Greetings, this Monday!
Some of you may be unaware that I am an independently published author of several fantasy novels. Others of you doubtless already know this. Anyway, I occasionally do Blog Tags, and I decided to do this Indie Author Blog Tag by R.M Archer (https://rmarcher.com/2021/11/indie-author-blog-tag-and-giveaway-winner-announcements/). I discovered it on E.G Bella’s blog (https://egbella.com/2021/11/19/indie-author-blog-tag/).
- Link back to the original tag (here!)
- Link to the authors you mention (or their books) in your answers
- Tag 5 other indie authors
Why do you publish Indie?
Because I can. It means no one else is making any of the decisions or deadlines I could not work with! I have final say over a lot of things … as a child, I saw these book covers that did not fit, and I promised myself that when I published books I would not let that happen. In fact, I would learn to do my very own book covers! I was actually rather surprised to learn that most authors are not their own artists! Also, I write the book blurb. No one puts blurbs that don’t match on the back of my books! Perhaps, most importantly, I don’t have any deadlines – only goals for when to publish of my own making that I can always revise if necessary – and no one changes my stories in ways that I don’t approve, in ways that I don’t feel make the stories better.
What’s your favourite Indie standalone?
Possibly The Stars Wait Not by Anne Wheeler. It’s not supposed to be a standalone – it’s #1 of the Star Realm Saga – but it’s satisfying as a standalone, and I don’t know if she is ever going to write and publish the sequels. If we’re going for an actual standalone, probably Windward by S. Kaeth. I really enjoyed Windward and it is dragon fantasy. I had been looking for a good dragonrider fantasy for a while when I found Windward, and it was quite satisfactory. The dragons and the dragonbonded felt like real people, right down to falling into the same repetitive patterns that did not work to solve their relationship problems over and over again. It was really good, in a lot of ways.
What’s your favourite Indie series?
Does it count if I’ve never read the second book in the series and it’s not even out yet? If so, possibly The Fires of Treason by Michele Quirke. It’s a really neat historical fantasy about two siblings, a crown prince who is exiled and disinherited because of his unwillingness to engage in a bloodbath and his fanatically loyal younger sister. You can read my review of it here.
Or if we’re talking about a series in which more than one book (which could almost be a standalone itself) is out, possibly Tales of the Outlaw Mages by Amy Campbell. I’ve read both Breaker and Effigest, and both were great. Effigest was maybe even better than Breaker. Kindhearted Blaise Hawthorne, who just wants to live a quiet life as a baker with friends who accept him, and always wants to understand people rather than get angry with them, but will do his very utmost to protect those he cares about … one he realizes he does care about them and they aren’t his enemies is just the best. And his loyal, encouraging pegasus Emrys is wing-to-wing.
What is your most anticipated Indie release?
Up until a few days ago (as I write this), I would have said, without a doubt, Sovereigns by CE Page, 3rd in the Sovereigns of Bright and Dark series. That released on November 16nth and maybe I can still say it is my most anticipated since my copy has not yet arrived? Sovereigns of Bright and Dark is a very good series, too. The characters, especially Declan, felt so real and alive, it was almost as if they were real people I could feel.
What is your most recent Indie read?
Cursed Song by Samantha Kroese. It is really wonderful, too! It’s a lot of what I love in a story – an almost “slice of life” beginning that just shows us the characters living their lives, suffering loss, pursuing their dreams, finding themselves. Oh yes, first there’s an awesome prologue that sets the stage and intrigued me with the way the Siren Queen handled a very selfish, unscrupulous, and even cruel character by the name of Travain who is the ancestor of all the Dusksingers. Then, even as the story progressed to an epic climax, that very personal element remained. To the end, it’s a story about the four characters, Ruyne, his brother Shadow, Shadow’s beloved Derry, and Silver, Ruyne’s lover, about their hopes, sufferings, struggles, triumphs, and loves, about their loyalty, their mistakes … even as the stakes become epic for the rest of the world, the real epicness is in what they mean to the characters themselves, regardless of whether or not the rest of the world might burn. The one flaw it has – which might not have irritated me in a lesser novel, but in this one could have really bothered me – was that there’s a five year interim. I would not have minded reading about Ruyne and Silver during that interim; I’m sure I would even have found it interesting, but I did not need it and I would not have thought about it otherwise. But for Shadow, the interim period covers a very important journey in which a lot happens in him and to him, and I’m sort of desperate to read it. Fortunately, it looks as if Samantha Kroese is going to write it and put it up as a newsletter freebie for us, for next year!
What is your favourite part of being an Indie author?
Uh, just being an author? More or less what I said about why in the first question. I write what I love. I keep it the way I love. No one tells me what to do but me, or if they do, I need only take their advice if I want to. Certainly, no one tells me when or what to write.
What’s the hardest part of being an Indie author?
‘Hard’ can have so many different definitions! The greatest energy expenditure is probably in the writing department – being an author – but that is all a joy and a pleasure. Copy-editing is frustrating, formatting is tedious, and marketing is … well, sometimes I’m okay and I don’t really mind, and I’m enjoying myself, though I wish I was better at it! I do not understand marketing. I could write an essay on all the things I don’t understand that I think I might be able to market better if I did understand. Marketing and a lot of the things that – possibly, necessarily – go into marketing are completely alien to me. So sometimes, though I will never stop writing, marketing can be a real low, and I want to give up on it and publishing forever.
Do you ever plan to go hybrid?
I don’t think about it. I certainly don’t intend to ever give up any of the freedom I talked about. At the same time, having a team to take a lot of the stuff I hate off of me, to do the copy-editing for me and just ask me for a final pass, to do the formatting, maybe even do half the marketing, freeing me to focus entirely on the creative and artistic side – that would be a real wonder, and I probably still would not have enough time in this life to create all the pieces of art, written or visual, that I dream of, even if you all are kind enough to buy enough of my books – or merchandise, if I ever get into that – to support my continued existence on this side of death!
How many books have you released?
Uh, let me think … Eight, I think, at the moment. Two in the Kaarathlon world, one standalone in a very strange world that’s almost a genre of its own (maybe it could be classed with Phantastes and Lilith), one trilogy in Areaer, one standalone novella in Areaer (which you can get for free if you don’t want a hard copy – from this very website, no less!) and my latest, Children of the Dryads, first in another Areaer duology, and a bit more standalone than any of the trilogy books, though not really a standalone! Actually, the first Kaarathlon novel, Knights of the Promise, is a standalone. I originally did not intend to write any sequels, and Knights of the Promise did not change as part of the decision to write sequels. I just realized I could write follow-up novels, so it can still be read alone! It’s basically overtly Christian fantasy, but without a lot of the things often associated with Christian Fantasy, and it’s my darkest novel so far, probably ever. It’s got a lot of fun and joy in it, but it’s got some very dark things in it, too. I really wanted to work through and deal with darkness and horror in a way that was sensitive and heart-ful, that does not gloss over anything. Knights of the Promise is a lot of things that I wanted to read in Christian fantasy but that I never – or almost never – see in that genre. You can find out more about any my novels here or purchase any of them here.
Where are you with your current project?
Well, I’m working with my editor on Sorceress of the Dryads (that’s the sequel to Children of the Dryads and finale of the Legend of the Singer duology, which I hope to release in early Spring 2022). But I’ve four other projects I am actively working on again. One of them is set in an entirely new universe and it’s promising to be very interesting and unique, but it’s still too new and undeveloped for me to say very much about it. An embryo, pretty much. The others are all set in Areaer. One is a trilogy (probably?) about a slave who is determined to be a Dragonrider and free her people and about a girl from a tribe that distrusts dragons who is chosen by the Obsidian Guardian of that age. I’m about a third of the way into the draft of book two. Another might be a trilogy or a duology, and it starts with a half-elf re-reading his favourite story, which happens to be a children’s legend but which he for various reasons thinks is based on a true story, in the library’s garden. I’m not ready to share that much about it, since even the premise of this one contains something that are potentially spoilers for the Legend of the Singer Duology (Children of the Dryads and Sorceress of the Dryads). I want to give people a chance to read those without any spoilers. Both the slave project and the library project (that’s what I’m calling them for short, since I have to call them something; they’re not really about slavery or libraries, so those elements are definitely present!) take place more or less concurrently and about 50,000 to 60,000 years after the Legend of the Singer and Return of the Dragonriders series. The most recent project is the story of Tara-lin’s parents, the human Valor Knight (do not think medieval knight or DnD Paladin; this does embody something similar to the notion of chivalry and honor, of the champion who defends the weak and fights nobly against the enemy – the Nightmare, in Areaer – but he does not wear shining mail or challenge his opponents face to face! He is an assassin, a spy, sometimes a scout, sometimes a saboteur) Eldor and the elf Lìrulin, how they fell in love, met each other, and their harrowing experience with Eldor’s mission at the time. I am kind of surprised I am writing a story as romantic as this one, because while I’ve written novels with romantic sideplots in the past, the romance in this one is almost the main plot, and it’s because two fairly sexual characters. I usually write ace-spec characters, without even thinking about it! Until fairly recently, I thought the kind of thing going on between Eldor and Lìrulin was exaggeration and poetic license, and I did not realize that assumption was wrong because I experienced anything of the sort! It’s a long story, but that was not involved. Anyway, this project is coming along amazingly nicely, though I doubt it would be a project if it were not!
And, of course, anyone else who wants to (which is how I got this one!).