award winning author

A Ghost Story & Pumpkin Soup for Halloween!

  Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger By Patti Davis    The Blue Hour by Patti Davis The Blue Hour is dusk, that time between day and night that slips in silently, a few moments each day. It was Joshua Baron’s favorite time of day, a peaceful time when the world’s edges begin to blur. For an alone boy like Joshua, it was a time he was content, at one with nature and free from people, who could be bothersome. The Blue Hour is one of those wonderful books that is part fairy tale, part allegory, part time-slip and… part mean adolescent bullying. It is for young adults and adults alike, in the way that The Little Prince, Alice in Wonderland or The Giver are.  It has a clear message yet the characters, the magic and the quest are expertly woven together from the first to the last word, so the book is not moralistic. It is haunting, a perfect Halloween read. The Barons move to small town Clearoak to escape LA and its lack of civility, charm and freedom to be safe. The run down house is rehabilitated; Josh’s room is painted blue…

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Imperial Passions and Olives, Nuts & Bread!

  Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes   Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger By Eileen Stephenson   Byzantium in 1039 is not a time and place known well to many in the modern western world. The author sweeps away many misconceptions in her historical novel, Imperial Passions.  One  fascinating view is of the role of women. While medieval women had few rights in most parts of the world, Eileen shared with me that “Byzantine women held positions of more consequence than elsewhere, and they had opportunities that women in the rest of Europe did not have until centuries later.”  Two women ruled Byzantium in the 12th century, “Empress Zoe and Empress Theodora, who the people of Constantinople were fond of, despite their flaws. I think it just got people used to the idea that women could be in positions of authority.”  Importantly, as Eileen noted, literacy became common in 11th and 12th century Byzantium, reaching down into the middle classes and included women, which helped them accomplish more. Eileen gives us tantalizing views of female doctors and empresses, minority groups, generals and deposed kings, all in this cosmopolitan city. It is the many glimpses of women…

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Join us for “Novel Conversations” with Helen Hollick

Novel Conversations starting Tuesday 4th September then  every  Friday in conjunction with                   Indie B.R.A. G                        4th September Anna Belfrage and her character Matthew Graham    7th September   Julia Brannan and her character  Sir Anthony Peters 14th September Sharon Dwyer and her character Katelin 21st September Barbara Anne Mojica  and her character George Washington 28th September Inge H. Borg and her character  Ebu al-Saqqara 5th October Clare Flynn and her character Hector Channing 12th October Annie Whitehead  and her character Æthelflæd, Lady of Mercia 19th October J L Oakley and her character  Jeannie Naughton 26th October Lorraine Devon  Wilke and her character  Dan MacDowell 2nd November  Stephanie Churchill and her character  Kassia 9th November    Wendy Percival and her character  Maddy Henderson 16th November  Susan Appleyard and her character  Ludwig, King of Bavaria 23rd November  Charlene Newcomb  and her character Sir Stephen l'Aigle 30th November  Florence Osmund  and her character Marie Marchetti 7th December  Helen Hollick  and her character Captain Jesamiah Acorne 14th December Alison Morton and her character  Conradus Mitelus ...Christmas Break... Novel Conversations will resume on the 4th January 

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“Branding” with best selling author Steena Holmes

  Steen Holmes is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has sold over 2 million copies of her books. She is a sought after speaker on the subject of indie publishing and branding.  We are very pleased to have Steena Holmes, B.R.A.G .Medallion Honoree author of Finding Emma, join us here to share her thoughts and expertise. First of all, let me congratulate you, Steena, on all your success--selling books is not easy! For all self-published authors out there, I am taking a big step beyond giving advice on writing.  By the time a book gets to us at indieBRAG, learning how to write and asking advice about publishing a book is in the past.  We assume that when an author submits their book to us they are confident it is well written, edited, formatted and has an appealing cover.  If not, it probably will not make it to our library. So Steena, let’s talk about what you are an expert on--marketing and selling books. How important is finding your audience and how do you do that? For me, knowing my audience, finding those readers – that’s more important than anything else after the book. If…

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Did you know that many of our indieBRAG readers are authors? Why should that matter?

  I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read.  Does that strike anyone else as very strange-- Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read?  How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading?  Mind boggling. Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book.  I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works.  It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing.  So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author. Stephen King has also said in his book on writing: “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into…

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How to Use a Free Short Story to Entice New Readers

Stephanie: I love the idea of authors offering a short story for free when people sign up for their mailing list. That is a great marketing strategy and as a reader myself, it really helps me to decide if the author’s work is something I want to invest my time and money in.  Deborah Swift -B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree does this and I have asked her here today to talk with us about that and she gives a list of benefits in doing so…Thank you, Deborah. Please share your experience. I write under two separate personas – Davina Blake who writes WW2 fiction, and Deborah Swift who is currently writing a big book set in the 17th century. My husband says Davina Blake is not as grouchy as Deborah Swift! Just before Christmas, longing for a breather from my long novel, I decided to swap personas and leave the Deborah Swift book (then 300 pages long) and write something shorter. Feeling a bit Christmassy, I had an idea for a short story with a winter theme, and hit upon the idea of making it a free gift to my Newsletter subscribers, and any other readers or bloggers I’d come into contact…

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Books and Me by Steven McKay

I’ve always loved books, for as long as I can remember. My mum was a teacher so I suppose she felt obliged to make sure I could read well so she’d take me to get books from the library all the time. I have vivid memories of borrowing one with a little clock that you could move the hands on. I must have been about three or four-years-old but it’s still in my mind and must have helped spark my love of books. When I was old enough I would go along to the library myself and get out things like the Hardy Boys, Asterix and anything I could find about ghosts or the supernatural. I enjoyed writing little things myself eventually – silly short stories that made no sense and infuriated my English teacher who clearly recognised I had some skill but only wanted to waste it by writing nonsense to entertain my adolescent friends. Sadly, adolescence passed and I grew up into a sensible man who wanted to write things a little more serious and my grandma would always say to me, “Hurry up and write a book. I want to see your book in the library.” She…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with S.M. Spencer

We’d like to welcome multi award winning author S M Spencer to indieBRAG today to talk with us about her writing. S.M. grew up reading the romantic suspense works of marvelous authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books, as well as others by such incredible authors as Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, and J.R.R. Tolkien, stirred in her a passion that would last a lifetime–to write stories that would stay with readers long after they’d finished the final pages. Although S M Spencer grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area she now lives in Australia and writes from the home she shares with her husband, horses, cats and dogs. She writes clean young adult paranormal romance as well as Australian contemporary/rural romance. When writing, what makes you feel happiest? I suppose what makes me happiest is when I get into a scene, and it just flows. Sometimes the dialogue just flows so naturally and you can hear their voices so clearly. It is pure bliss when this happens.  What makes you feel the most frustrated? What is most frustrating is- when I know what I want to write, but it just doesn’t translate onto paper. The scene/description/dialogue might be crystal clear in my…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Gloria Zachgo

Today, award winning author Gloria Zachgo is here with us to talk about her writing!  It’s a natural for Gloria to write stories with Kansas settings. She grew up on a farm in Lincoln County, Kansas, where she attended one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the country. After graduating from Brown Mackie Business School she married her high school sweetheart. Living out of state for several years, Gloria and her husband moved back to their Kansas roots.  While their children were young, she ran a small business out of their home.  When her children left the nest, she pursued a lifelong dream and took various art lessons. Always wanting to learn new things she joined a creative writing group in 2006. She soon found she had a passion for writing fictional short stories.  One particular short story was written from the prompts of a gingerbread man and a small toy horse. It led to her first novel, The Rocking Horse.   “I knew there was more to the story. I kept seeing the image of a young woman, all alone, with a quirky little toy trying to give her a message.” After her debut novel won honorable mention in the 20th Annual…

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A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving we can smell the aroma of a turkey baking and pumpkin pie cooling, whipped cream and whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s a tradition so ingrained in memory our thoughts automatically rush to full bellies and football, family and friends. Not so long ago, during the Great Depression, most of the country could only dream of a table laden with a fat turkey and all the fixings. And if you lived in the dust bowl in the 1930’s you forgot how to dream of a table filled with food or even a table with any food. But the American people are strong, resilient, and hopeful.   Envision living at the worst of times in a part of the country where daily survival meant fighting the wind storms and praying the small garden you planted would yield a potato or two and the chickens would survive for a few more weeks. Thanksgiving still meant a holiday and sharing. It provided a reason to get together and be thankful. I imagine during those times what a Thanksgiving would be like for those in small towns made up of farmers and ranchers, where neighbors knew each other…

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