Interview with Author Rachel Wade

I would like to introduce Author Rachel Wade, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for her book, “Amaranth.”

Thank you Rachel for your time, I would like to begin by asking you a few questions about your reading interests. What was the last truly great book you have read?


Thanks for having me, Stephanie. It’s an honor to be here. Oh, talking books is always so hard for me. It’s the same with movies. I can never pick just one. I’d say the most recent book I read that left a huge impression on me was Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, and I imagine I’ll read it again and again. The writing is witty and sharp, and Duroy’s character is so interesting.


When and where do you like to read?


On the couch next to the window, so I can gaze out in between pages. Preferably during the day, and especially when it’s raining.


What is your favorite literary genre and why?


Romance is definitely my favorite, followed closely by fantasy/science fiction. I love romance first and foremost because I’m a hopeless romantic, but I really just love exploring relationships and how/why we interact with one another the way we do. I love reading and writing about flawed people, or Young Adult romance, where that first love is always so exciting, intimidating, and fresh. I also love fantasy and science fiction because I’m a big geek. It’s so magical, the metaphors are powerful, and everything is so epic and beautiful.


What book is on your night stand now?


Jane Eyre and Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


What do you plan on reading next?


Tempting the Player (The Gamble Brothers, #2) by J. Lynn and Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet.


Please tell me about your book, “Amaranth.”


Sure. Amaranth is the first book in The Resistance Trilogy, a paranormal romance series. It’s about a young college student, Camille Hart, who struggles with an abusive past. She visits Paris for her birthday and runs into Gavin, a mysterious stranger, who she runs into again a few years later to find he’s not quite human. Before she knows it, she’s thrown into another realm and is in the middle of a war between witches and vampires. There is a resistance movement building on earth and in Amaranth involving vampires-turned-human held captive in exile, and vampires on earth who are out to end their curse. So the first book is basically about Camille’s introduction into that world and the decisions she needs to make if she wants to keep Gavin in her life.


How long did it take you to write your story?


To be honest, I don’t really remember. I know that from the time I developed the concept, put the outline together, wrote the story, revised, and went through the editing process, it was around two years total.


Who designed your book cover?


Robin Ludwig Design. She designs all of my covers and swag. You can find her at


Why did you self-publish?


I liked the idea of having full control over my art, and I believed that if people want to read your work, it will sell, and if it sells and you build a readership, then that is what defines success in the publishing industry—not which agents or publishers “approve” of your work. The readers are what matter. I believed that was the final goal: to build a readership, make a living off your art, and enjoy what you do, so I knew whichever route I took to achieve those things made no difference. Traditional publishing can offer great benefits as well. I published my poetry traditionally before I published my debut novel independently, so I’ve had a taste of both worlds. The indie path offered me the chance to pursue my publishing journey in a really fulfilling way, and that was very appealing to me as a new author.


How did you discover indieBRAG?


They approached me shortly after Amaranth released to inform me it had been selected to receive an honoree medallion. From there I discovered the community they work hard to build and have appreciated their passion and support for readers and indie writers ever since.


What is your next book project?


I’m currently finishing up Love and Relativity, my second contemporary/new adult romance (releasing 12/12/12), and then I’ll be focusing on my new science fiction series, The Keepers Trilogy, which will launch in 2013.


Will you submit it to indieBRAG?




What is your favorite quote?


This question is like the “what is your favorite book” question—impossible to answer! Haha. But I’ll go with, “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” ― Lloyd Alexander




We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Rachel Wade who is the author of, Amaranth, one of our medallion honorees at 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 Amaranth  merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Thank you!





Interview with Jo Ann Butler

I would like to introduce Author Jo Ann Butler, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for her novel, “Rebel Puritan.”

Thank you Jo Ann for your time. I would like to first ask you about your reading interests. What was the last truly great book you’ve read?

I just finished “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” by Jon Meacham, which will be published in November. I’m reviewing books for the Historical Novel Society, and one of the perks is seeing advance review copies. Meacham’s book is a thorough look at Jefferson’s life public and private life, and it is super!

What book are you currently reading?

I’m enjoying an advance copy of “The Plum Tree,” Ellen Marie Wiseman’s debut Holocaust story, and Daniel Defoe’s 1722 “Journal of the Plague Year,” about the bubonic plague epidemic which decimated London in 1665. I read “Plague Year” when I was researching “Rebel Puritan,” since Herodias Long survives an outbreak of plague. It’s also a great way to put the period’s language into my head as I prepare to publish “The Reputed Wife,” my “Rebel Puritan” sequel.

Where is your favorite reading spot in your home?

Reading in bed is even better than in the bathtub, and less hazardous if I let the book slip.

Which format do you prefer to read from? Paperback or e-book?

Paperback, definitely! I spend all day on the computer, so the last thing I want in the evening is to read on another screen. Plus, the book in my hands connects me to the story far better than words on the screen. I have hundreds of research books on PDF, but still prefer my hardcopies.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

The short answer: Herodias Long’s life led me to writing.

The long answer: actually, I wanted to be an archeologist from when I was seven. National Geographic ran an article about Pompeii, and I read the magazine to tatters. However, digs are tough on the knees and I had to quit, but not until after I’d worked on several sites and fallen in love with colonial America.

I channeled my interest in the period into genealogy, which led me to Herodias. She is notorious in Rhode Island for separating from two unsuitable husbands and for defending Quakers in Puritan Massachusetts. Herodias walked sixty miles to protest Quakers being whipped, and was herself flogged in Boston’s public square with her infant in her arms. That woman absolutely refused to sit down and shut up! That story was irresistible, so I decided to write a novel about Herodias. “Rebel Puritan” is my first creative writing project, though I sold some natural history articles while I was querying the mss.

Please tell me about your book, “Rebel Puritan.”

It depicts the coming of age of Herodias and of Rhode Island, the first colony to truly practice freedom of religion. Herodias marries when she is thirteen to escape servitude after the death of her father. She and her new husband arrive in Boston, Massachusetts when that Puritan colony is locked in a power struggle. Anne Hutchinson leads the minority party, which is ejected and flees southward. Herodias and her husband follow them to Newport, but her marriage is coming apart as her husband slides into alcohol and jealousy-fueled abuse. She petitions for a divorce, so the third theme in “Rebel Puritan” is women seeking control of their lives in a society which regards them as their husbands’ property.

What is some of the research that was involved for your story?

I’m from upstate NY, so I could easily get to Rhode Island’s archives and historical societies, and the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in Boston. I began my research in 1979, and the first time I went to the archives in Providence, they handed me the actual 17th-century record book. My hands were trembling as I turned the pages – very, very carefully!

My English research was done at the Mormon genealogical library in Salt Lake City, Utah. They have a vast worldwide collection, including 2.5 million rolls of microfilmed books and records.

Please tell me a little about the fictional aspects to your story?

Herodias laid out her life story in 1665 when she asked for a divorce from her second husband (they had been together for twenty years but never actually married, and she said it was weighing on her conscience). Her petition was my framework. I researched significant events in Herodias’ life, then picked out a birthplace and invented a family. Motivations, dialogue, and the minutiae of life are my creation, but most of the events in “Rebel Puritan” are real.

I read that a reviewer said your story was inspired by your 8th great-grandmother. Could you tell me a little about that?

Herodias’ second husband was George Gardner, and I am their 8th-great granddaughter via their eldest son. My grandmother was surnamed Gardner, so when my mom and I started doing our genealogy, Herodias and George were the first people we traced back to their immigration. Sadly, genealogists can’t find English parents for either one of them.

Women faced many hardships in the 17th Century. Were there any scenes you found a challenge to write?

John Hicks, Herodias’ first husband, was abusive, and their marriage was dissolved because of his violence. That was tough for me. I researched spousal abuse during the OJ Simpson trial, so the controlling ways of abusers and their promises to reform, but then backsliding, entered into “Rebel Puritan.” It hit me hard when Simpson was acquitted, because he got away with murder after Nicole had begged for help.

Who designed your book cover?

That would be me. I demolished the cardinal rules of self-publishing which advise hiring pros for editing and the cover because I have very good beta readers and confidence in my language skills, and also in my cover. One reader called it weird, but most people like it.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I tried the soul-killing traditional grind of queries, agents, and publishing houses for several years when the fiction market was contracting sharply. A bunch of agents & publishers looked at the mss and I got many compliments, but the consensus was, “This is very good, but we aren’t taking fiction. You should self-publish.” I had false starts, and putting the money down at a printer took a lot of nerve, but I couldn’t be prouder of the results.

How did you discover indieBRAG?

Helen Hollick blogged about IndieBRAG and had it on her Facebook page in May, 2012. I couldn’t resist giving it a try, and am terribly proud to see “Rebel Puritan” acknowledged! IndieBRAG is a great way to discover superior self-published books among the many thousands published each year.

What is your favorite quote?

Fortune Favors the Bold, by Virgil. I have the quote on my desk, and it popped up on a teabag label when I was making that final decision to go for it with “Rebel Puritan.” What an omen!

Thanks for hosting me, Stephanie – it is my pleasure! ~Jo Ann

Jo Ann’s Bio & Links:

I’m a baby boomer, born in the New York snow belt during the twelve nights between Christmas and Epiphany. If myth is true, my birth date destines me to become a werewolf (but I have shown no symptoms yet). Since then I’ve been a tomboy, bass clarinetist, archaeologist, amateur genealogist and historian, field ornithologist, and worked with handicapped children. I edited telephone books for a while, but turned down an editor job with Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich in favor of a job as a computer jockey in the aerospace industry. I am proudest of my current passion as an author-publisher of “Rebel Puritan” and its forthcoming sequel “The Reputed Wife.” For fun I camp, hike, and take far too many photos in our country’s beautiful public lands.

indieBRAGWe are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Jo Ann Butler who is the author of, Rebel Puritan, one of our medallion honorees at 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 Rebel Puritan merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Thank you!


Home by Richard Sutton

Science fiction was one of my first loves, and it was so wonderful to be able to delve back into my roots in this classic sci-fi adventure. Told through journal entries, we follow the struggles of a group of colonists on a new home planet.

I’m sure that I’m about to commit some kind of sci-fi blasphemy by likening Richard Sutton to Ray Bradbury, but it’s true. This is not so much a blockbuster nail-biter. It’s more about human nature at its best… and worst… and not strictly “human”. Reminiscent of the Martian Chronicles.

I did have an issue with too many ellipses. I completely understand that pauses are common, especially when there is a language barrier, but it became a distraction, and did not taper off even long after the languages should have been learned.

Even with the ellipses, however, the world building made the story worth it. It’s phenomenal! Sutton painted a picture of life on another planet, to the point of believablility. Awesome!

Lindsay Galloway
Review Team Member

Darcy’s Decision by Maria Grace

Having renewed my acquaintance with Jane Austen by rereading several of her masterworks including Pride and Prejudice in the last year, it was with joyful anticipation I began to read Maria Grace’s Darcy’s Decision. I was not disappointed! Grace’s delightful tour de force introduces the reader to Austen’s Darcy as he inherits Pemberley and works toward becoming its best master ever. I simply could not put it down. I found myself reading long into the night trying to figure out how Darcy would handle the most delicate matter concerning his young sister Georgiana. A quick glance at the chapter titles gives the reader a good idea of the challenges Darcy will face. Such chapter titles include: To Whom Much is Given; Bad Company corrupts Good Company; and Folly is Bound Up in the Heart of a Child.

The characters postively leap from the pages! They are alive and interesting. They are people the reader wants to get to know better.

Grace has an eye for detail and a knack for recreating Austen’s world. I heartily recommend her books to Austen fans everywhere! I am eagerly awaiting more in this series.
Author Michele Kallio
Review Team Member

Layered Pages Book Reviews

Wow! What a wild ride! When I was first asked to review Lost and Found, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Service Dogs? Kidnappings? Autism? Medical drama? I was a little concerned about how all of those were going to relate to one another, but my concerns were unfounded because once this story got rolling, I was completely swept away. Shojai melded all of these things together in a nearly seamless flow.

Written in third person, the narration alternates between different perspectives. The primary character, September Day, has a past that colors a lot of her decisions. Although details about her past were slow in coming, by the end of the story, her character really comes full circle, and I felt like I really understood her and her motivations as a character.

The secondary characters were well-rounded too. Officer Combs, a cop battered by undeserved scandal, added a great layer to the story without falling into the romance trap, which was really refreshing. The most refreshing thing, however, was the service dog Shadow’s perspective. I thought that it was really sweet & endearing, and it really did seem like how a dog would speak if they used words. Shojai’s knowledge of canines shines in Shadow’s narration.

The plot itself was full of tension, suspense and several nail-biting moments. All of the events felt believable but still held that “I can’t believe it” feeling. Two of the most intriguing aspects of the plot are the treatment & life of those with an autistic child and the German Shepard service dogs. I really appreciated how well she handled the autism aspect. It was tasteful and conveyed respect for those with autism and those who care for them.

If you are looking for suspense & crime drama with a twist, then Lost and Found is a read for you. 4 stars.

Beth Bulow
Review Team Member

Maria Grace’s novella The Future Mrs. Darcy is a variation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It introduces the readers to the Bennet family in a way that clarifies the character and foibles of the family. Grace has a knack for recreating Austen’s world and breathing life into her characters. The Future Mrs. Darcy is the second in THE GOOD PRINCIPLES series which is aptly named. I found myself reading long into the night to see how the Bennet family would deal the recalcitrant Lydia. While the storyline is different from Pride and Prejudice, Grace remains true to Austen’s creations. I found it quite fun to see favorite characters in a different story. I am looking forward to reading more in the series. I heartily recommend The Future Mrs. Darcy to Jane Austen fans everywhere.

Author Michele Kallio
Review Team Member

The Grave Blogger, Donna D. Fontenot’s first novel is a clever, fast paced and extremely twisted psychological thriller. Drawing on her upbringing in a cajun household in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the author was able to clearly capture the essence and flavor of small town life near a bayou. Cleverly intertwining her personal passions of computers and blogging, she has created a unique and realistic main character with a intriguing and unusual occupation.

Raya Landry, the main character is a freelance writer and professional blogger, who researches and investigates cold cases for true crime websites. While researching her newest cold case, Raya has a curious and disturbing flashback of a brutal and horrific slaying of an entire family. Discovering that she is the lone survivor, Raya embarks on a journey to solve the twenty year old homicide case, despite the possible risks of becoming the killers next target.

Overall the book was a fantastic page turner that was very hard to put down. The characters were believable, yet a bit quirky at the same time, which kept the reader wanting to know more.

Throughout the novel, each character was given its own voice and the reader was able to experience the world through their eyes. Especially fascinating is the killer’s perspective. The killer is extremely twisted, diabolical, and merciless – toying with the victims and psychologically torturing them, before ultimately ending their lives. As often is the case, the villain has the most disturbing and compelling role.

At the conclusion, the author leaves open the opportunity for a possible book two in the adventures of a true crime blogger. Looking forward to more novels from this impressive new author.  
Emily Pryer
Review Team Member

How I hadn’t heard about this book before now, I have no idea. Now I feel that it is my duty to let others know about it. This was an exciting story about survival in the most extreme circumstances.
Grace’s father is missing, and presumed dead. But she feels that he’s still out there somewhere. It just might take some time to find him in the thousands of acres of wild where he disappeared. Her years of wilderness training couldn’t be more useful.

My favorite part of this book is the writing style. S.R. Johannes has a unique voice which is carried through her characters. Each one, either hero or villain, is a perfect fit with their surroundings.
Each chapter begins with a survival skill, but as the book progresses, the tips become less wilderness safety, and more paranoid and defensive, giving clues to the direction of the story. There is certainly no lack of suspense. I could feel the puzzle pieces fitting together, each clue leading to the bigger picture.

So, help me spread the word! Untraceable is a great read! 4 Stars!!

Lindsay Galloway
Review Team Member

More reviews coming up tomorrow here on Layered Pages! Stay tuned!

Layered Pages

Interview with Author Helen Hollick


I would like to introduce Author Helen Hollick, winner of the BRAG Medallion.  She has  graciously taken time out of her busy schedule to give me the pleasure of a second interview.

Helen, I would like to begin by asking you about your reading interests. What was the last truly
great book you’ve read?

The last book I read from cover to cover without much of a pause was Elizabeth Chadwick’s Lady of the English. I was fascinated because, although I know a little about the war between Stephen and Matilda, I had absolutely no idea that Adeliza, widow of Henry I had even existed. It was a great thrill to read a beautifully written novel, and learn some accurate history at the same time.
Have you ever read a book and afterward wish you’d never read it?

Yes. I used to plod on, hoping that something would get better, but I now rarely continue reading books that have not grabbed my interest by page 50 – my sight isn’t so good and I have too big a “to be read” pile to waste time reading something that has not enticed me into the story. What is also disappointing is to read a good, exciting, novel only to find the end falls flat!

What were your favorite books as a child? 
Mostly pony stories. I so desperately wanted a pony of my own – reading about ponies was the next best thing. Jill’s Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson was always my favourite. I was given it as a birthday present (I think I was about 9) I still have the book (and I still enjoy reading it!)
What is on your night stand?
I am reading Jenny Barden’s debut novel Mistress of the Sea

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

This is an unfair question LOL! It’s like asking a mother which one of her children is her favourite! The Kingmaking is special because it was my first published novel; Harold the King (entitled I am the Chosen King in the US) is favourite because Harold is a hero of mine. The Forever Queen is special because that is the first of my books to hit the bestseller listings, and Sea Witch is a favourite because I put my soul into writing it.

So if I had to choose I’d pick…. Um….

I recently read, Sea Witch and enjoyed it very much! Please tell your audience a little about it.

Sea Witch is a blend of Sharpe meets Indiana Jones with a mix of Hornblower and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is the first of a pirate-based adventure fantasy series: with the fantasy being on the “plausible” side (as opposed to something magical like Harry Potter). I planned the series as an adventure romp at sea, with romance, action, a touch of mystery and a journey for my two main protagonists – Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his girlfriend/wife, Tiola.

Think of it as a sailor’s yarn – fun to write, fun to read.

I wrote Sea Witch because I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (and Jack Sparrow swept me off my feet). I wanted to read something that was similar, but all the sea stores were straight historical nautical fiction – Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forrester, Julian Stockwin. Great books, but there’s not much “romance” and no fantasy – Jack Aubrey and Hornblower are wonderful characters but they aren’t Jack Sparrow! I couldn’t find a “pirate fix”…. So I wrote one myself.


I was born and raised in Florida and we have lived near the ocean for over half of my life. So I have always been drawn to nautical theme stories for as long as I can remember. What sets your book apart from other novels with nautical themes?

As I said above – that element of fantasy. I know these are movies, not books, but Indiana Jones and Star Wars are fantasy adventure tales – no way can they be real. But they are exciting. I wanted to add the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again romance; I wanted Tiola to not be an ordinary girl – she is a white witch (in the sense of the Force in Star Wars, not magic as in Harry Potter). I wanted to incorporate some of the old myths – so we have Tethys, the spirit/goddess of the sea who also wants Jesamiah for herself. I wanted the ship – Sea Witch – to almost be alive. (Any sailor will tell you that a ship is alive!) I wanted to write something fun and exciting with a drop-dead gorgeous sexy rogue of a charmer for a hero, a female character to balance his masculinity and a story that kept you turning the pages to find out what trouble Jesamiah is going to find himself in next…. And how he gets himself out of the sticky situations.

What is some of the research that was involved to write your story?

For the straight historicals – the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, and the two Saxon books, I researched the periods and the events thoroughly, adding my own interpretation on the whys and wherefores of various events. For the Sea Witch Voyages I have researched the nautical details as well as I can, and the background historical events – but it is nice writing the rest of it because I can just make it up. And the wonderful thing about non-historical characters – they get to stay alive at the end of the book!

Who is your favorite/least favorite character in Sea Witch?
Oh Jesamiah. I absolutely adore him – the rogue. To me he is real, I hear him talk, catch one of his chuckles, am aware of him tutting in the background if I don’t get on with the next chapter. Talk about a bossy-boots captain! LOL

Least favourite? Hmm I don’t think I have a least favourite. I don’t like some of the characters because they are not very nice people (Jesamiah’s half-brother, Phillipe, for instance – or Edward Teach, Blackbeard himself – now he was a horrible person in fiction and in fact, but I enjoy writing these dastardly blackguards because they are fun to create!

Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to write your story?

Jack Sparrow, and the reality of pirates. I decided to research the reality of the Golden Age of Piracy after watching the P.O.C. movie – just how much was fiction, how much was fact? The events I uncovered were fascinating: the sinking of the Spanish treasure fleet off the coast of Florida in a storm, for instance. Eleven or so ships went down and sailors swarmed like flies to salvage the gold. One privateer, Henry Jennings, however, decided to wait for the Spanish to retrieve most of it, then raided their warehouse, coming away a rich man. What a wonderful plot for a story! Jesamiah Acorne introduced himself too me – and what if Jennings was not the brains behind the enterprise? What if it was my character….? And the idea for Sea Witch was born.

Will you be writing anymore novels with nautical themes?

I have plans to write at least six Sea Witch Voyages – possibly more. I also want to do a few “spin-off” adventure tales based on my Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner. Then I must write a third in the Saxon series – finishing off the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings…. Beyond that – who knows?

You won the B.R.A.G Medallion for Sea Witch. Could you tell us how you discovered indieBRAG?

Geri Clouston approached me with the idea because I am involved in reviewing indie and self-published historical fiction for the Historical Novel Society – I am the UK editor. I have also championed indie publishing for a few years now. For some writers self-publishing is the best, and only option. I happen to believe that indie novels can be every bit as good as – if not better at times – than traditionally published books. As long as the writer has the talent to write, and is prepared to produce the book to the highest standard and quality which means paying a professional editor and cover designer, and ensuring the book is produced and published to a high standard. To be good as a self-published author you have to think professional quality throughout.

The B.R.A.G. medallion project intends to award their “accolade” on only the better quality books – I hope the idea takes hold, because it is an excellent goal for Indie writers.

I must add the books that I had self-published with my previous UK company were poorly produced – the original edition of Sea Witch, for instance, was printed in Comic Sans and the first paragraph was centrally justified! The covers were very “self-published” in appearance and the overall quality rather poor. What a surprise that the company went bust and went out of business!

I am now with SilverWood Books UK, an assisted publishing company – and although there are still one or two missed typos (I swear that gremlins put them in after the final proof read) the books are of a superb standard in production. I have learnt from my errors though – I hope!

Helen, thank you so much for this lovely interview! It is always a pleasure to chat with you.

On the contrary – thank you

Helen’s Bio:

I live on the outskirts of NE London, England, close to Epping Forest with my husband and adult daughter – and a variety of pets. I have been passionate about books and writing all my life. My first employment was in a local library, where I discovered the history behind the legends of King Arthur, which eventually led to the writing of my Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, the first of my historical novels.

I have been Chair of the local Dyslexia Association and worked part-time as a School Librarian in a Special Needs school. I especially enjoy encouraging new writers to achieve their dream of writing a novel. My best advice? ‘To finish, you must first get started!’
I was first published by William Heinemann (Random House UK) but when my books were not to be re-printed I obtained the copyright and re-published with a small UK independent company as part of their even smaller mainstream imprint. The company recently closed, however, so rather than fall out of print again here in the UK I republished with an assisted publishing company, SilverWood Books, based in Bristol.
My Historical Fiction novels are also published in the US by Sourcebooks Inc and I was delighted to make the USA Today best seller list with The Forever Queen in the summer of 2011.
I have recently volunteered to become the UK editor for the Historical Novel Society Online Review section, with the ultimate aim of improving the standard of self published historical fiction novels.
I firmly support writers who decide to publish their books as either “self” or “independent”, as I feel too many excellent writers are being overlooked for various reasons. It must be emphasised, however, that to be taken seriously self published authors must produce their books to a professional standard. There is no reason why a self published novel cannot be as good as any mainstream book. Which means professional editing and production. This costs money, but quality is never cheap.
Author of
The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy
(the ‘what might have really happened’ story of King Arthur)
Published by Sourcebooks US
And Silverwood Books UK
A Hollow Crown (UK title) / The Forever Queen (US title)
Harold the King (UK title) / I am the Chosen King (US title)
(The first two books of a proposed trilogy regarding the people and events that led to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings – probably the most famous date in English history)
The Sea Witch Voyages:
Voyage One: Sea Witch
Voyage Two: Pirate Code
Voyage Three: Bring it Close
Pirate-based adventure with a touch of fantasy.
Hornblower meets Richard Sharpe and Indiana Jones – at sea
If you enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you will love these.



We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Helen Hollick who is the author of, Sea Witch, one of our medallion honorees at 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 Sea Witch merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

BRAG Medallion is owned and operated by indieBRAG LLC, a privaltaly held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. IndieBRAG’s mission is to recongnize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both in print and digital books.

For contact information please visit indieBRAG at You can also find indieBRAG on Facebook,!/Indiebrag , Twitter @IndieBRAG, & Goodreads

We also have a new and up-coming project that is under way. More information coming soon. Your single source for quality self-publishing books.

Thank you!


Review: The Cross and The Dragon by Kim Rendfeld

The Cross and The Dragon is a tale of love in an era where war and blood feuds plague Francia in 778. Alda is a willful fifteen year old who has fallen for Hruodland  a prince in the King’s court. With a vow of vengeance hanging in the air from Hrouland’s sworn enemy Ganelon, King Charles army invades Hispania. Alda wants to keep her beloved from harm, she gives him a charmed dragon amulet that she wears from her homeland. Can the amulet keep her beloved safe? Will Ganelon have his revenge on his enemy?
The Cross and The Dragon is the magical journey of love and war. The story is beautifully written, inspired by legend, and thoroughly researched, The Cross and The Dragon is a must read for all those who enjoy historical fiction. For those who normally wouldn’t pick up an historical fiction novel, The Cross and The Dragon is a fast read that will captivate the reader. The story is addictive and I found myself not wanting to put the story down. The strong characters found in Alda, Hroudland, and their families command attention and put you right into the heart of Francia and King Charles court. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the The Cross and The Dragon Rendfeld has created a historical fiction masterpiece. I look forward to reading the books that she writes in the future!
I am giving this book 4.5 stars!

Rachel Massaro
Review Team Member