Are you struggling to find a gift for your coworker, neighbor, sister, nephew, random gift grab bag?
Support small business and indie authors and give the gift of a book!
There are a ton of options out there and even looking through various best-seller lists or celebrity recommendations can be overwhelming. How on earth do you find something good by an author you’ve (likely) never heard of before?
You let me make some suggestions.
Following is a collection of books from different genres written by people I personally know who are self-published or independently published and don’t have the marketing clout of one of the major publishing houses. I have read almost all of the books listed – I haven’t finished all the series, unfortunately. Take a look!
Laura A. Barnes is a Des Moines area author I met by doing NaNoWriMo in 2017. (Turns out we were on the same United Nations trip when we were in high school but never met – small world, right?) Laura writes steamy period romances and currently has three series available for purchase. Whether you’re looking for pirates and spies, noble scoundrels, or matchmaking madness, Laura has got the goods to get your pulse racing.
Sarah Latchaw lives near me and is one of the most delightful people I know. Her Hydraulic Series is full of relatable characters, swoon-worthy romantic moments, humor, and a view of mental illness from a place of true love. Her writing style pulls you in and her characters are so real that you can’t help but laugh and cry right along with them. This trilogy isn’t the spicy type, but will get your heart racing.
I met Jethro Weyman through the writing platform Channillo and we became friends via the Twitter #WritingCommunity. I was struck by the amazing prose of his writing and the unique and wickedly clever ways he explores some dark and existential themes. Bang to Begin is a gorgeously written collection of stories that seem unconnected on the surface. Kind of mind-bendy deep stuff.
Taylor Hohulin is a local radio celebrity and all-around terrific human. the first time I read his writing, I was pulled in and have devoured pretty much everything of his since. I met him through NaNoWriMo, as well, and was lucky enough to get encouragement from him through a small critique group and I learned a lot from him.
- The Marian Series follows a young man who gets unexpectedly transported to a pirate ship in another world where water is the ultimate prize. This trilogy is kind-of steampunk and has both human and supernatural dangers and lots of terrific science fiction gadgets.
- TAR is probably my favorite, though. If you like cybernetic body modifications and a dangerous, living infection that ravages anyone it comes in contact with in horrific ways, set in a post-apocalyptic alternate future, you’ll dig this. It’s a tale of a traveling wizard with a shotgun but told through the exploits of a sometimes-likable survivor.
- Your Best Apocalypse Now will have you chuckling almost immediately. In this humorous light fantasy novel, a struggling author jumps on the bandwagon of best-selling doomsday books, making it up as he goes along. Or so he thinks. When he correctly predicts the end of the world, a group of other-worldly beings take him on a journey that he could never have predicted.
Kelly Fumiko Weiss is another tremendous talent that I discovered through Channillo. I have read two of her books, from vastly different genres.
- Her science-fiction-esque novel, The Cube, is set in an alternate near future where a mysterious cube has changed the way the world works. The main character and his best friend, Molly, start out on a fun treasure hunt for a series of mysterious symbols, but the fun turns to unexpected romance and danger for them and their friends.
- Her other novel, The Stories We Choose Not to Tell, is a story of familial relationships and racial identity for a Japanese-American woman who learns about herself and the roots of her strained relationship with her mother by exploring the life story of her late Obachan (grandmother) who lived in a World War II Japanese internment camp on American soil. Well-written characters that had me crying along with them at the end of the book.
I am lucky enough to know many other talented authors with terrific books available, even if I haven’t read them all yet. Inspirational romance, memoir, poetry: If you don’t see something listed here that tickles your fancy, comment below or send me an email with the genre or type of story you’re looking for and I will give you a suggestion based on my own personal knowledge of the book and/or the author.