Book Spotlight

The Thrill of Mountain Climbing and the Delight of Home Cooking!

The Altitude Journals by David Mauro One would never have picked David Mauro, author of The Altitude Journals to climb the major 7 mountain peaks in the world. Not only wasn’t he a climber, he wasn’t even a hiker. He was down on his luck, living in his sister’s spare room while going through a divorce. Then, he received an invitation from his brother-in-law to climb Mount Denali. And that was the turning point. The Altitude Journals are about his journey, through mountain climbing, with its adventures, its difficulties and its redemptions.  I climbed each mountain with David, routed for him and read every word in his retelling of this journey. David’s sense of humor is evident throughout. When I asked him what he had initially thought when Thai asked him to join him climbing Denali, the highest point in North America, he told me, “My initial thought was, ‘Well, I'm not even a mountain climber so that sounds like a bad fit.’  By the end of the journey I had come of age as an altitude climber, so I understood clearly what I was getting myself into with Everest. I liked my chances of success, which I placed at 30%.” Hiking and climbing…

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“Reconstructing Jackson”- Heartbreak, Love and good food for Valentine’s Day!

  Holly Bush’s Reconstructing Jackson. The year is 1867. The Confederates have lost and the South is bitter, much in ruins.  Throughout the US, the former slaves are free yet most remain fearful, unable to exercise the freedoms they have been given. Enter Reed Jackson, lawyer, handsome and defeated Confederate officer. One leg amputated during the war, the other said to be too weak to use, Reed is in a wheel chair, angry, hopeless and uncertain about his future. His plantation and financé have been given to his younger brother and Reed is sent to the Aimes cousins in Missouri. Holly told me, “He knew the South could not support slavery forever, he knew his father was a cruel man, he knew that good people existed (his mother), he fought in a war he did not support but was expected of him, and he knew that the law must be followed blindly to begin our crawl out of our national conflicts.” So begins the historical romance written by Holly Bush. Reed is confronted with the historical reality of his era. His cousins own a boarding house and employ Beulah, a free Black manager, a bright, educated former slave. She is also a teacher, who elevates…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – S. R. Zales

  Hello indieBRAG, In 2013 I was awarded a Gold Medallion by Indie B.R.A.G. for my Juvenile Book "Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries". First off I cannot thank your group enough for the honor.  I did receive some Medallions and used them on the books I sold. I wanted to let you know that they were a great asset in selling by book. The book has continued to sell in the hundreds and I believe you were instrumental in making that happen. I have a number of venues coming up in the next several weeks and months where I will be selling even more books. The problem is that I have used all, yes all, the Gold Medallions and am desperately asking to purchase from you 200 more. Is that possible? It would be a marvelous if you could send them as soon as you can. Thank you  in advance. Keep up the tremendous work you all have been doing. S.R. Zales Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries Find this award winning book HERE Author S. R. Zales https://www.srzales.com/

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Christopher Holt

Gate Keepers  For more than a century the only “gate keepers” for writers have been literary agents and publishers. This arrangement worked reasonably well until new technologies  made it possible for hundreds of thousands of new authors to present their work direct to the public without recourse to gate keepers at all.  At present the market suffers from an over-abundance of fiction, much it of it, let’s be honest, pretty mediocre. Publishers are wary of taking on new writers. Most play safe, concentrating on a pool of proven commercial authors. This is understandable. The industry sails in stormy seas. A few years ago Geri Clouston had the foresight and boldness to introduce Indie- B.R.A.G.  as a third gate-keeper, one willing to seriously evaluate every book that was offered .The B.R.A.G. Medallion is now a vital and much needed addition to the world of books and writers. Indie BRAG is as generous as it is unique. As far as I can see, there is no other organisation in the world like it.  Geri and her team are tough. When they turned down my first book, I knew I had to raise my game. When, eventually, my latest novel was awarded a…

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Alison Morton

Self-publishing is expanding exponentially; it has long ceased to be a minority interest. But along with the glorious freedom of writing any genre, mixed genres or no genre and the ability to control every aspect of a book’s production comes responsibility to the readers. Some authors write books purely for their own pleasure and that’s great fun and personally very satisfying, but today self- or independent publishing is a serious option for commercial writers. However, not everybody is conscientious in producing a well-rounded, page turning book with impeccable production values. How is a reader able to distinguish the dross from the diamonds in today’s avalanche of self-published work? This is where the B.R.A.G. Medallion® comes in. When INCEPTIO, the first in my series of Roma Nova thrillers, was awarded a Medallion, I was delighted; my writing had passed one of the highest bars around. Rapidly becoming recognised in the world of self-publishing as an impeccable seal of excellence, its selection process is rigorous, rejecting 90% of applicants. If a book carries a B.R.A.G. Medallion® sticker, it will be a quality assured read, whatever its genre. I was proud to explain what the sticker meant and people were impressed. More importantly,…

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In Praise of indieBRAG- Pauline Barclay

Writing and publishing a book is just the beginning of a journey for an indie author. Once your book is out there, marketing and promoting your baby begins. These days there is a plethora of platforms where you can reach out to a wider audience. Book signing offers the opportunity to connect with readers.  Reviews play an important role in providing readers with an overview of what others think of you your book. These are all tools that can be used in your marketing plan, but one thing that does makes people sit up and want to learn more about your book is an award. There are zillions of books published and only a few of these will ever receive recognition or an award.  Receiving an award is an indicator your work has reached a high level. To be honoured with a BRAG award is a first class accolade on any scale of published books. My third published book, Sometimes It Happens… in 2012 received a BRAG award. I was speechless when I learnt of the award because BRAG does not give out awards to any author. In fact more than 90% of books that pass through their hallowed halls…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Thomas Ryan

Hi indieBRAG- 'In my opinion, the most significant boost for the lot of Indie Authors in recent times has come from President Geri Clouston and the B.R.A.G. Medallion Award team. Now an internationally recognized stamp of quality, the B.R.A.G. Award is an assurance to all readers that the Indie book they are about to purchase meets the highest of publishing standards. More importantly, for me anyway, it is satisfying to be recognized for the hard work required to write and produce a quality manuscript and especially to be acknowledged for due care given to copy and proof editing. The good news is that the Gold Medallion on my book cover has led to increased sales and an increased interest in my other work. It was a perfectly timed boost to my writing career. As a proud BRAG award winner, I do feel a responsibility to continue producing work to the standards set by this organisation.  Thank you so much to all involved in the creation of the B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.  You guys are the best. Kind regards Thomas Ryan The Field of Blackbirds In praise of indieBRAG Find this award winning book  HERE Author Thomas Ryan

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Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Just for fun, I took a stab at writing in the style of author Elin Barnes to introduce the Plum Coffee Cake! Susan Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in the back, away from the window. “So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out. “I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said. Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?” Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?” Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.” Elin Barnes’ Justification for Murder Saffron Meadows is being stalked. Someone is trying to kill her. Repeatedly. Speaking to a police detective, she confides, “I feel as if I’m in a bad movie. These things don’t happen to regular people.” ‘You’d be surprised,” he said. At the ame time, Saffron is in a long relationship with Ranjan Balasubramanian whose family is arranging his marriage…

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National Parks Week with Little Miss History

Now that spring has sprung...well, maybe if you live in certain parts of the US, it might still seem like winter. Nothing will stop the change of seasons, and Spring will come. When the weather gets warmer, our thoughts inevitably turn to the outdoors. Did you know that our national parks kick off the season by celebrating National Parks Week from April 21-April 29 this year? Across the country, parks will be holding special e  April 21: Fee Free Day April 21: National Junior Ranger Day April 21: Volunteer Day April 22: Earth Day—Let's get out and celebrate our rivers and trails for their 50th! April 28: Military & Veteran Recognition Day April 29: National Park Rx Day In addition, families may gain free admission to national parks on September 22, National Public Lands Day, and November 11, Veterans Day. I am proud to have had the opportunity to introduce teachers, students and their families to our national treasures through my Little Miss HISTORY Travels to book series. These books are intended to enlighten, inspire and educate young minds to appreciate our historical heritage and have fun while doing so. Spring and summer are the perfect times to get out…

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