In support of Indie authors … or what I read this summer

Writing proved elusive for me most of this summer, but I used that time to read. I’m an Indie author, so I believe I should support other Indie authors. I read books by five of them:  Judy Croome, Davin Malasarn, Cathryn Grant, Natasha Alexander, and Christa Polkinhorn.

You may have heard a lot about how much junk there is at the online bookstores since self-publishing has become relatively easy and inexpensive. Well, I didn’t read any junk. They were all different genres, and ranged from fun to serious, but they were all worthwhile reads. I’ll share my reviews.

Dancing in the Shadows of Love is the kind of book that makes me wish I knew how to write a better review. I’m simply overwhelmed. Judy Croome has written a book that’s gorgeous, brilliant, heart-breaking, uplifting, empowering … and more!

Although the story takes place in a purposely undefined place and time, the characters are painfully real. The story follows three women, each with a damaged soul, as they yearn to be loved, but first they need to define love and, in order to do that, they must learn to forgive. The mysterious Enoch is their guide for this spiritual journey.

Judy Croome’s writing is impeccable and her insight into the soul of man astounding. I believe this book came straight from her heart—and that heart is a large and beautiful one.

If I could, I’d give this book six stars. I’m definitely looking forward to her next one.(Amazon; [ebook and print] Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

The Wild Grass and Other Stories — One of the strengths of Davin Malasarn’s writing is his ability to make his characters, no matter the age, sex, nationality, or status, real and familiar to the reader. I was continually surprised to feel I’d lived a story, though he wrote of an experience foreign to me.

It’s no surprise that several in this collection of stories, written in beautiful, clean prose, have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won or placed in competitions. The only negative for me is that I reached the last story too soon.  (Amazon [ebook and print]; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

In Fatal Cut, Cathryn Grant has given her protagonist Madison Keith a delightful voice. Madison is smart, witty, and more than a little curious—perfect for a church receptionist. She’s also tattooed, pierced, and unusually perceptive. In this first of a series, Grant introduces us to Madison’s particular brand of detection and mystery solving. Fatal Cut is a page-turning tale that will satisfy, but leave you hungry for the next one.  (Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

An Uncommon Family — In Christa Polkinhorn’s debut novel Love of a Stonemason, she introduced us to the adult Karla Bocelli and in this prequel she takes us back to Karla’s childhood. We learn more of what life was like for the child artist Karla as she dealt with the death of her mother and a long-distance father, but the heart of the book is a love story, complicated by secrets.

This time around it’s Karla’s aunt Anna, hardened toward love by a devastating secret in her past, who must decide whether to let artist and teacher Jonas into her heart. When Jonas, who has lost his beloved wife to cancer, discloses a secret to Anna, he only confirms her distrust of men. But the determined Karla won’t give up. She uses all her youthful ingenuity in trying to form those she loves into An Uncommon Family.

In this well-told story, the author takes us on tour from Switzerland to New York City to Mexico and back again, allowing us to experience these locales through the eyes and hearts of her characters. An Uncommon Family is another pleasurable read from the talented Christa Polkinhorn.  (Amazon [ebook and print]; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

Just Desserts: Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu. — Does Natasha Alexander know how to create interesting characters, or what? This hilarious and outrageous romp features bombs, boobs, books, and a beach! What more could you ask for? Scrumptious food? Oh, yes it has that too—but watch out, it could be deadly.  (Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

Versatile and irresistibly sweet?

My email inbox is an abyss. If I don’t respond immediately, I’m likely to either think that I did, or forget I ever received the email. Two months ago Kate Cardon Parish awarded this blog the Versatile Blogger Award. Her email arrived during the comment blitz after WordPress Freshly Pressed one of my posts and was promptly buried in all those email notices.

Recently, Hannah Fergesen awarded this blog the Irresistibly Sweet award. Both rules for these awards state that I must share 7 random facts about myself and pass the award on to 15 other blogs. I’ll combine the rules, meaning I’ll reveal only 7 facts, not 14, and share them with only 15 bloggers, not 30. So, read the enthralling tidbits about me and then go visit Kate and Hannah’s excellent blogs. Then, visit the blogs listed below. Or be rebellious and do none of the above.

  1. I don’t like the taste of coffee … in any form.
  2. I get anxious when I sweat.
  3. The first book I ever checked out of a public library was A Mouse in the House. (Not the book currently in print.)
  4. I have seen a ghost.
  5. By the age of 26, I was the mother of four boys.
  6. I can’t swim.
  7. I’ve worn the same shade of nail polish on my toes for 38 years. It’s by Revlon, and they change the color name from time to time.

Now aren’t you glad you stopped by my blog today? I mean, really, how could you have lived the rest of your life not knowing those facts about me?

Okay, I’m supposed to pass these awards on to 15 blogs, but I know some of you already have these awards or don’t do “fun” posts. If so, ignore the rules and just consider this a shout out to your blog. And I’ll add one extra for luck. New and old friends, in no particular order:

  1. Kayla Olson
  2. Michelle Davidson Argyle
  3. Christa Polkinhorn
  4. T.A. Olivia
  5. Natasha Drew
  6. Jennifer Neri
  7. Laura Best
  8. Amanda Hoving
  9. Cathryn Grant
  10. Christi Craig
  11. Trisha Sutton
  12. Kasie West
  13. Candice Kennington
  14. J.C. Hart
  15. Heather Simone
  16. Judy Croome

Reviews and Roses

If you are a writer, you will relate to what I have to say today. As you may know, the initial premise for my novel, The Brevity of Roses, came to me in a dream. At first, it seemed a simple story, but the more I wrote, the more I disturbed the placid surface and uncovered treasures in the depths. I fell in love with my characters’ story, and tried my best to do it justice.

Like you, I’m sure, I wondered how well the wonderful story in my head had come through the keyboard. Would readers see only a shadow of the story I had intended to tell them? My critique partners and beta readers reassured me it was all there, but I figured they were too close to the story, too close to me. Then last night, I read this review by Christa Polkinhorn and finally quit holding my breath.

This is a turning point for me. Yes, I know, my reviews won’t all be good ones. No one writes a book that everyone loves. But it’s enough to know that some readers will “get” the story I meant to tell. I can live with that.

Contest news! Congratulations to Dorte H who won the e-book from Cathryn Grant’s contest. I hope you enjoy the read, Dorte.

For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy your weekend, a holy time for many. I’ll take some time to revel in my roses, the spring bloom smells the sweetest.

Another interview means another free book!

Cathryn Grant, author of the psychological thriller The Demise of the Soccer Moms lured me to her blog for more questioning. She’s extremely intimidating, as you can tell by her photo, and she soon had me confessing to writing poetry and other strange habits. Please visit Cathryn’s blog to read the interview. And if you do what she says, you could win a digital copy of my novel The Brevity of Roses.

Did you know? You don’t have to own a Kindle to read Kindle books? You can download the free Kindle app to your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows phone and read all the ebooks you want.

So, now you have no excuse not to enter Cathryn’s giveaway. Go. Go now.

There’s absurd, and then there’s ABSURD!

Credit: http://www.pennywellfarm.co.uk/

I saw this photo on Facebook today and the absurdity of a pig in tiny red boots gave me a much needed laugh. I feel a bit like this right now. Absurd. (I’m ignoring the plump pig part.)

The boots won’t help me now though. I’m at least waist deep in self-publishing. Some days, I’m positive I’m in over my head. I know now that writing and polishing the novel was the easy part. I’ve had to be talked in off the ledge a few times already, and I haven’t even started the e-book conversion.

If you’ve been thinking of self-publishing, don’t let my moaning discourage you. My biggest problem is trying to do this as cheaply as possible. I’m sure I’ve used up all my favors from friends. I used my artistic talent and fledgling graphics skills to create my own book cover. I hunkered down with dozens of examples from my shelves and taught myself how to format the interior for the print version.

So, The Brevity of Roses will be published soon. And then, the real absurdity begins. I will have to market the book. I’ve read tons on the subject. I’ve picked the brain of suburban noir author Cathryn Grant so much, I’m surprised she’s not reduced to vacant-eyed drooling.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do.

It’s likely my book will launch with a whimper. I’ll try not to become a harpy crying, “Buy my book!” in every blog post, status update, or tweet. I have a feeling that in a few weeks I’ll blog about how marketing with no budget was as absurd as a pig in red boots.


Oh, yeah, there were winners

Sorry for not mentioning the results of Cathryn Grant’s The Demise of the Soccer Moms giveaway. There were winners, and you can see them listed here. Congratulations to them all! Most commented on this blog last week. It was fun to see new faces around here. I hope they’ll feel welcome to come back anytime.

If you entered, and didn’t win, do yourself a favor and buy Cathryn’s book. It’s now available in ebook and print. You can learn more and read a sample here.