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."

How to Be a Better Writer #4: Revise!

                                            Good on you! You've published your novel and it's on digital bookshelves everywhere. Then you get a note from your outspoken cousin Tom. He loves the book...but he found a typo in chapter two. Ugh! Back when all books were ink on paper, you would've been out of luck. Thank goodness it's the Digital Age. Fixing errors is no big deal -- at least in your e-edition. Notice how I said "errors" there? It's entirely possible that Cousin Tom's discovery is the only typo you and your editor didn't catch, but just in case there are others, save your future self some work and proof your published book once more, noting necessary updates as you go. That way, you'll need just one revision. The process takes a little time, and you want your readers (current and future ones alike) to have that flawless copy ASAP. Both Kindle Direct Publishing [link:] and NOOK Press [link:] give you the option to make corrections to a published manuscript. Not surprisingly, their services are a little bit different. Here's how each one works. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)Updating your Kindle ebook is pretty darn simple. You fix…

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Beta Readers- What are they!

A beta reader is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking. Wikipedia ALL writers need outside critique of their work. It is a fact that a writer can seldom edit and proofread his own work. A writer often falls in love with his or her words and plots and is unable to let them go. Beta readers differ from Critique groups in that they usually read on their own and evaluate a book according to their individual experience. Unlike using an editor, those who choose to use Beta readers, usually find them due to their interest in a specific genre and they usually use more than one. One of…

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Author Interview with Susan Waterwyk Stephanie: Hello, Susan! Thank you for chatting with me today and congratulations on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Please tell me about your story, "Lantamyra: A Tapestry of Fantasy." Susan: Lantamyra is a sanctuary world terraformed by Keepers of Akosh (alien caretakers) to give refuge to endangered sentient beings from two nearby worlds, dragons from Lanluong and humans from Eadlan or Earth as we call her. The dragons are giants, carnivorous, and because they learned the secrets of Akoshic crystal power, they are more intelligent than the human population. However, a few select humans are allowed to learn the secrets of crystal powers and link their minds with the myra crystal. They become keepers or wards of the dragons and serve the three great Houses that rule Lantamyra. Tylya Lansing is the main character (pronounced Ty-lee-ah) a nineteen-year-old that lives in a small town in California. Her grandmother Lenora is a keeper of dragons that was stranded on Earth. After learning her grandmother's secret, Tylya becomes obsessed with finding the crystal scepter lost in a rugged Sierra Nevada canyon. She enlists her boyfriend, Josh Hamilton. and together they find it. Now Lenora can return to Lantamyra, and…

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How To Use Real People in Your Writing (Or as Truman Capote said “

Scarlett Johansson won a defamation suit against a French writer for creating a promiscuous character who happened to look like the movie star. A Georgia jury awarded $100,000 to a woman who claimed a character in The Red Hat Club falsely portrayed her as an "alcoholic S***." Writers face three big risks when using real people in their writing: defamation, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation of the right of publicity. Yet every fiction writer bases characters on real people. Memoirists and nonfiction writers identify people by name. How can writers use real people in their work without risking a lawsuit? It's not that hard. Common sense and a cool head are key. First, let's start with a quick summary of United States law. (The laws of other countries are more favorable to the targets. In today's Internet environment, you could get sued in France for a blog written in California.) DefamationTo prove defamation, whether libel for written statements or slander for spoken ones, a plaintiff (target) must prove all of the following: False Statement of Fact.   If a statement is true, then it is not defamatory no matter how offensive or embarrassing. Opinions are also protected because they are…

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Author Interview Part II with J.D.R.Hawkins Stephanie: I would like to welcome back J.D.R. Hawkins for a follow up interview about her B.R.A.G. Medallion book, "A Beautiful Glittering Lie.". She is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women's Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Writers and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Her two previous novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have received numerous honors and awards. Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as a Young Adult historical fiction and a memoir. Learn more about J.D.R. here Hello, J.D.R.! Thank you for visiting with me again to talk about your B.R.A.G. Medallion book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Please bring readers up to speed about the premise of your story. J.D.R.: The novel is the first in a four-book series, which I call "The Renegade Series." It's a saga about the Summers family…

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Author Interview with Nancy Klann-Moren   Stephanie: Hello, Nancy! It is a pleasure to be able to talk with you today about your book, The Clock of Life. What a beautiful and profound title for your story. And I would like to say congratulations on the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your story. Please tell your audience a little about the premise of your book. Nancy: Stephanie, thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to talk with you. The Clock Of Life is a period piece set in the late 70′s and 80′s. It's a coming-of-age story about Jason Lee Rainey, a boy whose father was killed in Vietnam. The boy has been told very little about the man, but finds ways to seek out more information. He longs to become the kind of man his father was, but alas, doesn't believe he has the backbone to do so. Stephanie: Mississippi is an old southern state with deeply rooted attitudes and a way of life for many. Why did you chose the 1980's for your period? Nancy: In the past fifty years, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement were our greatest catalysts for social protest. This book explores how…

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Author Interview with Sandra Ramos O'Briant Stephanie: I would like to introduce B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Sandra Ramos O'Briant. She is the author of The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood, winner of Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book at the ILBA, 2013. Over 20 of her short stories and creative nonfiction have been published. Go to for links to some of her work. In addition, her work has been anthologized in Best Lesbian Love Stories of 2004, What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (University of Texas Press, Spring 2007), Latinos in Lotus Land: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature, (Bilingual Press, 2008), and Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Publico, 2009). Please tell me about your story, The Sandoval Sister's Secret of Old Blood. Sandra: When Alma flees with her young lover to Texas to escape an arranged marriage with a much older man, she sets in motion a drama that will put the sisters and their legacy at risk. Pilar, a 14-year-old tomboy, is offered as a replacement bride, and what follows is a sensuous courtship and marriage clouded by the curses of her husband's former lover, Consuelo. She will stop…

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Author Interview with Jane Steen Jane Steen was born in England and, despite having spent more years out of the British Isles than in, still has a British Accent according to just about every American she meets. Her long and undistinguished career has included a three-year stint as the English version of a Belgian aerospace magazine, an interesting interlude as an editor in a very large law firm, and several hectic years in real estate marketing at the height of the property boom. This tendency to switch directions every few years did nothing for her resume but gave her ample opportunity to sharpen her writing skills and develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Around the edges of her professional occupation and raising children, she struck her nose in a book at every available opportunity and at one time seemed on course to become the proverbial eternal student. Common sense prevailed, though, and eventually she has the bright idea of putting her passion for books together with her love of business and writing to become a self-published author. She has lived in three countries and is currently to be found in the Chicago suburbs with her long-suffering husband and two adult daughters. Stephanie:…

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  Author Interview with Jennifer Petkus With the invention of the AfterNet, death isn't quite the end to a literary career it once was, and Jane Austen, the grande dame of English literature, is poised for a comeback with the publication of Sanditon, the book she was writing upon her death in 1817. But how does a disembodied author sign autographs and appear on talk shows? With the aid of Mary Crawford, a struggling acting student who plays the role of the Regency author who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Emma and Sense and Sensibility. But Austen discovers her second chance at a literary career also gives her a second chance at happiness and possibly even ... love. Stephanie: Hello Jennifer! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on receiving the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your book, "Jane, Actually." What an interesting premise for your story? First off please tell me what the "AfterNet" is exactly. Jennifer: Thanks very much, Stephanie, for the opportunity to be interviewed at Layered Pages. It's very much appreciated, as was the BRAG medallion. As an indie author, I rely on the kindness of many people on the Internet I've never met. The AfterNet…

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Author interview with Richard Due Richard Due is mystified by the suggestion that he bears more than passing resemblance to Ebb Autumn. Additionally, he wishes to put to rest the rumors about his necklace he has been wearing of late, the one with the coin that spins in the brooch. It is not THE moon coin. It is a Moonbeam Children's Book Award. Just google it if you don't believe him! The author would also like to take this time to dispel the absurd notion that the three long-furred cats who live with him and his family are pocket Rinn, or that they can speak as well as you or I. Lastly, he would like me to assure you that these silly rumors an stories are nothing more than tales. (The taller the Better.) Stephanie: Now to our delightful interview. Hello Richard! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on winning the B.R.A.G. Medallion. First off, tell me how you discovered indieBRAG and how you feel about the self-publishing industry. Richard: I discovered indieBRAG while attending the 2012 Self-publishing Book Expo in Manhattan. And as to the self-publishing industry, I have mixed feeling. On the one hand, I'm…

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