Writers, Readers & Self Publishing

Our community of self-published authors is generous with the knowledge they have gained on their writing journey. Here at Writers, Readers & Self Publishing, we will share with you their advice, their experiences and their ideas for writing and promoting award-winning books.  We will also share incites from our readers and others in the field of self-publishing such as editors, designers and successful best-selling authors who graciously share their thoughts and experiences. Our readers and writers have also contributed some fun and interesting stories that we hope you will enjoy!

Interview with Award Winning Author Nicole Evelina

We are delighted to welcome Award Winning Author Nicole Evelina today to talk with us about her advice in creating a setting for a story, creating visible backstory, conflict, creating believable dialogue and advice on what to do when writers are stuck on a specific scene. Nicole, what are the steps in creating a setting for your story? Really for me the only two steps are the decision and the doing research. The decision is really based in what will best serve the story, both in terms of historical accuracy and plot/characters. When I can, I like to visit the location (even if I am writing about another time period) because there is no substitute for walking where your characters do. But if I can’t, I look at pictures, Google Maps and Google Earth, read guidebooks and talk to locals (gotta love the internet for that!) To me, the setting has to tell the reader something about the time period (or for contemporary books, the nature of the story) and the characters. It has to be accurate, lush and evocative. So I’ll give two examples. In my Guinevere books, Avalon is a main setting. Obviously, it’s a mythical place, so…

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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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A Book from my Childhood – Igniting a Passion By Marisa Parker

As a child, I loved Enid Blyton books. The Famous Five Series was especially something that I became totally enthralled in. The stories drew me in. The words would wrap themselves around me and levitate me to another world. I have a vivid imagination you see. And of course, Enid Blyton's story telling was just so captivating. I grew up in Africa and yet, the sentences peppered with exclamations like, "Jolly Good!", and descriptions of mouth-watering English high teas were intriguing, and so very different to my way of life. However, it was a book called the Island of Adventure that really did it for me. That first book of the Adventure Series (Enid Blyton) was a brilliant read for a shy teenage girl with simmering hormones who didn't quite fit-in. Books were a welcome and comforting escape mechanism. Looking back, I remember that sometimes, and I still do this today, I’d re-read a sentence or paragraph if it was well written or made me think twice. The seeds were already growing of how one day, I would want to write my own stories. Write something that would captivate the reader or at least make them think … hopefully good…

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

Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? Today, award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins shares with us her expertise on this. Stephanie: What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? J.D.R. Hawkins: Since I write about the Civil War, the settings are historically accurate. In my first book of the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the setting starts in Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the Confederacy, and moves with the story to various battlefields. I also chose an area in north Alabama as my protagonist’s hometown, so the story goes back and forth between north Alabama and Virginia battlefields. Stephanie: There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do? J.D.R. Hawkins: Because I have…

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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 Bowes Inheritance Antagonist

Join us in welcoming author Pam Lecky to indieBRAG today. Pam previously was a guest on Layered Pages to discuss her male protagonist in her award winning book, The Bowes Inheritance and today she is talking with us about her antagonist. Pam is an Irish historical fiction author and a member of the Historical Novel Society. She has a particular fascination with all things 19th century, from food and clothes to architecture and social history. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was published in July 2015 and has since been receiving excellent reviews. She is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion and was recently named as a ‘Discovered Diamond’ Novel. Last year it was short-listed for the Carousel Aware Prize (CAP) 2016 and long-listed for the HNS 2016 Indie Award. It achieved ‘Honourable Mention’ in the General Fiction Category of the London Book Festival Awards. Pam, what is your Antagonists name? Jack Campbell. He is from an Irish Ascendancy family and takes up the Fenian cause in England in the 1880s. He masterminds a bombing campaign in the north of England (based on fact but he is fictional). What are two emotional traits your antagonist has? Jack is very bitter about his past and how he was…

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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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One Reader’s Voice Out Loud With Melissa

Our readers are the foundation of what makes indieBRAG unique.  They not only select the books to become the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree but give feedback to our authors. This feedback is important not only to the authors but to the reader as well. Readers carry a lot of weight in what we regard as quality in self-publishing. Not only that but how readers see author’s platforms and performance on social media. Today, Melissa is haring her thoughts about promoting books o social media and much more! indieBRAG: How do you find books and what do you think of social media and books? I usually find my print books by visiting my local book stores and browsing the shelves. I tend to find my ebooks by browsing Goodreads. Social media and books isn’t something I’ve grown accustomed to yet, but that’s probably because I spend so much time on my computer for work that I’d rather get out of the house and explore. indieBRAG: Do you go to an author's website or social media when looking for a book or do you usually pick a book based on a search, on sites such as Amazon? I don’t actually search Amazon…

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Creating a story is an art-a new series!

Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? I have created a new series to discuss this matter on behalf of indieBRAG. If you are an Award Winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, we would be delighted for you to participate in this new and exciting series. Please contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com for further information and to set a post date. We would love to hear from you. Thank you! Stephanie M. Hopkins indieBRAG Team Member

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One Reader’s Voice Out Loud with Alison

Our readers are the foundation of what makes indieBRAG unique.  They not only select the books to become the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree but give feedback to our authors. This feedback is important not only to the authors but to the reader as well. Readers carry a lot of weight in what we regard as quality in self-publishing. Not only that but how readers see author’s platforms and performance on social media. Today Alison is sharing with us her thoughts about authors promoting on social media.  indieBRAG: How do I find books and what do I think of social media and books? I find books through personal recommendation, social media and reviews in mainstream media. Not all social media is effective at promoting books and authors need to experiment to find out what works best for their genre. indieBRAG: Do you go to an author's website or social media when looking for a book or do you usually pick a book based on a search on sites such as amazon? I will go to an author's website and social media to find out more about them and what else they've written. I don't choose a book directly from a retail site;…

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