Featured Indie Authors: Literary Fiction

It’s book list time! If you’re a reader, this is the place to find interesting work by indie authors. Let’s get cracking on some indies writing literary fiction. This is a tough genre to write, and I am choosing to begin the first featured author post with literary fiction because it’s a big space to occupy as an author. When you can write LitFic, you can write anything. Before we get into the titles, let me first say I am featuring these authors to showcase their work as writers, not as a reflection of personalities or lifestyles. I don’t know any of these authors personally, but I want to open the doors to the value indie authors bring to the world of publishing through serious conviction to writing. The featured books here are not necessarily new releases, but are chosen for the quality of writing they offer.

Additionally, indie authors are still battling to convince readers that we are valid against the mammoth publishing houses and their equally massive distribution services. But I have said elsewhere–and will probably say it again–indie authors maintain rights to their own work, and there’s a beautiful side to the crafting of creative writing which levels the playing field. When indie authors let loose because they can, we readers get to reap the rewards of unleashing the creative spirit in every writer. With that, please peruse the titles below, and enjoy the worlds spun into the stories. If you like what you see, go ahead and click the book link, which will lead you straight to Amazon to purchase.

*Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

I want to begin with a special literary fiction which has become a sort of movement. The book Spilled Milk by K.L. Randis is being used as a text in classrooms to teach students about child abuse, and the author offers speaking engagements around this topic. Spilled Milk has been re-released in an updated version, and has earned serious acclaim. Such a beautiful tribute to overcoming childhood trauma deserves a top spot on any list of good reads. For those interested, here is the jacket info:

Brooke Nolan is a battered child who makes an anonymous phone call about the escalating brutality in her home.

When social services jeopardize her safety condemning her to keep her father’s secret, it’s a glass of spilled milk at the dinner table that forces her to speak about the cruelty she’s been hiding. In her pursuit for safety and justice Brooke battles a broken system that pushes to keep her father in the home.

When jury members and a love interest congregate to inspire her to fight, she risks losing the support of family and comes to the realization that some people simply do not want to be saved.

 

Next on the list is Five Fathoms Beneath written by J.R. Alcyone, an award-winning novel focused on mental illness and finding hope in the face of titanic struggles. In many societies, mental illness is still a topic to be avoided lest we face a lack of acceptance for circumstances out of our control. This literary work brings light to the issues of handling personal crisis, thoughts about suicide, and fear of losing people we love. Again, check out the jacket info for more details:

If Ambrose Serafeim’s life is not quite perfect, then it’s very good–he lives in picturesque Western Australia, he has a lovely fiancée, and he is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician. Brose owes no small part of his station in life to his famous father, Alec, a gentle and idealistic pediatric heart surgeon who lives by a simple moral code–do good and be good. Brose believes in his father and that code the way he believes in absolutes like oxygen or gravity. But when Alec shatters Brose’s perfect world by acting in a way Brose can neither forgive nor understand, Brose is left foundering amidst an existential crisis and clinical depression, unsure not only who he is, but who his father was.
That is until a catastrophic injury in a running race changes everything.

The road from that catastrophic injury leads Brose to the same heart-stopping precipice on which Alec once stood. Facing the possible end of his marriage and having seemingly lost his career, will Brose repeat his father’s terrible mistake, or will Brose blaze a new path forward, one where he finally realizes his potential to help others?

A twist on Loren Eiseley’s famous essay, “The Star Thrower,” Five Fathoms Beneath blends a realistic medical backdrop with a dash of magical realism to tell the heartbreaking yet ultimately life-affirming tale of a man’s quest to find his life’s meaning.

Five Fathoms Beneath is a realistic story about suicide, an important public health issue. The novel may contain scenes and descriptions which are upsetting to some readers. 

Up next is a coming-of-age story from an award-winning author: The Other Girl by LB Gschwandtner. According to reviews, this reads like a thriller. What seems most striking about this story is the fact that it features a young female attending a Quaker school, the type of story you may not find in the stacks of books released by traditional presses. This unique look into life at an alternative school will likely entertain and educate readers. For more information, read the jacket info:

During her first week at coed Quaker prep Foxhall School, sassy Susannah Greenwood, one of two girls who’ve entered as sophomores, gets pulled into the cool girls’ clique. While the school is instructing her in the moral and ethical tenets of the Quaker faith, the cool girls allow her to enter their world beyond the rule book—but in trying to find a balance between idealistic faith and the reality of a competitive system, Susannah runs afoul of the school’s most authoritarian dean and befriends the only other new sophomore, a brainy, socially inept outcast. Then her new friend runs away after being shamed by the dean, and Susannah finds herself caught between the two forces of loyalty and authority: Should she cooperate with the unforgiving, and now vulnerable, dean, who, with her job on the line, is pleading for information from her about her runaway friend? Or should she keep the secret she’s sworn to protect?

 

Continuing in the vein of the experimental and courageous, this next book features a main character facing gender identity in Roads Not Taken by Emily Gallo. A striking aspect of this novel is the focus on love and the fact that it is not defined by gender or sexuality. In an age where people are becoming more awakened to gender fluidity and questioning cultural norms, stories like Roads Not Taken are becoming ever more meaningful to readers seeking a compass for acceptance about their own identities. For your interest, here is the jacket info:

Sometimes you need to let go of the wheel and see what happens.
A coming-of-age story with a twist: When Malcolm thinks he has found the woman of his dreams, he is forced into reevaluating his beliefs and preconceptions while exploring the meaning of love without gender.

 

I’m going to end this list with a memoir titled Justice for the Lemon Trees by Jessica Lucci. This is another award-winning read by an indie author sharing her own story of childhood and domestic abuse, yet another opportunity for readers to learn and grow from sharing the author’s story. The experiences of women in the world today are finally coming into the public sphere and bringing out into the open the severity of how abusive relationships affect women and children around the world. Read the jacket info below:

Exhilarating waves of emotion pound on the shores of pages pebbled with tragic child abuse, brash bullying, and calamitous schooling. Ms. Lucci’s memoir follows a fierce young girl from suburbia to an engulfing ocean of adult bleakness. Through her eyes, and in her own words, we bear witness to her agonizing submission and defeat in domestic violence, and lift our hearts with hers as she rises up above savage shame. Agonizingly, she falls into despair and uncertain madness as she loses everything, all over again. Through her life story, we can trace the path of pain to follow where things went wrong, and how they can be repaired for the hope of future happiness, for all survivors and their families.

I hope this list opens hearts to the creative and industrious spirit of indie authors, particularly those tackling literary fiction. As an indie author myself, I am a staunch advocate for the hard work it takes to run a writing business in order to be discovered by the audience who wants to read independently-published writing. Next time you cruise over to the “Top 100” list on your Kindle or consider your next book to be delivered, take a chance on an indie author. Certainly there is a wide range of expertise out there, but that’s true of traditionally published books, too. Readers, enjoy the ride in these stories, and expect more book lists to come. I plan to publish a book list at least once a month, always featuring indie authors.

If you enjoyed this list, feel free to comment below! I love hearing from readers. 🙂

*Full transparency, in case you missed my note at the top of this post, I use Amazon affiliate links, which means I may get paid for clicks on links to products. 

Introduction to Logophile

Hello, writers. It’s nice to meet you. My name is Elaine Snyder, and I’m a writer. Let me start by sharing a little about myself. I’ve been writing since I was in high school, and reading the dictionary since I was in elementary school. Reading, in fact, was my first love affair with words, but I when I started writing bad poetry in high school, I got the writing bug and never recovered. In case you remember my old blog, Flying with the Falcon, I want you to know this isn’t my first rodeo as a blogger. I’ve had many blogs in the past, but Flying with the Falcon was probably my most interesting. Ending the Falcon blog was hard for me, since I actually grew to look forward to the writing, and felt a connection to those lovely people who came to read my writing once in a while. So here I am again, back to blogging because I can’t seem to stop myself. This time, I want to serve writers, my tribe of wacky nerds who love words enough to do strange things like decorate with books, name their pets after famous characters like Gandalf, or who always win at Scrabble. This blog is a gift for you, because I love my fellow writers and want them to have a place to visit and coalesce with other writers. We are often a lonely tribe, but we belong to each other.

Each week I plan to write a blog post about writing, whether it’s writing skills I can share, tips on getting into a writing habit, or hints about indie publishing. As I get things going, I hope I can invite a few bloggers to share some of their wisdom here as guests, because I don’t know everything there is to know about writing. I know, shocking. But I want this to become a nice place for writers to come chat in the comments, share on social media, or find some good material to inspire you. Whether you’re in a great place as an experienced writer, or you’re a knock-kneed beginner, I hope to serve you all. I have found after more than 30 years of practicing the writing craft that I still learn new things every day, and I still believe I will be practicing until the day I die. Along with writing tips, I will occasionally share indie books, both as reviews and in groups to showcase them. For those of us who are dedicated readers (as I believe many writers are), I would like it to be a spot to come find some new reading, while you also help support indie authors.

Just for the record, I want to plug indie authorship for a moment. I’m pleased to see a gradual shift happening in relationship to self-publishing, because this choice to publish oneself has often been seen as a vanity, rather than a serious pursuit to a writing career. My personal story with indie publishing boils down to wanting to maintain control over my hard work and creative energy, rather than turning over most of the profits and all of the rights to a publishing house. When you throw away your creative control to a group of strangers who may not have your best interests at heart, your stories may never have a fighting chance to be discovered by an audience. There are lots of reasons to go indie, freedom probably being a major reason, but despite that freedom, it’s a hard road. All the finances fall into the writer’s lap, along with all the marketing, emailing, social media, jacket copy, cover art…it’s a long list of jobs for one person. There are probably indie authors who have help, or who can pay people to do these jobs, but most indie authors I know are doing this work on their own. For this reason, I hope readers will learn to give indie authors a better chance at being read, especially if you can maybe look past the slightly imperfect cover art, the book summary that’s a little awkward, or the bumbling on social media. We’re busy folks wearing too many hats, but most of us are dedicated to our craft. Try a sample of the writing for free on your Kindle, even if the jacket copy has mistakes. You might be pleasantly surprised. Of course, there are lots of authors who aren’t serious and didn’t go the extra mile to make their work its best. I’ve read plenty of terrible indie books. It’s still worth the time to read a sample to give an author a chance.

To kick off this new blog, I want to share with you one of the most meaningful statements about writing I’ve ever heard:

“In Judaism there is an old tradition that when a young boy first begins to study, the very first time, after he reads his first word in the Torah, he is given a taste of honey or a sweet. This is so he will always associate learning with sweetness. It should be the same with writing. Right from the beginning, know it is good and pleasant. Don’t battle with it. Make it your friend.”

This quote is from Natalie Goldberg, in her book titled Writing Down the Bones. It’s one of my favorite writing books, because it reads like a conversation between author and reader, and because her main intention seems to be to deliver a sense of love through her words. At least, that’s how it feels to me. I’ve read this book over and over, like reading a love letter that still brings tears to your eyes after years of wearing it thin in your hands, the words nearly etched on your tongue. I wrote a blog post not long ago about Natalie Goldberg turning me down for an interview, a story you can read if you’re interested. Even so, I still love her writing advice. It’s gentle and kind, and it’s what I hope other writers will be when it comes to their practice. Be gentle and kind to yourself, writers. The world is heavy enough without adding more weight to your life. Allow writing to be a delight, because it can be.

When you come to this little internet cafe, bring yourself a cup of coffee or tea (even a little wine…or whiskey, if that seems necessary), and make this a sweet moment to take in some ideas, be curious, hear from wise writers about the craft, and maybe feel a little lighter about going back to your story, article, or poem. Bring that sweetness with you as you write, a taste of chocolate, a handful of berries, or a spoonful of honey. Savor it as you travel far, far away in your mind, listening to voices having discussions in places you created. As your eyes stare at the ceiling, relish the idea that you are the spindle for the words you wind into stories, and your stories are meant to be shared with anyone who is looking for them. And they are looking. If those stories are ever to be found, you must be brave enough to unlock them from your fists. Magic happens when the time is right. Suddenly your words will explode into life and your tribe will appear, those happy souls who have been waiting to hear from you.

And so it begins. Logophiles, I am so excited to serve you. I know this is going to be fun, fulfilling, and I hope you enjoy the material I look forward to offering. Soon I am  planning to share a few indie books in a post to introduce a few authors, so stop by if you’re looking for a new literary fiction read. Those will be the books I plan to showcase this week. When that post is published, I’ll offer a sign-up for an email list if any of you would like to receive this blog in your mailbox, and I will make certain to place it on every post so you can sign up anytime you like. For now, I hope interested authors will feel free to share my post anywhere you like. It will be fun to connect online and help each other grow and learn. Until then, happy writing! Remember, make it sweet. Savor the creative time, because it’s yours.

 

*For indie authors in need of help during their writing and editing process to self-publish, I am here for you. Please check my freelancing page to learn about how I assist indie authors.