It’s another installment of Self-Published Saturday, as my goal is to share with you as many Indie books as I can, and I hope that you share them with others. Remember to push those Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter buttons and help these Indie authors show their books to the world. The next feature is an amazing book of stories, photos, and historical facts about Transylvania, written by Patricia Furstenberg.
Transylvania’s History A to Z by Patricia Furstenberg is a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends about Transylvania, Romania. Each historical fact is accompanied by a photo and a 100- word story arranged in alphabetical fashion. It is a fantastic way to learn more about Transylvania. Although this book is just 68 pages, I feel I learned so much I didn’t know before! The reader is transported from the Paleolithic era to the 20th century. The history, change, war, and upheaval over the centuries is shared so well in the stories, and each story is accompanied by photos and historical facts.
This book will take you on a journey through time as you watch Transylvania change and grow and learn so much about its history, people, and legends. My favorites were A Paleolithic Murder, Dacian Horses of Bronze Age, Motives of Christianity, Romanian’s Brother, The Woodland, and Quest Beyond the Forest, but I encourage readers to check out this little gem for yourself, learn about Transylvania, and choose your own favorite stories. I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.
I downloaded this book via Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In Her Own Words)
I have always been drawn to discovering more about the people and the dogs who featured in historical and contemporary events. Why they chose to fight that war; what was it that they sacrificed, silently. What was the lay of the land that they walked upon, the color of the sky or the scent carried by the wind… It is such stories that I find they still resonate today. Discovering these secrets, writing these books, thrills me. Thus, my passion for historical and contemporary fiction books and historical events was born.
As an armchair historian, I love researching such tales, traveling (researching my next book we visited medieval Sighisoara), exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no details are too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100 Words Stories based on the history of Romania.
Facts belong in the history books, but the passion, the thrill, and the fantasy, these are the realm of the novels. Welcome to my writing world.
Amazon (Only $1.99 to purchase the e-book, or read it free via Kindle Unlimited)
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So recently I was commenting online about Self-Publishing, and a lady commented that Self-Publishing was the term for people who just want to write a book for family and friends, and the correct term for people who want to sell books is Indie Authors. I don’t know if she was being rude or if I should listen to her. Would you prefer Indie Saturday to Self-Published Saturday? I certainly don’t want people to think I’m not serious about promoting these books. Or is she wrong and I should just ignore her? Please vote in the poll and comment below. I want to do the best thing for Self-Published/Indie Authors.
As many of you know, I’ve been singing the praises of this fabulous historical novel for some time, and other reviewers agree! Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society, made this an Editor’s Choice book for the August 2021 edition, and gave it a fabulous review!
I’m especially happy about this because the author, Gail Meath, a wonderful person by the way, is a self-published author. As you know, I have a heart for self-published authors so I am thrilled to see this book in the magazine alongside books from top traditional publishers like William Morrow and Revell.
This is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight self-published books and their authors. As you know, self-published authors have to do their own marketing, and I hope with this feature to help spread the word about their books. This week’s feature is With Face Aflame by A.E. Walnofer. It is a historical novel set in England, 1610. Below is my review, an author spotlight, links to buy, and a Q&A with A.E. Walnofer. As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.
BOOK REVIEW: WITH FACE AFLAME
In England, 1681, Madge works in her father’s inn and goes out of her way to escape notice. She is constantly trying to hide a flaming birthmark that starts below her eye and reaches to the bottom of her cheek. She lives and dies every day by her birthmark and the reaction of others to it. When she meets a friendly and inspiring minstrel, she learns she can sing, and then she hears her father utter words that shake her to the core. Madge decides to join the minstrel and his companion, a juggler, on their travels, and in the process learns a lot of life and herself.
With Face Aflame is a powerful coming of age historical novel. We are transported right to 1610 England, and we learn so much about what life was like then. The characters are so thoughtfully written and it is easy to see a lot of consideration and care went into their development. The issue of self-acceptance is what makes this book so important and real to readers. Madge limits herself and does not try and reach for her talent because she’s so self-conscious about a birthmark. Many of us can relate to that, as most, if not all, of us have something about ourselves that we feel does not quite measure up. The journey from town to town is also a journey of the soul, as Madge learns truths about herself and others, and event after event leads her to question her perception of herself. I would recommend this book to all, because we all can benefit from a journey of self-discovery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.E. Walnofer has been creating stories since before she could put pen to paper. Presently, she spends weekdays mobilizing the soft tissue and synovial joints of patients, and weekends typing out stories that are incessantly brewing inside her head. There are lots of these tales and she hopes to share many more of them with you in the future.
Q&A WITH A.E. WALNOFER
Tell Us A Little Bit More About Yourself:
By day, I work as a physical therapist’s assistant, helping patients move, function and feel better. On the weekends, I write as much as I can on my works-in-progress. Any other spare time is spent reading or planning the next trip my husband and I will be taking, which usually includes hiking in some lush, green location.
What inspired you to write “With Face Aflame” and set it in 1681 England?
At my job, I see countless people who would be so thankful to have a healthy body regardless of how exactly said-body looked. That being said, I know that body positivity isn’t a concept that is unique to the 21st century. One day, I got thinking about teenaged girls through the centuries and how they would have handled their physical anomalies both emotionally and socially. Madge and her story were born out of that. My hope is that everyone can have confidence as they love, take care of and appreciate the body they are in. Winnie Harlow is a fine example of this. She is a very unusual looking model due to her vitiligo, but she is gorgeous, confident and successful.
Your book cover is so well done and eye-catching. I’m always saying that a book cover must really pop, because readers are scrolling through millions of books on Amazon and it must stand out. Who designed your cover and how important do you think the cover is to sales?
Thank you for saying so! Julie Hopkins of IndieCoverDesign created it and I think she did a great job, too.
A book’s cover is absolutely vital to sales. We all judge books by their covers, and that often takes less than a second as we’re scrolling on by!
What are you working on now?
Presently, I’m working on the sequel to my very first book, A Girl Called Foote. It focuses on Beatrice Wellington, the young red-headed scullery maid who was dismissed in disgrace from serving at the Clyde Family’s estate, Whitehall. It’s about eight years after the previous book ends and it’s time for Beatrice to come to terms with some internal demons and to fall in love!
What authors inspired you to write?
Norah Lofts is hands-down my favorite historical fiction author because her characters are so real. The situations and settings in which she put them are generally commonplace, yet she brought them to life in such intriguing ways. She wrote more than fifty books in her lifetime. My hope is to create books with believable, relatable, lovable characters just like she did, though I’m doubtful I’ll accomplish that fifty times over!
Recently, I’ve greatly enjoyed books by Amy Harmon, Allie Cresswell and Deborah Swift.
You have self-published before. Tell us about your other works.
A Girl Called Foote is the story of a very clever maid at Whitehall, Lydia, who catches the eye of the heir, Jonathan, while she is reading the books she is supposed to be dusting. This begins a series of respectful yet secretive interactions between the two which eventually blossoms into mutual admiration and affection. It’s an amusingly tasteful romance between members of different classes.
Out of the Bower is a bit grittier. It also tells the story of a gentleman, a young street preacher named Barclay, who becomes enamored with a woman born below him, Honora. However, she has just escaped from a brothel, unbeknownst to him. (Note: the book does not contain any gratuitous or detailed scenes of sexual encounters.) The two begin to fall in love, but she is determined to liberate the friend she left behind at the brothel. Will Honora tell Barclay of her past? Will he still love her? Will her friend ever escape from captivity? Read Out of the Bower to find out! 😊
Do you have any advice for new self-published authors?
I guess the first thing I’d suggest is that would-be authors decide exactly what their goals are in publishing. If they simply want to put together a work that they can hold in their hands and say “I created this” then I’d recommend they watch a few online videos about self-publishing on Amazon and go for it. However, if their goal is to make some actual money by selling lots of books to voracious readers, I’d suggest they study the market very carefully for the genre in which they want to write, then watch a TON of online videos on how to write and sell novels successfully, then go for it.
Personally, I’m somewhere between the two types of authors mentioned above. Although I do want my works to get into the hands (or onto the Kindles) of many, many readers, I don’t want to alter the types of stories I enjoy writing just for the sake of making them ultra-marketable. That’s not me criticizing authors who do that as I know there can be a lot of money and satisfaction in doing so. However, I’m content writing compelling, vital books that might be considered a bit quirky even if the audience they resonate with is smaller.
Thanks so much Aimee (A.E.) for your great answers and for sharing your wonderful book with us!
Thanks for asking such great questions, Bonnie, and for giving With Face Aflame some appreciated attention!
This is another book I reviewed for the May edition of Historical Novels Review Magazine.
This is Book 2 of the In Spite of Lions series set in 1840s Africa and England. It can be read as a standalone. Catherine Kensington, an unmarried heiress, has been manipulated back to England from Africa by her abusive and violent mother, Lady Kensington. After her mother’s scheming caused great harm to Catherine’s friends in an African village, Catherine has gone back to deal with her and find her missing twin brother. She knows that sometimes to survive a lion attack, you must run straight at the lion.
This Victorian-era adventure is much more than a romance. It becomes almost a psychological thriller as Catherine engages in a long game of deception to outsmart her mother while her friend/protector, Mebalwe, searches for her brother. They are also trying to find a stolen child, Motsasi. Catherine’s love, Captain Ashmore, is desperate to protect her from the evil Lady Kensington, who has no qualms about harming her children to get what she wants. The characters are complex, and the battle of wits between Catherine and Lady Kensington is mesmerizing. This is a mother/daughter battle to the extreme. I truly enjoyed this book and will definitely read Book 1 and any others to come in this series. Four and a half stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites with no half star option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scarlette is a mother of three, wife to one, and friend to many. In her spare time she enjoys scuba diving and gardening – sometimes at the same time! Pike is also interested in emotional health for kids and she writes children’s books with True Worth Books under her real name – Jamie Jensen.
Today’s Self-Published Saturday feature is The Search for Synergy, the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter. As always with self-published books, be sure to leave a review if you decide to read it. Reviews are extremely important for self-published authors who have to do all of their own marketing.
#BOOK REVIEW: The Search For Synergy
Rome is a 14 year old boy who suddenly finds himself seeking out fire and danger. When he accidentally sets the neighbor’s tree on fire in an unusual way, he catches the eye of a schoolmate, Julian. Julian begins watching Rome closely and soon discovers what he suspects is true. Rome is a dragon, and Julian will be his knight counterpart, once they achieve Synergy and get their full power. They are descendants of dragon and knight families of old. Together, they can save the world from dark forces that are coming. Rome soon meets Mr. Jones, who has been training Julian for this moment since he was seven years old, and they begin to try to unlock the secrets of Synergy.
The whole concept of hidden dragon and knight families with special bonds and powers from the time of King Arthur is exciting and interesting. The beginning 30 percent or so of the book is spent on Rome learning about who and what he truly is. Then the first epic battle between good and evil happens, and it is awesome. I enjoyed this hidden world where dragons are real and live among us, knights are still training to save the world, and evil creatures keep trying to break through into Earth from the void.
The friendship and bond between Rome and Julian is believable and fun. The evil creatures we’ve seen so far, the Garms, are powerfully described. Rome’s fantastical transformation is a joy to read and experience along with him. This start to The Talisman Series reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Riders of Fire and Ice.
Although I have seen this book described as middle grade fiction, which would be roughly ages 8 – 12, I think kids under the age of 13 should read it only with parental supervision, and I would categorize it as young adult instead of middle grade. The battles with evil creatures could be scary for young kids, and the fact that Julian has been trained by Mr. Jones since he was seven and the two of them keep a lot of secrets from his parents set off some alarms for me.
Even as someone who is in her 50’s, I truly enjoyed the start to this young adult series. After all, as C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”
I have rated this gem of a book four and half stars, rounded up to five on sites without a half star option.
I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited where subscribers can read it for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss. In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty. As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series. He has published four books in this series so far: The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.
This is my weekly feature in which I highlight a great self-published book. Below is my review of Jalopy by Wes Verde, set in 1928. As always, if you decide to read this very well-written book, be sure to leave a review. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.
Etta and her father are all that are left of their once large and thriving family, as illness and tragedy have visited them often. It is 1928, and they are struggling to meet a huge tax burden on their failing farm. Etta goes into town to sell eggs every day, and on the way back she often walks to a secret, hidden place she has found in the countryside. Resting in that place is an old, abandoned jalopy, and Etta often sits in the broken-down jalopy, opens a map she found in the car, and dreams of places she wants to go.
Art, even at over 6 feet, is in the smallest of all of his brothers, and they are all towered over by their strict, controlling father. Art’s father is a very successful and well-to-do salesman of refrigerator units. He spends his days on sales calls trying to convince business owners to switch from ice houses to electric refrigeration. Art’s mother is controlling in her own way and has arranged a marriage for Art. Art is not enthusiastic about any of this, but has learned not to rock the boat. He is going along with everything, and spends his days on uncomfortable sales calls with his father. In his his free time, he is avoiding his new fiancee. Then a night out with his brothers ends with Art sleeping it off in Etta’s barn.
This is a captivating novel that draws you into Etta’s world immediately, starting with the gorgeous book cover. The author does a good job of depicting the drudgery and fear involved in barely scraping by with the tax man looming. The class division in the town between the locals and the part-time, wealthy lakeside resort visitors is well portrayed. Etta is an endearing protagonist, and you will begin rooting for her immediately as she finds herself in more than one life-threatening circumstance. Art’s situation of being bullied in his own family is also well written, and I found myself wanting to knock some heads together on his behalf.
My only criticism is that the book ended rather abruptly, followed by an epilogue that was set five years later and basically explained how everything turned out. I would rather have been shown what happened than told in an epilogue. That being said, this is a beautiful, endearing novel that will transport you to a time when life was hard, loss was prevalent, and love, if you could find it, was cherished.
This book is available on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. I highly recommend you check it out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy.
Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger.
A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible
Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.
Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.
BOOK REVIEW: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE
Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.
In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.
Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.
This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories. As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.
Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.
Here is another edition of my weekly feature, Self-Published Saturday. Self-Published authors need our support. If you like the book I’ve chosen this week and decide to buy it, please share the link with your friends and put a review up on Amazon. It’s so important for these authors.
The book I’m highlighting this week is The Milk Wagon by Michael Hewes. Enjoy.
#BOOK REVIEW: THE MILK WAGON
The Milk Wagon is a fantastic thriller set in the 80’s, much of it revolving around a group of high school boys. As an 80’s high schooler myself, this was a wonderful walk down memory lane. This book has the 80’s high school mentality exactly right, and transported me back there as the movies we watched, the cars we drove, and the way we thought were so accurately described.
This novel was perfectly woven together as both an 80’s book and a crime/murder thriller. There were many twists and turns, and although I am usually pretty good at guessing the “bad guy,” i was totally wrong this time. The fact that this book was not predictable impressed me.
The characters are so well done, especially the 80s high school kids, that I was sad when it ended. That’s how you tell a great book. You don’t want it to end.
If you love crime thrillers, if you loved the 80s, or if you just love a well written book, check this one out.
I received a free copy of this book from Michael Hewes and BooksGoSocial via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Hewes earned his undergraduate degree from University of Southern Mississippi and his law degree from Ole Miss.
A retired JAG officer, Hewes currently practices law in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he lives with his wife and their three sons, two dogs, and one cat.
Below are three books from some great self-published authors for my new weekly feature, Self-Published Saturday. This is a chance for you to meet some wonderful authors and check out their work. Self-published authors need your support. If you decide to buy any of these books today, please be sure and leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.
The first two books I want to highlight today are self-published books that I’ve reviewed before. I will introduce you to the author and provide links to buy the book. There will also be a link to my previous review. The third self-published book is my latest review.
My first book to highlight is Once Upon a Rhyme by Antony L. Saragas.
Once upon a rhyme is a heartfelt story based on true events. Dylan or “Oskie” has experienced great loss even prior to the recent passing of his father, Hollis, who was also his long-time baseball coach. This loss has made him hesitate to move forward, especially in love. While cleaning out his father’s belongings, Oskie finds a book of poems written by his father. As he begins to read them, memories come flooding back and he truly sees the importance of his father’s words.
My second book to highlight is TheSiege of An Loc by Hien T. Nguyen.
The Siege of An Loc is the story of the defense of An Loc in 1972 during the Vietnam War. It is also a love story between a South Vietnamese soldier, Trung, and Ly, a student, daughter of a rubber plantation owner. As Trung struggles to defend his country, he finds himself falling for the beautiful Ly, but do they have a chance for happiness in the midst of war? We also see the evil of communism especially personified in one of the characters, and two brothers are reunited, one from North Vietnam and one from South Vietnam.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nguyễn Trọng Hiền is originally from Vietnam. In the United States, he is known as Hien Nguyen, or Hien T. Nguyen. He also uses the name Neihtn online. Neihtn is his Vietnamese first name (Hien) and initials, spelled backward. Why backward? One reason is to indicate that he now lives on the opposite side of the world from where he was born and spent over two decades of his life.
Hein wrote his first book, Village Teacher at night and on weekends over four years while he worked a full-time job. He is now retired and spends his time writing and taking photographs of birds, wildlife, flowers and landscapes. He posts the photos on his blog, Village Teacher. He published his second novel, The Siege of An Loc, in 2020
The Siege of An Loc can be borrowed for free on Amazon by Kindle Unlimited Subscribers, or purchased outright.
My Third book to highlight is 7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart
My third self-published book to highlight today is also a new review for me. It is a nonfiction book called 7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart by John Christopher Frame.
I don’t know if all of you have seen extreme poverty or not, but it is eye-opening to behold. I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, and although I’ve seen people struggling, I did not really see abject poverty until my husband was stationed with the Air Force in the country of Panama. There I saw crowds of people living on the streets, sleeping on the ground by night and washing car windows and begging in the streets by day. I was going to college then and passed them every day on my way to school. It really opened my heart to the struggling of others.
7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart introduces you to people in circumstances of poverty and tells you their stories. It also offers guidance on developing your own “helping heart.” The author, John Christopher Frame, goes on to explore the emotions and attitudes most needed by Christians when helping the poor. He takes a closer look at hope, compassion, empathy, gratitude, humility, generosity, and holiness and provides real-life anecdotes from people in situations of need.
This book is well written and will help anyone interested in improving not just charitable giving, but their everyday relationships with others .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Christopher Frame is an author and a faculty member at an online university. He has lived internationally and holds a PhD from the University of Oxford. Publishers Weekly stated his first book, Homeless at Harvard: Finding Faith and Friendship on the Streets of Harvard Square, was “touching, and well worth the read…” John’s passion is combining his interests in theology and social concerns to help Christians become more aware of global issues so they can better live out their faith. He loves traveling on the cheap, visiting outdoor markets, balcony gardening, and working in quirky cafés in his neighborhood. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, whom he met while buying a carpet at a souvenir shop in Istanbul, Turkey. Connect with him at http://www.johnchristopherframe.com.
7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart can be purchased on Kindle for only 99 cents!