Sunday, August 30, 2009

Independent Authors: Choices That Intrigue

Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. Well, at least to many readers that are discovering the vast choices that the traditional publishers don't offer. Main streamed books are edited and trimmed of any bite that might offend the majority of readers. So if you want books with a real edge, I'm finding that independent authors have something much different than what's being offered in most bookstores.

Where do you find these hidden gems? Try looking somewhere that is probably the easiest place to shop, the internet. I've found boards listing many interesting books that are not or may never get placed on the bookshelves of stores. Many reading groups like or list books from independent authors as well. has pages and groups where independent authors list their books.

It also depends on your interest of book. Many independent authors that write Romance Novels are tremendously popular. Searches for romance novel independent, or simply your interest will turn up a lot of options. Or even fantasy or sci-fi searches, there are whole boards on just dedicated to these topics. Reading the reviews and ratings on Amazon can give you an idea about the book. But many have "Look Inside Features" that you can read the excerpts of the book. This really helps you try the book on for size for your reading interests.

Gay and lesbian fiction is definately not easy to find in main stream publishing. Many writers of this type of fiction are independent. I've already listed Edward C. Patterson's "Irish Need Not Apply" as a book to read. It deals with two high school boys finding their interest towards each other to be more than just friends. All comparing their experiences to the Irish restrictions of the late 19th century.

I've found that the New Age genre offers great alternatives that are not easy to find in most book stores. Having been interested in crystals and energy work since the early 90s, I've always left my book searching to glancing over the walls in New Age/Crystal stores. But lately, I'm finding some real gems from independent authors. I found a book on Kundalini Meditation by an independent author. "Kundalini Awakening for Personal Mastery" by Robert Morgen helps explain a new approach to energy work that bears it's roots in Asian Philosophy. It is also very hard to find anything on this subject. An independent author helped fill the niche.

This is only a small percentage of some of the hidden gems that traditional publishers don't offer. I encourage you to search for more choices by considering independent authors that have chosen to self-publish. Sometimes you'll never know what you may find, and often, the results are more than you can imagine.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Travel As Research and Other Thoughts

Today is my last night in Germany. So I thought I'd log on for some thoughts on traveling and researching for writing. It would be hard to fit over two weeks of travel into a blog, but then that is what a journal is for. I love blogging, but my journal is my best friend when I travel. Good thing, since I've been to many country towns and visited 14 castles. My journal will help me remember where I've been later when I try to write some stories from my adventures.

Journals help capture the experience of what you learn from your travels. I really enjoy the end of the day when I can jot my thoughts down. I try to recount all that happened. From visits to medieval fortresses, to bratwurst and dumplings; it's all written down for later use.

Then, there is the invention of digital cameras. I used to try to write down all the info in museums. But Germans are quite a kind folk, and allow non-flash photography in castles or museums. Sometimes it is posted not to take pictures, but I found there were lots of times I could snap a pic for research. The Untersberg placard took 3 photos to get all the legends photographed. Since I keep my journal in my hotel for a rundown of the day, my digital camera helps me record a lot of the research that would take hours to write down.

So, before I head out of Deutchland, I come home with a journal full of ideas, a stomach sedated with bratwurst and sauerkraut, and two 8 meg cards of digital pictures. Can't beat that for research.

*Tiffany Turner has been in Germany for over 2 weeks researching folktales of the Fey for her Crystal Keeper Chronicles series. The first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Editions. Her second book in the series, "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" will be out this Fall.