I am Celebrating the Awesome that is Indie Authors and their Books Today

Just go with the flow. Ignore the fact official days for this stuff is in March or October or some other day of the year, because seriously? Books.

Happy Canada Day, and Happy RJ Contrived This Celebrate Indie Authors and Books and Reading Day. (We can celebrate in the traditionally pub'd ones, too.) Happy early American Independence Day, too.

Screw tarnishing such celebrations with things like logic and official days in other parts of the year! Since Smashwords emailed me earlier (Jun 30, 2016) with some stuff about celebrating all the indie authors and things, I was like sure why the hell not. (I still have no idea why Smashwords emailed me. I don't have any books on their site, and I have no intention of putting any on their site.)

So, I pinged some folks, did a little digging, and made a post, because it is summer and we need more books.

Because books. I need no other reason.

This is a relatively small list of recommendations, but it's a list, I made it with the help of some friends, and I'm sharing it with you. I'm also sharing the template with you, so if you're an indie author or a fan and want to play along, fill it out, put it in the comments, and share your recommendations! (I will try to update the list with your recommendations from the comments.)

Note: For sake of convenience/consistency, please use Amazon links and page counts.

Authors, this is your template:

Page Count:
What makes this Your favorite book?

Fans / Readers, this is your template:

Page Count:
This indie book was recommended because:

From the Authors…

Author: Colleen Vanderlinden
Title: Shadow Witch Rising
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 292 pages
What makes this your favorite book? I started as an indie writing urban fantasy (my Hidden series was my intro to indie publishing) and Shadow Witch Rising was my first experience with stepping my toe outside of my comfort zone, writing-wise. I love the sense of history in that book, and the setting is based on a real place that I absolutely love. Aside from that, I love stories about second chances at love, and this is that, in more ways than one.

Author: Tiffany Roberts
Title: Make Me Burn
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Page Count: 299
What makes this your favorite book? While this is our first book, we wanted to show that even those who feel like their soul is most tarnish, could still find love and some semblance of redemption.

Author: Hank Garner
Title: Writer's Block
Genre: Magical Realism, Fantasy
Page Count: 170 pages
What makes this your favorite book? Writer's Block began as a short story about a writer that is stuck, but with the help of a typewriter that he found at a yard sale that just might be magic, he gets to the bottom of what is really going on. This story grew into a full novel and is one of the most personal stories I've ever written. It's full of magic, despair, hope, and has a dog that provides comic relief.

Author: Erin L. Snyder
Title: A Count of Five
Genre: Fantasy/SF
Page Count: 258
What makes this Your favorite book? A Count of Five kicks off a series of fantasy/time-travel novels I’m working on. There’s a lot I’m proud of here – an unconventional heroine, some surprising twists, an intricate time-travel system – but I think the biggest selling point is the premise of the series: a fantasy world explored via time-travel on a scale highlighting the evolution and development of monsters and magic. I don’t think there’s anything else like this out there.

Author: Jon Frater
Title: The Taste Makers
Genre: Dystopian
Page Count: 193 pages
What makes this your favorite book? I poured a few years of working in the NYC financial district as well as phone sales and general business history into this one. I really do thinkit's my best work to date.

Author: Christopher Boore
Title: Kamika-Z
Genre: Scifi Horror
Page Count: 36
What makes this your favorite book? It was an unlikely happening. I never intended to write a zombie horror story. I stumbled and fell face first into it's warm, gory embrace. It grew on my as any good zombie virus will and now a world of other stories is in the midst of spawning from it.

Author: Brian Parker
Title: Enduring Armageddon
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi
Page Count: 286
What makes this Brian's favorite book? I fell in love with the storyline and the main character's struggle to go from an office worker with no survival skill whatsoever to a ruthless killer during the apocalypse and then his subsequent realization that he'd become a monster who had to alter the path he walked.

Title: Division By Zero: 1 (Post Mortem)
Genre: speculative fiction
Page Count: 226
What makes this your favorite book? This was the inaugural edition of the DIvision By Zero anthology series, so I feel nostalgic about that, but the stories in it are really very good, as well. All the Division By Zero anthologies are awesome (and another is coming out July 4 – Division By Zero: 4 (rEvolution)

Author: Allyssa Painter
Title: Timekeeper Rising
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Page Count: 252
What makes this your favorite book? It was the first book I published.

Author: John Gregory Hancock
Title: ROOF
Genre: Dystopian, NA
Page Count: 100
What makes this your favorite book? this is a labor of love. I threw quite a bit of myself into it and I think its a rare thing: a somewhat hopeful dystopian novella.

Author: RJ Blain
Title: Karma (Balancing the Scales #1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy Thriller
Page Count: 398
What makes this Your favorite book? It's hard to put a finger on what I loved about writing this book. There's just something about Jake and Karma I just adore, the way their relationship splatted together, and how much fun I had writing it. Karma's flawed, volatile nature makes her just such a delight to write. Harness that with her past, and it is a recipe for a great time. Of all the books and series I'm currently working on, I'm looking forward to diving back into Karma's most of all.

Author: Christopher J. Valin
Title: Sidekick
Genre: YA/Superhero
Page Count: 204
What makes this Christopher's favorite book? It's the first full novel I've written, after some nonfiction books and several short stories in anthologies. And I love superheroes and comic books.

Author: J.E. Mac
Title: Damaged Good 
Genre: SciFi / Cyberpunk / Detective Thriller
Page Count: 420
What makes this your favorite book? Well, I only have one. So that might do it. Maybe a better question is why I wrote this one over the bajillion other ideas rattling round in the old noggin?

I've always been a fan of Blade Runner and futuristic landscapes. And of hard-nosed detectives in dumpy cities.

I knew I wanted to do something in L.A. with a detective who hated robots, but always had to team up with them as partners and whatnot. But it always felt a little one dimensional to me. I really wanted more depth to the story than that.

I had a hodge-podge of other ideas. But what hit me one day (after a meeting at Wonderland Sound and Vision–McG's prodco) when they were bragging about T4 that they were about to shoot in New Mexico–was that I thought, the role of the Terminator is usually the staring role. And they cast Christian Bale. I also knew they were going to set it in the future. I thought, Man, T4 would be awesome if they made John Connor hunting down Terminators like the Terminators did in his timeline–J.C. almost more machine than man. And the Terminators, and tech becoming self-aware, becoming more “human” in the future.

I pictured this opening of Christian Bale running through a Terminator style opening. Blue laser beams and skulls underfoot. He's running with his daughter when an explosion happens. He cradles his daughter in his hands and we see the iconic half Terminator face on a his little girl. And we realize Christian Bale is the Terminator, and now he has a reason to kill John Connor.

That image is actually what became the cover of Damaged Good.

The story is much different. But all of a sudden a detective who hated working with robots, having to protect this little girl ala WITNESS style… and taking her to grisly crime scenes, and treating a child in a way you really can't treat a child was all of a sudden interesting to me.

People don't really know this, mostly because I'm a slow writer, but the world Damaged Good is set in is setting up various different genres I want to write in. Los Angeles was always going to be this noir/detective city. New York is going to be hacker style cyberpunk. I got plans for Detroit. And a few other cities, 7 in total.

Back to Damaged Good. I grew up on these 80s and 90s action movies that had a lot of heart. Terminator 2, True Lies, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard… beneath the big SFX budgets, there's these small stories. I find myself more drawn to those.

I really set my sights on trying to write big blockbustery-type high concept stuff with an assload of heart (scientific term).

Damaged Good was the first thing I wrote that I felt really connected to. That I think is pretty personal. Most people won't see why, or will try to pair me up with the wrong characters that I see as myself lol–and that's fine.

But I really like Celia a lot.

The balancing act of naviete in a walking talking database was crazy difficult. Letting her be childish and have fun, but also the responsible one of the duo…

I just love juxtaposition like that.

Anyway, I could pontificate all day, but this is probably already longer than you had planned 🙂

From the Fans…

Author: R. Lee Smith
Title: Land of the Beautiful Dead
Genre: Romantic Horror
Page Count: 751
This indie book was recommended because: R. Lee Smith builds an amazing world with characters full of emotion and life. Land of the Beautiful Dead made me sad, frustrated, and angry, right up until I had tears in my eyes and was outright bawling, and then finally…happy. We’re given a beautiful ending for her beautifully dead Azrael and the woman he refuses to let go.

Author: John L Monk
Title: Hell's Children: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller
Genre: Dystopian; Post-apocalyptic; Sci-Fi/Fantasy; Teen & YA
Page Count: 279
This indie book was recommended because: It should just be read.

Author: C.E. Murphy
Title: Atlantis Fallen (The Heartstrike Chronicles Book 1) 
Genre: Historical; Fantasy; Paranormal & Urban
Page Count: 300
This indie book was recommended because: CE Murphy is an amazing author. I have not read this one, but I will as soon as enough eBooks are sold to pay for the print publishing!

Author: Phaedra Weldon
Title: Elemental Arcane (The Eldritch Files Book 1)
Genre: Metaphysical & visionary; sword & sorcery; Fantasy
Page Count: 174
This indie book was recommended because: It just sound like a good time! I LOVED Phaedra's Zoë Martinique series, and lost track of what she was up to. This series is new, and fun and growing.

Author: J.A. Cipriano
Title: Cursed: An Urban Fantasy Novel (The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)
Genre: Crime, thriller & mystery.
Page Count: 193
This indie book was recommended because: It is incredibly funny, bordering on insane. The action never stops, it's an absolute rollercoaster and one of those books that I honestly could not put down. A book that more people should read because it will make them alternately laugh and cringe (possibly gag a little too).

Author: Rissa Blakeley
Title: Broken Dreams
Genre: Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic
Page Count: 634
This indie book was recommended because: this book reaches in, rips your heart out and stomps all over it and then sticks it back in your chest. It's an amazing start to an awesome series. And you can use it to kill very large spiders if you get the paperback.

The following list comes from a fan who simply couldn't decide on one book. (Eep!)

Exile: Colleen Vanderlinden
Radiance: Grace Draven (because it's the little book that did!)
Gods and Swindlers: Laura Kirwan 
Drasana: DeeAnn Fuchs and Zachary Fuchs
Relics: Maer Wilson
Death Rejoices: AJ Aalto
Random: Alma Alexander
Unawakened: Trillian Anderson (Colby! Octopuses!)
Lips Like Ice: Peggy Barnett
Frozen: Meljean Brook
Masks: Karen Chance
Broken Mirrors: AF Dery
Dark Moon Rising: Ashley Dunson
Dog With a Bone: Hailey Edwards
Frivolous Pursuits: DC Farmer
Trace of Magic: Diana Pharaoh Francis
The Biting Cold: Mark Henwick
The Three Words Project: Alexandra Hughes
Beneath a Waning Moon: Elizabeth Hunter and Grace Draven
The Prince's Man: Deborah Jay
Relentless: Karen Lynch
Indexing: Reflections: Seanan McGuire
Nolander: Becca Mills
Hunter's Trail: Melissa F. Olson
The Vampire's Mail Order Bride: Kristen Painter
Fearless: Christine Rains
Rose & Thunder: Lilith Saintcrow
Wilde Card: Jenn Stark
Trueheart: Mel Sterling
Storm Without End: RJ Blain (Squee, I'm on the list!)

Leave a Comment:

Erin Snyder says July 1, 2016

Author: Erin L. Snyder
Title: A Count of Five
Genre: Fantasy/SF
Page Count: 258
Link: https://amzn.com/0692458174
What makes this Your favorite book?
A Count of Five kicks off a series of fantasy/time-travel novels I’m working on. There’s a lot I’m proud of here – an unconventional heroine, some surprising twists, an intricate time-travel system – but I think the biggest selling point is the premise of the series: a fantasy world explored via time-travel on a scale highlighting the evolution and development of monsters and magic. I don’t think there’s anything else like this out there.

    RJBlain says July 1, 2016

    Added! 🙂

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