Recent Reads

Occasionally I like to post about recent books I’ve read and give my recommendations. It’s part of my effort to build up the indie author community, and make sure other writers are supported in their endeavors. If at all possible, check out these great titles.

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy tale full of love, friendship, and good vs. evil. The magic system is unique, and the main character is engaging. I’m looking forward to the second in the series due out in September.

The End of All Things by Jill Williamson.  The third part in her Kinsman Chronicles Series, it was a nice wrap-up to the anticipated breakdown that has been building throughout the first two parts. Reads like a miniseries.

Do you have any other recommendations for me? Post in the comments! Extra points if its in my favorite genre.

book stack

Freebie Fridays

One marketing strategy for indie authors is to offer free books or novellas.  I like to take advantage of this, not only to find new authors to enjoy, but to help boost their sales and participate in their success.

Here are some various freebies you might want to check out in the indie author world.

Revelation by J.E. Purrazzi.  This happens to be my critique partners debut novella, and I can’t have enough good things to say about it.  If you like dystopian science fiction, with both an adult and a YA feel, this on is for you.

The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson is free for kindle unlimited subscribers.  This fantasy tale was everything I love about the genre (and I’m super picky when it comes to fantasy!)  Great plot, engaging characters, a well built world…looking forward to the rest of the series.

Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson.  I’ve mentioned before that I am in the middle of the this series.  Her marketing strategy is excellent, for one thing.  Structured like a mini-series, the first book is free, and the next five are only a little over $3.  They are short, so you don’t feel like you get totally lost in the world.  But they are long enough that you don’t feel like you are being cheated.  Her strongest point, I think, is her incredibly endearing and interesting characters.

Enchantress by James Maxwell is free for kindle unlimited subscribers.  This was another good fantasy read.  The characters were pretty well-rounded, with maybe a little too much cliche for me, but that’s a minor complaint.  The world was unique, and the magic original.  I’m getting ready to read book two in the series.

The Traveler’s Gate Trilogy by Will Wight is free for kindle unlimited subscribers.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a series this unique.  The magic system is complicated and unusual, something I’ve never read, which is high praise in the fantasy world.  His characters are entertaining and compelling.  This was my introduction to the indie fantasy world, and he set the bar high.

Worlds Yet Explored

I’m pretty much losing my mind.  Maybe you feel the same…between my day job (haha! Day job!  As if being a stay at home mom stops when 6pm hits!  I’m cracking myself up…), between sickness, cooking, cleaning, running my kids around to appointments, trying to find time for my husband…sometimes I wonder if I really am cut out for this whole “writing” thing.

But then the itch starts.  That “must-write-or-go-insane” feeling creeps, and then grows stronger, until the characters are shouting at me to get their story on paper.  It’s both wonderful and tiring.  Beauty with the mayhem.

Go with it, fellow writers.  Ride the storm where it takes you.  Nothing is quite as invigorating at the end of the day then knowing you got the words out.  That you have your characters their voice.  That your thoughts escaped the confines of your mind.  Who would benefit, otherwise?  Try to imagine a world without “Gone With the Wind” or “Aesop’s Fables.”  What if we didn’t have classics like “Huckleberry Finn” or “Jane Eyre”?  What if CS Lewis never dazzled our young minds with Narnia, or J.K. Rowling never gave Harry Potter his chance to fly?

Maybe your, or my, story is not the next Middle Earth or Wheel of Time.  But there are thousands of worlds still to be explored, millions of characters who wait to be given life, and you and I might be their only way of coming forth from obscurity to the written page.

So stop reading this, and get writing.

fantasy world

“Hidden Queen” Blurb

Like all indie authors, blurbs are the bane of my existence.  I have several WIP’s going, but the one closest to being ready for publishing is my women’s fiction/Christian fiction/fantasy book called “The Hidden Queen.”  The blurb is below…help a sister out and let me know what you think.

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Book one in the Rodasian Chronicles follows Gwyneth, a simple farm girl who wants nothing more than to live her life in peace. But when her country of Rodasia is threatened by the powerful Devinians to the north, her life takes an unexpected turn.  Forced to head south to the capital city of Parr, she must face bigger questions than she ever imagined.  Can she step up to the new tasks ahead?  Will her doubts keep her from accomplishing the task she has been given?

Protected by the duty-bound soldier Charles, and joined by a strange old man who forces her to confront the bigger questions of her existence, Gwen travels the road to Parr.  But in the end, who can she trust?  And can she overcome her worst adversary…herself?

What’s On My Reading List

One of my favorite things is supporting indie authors and their efforts.  And as everyone knows, if you want to be a good writer, you have to read, read, read.  Here’s a run-down of what is on my list.

Jill Williamson’s epic Kinsman Chronicles Series.  So far, I’m really enjoying it.  Will review when I’m through with all six.

The traditionally published Tim Keller’s “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.”  Of course, nobody can say it quite like this modern-day CS Lewis.  I started this awhile ago (read: months ago) and as it sits on my nightstand, I savor it, like a hot cup of coffee I’m afraid will end.

Hugh Howey’s Wool.  This needs no explanation.

James Maxwell’s “Hidden Relic”, the second part of his Evermen Saga.  So far so good…will also review when I’m through with the series.

book stack

On the docket:

Looking forward to diving into some not so Indie titles: Ender’s Game, Pillar to the Sky, and perhaps a thriller, to branch out a bit.  Any suggestions?

One of the coolest things, in my humble opinion, about the indie author community is the ability to support each other as we all work hard at improving our craft.  I’m biased towards fantasy and sci-fi, since my own work in progress(s) are in the fantasy genre, but I’m pretty sure the same thing goes for ANY genres within this community.  What are some of your favorite things about it?  Comment below!

Conformity

conformity As a writer, finding a way to “stand out” from the crowd of other amazing authors with brilliant story ideas can be challenging (to put it mildly.)  Depending on your genre, there are beloved tropes of that genre that readers want, regardless of whether it’s new and exciting or not.

So does conforming to these tropes make you a sell-out?  Well, not according to Neal Gardner.  He says, “One does not necessarily have to cluck in disapproval to admit that entertainment is all the things its detractors say it is: fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable and subversive. In fact, one might argue that those are the very reasons so many people love it.”

 Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality

The issue is, of course, at what point do we stay in conformity with a genre, and at what point do we dally within the constraints that keep a genre…well…a genre.  As a fantasy writer, examples of tropes would be magic, new worlds, swords, good vs. evil, coming of age, etc. Just to name a few.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have trouble with this, too, or is it just me? Continue reading “Conformity”