self-publish

Sometimes It Is OK To BRAG By Helen Hollick

Well, it is if you are an author and you have been awarded a coveted Indie BRAG medallion, which is an approval mark of a darn good read. I have the honour of being ‘in’ on Indie BRAG from its earliest conception by CEO Geri Clouston, who ran the idea past me in those early days when it was no more than an embryonic idea. Why me? For several years I was UK Editor, and now I am Managing Editor, of the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews, so naturally I had an interest in sorting the good indie novels from the not-so-good. (Sad to say too many of them are the latter.) The good ones, unfortunately, are still often lumped with the ‘oh it’s indie, it can’t be worth reading’ nonsense that a few people in the literary world persist in trundling out. Indie BRAG (and HNS Indie) is determined to prove these nay-sayers wrong by showing just how fantastic some indie fiction can be. From little acorns big oak trees grow – and Indie BRAG is fast growing a respected image for shouting out about Good Reads. Maybe word needs spreading a bit more here in the UK, but…

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The Pitfalls of Capturing the Seasons in the Age of Diversity

Diversity has everyone wrapped up in knots these days, whether it’s the people fighting to find representation, or the privileged trying to find ways to make sure their stories are inclusive. If you aren’t on the diversity train, I would argue that you should be for a number of reasons, but that’s another post for another day. Long story short: understanding and incorporating diversity into your works makes you a better writer, and a better person. Now, I am not an authority on the subject of diversity, I’m in the trenches right along with everyone else trying to figure out how to navigate this space so my stories can be accessible to everyone. Along the way, I’ve noticed a lot of people struggling to get a foothold on where to start, or tripping over assumptions that slip into their writing and undo all of their hard work. Because at the end of the day, for those of us who fall into the “privileged” category, or the “Euro-centric” category, or whatever you want to call it, it all comes down to checking assumptions. Our lives are rife with assumptions, be it the way we understand polite conversation, food, technology, the list…

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indieBRAG Cover Crush: A Beautiful Glittering Lie by J.D.R. Hawkins

Today I am cover crushing over A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I was thrilled when I first saw this book being awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. First I’d like to say I am an avid reader of history and I am deeply interested in the War Between the States. I have this book on my Kindle and I am looking forward to reading it. I am thinking about buying a print copy as well since I love the cover and fascinated with the premise. Isn't the title marvelous too! My hats off to J.D.R. Hawkins for writing a story in the view of a confederate soldier and his family.  Be sure to check out my website for B.R.A.G. Interviews and other great post here Stephanie M. Hopkins About the book: B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything…

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Freddy the Pig: My Childhood Friend by Dave Riese

Growing up in Arlington, Massachusetts during the 1950s, I was fortunate to have a large children’s library in the center of town. On Saturdays, my parents drove my sister and me to the library for story hour. I cannot remember if I was introduced to Freddy in a story on one of those Saturdays or if I found his books on the shelf and decided to take one home with me. I was seven years old. The Freddy the Pig books became my favorite series during my grammar school years. I read some Hardy Boys books, some Nancy Drew, and a few Bobbsey Twins, but they did not capture my imagination the way Freddy and his friends did. The first book I read was Freddy the Detective. Freddy is a fan of Sherlock Holmes (of whom I knew nothing at that age) and when a toy train goes missing, he takes on the job of solving the crime with Jinx the Cat. The books are filled with dozens of anthropomorphic barnyard citizens – Mrs. Wiggins the cow, Charles the rooster, Simon the rat, and many others – who help (or hinder) Freddy’s activities. Each chapter begins with a pen-and-ink drawing.…

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Not Just an Ordinary Day by Carrie Beckort

When I looked through the list of blog topics for the summer, the option “Create a day for yourself and recap it.” jumped out at me. Even though I’m home full-time, I don’t often make the time to do something fun for me. Not counting my 6-day-a-week workouts, I have a handful of regular activities that I do once a month.  I love that they provide me with something to look forward to each month, but I know I need to plan more time to do different things and/or pamper myself. I immediately knew when I would create this day for myself. My husband and daughter take a trip to King’s Island each year in early July, and I knew that would be the perfect time. That just left me with figuring out what to do . . . I started brainstorming, and several ideas came to mind. Visions of movie marathons, non-stop reading, manis and pedis all danced in my mind. The idea was that I would keep busy, all day, for the purpose of this blog post and one other very important reason. You see, I have Binge Eating Disorder (BED). It has been a very long and…

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The Thing About Titles By Helen Hollick

I’ve found that, sometimes, deciding on a title for your story can be harder than writing the whole thing. When my first novel was accepted by William Heinemann for publication, way back in 1993, I had called it The Kingmaking. It was about a man who became a king (King Arthur in fact) so it seemed suitable. We went through the long process of editing, copy editing, proof reading, cover design, etc then a few days before preparing to go to print I was told, ‘We’re not keen on the title. Can you think of something else?’ I couldn’t. ‘Can you think of anything?’ says I. They couldn’t. The Kingmaking it remains to this day. Counter that with my UK published Harold the King and A Hollow Crown. Both books (a duo about the events that led to the 1066 Battle of Hastings) were acquired by a US publisher who decided to change the titles. A Hollow Crown became The Forever Queen (which, I confess, I prefer) but Harold became I Am The Chosen King. Why? Because the publisher said ‘No one will know who Harold is.’ Fair enough – but does ‘I Am The Chosen King’ leave the reader…

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An Author’s Angle on Date Night by Annie Whitehead

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree-To Be A Queen I’m going on a date with a handsome man called Alhelm, a real-life 10th century warrior and nobleman, who held lands in the northern area of the kingdom of Mercia. How do I know he’s handsome? Aethelflaed, from To Be A Queen, seems rather taken with him: “His blond hair, recently cut by the look of it, was sticking out at odd angles, where curls had been shorn, but not short enough to subdue them. His blue eyes were so pale that the pupils shone uncommonly black. A sprinkling of freckles spilled over both cheekbones and spread over his nose. He smiled at her … she felt an urge to smile back but also look away, at once a grown woman yet still a foolish child.” This is when she first meets him, and she is smitten. So I imagine someone who looks a little like this:    Although the reality is probably more like this:  But, I muse while I’m straightening my hair, how can we know what they looked like? The Mercians were the ‘Angle’ part of Anglo-Saxon; Pope Gregory, upon seeing some slaves in the market said they were “Not Angles,…

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Where do you like to take a day for yourself and read?

Tranquil places far from the demands of my keyboard are necessary escapes to keeping my imagination free to travel - anywhere. Less than an hour from our home on the Olympic Peninsula, I've found such an idyllic locale along the shore of Lake Crescent. Last week, my husband and I bundled up on a rainy morning to make the trip along the narrow 101 to the National Park Lodge for a much-needed getaway. After a tasty breakfast, we planted ourselves on two cushioned, wicker chairs in the lodge sunroom overlooking the lake. It wasn't hard to let imagination transport me into a cozy mystery novel in someone's Victorian lake house. With its worn wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, I had to work to pull my focus back to the Brandon Sanderson fantasy novel I'd brought with me. On this particular morning low clouds hovered above the water obscuring most of the mountains that border the twelve-mile-long lake. For awhile the view was less of a distraction so the world of the final empire drew me in. Soon the clouds lifted, revealing Storm King and Pyramid Peak. Tourists ambled out onto the wooden dock for selfies. The view and the aroma…

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So, what kind of books do you write? by Carrie Beckort

Genre. It’s like the gender classification for books, except there are more than two options: Literary Romance Historical Science Fiction Children’s Self-help On and on and on . . . Just as it is with gender, a book’s genre classification gives people a set of expectations for how the book should ‘act’. Romance novels should have a happily ever after ending. A Fantasy novel should transport the reader to a world they’ve never before seen. A Mystery novel should have unexpected twists and turns from start to finish. But what if I don’t want to be boxed into one category? What if I don’t want to follow the rules? “Um, that’s great. But tell me, what kind of books do you write?” When someone asks me this question, I know they’re expecting me to respond with a genre classification. In the beginning of my writing career, I would cringe and stutter and overall just make myself look like a blubbering idiot. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole them into one. Instead of blurting out a genre, I decided to tell my perspective readers what my books are about. The primary focus…

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IndieBRAG Cover Crush: To Catch A Falling Star by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis To Catch a Falling Star’ is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.  Some gifts are double-edged swords… For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option. Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours. While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet. All…

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