Book reviews, indie authors, indie publishing

Indie Authors: Where Are They Now? (Part 5)

If not for my decision to read all the books in John L Monk’s awesome indies project, I would never have read page one of Dan’s Lame Novel . Especially not with its plain lame cover. I mean, we’ve all read enough lame stuff. We should subject ourselves to something deliberately lame?

Yes. If laughing improves your day. lame-novel-ecover

I have so many things to say about this work that I don’t know where to begin. Does the writer break all the rules or uphold them? Both, if you look sideways. For example, almost every chapter starts with the weather and the location of the character, an aid to readers in case it’s been a while since we set the book aside. Now I kind of like that technique in a novel–it keeps me on track. But since his intentions are lame, Rinnert goes over the edge, describing his own weather and what he has been doing between chapters, and how his character hasn’t moved or accomplished anything. He also talks confidentially to the readers and berates his characters (who may hear him and talk back).

Yes, the author is a heavily felt presence in this story, I think the kind of entertaining guy you’d like to have at a party. The novel is more about his writing process than about the character. To avoid all possibility of making his main guy a hero, Rinnert gives him a ludicrous name: Dryer Vent. And because a main character’s path must be full of obstacles, he puts Dryer Vent in a bunch of impossible situations then ridicules his difficulties.

I had to keep reading because the writing is so good. Rinnert manages to repeat without seeming repetitious. Here are a few bits. (I hope you get the joke without the context.)

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a real street name anywhere, but I don’t feel like searching online to find out, so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and remind you it’s a fictitious address, so don’t try going there…Let’s carry on.” (Author commenting on setting).

And later:

“Oh, I never mentioned the bushes before? Shame on me. Anyway, they were there, and he found an opening, so he’s ducked in there, hoping to evade the car.” (More authorial comment).

The whole thing is a parody of the writing process and lame fiction, perhaps genre fiction in particular. Savvy writers (you and I, of course) and anyone who needs a break should love it–just carry it around in your phone or e-reader, dip into it when you’re exhausted, when you need a chuckle, when you’re waiting somewhere. Or when you think your WIP is a POS.

And it’s only, what, 99 cents? Treat yourself to flawless writing with absolutely no pretenses. Then we’ll all have this joke in common and can just repeat the title and laugh together.

Dan’s Lame Novel!

(Don’t skip the Forward.)

(Buy it here.)

So what is Dan C Rinnert doing now? He says “I have about sixty-eight works-in-progress.” Here’s a bit about his current top three:

1. In the semi-sequel to “In Search of the Legendary Phineas Ray,” three friends brave the outlands of their world to find a way to defeat an up-and-coming tyrant, unaware of a larger threat looming over them all.
2. Investigating several murders in a small town, an experienced detective finds his world is not as normal as he’d thought and stranger than he ever imagined.
3. After a man loses everyone and everything important to him, will he ever be able to win back the first love of his life and find happiness again?

Dan, message me when you publish the next one. @carolervin6 Meanwhile I’m going to go “like” your Amazon author page.

cheap ebooks, indie authors, John L. Monk, Kick

Indie Authors: Where Are They Now? (Part One)

The explosion of self-published books makes me think every third reader has just been waiting for a chance to be a writer. And guess what, people are buying and enjoying self-published books. It’s true.

I won’t review or contest all the moaning and groaning from the media about this phenomenon, though I’ll admit that having a desire to write and a good story to tell doesn’t always end in a well-written, properly formatted book. But: freedom to publish. Who can argue with that? Oh, that’s right, people with money to lose: publishers and agents.

Indie ebooks are cheap because authors can set their own price and earn up to 70 percent royalty from Amazon.

Some critics complain as though the rabble has been set loose. I heard a traditionally-published author protest that cheap ebooks threaten the industry, and without the guidance of editors and publishers, literature will decline. Well, la di da. In my humble opinion, very little that’s traditionally published each year qualifies as literature.

There are excellent writers in indie-land, just as there are talented artists and performers everywhere who never rise to national attention. But because of the huge numbers of indie ebooks and the fact that there’s wide variation in reading preferences, finding ones you like can be a frustrating task.

I’ve been delighted to find excellent authors through John L Monk, who generously lists his favorite indie authors and includes their books and buy links on his website, www.john-l-monk.com. So far his list isn’t long, probably because it takes time to sample a lot of books, not to mention reading them all the way through. Besides, he has a day job and has been busy writing sequels to Kick, the first book in the Dan Jenkins Cycle. It may be a while before he adds any new indies to his list.

Instead of offering my own recommended list of books, I decided to take the easy way out by seeing what John’s “Awesome Indies” are working on now. That will be Part Two of “Where Are They Now?” Stay tuned.

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What keeps you turning pages?

One of two questions can keep me turning pages (or scrolling) in a novel:

1. How on earth will the main character get out of this mess?

Or…

2. I think I know the answer to this mystery–will I be right?

Halfway through Kick, I thought I might know the answer, and from that point on, I was reading not just because I was entertained by the writing and fascinated by the action and the characters, but because I wanted to learn if I was right. I even contacted the author, John L. Monk, and shared my suspicion. His answers were vague, so not to spoil the ending, but he did answer! A nice guy.

The main character of Kick is Dan Jenkins, a dead nice guy who keeps hitching uncomfortable rides in the living bodies of bad people. Now this premise could result in a gruesome story, but Monk keeps it light. Even though, sadly, Dan got this way because he committed suicide.

It can’t be easy to write convincingly of evil deeds in a comic voice. Monk carries it off with clever turns of phrase and a self-deprecating tone. In his many bad-guy bodies, Dan shares his qualms and quirky observations. Like the very first line: “Helen had a face that had launched a thousand customer complaints.”

Priceless.

And oh, yes. I was right.

Kick is a high-value, low-price ($2.99) ebook available at Amazon, and free to Prime members. Try it, you’ll like it. Here’s a link: http://amzn.to/17PVRTx