indieBRAG Blog

Books and Me by Steven McKay

I’ve always loved books, for as long as I can remember. My mum was a teacher so I suppose she felt obliged to make sure I could read well so she’d take me to get books from the library all the time. I have vivid memories of borrowing one with a little clock that you could move the hands on. I must have been about three or four-years-old but it’s still in my mind and must have helped spark my love of books. When I was old enough I would go along to the library myself and get out things like the Hardy Boys, Asterix and anything I could find about ghosts or the supernatural. I enjoyed writing little things myself eventually – silly short stories that made no sense and infuriated my English teacher who clearly recognised I had some skill but only wanted to waste it by writing nonsense to entertain my adolescent friends. Sadly, adolescence passed and I grew up into a sensible man who wanted to write things a little more serious and my grandma would always say to me, “Hurry up and write a book. I want to see your book in the library.” She…

Read More

A Victorian San Francisco Christmas

By M. Louisa Locke-Award Winning Author   Because the most recent book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, Pilfered Promises, is set during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 1880, I spent a good deal of time researching how residents of that city were celebrating the holidays that year, including looking for articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. What I found was that many of the traditions that we are familiar with today started in the Nineteenth century…including the importance of advertising special holiday sales! “The Arcade: We are offering this week SPECIAL and EXTRAORDINARY INDUCEMENTS to buyers of HOLIDAY PRESENTS, especially in our SILK DEPARTMENT” ––San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 1880 However, these traditions were actually relatively new. Before the mid-1880s, most native-born Americans, particularly Protestants from the Northeast, saw Thanksgiving and not Christmas as the key national holiday. In fact, throughout the 1800s, a number of Protestant denominations were very resistant to the celebration of the birth of Christ in any fashion beyond religious observances. Not surprisingly, it was the Southern state of Louisiana, where there was a significant Catholic population, that first declared December 25th a holiday (in 1837), and Christmas wasn’t declared a national legal…

Read More

My Bookish Life by indieBRAG Reader Tracy

I’m a bookaholic.  I love to read books, shop for books and collect books. I love the feel of a book, the smell of a book, and the weight of a book. I’m a full-fledged addict and I’m not seeking a cure…ever! Luckily I grew up in a household where books littered the floors, bedside tables and crammed homemade bookshelves crafted by my dad. My mom loved mysteries, my dad books on the civil war. We were library regulars, and my mom subscribed to the Book of the Month Club, and Readers Digest Condensed Books.  Gifts of books were a regular part of my childhood. I loved Golden Books, fairy tales, Dr. Seuss and Dare Wright’s Lonely Doll series.  When I started reading instead of just being read to, I loved Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins. In high school my pleasure reading turned to non-fiction and biography. My taste ran the gamut from English and U.S. History to movie star tell-alls and Presidential bios. I loved it all! During my teens I started a collection of “smelly” books. My collection isn’t really smelly, okay maybe a bit aromatic, but it is filled with old and captivating books that have…

Read More

Comics Are Books Too!

  When I was a child, I saved all my money to buy comic books!  Not just any comic books but the ones called Classics Illustrated and Classics Illustrated Junior.  The former were condensed, comic book versions of some of the greatest books ever written, and the latter were the greatest of fairy tales.  At one time, I owned them all and I am so fortunate that one of my sons, a serious comic book collector, has preserved those of these treasures that survived my growing up and many household moves over the years.  I credit these comic books for my love of books today. I was only about 5 years old when I began collecting the fairy tales—some well-known—and others just as wonderful but lesser known like The Penny Prince, The Wild Swans and Silly Hans.  When I was in grade school, I moved up to the Classics. Can you imagine a second grader reading The Last of the Mohicans?  In comic book form they were readable for a young child and I loved them.  I later made it a goal to read the entire book version of each of these classics. We all know the benefits of reading…

Read More

Interview with Catherine Lorraine

We'd like to welcome, indieBRAG Reader Catherine Lorraine to talk with us today about her reading!  Catherine, what is important about reading for you? Reading is a very important part of my life…I read to relax and to get away from everyday stress.   I read to learn and escape to exotic places. Even though I read many books in a year…..I usually only read before going to bed, sometimes on week-ends and when I am going to appointments where I have to wait. Do you enjoy reading for BRAG and what positive experiences have had?  I like to read for BRAG as this gives me a chance to read books I might never have found on my own. I have found a few new favourites and have become a fan always waiting for that next book.  BRAG also challenges me to read books I might have never picked up to read and I have been excited by a few books that I have read.  I also am a fan of Indie Authors….I am so glad that they have found a way to publish their books without the help of big publishers.  I must admit that a few years ago I…

Read More

Interview with Jack Graham

Today we are interviewing Jack Graham, a reader for indieBRAG!  Jack, what is important about reading to you? Jack: The great preponderance of what I know I first encountered by reading. Sometimes, reading would inspire me to “do things” like the Boy Scout handbook, “Handbook for Boys” which after reading I did everything in it to the best of my ability, (and still do). That mostly kept me out of trouble throughout my teenage years... other than that incident with the skunk. Then there were all those textbooks. 20 years of them, through a PhD. And a couple libraries full that I operated at a couple different K-12 schools as a professional school librarian. No, I didn't read them all, but I certainly enjoyed those I read. Most of all, I enjoyed the joy and wonder that appeared on the faces of students when I found the “right book” for them to read. Of course there are no books more inspiring than scriptures, no matter what denomination one practices. Do you enjoy reading for BRAG and what positive experiences have you had? Jack: Yes, I certainly enjoy reading for BRAG! Or I would not have kept doing it for all…

Read More

A Message From Award Winning Author Vicki Pardoe

When I was six years old, my family moved to a house that was very close to a public library.  I couldn’t wait to get over to the large, gothic looking building to apply for my new library card.  Every time I went to the library, I would check out five books, which was my limit.  I was always so excited that I would run home and take the books to my bedroom.  Not knowing which book to start reading, I would pick up each book and read the first chapter of the book.  Sometimes I would continue taking turns with the books, but other times one book would become so interesting to me that I would have to stick with that one until I was totally finished reading it and then go back to the others. This book ritual continued on during my entire childhood.  It didn’t matter what in the world was going on outside my bedroom door, because in my room I was flying high on broomsticks with witches, standing next to Martians exploring Earth, or helping Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys solve mysteries.  As an adult, I found that I didn’t want to just read…

Read More

What I learned this year: the fellowship of writers and readers

indieBRAG would like to welcome Derek today today to talk with us about his fellowship with writers and readers this year. Derek was born in Hampshire in England but spent his teenage years in Auckland, New Zealand, where he still has strong family ties. For many years he taught history in a secondary school but took early retirement to concentrate on writing. Apart from his writing, he spends his time gardening, travelling, walking and taking part in archaeological digs at a Roman villa. Derek is interested in a wide range of historical themes but his particular favourite is the late medieval period. He writes action-packed fiction which is rooted in accurate history. His debut historical novel, Feud, is set in the period of the Wars of the Roses and is the first of a series entitled Rebels & Brothers which follows the fortunes of the fictional Elder family. The fourth and final book of the series, The Last Shroud, was published in the summer of 2015... ********** At this time of the year it is customary to reflect upon the year almost past. For me, this has very much been a year for the family, visiting my brother in New Zealand and especially…

Read More

8 Nights of Rainbow Latkes!

Happy Chanukah                                            From our Foodie Lit Blogger - Susan Weintrob                                                                                     Chanukah is a happy holiday, filled with candles, oil, miracles and victories. How about adding a little color with the traditional latkes? By adding different colored vegetables, you can make hints of yellow, orange, red, green or purple! Try one each night or use all for a party! Top with applesauce, sour cream, our own Pecan-Date Chutney, crème fraîche, horseradish sauce, mango chutney or red pepper jelly. Crash course in Chanukah Chanukah, meaning "dedication," begins in the year 167 BCE and the Greek persecution of Jews is in full swing. Greek troops showed up in the town of Modi'in, which you can visit today in Israel, and demanded that the Jews sacrifice a pig to the Greek gods. The elder of the town, Mattitiyahu (Matthew), who is a Kohen, a priest, refused and he with his…

Read More

Interview with Dawn Lamprecht – Editor, WordTherapy Editorial Services

We'd like to welcome Editor Dawn Lamprect to indieBRAG today to talk with us about her editing service. Dawn is owner and Editor of WordTherapy Editorial Services. While educated in writing and editing, she also spent many years as a Mental Health Therapist and Licensed Social Worker. Dawn enjoys using her analyzing skills while editing (analyzing the writing, not the writer!). Dawn makes it a priority to keep the writer’s voice, and her background has given her a knack for doing so. Dawn started writing and studying writing as a young child. Dawn went on to get a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (as Dawn DeLay). She had a major in English, a minor in Psychology, and also took several classes in Creative Writing and News Editorial Journalism (including editing). Dawn then went on to get a Master of Social Work Degree. After working in that field for a number of years, including writing in that field and helping others write reports, she is now back to her first loves of editing and writing. Dawn is a member of the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network. In addition to editing, Dawn also: teaches writing and literature, tutors…

Read More