indieBRAG Blog

Scribbler on the Roof…my journey as an Indie-author.

I don’t need a time machine, a tarot reading or a Pan American flight manifest to map out how I came to be an Indie author. When asked to share a few thoughts on what I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, I was raring to go and happy to take this opportunity to do what authors like to do best- ‘Kvel’ and ‘Kvetch’. Kvelling, a quintessential Yiddish word, conjures up images of beaming parents, proudly boasting about their offspring. While I do my fair share of maternal boasting, today I’m kvelling about another sort of offspring- my books! I wrote a Creative Non-fiction in August 2012 entitled, ‘With Love, The Argentina Family- Memories of Tango and Kugel, Mate with Knishes.’ A Spanish-speaking, blue-eyed, Jewish girl named Mirta who outgrew five passports by the time she was twenty-one and survived a whirlwind romance during one of Argentina’s darkest periods had plenty of writing material! This first book was written to honor my parents, my heritage and my rather unique upbringing as a ‘Pan Am brat.’ More recently, I published a Historical Fiction/Fantasy that incorporated my love of period drama with Judaica. Talk about fantasy… ‘Becoming Malka’ literally came to me…

Read More

Wish-List 5: Historical Fiction

I am always thrilled when new B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees are announced and my reading list keeps getting bigger and bigger! One of the featured posts my fellow book bloggers and I do every month is share from our wish-list. This month there is quite a few from the indieBRAG library I have added. Today, I want to share five of them to you. Enjoy! -Stephanie M. Hopkins Four Nails by G.L. Berger Synopsis In ancient India, tragedy strikes a young elephant trainer. Forced into a slave caravan that takes him through perilous lands and into a world at war, Ashoka befriends a special elephant. He and that elephant, Four Nails, together lead Hannibal’s army over the Alps and down the back of Rome. Though a time of constant danger and uncertainty, Ashoka finds beauty and kindness while helping others enslaved for the pleasure of ruthless rulers. To survive this remarkable journey, the elephant trainer calls upon his unique ways with the great greys and a strength known only to those with nothing left to lose. Four Nails has been selected by The Huffington Post as one of only “Four beautiful, pack-your-suitcase worthy reads for summer vacation.” Huffington Post April 19,…

Read More

Non-Fiction and The Brothers Path

Martha Kennedy Author of indieBRAG Medallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior It’s estimated that as many as 20,000 Swiss emigrated to America before 1820, bringing not only their hard-working, flesh-and blood-selves, but religious and political philosophies that influenced what this nation became. I knew nothing about any of this until, at the suggestion of a Swiss reader of Martin of Gfenn, I began researching my own family tree. There I met the Schneebelis. At the time, I was in the midst of writing Savior, the story of a 13th century Swiss family, very minor nobility, living in a castle-fort near Affoltern am Albis in the Canton of Zürich. I based the setting of my story on a hillside and castle ruin I’d seen on a hike with a friend. I was dumbfounded when, in the midst of “finding my roots,” I found that my own ancestors had lived on that very hillside and in that very castle-fort. Even more creepy, the people in my family had the same names I’d given the characters in my story. OK, it’s true that there were not many names used in those places in the 13th century (boys were usually Rudolf, Hugo, Conrad,…

Read More

My Summer Photo Project

I’m so happy I selected the 30-day summer photo project as one of my blog posts for this summer! I used to take many pictures and was an avid scrapbooker, but somehow I lost a bit of my shutterbug these last few years. I’ve had an Instagram account for several years, but hadn’t really done much with it. This photo project was a lot of fun, and it forced me to take snapshots of my day. Since my daughter was home on summer break, she jumped into the action as well, often helping me select the photo for the day. There were quite a few things on our ‘to-do list’ this summer, but we didn’t get a chance to do all that we had planned. Mostly because we got a new puppy! Boy, it really is like having baby in the house all over again! I’ve highlighted a few of the pictures here for you to get a glimpse of my summer. To see all the pictures, feel free to visit my Instagram site. ~ Carrie

Read More

IndieBRAG Cover Crush: Grindstone by Donna Walsh Inglehart

Cover Crush by Colleen Turner  Synopsis “New to that country, caught up in my own survival, I did not understand the scope or nature of the War of the Rebellion, only that it was not ours, my brother’s and mine, to fight. I could not have imagined that the war would come to the very shores of Grindstone, with such treachery and brutality that I still wake at night with a pounding heart.” Leaving Ireland in the devastating aftermath of the Famine, Anya McGregor finds refuge in an island realm far from the violence of the Civil War, only to discover that she cannot escape its dark undercurrents. For Jonathon Douglas, a Confederate spy, the islands also provide temporary sanctuary, but soon become as dangerous as the battlefront.  Believing him a traitor, his compatriots have vowed to follow him to the ends of the earth.  Irresistibly drawn to each other, Anya and Jonathon are pulled into a web of espionage that threatens to destroy them both. Lyrical and profoundly moving, Grindstone is historical fiction at its best, a haunting story that inspires even as it shapes one’s understanding of the most violent period in American history.   Thoughts on the…

Read More

The Life—and Art—of Writing: Justine Avery Interviews Film Director Devon Avery

I eagerly snatched up the opportunity (excuse?) to interview my husband about his view of and feelings toward my writing career.  Don't we all wonder what those close to us really think about our uncanny attraction to language, our mysterious-seeming mood swings stemming from that writing we go off to do all alone, how we eye everything as if it's a potential story or character or bit of dialogue, or what they think it means to "be a writer?" Counting on brutal honesty and hoping for extra encouragement and insight from the perspective of a fellow creative working in a different medium, I proceeded to prod my film director and voracious reader husband, Devon Avery, for what it's really like to be in a relationship with a writer—witnessing the ups and downs of a writing career firsthand—for any advice he has to share for the creative process and its challenges, and his view of the role we writers serve for all of humanity.  (As his wife, I get to ask heavily loaded questions!) When we first met, I was a "writer" who didn't write.  I said I was a writer—I'd had a few stories and articles published in the past—but…

Read More

Picnic With My Dreamboat by Anna Belfrage

The barley dips and bows in the wind, ripe and golden it extends every which way. Man-high, the ears brush my cheek, and as I balance along the narrow pathway that divides one field from the next, I suspect I’m almost invisible. Not so Matthew Graham. My favourite 17th century man, my very own personal dream-boat, comes walking through the barley, careful measured steps so as not to damage his crops. I stop to properly absorb the pleasure of seeing him move, all the way from how his worn shirt strains over his broad shoulders, to how lightly he plants his feet, long legs striding effortlessly over the uneven ground. Now and then he pauses, crumbling an ear or two between his fingers. To judge from his smile, the crop looks good – as does he. “A picnic?” He tilts his head to the side, using his hat to fan some much needed air his way. I point at the basket. “Weighs a ton.” “Ah.” He points at a distant grove. “Over there?” Seeing as he’s a gentleman, he offers to carry the basket. “Have you ever had a picnic before?” I ask him as we spread out the tartan…

Read More

Audiobook in Your Future?

I opened my email inbox recently and discovered a surprise – a company called Tantor Media wanted to buy the global audio rights to my novel The Witch of Napoli. Was I interested? I was instantly suspicious. Everybody’s trying to sell services to indie authors these days (agenting, publishing, marketing, etc.); many are expensive scams. You pay them an outrageous fee, or you “share” the cost. I fired back a snarky, warning salvo: “I'm only interested in a sale of audio rights to a company which will pay all production fees. If you're looking for a co-investor, I'm not interested. I can easily produce an audiobook myself via Amazon's ACX or similar platforms. It's been on my to-do list for some time.” Then I googled Tantor and gulped. The company was more than legit – Tantor is the largest independent audio book publisher in the U.S. Tantor Audio titles include National Book Award winners, Man Booker Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners and New York Times Best Sellers. OMG! Had I turned them off before we even started talking? It’s not that I couldn’t produce my own audiobook – Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) tool http://www.acx.com/ is surprisingly easy to navigate;…

Read More

Inspiration’s Mysterious Power

Martha Kennedy Author of BRAG Medallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior Ancient Greek poets didn’t believe that they, themselves, came up with their stories. They believed that they, as poets, were simply an instrument of the Muses, well-disposed goddesses who quickened the poets’ minds with inspiration. My high school art teacher didn’t believe in inspiration. He believed in hard work. “If you wait for inspiration to hit, you’ll wait forever. Just paint.” I’ve written a lot in my life without being inspired, sort of the equivalent of my high school art teacher’s “Just paint.” I wrote because I am a writer, and a writer is an observer. I’ve always seen the world, the people around me, and my life as interesting, so I transcribed it. Even my mom said, ‘You’re a good writer. You just don’t have anything to write about.” Then… In 1997, during a particularly interesting point in my life, I went to Switzerland. My friends took me to see a little 13th century church in a small village north of Zürich, the chapel of the Knights of St. Lazarus in the village of Gfenn. Lepers had lived there; not just lepers, but leper knights. The moment…

Read More

And then, there is the Research…

Imagine we have no computers, no Internet access, no search engines. Yes, imagine it was like the good old days. And just imagine how much paper we would be wasting using the old method - remember them? Typewriters! Painstakingly typing word after word using our well-practiced, two finger method. And sheet after sheet of perfectly good paper ending up in the writer’s waste bin. Would the writing revolution ever have happened? Writing is no longer for the privileged few. Yes, even I have taken pen to paper, well, metaphorically speaking. A new found freedom being taken up by an army of hopefuls. Some with astonishing results. The new era - indie publishing. Literally, hundreds of thousands of new novels are published each year. Even this little fact I had looked up on the internet. And we found a new way helping to protect our cherished rain forest - the e-book. After a slow beginning, (Amazon’s first Kindle appeared in 2007), there has been an explosion of e-books. But was it a ´Chicken or Egg´ situation? Did the e-book appear before the e-reader, surely not? I discovered that the Rocket e-book and Soft-book Reader was launched in 1998. There you have…

Read More