indieBRAG

The Magic is in the Balance

On Sale for $0.99! By Award Winning Author Elle Jacklee-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Writing for the middle grade/YA audience is like my own fountain of youth! Getting into my characters’ heads means thinking like they would, which is truly a gift. As we get older, some of the whimsy that we enjoy as kids and teens can become a little (or a lot!) tarnished if we let it, if we forget to look for the wonder that’s all around us. That’s one of the themes in The Tree of Mindala, the first in my Wunderwood series: that there truly is magic in the world if you open yourself to see it. And even though most of the story takes place in a different world, the themes I chose to weave into it are ones that mirror truths about our own world. Nature in our world has a way of maintaining a delicate balance. For example, droughts are followed by rains, and some species hibernate when conditions are undesirable. Balance in Wunderwood is also naturally maintained. That means, among other things, that whatever is needed–like food and shelter–is always provided. But it also means that justice has a way of being done,…

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The Dirty Secret to Writing your Novel

By Christopher Angel -Award Winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You’ve just completed the manuscript to your novel.  You’ve had friends and family proof-read it, maybe even a professional editor takes a pass.  You’re ready to share your bouncing new baby with the world. And you know there’s a few final things you have to take care of.  The book cover is the obvious one.  I spent a lot of time agonizing over the right image and font to represent my novel, The Mona Lisa Speaks (about the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre).  I was fortunate, because I had a friend who is an expert at designing art book jacket covers who helped me out (check out her amazing work at here) So, you have your cover art, so now you’re ready to publish right? Well, hold on.  Here’s the secret.  I’m going to give it away right now. Writing the book is only part one of a two-part job.  And unfortunately, the skills of being a great writer only partly translate to the second job.  Because these days, in our cluttered media space, being an author means you also have to become a marketing expert. The good news…

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Criteria of a Specific Genre or Subgenre

Does your book fit a general genre or does it fall in a subgenre? Could it be that other elements in a story go beyond the criteria of a specific genre or subgenre? For example, “Thrillers.” We know that thrillers are a broad genre of literature. Which is defined by key elements in the story to drive the plot and characters actions, what they must overcome, crime and suspense. When we add other elements such as courtroom drama and legalities…do we give it a new name? Tim Vicary shares with us today a conversation he had with a friend and fellow reader about this very topic. Please join us in this conversation and share which category does your book fall under. ************ I met my friend Angela outside the supermarket one day, and I made a mistake. I told her I like legal thrillers. ‘Legal thrillers?' she asked. 'What’s that? Some sort of drug?' 'No, of course not,' I said.  'Though they can be quite addictive, I suppose. A legal thriller is a book - a sort of crime novel.' 'So why not call it a crime novel then, and have done with it? At least then, I'd know what you were…

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Copy-Editor- do we need one?

By Award Winning Author Elisabeth Marrion-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You finished your latest masterpiece. Ready to press the publish button? No, wait, hold it there, just for a minute. Have you read and re-read? Did you do so on your computer, or did you print a copy? Printing out a copy is always a good idea, if you can do that. It really is easier to spot mistakes on a printed sheet. Have you been lucky, or brave enough, to have it beta read? Most of us have written more than one book. Do we, by now, have an inkling as to what will be best for our work to shine above the rest? Cost, as always, will be a factor. Proofreading is a must and can be costly. I, at one time, received some really bad advice on how to save on proofreading costs. A mistake I will not repeat. But do we need the extra expense of having the manuscript copy-edited? And bear in mind, that your copy-editor might suggest some changes. Or, worse still, suggest to delete certain sections altogether. This is your work, every word thought about, and the story carefully crafted. And now? A total stranger…

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Three Axioms

Martha Kennedy Award winning Author of BragMedallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior As a writer, I’ve learned a few pretty obvious lessons, but, as I have the learning style of a crash test dummy, I had to discover them for myself. It comes down to three axioms. Axiom 1 — Give your ardor time to cool before submitting your work. While it’s cooling… Axiom 2 — Get help with proofreading, solicit comments and help from friends, then hire a professional editor. Axiom 3 — Stay true to your work. ********** Axiom 1 — Submit in haste, repent at leisure.  OR…Don’t do anything with your manuscript while you’re in love with it. Love is blind. In 2005, when I finished (and proofread [see Axiom 2]) the initial, complete 500 manuscript pages of Martin of Gfenn, I was so INFATUATED with it that I couldn’t see that it was an overwritten, error-riddled, repetitive nightmare. Four years later, looking at it with clearer eyes, I saw the full horror of my prose. Unfortunately, I’d already queried every possible agent. I decided (as the revised book was exponentially better than the unrevised book) to query them again. Yes, this is the biggest “NO!…

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Writing Across Genres: How Boldly Following Your Inspiration Can Change Your Destiny

By Sheri Fink A few years ago, a reporter asked me what I’m working on next and I revealed for the first time that I was writing a draft of a romance novel. Seeing that was known only as a children’s author, she followed up with, “Have you ever seen anyone successfully transition beyond the children’s box into women’s fiction?” I paused for a moment and then responded that I didn’t understand the question because I didn’t believe in her “box.” I guess I’ve never believed in the “box.” Instead, I’m something of a free spirit when it comes to writing. I believe in writing from the heart. That means being willing to join your characters on wild and unpredictable adventures. I’m a “pantser” when it comes to writing and I’m often amazed at where they take me, especially when my latest characters took me into the world of romance. I guess readers might have been wondering, “What does a children’s author know about romance?” What does anyone know about romance? I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m a hopeful romantic with a vivid imagination for writing a fictional romance. It would be easier to choose the comfort…

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Scribbler on the Roof…my journey as an Indie-author.

I don’t need a time machine, a tarot reading or a Pan American flight manifest to map out how I came to be an Indie author. When asked to share a few thoughts on what I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, I was raring to go and happy to take this opportunity to do what authors like to do best- ‘Kvel’ and ‘Kvetch’. Kvelling, a quintessential Yiddish word, conjures up images of beaming parents, proudly boasting about their offspring. While I do my fair share of maternal boasting, today I’m kvelling about another sort of offspring- my books! I wrote a Creative Non-fiction in August 2012 entitled, ‘With Love, The Argentina Family- Memories of Tango and Kugel, Mate with Knishes.’ A Spanish-speaking, blue-eyed, Jewish girl named Mirta who outgrew five passports by the time she was twenty-one and survived a whirlwind romance during one of Argentina’s darkest periods had plenty of writing material! This first book was written to honor my parents, my heritage and my rather unique upbringing as a ‘Pan Am brat.’ More recently, I published a Historical Fiction/Fantasy that incorporated my love of period drama with Judaica. Talk about fantasy… ‘Becoming Malka’ literally came to me…

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Wish-List 5: Historical Fiction

I am always thrilled when new B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees are announced and my reading list keeps getting bigger and bigger! One of the featured posts my fellow book bloggers and I do every month is share from our wish-list. This month there is quite a few from the indieBRAG library I have added. Today, I want to share five of them to you. Enjoy! -Stephanie M. Hopkins Four Nails by G.L. Berger Synopsis In ancient India, tragedy strikes a young elephant trainer. Forced into a slave caravan that takes him through perilous lands and into a world at war, Ashoka befriends a special elephant. He and that elephant, Four Nails, together lead Hannibal’s army over the Alps and down the back of Rome. Though a time of constant danger and uncertainty, Ashoka finds beauty and kindness while helping others enslaved for the pleasure of ruthless rulers. To survive this remarkable journey, the elephant trainer calls upon his unique ways with the great greys and a strength known only to those with nothing left to lose. Four Nails has been selected by The Huffington Post as one of only “Four beautiful, pack-your-suitcase worthy reads for summer vacation.” Huffington Post April 19,…

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Non-Fiction and The Brothers Path

Martha Kennedy Author of indieBRAG Medallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior It’s estimated that as many as 20,000 Swiss emigrated to America before 1820, bringing not only their hard-working, flesh-and blood-selves, but religious and political philosophies that influenced what this nation became. I knew nothing about any of this until, at the suggestion of a Swiss reader of Martin of Gfenn, I began researching my own family tree. There I met the Schneebelis. At the time, I was in the midst of writing Savior, the story of a 13th century Swiss family, very minor nobility, living in a castle-fort near Affoltern am Albis in the Canton of Zürich. I based the setting of my story on a hillside and castle ruin I’d seen on a hike with a friend. I was dumbfounded when, in the midst of “finding my roots,” I found that my own ancestors had lived on that very hillside and in that very castle-fort. Even more creepy, the people in my family had the same names I’d given the characters in my story. OK, it’s true that there were not many names used in those places in the 13th century (boys were usually Rudolf, Hugo, Conrad,…

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Inspiration’s Mysterious Power

Martha Kennedy Author of BRAG Medallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior Ancient Greek poets didn’t believe that they, themselves, came up with their stories. They believed that they, as poets, were simply an instrument of the Muses, well-disposed goddesses who quickened the poets’ minds with inspiration. My high school art teacher didn’t believe in inspiration. He believed in hard work. “If you wait for inspiration to hit, you’ll wait forever. Just paint.” I’ve written a lot in my life without being inspired, sort of the equivalent of my high school art teacher’s “Just paint.” I wrote because I am a writer, and a writer is an observer. I’ve always seen the world, the people around me, and my life as interesting, so I transcribed it. Even my mom said, ‘You’re a good writer. You just don’t have anything to write about.” Then… In 1997, during a particularly interesting point in my life, I went to Switzerland. My friends took me to see a little 13th century church in a small village north of Zürich, the chapel of the Knights of St. Lazarus in the village of Gfenn. Lepers had lived there; not just lepers, but leper knights. The moment…

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