B.R.A.G.Medallion

Free Book Giveaway with J.L. Oakley

Never a dull moment in a writer's life. I'm happy to announce that indieBRAG Medallion Honoree Timber Rose is going free starting on April 14. The recipient of the 2015 WILLA Silver Award and a 2014 Chaucer award category win, my historical novel was named the February “back list” pick by the Pulpwood Queens Book Club February, the largest book club in the world with 600 chapters. Having that medallion on front cover surely must have made the novel to stand out in the pile of books. The promotion will run until April 17th. Available here. On April 9th I launched my new historical novel, The Jøssing Affair. Set in Norway during WW II, it tells the story of a lone intelligence agent sent to a fishing village to set up a line to receive arms and agents from the Shetland Islands. Posing as a deaf person, his mission is complicated when he is attracted to the widow of an old family friend accused of betraying her husband. She has secrets of her own too. Available here.  

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The Laura Ingalls Wilder Cookbook

Little House on the Prairie Series plus a discussion on children's books with recipes with educator Jennifer Avery By Susan Weintrob       “This was the first true story I read as a child. Laura was an ordinary girl and I identified with her. She met a mean girl at school, had a crush on a boy and ate meals with her family. She was a girl like me. I read every single book in the series.” Educator Jennifer Avery went on to tell me that this was the first view of life outside her 1970’s Brooklyn childhood. Jen and I worked together at Hannah Sennesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. We developed and she implemented a literary afterschool program for 1st and 2nd graders.  She selected books with recipes to read together and then cook, making the characters more real for the children. “Food in books brings another level of engagement and a new way of thinking. Children connect with food and how it relates to their own family. ‘My mom and I make my lunch for school each day.’ This is very unifying for children readers and helps them relate to the story and characters.” In the Little House series, children are introduced to the frontier of the 1880’s. While Laura…

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First Year as a Newborn and Newbie Published Author by M. Louisa Locke

Below is a reprint of a post I did January 1, 2011, just about a year after I self-published my first novel, Maids of Misfortune. I think it captures some of the wonder of that first year. It is now slightly over a year later, a have a second grandson who just turned one, who is already running, climbing, and giving his two year-old brother a run for his money, and I have become more successful than I could have ever imagined. I have a second book out, Uneasy Spirits, the sequel to Maids of Misfortune, and over 37,000 people have bought copies of my two books, and another 50,000 people have downloaded them in a series of free promotions I did on Kindle. But I will never forget the joy of that first year of firsts. I hope you enjoy reading about them as well. --M. Louisa Locke Last year I rang in the New Year with my daughter, who had just had her first baby. I was exhausted (she had had a difficult delivery) and elated at being a grandmother. This New Year’s day, as I look back at the wonderful year of watching that sweet grandson grow…

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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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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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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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Bad Review? Hmm, Is there Anything Good to Say About Them?

Helen Hollick Funnily, enough, yes there is! I look at reviewing novels with two different hats (and I do actually wear hats!) as Managing Editor of the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews, and as an author myself. As Managing Editor I have one main goal, and that is to improve the standard of indie-published novels. Indie (that includes all forms of self-publishing, whether using a company to help you produce your book, or completely Do-It-Yourself) has received a bad press over the years, with the assumption that if it isn’t good enough for traditional mainstream publishing, then it must be rubbish. Fortunately this out-of-date, somewhat bigoted view is rapidly receding because it has been proven to be wrong. Indie can, and often does, mean “darn good read”. I have a splendid US and UK-based review team and, as with Indie B.R.A.G., our criteria is to review novels that we would recommend people to buy. To this end, we will not review a self-published book that is incorrectly formatted: you’d be surprised how many books we receive that have such tiny font you need a magnifying glass, or the text is left-justified (i.e. ragged margin on the right… margins should be straight on…

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