indieBRAG Blog

Criteria of a Specific Genre or Subgenre

Does your book fit a general genre or does it fall in a subgenre? Could it be that other elements in a story go beyond the criteria of a specific genre or subgenre? For example, “Thrillers.” We know that thrillers are a broad genre of literature. Which is defined by key elements in the story to drive the plot and characters actions, what they must overcome, crime and suspense. When we add other elements such as courtroom drama and legalities…do we give it a new name? Tim Vicary shares with us today a conversation he had with a friend and fellow reader about this very topic. Please join us in this conversation and share which category does your book fall under. ************ I met my friend Angela outside the supermarket one day, and I made a mistake. I told her I like legal thrillers. ‘Legal thrillers?' she asked. 'What’s that? Some sort of drug?' 'No, of course not,' I said.  'Though they can be quite addictive, I suppose. A legal thriller is a book - a sort of crime novel.' 'So why not call it a crime novel then, and have done with it? At least then, I'd know what you were…

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How to Write Great (Awful) Zombies

By Melanie Karsak It’s October, my favorite month of the year. Without fail, I always get in the mood to write something spooky this time of year. Over the summer, I completed the fifth and final book in The Harvesting Series. The Harvesting series begins with an outbreak that leads to a zombie apocalypse. Once mankind is mostly dead, the survivors learn that we weren’t as alone as we thought we were. The fey, vampires, and other supernatural creatures and powers always existed in our world, we just didn’t know it. Writing five books in a zombie series pushed me to constantly innovate and look for new ways to write scary creatures. Just how many ways are there to describe a zombie? In the end, I found the best was to go back to basics. Hit the readers right in the senses: 1) Zombies smell like… I spent a lot of time considering how a zombie might smell. From the harrowing bouquet of the rotted corpse to the whiff of an entire horde of the decaying undead, zombies stink. When writing zombies, you will get your readers into the scene more completely if you can help them envision what it…

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Halloween-An Unusual Holiday

Award Winning B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Saving Halloween Halloween is an unusual holiday - it's the one day of the year when we're allowed to deceive one another in a spirit of fun. We dress up in costumes, hide our faces, and believe we are someone or something else. We let our imaginations run wild! In writing 'Saving Halloween', I wanted to draw the reader into an imaginary and mysterious world by using deception.  When book-smart Anne Parson meets the lively Halloween Spavento for the first time in the orchard, it may dawn on the reader that something is a bit odd about this free-spirited girl. As more of the Spavento family is introduced, the magic surrounding this household is revealed. But, it's not just the characters and actions that may dupe the reader; their names are significant. The magical family's last name -- Spavento, means fright or terror in Italian. There's more hidden meanings in the names than that and I've included in the back of the book a listing of Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the book. If readers get really curious, they'll look up (Uncle) Fenris's name and discover more quickly how well that describes him. Oh there's lots of mystery and…

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Fog often shrouds the blue hour of evening –

       The Blue Hour          Patti Davis Halloween has always been my favorite time of year. Not because of the costumes but because the dark swirling realm of ghosts and unsettled spirits is talked about, described, and believed in. As a child, I loved ghost stories. As an adult and an author, I have chosen to write about ghosts – in two short stories and in my novel The Blue Hour. The Blue Hour takes place in the fictional California town of Clearoak. Joshua Baron, who just turned nine, and his family, re-locate to the town and soon realize that the house they have moved into is not entirely vacant. Joshua is a boy who believes in ghosts, and the ghost that is haunting Clearoak knows this. In a town that hides its history, where people remember more than they are willing to say, the ghost is as unpopular in death as the boy was in life. Joshua is his one hope. In Clearoak, fog often shrouds the blue hour of evening – Joshua’s favorite time of day. The coyotes up on Oak Hill howl when the moon is full, rest on the gravesites of…

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Inspired by Halloween

By J.B. Hawker - B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree The first book I ever published was inspired by Halloween. One warm October day, my son and I were taking a walk around our small Northern California town, enjoying the weather and the Halloween decorations popping up in the neighborhoods. Passing by a particularly grisly tableau, with imitation body parts and fake blood galore, I commented on how easy it would be for a serial killer to get rid of his victims’ bodies by inserting them into such displays. “That’s a great idea for a book, Mom. You should write it,” my son said. So, I did... The book, Hollow, takes place in the imaginary Northern California mountain town of Clark’s Hallow. My working title was Halloween Hollow, but I liked the ambiguous sound of the one word: Hollow. The main character, Bunny Elder, is recently widowed after many years of marriage to a minister. The book is written from a Christian perspective and includes scripture quotes at the heading of each chapter. I didn’t label it Christian Fiction when it first came out, but after a reviewer accused me of trying to trick readers into reading a Christian work by simply calling it…

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An Interview with Miranda Moon!

Wunderwood A place where magic flows through all the trees and plants and even the creatures and people An Interview with Miranda Moon! What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name? My name is Miranda Moon. Significant? Well, it was partly because my last name–Moon—was recited in a curse that I ended up in Wunderwood. I suppose you could say that makes it significant. Do you have any special abilities? I’ve always had a pretty good imagination, so I like to tell stories… I guess you might not consider that a special ability, though. Actually, I’m not even sure if I came up with all my stories on my own or if they ended up in my head another way. But there is something else I can do, something that is pretty special. It has to do with… nevermind! (More about that in The Tree of Mindala! I don’t want to spoil it for you.) What is your fondest memory? Telling stories with my Grandmother Sunny in a glade near the old family cabin. She loved to hear my stories. She never said they were silly or crazy like a lot of people do. Sometimes she would…

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Halloween Blah-g 2016

Lee Davis Creations Lee Davis Books and Art Lee Davis Creations Blog This is my Halloween blah-g for 2016, and I’m going by the cool list graciously offered by the great Stephanie Moore Hopkins, with a big thank you to indieBRAG for their featuring of my work and continued support, in particular now for that goofy Dr. Deathworm book I wrote. A few things to keep in mind, considering the aforementioned book was suitable for younger readers: A lot of my favorite things are not suitable for youngsters. Even if I sneakily got my hands on these amazing R-rated works as a kid and braved my way through the blood and the guts, the fact remains that some people just don’t have as strong a stomach as a rugged old school gangsta like myself. So, anyway…. Best Halloween books: Okay, in this case I’ll recommend the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, by Alvin Schwarz, with incredible, creepy illustrations by Stephen Gammell. These stories genuinely freaked me out as a youngster. They were okay for grade schoolers but managed to be heavy on the macabre, they didn’t hold back and that’s what made these stand out. If the…

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Villains are People, Too

  Quick, name your favorite horror villain. The haunted house in Amityville Horror? The zombies in World War Z? The shark in Jaws? That might be a tough question because, often, the villain in horror is a mindless force of nature or so abstract as to be faceless. Sometimes that works well because mystery is a big part of horror and showing too much about the villain can diminish the dread. If there’s an unusually great premise or protagonist to carry the weight of the story and provide interesting developments throughout, an archetypical or simplified villain may be all that’s needed. When the villain is a real, identifiable individual, however, horror stories often stoop to tired motivations, resulting in a one-dimensional villain who lacks any real motivation and is just evil for evil’s sake. Whether it’s a cackling, mustachioed baddie bent on world domination or just an evil capitalist happy to pave over gentle nature as part of a real estate project, thinly-written villains make for a dull story. In contrast, who’s the most famous of all horror villains? Dracula would certainly be a strong contender . . .  as would Hannibal Lecter, his modern-day counterpart (who prefers food he can…

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A walk deep into the woods

By Harmony Kent Have you ever walked deep into the woods while the ground mist swirled around your ankles and hid your feet? Or had the snapping of a twig raise the hairs on the back of your neck, as you realise you’re not quite as alone as you thought? All of these evoke the nostalgia of childhood Halloweens, where a chill of fear would run up my spine on a cold winter eve until I reached the warmth and sanctuary of the next brightly lit house. Trees have always held a special place for me. Mostly, they feel benign. Indeed, I remember with fondness one particular Willow that used to offer me shelter and a place to hide. I could spend hours beneath those floor-hanging bows. Some trees, however, have an altogether ‘other’ feel about them. On many an occasion, while out walking alone, I’ve stumbled across a deep, dark part of the woods that feels nothing other than menacing. An old gnarled Oak, in the right conditions, can take on the appearance of some ancient predator. One Halloween, as a young and impressionable child, I saw a horror movie—Watcher in the Woods, starring Bette Davis—that scared me silly…

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How to Respond to Negative Book Reviews

By Award Winning Author Valerie Biel -B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Telling an author to ignore a bad review is like telling a dieter to ignore a cookie sitting in front of them. Rarely do we have the willpower to just walk away. We stare at it, we wonder about it, and it might become all we can think about for a while. I get it . . . I’ve been both that author and that dieter (and God forbid if you get a bad review while dieting—that just not fair.) But I’m here to tell you bad reviews are bound to happen and you should be happy (YES, HAPPY) when you are staring down that two-star or (cringe) one-star review. (Seriously!) That means your book is being more widely read and the more people who read your book, the more likely it is that you will attract a naysayer or two. Intellectually, we all know that not everyone will like what we write. But that is hard to remember when that first stinging review comes in. Remind yourself that you’ve written a great story (because you did) and the vast majority of reviews will cancel out the few who didn’t like…

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