Monthly Archives: December 2013

99-Cent Book Sale!

Dec AIA saleWelcome to the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza! If this is your first time at Awesome Indies, we are a site dedicated to finding, evaluating, and promoting only the highest-quality independent fiction available today. All of the books on this site (and in this sale) have been evaluated by industry professionals for craftsmanship and narrative strength. Many of these stories have won awards and every one is critically acclaimed. Each is a bargain at its regular price, but in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of 2014 – all of these titles have been discounted to next to nothing.

If you’ve just purchased a new e-reader for yourself or someone you know, you might be looking for books to fill it with. After all, an empty Kindle is not much fun. But it might seem expensive to load up your new device with current bestsellers. That’s why Awesome Indies has served up some breakthrough, cutting-edge, and popular fiction at bargain prices for you and that new digital companion.

We’re also giving away Amazon gift cards so that a lucky few can purchase some of these excellent books for free. Stay tuned to Awesome Indies to learn more about the giveaway. Check out the more than 60 ebooks on sale on the Holiday Bonanza Page.

Dec AIA sale banner

Schedule of Holiday Bonanza Events

December 27th – Enter a quiz celebrating literary creativity. Win one of three Amazon gift cards ($25, $15, and $10) – Winners to be announced on December 30th.

December 28th – A Celebration of Series. There’s nothing that twangs a reader’s heartstrings like returning to one of their favorite worlds. The Waterspell series is among those featured.

December 29th – Find out what’s coming to the Awesome Indies in 2014. We have big plans and you can be a part of them.

December 30th – We say goodbye to the Holiday Bonanza and the incredible holiday savings. We plan on going out with a bang, though! Also be sure to come back to see if you won a gift card.

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Opening Lines: Deborah Lightfoot.

I’m reblogging “Opening Lines” from On The Plum Tree with my thanks to Niamh Clune for featuring the first lines of Waterspell Book 1. It’s an honor to be excerpted on her outstanding book blog.

Dr Niamh's Children's Books

I thought it might be great to feature the opening lines of some novelist friends of mine. After all, if the opening lines don’t grab you, you probably won’t read on. How about the opening lines of Deborah Lightfoot’s novel, The warlock? It grabs me!


“Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock”

“Carin felt the hoofbeats before she heard them—a barely noticeable tremor underfoot, hardly enough to suggest the approach of a rider but enough to stop her mid-stride.

She turned and studied the leafless trees. Nothing moved. No breeze rattled the branches, no acorn fell to earth, no dead limb snapped. Nothing relieved the woodland’s emptiness.

But she was no longer alone under these oaks. A season on her own had taught her what solitude felt like, and it didn’t feel like this.”

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Laurie Boris: Lessons Learned from Broken Characters

Today I’m hosting Laurie Boris, author of Sliding Past Vertical and other books. You can discover more about this award-winning author at


Guest Post by Laurie Boris:

file5721279006391I’m a bit different from some authors. Instead of outlining and building a character from scratch, I let one fall into my head. I follow him or her around as we find the story together. So sometimes (oh, who am I kidding; it happens nearly all the time) I get to work with characters who are a little broken, a little damaged, or who don’t always make the choices I want them to.

This means I often hear the same comment from my early readers: I wanted to SLAP her!

If it’s any consolation to them, sometimes I want to slap her, too.

Yet to write a book any other way, for me, would feel wrong. It would feel like I’m forcing a character to do something contrary to his or her nature. Readers can sense this. It can make the characters’ journeys feel fake, like the author is moving them around on a chessboard to suit the needs of the plot.

When Sarah Cohen popped into my head for Sliding Past Vertical, oh boy, did I want to slap her. Probably more than any of my other heroines. She meant well. Underneath, I could sense that she meant well, and didn’t want to hurt anyone, but some of her decisions had unintended consequences because she wasn’t thinking them through. I really felt for Emerson, who still loved her after she broke up with him in college. Stop hurting my book boyfriend, I wanted to yell at her.

But I had to let her do what she was going to do. That’s one of the most important lessons I learned from her. As I write a book (and for a while afterward), the characters feel as real to me as the people I come across in the supermarket, on the train, in the gym. That’s what some readers say they love about them. Yet real people don’t always make the best choices, especially if they are in trying situations. They make the ones that feel like the best thing to do at the time. And knowing this has not only helped me feel more compassionate toward other people, it’s helped me feel more compassion for my characters and for myself.

I haven’t always made the “right” decisions in my personal life. Who has? Through writing, and especially when I’m given the gift of a character like Sarah, it helps me grow and helps me learn more about forgiveness.

In a novel, though, if a character never learns anything or changes in some way because of what she experiences, well, what’s the point of having her in the book? It’s a question writers often ask themselves while a story is in development. Sarah, as much as I wanted to sit her down and talk some sense into her, deserved to stay because she had to go through a transformation. She had a lot to learn. I had to be compassionate enough to let her do that on her own, without pushing her around or making her be someone that she wasn’t. And maybe that’s why she came into my life.


This concludes the Awesome Indies Discovery. We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting these eight authors. Thanks for stopping by!


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White Chalk: Fiction With a Social Conscience

Today I’m hosting Pavarti K. Tyler, author of White Chalk, Literary Fiction that came out earlier this year.  Pick up a copy of White Chalk and receive a free ebook! Details below.


Guest Post by Pavarti K. Tyler:


WCFinalCoverChelle isn’t a typical 13-year-old girl—she doesn’t laugh with friends, play sports, or hang out at the mall after school. Instead, she navigates a world well beyond her years.

Life in Dawson, ND, spins on as she grasps at people, pleading for someone to save her—to return her to the simple childhood of unicorns on her bedroom wall and stories on her father’s knee.

When Troy Christiansen walks into her life, Chelle is desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. After experiencing a tragedy at school, her world begins to crack, causing a deeper scar in her already fragile psyche.

Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.

White Chalk is a very personal story for me.  While it’s not autobiographical and I am not Chelle, I could have been.  So could you.  So could the kid sitting on the bus next to you on your way to work tomorrow morning.  The thing is, we never know what someone’s life is like behind the walls of their mind.  It takes very little to change the trajectory of a life.  A teacher who takes a special interest in a troubled child can save them, point them in a new direction, or take advantage and shatter their understanding of love.

Rachel Thompson, Award-Winning Author of Broken Pieces:

“Tyler combines shades of ‘Lolita’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ in a completely new way, drawing you in with poignant characterizations. ‘White Chalk’ goes deep into teenage angst with understanding and clarity. Savor, share, and use this poignant book as a primer on the brutal effects of abuse, neglect, and self-esteem.”

Buy it now:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~

And as a thank you, if you pick up a copy of White Chalk, I’ll send you a free ebook of Two Moons of Sera, my Fantasy Romance. Just email me confirmation of your purchase (PavartiDevi @ gmail)

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Richard Russo: “The writing life is ours to defend.”

From Richard Russo:
An Open Letter to My Fellow Authors

It’s all changing, right before our eyes. Not just publishing, but the writing life itself, our ability to make a living from authorship. Even in the best of times, which these are not, most writers have to supplement their writing incomes by teaching, or throwing up sheet-rock, or cage fighting. It wasn’t always so, but for the last two decades I’ve lived the life most writers dream of: I write novels and stories, as well as the occasional screenplay, and every now and then I hit the road for a week or two and give talks. In short, I’m one of the blessed, and not just in terms of my occupation. My health is good, my children grown, their educations paid for. I’m sixty-four, which sucks, but it also means that nothing that happens in publishing—for good or ill—is going to affect me nearly as much as it affects younger writers, especially those who haven’t made their names yet. Even if the e-price of my next novel is $1.99, I won’t have to go back to cage fighting.

Still, if it turns out that I’ve enjoyed the best the writing life has to offer, that those who follow, even the most brilliant, will have to settle for less, that won’t make me happy and I suspect it won’t cheer other writers who’ve been as fortunate as I. It’s these writers, in particular, that I’m addressing here. Not everyone believes, as I do, that the writing life is endangered by the downward pressure of e-book pricing, by the relentless, ongoing erosion of copyright protection, by the scorched-earth capitalism of companies like Google and Amazon, by spineless publishers who won’t stand up to them, by the “information wants to be free” crowd who believe that art should be cheap or free and treated as a commodity, by internet search engines who are all too happy to direct people to on-line sites that sell pirated (read “stolen”) books, and even by militant librarians who see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to “lend” our e-books without restriction. But those of us who are alarmed by these trends have a duty, I think, to defend and protect the writing life that’s been good to us, not just on behalf of younger writers who will not have our advantages if we don’t, but also on behalf of readers, whose imaginative lives will be diminished if authorship becomes untenable as a profession.

I know, I know. Some insist that there’s never been a better time to be an author. Self-publishing has democratized the process, they argue, and authors can now earn royalties of up to seventy percent, where once we had to settle for what traditional publishers told us was our share. Anecdotal evidence is marshaled in support of this view (statistical evidence to follow). Those of us who are alarmed, we’re told, are, well, alarmists. Time will tell who’s right, but surely it can’t be a good idea for writers to stand on the sidelines while our collective fate is decided by others. Especially when we consider who those others are. Entities like Google and Apple and Amazon are rich and powerful enough to influence governments, and every day they demonstrate their willingness to wield that enormous power. Books and authors are a tiny but not insignificant part of the larger battle being waged between these companies, a battleground that includes the movie, music, and newspaper industries. I think it’s fair to say that to a greater or lesser degree, those other industries have all gotten their asses kicked, just as we’re getting ours kicked now. And not just in the courts. Somehow, we’re even losing the war for hearts and minds. When we defend copyright, we’re seen as greedy. When we justly sue, we’re seen as litigious. When we attempt to defend the physical book and stores that sell them, we’re seen as Luddites. Our altruism, when we’re able to summon it, is too often seen as self-serving.

But here’s the thing. What the Apples and Googles and Amazons and Netflixes of the world all have in common (in addition to their quest for world domination), is that they’re all starved for content, and for that they need us. Which means we have a say in all this. Everything in the digital age may feel new and may seem to operate under new rules, but the conversation about the relationship between art and commerce is age-old, and artists must be part of it. To that end we’d do well to speak with one voice, though it’s here we demonstrate our greatest weakness. Writers are notoriously independent cusses, hard to wrangle. We spend our mostly solitary days filling up blank pieces of paper with words. We must like it that way, or we wouldn’t do it. But while it’s pretty to think that our odd way of life will endure, there’s no guarantee. The writing life is ours to defend. Protecting it also happens to be the mission of the Authors Guild, which I myself did not join until last year, when the light switch in my cave finally got tripped. Are you a member? If not, please consider becoming one. We’re badly outgunned and in need of reinforcements. If the writing life has done well by you, as it has by me, here’s your chance to return the favor. Do it now, because there’s such a thing as being too late.

Richard Russo
December 2013



Authors Guild Membership Eligibility:
You may qualify as an author published by an established U.S. book publisher, as a freelance writer published by periodicals of general circulation in the U.S., or as a book author or freelance writer earning writing income, which may include income from self-published works, of at least $5,000 in an 18-month period.


Richard Russo’s 2001 novel Empire Falls received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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Awesome Indies Discovery 1: Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic

Today I’m hosting Kate Policani, author of Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic (Book 1 of The Convergence series). Be sure to comment on Kate’s post to win a free audiobook at!

DJABBIM Cover New Audiobook

Guest Post by Kate Policani:

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic

(Book 1 of The Convergence series)

By Kate Policani

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

The fabulous Awesome Indies have granted this book the Seal of Approval. Since its last appearance on Discover Authors, my first Convergence series book has donned a new cover for ebooks and is Now available on Audiobook! 


One comment on this post will win a code for a free audiobook at! Let me know what you think of the new cover and the audiobook reading.

The talented Heidi Baker has narrated the first book in The Convergence series. This tale features a lot of humor and loads of fun. As an added bonus, you can HEAR what all those crazy words sound like.

Hear a sample

Buy on Audible

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Itunes

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Awesome Indies Discovery: “Talion” by Mary Maddox

Today I’m hosting Mary Maddox, author of horror fiction Talion, described as “The Silence of the Lambs meets The Turn of the Screw.”

Awesome Indies Discovery Book Tour

Discover Authors

Talion is part of the Awesome Indies Discovery blog tour that continues through December 14.  Come back every day for excellent fiction, great deals, and exciting giveaways. You can find out more about the tour at Discover Authors.

Guest Post by Mary Maddox:

I’m giving away an ebook copy of Talion to the first 10 readers who ask to be added to my newsletter mailing list. Find out more about the upcoming publication of the sequel, Daemon SeerJust contact me by clicking here. I’ll need your name and email address. And be sure to let me know whether you want the Kindle book or the ePub version.

Talion was featured by The Fussy Librarian on Saturday, December 7. Stop by and sign up for your personalized ebook recommendations.

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