Here are three more great Indie-authored books you won’t want to miss:
- Life’s Rich Tapestry — thoughts on life and living, delivered beautifully in varied writing styles
- Through the Nethergate–a young girl who has just lost her parents finds she can see ghosts–and they need her help
- Montana Shootists–a time-travel western that will surprise you
In her latest excellent mixed-media book, Life’s Rich Tapestry (2019), Sally Cronin delivers a wide and varied collection of writing styles and themes, all with the goal of enriching the tapestry of the reader’s life. She covers nature, humanity, faeries, remembering, pets, and more in varied writing styles including Haiku, Tanka, Etheree, Cinquain, 99 word fiction, short stories, speculative fiction, and others.
Each style comes with its own challenges–as those who write in them know–but Cronin moves through them with equal ease and mastery. The challenges of writing micro fiction (like Haikus and 99 word fiction) require a story–be it fact or fiction–told quickly in bitesize chunks that no one can skip over or get bored with. Here are a few examples:
Stop and smell the roses
As recommended I stopped to smell the roses
precious time well spent.
Waiting for Spring
Waiting for magical buds to appear
when the tempest has passed and sun returns to warm.
And, although khaki and merits
are returned to their boxes,
the memories remain
etched upon their hearts
their minds and dreams,
A Dog’s Life
They take no heed of the passing of time,
nor do they see into the future.
There are crucial priorities
that have to be considered.
Walks, sleep, play and their food.
But, above all else
they worship you,
Sally’s longer fiction shows the artistry she can unveil when she digs deeper into topics and themes. More than a twitter novel, different than a poem, Cronin took this challenge and delivered admirably. Here’s one of my favorites.
The Junkyard Dog
Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously.
In Roberta Cheadle’s YA paranormal thriller, Through the Nethergate, Margaret moves into the Inn owned by her grandfather after the untimely death of her parents. There, she quickly finds that she has the ability to communicate with the ghosts that are rumored to inhabit the old building. They are a varied group, all of whom met violent unjust deaths that left them…
“…trapped in the Overworld between the White Light of eternal salvation and the Nethergate of eternal damnation.””
They are kept in this eternal existence against their will and beg Margaret to help them. Reluctantly, Margaret agrees which starts her war with the ethereal red-eyed vicious dog who doesn’t want to release his slaves.
As the story unfolds, Cheadle shares the well-researched stories of how each of these ghosts died, putting us into a time when life was not precious, where people starved or froze and no one care. I was horrified, engaged, and ultimately rooting for Margaret’s success, despite the high toll it took on herself and her grandfather. Recommended for readers of YA who enjoy the macabre and heroines who fight injustice.
by Sandra Cox
One day, in Sandra Cox’s excellent Montana Shootists (2018) Abby Jennings is mourning the loss of her fiancée, hoping some time spent at her family’s ranch will cure her broken spirit. Then, with no warning, she falls into a landslide (yes, that’s right–fell), that drops her into the Old West literally at the feet of Jake, a handsome gunslinger who is as surprised as she to see her appear. He’d been riding his horse, checking out his next gunslinging job, never expecting to end up with this beautiful lost girl in his path. Abby figures out–after rejecting any other possible reason–that she has traveled back in time but has no idea how to fix that. And the harder she tries to leave this world, the more she becomes tied to the hard-working earnest people and the events and problems of their lives. Not the least of which is because of Jake who seems to be curing her broken heart without really trying to.
Sandra Cox has become one of my favorite old west writers so this is a departure from what to me is her norm. It actually annoyed me when it started on a present-day ranch! But only for about half a page and then I became wrapped up in Abby and Jake and their real worlds. Why? Cox does an masterful job at building strong characters that are brave but scarred, moral but forward-thinking. It didn’t take long before I cared deeply for these folks. Then, before I wanted it to, the book ended.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Fall 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning