Monday, April 30, 2012

Crab Cakes -- recipe

Birdie DeCoursey’s Killraven Island Crab Cakes

1         lb. Crab meat (more if crabs are plentiful)
2         eggs
2/3     cup corn meal ( or left over mashed potatoes)
1/4     cup milk
1/4     cup grated onion
½         cup grated green pepper
1         tsp. Salt
½        tsp Pepper
½         tsp curry powder* more if you like it spicey

In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and seasonings. Add onion, pepper, and corn meal, or mashed potatoes and mix well. Gently add in crab meat and shape into cakes about as big around as a water glass and half an inch or so thick. Drop into hot shortening and fry (turning only once) until golden brown.

Fry with plenty of shortening in a heavy iron skillet.

(*The Curry Powder is Birdey’s secret ingredient. Coursey gets it for her in  Baltimore and only her dearest friends know about this.)

Contributed by Arline Chase, author of The Drowned Land, a collection of short stories where Birdy made her first appearance,  and Killraven, a novel where  Hope Voeschell, a gentle young woman, falls in love with DeCoursey Rogers a violent man.... but when their island community encounters rape and murder, Coursey’s “eye-for-an-eye” reaction may cost him everything.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Catching UP!

Paper Books that went to press, or went to press again this week:

LAST STOP FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz

CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field



Thanks to a tip from author K.S. Brooks, we discovered that a number of e-books at had mysteriously changed themselves to "draft" or "not for sale" status. We did NOT un-list these books and have no idea why their status changed from "on sale." 

We have repaired the list below, but please check your listings at to see that everything that is supposed to be there, IS there.  E-books that went to press or back to press at this week:

FIRST WALTZ, by Terry L. White
ROUGH WATERS, by Gianni Devincent Hayes
HIDDEN GOLD OF MU, by Milton Brown
CATHARINE'S RING, by Elena Bowman
THE IMPOSTER, by Elena Bowman
NIGHT UNDONE, by K.S. Brooks
LUCIFER'S LEGION, by Gianni Devincent Hayes
FAILED SLAVE, by Dolly LaMar
REAP THE WHIRLWIND, by Josh Aterovis

Galleys that went out, or went out again this week:


NOOK Sales in March 2012

Nook sales for March topped  $260 for the month, with most titles selling 1 copy there. Nook is gaining in popularity, but the devices are still not as widespread as Kindle, the demand for Nook formatted titles is inevitably less, so their market share is still far smaller...

The following titles sold more than one copy for Nook:

A MEDIC IN IRAQ, by Cole Bolchoz
STARWOLF, by Warren Graffeo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maine Potato Candy -- recipe

Nina M. Osier’s “Writer Who Has a Day Job” Variation on Classic Maine Potato Candy for Busy People

Mix thoroughly:
2/3     cup mashed potatoes (without butter, salt, or anything else added)
2         pounds powdered sugar
1         large package shredded coconut
1         teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking pan, and spread mixture in it evenly.  Then melt in a quart-sized microwave-proof bowl (or on the stove in a double boiler) 1 large package of semisweet chocolate chips, with 1 stick of butter or margarine.  Spread evenly over the potato mixture, and then chill for about 15 minutes.  “Mark” the chocolate (which hardens quickly) with a knife so you can cut it more easily later.  Chill until firm, several hours at least, before cutting into small pieces (these are very rich!).  Keep refrigerated until ready to use, and refrigerate the uneaten pieces if you have any…but you won’t.

Contributed by Nina M. Osier, author of Second Chances, Interphase, the Epic Award winning Regs, and the High Places series...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Question from the e-mail:  I write fiction. People in my writers' group keep telling me I have anachronisms and need to do more research. Why? If I'm going to make it up, why do I have to spend hours LOOKING it up???

Answer: Someone once told me they couldn't understand why I wrote fiction, because "it was nothing but lies anyway."  This is true. No less an authority than William Faulkner said, "All fiction writers are liars and the best ones tell the best lies."

So it's important to tell a good lie.  If you don't do the research, your work can be full of anachronisms  that will take the reader right out of your story into her present saying, "What???"

As John Gardiner said, our job as a writer is to create a dream world for your reader and not to allow anything to wake them up. Don’t break the dream by getting things out of place. You must make that dream world real and free of anachronisms or other “wake up calls” as possible. Don’t put up Christmas trees in July without an explanation.

I once paid an obscene amount of money to attend a conference where Jean Auel (Clan of the Cave Bear) was scheduled to speak. She said, "The way to become a good writer was to keep writing. It's hard work, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. There is no substitute for practice." I reviewed my own experience and felt it was considerable, as she proceeded to say that research, too, was important.  Just when I was wondering how one could research cave dwellers -- no books back then --she sat down and proved research was important by knapping a perfect Folsom point out of flint.

That's when I realized why her scenes of cave life were so realistic. She really knew how they did things.

I agree with her about practicing your craft. There's no real substitute for doing the work. But research, too, can be important.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dandelion Wine -- Recipe

Mary Cox-Bilz’s Dandelion Wine

1     ga1lon Boiling water
2     qt. Dandelion blossoms
3     lb Sugar
1      Lemon; thinly sliced
1     tbsp Good yeast (If using powdered yeast, mix 1 pkg. in half a cup of lukewarm water before adding to the pot and do NOT add it until after pot cools to lukewarm.

Put blossoms in a large kettle and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 1 hour. Strain, add sugar to liquid, boil a little and skim. Allow to Cool.

When lukewarm, add lemon and yeast. Let stand 24 hours, then strain and put into sterilized clean Mason Jars or wine jugs, filling full as it’s working (with some room at the top) until only the impurities (lemon, etc.) are left in the bottom of the pot. The wine will be a beautiful pale gold color.

(In making this wine, be careful to keep all stems out, as they make the  wine taste rank and give it a dark color). Seal tightly.

Contributor’s Note:
  Since I’m quadriplegic, I’ll get my sister Donna or my niece Jennifer to pick the dandelions. Then my Mom or Dad will do the thing with the boiling water, sugar,  and Mason Jars. Then if it turns out well, I’ll just smile and say, “It’s my recipe!”

Contributed by Mary Cox-Bilz, author of Letters in my Casket

Monday, April 23, 2012 and the anti-trust suit

I have seen many, many, many articles accusing of "ruining" the publishing industry and implying that the Justice Department is after them in an anti-trust lawsuit that is making on-going news.

Recently the NY TIMES (who should know better) posted yet another such inaccurate article. Someone with actual knowledge of the e-book industry dissected it and if you want to see what they said, click here:

For those who want to know the facts:

1. Nobody is suing! Anti-trust means the company is cheating their customers.

2. The Justice Department filed the price-fixing anti-trust lawsuit against the Big 6 paper publishers and the Apple computer corporation, not against

3. Amazon sets prices on the books that they sell. This is Big News?  Every retailer in the country sets prices on the goods they sell. Some offer discounts. :) Customers like discounts.

4. Amazon sold books from the Big six at $9.99 instead of the $15.99 the paper publishers set as their LIST price.  Okay, they discounted the suggested retail price. Nobody gets sued for giving the customer a price break. This means they will clear less money per copy on the discounted books, but that they will likely sell more copies. THIS MEANS THE PUBLISHERS WILL SELL MORE COPIES AND MAKE MORE MONEY. High sales and benefit to the consumer are, and always have been, an Amazon business policy.

5. Each e-book sales site pays the publisher and author whatever percentage of the list price they choose. Some pay as little as 15%. Publishers and authors can decide whether they want to sell through sites like that and take that company's price or not. NOBODY forces them to sell for lower profits. They can CHOOSE NOT to sell there. The choice is theirs, but they should also remember that selling more books is a desirable outcome for publishers and if the percentage is less, the remuneration from those low-percentage sales will still be more than zero.

6. Before Kindle was ever released --we know because at that time we were selling books on, an Amazon company -- Amazon learned that another sales site was paying publishers 70% while they paid 35%. Publishers were linking to the other sales site and sending customers there to buy, and why not? They would make double the earnings per sale if customers went to the higher paying site to buy instead of one that paid less.  Amazon's response to this little-known-fact was to immediately raise their royalty percentage to 70% to meet the competition.

Bottom line: Amazon pays more per sale to publishers and authors. Amazon sets prices that give their customers a price break.  HOW DOES THAT MAKE THEM THE BAD GUY???

Friday, April 20, 2012

Catching UP!

Print Books that went to press, or back to press this week:

CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field

LAST STOP FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz

Missing Market Listings, or reformatted e-book listings repaired and uploaded this week:

FIRST WALTZ, by Terry L. White
GHOST AT STALLION'S GATE, by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
ROUGH WATERS, by Gianni Devincent Hayes
HIDDEN GOLD OF MU, by Milton Brown
SNOW ESCAPE, by Roberta Goodman
LUCIFER'S LEGION by Gianni Devincent Hayes
YOUR PLACE OR MINE, by Lynette Hampton
THE WRITE HONOR, by Anna Dynowski

Galleys that went out this week:

LAST STOP FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz
CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field

Editorial Work began or continued on the following:

DRAGON SPEAKER, by Raye Morand
CONSORTIUM, by Steven Clark Bradley
TERROR REIGNS, by Amanda Cross

Our best selling paper book for March was GOOD FRIDAYS, by Diane Marquette.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Full Circle -- writing tip

Question: I had a call from one of those tiny magazines they give away in real estate offices. They asked me to do a regular monthly feature for them on "something humorous about houses or housekeeping..." They said I could pick anything I wanted, as long as it comes "full circle and is less than 2000 words long. I can do them ahead, too. turn in two or three and in a couple of months, a few more. Sounds great, except that I have no idea what "full circle" means. What now?

Answer: Such a regular column is always nice and it certainly enlivens your writing resume, to say I was a featured columnist for Tidewater Times or whatever they call the one where you live.

Years ago when I wrote four articles a month for a small hospital weekly giveaway called Healthways, the editor, who was fairly easy to work with, liked the idea of “disease of the week with humor." I could turn them out in 15 minutes and got $25 each — half my van payment at the time. Still, now and then he’d call and say, “I can’t use the one on ____, it doesn’t come full circle.”

Neophyte that I was, I was ashamed to admit I didn’t know what he meant and scoured books on writing to no avail. I’d send him the ordered rewrite and sometimes that was okay and sometimes he’d just call and say, “try something else.” I just didn’t get it.

Finally, one day after I had wailed, “I did the best I could” in his ear for the 20th time, I took a big gulp and admitted I didn’t know what “full circle” meant. Surprise, it was that the end, or conclusory paragraph should be tied to the lead, summing up or reiterating the point.

Any fan of Andy Rooney should recognize the technique. He was a master at coming full circle.

Such a simple little thing, and it seemed so clear once he had explained it. Yet the only writing text I’ve ever seen that describes the technique is the Writer’s Digest articles course, and even it doesn’t use the term “full circle.” Yet many editors have used it to me over the years, especially when dealing with personal experience, opinion, or humor pieces.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stale Bagel Pancakes

Stale Bagel Pancakes

6 to 8 crumbed bagels (4 cups), soak until they are soft.
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
½ Teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fine chopped apples
1/4 cup raisins
Pinch of salt

Or make Vegetable Bagel Pancakes

Add 1 ½ cups of any chopped vegetables like zucchini, potatoes, carrots, or whatever, instead of the apples.

The mixture should be moist. Mix all the ingredients, let stand for 20 minutes. Place mixture in a greased baking pan, and bake in a preheated 400-F or 204-C degree oven.
For a variation form into any size patties, fry patties in 2 tablespoons of oil.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Advice about distributor sites -- writing tip

Question: Does anyone know how to get books listed for Amazon's Kindle? If so, please contact Elaine at the Writers Bloc and let her know.

Answer: Dear Elaine,

The Secretary asked that we pass along e-book venue and Kindle sales info to you.

All the books I have personally written are available on Kindle. Amazon also offers a free author's page that is an excellent tool for self-promotion.

Most of the books my company publishes are available on Kindle as well. The exceptions are books with lots of illustrations and/or color pix, as pictures do not convert well to Kindle format. Yes, it's possible to convert files with pix, but it is far from easy.

If an author has a publisher, even a small publisher like Write Words, Inc., it is the publisher's duty to get the book files available not only at Kindle, but at as many other e-book sales venues as they believe prudent. It is also the publisher's business to supply an ISBN (they are publisher-specific) and to list the title with Bowker's Books in Print.

If an author is self-published through Create-Space, the book will automatically be listed at Bowker and at Kindle with a CS ISBN, but not at any of the other e-book sites, like Nook. You can choose their wide-distribution package and it will also be listed at the wider range of sites, but that service costs money.

Any self-published author can contact Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Fictionwise through their Authors & Publishers sign-up links to list their books for sale on the site.

Amazon and FW require an ISBN. (Available for sale to any publisher from Bowker.) Nook doesn't even require that. Some people complain that they never get paid, because most of the sales venues won't do a fund transfer until the amount is $25 or more. SOME European sites require a $200 or more to accumulate before transfer.

You DO have to give them your bank account number so they can deposit the royalty money directly into your account. SOME people are reluctant to do that and pass along harrowing tales about Internet INsecurity, but we've been doing it for 10 years and never had a problem with bank information security at sales venues (Knock Wood). OR with on-time payment due to us.

Watch out for the new Amazon KDP SELECT sales promotional plan. They require an exclusive listing of titles for the first three months. THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T LIST IT FOR SALE ANYWHERE ELSE for 90 days. I have heard folks advice others to ignor this, but please, they really, really mean it! I always choose not to use that option, and just list my books everywhere all at one time.

Amazon can, AND WILL, remove all your listed titles from sale on if you sign up for KDP SELECT and then make the books available elsewhere during the initial 90 days. So it's important not to sign up for this option unless you follow the rules and keep track of the time.

There are other sites that will "distribute" or list your book for sale at "all the big venues" as well as their own and collect your money for you. They advertise themselves as a "one-stop" distribution plan for the self-published," BUT they require money from you to opt into the plan and will charge you a listing fees for every title they handle, whether you sell any copies to readers or not.

My company has no direct experience with any of them, but I know one author who received a bill for $72 for listing her six books there for one year, when she had not sold ONE copy of any title anywhere.

To me, charging a listing fee, indicates that a site is in business to make money from authors, not from e-book sales. My company does not do business with any site that asks for up-front payment from publishers or authors.

MOST e-book readers will buy regularly from the site that sells the format they need. Kindle owners buy from Nook owners buy from Barnes & Noble. Being listed at one site or from your own web-site, will not reach those people who shop only at the site where files for their brand of device are sold.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Catching UP!

All the data entry is done, checks are written (despite the arthritis) and in the mail. Well done, authors! Congrats to all who had sales.

Print books that went to press, or back to press this week:

SNOW ESCAPE by Roberta Goodman

Galleys that went out, or went out again this week:

LAST STOP FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz

Doesn't look like much, does it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Sense of Humor is Needed -- writing tip

Question: Thanks for the answer on leads. I decided to do a profile on my own and try to sell it to the paper, or maybe a local magazine. A city councilman I know has been under fire recently and I thought I'd give him a chance to discuss his side of the story with someone who would listen. I said it was free-lance, but might appear in the paper where my other stories show up regularly. But he refused to talk to me, saying I wasn't a "real reporter." He was laughing, but I didn't think it was funny.

Answer: No. If the paper didn't assign the interview, then you were certainly doing it "free-lance" and could publish the information anywhere. Clearly, your guy was too distrustful to take advantage of telling "his side" to you. Can't think why your regular paper wouldn't snap it up, if he had talked to you, though. Enterprising a story always makes a stringer look good.

Still, your guy is under fire and figures he can't trust anyone not to twist his words. It won't be the last time someone says, "No." Or the last time someone laughs at you, either.

Fools, and writers, rush in where angels fear to tread. Seriously, you are a warm, articulate, interesting, and intelligent woman. Why wouldn’t anyone reasonable person want to talk with you? When I was a reporter, my "radar" would have warned me he had plenty to hide. Even so, it is not necessary to believe what someone tells you to write down that they have said it.

Sometimes people do laugh, but that’s not fatal. I admit I was a little nervous the first time I had to cover a political figure. This was when I was at the newspaper and Mike Castle, then the governor of Delaware, called a lunchtime press conference at a yacht club in Seaford. Subject: Ecology. In my town the Yacht Club is a truly classy place, so I acted based on that.

I was just a tad nervous since I hadn’t ever covered Castle before, so I dressed carefully, in neat low heels, a business suit with a straight skirt, and a neat white blouse, picturing a restaurant with white linen napkins, windows overlooking a sparkling, two mile stretch of blue river, and a nice wine list.

I knew I was in trouble when the Governor of Delaware showed up in Reeboks and a “Greenpeace” t-shirt. We stood outside in a parking lot next to a murky, green, stream overhung with shade trees, to sign in. There was a door prize and the lucky journalist who won, got an exclusive interview with the gov, one on one. Naturally I signed up. Lucky me, I won!

Now the gov wanted to demonstrate personally how the state had cleaned up the environment along the Nanticoke River, at that point about 30 feet wide. He proceeded to do that by conducting our interview in a canoe, which he paddled handily down the dusky stream.

I am a large lady. Picture me, in my tight skirt and heels stepping down into a canoe with the gov. Lucky him, it remained upright, though his end of the craft rose considerably higher than my own. Picture me sitting, chin on my knees, pad and pencil in hand, trying to ask questions while he paddled us down a river the color of old tea, that smelled faintly of wet moss and teflon from the DuPont plastics plant.

I won’t even comment on my exit from the canoe, except to say that I did not arrive back at the newsroom as dry, or as pristine, as I left it. Though the notes were a bit soggy. I had my story and the AP picked it up, so it was my first wire feature and looked good on my resume. As long as you get the information, nothing else is really important.

Now you have an idea for a good story. Talk to your editor about the idea. He might want to call the city councilman and set up the interview. The guy might change his mind if he got a call from the editor, even if he still says no, his opinion of you would change.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grapeful Chicken Recipe

Beverly Jennings’s Grapeful Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed mushroom soup
1 large can French-style string beans
1 package slivered almonds
Large bunch of seedless white grapes (approx ½ pound)

Saute chicken breasts until almost done. Cover bottom of a casserole dish with half a can of mushroom soup. Add layer of white grapes. Add string beans. Add slivered almonds, layering them over the string beans. Add chicken breasts to top of mixture. Add remaining mushroom soup. Cover and bake approximately thirty minutes or until chicken is done and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve over steamed rice. Yield four servings.

Contributed by Beverly Jennings, author of When the Jay Bird Sings...The Savannah River winds its way through When the Jaybird Sings, bringing to five-year-old Maria, ships from far away and forbidden adventure, even the hint of ghosts. Maria comes to terms with a frightful looking one-eyed grandmother, discovers the marvels of the early Twentieth Century and enjoys a rollicking family life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stronger leads?--writing tip

Question from the e-mail: I've been stringing for the local newspaper, as you suggested and it's been going well so far. At least they pay me promptly and run everything I give them, but...the editor says my "leads are weak." Any idea how I can write stronger ones?

Answer: The lead is designed to catch the interest of the readers while filling them in on who? where? when? etc. If the lead has enough of a "catch" you can put the who, when and where elements in the second paragraph. Humor is good. You can get a bit whimsical with them, but never snide, or sarcastic.

For instance, if you were assigned to cover the local flower show held last Sunday, April 1, a simple lead might be: "The Green Thumbs Garden Club sponsored the flower show held under a bright spring sun after services last Sunday at St. Paul's United Methodist Church Parking lot." This lead will explain what the article is about and will gratify each and every member of the Green Thumbs And St. Pauls. It might be a good lead in your town, especially if the members are many and socially prominent. You would accompany it with digital color photos as well.

The article would then go on to describe the many plants, mention that starter plants had been for sale as a fundraiser for the community garden at the Senior Apartment complex, and list the winners in each division's competition, making sure their names were spelled correctly and connecting them where appropriate to well-known local people. Local subscribers love to see their names or the names of people they know in the paper in good contexts.

"Marjorie Pollen, the wife of our popular Mayor Herbert Pollen, won first prize in the table center piece division for her arrangement of honeysuckle and daffodils."

This is a feature piece, for color. Remember it's not "hard news."

Other possible leads might be Spring Bloomed Brightly on Easter Sunday. Or Green Thumbs-Up for Easter! Either of those would catch the eye of readers and the original lead would become paragraph two.

My all time best lead was, "Carl Tauber died three times on Christmas Eve and lived to tell about it." The second paragraph explained how the newly-implemented, city-based paramedic service had saved his life and went on to point out how lucky he was he didn't live 500 yards down the street in the county, where he'd have died once and stayed dead.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ginger Cookies - Recipe

Brenda Boldin’s Ginger Cookies

2 cups self rising flour
(OR 2c. flour, 1tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. salt)
1 tsp. ginger
11/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
½ cup molasses
1 egg yolk

Mix sugar and shortening; add molasses and egg yolk. Sir in dry ingredients. Roll on lightly floured surface, 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheets at 350-F or 177-C degrees for 10 minutes.

Cool before removing from cookie sheet.
Makes approx. 30 cookies.

Contributed by Brenda Boldin, author of the Alex Masters Series, Dead Birds Don’t Sing, Jailbird, and A Bird by Any Other Name...Alex Masters is back, calling herself “Lexi” now, and working a real job in her brother’s software company. Money disappears, disks go missing, then a dead body turns up, and once again Alex/Lexi is suspect Number One.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Catching UP! and Contest Information!

Still working on data entry for quarterly payment to authors.

No books went to press:

No galleys went out:

But here's some news about a contest:

CONTEST: Best Indie Books of 2012

Time for The Kindle Book Review's biggest contest EVER.
We want to find the best independent and small press Kindle books published between April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2012. If you think your book has what it takes, submit today! We are giving away up to $2,100 worth of prizes including cash, ebooks, advertising packages, and a Kindle Fire!

What's at stake? The six winners will receive $100 cash each and an advertising package with The Kindle Book Review. The categories are (Fiction Only):
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Romance
  • Suspense/Horror
  • Literary Fiction
  • Sci-fi/Fantasy
  • YA
Readers can win too! We will give away a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner, loaded with some of the very best indie books out there. This is the "Reader's Grand Prize Package". Readers can register to win a FREE Kindle Fire and free books. We are also giving away kindle books every week at random to readers who register! All other prizes will be awarded on October 1, 2012.

Register Now!
Authors Register Here($15 entry fee)
Readers Register Here(free)

Contest Rules and Conditions for Authors:
We will NOT accept more than one (1) entry per author, so send your very best work. We will stop accepting submissions on May 15, 2012.

Who can enter? Any independent or small press author who has published a novel (fiction only) in the Kindle store between April 15, 2011 and April 15, 2012. Entries must fit into one of the five categories listed above. We do not accept erotica.

How to enter?
There are Only 2 steps to enter.
1.) Fill out the registration form here.
2.) Pay $15 registration fee upon completing registration form.
Easy as pie!

IMPORTANT: We can NOT accept Smashwords coupon codes. We can NOT accept .doc files, or gifted books. We only accept the following kindle formats: AZW, MOBI, PRC, GIF, and PNG. If you need to covert your file to a MOBI (Kindle format) click HERE (works best with no page numbers and headers in file). We will give away one copy of the semi-finalist's, finalist's, and winner's books in the "Reader's Grand Prize Package" and with weekly "giveaways".

How does the contest work?
~ We will pre-screen all books.
~ Our screeners will read your book until they are either turned on or turned off.
~ If you hook us, we will enter your book in the semi-finals, and pass your book on to the judges.
~ We will post semi-finalists on July 1, 2012.
~ If our judges do not think your book is one of the top books of the 2012, they may stop reading.
~ Our judges will choose 5 finalists in each genre. The five finalists will be posted on September 1, 2012
~ We will announce the "Grand Prize Winners" of each genre on October 1, 2012. Grand prize winners will receive $100 cash, a free Twitterlicious Social Media Buzz and a one month Sponsorship ad.

What are we looking for?
~We are simply looking for the very best indie books out there. We are judging quality of writing, quality of plot, and quality of ebook formatting (a complete professional product). If you want to be a winner, you must grab our attention and keep it from the beginning. If you do not hook us, we will close your book. We are NOT looking for mediocrity. We are looking for the very best, as subjective as that is. We are doing this for fun and so that you can have bragging rights. Each book that passes the screening process will be judged by a lover of the genre. We will honor all semi-finalists (anyone who passes the pre-screening process), and the finalists with a special post and a bunch of tweets. And you can add your title (i.e. "Winner" or "Semi-Finalist" or "Finalist"in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Books of 2012) on your Kindle book page!

What not to do:
Do not email us and inquire about your status/results. We will not respond to inquiries.
Do not send doc files, jpg, pdf or any unformatted Kindle files.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mary Cox-Bilz’s Dandelion Wine

1 gallon Boiling water
2 qt. Dandelion blossoms
3 lb Sugar
1 Lemon; thinly sliced
1 tbsp Good yeast (If using powdered yeast, mix 1 pkg. in half a cup of lukewarm water before adding to the pot and do NOT add it until after pot cools to lukewarm.

Put blossoms in a large kettle and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 1 hour. Strain, add sugar to liquid, boil a little and skim. Allow to Cool.

When lukewarm, add lemon and yeast. Let stand 24 hours, then strain and put into sterilized clean Mason Jars or wine jugs, filling full as it’s working (with some room at the top) until only the impurities (lemon, etc.) are left in the bottom of the pot. The wine will be a beautiful pale gold color.

(In making this wine, be careful to keep all stems out, as they make the wine taste rank and give it a dark color). Seal tightly.

Contributor’s Note: Since I’m quadriplegic, I’ll get my sister Donna or my niece Jennifer to pick the dandelions. Then my Mom or Dad will do the thing with the boiling water, sugar, and Mason Jars. Then if it turns out well, I’ll just smile and say, “It’s my recipe!”

Contributed by Mary Cox-Bilz, author of At the Gate Called Beautiful, the story of Jesus's miracles...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beef and Vegetable Rolls - recipe

Ray Morand’s Beef and Vegetable Rolls
(Gyuhire yasai maki)

1 medium carrot
4 oz asparagus
4 oz French beans
12 oz prime beef, sliced paper thin
Cornstarch or potato flour
Vegetable oil
(Alternative: green onions instead of asparagus)

1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Water
1 Tbsp. Sake
1 Tbsp. Mirin
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

Scrape the carrot and cut into long narrow strips. Trim the asparagus. Top and tail the beans. Parboil the vegetable separately in lightly salted water until just tender. Drain immediately and refresh in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Lay half the meat slices side by side with edges overlaying to form a sheet. Press overlapping sections so they stick and brush with cornstarch. (Alternative, marinate meat in sauce for ½ hour)

Lay a few strips of each vegetable at one end and roll up firmly. Tie securely with white cotton string. Repeat with remaining meat and vegetables. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Put a little oil into a frying pan and heat over high heat. Add the rolls and sauté until lightly brown.

Pour the sauce over the rolls and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer over a low heat for five minutes, until the beef is tender and well flavored. Cut the strings and slice the rolls into 1-inch rounds. Arrange on individual serving dishes and spoon over a little sauce. Arrange on porcelain dish and garnish with parsley.

Contributed by Ray Morand, author of The Red Knight Chronicles

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What is "tension?" -- writing tip

Question: An agent returned my manuscript and said I need "more tension." Any idea what she means by that?

Answer: The term tension, in fiction writing, has to do with the amount of stake the reader has in your characters. The more the reader cares what happens to your protagonist, the more tension there is.

I know I sound like a broken record here, about the motivation thing, but Good Motivation can and does increase tension. Agents have said (to me) that a manuscript with middle sag "lacks tension." If the first turning point is resolved and we're building toward the crisis, but nothing much is going on right then, tension can be increased by inserting action that magnifies the danger to the hero or heroine. And any scene that makes it look like the protagonist is in danger of losing what he or she wants in the story can increase tension.

Anything the reader can identify with that hurts or embarrasses the character can increase tension as well. In one of Dick Francis's titles, his hero, Sid Halley, has lost the use of his hand. He is embarrassed that he can't cut up his food at a formal dinner with his ex-wife, who makes fun of his handicap. That kind of scene can increase tension.

And in Francis's book, he slid the clues to the real killer right into the dinner conversation while I was so distracted I missed them completely.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wild Rice Casserole -- Recipe

Carlene Dater’s Wild Rice Casserole

1 cup wild rice
½ lb. fresh or 2 cans mushrooms
¾ cup butter
3 Tbsp. grated onion
3 cups chicken broth

Soak and wash rice 3 or 4 times in boiling water till rice opens up. Slice fresh mushrooms. Brown rice in butter; add remaining ingredients except broth. Put into buttered 2 ½ quart casserole. Add broth. Cover and bake at 350-F or 177-C for about 1 ½ or 2 hours. Takes a while, but well worth it.

Recipe from Carlene Dater, author of THE COLORS OF DEATH and EXTRA PAIR OF EYES.