award winning books

CAN GREAT WRITING BE TAUGHT?

The simple answer is no. Does that mean writing courses are a waste of time? Or that getting an MA or a PhD in creative writing is a fool’s errand? Of course not. Classes can teach good writers to become better, but classes will not turn a good writer into a Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Great writing requires a certain native ability, which is rare. However, that does not mean aspiring indie authors should give up. While truly great writers are few, there is ample room in the world for really good writing, the pursuit of which should be the goal of every self-published author. How then does a new writer judge the value of a writing course?  Well, to begin with they need to understand what their objective is. If it is to become fluent with the basics of style, syntax and word usage and, thereby, feel more comfortable integrating these into a clear and cohesive story, then do it. Or, if it is to enjoy the sense of camaraderie of classmates and gain the constructive criticism of a good teacher, then proceed. But if it is to short circuit the hard…

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National Parks Week with Little Miss History

Now that spring has sprung...well, maybe if you live in certain parts of the US, it might still seem like winter. Nothing will stop the change of seasons, and Spring will come. When the weather gets warmer, our thoughts inevitably turn to the outdoors. Did you know that our national parks kick off the season by celebrating National Parks Week from April 21-April 29 this year? Across the country, parks will be holding special e  April 21: Fee Free Day April 21: National Junior Ranger Day April 21: Volunteer Day April 22: Earth Day—Let's get out and celebrate our rivers and trails for their 50th! April 28: Military & Veteran Recognition Day April 29: National Park Rx Day In addition, families may gain free admission to national parks on September 22, National Public Lands Day, and November 11, Veterans Day. I am proud to have had the opportunity to introduce teachers, students and their families to our national treasures through my Little Miss HISTORY Travels to book series. These books are intended to enlighten, inspire and educate young minds to appreciate our historical heritage and have fun while doing so. Spring and summer are the perfect times to get out…

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Lunch with Madame Presidentess.

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes A more open community around the table Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evalina The first woman running for president is a tale filled with intrigue, scandal, enemies and lurid newspaper accounts, sexual innuendoes, financial scandals and marital woes.  Biographical accounts are often brutal and vindictive. You might think I am writing about Hillary Clinton but she in fact was not the first woman to run for President. Victoria Woodhull ran for the office in 1872 on the Equal Rights Party, supporting women’s and workers rights.  Writing about her run for president, Woodhull noted, “The truth is that I am too many years ahead of this age…and the unenlightened mind of the average man.” Nicole Evalina brings us a vivid portrait of Woodhull in her historical novel. She told me, “My portrayal of her comes from how I think she saw herself… I think she believed the ends justified the means.” A constant headline maker in her own time, because of later conflicts with suffragettes, Woodhull became a footnote, mostly written out of their accounts of the decades’ efforts to gain the right to vote for women. Yet…

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In Praise of indieBRAG by author Glen Craney

"I learned about indieBRAG from fellow historical fiction authors who are members of  Facebook groups.  With the emergence of POD and digital publishing, the good news is anyone can now publish a book; the bad news is anyone can now publish a book!  The greates challenge indie authors confront is the stigma of inferiority caused by books rushed into the market without professional design and editing.  indieBRAG offers an invaluable vetting service to readers who might otherwise she awar from indies.  With the rapid changes in the industry, i'm confident the walls between indie and traditional publishing will continue to crumble." Find our more about Glen Craney, multiple B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author

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What’s in a Media Kit?

A Media Kit can be a useful way to gather all the info about you, as an author, and your book.  We asked Marisa to share her terrific MK with us- I’m a self-published debut author and a proud owner of an indieBRAG Medallion Award. My book, GOODBYE To Italia, is a family story, and was published in 2016 but only a year later have I created a Media Kit (MK). An MK is defined as containing information about your business, product or an event. I did have a one-pager that in loose terms met this criteria. But in such a competitive world and a global market, it really is necessary to have a more professional approach. Thanks to my publishing and marketing mentor, Ocean Reeve, he provided me with a couple of examples of what an MK should look like. He also gave me a kind but strong talking to. Duly subdued, I reviewed the relevant documents and sat down one weekend to create my own. Not for me was a 15-page MK although if that’s what you want to do that’s your choice. Instead, I wanted to relay the messages as effectively and succinctly as possible. Not wanting…

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Blogging for your Readers!

Maria Grace Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.   She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats. We are so fortunate to have the very gifted writer Maria Grace (4 X B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author!) join us today to share some thoughts and information about her very successful blog.   Marie, I love your website!  I am a fan of your books and always look forward to posts and info you share on your site. There are so many different types of websites from authors- some…

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Sarah’s Tomato Pie

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Susan  the indieBRAG Food Sarah’s Journey by David Beasley Review and Recipe by Susan Weintrob Her father and later her half-brother were her masters.  But family ties did not free her nor guarantee fair treatment. Sarah’s situation worsens, becoming so horrific that she fears for her life from her step-brother-master’s brutality. Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery in 1790, finally escapes to Canada in 1822 with three of her children. "I heard a school librarian in Simcoe mention that a student wrote an essay about a slave who had a son by the town’s richest merchant and that their son became one of the richest men in NYC.” Thus began David Beasley’s research on the life of Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery…

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The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect

    I love a good historical romance!  I think reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters fueled that love at an early age.  As most of us know, there is a big difference between romance and erotica but, that line is being blurred.  Yes, it is still possible to find a great romance that doesn’t share the intimate sexual acts of the characters however it is getting harder.  This isn’t always a bad thing.  The wild success of Fifty Shades of Grey proves that there is a huge audience for graphic sex.  I am finding that many, if not most, of the historical romances now have graphic sexual content.  As long as it is a good story and well written, a reader can just flip through the sex if they are offended by it and not lose the story or the ability to share in the intimacy of well written characters. But here is the problem I have seen all too often- The sex seems to be added JUST to titillate and not to add to the story.  It often breaks the mood, stalls the story and this lowers my impression of the ability of the author to convey…

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Little Miss HISTORY Travels to PLYMOUTH COLONY

The temperatures are dropping; we are nearing the end of the Fall harvest season. Have you been enjoying those fruits and vegetables especially associated with the final harvest before Winter?  Those items include the cruciferous family of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and winter squash. Other foods at their best at this time of year include beets, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, grapes, leeks, mushrooms and, of course, pumpkins! The quintessential menu appears on Thanksgiving Day, when families partake of their Thanksgiving feast. How closely does your holiday menu compare with that of the three day 1621 harvest celebration at Plymouth Colony now touted as the “First Thanksgiving?” Thanksgiving was not made an official holiday until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln designated the fourth Thursday of November to be a national holiday set aside to give thanks. Little Miss HISTORY has traveled back into time to that first celebration at Plymouth Colony. Let's take a peek.... Both the Wampanoag natives and the Plymouth colonists regularly ate wild turkey, but it was not specifically mentioned as present in that first feast. Edward Winslow, a signer of the Mayflower Compact and one of the leaders of Plymouth Colony, wrote about the first…

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The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls

As we all know themes and getting to know characters so we might connect to them is so important in storytelling. Today Jane Brown is sharing a little about her characters from her stories, The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls. Share about the themes in your story. The main theme running through The Bitti Chai and the follow up The Lost Souls is the all consuming enduring love between Reigneth and Johnny.   The Bitti Chai tells of Reigneth's formative years, her struggle to come to terms with her gift for foreseeing the future; the ancient prophecy surrounding Reigneth's birth and her families need to protect her from the outside world.  We discover more about her relationship with her family and the huge changes which take place in their life following Reigneth's father's death.  Finally Reigneth meeting and falling in love with Jonathan Wilmott. The Lost Souls continues the young lover's story and the physical changes they both undergo following their marriage.  We see their relationship unfold and grow and Johnny's involvement with Reigneth's cousins Aaron and James deepen and solidify.   The Man with Two Minds to be released in 2017 will take the story further and delve deeper into…

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