There are a lot of cool writers out there producing books. Every single day, a new voice enters our digital space, bringing a fresh perspective and a unique take on this little planet we call home. As indie creators, it’s not only our job to help cultivate these new voices, it’s our duty to get them read. Below are some of the writers I’ve had the absolutely pleasure of reading, enjoying and endorsing. If you’re looking for different voices, consider these:
The Deer King Series by Ben Spencer
Synopsis: One girl. A reincarnated war god. The chance to stop the carnage before it begins.
Emmaline Rain’s father is the Stoneman. His responsibility: travel into Massaporan lands and end the life of the reincarnated Massaporan deity—the Deer King—the instant he is born. But when he fails in this task, the delicate equilibrium between Emmaline’s people and the Massaporans is disturbed. It seems likely that the violence of the past will be renewed.
Emmaline’s father is soon murdered by a priest of the Bronze Titan for his shortcomings. Newly orphaned, Emmaline absconds with the Saving Stone in the hopes of finding the Deer King and completing her father’s work. But when she comes face-to-face with the Deer King, she realizes that relations between her people and the Massaporans are more complicated than she has been led to believe.
The Deer King is the first in a planned series of fantasy novellas set in Dreyland, a colonial world where the indigenous people rely on the strength of a reincarnated god to help them offset the technological superiority of the settlers.
Why It’s Good: Both novellas available so far are wonderfully woven tales that are mindful of readers’ times and aren’t afraid to go for big picture ideas or high fantasy concepts. Each entry is unique and wholly different from the other. This works well in two ways. First, it gives us a different story with a different perspective that might be wholly alien from a perspective in a previous novella. Second, this concept contributes to building a rich canvas for the fantasy world of Ben Spencer’s making, which furthers bringing this world to life.
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The Brick Mason’s Sons by Ben Spencer
Synopsis: Red Alexander’s sons believe they know him. He is a quick-tempered brick mason, a truth-bending baseball addict, and, in the eyes of his two eldest sons—Dale and Brett—a justly convicted killer. Only younger brother Scott knows the truth about the defining event that shaped all of their lives. Now, as the brothers struggle to become adults, they confront the father who for so long has worked to hold the family together by manipulating his sons’ perceptions of the past.
Why It’s Good: Ben Spencer’s The Brick Mason’s Sons is a slice of Americana we’ve needed for a long time. It’s an honest family portrait, one that digs deep into generations of our culture and dissects our jigsaw puzzle piece-by-piece, member-by-member. Spencer’s prose is as firmly rooted in realism as it is fantastical, stringing together both the hard, cold facts and surreal symbolism in a way that is beautiful, elegant, and so very humanizing. When we read The Brick Mason’s Sons, we’re glimpsing our friends, our relatives, and ourselves, and we’re seeing each one through each other’s eyes. The result is an objective view of our family, of Americana, of the world and all its working innards through the national pastime of baseball. With each swing of the bat, we see the grime and the machinery all around us, and we know where both came from.
The Brick Mason’s Sons is a must-read for anyone looking to delve deep and understand humanity. It’s an adventure into the wounded soul, a quest for the life force we call “spirit.” Ben Spencer is Prometheus reborn, bringing down that fire to once again purify us all from darkness.
Bits by Katie Perttunen
Synopsis: A mother receives a diagnosis of bipolar disorder with psychotic features and it changes her life forever. What would you do? Is a mother always a mother, or just in the act of mothering? Author Katie Perttunen explores this question over the last five years her memoir, Bits.
Why It’s Good: Katie Perttunen’s Bits is a collection about what it means to be human. It’s a sum of all of our parts, severed and segmented, and thrown in a blender to better lay bare the contents within. Bits is powerful, evocative and teetering on the edge. It’s both intimate and distant, pulling us close and pushing us back with each passage, waiting, with bated breath, for us to truly understand.