character Sir Stephen l'Aigle 30th November  Florence Osmund  and her character Marie Marchetti 7th December  Helen Hollick  and her character Captain Jesamiah Acorne 14th December Alison Morton and her character  Conradus Mitelus ...Christmas Break... Novel Conversations will resume on the 4th January 

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Australia, Apple Pie & The Only Blue Door

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes The Only Blue Door by Joan Fallon Joan Fallon’s historical novel, The Only Blue Door, was so intense and riveting that I found it hard to put down, except when anger course through me. The British Children’s Resettlement Program during WWII sent thousands of children away from the bombings in London for their own safety. Many were well cared for and happy. Yet a surprisingly large number of children, without parents’ permission or even knowledge, were told their parents were dead, and sent away to orphanages in Australia that were little more than deplorable workhouses that kept children in unhealthy, unsafe conditions and forced sexual, physical and emotional abuse on many in their legal custody. I wanted to cry out, “But you're supposed to be the good guys!” But they weren’t, they weren’t. The novel concerns itself with the fictional East End London Smith family with 3 children, Maggie, Billy and Grace, who were sent away to Australian Catholic orphanages after a devastating German bombing.  They were mislabeled orphans and instead of the care promised them, they were placed in cruel and abusive institutions. Much of the novel, without giving…

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Enjoying Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup “In the Comfort of Shadows”

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes In the Comfort of Shadows Laurel Bragstad’s novel, In the Comfort of Shadows, opens with a dream—or is it a memory? Main character Ann Olsen wasn’t sure, but she was sure that “adoption” was a bad word and not to be mentioned at home, unless she wanted to get everyone mad at her. Her daddy told her, “It’s a bad word, Annie. Aunt Inga shouldn’t say it, and I never want to hear you say it again.” In her search for her biological parents, Ann does more than pronounce the word.  She risks throwing away a childhood based on lies to find the truth.  “I wanted to know the rest of the story, that’s all. I just never dreamed it would end like this.” The author digs into her own recollections. At a similar age to her character’s separation from her biological mother, Laurel’s mother dies and as an adult, Laurel searches her own and older relatives’ memories to find more about her. Laurel told me, “As a child I used to make up stories in my head about who my mother was as a person,…

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Mama’s Laughing Cow Peas from Addie Mae in “Trusting the Currents”.

Foodie Lit  Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Trusting the Currents by Lynnda Pollio Lynnda Pollio's Trusting the Currents is a book like no other. “I didn't know I was writing a book. I just started hearing a black, Southern woman's voice guiding me to write down her words, which were wise and wild. Two years later, I had the first draft of an unexpected novel. It took another 8 years of me fighting this story, editing, giving up, and reconnecting until I finally surrendered to the truth that I was born to bring this book and its wisdom and love into the world.” Lynnda didn’t know if her book would ever be published and took a leap, publishing it independently. To her surprise, the book went on to win 12 literary awards, including the BRAG Medallion. The main character, Addie Mae, brings to us the reader, a savoring of words, experiences and awakening.  Yet hidden in her story of pain and joy, loss and growth, is another soul. The real Addie Mae Collins was murdered on Sunday, September 15, 1963, at the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church by a bombing perpetrated by Klansmen. She was…

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Did you know that many of our indieBRAG readers are authors? Why should that matter?

  I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read.  Does that strike anyone else as very strange-- Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read?  How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading?  Mind boggling. Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book.  I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works.  It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing.  So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author. Stephen King has also said in his book on writing: “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into…

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Sarah’s Tomato Pie

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Susan  the indieBRAG Food Sarah’s Journey by David Beasley Review and Recipe by Susan Weintrob Her father and later her half-brother were her masters.  But family ties did not free her nor guarantee fair treatment. Sarah’s situation worsens, becoming so horrific that she fears for her life from her step-brother-master’s brutality. Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery in 1790, finally escapes to Canada in 1822 with three of her children. "I heard a school librarian in Simcoe mention that a student wrote an essay about a slave who had a son by the town’s richest merchant and that their son became one of the richest men in NYC.” Thus began David Beasley’s research on the life of Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery…

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The Importance of Book Covers: Interview with Heather Campbell

Book cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories, and often times readers first judge a book by its cover. This year indieBRAG has put together a cover contest of books chosen by the indieBRAG Team. These covers were chosen based on several factors including; 1) professionalism 2) visual appeal 3) creativity and 4) fit with the story/genre. We have asked the ladies of the indieBRAG Interview Team to discuss with us the importance of book covers, what they like, want to see more of and so on…Today Heather Campbell talks with us about this. On the scale one to five, how important are book covers to you? I would say a 4. If I'm buying in store it is still the thing that makes me pick it up. If I'm just browsing online it's less important, but seeing a friend share a great book cover will still make me go look it up. Why are they important to you? It's all about what catches my attention primarily, but it also shows value, especially if it's independently published, that the author/publisher spent the time to make their book look polished. What do you not like in book covers? After…

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The Importance of Book Covers: Interview with Charla White

Book cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories, and often times readers first judge a book by its cover. This year indieBRAG has put together a cover contest of books chosen by the indieBRAG Team. These covers were chosen based on several factors including; 1) professionalism 2) visual appeal 3) creativity and 4) fit with the story/genre. We have asked the ladies of the indieBRAG Interview Team to discuss with us the importance of book covers, what they like, want to see more of and so on…Today Charla White talks with us about this. On the scale one to five, how important are book covers to you? 5 (very important) Why are they important to you? The design draws me in and shows me whether the book was important enough to the author to have it done properly and what type of tone the book is taking (i.e. if the cover has a light fun type cover, then I know that’s the tone of the book; if it’s a commonly used stock cover, then I don’t look at it too closely – and this goes for both physical copies and ebooks). What do you not like in book…

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The Importance of Book Covers: Interview with Magdalena Johansson

Book cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories, and often times readers first judge a book by its cover. This year indieBRAG has put together a cover contest of books chosen by the indieBRAG Team. These covers were chosen based on several factors including; 1) professionalism 2) visual appeal 3) creativity and 4) fit with the story/genre. This week we have asked the ladies of the indieBRAG Interview Team to discuss with us the importance of book covers, what they like, want to see more of and so on…Today Magdalena Johansson talks with us about this. Magdalena, on the scale one to five, how important are book covers to you? Oh, definitely 5. There are quite a lot of books out there and if you want to capture my attention, have a nice cover. The risk is otherwise that I will miss the book. Why are they important to you? The cover is the face out. When one browse books, whether it's online or in a bookstore is it the cover that captures your interests first. Well, at least mine. What do you not like in book covers? Computerized figures, people that look like they belong in…

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The Importance of Book Covers: Interview with Erin Davies

Book cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories, and often times readers first judge a book by its cover. This year indieBRAG has put together a cover contest of books chosen by the indieBRAG Team. These covers were chosen based on several factors including; 1) professionalism 2) visual appeal 3) creativity and 4) fit with the story/genre. This week we have asked the ladies of the indieBRAG Interview Team to discuss with us the importance of book covers, what they like, want to see more of and so on…Today Erin Davies talks with us about this. Erin, on the scale one to five, how important are book covers to you? Three Why are they important to you? They catch the eye in an overly saturated market and they often offer insight to the story without reading the blurb. What do you not like in book covers? Headless (and arguably brainless) women, gaudy text, and authors' names that are larger than the title of the book. What would you like to see more of in covers? Men. I know, back on my damned soapbox, but hear me out. I'd like to more multi-faceted male models. So often they…

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