Are You Indie?

by Renee Miller

What Is Indie? Fuck if I know anymore. I used to think I knew, but now I’m not sure. (I see all of you clamoring to give me a definition. Go on. If you must.)

I guess I should explain what made me ask this question. You see, I’ve published books myself. I’ve published fiction with magazines and small presses as well. I’ve had people say things like, “But I thought you were supposed to be Indie,” when I shared links to stories published in online magazines. My take away from that was they felt not publishing books/stories myself somehow makes me not Indie.

What is Indie, though? What does it mean? Well, the term indie doesn’t include just self-published authors. I know some of you are confused by this. Hell, I’m confused. Has the definition changed? I didn’t get the memo, but then, I’m terribly disorganized, so it might be here somewhere.

My understanding of indie is that it means “independent.” So this means a self-published author or one published by an independent or boutique publisher. Small press. Not one of the Big Five or Six, or however many of those are out there. Someone who self-publishes but also has traditionally published work is called hybrid.

The thing is, in my head, I prefer to use the term “author.” I’m an author. I write books. I like people to read said books. How those books get to the readers is really not important to me, as long as they get read. Publishers are awesome, because they take care of the tedious shit I don’t like to deal with, like formatting, cover design and finding my mistakes. Self-publishing is also awesome, because I’m in control. We know how much I like my control.

I don’t like either label because there’s so much stigma and judgment attached to both types of publishing. On one hand, we have these indie pricks with their low-quality, cheap books bringing everything down and ruining the industry for everyone. On the other hand, we’ve got these elitist traditional fuckers with noses stuffed firmly up their own asses. They think their shit don’t stink. Am I right?

None of that is true, of course. Each side struggles with stereotypes. I’ve dealt with self-pubbed authors who basically feel anyone who goes traditional for any reason is a traitor to the indie cause. (I’ve never been quite sure what that means. The bloody battle for mediocrity perhaps?) Why would I give a cut of those two dollars to someone else? (Sarcasm) There are also hard-core traditional authors who will wash their hands of colleagues who try the indie waters. How dare they step down from the golden pedestal to slum it with the unwashed masses?

My point is, this is all stupid. Why do we need labels? Yes, so the reader knows how you published… Is that really important if you’re putting good work out there?

I’m not ashamed of being an indie author. I take great pride in the fact that I conquered my fears of inadequacy and failure and published myself. I find no shame in being a traditionally published author either. I’m proud someone else sees value in what I’ve worked extremely hard to produce and are willing to put themselves out on a limb (even a short one) to help me get it out there.

Is there a problem with just calling ourselves authors and leaving it at that? I guess there is, because we’re all special snowflakes, blah, blah, and a label gives us a “place.” It helps readers know what we’re about and… I don’t know. Labels just define things, which, apparently, is very important.

No thanks. I’d rather be undefinable, because I’m the specialest of all the snowflakes. (More sarcasm.)

What do you guys think? As a reader, is it important to know if a book is indie or not? As an author, is there a reason you’d prefer to be considered one or the other?

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July’s Deviant News and Books

 

We’ve got a few goodies coming in July, but first, let’s see what C.M. Saunders has going on right now. First, you can get Human Waste FREE from June 21st to June 25th.

human waste

 

Dan Pallister is a survivalist and prepper. Much to the annoyance of the people around him, he has been surviving and prepping since childhood. He just didn’t know what for. When he wakes up one morning to find the world overrun with bloodthirsty zombies it all becomes clear, and despite the fall of civilisation, he can’t wait to get started. He just needs to stock up on supplies from the local supermarket first.

But is everything what it seems?

Bonus Content:

Til death do us Part (short story)
No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches (exclusive extract)

WARNING: This book contains descriptions of graphic violence and/or sex, and is not suitable for children.

“A fast paced, disturbing read” – Amazon Reviewer

And he’s got a couple of new RetViews on his blog:

 

Thinner

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It didn’t exactly set the box office alight, either. In fact, it barely broke even. But this is another example of a film overcoming an indifferent initial reaction to slowly evolve into an underground cult classic.

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes Without a Face

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During its screening at the 1960 Edinburgh Film Festival, seven audience members reportedly fainted prompting director Franju to remark, “Now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts.”

 

 

 

 

 

And from Renee Miller, the long-awaited (not really, but she likes to be dramatic) weird horror novel, EAT THE RICH, will be released on July 13th by Hindered Souls Press.

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When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

You can pre-order your copy now. It’s okay. We’ll wait. Oh, and this one will be available in audio book, so we’ll add those links to her books page as soon as that’s available.

And, because it’s Canada’s birthday next month, Renee’s put Sex, Peanuts, Fangs & Fur: A Practical Guide for Invading Canada on sale for just 99 cents from July 1st – July 7th. You can also get her bloody awesome short stories, HUNGER and KILLERS for free from July 1st – July 5th.

 

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And in case you missed it: This month, Michael Keyton announced his new release THE GIFT, which will be available on Amazon and such VERY soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also new in June, Tony Bertauski released The Roots of Drayton: A Drayton Chronicles Novel, which is available NOW.

You don’t want to pass on this one. It’s a fantastic series.

 

 

 

 

The Green Monster

We don’t like to admit that we’re jealous of other writers’ success, talent, or any of that, but let’s be honest, the green monster invades our hearts from time to time. Even the Dolls struggle with envy, but it’s a good thing. Makes you work harder so you can be the object of someone else’s envy right?

So, we decided to share the books we wish we’d written, for whatever reason.

Katrina: A recent book I wish I’d written was The Hazelwood. It incorporates original fairy tales into the narrative, it’s dark and twisty and original.

Liam: I wish I had written my idea of an historical fiction book about the prisoners of Dunbar (1650.) The research involved is just so daunting, I will probably never start it… and just wish it was behind me.

Steve: It’s tempting here to steal the success of other authors, but often books capture the zeitgeist for reasons not just connected to their quality or ideas, but by being the right book at the right time. My taking them could leave them languishing in obscurity. So too, it’d be tempting to claim a work I dearly love for my own, but would it then be as magical? Would I lose something by not discovering it? Best to go for utility here, so I’d wish I’d written Donald Trump’s biography. I mean, it’d make a lot of money, and it’s not as if he’d ever actually read it.

Michael: Boneland by Alan Garner. The dialogue crackles and there’s an economy of language that hints rather than spell everything out. It demands more from the reader because each word is loaded and no word is wasted. Flabby books you can skim.

Christian: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s fantastic. I learned more about the mind of a woman from that one book than I did from half a dozen failed relationships. Also, it sold about a gazillion copies and the movie ripped up Hollywood. I’d never have to work again.

Renee: I was going to say Gone Girl, because it’s one of those books you just can’t get out of your head, but even more haunting was The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. I think I wish I’d written almost everything I’ve read by her. She’s brilliant.

Also, kind of wish I wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, but better, and only for the money.

What about you? Any book you’ve read recently (or long ago) that you wish you’d written?

 

Take Us Away

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. Since it’s summer, when most people embark on holidays and gloriously awful family vacations, let’s all share our favorite holiday destination. Personally, I can’t afford a holiday, but let’s play along just the same.

Katrina: Hahahahahahahaha. Vacation? You’re hilarious.

Here’s a holiday destination for you: My living room, after the children have gone to bed, with a glass of bourbon sweating on the coffee table and something mind-numbing on the TV. Heaven.

Tony: Mountains. We like a good couple of days to day-hike and stay in a cabin with a view. Our current number one spot to visit next is the redwoods in California.

Liam: This one is easy… Okracoke Island North Carolina. Specifically, Howard’s Pub. The place isn’t what it was back when Buffy Warner, the original owner, was alive, but I still love the place. I will carry so many good memories of that most delightful spot for the rest of my life.

Peter: There are plenty of places I’d like to go, of course, but camping is a favourite. We go at least once a year and have a week in a field with food, drinks, and books. It’s also a great time to get some writing done (if you’ve read my story ‘21’ you may not want to go camping any time soon, though).

Christian: London is a great place to visit. Not such a great place to live, with all the noise, pollution, inflated prices and danger. I spent a long time in China, so I’m going to go for Pingyao, a little ancient village in Shanxi province not too far (in China terms) from Beijing. Most of the big cities in China have been modernised, which is probably a good thing, Pingyao hasn’t. It’s like walking through a film set. The whole place has a massive wall built around it, cars are mostly banned, and the local delicacy is Pingyao beef, which is a bit like corned beef. There’s even a beef museum there. A beef museum!

Renee: I don’t go on holiday, so I guess my favorite destination is right here at home. I’d love to go camping as often as I did as a kid. We’re in “cottage country” so there are a ton of great spots, some of which aren’t too touristy. But it doesn’t really matter where I go, as long as it’s quiet and relatively mosquito free. I’d rather avoid bears too.

You know what? I’ve never been to the Maritimes, but that’s on my bucket list, so while I’m not sure if it’ll be my favorite destination once I’ve gone, I’ll say it’s number one right now.

Mike: I’ve been lucky. Not everyone has walked down the Grand Canyon, and walked up again. More people have visited Pompeii, which is magical in a different way. There you swim through heat and stone into a deeper past. I’m usually not a fan of revisiting places, but Pompeii and America in general would tempt me. America especially. From early childhood I’ve fantasised about the early days of the ‘Wild West’. A lot of Liverpool kids did, to the extent of playing cowboys and Indians wearing World War II gasmasks found abandoned on railway sidings.  But first things first. The holiday destination this year is a cruise. Not because I’ve joined the pink jumper and cavalry twill brigade, fox trotting on giant floating cities. My dad was a Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, and at fifteen I trained to become a ship’s cook intending to follow in his footsteps. Life took me by the scruff of the neck and threw me in a different direction, but I’ve never lost the urge to go to sea. Trouble is, I’m too old to be a ship’s cook now, and so the only way I’m going to ride the waves is via a cruise. During World War II he was on Atlantic Convoys, and several times did the Murmansk route. We’re off on a smallish ship to Iceland, which is somewhere between the two. A pilgrimage, you may say.

Your turn. Any holiday destinations you’d recommend? What about places you wish you never visited? We’d love to hear the story behind those.

June’s Deviant News and Books

What’s up with the Dolls this month? Well, it’s pretty quiet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have something for you.

Last month, Michael Keyton released Anthony Trollope: Power, Land and Society 1847 – 1980

31154185_10156148952966777_2708272631576002560_nTrollope was no deviant. He was though a writer and describes a world long gone. As such, there is much to learn from him. And if you don’t feel the urge to read all of his forty-seven books, you can read just this one. It may even persuade you to give him a go. Failing that, check out Alan Rickman’s first starring role as Obadiah Slope in The Warden – key snippets available on YouTube.

One of Trollope’s last books, The Fixed Period reveals his vision of the 1980’s; one still dominated by steam and landed power. The British Empire remains intact, ruling unchallenged in lieu of America, which has fragmented. It explains the title of this book. For Trollope, landed power and its politics controlled the future. He could not foresee—or didn’t want to—any alternative. The sci-fi aspects of The Fixed Period are risible. His exploration of Euthanasia is, on the other hand, profound.

Books on Anthony Trollope have tended to emphasise the biographical, social convention or else offer analyses of Trollope’s moral code. There has been little, if anything, written about Trollope as the literary expression of a landed society during a period of flux.

Anthony Trollope: Power, Land and Society 1847 – 1980 makes the argument that Trollope’s canon constitutes a profound exploration of Nineteenth Century landed society, providing insights into the cultural and political mores of great and small landowners, as well as the economic opportunities and problems they faced during a period of transformation; his characters, too, subtly illustrate the dilemmas, moral and social that so many Victorians encountered as economic circumstances changed.

Get it here.

He’s also been busy spiffing up another new release THE GIFT, which will be available on Amazon and such VERY soon.

house, moody bkgrnd

Born in a Liverpool slum, Lizzie McBride is the daughter of an Irish seer who dies when Lizzie is barely twelve, leaving her in charge of two younger sisters and a grieving father. When her father commits suicide, Lizzie is caught between two worlds: An aunt and uncle who decide the three orphans would be better off with them in America, and her mother, who appears in a dream and urges her to stay. Just as they are about to board ship, Lizzie runs away and her life changes forever.

Pursued by her aunt, Lizzie cannonades into the young and charismatic magician, Aleister Crowley who takes her under his wing. He introduces her to Lady Gwyneth Morgan, daughter of the richest family in Wales and sister to the flamboyant occultist, Evan Morgan. At this point Lizzie doesn’t realise she has a gift; the ability to open Hell and control its greatest demons. When the occult world discovers this, governments and powerful individuals seek her out. Only one man can protect her: the magician John Grey.

Also new this month, Tony Bertauski will be releasing The Roots of Drayton: A Drayton Chronicles Novel on June 12. Pre-order now!

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Drayton can’t leave the Lowcountry.

He once believed he was a vampire when he terrorized villages and slaughtered for blood. Now he absorbs essence from the dying’s final breath and rarely stays in one place. He has been in the Lowcountry far too long.

Everything is about to change.

After witnessing an elderly man’s death, Drayton vows to protect his wife. He assumes the job of her gardener in Charleston’s historic district. But when a young woman named Amber enters the garden, he soon questions who he is protecting.

And from whom.

Drayton will finally discover why he has roamed the planet for so long. He will learn the purpose of his existence and why he has absorbed human essence all of his life. Before he uncovers his roots, he will return to his blood-thirsty days of old.

For the first time, Drayton will become the prey.

 

And in case you missed it, last month, P.J. Blakey-Novis announced the launch of Boxes of blood.

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Boxes of Blood, a new service, offers ‘mystery boxes’ of hand-picked horror books delivered to your door. Available in a variety of sizes, and including exclusive tote bags and bookmarks, Boxes of Blood is an essential service for horror readers everywhere. And with a library of almost one hundred books, and counting, no two boxes will be the same!

 

Stay informed about this awesomeness at;

www.facebook.com/horrortoyou

www.twitter.com/redcapepublish

www.instagram.com/boxesofblood

And looking forward to July, keep your eyes peeled for Renee’s weird horror novel, EAT THE RICH, which will be released by the awesome Hindered Souls Press.

Eat-The-Rich-Front-Cover

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

And if you’ve been under a rock, you might not know that Steve Wetherell has re-released THE LAST VOLUNTEER with Falstaff Books, AND he was at ConCarolinas with his Authors and Dragons besties. For more details, and a few good laughs, check out the podcasts and the book.

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Fans of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – your long wait for a successor is over!

The fate of the world lies with one man: Bip Plunkerton.

Talentless psyentist and frequent drinker at The Empty Goat, young Bip Plunkerton will follow in his father’s footsteps as a Volunteer…footsteps that have yet to return from the wilds of the wide world outside.

Traverse the harsh weather of the formidable Ice Plains, navigate the Boiling Sea, and suffer the ravaging heat of the Bone Desert. Bip’s impossible task, continually thwarted by the semi-corporeal Mr. Random, is to warn the rest of the world of the coming doom of the Massive Ball of Death hurtling through space.

Will the last volunteer be any more successful than the first? Will Bip save planet Bersch from a fate set into motion millennia before?

Probably not, but we can likely drag this question out for a couple more books, though. Right?

Finally, Renee and Christian were both included in Digital Horror Fiction’s new collection, DIGITAL HORROR FICTION VOLUME 1.

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Inside you’ll find Renee’s horror story, WHERE THERE IS LIFE and Christian’s bloody tale, ROADKILL, along with a few other pretty awesome horror authors.

And that’s all for now. Stay tuned for next month’s news, and keep an eye on our Books pages for anything we may have missed here.

Internet Etiquette

By C.M. Saunders

I know what you’re thinking. Internet etiquette? It’s the internet, there is no etiquette.

But see, you would be wrong.

So wrong.

Because everything you post online, every snide comment, scathing retort, and misguided or misunderstood witticism, is there for all the world to see and it stays there until you delete it.

And even then there are ways to get it back, or so I’m told.

This means that past, present and future friends, colleagues, partners and employers can all see how you interact with people, and what kind of person lurks behind that cool exterior. Oh, and you can add the government to that list. Not just yours, but more than likely several, and even your great aunty Zelda. You didn’t think she used Facebook? Best think again. Even regular Joe’s who you don’t notice lurking online and don’t give much of a shit about anyway can pose a threat.

The DO’s are quite simple: DO use the Internet however you see fit, DO surf to your heart’s content, DO find some of its hidden corners, DO look up those old friends and flames, and DO find new ones. In short, have a blast. Just be aware of a few DON’T’s.

By the way, this (non-exhaustive) list is aimed primarily at indie writers and other internet marketers, but with a little improvisation, can be applied to just about anyone’s daily life. It is designed to help, not hinder.

DON’T post book links, or any promotional material, direct to people’s Facebook wall.

DON’T send book links, or any other promotional material, in the form of direct messages. This topic is particularly prickly amongst the Twitteratti. They fucking hate it.

DON’T tag people in political posts or rants about Lady Gaga, football, the environment, the refugee crisis, veganism, or anything else that could be construed as even vaguely divisive or controversial. The post likely reflects YOUR opinion, not that of the people you are tagging, and by tagging them you are associating them with your views against their will.

DON’T add people to groups without their permission, even if you think you’re doing them a favour. Just don’t.

When commenting on other people’s threads, DON’T see that as an opportunity to drop your book link. That, my friend, is spam, and it tastes like shit.

Similarly, when people ask for book recommendations, DON’T recommend your own book. Show some humility, you pretentious asshole.

Listen, I get that some people just aren’t very savvy. They might mean well, and just don’t know what they are doing is annoying the shit out of people. But the vast majority of social network users know exactly what they are doing. They know they are taking liberties and being annoying. They just don’t care. That’s just disrespectful.

Do yourself a favour, follow these unwritten rules, and make social networking less painful and awkward for the people who know you.

61yusXRXjwL X3, the third collection of fiction by C.M. Saunders featuring revised versions of stories taken from the pages of The Literary Hatchet, Siren’s Call, Morpheus Tales, Gore Magazine, Indie Writer’s Review and several anthologies, is available now. X3 also includes two previously unpublished stories, extensive notes, and exclusive artwork by the award-winning Greg Chapman. 

Meet the airline passenger who makes an alarming discovery, the boy who takes on an evil troll, an ageing couple facing the apocalypse, a jaded music hack on the trail of the Next Big Thing, the gambler taking one last spin, and many more.