indieBRAG Blog

Mama’s Laughing Cow Peas from Addie Mae in “Trusting the Currents”.

Foodie Lit  Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Trusting the Currents by Lynnda Pollio Lynnda Pollio's Trusting the Currents is a book like no other. “I didn't know I was writing a book. I just started hearing a black, Southern woman's voice guiding me to write down her words, which were wise and wild. Two years later, I had the first draft of an unexpected novel. It took another 8 years of me fighting this story, editing, giving up, and reconnecting until I finally surrendered to the truth that I was born to bring this book and its wisdom and love into the world.” Lynnda didn’t know if her book would ever be published and took a leap, publishing it independently. To her surprise, the book went on to win 12 literary awards, including the BRAG Medallion. The main character, Addie Mae, brings to us the reader, a savoring of words, experiences and awakening.  Yet hidden in her story of pain and joy, loss and growth, is another soul. The real Addie Mae Collins was murdered on Sunday, September 15, 1963, at the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church by a bombing perpetrated by Klansmen. She was…

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A Happy and Healthier Chanukah From our Foodie Lit Blogger!

Crash course in Chanukah Chanukah, meaning "dedication," began in the year 167 BCE when the Greek persecution of Jews was in full swing. Greek and Syrian troops showed up in the town of Modi'in, a town in Israel even today, and demanded that the Jews sacrifice a pig to the Greek gods. The elder of the town, Mattitiyahu (Matthew), a Kohen, (priest) refused. With his five sons, led by Judah the Maccabee (the hammer) formed an army. After 3 years of fighting the foreign army, the Maccabees retook Jerusalem, the capital. They cleaned and rededicated the Temple, which had been used by the Greeks as a pagan sanctuary. On the 25th of Kislev, they lit a menorah but found only one vial of oil. They used this small vial and miraculously the menorah stayed lit for eight days, the time it took for fresh pure oil to be pressed and delivered to the Temple. You can read more in the Book of the Maccabees and in the Talmud. Chanukah is a happy holiday, which begins this year on December 12. Here are three ways to make traditional latkes a bit lighter with fewer carbs, while keeping all the great flavor.  Make your latkes extra special with your own applesauce—so easy to make in a crockpot or microwave. Rainbow…

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Step by Step: Writing to Self-Publishing

More help from editor Chara White at WordsAPlenty: I would not presume to know every step for publishing, but the following is a good rule of thumb to follow beginning the moment you settle down to write. Create an idea for a book. Easier said than done!  For some, it is far more difficult to jump in feet first and begin to write hoping an idea will worm its way from your brain to your fingertips to the key board.  This method can be very stifling to those who need a starting point.  One point to begin is the title … ok, so this can be even harder to come up with than an awesome storyline.  Don’t fret!  There are resources out there for you … here are a few that help you with titles, themes, sayings, content ideas, character names, and more: http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator.php#.WhMrbkpKuUk http://www.mcoorlim.com/random.html http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=56 http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=141 https://www.name-generator.org.uk/nickname/ Once you’ve come up with an idea, research is next. You need to make sure that what you are going to write about is a full-length book.  The last thing you want is to set your sites on a 75,000 word book only to discover there is only a 30,000 story in…

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What’s in a Media Kit?

A Media Kit can be a useful way to gather all the info about you, as an author, and your book.  We asked Marisa to share her terrific MK with us- I’m a self-published debut author and a proud owner of an indieBRAG Medallion Award. My book, GOODBYE To Italia, is a family story, and was published in 2016 but only a year later have I created a Media Kit (MK). An MK is defined as containing information about your business, product or an event. I did have a one-pager that in loose terms met this criteria. But in such a competitive world and a global market, it really is necessary to have a more professional approach. Thanks to my publishing and marketing mentor, Ocean Reeve, he provided me with a couple of examples of what an MK should look like. He also gave me a kind but strong talking to. Duly subdued, I reviewed the relevant documents and sat down one weekend to create my own. Not for me was a 15-page MK although if that’s what you want to do that’s your choice. Instead, I wanted to relay the messages as effectively and succinctly as possible. Not wanting…

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Let’s begin a Jolabokaflod!

The small country (329,000 people) of Iceland boasts it has more writers, books published and books read than anywhere else in the world. Can you imagine that? To those of us who are “Book People”, this is astonishing! A tradition we can all be envious of is Jolabokaflod – the “Christmas Book Flood”. Christmas Eve is a time of giving books and stores are sold out long before the special night.  Each person receives at least one print books (not ebooks) along with chocolate to enjoy for the rest of the evening when it is tradition to spend the night reading. It wasn’t long ago that all TV stations in Iceland stopped broadcasting from 6pm-10pm because everyone was reading! The book season kicks off in September when each family receives Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to every Icelandic home.  By early December book stores are sold out. Because of this amazing tradition, Reyckavik has been named by the United Nations as a “city of Literature” and it host the international children’s literature festival and the international Literary Festival. Icelanders have a grand history of storytelling.  The Icelandic Sagas written around the 13th century…

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Reading about a Cop’s Cop.

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 books 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.                     ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together                                                              John Hickman’s Black Bear Killer. Reading about a cop’s cop. Nothing like being a cop and writing a mystery about a cop. You just feel that Sheriff Dell Hinton is the real thing. Author John Hickman, a 25 year veteran of law enforcement, told me, “Dell is basically my alter ego. If I had continued in law enforcement, my ideal retirement job would have been as a Sheriff in a small, rural community.” The crimes and investigations may have a ring of reality…

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Award winning author, Laurie Boris, shares thoughts on Storytelling

Laurie Boris Thank you for inviting me to participate in Ingredients in Storytelling! What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? For me, setting comes from the characters and their conflict. When I get enough clues, I can see the setting in my head. Boston was ideal for A Sudden Gust of Gravity. Artsy and traditional, a melting pot of cultures, a mixture of old and new, young and not-so-young, struggling students and well-to-do folks who live in swanky condos on the waterfront. And I’d spent a lot of time there. Whenever possible, I prefer to let the details of the setting build organically. I let the characters just be there—let Christina practice her juggling in a park next to the Charles River, let Devon chaperone his five-year-old nephew through Faneuil Hall—and I describe the setting as I need to. There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do? It’s a really delicate balancing act. I think what you choose to leave out is as important, sometimes even more so, than what you leave in. If…

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All you need to know about Beta Readers!

Charla White Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as…

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Best selling author Meredith Wild shares her advice with indieBRAG

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, and The Examiner. I invited Meredith to share with us some of her thoughts and advice for aspiring “Best Selling” authors! Advice for Aspiring Authors One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what advice I have for aspiring writers. Every author’s writing and publishing journey is unique, so I can’t speak to what you specifically should do, only what’s worked and hasn’t for me. This is by no means comprehensive (I could write volumes), and I do not claim to be an expert on anything. That said, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this crazy publishing journey. This is mega long and all over the place, but I may try to organize it better in separate posts ultimately. Remember, there are no straight lines to success, so take what works and leave the rest. Above all, always trust your intuition! (If you have more specific questions, leave…

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Blogging for your Readers!

Maria Grace Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.   She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats. We are so fortunate to have the very gifted writer Maria Grace (4 X B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author!) join us today to share some thoughts and information about her very successful blog.   Marie, I love your website!  I am a fan of your books and always look forward to posts and info you share on your site. There are so many different types of websites from authors- some…

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