Indie Pride Day

13508898_1019503368157662_4983336885812320247_n

 

Here we are once again, celebrating indie authors on the day set aside to blow up social media feeds with pictures of ourselves with indie books we’ve written or read. This is the third year I’ve been involved with the movement, and it’s pretty cool, seeing all the support that we give to one another.

Being an indie author is a neat thing. I’m proud of the work I put out, and while I realize the weird stuff I write is not for everyone, there are those who do enjoy it and reach out to tell me that my work had an impact on them, or how much they enjoyed it. That means a lot to me, to my heart. My books might seem a bit odd to some, but they are real and true to my vision of the story, and that’s the part of being indie I love. I don’t have anyone telling me what I need to add or take out of my story to make it more mainstream. There is plenty of mainstream work out there. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read mainstream books as well… I just also like having the option of writing and reading books that have more unusual plots and characters.

I also love being part of the indie community, of the other authors who lift one another up with post shares, book buying, and being there for one another on difficult days when writing is hard. Cover designers, editors, formatters, and book bloggers also make up part of this community, and have proven to be some of the neatest people I’ve ever met online.

I’m proud of myself for taking the leap to start writing books, and I’m proud of my indie friends for doing the same. It’s a scary thing, putting your art out there for people to see. They might love it, or hate it, or completely ignore it. Sometimes we get nasty messages or emails about our work from people who seem utterly miserable with life. Sometimes we get beautiful reviews. Sometimes we can’t get a solitary share on a link about our writing, and we feel invisible. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, but still one I’m glad I buckled myself into. The ride itself has been worth it.

That’s the thing to remember, I think. It’s easy enough to get caught up in the idea of where we are going; where our ranking might be next year at this time, or if we hit a bestseller list, or if we get picked up by some big publication. But the journey is the part to enjoy. We’ve made this art, and it is ours. Our vision, our heart and soul, our own unique ideas written out that we can hold in our hands, and share with others. That’s not something everyone can say they’ve done. It’s the writing itself that’s important. It’s the Doing of the Thing. It’s this moment, right now, where we are working toward a goal that means the world to us. That is the success.

These pictures are just some of my favorite indie authors. Many indie books I own are ebooks on my phone, so I can’t take photos with them.

Help us celebrate Indie Pride Day. Tell me some of your favorite indie authors.

13510839_1019501011491231_972245682055914749_n

Help me help others.

CJP29uLUkAA8GLy

I love buying indie books.

When I hold them in my hands, it’s almost as if I can feel a piece of the author’s strength.

Writing a book is hard. Publishing a book, well, that takes a particular sort of strength.

It’s more than hard work. It’s taking your raw soul and sticking it out on the front porch, where passerby might point and laugh at it.

There’s always that risk. And here’s the thing: we are aware of that risk before we hit the publish button.

We do it anyway.

We do it because for the 99 people who might point and laugh, there is one who doesn’t.

For that one reader, we might build a connection. That connection is worth it. It’s worth it to me.

It’s worth it for so many other indie and small press authors I know.

I love weird art. I love attending craft fairs and coming across some tiny booth with a nervous artist who isn’t sure of themselves. They’ve toiled for months over their idea, struggling, failing, trying again.

They’ve loved their weird little idea so much, they’ve stayed up past midnight, long after the kids are in bed, knowing they’ve got to be up early for work. They’ve sacrificed money and valuable time and brought their art to a craft show or Ren Faire or Farmer’s Market, and they stand there, shifting around, hoping someone will stop by and notice their pieces.

These are the people I try to support. If I’ve got a choice between supporting Wally World and their cheap, mass-produced items or purchasing a creation born of love and independent spirit, I’m going to choose the struggling artist every time.

I rather desperately want a yarn bowl. I know a girl taking classes, learning to make vases and cups. Her skill set isn’t yet at a place where she can make me what I want, so I will wait. It might be another year or two. I would rather purchase a unique yarn bowl from someone I know.

I love imperfect art. When one edge is a little lopsided, that’s the one I choose. And I love to get to know other artists and have the opportunity to watch their art improve over time, to watch that spark of joy in their eyes when they’ve almost made their vision into reality.

I work so hard to help support other artists because I understand that feeling of having this great idea inside and desperately itching to make that idea into something tangible. When an artist finds their perfect niche, it’s an amazing thing to watch. The focus, the sacrifice, an artist is willing to make to see their idea come to fruition.

When I make a profit selling my books, I try always to take a portion (sometimes it’s a very small portion) and feed that back into the indie community. Because I love to read and write, I very often use that money to buy indie and small press books. By supporting indie and small press authors, I’m also helping to support their editors, cover artists, and formatters. It helps all of these people get the opportunity to make more art.

Or I might buy a single from a new indie band. (FYI, check out Deadman Fall.) Or a crooked piece of jewelry from a new crafter.

Sometimes, I pay my bills and take care of my household and there is no extra money to do this. But I still want to be supportive. So I write reviews for indie and small press books and post them on multiple sites. I share those reviews on Twitter and Facebook. I add books to my Pinterest book boards. I shout on social media about indie books and indie music that I love. I share artist’s pages and websites. These things cost me nothing but time, and I’m willing to stay up a little later, or get up a little early, to make the time to do it.

Most of my readers have followed me for a little while now, and if you’ve read much of anything on this blog before, you know I’m the parent of children who live with chronic illness. Medical appointments are frequent, the hospital is a long drive, and insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of medication. If you’ve followed me anytime within the last year or so, you probably also know that I was injured at the last job I had. Combined, these circumstances make it difficult for me to work at a “regular” job.

I write. A lot. I’m trying to get my work out there. I need help to do that.

I don’t have a big name, or extra money to spend on promotion. I have this little blog, and social media, and the wonderful people who take the time to purchase my work and read and review it.

I have you. I can’t fully express how grateful I am for the people who take the time to read this little unfancy blog in its tiny corner of the Internet. You follow me on social media and share my work. Thank you. You add me on Goodreads. Thank you. You tell your friends about my books.

THANK YOU.

Because of you, my lights are still on and there is watermelon in my fridge. Because of you, the dogs’ kibble dish is full and my kids aren’t going hungry. Because of you, I have gas in my tank to get to doctor appointments.

Some of you guys I don’t even know, but you keep showing me support. You rock.

I can’t afford big giveaways or promotional stunts. Money around here is tight and my wallet has eleven cents in it.

I can’t pay people to shout about my work.

What I’ve got is one indie book and one book I signed with a small press to publish.

What I’ve got is a sincere desire to help support other indie artists.

What I need is help.

When you choose to help support me and my writing, you are helping more than just me. You are helping my family. You are helping the editors, cover artists, and formatters.

You are helping me help support other artists.

As long as I am making money on my books, I will take a portion and use it to support some form of art.

If you follow me on social media, you will often see me take pictures of myself holding up indie and small press books I’ve bought. Authors don’t ask me to do this. I do it because I believe in supporting creative people who are brave enough to put their work out there. (Incidentally, I LOVE when people post pictures of themselves holding up one of my books and tag  me. It makes me smile the entire day. Thank you.)

I promise to continue putting my money back into the indie community.

Will you help me help others? Will you check out my books, and buy them if you are able? If not, will you share my writing on social media? Will you help me keep making art, and supporting others who do?

I would so appreciate it if you would.

Thanks. You guys rock.

Guest Post by the Talented Megan O’Russell.

TSR_ebook (1)

As an author I spend a lot of time alone with my laptop, pondering words. Choosing exactly the right word for a sentence can be a time consuming and maddening endeavor. Did his lips brush gently against her hair? Did he kiss her tenderly on the forehead? The actual actions are fairly similar, but the words read so differently.

And even harder than the words chosen for descriptions are the characters’ names.

The Siren’s Realm is the second book in The Tethering Series. The series is about magic, danger, and most of all a boy who loves a girl. Choosing the name for the girl was so stressful! I wanted something timeless, but with meaning. I ended up with Emilia Gray. A girl trapped at the center of a war she wants nothing to do with. The girl so loved by Jacob Evans.

Jacob loves Emilia Gray, but things aren’t always that simple in the world of Magickind… The war has begun.  The Dragons are gaining power, and the Gray Clan stands alone. Desperate to find a way to stop the Pendragon, Emilia is forced to seek answers from someone who hasn’t been seen in seventeen years . . . Her mother. Embarking on a magical journey filled with witches, wizards, centaurs and a dangerous and powerful Siren, Jacob and Emilia must take a leap of faith to a land neither could have ever imagined . . . and hope they can then find their way home.

Then I came to the spell language of the books. With the help of my wonderful husband, I created a spell language based on Latin roots. Inluesco creates a sphere of light. Pelluere heals minor wounds.

Then came the naming of the chapters, which was personally my favorite part. Do you choose a phrase from the chapter or a significant event? Do you choose a little teaser to get the reader to devour just one more chapter before bed?

Then came the naming of the books. Finding a title that will allow a Google search to actually find your book is a herculean feat.

It’s a time consuming process, which to me is more challenging than plotting the entire story. But after much deliberating and editing, I don’t think I could find another name for Emilia or Jacob. Or another title for The Siren’s Realm.

My brain, on writing.

11009391_764514253656576_443151102088026661_n

Type, type, type, type. Does that need a semicolon? I think a period would be better. No. Yes. Maybe. Definitely a semicolon. Definitely a period. No. Wait. Was, or were? Was. Definitely was. Unless…no, it’s definitely was. Don’t forget, kid gets out of school early today. Don’t forget. I should write that down. Gimme the beat boys, and free my soul, I wanna get lost in the rock and roll and drift away…wait. What? Focus. Type, type, type. That was terrible. Backspace. Type, type, type. Much better. I think. I should read the entire chapter again, just to make sure. Scroll, scroll, scroll. I should turn on the TV, just for background noise. Oh, the dogs need to go out.  >takes dogs out< Type, type, type. I should erase this entire chapter. And THEN! I could…no, no, no. I need this chapter, so the thing can happen. Unless…I change the thing to later…type, type, type. Delete. Type, type, type. Oh, look! Pirates of the Caribbean is on! I should change the channel, I know I’ll get distracted.  And you, my brown eyed girl, do you remember when, we used to sing, shalalalalalalaladedah. Focus. Focus. Where was I? Oh, getting the dogs food. No wait. Didn’t I do that already this morning. >looks at dogs< >dogs look mournfully back< I can’t remember. Better feed them again. >feeds dogs< Type, type, type. OH MY GOD! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before! It’s brilliant! Typetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetype. Oh, Jack, you scallywag! How many days left until Ren Fest opens? I should check. I need time to finish that new pirate outfit…What time is it? Don’t forget. Kid gets out of school early today. Take ham out for dinner. Didn’t I? I thought I already took it out. No, I don’t think I did. >checks for ham. Still in freezer< Oh! New idea for another book. I should write this down. No wait, I’ll remember. I could just open another doc and start…no. Finish this one. You’re so close! Well, I’m close unless I delete this chapter. Oh, God! DID I delete that chapter? Scroll, scroll, scroll. Whew. I didn’t. Type, type, type. I wonder if the Kid Rock concert is sold out yet. We were trying funny things, we were smoking funny things, making love out by the lake to our favorite song, Drinking whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ‘bout tomorrow, singing sweet home Alabama, all summer long. >realizes self is half standing, air drumming on desk. Stops< Focus. I know some writers knock out five thousand words a day. I struggle to hit two thousand. I suck as a writer. I should quit. Type, type, type. Too depressing. Delete. Type, type, type. Too cheerful. Delete. Wait. Doesn’t this guy have green eyes? Type, type, type. Don’t forget, kid gets out early today. I should write that down. Type, type, type. This is good, I love including symbolism. Is it too far of a reach, though? Will people get it? I should make it clearer. Now it’s too dumbed down. Make it something they have to think on for a minute. No, that’s too hard. Type, type, type. Now it’s too damn obvious. Soulshine, it’s better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain. Will anyone catch that nod to Captain Jack Sparrow? Well, I know it’s there, and it’s damn funny. Did I ever take that ham out? Yes. Did I? Did I ever change that semicolon? Yes. No. Yes. I’m sure I did. Type, type, type. Oh, the dogs need to go out. >takes dogs out< I wonder if Adderall would help my word production. I should ask the doctor. Do I really have trouble focusing, or am I just lazy? Try harder. Type, type, type. Delete. Type, type, type. You, shook me allllllllll night long, yeah you….Focus. Type, type, type. Phone rings.

Kid: MOOOOOM! You forgot to pick me up early!

Circumstantial Evidence.

Guys! Guys, guys, guys, guys GUYS! GUESS WHAT? Lisa Clark O’Neill has just released a new book! The next installment in the Sweetwater books is available, and you want to buy it, don’t you? Buy it and review it and share this blog post all over your most favoritest social media feeds, BECAUSE YOU’RE FILLED WITH THE SAUCE THAT IS AWESOME. Look at you, you awesome-sauce-filled-thing, you.

ALSO, the author is doing a giveaway for three lucky people who like her page today! So hop on over and like it! Go! Shoo! Skeedaddle! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Clark-ONeill-Novelist/287773574604107

Clicky clicky. There’s a good puppy.

http://www.amazon.com/Circumstantial-Evidence-Sweetwater-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00U1FH2L4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1424965097&sr=1-1&keywords=circumstantial+evidence+lisa+clark+o%27neill

Highlighters and Vampires and Werewolves, Oh My!

This series of books by author A.T. Russell is a delightful and unusual twist on what is expected from a “standard vampire novel.” The Generations Series is urban fantasy, and filled to overflowing with drama, love, and knock-down-drag-out battle scenes. The third book, Blood Wives, was just released, and while it can stand alone, you really ought to read the first two novels in the series first. Check this out:

untitled

“Venice Prince is a world renowned Blood Hunter, as tough as any, inimitable by any standard… until unrequited love leaves him broken and defenseless. Picking up the pieces and caging his emotions seem impossible, and carrying out the greatest contract of his life depends entirely upon his ability to recover. But Venice can’t do it alone. Unfortunately, in more ways than one, Lollo Atinude witnessed the destruction of Venice’s heart and soul, and the absolute rejection of his honor. Lollo wouldn’t have had it any other way. Venice was made for her and he belonged to only her, so his misery is her gain. Because sex-slave traders are pursuing her, Venice also represents safety for Lollo. Vampires want to use her body with violent abandon and drink her blood, often. Remaining near Venice keeps them at bay. Though he is her blood enemy, at least with him, she would be a mate… and not a Blood Wife.”

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Wives-Generations-T-Russell/dp/069237728X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423926712&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+wives+A.T.+Russell

Also, check out the first two books in this series, Sacred Puppies and Alpha and the King:

http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Puppies-Generations-T-Russell/dp/0692294309/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-King-Generations-T-Russell/dp/0692330275/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

And if you do, come back and let me know what you think of the books!

Cover Reveal for “Gods of Anthem!”

GOA
Wow! This blurb sounds fantastic — excitement and adventure in a YA dystopian: Yes, please! Check out this new release by author Logan Keys.
Oceans apart, a young musician and a “special” soldier embark on a perilous journey for home fueled by the unyielding pursuit of freedom from the Authority.Sixteen-year-old prodigy, Liza Randusky, waits imprisoned, blamed for the undead plague that’s slowly destroying the planet. Banished to an island where she’ll never play her beloved piano again, Liza’s steadfast sense of justice and passion for music may have the power to change her destiny. But will it be enough… To strike back at the new world order, the troubled son of a preacher, Thomas Ripley-Hatter, suffers unspeakable alterations by the Underground to join a secret Army. Tommy knows that all hope lies in human-weapons like himself, and that somehow he must cling to his sanity…while letting loose the monster to win.The battle begins for the last-standing sliver of humanity: Anthem.
Now that you’ve read it, I know you’re excited! So go ahead, stalk this author on her numerous social meds. Go ‘head. Nah, no worries. She likes it!