Monday, April 30, 2012

The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken by Mari Passananti

Author Interview and Book Review May 7th!

Interview with Author Paula Lofting

1. Tell us about your book "Sons of the Wolf".
Sons of the Wolf is the first in a planned series of books about the Norman Conquest of England. The first book shows what life was like in England in the 12 years leading up to the Battle of Hastings seen through the eyes of King’s thegn, Wulfhere and his family. Their lives interweave with those of historical characters such as Harold Godwinson and King Edward the Confessor. Wulfhere’s family is caught up in a blood feud with the neighbouring landowner, Helghi, and when his wilful daughter Freyda forms a relationship with Helghi’s son against her parent’s will, Harold, Wulfhere’s Lord, forces Wulfhere to agree to a betrothal between Freyda and the boy to end the feud between their families. Wulfhere reluctantly agrees but is unable to accept the idea that his daughter will be married to the son of his great enemy. He and Helghi’s hatred for one another has run deep for many years and he is determined to find a way to extricate himself from this alliance without compromising his honour and relationship with his Lord.

2. Who or What inspired you to become an author?

I have always wanted to write, as soon as I could hold a pen I think. I got most of my inspiration as a kid from great authors like Rosemary Sutcliffe who wrote The Eagle of The Ninth and Leon Garfield who wrote Smith and Black Jack. I loved those books. I loved the history concept and the fact that you could really get into another world, one so different from your own. Later I got side tracked in life and didn’t feel that I had what it takes to write a book. Then as I got older, I found the books by Sharon Penman so inspiring that I started imagining my own stories in my head.

3. What are your goals as a writer?

To finish my Sons of the Wolf series , the second book is completed but needs a good edit. Also I want to finish a book I have been working on , a thriller called Killing the Sandman and I’d love to write a book for my Grandad set in the first World War.

4. What dreams have been realised as a result of your writing?

When I first started writing Sons of the Wolf, I had never thought I would see it published until a couple of friends read the first chapters and suggested I go for it. It’s been my dream now for about 6 years to have it published which it will be in August. That would be a dream come true for me.

5. What books have most influenced your life?

I would probably say the books that made big impressions on me were: The Sun in Spleandour and The Reckoning by Penman. With the Reckoning, I was so moved by the story of the Welsh Princes and the oppression meted out to the Welsh people as a result of English domination. The story of Ellen de Montfort and Llywellyn touched me also very deeply.

6. What is your favourite Quote?  

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill.

7. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Make sure as you write each chapter, you keep a record of what has happened and highlight salient points. Doing this really helped me with the flow and consistency and time frame. Also I kept a file on each character, documenting their descriptions and ages. Finally, ensure that you learn about Pont of View and not to Head Hop, a complete nono in the writing world.

A little about Paula: Lives inWest Sussex, United Kingdom .Mother of 3, psychiatric nurse, author of Sons of the Wolf and damn funny woman! Seek not evil Seek not to gain but Seek only to give and live just in the day.


Paula, thank you so much for this lovely interview! It was an honor!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Author Steena Holmes

1. Please tell us about your book Finding Emma and what lead you to write about this subject?
I was sitting on my couch and watching my children play on our front lawn when my youngest disappeared from sight. I waited a few seconds for her to reappear ... and it was during those seconds that Emma's story played out in my head - literally. I knew I wanted to write a story that would touch every mother's heart. I love tear-jerker, heart gripping type stories that I don't want to put down - and I wanted Emma's story to be like that as well.

2. Who or what inspired you to become an author?
My husband! He knew that there was this 'deep' longing inside of me to write, but I was too afraid to. I knew nothing about writing - but that didn't matter. He encouraged me to face my fear of the unknown - and once I did - once I started to jot down ideas and then type them out on the computer, it was amazing. The words wouldn't stop!

3. What is your next book project?
I am currently writing Emma's Secret - I've had so much reader interaction, discussions and input for this story - I can't wait till it's released!

4. What are your goals as a writer?
To write full time! I have children and I want to show them that it is possible to listen to your heart, follow your dreams and see them be successful!

5. What books have most influenced your life?
Too many to count. I love the Secret Key - have you read it? You should! I cried so hard.

6. What is your favorite Quote?
In the end, all things succumb to the passions of your heart. It's true!

7. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write. Just write. Don't worry about the 'rules' or the 'techniques' or even what other people are doing. Just write your heart story. Let it pour out of you until you can say it's done. Then do your homework. Take courses on writing craft, read books in your genre, read writing books, find some beta readers who are not family/friends and who will be honest with you. But first - just write! Everything else will fall into place. It's what I did with my first book - I just wrote - and then I won a publishing contest! If I can do it - so can you!

Author of the new heart wrenching story "Finding Emma", Steena is a woman who believes that 'in the end, everything the passions of your heart'. Steena's life revolves around her family, friends and fiction.
She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.
Her newest release - FINDING EMMA is a heart-wrenching story of when devotion borders on obsession, a mother must choose between her family and finding her missing daughter.
Reviews for Steena Holmes:
"Finding Emma is a heartbreaking story of a mother's journey of hope...captured by the emotion and depth of the characters from the beginning."
"FINDING EMMA may be the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming book I have ever read...Tense, emotional and realistic it will ring your emotions dry."

Steena Holmes
In the end all things succumb to the passions of your heart.

Please visit me at:
Come join the conversation on my Facebook Page:

Thank you so much for this interview Steena! I'm delighted!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sugar Crash by Elena Aitken

This is a story of a women name Darci whose daughter Taylor is diagnosed with diabetes. Darci is a single mother who works hard to provide her daughter with a good life and the reality of her daughter’s illness is hard for her to come to grips with. Taylor is a soccer player and she and her mother struggle with a women-once a friend-not accepting Taylor’s illness and wants her to step down from the team.

It’s truly amazing the prejudices and fear people have over diabetes. This story gives you a clear picture of what a person and their family goes through living with this disease.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Congrats to Two Lucky Winners!

Beth and Gianna are the winners of Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier! Congrats ladies!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview with Author Nancy Bilyeau

Who or What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve had wonderful teachers at different points in my life that encouraged me. First there was a third grade teacher who praised a report I wrote after a class field trip and mounted a sign on the wall: “Have You Heard of Nancy Bilyeau, the Famous Writer?” Then in high school my English teacher, Lorene Erickson, filled me with appreciation for good writing. After college I went on to work as a reporter and editor for various magazines, and although I’ve always been a total bookworm I didn’t think I was meant to write fiction. But then about seven years ago I was asked to join a novelist workshop run by an author named Rosemarie Santini. They had one person drop out and needed that fourth writer for the workshop to function properly. In the workshop I came up with my idea for my first novel, which became “The Crown.” I think the reason I wanted to switch over to fiction was a hungering to tell my own stories and create characters.

 Please tell us about your novel, The Crown.

It’s a historical thriller set in Tudor England, during the reign of King Henry VIII. My main character, Joanna Stafford, is a Dominican novice at Dartford Priory. She leaves her priory without permission to go to the execution of her cousin, a condemned rebel against the king. This decision triggers her arrest and puts her in the grasp of some of the most powerful and ruthless men of the kingdom, who force her to search for an object of mystical importance in her own priory, an object that they hope can halt the Reformation and destruction of the Catholic church.

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I wanted to tell the story of a strong, intelligent, resourceful woman who overcomes a great many obstacles in a time when many readers assume it would be especially difficult for an unmarried female to do that. I did extensive research of the lives of nuns in the late medieval and early modern age, and their independence and intellectual growth within the structure of the priory was impressive.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think I am good at balancing description and action. I try to use just the right detail to evoke a different place and time. Readers say they feel submerged in 1537, I take that as the finest of compliments.

What are your goals as a writer?

I want to tell stories that entertain and intrigue people. I’m always very grateful when readers say they were up late at night because they really wanted to know what would happen next. But I don’t want to create page turners just for the sake of that. I want to bring complicated characters to life.

6. What books have most influenced your life?

There are so many! I’d start with Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” and Norah Lofts’s “The Concubine” and Antonia Fraser’s “Mary, Queen of Scots.”  My other most cherished novels are “Persuasion,” “Anna Karenina,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Eight,” “Possession,” and “The Age of Innocence.”

What is your next book project?

I’ve finished a sequel to “The Crown” called “The Chalice.” It takes Joanna Stafford through 1538 and 1539 as she gets caught up in a frightening conspiracy while struggling to cope with life outside of the priory. Most of the main characters of “The Crown” are in it, along with a lot of new people, including historical figures such as TWO women who would marry Henry VIII.

What is your favorite quote?

 Sir Thomas More: “If any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.”

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read very deeply in the type of writing you enjoy most and consider workshops where you can share your work with other authors and get constructive feedback. You don’t have to do everything they say but it will help you know if you’re on the right track!


Nancy Bilyeau is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of "InStyle," "Rolling Stone," "Entertainment Weekly" and "Good Housekeeping." She is a native of the Midwest, born in Chicago with a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. She now lives in New York City with her husband and two children. "The Crown" took five years to research and write. It was published by Simon&Schuster's Touchstone in January 2012, by Orion Books in the U.K. in February 2012. It is also available in the Netherlands and Italy, and will appear in Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Poland by the end of the year.

Thank you Nancy for this lovely interview!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Interview with Author Kathleen Valentine

1. Please tell us about your book, "Ghost of a Beach Town in Winter."

It is actually a novella about a woman, Layla, who grew up in very humble circumstances and married a man from a wealthy family who is a college professor. She loves him but she knows she is way out of her league. Joel, her husband, aspires to be a writer and he accepts his uncle's offer to live at and run a motel and pub in a beach town through the off-season while he writes his book. Layla will run the pub, a job she is comfortable with, while Joel writes. But as the winter wears on strange things are happening. Layla is regaled with stories from the past by some old guys who hang out at the pub, Joel is struggling with writer's block, and a sexy, mysterious stranger is hanging around. As the winter deepens Layla feels like she is losing her bearings.

I also have a new full length novel which is due out by the end of this month called "Depraved Heart." It is romantic suspense set on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. A century ago a tycoon built a fabulous mansion called Hathor there but it has fallen into decline since a murder that happened there sixteen years ago. The dead man was Raven Silver, a magnificent ballet dancer who was quite the ladies man. Convicted of the depraved heart murder of his brother-in-law is Syd Jupiter, a former NFL running back and the husband of Raven's sister Rachel. After fifteen years in prison Syd is paroled and has returned to Hathor as the executor of the estate which has just been inherited by his teenage daughter. Syd hires Tempest Hobbs, an art curator who is also an empath to spend the summer there evaluating the art and help prepare the estate for sale.

2. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I grew up in a family of storytellers. From the time I was a little kid every time people got together they would start telling stories about things that happened when they were young, about the "Old Country", hunting stories, it was just endless. Both of my parents were avid readers who encouraged all eight of us to read. For me writing was just a natural next step from telling stories and reading. I always thought writing was about the best profession there is.

3. What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think my writing is very sensuous. People tell me all the time that they can smell, hear, taste, see the places and people I write about. I also think I'm good at creating characters you can relate to -- or dream about.

4. What books have most influenced your life?

"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway, without a doubt. From Lee I leaned how to make endearing characters that you can root for. From Hemingway I learned how to create a sense of place and how tiny details make prose ring true.

5. Who is your favorite author and why?

Hemingway for the reasons stated above. Daphne DuMaurier for her versatility and her fabulous sense of suspense. I also love James Lee Burke because he can create characters like nobody else. Some of his characters seem to walk right off the page.

6. What is your next book project?

I'm currently working on a book I call "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall." I've never written anything like this before -- it is a collection of 10 short stories and novellas all set in the same town and all featuring the same cast of characters so, even though each story stands alone, they read more like a novel. They are set in the fictional Pennsylvania Dutch community of Marienstadt. Some stories are funny, some sad, some romantic. Most of them involve a long kept secret. i am very, very much enjoying this book.

7. What is your favorite Quote?

I've had this tacked over my desk for decades: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

8. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read. Read, read, read, and read some more. Read different authors and genres. And pay attention. Observe details, listen to how people talk. Then start writing and don't stop.


 Kathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, She is the author of "Fry Bacon. Add Onions", a cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 3 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. Her blog at has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005.

She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport, and is writing every day.

Thank you Kathleen for this wonderful interview!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cynthia Haggards Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Congrats to Irene a member of Ladies & Literature for winning Thwarted Queen by Cynthia Haggard! Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun in the sixteenth century discovers her cousin is sentenced to burned at the stake at the orders of King Henry VIII. She leaves the priory to go to her cousin to show her support and she is arrested along with her father and they are sent to the Tower of London. Joanna is forced by Stephen Gardiner-a horrid man-to spy for him and to find a relic. He believes this relic, a crown is at the Dartford Priory where Joanna is a nun. She is sent back to Dartford along with two monks.

Joanna starts to unravel the history of the crown and as she discovers the mystery little by little things become very dangerous for her and the Priory. Who can she trust? Who can she turn to for help? Will she be able to save the Priory and the people she cares about including her fathers life?

This extraordinary, beautifully crafted story of mystery and intrigue held me into suspense to the very end leaving wanting more. I really enjoyed the historical details that Nancy included in this novel and the mystery surrounding the relic Joanna must find.

Historical Fiction at it's best!


Monday, April 9, 2012

White Heart by Sherry Jones

King Louis VIII has died and Queen Blanche de Castille has discovered disturbing news surrounding his death. Blanche's son becomes King and they face many enemies all around them who wants the crown for themselves. Who can they trust? Will Blanche be able to save her sons crown and their lives?

I haven't read a whole lot about Queen Blanche de Castille. Author Sherry Jones has sparked an interest in me to learn more about her. From what I read from this story. She was a beautiful and courageous women and that is rare during her time. White Heart is a wonderful and entertaining story! A must read!


Interview with Author Elena Aitken

1. Elena would you please tell us about your latest book Sugar Crush.

Thanks, Stephanie! I'm so excited about Sugar Crash. It's the story of a single mom, Darci who has always handled everything on her own. But when her twelve year old daughter, Taylor, is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she has to learn to open her heart and let others in.

I'm so excited about Sugar Crash because a lot of the events surrounding Taylor's diagnosis are based on the real life events of my good friend, Deb and her own journey with diabetes.

2. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

Obviously I want readers to gain a better understanding on diabetes. I feel that so often, diabetes is a very misunderstood disease and it doesn't get the recognition and attention that it needs in order to help find a cure.

But Sugar Crash is about so much more than diabetes. Besides educating people, my goal is always to entertain and it's my hope that readers relate to Darci's story and her journey to accept help from others. Too often, women particularly, feel like we need to do it all on our own. And that’s just not true! As a society we need to get better at asking for and accepting help.

3. What is your next book project?

Oh, I have so many projects percolating in my brain right now. There's just never enough time, it seems. BUT, my next book will be the second in the Castle Mountain Lodge Series. It will be set at a mountain lodge in the Canadian Rockies, the same as Unexpected Gifts, but will follow the story of two different characters. Although Andi and Colin will make an appearance in this next book as well.

4. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I started writing stories in elementary school and won some short story contests in high school. I took a break from writing after I graduated and didn't start up again until my twins were born in 2002. I tried my hand at writing a novel in 2005 and completely rediscovered my love for fiction again.

5. What are your goals as a writer?

My number one goal has always been to be able to reach someone with my stories. It's always my hope that someone can pick up my book and be totally immersed in the story that they don't want to put it down. But it's when I hear that my story touched them in someway or made them think, or even opened a dialogue with someone they care about, that I know I've achieved my goal.  It sounds crazy, but I'm always pleased to hear that I've made someone cry because it means I've done my job as an author.

6. What books have most influenced your life?

This is a very tough question. But I'd say the books that influenced me most were every book that I ever picked up as a child and couldn't put down. I devoured the Laura Ingels series, Babysitter's Club, Anne of Green Gables and Sweet Valley. They’re all very different books, but the one thing they had in common was their ability to totally transport me to that time and want to be in the story. To me, as a child, that was amazing. And I knew I wanted to be able to do that too.

7. Who is your favorite author and why?

Another super hard question. I don't know if I can answer this. I love so many books for so many reasons. BUT if I had to pick one it would be Diana Gabaldon because her books are truly amazing and she is a lovely and very giving person as well.

8. What is your favorite Quote?

"If you can dream it...DO it!" and "A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing." ~George Bernard Shaw.

9. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

If you want to write, WRITE! There are a million things that will get in your way...if you let them. Make time for what is important and put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and get it out. Write, write and then write some more.

Author Bio:

In no particular order, I am: a writer, a mother of twins, a swimmer, a wife, a volunteer, a runner, a friend, a triathlete, a daughter, a sister, a Brownie leader (recently retired), an auntie, a cyclist, employee and…

I’m trying to do it all and have it all because nobody said I couldn’t. And even if they did, I probably wouldn’t listen because I’m too busy.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since elementary school but although I always knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, instead I earned university degrees in Marketing and Psychology and writing got put on the back burner. After my twins were born I was buried in diaper changes, middle of the night feedings and mountains of laundry, so obviously it seemed like a logical time to start writing again. I guess it took me while to grow up.
I turned to non-fiction and became a regular contributor to local parenting magazines, published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, and a compilation by Seal Press. It wasn’t until 2005 that I tried my hand at writing fiction and wrote my first novel. It’s buried on my hard drive where it should be, and I’ve since written three more.

Elena Aitken

Thank you Elena for this wonderful interview. I'm currently reading Sugar Crash and I'm enjoying it very much.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview/Giveaway with Author David Pilling

1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been inclined to make up stories in my head and pen short stories and poems, though it wasn’t until about four years ago that I started taking writing seriously. So I would have to guess and say that the impulse to write probably stems from childhood: the first proper full-length novel I ever read was TH White’s ‘The Once and Future King; which is still the best version of the Arthurian legend I have ever read. I will have to credit Mr White (and possibly Tolkien as well) for my inspiration, then!

2. Please tell us about your novel, "Folville's Law."

Folville’s Law is my attempt at writing an old-fashioned adventure yarn in the style of Rafael Sabatini, George MacDonald Fraser and Patrick O’Brian, but set in the period I love best: the High Middle Ages. I wanted to present a taut, compelling story, but one that also depicted the nastiness and brutality of the time.

The narrative follows the adventures of a fictional knight named Sir John Swale, a rather tortured character who has to choose between his loyalty to a corrupt master, Hugh Despenser, and doing the right thing. His struggles take place against a general background of political decay and civil war, as Queen Isabella and her Flashman-esque lover, Roger Mortimer, prepare to invade England and usurp the reigning monarch, the rather hapless Edward II.

My inspiration for the novel derived from my reading about medieval outlaw gangs, the Folvilles and Coterels in particular. They reminded me Old West-style outlaws, but set in an earlier time period. Take away his sword and armour and replace them with a buckskin and a six-gun, and there would be little to distinguish Eustace Folville from Billy the Kid et al. 

3. How important do you think villians are in your story?

I tried not to have ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ as such: everyone is morally conflicted, and torn between virtue, ambition, and self-preservation. The major villain, however, is clearly Eustace Folville – and like all out-and-out villains, he was the most fun tow rite!

4. Out of all the characters you have created, who is your favorite and why?

I like Swale, but his ‘love’ interest Elizabeth Clinton was an interesting creation. She is a rich widow, and has had to learn to live by her wits in a world dominated by violent men. She’s tough, but not (I hope) in an unsubtle or unrealistic way.

5. How did you research the lives of the historical characters of your stories?

I have always been a hopeless history geek, so much of the background information was in my head anyway. I’m also lucky enough to have access to primary sources and academic texts via JSTOR, the DNB, the National Archives and other record offices and printed sources

6. What is your next book project?

‘Nowhere Was There Peace’ (provisional title), a novel set during the Second Baron’s Wars in England during the late 13th century. I’m about halfway through writing it!

7. What is your favorite quote?

‘Bon Besoigne Fait Qui Merde se Delivrer’ – ‘A man does well when he rids himself of filth’. Quoted by Edward I when he left Scotland after conquering it in 1296.

8. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Do your research, never, ever listen to naysayers unless their criticism is constructive, try to write at least 4-500 words a day, be polite and reasonable to everyone you encounter in the publishing business, and above all keep smiling.

David Pillings Website:

Author Bio:

David Pilling is 33 years old and currently works in the Library and Archive at the Tate Gallery in London. Previous jobs included stints at The Royal Opera House and The School of Oriental and African Studies.

He has been writing fiction and non-fiction on a freelance basis for the past three years, and many of his non-fictional articles have appeared in various regional and national UK publications.

His fiction is inspired by his love of historical and science fiction and authors such as George McDonald Fraser, George R.R.Martin and Bernard Cornwell.

E-book Giveaway- Folville's Law

Discription of Folvill's Law:

A novel set in the closing years of Edward II's reign, following the adventures of Sir John Swale, knight of Cumberland, as he investigates a murder in the Midlands that threatens to destabilize the kingdom. Along the way he meets a widow, Elizabeth Clinton, and makes an enemy of the ruthless outlaw Eustace Folville. Meanwhile, England is threatened by invasion and civil war, and it remains to be seen who will survive and who will perish in the brutal game of 14th century war and politics

This E-book is in form of PDF. The giveaway ends on April 20th and the winner will be announced on April 21st. If you have a Kindle and are the chosen winner please let us know.
Giveaway information:

1. Please leave a comment with your name and email address below in the comment area to enter the giveaway.

2. 5 points if you visit and like David Pillings website.
3. 5 points if you follow my blog @ Network Blogs

(If you are already a follower of Layered Pages you will automatically receive the bonus point.)

4. 5 points if you read and leave a comment on Author David Pillings interview on Layered Pages or
Ladies & Literature.

6. The winners will be announced on Layered Pages and by via email.
Thank you David for this wonderful interview and Giveaway!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

IndieBRAG Inc.

Who We Are is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The word “indie” refers to self or independently published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. By their nature, our readers are passionate about all books, but for the purposes of the service we provide, we focus exclusively on the work of self-published authors of print and digital books.

What We Do

Our mission is to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books. As such, we are constantly on the lookout for the work of talented men and women who have written indie books across a wide range of genres. Our primary focus is fiction, however, we selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

How We Do It

From the large and rapidly growing library of indie books that are available today, we select those that we believe deserve to be considered. These books are then read and evaluated by members drawn from our reader group. The readers judge the merits of the books based on our proprietary list of criteria. 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™, and along with other medallion recipients, it is presented on this website.

This is a company that I'm proud to be reviewing books for. Self-publishing authors please check us out. IndieBRAG Inc. just might be the company for you.


Discovering the Diamond by Helen Hollick and with Jo Field

This book is full of suggestions and examples of how to write a story, get published, to sell and promote your book. This this perfect for writers who are starting out.

For example, Helen shows how to write about third or first person correctly in a story, which I found very useful. She also gives her honest and critical opinion about self-publishing which we all need to hear.

She gives warnings about companies who are frauds and what to look for. Also, gives great advice on publishing E-books and so on.  Helen writes realistic, insightful, honest and sound advice which is refreshing.

As a book reviewer I found this useful for writing my reviews and for my own creative writing. This will be my go-to book for tips and such.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Book Review and Interview Coming Soon! 

New Historical Fiction Releases

It's a grand day for HF new releases! White Heart by Sherry Jones, Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn, The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas, and Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron. Congrats!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Finding Emma by Steena Holmes

What an emotional story of a women whose younger daughter has gone missing. Emma has been missing for two years and Meagan's life is falling apart all around her desperately wanting her daughter back. Will she find her? Does she save her family from falling apart? Read this story and find out!

Steena Holmes does a fabulous job with the character building and writing about the human condition these characters find themselves facing.

An intense, heart- wrenching story that will change you. I rated this book four star.


Interview with Author David Ross

1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

A: I have been writing since the age of nine, so an actual inspiration source is pretty hard to identify. Jumping ahead in my personal timeline, I remember reading a few pretty influential novels during high school - Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, Lord of the Flies, Catch 22 and others. These books were highly stimulating and sent me along the path to future writing efforts. In college (1972) I entered a creative writing program and had some valuable one-on-one tutoring. I was introduced to authors such as John Fowles and Thomas Pynchon. I was also reading Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, John Updike and others at the time. In my thirties and forties I did a lot of traveling, crossing the ocean (Atlantic and Pacific) more than 30 times during a ten year period. I visited over thirty countries - many more than once - which was also a huge influence on my writing. Overall, the answer is many faceted, but in short I think I was born to write and hardly remember a time when it did not feel natural putting pen to paper, so to speak.

2. Please tell us a little about your book, "The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans."

A: Ah, Fizzy Oceans, my dear friend! Fizzy is admittedly my alter ego. I think it is my best book to date, the book I have been trying to write for nearly 50 years, the one I always knew I had inside me that begged to come out. The novel spans centuries, reaching back into the past and also far into the future. It imagines a world where we can manifest our deepest dreams and longings instantly, where ideas (not money) are the currency in which we deal, where art and literature are highly treasured, where anything is possible. But it also imagines a physical world - our world - that is in danger of ecological collapse. Fizzy is a thinker, a traveler, an adventurer, an entrepreneur, an archivist. And she also thinks she has a few answers for what ails our world. Perhaps that is a bit presumptuous on my part, but I think that is ultimately a writer's privilege. Ideas are indeed our commerce, so I take the liberty of making some rather radical suggestions toward solving some of our most challenging problems. I think Fizzy is not only a girl for all seasons, but perhaps ahead of her time. And yet, her own alter ego, Amy Birkenstock, is very much a real girl in the real world with some of the very real (and very common) problems of our time. The book is hard to capsulize, but I think it comes together once the reader can suspend his commitment to the literal and plunge headlong into Fizzy's virtual (and quite metaphorical) world. The book took me three and a half years to write, and I am very, very proud of it.

3. Out of all the characters you have written created. Who is your favorite and why?

A: Obviously, Fizzy Oceans is near and dear to my heart. But I am also quite close to Doran Seeger in my Books XENOS and A WINTER GARDEN. He is a true seeker. Julian Crosby (CALICO PENNANTS) is a hapless and unlikely hero who finally musters the courage to salvage his life and his future. I value vision and courage. And there is one other as well: Hermes Hawthorne, a fifteen-year-old kid in my novel HOW HIGH THE WALL. Hermes is a real hero, and I really like genuine heroes.

4. What is your next book project?

A: Not sure. When I finished Fizzy Oceans a year an a half ago I was pretty convinced I would not write any more novels. I felt I had said it all, so to speak. But now I don't know. I'm tossing around an idea I had 13 years ago that came to me while visiting the Island of Karpathos in Greece. I met some people there who literally acted out what I thought might be a terrific novel. (Talk about a Greek chorus!) All these years I've been thinking about it, and now, just maybe...

5. What is your favorite quote?

A: I supppose I have hundreds, but at the moment one comes to mind. It was uttered by Mark Twain when he was asked about his reaction to a negative book review. He said, "Who am I to disagree with the critic?"

6. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

A: My advice to an aspiring authir is simple: try to write something true and unique and meaningful. Don't copy what others have done; it's hollow. Tell the truth - your truth - even if it seems risky. The reader always knows when he's being conned.

And thanks you so much, Stephanie, for allowing me the opportunity to connect with your readers and followers. Warm regards to all!

David A. Ross is a writer, editor and publisher. From 1984-1985 he was a columnist and contributing editor for Southwest Art Magazine. His novels include The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans, Sacrifice and the Sweet Life, A Winter Garden, Stones, Xenos, How High The Wall, Good Morning Corfu, and his award-winning first novel The Trouble with Paradise, republished by Open Books under the title Calico Pennants.

In addition to his career as a novelist, he was formerly the publisher of the small press Escape Media from 1992-2004. Currently he is the publisher of online literary and features journals including Moronic Ox Literary & Cultural Journal.

Thank you Daivd for this wonderful review!