indieBRAG Blog

Free Book Giveaway with J.L. Oakley

Never a dull moment in a writer's life. I'm happy to announce that indieBRAG Medallion Honoree Timber Rose is going free starting on April 14. The recipient of the 2015 WILLA Silver Award and a 2014 Chaucer award category win, my historical novel was named the February “back list” pick by the Pulpwood Queens Book Club February, the largest book club in the world with 600 chapters. Having that medallion on front cover surely must have made the novel to stand out in the pile of books. The promotion will run until April 17th. Available here. On April 9th I launched my new historical novel, The Jøssing Affair. Set in Norway during WW II, it tells the story of a lone intelligence agent sent to a fishing village to set up a line to receive arms and agents from the Shetland Islands. Posing as a deaf person, his mission is complicated when he is attracted to the widow of an old family friend accused of betraying her husband. She has secrets of her own too. Available here.  

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Cover Crush: Blue Mercy by Orna Ross

Will you identify with mother or with daughter? When Mercy Mulcahy was 40 years old, she was accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she has written a book about what really happened on that fateful night of Christmas Eve, 1989. The tragic and beautiful Mercy has devoted her life to protecting Star, especially from the father whose behavior so blighted her own life. Yet Star vehemently resists reading her manuscript. Why? What is Mercy hiding? Was her father’s death, as many believe, an assisted suicide? Or something even more sinister? In this book, nothing is what it seems on the surface and everywhere there are emotional twists and surprises. (“Breathtaking, and I mean literally — actual gasps will happen” said one reader review). Set in Ireland and California, Blue Mercy is a compelling novel that combines lyrical description with a page-turning style to create an enthralling tale of love, loss and the ever-present possibility of redemption. Thoughts on the cover Right away my eye was drawn to this cover. Before even reading the description my mind automatically though “oh, there is going to be darkness and mystery within these pages!” and,…

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Blogging Advice from Stephanie

Have a catchy name for your blog -mine is Layered Pages Blog 3 times a week or more. Variety is key. Have guests appear on your blog often. Hold book giveaways. Be sure to provide images with your posts. Be sure to add tags and categories to each posts. Those help draw more attention to your blog through search engines. Have a bio about yourself people can read and picture of yourself helps too. Share your posts often on different platforms. Such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and so on. Enjoy the experience!

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Is it worth the effort to actually get your book on these shelves?

  Doesn’t it seem like a dream come true to get your book into a book store such as Barnes and Noble?  Ah, to see your book flying off the shelves in a “real” book store….. a store with thousands of books; hundreds in your genre; many traditionally published by the big guys; all languishing, sad and unnoticed. How do you feel about this?  Is it worth the effort to actually get you book on these shelves?  I wonder.  It is a fact that the big publishers are making a great deal of money- reportedly more than ever and even less to the authors than previously.  The world hasn’t turned exclusively to the online retailers yet.  There are still those readers who want to hold a book –even if the price between a print books and ebook can be extreme.  The usual cry is “what is better selling 2 books at $30 each or 20 at $3.  I would say the 20 books because the more readers you have the better chance you have of establishing the much desired word-of-mouth needed to make your book a best seller (not necessarily a big money maker).  I believe the success of a…

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Cover Crush: A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage

“Cover Crush” is an idea conceived by Erin at Flashlight Commentary and made into a fun series at indieBRAG featuring B.R.A.G. Medallion-winning books and their fabulous cover images. Of course, some of my fellow interviewers and I wanted in on the action, so you’ll see the series appear here periodically as well as over at indieBRAG and interviewers’ blogs, too, such as at A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages and 2 Kids and Tired Books. Now I’m no professional artist, but as Erin says of herself, I am a consumer and like many people (whether they admit it or not!), my initial attraction to a book often begins with the cover image. I know what I like and if I see something that somehow links to an interest—a jacket design with lotus or peonies, for example, triggering an idea that the volume might have a Persian theme—I’m more likely to further investigate. Naturally not everyone will reach for the same titles, nor will we all agree upon what the images convey. Sometimes we don't even come to our choices in the same manner. Even a recommended work or one whose blurb initially caught my attention doesn’t escape scrutiny of its cover, for I occasionally gaze at it, seeing in its features the…

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Minimise your Weaknesses, Maximise your Strength

By Elisabeth Marrion  Finished your book? Ready to publish? Or published already?  Now what? You searched the internet for ways to promote your book without having to spend a lot of money. Maybe you are already subscribing to a writer’s magazine, which is full of really useful information for new and published writers. You check other authors websites, because you are about to create one yourself or have one up and running. You are joining, or are about to join, Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, Google+ and even are starting a blog. You might consider becoming a member of a writer’s society. You name it, you do it. You devour all the information you can find on how to get your name out there. You might even have a publisher who provides you with an information sheet, what you should do. You contact your local papers, your local shops, libraries. They all have been waiting, just for you, Right? And you appeal to your family and friends for their support.  By now you have joined Goodreads, of course, because you were being told to do so. Although, maybe like me, you are totally mystified, but you offer giveaways, hoping the recipient will…

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Cover Crush: Black Beans & Venom by Vinnie Hansen

Geri and I have been talking about featuring B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees book covers that really stand out and a fellow book blogger of mine started a post series called, Cover Crush and I decided this would be great to carry over to indieBRAG. A few of the indieBRAG Interview Team Members will be joining in this fun series, so be on the lookout for those as well! I have said this before and I will say again. I am not a cover designer but I do have an artist’s eye and can agree that cover design plays an important role in the overall presentation of the book and gladly admit I judge a book by its cover. Overall presentation is important to pull a reader in. When I read a story I want to be completely immersed. A grand cover helps that along. Imagery and all-if you will. Synopsis No one wants P.I. Carol Sabala to take the case. Her boss is apprehensive about an illegal investigation in Cuba. Carol’s boyfriend worries about her physical safety. But the client is rolling in dough, the office has unpaid bills, and Carol chafes under the mundane tasks assigned to her. In Old Havana, Carol sets…

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Book Bloggers Support to Authors

Previously published on Layeredpages Book Blogging isn’t always easy and takes a lot of time and effort. I am a firm believer it takes both the author and the blogger to work together for support of each other’s medium on social media. Bloggers and Authors lead such busy lives and it’s not always easy to be in contact with each other. We are always pulled in so many different directions. In many ways, I like to think that bloggers and authors have like minds in creativity and structure. We are in constant need of nurturing that creativity. But before I get carried away on that thought, let’s get back to bloggers supporting authors. Check list for supporting authors: This is the most important so I’m adding this first. DO NOT troll an author. Do NOT. I’ve seen bloggers use their platform to bash and harasses authors-for whatever reason-and I have zero respect for that. If you have a disagreement, do not further engage. And that means, do not smear the authors name on a public platform. Now, I don’t need to go into the reasons why you should not harass authors. You should be smart enough to figure out why.…

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The Laura Ingalls Wilder Cookbook

Little House on the Prairie Series plus a discussion on children's books with recipes with educator Jennifer Avery By Susan Weintrob       “This was the first true story I read as a child. Laura was an ordinary girl and I identified with her. She met a mean girl at school, had a crush on a boy and ate meals with her family. She was a girl like me. I read every single book in the series.” Educator Jennifer Avery went on to tell me that this was the first view of life outside her 1970’s Brooklyn childhood. Jen and I worked together at Hannah Sennesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. We developed and she implemented a literary afterschool program for 1st and 2nd graders.  She selected books with recipes to read together and then cook, making the characters more real for the children. “Food in books brings another level of engagement and a new way of thinking. Children connect with food and how it relates to their own family. ‘My mom and I make my lunch for school each day.’ This is very unifying for children readers and helps them relate to the story and characters.” In the Little House series, children are introduced to the frontier of the 1880’s. While Laura…

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How Stories and Characters Choose Me!

                  I often get asked how I choose my stories and characters. The truth is, I don’t—they choose me. One night several years ago, I awoke from a vivid dream of a robed priestess walking amid the ruins of a mountain castle. As this spectral woman came toward me, I heard the word “crusade” being chanted. Around her feet sprouted dozens of crosses that shifted between possessing two and three horizontal beams. They seemed to mark the location of forgotten graves. Bathed in a lucent radiance, the woman beckoned me with outstretched arms and pleaded, “Peace, child, let the Light.” Then, the dream ended. The next morning, I hurried to the library to research these strange crosses. Months later, I was climbing the heights of Montsegur, the Cathar Masada in the Ariege region of southwestern France. That desolate mount and its haunting castle ruins looked strikingly similar to the jagged landscape in my dream. All across Cathar country I found the double cross on graffiti. Known as the Cross of Lorraine, it had been adopted as the rallying symbol for the French Resistance during World War II. I also learned that the…

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