indieBRAG Blog

A Fatal Verdict – Tim Vicary

Author Interview: Tim Vicary I would like to introduce Tim Vicary, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Please tell us about your book, A Fatal Verdict. A Fatal Verdict is the second in a series of three legal thrillers featuring a British barrister (trial lawyer) Sarah Newby. She’s a tough lady who left school when she became pregnant at fifteen and had a hard fight to get to where she is today. In all three of these books Sarah is confronted with trials in which she cannot be certain whether the clients she represents are guilty or innocent. The reader doesn’t know either, until the last minute. This means that although Sarah fights each case as hard as she can, there are difficult moral and emotional choices to be made, by her and the police and everyone else involved.

 In the first book, A Game of Proof, Sarah’s own son, Simon, is accused of a series of dreadful rapes and murders. This is bad enough for any mother, but Sarah is not just Simon’s mother, she is also a lawyer, an officer of the court. So when she uncovers evidence which seems to prove…

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A Cold Snow in Castaway County – John Hickman

Author Interview: John Hickman I would like to introduce John Hickman, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com John, please tell us about your book, A Cold Snow in Castaway County. A former police officer and investigator from the Boston PD, Dell Hinton leaves the city after a controversial shooting. He moves to a small community in Maine where an old school friend lives. After building his home along the shore of a lake, Dell is convinced to run for the job of Sheriff in Castaway County. After winning the election, he meets with the prior Sheriff and learns of a cold case that has been haunting that man for ten years. The story line then centers on how Dell must learn the new duties of being a Sheriff and work to solve the cold case. Considering your experience in law enforcement, I’m sure it helped you a great deal in writing your story. Did you have to do any additional research for your book other than what you already know? Well, I was able to incorporate some stories from my career, as well as some of my training throughout the years. But I did…

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Ebook or Print? Join the conversation!

 Amazon UK's report that ebook sales have outstripped the sales of all print formats combined. According to unaudited figures released by [Amazon UK] on Monday, since the start of 2012, for every 100 hardback and paperback book sold on its site, customers downloaded 114 ebooks.                                                                                                                                        Posted by Victoria Strauss for Write Beware                                                                         Read full article @ http://accrispin.blogspot.com/ Self-publishing is exploding and the number of successful self-published authors is also growing. It is now an accepted and viable alternative to traditional publishing so the debate over whether self-publishing is a wise choice is diminishing. Now the discussion seems to be turning to how best to publish: in print or as an eBook. There are many advantages to eBook publishing; it is cheaper, faster, and, I suppose, the lower purchase price often contributes to higher sales volume. However, it is difficult for many indie authors to give up seeing their precious work sitting on the shelf or desk. The feel, look, and even the smell of a new book all create a feeling that a digital file on an eBook reader never will. Moreover, it is hard to impress your friends with your novel stored in an eBook reader like you can with a book placed casually on the coffee table. "Oh that? It's my latest book". Our B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honorees have done it all ways: print only, eBook only, and both print and eBook. But which is best? We would love to have your thoughts on this. As readers, which do you prefer? As writers, how did you decide to publish as you did? Join the conversation -

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The History of Vampires in New Orleans

    Vampires and vampire-like creatures have been found in the folklore of every civilization, every culture and every religion since the beginning of recorded time. New Orleans is no exception. The city was settled in the early 1700's and it was during this time in Europe that massive vampire hunts were occurring. The vampire tradition began in the early 1200's in Eastern Europe and spread into Western civilization over hundreds of years. Vampire hunters, usually church representatives, were digging up the dearly departed, driving wooden stakes through the corpses, then beheading and burning the body. The causes of vampirism varied and one could be predisposed at birth for vampirism. Having been born at certain times of the year (New moon, Holy days), born with a red caul, with teeth, or with an extra nipple were sure signs of a vampire. If the child was born with excess hair, white hair, red hair, a red birthmark or with two hearts, the theory persisted. The 7th son of a 7th son was believed to be doomed to vampirism. If the child was weaned too early, suckled after weaning or died prior to Baptism, vampirism was suspected upon death. If the pregnant woman received a curse or was stared at or attacked by a vampire, the child would be cursed to vampirism. This type of predisposition was considered a genetic defect, like a mutation and vampirism was inevitable. Vampirism happened after birth as well. Being fed upon seven or more times by a vampire without dying would guarantee one to become a vampire. Numerous things could happen before or after one's death that could lead to vampirism; committing suicide, practicing sorcery or witchcraft, eating sheep killed by a wolf, leading an immoral life (prostitutes, murderers, alcoholics, rapists), dying without last rites, having a cat jump over the corpse/coffin, having a shadow fall on the corpse, no burial or improper burial rites, death by violence, or death by drowning. There are ways to prevent vampirism should any of the above occur and a number of different things might be done in order to take steps to prevent that body from ever returning from the grave. Weighting the eyes down with coins, tying the mouth closed or stuffing the mouth with garlic were common practices as was placing coins or dirt on the eyes. Our ancestors would cover mirrors in the house and stop the clocks in the home of the deceased. In Louisiana, many families still practice a custom called "sitting up with the dead". When a family member died, a relative or close family friend would stay with the body until it is placed into one of our above ground tombs or is buried. The body was never left unattended. There are many reasons given for this practice today; most commonly respect for the dead but, this tradition actually dates back to vampire folklore in Eastern Europe. While sitting up with the deceased, the friend or family member was watching for signs of paranormal activity i.e. if a cat was ever seen to jump over, walk across, or stand on top of the coffin; if a dog was seen to bark or growl at the coffin; or if a horse shied from it, these were signs of impending vampirism. At that point, steps would be taken to prevent the corpse from returning from the dead. Ways to stop a vampire included burying the corpse face down and burying it at a crossroads. Often family members would place a sickle around the neck, tie body parts together or mutilate the body, usually by decapitation and placing the head at the bottom of feet. The most common remedy for impending vampirism was to drive a stake into the corpse, decapitate it then burn the body to ashes. This method was the only way to truly destroy the undead. By the 1700's, these practices were going on all throughout Western Europe, particularly in France and Germany where many were migrating to New Orleans. Believers insisted that vampires could have been smuggled over in ships with the settlers. The early French settlers brought over brides from Europe who transferred their belongings in large wooden casket-like boxes. According to folklore, even though vampires prefer the night, they are not destroyed by daylight. It was common for the vampire to walk about during the day but they generally hunted and fed at night. They would not have needed to be smuggled in coffins in the hulls of ships. This idea is that of fictional writers such as Bram Stoker. More than likely, vampires would have entered the ships like anyone else and blended in well with society. If being a murderer, rapist, or other criminal element would predispose one to vampirism, it is easy to see how they would have become so prevalent in New Orleans. The city started as a penal colony. All of the original settlers would have been predisposed to it! Once they blended in with the mortals, they could easily feed on the population without raising much suspicion. With people dying in great masses from diseases such as yellow fever, who's going to notice another corpse here or there? Nonetheless, our folklore has remained true to the casket girl theory. These women were housed and educated in the Ursuline Convent, located on Chartres and Ursulines Streets in the French Quarter. They were eventually married off to the settlers in the city. It is believed by many that the original caskets of these brides are stored in the attic of the convent and that the vampires still reside in them. The convent is no longer a working convent but now is a repository for the archives of the archdiocese. Legend states that late at night one of the attic shutters will open and the vampires escape. They attack unsuspecting victims, return and close the shutters before dawn. But is it more than a legend? By Kalila K. Smith New Orleans Paranormal & Occult Research Society, Read the full article at: http://www.neworleansghosts.com/vampires.htm   Fiction: Amaranth by Rachael Wade  

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Riptide – Michael Prescott

Author Interview: Michael Prescott I would like to introduce Michael Prescott, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Michael, please tell us about your book, Riptide. 

I came up with the idea for Riptide pretty much by accident, when I was writing an e-mail to another author. I was spitballing far-fetched story ideas, and one of them concerned a woman who finds the diary of Jack the Ripper hidden in her cellar and realizes there may be a family connection. After typing a few words about that, I sat back and thought, “Actually, that's not bad.” I strengthened it by adding the idea that the woman's emotionally troubled brother may be re-creating the Ripper's crimes in the present day. I set the story in Venice, California, which of course posed the challenge of trying to explain how a killer from London's East End could wind up on the West Coast of America. The story was a little different from some of the others I've done–a little more high concept. I thought it worked out well, but when I tried to sell it to traditional publishers, I hit a wall. Although I had published twenty previous…

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Opening Day – Joe Perrone

Author Interview: Joe Perrone I would like to introduce author Joe Perrone, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Thank you Joe for the pleasure of this interview. Could you please tell us about you book, Opening Day. Opening Day is the second in the Matt Davis Mystery Series, and is set in Roscoe, NY, a small fishing village where I used to be a fly fishing guide. Matt Davis is a former NYPD homicide detective who has taken early retirement following a near-death experience on the job, and has taken a relatively laid-back position as Chief of Police of a three-man department. While out fishing on the opening day of trout season, he stumbles across the badly deteriorated body of what turns out to be a young woman. The body is unclothed; there is no physical evidence or apparent motive; and the victim's identity is unknown. As the story unfolds, readers are introduced to three different young women at a time prior to the murder, any one of whom might be the victim. Their stories are interwoven with the ongoing events and investigation, until eventually two are eliminated, leaving the remaining woman as the…

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Peanut Butter For Cupcakes – Donna Aviles

Author Interview: Donna Aviles I would like to introduce Author Donna Aviles, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Donna please tell us about your book, Peanut Butter For Cupcakes. Hi Stephanie! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my book with your readers. Peanut Butter For Cupcakes is the true story of my Grandfather, Oliver Nordmark, and his struggle to raise his six children during The Great Depression after the sudden and tragic death of his wife Estella. May, Bud, Oliver Jr, Margaret, Jim and Benny are all under the age of 10 as the story begins. With their mother gone, they will learn their life lessons from their Dad, who never had a real parent of his own - having been orphaned at age six. 

It is a social history of this very difficult period in America and puts a real face, specifically on the children, of that era. It is also a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit and proof that "boys will be boys" regardless of money, possessions or position - or the lack thereof. Although rightfully sad at times, there are also many lighthearted moments and…

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Her Last Letter – Nancy Johnson

Author Interview: Nancy Johnson I would like to introduce Author Nancy Johnson, the winner of the B.R.A.G MedallionRead the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Nancy I read your story, Her Last Letter and enjoyed it very much. Could you please tell us a little about your book? Her Last Letter is my first published novel, though not my first novel. I wrote two novels previous to publishing this one. It is a romantic-suspense mystery, and the setting is Glenwood Springs, Colorado, near Aspen. In the story, Gwyn, an artist and photographer, finds a letter written by her youngest sister Kelly, murdered two years before. Kelly writes that she was having an affair with her sister's boyfriend, and is scared for her life. Gwyn and her remaining sister Linda have since married their boyfriends. Gwyn hires a private detective to find out the truth, stirring up old secrets and new danger.... After trying for many years to get traditionally published, I decided to form my own publishing company, and published Her Last Letter. I wanted the years I'd spent writing and hoping to come to something, to at last see my words in print, and to hold my book in my hands. My…

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Dolphins Might Be Math Geniuses

In an article posted on NBCNews.com, Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News reports on a fascinating new study concerning dolphins published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A. The study suggests that dolphins use nonlinear mathematics to process echolocation bursts when hunting prey. The study was conducted by Tim Leighton, a professor of ultrasonics and underwater acoustics at the University of Southampton, where he is also an associate dean, along with colleagues Paul White and Gim Hwa Chua. The scientists determined that dolphins emit echolocation bursts of varying amplitudes and that to effectively interpret these, along with the echoes from one another, requires complex mental processing involving nonlinear mathematics. While some questions still remain, if replicated the dolphins' sonar model has significant implications for humans, particularly as it relates to the detection of covert bugging devices hidden in walls, or mines at sea. Fiction: This article is another telling example of life imitating art as the dolphins' complex cognitive abilities suggested by the work of Professor Leighton and his colleagues, mirror those described in The Tempest's Roar by R.A.R. Clouston.

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Montfort – Katherine Ashe

Author Interview: Katherine Ashe I would like to introduce Author Katherine Ashe the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion for her novel, Montfort.Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Katherine, please tell us about your novel, Montfort the Founder of Parliament the Early Years. Montfort The Early Years is the first of four novels, all now in print, on the life of Simon de Montfort. The book begins with his arrival in England from France as a near penniless youth in the winter of 1229, and it follows his rise as he becomes the closest friend of King Henry III, the son of the notorious King John. 

Few people have experienced the "spin of fate's wheel" as dramatically as Simon, and this first book follows him from hapless petitioner to favored courtier, to exile, to candidate for Viceroy, to hapless petitioner again, to military hero and ultimately back to high favor with King Henry III. All this in fourteen years.

 This is not a fictional character. Simon was very real and these things, beyond question, really happened to him. Why his fate during this period was so tumultuous has been a matter of speculation from his lifetime onward. I offer a theory,…

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