Just so you know, I’ve been getting corrupted at Chuck Wendig’s blog. After I read him, I cuss a lot more, and let slip weird and personal bits of information that may not be strictly true. While I don’t really believe his story about the garter snake and the serving spoon, my little ditty about the socket set and the VCR might possibly be true. Or not. Well.
Lately he’s been going off on the self-pubbed volcano of crap. I can sort of see it. His plea for self-pubbers to take some pride, get some edits, make a nice cover, write a blurb that entices, really is in a lot of people’s best interests to listen to. Of course the comments that followed were kind of harsh. Like, I won’t read indie ‘cause it’s all kinds of crap.
I’m not too worried about it on our end of the genre spectrum here. I read indie books. Jordan Castillo Price self-pubs. Josh Lanyon does too now. Never heard anyone complain about their quality. They’re pros, they work their publishing like a business, they do the right things to create a lovely chunk of entertainment. And a lot of other folks I read do it too. Because there are some great pieces out there that didn’t go through an imprint, from authors who take pride.
Of course, I see some of the volcano spew too. Some from authors who should know better. From writers I really did think knew the difference between its and it’s, or that sentences need punctuation on the ends. Be glad I don’t name those names, they make me talk like Chuck Wendig and then I say things like fucking fuckbasket.
Some indie writers have asked me to read their work, and I have. Some I plan to read again. Some I probably shouldn’t have said yes to. Some I’ve declined. Some indies I’ve bought. I buy a lot of books from a lot of authors.
Some I’ve opened the file on and thought oh no, there went my remaining sanity, and closed it again. If you don’t believe that a good cover and a good blurb matter, yes, they do. If, against my better judgment, I look past an eyesearing cover (which in mm is relative, I know) and a blurb of stones and errors, the story tends to match. I try to weed these out early. They aren’t all indie, either, which is another fucking fuckbasket.
One problem I do see as being more of an mm indie issue is that a complete story arc may or may not be in there. If the book is clearly One Big Book divided for manageability, and does have some completed plot arc as part of the bigger situation, that’s cool. But if the books are short and really should be all three together for a plot arc, that sets me off. I stopped reading fanfiction because I got so tired of a neat set up that got abandoned before the plot really started, and a lot of “Book 1”s seem like more of the same, only with money.
Chuck Wendig didn’t really address that volcanoes make diamonds too. There are some spectacular indie things out there. And they aren’t too hard to find. Here’s three of my favorites, some I’ve reviewed, some coming soon.
What's right about this? All three books are clearly marked as going together, they have a great story, lovely covers, pretty formatting, and just in general show how it's done right.
DRAWN TOGETHER BY IRRESISTIBLE FORCES
grounded Detroit handyman Derrick Chance isn’t looking for a
relationship. After spending his twenties recovering from a series of
tragic losses, he’s content with his insular existence and not
interested in risking the possibility of another.
accountant Gavin Hayes has every reason to avoid entanglements, too.
Fresh out of an abusive relationship with a world-class manipulator, he
questions whether he’s ever going to be fit for another partner. At the
very least, it will be months before he knows just how big an issue his
future health will be if he tries again.
But when a series of
home repairs unexpectedly turns into an extravagant game of flirtation,
they discover that the last thing they thought they wanted is the one
thing they can’t live without. As the autumn months pass and they wait
for the final verdict on Gavin’s health, the two wounded men learn to
open up, to let someone into their lives, and to trust again. But when
Gavin’s dangerous ex re-enters the picture, will their new and fragile
bond withstand the final test?
Find at Amazon. I reviewed each book separately. Might as well get the set, you'll start and want to finish right away.
What's done right? A complete plot arc, it stands alone, even if it's better in order, the tale is fast paced and gripping, we CARE about these two guys and besides, Lucky's the funniest pain in the ass ever. Also I want to lick the cover. Review to follow.
SNB Agent Bo Schollenberger’s solved his cases using his brains and
not a gun, and with his partner, not alone. Now he’s handed a tough new
case involving designer drugs that turn users violent. One false move
could end his life as he immerses himself into a motorcycle gang to
locate the source. His fate depends on how well he can impersonate
someone else. Someone named Cyrus Cooper.
Cyrus is everything Bo Schollenberger isn’t, including the badass
enforcer for a smuggling ring. He establishes pecking order with his
fists and doesn’t take shit from anybody, not even the undercover agent
who comes to help his case.
Simon “Lucky” Harrison’s always been the best, whichever side of the
law he was on. Former trafficker turned SNB agent, he damned well ought
to be undercover in this motorcycle gang, instead of hanging around the
office going crazy with new policies, new people, and
“inter-departmental cooperation” that sticks him in a classroom. Yet
he’s passed over for the SNB’s biggest case in decades in favor of the
rookie who shares his bed. A man Lucky thought he knew.
When survival depends on a web of tangled lies, lines blur, worlds
collide, and a high stakes game turns friend to foe. Lucky knows the
difference between Bo the agent and Cyrus the outlaw, but does Bo?
Find at Amazon
What's done right: a hotdamn of a standalone story, where the stakes are higher than just getting shoved out of the closet, a great setting, and a paperback copy that looks as good as anything on my shelf. Review to follow.
Christopher understands Luca’s need to keep their relationship under
wraps, but chafes at hiding in the shadows of his lover’s career. He’s
ready to cheer Luca’s victories, but he knows too well how triumph can
turn to tears. While Christopher’s heart sees Luca the man, his inner
journalist—and his editor—sees the cycling world’s biggest scoop.
From the jagged curves of the Colorado Rockies to the viciously
steep Belgian hills, Luca can ride out any bumps—except rumors about his
A few words in the wrong ear could crash everything. With miles
between them, hints of scandal, and Luca’s fierce need to guard his
reputation, a journalist might have to let go of the biggest story of
his career or risk forcing his lover to abandon the race. Christopher
and Luca face a path more treacherous than any road to the summit in the
Italian Alps. Find at Amazon
Notice I didn't say anything about the editing. That's because nothing sticks out, these three (5?) books are all coherent and proofread to a fare thee well. So there, Chuck Wendig.
If this is indie, I like it.