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

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 made into the now national cemetery at Arlington. Lynne Kennedy’s Civil War historical novel, Time…

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Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

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 with a string of beautiful candidates from India. Her doctor’s patients are committing suicide.…

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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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It’s A Piece of Cake by Laurie Lunsford. Illustrated by Brittani Gothard.

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes a more open community around the table Laurie Lunsford It’s a Piece of Cake. Illustrated by Brittani Gothard   Such a delightful children's book, one that will be read again and again in schools and libraries.  Charming illustrations help create an important message:  practice and persistence help us succeed.  Laurie explained her choice of topic.  “I raised my three sons to be persistent.  It is a key to developing the character to succeed in many endeavors of life.  It was emphasized in my own upbringing.  I was expected to aim high and try new things.” The paper-cut illustrations by Brittani Gothard are exquisite. Laurie praised Brittani, “Everything was hand cut with an exacto knife and [it] took hours and hours.” This is the second collaboration of the two. The illustrations of the children show a girl in glasses, a boy in a wheel chair, diverse skin and  hair color—a lovely representation of America. Each child tries a different task—swimming, reading, basketball, getting along or climbing trees. Laurie commented about the actions of the children that were included. “I selected skills that fit what a four, five,…

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A Happy and Healthier Chanukah From our Foodie Lit Blogger!

  Chanukah, meaning "dedication," began in the year 167 BCE when the Greek persecution of Jews was in full swing. Greek and Syrian troops showed up in the town of Modi'in, a town in Israel even today, and demanded that the Jews sacrifice a pig to the Greek gods. The elder of the town, Mattitiyahu (Matthew), a Kohen, (priest) refused. With his five sons, led by Judah the Maccabee (the hammer) formed an army. After 3 years of fighting the foreign army, the Maccabees retook Jerusalem, the capital. They cleaned and rededicated the Temple, which had been used by the Greeks as a pagan sanctuary. On the 25th of Kislev, they lit a menorah but found only one vial of oil. They used this small vial and miraculously the menorah stayed lit for eight days, the time it took for fresh pure oil to be pressed and delivered to the Temple. You can read more in the Book of the Maccabees and in the Talmud. Chanukah is a happy holiday, which begins this year on December 12. Here are three ways to make traditional latkes a bit lighter with fewer carbs, while keeping all the great flavor.  Make your latkes extra special with your own applesauce—so easy to make in a crockpot or microwave. Rainbow Latkes: A latke a…

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Step by Step: Writing to Self-Publishing

More help from editor Chara White at WordsAPlenty: I would not presume to know every step for publishing, but the following is a good rule of thumb to follow beginning the moment you settle down to write. Create an idea for a book. Easier said than done!  For some, it is far more difficult to jump in feet first and begin to write hoping an idea will worm its way from your brain to your fingertips to the key board.  This method can be very stifling to those who need a starting point.  One point to begin is the title … ok, so this can be even harder to come up with than an awesome storyline.  Don’t fret!  There are resources out there for you … here are a few that help you with titles, themes, sayings, content ideas, character names, and more: http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator.php#.WhMrbkpKuUk http://www.mcoorlim.com/random.html http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=56 http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=141 https://www.name-generator.org.uk/nickname/ Once you’ve come up with an idea, research is next. You need to make sure that what you are going to write about is a full-length book.  The last thing you want is to set your sites on a 75,000 word book only to discover there is only a 30,000 story in…

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Reading about a Cop’s Cop.

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                                                              John Hickman’s Black Bear Killer. Reading about a cop’s cop. Nothing like being a cop and writing a mystery about a cop. You just feel that Sheriff Dell Hinton is the real thing. Author John Hickman, a 25 year veteran of law enforcement, told me, “Dell is basically my alter ego. If I had continued in law enforcement, my ideal retirement job would have been as a Sheriff in a small, rural community.” The crimes and investigations may have a ring of reality…

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Best selling author Meredith Wild shares her advice with indieBRAG

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, and The Examiner. I invited Meredith to share with us some of her thoughts and advice for aspiring “Best Selling” authors! Advice for Aspiring Authors One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what advice I have for aspiring writers. Every author’s writing and publishing journey is unique, so I can’t speak to what you specifically should do, only what’s worked and hasn’t for me. This is by no means comprehensive (I could write volumes), and I do not claim to be an expert on anything. That said, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this crazy publishing journey. This is mega long and all over the place, but I may try to organize it better in separate posts ultimately. Remember, there are no straight lines to success, so take what works and leave the rest. Above all, always trust your intuition! (If you have more specific questions, leave…

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

Anna Castle on Marketing Definition of marketing by Merriam Webster: The act or process of selling or purchasing in a marke; The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. For most authors who love writing, marketing is the most difficult and least enjoyable part of being a self-published author!  We have invited author multi award winning B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author, Anna Castle here to share some of her thoughts on the process- When partnering up with other authors for cross promotions, what is the outcome of this and is this something you recommend doing on an ongoing basis? I haven’t done this, apart from a series of Christmas blog posts. That was fun, but I don’t think it had any effect on my sales. Still, it’s well to remember that publicity means getting your name out there, while marketing consists of specific efforts to boost sales. Or that’s how I’ve learned these lessons. What are some ways that were successful in marketing your book? The best results I’ve had in terms of sales & downloads have come from using newsletter ad services to promote a discount. I’m not big enough…

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