Book Spotlight

“Branding” with best selling author Steena Holmes

  Steen Holmes is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has sold over 2 million copies of her books. She is a sought after speaker on the subject of indie publishing and branding.  We are very pleased to have Steena Holmes, B.R.A.G .Medallion Honoree author of Finding Emma, join us here to share her thoughts and expertise. First of all, let me congratulate you, Steena, on all your success--selling books is not easy! For all self-published authors out there, I am taking a big step beyond giving advice on writing.  By the time a book gets to us at indieBRAG, learning how to write and asking advice about publishing a book is in the past.  We assume that when an author submits their book to us they are confident it is well written, edited, formatted and has an appealing cover.  If not, it probably will not make it to our library. So Steena, let’s talk about what you are an expert on--marketing and selling books. How important is finding your audience and how do you do that? For me, knowing my audience, finding those readers – that’s more important than anything else after the book. If…

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Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination

Clare Flynn   Award winning author and 3 time B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, Clare Flynn is sharing here thoughts on creating a great story. Thank you for sharing with us Clare- What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? My start point with a book is usually setting. My imagination is captured by a particular location. There will be something specific that is the source of its appeal to me as a writer and then I think how I can bring that to life on the page. I then imagine a character within this setting and let my imagination go from there. Sometimes I will have visited a location – perhaps on holiday – or in the past on a business trip, and having been inspired by it, I may return to spend more time there. On the return visit I’m gathering detail and texture to bring the setting to life on the page. This may include sounds – what can I hear that makes this place different? smells – everywhere has its special smell – what is this one? touch – how can I pull in sensory imagery that evokes what it is really like to be there?.…

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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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indieBRAG Cover Crush: Deadline by Jessica James

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover. Latest B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree!   He’s a relentless homicide detective. She’s an uncompromising journalist. Neither desires to work together—but they’ll never uncover the truth alone. Landing a front page headline isn’t why reporter Caitlin Sparks is investigating a string of suspicious deaths connected to the U.S. State Department. She has a personal stake in finding the killer. Detective Blake Madison has a connection to the murders too, and will risk anything to uncover the truth. But a journalist is the last person he’d rely on to help him solve a crime—especially one whose trail of evidence leads back to him. Joining forces becomes essential as the body count continues to grow. Someone powerful doesn’t want the truth to come out—and will stop at nothing to make sure no one talks. On the run with nowhere to turn, the couple devises a plan to expose the killer. The risk is great and the chance of success small, but the ultimate outcome is something neither…

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indieBRAG Cover Crush: Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2) by Anna Belfrage

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover. -Stephanie M Hopkins  Days of Sun and Glory (The King's Greatest Enemy #2) by Anna Belfrage Synopsis Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France. Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is…

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The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect

    I love a good historical romance!  I think reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters fueled that love at an early age.  As most of us know, there is a big difference between romance and erotica but, that line is being blurred.  Yes, it is still possible to find a great romance that doesn’t share the intimate sexual acts of the characters however it is getting harder.  This isn’t always a bad thing.  The wild success of Fifty Shades of Grey proves that there is a huge audience for graphic sex.  I am finding that many, if not most, of the historical romances now have graphic sexual content.  As long as it is a good story and well written, a reader can just flip through the sex if they are offended by it and not lose the story or the ability to share in the intimacy of well written characters. But here is the problem I have seen all too often- The sex seems to be added JUST to titillate and not to add to the story.  It often breaks the mood, stalls the story and this lowers my impression of the ability of the author to convey…

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Mistake of Consequence and Scottish Oat Scones!

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 is the indieBrag Food Blogger       A Mistake of Consequence     Terri Evert Karsten Life was so much harder in 1754 in the American Colonies than it is today.  This was very true for Callie, kidnapped and sold as an indentured servant.  Callie thinks she is going to be free when she escapes her grandfather’s matchmaking, but instead is dumped unceremoniously into the hold of a ship bound for Philadelphia in the American Colonies. Transforming from an upper class young woman in Edinburgh, Scotland to that of an unwilling indentured servant gives her no rights, no escape and little hope for improvement. “Some mistakes are minor, forgotten the next day. Others are calamitous, disrupting the whole patter of life. Mine were of the second…

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“Becoming Malka” – Argentinian matzah balls!

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 novels or memoirs 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. Here’s to cooking and reading! With Love, The Argentina Family; Becoming Malka Mirta Ines Trupp Mirta Innes Trupp searches for family history and her identity in her memoir, With Love, The Argentina Family and in her historical fiction, Becoming Malka, works that she describes as the story of a Russian, Argentinian, American and Jewish immigrant. Teachers couldn’t pronounce her name and students couldn’t figure out what group she belonged to. “Here at home, I struggled to find myself within the American tapestry. I was acutely aware of how different we seemed to be from others. Not only were we immigrants, but we didn’t quite fit the mold. … I couldn’t find my niche.” Mirta’s journey becomes literary when she writes With Love, The Argentina Family.  When her father begins working for Pan Am, Mirta frequently travels back and forth between the…

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IndieBRAG Cover Crush: Betrayal by Michele Kallio

Cover Crush by Colleen Turner   Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary Synopsis Betrayal tells the story of two women, modern day Lydia Hamilton and Elisabeth Beeton, a lady’s maid to Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry the Eighth. Lydia is happily in love with her physician boyfriend, Dan Taylor, until she begins to have nightmares that seem all too realistic.  She dreams of a girl, a prison cell and a beheading.  In her dreams Lydia finds herself in the Elisabeth’s body experiencing Elisabeth’s 16th century life.  Lydia tries to ignore these vivid dreams as long as she can, that is, until Elisabeth’s diary arrives in the mail.  Suddenly, Lydia is caught up in a quest to uncover the truth behind Elisabeth’s betrayal. Thoughts on the cover If you know me you know I love historical fiction, especially the kind that incorporates a little mystery into the mix. My first thoughts when seeing this cover were, “what sorts of secrets are within those letters? And what do those letters have to do with the stately home behind it?” That pull of mystery makes this cover very intriguing for me and makes it hard to…

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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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