Indie Ten: Ten Good Indie Reads
First off: while I was writing this post, I saw Dylan Hearn on Suffolk Scribblings post something similar. Here it is. More indie authors for you to enjoy, and proof that a lot of folks are doing this. Let’s keep it up!
So I wrote a blog a while back about how, sometimes, your best readers are going to be other indie writers. I believe this–strongly–and I try to do my part by recommending those indie books I read that’re pretty good. After all, if we aren’t all supporting each other, how can we expect to get support for ourselves?
I still don’t read all indies–I have mad respect for a lot of folks who publish through the big houses, and I wouldn’t stop reading them just to prove a point. And I don’t read, review, or recommend anything I don’t like (or haven’t read, for that matter. Some people do this).
But in the sea of six million or whatever the number is now books published a year, there’s a lot more to indie fiction than the big folks you keep hearing about, Hugh Howey and Joanna Penn and such. There are smaller minnows in the sea who SHOULD be big fish, whose writing is good, whose books are well published, and who are, through the crowded nature of the market, not getting a ton of attention (at least on Amazon. I’m an Amazon book hoarder). These are some of those books: my indie favorites with forty reviews or less on Amazon. If it’s a series, I count reviews on the first book and not total, because that damned well wouldn’t be fair, would it.
I’d like to take a second and recommend something as well, something other than books. Are you a writer? Thinking of/already have published your own indie fiction? Do yourself a favor and read some other indies. Read at least five of them this year. Find the best ones and post a damn review. Wouldn’t you like it if somebody did that for you? There’s no promise it’ll happen to you just because YOU did it, of course, but it isn’t about that. Just once, don’t make it about that. Read a good book and let the world know how good you thought it was. It’s that simple.
There’s more to making a community work than tit for tat, review for review. And indie publishers ARE a community, whether we want to be or not–we rely on each other for support, help, sympathy. So let’s do it up right and spread the word when we’re excited about something. Let’s give recognition to the people who deserve it.
(A note: for some odd reason, the tablet I’m desultorily tap-tapping this on won’t let me add pictures. So I’m going to add them in gradually as we go. Sorry, folks.)
The Grey Heir: Edgewalker Chronicles Book One (Zachary Katz-Stein)
I picked this one up because the cover was so very cool. And the book inside it didn’t disappoint–a thoughtful and descriptive YAish fantasy about the nature and dangers of religion, with some very creative and curious magic.
Southwind Knights (B.E. Priest)
Okay. If you’ve read this blog you’re probably tired of hearing me talk about these books. You shouldn’t be: you should be talking about them too, because you’ve read them and they’re worth talking about. Well written, prettily published, interesting story. This is a series that has it all.
Children of Fire (Mary Fonvielle)
Okay, I admit it–I’m a friend of this author from way back. But these are good stories, friend or no, and her characters are high fantasy with a touch of the rogue thrown in. My favorite so far has been Eye of the Void–well and touchingly told fantasy in which backstory is used to devastating advantage. Plus, it’s a lot about Thalien. And Thalien is the BOMB. The last line in Eye of the Void, if you’ve been reading since Children of Fire, will give you chills.
The Guests of Honor: Tales from the Virtue Inn Book One (Cat Amesbury)
This is another book you’re tired of hearing me talk about. Baroque and magical whimsy in a semi-modern setting: when I read a critical review that said the book sometimes ‘borders on the downright weird and will take a turn for no apparent reason other than to take a turn’, I knew I had to have it. For me, fantasy is ABOUT taking a random turn sometimes. And it can never be too weird: though it can, like this book, be highly original and NOT AT ALL about vampires and werewolves and all that tiresome old drek.
Touching Madness: River Madden Book One (K.S. Ferguson)
Ms. Ferguson and I reviewed each others’ books and, lo and behold, we have similar senses of humor. Ms. Ferguson’s River Madden is a sweet and lovably awkward guy who just happens to sometimes, you know, sort of kind of cause dimensional rifts. Complicated plots, fascinating ‘magic’, and a homeless hero bombarded by unlikely events ensue. River’s awkward moments, especially in Book I, will make you cringe delightfully. When he’s doing the wrong thing, you want to physically SHOUT at him, and that’s a sign the story has pulled you way the hell in.
The World Serpent: A Raimy Rylan Hunt (Kenneth B. Humphrey)
This is another YA series worth a look. Mr. Humphrey’s writing is straightforward, his humor pithy, his characters believable as teenagers as well as characters (one girl, a young teen named Hadley, will have you literally laughing out loud as she kicks ass in the body of an old-school Viking warrior). Mr. Humphrey made the interesting decision to write this time-traveling demon-hunting YA story in first person present, and by God, after reading it that way you don’t want it in anything else. Action packed: your kids (and you) will clamor for the next one.
Aurian and Jin: A Love Story (Moi)
What, did you think I was going to do this totally without self promotion? Hell naw, I’ve got a novella coming out end of April. If you’ve read this, slide me a review and I’ll love you forever. It’s got severed heads and stuff.
Bombed (Winifred Morris)
Okay, so this book isn’t actually out yet. (It will be 4/17/15. You should go ahead and preorder it) I received a copy for review, and I have to say, I am SO EXCITED I’m putting it on this list before it’s even out. It’s totally not my usual bag–present-day romance, ME, what?–but it’s masterfully written, and there’s a lot more to it than just romance, including, among other hilarious things, a bass player named Buzzard, a stoned DEA agent, and a plot to blow up a small town 4th of July parade. The hits just keep on coming, and God, you want them to.
The Fourth Descendant (Allison Maruska)
Just finished this one up, and what fun! Again, not my usual bag, but Ms. Maruska’s characters are so likeable and their conflicts so well drawn it would be my bag even if it had somebody else’s name on it (which I guess it does, since someone else wrote it, but you get what I’m trying to say here). This book well written, and deals believably and well with a subject I don’t often see dealt with well: immortality, and what need we might really (or really not) have for it.
Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench (Rich Leder)
Not for people under eighteen, but again, a romantic comedy that’s so much more. Soul-crushingly hilarious. I’ve never been to LA, but after reading this book I felt like I had, and I already wanted to never go again. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry. Really. Like, I cried a little.
Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor (Allison Hawn)
I’ve talked about this book before. It’s precious–the stories inside are precious–and you come out of it feeling like you know the narrator. While I’m not always sure about the humor, it works when it works, and even when it doesn’t this is a damn good autobiography of sorts. I wish more autobiographical writing out there had this much character and style.