Indie Feature Friday: PROPHECY by Caroline Noe

Indie Feature Friday: PROPHECY by Caroline Noe

I haven’t done a book review in a long time, but since getting involved with the #bookstagram community on Instagram I have read so many wonderful indie and hybrid authors, and I think it’s time to share some of the wealth with you guys. I will try to reserve my end-of-week posts for Indie Feature Friday so that they are easy to find.

First up, is Prophecy by Caroline Noe, Book One in The Canellian Eye trilogy!

Click through to Amazon.com

I have been following Caroline Noe on Instagram for a while now, and I have always been so impressed with how supportive she is of other authors. Her feed is full of beautiful photography, thoughts on life, and reviews of independently published books. If you’re on the gram, you should definitely check her out!

Review: Prophecy

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Noe’s Canellian Eye trilogy. I had seen the gorgeous covers many times when she posted about her work, but I hadn’t actually gone to creep the Amazon listing. In my head it was a post-apocalyptic SF because there’s a lot of that on Instagram. I also expected it to be YA.

Preconceptions aside, when Noe offered a promo on Book One, Prophecy, I bought the whole trilogy without worrying too much about the specifics. I had seen her help and support so many other authors, I knew I wanted to support her. So I jumped into the first book without having any idea what to expect.

I was blown away!

First of all, let me clear things up. It’s not YA, by my definition. The characters are young, and there’s no graphic sex or dirty talk, but the themes definitely skew toward an older crowd. New Adult, perhaps. But I think we can safely call this a book for adult readers.

Second of all, this is not a Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian Sci-Fi. It’s a blend of Science Fiction and Science Fantasy (I never know where to draw the line between the two). It’s got aliens, space travel, the colonization of a new planet, and inter-species conflict galore. I was so pleasantly surprised by everything about this book.

The Plot

The Canellian’s are an alien species from a dying planet. Following an ancient prophecy, they identify their Chosen One and send him and a handful of their best and brightest into the stars to find a new home. For those left behind, it is the ultimate sacrifice for their species. For those on the ship, the struggle for survival is only just beginning.

No Spoilers!

That’s all I’m going to say about that. But let’s just say that things don’t go exactly as planned. Like in any great book, Noe makes her character’s lives miserable. It all makes for some fantastic reading!

My thoughts…

Prophecy starts off slow and atmospheric. There is a bit of back story the reader needs to become acquainted with. We have a large cast of characters to meet and become familiar with. Readers of SF will likely be comfortable with this slow and steady world building. And once the action starts, you will be glad you spent so much time getting to know the world and the people in it!

Then shit hits the fan, first in outer space and then on the planet they must make an emergency landing on. And when the action starts, it doesn’t let up until the end.

Prophecy is exquisitely complex. Noe’s characters are all so wonderfully developed that, even though there are many of them, they each leap off the page as individuals. Even the baddies are relatable on some level. The emotional undercurrents driving the plot are so strong, you can’t help feeling completely invested in the outcome.

Technical Details

Many Indie books suffer a little in the design, formatting, and editing aspects of publication. It’s tough to be an indie and have to pay out of pocket for all of these services (which are NOT cheap! It can cost thousands of dollars to produce a book you buy for a couple of bucks or download for free during a promo!) I am willing to look past a few Indie quirks for this reason. It is very difficult to compete with the teams of people who work on books from Big House publishers.

Prophecy is a work of pure professionalism, though. It is easily as well edited and designed as any book put out by one of the Big Guys. You would never know Noe was an indie writer if I didn’t tell you! I’m very, very impressed with her work and I cannot wait to dive into Books Two and Three in The Canellian Eye trilogy!

The Canellian Eye Book Two: Chosen by Caroline Noe
The Canellian Eye Book Three: Rebellion by Caroline Noe

My Rating: * * * * *

I’m giving this book and easy 5 Stars. If you love true SF, with space ships, aliens, and interspecies warfare, this is the book for you. If you love books with complex characters, richly developed relationships, a little romance and adventure, this is the book for you!

Reviews

If you decide to pick up Prophecy please let me know what you think! More importantly, leave a review wherever you purchase it from so that other readers can find it and fall in love, too.

Thanks for reading!

5 Wonderful Ways to Support Indie Writers

I love books. I love books more than I love most people. But you know which people I love even more than books?

I love writers, whose tireless efforts fill my physical and electronic bookshelves to overflowing with more books than I will ever be able to read in this lifetime.

And I love readers, whose passion for words and stories give me a reason to continue writing.

So here are 5 simple ways that you can support the authors you love, and help us keep cranking out those pages as quickly as you can read them!

#5 Go to their events

Check your local bookstores for readings and book signings put on by indie authors in your area. Stop in to say hello at their table when you visit book conventions or other events.

But don’t forget online events, too. Follow your favourite authors on their social media platforms, and be sure to show up for launch parties, cover reveals, contests, and whatever they’ve got going on. Not only does it give them warm-and-fuzzies to know you’re out there, but it shows other readers that this author is worth supporting!

#4 Post to your Socials

Sharing is caring, friends. If you are loving a current read, don’t hesitate to shout it from the rooftops. Share a picture of your reading space on Instagram (show off that gorgeous cover!), tweet your favourite line on Twitter, or gush about your latest book haul on Facebook. The more people who hear about your fave authors the better chance they have of growing their audience, supporting themselves, and writing more books! Bonus points: Wow your friends and frenemies with your worldly connections by tagging in your featured writer. We love to be able to say thank you and geek out about other books.

#3 Buy our books

Obviously, right? But did you know that not all buying options are created equally? Here are a few things to consider before buying your next indie book.

  • Where to buy – Buying direct from an author’s website will usually garner them a higher payout, but it doesn’t help their sales rankings on bigger book buying sites. Buying from Amazon, or other big online retailers, boosts their rankings and provides the benefit of a “verified review” (see #1). You may have to ask the author which they prefer!
  • What else to buy – You can also help out your favourite author by buying other books in the same genre at the same time. This helps online retailers link similar authors together, and provide “Customers also bought” advertisings to other shoppers.
  • PRE-ORDERS! – The absolute best way to buy an author’s book is to Pre-Order it. While this isn’t an option for books that have already been published–and of course authors want you to buy their older titles, too–pre-ordering a new release gives a huge boost to that book’s opening week sales, which in turn affects their ranking and visibility on whatever site you buy from. This helps more people find their books!

#2 Read our books

I know. Sometimes we buy way more books that we can possibly get through. Our TBR piles are dangerously close to tipping over and squishing a child or fuzzy friend.

But the writer is a strange creature. We put our hearts and souls into producing a story that begs to be read. We know we may never hit the NYT Bestseller list. We know we may never see our book on the silver screen. That’s okay. We can live with that.

But if no one ever reads it? That kills us. Our hearts flutter with excitement every time one of our books sell. Will you love it? Will you hate it? We need to know! Nothing is worse than knowing someone has bought your book and then never hearing about it again. Please read it. And then…

#1 Review our books

Reviews are the writer’s lifeblood. Real, honest reviews are invaluable. Not only do reviews help the right kind of readers find each book (and the wrong kind of readers avoid them), they help boost a book’s sales rankings and make it more visible to more readers, and they provide feedback to the writer that can be extremely difficult if not impossible to get within our real life circles.

Please leave a review. Tell other readers what you loved, what you didn’t, and what you hope for in the next one. We read them. We learn from them. We try to improve because of them.

And hey, if you’d like to review The Timekeepers’ War, you can do that HERE! Because you don’t get what you don’t ask for, right?

Bonus Points: Library Requests

In case you are looking for one more way to help out your favourite writers, here is one that often flies under the radar. Check your local library (or local bookstore for that matter!). If you don’t see those indie titles you love, don’t be shy. Make a request! Not all self-published books will be available to libraries and bookstores, but it never hurts to ask.

When you’re finished reading their latest book it goes back to the shelf, ready to be discovered by a future super-fan. Be sure to let the author know when your library says yes! You will make their little ink-stained hearts grow six sizes, guaranteed.

Brainstorm with me!

Can you think of any other important ways to help independent writers keep pursuing their dreams? Drop them in the comments below. Better yet, share one of your favourite books!

Please share this post anywhere you like to geek out about books. Let the great symbiosis between reader and writer thrive on!

Indie Book Review: Jim and Martha by Joel Schueler

Jim & Martha: An Indie Classic for the 21st Century

Sometimes when I’m in the middle of writing and revisions I start to get bogged down by my own voice. One way that I kick myself out of a rut is to read something outside my genre, or something completely different from my usual reads. Jim & Martha is something I picked up on a whim because I was so intrigued by the idea of a tragicomedy set in an ecovillage. It isn’t solarpunk, but I thought it might help trigger some new ideas for me. I got all that and more!

From the Book Jacket:

Jim & Martha is a tragicomedy about a couple entering a major lifestyle change, transitioning from a suburban London flat to an ecovillage. Racing along a two-lane road of humour and tragedy at one hundred miles per hour, how will the lovers fare with their new environment, their new cohabitants, their mental health and each other? As the ecovillage becomes a crossroads of instability, who can trust who? Adventure or nightmare, some things are inescapable…

Click on to the ‘zon

My Review: 4/5 Stars

JIM AND MARTHA is a wry, darkly comic novel about relationships, community, and the environment. It is not an easy read by current standards; the language is rich with imagery and symbolism, the narrative flow is at times almost “stream of consciousness” in style.

It took me a while to get acclimated to Schueler’s authorial voice. Because this is an indie book, it would be easy to assume it needed another pass from an editor. The sentence structures can be challenging and Schueler uses a rich and varied vocabulary. I even learned a few new words and I consider myself a language buff!

I assure you, the author knows his craft! If you are at all  familiar with literary modernism, please give this book a chance. It is, in my opinion, a classic for the new millennium that speaks to all the dissatisfaction and cultural angst of our generation.

Once I learned to trust that the author’s language was intentional, I was able to relax into the narrative flow and really hear the character’s thoughts and feel them as my own. The imagery is raw and poignant, and often surprisingly “real” without being pretty or flowery.

Underlying the tale of the titular Jim and Martha’s voyage to an eco-village is a current of anxiety that I think readers under the age of 40 will know well. The urge to escape, to start fresh, and to rebuild is haunted by the fear that we can never truly escape ourselves.

I gave the novel 4/5 stars because I did find some of the unusual sentence structures distracting, and to my eye it didn’t serve any particular purpose. I also struggled a bit in moments where the POV character shifted from one character to another. I could have used more hints, earlier, to signify the shift as I had to reread some passages when I realized I was in a different character’s head.

However, this not detract too much from an overall wonderfully fresh reading experience. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the English language!

Indie Recommendations:

Does anyone have any great indie reads they’d like to see reviewed here? My preference is for SF&F and I’m especially interested in the SolarPunk movement. But I’m open to any suggestions! Let me know in the comments section.

SF Review: “Chinatown” by Chris Reynolds

SF Review: “Chinatown” by Chris Reynolds

Chinatown

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I recently downloaded the entire Monolith catalogue from Crushpop Productions. CPOP is a Los Angeles based indie gaming company that produces tabletop and card games . The Monolith is an indie publishing company that sprang from the CPOP game worlds; it boasts a collection of post-apocalyptic fiction serials and mini-series’ set in the Goremageddon universe, as well as some other unique fiction independent of the CPOP brands. Chinatown by Chris Reynolds is the second series released in this world (sorry, I read them out of order! The first series, Absolute Valentine is next on my list…) I will be reviewing each series and mini-series as I read them, as well as the Monolith debut Ling Ling Conquers GRAXXand I will be doing an interview with Neuicon, the founder and curator of the Monolith catalogue later this month. Yay!

I’ve been meaning to read Chinatown for a long time. I collaborated with author Chris Reynolds on another project and really enjoy his work. You’ll be seeing more from him here once I start posting his “Combat Clinic For Writers” series as well as, hopefully, the release of our co-written novella once we finish that up.

Now, serialized fiction is a thing I’ve become interested in recently, both as something I’d like to try writing and a fun new medium to read in. My tastes in fiction have shifted over the last few years to include a lot more short fiction, flash fiction, novellas, etc. as kids and career obligations have eaten into my precious free time. I even attempted to release my NaNoWriMo progress in a serial style last month (with marginal success). But Chinatown is the first time I’ve ever actually read modern serialized fiction.

I’ve gotta admit, I’m hooked. The episodes are bite-sized enough that you can just read one when you have a spare half-hour or so, and addicting enough that you can binge-read an entire season a sitting or two (kind of like the readers’ equivalent to Netflix). Chinatown is the perfect introduction to the Goremageddon universe, too. It’s a fantastic genre-blending mashup that will appeal to a wide audience, and you don’t have to have a deep understanding of the world to follow the story.

Chinatown is part post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller and part hard-boiled detective fiction. Episode One introduces us to Slade Tatum, a gritty police detective with the Chinatown Free Citizens Police Department, in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles safe-zone. The first season follows Tatum as he begins what appears to be an unusually straight-forward missing persons case, and ends up being the most dangerous assignment of his career.

The world that Tatum lives and works in is familiar, but the PA twist will keep you guessing. There are cyborgs, high-tech weapons, complex political machinations, explosions and firefights–not to mention the pithy dialogue and bad-ass characters you’d expect from post-apocalyptic ds320237970922626399_p79_i3_w640etective story–to keep you clicking your way through to the end.

But the best part is, it doesn’t end. Not yet! There are 13 episodes in season 1 so far, plus a bonus story in the Monolith’s annual Halloween release Corrogatio III (which is free! Download it here).  So treat yourself to a new writer, a new genre, a new medium, a new world. Give Chinatown a try!