indieBRAG Blog

Susan Weintrob
Susan Weintrob, our Foodie Lit writer, is a food blogger and reviewer on her website, Susan grew up around food and its prep. Her father owned a deli and catering business, which taught her the key components of the industry. "Writing food blogs is an amazing opportunity. Cooking and talking about food is simply fun and takes me back to memories of my Dad."

St. Patrick’s Day Is Nearly Upon Us- Let’s Eat!

    Try a new twist on the fabulous Irish Cabbage Soup, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Susan’s grandmother made the best sweet and sour stuffed cabbage. So when her mom wanted sweet and sour cabbage soup, Susan deconstructed her Nana’s recipe and a warm and comforting cabbage soup was born! Nana’s Deconstructed Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup Serves 8-10 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 1 pound chopped beef 2 stalks celery, diced 15 ounces diced tomatoes fresh or canned 1/2 cup carrots, diced 1 medium green or savoy cabbage, cored and shredded 8 cups stock 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced 2 small tart apples, diced ½ cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon dill weed Salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion until translucent, stirring as needed. Add beef and sauté until browned, stirring frequently. Add celery, tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. Sauté 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered until cabbage and vegetables are soft. Add mushrooms, apples and raisins. Simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are soft. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and dill weed.…

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My Initial Foray into the World of Self-publishing by Joe Perrone Jr.

                   Joe PerroneJr.         The first of my books to be published was Escaping Innocence (A Story of Awakening), which was begun as a memoir, way back in 1987, while I was working three jobs.  It did not take me long to realize that because mine was not a household name, it was unlikely that anyone would be interested in reading my memoirs.  So I did the only thing I could do, which was to morph my true story into a novel.  Using a ballpoint pen, I completed the initial manuscript over the course of the next three and a half years, filling six, spiral-bound notebooks in the process.  I truly believed that I was writing the definitive coming-of-age novel.  I wasn’t. Over the next twenty years, however, I edited, re-wrote, re-edited, and re-wrote Escaping Innocence at least three times, before I finally self-published it on October 5, 2008 through, a print-on-demand publisher (P.O.D.) that had been recommended to me by a relative.  By the time I published the book, I was so sick of examining and re-examining my early life that I was just happy to have…

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When Do We Become “They”? by Plum McCauley

      We’ve all seen the articles recounting examples of the staggering ignorance of our student population—college students who aren’t sure who won the Civil War, what the Holocaust was, or even when World War Two took place. I remember years ago reading about a teacher who bemoaned the fact that his students didn’t know which came first, the Renaissance or the Reformation. I wasn’t sympathetic. My only reaction was to think that if any of my college freshman composition students even knew what those historical events were I’d fall into a dead faint... There’s probably not one of us in education who doesn’t wail like a Greek Chorus over The Current State of Education in America.  We wring our hands, frustrated by our seeming inability to DO anything.  This issue reared its head again for me recently when I was looking over the new IndieBRAG website.  I had excitedly awaited the changes in genre divisions, hoping that we’d at last have a proper middle grade section into which I could insert my own mystery/adventure novel for the 9-12 year-old set.  As any of you know who have a BRAG medallion for a children’s book, the wide range of…

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Setting your story by Alison Morton

  If you set your story near home, then you know the plains, the streets, shops, the roads, the types of people, vehicles, and the “busyness”, dangers and fun of daily life. f you venture overseas with your characters, you could perhaps visit the places the characters would live in, smell the sea, touch the plants, walk under the hot blue sky, or freeze in a biting wind. If you reach into the past to set a historical story you need not only to research the period in meticulous detail, but also get inside the heads of the characters, imagine what they see in their everyday world, what they smell, eat and touch. And it will be quite different, fifty years ago, let alone five hundred. Going further – inventing a country, planet or other reality as in my Roma Nova alternate history thrillers – you will need to gear up your imagination to its highest level. We’re creative beings; we’ve imagined space adventures, high crime, medieval romances, sea voyages, in short, alternative realities, since we were children. We’ve built worlds of richness, deprivation, strange laws and customs, silks, satins and broadcloth, rural, industrial and futuristic. And with that imagination,…

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There is a story around every corner

  By Elisabeth Marrion My head is spinning, I spot a story on every corner I turn. What shall I do? The first three instalments of my Unbroken Bonds series were an easy choice once I had started the first book. I knew their stories needed to be told. To be honest, I did not plan on writing a trilogy in four parts. You heard right. Four. Well, other writers have done it, so why not?  BUT the big question is will book four have the same impact as the first three since the narrative is set in a different time? It was not my idea. To be honest, it was my husband, David’s, who, sadly, is no longer with me. Upon finishing book three, Cuckoo Clock-New York, David casually asked, “what is happening to Thomas?” What is happening to Thomas, indeed? I started book four at that point, and we discussed the chapters I was writing. Unfortunately, the project was put on hold as David’s health deteriorated, and I have not picked it up again. Instead, I kept busy translating Liverpool Connection into German. Previously, I had written several short stories. One almost became a novella, and I am…

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Inspiring My Children To Read by N.D. Richman

    My first book was inspired by a desire to pass on the love of reading to my children. My son, Michael, and I went on a walk one day, and because he had little interest in reading I asked him what kind of plot he’d enjoy and what type of characters would excite him.  The concept and characters behind Brother, Bullies and Bad Guys were created by a ten year old child, and from there the novel became a family project between myself and my four children – Christopher, Michael, Thomas and Katherine.  They helped me with the plot, the situations, and ideas such as the astrological reference to Gemini.  And, they lent me their names and wee bits of their personalities to complete the characters. Many of the situations within the story came from my childhood (except for the really bad ones), and I’ll leave the reader to guess which ones but I will say that yes, even the bear stemmed from a real incident in my childhood. Brothers, Bullies and Bad Guys would be a dust covered manuscript in my basement if it wasn’t for an editor friend who convinced me it had to be published. …

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Meet my writer’s genie, the most distracting Ms Inspiration by Anna Belfrage

                Anna Belfrage   Sometimes, people ask me where all the ideas for my writing come from. That’s easy. I am afflicted – or blessed – by a vivid imagination and a most demanding muse, my very own Ms Inspiration. Lately, Ms Inspiration has not been much help. Not so that she doesn't spout ideas – she most certainly does, especially around three o'clock in the morning – but her attention span is the size of a newt’s, which means none of the ideas go much beyond an image or two. It's very annoying to have her leapfrog from a (great) idea for a story set in the 14th century to a vague daydream about becoming a hammer thrower and winning the Olympic gold. (This is the aftermath of having watched too much sports lately. Ms Inspiration has sadly concluded that I can neither ice skate, run nor do handstands, so throwing something is the single option that remains.) Mostly though, Ms Inspiration is presently suffering from indecisiveness. What she touts as a plausible idea on Monday is a dead duck on Tuesday, and the fabulous love scene she painted for me on…

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“Lessons Learned from Radio”

                      I recently heard my first play produced on the radio, an experience as nerve racking as the publication of my first book some twelve years ago.  The project taught me so many lessons which I will apply to my novel writing that I thought I could usefully share them here. Before I submitted my proposal, I was lucky that a retired professional theatre producer visited my bookshop and complained that he was asked to read so many well written plays that remained uncrafted.  He emphasised the distinction between a play-writer and a playwright, implying a craftsmanship comparable with cartwrights and wheelwrights. I began to think of a sculptor who starts with a fully shaped form and posture, be it angry or meek, overpowering or tear-jerking, and then works on every inch of the detail.  My visitor, who left without knowing that I had ever put pen to paper, reminded me that the audience has no second chances.  Readers may choose when,  where and  even the mood in which to open a book;  they may reread a section, take time to consider it, put it aside for later or even…

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Lorainne Devon Wilke   “A performance marred by embarrassingly banal in-between song patter.” A sentence never to be forgotten. Not decades after it was written, not with hundreds of other (more complimentary) sentences since; not even with a lifetime of new experiences to create a buffer. Because that sentence was part of a milestone: my first bad review, penned by a critic for a premiere music magazine at my very first Los Angeles gig. Harsh. I never forgot it. And I’ve attempted to be neither embarrassing nor banal in anything I’ve said since! Let’s face it: bad reviews suck. We can get hundreds of good ones, countless accolades and acknowledgments, but regardless of the applause that accompanies our endeavors, we tend to hold onto the words that pierce our creative skin, hurt our fragile sensibilities; shake our sense of who we are as artists.  But, frankly, even with their potential for destruction, we need them. We want them. We seek them out; promote, push, and pander for them. In fact, the accrual of feedback-by-review has now become a demand. We’re told one must get reviews for any chance at marketing success. Independent artists are instructed to go after them with…

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Behind the Scenes: An Interview with the Other Half

          KRISTEN TABER Authors tend to be a solitary bunch. What can I say? We like to talk to people in our heads. But those of us on the self-publishing journey also recognize that we work in tandem with so many people outside the worlds we create. We source editors and artists, work closely with beta readers and bloggers, and rely on friends and family to help with the publishing process or get through the initial writing stages. When I finish my books, I make sure to acknowledge those who helped my manuscripts become novels, but the biggest thank you belongs to my husband, Joe. He does a lot that goes without proper recognition and since interviews generally focus on authors, I thought it would be fun to change that and get his bookish take on the world. What types of books do you like to read? What book are you currently reading? I typically read non-fiction books, on business, self-improvement, or technology topics. Currently, I am reading The Challenger Customer by Brent Adamson, a fascinating book about positioning a sale within a complex organization. Do you prefer eBooks or physical books and why? I love eBooks!…

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