While in the process of writing and promoting my self-published novel, The Unmapped Lands, I noticed that there aren’t a lot of sites dedicated to the promotion of self-published authors and independent publishers, especially on Tumblr.
Thus, Indie Novels was born. I’ll reblog and link to information about self-published novels, small publishing houses, and any other articles and resources I think will be of interest to fans and creators of indie fiction.
This is NOT a review blog. While I’d love to be able to review every novel that comes my way, I simply don’t have the time. Feel free to submit info about your book, however! Let’s help each other out and make sure our work finds its audience.
I made a new thing! Check it out if you’re interested in supporting the work of independent authors.
Top three vote getters go to the judges.
So if you like it, put a vote on it?
There’s the darkness that comes regularly and a darkness that is forced upon you. They are two different beasts, each bringing their own shades of black to your world. One brings the time where nightmares play out in your head. The other, a time where nightmares play out for real.
Brad Novak pulled two five-gallon containers of gasoline in his niece’s little red wagon. He walked slowly, gently guiding the wagons over bumps and around tree limbs. He could hear the gas sloshing around in the containers and his fear of spilling that precious liquid consumed him. He waited in line five hours to get that gas. Nothing was going to keep him from his appointed rounds, which included filling two generators and maybe a quarter of his Honda’s gas tank, if that.
He turned on Hilda Street, gently coaxing the wagon to turn with him, when he thought he heard footsteps to the left. In this kind of darkness – not a single streetlamp or house lit up – it was hard to tell where sounds were coming from or what they really were. Snapping limbs sounded like footsteps. Leftover hurricane wind thrashing through fallen trees sounded like voices. Brad maneuvered around the carcass of a Sycamore tree splayed across the road and turned left on Cypress Avenue, trying to silently talk himself out of the feeling that he was being followed.
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Henry passed the booth four, five, six times. He circled the bazaar, purchasing a glass bottle, pickled herring and anise seeds along the way. Each time he ended up in front of the red and white striped booth, staring at the wrinkly woman with the “Kisses, $1.00″ sign around her neck.
There was nothing else in her booth. Just the chair she sat on and a bucket for dollars. The bucket was empty and Henry felt awful for the woman that no one wanted to kiss.
Something pulled Henry to the booth; something he could not resist. On his seventh time around, after purchasing a cap made of skunk fur and unable to hold any more purchases, he found himself back at the kissing booth, staring at the old woman and her crooked smile and sagging skin.
Henry fished a dollar coin from his pocket. He dropped it in the bucket and it clanked and clattered while Henry leaned down awkwardly to kiss the woman.
“No,” the woman whispered. “I kiss you.” She stood and Henry could hear her bones move against each other; her back cracked, her knees clicked, her body protested the movement, as if it had been years since the woman had used those muscles and bones. She moved her lips towards Henry’s cheek. The smell of rotting fruit and something long dead clung to her skin and Henry fought off the urge to twist his head. Something strange - something stronger than his repulsion - made him move his lips toward the woman’s. I must have this kiss, he thought. A dollar’s worth, anyhow.
He felt her cracked lips brush against his skin and he shuddered. The old woman grabbed Henry’s face, her hands pressed firm against his cheeks and ears, her grip surprisingly strong. As she moved in to kiss him full on the lips, Henry saw something small and white emerge from the woman’s mouth. The maggot crawled down her lip, stopping to suck on the flesh. Henry felt the day’s take of pickled herring churn in his stomach, rise up to his throat. He would surely throw up on the woman’s face if she didn’t move. He tried to turn his head, but the woman’s hands were like steel. He couldn’t turn an inch either way.
Her lips met Henry’s and as he tried to scream, her tongue entered his mouth. Henry felt it sliding across his own tongue; it was impossibly long, reaching down his throat, slithering its way through his body like a snake. As the woman’s tongue met his bile, breathing became difficult, if impossible, and Henry’s world went black.
If later that day you asked anyone who was searching the bazaar grounds for the missing young man named Henry, no one would remember him, nor would they mention the old woman or the kissing booth, for no thing existed.
At least not for them.
Because I always share what I’m up to with you guys. If you’ve read the sample chapter of Clusterfuck, feedback on what you like better is always welcome. Any feedback is always welome. caveat: rough draft.
Pug was laying in the back seat, eyes closed, feeling the highway pass beneath him. Another road, another city, another of his mother’s men in the front seat. For a minute he couldn’t remember if it was Number 7 up there or if he lost count and it was Number 8. When he hears the hacking cough and the strains of Whitesnake from the radio, he knows it’s still 7.
In Pug’s mind, the numbers remain numbers and not words. Calling him Seven instead of 7 would be bestowing proper capitalization and spelling on a man who knew nothing about nor deserved either. The men in his mother’s life were numbered, not named.
Number 7 seemed much like the others before him; dirty, unemployed and perpetually drunk. Pug’s mother had a keen eye for picking out the losers among them. She gravitated toward men in wife-beaters the way gold diggers could sniff out a man in an Armani suit. Pug didn’t know why his mother punished herself like this, why she would subject herself over and over to men who constantly berated her, demeaned her, used and sometimes beat her. Then again, she was also dirty, unemployed and perpetually drunk, so perhaps it was a birds of a feather thing.
as always when i post fiction, it’s hot off the press, meaning i just wrote it, haven’t edited it or anything yet.
See, I’m still working on it, Hammerito. I want to have it finished before my vacation in two weeks.
He eyed J.’s house. The shingles looked chewed up and spit out, like giant termites and rabid beavers fought over them for lunch.. The front yard was more sawdust and rusted nails than grass. The windows were haphazardly covered up with a combination of tin foil and construction paper giving the house the appearance of something that would be found in a fourth grade art classroom, with a note on the back that said “D-. See me.” Hammerito had a bad feeling about this. But he’d had a bad feeling about everything since 2005. He popped two Tums and walked up to the door.
The door swung open before he had a chance to knock. Hammerito surveyed the kid standing in front of him. Early twenties, shaved head. Wearing a Minor Threat t-shirt, black Dockers and red Chucks.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“I’m J.” The kid sounded surprised that Hammerito looked surprised. “Not what you were expecting, I guess?”
“You look like every asshole I beat the shit out of outside the 9:30 Club in ’82.”
Hammerito liked to put his clients on the defensive right away. Taking an aggressive stance was necessary in his business. Clients like his only trusted people who seemed like they would rip the head off an old lady if there was money in it and he wanted to establish right away that he was their man. No bullshitting, no asking too many questions. Present yourself as an offensive, violent bastard right away and you’d get the job. It was a tactic that worked for him every time. He always landed the gig and he never had trouble collecting his money.
“I’m just trying to blend in.” J. was definitely on the defensive.
“Congratulations. You blended into 1982.”
“I guess that’s when I stopped keeping up with popular culture.”
“Huh. You don’t look like you could have even been born in 1982.”
“If you want this gig, you’re going to have to open your mind a little.”
Hammerito had no idea what he meant by that. And he was not a stupid man. He had PhD. in Marine Biology. Before the wars, before this all became a mix of wilderness and wild west, he had a career. Sure, he was still an aggressive asshole. But back then he was feared for more than his size and his attitude. He was feared because he was smart. Every once in a while he worried that the rigors of trucking and side jobs had taken a toll on his brain. Maybe he wasn’t as smart as he used to be. Or maybe he had the wrong kind of smarts for this world. But hey, he was still alive and he couldn’t say the same about his fellow biologists or any of his drinking buddies. Something kept him alive this long. Something besides the sheer will to survive. So it disturbed him that he didn’t catch this guy’s nuance. But he wasn’t going to ask J. what he meant. That would be the equivalent of making them the same height. His demeanor was part of his advantage and he needed to keep it on the offense.
“We going in or we gonna do business out here? I have rounds to make.” Hammerito felt sudden impatience.
“Let’s go in. There’s a lot to explain with this job.”
The first thing that came to Hammerito’s mind when he walked into the house was “This is like Snoopy’s fucking doghouse.”
The house was huge and immaculate inside, making everything Hammerito saw on the outside seem like a lie. The rug in the foyer was so plush he felt himself sinking into it. He looked around, unable to stop himself from appearing awed at all the expensive furnishings. J. gave him a quick tour, rushing him from living room to dining room to kitchen to bedroom after bedroom and finally the study, which held a conference desk with thirteen hard backed chairs and little else except for a life size mural of the Last Supper on the south wall.
“Impressive crib you got here, J.” He wanted to ask a million questions. Like, how the fuck do you live in an optical illusion because the house he stood in front of two minutes ago was smaller than a drive-through Dunkin Donuts. His head was doing that thing it used to do when he was tripping; a fuzziness going through his brain like he needed to adjust his internal antenna. He shook his head to clear it. This wasn’t a trip. This was real. He didn’t know how, but it was real.
He followed J. into the kitchen, which was about as big as Hammerito’s entire childhood home. The fridge itself was the size of most people’s bathroom. J. opened the fridge and he could see it was filled with bottled water. Seven or eight shelves of nothing but bottled water.
“Can I get you a beer? Wine cooler? A shot of chilled vodka?”
“I don’t drink alcohol, thanks.” J. looked momentarily puzzled.
“Hmm. Ok. Soda?”
Hammerito knew there was nothing but water in the fridge so, just fucking around, he said “I’d love a grape Nehi, thanks.”
J. opened the refrigerator and pulled out a six pack of grape Nehi.
“Glass or in the can?” he smiled.