KingMidget's Ramblings

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It’s All About The Indies

Somebody anointed April to be IndieApril. A time to celebrate independent authors. Completely inadvertently, I have spent the month reading books by some of my favorite indie authors.

It actually began in March when I caught up with C. Miller and read her four-book Reave series, wrapping it up as I flew home from New York City. From there, I dabbled in the cozy mystery world with Karen A. Phillips’ A Deadly Combo.

And now I’ve completed a trio of additional Indies.

First was Three For A Girl by Kevin Brennan. Here is the five-star review I posted on Amazon:

* * * * *

I think I’ve read every work of fiction Brennan has published. His first published novel, Parts Unknown, if I remember correctly, was a tale of dysfunction and there was darkness there. Since then, a lot of what he has written is lighter fare.

With Three For A Girl, Brennan returns to the darker side of humanity. A whole lot goes wrong in this story about the Heartney family, told through the eyes of LeeAnn, the seventeen-year-old daughter who desperately wants to leave town and escape the family dysfunction. Each of which is flawed and far from perfect. As the story develops, you find yourself caring about how this is all going to end and hoping that the characters in the story figure things out.

There are a range of characters here … the Heartney family, including the son who died a few months after birth, but still remains in the lives of the Heartneys. The ambulance crew that rents space from the Heartneys. Brennan does a masterful job of developing these characters.

There is so much depth here.

* * * * *

Next up was Fractured Oak by Dannie Boyd, a pen name for Carrie Rubin. I haven’t posted a review on Amazon yet, but I will soon. Catherine Miller was murdered 150 years ago. Her murder was never solved. But her soul, her presence has taken up residence in an oak tree that has stood for all those years since her murder. From her place within that tree, she witnesses a crime and does everything she can to help Lani Whitaker, the detective assigned to investigate the crime, to solve the crime. Fractured Oak is in the magical realism genre of books. It is a fascinating story. There are connections between Catherine and Lani that go back to the former’s murder.

Catherine and Lani are well-developed characters, even if Catherine is actually dead. Lani is dealing with a whole lot more than just trying to solve the crime Catherine’s spirit witnesses. There are plenty of others. The owner of the house where Catherine’s oak tree lives. Lani’s partner and her boss. Side characters play small but, at times, amusing and critical roles as the story rolls along. In her usual fashion, Carrie writes a page-turner with the tension growing chapter by chapter.

And then finally, I just finished F.L. Rose’s A Portrait Under Water. This might be a difficult book for some people. In truth, each of these three books, has components that could make them difficult. Three For A Girl has some scenes and themes that may be difficult for some readers. I’m not explaining what those are because I don’t believe in trigger warnings and feel like if I reveal more they may be spoilers. Fractured Oak is about two different murders and the search for the killers. And A Portrait Under Water is narrated by Eurydice as she learns that her husband, the talented and popular Orpheus — a musician, singer, and artist — has died in the Sydney Harbor. This novella follows Eurydice as she deals with the deep and profound loss she experiences as she struggles with whether Orpheus committed suicide or died as a result of a tragic accident. There are multiple layers to her loss and her grief. Ultimately, the story is about she struggles with all of this. And much of it just isn’t very happy.

The thing about these writers and their works is what I find fascinating about what indie writers have to offer to the reading public. First, every one of those books is different. Yes, I can find different books in the traditional publishing space, but … can I really these days. So much of traditional publishing these days is about publishing the same book over and over and over again. I just feel like the indie world I live in these days is far more varied and dynamic than a lot of what I get from traditionally published books.

Second, these are all writers that I’ve come to know personally in different ways. How many traditionally published authors do you get to know? (And I’ll acknowledge here that Brennan’s first book was traditionally published, but everything since has been indie; and Rubin started out as a traditionally published author, but has gone more and more towards the indie route with her last few books.) But this is the thing about indie authors — we blog and we tweet and we lurk on other social media platforms and I really think we make ourselves more available to our readers. We share real things about our struggles so that people can see the human behind the writer’s mask.

F.L. Rose is a writer I’ve known for more than ten years. I “met” her through blogging and have read many of her books, an eclectic mix if there ever was one. Carrie Rubin, I met around the same time and I’ve read every book she has written. Same with Kevin Brennan. All of these writers I “met” here and on their blogs and we’ve maintained what I’d like to think is a friendship via blogs, emails, twitter, and the like. Same with C. Miller and now Karen Phillips, too, who I met because I learned about her cover art skills.

The indie world has a lot to offer to readers. I only wish more readers would take advantage of that offering and find the incredible stories that can be found within that world.

(A note: I am not recommending these books because I consider the authors my friends. I would never recommend a book unless I actually liked it.)


3 responses to “It’s All About The Indies

  1. Kevin Brennan April 27, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Mark. And you forgot to mention another terrific indie writer: Mark Paxson! 😃

  2. Pingback: Reading Trad vs. Indie | Audrey Driscoll's Blog

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