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A Swashbuckling Journey!

When two prolific award winning authors get together for some fun, watch out!  Anna Belfrage (author of the Graham Saga Books) talks to Helen Hollick (author of the Sea Witch pirate stories)- Anna shares Helen's great adventure- Pirates? Why write about pirates? I guess the simple answer is: because when I wrote the first of my pirate-based Voyages, Sea Witch, no one else, as far as I could discover, had done so. Read on. I adored the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, (not the others in the Disney franchise: they ranged from OK-ish to terrible). I was enchanted by it, and not entirely because of Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, (although that helped!) The movie was fun. None of it was meant to be taken seriously and nearly every scene had a laugh attached to it. Laughter is good for us, therefore darn good adventures, be they pirates, Star Wars sci-fi, Game of Thrones fantasy or whatever-floats-your-boat are good as well, be they movies or novels. They are also escapism from the daily grind, something we all need and enjoy. The problem with really enjoying something is that you are then left wanting more. For me I wanted to read…

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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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Launching your new book!

Florence Osmund  When it comes to marketing your book, one thing is fairly certain—people won’t buy it if they don't know it exists. A successful book launch will make people aware of your book so they will buy it and even help you promote it. You can do many things to launch your new book so that it gets into the hands of as many readers as possible. I’ve created the checklist that follows to guide you through the process, but I don’t recommend that you attempt to do everything. Pick out the ones that make sense for your book and ones you’re comfortable doing. Without promotion, something terrible happens...nothing!                                             P. T. Barnum What You Can Do Long Before Your Book Is Released □  Create your elevator speech. □  Develop an author website. □  Start a blog. □  Establish yourself in discussion groups on social media sites. □  Start building an e-mail subscriber list comprised of people who are interested in your work. □  Create your profile on Amazon’s Author Central page and Goodreads. □  Create a list of book promotion and book listing sites. □  Have business cards made. □  Draft promotional handout materials (post cards, book marks, posters, etc). □  Determine your target market…

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A great recipe from Susan & author Catana Tully!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Split at the Root Tully, Catana. Split at the Root Catana Tully, in her memoir, Split At the Root, takes her readers on an intense journey into identity, motherhood and what labels mean. At times despondent, at time joyful, the author pulls herself apart until she finds her core. Who we are is intrinsically connected to our family, our community, our race, gender and religion—among many the many categories we create to define identity.  Catana Tully wonders aloud why we need to check off the boxes about who and what we are. She checks other.  She told me, “The thing is, when you have a nationality that identifies you culturally, it is a shock to have to define what you are according to other people’s perception. It feels demeaning and disrespectful. One day we’ll all be ‘Other’ but that’s a long, long time away from now.” Yet Catana is driven to find the essential questions about her mother, family and culture. Where does she feel comfortable and at home?  It has taken many years and now, in her 70’s, she feels comfortable asking these questions. Catana’s story…

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Advice from Steena Holmes “Branding with Intent”

Writers: Don’t Give In To The Pressure By Steena Holmes on Apr 05, 2018 02:23 pm If you are a writer, raise your hand if you feel the pressure to rush your process and just get those books out. (my hand is raised and I know yours are too!) There are so many factors to this rush: bills are piling up so many of your writing friends are releasing books in quick succession you keep hearing this is the only way to get noticed (ie. 90 day window) any other number of reasons to feel like you’re missing out Can I say something that might be against the norm? Stop. Slow down. Don’t panic. I know, I know, easy enough to say, but hard to accomplish, right? I’ve been there, in your shoes when I saw my income going down and my bills piling up. When I would hear of others talk about their numbers and stepped back so no one would notice me and ask how I was doing. When I would visit different FB writing groups and the advice was to write/publish/repeat as fast as you can in order to increase your visibility. Every time I would hear…

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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 – Denise Barnes

  Thank you so much for your thrilling email that I have achieved the second B.R.A.G award in The Voyagers trilogy, Kitty's Story. You really made my day. Just  to mention that when Kitty's Story was in manuscript form, I offered it to HarperCollins. They loved it, but because I'd self-published Annie's Story (which achieved the B.R.A.G award) and Juliet's Story (which apparently only missed the award by a whisker), HarperCollins decided I should continue to self-publish Kitty's Story. You can imagine my disappointment. But in the next breath they asked if I would write a series for them set in WW2, and the first one, An Orphan in the Snow, under the name Molly Green, came out on 30th November. They've chosen it as one of their leading titles for their Autumn/Winter brochure. I'm still pinching myself! I just thought you might like to hear of a success story from a previously self-published author. Denise Find these award winning books HERE Author Fenella Forster (Denise Barnes) https://www.bragmedallion.com/award-winning-books/#!/author/fenella-forster/  

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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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