The B.R.A.G.Medallion

An Irish Tale and Guinness Chili- ready for St. patrick’s Day!

Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern: The Making of an Irish Godfather (Irish Fires Book 1) by Mary Ellen Gavin   In The Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern, Mary Ellen Gavin writes movingly and deeply about the Irish in New York and in Dublin. Raised in an Irish family, she shared, “The joys and sorrows of family are taught to the Irish from birth. All good and all bad can only come from your Family. A brother who succeeds in life is your joy ... a sister who births a sickly baby is your sorrow. The Irish build strong family ties and know how to wield guilt. It is the way I was raised. I thrived from it and I cried from it ... more than some other families.” Life is seen through the eyes of Frances Fleming, an orphan of Irish immigrants during the Depression, then adopted by a tavern owner. Like the author, family becomes extremely important to him.  At a young age, he is put to work, gladly on his part for his new “family.”  His childhood is happy and his years filled with stories of Ireland and the “old ways.” So many of us are enchanted…

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Promo Stacking- what is it, and how do I do it?

Promo Stacking For indie Authors Ricci Wolman Written Word Media Ricci Wolman of Written Word Media gave a great presentation on Promo Stacking at the 2018 Book Baby Conference in Philadelphia. Although the idea seems obvious, I think most of us don't take the time to do it correctly.  We all know that we must do some book promotion - they don't usually do themselves!  But how and when is the most effective and economical way to do it. What is Promo Stacking? It is running multiple coordinated marketing campaigns Within a set time frame With the goal of increasing the sales and rank of a specific title or series. Why do Amazon algorithms matter? Working with amazon is essential!  Amazon is about to hit a new milestone capturing 50% of the retail ecommerce in the United States, dwarfing all other sellers. Amazon uses sales rank to support search placement, getting your book into a visible placement will increase sales- so sales increase sales! We’ve all noticed the bar below books saying “Customers who bought this item also bought…” Well, getting your books listed will involve the Amazon Algorithm recognizing your book. Why do book promotions You want to feed…

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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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A Novel Conversation with Callie “A Mistake of Consequence

A Mistake of Consequence by Terri Evert Karsten HELEN: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you. Please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Terri Karsten’s novel A Mistake of Consequence. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role? CALLIE:  I am so very pleased to meet you, Madam. ‘Tis a fine day, is it not? I must say I’ve not acquired a taste for that nasty brew, coffee, [shudders] but I could use a refreshing cup of tea, thank you. I’m Callie Beaton, a gentlewoman. Or at least I was when I was home. I’m not sure what you’d call me now. ‘Servant’ is unjust, and ‘fugitive’ is far too harsh. Perhaps just plain Callie Beaton will have to do. Until quite recently, I called Edinburgh home. Now … well suffice it to say I’m no longer in Scotland. In fact, I’ve told how that came to pass through my author’s book.  And yes, I am indeed…

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A Novel Conversation with Dan Foster Principal Officer of Bow Street Magistrates’ Court

The Butchers Block by Lucienne Boyce Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Lucienne Boyce’s novel The Butcher’s Block. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role? A: Coffee for me, if you please. I don’t take anything stronger, and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth…I’m Dan Foster, Principal Officer of Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, and The Butcher’s Block is the second Dan Foster Mystery. Read the entire interview @Novel Conversations

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Space in the Heart & Food in the Stomach!

    What is apparent from the start of the well-written Space in the Heart are the wounds of the three vibrant main characters. Author Rodney Walther told me, “I like to write characters who are complex, who have some wound or flaw that shapes who they are and how they see the world. Although the main characters Garrison and Danica take tentative steps toward love, they are each pursuing an individual journey of growth, which is as important as their romantic relationship.” Throw in Zoey, a moody adolescent.  In many ways emotionally, she is completely normal with the roller-coaster feelings of a teenager. Being in a wheel chair sets her apart, yet Rodney’s strong and apt development allows us to sit in her chair as we read.  The authors is successful in his goal of writing “Zoey as a teenage girl who happened to have a disability, not as a disabled girl first and foremost.” The plot reveals the nasty side of adolescents who both mock and ignore Zoey. Having been an educator for many years, I have seen these types of encounters. While all bullying is wrong, this type is extremely infuriating for me. Like many teenagers, Zoey wants to handle this…

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Audio Books?

Audio books are now the rage or are they? You can find a wealth of reasons to do audio books from authors and readers. For those of you who follow author, Joanna Penn (a guru for book marketing!) you will know that she is a great proponent of multiple revenue streams.  She encourages authors to get their books out to as many sales opportunities as possible and that certainly includes audiobooks When researching audio books and their impact we found some interesting observations: Readers like memoirs that are read by the author - Tina Fey reading her books it a great example. Fantasy and thrillers are very popular in audiobook form. Some readers hate how slow it is but now you can speed up the reading on most apps which makes for a more enjoyable experience. Like everything today, the technology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Audio books are now used where a reader might have watched TV before- Gyms, doing household chores etc.  Again capturing an audience that might have been overlooked.  I appears to me, that everyone has earphones in today- walking, riding, exercising, riding the train or just standing in line to make a purchase!…

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Food Blogger, Wife and Real Life “Nana” in William L. Stuart’s Gemstone Chronicles!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger                                                            The Gemstone Chronicles William Stuart. Quite frankly, the whole thing didn’t make sense.  “It doesn’t make sense that a fairy tale can be real,” Nana says to their Elvan guide Elf Finecano.  How can elves be real, magic be bestowed on her, her husband and her two grandchildren? How can they be moved through the shimmery veil between parallel worlds? Findecano  explained “Magic leaves a trail for those who know how to follow it,”… I believe our fate is to complete this journey together…So I ask for the four of you to join me in my quest.” While quests for young people abound in fantasy novels, usually without the protection or knowledge of their parents, rarely are grandparents included.  Nana and Beebop, a pet name for “grandpa”, are both brave and cautious and with their grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie,  learn to use the magical tools given to them. Including grandparents in the…

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A Book for Christmas and Pasta for a Healthy New Year!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger Mothers who disappear. Fathers who die. Mothers who are in jail. Parents with hidden identities. And children who search and yearn for their parents and try to find, if not them, substitutes. The quandaries do not end there. Husbands with other families. Organized crime threatening safety.  Diverse racial and religious identities within families. Florence Osmund is fascinated with identity and family. In The Coach House and Daughters, paired novels, and Nineteen Hundred Days, she disturbs the smooth surface of the life of her characters. She takes away their safety and then allows them to develop the strength to create safety for themselves. She told me, “Characters Marie and Ben are confronted with safety issues, both physical and emotional, beyond what most people face in their daily lives. The level of safety they feel is directly related to the risks they take.” Families ground and direct us, whether we remain or rebel. The complexity of the characters’ emotions reveals choices that were difficult and with relationships that remain complicated. Marie Marchetti, the main character in The Coach House and Daughters, discovers that important people in her life…

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