Sunday, February 24, 2013

Website Launch Annoucement




I'm delighted to announce my new website! This year will be a wonderful year for Layered Pages with new projects in the works. Including my interviews, book reviews, articles, giveaways and much more. I invite you to my new website: http://layeredpages.com/

If you would like to inquire about my interviews or to make a quest appearance on my website, please contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com

Regards,
Stephanie
Layered Pages

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Interview Announcement!

I am delighted to announce, that I have an interview with Poet Alan Cooke on March 13th here on Layered Pages. Alan is an Irish Emmy Winning Actor, Writer and Film Maker. We will be discussing his new memoir, "Naked in New York."

Alan's Website: Wild Irish Poet

Stephanie
Layered Pages
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot


The Sister Queens is the second novel I have read about Marguerite and Eleanor, who both become Queens. The two sisters grew up together at their father's-Count Raymond of Provence-court. They are separated at an early age to marry, they find their life as they know it completely changed and become two extraordinary women who face many challenges.

Marguerite marries King Louis of France and is often neglected by him. She struggles to fulfill her role as Queen by his side. The reason for her struggles is due to her domineering and often time’s cruel mother-in-law, Blanche of Castile. Blanche’s influence over her son is strong as is her involvement in the governance of France.

Eleanor, whose husband is King Henry III of England, is not considered a strong leader to his kingdom but is a good husband and adores her. But as the years go by their marriage becomes strained and Eleanor struggles to bring back that spark in their relationship.

Although this story centers on Marguerite and Eleanor, they have two other sisters- Beatrice and Sanchia- who married the brothers of King Henry and King Louis. Their marriages help bond the relationship between the two countries. The marriages of all the sisters were obviously for political advantage and more power. Which is intriguing to read about and I find that I admire their courage, strength and their amazing resilience to adapt to any situation they encounter.  

At the beginning of each chapter you read a letter from Marguerite to Eleanor and vice versa- as they corresponded through the years. As I read their letters, I found myself enthralled with their devotion to each other. For me, the letters were the highlight of the story told.

The alternating point of views told by the two sisters was well developed and easy to follow along. One can tell Perinot takes pride in her work and it shows through the pages and the characters voices as their lives unfold. The compelling interpretation of Marguerite and Eleanor is believable and admirable. Stories such as this are timeless and Perinot brings the 13th century back to life through this captivating novel. That is one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to historical fiction. I hold this story in high affection and it is certainly praiseworthy!
I rated this story four and a half stars. 
 
Stephanie
Layered Pages

Monday, February 18, 2013

Interview with Author Sharon Dwyer

Sharon, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion for your book, Dirt. Please tell me a little about your story?  
 
First I would like to thank indieBRAG for the award and the readers who enjoyed the book. Dirt is an historical fiction book that started out as YA and seemed to slip into the adult readers world. The story is centered around two children, Sammy and Birdie Larkin, who find themselves orphaned during the great Dust Bowl in the panhandle of Oklahoma. They decide to pretend their parents are still alive and continue to live on their family farm rather than be separated and sent to the state home for orphans. Living in a rural area, the fact that their parents are never seen goes unnoticed for some time. The children find ways to stave off the worse of their hunger and fend for themselves in a very hostile environment. That is until an incident causes them to rethink their actions.
 
After I published the book, I’ve talked with quite a few people and found they have a relative who had gone through the same type of experience and had heard the stories of living day to day never knowing where their next meal would come from and keeping the fact that they were orphans from everyone knowing. It’s amazing how a fictitious story could end up having so much of actual people’s lives in it without knowing this when you wrote it.

 
 
 
 
Who or what inspired you to write your book?
 
I moved in with my father to take care of him during a difficult illness and we would spend a great deal of time talking about his years growing up during the depression; what games they played, the types of food his mother would prepare, the clothes and transportation issues, the cost of things. The more he talked, the more a story began to form. Although he lived in the city in the east and the story takes place in a rural county in Oklahoma, many of the life scenes could have been the same anywhere.
 
 
What was some of the research involved? Where there any challenges?
 
So much of the information came from my father’s memories. I did have to do some research for the actual prices of food, the county in Oklahoma where the story takes place and the weather. I wanted to make sure I portrayed the dust storms as accurate as possible. They were so much more than simple storms that plagued the country. Imagine looking into the horizon and seeing a black wall of clouds filled with dust rising hundreds of feet into the sky. Some people thought the world was ending as the clouds roiled and churned toward them, turning day into night.
 
The biggest challenge was making the characters of the two children interesting enough to carry the entire book themselves. When you don’t have vampires, werewolves or paranormal situations, the everyday life of two children can be boring. So, I had to make sure the reader could care about them and their plight. Using some minor characters to enhance the story became the means to do this. In their own right, those characters are interesting in themselves, but they create situations where Sammy and Birdie have to interact and pull off their deception.
 
Was there a particular scene that you found a challenge to write?
 
Oh my goodness, yes. The scene where Sammy finds his parents bodies.  How could I ever get into a child’s head in that type of situation? Not only were his parents dead, but he had no one to go to for help.  I struggled with that for days trying to figure out how he should/would react. I tried to imagine how I would have reacted and decided on using one emotion – anger. Anger can fuel so many decisions and this time it hardened a young boy and enabled him to take control of his life and his   sister’s.  It’s strange because so many readers mention that scene and they felt his reaction was just what they thought a young boy would go through. I felt vindicated in my decision.

 
What is your next book project?
 
I’m currently working on a YA story where two city children, 15 and 11, are sent to their great-grandmother’s home in the Appalachian Mountains for a visit in the summer. No TV, no cell phone reception, no neighbors, no mall and no summer parties. Not their choice of summer fun, until they discover a fantasmagorical forest with its wonders and dangers.
 
What is your favorite genre?
 
I’ve written in several and I really enjoy YA. Kids are so much more fun to write than adults. They are straight in your face honest about their feelings. They have a language that is fun to write and their actions are so unpredictable.
 
Paperback or e-book?
 
Dirt is in paperback and most e-book formats.
 
 
What are you currently reading?
 
I just finished The Twelve by Justin Cronin. A  remarkable look at the resilience of mankind.

 
About how many books do you read on a average per year? 
 
I read about three to four a month. So it adds up to forty eight books a year - give or take. I read every day. It inspires me to become a better writer when I have read a well written book.
 
 
What advice would you give to an inspiring author?
 
Learn the craft, even if it means rewriting what you’ve written many times over. My     first book, If Truth Be Known, took thirty four rewrites before it was ready. I was learning as I edited and rewrote. No one wants to read a book that is poorly written. You may have a great story, and many writers do, the gauge is how the words are placed on the page as to whether it gets into the hands of readers.
 
One important thing to always remember – keep writing.  Your best stories will never be read by anyone if you stop. Sure, there’s a lot of competition out there and it’s really difficult to be seen in the ocean of books floating around, but, if you are serious and are willing to work hard, you will be noticed.

 
How did you discover indieBRAG?
 
They were mentioned to me during a discussion on a website forum. What a truly great organization.
Such wonderful people to work with and be associated with.  For an indie writer to be recognized is such an honor. And the fact that the readers are the ones who decide makes it even more important to me. They also have very informative discussions on “Goodreads” .

 
Will you self-publish again?
 
Probably, unless some big publisher offers me a deal I can’t refuse. Self-publishing is a great opportunity for  writers to showcase their work in a discipline that has become more and more difficult to be noticed. This past year I have found so many great stories by indie writers. I believe today’s readers are more concerned with a good story than who published it. On that note, I would like to thank  you for the opportunity to bring my book, Dirt, to even more reader’s attention.
 
 
Author Bio:
 
 
 
Born in Connecticut, raised in Florida, and lived all over the country. My residences almost match my careers.  I began as a nurse and when I became bored and disillusioned, I went back to school for an engineering degree. While working in the energy field, although it was a new and exciting field, I grew tired of fighting the good ol’ boy attitudes prevalent in the companies I worked with at that time. On to finance and technology.  Diverse, yes, satisfying, no. My real love was writing and in between working and being the caregiver to my parents, I have been honing my craft for the last 15 years.

I have three novels out there in the world of books, If Truth Be Known, For Benny and my latest Dirt. I am currently working on a new YA novel.  I don’t write in any particular genre. When I discover a story tumbling around in my head, whatever the genre, I write it. I refuse to be cornered into a specific type of writing.   I love taking a story, any story, and turning it into something people would enjoy reading. The best feeling in the world is seeing your book in the hands of a stranger with their eyes glued to the pages and no thought to what is going on around them. Nirvana.

A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Sharon Dwyer who is the author of, Dirt, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Dirt merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.


Thank you!
Stephanie
indieBRAG

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Bianca's Vineyard by Teresa Neumann




Teresa Neumann brings you a captivating story based on real events leading up to and that takes place during World War II. This story is about a families strength and bond to each other and their struggles to survive a turbulent time in our History.  Egisto Bertozzi, a sculptor must marry and travel to America to support his family in Italy. He marries a women named Armida Sigali who becomes troubled and abandons her family and moves back to Italy and all is not well for her...Egisto loves his children and works hard to provide for them and his family, never giving up that Armida will come back to them. However, Armida becomes a nanny for a family who supports Mussolini. Not everything is what it seems and she soon discovers they are very dangerous. Her fate becomes sealed.

Bianca’s Vineyard is beautifully written and is rich in culture and complex characters. Neumann gives you a realistic picture of what people went through during the war and how they survived a terrible force bent on destroying everything they have worked hard for and loved. I highly recommend this story! You will fall in love with it the moment you start the first page.  


Rated Five Stars!

Stephanie
Layered Pages

indieBRAG LLC.



Self-publishing Author's, looking for recognition? Check out: http://www.bragmedallion.com/ 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Interview with Author Roger Eschbacher



Roger, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your book, Dragonfriend.

Thank you, Stephanie. It was a very pleasant surprise to win the BRAG Medallion and I’m honored to be a recipient.

Dragonfriend is a middle-grade fantasy adventure novel set in the days of King Arthur. The twist is that it’s a side story to the main Arthurian legends and told through the eyes of a young page, Leonard, whose plan to help his knight get a seat at the Round Table goes horribly wrong. In an effort to set things right he goes on a dangerous quest, befriends a horde of cantankerous dragons, and does battle with a vile demon who has taken over Camelot.





 

What were some of the research involved?

I did a lot of online research about mythical creatures, Celtic/Welsh mythology, and Arthur and his knights. In general, I’ve always been fascinated by various western mythologies and the Arthurian legends – having read numerous books over the years – and so was able to draw on those topics to enrich the story.

 

Were there any challenges you faced while writing your story?

I think the biggest challenge was one that faces most authors; don’t let life get in the way of writing. Any author can tell you that it’s very easy to get distracted and find a million other things to do than sitting down at your computer and writing. Sometimes the biggest challenge for me is tricking myself into writing the first word of the day. Once I can do that, I’m good for at least a thousand words.

 

Who designed your book cover?

A graphic artist by the name of Mike Wykowski (mawmaw.net) designed my cover. I’m very happy with the job he did and have asked him to design the cover for my next book.

 

What book project do you have coming up next?

I’m hoping to have the sequel to Dragonfriend beta read, edited, and published by the end of next month. It’s called Giantkiller and follows Leonard on a wild adventure up in the Clouds.

 

What is your favorite literary genre?

I read fantasy and sci fi just about to the exclusion of everything else. I love to be taken places where impossible things happen.

 

What is the last truly great book you read?

The word "great" makes me think of titles like the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien or Dune by Frank Herbert both of which I’ve re-read a number of times over the years. Two excellent series I’ve read recently are The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart and The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. Both series are masterfully written. A recent indie title that impressed me was Brood of Bones by AE Marling.

 

What were your most cherished books as a child?

Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss were three of my early favorites. The Hobbit blew me away when I got a little older.

 

Is there a writer you consider to be a mentor in some way?

I would say the author that had the strongest influence on my writing is J.R.R. Tolkien, both in terms of flicking on the "fantasy switch" in my brain and making me want to tell exciting and uplifting adventure stories. Another one would be the great Douglas Adams. I learned from him that it was okay to blend speculative fiction with humor.

 

 Of the books you have written, which is your favorite?

I have two traditionally published picture books that I like quite a bit, but I’d have to say my favorite book is Dragonfriend, my first novel. I loved being able to take my time and fully develop a story.

 

How did you discover BRAG?

Someone in an author group I belong to mentioned BRAG and it sounded interesting. I checked out the site and saw BRAG’s main standard for judging a book is whether or not the reader would recommend it to their best friend. That really appealed to me so I crossed my fingers, sent in Dragonfriend, and here I am!

Author Bio:



Roger Eschbacher is a professional television animation writer who's worked for Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. In addition to Dragonfriend, his debut middle-grade fantasy adventure novel, Roger's written two children's picture books, Road Trip, and Nonsense! He Yelled, both for Penguin.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in California with his family and a crazy dog named Lizzy.
Links:Blog: Roger Eschbacher Books and Other Writing: http://www.rogereschbacher.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RogerEschbacherBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerEschbacher
Dragonfriend, a middle-grade fantasy adventure novel now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Follow me on Twitter, too!
 

A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Roger Eschbacher  who is the author of, Dragonfriend, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Dragonfriend  merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.




                                                                
Thank you!

Stephanie
Interviewer/Promoter for IndieBRAG
 


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: Sons of The Wolf by Paula Lofting

Paula Lofting brings the reader an enthralling story! Sons of The Wolf, the first to a series of novels that leads up to the Norman Conquest. Of a man named Wulfhere who lived during the rule of Edward the Confessor. The lands that he holds come from the king. Wulfhere also serves my favorite male heroines in history, Harold Godwinson. Harold is the Earl of Wessex and extremely powerful and has great influence in the realm. Wulfhere is a warrior who loves his family and has a soft spot for his daughters. When Harold tells him must give his daughter, Freyda to his sworn enemy-horrid Lord Helghi- son to marry. He becomes angry but nonetheless he must agree to Harold’s wishes. For Harold grows tired of the never ending hatred between his two lords. But all is not well and Wulfhere must do all he can to save his daughter from the dangers he knows will happen if she falls in the grasps of Lord Helghi and there is a even bigger threat that could change his family forever.

As this brilliant story unfolds I found myself so engrossed with the characters plight and emotions I felt like these events were happening to my own family. Saying this story has well developed characters does not do it justice. It goes beyond that...Lofting really gets to the core of the human condition and pulls you into a world of the past that leaves you wanting to explore more of these fascinating people in history.

The first few pages grabbed me and didn’t let go and now I’m anxiously awaiting for the sequel to this remarkable story. Sons of the Wolf is definitely a novel of what the highest quality of Historical Fiction should be and I highly recommend!

I rated this story five stars!!

Stephanie
Layered Page

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Shadow on The Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Patricia Bracewell brings her readers a beautifully crafted story of Emma of Normandy. The year is 1002 and as the sister of the Duke of Normandy, Lady Emma, must do what is decided for her. As a political pawn she is sent to England to marry, King Æthelred and becomes his Queen. The life she does not want but a path she must take nonetheless. She makes the best of her situation for her husband finds her a nuisance and court life is daunting and dangerous. As time goes by she makes new friends who discovers her generosity and compassion for others. However, there are enemies who will stop at nothing to see her fall and Emma struggles with a growing love to a man she cannot have.

Bracewell’s engaging debut novel sets the standard for what good, quality literature should be and I thoroughly enjoyed her rendition of this period of English history. She not only gives you a wonderful blend of history and fiction but captures the human condition, the culture, and the struggles of England’s royal court life. She gives each character a distinct voice-which I find refreshing. She writes about one of my favorite female heroines in history, Emma. A women-though flawed- of strength, compassion and generosity. I’m looking forward to more of Bracewell’s stories! 

I rated this story five stars!


Stephanie
Layered Pages

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

indieBRAG LLC.

BRAG highly values readers and depend upon them for a candid assessment of the books being considered for a medallion. Therefore, we are selective in who we invite to become a part of this group. We have many women and men reading world wide as well as authors. The single most important criterion that we ask our readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality, we award it our B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Our mission is to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.

If you are a reader who is interested in reading for us please visit: http://www.bragmedallion.com/apply

If you are a self-publishing author and are interested in our services please contact us: http://www.bragmedallion.com/suggest-a-book


Stephanie
indieBRAG

BRAG Website: www.bragmedallion.com


Part I: The Art of Social Media for Self-Publishing Authors

Most if not all self-publishing authors do not have publicists to promote their work. Therefore, you must work diligently to have your books noticed. Social Media is a crucial key to networking and to publicize your book. You must be willing to put forth the time, but it is well worth the effort if done correctly. Companies such as BRAG are a wonderful example of on-line promoting and networking. If you are a BRAG Medallion Honoree, share to the world that you are! Share BRAG's website to other sites, talk about what it means to be a BRAG Honoree.

When needing reviews, have legitimate reviewers read your book other than just family and friends. You need readers who will be objective and who could give their honest opinion and to give constructive criticism- when needed. Encourage reviewers to post their reviews on various sites, including book forums. On-line interviews are another tool for promoting your book. Holding interviews also gives the chance for the reader to feel more connected to you. Readers are more likely to buy your book if they know a little about you and what your interest is.

It is also important to utilize Goodreads. Make sure you profile is compete; if it's not most likely the reader will skip your page and not read your book. Add a link to your website, blog, and the BRAG Medallion website on there as well. Anytime you post on your site, whether it is about your book, an article you wrote or a future book signing, create an event for it on Goodreads. It's easy to do and effective. Be active on Goodreads as a reader, members like to see authors who are avid readers like them and they are more likely to add your book to-read if you are active and share a common ground with them. Hold giveaways on Goodreads about three months before you publish your book. Then hold another one on the publish date and repeat every three months. Hold discussions on your profile, it's a great tool!

Facebook is another great tool for promoting/networking and for meeting authors and readers. Anytime you add a new post to your website, link the post to Facebook. You can create groups and pages on there about your work as well. Sharing written reviews about your book on this site is useful and effective. Tweet about your work and other SP Authors. Share their blog's, articles and so on. Supporting fellow authors is another way to network and to get your name out there. Most importantly, it's okay to do a little shameless bragging about your work because remember, you are your own self-publicist! This is only the beginning to what you can do to utilize social media, but it's a great first step to your success!


~Stephanie Moore Hopkins
  indieBRAG

www.bragmedallion.com

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

Equlibrium is an evocative tale of two sisters-Epiphany and Martha-who are mediums performing on stage in a theater in London, England in the early 1900’s. A Lady Adelia Lyward sees the performance and wants Epiphany to give her a private reading. She wanted to learn the truth of her brothers death not knowing the sisters have a connection to her household. Martha was a housemaid to the Lyward’s two years previous and fell pregnant by Adelia’s husband, Lord Rafe Lyward. In disgrace Martha left the Lyward’s household, gave her child away and attempted suicide in the River Thames, she survived... But there is more to the Lyward’s household then meets the eye.

The beginning of the story starts slowly but I was pleasantly surprised as I read on to discover how the mystery surrounding Adelia’s brothers death is revealed. However, I would have liked to have seen the historical elements to be stronger and expanded further on-such as the social changes in England during this period and I wanted to have a clearer picture on the details as to why Adelia’s brother went to South Africa during the Boer War then what was told.

Overall this story is rich in complex characters with remarkable depth despite their shortcomings. Epiphany’s voice gave- what I believe- a comfort to those she was interacting with at times and I thought she gave the story a calmness and a delicate reality to this tragic and harsh story that was unfolding. I recommend Equilibrium to readers who enjoys historical fiction with spiritualism influences.

~Stephanie
Layered Pages


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Henrietta Street by J.D. Oswald

In the year 1780, Eve Martin watches as a fire consumes the Knowle Manor in Devon England, the home of her friends, the Crosse family. They move to their home in London on Henrietta Street and James-one of the brothers- invites Eve to stay. As she arrives to London, she meets a man on the streets named John Stuart, a freed-slave. She soon discovers John is an Anti-Slavery Campaigner. Eve is exposed to a whole new world and as her feelings change and as the story unfolds, James and Eve has a secret they have not shared. When the secret is finally revealed, you begin to wonder if the Crosse family will be able to move past the struggles they face.

Henrietta Street is a moving story that explores the bond between family and the heartbreaking evils of slavery. This story also brings you a powerful tale of a boy named Ado and his brother who were taken from their home and forced into slavery. Ado and his brother’s experiences is woven in beautifully and brings a new reality of slavery. They are moved to different places under horrible conditions and the author’s detail to their ill treatment is so vivid and realistic, you feel you are right beside them experiencing the events for yourself.

The author’s rendition of the historical characters comes alive with depth and feeling. There is lyrical prose throughout which adds beautifully to the story. I recommend this story to those who enjoy reading this period of the late Georgian era.

Stephanie
Layered Pages


Friday, February 1, 2013

Congrats!!!

Congrats to Jakki Leatherberry for winning a copy of, How To Tame A Willful Wife by Christy English!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Interview with Author Patricia Bracewell



Patricia, congrats on your debut novel, Shadow on the Crown and thank you the pleasure of an interview. I was so delighted to receive an ARC of your book and I absolutely loved your story! You wrote about one of my favorite female heroines and time period in history. Could you please tell your audience about your story?

 
Thank you, Stephanie. I’m honored to be interviewed and thrilled that you liked my book. Shadow on the Crown is about a remarkable historical figure, Emma of Normandy, who was sent to England in 1002 as the peaceweaving bride of the king, Æthelred II. Thrust into a hostile court filled with intrigue, suspicion and the constant fear of attack by Viking raiders, Emma must negotiate the moods of a haunted king and the schemes of powerful men in order to secure for herself a position as something more than just a royal hostage. The choices that she makes shape not only her own future, but the future of England as well.

 
Emma falls in love with someone other than the King. Without giving who it was away, could you please tell me if their relationship was real or fictional?

 
The relationship in my book is purely fictional, although it wouldn’t have been impossible. Who can say? It is an echo, though, of a real event that occurred in the 9th century when a Frankish princess wed an Anglo-Saxon king and then…well, interesting things happened.

 
Were there any research challenges you faced?

 
There were several challenges, and one of the biggest was discovering the facts of Emma’s life. Her birth date, her land holdings, her role in Æthelred’s court and household, her relationships with her husband’s children by his first wife – none of that was of interest to the historians of the time. What we know of it is all conjecture drawn from wills, charters, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and, frankly, hearsay that’s been passed off as fact. It’s like trying to draw someone’s face when all you can see is their shadow.

  
What led you to write about Emma?

 
I first read about Emma in an on-line bulletin board about a dozen years ago. I considered myself fairly knowledgeable about English royalty, yet I found myself reading about a queen I’d never heard of who married two different kings of England and who had also been mother to two kings of England. I began to research, and the more I learned about Emma the more fascinated I became, and the more astonished I was that she had been relegated to little more than a footnote in history. I wanted to write a book that would make her name just as familiar as those of the Tudor queens.

 

Will there be other books to follow about Emma and this time in history?

 
Yes. This novel is the first of a trilogy about Emma of Normandy, and I am working on the sequel now. I’m taking my time, because the next two books will cover the final, turbulent years of the reign of Æthelred II, and there are huge opportunities for dramatic tension and conflict.

 

Who designed your book cover?

 
The jacket designer was Kristen Haff. She has a website that displays many of the book covers that she’s done for Penguin. I hope she posts mine there because I think she did a marvelous job. The photographer was Richard Jenkins, who is based in the U.K.

 

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to write Historical Fiction?

 
Take a deep breath and throw yourself into the research, but when it comes time to write your book, remember that you are a storyteller, not a historian.  Be true to the history, but always remember that a good story is about people and their emotions, their relationships and their conflicts; it’s not about historical minutiae, however accurate it may be. Don’t get lost in it.

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 
I must have been about twelve when I decided that I wanted to write novels, but it seemed like nothing more than a girl’s impossible dream. In college my Creative Writing professor was not terribly encouraging, and I realized that being able to write well did not necessarily make one a novelist or even a writer. I put that dream aside and focused on earning a living as a teacher, but the desire to write never went away. When I finally decided to scratch that itch, I focused first on essays, then short stories, and finally I turned to my first love – the novel. I produced two manuscripts that are now sitting in a box on the top shelf of my closet, and then I began work on Shadow.

 

If you had to choose just one book that is your favorite? What would it be?

 
That’s a really hard question to answer, as I’m sure you know. Today’s favorite, out of the thousands of books I’ve read in my life, would be Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue. It’s a re-spinning of thirteen familiar fairy tales in a way that is surprising and a little subversive. Donoghue’s writing is radiant.


What are you currently reading?

 
I’m reading an ARC of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by fellow Penguin author Dina Nayeri. Her book debuts the same day as mine. It’s about a young woman who has to find a way to survive in a harsh, repressive world – not unlike Emma. But Dina’s book is set in 1980’s Iran. I’m also listening to an audio book: Nancy Bilyeau’s Tudor mystery The Crown. Just now we’re wandering the maze of corridors in the Tower of London.

 

 What do you plan on reading next?

 
My “To Read” stack is taller than I am! Up next, Parlor Games, Maryka Biaggio’s historical novel set at the turn of the last century. But please don’t think I only read female authors! I’ve just finished reading books by Bernard Cornwell, Robert Low and Oscar Wilde, all of which I enjoyed very much.

 
 
Author Bio:
 
 
Patricia Bracewell grew up in Los Angeles where her love of stories led to college degrees in Literature, a career as a high school English teacher, and a yearning to write. She has travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and South America, both for research and for pleasure. She enjoys gardening, tennis, and, of course, reading, and she is a passable guitarist and folksinger, although her writing leaves her little time these days for practice. She lives in Northern California where she met and married her Canadian husband and where they raised their two sons.
 
Links:
http: //www.patriciabracewell.com
http://www.medievalists.net/2010/11/28/why-medieval-with-patricia-bracewell/
https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaBracewellAuthor
http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670026395,00.html?Shadow_on_the_Crown_Patricia_Bracewell
https://twitter.com/patbracewell


Thanks you!
Stephanie
 
 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How-much-to-charge-for-your-soon-to-be-bestselling-ebook




Author Martin Crosbie talks about pricing e-books over at BRAG! Come on over and see what he has to say on the subject.


"There's a short answer to this question but I'm going to make you read through the whole article to find out what it is. Don't worry; it's less than five hundred words, so it won't take long.When I released my first book "My Temporary Life" in December 2011 I priced it at $4.99. Based on other books out there this seemed like a reasonable price. I sold a few books but I knew there were others selling a lot more, and I believed in my book. So, I tried a .99 cent sale to try and get the ball rolling and...

Continue reading here:http://www.bragmedallion.com/blog/how-much-to-charge-for-your-soon-to-be-bestselling-ebook

indieBRAG, LLC

indieBRAG, LLC provides enlightment of the readers, by the readers and for the readers of self-published books. For a listing of all our B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees please visit our website at www.bragmedallion.com

Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview with Author J.D.R Hawkins

                                                         A Beautiful Glittering Lie
 
Author: J. D. R. Hawkins
Fiction / Historical
Publication Date: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4697-7174-8 (sc)
            978-1-4697-7176-2 (hc)
            978-1-4697-7175-5 (e)
204 Pages
On Demand Printing
Available from Ingram Book Group, Baker & Taylor and iUniverse, Inc.
 
 
J.D.R., thank you for the pleasure of an interview and congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion for you novel, "A Beautiful Glittering Lie. " Your story takes place during a crucial time in our history. Could you please tell me about your story?

In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America chooses to fight for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. In north Alabama, the majority favors remaining in the Union, but when the state secedes, many come to her defense. Such is the case with Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three. He decides to enlist, and his son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind.

 
Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.

 
A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.

 
Who or what inspired you to write this story?

The story inspired itself, so to speak. I took a trip to Gettysburg a few years ago. It was the first Civil War battlefield I had ever seen, and I was so impressed that I was inspired to write a novel. Not about commanding officers, or warfare tactics, but about a typical Southern soldier. He doesn’t own slaves, and he brings his horse with him to enlist with the cavalry. This book, A Beckoning Hellfire, led to two more sequels and a prequel. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is that prequel. It is the first book in the Renegade Series.

 
What was some of the research involved?

My research was extensive. I spoke to numerous authorities on the Civil War, delved into hundreds of old tomes at the library, requested books from other libraries, researched online, and travelled to various battlefields to get a first-hand look at the terrain and speak to park rangers about the battles. My primary resource for this particular novel is the journal of R. T. Cole, who was an adjutant with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment.

 
Could you please tell me a little about the fictional aspects to your story?
Although the book is based on one soldier’s journal, most of the main characters in the story are fictitious, including the Summers family and their friends. In my opinion, writing fiction is more interesting, because the characters are able to converse, therefore enabling the reader to become a part of the story and get inside each character’s head.

 
What advice would you give to someone who would like to write about this period of time in our history?

My advice is to thoroughly research your topic first. Many people out there are avid Civil War fans who won’t hesitate to call you out if you make a mistake!

 
Your book cover is stunning! Who designed it?

My book cover was designed by my publisher. However, I found the artwork for it myself. The painting is entitled “Up Alabamians!” by Don Troiani.

 
What book project are you currently working on?

At the moment, I am working on several projects. I just finished a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as a novel set in the 1930’s. My next project will be a memoir, which takes place in Ireland.

 
Will you self-publish again?

I would consider self-publishing again. It is a quick, effective way to get your book in print, and you have a lot more control over the finished product. Self-publishing is slowly developing acknowledgement and respect in the book world. Many authors use both traditional and self-publishing companies simultaneously.

 
How did you discover IndieBRAG?

I was alerted to the contest through Writers Market.

 
What is your favorite genre to read?

My favorite genre is historical fiction, although I am a fan of mainstream fiction as well.

 
Paperback or e-book?

I am partial to paperbacks, although I read e-books on occasion. My novels are available in both formats, as well as hard covers.

 
What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote comes from Mahatma Gandhi:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 
 
Author Bio:
 
J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade series includes the debut novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, recipient of two awards. Her new prequel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, and the Mississippi Writers Guild, and is an artist and singer/songwriter. She recently completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for her Renegade Series. Learn more about her at www.jdrhawkins.com.
 
 
 A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview J.D.R. Hawkins  who is the author of, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, A Beautiful Glittering Lie  merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
Thank you!
Stephanie