indieBRAG Blog

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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Copy-Editor- do we need one?

By Award Winning Author Elisabeth Marrion-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You finished your latest masterpiece. Ready to press the publish button? No, wait, hold it there, just for a minute. Have you read and re-read? Did you do so on your computer, or did you print a copy? Printing out a copy is always a good idea, if you can do that. It really is easier to spot mistakes on a printed sheet. Have you been lucky, or brave enough, to have it beta read? Most of us have written more than one book. Do we, by now, have an inkling as to what will be best for our work to shine above the rest? Cost, as always, will be a factor. Proofreading is a must and can be costly. I, at one time, received some really bad advice on how to save on proofreading costs. A mistake I will not repeat. But do we need the extra expense of having the manuscript copy-edited? And bear in mind, that your copy-editor might suggest some changes. Or, worse still, suggest to delete certain sections altogether. This is your work, every word thought about, and the story carefully crafted. And now? A total stranger…

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Getting out there …

By G.J. Reilly-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Usually, I’d start a piece on marketing with “So, you’ve got a brand new, shiny book to sell”, or something of that ilk. But today, it really isn’t working. I could also begin with “Have you ever watched an hour of TV and noticed how many times we get blasted with the same old garbage?” and I’m sure that would probably ring a few bells too. The truth is, if you’re reading this blog, or have any connection at all to Indie BRAG, you’ve done your research and are already marketing your books in some way. So, there’s little point in my spouting analogies at you, or selling you a marketing solution that only works for a small minority of people. So you have a brand new, shiny book to sell. If you’re an author who sells through Amazon, then all you have to do is find your listing to see just how many others are doing the same. The question is: why is it that X many books are higher in the chart than yours (even if you’re in the enviable position of only having 2 or 3 above you)? Okay, here’s a quick…

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The One that Got Away

By Annie Whitehead B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree It’s the time of year when students go off to college/university, and I’m casting my mind back to my own student days ... The Anglo-Saxon world which I studied was rather testosterone-fueled: kings whacking seven bells out of each other, male priests sermonising and occasionally fighting, and of course, those marauding invaders. No matter - I loved the subject when I was an undergraduate, and I still do. As much as I enjoyed my studies, I’d had a yearning to be a writer, and during those lectures, plans were forming. Some names and characters interested me more than others, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to write about them. But one name really stood out. And this person had no testosterone. We were studying one of the first pieces of propaganda; a document designed to show off its subject in the best possible light - a real piece of spin. It was commissioned by this same high-ranking person and the rewards of studying it lie in what it glosses over or hides as much as in what it reveals. Queen Emma:  married to not one, but two kings. Mother to not one,…

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Three Axioms

Martha Kennedy Award winning Author of BragMedallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior As a writer, I’ve learned a few pretty obvious lessons, but, as I have the learning style of a crash test dummy, I had to discover them for myself. It comes down to three axioms. Axiom 1 — Give your ardor time to cool before submitting your work. While it’s cooling… Axiom 2 — Get help with proofreading, solicit comments and help from friends, then hire a professional editor. Axiom 3 — Stay true to your work. ********** Axiom 1 — Submit in haste, repent at leisure.  OR…Don’t do anything with your manuscript while you’re in love with it. Love is blind. In 2005, when I finished (and proofread [see Axiom 2]) the initial, complete 500 manuscript pages of Martin of Gfenn, I was so INFATUATED with it that I couldn’t see that it was an overwritten, error-riddled, repetitive nightmare. Four years later, looking at it with clearer eyes, I saw the full horror of my prose. Unfortunately, I’d already queried every possible agent. I decided (as the revised book was exponentially better than the unrevised book) to query them again. Yes, this is the biggest “NO!…

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