indieBRAG Blog

Stephanie’s Book Spotlight: A Beautiful Glittering Lie by J. D. R. Hawkins

Synopsis In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known. After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline – Hiram’s wife and David’s mother – struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart. In this historical tale, the naïveté of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure – regardless…

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How Barnes & Noble Helps Indie Authors Find a Spot on Their Shelves

By Award Winning Author Victoria L. Thurman (author of The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield) I wasn’t aware that Barnes and Noble hosts an author signing class, as maybe you weren’t either. (Please be advised I am not exactly sure if that is the exact name). I received a text from my friend, whose friend posted it on Facebook. The text was a photo of a sign in the local Barnes and Noble advertising an author class—how to get your indie book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. (NOTE: I could not find it listed on their events website at all. Call your local B&N to find out when your class is. They have one once a quarter.) As I had given up after a couple of years trying to figure it out, I jumped out of my chair at work and squealed. I didn’t want to take any chances on the class filling up (in my mind it was already packed to the hilt with eager indie authors and they would turn me away) and even though I am poor as a church mouse at this moment in time, I saw myself using my last credit card with…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Award Winning Author Annie Whitehead

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Annie Whitehead today. She is here to talk with us about a big part of her writing. I first started this series-A Writer's Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors. Annie is a history graduate and prize-winning author. Her first novel, To Be A Queen, is the story of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, who came to be known as the Lady of the Mercians. It was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society’s Indie Book of the Year 2016, and it has been awarded a B.R.A.G. Gold Medallion. Her second novel, Alvar the Kingmaker, is a tale of intrigue, deceit, politics, love, and murder in tenth-century Mercia. It charts the career of the earl who sacrificed personal happiness to secure the throne of England for King Edgar, and, later, Aethelred the Unready. It too has just been awarded a B.R.A.G. Gold Medallion. She has completed a third novel, also set in Mercia, and scheduled for publication in 2017. She has twice been a prizewinner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Writing competition, she won first prize for nonfiction in the new Writing Magazine Poetry…

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How did you discover indieBRAG?

Often times in B.R.A.G. Interviews we ask our authors how they discovered us. This past July, Stephanie at Layered Pages asked award winning author Ginger Bensman how she discovered us. Here is what she had to say: “A couple years ago, I discovered a wonderful book, After the Sucker Punch by Lorraine Devon Wilke. Wilke’s book was a recipient of the Indiebrag award, and after I read her book, I began to notice and appreciate that little gold medallion as an indicator of quality. Two years later, when I published my own book, I knew I wanted to submit it to the Indiebrag process. The possibility of winning a medallion was an exciting but secondary motivation, mostly, I wanted a straight up evaluation of my novel. Indiebrag is a gift to readers and independent authors, helping readers find high caliber indie books, and supporting writers to produce their best work.” -Ginger Bensman To read the full interview with Ginger, click here. About Author Ginger is a lifelong student of the human condition with a deep interest in philosophy and ecology. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development/Child and Family Studies from the University of Maine in Orono and has spent more than 25 years working in family…

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Second, or even Third Editions?

This is something I have pondered about for a while. I quite often see a book stating just that, when I scroll through Amazon or such, in search of my latest read. Why is there a need to change your book? Are you saying the original version was incorrect or not to your liking? After all, you have written your masterpiece, read it, corrected it, re-read it. Had it copy edited and proofread. Only then did you press the ‘publish’ button. While awaiting for the first five star review, your friend or family member tells you they have found the dreaded typo. We take comfort that this happens to the most accomplished writers being signed by the largest Publishing Houses and selling millions of books. But now you know about your book, and you will not rest, until it is corrected. Yes, it has also happened to me. To change the printed version proved costly, but had to be done. Correcting typos does not constitute a second edition, and remember, you need to un-publish the first edition once the second one is available. Why a second edition? Maybe your first novel is now part of a series. Hence, there might…

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indieBRAG Cover Crush: Ridley House by Willa Jemhart

Cover Crush by Stephanie M. Hopkins  Synopsis For as long as she can remember, nineteen-year-old Kay has been unable to stay in one place for long. With no recollection of who she is or where she came from, plagued by nightmares she doesn’t remember upon waking, and the torturous feeling that her one true love was lost to her, she is unsure whether she is searching for or fleeing from something. When she accepts a summer job at the Ridley House Inn, it feels like a nice change of pace. The country setting and old-fashioned feel are comfortable, homey, and even familiar. Shortly after her arrival, she finds a wall filled with Ridley family portraits, where one picture in particular grabs her attention – a late 1930s photograph of a young woman with a face identical to her own. Between the warnings of a scary old man telling her she should not have returned, and the magnetic pull towards a familiar and handsome young man, Kay is determined to find some answers. Is Ridley House the place she has been searching for, is it the place she has been running from, or is all of the familiarity simply contrived by…

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Ready for a Creepy Romance for Halloween?

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 novels or memoirs 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. Here’s to cooking and reading t Reverie by  Lauren Rico Steffann Challah French Toast Casserole “To do real damage, you have to know where they [the victims] are and how to push them to achieve maximum destruction.” And Jeremy, the psychopathic character author Lauren Rico creates, aims exactly for that in her novel, Reverie, the first in The Rhapsody Trio. Ready for a creepy romance for Halloween?  Try Reverie by Lauren Rico. Set in a music conservatory in New York City (warming my heart as that is one city where my husband studied violin for many years), we see competition, hard work, romance—and ok, it’s Halloween—a creepy boyfriend, sabotage and murder. Jeremy, a talented horn player and manipulative psychopath, is put into an international competition.Author Lauren Rico told me about how she developed this character. “So, my thought process was, if you…

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indieBRAG Cover Crush: Misha Alexandrov by Jan Karol Tanaka

By Colleen Turner with A Literary Vacation  Synopsis In 1827, when ten-year-old orphan Misha Alexandrov arrives at the Russian American Company’s colony in California, he is forced to step into his father’s shoes as a carpenter. But the boy must also overcome the tyrannical foreman’s hatred of half-breeds. Misha’s own craving for acceptance reveals a character flaw that will threaten his tenuous position even more. Patient instruction in his craft is provided by a gentle Russian carpenter, and an impetuous Kashaya Indian opens his eyes to the wonders of wood lore. On this remote coast of Alta California, a passion for the land takes root in his young heart, and he vows to do anything it takes to make the fortress colony his home. But he will discover that it takes more than personal courage to fulfill the vow. Thoughts on the cover Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE historical fiction! My first impressions of this cover, with its muted colors and writing style, was that this was going to be a historical fiction novel and one that I wanted to know more about. Given the title I assumed it would be somehow based on Russian history, which I…

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Developing a character voice by Colin Weldon

Award Winning Book -A great B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree I’ll be honest. When writing my first novel I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. None. If you had of asked me about character voice development three years ago I would have looked at you like a deer in headlights. The funny thing about writing anything is the sudden appearance of characters that in of themselves are supposed to be fully-fledged human beings that just pop into existence because you need them to tell a story. I am thirty six years old and I am very much still trying to figure myself out so how the hell was I supposed to figure out the nuances of a sixty something year old scientist living on Mars, let alone the inner workings of my twenty something female lead protagonist, but there you are, looking at a blank page about to pop a person into existence in the hopes that that person will seem not only real but have their own hopes and fears and strengths and weaknesses. Hemingway said that “The first draft of anything is shit” and boy was he right so don’t be discouraged if your first read through makes…

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Handling Negative Reviews by Sean DeLauder

Award Winning Author-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Negative reviews happen. Stories and styles are subjective, and sometimes a person with no business reading your book does so anyway—with catastrophic and infuriating results. Maybe the wrong reader was intrigued by the cover or the premise. Maybe the right reader had different expectations for the story? Or maybe, and this will on rare occasions be the case, the reader was inclined toward hostility and decided to victimize your work. Unless you have a superhuman sense of self worth, a negative review, either articulate or gibberish, is going to leave a crater in your heart. Publication does, after all, expose it to bombardment. Sometimes negative reviews can prove useful, identifying genuine flaws in a story: awkward or unnecessary plotting, excessive exposition, lazy characterization. Assuming your book is a living document, you can always correct errors you agree with in future editions. Even Tolkien revised his work after it was published—he rewrote large sections of The Hobbit (1937) and republished 14 years later (1951) to bring it in line with The Lord of the Rings. Other, less savory reviewers take pleasure in ridiculing a book to provide temporary relief for some cloying psychological aberration. These reviews…

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