indieBRAG Blog

IndieBRAG Cover Crush: To Catch A Falling Star by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis To Catch a Falling Star’ is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.  Some gifts are double-edged swords… For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option. Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours. While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet. All…

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Marketing Your Book(s) by Alison Morton

Why marketing? Publishing a book yourself is fun as well as hard work. But if you are going to sell your book, you need to adopt some commercial principles and practicalities. We often hear “sales and marketing” bracketed together, but they are two distinctly different things, although intimately connected. Marketing as a way of building awareness of yourself, your work and your brand, thus creating a demand in the customer’s mind so that they will seek you out – basically, the battle for the mind. Sales, on the other hand, is focused on persuading the customer to buy by meeting a need at the right time. But readers can be turned off by overly aggressive sales tactics. Now I love talking to readers face to face and sharing the fun and fascination of my Roma Nova books with them. But there’s a lot of work leading up to the point when you sell that reader your book, and that’s all about marketing. So let’s get down to marketing The pre-requisite is a good product. A well-edited story, with professional layout and design, a great back cover blurb and stunning cover are all taken as given. (Well, the B.R.A.G. Medallion award…

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Choice of Genre by Malcolm Noble

The blurb says that I have written fifteen mystery novels set in the south of England from the 1920s to the 1960s.  However, my recent work has focused on the earlier part of the period.  It is the 1920s and 30s where I feel most at home.  I was born in 1951 My choice of detective fiction (and I am quite picky about the boundary between detective stories and the crime novel) was inevitable.  John Creasey's Hammer the Toff was the first adult book that I read (when the village librarian allowed me to borrow the book with my pink 'Junior Reader' ticket).  Since then, buying, selling, reading and writing detective novels has been an important part of my life.  Most of all, I like talking about them. When, last month, a customer was browsing around my bookshop, we realised that we were detection enthusiasts and talked, for far too long, about the good and bad in the genre.  Through that discussion, with surprising little disagreement, we moved towards defining what made a truly satisfying detective novel.  We realised that readers who come to the genre in retrospect - like us - are probably more critical than those who had…

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Lizzy’s Summer Recipe: Rice Risi-Pisi

I first came across this delicious summer dish on a camping holiday with our local church group, as a teenager, which took us to the former Yugoslavia. I have made it ever since. Recipe for 3-4 persons ½ Large Cucumber - Peeled and sliced ½ Large Onion                     - Sliced ½ Large Red Pepper           - Sliced ½ Large Green Pepper       - Sliced 4 Tomatoes                          - Sliced 200g of brown Rice 2 cans of Tuna Chunks 160g net weight 3 Serving Spoons of Olive Oil 2 Serving Spoon of Vinegar ½ a teaspoon of grainy mustard Pinch of sugar Salt Pepper Mixed herbs Squeeze of a lemon   Salad a) Mix the Oil, Vinegar, Mustard, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, b) Add the prepared Salad ingredients c) Lift and mix carefully d) Drain the opened tins of Tuna e) Add the tuna f) Rinse the tuna tins with a tiny bit of water and pour over the tuna now in the dish. This will dilute the Oil/Vinegar mix and add extra moisture. g) Lift and mix carefully Squeeze the Lemon liberally over the mixture. Cover the salad with Clingfilm and store in a cool place. Rice Boil the rice in the usual manner. Place…

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What would stories about Pirates be without a bit of RUM?

Our indieBRAG Food Blogger, Susan Weintraub shares Rum and Cake to go with great pirate books - The Sea Witch Series by Helen Hollick What could be better! Pirates Rum Cake Susan Weintrob, Indie Brag and everydayhappyfoods.com Blogger Pirates had limited amounts of fresh meat, greens and insect free supplies.  Rum was one thing that there was a lot of !  I picture this cake appearing at the pirates’ table. Rum helped preserve the cake and the pirates! Sharing this cake at my South Carolina table felt right with so many pirates that populated this coast in the 18th century.  Pirate’s Rum Cake should taste fantastic at your table as well!   Pirates Rum Cake Modified from Yummly. Kitchen Nostalgia. CAKE 2 cups flour ⅓ cup cornstarch 1½ cups sugar or ¾ cup Stevia 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 5 eggs ½ cup vegetable oil ½ cup milk of choice (cow’s, almond or soy) 1 tsp lemon juice ½ cup rum 2 teaspoons vanilla ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs RUM BUTTER SAUCE: ½ cup (125 g) unsalted butter or dairy free margarine ¼ cup water ¼ - ½ cup sugar or ¼ cup Stevia ¼ - ½ cup rum ½…

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First Impressions… By Helen Hollick

Covers. It never ceases to amaze me how bad some indie-published covers can be. As Managing Editor of the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews I see a lot of indie historical fiction – all UK published books initially come through my postbox (and some US ones as well) before being sent out to my UK review team. That first look at a book as it comes out of its packaging can have such an enormous influence on that vitally important first impression – and can even influence the difference between accepting a novel for review or rejecting it. A good cover – usually professionally designed and produced, can create immediate interest; “Oh, this looks good!”  Alternatively, some are ­– I hate to say this, because most authors put a lot of time, trouble and effort into self-publishing their books, but it has to be said – some covers are absolutely awful. Yes, your family member may be good at art, but this person is not a graphics designer. The result will look amateurish, and if the cover gives the impression of not being top-quality professional, then it will be assumed that the text inside is not up to par either.…

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My Classy Women by J.F. Ridgley

I never thought about my first published book like this, but in a way, it is my own vow of revenge… against all the rejections I got over the years. Yes. I can honestly tell you, these little letters/emails from editors and agents are like the water-drip torture. It tears at your soul. Now not all rejections were harsh or rude. Many were very pleasant as tofu is mild. But some were just plain impolite. They ask for a submission but explain that if you don’t hear from us, consider it rejected. You don’t know if they even got your query.  Now, I don’t know if editors or agents still do this still. But I feel this should be outlawed. So I came to a breaking point and considered quitting writing. Just give up this brain fart. Who was I to think I could write anyway? Weeding gardens is easier. Cleaning bathroom etc. Well I didn’t want to.   To thwart that, I attended an RWA conference with full intentions getting recharged, finding out what I was doing wrong, and figuring out now NOT TO QUIT. As RWA conferences are, they had lots for me. Lots, And other writers who…

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My Tale (Tail) of Two Desks by PJ LaRue

My desk at work and my desk at home are opposites. One might think the nature of my job is the cause, but it isn't. I am an organized thinker, numbers person and CPA under my real name by day and a writer under my pen name by night and on the weekends. Although artistic people are sometimes categorized as disorganized, the neatly organized desk is my writing desk, while my office at work is hidden beneath a mountain of paper. Occasionally, my propensity for neatness wins and my office takes on a semi-clean appearance with stacks of papers organized by tasks at hand. Other days, there is no hope, with papers strewn across the desk, credenza and meeting table, today's latest crisis on top of yesterday's unfinished assignment. Please join me in my tale (tail) of two desks to discover why my work space at home is always organized and often paper free. It all started a little over a year ago when we adopted our kittens Shelby and Riley at the local animal shelter. Shelby should have been named Shelby Don’t, because we exclaim that phrase throughout the day. Many people converse with their pets, and I am…

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indieBRAG Interview with Cathy Helms-Graphic Designer

indiebrag welcomes Cathy Helms! Cathy lives with her husband of twenty-three years in Troutman, North Carolina. She earned her degree in Advertising and Graphic Design in 2008 and founded Avalon Graphics in 2009. Years before she attended college and gained a formal education in the medium, Cathy taught herself how to create graphics for the web and print media using Adobe Photoshop. Her formal education in 2008 gave Cathy the technical skills required in order to apply her creative talent in book cover design, marketing materials, and book trailer production. Cathy is a member of the Historical Novel Society as she is an avid reader and fan of history. If money were no object, Cathy would travel the world. What is your Graphic Design Company called? Avalon Graphics LLC – which was inspired by my love for the Arthurian Legends as told in books, film and TV. I’ve always been fascinated by Arthur – who he might have really been historically (if he ever even existed), but I will always devour any books about Camelot and the fairytale legends. Great escapism! How did you get in Graphic Design? I have always been a creative thinker and visual person. I kept…

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